This is a rush transcript of "Fox News Sunday" on October 17, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
More fights over vaccine mandates, as the White House calls on
pediatricians to help, ahead of the rollout for kids.
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Parents are going to want to go
and ask their doctor questions, ask their pediatrician questions, better
understand the safety, the efficacy of the vaccine.
WALLACE (voice-over): And an FDA panel considers authorizing more boosters
for a higher risk people.
We'll discuss where things stand on all three vaccines and ask the
president's chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, what it's going to
take to get COVID-19 behind us?
Then, the Biden administration struggles to address shipping, labor, and
warehouse issues, causing empty shelves and higher prices ahead of a
We'll ask top economist, Mohamed El-Erian, what the disruptions could mean
for your bottom line.
Plus, the January 6th commission moves to hold Donald Trump's one-time
political top gun in criminal contempt for defying a subpoena. We'll ask
our Sunday panel about the latest showdown in the investigation into the
assault on the Capitol.
And our Power Player of the week, Pat Robertson, on stepping down from The
PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVANGELIST: I decided, after 60 years, to turn over the
WALLACE: And his political legacy.
ROBERTSON: I became to realize, without question, that God is not a
Republican, that God loves everybody.
WALLACE: All, right now, on "FOX News Sunday".
WALLACE (on camera): And hello again from FOX News in Washington.
It's been a busy week in the continuing effort to gain more control over
the COVID pandemic. An FDA advisory panel recommended booster shots of two
more vaccines for millions of Americans. And they will consider whether
it's safe for people to mix and match -- to get initial doses of one
vaccine and then boosters of another.
Meanwhile, the battle over vaccine mandates, whether government agencies
and private businesses can order workers to get shots continues to
escalate. And there are growing signs some essential workers may stay off
of the job rather than comply with mandates.
We want to discuss all of this, plus get the latest on the spread of the
virus with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical advisor.
Doctor, welcome back to "FOX News Sunday".
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR: Thank you. Thank
you, Chris. Good to be with you.
WALLACE: As we say, the FDA advisory panel this week recommended
application for the use of the two other boosters that haven't been
approved so far, Moderna and J&J, even though the data on J&J boosters was,
relatively speaking, pretty weak according to some of the scientists on
Has the politics of giving boosters gotten ahead of the actual public
FAUCI: Well, you know, Chris, I'm not so sure the politics got -- the
politics got ahead of it. If you look at the data that's been accumulated
not only from our cohorts that we're following here in the United States,
but the information which is critical information that we're getting from
Israel, it's very, very clear that there's waning immunity and that we do
need to boost individuals who've received any of the three products that
we've been dealing with right now.
And as you mentioned, just this past week, two of them, Moderna and J&J,
put there data before the FDA and their advisory committee has made a
recommendation. Now, it's up to the FDA to make that authorization which I
believe will then go on for a recommendation from the CDC.
So, I don't think there's any political issue there. I think it's just
public health data and evidence.
WALLACE: The FDA panel will now also consider whether it is safe to mix
and match to get your initial dose from one vaccine and then your booster
from another vaccine. This is especially an issue with J&J which, according
to the data, has -- offers less production.
First of all, do you think mix-and-match is safe? And shouldn't people who
got J&J vaccine initially seriously consider getting a booster of another
vaccine which offers more protection?
FAUCI: Well, I think what needs to be done, and I believe will be done, is
that there will be a degree of flexibility that will be left up to the
individual based on their individual situation. The point that you make is
If you look at the data from J&J that presented to the FDA when they use
their own product as a boost, it's based on clinical data from a clinical
trial. The mix and match to which you refer shows that when you boost
Moderna or Pfizer against the original J&J, you get a much higher antibody
level. That's a laboratory indicator that would predict efficacy. But it's
a laboratory data.
So, people need to understand that the J&J against the J&J from trial and
the data they presented is based on clinical data. So, what you're going to
see without a doubt is that the FDA is going to take all of that under
advisement from their advisory committee and then they'll make a regulatory
decision, which then will get to the CDC, with their advisory committee,
and they'll make a recommendation.
I believe there's going to be a degree of flexibility of what a person who
got the J&J originally can do, either with J&J or with the mix-and-match
from other products.
WALLACE: Doctor, let's take a look at where we are now in this fourth wave
of the coronavirus. There's an average of almost 84,000 new cases every day
and more than 1,500 deaths every day. Still bad, but down considerably from
a month ago.
Are we coming out of the delta wave? And as we head into colder weather,
people going inside, holiday travel, what is the real possibility that we
could have a fifth wave of the virus? Especially, especially if there's not
a spike in vaccinations?
FAUCI: Well, that's the issue I think what you just mentioned just now,
Chris. It's going to be within our capability to prevent that from
You're right. The numbers are going down. The cases are down, about 23
percent. The hospitalizations and deaths are down 17 or 18 percent. So,
we're going in the right direction.
The problem is, as we all know, we still have approximately 66 million
people who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not vaccinated.
The degree to which we continue to come down in that slope will depend on
how well we do about getting more people vaccinated. If we don't do very
well in that regard, there's always the danger that there will be enough
circulating virus that you can have a stalling of the diminishing of the
number of cases. And when that happens, as we've seen in the past with
other waves that we've been through, there's the danger of resurgence.
But we can do something about that. That's the whole point that we keep
emphasizing. The more people we get vaccinated, the less likelihood is
there going to be another surge as we go into the winter.
WALLACE: So, briefly, what is your advice for the holiday season, for
travel, for gathering together as families? First for groups that are
vaccinated and then for groups that aren't?
FAUCI: Well, for groups that are vaccinated, I think we can enjoy the
holiday season. I get asked that all the time. You know, trick-or-treating
on Halloween, Thanksgiving with the family. When you're in the family unit
among people who are vaccinated, I think you should just enjoy the holidays
as best you can in the family spirit.
For those who are not vaccinated, first, I would encourage them very
strongly to get vaccinated. But if they're not, they should do what the CDC
recommends, is when you're in an indoor setting, in a public indoor
setting, to wear a mask. It's very important. We know that masks work, and
they could greatly diminished the likelihood that you're going to get
infected, which is another reason why we keep saying why it's so important
to get vaccinated, because not only will it be good for your own health and
that of your family, it will make it much easier for you to enjoy the kinds
of things in society that you'd like to enjoy anyway.
WALLACE: Well, let me pick up on that, Doctor. Texas Governor Greg Abbott
this week issued an executive order banning any entity, whether public or
private, from mandating that people got vaccines.
Here he was last June when he banned vaccine passports. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: Texas is open 100 percent. And we want to
make sure that you have the freedom to go where you want without limits.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: What do you think of Governor Abbott?
FAUCI: Well, I'm not going to make -- and opining about it (ph) -- my
personal opinion of any person in office like a governor, except to say
that from a public health standpoint, that is really unfortunate, because
we know how effective vaccines are in preventing not only illness for the
individual, but for the diminishing the dynamics of the infection in
The data are very, very clear. It doesn't matter what I think or not think
of Governor Abbott. The fact is, look at the data and look at the
difference between people who get vaccinated versus people who are
unvaccinated, in cases, in hospitalizations, and in deaths.
The CDC just came out with their recent data and the data are really
striking, Chris, about the risk associated with being vaccinated versus the
protection that you get when you are vaccinated. I would just have to --
you know, go ahead.
WALLACE: No, go ahead. Finish your sentence.
FAUCI: Yeah, no, I was going to say, so, unfortunately, I can understand
perhaps what the governor is trying to do, but I think when you're in a
public health crisis, sometimes unusual situations require unusual actions.
And in this case, it's things like mandating, be they mask or vaccinations,
they're very important. We're not living in a vacuum as individuals. We're
living in a society, and society needs to do to be protected, and you do
that by not only protecting yourself but by protecting the people around
you by getting vaccinated.
WALLACE: I want to squeeze in two more questions. In a number of places --
police, pilots, health workers, are threatening job action if vaccine
mandates are enforced. I want you to take a look at the police union
official in Chicago and then the mayor of that city.
Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN CATANZARA, CHICAGO FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE PRESIDENT: It's safe to
say the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50 percent or less for
this weekend coming up.
MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO: If those who are sworn to uphold the
law act as if they're above the law, we're not going to tolerate that.
That's not acceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: When we're talking about essential workers may be going off the
job, like half of a police force, should local officials or should
corporate executives back off enforcing these mandates?
FAUCI: Well, Chris, I mean, I'm not comfortable with telling people what
they should do under normal circumstances, but we are not in normal
circumstances right now. Take the police. We know now the statistics, more
police officers die of COVID than they do in other causes of death. So, it
doesn't make any sense to not trying to protect yourself as well as the
colleagues that you work with.
So, I think if we can get people to just think about that, think about the
implications of not getting vaccinated when you're in a position where you
have a responsible job and you want to protect yourself because you're
needed at your job, whether you're a police officer or a pilot or any other
of those kinds of occupations.
WALLACE: Finally, when this pandemic started, I think it's fair to say you
were the -- generally regarded as the authority on infectious disease. But
as time has gone on, you have become a polarizing figure. Critics accuse
you of sending mixed messages. There's allegations that you helped fund
dangerous research at the Wuhan lab.
Two questions. Why do you think you have become so controversial? And,
honestly, do you think there's anything you have done that has contributed
FAUCI: Well, I'm not so sure I could answer the latter because I can't
think of anything, but I'm sure some people will.
But, you know, Chris, I have stood -- always making science, data, and
evidence be what we guide ourselves by. And I think people who feel
differently, who have conspiracy theories, who deny reality that's looking
them straight in the eye, those are people that don't particularly care for
And that's understandable because what I do and I try very hard is to be
guided by the truth. And sometimes, the truth becomes inconvenient for some
people, so they react against me. That just is what it is. There's not much
I can do about that, Chris.
WALLACE: Dr. Fauci, thank you. Thanks for your time this Sunday. It's
always good to talk with you, sir.
FAUCI: Same here, Chris. Thank you for having me.
WALLACE: Coming up, what the thousands of shipping containers piled up at
U.S. ports could mean for the economy, and your Christmas wish list? We'll
bring in a leading voice from the financial world, Mohamed El-Erian. That's
WALLACE: President Biden is facing heavy pressure to make sure the U.S.
supply chain corrects course between now and the holidays. Couple that with
a spike in inflation and it's leaving Americans feeling the pinch in their
In a moment, we'll discuss the problem and possible solutions with top
economist, Mohamed El-Erian.
But, first, let's bring in David Spunt at the White House with more on the
political fallout -- David.
DAVID SPUNT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris.
It may be making headlines now, but the supply chain crisis began brewing
months ago with consequences that may last well into the New Year.
Dozens of cargo ships packed to the brim, stuck in a deep blue parking lot
off the California coast. On land, truck drivers are scarce.
PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Truckers have been on the front
lines of this entire pandemic. They want to be paid well. They want to be
SPUNT: Empty store shelves, economic uncertainty, and long lines spell
sticker shock for millions of Americans reeling from an 18-month pandemic.
Thirteen-year-high inflation is the new reality.
The consumer price index climbed 5.4 percent in September compared to the
prior year, matching the highest rate since 2008. Food grows 4.6 percent,
electricity 5.2 percent.
President Biden also continuing to push his social safety net package --
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's clear that it's not going
to be $3.5 trillion.
SPUNT: Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders out with an op-ed in a
West Virginia paper, making a plea to coal country about the climate.
The state's senior senator, Joe Manchin, fired back, writing: This isn't
the first time an out-of-stater has tried to tell West Virginians what is
best for them, despite having no relationship to our state. I will not vote
for a reckless expansion of government programs.
SPUNT (on camera): Negotiations between the president and members of
Congress continue over the next coming days and weeks. But if the president
loses Senator Joe Manchin, he's in trouble -- Chris.
WALLACE: David Spunt reporting from the White House, David Spunt --
And joining us now, Mohamed El-Erian, who led PIMCO for years and is now
the chief economic adviser at Allianz.
Mohamed, I want to start with inflation and I want to put up some more
numbers. The price of gasoline is up 42.1 percent from last year.
Children's footwear up 11.9 percent. Social Security benefits up 5.9
percent, the biggest increase in 40 years. Government officials keep saying
the inflation is, quote, "transitory." And White House Chief of Staff Ron
Klain retweeted that "current inflation and supply chain issues are high-
Mohamed, do you agree with any of that?
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, ALLIANZ: Well, I agree that it's
a high-class problem. I do not agree it is transitory, Chris. There is part
of it that's transitory that's COVID-related, but there are things going on
that are fundamentally much deeper than that. They involve change in
behavior. So we should look forward for another year at least of high and
WALLACE: But when you say "high-class problems," I think a lot of people
would push back and say if it's costing me 40 percent more to fill up my
tank of gas, if I want to get Christmas presents and I can't find them,
that's not a high-class problem.
EL-ERIAN: Yes, that's not a high-class problem, but there are elements
that are high-class. One, massive demand for labor. So wages are starting
to go up and are starting to go up meaningfully. Second, the reason why
there is so much inflation is partly due to a lot of demand. There's a lot
of purchasing power in the economy. That's a good thing.
It is the supply side, the everything shortage, if you like, that is the
problem. And hopefully that can be addressed. But part of this inflation is
good inflation, part is bad inflation.
WALLACE: And let me pick up on one other aspect of this. President Biden
and congressional Democrats are talking right now trying to negotiate $3
trillion-plus, maybe even $4 trillion in more federal spending. Is that a
good idea at a time when the economy is overheated?
EL-ERIAN: So when you say overheated, that's a demand-side concept
relative to supply. The issue is how do we get supply to respond? And
that's where that package comes in. Physical infrastructure, something that
everybody agrees on, the more we can improve our infrastructure, the higher
productivity, the more we can supply goods to the marketplace, and the more
inflationary pressures come down.
So I don't think there is much disagreement on that element of the package.
Where there is disagreement is what's called "human infrastructure," and
that is enhancing human productivity in order to bring more people into the
labor force. We have a problem of labor shortages. So I do think that if
it's targeted well on the supply side, that can help with growth and that
can help with inflation. But right now the argument is all on the demand
side and that's why this thing is getting stuck.
WALLACE: Let's take a look. You brought up the American labor force. I want
to drill down on that. Some 10,000 union workers at John Deere just went on
strike rejecting a wage increase of 5 to 6 percent this year. Some 4.3
million Americans quit their jobs in August in what's now being called the
How is all of that contributing to inflation and to supply chain problems?
And when Republicans blame federal spending, that -- federal benefits, is
that right, especially now that the enhanced unemployment benefits have
EL-ERIAN: So what's clear is that the expiration of the benefit has not led
to more people coming into the labor force. So that issue has been sorted
out. What's not clear is what's keeping labor from coming in. And the more
labor resists coming back into the labor force, the greater the bargaining
power of people in the labor force.
So we should expect more strikes going forward because workers now have
greater bargaining power. Why is that happening? Part of it is the excess
demand from people looking to hire quickly because demand has come back.
But part of that, Chris, is changed behaviors. We feel that now we can
negotiate higher wages without losing our jobs. We feel that we can go from
one job to another and get sign-up bonuses and some people don't want to
come back into the labor force. They have changed their views about work
WALLACE: I want to focus now on the backups in the supply chain, the dozens
of huge container ships that are parked outside the harbors, in Los Angeles
dozens of ships, also empty store shelves. How much of this -- and you
touched on it before, but how much of this is excess demand, that there are
people with money in their pockets who are trying to buy more, and how much
of it are backups blockades in the supply system, when you've got problems
at ports, at warehouses, truckers and -- the truckers and trains?
EL-ERIAN: I suspect it's one-third, one-third, one-third. One-third lots of
demand. All of us want to buy. And the more we worry about shortages, the
more we bring forward demand. Christmas is a perfect example. Tell people
there won't be toys for Christmas, they'll start buying now. So they bring
forward that demand.
Another third is COVID related. When your computer turns off and then comes
back on, it doesn't come back on perfectly. It takes time for different
things to start working again. You've got to sign in to your accounts
again, you've got to open your e-mail again. That's what's happened to the
global economy. When it started functioning again, it didn't start
simultaneously. And then you had Delta come in that shut down ports around
And then the third element is under investment. For a long time we've under
invested in our port facilities and that's now coming and biting us.
WALLACE: So let's talk about what government has to do about it. There's --
what it can do about it. There's talk that the White House should lift
regulations in various aspects of the supply chain. That it should lift
some of the tariffs on Chinese goods that are raising prices more. There's
talk about whether the Fed should raise interest rates or tighten the money
supply. When you look at that panoply, that menu of options, what is it the
government should do? What is it the government shouldn't do?
EL-ERIAN: So four things that should happen now. First is the Fed. They
continue to inject $120 billion into the economy every single month. That
made sense at the height of the emergency. It doesn't make sense now. So
they should ease off the pedal to the medal monetary stimulus. Two is,
we've got to get productivity back up. That involves infrastructure. That
involves human investments. Three, we've got to look very seriously at
excess financial risk, because what's going to happen if we're not careful
is inflation, as it persists, will disrupt the financial markets that will
then undermine the economy. And finally, we've got to get more people into
the labor force.
Chris, these things are feasible from an engineering perspective. What they
require is political will to implement them.
WALLACE: All right. In the time we have left, what is your forecast for
the holidays, which everybody are looking at a couple of months from now?
Where are we going to be on both inflation and on supplies on our shelves,
especially of holiday gifts? And what -- let me start that again, we're
going to have to edit it. But here we go.
Finally, what's your forecast for the holidays? Where are we going to be on
inflation? Where are we going to be on supplies? And how will all of this
be reflected in the financial markets?
EL-ERIAN: So as sad as I am to say this, it is what I expect, things will
get worse before they get better. So we're going to have more shortages of
goods. We're going to have higher prices. Inflation will remain in the 4 to
5 percent level. And it's just going to take time to sort these things out,
Chris. These things cannot be sorted out overnight. They were many years in
the making and then COVID pressed fast-forward and got everything
accelerated. And that's where we are now.
WALLACE: And the financial markets?
EL-ERIAN: I worry a little bit that this wonderful world we've been living
in of low volatility, everything going up may come to a stop with higher
volatility. But a lot depends on behavioral changes. If I were an investor,
I would recognize that I'm riding a huge liquidity wave thanks to the Fed,
but I would remember that waves tend to break at some point. So I would be
WALLACE: Mr. El-Erian, thank you. Thanks for joining us today. Interesting
times ahead. Please come back, sir.
EL-ERIAN: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss whether in
the midst of supply chain backups and serious inflation it's the right time
for trillions of dollars more in government spending.
WALLACE: Coming up, a legendary Christian broadcaster steps down from the
show he founded decades ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: There comes a time that, you know, the old guy has got to step
aside and let the young ones take over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Pat Robertson is our Power Player of the Week, coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president wants to get --
ensure the American people are able to order goods, they're able to get
toys delivered to their home, they're able to go to the grocery store and
be able to afford meat and any -- any goods that they want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki trying to reassure people
that President Biden understands the economic pressure they're facing for
the nation's supply chain and inflation problems.
And it's time now for our Sunday group.
GOP strategist Karl Rove, pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, and Mo
Elleithee of Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public
So, Kristen, let me start with you, as our pollster, how damaging is this
combination of supply chain problem and inflation, how damaging is that to
Democrats? Is this -- are these the kinds of issues that voters are likely
to blame them four?
KIRSTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, ECHELON INSIGHTS AND "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Headed
into a midterm where Democrats already have a number of structural factors
against them, most notably Republicans being the party out of power usually
do better in midterms, you need something like a good economy to be able to
run on and say, no, no, no, don't change course, don't change leadership,
stick with who you've got.
But you have a majority of Americans say that we're headed off on the wrong
track. And, frankly, you have Republicans who the issue of the economy is
one of the few issue that during the Trump era they used to hold an
And so you may have a lot of voters who are looking at what's going on now
saying, look, I wanted to -- to turn the page, support Democrats, but now
I've got rising prices. I don't know if I can get Christmas presents for my
kids. This isn't exactly what I signed up for. And that's going to give
Republicans a big opening to make the case for why people should change
leadership next November.
WALLACE: Karl, what are the political implications here and what are
realistic, possible solutions? What can Joe Biden do to unkink the supply
chain and curb inflation?
KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well,
the political implications are big, as Kristen said. If you take a look at
the Real Clear Politics average, the president's approval on the economy is
44.3 to 50.5. And it's getting worse. In September it was 46-48, end of the
polls conducted this far in October, it's 41-52.
There are things that can be done, but why wasn't the administration doing
it months ago. They're going to probably start doing the things that they
can do now, either jawboning or making some changes in regulations or
providing some specialized assistance to the ports and to the logistics
chain. But why didn't they begin it months ago because this has been an
issue that has been growing and growing and on the public's mind. And, as a
result, I think it's -- it's one of the reasons why the president's
approval among independents has dropped and dropped pretty dramatically.
When you go to the grocery store, like I went yesterday, and it costs you
nearly $9 to buy the bacon that cost you less than $4 not to many months
ago, Americans are going to feel this and they're going to turn around and
blame somebody and he's in charge.
WALLACE: Mo, what about that argument that there seems to be focus on --
now, I know, task forces were set up months ago, but the -- the -- from the
podium, the president and the press spokeswoman were just started focusing
on it now. What about the argument it's too little, too late?
MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE, FORMER
DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, the
reality is, the Biden administration inherited a pretty tough economic
situation when they came in as a result of COVID. And, from day one, they
have made that a top priority. They focused on this -- the relief plan.
Then they immediately moved into infrastructure. And as your previous
guests mentioned, infrastructure is a key component of dealing with the
supply chain and inflation situation. So they've been on it for a while.
We've seen some -- quite a bit of improvement in the economy since they
came in. Wages are up. Unemployment is down. But this is a key part of it.
And they've got to continue to put their foot o the gas on it. That's why
you've heard them talking about things like getting ports open 24/7, you're
seeing big corporations coming in saying that they're going to do the same
thing. So they're taking the steps. Whether nor not it's enough in time for
political impact remains to be seen.
WALLACE: Kristen, let's focus on the president's domestic agenda. On
Friday, he talked about not the infrastructure part, but the big tax and
spend -- social spending part.
Here's what he had to say. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not going to be $3.5
trillion. So the question is, how much of what is important do we get into
the legislation? I'm in the view that it's important to establish the
principle on a whole range of issues without guaranteeing you get the whole
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Kristen, is the president right in a political sense, in a polling
sense? Does it make more sense to do more things for a shorter period of
time rather than what some Democrats are saying, which is cut -- cull the
program and do more -- fewer things but for a longer period of time?
ANDERSON: I will tell you that the vast majority of voters do not even know
that this debate is happening in Washington, Chris. Right now, if people
know that this bill is happening, they know that that number, $3.5
trillion, is what is being discussed and only about a quarter, in the polls
that I saw come out this week, think that this bill will make them better
The problem that Democrats have is that individually, things like
childcare, things like paid leave, many of the things that are being talked
about as being part of this bill are individually, relatively popular, but
they've all been thrown in together into this big, massive, gargantuan bill
that most people don't think is going to benefit them directly. And so, as
a result, the political upside of doing one versus another, I think the
difference is negligible. I think Democrats have backed themselves into a
problem here where individually something like infrastructure is very
popular, et cetera, et cetera, but requiring it all to be tied together has
created an absolute political mush that is not giving them any of the
benefits I think they were hoping for.
WALLACE: WE do not like political mushes here, I've got to tell you that.
And so, meanwhile, there was some news over the weekend, and that is that
Senator Joe Manchin, the 50th Democratic vote from West Virginia, says that
he is going to oppose and block the centerpiece of President Biden's
climate change part. And that is, would pay utilities to switch from
burning fossil fuel to using renewable energy.
Karl, what are the chances? That clearly is not going to please the left
wing of the Democratic Party and is going to make them even more resistant
to compromises here. What is the real possibility that Democrats end up
passing nothing? That they can't pass infrastructure, they can't pass the -
- they -- maybe it's $2 trillion tax and spending bill, and that they end
up with nothing?
ROVE: Well, there's a high chance they'll end up with far less than they
wanted to get. It's almost certain that they're not going to get what they
want to get within the timeframe that they're talking about.
Think about this, the president said he wanted to get all these things done
by December 3rd, 46 days from now, the debt ceiling improved, the
government funded, the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed, and the $5.5
trillion, I use the number from the Committee for a Responsible Federal
Budget and what they want in the way of a welfare expansion. And less
weekends, that's 32 days, less Thanksgiving it's 30 days. How can you get
all that done in 30 days?
They could get one thing done, and that is pass the infrastructure bill. It
passed through the Senate with more than 60 votes, bipartisan support.
There's bipartisan support in the House. But the left of the Democratic
Party understands that if they pass the physical infrastructure bill,
roads, highways, bridges, airports, and so forth, that it underlines this
free universal expansion of the welfare state where we're going to pay for
the community college tuition bills of billionaires.
I mean, so, yes, they've got a train wreck coming. They're not going to get
this done in the timeframe the president wants. They could get one thing
done, but I think they're likely to end up with far less or maybe even zero
when it comes to this expansion of the welfare state.
WALLACE: So here's what I don't understand. I -- Karl had no idea what
questions I was going to ask and he already had whiteboards prepared. I
can't wait for the next segment to see how many whiteboards he has prepared
All right, we have to take a break here, panel, but up next, could former
Trump advisor Steve Bannon face jail time for defying the January 6th
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS), HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON JANUARY 6 CHAIR: Lock him
up and hold him in contempt. And clearly that might send enough of a
message that he will agree to talk to us.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope that the committee goes
after them and holds them accountable.
REPORTER: Should they be prosecuted by the Justice Department?
BIDEN: I do, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: The chair of the January 6th committee announcing plans to hold
Steve Bannon in criminal contempt. And President Biden, you saw there,
going a step further. But the Justice Department says it will make an
independent decision whether to prosecute Bannon.
And we're back now with the panel.
Karl, how strong a case does the House committee have that Steve Bannon, a
private citizen advising a former president, is not protected by executive
privilege? And what do you think of Joe Biden weighing in and telling his
supposedly independent Justice Department what they should do?
ROVE: Well, the -- let me take the latter first. He was wrong to do that
and then he got slapped down by his own Justice Department pretty quickly.
The president was intemperate when he made that remark.
Look, I'm not a -- I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I
really don't know, but it strikes me that it is a stretch. First of all,
the -- only the sitting president can made a -- can assert executive
privilege. The former president has no right to do that. And so it also
strikes me strange that you exert executive over the actions of somebody
whom you fired from office three years ago, who is a private citizen, not a
member of the government.
So -- so my answer is, I don't know, but likely -- likely they're going to
be -- there's going to be -- it's likely to see that they're going to go to
court on this. Probably hold that he doesn't have the immunity from
executive privilege, but it's going to take time. And that may mean that
the whole purpose of this is for Steve Bannon and -- and Donald Trump to
try and run out the clock and hope the Republicans take control of the
House in November of 2022 and thereby sort of throw the -- throw the --
this whole issue out.
My gut tells me that it's going to be resolved more quickly.
WALLACE: Are you Carnac the Magnificent? Are these whiteboards in a -- in a
-- in jars on a port somewhere? This is very impressive.
ROVE: No, no. No, I don't -- I just -- I read your thoughts and -- and act
WALLACE: It's called light reading.
Mo, what happened to Joe Biden's pledge of leaving the Justice Department
alone when it comes to prosecutions?
ELLEITHEE: Well, look, I think there's a -- there's a big difference
between a president who is openly advocating for and calling on his Justice
Department to take action, versus one who just offers an opinion as to
whether or not he thinks there should be something. So I -- you know, I
wouldn't be too worried about that.
But, look, I actually agree with Karl to a point here, that I think it is a
huge stretch, a huge stretch to exert executive privilege. But the politics
of this, and stretching it out may not be a good thing for Republicans. The
more that we're talking about this, the more that there is focus on what
happened on January 6th, the more it reminds people of that terrible,
terrible moment. Let the business -- let the committee get to business, get
to work. And if they don't have anything to hide, then go testify in let's
move forward. But by dragging it out, it just further reminds people that
politics drove a lot of what happened on January 6th and that's not a good
thing for Republicans.
WALLACE: Let's turn to another big story, and that is the commission the
President Biden set up to analyze the idea of major changes to the Supreme
Court. They had an initial draft report. They're going to have a final
report next month. Thy were pretty negative -- pretty -- really quite
negative about the idea of adding justices to the court. Some were more
receptive to the idea of term limits, maybe 18 years for justices.
Here was the reaction from Republican Senator Tom Cotton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): This commission was never designed to try to
improve the Supreme Court or fix any problems with it. It was simply a way
to provide cover for Joe Biden who refused to take a position in the
campaign on packing the Supreme Court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Kristen, we know where the left wing of the Democratic Party
stands on reforming the court. What about the general public?
ANDERSON: The general public liens against packing the court or adding to
the nine justices that are there. And so, in that sense, this report, if it
says what -- what you are claiming, will line up pretty much with where
public opinion is at.
At the same time, you do find Americans more likely to say they approve of
the job the Supreme Court is doing than say Congress. So while there are
individual decisions that Americans will get frustrated with, overall the
Supreme Court is not the most loathed branch of our government. So I think
for Democrats, you know, being able to say, well, hey, this report says we
shouldn't pack the court. So, to the left wing of our party, please, pipe
down. I mean I think Senator Cotton has read the politics of this, right,
at least within the Democratic Party, but it's also the case that the
American people are not really interested in seeing the number of Supreme
Court justices increase.
WALLACE: Karl, two notable conservatives announced this week that they are
resigning from the commission. Do you think that Senator Cotton is right,
that this is just a devise on the part of Joe Biden to get Democrats --
left wing Democrats off his back?
ROVE: Oh, absolutely, during the campaign, and now he's going to have to
deal with the fallout that they will now say, you know what, came up with
that commission, bought himself some time. It ended up coming up with
nothing. And we're disappointed in the president of the United States.
WALLACE: Well, Mo, let me pick up on that. If that is the final result here
and the president hears from the commission and ends up saying, you know
what, were not doing anything, we're not going to pack the court or add
justices to the court, we're not going to impose 18-year term limits, what
will the reaction be from the left wing of the Democratic Party.
ELLEITHEE: They're probably similar to what you're hearing now, right?
They're frustrated now that he didn't walk in and wave a magic wand and add
x number of new justices and eliminate term limits and they will be even
louder in that frustration.
But I don't think it's going to have any impact on the politics of the
moment. I think the greatest impact will be in the future during the next
open Democratic presidential primary when that wing of the party will push
the next wave of Democrat presidential candidates probably a little bit
But Joe Biden has never fully embraced these reforms. People knew that
coming in. And so I -- you know, I think the current political impact will
WALLACE: In about 20 seconds, how disappointed in the left wing of the
party, whether it's Supreme Court changes, voting rights, blowing up the
ELLEITHEE: I -- look, I think they're, obviously, vocal and wanting more.
And, look, that's what politics is all about. Everyone is pushing for more.
But I -- but Biden's got a job to do and he's doing it.
WALLACE: Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday. Very well done on the
Up next, our "Power Player of the Week," Pat Robertson, on his decades on
the front lines on the Christian evangelical movement.
WALLACE: He's been an evangelical leader and a culture war lightning rod
for decades. Over the years, he's transformed religious broadcasting and
rallied millions of Christian conservatives at the ballot box.
Now, he's stepping back from his TV pulpit, but making it clear he's not
retiring. Here's our "Power Player of the Week."
PAT ROBERTSON, RELIGIOUS BROADCASTER: I have spent about 60 years in
broadcasting and I'm at 91 years old. This is the last time that I will be
hosting the program.
WALLACE (voice over): Pat Robertson on stepping down from his daily hosting
duties on Christian Broadcasting Network's 700 Club.
ROBERTSON: And I want to thank all of you.
WALLACE: It's a ministry he has relished.
ROBERTSON: Oh, wow.
The Bible says, Moses, my servant, is a (INAUDIBLE). You take over, Joshua.
So I -- I think it was time to turn it over.
WALLACE: Today, religious television is an institution thanks in large part
to Robertson who founded CBN back in 1960.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CBN, the Christian Broadcasting Network.
WALLACE: When he bought a small TV station in Virginia. To raise funds for
the station, Robertson held a telethon.
ROBERTSON: Where people are being saved and being healed instantly.
WALLACE: Asking for 700 people to give $10 a month. It evolved into one of
the longest running shows in television history, "The 700 Club."
WALLACE (on camera): Why did you decide to change from formal sermons and
revival meetings to a talk show of all things?
ROBERTSON: People would call in with the things that were going on in their
life. People would call in prayer, they would call in answers, and the
interactive format is what we've been using ever since.
WALLACE (voice over): Robertson's influence grew along with CBN. He founded
Regent University and in 1988 he ran for president.
ROBERTSON: A candidate for the Republican nominated for the presidency.
WALLACE: Winning several Republican primaries.
ROBERTSON: The big thing that I have done is mobilized Christians into the
political arena. You know, it was thought before that politics was
WALLACE: Part of that was founding the Christian Coalition to organize
voters of faith.
ROBERTSON: The president of the United States is a talent in our house.
Well, it (ph) exploded across the country. We had an enormous amount of
influence and I think it was important.
WALLACE (on camera): Were there any negatives to tying Christian
evangelicalism to the Republican Party?
ROBERTSON: Well, I became to realize without question that God is not a
Republican, that God loves everybody. And the trouble with, you know,
getting involved in partisan politics is that half the electorate you're
going to make mad at you. And I should be dealing with eternal matters and
not secular politics.
WALLACE (voice over): Over the years, Robertson hasn't shied away from
cultural flash points, taking some surprising stands.
In the 1970s, he brought on black minister Ben Cenchlow as co-host.
ROBERTSON: I came down here to Virginia from New York and I found racial
discrimination. And I hated that. And I said, if this means that the thing
that I'm doing will be torn apart, well, so be it, I'm willing to sacrifice
because this is my -- is my premise.
WALLACE: And Robertson has called for decriminalizing marijuana.
ROBERTSON: we're locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana
and -- and the next thing you know they've got ten years.
The pot crowd loved me. They thought I was -- I was their hero.
What's socially accepted was drinking liquor. That was OK. But getting high
on something else was not. I mean I wasn't in favor of either one of them,
but I certainly thought we should decriminalize marijuana.
WALLACE: But he's also taken more traditional stands for a conservative
Christian evangelical, linking sin with social troubles, and even natural
WALLACE (on camera): You have sometimes said that terrible storms, even
Hurricane Katrina, were God's punishment for our sins. Do you really
ROBERTSON: I did say that -- that we had the power to speak to those storms
and tell them to go away. And like Jesus committed the waves and sees and
we commanded them in his name and -- and they went away.
WALLACE (voice over): Today, Robertson emphasizes he's stepping back, not
ROBERTSON: The Biblical time of -- the age is supposed to be 120. So I'm --
I'm at 91, but I'm looking forward to hitting 120.
WALLACE (on camera): How certain are you that there's a heaven?
ROBERTSON: Chris, there is no doubt in my mind, when you see this huge
universe, you know there's something more.
WALLACE: Do you have any thought about what it's like?
ROBERTSON: It's going to be simply beyond belief.
I haven't seen and an ear hasn't heard what God has prepared for them
(INAUDIBLE) will be in a state of paradise. There will be beautiful
flowers, there will be delicious fruit, there will be love, and we will
have no tears, no sorrow, no sadness. I'm looking forward to it.
WALLACE: Thank you, sir. God bless.
ROBERTSON: Thank you very much. God bless you.
WALLACE: Robertson is still chancellor of Regent University and his next
book is due out in January. And he says he'll pop up on the 700 Club when
he has something to say.
And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next FOX NEWS
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