Published July 01, 2018
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," July 1, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
President Trump will announce his Supreme Court nominee a week from tomorrow and sets a date for a summit with Vladimir Putin.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think we'll be talking about Syria. I think we'll be talking about Ukraine. I think we'll be talking about many other subjects and we'll see what happens.
WALLACE: We'll discuss relations between the U.S. and Russia, and what to expect from that Helsinki summit with John Bolton, President Trump's national security advisor, in his first interview since returning from Moscow.
TRUMP: We have to pick a great one. We have to pick one that's going to be there for 40 years, 45 years.
WALLACE: Who will President Trump pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy.
LEONARD LEO, TRUMP ADVISER ON JUDICIAL NOMINATION: If the president dominates someone extraordinary like Neil Gorsuch again, I think it's very hard to stop that kind of a nomination.
WALLACE: We'll handicap possible nominees with Leonard Leo who will play a key role in president's choice.
And how will Democrats try to block Senate confirmation? We'll ask Dick Durbin, the Senate's number two Democrat who wants to delay a vote until after the midterm.
TRUMP: Journalists like all Americans should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.
WALLACE: Critics of President Trump link his attacks on press to shooting deaths of five people at a newspaper in Maryland. We'll ask our Sunday panel about both sides playing a disturbing blame game -- all, right now, on "Fox News Sunday".
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
As America settles in for Fourth of July holiday, President Trump has set an ambitious agenda for this week, he's finalizing his Supreme Court pick to be announced in just eight days and preparing for a trip to Europe, including a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a moment, we'll talk with national security advisor John Bolton, who is just back from Moscow.
But, first, let's bring in correspondent Kevin Corke at the White House with the latest on the president's plans -- Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, for a president that has been has been, well, let's just say, strikingly unconventional, this idea of following an orderly, structured playbook to nominate and ultimately seat a second Supreme Court justice is frankly not Trumpian. But given the GOP's razor thin margin in the Senate, prudence in this case is presidential.
CORKE: President Trump is said to be narrowing his focus on five potential nominees for the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.
TRUMP: He has displayed tremendous vision and tremendous heart and he will be missed and, hopefully, we're going to pick somebody who will be as outstanding.
CORKE: White House counsel Don McGahn and Leonard Leo are said to be spearheading the search, drawing from a list of more than two dozen reliably conservative jurists.
The confirmation battle on Capitol Hill is expected to be fierce. Democrats contend that since Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stole the nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016, turnabout is fair play.
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, D-N.Y.: He said we will not allow a Supreme Court justice during an election year, but what's good for the goose is good for the gander. We should not allow justice in an election year.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-CALIF.: It was a low standard, if you will, but it was a standard. And I for one and I think others haven't forgotten that. And, you know, as you sow, so you reap.
CORKE: While the high court battle looms in Washington, overseas, a number of major stories are developing, with reports that North Korea is concealing key aspects of its nuclear program, renewed questions about U.S. troop levels in Germany, the fast approaching NATO summit and talks of a highly anticipated one-on-one between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
CORKE: With Ukraine, Crimea and Syria among the many topics to be broached when the leaders meet in Helsinki July 16th -- Chris.
WALLACE: Kevin Corke reporting for the White House. Kevin, thanks for that.
Joining me now, the president's national security advisor John Bolton in his first interview since meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week in Moscow.
Ambassador Bolton, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Glad to be with you.
WALLACE: What does President Trump want from his summit with Putin? Is it beyond just improving the dialogue and general relations? Does he realistically hope for any breakthroughs on Ukraine or Syria or arms control?
BOLTON: Well, I think the first point is that it's very important to have this bilateral meeting, not on the margins of a larger meeting like the G20, as he's been able to do before, but to have a conversation with Vladimir Putin that covers the full range of issues. I expect it will be somewhat unstructured, certainly in their one-on-one meeting, but it will give them a chance to go over some of these issues free of the pressure of a media deadlines or crises.
And I think in establishing that line of communication, the president has very much in mind, he wants to understand the Russian position and perhaps more importantly, he wants Vladimir Putin to understand our positions. Now, if breakthroughs come from that that will be great, but frankly having this meeting roughly a year and a half into the administration is a key fact.
WALLACE: After the Singapore summit, here's what President Trump told our colleague Bret Baier about what he thought might be able to happen if he could sit down with Vladimir Putin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I could say, would you do me a favor? Would you get out of Syria? Would you do me a favor? Would you get out of Ukraine?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Does President Trump really think it's going to be that easy to sway Vladimir Putin, would you do me a favor?
BOLTON: Now, I think what he's saying is look, if we can have a direct conversation between the two leaders, especially given the Russian system where Putin essentially calls the shots, we can find out where Russia's main points of -- what its main objectives are and what we need to achieve. But without this kind of discussion, which has been precluded for sometime by the political noise over the allegations of collusion with the campaign, we haven't been able to do that.
So, that's why having the meeting and getting started is in and of itself so important.
WALLACE: Some European leaders have come out this week and said that they are worried that we're going to see a repeat of what happened with the G7 summit in Canada and in the president's trip to Singapore, that he will meet with our NATO allies in Europe and be very critical of them, and then he will go to Helsinki and meet with President Putin and be some -- and lavish praise on him.
In Canada, the president reportedly said that NATO is as bad as NAFTA.
BOLTON: Well, look, I was there in Canada. I didn't hear that remark. I'm not aware that he said it. I think there are a lot of stories that grow with the telling. But let's be clear, the NATO summit is an important meeting. I think the president has made clear to all European leaders he's met with that NATO is an important alliance for the United States, our most important.
He just has a very precise idea that the NATO allies should live up to the commitment that they themselves made to send 2 percent of their budget on - - 2 percent of their gross national product on defense spending.
WALLACE: But I think the point is that he seemed to be tougher on our allies at the G7 than he was on an adversary like Kim, and the concern among European leaders is that if he does that same thing and is critical of NATO, and then goes and praises Putin, that it weakens NATO vis-a-vis Russia.
BOLTON: Yes. Well, I don't read the way he conducted these meetings the same way. And I don't think anybody ought to have a case of the vapors over the discussions we have in NATO or the G7 versus discussions with Putin and Kim Jong-un. They are very, very different, the president treats them differently. He understands what the strategic interests are and that's what he's trying to pursue.
WALLACE: But let's look at some of the statements that President Trump has made with regard to Russia recently and I want to put them up on the screen. He said that Russia should be invited back into the G7. In Canada, he reportedly told the other leaders Crimea, which Putin, of course, seized, is Russian because everybody who lives there speaks Russian.
This week, he tweeted: Russia continues to say they have nothing to do with meddling in our election and the Pentagon is reportedly studying pulling troops out of Germany.
So, the question is, is the president making concessions to Putin before the two men even sit down?
BOLTON: No, I don't think that's the case. And that long list of things you just read, it's really an interesting catalog. Some things are true, some things are not true, some things are partially true. I don't think we have enough time for me to go through and parse each and every one of them.
I think, though, it goes back to the main rationale to have a bilateral meeting between President Trump and President Putin, let them discuss these issues and see exactly where there might be room for progress or where we find there is no room at all. In my meeting with President Putin, he was very kind to go through the whole list of items on his agenda. I think there were some where it was clear our position was very, very far apart. There were others where perhaps there is room for some kind of progress.
We'll just have to see. But given the nature of the Russian system in particular, I don't think we're going to find out until the two leaders get together.
WALLACE: Well, you say some of the things that we listed, these were all obviously reported, some of them were clearly true. He did invite --
BOLTON: Lots of things were reported that don't even come close to --
WALLACE: I mean, he himself said that he would like to see Russia back in the G7.
BOLTON: That's the one that almost unambiguously true. Right.
WALLACE: Well, and the tweet is unambiguously true. Did he say at the G7 that Crimea is Russian because everybody there speaks Russian? And the reason I ask that because between that and inviting Russia back into the G7, there's this argument that's been made that he doesn't -- he doesn't want to punish Russia for its bad behavior invading and seizing Crimea.
BOLTON: Right. I didn't hear him say that either and I didn't see it in the notes. You know, a lot of these things come out of these meetings. It did end with some disagreements with the other members. So, a lot of this I think is potentially exaggerated.
I think the key point is that where there are areas of disagreement, certainly with our closest allies, but also with our adversaries, the president's view is he wants to sit down and talk about them.
WALLACE: All right. I want to ask about one other specific thing on that list, which is that you have been very clear about Russian meddling in 2016. Last year, you called it an act of war.
And after Putin denied meddling to President Trump at an economic conference, you said this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOLTON: Everybody who has looked at the classified information says there's no doubt the Russians tried to affect the election. Vladimir Putin looked Donald Trump directly in the eye and lied to him, and I think that's the single most important takeaway coming out of this meeting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Is President Trump -- you'll love it when I play these old clips.
BOLTON: I love watching myself, absolutely.
WALLACE: Is President Trump as clear as you are that -- forget the issue of collusion, that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, and if so, why would he retweet their denial this week at the same time attacking the FBI?
BOLTON: Yes, I think the president has already said that he's going to raise the question of Russian meddling again with Vladimir Putin. He said it this past week.
WALLACE: Does he believe it happen?
BOLTON: And what -- well, I'll tell you what President Putin said to me through the translator, of course, but he said there was no meddling in the 2016 election by the Russian state. So, I think it still raises the question -- I think the president will want to have a conversation about this and say we don't want to see meddling in the 2018 election.
WALLACE: So, are you suggesting that maybe -- do you have doubts that the Kremlin was involved?
BOLTON: Look, I think the intelligence is what I said it was before, I haven't changed my mind on that, and I think it's something that we're concerned about. That's why the president is going to speak with him about it again.
WALLACE: All right. We haven't had a chance to talk since Singapore and I'd like to ask you briefly about the North Korean summit. After the summit, President Trump said that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat to the U.S., but as you well know, there are new reports this weekend that U.S. intelligence has concluded that Kim is trying to conceal the full range of his arsenal and in fact has no intention of giving it all up.
Have you seen those intelligence reports? Do you believe them? And is Kim playing us?
BOLTON: Well, look, I'm not going to comment on any reports true, untrue, partially true about intelligence.
There's a good reasons why leaking intelligence is a criminal offense in this country. It harms the United States when it happens. It gives away a lot of information to our adversaries.
I'll just say this -- not answering the specific reports we've seen over the weekend -- but I will say this: we are using the full range of our capabilities to understand what North Korea is doing. It doesn't profit the possibility of eliminating North Korea's nuclear weapons to talk on a day-to-day basis, they are doing this, they are not doing this, they are doing the other thing.
There's nobody involved in this discussion with North Korea in the administration who is overburdened by naivety. We've seen how the North Koreans have behaved before. The president has been very clear he's not going to make the mistakes of prior administrations. We're going to pursue this and we'll see what happens. That's I think what the next step in the discussions will be.
WALLACE: I want to get two final questions and in the time we have left. Back when you worked for Bush 43, you called Kim's father a tyrannical dictator and North Korea a hellish nightmare. And they responded in kind. One of my favorite lines of all time, they called you a human scam and a bloodsucker. You called it a badge of honor.
Here we can see you sitting at the same table with Kim in Singapore. Was there -- and I know you met with him, you shook hands with him. He was there recognition of the fact that you and Pyongyang have history?
BOLTON: You know, they also called me a very ugly fellow which --
WALLACE: Well, I can deny that, that's fake news.
BOLTON: But at one point in our lunch, Kim Jong-un said to me, you know, the two of us have to get a picture together, I want to take it home and show my hardliners you're not such a bad guy.
WALLACE: And did you -- how did you feel about him saying that?
WALLACE: Well, it was good for the meeting.
Finally, Mexico is voting for president today and it appears very likely, almost certain that this man, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leftist candidate, will win. He said recently Mexico will not do the United States' dirty work stopping Central American migrants heading north and he will defend the rights of all migrants who need to leave their towns to go and make their life in the U.S.
Is AMLO, as he's called, is AMLO going to be trouble for the Trump administration?
BOLTON: Well, honestly, I think people may be surprised on this and I think President Trump will follow through with the same pattern he's used with other foreign leaders. They look forward to meeting with him, sitting down and talking about these things. We have a relatively long transition period between the election and the inauguration of the new Mexican president.
WALLACE: But are you concerned by some of these statements?
BOLTON: I think we're going to get some things done during the transition statement, and I think in this kind of context, having the two leaders get together may produce some surprising results.
WALLACE: Ambassador Bolton, thank you. Always good to talk with you. Please come back, sir.
BOLTON: Will do. Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee faces a tough confirmation battle in the Senate, where Republicans can't afford to give up a single vote. We'll discuss the contenders and the stakes next with Trump judicial advisor Leonard Leo and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.
WALLACE: President Trump has the opportunity to reshape the Supreme Court for a generation by nominating a solid conservative to replace the court's key swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement this week.
Joining me here in Washington, Leonard Leo, a key advisor to President Trump who helped draw up that list of 25 from which the president says he will choose his nominee.
Mr. Leo, Democrats are making Roe v. Wade, women's right to abortion, the central issue in this campaign and this confirmation battle. You call that a scare tactic the Democrats have used for more than 30 years.
But I want to play an exchange that I had with candidate Trump in the third presidential debate. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: You just said you want to see the court protect the Second Amendment. Do you want to see the court overturn Roe v. Wade?
TRUMP: Well, if we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that's really what's going to be -- that will happen and that will happen automatically in my opinion because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Given that, isn't Roe v. Wade on the line with this nomination?
LEONARD LEO, TRUMP ADVISER ON JUDICIAL NOMINATION: Chris, the fact of the matter is that Roe v. Wade is a very major precedent in America and for 36 years people have been talking about it being overturned. It was an issue with Sandra O'Connor, David Souter, Anthony Kennedy, all of whom people would set would overturn Roe v. Wade. No president is particularly good at speculating about these things and nobody is.
And so, I don't think at the end of the day, it's about Roe v. Wade. It's about having judges on the court who are going to interpret the Constitution the way it's written and part of interpreting the Constitution is taking into account major precedents, and that's going to happen.
WALLACE: But as you well know, sometimes justices adhere to presidents and sometimes they overturn them.
LEO: Absolutely, but major precedents of the court require a lot of attention and respect and scrutiny and we've seen that there's only one justice out of nine over a period of 36 years who is saying that he would explicitly overturn Roe.
WALLACE: And that's Clarence Thomas.
LEO: That's correct.
WALLACE: But this does figure into the confirmation battle because given the Republican majority in the Senate and the fact that there is no longer a filibuster, one of the few ways that a Trump nominee could fail to be confirmed is if you get one of the two -- and here they are on the screen, if you lose, one of the two Republican senators, Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski, were both pro-choice. Is it fair to say that the president won't pick someone who has a record of opposition to Roe v. Wade?
LEO: I think Senator Collins made the point very clearly. She wants someone who's going to adhere to the Constitution and the law more than anything else. So, what you really want, Chris, is --
WALLACE: But she also said Roe is a firm precedent and settled law. If you have somebody who has a record of having said, for instance William Pryor, that it was an abomination, Roe v. Wade, that's clearly going to set off alarm bells. Would it be fair to say that the president is not going to pick somebody who has a clear record of opposition to Roe v. Wade?
LEO: None of the people who are being talked about now in the public space in the media are people who have a clear position on Roe v. Wade. The most important thing here is a record showing fairness, someone who listens very carefully to arguments on both sides, someone who tries to keep an open mind.
And prospective nominees like Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Barrett and Raymond Kethledge and Tom Hardiman are people who have not specifically said they oppose Roe v. Wade, and their writings and their work show that they are very fair. They look at arguments from both sides all the time and they analyze them very carefully, and when they take a position, they then say these are what the other people have said about this and here's why I don't agree with them.
And that's really at the end of the day what we want. We want that kind of fairness in a judge and I think Senator Collins and Senator Murkowski and others who went through the Gorsuch process saw that in Neil Gorsuch and I think that's what they're going to be looking for again.
WALLACE: You just mentioned four names. Is it fair to say that those are the four frontrunners at this point?
LEO: No, I don't think it's fair to say that, and here's why -- the president is really in the driver's seat on this, along with the assistance of White House counsel, Don McGahn. Those are certainly people who are under very serious consideration, two of them as you know, Chris, are people who were through the process to some extent before. And Brett Kavanaugh --
WALLACE: Hardiman and Kethledge.
LEO: Yes, that's right. Hardiman and Kethledge.
And then Brett Kavanaugh is one of the most distinguished jurists in America. So, it's not a natural that he is being mentioned. He has over 300 opinions. He is respected by both sides on the political and ideological spectrum. And Amy Barrett, similarly, is one of the most talented and distinguished women in the legal academy anywhere in the country, former law clerk to Justice Scalia, someone who, again, people across the ideological and political spectrum greatly admire.
WALLACE: I want to ask you specifically about Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who as you point out is one of the front runners. He has written that the president, not this president, any president should be exempt from, quote, time-consuming and distracting lawsuits and investigations which would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.
Given the fact that President Trump is now facing lawsuits, given the fact that he is now dealing with a special counsel, wouldn't be any kind of a conflict if he were to pick somebody like Brett Kavanaugh, who is on record was saying that he is opposed to that? That's an issue the court might have to deal with.
LEO: Well, first of all, you have to remember that when Brett Kavanaugh said that, it was when we hadn't independent counsel statute if I remember correctly. And there were a lot of problems with the independent counsel statute in terms of having zero accountability, zero transparency.
And so, there were constitutional issues there and even liberal law professors like Akhil Amar from Yale Law School have said that it's a very reasonable position that Brett Kavanaugh took when he wrote about that some years back. So, it's not clear to me what he said then necessarily applies to now.
Secondly, what you are really seeing and what Kavanaugh said is that the core of what he believes in, which is this idea that if you really want to protect freedom and you want to have accountability, you have to respect the limits on government power in the Constitution, which includes the separation of powers.
WALLACE: I got less than a minute left. What are the stakes here? How will replacing Anthony Kennedy, who was a distinguished jurist, but with a more conservative -- a consistent conservative, how will that reshape the court potentially for the next generation?
LEO: Well, any Supreme Court confirmation is transformative. This is a court that is often equally divided. At the end of the day, I think what's really important to remember is that there's been a movement on the court towards being more originalist and textualist. In other words, the idea that law means something, it has determinate meaning. And that's the trend that I think this president wants to continue.
WALLACE: Mr. Leo, thank you. Thanks for coming on and we will be watching the president's announcement in just eight days. Are you a little worried about eight days? Are you ready to go in eight days?
LEO: I think the president and his team at the White House will be ready.
WALLACE: Good. That's fortunate because if we go on the air and he's not there, it would be in -- it would be embarrassing.
LEO: It would be rather embarrassing.
WALLACE: Joining me now from Springfield, Illinois, the number two Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin.
Let's start with the Democrats' basic positions since Justice Kennedy announced his retirement this week. Here is your leader in the Senate, Senator Chuck Schumer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CILP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Americans should make it clear that they will not tolerate a nominee chosen from President Trump's preordained list.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, Senator, Donald Trump told the voters that he was going to pick his nominees from that list. There was a big issue in the campaign. Donald Trump won.
Isn't he entitled, just like Barack Obama was entitled to have a legitimately qualified nominee approved by the Senate?
SEN. DICK DURBIN, D-ILL., SENATE MINORITY WHIP: Of course he is. Every president would be.
But you just had a man on your show, Mr. Leo, who has an extraordinary position. He is involved not only in the selection process, he is key to it. When the White House chose Neil Gorsuch, they didn't call Mr. Gorsuch, Judge Gorsuch, to tell him. They called Mr. Leo, and they said, would you like to call Judge Gorsuch and tell him the good news, that he's going to be the president's nominee?
That's what's going on here. The Federalist Society is going through a clearance process, make no mistake. They make sure before any name really reaches the finals, they know exactly what --
WALLACE: I don't know about that as a fact.
But let me just ask you -- so what? I mean, the fact is the Federalist Society has vetted these people, they are all distinguished jurists. They are obviously conservative, which you don't like. But how can you say anybody who is on that list is out?
DURBIN: I didn't say that.
WALLACE: Well, Chuck Schumer says that.
DURBIN: What I will say is this, I think -- well, I can tell you this, I think the Chris Wallace second debate, if that's what it was, question to then-candidate Donald Trump nailed it. The president is looking for someone who will overturn Roe versus Wade.
But even equally important, he's looking for someone on the court who will make sure that they rule that the Affordable Care Act's protection of those with pre-existing conditions is unconstitutional. That will mean thousands, if not millions of Americans will lose their health insurance because of this decision on who will fill the Kennedy vacancy on the court. That hits home for most Americans.
We may be divided and we certainly are on the issue of abortion, but when it comes to basic health care for American families, protecting those who have pre-existing conditions, this administration is attacking that on constitutional grounds. And at this moment, Donald Trump is looking for a justice who's going to rule in his favor.
WALLACE: Leonard Leo says the Democratic Party is using Roe v. Wade as a scare tactic -- I just asked him about it -- to try to defeat the president's nominee.
I want to play a clip from one of your Senate colleagues, Kirsten Gillibrand, this week. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GILLIBRAND: This is a line that's been drawn about whether we are going to criminalize women, whether we are going to be arresting women for making decisions about their bodies. This is not a fire drill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator, no one is talking about arresting women. Isn't that the definition of a scare tactic, what Kirsten Gillibrand was saying there?
DURBIN: What Kirsten is saying goes back to your question, Chris, to candidate Donald Trump. You talked about Second Amendment, you came back to him and said, well, what about Roe versus Wade? He was quick to add, that's what I want to do, and he said just yesterday, the day before --
WALLACE: I understand. But even if Roe versus --
DURBIN: This is a justice on the court for 40 years.
WALLACE: But, sir, even if Roe versus Wade would overturn, nobody is suggesting that women would be arrested. And in addition to which, it would be -- as he pointed out -- as President Trump or candidate Trump pointed out, it would go back to the states.
I'm not saying it's not a big deal, but nobody is suggesting that women would be arrested if Roe versus Wade were overturned.
DURBIN: The basic issue at hand here is whether or not a woman has the power to make decisions, the freedom to make decisions regarding her own body and her own life. That is the fundamental issue here, and when you start denying that to women across America, those are fighting words because these women believe that they have to make this decision, they have the right to make this decision. Those on the other side disagree. It gets down to that fundamental principle.
WALLACE: To have any chance to win, you not only are going to have to pick off at least one of the Republican senators, and we talked about the two Republican pro-choice women senators, Collins and Murkowski. You're also going to have to keep all 49 of your Democrats on board. And the fact is, during the Gorsuch nomination, President Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch last year, three red state Democrats up for re-election, Heitkamp, Donnelly and Manchin, all voted for Gorsuch.
How, as the Senate whip, the person in charge of counting votes, how certain are you that all three of those Democrats will stay on board this time and vote against whoever the president nominates?
DURBIN: Well, of course, we don't have a nominee's name to start with, and that's a critical point.
And the second thing I would say is this. Each and every one of my colleagues on the Democratic side understand the historic significance of this decision. As the president said, this is a justice who's likely to serve for 40 years, is going to have dramatic impact on health care in America, on the rights of privacy in America. And I will say, for each of my colleagues, they have to make an individual, important, principled decision.
And the question, as we found with Affordable Care, will the president pick someone who is so far out of the mainstream, in the case of Affordable Care, three Republicans broke with the president. If only one or two -- you understand the dynamics --
DURBIN: And the math of the Senate at this moment with Senator McCain, if one or two Republican senators believe this choice is out of the mainstream, then we could have a very serious issue before us on confirmation.
WALLACE: I have a -- less than a minute left and I have one final question.
Democrats would be able to block this nomination if you still have the filibuster. Back in 2013, when the Democrats were in the majority, the leader, Harry Reid, decided to change the rules of the House, and Democrats supported him, to end the filibuster, make it a simple majority for all cabinet appointments and for all lower court appointments.
And then last year, with the Gorsuch nomination, McConnell, Senator McConnell, extended that to the Supreme Court.
Looking back, because you guys opened the door to it, was that a mistake?
DURBIN: I can tell you, Harry Reid faced a dilemma changing the Senate precedent and rules, and he did not change it for the Supreme Court. I'm glad you put that into your preface. But, at that point, Mitch McConnell, Senator McConnell, had been using the filibuster in ways never imagined in the Senate to stop any judicial nominees from moving forward on important courts like the D.C. Court of Appeals, which was a hard decision. But Harry Reid made an exception to the Supreme Court.
WALLACE: But -- but -- but you guys used it. I mean there's no original sin here, senator, both sides used it.
I'm -- what I'm just asking is this. Looking back at it and looking at the fruit of it now, the fact that you cannot stop this nominee on your own, the Democrats can't, do you have second thoughts about having changed the rules back in 2013?
DURBIN: Well, you're assuming again, Chris, that Harry Reid did not recognize this possibility. He did. And he said it took -- it would take 60 votes for the Supreme Court. It was Mitch McConnell who changed that rule, that fundamental rule on the Supreme Court.
WALLACE: Senator Durbin, thank you. Thanks for joining us. Always good to talk with you, sir, and please come back.
DURBIN: Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss whether the Senate should wait until after the midterm election to vote on President Trump's nominee.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about how the president's pick could sway the balance of the Supreme Court. Just go to FaceBook or Twitter @foxnewssunday and we may use your question on the air.
WALLACE: Coming up, a primary upset shakes Democrats as the possible heir to Nancy Pelosi loses to a Democratic socialist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY.: The energy in the Democratic Party is self-avowed (ph) socialist.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: They made a choice in one district, but let's not get yourself carried away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel how far left the party is moving.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So we have a pick to come up. We have to pick a great one. We have to pick one that's going to be there for 40 years, 45 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump signaling he wants a replacement for Justice Kennedy who can serve on the Supreme Court for decades, cementing a conservative majority.
And it's time now for our Sunday group.
Jason Riley from The Wall Street Journal. Mo Elleithee of Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service. Anne Gearan of The Washington Post. And Josh Holmes, Mitch McConnell's former chief of staff and now a GOP strategist.
Josh, when Bush 43 was president, you led the team at the RNC to help get John Roberts and Sam Alito confirmed to the court. Given, as we've explored, the fact that the filibuster is no longer in existence, is there any way that Trump's nominees will fail to get confirmed by the Senate?
JOSH HOLMES, FOUNDER, CAVALRY: Well, I think the question itself, Chris, gives us a pretty good indication of how far we've come in this battle, right? How do we kill a nominee when we don't even know who the nominee is yet? I mean I think President Trump could probably nominate lady justice herself and I think Democrats would say that she's in there to try to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The bottom line is, right, the filibuster is gone, but there's a very razor-thin majority here. We're dealing with a one seat difference. They obviously have a tactic here to attack Senator Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. But what they're ignoring his red state Democrats here with Joe Manchin, you've got Donnelly in Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.
WALLACE: All three of them voted for Gorsuch.
HOLMES: They did. And that's not even the extent of it. You have -- you have Jon Tester in Montana and you've got Claire McCaskill and Missouri. All of these red states that President Trump carried and probably have a population that identifies much more with his view of what should -- what the court should look like. And so I think Democrats are in a rough spot here.
WALLACE: Democrats, one of the other arguments they make, is they say the confirmation should be put off until after the midterm election in November, noting what Mitch McConnell did holding up President Obama's appointment of Merrick Garland in 2016 to the Supreme Court. But McConnell always talked about presidential election years, not midterm election years. Take a look at what McConnell said on this show back in 2016.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: We think the important principle in the middle of this presidential election, which is raging, is that the American people need to weigh in and decide who's going to make this decision, not this lame duck president on the way out the door, but the next president next year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: And, in fact, three members of the current court, Alito, Breyer and Kagan, were all confirmed in midterm election years.
Anne, does that Democratic talking point, the idea it's an election, you can't wait until the Senate is changed by the voters in November, does that taking point go anywhere?
ANNE GEARAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think that Democrats are already backing away from it, which is an indication that it -- that it isn't perhaps their strongest argument. I mean the -- the chief difference between an election year -- a presidential election year and a midterm election year is the main problem there. It -- the -- the stronger suit the Democrats appear to be going -- heading to play is -- is the abortion question rather -- in other words, fight this nomination on issues rather than on -- on tactics and timing.
WALLACE: Abortion. And it's interesting to say there're also really pushing health care and saying, look, it was only a 5-4 --
WALLACE: Although it wasn't Kennedy who voted to save health care, it was Roberts. But the idea that health care could be -- and pre-existing condition protection could be in jeopardy.
GEARAN: Yes. Social issues. Kitchen table issues. Things that affect Americans lives. Those are the talking points I expect to her Democrats use.
WALLACE: We asked you for questions for the panel and on this issue of how the replacement for Kennedy could sway the balance of the court, Rena B tweeted this, do you think Roe v. Wade would be overturned?
Jason, how do you answer Rena? Do you think if you get a conservative -- solid conservative justice on the court that Roe v. Wade will be gone?
JASON RILEY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: It's possible that Roe v. Wade could be gone with another -- with a fifth vote for that side. But at the same time, what that would mean is that the issue would go back to states. And the consensus thinking there is that there aren't very many of any states that would criminalize abortion.
We go back to what was going on pre-Roe when states were already legalizing the procedure. States like New York, in fact, had already legalized abortion. So go back to the states.
So I don't think in that sense that the pro-choice crowd has much to worry about, pragmatically.
WALLACE: As a member of the pro-choice crowd, Mo, do you agree with that?
MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE: No, I think it's a concern. I think -- I think it is rightfully a concern. And -- and you've got a president out there who says that he would nominate a justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Look, I get the -- people trying to dismiss this as saying, yes, but, you know, it just goes back to the states and the states aren't likely to do it. The -- what Roe v. Wade did was guarantee that no woman would be treated differently across America on this issue. And so I think for a lot of people it is a legitimate concern. I think it is the smarter tactic for Democrats to take. I -- I think --
WALLACE: Issue not process?
ELLEITHEE: Right. I mean this isn't about process at the end of the day. It is about the direction of the court. It is about the individuals. Democrats have an opportunity to push these issues incredibly hard during the confirmation hearings. I'm glad that this -- whoever the nominee will be, will actually get a hearing, which was not afforded to President Obama's final nominee, was not afforded to Merrick Garland. There will be a hearing held here. And -- and they'll be able to push these issues. And that could help Democrats electorally. But as most of the country, even in red states, is not opposed -- supports maintaining Roe v. Wade.
WALLACE: All right, I -- in the little bit of time we have left, I want to talk about the man who set all of this in motion, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who spent 30 years on the court. He has announced now he's going to retire, which is why we're talking about a replacement. And he was known as the famous swing vote on the court. A term he didn't like. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY KENNEDY, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: You're very gracious not to use the term "swing vote." I hate that term. It has this visual image of the spatial gyration. The cases swing, I don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: And if Kennedy is replaced by a consistent, more consistent conservative, though, isn't there a danger that some of those 5-4 rulings he had where he -- he sided with the liberals on the court, whether it was on protecting abortion, on rights for same-sex couples, that a lot of that could be undone?
GEARAN: Absolutely. I mean he -- he dislikes the term, but -- but what it refers to is, as has been the case for -- for ten years, it used to be he and O'Connor, where they decided to place their conservative leaning, but not consistent votes, would usually determine the outcome of a case. We're going to go from a 5-4 court to a 6-3 court and that will have huge consequences.
RILEY: I think the real replacement for Kennedy as the swing vote is going to be Chief Justice Roberts. And it's going to be interesting because we don't normally have a situation where the chief justice is the swing vote. So you're going to will have in Chief Justice Roberts, someone with an outsized role in deciding which cases the Supreme Court takes, choosing who writes opinions and deciding the outcome. I think he -- he is really the person that's going to be the real swing -- swing vote going forward. He's the real replacement.
WALLACE: You know, this court was often called the Kennedy court. So now, finally, the Roberts court will be the Roberts court.
All right, panel, we have to take a break here.
When we come back, some journalists are linking that deadly shooting at a Maryland newspaper to President Trump's attacks on the media. Is that fair?
Plus, he had been discussed as the next House Democratic leader. Now Joe Crowley's out of a job after losing to a long shot primary challenger. We'll ask our panel about the Democratic Party's move to the left.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Shootings in Annapolis.
QUESTION: Mr. President, can you (INAUDIBLE) shooting in Annapolis. (INAUDIBLE).
QUESTION: Would you please talk to us about the dead reporters in Annapolis?
QUESTION: Mr. President, (INAUDIBLE) keep talking about the enemies of the people?
QUESTION: Any words of condolence for the families, Mr. President?
QUESTION: Why are you walking away?
QUESTION: Why won't you come and talk to us about that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Well, reporters shouting questions at President Trump and drawing an apparent connection, as he returned to the White House, after the murder of five journalists at a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland.
And we're back now with the panel.
Jason, I have been very outspoken about President Trump calling the media the enemy of the American people. I think it's wrong. But I have to say that that's practical that we saw on the South Lawn and some reporters in any way trying to draw a link between his comments about the media to the shooting in Annapolis of five reporters in a newspaper office, the shooter apparently with a long grudge against that paper, I think is outrageous.
Am I wrong?
RILEY: Well, we're -- we're in a new environment, Chris. On the left, particularly, blame Trump, ask questions later. That's the new mode that the -- that the press operates in.
And so, as you say, we start to learn the facts. We learn that this goes back to 2011, 2012, this grudge that the gunman had. And, oh, well, I guess we jumped the gun there. But that's -- that's the environment that we live in now and -- and it's unfortunate.
On a personal level, though, you look at something like this happening in the newsroom where many of us have worked for many years. If you're an opinion journalist and you're not upsetting some, you're probably not very good at your job. And, you know, you get used to the angry comments. You get some nasty phone calls. But you see something like this and it is quite chilling.
WALLACE: You know, even you say after the fact came in, people went, oh, we jumped the gun. The fact is, some reporters, even after they know the -- knew the facts, jumped on this.
Rob Cox, an editor at Reuters, tweeted this, "blood is on your hands, Mr. President. Save your thoughts and prayers for your empty soul. He later apologized.
Margaret Sullivan, media columnist for "The Washington Post," wrote this a couple of days after the shooting. Everybody know about the shooter and his grudge against the paper. While there is no causality, there is a connection in the attitudes of this unhinged gunmen and the president of the United States, a dangerous failure to understand the role of the media in our society.
Anne, I hate to put you on the spot, but do you think that's fair?
GEARAN: Well, I mean, I think Margaret is correct that there's not any link here. I mean this guy's beef with the paper, to your point, went back to 2012. I mean it -- Donald Trump has nothing to do with why he was angry at this particular paper. Why -- why the gunmen -- alleged gunman was.
But there -- there's a -- there's a different environment that surrounds anything having to do with reporting and reporting on Trump now. And I think I agree partially with Jason here, that, I mean, Trump -- when Trump says that -- not only says that the press is the enemy of the people, but points to specific reporters and points to reporters on the back of -- of his rallies with the clear implication that he hopes his -- his followers will jeer at those reporters, will call them by name, what he's encouraging people to hate on -- on the press directly. I think he -- if it --
WALLACE: I -- I agree with all of that, and you can be troubled by all of that, but it has nothing to do with this shooting.
GEARAN: Oh, it had nothing to do with the shooting. It has everything to do with the environment in which the shooting is being processed now in the press and in the public mind.
WALLACE: Jason, can you buy that?
RILEY: The shooting was yet another pretense for going after Donald Trump. That's what this was about. And that's the environment we live in now and it's unfortunate. And I think, you know, the public -- the voting public sees right through this. And they're not fooling anyone.
WALLACE: All right. Speaking of the voting public, I want to turn to another big story this week, and that was the Democrats' dramatic turn to the left.
First you had that woman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, shocking primary upset of a House leader, Joe Crowley, in a New York primary this week.
Then you had more Democrats calling for -- and more mainstream Democrats calling for the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which President Trump jumped on.
Take a look at this exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GILLIBRAND: We should protect families that need our help. And that is not what ICE is doing today. And that's why I believe you should get rid of it, start over, reimagine it and build something that actually works.
TRUMP: You know what would happen to parts of our country? It would be overrun with the worst criminal elements you have ever seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Mo, are Democrats in danger of moving too far to the left on immigration and other issues?
ELLEITHEE: On immigration, I -- I think -- it's only a very small group of people that have come out so far and called for the abolition of ICE. I do not think that is necessarily the most -- the strongest case for Democrats to be making.
The Democrats have a very powerful issue by keeping the focus on the separation of families, talking about reforming ICE, to help reunify these kids and -- and make sure we don't see this kind of debacle at the border again. Reform, I think, makes sense. Abolition, I think, takes the spotlight off of an issue that is incredibly important.
On this --
WALLACE: You -- you say -- let me just say, you say a few, but the few include Kirsten Gillibrand, who potentially is running in 2020, and Elizabeth Warren, who may be the leader of the --
ELLEITHEE: Yes. And I think this is going to be an important point to see what other Democrats do moving forward. Do they try to take the more -- keep the focus where it's been, or chase this other perspective?
On -- on the primary result in New York, I remember also a few months ago when Conor Lamb won in Pennsylvania and everyone said, is this -- you know, is this the new model for the Democratic Party, this more centrist approach? Now, you know, in -- what happened in New York, it is -- is it this more progressive approach.
I think what you saw in both cases were Democrats nominating candidates that fit those districts. She won in an incredibly progressive district.
HOLMES: It's a very clear distinction. Conor Lamb actually didn't have to win a primary, right? He didn't have to face Democratic primary voters. They could select him from a central committee. He wouldn't have any prayer of making it thorough a Democratic primary.
ELLEITHEE: Oh, I disagree.
HOLMES: What -- what you're seeing right now is all of the energy on the left focused on a very radical set of ideas. It's going to make them extremely difficult to field a 2020 candidate that it is anywhere near the mainstream (INAUDIBLE).
WALLACE: So forget 2020. What about 2018?
HOLMES: No, I think we have that problem first, right? They -- what we've seen with a lot of House candidates in particular is that the -- the quote/unquote establishment candidate has been defeated by somebody who's significantly to the left. Now, they didn't have their, you know, top tier (INAUDIBLE), the Eric Cantor (INAUDIBLE) until this week. And I think that this is a much more significant development than any Democrats will want to believe here. I --
RILEY: I would -- I would agree with that. And on a whole range of issues that used to be considered fringe and for progressive, not just eliminating ICE, but -- but free college tuition, Medicare for all, legalizing pot and so forth, those have all become mainstream, Democratic --
WALLACE: I want to give Mo -- you've got 15 seconds. Final word.
ELLEITHEE: Yes. I mean the -- the primary results does -- just doesn't bear that out. Where you saw across -- over the course of the entire year, we're at the tail end of the primary process. Over the course of the entire year, only one Democratic incumbent has been knocked off. The establishment candidates and the progressive candidates are battling in this kind of a war.
WALLACE: You know the best thing, we don't have the election until November, so we've got lots of time to talk about that.
ELLEITHEE: Have some time to figure this out. We've got some time to figure this out.
WALLACE: Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, a final word.
WALLACE: For the latest on President Trump's Supreme Court nomination, and his upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, stay tuned to this station and Fox News Channel.
And that's it for today. Have a great week and a happy Independence Day, and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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