This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," Sunday, May 10, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
Unemployment at its highest level since the Great Depression and the president predicting more coronavirus deaths.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We may be talking about 95,000 people ultimately. We may be talking about something more than that.
WALLACE: America begins reopening, but it's not business as usual. The crippling economic effect of the pandemic hitting major retailers, the meat industry, farmers, and small businesses, while Congress remains in gridlock.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We can't keep throwing endless amounts of borrowed money at the problem and hope to fix it.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: In addition to putting money in people's pockets, we really also need to put food on the table.
WALLACE: We'll ask Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about the economy and trillions more in government relief. It's a "FOX News Sunday" exclusive.
Then, as more states relax restrictions despite not meeting federal guidelines for reopening, we'll discuss the challenges in flattening the curve with Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University.
And we're joined by Governor Mike DeWine to talk about how he's reopening Ohio.
Plus, former national security advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. So why is the government dropping its case against him? We'll ask our Sunday panel about the Justice Department's abrupt about- face.
And our Power Players of the Week -- a shout-out to all the moms.
All, right now, on "FOX News Sunday".
WALLACE: Hello again and happy Mother's Day from FOX News in Washington.
For two months now, we've seen the devastating effect of the coronavirus on this country, with more than 1.3 million cases and more than 78,000 deaths.
But on Friday, we got our best sense yet of the economic damage with official word the U.S. now faces the highest level of unemployment since the Great Depression.
In a moment, we'll speak with the secretary of the treasury, Steven Mnuchin.
But, first, let's bring in David Spunt with the fallout from the worst jobs report in the nation's history -- David.
DAVID SPUNT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning.
Even President Trump is having a hard time finding a silver lining, saying this week that he's not surprised by these numbers. But the big question, Chris, can President Trump and the Democrats come together for the good of those in need?
SPUNT: The numbers are grim. Almost 21 million Americans lost their jobs in April, pushing the unemployment rate to 14.7 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sounds like a terror movie, all these movies that we see on TV. But it's a reality.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need food. My son-in-law is laid off, my daughter- in-law is laid off. And I'm handicap.
SPUNT: Speaker Democrats and Republicans are at a standstill on a phase four stimulus bill to boost the economy.
TRUMP: One thing we could do is a payroll tax cut. That seems to bother the Democrats.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: People like McConnell and McCarthy and even Trump who say, let's wait and do nothing, well, they remind me of the old Herbert Hoovers. We had the Great Depression. We need Franklin Rooseveltian-type action.
SPUNT: Forty-three governors have partially reopened their states while others remain cautious as the virus continues to spread.
TRUMP: It can happen anywhere, it's a very elusive enemy.
SPUNT: Including the White House, where Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for the virus, as did a personal valet to the president.
First daughter Ivanka Trump's personal assistant also tested positive.
FDA commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, CDC director, Dr. Robert Redfield, and Dr. Anthony Fauci are all under quarantine after being exposed at the White House.
SPUNT: The three doctors, Chris, are expected to testify in front of the Senate on Tuesday in just a few days. Doctors Hahn and Redfield will testify remotely. Fauci is expected to show up in person, likely wearing a mask.
Meanwhile, all White House employees are told to telework when possible -- Chris.
WALLACE: David Spunt, reporting from the White House -- David, thank you.
And joining us now Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Mr. Secretary, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday".
STEVEN MNUCHIN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: Chris great to be back with you.
WALLACE: The official unemployment rate, as we just reported, for April is 14.7 percent, but that does not include the 7 million jobs lost since April 18th or the millions of workers not looking for jobs, or what are called the underemployed.
So, Mr. Secretary, what is the real unemployment rate in the United States as we talk today?
MNUCHIN: Chris, the real issue, and the president and I understand this, is the economic issues that American workers and American business are facing as a result of this virus and the decision to close the economy. And that's the reason why the president wants to work with the states to safely reopen the economy so we can safely get people back to work. So these are very, very large numbers.
These are not large numbers because of the economy wasn't doing well. These are large numbers because we've shutdown the economy. And I would just highlight the biggest component of this was in travel and retail and leisure and not a surprise we've closed down major parts of the economy.
WALLACE: I'm going to get into that with you in a moment. But I think it's important that we face what the real numbers are. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says, what they call, the real unemployment number for April, which again includes people who are not looking for work or underemployed, is 22.8 percent. But again that does not include -- because the unemployment numbers for April stopped in mid-April, does not include the 7 million people who have lost their jobs since then.
So, aren't we talking close to 25 percent at this point, which is Great Depression neighborhood?
MNUCHIN: Chris, we could be. But let me just emphasize, unlike the Great Depression where you had economic issues that led to this, we closed down the economy so it's -- it wouldn't be a surprise if you closed down the economy that and (ph) -- half of the workforce is -- half the people didn't work. And that's why we're very focused on rebuilding this economy and getting it back to where it was.
This is no fault of American business. This is not fault of American workers. This is a result of a virus.
And that's why the president and I were determined to put together the largest economic program ever to help American workers get through this. So you are correct. The reported numbers are probably going to get worse before they get better, but that's why we're focused on rebuilding this economy.
We'll have a better third quarter. We'll have a better fourth quarter. And next year is going to be a great year.
WALLACE: Well, let's talk about that because you and the president both say the economy is going to come roaring back but I got to tell you -- and I want to ask you about a number of signs which indicate that the recovery is going to be much slower than that sir. Job losses are not just in the hospitality industry, airlines, restaurants, as you would expect but they're more widespread.
The white collar and government sector 3 million jobs lost. Major retailers like Neiman Marcus and J.Crew declaring bankruptcy. And the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says unemployment at the end, not of this year, but of 2021 will still be 9.5 percent.
Question, are your rosy predictions based on economic reality or the November election?
MNUCHIN: Chris, let me just emphasize first of all these numbers impact real people and I want to emphasize we understand what this is -- how this is impacting real people. So they're not just numbers, it's impacting real people.
My numbers aren't rosy. What I've said is you're going to have a very, very bad second quarter and then I think you're going to see a bounce back from a low standpoint. None of the economic models have ever worked in predicting what happens when you close down due to medical reasons.
So my predictions are based upon what I see is the rate of reopening in a careful way. It's also based upon my views and I've personally heard from many of the doctors that have vaccines and virals in trials and their expectations of being able to get a vaccine by the end of this year and having real viral treatments, the advent of testing. All these things are going to help give American business and American workers the confidence to reopen in a careful and a deliberate way.
WALLACE: And what about the food supply chain that farmers and processors say is broken because they can't get their meat and they can't get their produce from the field to market?
MNUCHIN: Well, Chris, those are real issues but again let me emphasize I see the glass as half full and not half empty. If you had told the American public we would virtually shutdown the entire supply chains and still be able to feed America and get drugs to America and continue to do critical work, I couldn't be more pleased how Americans are pulling together to get through this.
So, yes, there are issues. We're working through those issues. The task force is focusing on those issues when we see them. We're figuring out how it affects them.
WALLACE: Now the president is calling for states to reopen and a number of governors are around the country. But this week the president talked about the possible cost of that.
Take a look.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Will some people be affected? Yes. Will some people be affected badly? Yes. But we have to get our country open and we have to get it open soon.
WALLACE: But Patrick Harker, head of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve, says if the economy opens too soon and the virus spikes again, quote, "not only would this be a health catastrophe, but it would reverse the recovery as well." If that happens he predicts, quote, "a painful economic contraction of GDP in 2021 as shutdowns are reintroduced."
Do you agree that there is a considerable risk, not to say you shouldn't do it, but there is a considerable risk to reopening both from a public health and an economic standpoint?
MNUCHIN: Chris, if we do this carefully working with the governors I don't think there's a considerable risk. Matter of fact, I think there's a considerable risk of not reopening. You're talking about what would be permanent economic damage to the American public and we're going to reopen in a very thoughtful way that gets people back to work safely, that has them social distanced (ph).
One of the things we've seen, Chris, is a lot of businesses can do telework. Not everybody has to come back into the office at the same time. But people will be able to go into stores, some of them will have reservations when they go in, but businesses will be able to reopen.
And I think, as you know, certain parts of the country had very devastating impacts, like New York, and certain parts of the country didn't. And this is all being monitored very, very carefully.
WALLACE: Let's turn to the question of what the -- if there's going to be another response from Washington, and if so what it's going to be. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she may introduce a Phase 4 relief bill this week but Larry Kudlow, the White House Economic Adviser, said this week that the administration wants to wait until late May or early June to decide where to go next. And here's the president on that subject this week.
TRUMP: We're in a rush. We're in a rush. The Democrats --
TRUMP: The Democrats have to do what they have to do but I would say we're not looking -- we want to see what they have. But I can't (ph) say that we're in a rush. We were in a rush to get the money out to people. We have gotten the money out.
WALLACE: Question, with 33 million people unemployed, with the Paycheck Protection Program money running out by the end of this month, with state budgets cratering, this administration is in no rush?
MNUCHIN: Well, Chris, the president and I have been very clear on this and we're in 100 percent agreement. First let me just say we appreciate the enormous bipartisan support that both parties in the House and the Senate work together to get an unprecedented response. You're talking of over $3 trillion into the economy. You're talking about another $2.5 to $5 trillion working with the Federal Reserve. This has never been done before and I just want to emphasize and thank the bipartisan support.
What the president and I are now saying is, we spent a lot of money, a lot of this money is not even into the economy yet, let's take the next few weeks -- I'm having discussions with both the Republicans and the Democrats to understand these issues. The president and I are having conversations with outside people with business. We just want to make sure that before we jump back in and spend another few trillion of tax payers' money that we do it carefully.
We had an emergency process, it went (ph) quickly. We're there to help the American people. We're going to be considerate and if we need to help the American people -- in every aspect of this, as I've said before, we're willing to spend whatever it takes. But whatever it takes needs to be done carefully.
WALLACE: I got about a minute left and I got a -- want to squeeze this in. The president says that he won't sign another relief bill without a payroll tax cut in it. But both Democrats and a lot of top (ph) Republicans are expressing grave concerns about that because they say a payroll tax cut doesn't help if somebody's unemployed and they're not on a payroll.
And here's what the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had to say about that.
MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I think I can safely say for our team here, the Republican Senate and Majority (ph), if there's any redline it's on litigation.
WALLACE: Litigation, of course, means liability protection that if somebody goes back to work or goes into a restaurant that they wouldn't be able to sue to say that they got the virus from that place. So given the hesitancy from the Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, will the president -- will you insist that a payroll tax cut be part of the next relief bill?
MNUCHIN: Well we're absolutely pushing for the payroll tax cut. It's an incentive to get people back to work. It's delivering money to the American public and to business in a very effective way. And that will be one of the components.
You've heard Mitch McConnell talk about liability. We agree with that completely. The Democrats have been asking for more money for states. We've been very clear that we're not going to do things just to bail out states that were poorly managed, but we're going to look at all these issues.
And, Chris, let me just emphasize, all these bills have had enormous bipartisan support. When we need to go back and work and get -- help the American public we'll do this in a bipartisan way and make sure we get all these things included.
WALLACE: Secretary Mnuchin, thank you. Thanks for your time today. Always good to talk with you, sir.
MNUCHIN: Thank you.
WALLACE: Coming up, we'll ask one of the nation's top help look health experts why coronavirus cases have not dropped more across the country, and the risk of reopening the economy too soon.
WALLACE: The U.S. is still trying to come off the top of the coronavirus curve, even as states across the country ease safety restrictions.
Joining us once again from Baltimore, Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University.
Doctor, when we last spoke two weeks ago, you said we are near the end of the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Two weeks later, as we talk today, where are we now?
DR. TOM INGLESBY, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Well, I think we are still in the early stages of the pandemic. I -- we have a ways to go before we could possibly get a vaccine. We still are now about five weeks into the -- a national plateau.
And the national averages kind of -- they don't necessarily tell the whole story. I think you need to get down to the state level to really understand what's going on around the country. And even as we see places like New York and New Jersey falling in cases, really improving compared to their peaks, many other states are still experiencing a rise in daily cases.
So, it's a mix around the country, but overall, a national plateau.
WALLACE: I want to put up a graph that demonstrates in fact what you just said. It's pretty dramatic. Let's put it up.
In New York City, which is the graph on the left, as you can see, they have been the curve of new cases considerably. But in the graph on the right, the rest of the country, new cases have not started dropping. In fact, they're still going up.
Given those trends, Dr. Inglesby, how concerned are you as the president and governors now in 43 states have started to reopen those states?
INGLESBY: Well, bottom line is that we're not diagnosing enough cases and we are not tracing their contacts. We don't know how this disease is spreading in many places. We still don't understand who's at highest risk, why are we having so many cases now this many weeks into a -- into a plateau. We're into various cases having -- experiencing rising daily -- daily numbers.
So I am concerned. I think there are some places in the country which are doing a lot better, which have low overall numbers and have had a two-week decline in cases or more and have been doing a lot of testing.
But there are other places which are really experiencing the opposite -- rising cases, too little testing, too little tracing.
WALLACE: And what is the danger if you reopen in one of those states where the number of cases is still rising and you don't have enough testing, you don't have enough tracing? What -- what's the danger then?
INGLESBY: Well, the danger is that with increased social interaction in businesses or churches or in activities, going to restaurants, et cetera, that with increased social interaction, we will again see increased transmission and rising number of cases.
And in states where they're already on the rise, that I could put a lot of pressure on their health care system. That could lead to new hot spots.
And we -- just to remember, two months ago in this country, we had 750 cases. And now, we have well more than a million. So, this disease moves quickly and it doesn't respect city borders, state borders.
So, as states are reopening, we have to remember, we're not -- we're in a new normal. This isn't the way it was in February or March. This is a really nasty virus which remains the same.
So, we have to do all that we can as individuals. Even as businesses are reopening, we have to do all we can to maintain space, wear cloth masks, avoid gatherings. The virus hasn't changed. Those things are all still really important.
WALLACE: Let -- let's talk about the nature of this virus. You say it's a nasty one.
Here's what President Trump said this week about the pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests. This is going to go away without a vaccine. It's going to go away and it's -- we're not going to sit again hopefully after a period of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Dr. Inglesby, will the virus, as the president said, just go away?
INGLESBY: No, this virus isn't going to go away. Hopefully, over time, we'll learn to live with it and we'll be able to reduce the risk of transmission. But it's going to stay as a background problem in the country and around the world until we have a vaccine.
Hopefully, as we develop medicines, maybe more quickly than a vaccine, that will help us in ways to diminish the impact of the virus, but this virus, we're mostly around the world, almost all of us are susceptible to it as far as we know at this point.
So this virus has a long way to run. We don't think that more than a small percent of the country at this point has been infected, so most of us are still susceptible to this virus.
WALLACE: What about the argument you hear from some people, look, the people who are dying from this virus are seniors, people over 60, or people with underlying conditions? So, just quarantine them -- or you know, have them isolated and let the rest of the people go back to work? Would that -- would that work?
INGLESBY: So, if you add up the number of the people in the country over 65, with all those who have underlying conditions that would put them at higher risk, that's about 90 million adults or a third of the adults in this country. And there really isn't any clear way to separate that third of adults with the rest of the country, so, it's -- it would be pretty challenging.
And right now, the country is already trying to do its best to prevent infections in nursing homes with stay at home orders around the country. And even with that, about half of the nursing homes in the country have a case or an outbreak.
And so, I think we need a kind of a strategy that works for everyone. I don't think there can be a strategy that works for only half the country and -- with an attempt to keep the other half or the other third of the country in some kind of large isolation. I don't think it will work logistically or practically.
WALLACE: On the other hand, as I just discussed with the Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin and as I'm sure you've seen, 30 -- more than 30 million Americans have lost their jobs.
Is there a way to find a balance between, on the one hand, waving people's lives, and on the other hand, saving our economy?
INGLESBY: We absolutely have to find that balance. I completely agree with you. The economic losses in this country are shocking.
And our team at our center wrote one of the first reports on reopening the economy. We believe strongly that that needs to be a near-term goal. We just have to do it in a way that is as safe as possible.
I completely agree with that principle articulated by Secretary Mnuchin, we have to do it safely, and I think that means trying to have very, very substantial diagnostic testing capability in place around the country, the ability to trace the contacts of patients.
That's how other countries in the world have gotten control of their epidemics. The way that they've restored their economies really is to give people a sense of confidence, I think, that the disease is under control or relatively good control, and I think that should be our goal here. We have to show people that this disease is under good control and people will then have confidence in going out and re-engaging the economy.
So, we need to build contact tracing capability around the country, in every state. We need to expand diagnostic capacity in every state.
INGLESBY: And that's the way I think we're going to get control.
WALLACE: Dr. Inglesby, thank you. Thanks for coming in again to discuss the hard scientific data with us. Thank you, sir.
Up next, states balance bringing back their economies while trying to keep people safe. We'll talk with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine about what he says is a gamble, reopening his state in the midst of a pandemic.
WALLACE: Coming up, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine moves forward with plans to reopen businesses but urges caution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO: As we open up the economy, let me just state the obvious and not shy away from it. The risk is up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask the governor about the pushback he's facing from Republicans, next.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX ANCHOR: Ohio took early action against the coronavirus, including being the first state in the nation to close its schools. But now a phased reopening is underway, even as the number of COVID cases there continues to rise.
Joining us now, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
Governor, as we say, you were one of the first governors in the country to move against the virus. You were the very first one to close schools. In mid-March, you also ordered a stay-at-home order.
But by the end of this week, you will have reopened 90 percent of Ohio's economy. Why do you think you can do that safely, sir?
GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): Well, it's really a risk no matter what we do. It's a risk if we don't do anything. It's a risk if we -- if we do this.
What we have done is come up with the best practices for businesses to reopen. We put business people together with health people, had them come up with these best practices.
And, Chris, the -- you know, the economy's not going to open no matter what we do, whatever we order, unless people have confidence. And we're trying to give them confidence.
But, at the same time we're telling them, look, the virus is still out there, it's still very, very dangerous. We have to keep the distancing. People should wear -- wear masks, wash your hands. I mean these are basic things that we have to do. We can't let up.
WALLACE: Let's look at the path of the virus in your state, because a week ago -- since a week ago Friday, the number of new cases in Ohio has gone down and then back up. And two days ago, last Friday, you had the highest number of new cases since April 20th.
So I guess the question, Governor, is -- I mean that would seem to be a red flag right there, you're not meeting the White House gating guideline of a steady, downward trajectory in cases for two weeks. Why is that not a red light?
DEWINE: Well, I don't know if anybody's meeting or not very many states are meeting it.
What we do now have, Chris, is -- is great capacity in regard to testing. We did not have that two weeks ago. We are standing up a big force of people to do -- to go talk to people, try to run that virus down, isolate people. So those are two things we did not have before that -- it's a work in progress. We are getting that.
If you look at -- I look at kind of a 21 day rule. We are really at a plateau with hospitalizations. We are at a plateau with deaths. We are at a plateau in regard to new cases. So they do go up and down. We wish we were going down. We're not. We have been hit in Ohio, just like other states have been hit economically, so we've got to try to do two things at once and it's -- you know, no one is underestimating how difficult this is, but it's something that -- that we have to do.
WALLACE: Let's talk about that other side of the equation, which we've been discussing throughout this hour. How badly has your state of Ohio been hit in terms of jobs, in terms of the economy beginning to shrink?
DEWINE: Well, we've been hit very hard. I mean we've had over -- over a million people who have applied for unemployment. So we're no different than most other states. I mean we've been hit exceedingly hard.
And, again, it's -- as we look to come back carefully, it's not so much about, at this point, orders that I issue or my health director issues, it's really about what -- what people do. And I emphasize that time and time again. We've got to be very careful as we do this because if we're not careful, we're going to roll backwards, we're going to have to shut things down and that is not what anyone wants to see.
WALLACE: You're like a lot of governors, Governor DeWine, in the sense that you're taking hits from both sides. On the one hand, you're -- you're getting criticism that you're reopening too fast. There's a hot spot in Marion, Ohio, where the -- the cases per capita is actually higher than New York City. The mayor of Dayton is pushing back saying they don't have the testing and the contact tracing. So you're taking a hit on that side.
But you're also taking a hit from conservatives, frankly, a lot of people in your own party, that you're moving too slowly. There have been a number of protests in the streets against you -- you and your -- your stay-at-home order saying let's move faster. And the state house of representatives in Ohio, in Columbus, just voted to take away your ability, your authority to issue a stay-at-home order that exceeds two weeks. So you're getting it from both sides, aren't you?
DEWINE: Yes, we are. And I've made it clear to the legislature that if that reached us, and I don't think it -- it will, but I would -- I would veto that.
Look, I understand, Chris, that people are anxious to get back. That's -- that's -- that is -- people are hurting. I mean we can't underestimate the businesses that are suffering. We can't underestimate the workers who don't have jobs. And so that's why we have to move forward, but we have to move forward very, very carefully. And -- and my message to my fellow Ohioans has always been, we can do two things at once, but we can only do them if we're very, very careful about it.
And so our future, our ability to open up Ohio is going to depend with whether people continue to do the social distancing literally. Do they continue -- do they -- will they wear masks when they go out in public. I mean we now have -- for example, every business that opens, unless there's some reason that they cannot do that, their employees have to wear masks.
So we have some very tough standards as we are opening. But it's going to come down really to the average citizen. When they go out and -- and they go buy plants to -- to -- to -- to put out, you know, are they careful? Do they, in fact, wear that mask? Do they not make extra trips out? When they go out, do they go out, do what they have to do, and then -- and then come back. So we can't stop doing that as -- as we move forward.
We would love to see the numbers go down. We think we're at about a 1:1 -- one person infecting one person. We would love to get those numbers down below that. But what we don't want to see is it dramatically go up from -- from where it is. And we know it's a risk as we start the economy back open. But it's a risk if you don't too as far as all the -- all the consequences that we have with -- with, you know, not being able to come back economically.
WALLACE: I've got about a minute left, so I'd like to get you out on this - - this question. As you begin to reopen, there is, of course, the danger in a spike in cases. How will you judge whether that spike is serious and you have to shut down the government again? And do you really think you could pull that off? How tough would that be to say, you know what, we're going to reinstitute the stay-at-home order and we're going to have to tell businesses that we've just opened, you've got to close, if that's what happens?
DEWINE: Well, the spikes that we have seen, you talked about Marion. That was a prison in Marion. A great, great tragedy with our prisons and our nursing homes. You know, that's happening across the country and we're working very, very hard in regard to that.
But what I look at every day is at the daily hospitalization rates. They're pretty flat. We're going to continue to monitor those, ICU, monitor the new -- the new cases. And, at the same time, though, we're dramatically pushing new testing. We're doing that with the tracing. The testing and tracing is an integral part of what we're doing.
DEWINE: And we're aggressive even in doing that.
WALLACE: Governor DeWine, thank you.
DEWINE: Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: Thanks for taking time out of your weekend to talk with us and to share your thinking here. Thank you, sir.
Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the Justice Department's decision to drop the Michael Flynn case, and Joe Biden's accuser speaks out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESET: He was targeted by the Obama administration and he was targeted in order to try and take down a president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He admitted lying to the FBI. Does the fact remains that he lied?
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, you know, people sometimes plead to things that turn out not to be crimes.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Here, you know, Bill Barr, once again, doing the political dirty work for the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Attorney General William Barr defending his decision to drop the government's case against Michael Flynn and reaction to that move from President Trump and House Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff.
And it's time now for our Sunday group.
Former Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Fox News correspondent Gillian Turner and Charles Lane from "The Washington Post."
Congressman Chaffetz, Michael Flynn pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI and now the Justice Department suddenly drops his case. Are you comfortable with that?
JASON CHAFFETZ, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think what's been exposed, Chris, is the lack of the underlying predicate to even go forward and do the types of interviews, the ambush, if you will, that they did on -- on General Flynn.
I do applaud the president for firing Michael Flynn at the time. If you recall, he did lie to the vice president. He did like to Reince Priebus. That is a separate issue. But the attorney general makes a very good point.
And I would also point out that you had Andrew McCabe, who the inspector general said lied to federal authorities, and they decided not to prosecute that case as well.
WALLACE: President Obama was talking to members of his administration, an Obama alumni association, on Friday. It was an audio hookup. Supposedly it was off the record, but it was leaked. Apparently he was talking to several thousand people, so it's not surprising. And he talked about the fact that Flynn got off, Obama's words, scot-free.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: You begin to get worried that basic, not just institutional norms, but our basic understanding of -- of rule of law is at risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Gillian, is the miscarriage of justice in this case that the -- as -- as the president, President Obama, seems to indicate that the Department of Justice is dropping the case against Flynn, or is the miscarriage of justice that they brought a case against him in the first place?
GILLIAN TURNER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, President Obama says the General Flynn got off scot-free. And that's simply not true. We cannot forget the fact that he is one of the only top senior, former administration officials to ever have been fired by two consecutive, bipartisan presidents. That's not getting off scot-free. You know, he may not be end up -- he may not end up going to jail in this instance, but it's pretty -- you know, it's not a great benchmark to have on your resume.
I will also say, you know, the attorney general, Bill Barr, was already a lightning rod for politicians here in Washington with this decision. He's become virtually electric. Stems from his time handling the Mueller investigation. He did say that the reason that he had the DOJ drop these criminal charges against Flynn is because he wants to restore a sense of faith in the justice system. That's a noble cause. It's no secret that a lot of Republicans have lost that faith in both the justice system and the intelligence community in recent years.
To come back, finally, to your -- to your first question, Chris, all of this doesn't make General Michael Flynn a hero. The fact that he's not going to end up serving hard time in prison for lies that he perpetrated to the FBI and to two sitting American presidents, all of this doesn't mean he's getting off scot-free. He's lose -- he's leaving with a reputation in tatters and I think that that's justice.
WALLACE: Chuck, let's pick up on what Gillian said. Bill Barr. You'll have Republicans who were saying that he is cleaning up from the mess of the James Comey FBI. You have others that -- saying that he's doing, as Adam Schiff said, he's doing Donald Trump's dirty work.
I'd like you to -- to react to that. And, also, how do you expect the judge in this case, Emmett Sullivan, who's going to have to hear the decision to drop the case and has been very tough on Michael Flynn, has talked about him selling his country out, how do you expect him to react when he hears this case and the decision to drop it?
CHARLES LANE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first on Bill Barr.
It's abundantly clear that two things are true about Bill Barr. He things the Mueller investigation was wrongheaded, a fiasco. And he's going to try and clean that up, in his view, no matter what.
And, secondly, he doesn't particularly care about the heat he might get from Democrats. And there's a -- there's a basic, underlying fact here that's crucial to understanding what's going on. And that is that the Flynn predicament has turned into sort of a cause on the Republican right. President Trump is kindling to that and President Trump, one way or the other, I think, wants Michael Flynn set loose. And by doing it this way, Barr, in effect, liberates the president from ever having to issue a pardon, which many of us thought would have been inevitable otherwise.
The fly in the ointment might be Judge Emmett Sullivan, who, as you say, has been both critical of the Justice Department's excesses in the past, and of General Flynn in this case. And he does, I think, have it within his power to refuse this Justice Department motion to dismiss and, in effect, force the president to deal with it himself.
You know, the question is really where the buck is going to stop in terms of this case. Right now it has stopped in -- in -- with Bill Barr, who's then passed it to the judge. And if the judge passes it back, I think it will end up stopping with President Trump.
WALLACE: All right, let's turn to Joe Biden and allegations from former staffer Tara Reade that he sexually assaulted her in 1993. The big addition to the story this week is that she spoke out to Megyn Kelly. Here's a clip from that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY: You want him to withdraw?
TARA READE, BIDEN ACCUSER: I wish he would. But he won't. But I wish you would.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Gillian, how badly do you think, particularly now that we've seen and heard her, Tara Reade's account, hurts Joe Biden, and do you think it jeopardizes his prospects for winning -- for actually securing the Democratic nomination in August?
TURNER: I don't know yet, Chris, if it jeopardizes his chances, but it's undoubtedly the case that this hurts him. This is precisely the kind of speculation that any Democrat president -- presidential candidate does not want to have chasing them along the campaign trail. I don't need to remind you that this is the same type of accusation that dogged President Trump while he was running for office back in 2016. It was a cudgel that, you know, Democrats used back then to hammer him with over and over again.
That said, I think we always have to reframe these discussions about sexual assault, sexual abuse, harassment and rape, reframe them outside of politics because I think what we're seeing happen again, in this case, the same thing happened to -- to the accusers and Justice Brett Kavanaugh's cases is that four women who were sexually abused, sexually assaulted and raped, politics is not forefront on the agenda.
I think when we talk about this -- for example, this week Democrats, everybody from Nancy Pelosi to the DNC to Biden himself have been trying to dismiss Tara Reade's claims based on technicalities, right? This happened a long time ago, statute of limitations. She didn't file the right paperwork at the time. She didn't file the right paperwork now. Parsing her words in every single interview.
The problem with all of this is that it victimizes these women twice. And I think this is something that politicians are doing a disservice to women on when they insist on going down this road. So there's the political angle on all of this and then there's also this woman, what she may have suffered and what she went through. I think it's just important to distinguish.
WALLACE: Congressman Chaffetz, I think you have to note, though, that despite allegations, whether they were true or not, Donald Trump, in the 2016 campaign, Brett Kavanaugh, in his confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court, both weathered the allegations against them and one went on to be elected president, one ended up being confirmed to the Supreme Court.
So, what do you think is going to happen here in the Biden case? Will it block him from the Democratic nomination?
CHAFFETZ: I think Democrats have cause to be concerned because I think they know and have seen Joe Biden, over the last 50 years, just roll the tape since he was the vice president and the creepy things that he's doing to people on camera.
But what it really, really highlights, particularly to conservatives who are very sensitive to this, but it should be to everybody, is the hypocrisy of the national media, the double standard in which they cover this story and certainly the Me Too movement, who've made this big effort to say every woman should be believed and then all of a sudden somebody comes in, accuses a Democrat, and they're nowhere to be found. That double standard is not lost on the American people and I think has political ramifications as well.
WALLACE: Chuck, you know, what makes this particularly interesting, in the case of Biden, is one of the main things he's running on is character and what he's claiming is a big distinction between his character and that of Donald Trump. If you now have a woman -- and, again, we don't know whether her allegation is true or not -- it may end up being like a lot of these, a he said/she said. But when you've got this allegation against him and his character, is that especially damaging to Biden?
LANE: I think it doesn't help and we've seen his momentum in this sort of weird basement of your own home campaign, his momentum has really been stalled and, obviously, this is not what he would want to have facing him at this point. And I think obviously -- equally obviously it's why Republicans are making such a big issue out of it.
But, really, in the end, Chris, voters, I think, are going to focus on two things in the big picture here. One is, like all re-elections, this is a referendum on the incumbent. And by the time November rolls around, we're going to be in the middle of a horrific economic problem with a pandemic of people are going to vote based on getting out of that.
WALLACE: And you think that unless there is another woman or that there's another big allegation, that this goes away?
LANE: I don't think it goes away, I just don't think it's not the factor that's going to decide very much.
WALLACE: Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our "Power Players of the week." Finding a way to celebrate mom's on Mother's Day, even during the pandemic.
WALLACE: On this Mother's Day, we asked you to tell us how you're honoring the moms in your life, despite the challenges and social distance we're all dealing with now. So here are our "Power Players of the Week."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mother's Day this year with COVID is definitely going to look different for our family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are just going to plan to stay home, stay safe and stay quarantined.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just really keep it simple. I think that's the key to surviving right now.
WALLACE (voice over): Praising mom is easy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's constantly thinking about other people. It's been no different during the pandemic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything I know about being a mom I learned from you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So happy Mother's Day to my Aunt Elizabeth and my Aunt Joanna (ph). They are the two most important women in my life. They have helped raise me and my brother ever since we lost our mom back in 2017.
WALLACE: But doing it from a distance is hard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's been one of the most difficult -- oh, I'm getting emotional. That's been one of the -- one of the toughest parts is that my parents live far away and I haven't been able to see them.
WALLACE: Alicia Casarino (ph) and her mother will be close, but not close enough.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My own mother lives just a couple of streets away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Both have chosen to self-quarantined.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I'll be dropping off her gifts on her porch and saying high through the window.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will miss the Mother's Day hug, the Mother's Day brunch, but it doesn't have to be a sad time.
WALLACE: There will still be gifts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That you're buying me a new dining room table. Did you know that? I don't think he knows that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I -- I did not. I'm going to keep my social distance from that idea (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a really old laptop that she's been using, which keeps crashing in the middle of her Zoom meetings. So this Mother's Day we're surprising her with a brand-new iPad.
WALLACE: There are thanks for mom's teaching their kids while working full- time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: COVID-19 has made parenting really hard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Playing a lot of different roles, chef, waiter, teacher, referee.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I always thought I wore a lot of hats, but it's kind of like, because of COVID-19 I'm wearing hats and gloves and shoes.
WALLACE: In these tough times, everyone realizes how much they depend on mom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to wish all the great moms out there a happy Mother's Day, especially this one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We also wanted to wish our own moms a happy Mother's Day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy Mother's Day. You're awesome. You're amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To all the mothers, enjoy your day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I hope that you all feel loved and appreciated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your strength is the reason why we will get through this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) see you. I hope to see you soon.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Love you, mom, and happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there.
WALLACE: And all of us here want to join the chorus. To all you moms out there, happy Mother's Day.
And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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