This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," November 11, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
President Trump puts a new man in charge at the Justice Department, throwing the future of the special counsel investigation into question.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I find the timing very suspect. They should not be able to interfere with Mueller going forward.
WALLACE: But the president defends Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The choice was greeted with raves initially. It's a shame that no matter who I put in, they go after them.
WALLACE: What will Whitaker do about Robert Mueller's Russian probe? We'll ask White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
Then, another recount and a blizzard of lawsuits in Florida.
TRUMP: What's going on in Florida is disgrace.
WALLACE: Razor-thin margins and two of Tuesday's most closely watched contests.
GOV. RICK SCOTT, R-FLA.: I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election.
Florida Governor Rick Scott who thought he won election to U.S. Senate joins us live. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.
Plus, as the Democrats regain the House, Nancy Pelosi once again eyes the speaker's gavel.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I think I'm the best person to go forward to unify, to negotiate.
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel where to look for cooperation and confrontation.
And on this Veterans Day, our "Power Player of the Week," the last surviving marine from World War II to receive the Medal of Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I keep saying I'm not the hero. The heroes didn't get home.
WALLACE: All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday".
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
President Trump is in Paris on this Veterans Day marking 100 years since the end of World War I. The celebration of peace comes as the president faces new turmoil at home. Divided government on Capitol Hill, open hostilities with the press and controversy over his appointment of Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.
In a moment, we'll talk with White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. But first, John Roberts traveling with the president in Paris.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump began his day at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, meeting with leaders who have gathered to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the armistice between the allies and Germany. As he welcomed world leaders, French President Emmanuel Macron ripped the nationalism that President Trump has so proudly embraced in recent days.
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism by saying our interests first, who cares about the others. We erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace and what is essential. It's moral values.
ROBERTS: It was the second time he spoke out about President Trump's policies in the past week. Earlier calling for a, quote, "true European army." In a tweet, President Trump called that comment insulting and it seemed to have cast a chill on the warm relationship the two have shared.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was also on hand for the ceremonies, briefly shaking hands with President Trump. The U.S. nixed initial plans for a summit with Putin during the Paris visit, though the two will sit down for talks later this month at the G20 in Buenos Aires.
ROBERTS: Following his speech here at the Suresnes American Cemetery overlooking Paris, President Trump will head directly back to the United States. That means that he is going to skip the opening day of the peace forum, a three day global cooperation summit here in Paris that stands in sharp contrast to the president's America first policies -- Chris.
WALLACE: John Roberts, had a beautiful situation, reporting from just outside Paris -- thank you.
Now, let's bring in Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president.
Kellyanne, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday".
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Thank you for having me, Chris.
WALLACE: So, let's start with the president's appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general. Here's what he said about Whitaker on Friday and what he said about him last month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't know Matt Whitaker. Matt Whitaker worked for Jeff Sessions.
I can tell you Matt Whitaker's a great guy. I mean, I know Matt Whitaker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: So does the president know Matt Whitaker or not? And specifically, did he know before appointing him that Whitaker was a critic of the special counsel's investigation?
CONWAY: The president does know Matt Whitaker, has gotten to know him over the course of the last year since he has been the chief of staff to the attorney general. The president's point is it's not like he's putting a friend in there who he's known for his entire life, he's putting somebody who has been working at the Department of Justice for 13 months now in a very senior position as chief of staff to Attorney General Sessions. And the president has dealt with Matt Whitaker in many different situations in the White House.
I've been in some of those meetings myself. So I've watched them interact, I've watched Mr. Whitaker brief the president --
WALLACE: If I may, specifically, Kellyanne, did he know that he was such a sharp critic of the Mueller investigation?
CONWAY: I'm not aware of that because it's not even clear to me that Mr. Whitaker has been briefed on the Mueller investigation. He has been the chief of staff to a recused attorney general. It's deputy attorney general, his chief and his team that has been overseeing the Mueller investigation, so it's not even clear to any of us that Mr. Whitaker has been read in to most of the Mueller investigation.
If you're talking about Matt Whitaker's statements as a private citizen a year and a half ago when the Mueller investigation first started, what he has said on cable TV, I don't think that disqualifies somebody from being the chief law enforcement officer at the Department of Justice, which is an executive function.
WALLACE: But let's -- since you referenced it, let's talk about it. Because Mueller -- or rather Whitaker has had a lot to say about Mueller. Here he is about a possible way to shut down the special counsel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW WHITAKER, ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced with a recess appointment and that attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller but he just reduces the budget so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: And here's Whitaker on Mueller looking into President Trump's finances.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHITAKER: I think that is a red line. It's beyond the scope of the letter that the deputy attorney general issued and appointed Director Mueller as special counsel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: And here is Whitaker on the centerpiece of the entire investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHITAKER: The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Given what seems to be -- you say he hasn't been briefed since he came in, but at least his predisposition on the investigation, how can he fairly oversee it now? And specifically, if Whitaker were to decide to block a Mueller subpoena of the president or were to decide that he would not send a full special counsel report to Congress, would the president back him on that?
CONWAY: We are so far past the period in which those comments were made by Matt Whitaker as a private citizen, Chris, and here's why: since then and through the course of this Mueller investigation, which has gone on for over a year and a -- about a year and a half and has cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Over 1.1 million or 1.4 million pieces of paper have been produced in compliance with the Mueller investigation request.
Thirty-three Trump associated witnesses and counting and even people he doesn't go, he has said I've never met, have been called before Mr. Mueller as I understand it. So, we've been nothing but compliant.
It is the president himself who said it would be a redline to go into his finances, because the president listened to everybody at the beginning which is this is about Russia collusion, this is about collusion in the campaign --
WALLACE: But, forgive me, it's different from what the president says than what Whitaker says when he is now overseeing the investigation. So, the question is: given his predisposition against it, can he fairly oversee it and if he decides to somewhat limit or block the Mueller investigation now because he can as the acting attorney general, will the president back him?
CONWAY: The president is not looking -- the president said he has not discussed the Mueller investigation with Whitaker. He has made that very clear the other day, I believe somebody asked him that question.
I've never been witness to them discussing it, and I'll go a little bit farther. It would be a mistake to try to shut down the Mueller investigation in the way that you describe it because we've been so compliant and everything that was promised, Russia collusion, there were people out there, sit tight -- sit tight everyone because he's not going to be in office very long.
We'll find the electors, we'll recount in Michigan and Wisconsin, then we'll impeach him or he won't like it in D.C. Guys, get used to it. And if there -- if there's proof of collusion, we're waiting to look at the final report.
And I would just note to you that the gentleman who's been overseeing the Mueller investigation, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, has called Matt Whitaker a, quote, superb choice to be acting attorney general.
I think that's important because people who are working with him feel confident that he can be the chief law enforcement officer at the Department of Justice. Chris, also just quickly, the Department of Justice does many important things to this country that don't involve Bob Mueller or this investigation.
WALLACE: I understand that.
CONWAY: -- but I think people need to realize that.
WALLACE: No, I understand that, but I do want to -- but there -- this is the specific area where people are interested and there is a controversy about Whitaker. There's also a controversy about whether his appointment as acting attorney general is even legitimate and as you well know, your husband George Conway joined with a former Obama official to write this in "The New York Times": It's unconstitutional, it's illegal, and that means anything Whitaker does or tries to do in that position is invalid.
I know, Kellyanne, this is not your favorite subject, but here is what the president had to say about it on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You mean Mr. Kellyanne Conway?
REPORTER: He wrote that you were unconstitutionally appointing him, is he wrong?
TRUMP: He's just trying to get publicity for himself. Why don't you do this, why don't you -- why don't you ask Kellyanne that question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: So following the president's direction, is your husband wrong about the constitutionality of it? Is he just trying to get publicity, and how do you feel about your husband so frequently publicly criticizing your boss?
CONWAY: Well, it doesn't affect me or my job at all. I've never been doing better personally or professionally. People argue about the Constitution every day, that's why we have the United States Supreme Court, that's why we have an entire U.S. circuit court system.
They are there to talk about conflicts within the Constitution and its interpretation. So he and his co-author have one opinion, the president and his attorneys have another. Respectfully, I offer my advice to the president in private. I don't need to put it on the opinion pages because I'm counselor to the president.
And the president and his attorneys are convinced that there are at least three or four ways that this appointment is -- does pass muster, it's constitutional. Under the Constitution, first of all, through the Vacancies Act. Also, there's a statute passed in 1998 and there's a 2003 Department of Justice opinion about this.
But -- but I think, I think the Mr. Kellyanne Conway comment is instructive, too, because people describe my husband as Kellyanne Conway's husband more often than they describe him by his first name. So I'm sure the feminists are really cheering me on today, an independent strong -- strong-willed, strong woman in a very powerful position that disagrees with her husband. I think that's the essence of what they call --
WALLACE: Well, he disagrees with you.
Let's move on to something else and that's the midterm elections and the agenda for the next two years. President Trump talked about trying to find ways to work with Nancy Pelosi, the likely speaker of the House, and with the new Democratic majority unless they start investigating him.
Here is the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Can you compartmentalize that and still continue to work with them for the benefit of the rest of the country or are you -- are all bets off?
TRUMP: No, if they do that then it's just -- all it is, is just a warlike posture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But some presidents have been able to compartmentalize, Kellyanne, to do business at the same time that they're being investigated.
CONWAY: Well, Chris, you should play the other clip of the president in that stem-winder of a press conference from Wednesday where he said that there are a few areas he thinks that the Democrats are ready to work on. He mentioned trade, he mentioned immigration.
I spoke with the president this morning. He called me from Paris and he said infrastructure, immigration, obviously, the economy -- we don't want to go backwards on these economic gains.
And President Trump on Wednesday answered 68 questions from 35 reporters, it's unheard of. President Obama answered 22 questions from 10 reporters in a press conference after his midterm self-described shellacking, where he lost 63 seats in the House. And this president, he just stands there and holds for us, taking question after question, and said that he would work on infrastructure, immigration, lame duck, will be focused on judicial nominations and immigration.
WALLACE: OK. We --
CONWAY: But that's a question for the Democrats, too. Are they going to be investigating or legislating? Are they going to be trying to impeach him or talk about infrastructure?
WALLACE: They say that -- they say they're going to do both.
I -- and you brought up the press conference, this brings me to my final subject which is the now infamous confrontation with Jim Acosta at that news conference.
As you know, I have been very critical of Acosta's behavior myself and I want to ask you about two responses by the White House. First, to tweet a video that was clearly altered to make it look like it was more of a physical confrontation than it really was, although I do think it was inappropriate. And second, to pull Acosta's pass to get into the White House and to threaten to do that to other reporters.
CONWAY: Well, Chris, first of all, what do you mean by edited or, as others are saying, quote, doctored video? He either put his hands on her and grabbed the mic back, or he did not. And he clearly did.
WALLACE: No. He -- he really did -- but the video was altered and there are experts who have looked at it -- to make it --
CONWAY: By that do you mean sped up (ph)?
WALLACE: -- speed it up to make it look -- pardon?
CONWAY: Oh, well, that's not altered. That's sped up.
They do it all the time in sports to see if there's actually a first down or a touchdown. So, I don't -- have to disagree with the, I think, overwrought description of this -- this video being doctored as if we put somebody else's arm in there. He should have apologized to that young aide, and as far as I know, he has not. I'm much more interested in the work of Alex Acosta than Jim Acosta; he's the secretary of Labor doing a tremendous job with this country.
But as the president said on Friday, it's instructive. You have to show respect to the White House, to the presidency and certainly to the president. And I think what Acosta did was very unfair to the rest of the press corps. There are many people who wanted to ask questions that --
CONWAY: -- beginning of the press conference.
WALLACE: Just one quick question because we really are over time already. If the president -- either, you say show respect -- if a reporter writes a story that the president doesn't like, if a reporter asks a question the president doesn't like, are you now saying that it's fair to pull their pass and prevent them from getting access to the White House? Because that strikes at the heart of freedom of the press.
CONWAY: Chris, if what you just described were the standard, you would have cleaned out the entire building years ago. He's got -- gets a lot of unfair treatment by the press. And -- but no, the disrespect at that moment, in that incident.
And I'm going to disagree with you. As a woman who's had people her hands on me, thinking they had a right to get into my personal space -- I'm currently deciding whether or not to press charges on an incident that happened in the last month, in fact -- I don't like him pulling that mic back and doing on her arm -- it looked like a karate chop, almost.
She's a young age, just doing her job and if you play the full clip for your audience, you will see the president had already answered his questions and he was moving on to the next questioner from NBC who was already standing, ready to pose that question and he wanted to move on to give other outlets an opportunity to ask their questions.
WALLACE: I agree with that. As a reporter who has sometimes been in that press room waiting (ph), you always wanted to get your question.
Kellyanne, thank you. Thanks for your time --
CONWAY: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: -- this weekend answering our questions. Always good to talk with you.
CONWAY: My pleasure.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the fallout from the appointment of an acting attorney general. And what the split decision in the midterms means for the president's agenda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUMER: I just heard the news. But I'd just heard the news, but I'd say this, protecting Mueller and his investigation is paramount.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer reacting to the president's appointment of Matt Whitaker, his acting attorney general. And it's time now for our Sunday group. Rich Lowry of National Review, co- host of "Benson and Harf" on Fox News Radio, Marie Harf. Former Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center, and Josh Holmes, Senator Mitch McConnell's former chief of staff.
So, Rich, your thoughts on Matt Whitaker? I don't know if you want to weigh in on the constitutionality of his appointment, is it even legal and do you think the president put him in that spot given the statements he's made to either limit or block the Mueller investigation?
RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW: I think the appointment is legal under statutes. The question is whether the statute is unconstitutional. That's a close and interesting question that we will probably get some litigation on if he's in there for any period of time. I think a lot of stuff being thrown at him is nonsense and not a problem. It's not a problem that he has a relationship with the president. It's not a problem that he said discouraging things about the Mueller probe.
I think the big problem is that he served on the board of the scam patent company, which is just extraordinary for a high level justice official to have done. And I think the president, on those grounds, needs some more stature and credibility as soon as he can get someone.
WALLACE: Congresswoman, some of your former Democratic colleagues in Congress are already calling this a constitutional crisis before Whitaker does anything and this morning on one of the other shows, Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate is saying he must recuse himself. Do you think they were overreacting?
JANE HARMAN, D-CALIF., FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: Well, first, let's say a fine farewell to Jeff Sessions. I served with Jeff Sessions.
WALLACE: You're the only one to say that. But go ahead.
HARMAN: Well, I'm the only one to say it, so I'm saying it on Armistice Day. I mean, he was a -- is a patriotic American who is a devout conservative and served his constituency well. And his service in the Justice Department was applauded by at least three former attorneys general, so I'd like to say that.
But on this subject, the only reason he could possibly have been appointed is to shrink and starve the Mueller investigation because Rod Rosenstein has not been criticized for any of the other things he's doing and --
WALLACE: Well, there was the question about whether or not he wanted to use a wire and go into the Oval Office and tape the president.
HARMAN: Oh, that's fair. OK, that's fair -- fair and balanced.
HARMAN: Back to this. I think it -- I think he's going to be a short-term appointment. I think he wasn't vetted. I think the White House did this impulsively as it does many things and that somebody is in the wings, whether it's Chris Christie or somebody else. But I think the logic here would have been to make Rosenstein acting attorney general and the president would have avoided big speed bump.
WALLACE: Josh, your former boss, Senator Mitch McConnell says that he will not even let the Senate consider legislation. Legislation incidentally some Republicans are offering to protect the special counsel against any interference by Whitaker or anybody else, but if Whitaker, if, were to move against the special counsel, we talk about ways he could do it, he could block a subpoena by Mueller, he could decide if he still in the job to take the final report from Mueller and not give it all to Congress, what you think the reaction would be in the Senate?
JOSH HOLMES, FOUNDER, CAVALRY: Well, the reaction to anything would be horrible but I think everybody is articulating that pretty well over the last year and a half, and I think one of the reasons why McConnell thinks it's not necessary is because it is. I mean, what we've seen over the last year and a half is the Senate and the Congress basically allowing this investigation to go through. You know have a Democratic House of Representatives.
I mean, we have to remember, this has been operating since May 17th, 2017. The idea that you can have Matt Whitaker or anybody else just show up now and shut this down belies the fact that we've already accumulated a year and a half worth of information here. He's not going to shut this down. Nobody's going to shut this down and I think Bob Mueller is going to come to a conclusion one way or another.
WALLACE: Let's turn to what under normal circumstances would be the lead story on the Friday after midterm election and that is the fact that the Democrats have taken back the House and it looks like Nancy Pelosi will be the speaker of the House.
Here's how Pelosi reacted to President Trump this week and talk about the fact that the Democrats are going to proceed on two tracks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: Said that let's talk -- I'm sure we can come to agreement on some things, and we have an obligation to try to find common ground. It is our constitutional responsibility to be a check on the executive branch, and we have the responsibility to have oversight on the agencies of the executive branch and we fully intend to implement that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Marie, how much business, serious governing business do you think House Democrats will be able to do with the president over the next two years? And what about the president's threat, I want to deal with you, but you start investigating, we're dead?
MARIE HARF, CO-HOST, "BENSON & HARF": Right. Well, it looks like the house majority for the Democrats continues to grow. As more races get called we could be somewhere close to 40 seats. The blue wave is looking much bluer than I think the conventional wisdom held on Tuesday night probably.
Nancy Pelosi is right here, Chris. You can do both. You can walk and chew gum at the same time. I think on issues like criminal justice reform, immigration, other issues, Democrats in the House will put forward a proactive policy agenda. They will vote on bills, they will send them to the Senate, and they will put the onus on the Senate and the president.
But she's also right that one of the main things voters said during this midterm was they want more accountability for the Trump administration. And, look, we've seen that under every administration. The House and the Senate have that constitutional role and quite frankly they didn't use it during the last two years.
So, I think the investigations will be very strategic. They will be specific. It won't just be willy-nilly impeach, impeach, impeach, unless Mueller comes up with something really earth-shattering. But I really think Democrats can do both. The ball is going to be in President Trump and the senate's court to see if they actually want to govern or just abstract House Democrats.
WALLACE: You have a bit of a smile on your face.
HARF: I can feel it, actually.
HARF: I can feel it.
HOLMES: This is not the same Democratic conference that Nancy Pelosi led in 2006 to 2010. What we're dealing with is all of the energy within this Democratic Party is the impeach Trump movement, and the abolish ICE movement, in the sort of radical left-wing economy view of the world, which is like Medicare for all and a whole bunch of different socialist policies.
If we think that any of those are going to go across to the Senate and die anything but a lonely death.
WALLACE: What about issues on which there does seem to be some agreement, like infrastructure, lowering prescription drug prices, is there a basis for a deal there? And specifically can Congress and the president walk and chew gum at the same time? Investigate areas. And you know they're going to regardless, but also do some business.
HOLMES: Well, I -- look, I would be the happiest man in show business if there was something other than messaging, a legislation coming out of the House. I'm really dubious about that at this point. I think there's going to be a lot of investigation. They're clearly going to have to work together and things like appropriations bills, authorization bills, the big kind of pass items.
But in terms of immigration reform, I mean, look, I've been watching this movie for ten years and there's nothing about this Democratic conference that seems to me like it would be compatible with a deal here.
WALLACE: Thirty seconds.
HARMAN: Strongly disagree. All those -- surprise! All those newcomers who fought so hard are not just far left Democrats. I'm not demeaning them. But I think that Nancy Pelosi's best move will be to empower the newbies and set up a policy conference with them and let them chart a new direction.
WALLACE: All right, guys --
HARMAN: And I think if she did that, there would be opportunities for making deals with Kevin McCarthy's Republican caucus and I think we could see the House finally revived.
WALLACE: All right. Guess what, we are going to have two years to talk about this and we're certainly going to have until January to talk about it before -- it does look like she's going to take the speaker's gavel. All of the opposition seems to have disappeared.
All right, panel. We have to take a break here. We will see you a little later.
And in case you're wondering why we don't have any members of the new House Democratic majority on today, well, so are we. We invited Democratic leaders and the likely new chairs of key committees to join us. They all declined.
When we come back, yet another election vote counting controversy in Florida. We'll talk with Governor Rick Scott, who Senate races headed for a recount.
WALLACE: Coming up, the razor-thin margins in Florida's races for governor and senator spark a partisan showdown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: Their goal is to keep mysteriously finding more votes until the election turns out the way they want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor Rick Scott, now running for the Senate, joins us next on "Fox News Sunday".
WALLACE: Well, Florida is once again the center of an election storm. The Florida secretary of state has now ordered a recount in the governor's race between Andrew Gillum, Democratic mayor of Tallahassee, and former Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis. And there will be another recount in the senate race between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Governor Rick Scott.
Governor Scott will join us in a moment. But first, let's get the latest from Phil Keating in Lauderhill, Florida, site of the Broward County Board of Elections.
PHIL KEATING, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, in all 67 Florida counties, elections workers are now scanning 8 million ballots through the tabulator's one more time with a Thursday 3:00 p.m. deadline for this second recount -- or second count, rather. That is the daunting task according to the supervisor of elections in Palm Beach County, who says it's impossible to meet.
KEATING: Election protests are back as the nation watches another Florida recount with national implications. And this morning, the recount is underway. Almost immediately from Europe Saturday, President Trump lashed out at Democrats, tweeting, trying to steal two big elections in Florida. We are watching closely.
Eight million Florida voters cast ballots with both Republicans in the Senate and gubernatorial races ending up with leads, but not wins. Any race under half a percent requires an automatic machine recount. On election night, both Scott and DeSantis declared victory, but the election wasn't done. Provisionals and mailings still had to be counted. That shrunk the Republican's margins, leading the president and Scott to allege fraud with no evidence.
ANDREW GILLUM, D-FLA., GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We didn't win it tonight.
KEATING: Gillam, who conceded Tuesday night but has since made up enough ground to join Nelson for a recount, says it's called democracy.
GILLUM: I am replacing my words of concession with an uncompromised and unapologetic call that we count every single vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEATING: As it stands right now in the Senate race, the margin of difference between incumbent Bill Nelson and Rick Scott is a 0.15 percent. If it stays that way under a quarter of a percentage point, we will then be headed to a hand recount.
WALLACE: Phil, thank you.
Joining us now from Naples, Florida, Governor Scott, who thought he won election to the Senate Tuesday night. We also invited his opponent, Senator Nelson, but he declined.
Governor, at 11:00 p.m. on election night, your lead was 56,000 votes. But as of the latest tally by the state, your lead is now down to 12,500, or as Phil pointed out, 0.15 percent over Bill Nelson. How do you feel about the recount and how do you feel about your chances of winning?
SCOTT: Well, we had 8 million people vote. Chuck Schumer spent over $50 million trying to beat me, but we won. Every supervisor election has reported their results. I'm up about, I think, 12,500 votes. There's never been a recount that's changed in Florida or any other state. Any sort of win like that. So while we're going to the recount, we won. This is -- the state won. I'm going to be going to D.C. and I'm going to do exactly what I did in Florida, try to change the direction of the country, like we tried to change the direction of Florida.
WALLACE: You suggested earlier this week that there was rampant fraud, your phrase, going on here. Let's take a look at what you had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT: No ragtag group of liberal activists or lawyers from D.C. will be allowed to steal this election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, do you have any hard evidence that there was actual fraud or is actual fraud going on? And, if so, by whom?
SCOTT: Sure. So -- so, Chris, we have very specific election laws in this state to try to prevent fraud. We had to go to court to force the supervisor of elections in Palm Beach County to Broward County to comply with the law, which is the law is there to prevent fraud. They were not letting party officials review, you know, when they were reviewing ballots. They didn't report on time. How -- we -- we still don't understand how they went in these two counties and had dramatic increase, another 93,000 votes were cast, or somehow they came up with 93,000 votes after election night. We still don't know how they came up with that.
So we're trying to figure out exactly what we -- what happened. I've asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to go in and do an investigation to find out what happened here. But we clearly know the judges have already said, they clearly violated the law.
WALLACE: I agree with you, there were two decisions, one in Broward County and one in Palm Beach County, which both said that the election supervisors there did not comply with transparency and making information available. On the other hand, as you point out, you asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate any accusations of wrongdoing, but the department says so far they've done nothing because they have no specific allegations of fraud. And the secretary of state's office says the same thing. So certainly they were not as transparent as they should be and that had to be remedied by the courts. But there were -- there are no allegations of fraud at this point.
SCOTT: Well, first off, the laws -- Chris, the laws are set up to stop fraud. That's with the laws are set up to do. And let's look at what happened yesterday. We know Senator Nelson's lawyer said that a non-citizen should have the right to vote. Senator Nelson has gone to -- gone to court to say that fraudulent ballots, fraudulent ballots that were not properly delivered, sign, whatever should have -- should be counted, OK? Senator Nelson is clearly trying to find -- to try and commit fraud to try to win this election. That's all this is.
WALLACE: I -- wait a second, I want to pick up on that. You're accusing Bill Nelson of trying to commit fraud?
SCOTT: His lawyer said that a non-citizen should vote. That's one. Number two, he's gone to trial and said that fraudulent ballots should be counted. Ballots have already been thrown out because they were not done properly. He said those should be counted.
WALLACE: And you think that is the senator himself is committing fraud?
SCOTT: Well, it's his team.
WALLACE: I want to play a clip from Senator Nelson. He issued a video yesterday. Let's take a look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BILL NELSON, D-FLA.: Votes are not being found, they're being counted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: He says this is just a matter of allowing the Democratic process in Florida to continue. Your reaction to that, governor?
SCOTT: Chris, 93,000 ballots were found after election night. It's the law. You have to say how many ballots have been -- how many votes have been cast that night. All right, within 30 minutes after election. OK, somehow after the election finished, somehow they came up with 93,000 votes afterwards. How did they -- Chris, did they do it? We don't know.
Bill Nelson is a sore loser. He's been in politics way too long, 42 years. He just won't give up. And he's saying if you're -- if you're not a citizen, you ought to -- your vote ought to count. He's saying that fraudulent ballots ought to count. That's wrong.
WALLACE: I want to turn the subject slightly with you about this because the election supervisor in Broward County, a woman named Brenda Snipes (ph), has -- has a history of irregularities. And, in fact, two years ago a judge ruled that she illegally destroyed ballots from a Democratic primary. The question I have for you is, as governor, you could have suspended her at some point and -- and named a replacement. Why didn't you?
SCOTT: Well, what I focus on now is we've gone through an election. Let's get this election finished. That's what I'm focused on now. Let's get this election finished. Let's\, make sure she complies with the law. Let's make sure that Florida Department of Law Enforcement does an investigation.
I've asked all the sheriffs who have the authority to do this to be very vigilant with this. We have 7,500 volunteers willing to -- willing to go in.
But Bill Nelson's a sore loser. We've won. I've had to win this election twice now. I will be going to Washington as the next U.S. senator from Florida and I'm going to work hard to change the direction of this country, like we did in Florida.
WALLACE: You've got to know that people across the country are saying, Florida again, recounting controversies, bad ballot design. You were governor for eight years, could you have done more to reform the election system than you did?
SCOTT: Well, you know, Chris, we have laws, right, that try to prevent fraud, to try to make sure people feel like, you know, there's an honest election here. It's so frustrating when you see supervisor elections that violate the law. That's what -- not just what I'm saying, what judges are saying. You know, we have a reason that we have party officials be able to review ballots. We have -- we have a reason that we report information, so to prevent fraud. I mean the supervisor in Broward has admitted ballots that shouldn't have been cast in this election got -- got, you know, put together with other ballots. So we know they're doing -- we know they're doing the wrong thing. We're trying to do everything we can to prevent fraud. But these individuals, you know, we've had to go to court to try to get them to comply with the law. We can pass every law you want, but if people don't comply with it, what else can you do?
WALLACE: I -- I got one final question for you, governor. You've said a couple of times you're the new senator, you're headed to Washington, you're going to change things. Specifically, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has scheduled a photo op for two days from now, for Tuesday, I think it's at 10:00 a.m., a photo op where he'll take pictures with all of the new coming Republican senators. Are you going to be there?
SCOTT: I haven't -- I haven't decided where I'm going to be this week. You know we're doing -- you know, we're going to watch this manual machine recount process. So I'll figure that out in the next few -- in the next few days.
But I look forward to going to D.C. I look forward to being the Florida senator and working to make sure this is the better -- a better place for all of our families, like we've done in Florida.
WALLACE: Governor Scott, thank you. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. And you can be sure we'll stay on top of the recount this week. Thank you, sir.
WALLACE: Coming up, we'll bring back our Sunday group to discuss vote count and controversies in several states. And President Trump says he could revoke press credentials for more reporters. Our panel weighs in on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: All of a sudden they're finding votes out of nowhere. What's going on in Florida is a disgrace. Take a look at the total dishonesty of what happened with respect to Broward County.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump blasting election officials counting votes in some parts of Florida.
And we're back now with the panel.
Well, Josh, the president's raising questions about vote fraud, stealing elections. And not just in Florida. He tweeted this. Just out in Arizona, signatures don't match, electoral corruption, call for a new election. We must protect our democracy.
Do you see fraud or just close races?
HOLMES: Well, we know they're close races. I think the question is what more is there? I mean you have Mark Elias (ph), who's the Democratic lawyer and went down to Florida and said his intent was to go down and have Bill Nelson win this race. He didn't go down to find an accurate Democratic vote count, he went down to find the votes enough to win, which, of course, is exactly what Mark Elias did in Minnesota in 2009 for Al Franken. So I can understand skepticism here.
You have that coupled with the fact that Broward County has been -- is the center of fraud and mismanagement in terms of elections for the last 25 years. And they did find 93,000 ballots after Election Day. And I noted with interest in your interview with the governor that he said these laws are in place, they just weren't complied with. And I think that and of course what we're having in Arizona, which is a very different set of rules than most of us across the country are accustomed to, warrants some skepticism.
WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, what do you make of the controversies about -- now about vote counting in Florida and Arizona. And we haven't even mentioned it so far, but also in Georgia in the governor's race there? And what do you make of the president questioning the legitimacy of these elections?
HARMAN: Well, I've actually seen this movie. In 1994, when I was up for my first re-election, on election night, I was down 250 votes with 10,000 uncounted absentee ballots. And that count of the absentee ballots took two weeks. A supervised account. And then I won by 811.
WALLACE: So, what are you saying, that it's -- this is --
HARMAN: So I'm saying this -- you know, unfortunately is the old and new normal, but these counts have to happen. Every vote has to be counted. Illegal votes are illegal votes, period. And I don't know what lawyer said what, you know, accordance to this Rick Scott interview you just did. But if a lawyer said that non-citizens can vote, that's inaccurate.
But my point is, every single vote has to happen and we'll see where it comes out. And there's still some close races in California. This -- it ain't over till it's over.
LOWRY: It's not normal what happened in Broward County. I mean you had a judge there saying that the election supervisor was violating the law by not providing timely and transparent updates about the count. And she actually missed -- mixed, as a matter of fact, mixed improper votes with proper votes in one of these counts. So she is horribly incompetent at best and Ron DeSantis, who will be the next governor of Florida, should fire her at the first opportunity.
HARF: But that's not evidence of fraud. And I think you pressed Rick Scott on that. He could not give you one piece of hard evidence of fraud.
LOWRY: But it under -- it undermines the credibility of the process. And the reason why the rule is there is to create credibility and she went out of her way to ignore and defy the rule.
WALLACE: Well, I -- all right, I'm going to cut this off because we have a couple of minutes left and I want to turn to another story this week, and that was the infamous confrontation between Jim Acosta and President Trump.
Here was the president talking about this on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think Jim Acosta is a very unprofessional man. I think -- he does this with everybody. He gets paid to do that. And he --
TRUMP: Wait, wait, David, do you mind if I answer the question? And as far as I'm concerned, I haven't made that decision. But it could be others also.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Marie, the question, in case you couldn't hear it is, might you remove from other people and how long are you going to keep Jim Acosta in the penalty box?
Marie, you dealt with the press. You had a similar kind of job. You weren't the president, but you were a spokesperson for the State Department.
During your years in those briefings, did you ever see any reporter behave the way that Acosta did? And what do you think of the way that the White House handled it?
HARF: I think that reporters are trying to figure out -- they've been trying to figure out how to cover President Trump for a long time. And if they're changing some of their tactics, I think that's in response to a president who behaves like no politician we've ever seen. If we had behaved like that, we probably would have gotten a similar response from the press.
I hate the president's war with the media. I always have. But this week it really took a different turn. I think this is much more serious when you revoke the hard pass, the press credential for the White House of a major reporter of a major news outlet, accuse him of assaulting a woman, which is such an incentive claim when he clearly did not do that, Chris.
WALLACE: You didn't see him -- I mean if you look at the tape, he clearly is batting her arm away because she's trying to grab the microphone after he's asked about four questions and you don't have a problem with the way Acosta was behaving there?
HARF: Honestly, Chris, I don't. I know a lot of people don't. I'm going to get a lot of criticism for this. Donald Trump is combative. He calls the press terrible names. He called them losers. He calls them liars. And, yes, he was being combative.
WALLACE: And you -- and you don't -- and you don't think that the press is misbehaving in some cases?
HARF: In some cases, but the way the president has responded is so beneath the office he holds. And the way he is cracking down on reporters, the names he calls them, the accusations he levels against them --
LOWRY: You know -- you know who loved every minute of that press conference, every single reporter in the room. They were begging him to keep going. They were begging him to do more of these kind of events. It was utterly transfixing. And it's one reason Republicans have a problem in the suburbs, he acts that way. But it's also -- it shows just what a dominant figure he is and there's still a good chance he can overall beat any Democratic opponent in 2020.
WALLACE: And just in like 20 seconds, what about pulling the hard pass? Is that --
LOWRY: He shouldn't do it. On principle, the president shouldn't be deciding who covers him and then it backfires because it just makes martyrs of these reporters.
HARMAN: And it emboldens other countries, leaders, to pull credentials from their press and there is no free press in most of the -- most parts of the world.
WALLACE: Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our "Power Player of the Week." The last surviving Marine from World War II to receive the Medal of Honor on his latest mission. You won't want to miss this.
WALLACE: As we said at the top of the hour, this is Veterans Day, when we honor the millions of men and women who have defended our freedom. While they all deserve our respect and thanks, I think you will join us in paying tribute to one very special veteran. Here's our "Power Player of the Week."
HERSHEL "WOODY" WILLIAMS, MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: I know we're classified as a hero very often, but I keep saying, I'm not the hero. The heroes didn't get home.
WALLACE (voice over): Meet Hershel "Woody" Williams, the only Marine from World War II to receive the Medal of Honor who is still living.
I had the good fortune to meet Woody at a town hall at the Naval Academy this fall where he told the brigade of midshipmen about fighting in the battle of Iwo Jima.
WALLACE (on camera): Do you feel any sense of fear in that moment?
WILLIAMS: I've always said, if you're being shot at and you have no fear, there something wrong with you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Iwo Jima invasion brought on one of the bitterest of battles.
WALLACE (voice over): Over four hours under heavy enemy fire, he took out a network of Japanese pill boxes with a flamethrower to clear the way for the infantry.
WALLACE (on camera): Aren't they spraying bullets at you?
WILLIAMS: Oh, yes. Yes, absolutely. They're trying their best to get me. Why they didn't get me, I have no answer except I was -- he wasn't ready for me, I guess.
WALLACE (voice over): President Truman gave Woody the nation's highest military honor for valor, but that's where this story begins, not ends. Woody spent 33 years working at the VA, securing benefits for veterans and their families. And in 2010, he started a foundation to honor gold star families who have lost a loved one in battle.
WILLIAMS: We've gotten (INAUDIBLE) for veterans all over this country and most community. But do we have anything that pays tribute to those families who sacrificed one of their own? No, we don't.
WLLACE: The Williams Foundation has helped communities put up 44 monuments to those families across the country with plans to build them in all 50 states.
WILLIAMS: These monuments gathered these gold star families together and they become friends for the very first time. Many of them will say to me, I thought I was alone. Now they're together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's about the gold star families and those survivors, that they have somewhere they can go and remember the name of their loved one.
WILLIAMS: I get tired, but then the cause is so great I can't refuse to do it.
WALLACE: Woody is now 95 years old, but he's on the road 200 days a year. And folks are giving him new honors. This year he flipped the coin at the Super Bowl in the Navy launched a ship named for him.
WILLIAMS: It was like a dream that you never have, but then all of a sudden it really is a reality that you never thought could possibly happen in your lifetime.
WALLACE: But Woody Williams has one final mission, in World War I mothers with a son in the service would put a flag with a blue star in the window. And if the sun should be killed in action, they would paste a gold star over the blue.
WILLIAMS: I'd like to see it today. I'd like to see these -- one of these on every home that has somebody serving in our armed forces. I think it would do something for their community. I really do. And then this, of course, would say to those people in that community, that family gave more than any of us.
WALLACE: And tomorrow Woody will attend the dedication of a gold star families memorial at the Reagan Library in California.
To learn more about Woody's foundation, please visit our website, foxnewssunday.com.
And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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