Rep. Cheney on House Republicans preparing for new role in the minority

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," November 18, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: Good Sunday morning.

Both parties are reshuffling their ranks two weeks after the midterm elections, choosing new leaders in both the Senate and the House.

We will be speaking with two of them straight ahead, as one of the biggest questions looms. Where can Republicans and Democrats find common ground?

Good morning, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Maria Bartiromo. This is "Sunday Morning Futures."

The midterms end with more women than ever before coming to power in the House. My next guest is a rising star and will be the third most powerful Republican in the House next year.

Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney will join me exclusively to talk about the midterms, her new role in the leadership, and how today's GOP is different than her party when her father helped lead it.

In the Senate, Republicans are forging ahead after -- with judicial nominees and the next round of spending bills. I will be talking to Senator Roy Blunt this morning, the next chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee -- his party's priorities, the new role as the fourth ranking Senate Republican.

And we have been following this story closely on "Sunday Morning Futures" from the beginning, investigations into misconduct at the top levels of the FBI and the DOJ leading up to the 2016 election.

The chairman of the House Intel Committee, Congressman Devin Nunes, is here. He has been spearheading those investigations. He will join me next to discuss what happens to those probes now that the Democrats have taken over the House.

All that, plus reaction from our panel, as we look ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures."

And we begin this morning with House Republicans preparing for their new role in the minority, looking for potential common ground with Democrats.

Joining me right now in an exclusive interview, someone who will have a leading role in that process, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney.

She's been elected as the incoming House Republican Conference chair. That is the number three leadership position for House Republicans.

And, Congresswoman, it's good to see you this morning. Thanks so much for joining us.

REP. LIZ CHENEY, R-WYO.: Thanks for having me, Maria. Great to be with you.

BARTIROMO: Congratulations to you.

Can you walk us through your priorities as you get set for this new role come January?

CHENEY: Sure.

Well, there are a number of things that we have got to make sure we're focused on. I think, first of all, we're all living through the tremendous economic boom and economic growth created by the Trump economy, by the deregulation we have seen, by the tax cuts.

And we have got to make sure that we do everything necessary to prevent the Democrats from reversing course on that. They have made clear that's what they want to do. We have got to, as Republicans in the House, work with the White House, work with our colleagues in the Senate to make sure that doesn't happen.

And we have got to take back the majority in 2020. There's no question that continued progress, both on economic security, as well as national security, requires that the Republicans take back the House.

BARTIROMO: You know, I think it's terrific to see so many more women moving into these leadership positions.

But, you know, when I look at the numbers, it's at least 123 women will be in the next Congress. Only 19 are Republicans. Why do you think that is?

CHENEY: Well, we have got to do a better job. There's no question, Maria.  We have got to make sure that we are recruiting women candidates, that we're working to get our message out to women and men.

But I would just say, it's very important for us to recognize that women make bad policy too. And Nancy Pelosi obviously, as the leader of the Democrats, is somebody who's in a position who's going to -- has said that she will try to put in place the kind of legislation we know is bad for the country.

If you look at the wave of young Democrats, women, many of them who've come in, in this freshman class, a lot of them are socialists. And they are proposing the kind of socialist economic policy we know is going to be incredibly damaging, if it were ever to take hold in this country.

So we need to have diversity. But we also need to make sure we have understand that just being a woman doesn't mean that you're going to do the right thing.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

CHENEY: And we have got to fight for the substance and the policies.

BARTIROMO: I think this is a really important point that you make.

So, what is the issue around Nancy Pelosi right now? I just had a conversation on "FOX & Friends" with my colleagues about what's been going on within the Democratic Party, when you have got Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez basically telling moderate Republicans, we're coming for you, We want more progressives, we want socialist practices in terms of economic programs.

How are you going to deal with that as a party who is trying to come up with moderate economic proposals? And what do you think happens to the Democratic Party?

CHENEY: Well, it's -- it's very interesting to me.

The Democrats right now are focused on this so-called Russia collusion, the Russia threat. I think the real Russia threat, Maria, is when you look at the kind of Soviet-style economic policy that the Democrats in particular, some of the freshmen coming in are advocating, government-provided jobs for everybody, government-provided housing for everybody.

And you see it in the people that are likely to be their presidential candidates as well. So I think the Democrats are going through a very challenging time. And Nancy Pelosi is working very hard to try to become the next speaker, which means that she's got to kowtow in many ways to that wing of her party. That's not good for the country.

And so we...

BARTIROMO: So, will she be speaker, do you think? Do you think she becomes speaker?

CHENEY: Well, I think she's got a tough -- a tough task ahead of her here.

And we will see what happens. But she certainly is having to placate some very, very radical and socialist, is the accurate word for it, views in her party in an attempt to get the votes to do that.

BARTIROMO: Well...

CHENEY: And we all know that's not good for the nation.

BARTIROMO: Last week, on this program, I spoke with Rhode Island Democratic Congressman David Cicilline -- he's running for a leadership position in the House -- about the Democratic agenda.

I asked him about Republican criticism that the platform for House Democrats is about investigations and potential impeachment of Trump and not much else. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DAVID CICILLINE, D-R.I.: Democrats ran on a very specific agenda. I helped craft it with my two co-chairs on the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

It's an agenda for the people of this country. It's focusing on driving down the cost of health care, driving down the cost of prescription drugs, protecting coverage for preexisting condition, raising family incomes by rebuilding our country with a serious infrastructure plan for our roads, bridges, ports, transit systems.

We will create 16 million good-paying jobs. And taking on the corruption in Washington by getting money out of our political system. Those are issues Democrats ran on and won. That's our agenda. We're going to make good on those promises.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARTIROMO: Well, it seems like getting money out of politics and the oversight has had the overwhelming sort of impact in terms of what he wants to do.

But you just heard his agenda. Is that something you can work with and do you think that you will be working on?

CHENEY: Look, I think that we are going to do everything we can to see if there are areas where we can work in a bipartisan manner.

But, at the end of the day, we have got to make sure that we're protecting the country. And that means, when you we have got radical proposals from the Democrats to slash our defense budget, to slash the size of our nuclear forces, when you have got members on their side of the aisle, Congressman Swalwell, suggesting that they're going to confiscate people's guns, and that people shouldn't try to resist because the government has nuclear weapons -- that's something that he's actually said.

When you have got the Democrats protesting in each other's offices because you have got some on their side who think we should eliminate all fossil fuels in 10 years, that's just -- it's a recipe for disaster.

And so we won't be part of that. We won't be party to it. We're going to fight every day to make sure that we preserve the tremendous momentum we have seen.

And the Democrats have a challenge, because the results are there. As I said, President Trump's deregulation, the work we have done in Congress on that, the tax cuts, we have got historically low unemployment across the board, historic job growth and economic growth.

And the American people didn't vote to turn all that around.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

CHENEY: So, we are going to do everything we need to do to defend that.

BARTIROMO: I want to ask you about defense spending in these upcoming appropriations bills and how you see the priorities taking place.

But you just said Democrats have challenges. The Republicans have challenges as well, particularly when you look at what just took place in the midterm elections. There's a lot of conversation about the suburban woman not supporting the GOP right now.

I mean, if you were to look back 17 years, when your father was -- was the vice president of this country, does the GOP look the same today? How does it look different than 17 years ago?

CHENEY: No, I mean, look, I think all parties change and evolve.

I think we clearly have -- have work to do with respect to suburban women, there's no question. But I also think we need to be careful. A lot of what we saw on these midterms was massive amounts of money coming in, billionaires putting money in on the Democratic side and, frankly, Nancy Pelosi targeting Republican women.

So, when you have a situation where you have got somebody on the other side of the aisle saying that she stands for all women, but we very clearly saw her go after our Republican women -- and I think that it's going to be very important for us make sure that we get those seats back.

We have got a great opportunity to get them back. And I intend to do that.

BARTIROMO: How do you do that? I mean, what is the secret sauce here to appealing to suburban women to come back to the GOP?

I mean, this is a -- this is a big problem going into the 2020 election.

CHENEY: Well, I think it's a couple of things, Maria.

I think, first of all, the Democrats are going to be forced into a very radical set of policy proposals and agenda. You have already seen it. We talked about some of it. So, number one, I think that the -- what they're going to have to do to appeal to the socialist wing of their party will really help make clear the choice that people have.

Secondly, I would say we, as Republicans, have got to do a better job at making sure that our message is getting out there. For women, the extent to which economic growth matters, the extent to which national security matters, the extent to which we have got to make sure people understand that the Democrats were lying when they said we're going to take away coverage for preexisting conditions, all of those things are very important.

But we can't segment women into thinking they only care about women's issues.

BARTIROMO: That's right.

CHENEY: That's, frankly, what the Democrats do.

We know women, moms all across this country want to make sure that our borders are secure. They want to make sure that our nation secure. They want to make sure that their kids can get jobs when they get out of school, and that we have got the kind of economic growth that will make sure that happened.

BARTIROMO: Well, I couldn't agree more.

I mean, when people ask me to speak about money and women vs. money and men, I say, look, thank you for the invitation, but that's basically marketing.

CHENEY: Right.

BARTIROMO: We all want to make money. We want a good investment plan for the long term.

CHENEY: Exactly.

BARTIROMO: What about the security end of this? You have got two appropriations bills that you need to deal with before year-end.  Otherwise, we could see a government shutdown. How real is that? And will we see defense spending numbers change?

CHENEY: Well, thankfully, Maria, we have already been able to pass the defense appropriations bill. The president signed it into law, the first time in, I think, over a decade that we passed it at the accurate -- or adequate levels and on time.

We do have a number of other appropriations bills that we will have to address and deal with before December 7.

But, on defense spending and on defense appropriations, that is absolutely something we have got to make sure -- the president has made the investment with -- Congress has appropriated money to begin to rebuild our military.  But we are -- have been in such a whole after the Obama administration.

It is going to take multiple years to be able to do that effectively. And we simply cannot allow the Democrats to turn back on that. Our adversaries are in a position now where they are deploying weapon systems we simply can't defend against in too many instances.

And the security of the nation long into the future depends that we make sure we continue to make those kinds of investments in our security and in our military our men and women deserve.

BARTIROMO: What is the biggest risk, do you think, this country faces within the next two years regarding the president's economic agenda? Will the Democrats be able to reverse the president's business-friendly agenda?

CHENEY: I know that they will try. And I think that, certainly, the tax cuts have made a huge difference.

I think that deregulation also -- and I -- you don't hear quite as much about that, but you know well that the kinds of deregulation we have seen, the extent to which the government has said, look, we're going to get out of the business of trying to interfere in every aspect of economic investment, we're going to let people keep more of what they earn.

From my home state of Wyoming, deregulation has been tremendous, in terms of what we have been able to accomplish with revenue from oil and gas leases on public lands, our coal industry, our energy industry.

So, we're going to have to work very hard to make sure that business -- that the engine of growth in this economy, our small businesses, continue to know that they have got the support of certainly the Republicans in Washington, and that we're going to -- we're going to block the Democrats from being able to reverse course on that.

BARTIROMO: All right, we will leave it there.

Congresswoman, we will be watching. Thanks very much for joining us.

CHENEY: Thanks for having me, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Congresswomen Liz Cheney there.

We just spoke with a member of the Republican House leadership.

Up next, a member of the Republican Senate leadership, Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, will be here, becoming the chamber's fourth ranking Republican.

What are the priorities as the majority in the Senate?

Follow me on Twitter @MariaBartiromo, @SundayFutures. Let us know what you would like to hear from Senator Blunt and Congressman Nunes coming up.

Back in a moment, as we continue on "Sunday Morning Futures."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

Senate Republicans looking to hit the ground running next year after expanding their majority in the midterms. But there are still goals they want to achieve in the remainder of 2018.

My next guest will play a major role in shaping the party's agenda.

Joining me right now is Republican Senator from Missouri Roy Blunt. He has just been elected as the chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee. That is the chamber's fourth ranking GOP leadership position.

And, Senator, congratulations to you. Good to see you this morning.

SEN. ROY BLUNT, R-MO.: Thank you, Maria. Great to be with you.

BARTIROMO: What are the priorities in the new -- the new Congress?

BLUNT: Well, I think, in the new Congress, one of our priorities is going to continue to be to confirm judges.

We're in the personnel business, unlike the House. And so the fact that the House has changed control really has no impact on that. What has an impact on that is, it looks like they're going to be 53 Republicans in the Senate, instead of 51.

And you can do a lot more with 53 than 51. You get a little more flexibility to maybe stretch a little bit more on someone that couldn't be appointed if it took absolutely every Republican, but could be if it took almost all the Republicans.

So we will see. We have made great impact on the judiciary branch, not just the two Supreme Court seats, but one out of six of the Court of Appeals judges are now people who've been nominated by President Trump, confirmed by the Republican Senate.

We're going to continue this year, between now and December 31, to try to clean -- to clear the calendar of those judges and others who are out of committee, and then to try to give the president the team that he needs to implement what he was elected to do.

It's been one of the big obstacles that Democrats in the Senate have thrown in the -- in the -- in our way, something that that's never happened before, the denial of a president to have his team. And they have effectively used every tool they had to slow that process down.

BARTIROMO: You know, the judicial namings probably has been one of the president's biggest accomplishments.

I want to get you to talk to us more about that and confirming judicial nominees. What about Senator Flake's resistance? I mean, you talk about the resistance coming from the Dems. It's coming from even within your own party. Senator Flake is resisting in this in order to get Mueller legislation, to make sure nobody messes with Robert Mueller's investigation.

BLUNT: You know, and to make that, I think, even more concerning, there's really nobody threatening to mess with the Mueller investigation.

Almost all of my colleagues, my Republican colleagues in the Senate, along with me, have publicly and repeatedly said how important it is to let that investigation go forward. Let's get it behind us. Let's not stop and have to start again.

And the legislation that Senator Flake would like to see voted on would have to be signed by the president. And it is clearly not going to happen.  And why we would use up that time, when we could be making these kind of lifetime changes in the judiciary, is amazing to me.

I think we're still going to figure out a way to do that, and we need to be forward.

I think, Maria, on the Mueller dismissal side of the -- of the discussion, there's a huge constitutional reason not to believe that the Congress can decide who works in the judiciary branch.

So, along with many others, I have said repeatedly, Mr. President, it would be a big mistake to not let this investigation go forward. But I'm not going to be for any legislation...

BARTIROMO: Right.

BLUNT: ... that would -- that would violate the constitutional separation of powers.

If we wanted to have somebody the president couldn't fire, there's a way to do that. It was called the independent counsel. And that didn't turn out to be, in any case that I'm aware of, a very helpful thing.

BARTIROMO: Well, I want to get back to this, because I want to ask you about all of these investigations coming and how are you going to deal with it.

But let me stay on the judiciary for a moment. Do you expect the president will have an opportunity to name a third Supreme Court justice before Election Day 2020?

BLUNT: Well, you don't know. You never know.

I do know that having that actual vacancy in 2016 was much more focusing than the idea that there could be a vacancy. Of course, there always could be a vacancy. I think you would think that there's some likely opportunity that that could happen.

But having the chance to put two judges on the court, two judges that, with the good health, are likely to serve for three decades, is the real long- term impact that a president has to make on the country.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

BLUNT: A lot of things can be reversed. Who you put on the court that can serve for a -- that has a lifetime appointment can make a big difference for decades after you leave the White House or decades after you leave the Senate.

BARTIROMO: Yes. Yes.

BLUNT: This is now clearly -- it's just as important who's in the Senate, who controls the Senate, as who controls the White House.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

Senator, stay with us. I want to ask you about 2020 coming up...

BLUNT: OK.

BARTIROMO: ... and whether or not the president's tone may change going into the new election.

We will be right back with more from Senator Roy Blunt.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back to "Sunday Morning Futures."

And I am back with Senator Roy Blunt.

And, we were just having a discussion with Congresswoman Liz Cheney about this incredible divisiveness going on really on both sides, whether it's divisiveness in terms of what's happening within the government and their approach to President Trump, or, on the Democratic side, this lurch all the way to the left.

Look at Claire McCaskill in your state losing to Josh Hawley and basically saying, look, I'm not a crazy Democrat, and calling out her colleagues for going so left. Your reaction to Claire McCaskill's loss?

BLUNT: Well, in a state like ours, where I think the voters have gotten more conservative as a group over time, but still a lot of voters in the middle, they think -- I think Claire's message was pretty important for our voters to hear.

But it was with a backdrop of a state where the president is probably as popular as he is anywhere ,his approval ratings much higher in Missouri on Election Day this time than they were when he was elected president in 2016.

And his efforts for Attorney General Hawley, his efforts in Senate races around the country exceeded anything that I think any president has ever done as a campaign or for a ticket that their name wasn't on. And it made a difference in Missouri. It made a difference in these other states as well.

It's one of the reasons that, while we lost seats in the House, our margin in the Senate is going to go up. And that gives us some ability in the Senate that we wouldn't have had otherwise to do things that let the president have the team he needs to put his agenda in place.

BARTIROMO: Do you expect the president's tone to change or shift in any way?

BLUNT: I really don't. I really don't.

I think the American people got exactly the person they elected as president of the United States. I think that's going to continue. I think, Maria, what Democrats in the House are going to find surprising and probably a lot of people in the media are going to find surprising is, while the other people who've been president would hate the idea of investigations, I'm sure the president would rather have a Republican House, but I think he will vigorously engage in a public way in these investigations if the Democrats try to pursue them.

Probably, the best thing Democrats could do in the House would be legislate, rather than investigate. But if they investigate, they're going to have an active participant talking about how those -- those investigations are being conducted in the White House, and that participant is going to be the president of the United States.

BARTIROMO: Right.

And will those -- will those claims or lawsuits fall flat in the Senate?

BLUNT: Well, if there's -- there has to be House and Senate cooperation these investigations. Clearly, that's not likely to happen.

And I -- again, I think you're just going to see a level of engagement. In past White Houses, if the Senate -- the Congress is investigating something, generally, the White House message was, fully cooperate, don't have much to say about this.

I don't see the president not having much to say if there's an investigation going on.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

BLUNT: Frankly, I think it just gives him a different thing to talk about every day of the week. And he will continue to dominate that discussion in the next two years, the news discussion, just like he has in the last two years.

BARTIROMO: Well, what about -- what about the discussion around what took place during the 2016 election, where we know that a cabal of people at the top of the FBI and the Department of Justice, like Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe and Bruce Ohr and Jim Comey, tried to put their finger on the scale and stop Donald Trump from winning?

Will Senate Republicans pick up where House Republicans left off in terms of the investigation into the DOJ and the FBI's actions ahead of the election?

BLUNT: Well, you know, I'm on the House Intel Committee. We have been dealing with the Russian issues from the 2016 election, the Russian issues.

But I think the answer is, yes, the Judiciary Committee is almost certain to look more vigorously now at what happened in the -- in the Justice Department and the FBI during 2016. There is clearly a story to be told there.

Part of that story is things that have been classified that, if you get to see that classified material, you wonder, what in the world about this is classified in a way that the American people couldn't know about it?

BARTIROMO: Yes.

BLUNT: I think, before this is over, they're likely to know what's in those so-called classified documents, and they will be surprised.

BARTIROMO: Yes, we're going to talk with Devin Nunes coming up about that in terms of that investigation.

BLUNT: Right.

BARTIROMO: Real quick, let me get back to business and appropriations.

We spoke -- I spoke with the chairman and CEO of Boeing, who had some important comments certainly about the Lion Air crash, but also about defense spending, and what he's expecting in the next couple of years.

Want to see if you agree with this. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS MUILENBURG, CEO, BOEING: We see the defense budget here in the U.S. being sustained. And if you look back a couple of years, when we were in the middle of sequestration, we feel like we're in a stronger budget position now on both sides of the aisle. So, we -- we look to the U.S. defense budget to remain strong, but we also see growth around the world.

Today, about a third of our defense backlog is outside of the U.S.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARTIROMO: Interesting that a third of the backlog is outside the United States.

But what are the priorities, from your standpoint, in terms of defense spending?

BLUNT: Well, you know, the headquarters for the Boeing defense operations is in Saint Louis. We're proud of the workers there and proud of what happens there in our state and in our neighboring states.

Certainly, we do see more of a commitment to long-term planning in terms of defense, where you not only have some orders for this year, but also orders in future years, so you can keep that line open in a more efficient way.

We got way behind in the previous decade, the Obama decade, in our defense capacity. It's showing. And everybody who understands the military knows we have got some significant catching up to do. And I think we began that in a significant way this year.

But we are committed to maintain that as a Senate and I believe as a country, and look forward to the importance of doing that, and also being sure that we're doing what we need to have the kind of investments to protect the military advantage we have.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

BLUNT: What the Chinese particularly are doing with their efforts to try to get inside our systems more effectively, and we can defend our systems, would lose our significant military advantage if we let that happen.

And we can't let it happen. Again, we never want Americans to be in a fair fight.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

BLUNT: We want them to be in an unfair fight, with every advantage on their side.

And what we do in the next couple of years is likely to determine whether that continues to be the case or not.

BARTIROMO: Yes, important story in The L.A. Times today titled "China has taken the gloves off in its thefts of U.S. technology secrets."

And that's impacting the military as well. We're going to get into that coming up next with Devin Nunes.

But real quick on that, do you think China's behavior is going to change anytime soon?

BLUNT: I don't -- I have no reason to believe it's going to change anytime soon.

And what -- where the president's talked about our trade relationship with China generally, also, that discussion goes into what's happening with the military...

BARTIROMO: Yes.

BLUNT: ... what's happening with the military where all of our investment in technology, all our investment in new defense systems has, in so many cases, been stolen by the Chinese.

BARTIROMO: Wow.

BLUNT: And then they take their money and try to build on top of what we have already done...

BARTIROMO: Yes.

BLUNT: ... to figure out how to impact in a negative way the advantages we have.

BARTIROMO: That's incredible.

Senator, thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.

BLUNT: Great to be with you.

BARTIROMO: Coming out: With House control flipping to the Democrats, what happens to those investigations? And what about China?

The man leading those probes is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

President Trump in California's wildfire disaster zones this weekend, meeting with state officials and firefighters, privately consoling those suffering from this tragedy, while also getting a firsthand look at the devastation left behind.

It all comes as the death toll rises to at least 79 people dead. Nearly 1,300 are still unaccounted for.

Want to bring in House Intelligence Committee Chairman and California Republican Congressman Devin Nunes. He's coming to us from the World Ag Expo in Tulare, California, once again.

And, Congressman, it's good to see you this morning. Thanks very much for joining us.

REP. DEVIN NUNES, R-CALIF.: It's great to be with you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: And you are situated between the two fires.

Can you tell us first off what you're seeing where you are, in terms of the air quality, the smoke? I know you're not right there. But, yesterday, the president did tour the Camp Fire, which is responsible for the majority of these deaths.

He was with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and some other state officials looking at the damage, where officials there said that it was -- the fire was moving the distance of a football field a second, the worst fire in California history.

NUNES: Thanks, Maria. And thanks for asking about that.

It is horrendous here in terms of what the fires have done just to our air quality alone. So, even though I'm several hours from the major fire, the Camp Fire, you can actually see the smoke in the air. You can smell the smoke. A lot of high school football games and college football games were canceled or delayed all over the state.

I actually -- this -- the Camp Fire hits close to home. I have a cousin that lived in Paradise, him and his wife. Their house is now gone. My uncle had to take a motor home, a used motor home up to Chico, where you now see a lot of people camped out that are living in the town of Chico, which is not far from Paradise.

So, the tragic part about all of this is, Maria, that, years ago, we had timber mills all over the state. We used to go up into the forest and we used to take this wood out.

BARTIROMO: Right.

NUNES: And I think what American people need to know is that, if you don't remove the wood and the brush, eventually, it burns. There's only two ways to remove it. Either you forcefully pull it out or it gets set on fire.

And so if you don't go up there and do controlled burns, or if you don't bring the timber industry back, these fires are going to become more and more prevalent. And that's why it's very frustrating to hear the left that for years have blocked the access to these forests off, so you no longer build fire breaks.

BARTIROMO: Wow.

NUNES: You no longer go up and take -- take the trees that have fallen and remove them.

And so what that is, is, that's actually fuel. And once it ignites, it burns really hot and it moves really fast. And then tragic things happen, like we have here.

BARTIROMO: That is horrible.

NUNES: And it's -- this is probably going to be one of the biggest catastrophes in California's history.

BARTIROMO: Of course, yes, absolutely.

So you're saying it is partly policy and the lack of follow-through in terms of cleaning up these forests that as anything else, as a reason we don't have the actual reason for why these fires have -- have been set.  And you think part of it is this lack of policy?

NUNES: Well, 100 percent.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

NUNES: So, if you -- if you have a community that you build in California that is either surrounded by forest or surrounded by grasslands, the first thing that should -- that should -- of utmost priority is to ensure that you have a barrier built around there.

And that only happens by making sure that you allow cattle to graze on the grazing land again and you remove timber that's fallen.

BARTIROMO: Right. Understood.

Let me move on, Congressman, and ask you about your investigation. We have been with you for the entire year following your moves from the Intel Committee in terms of investigating the FBI and the DOJ and this number of people, the small number of people at the top of those agencies, who tried to stop Donald Trump and exonerate Hillary Clinton, as you have said many times on this program.

Now you have got the Democrats holding the majority in the new Congress in January. What will happen to your investigation?

NUNES: Well, we largely are done. So, a lot of people don't understand that, but we -- we finished our investigation.

So, we have three buckets of information that we want declassified. We now have a fourth bucket that we want declassified. The president has called for three of those four to be declassified.

We sent a list of about 40 names to our Russia task force that Chairman Goodlatte and Chairman Gowdy are heading up. Likely, they're not going to get through those names, because they just haven't had -- haven't had enough time.

But, look, this begs an investigation by the Department of Justice. So either the Department of Justice, under new leadership, can actually go in and investigate these cast of dirty cops, is really what they were, and their connections to the Russians and their connections to the Clinton campaign.

Either it's a special counsel or the DOJ has to do that. Now, that's the way that this is going to be solved, because our committee -- and I'm very proud of the work we have done. We unearthed all of this information. The American people now know that the Trump campaign was unmasking American citizens.

They know that -- that many of the Trump campaign -- campaign people were targeted. They know that they used a dossier that was paid for by the Clinton campaign to go after and use it in a FISA warrant against the campaign.

So, we're really proud of what we have done. And we want the American people to see these -- these four buckets of information that need to be declassified.

BARTIROMO: Right.

NUNES: And if the president would do that, it would -- it would, I think, give some finality to our investigation.

BARTIROMO: Well, let's go through that, because you're now giving us new information on this fourth bucket.

But you want to see the last FISA renewal, which was signed by Rod Rosenstein. You want to see Bruce Ohr reports, which are the e-mails that you want to see from Bruce Ohr and his wife and others. And you want to see the exculpatory evidence that wasn't presented to the FISA court, in other words, evidence that would say there was no collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians.

But that actually wasn't presented to the FISA court. What is this fourth bucket? And am I right about the first three?

NUNES: Yes, so the first three, you're right on. We have been calling for those for many months.

The president actually directed them to be done. And then you had Rod Rosenstein, who convened a meeting to stop that and get that kicked to the I.G. But that's not a workable solution.

We have let the White House know that. That's not going to work. That will -- that will just bury this, and none of it will ever be declassified.

The new fourth bucket that we're asking actually to be declassified now is, for months, we have been reviewing e-mails between FBI and DOJ and others that clearly show that they knew about information that should have been presented to the FISA court.

So, it is real evidence that people within the FBI withheld evidence from the FISA court.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

NUNES: Now, these are classified. And they need to be declassified.

We have been asking. This went to the highest levels, even above myself.  It went as high as the speaker. The speaker has been requesting the Department of Justice...

BARTIROMO: Right.

NUNES: ... to give us these e-mails, to make as many public as possible.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

NUNES: And still, even though we know what's in those e-mails, a lot of them are still redacted.

BARTIROMO: Well, meanwhile...

NUNES: So, they're still refusing to give Congress even in a classified setting this information.

BARTIROMO: I asked David Cicilline about this last week. He, of course, is a Democrat congressman on the Judiciary Committee. And he's the co- chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. So he's in leadership.

Here's what he said about the FISA court.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARTIROMO: We know that there was massive abuse to the FISA court when information was not given to the FISA court about the Democrats and Hillary Clinton paying for the dossier, et cetera.

There has been this investigation in the Judiciary Committee, your committee, as you know, Bob Goodlatte leading the investigation of Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr.

Are you going to drop that investigation now, or are you going to pursue the truth there?

CICILLINE: Well, let me correct you, Maria. There has not been massive abuse of the FISA court.

BARTIROMO: Really?

CICILLINE: There's been no evidence of any abuse whatsoever.

BARTIROMO: Are you saying that they did not withhold information? They did not withhold information to the FISA judge in terms of...

(CROSSTALK)

BARTIROMO: ... dossier? Is that what you're saying?

CICILLINE: I'm saying there's been no abuse of the FISA court, absolutely no abuse of the FISA court.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARTIROMO: Wow, he was pretty adamant there.

NUNES: Yes. Yes.

So, look, they have been in denial for a long time. Their party was colluding directly with the Russians. Their entire party and the Clinton campaign should be investigated, because, if you're going to investigate -- if you're going to open up a secret investigation on the Trump campaign, when you had no evidence into them colluding with the Russians, when you -- in fact, the FBI used the evidence that the Clinton campaign paid for that was coming directly from Russians.

So, the very thing Trump's being -- Trump campaign was investigated for, they did. So I assume maybe there is no FISA abuse in their own mind because they think it's OK. They think, as long as the Democrats are the ones that are using secret courts to spy on their political opponents, then it's OK.

If that's -- if that's the way people want it in America -- I don't think that is, but, clearly, that's what the Democrats think it should be.

BARTIROMO: I want to ask you about working with Adam Schiff when we come back.

Let's take a short break.

You also had a chance to interview Rod Rosenstein. And then you didn't.  So, I want to know what happened there.

Stay with us, Devin Nunes.

More right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

I'm back now with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.

And, Mr. Chairman, let me ask you about working with the new leadership now.

Adam Schiff will likely take over as the chairman of the Intel Committee, right? We have heard what Adam Schiff says. He doesn't agree or believe many of the things that you have been investigating. How will the next two years work out with the two of you working together?

NUNES: Well, I'm actually looking forward to our first open hearing, because, for two years now, the Democrats on the committee and all through Congress have been saying that they have more than circumstantial evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, more than.

So, at the first open hearing we're going to have, I'm looking forward to them finally releasing this information, because we know that the only thing that hasn't leaked is this information about the Trump campaign colluding with Russians.

So they have promised it. They now have the majority. So, finally, maybe now they will present their evidence.

BARTIROMO: Well, you have already done the investigation. And you have come up with, you have found no evidence of any collusion with the Trump campaign.

NUNES: Yes.

BARTIROMO: We know that.

But you had an opportunity to...

(CROSSTALK)

NUNES: Right, but, at some -- but, at some point, though, it's -- at some point, Maria, I just want to say that you don't just get away with two years repeating the same garbage over and over again, essentially chasing Russian ghosts in the closet, infuriating the American people.

There's so many Americans out there whose minds have been poisoned, who believe that the Trump campaign actually did collude with the Russians, because they have had dishonest politicians saying such.

Now, look, they weaponized this. They used it for crowdfunding, where you had all of these millions of Americans who sent money all over the country to districts they didn't even live in to actually attack Republicans.

BARTIROMO: Right.

NUNES: That happened in dozens and dozens of districts.

So, look, at the end of the day, they have a responsibility now. They're in charge. Where is their evidence?

BARTIROMO: Well, and let's not forget the media really driving the bus on that, because the media has been also the loudspeaker for this idea of collusion, when there wasn't any.

But real quick, my final question here, Congressman, is Rod Rosenstein.

You had an opportunity to interview him. And now you're not. If you don't interview him in the next five weeks, you're not going to interview him.

Shouldn't you have done that interview, so that the American people could have actually seen what took place and got answers from him?

NUNES: Well, the task force attempted to interview him, and he changed the terms of the interview.

So, Rod Rosenstein, as the deputy attorney general, doesn't get to dictate to Congress what or -- what or how an interview will be conducted.

So it's a lot like James Comey wanting to do one in public. Rosenstein wants to do one in public. Look, this is -- this is all a scheme for them to hide from answering the tough questions.

BARTIROMO: Right.

NUNES: See, if you go out in public, all you will -- all they will say is, oh, that's classified, or, oh, I can't answer that.

BARTIROMO: That makes sense.

NUNES: But the reality is, look, with all -- with Comey and Rosenstein...

BARTIROMO: We got to jump.

NUNES: ... et cetera...

BARTIROMO: Yes.

NUNES: ... these guys...

BARTIROMO: Thank you.

NUNES: These guys need to be held accountable by a special counsel or a new DOJ.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

NUNES: Thanks, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Good to see you, Congressman. Thank you so much.

The panel is next, Mark Penn and Lee Carter.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

Let's bring in our panel right now.

Lee Carter is the president and a partner at Maslansky and Partners. Mark Penn is former strategist to Hillary Clinton and managing partner at The Stagwell Group, chairman of the Harris Poll, and author of the book "Microtrends Squared."

And it's great to see you both. Thanks so much for joining us this morning, Lee and Mark.

LEE CARTER, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Great to be here.

BARTIROMO: Mark, let me kick it off with you, because you wrote an op-ed couple of weeks ago, a week-and-a-half ago, which really has a lot of people scratching their head.

And here it is. The title is: "Hillary will run again, reinventing herself as a liberal firebrand. Mrs. Clinton will easily capture the 2020 nomination."

This is from The Wall Street Journal on November 11.

Mark, I know that you used to work with Hillary. And I know that, over the last two years, you have been critical of some of her behavior. But this article saying Hillary will run again, are you taunting her? What was the point in writing this?

MARK PENN, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Well, I was really stating the obvious -- it caused quite a stir -- which -- which is that she has a 75 percent rating among Democrats.

And if there's no front-runner come October in the Democratic primary -- and there may well be no front-runner -- I think there's a pretty high probability she will jump back in, and if she does, even win the nomination again, and redo history in a very dramatic way.

So I'm just painting kind of what I really think is a reasonable scenario here, given the fact that there is no front-runner and how poorly Democrats did in those hearings with Kavanaugh.

BARTIROMO: And this sort of underlines what's going on within the Democratic Party right now, doesn't it, Lee?

Because the fact is, you have got Alexandria Cortez coming out -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez coming out and saying, look, moderate Democrats, we're gunning for you. We're coming. We want more progressives. And we want things like Medicare for all and abolish ICE and all of these far left proposals.

CARTER: Yes, and let's just not forget that the primaries are really about getting people who are registered voters to the polls.

And so when you have got people who are on the extreme, either right or left, they do generally do better in the primaries, because that's who goes and votes.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

CARTER: So, it's not all that surprising that we're seeing on the left people going a little bit further left and seeing some of these ideas.

What I'm thankful for is that we're actually seeing people put ideas forward, rather than just talking about resist, resist, resist.

BARTIROMO: Yes.

Yes, but these ideas, Mark Penn, real quick, this flies in the face of what the Democrats want to be. I mean, the moderates in the party don't know what their party is anymore.

PENN: Well, a lot of attention has been given to the left, but it was the moderate candidates who pulled through.

And it's the moderate Problem Solvers Caucus that is demanding a rules change from Pelosi, waiting for a reply. And they're the ones who are really going to determine which legislation gets passed and doesn't.

BARTIROMO: All right, great to see you both. Thanks very much.

I will see everybody tomorrow on "Mornings with Maria" on the Fox Business Network.
 
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