McConnell on marshalling the votes to confirm Kavanaugh

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," October 7, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


President Trump puts a second justice on the Supreme Court as the Senate votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The ayes are 50, the nays are 48.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just a few hours ago, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.

WALLACE: We'll discuss what Kavanaugh's conversation means for the court, Congress, and the country with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and we'll talk about the bitter politics behind the buzz.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D—N.Y., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Truly, Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation is a low moment for the Senate, for the court, for the country.

WALLACE: With two top senators, Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Ben Cardin.

Then with just 30 days until the midterm elections, will the GOP victory in the court fight work against them in November?


TRUMP: You don't hand matches to an arsonist, and you don't give power to an angry left-wing mob.

WALLACE: We'll ask RNC chair, Ronna McDaniels. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.

Plus, our Sunday panel on whether the Kavanaugh panel has finally bonded President Trump and the Republican Party.

All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday".


WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.

After weeks of shocking accusations, loud protests, and hardball politics, Judge Kavanaugh is now Justice Kavanaugh. The Senate confirmed him by a 50-48 almost straight party line vote. Kavanaugh is expected to take his place on the Supreme Court Tuesday, cementing a solid 5-4 conservative majority.

Kavanaugh's confirmation is expected to shift the balance of power on the court for a generation and it is certain to influence midterm elections that are now just 30 days away.

In a moment, we will speak with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but first, let's bring in Fox News correspondent Kevin Corke with the latest.


PENCE: The nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh of Maryland to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is confirmed.

KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONENT: With a rap of the gavel, history.

But Justice Brett Kavanaugh's road to the Supreme Court was more than the culmination of years of hard work and months of political imaginations, its bond resistance moments on both ends of the political spectrum, resist Trump and resist mob rule.


CORKE: From the halls of Congress to the steps of the capital, in the shadow of the high court itself, protests reverberated across Washington.

In the end, it was a success for the man who replaces his mentor on the court, and for a president, sweet victory after a long bitter battle.

TRUMP: And I want to thank our incredible Republican senators for refusing to back down in the face of the Democrats' shameless campaign of political and personal destruction.

CORKE: Amid the finality, bruising contrast of victory and defeat, a

divided America and the promise of more battles to come.

SCHUMER: So to Americans, to so many millions who are outraged by what happened here, there is one answer, vote.


CORKE: Chris, Monday at 7:00 p.m. here at the White House, the president will welcome Justice Kavanaugh for a swearing in event, then Tuesday morning, it is off to work, his first day as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court -- Chris.

WALLACE: Kevin Corke reporting from the White House -- Kevin, thanks for that.

Joining me now from Louisville, Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Senator, you have called putting conservative justices on the court, conservative judges at all levels of the court, the most consequential action that you can take in your role. I want to put up with the record is under President Trump with you as majority leader, two Supreme Court justices have been confirmed and 26 judges have been put on the circuit courts. That's the fastest pace in history.

Question, sir, is your proudest moment as a senator?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R—K.Y., SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I think so. I think the most important thing the Senate is involved in is the personnel business. The House is not in the personnel business. And of the various 1200 appointments who come to us for confirmation, obviously the most important are the lifetime appointments to the courts and we prioritize handling President Trump's outstanding nominees for the Supreme Court as well as the circuit courts and we've done 26 so far as you indicated, record, and they'll be more before the end of the year.

WALLACE: Some hard right conservatives have criticized you over the year as to establishment, but now they are lining up to praise you for ramming through the Kavanaugh nomination and even the likes of Steve Bannon has praised what he called strong leadership.

Are you happy to have his approval, sir?

MCCONNELL: It's almost an out-of-body experience, I must say.


WALLACE: But how do take this criticism that the Tea Party, the far right of the Republican Party has had a view over the years has he been trying to do your business up on Capitol Hill?

MCCONNELL: Well, it's pretty hard to be the majority leader of Senate without getting some criticism. I'd rather be judged about my record, and I think this has been an extraordinarily accomplished Congress, in fact, the most productive two year period in the time I've been in the Senate, whether it's taxes, regulations. We've got the economy booming, and we are making long-term systemic changes in the courts that will serve future generations of Americans in a very good way.

WALLACE: I know there have been some bipartisan accomplishments as well. You voted on an FAA bill in this last week. You also did a big bill to fight the opioid crisis.

But there's no question that this Kavanaugh confirmation battle has come at a cost that just the relations between Republican senators and Democratic senators seem to have taken a downturn. Here is Democratic senator -- Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on the floor this week talking about and criticizing you for delaying them after what he said was your ten-month delay in blocking the nomination of Merrick Garland from President Obama.

Here is Schumer


SCHUMER: No American should accept his admonishments about delay. He's the master of delay. Compared to ten months, leaving the Scalia seat open, who are we kidding?


WALLACE: Senator, how broken is the Senate?

MCCONNELL: The Senate is not broken. We didn't attack Merrick Garland's background and try to destroy him. We didn't go on a search and destroy mission.

We simply followed the tradition in America, which is if you have a party of a different -- a different Senate of a different party than the president, you don't fill a vacancy created in the presidential year. That went all the way back to 1888.

Schumer himself said 18 months before the end of the Bush tenure that if a vacancy occurred, they would fill it.

So what we did was follow tradition. But we didn't attack the nominee. We didn't go on a search and destroy mission.

I agree with Chuck Schumer, this has been a low point in the Senate. I have a different view about who caused the low point. Senate Judiciary Democrats linking Dr. Ford's name against apparently her desires, then trying to lower the standard and say that the presumption of innocence no longer applies in the United States of America and then the mob descended on Capitol Hill and tried to intimidate our members into opposing this good man nomination.

We stood up to the mob. We established the presumption of innocence is so important. I'm proud of my colleagues. This is an important day for the United States Senate.

WALLACE: I have to pick up on something that you said because -- maybe I have this wrong, but when you blocked Merrick Garland's nomination from president Obama, you basically said that we don't do this in a presidential election year and that we wait until the election and then whoever the people choose, they get to pick the Supreme Court nominee. But what you just said now was it's a question of whether or not it's the party in control of the Senate is different than the president.

The question I guess I'm getting to here is, if Donald Trump were to name somebody in the final year of his first term in 2020, are you saying that you would go ahead with that nomination?

MCCONNELL: Well, I understand your question of what I told you is what the history of the Senate has been. You have to go back to 1880 to find the last time a vacancy created in a presidential election year on the Supreme Court was confirmed by a Senate of a different party than the president. That's the history -


WALLACE: So, if you can answer my direct question. Are you saying that if Donald Trump --

MCCONNELL: The answer to your question is, we'll see if there's a vacancy in 2020.

WALLACE: But you're not ruling out the possibility since you're the Republican majority leader and there's a Republican president that you would go for and push the nomination of a Trump nominee in the election year.

MCCONNELL: What I'm telling you is, the history is, you have to go back to 1880 to find the last time a Senate controlled party different from the president filled a vacancy on the Supreme Court that was created in the middle of a presidential election year. That's been the history.

WALLACE: Final question, sir.

In the Alabama Senate race last year, you very quickly said after Judge Roy Moore was accused of inappropriate conduct towards teenagers many years ago, you immediately said that you believe the women. Why didn't you believe Christine Ford?

MCCONNELL: I can't imagine comparing Brett Kavanaugh to Roy Moore.

WALLACE: Well, but there -- the comparison -- I'm not comparing them. I'm comparing the fact --

MCCONNELL: Well, multiple witnesses come over and over kept popping up. Here we had an FBI investigation and three members of our conference who were undecided, took a look at the FBI investigation and two of the three decided to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.

WALLACE: The only point I'd make, sir, not trying to get into an argument with you, is you oppose the FBI investigation.

MCCONNELL: No, I didn't. It was negotiated in my office. We agreed on the parameters of the FBI investigation in a meeting in my office Friday a week ago, Senator Murkowski, Senator Collins, Senator Flake, that was the scope of the FBI investigation.

We agreed it would go on for a week and we agreed we would talk to the people that Dr. Ford had mentioned and the people that Ramirez had mentioned. And that the investigation that was done and our members who were undecided took a look at the report and two out of three of them decided to support the nominee.

WALLACE: Senator McConnell, thank you.

MCCONNELL: But, Chris, I think it's outrageous to compare Brett Kavanaugh to Roy Moore.

WALLACE: I didn't do so. I was simply comparing the fact that in one case, you believe the accusers and in other case, you didn't. I'm not comparing Judge Roy Moore and Brett Kavanaugh.

MCCONNELL: Good, because there is no comparison.

WALLACE: OK. On that, we agreed. Thank you for your time today, sir, and congratulations.

Now joining us here in Washington, a key Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham.

Senator, I hesitate to get into this after my conversation with Mitch McConnell, I think of you generally as a happy political warrior, but I've got to say over the last couple of weeks --


WALLACE: -- you have seemed angry. I guess I'm questioning, what has gotten so much under your skin? I wanted to take a look at Lindsey Graham over the last couple of weeks. Here you are.


GRAHAM: This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics.

I thought she was handled respectfully. I thought Kavanaugh was treated like crap.


Yes. Well, boo yourselves.



WALLACE: So, why are -- well, now you look -- you seem happy, but why have you been an unhappy warrior these couple of weeks?

WALLACE: I'm happy because the effort to humiliate and railroad a man I've known for 20 years who's never been banned from a mall, unlike Roy Moore, failed. If I am that those who try to destroy his life fell short, I'm glad that those who try to overturn the rule of law and replace it with mob rule lost.

I've never been more pissed in my life. I voted for Sotomayor and Kagan. I would never done this to them. This is character assassination. This is wanting power too much.

And to the extent that I came to the age of this good aide and help defeat this debacle, I am happy as a clam.

WALLACE: All right. Well, let me tell you something that may not make you happy I bring it up because it appears that the Kavanaugh confirmation is not going to end this fight. Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler --


WALLACE: -- of New York who would if the Democrats take the House become the House Judiciary chairman is already talked about launching an investigation into alleged misconduct by Kavanaugh. Nancy Pelosi says she wants to see the FBI interviews and the second background check.

It doesn't sound like this is going to end.

GRAHAM: Well, we'll know in November of that make sense. I hope everyone running for the House in these purple districts will be asked the question, do you support impeaching Judge Kavanaugh based on five allegations, none of which could be corroborated? Do you want an outcome so badly that you would basically turn the law upside down?

All I can say is that this is going to the streets at the ballot box. I'm going to -- I've never campaigned against a colleague in my life. That's about to change. I'm going to go throughout this country and let people in these, you know, purple states, red states where Trump won, know what I thought, know what I think about this process.

WALLACE: Now, we were talking before we came on the air and I see that you have a list of all the people that the president has said or on the list for potential nominees.


WALLACE: What's your point?

GRAHAM: So, here's my point. This is a list that was compiled in November, but he actually put it out during the campaign. There's twenty-something people on this list. I'm asking Chuck Schumer, name five, name three, name one that would be okay with you.

Brett Kavanaugh was a mainstream judge. I would've chosen if I had been president. Bush supported him. Everybody running for president on our side believed that Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch were outstanding conservative jurists. The other side wants to cancel the election.

So, Chuck, if you want someone new? Look at this list and see anybody you agree to but what you want to do, Senator Schumer, is to overturn the election and you pick the judges.

We're not going to let you pick the judges. If you want to pick judges, then you need to win the White House. When Obama won that, I voted for two judges that he picked.

So, Chuck Schumer, name one person on this list you think is acceptable.

WALLACE: There was a tough column in "The New York Times" today that attacks you. I want to some of it up. Frank Bruni writes: I can't think of another Republican whose journey from anti-Trump outrage to pro-Trump obsequiousness was quite so illogical or half as sad. And he suggests that you are auditioning to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

Your response, sir?

GRAHAM: Frank, you don't know what you're talking about. In your world, Frank, it's a noble cause to destroy a judicial candidate who is conservative, whether it'd be Thomas, Alito, Bork, now Kavanaugh.

I am bipartisan when it makes sense. I try to have a good disposition because I like my job. But don't mistake that I don't care about the conservative cause. So, if I made you upset because I would not legitimize McCarthyism, then good, and I think I can survive in South Carolina.

WALLACE: Senator Graham, thank you. Always good to talk with you, sir.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

WALLACE: And I'm glad to see you're back in a good mood.

GRAHAM: I'm in good mood and I like Ben Cardin.

WALLACE: There you go. Now, is it true that you're going for all this talk about you and obsequious, are you going to go play golf with the president today?

GRAHAM: Yes, I'm not going to give him any strokes. You know, this third term thing is looking better and better.

Ben, hope you win. You're a good man.


WALLACE: That maybe a kiss of death.


GRAHAM: That maybe the end of Ben.

WALLACE: All right. And now, we want to hear from the other side. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin joins us. Like all of his Democratic colleagues, he voted against Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Senator Cardin, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday" and I apologize for him praising you. No, that's not --

SEN. BEN CARDIN, D—MD.: It's good to be with you, we work on many issues together. We certainly disagree on this one.

WALLACE: OK. Let start with the bottom line, what impact do you think Justice Kavanaugh will have on the Supreme Court, how dramatically, drastically will he move it to the right?

CARDIN: Well, this is Justice Kennedy's seat and Justice Kennedy was a balancing factor on the Supreme Court. We are very concerned about protecting the progress we've made on health care issues, on women's constitutional rights, on protecting the Mueller investigations. So, all those issues we think are at risk and is going to put I think more interest on the Congress of the United States to protect health care, to protect women's rights, and protect that no one is above the law.

WALLACE: But does a president -- getting back to Kavanaugh -- doesn't a president deserve deference when he chooses a justice for the Supreme Court as long as that person is in the judicial mainstream? And I think we all agree that he is certainly to the right side, but he's in the judicial mainstream.

I mean, the fact is, Democratic presidents are going to appoint liberals and Republican presidents are going to appoint conservatives. Don't -- as Senator Graham said, President Trump won, this was an issue in the campaign. Doesn't he deserve deference when he picks a conservative justice?

CARDIN: I don't believe that Justice Kavanaugh is in the mainstream of judicial thought. Take a look at his decisions. There's a trend. Every one of those decisions were he was in the minority or he was the deciding vote, it was on behalf of special interests, on behalf of the powerful against the individual, consumer cases, environmental cases, labor cases, one after another.

And then his response to Dr. Ford where he showed that he was not, didn't have the judicial temperament and he wasn't impartial, he was partisan. I think those issues really came out during this process and it does concern as to whether he'll be an independent voice on the Supreme Court and the checks and balance in our system.

WALLACE: Senator Graham pointed out that he had a list of the 25 and 26 judges that, you know, are all members of the Courts of Appeals, state Supreme Court's. I'm not asking you, but -- I mean, my guess is that you and Chuck Schumer and a lot of Democrats would say not a single person on that list is a member of the judicial mainstream.

CARDIN: So, Chris, the way it should go, the way that former presidents have done, they developed a list, not an outside group. They the ones who developed the list, and yes, they do talk to the members of the Senate before they make the nomination and try to narrow the list to one that will be more acceptable among the United States senators. That's how the process.

When Barack Obama was president, he talked about Democrats and Republicans in the Judiciary Committee before he made his announcements. That's the way the process should go. You don't take an outside list by an outside group.

WALLACE: But haven't Republicans been less political about Supreme Court confirmations than Democrats. I want to put some statistics up on the screen.

Take a look at how many yes votes Democratic nominees have gotten since Bill Clinton, these are the Democrats appointed by Clinton and Obama, from Ginsburg with 96 votes, to Kagan with 63. Now, take a look at the Republican nominees by Bush 43 and now, President Trump, From Roberts with 78 to Kavanaugh with 50.

Senate Democrats have been much less likely to cross the aisle and vote for a Republican nominee than Republicans have been to vote for Democratic nominee.

CARDIN: Well, let me also point out that even though some of those were below 60, the filibuster was not used until Judge Gorsuch to change the number from 60 to 50. That put us in different quarters. So, the change that Senator McConnell made to rules of the Supreme Court really caused us to be much more partisan than this.

WALLACE: But in fairness, you guys did it first in 2013, not for the Supreme Court but for lower court judges. I mean, there are no hands that are clean here.


CARDIN: I agree, we could go back and forth. Of course, the Republicans blocked President Obama for putting anyone on the Court of Appeals of the district.


CARDIN: So we go a back and forth here. My point is this: we need to have a president who will consult with Congress of the United States Senate before he makes is nominations, have an open process for considering nominees, not restrict himself to the Federalist Society.

WALLACE: Final question, how big of an issue do things will be in the midterms if Democrats have already been mobilized, Republicans are saying you gave him a political gift by your opposition and that this is going to energize Republicans.

CARDIN: I think is going to boil down to our concerns about whether we're going to protect the gains we made in health care, on pre-existing conditions, where we're concerned about the Mueller investigation being interfered with. I think, yes, constitutional right of women -- those issues are going to be on the ballot in the midterm and Judge Kavanaugh underscores those issues.

WALLACE: Senator Cardin, thank you. Thanks for coming and always a pleasure to talk to you.

CARDIN: Thanks.

WALLACE: Up next, Kavanaugh's confirmation is a big victory for conservatives. But will there be a lasting cost to Congress on the court? We'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the fallout next.



TRUMP: I stand before you today on the heels of a tremendous victory for our nation, our people, and our beloved Constitution.


WALLACE: President Trump at a rally last night in Kansas reacting to the hard-fought confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

And it's time now for our Sunday group. Josh Holmes, Senator Mitch McConnell's former chief of staff and now a GOP strategist; columnist for "The Hill", Juan Williams; the co-host of "Benson and Harf" on a Fox News Radio, Marie Harf, and Fox News politics editor, Chris Stirewalt, editor of the new book "Every Man A King".

So, Josh, as a former chief of staff for Mitch McConnell, how determined was he to get this nomination through, how disturbed he was he by the ugly turn it took in the last couple of weeks?

JOSH HOLMES, FOUNDER, CAVALRY: Yes. I mean, look, I think we have learned for the 10,000th time over the last 10 years that you'd better pack a lunch and buck your chins up if you're going to come up Mitch McConnell when it comes to a Senate battle, and I think this once again demonstrated his resolve in uniting his conference and making sure that they got to the end of what was an incredibly ugly process.

WALLACE: And how -- the accusations by women, to what degree do you think -- because it seemed to be a fairly routine, tough, but fairly routine confirmation until that point, and that must've been tough for everybody on both sides.

HOLMES: Well, it's unprecedented in a lot of ways, right? I think the thing that was most disturbing to Republican senators is to watch the presumption of innocence completely evaporate before our eyes in the context of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and that, all of a sudden, allegations however serious they might be without any kind of corroboration were beginning to carry the day.

And I think from McConnell's point of view and from Lindsey Graham, your previous guest, what they tried to do was get to the information, provide the information, make sure that every senator had an opportunity to not only review the FBI report but all of the testimonial letters that came in and eventually, they would come to the conclusion that Judge Kavanaugh should be Justice Kavanaugh.

WALLACE: Marie, that Democrats are going to do their best to link the events of this week in the last few weeks to the #MeToo movement, to say it's another demonstration of Republicans hostility towards women.

I want to play, though, a clip from the deciding vote on this issue, and that was a woman, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Here she is.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R—ME.: The allegations failed to meet the more likely than not standard. Therefore, I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court.


WALLACE: Marie, what are Republicans supposed to do when the FBI does this background check andfails to come up with a single piece of evidence to corroborate Dr. Ford's story? What are theysupposed to do?

MARIE HARF, CO-HOST, "BENSON & HARF": Well, I think what you'll hear from Democrats, Chris, is that it became clear over the past week, particularly since the hearing, right, that everything since that hearing, the FBI investigation, who they were allowed to actually speak to, the fact that they didn't re-interview Brett Kavanaugh or Christine Ford, it became clear to many people that this appeared to be a box checking exercise, that it was a fig leaf designed --

WALLACE: Wait, wait --

HARF: -- designed to provide legitimacy for a predetermined outcome.

WALLACE: They had talked to -- they talked to everybody that Christine Blasey Ford had put near that house that night and other people who weren't at the house that night but might -- to be able to -- I mean, yes, they say she didn't talk to people she had talked to on the beach 20 years later, but in terms of anybody who had a contemporaneous account, they talked to everybody.

HARF: They didn't get her therapist's notes from years ago --

WALLACE: But 20 years later.

HARF: That's fine, Chris. But --


HOLMES: They asked for the therapist's notes, but they didn't get them. They weren't provide.

HARF: But I will say, look, everything you and I are talking about right now, they didn't do, right? So, to many people who already believe the Republican Party has a problem with women, this exercise, this week-long investigation to them will look like it was just designed to give legitimacy to a preordained outcome, and it's what's been said since then.

It's Donald Trump making fun of Christine Ford. It's Orrin Hatch telling survivors of sexual assault, he will listen to them when they grow out. This is a pattern. This anger has been building for two years since Donald Trump was elected. #MeToo started a year ago on Friday.

It is not just about the Supreme Court. This is about the broader cultural moment we are living in. And a lot of people feeling like the Republican Party, quite frankly, doesn't care about women. That's the argument Democrats are going to make, I think.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I think this is brutish politics, I agree with Marie. I think the FBI probe was a sham. It was a whitewash.

And I think most people understand that the constraints were put in place by the White House. This was a thoroughly political process. I think --


WILLIAMS: Let me finish, Josh.

I think the damage here is to so many American institutions. We're past the point. Obviously he is confirmed. They did this in a rush yesterday, as if there's more to come and they want to make sure that he's already in place.

But the key here is the damage -- we've seen damaged our intelligence institutions under this president, to the FBI director --

WALLACE: OK, all right, we're not going to have a --

WILLIAMS: Hand on, but I'm telling you, the Supreme Court --

WALLACE: We're talking about this -- this case.

WILLIAMS: The Supreme Court now is damaged, Chris, in a lasting way.

WALLACE: All right, let me -- let me -- let me -- no, but --

WILLIAMS: And -- no, but, oh, go ahead.

WALLACE: Well, I -- we do have questions --

WILLIAMS: I was going to finish. I was going to finish my sentence (ph).

WALLACE: We want to play well with -- with others there.

WILLIAMS: No, I'm playing well, I want to finish my point.

WALLACE: All right, Chris, go ahead.

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS POLITICS EDITOR: Look, this is going to intensify voters on both ends of the spectrum. This has turned up the volume on what was already a very intense, very embittered midterm --

WALLACE: Wait, we're going to get to politics in the next segment. What do you think of the argument that this was a sham, the FBI investigation, that it wasn't a serious investigation?

STIREWALT: Well, you know you're in Washington when one week the Republicans tells you that the FBI is a rotten, corrupt institution that should not be listen to, and the Democrats say that they are the saviors of our republic, and then you wait a week and they just switch lanes and the White House has turned around and loves the FBI and Democrats say they stink. So I don't put -- I don't put too much -- I don't put too much stock in that because those are situational opinions and attitudes that are going to shift with the next controversy.


HOLMES: But I think there's one thing that we need to clear up here, because I -- Democrats have just sort of re-appropriated facts in how this FBI investigation came to be. And what happened was Senator Flake decided, along with Senator Coons, that they need interviews that were before the Senate Judiciary Committee in order to have a more full -- fulsome decision. So when they went to Leader McConnell and sat down and talked about what that FBI investigation might look like, it wasn't Donald Trump who was dictating the terms of the FBI investigation. In fact, it was the senators who still had an open mind about the nomination itself. They are the ones that dictated the terms of the --

WALLACE: All right, let's let Marie respond.

MARIE HARF, CO-HOST, "BENSON & HARF": But, Josh, I would say, can you admit that the fact that the two key people weren't re-interviewed.


HARF: That there were numerous people who gave information and were never contacted by the FBI? That left lingering questions. And it's --

HOLMES: It's a talking point, Marie. It's -- you know --

HARF: It's not. You know what, though, as someone who tried to look at this fairly, I don't think it's a talking point. I heard from Republicans over the last three years, why was Hillary Clinton interviewed so late in the FBI? Why wasn't she under oath? They didn't even interview Judge Kavanaugh.

WALLACE: All right, let's talk Senate.

HOLMES: That has nothing to do -- whataboutism is you want.

HARF: So --

HOLMES: But the simple matter is, the way this works, under penalty of perjury --

HARF: It leaves questions in people's minds.

HOLMES: Whether it's with the Senate Judiciary Committee or whether it's the FBI, an interview is an interview is an interview. And we had three plus hours of Judge Kavanaugh. Three plus hours of Dr. Ford.

HARF: Not by investigators, by senators, not by FBI trained investigators.

HOLMES: It is a matter of public record and that is the same thing that you get in an FBI investigation. And so this is --

HARF: It's not.

HOLMES: Absolutely a talking point. The idea that we don't know what each person's take was on the situation after all of this --

HARF: It's not a talking point.

HOLMES: Only -- only underscores the --

WALLACE: All right, I'm glad we have settled this and that now with the confirmation all this has been --

HARF: But -- but this debate we're having is the debate happening out there right now, right?

WALLACE: Well, we're going to talk about the politics. We're going to bring you back a little bit later to talk about this.

Up next, we'll discuss the political fallout from the Kavanaugh confirmation and how it will shape the vote in the November midterm, now just 30 days away. Republican Party Chair Ronna McDaniel joins us next.


WALLACE: Coming up, Republicans savor their Supreme Court victory.


MCDONNELL: Judge Brett Kavanaugh is among the very best our nation has to offer. He will make the Senate and the country proud.


WALLACE: We'll ask the head of the RNC, Ronna McDaniel, just how much Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation will help the GOP in November, next on "Fox News Sunday."


WALLACE: With just one month until the midterms, Democrats still hope for a blue wave while Republicans feel more optimistic about keeping control of both houses of Congress. But just how big a Kavanaugh bump will we see in November?

Joining me now, Republican Party Chair Ronna McDaniel.

Welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."


WALLACE: We should note, though, that we invited DNC Chair Tom Perez to join us as well. He declined. But we're very happy to have you here.

MCDANIEL: Thrilled to be here.

WALLACE: The fight over the Kavanaugh confirmation seems to have energized Republican voters. And I want to take a look at a pole. Let's put it up.

In a poll in July, 78 percent of Democrats said the November elections are, quote, "very important," compared to 68 percent of Republicans. But in a new poll, that ten-point intensity or enthusiasm gap has now shrunk to two points, 82 percent for Democrats, 80 percent for Republicans. What is it about the Kavanaugh confirmation process that you think has mobilized your voters?

MCDANIEL: I think it's been a culmination of things. The Democrats have doubled down on resist and obstruct the past two years, but this has brought all of that to the forefront with the protests, with the interruptions during the hearings, and now with this smear campaign of Judge Kavanaugh, holding these allegations back towards -- to the 11th hour. I think Republicans have woken up and said, listen, it's a very clear choice, do we want resist, obstruct, delay, dysfunction in Washington. And -- and they're also seeing the results, 3.7 percent unemployment, 4 million new jobs in this country. So it's a pretty clear choice between which party is delivering and which party is obstructing.

WALLACE: Some analysts say that this new energy, what Senator McConnell called a political gift of the Kavanaugh case, will help you more in senate races, in state races, state-wide races, than it will in House raises, particularly in suburban districts. Let me put this up on the screen. In a recent Quinnipiac poll, when voters were asked the generic ballot question, who do you back in your House district, 49 percent said the Democratic candidate, while 42 percent said the Republican. So it's still plus seven for the Democrats. Is the Kavanaugh bump, if there is any, playing differently in House and Senate races?

MCDANIEL: It's not. It's helping across the board in House and Senate races. We're seeing that. That generic ballot has narrowed. It was double digits. Now it's at seven. But I'm looking at every race across the country. You have about 30 that are within the margin of error. Certainly district were Hillary Clinton won where we have Republican incumbents. Our job is to turn out our base first. Our base is completely energized right now. And the Kavanaugh hearings has just highlighted how important this election is for them.

WALLACE: But in House races, we also see a big gender gap. And, again, let's put up the numbers, men favor Republicans to control Congress by three points, 47 percent to 44, but women back the Democratic candidates to control Congress by 25 points, 58 percent to 33. And won't the Kavanaugh fight, where Republicans sided with the male accused over the female accuser, only add to that gender gap?

MCDANIEL: Republicans sided with due process and the rule of law and the presumption of innocence. It had nothing to do with male versus female. They said, this is our standard for our country. Dr. Ford did not produce any evidence that added to her allegations. Nobody that she named at that party has backed up that story. And Republicans have said, we're not going to change the way we conduct the law in this country. Suburban white women, which I happen to be one of them, educated women, we looked at that and said, we agree with due process. And I was at a beauty salon right after the Kavanaugh hearings in suburban Detroit, where I live, one of these battleground districts, and every woman was talking about it and they agreed with the importance of due process.

WALLACE: But -- but every poll shows that there is a gender gap.

MCDANIEL: There is. And there was in 2016 with women, especially college-educated women.

I'm going to these Trump rallies. I've noticed in the past three, I get the demographics, more women are showing up than men. We have seen an insurgence of new, online donors. It's coming from women and men. We have to do our work with women, but Democrats treat women as single issue voters. We treat women as the whole voter. They care about health care. They care about the economy. They recognize that 4 million jobs have come back to this country. They recognize the unemployment was (INAUDIBLE) 65 year low.

WALLACE: But you're -- you're not say -- you're not saying where there's a 25-percent gap, 25-point gap between how women view Democrats versus Republicans, oh, well, they're just being fooled by the Democrats and -- and what would the single issue be?

MCDANIEL: Well, the single issue with the Kavanaugh hearing is abortion rights. I mean Democrats tried to mobilize women by saying if Kavanaugh sits on the bench, women are going to die. I mean that's the type of hyperbole and rhetoric they're putting forward. Susan Collins highlighted that in their speech. They want to make it about abortion rights. We're talking to women about the economy, about health care, about results that are happening that are making people's lives better.

WALLACE: Two questions -

MCDANIEL: Wages are up. Unemployment at a record low. Women are whole issue voters.

WALLACE: Then there is President Trump, who, this week, went after Christine Blasey Ford at a rally. Let's listen to some of that.


TRUMP: I had one beer. Well, do you think it was -- nope, it was one beer. Oh, good. How did you get home? I don't remember. How did you get there? I don't remember. There is the place? I don't remember. How many years ago was it? I don't know. I don't know.


WALLACE: Do you think that's helpful with suburban Republican women?

MCDANIEL: You know, I was with the president that day. It was more about the media. The media was printing stories about Brett Kavanaugh involved in an ice fight --

WALLACE: But -- but he was -- but he was quoting Christine Blasey Ford.

MCDANIEL: But, no -- but he was -- the media was focusing on an ice fight with Brett Kavanaugh. They were focusing on everything he had done as a 16 and 17-year-old boy and they were not being fair about recognizing the inconsistencies in her testimony. And to say, yes, she doesn't know where it was, when it was, who was there -- who was her there, who drove her home, that is fair and why didn't the media give that the same attention that they gave to Brett Kavanaugh as they destroyed his character?

WALLACE: Even without the Kavanaugh confirmation, which is obviously a big victory for the president, this was one of the best weeks of the Trump presidency. He finalized a big trade deal with --excuse me -- with Mexico and Canada and we also saw those unemployment numbers come out onFriday, 3.7 percent, the lowest since 1969. Is the economy still the strongest issue you have going into these midterms?

MCDANIEL: Yes. We'll be putting forward a choice to voters. Results (INAUDIBLE) resistance (ph). Are you better off than you were two years ago? Are jobs coming back to this country? Have we had a turnaround? Is our military being funded? Is ISIS on the run? All those things we can say, yes, because Republicans have delivered results.

Democrats are running on resist and obstruct. They're not being shy about it. They want to bring more dysfunction. You're already talking about more hearings that they want to put in place if they get the House, impeachment hearings. It is a very clear choice for voters and I think the economy is the driving factor that will help us keep the majority.

WALLACE: Ms. McDaniel, thank you. Thanks for your time, especially during his very busy homestretch of the campaign.

MCDANIEL: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: When we come back, will the president string of wins this week translate into victory in November?

Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about the impact the Supreme Court battle will have on the midterms? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @foxnewssunday and we may use your question on the air.



TRUMP: You don't hand matches to an arsonist, and you don't give power to an angry left wing mob. And that's what they've become.


WALLACE: President Trump's political rally cry after the confirmation of his second Supreme Court justice, now just one month before the midterms.

And we're back with the panel.

We asked you for questions for the panel and we got this on Twitter from Greg who tweets, "will the controversy provoked Republican voters to turn out in greater numbers than anticipated?

Chris, how do you answer Greg? Has the Kavanaugh fight energized Republicans and is this something that you think can -- has staying power, will last for -- for weeks?

STIREWALT: So we should -- we should point out, you share the numbers with Chairwoman McDaniel, which is Republican intensity has come to meet Democrats. But not because Democrats went down. Everybody's up. All th enumbers are up. The intensity is huge.

But I will put it this way, the gift of this for Republicans was that there is a division in the Republican Party between conservatives who were maybe not Trump voters, Trump skeptic at least, and Trump's populist base, who don't -- voted for him in spite of him being a Republican, not because he was one. The coalition was frayed. They agree on this one because the conservatives care the most about the Supreme Court than any other issue set that they have. We saw it in 2016. But on the other side, quite significantly, this was -- it became a social issue because of the ground over which it was fought, because it was Me Too stuff and his reactionary, cultural warrior supporters come into this space too.

WALLACE: And, briefly, I mean in Trump world, 30 days is an eternity.

STIREWALT: Oh, my gosh.

WALLACE: I mean we could have 400 new cycles. Does this last?

STIREWALT: Well, look, some of it lasts no matter what. But the question is, we've got all of the unknown unknowns that are going to come between here and there and it relates to Russia and up bajillion other things that could come to bear on this. So I will -- I will refrain from speculation.

WALLACE: Juan, given the fact that Democrats were clearly, as we saw in that poll, already mobilized, a lot of them in their opposition to President Trump, does this -- if it does energize the Republican voters and conservative voters, is this a net plus for the Republicans, the Kavanaugh fight?

WILLIAMS: Yes. Well, in the short run, again, your point is well taken, we don't know if this dissipates between now and Election Day. But I would say that in specifics, given the white male dominance in the GOP base, there has been this outpouring in all the language that we've seen attendant to it about making judgments, proving him guilty before anybody has introduced convincing evidence and that kind of thing, even though this was not a legal proceeding. We were talking about putting a man on a high court.

But I think, looking at the numbers that you put up, you can see that it alienated a lot of also white women, Republicans, independents, and that's why you see the gap that was displayed in those numbers. So if you're looking at the races, you talk about races in suburban districts outside of major metropolitan areas, many of them that went for Hillary Clinton but have a Republican House member, I think you put those in greater danger.

Separate situation with regard to the state races, because so many races at the moment in this 2018 cycle are red state where the Democrats are trying to defend and I think you're going to have more problems there, although it's telling that Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp and others decided they were going to vote against Kavanaugh.

WALLACE: Let me turn to you, Josh.

What about this analysis, and Juan just referred to it, that this is going to -- may play differently and statewide Senate races than it does in much more localized House races and that it will benefit, particular given the map and the fact that the Republicans have so few seats up and Democrats have so many and so many of them are in Republican red states that Donald Trump ran, that it could help a lot in the Senate races, but could hurt, for instance, in those key swing, suburban districts that now have a Republican Congress.

HOLMES: So, I mean, I think there's a danger of over analyzing based on data that we don't know. But what we do know is that Republicans have been absolutely set on fire by this. We also know that Democrats have basically the best political environment in the generation before they decided to hand the microphone to Spartacus for their closing argument here.

Now we find ourselves past Kavanaugh is -- these red states like Indiana, North Dakota, Missouri West Virginia, in particular, and in huge danger. Now, Joe Manchin may have done himself a favor by voting for Kavanaugh, but the rest of these are in significant danger.

What we don't know is whether those Republican voters who supported Republicans in '12, '14, and '16 will be there in suburban America, which Republicans have had a problem with. But we also don't know that women or a monolithic voting bloc here. I think that some of the data has shown that suburban women see this very, very differently than Democrats would like them to.

WALLACE: Do you agree with that, Marie?

HARF: Well, I think it's a little too early to tell, but what I do know is, those suburban women, for the last year and a half, have been really moving away from the Republican Party because of President Trump in his actions and his comments. In the next 30 days, there are a lot of things we don't know, but I can guarantee that President Trump will likely say things that offend many people, particularly on the left, that remind many independents and Republican women why they're uncomfortable with him. And a lot of this Kumbaya in the Republican Party may dissipate because President Trump can't get out of his own way.

I do think that the Republican Party should recognize this is bigger than Kavanaugh. Democrats have been on fire for two years. This is -- this, in Democrats' mind, is the latest in a pattern of -- of not taking women seriously. And that's the argument they're going to make. It's not going to be about the Supreme Court --

WILLIAMS: You know the --

HARF: It's going to be about the overall message, I think, Chris.

WILLIAMS: I think the x factor that we haven't attended here is increase in Democratic voter registration.

HARF: That's right.

WILLIAMS: And it's very high. And it's continued. Remember, Republicans are unable to run on repeal of ObamaCare, unable to run on building a border wall or reducing the deficit. I think you look at a lot of these districts, going back to Pennsylvania 18, Conor Lamb, or the Alabama Senate race and you see that the dynamic is, this is a referendum on Trump and Republicans had little before Kavanaugh to fire up the base. We've seen them fired up now. Does it last?

WALLACE: But one of the things, Chris, that you -- you get a sense Republicans are going to say is that the Democrats have so overplayed their hand in Kavanaugh and they'll continue to overplay it. They can talk -- and you heard the president say that, they want to talk about impeaching him. They want to talk about impeaching Brett Kavanaugh. Jerry Nadler, the potential House Judiciary chairman, is talking about launching an investigation. They can run against, you put these guys in charge, and that's really what the president was saying, that it's a mob and you don't give the match to the arsonist.

STIREWALT: Well, and that's what I've been saying for months and months and months that probably the best thing for Donald Trump's 2020 re-election is for Republicans to lose the House by a small majority to Democrats because this is where Trump is at his performative best when he is fighting viciously, brutally with the other side, demonizing --

WALLACE: But -- but is it a winning argument for him to prevent Democrats from taking over? In other words, will it work in this -- in this election?

STIREWALT: It will help him in the Senate. The reality here is, just on its face -- and Josh is right, it's too soon to say -- but on its face, it looks like this. It's helpful for Republicans in the Senate because as he math. And as Juan pointed out, it's a historically heinous map for Democrats. But in the House, it's probably helpful for Democrats because of where the districts this is being contested.

WALLACE: What about the argument, Marie, that you hear some Republicans make that Democrats overplayed their hand in this case and that it has created a backlash and that that's going to hurt the Democrats?

HARF: I think Democrats need to be careful about that. Look, I argued when Kavanaugh was nominated, we should get this over with quickly because we didn't have the votes to prevent him from getting on the court and it's not a winning argument for us when it comes to the ballot box. Democrats just don't vote on judicial issues the same way Republicans do.

I think that a lot of Democrats are auditioning for 2020. They need to stay focused on 2018, getting the majority back and I do think that we -- Democrats, my party, needs to be careful not to go overplay, not to play to the cameras, to focus on winning elections. In the House, actually, there's been more of that. The Senate has been more, I don't know, crazy when it comes to people sort ofpreening for the cameras --


HARF: And not just focused on -- on the politics.


HARF: I know, look at all of that agreement you just got on set (ph). (INAUDIBLE) what I just said.

I -- I --

WALLACE: One quick question because we're about to run out of time, does the presidential race for 2020 start the day after this election?

HARF: It's already started.

WILLIAMS: Oh, yes.


WALLACE: Already started.

HARF: Absolutely.

WALLACE: All right, panel, see you next Sunday.And we'll be right back with the final word.


WALLACE: For the latest on Brett Kavanaugh taking his seat on the Supreme Court and all the political fallout, please stay tuned to this station and Fox News Channel.

And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."

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