This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," May 5, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
The Trump administration push for regime change in Venezuela collapses. Will the U.S. intervene?
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Military action is possible if that's what's required.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: There's always a tipping point.
WALLACE: We'll discuss the failed uprising in Venezuela and how it's increasing tensions between the U.S. and Russia when we sit down with the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: He lied to Congress. If anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime.
WALLACE: Top Democrats called for the resignation of Attorney General Barr after his testimony on the Mueller report. We'll discuss the growing battle between Democrats and Barr and a new report of FBI spying on the Trump campaign with Congressman David Cicilline, a top member of the House Judiciary Committee.
JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man.
TRUMP: He's very naive about China. That's a very dumb statement to make.
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel about push back to Joe Biden's comments on China from both the right and the left.
And our "Power Player of the Week," Melinda Gates on the moment a lift for women.
MELINDA GATES: I'm not afraid to say what I believe and what I know to be true.
WALLACE: All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
President Trump got some good economic news this week, but it's been a rough patch for Trump foreign policy. First, the failed uprising in Venezuela as opposition leader Juan Guaido was unable to get the military to overthrow disputed President Nicolas Maduro. Then reports North Korea fired several short range projectiles, raising tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. And Russian President Putin in the middle, challenging the U.S. on both fronts.
In a moment, we'll discuss all this with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
But, first, let's get the latest from Kevin Corke at the White House -- Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE, CORRESPONDENT: Chris, it remains unclear exactly what the administration will do in terms of strategy as it ponders how to tackle those simmering hot spots around the globe that you mentioned, but what is clear is each comes with a great sense of urgency.
CORKE: North Korea state media company showing Kim Jong-un looking through binoculars observing what it says is the firing of long-range rocket launchers and what appeared to be a short range ballistic missile. The provocation comes amid a new rift in the repressive government's diplomatic relationship with the U.S. Just last week, Chairman Kim held a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who also appeared to undermine American foreign policy in Venezuela, by backing embattled President Nicolas Maduro, a plan to oust Maduro appeared to fizzle out this week as opposition leader Juan Guaido continued to garner the vocal support of both the Trump administration and that of millions of his countrymen who have seen their once prosperous economy fall desperately into ruin.
And while Guaido told "The Washington Post" that he underestimated Maduro's support within the military, he promised to continue his fight to wrest control of the country from the dictator. Hopefully he said with the support of the U.S.
President Trump meanwhile had what he described as a very good conversation with the president of Russia this week, the two men discussing a number of topics. Among them: trade, nuclear proliferation, as well as the ongoing crisis in Caracas.
CORKE: And speaking of Caracas, Guaido told "The Washington Post" he expects a groundswell of defections in the military to ultimately force Maduro from power. We'll see if that actually happens. He also said, Chris, he wouldn't rule out U.S. military assistance alongside Venezuelan forces to ensure the peaceful transfer of power -- Chris.
WALLACE: Kevin Corke reporting from the White House -- Kevin, thank you.
And joining us now, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Mr. Secretary, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday".
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Chris, it's great to be with you this morning.
WALLACE: Let's start with Venezuela. On Tuesday, you and national security advisor John Bolton were talking as if a coup in Caracas was underway. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY: They need to be able to act this afternoon or this evening to help bring other military forces to the side of the interim president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: What happened? Was there an intelligence failure about whether or not some top Venezuelan officials were going to flip on Nicolas Maduro?
POMPEO: Well, first of all, Chris, there can't be a coup led by Juan Guaido. He's the elected leader of Venezuela, duly elected to their constitutional process. So there couldn't have been a coup there.
The Venezuelan people's struggle for democracy continues. We made it very clear that Maduro must leave. There is no way you can have free and fair elections with Maduro still inside of that country.
And we've made very clear that not only the United States but 50-plus nations support Juan Guaido and his national assembly in their efforts to beat back the -- the horrific conditions that I was -- I was on the border of Cucuta, I watched women carrying babies across the border. They didn't want to leave their country. They were having to make decisions about whether they could feed their baby on the second day or the third day, their sick children didn't have medicine, all of which was sitting in Colombia and Maduro has denied them.
And so our effort -- so our effort is to make sure --
WALLACE: -- ousting, coup, whatever. Why didn't it happen? Maduro is still in power?
POMPEO: He is. These things sometimes take time.
WALLACE: And why did we think it was going to happen on Tuesday and it didn't happen?
POMPEO: We know it's going to happen.
WALLACE: But I'm -- I don't mean to press --
POMPEO: Chris, I'm not going to talk about all the various conversations that have taken place. We continue to work with leaders down there. The Lima Group continues to work with leaders on the ground. The Organization of American States continues to work with leaders on the ground.
If you think about where this country was 90 days ago, the Venezuelan people should be very proud. They're much closer to having democracy restored and having their country back on the right track than they were 90 days ago.
WALLACE: On -- for weeks, you and Bolton have talked about -- and called out Russian interference in Venezuela. Here you are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOLTON: They'd love to get effective control of a country in this hemisphere. It's not ideological. It's just good old fashioned power politics.
POMPEO: We've told the Russians and we've told the Cubans that's unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But Friday President Trump talked with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Venezuela. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: He is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela, other than he'd like to see something positive happen for Venezuela.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: So which is it? Is Putin propping up a dictator in our own backyard or is Putin looking for something positive in Venezuela?
POMPEO: President's been very clear on this. He said -- I think it was in a tweet several weeks back. The Russians have to get out. That remains our view.
We want the Venezuelan people not to have interference from any country, whether it's China or Russia, you now have Iranians on the ground in Venezuela. We know about the long history with a couple of thousand Cuban thugs essentially controlling that country today.
The United States wants all other countries out of this nation and allow the Venezuelan people to restore their own democracy. We're confident that we're going to achieve that and I couldn't tell you what day, but it will happen.
WALLACE: But the president told the American people that Putin said that he didn't want to get involved there, he was looking for something positive. In fact, Russia is very involved. The Wagner Group, private Russian military force, in Venezuela. Putin has sent top military and intelligence officials to Venezuela.
What are you going to tell -- you're going to be meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Finland tomorrow. What are you going to tell him?
POMPEO: I'm going to tell him the same thing the president told the world, that every country must get out, including the Russians. That's what I'll tell them. We don't want anyone messing around with Venezuela because we want them to be an autonomous, independent, sovereign state; democratic- elected officials.
This is what we desire for the Venezuelan people. That's what I'll talk with him about. I'm then going to travel on to Germany and to the United Kingdom. We're going to work with them to achieve this objective.
WALLACE: The Mueller report that came out has completely cleared the president when it comes to collusion with the Russians in the 2016 election. As for the Kremlin, however, it said this. The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.
But here's how President Trump described his talk with Putin on Friday about 2016 and about possible meddling in 2020. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He actually sort of smiled when he said something to the effect that it started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse.
REPORTER: Did you tell him to meddle in the next election?
TRUMP: We didn't discuss that. Really we didn't discuss it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Why doesn't the president get tough with Putin about what everyone seems to agree is clear, meddling in 2016 and the threat of meddling in 2020?
POMPEO: Chris, this administration has been tougher on Russia than any of it's predecessor administrations. I could go through the list but there's not time in the show to talk about all the things we've done. Largest defense buildup, our new -- I mean, the list is long, Chris.
And so for you to suggest that somehow we haven't taken election interference seriously, we do. We continue to work on it. We continue to make sure that every election is as safe as it can possibly be. The Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence agencies are all working to not only ensure that 2018 was successful -- we were -- and that 2020 will continue to be successful.
We take seriously the threat of election interference from every country, Russia included.
WALLACE: But I guess what I'm asking -- and I take your point because in terms of specific policies, the U.S. --
POMPEO: Chris, I don't get your point.
POMPEO: I'm confused -- I'm confused --
WALLACE: Well, let me --
POMPEO: The administration that has been tougher on Russia than any of its predecessors and yet you continue to be fixated on something that Robert Mueller wrote down.
I'm -- I struggle with that.
WALLACE: I'm not -- I'm not fixated about Robert Mueller, I'm fixated on the president's conversation with Vladimir Putin and in the fact that in a conversation, he doesn't even mention meddling in 2020. And the question I'm asking -- I think it's a legitimate one, a lot of people are asking it, sir -- is why not?
POMPEO: I talk to leaders all the time. We cover a broad range of subjects. Sometimes conversations just aren't long enough to cover every issue that might be broad up. I'll let the White House talk to what the president actually said in the set of remarks.
But no one should misunderstand from your question today. Your viewers should not be misled. This administration has taken seriously the threat of election interference and we'll continue to do so.
WALLACE: Yesterday, North Korea fired what it is calling short range projectiles. But the question is -- and let's put these up on the screen - - were they in fact North Korea's new short range ballistic missiles? And if so, did they violate North Korea's moratorium on missile tests since 2017?
POMPEO: Here's what we know so far. The launches -- and there were several -- were short range. I don't want to say exactly how long. We're still working to ensure that we have the dataset right.
We have high confidence that they were not intermediate range missiles, that they were not long range missiles or intercontinental missiles. We are continuing to evaluate that data set, but we want to put it into larger context.
We still have every intention of negotiating a good resolution with North Korea to get them to denuclearize. We've known it would be a long path, we've known it wouldn't be straightforward, but I have extended our negotiating hand to the North Koreans since Hanoi, we've heard back from them -- I extend my hand to continue those negotiations, we want to continue to work towards a peaceful resolution to achieve denuclearization, fully verified in North Korea.
WALLACE: You -- I just want to make it clear. Were they in fact, those that we just put up on the screen, the new North Korean short range ballistic missiles?
POMPEO: I didn't see the list on the screen. I'm going to let the Department of Defense make announcements about what they ultimately determine these to be. I can tell you what we have ruled out with certainty.
WALLACE: And -- and you don't -- or do you see it was violating their moratorium on missile tests?
POMPEO: We'll have to take a look. We know our objective. The moratorium was focused -- very focused on intercontinental missile systems, the ones that threaten the United States for sure.
WALLACE: North Korean officials -- you talk about wanting to continue talks -- have gone after you recently. I want to put some of this on the screen.
They said you have a, quote, mean character. You should be replaced by someone, quote, more careful and mature in communicating with us and you talk about changing -- your talk about changing paths if diplomacy fails -- their quote, sir, not mine -- is stupid and dangerous.
I guess the question I have is, the president says, even in a tweet yesterday, the deal will happen. It sure seems like diplomacy between the U.S. and North Korea is in trouble.
POMPEO: It always seems that way until it's successful, Chris. And as for the North Korean comments, you know, the immaturity thing, I'm not so sure about the rest of it. I'll let the world decide.
WALLACE: There were some moments in this conversation when I thought mean might be correct.
POMPEO: They're not -- the president gets to choose who his negotiators are. He's leading the effort.
We - we are - we want to maximize the possibility and keep open to the maximum extent possible that we can achieve the outcome that President Kim himself told President Trump in June in Singapore that we'll achieve and we're working to do that.
That's what the State Department's mission is.
WALLACE: I've got a couple of minutes left, I want to get into two more subjects. One there has been an outburst of rocket fire from Gaza, the U.S. -- rather Israel is responding with the air strikes. Is this just the normal outburst that we see across that border every once in a while or do you think it's something more serious?
POMPEO: Well, it's pretty serious now. The number is over 400 rockets that we can validate have been fired. The Israelis have every right to defend themselves. I've seen video that -- we can't validate just yet, but where there have been strikes on home, civilian populations. These rockets were fired with civilians around them in order to protect the return -- from return fire. This is terrible. The Israelis have every right to protect the sovereignty of their nation.
And I hope that we can return to the ceasefire that has been in place for weeks and has been holding significantly before this.
WALLACE: The Pentagon issued a report this week that China is making tremendous progress in replacing the U.S. as the preeminent leader in the Pacific and also is projecting economic power as well.
But former Vice President Biden said this this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man. They're not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They're not a -- they're not competition for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Does former Vice President Biden know something you don't?
POMPEO: He seems a little disconnected from the reality that is China today. Maybe when he ran for president the first time this was the situation. But it's certainly not today. China poses an enormous challenge to the United States of America.
I agree with him, ultimately, America will prevail. We -- I'm confident of that. We should bet on our nation.
But it's going to take a serious concerted effort president like President Trump who's prepared to push back against China, whether that be on trade or their military build up or the theft of our intellectual property. We need a president who will be serious in protecting American against the challenges China presents.
WALLACE: Secretary Pompeo, thank you. Thanks for your time. Always good to talk with you, sir. Safe travels.
POMPEO: Thank you, sir.
WALLACE: Up next, President Trump says the White House is fighting all subpoenas and now Democrats are threatening to hold the attorney general in contempt. We'll talk to the House Democratic leader when we come right back.
WALLACE: The chair of the House Judiciary Committee is giving the attorney general one more chance to comply with a subpoena or face sanctions.
Joining us now from Rhode Island, Congressman David Cicilline, a key member of the committee and of House Democratic leadership.
Congressman, your committee has given Attorney General Barr a deadline of 9:00 a.m. tomorrow to turn over a fuller version of the Mueller report as well as underlying documents. One, has there been any progress? Have you gotten any response from the attorney general? And two, if you don't by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, will your committee vote to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress?
REP. DAVID CICILLINE, D-R.I.: Well, good morning, Chris. It's good to be with you.
The chairman of the committee conveyed to the attorney general some additional compromises and said, you know, produce all of the documents, but prioritize those that are referenced in the report, give us an opportunity to see the unredacted version and gave until tomorrow morning at 9:00 to produce the document. There has not been a compliance yet. We obviously have to wait until the mornings to see if the attorney general will comply.
I think if the attorney general does not the chairman will ask the committee to move forward with a contempt citation. The chairman has been very patient, trying to accommodate the attorney general in every way. But the members of our committee need to see the full report and the supporting documents so we can continue to do our work, conduct oversight in a responsible and sober way. So, I hope the attorney general will comply.
WALLACE: All right, back in 2012 when House Republicans were in the majority, they voted on the House floor to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for failing to turn over documents in the Fast and Furious case. You walked off the House floor in protest explaining, quote: I declined to participate in these partisan political games -- which you called an "abuse of power".
Congressman, aren't you and Democrats now involved in the same political games?
CICILLINE: They are quite different, Chris. In that instance, the White House had already indicated it would produce all the documents and the attorney general said the same. The Republicans nonetheless wanted to go forward with a contempt citation, which is close to an election. I thought it would be politically advantageous. It was really a stunt.
In this case, the attorney general has continued to refuse to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena. So, they're very different circumstances.
WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait --
CICILLINE: Barr said, tomorrow morning, I'm going to produce the documents then we would not go through with contempt.
WALLACE: They sued for documents that Eric Holder hadn't turned over, they wanted him to testify and he didn't testify.
I mean, the point is kind of the same, which is the attorney general refused to answer requests from the House and the House voted him in contempt. In one case, you said it was an abuse of power, in the other, you're going to support it.
CICILLINE: No, Attorney General Holder did testify before Congress and the White House did indicate the intention to turn over the documents that the Republicans sought. Despite that assurance, they wanted to move forward with contempt.
In this case, we don't have that assurance from the attorney general. Mr. Barr has refused to furnish the documents or come before the committee. So, those circumstances are different.
If Mr. Barr agrees to turn over what we've requested and a reasonable way, no one on the committee is interested in moving forward with contempt. We want the information so we can do our work, so we can do the oversight that our committee is required to do.
WALLACE: Attorney General Barr declined to testify before your committee this week after your panel insisted that he answer questions from staff lawyers in addition to members of Congress. I have a question, when was the last time that a House committee demanded that staff lawyers interrogating a cabinet secretary?
CICILLINE: Well, I think the last time was probably during Iran Contra when the staff lawyers examined Ed Meese and Caspar Weinberger. So -- and, of course, it happened in the Senate with Christine -- Dr. Ford. I mean, the fact is the House rules permit this, the committee decides how we will examine witnesses and how we will collect evidence.
A witness has no right to dictate to the Congress how they are going to be examined or how we are going to collect evidence.
WALLACE: So, let's go back. In terms of the direct answer to my question, which was the last time a House committee did this, it was Iran contra in 1987, which is --
CICILLINE: I stand corrected. There were a number of witnesses that were examined during the Clinton email inquiry.
WALLACE: Cabinet secretaries, sir?
CICILLINE: I don't know if there were cabinet secretaries. Certainly, director of the FBI and others. But, look, the fact is they are all witnesses. Whether they're cabinet secretaries or not --
WALLACE: By staff members --
WALLACE: I can tell you, we asked the House Judiciary Committee, they say the last time that a house committee demanded that staff lawyers talk to a cabinet secretary was 1987 during Iran Contra, you're quite right about that. That was 32 years ago. The Christine Blasey Ford case is completely different. First of all, she is not a cabinet secretary. Secondly, she was interviewed by a woman because of the fact that Republicans didn't want an all-male panel to have a bunch of men questioning her.
So, it really seems that the only two cases that we could find were one, Iran Contra and two, during Watergate.
And I guess, really, that's the question, Congressman, wasn't this an effort by the House Judiciary Committee to make the Russian investigation seem as bad and as serious as Iran Contra and Watergate?
CICILLINE: Well, I do think it's as bad and as serious, but that's not the purpose for asking staff attorneys to question. Look, it's been done. It's been done to a lot of witnesses, and I don't think whether it matters if it's a cabinet secretary or a lay witness. The fact is the committee has the right to collect evidence in the way that we think is appropriate.
And the reason that it's so critical for a witness like the attorney general is he's a master of invading. And when you have five minutes that you go back and forth Republican and Democrat, you sometimes can't dig deep enough and really get an a follow-up questions. So, we decided it would be much more useful to get the evidence with a staff counsel having extended period of time to follow up and really drill down so the attorney general couldn't evade answering questions as you saw him do in the Senate.
So, look, what people should be asking is why is the attorney general afraid to come before the House Judiciary? What is he hiding? What is he worried about? What questions is he afraid he can't answer? That's the real question.
CICILLINE: It's not, why does Congress want to have staff counsel --
WALLACE: -- wasn't wiling to testify before the committee. It was just this particular condition.
CICILLINE: But why, Chris? I mean, you have to ask why? What is it about that?
WALLACE: Maybe it's the fact that it hasn't happened in 32 years.
CICILLINE: But --
WALLACE: If I might ask you another question, sir, just to follow-up, the question now is what is the House going to do about all this? Here is what Attorney General Barr said when he testified before Congress last month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHARLIE CRIST, D-FLA.: Reports have emerged recently, General, that members of the special counsel's team are frustrated at some level with the limited information included in your March 24th letter. Do you know what they are referencing with that?
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: No, I don't. I think -- I suspect that they probably wanted more put out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But after we learned this week that in fact special counsel Robert Mueller had written long before that testimony, just after the release of the attorney general summary to Barr complaining about his summary, here was the reaction from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: He lied to Congress. He lied to Congress, and if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: You are on the record as saying the House should be prepared to imprison people held in contempt of Congress. Are you really serious that you're going to go down and arrest the attorney general?
CICILLINE: Well, what I'm serious about is the Congress has the absolute responsibility to collect evidence and to compel the presence of witnesses to testify under oath. If the executive branch can prevent us from doing that, they will have effectively extinguished our oversight function. So, we have to take this in a deadly serious way.
We have several ways to enforce the subpoena. The first is to judge someone in contempt and to initiate a civil proceeding. Congress also has the inherent authority to judge people in contempt. And there is both 1821 and a 1935 Supreme Court decision that recognizes Congress' right to that. And in both those cases, individuals were taken into custody pending their compliance with the subpoena.
It, of course, should never come to that. We expect the attorney general to honor a subpoena when properly served, and we will fully enforce that through the courts, but the reality is, we have to have access to this information. This is central to our oversight responsibilities, and it is not up to the executive branch to decide what they want to give us. Our Constitution requires otherwise.
WALLACE: I've got a couple of final questions.
There have been new reports this week about alleged surveillance. Some would call it spying by the FBI on the Trump campaign. It turns out that a new person in the FBI or the Justice Department had actually met with George Papadopoulos, continuing questions about the Steele dossier.
Attorney General Barr said he's going to investigate the origins of how this whole Trump-Russian investigation began.
Don't you think in the interest of fairness that your committee and Congress should investigate that as well?
CICILLINE: Well, it's laid out in the Mueller report in pretty significant details. More than 140 contacts far less between the Trump campaign and Russian officials or people connected to WikiLeaks. We know how the investigation began.
What we ought to be focusing on is protecting America from an attack by a foreign adversary of our democracy. And while we are doing that, Chris, it's important to note, we're doing this oversight work. But we should not forget the Democrats ran on an agenda for the people of this country to drive down health care costs, particularly the cost of prescription drugs, to raise family incomes with a real focus on rebuilding infrastructure and to root out corruption in Washington, which is why we passed HR-1, the most significant ethics reform since Watergate.
CICILLINE: We passed a universal background check that will pay for equal work. We've begun to work and prescription drugs. So, we are going to get the work on for the American people but we are also going to do our oversight and we are going to protect our democracy and hold people accountable who engaged with this conduct.
WALLACE: Finally, Congressman, the House Judiciary Committee, your committee, is reportedly in talks with special counsel Robert Mueller about testifying before your committee. In fact, has he agreed to testify and has a date been set?
CICILLINE: A tentative date has been set of May 15th and we hope the special counsel will appear. We think the American people have a right to hear directly from him.
WALLACE: Let me just interrupt because we're running out of time.
WALLACE: When you say a tentative has been set, has the special counsel agreed to that date?
CICILLINE: Well, he's -- I think counsel for the special -- or the representative of the special counsel has but obviously, until the day comes, we never have an absolute guarantee. The White House has so far indicated they would not interfere with Mr. Mueller's attempts to testify, we hope that won't change.
WALLACE: Congressman Cicilline, thank you. Thanks for joining us today.
CICILLINE: My pleasure.
WALLACE: Always good to talk with you, sir.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss why Democrats are suddenly targeting Attorney General Barr. Are they afraid of what he will discover the Trump-Russia investigation?
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about President Trump's decision to ignore House subpoenas?
Just go to Facebook or Twitter, @FoxNewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air.
WALLACE: Coming up, the fight between House Democrats and the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: There's been no president in history that has given what I've given.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel what Democrats can do if the president keeps ignoring their subpoenas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, I do have people in the department helping me review the activities over the summer of 2016.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Attorney General William Barr telling a Senate committee this week he's serious about investigating what led to the FBI probe of Russia and the Trump campaign.
And it's time now for our Sunday group.
Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume.
Welcome back, Brit.
BRIT HUME, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: Charles Lane from "The Washington Post," Marie Harf, co-host of "Benson and Harf" on Fox News Radio, and GOP strategist Karl Rove.
Well, Brett, since you're back from a long time away from us, and we've missed you, I'm going to ask you the first question.
Attorney General Barr seemed to become a big target this week for a lot of Democrats, particularly after we learned just before his testimony before that committee that Robert Mueller had sent a letter complaining to him about his summary just after he issued it to Congress.
To what degree do you think that attacks on Barr are really about the fact that he's serious about investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation?
HUME: I think that Barr is the latest target because that's all they've got right now, all the critics, the people were so disastrously and flaming wrong on Trump collaboration with Russia in the campaign have now turned their fire on Barr and his characterizations of what was in the Mueller report because that's what they do. this kind of character assassination they're trying is -- is a common tactic.
I don't think that -- that they're looking ahead to what they suspect might be the outcome of his inquiries into the origins of the investigation and worrying about that and therefore -- that's -- that's too complicated. It's too clever by half that theory. I don't think that the Democrats and the left are very happy that he's going to look deeply into that. And I think it's probably a fairly rich environment to find stuff. But I don't think that's the real basis of it. They're doing this to Barr because it's what they do.
WALLACE: I -- I -- Maria, I want to pick up on that with you, particularly the last part, whether this is a rich environment to investigate this because conservatives seem to think that that's going to turn out to be the real scandal here, FBI and other intelligence agency overreach and perhaps even Clinton campaign collusion with the Russians in terms of financing the Russian dossier.
MARIA HARF, ANALYST: Well, there certainly have been a lot of conspiracy theories on the right about the investigation. But when William Barr was asked in testimony a few weeks ago point-blank, he was asked, do you have any evidence of any wrongdoing in this investigation, Barr said no. He said he had questions and he wanted them answered, but questions isn't evidence.
So I understand why he's doing it. There's a political pressure on the right for him to do so. And I'm actually happy for him to do so. I would love all the FISA warrants to be out because what we saw in the Mueller report, and I think what we will see when the investigation is looked into, is that there were dozens and dozens of contacts between Russians, Russian intelligence-link organizations and individuals and Americans. They may not amount to conspiracy or criminal collusion, but they were coming to the FBI and the intelligence community throughout 2016 that were worthy of being looked into from a national security perspective and the counterintelligence investigation, if you dig into it, I am totally comfortable with people doing that because I think it was warranted in the conspiracy theories on the right will not be borne out by the evidence.
WALLACE: Karl, are you as confident -- and there are a number of investigations. You've got the inspector general. You've got the U.S. attorney out in Utah, John Huber, who we -- we never hear from.
KARL ROVE, CONTRIBUTOR: Right.
WALLACE: And now we've got Bill Barr.
Are you as convinced as Marie is that there's no there there when it comes to investigating the origins of this investigation?
ROVE: Well, look, John Huber's a Barack Obama appointed, the U.S. attorney in Utah. Michael Horowitz is a respected inspector general. We're -- I -- I think they're going to find things, absolutely. And do I think that it is worthy looking into this? You -- I noticed with Representative Cicilline, he talked about Russian interference in the election, Russian involvement in election. Why is it that no Democrat seems to be concerned about the fact that the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign funneled money to a law firm in order to hide the fact they were hiring Christopher Steele, a British security -- former intelligence agent to call his buddies in Moscow, KGB and FSB agents, and say, got any dirt on Trump? This ought to worry any American. We should not -- I mean talk about the conspiracy theories on the left have been blown to pieces by the Mueller report. No evidence of conspiracy or collusion. However, we don't have that same assurance yet on the -- on the Clinton campaign and their hiring of Christopher Steele. And in an overt -- what I think is going to turn out to be a covert attempt by the Russians to influence the election by spreading disinformation about Donald Trump.
CHARLES LANE, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think this conversation shows that whatever comes out of these investigations isn't really going to settle this dispute to everyone's satisfaction. I would just flag the Michael Horowitz IG investigation. He's already done one that was quite critical of Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe and some of these other figures.
WALLACE: This -- this was about the Hillary Clinton investigation and how that was conducted.
LANE: Correct. And part two, or phase two now is, I take it, the investigation, the background of this FISA warrant. So I don't believe -- I -- I don't believe the Democrats are doing what they're doing now to distract from that. I think they have another agenda, which is, this is kind of the alternative to impeachment, this high-pressure investigation. But I'm not sure they are going to like the results of what Horowitz comes up with.
WALLACE: Then there is the fight with -- between Democrats, who were issuing subpoenas for more documents and for more Trump advisors to testify, and the White House saying, no.
Here was the president this week on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: I have been probably a person that's given more to a so-called investigation than anybody ever in the history of this country. I've allowed lawyers to be interviewed. I didn't have to do any of it. I could have used presidential privilege.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We asked you for questions for the panel. And on this specific issue, we got this from Shannon on FaceBook, how many subpoenas did Obama and Clinton ignore?
Brit, how do you answer Shannon and just generally who do you think has the higher ground, both legally and politically, on whether or not the president has to respond to all these subpoenas for documents and for members of his administration, current or former, to go up and testify, especially somebody like former White House Counsel Don McGahn.
HUME: His resisting of all of this strikes me as a negotiating position. It's not -- it's -- and I think that's where we are. And we've had these disputes before going back decades. And what normally happens, Chris, is, that eventually the parties agree to terms for releasing materials or testimony by administration officials that both sides can accept.
For example, now we're having a fight over whether the whole Mueller report, with all the -- all the redactions removed, which are very few to begin with, and all the supporting material will be turned over to Congress. You know, that ought to be able to be worked out. And this fight over all the subpoenas for testimony and so forth, that ought to be able to be worked out too. Both every -- both sides seem very dug in. So it's not entirely clear to me that this will -- that this will get worked out in a way that it normally does.
And I think that the question then becomes, how does the American public react post-Mueller report to the continuing pursuit of these issues? And, you know, we don't know the answer. But my suspicion is that the public may be losing patience with all this.
WALLACE: I've got less than a minute left, and I want to pick up on exactly that point with you, Marie, which is, when you talk to the Democratic candidates out on the campaign trail, they say -- they get questions about, you know, real pocketbook issues. They don't get questions about Trump and impeachment and executive privilege.
Is there a danger for Democrats? You heard Cicilline talk about, well, we've still got this aggressive agenda. But here in Washington, that's not what you're hearing from the Democrats, you're hearing all about the investigation.
HARF: I really think they have to be able to do both here because Donald Trump has blown up the normal way of doing things in Washington on every level. And to Brit's point, how this would normally get worked out is some sort of compromise. I'm not sure Donald Trump will ever do that. And if they set the precedent that you can just ignore subpoena requests over and over and over again, I do think the American people will start to say, if they have nothing to hide and they didn't do anything wrong, why won't they just come answer questions? That's why we gave Democrats control of the House in 2018. (INAUDIBLE) answers.
WALLACE: Or they may say, why don't they get off that and move to something else?
Anyway, all right, panel, we have to take a break here.
When we come back, former Vice President Biden positions himself as the blue collar anti-Trump. But will the booming economy undercut Biden's 2020 ambition?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There was a $2 trillion tax cut last year. Did you feel it? Did you get anything from it? Of course not. Of course not. All of it went to folks at the top.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Well, former Vice President Biden attacking Trump tax policy in his 2020 kickoff pitch to working-class Americans in Pittsburgh this week.
And we're back now with the panel.
Karl, "The Washington Post" fact-checker says that Biden is wrong. Of course people -- the wealthy who paid the most in taxes get the biggest tax cuts. But according to the Tax Policy Center, and let's put this up, 82 percent of people making between $50,000 and $75,000 got tax cuts averaging almost a thousand dollars apiece.
So can Biden make the argument, as he seems to be there, well, maybe they did, but they don't, quote, feel it?
ROVE: Yes. Well, they may not feel it, but it's not a particularly strong argument. I mean particularly when you've got 3.8 percent unemployment, the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, lowest unemployment rate among African-Americans and Latinos since we began breaking the data out by race in 1948. And most interesting of all, wages increasing over the last two years with the people who are the working people getting their wages up 25 percent more than their supervisors. Unlike the previous five years, under President Obama, whereas supervisors got 40 percent more in wage increases then did the working people underneath them.
So, strong economy, hard for Biden to make the kind of arguments that he seemed to be trying to make on Monday, particularly this outrageous comment he made this week about China, where it seems like he is completely unconnected to the economic and geopolitical rally of the modern world.
WALLACE: As Karl was suggesting, the debate over the economy comes -- we just got some numbers on Friday for April. Actually, you said 3.8. You're not quite right. Let's put these numbers on the screen because, in fact, employers added 263,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent.
ROVE: Sorry, my -- my mistake.
WALLACE: There you go.
ROVE: I -- I beg your forgiveness.
WALLACE: It went from 3.8 to -- the lowest in 50 years, which raises the question, Chuck, how do Democrats, just generally, forget Joe Biden, just generally, how do they run against the president when his economy -- his economy, the economy that he is presiding over, is doing so well?
LANE: Yes, employment is falling so fast that even Karl can't keep up with the numbers.
And I -- I really do think there -- there is no way to deny that the economy is in great shape. In fact, when -- when Joe Biden -- he -- the other thing he said was the stock market, you don't feel that. But even that's not quite true because so many people have 401(k)s and unions are invested in pensions and they are being held by the higher stock market.
So I think the Democrats, you know, are just in a no-win position on that because in a weird way they're in the position of rooting for a recession to make their political chances better. They've got to win this election on other grounds and that --
WALLACE: Other than the economy?
LANE: They've got to win it on Trump is unfit to be president. Trump is disgracing the office, et cetera, et cetera.
And, by the way, you know, Trump -- it -- picture a different-behaving president with these same economic numbers.
ROVE: That's the point.
LANE: His re-election wouldn't even be in doubt.
HUME: Right. He ought to be --
LANE: He is keeping himself at -- in -- in jeopardy -- pardon the expression -- by -- by Biden (INAUDIBLE) --
WALLACE: And let me -- let me just say, you should read Chuck Lane's column about "Jeopardy!" He's a hater of "Jeopardy!" James. But --
LANE: But just one last thing, if I may.
WALLACE: Yes, sir.
LANE: The other thing that this demonstrates is that presidential approval and re-election are increasingly disconnected from the condition of the economy. It's much more of a straight partisan judgment than it has been in the past.
HUME: That's exactly -- that's precisely the point, that -- that these numbers on the economy and the general situation in the country, in the world, this president ought to have an approval rating in the high 50s or low 60s. And he can't get out of the 40s on his approval rating. And the reason is that he does this stuff all the time and says the stuff all the time and act in such a way to offend people.
And -- and the truth is, it shouldn't or wouldn't be that hard for him to stop doing that stuff. But he can't. And he's -- and the only time I can remember his actually doing that was in the final -- in the closing weeks of the campaign in 2016 when he stopped on Twitter basically and disciplined himself and campaigned in all the right places and -- and -- and did smart things and -- and won the election.
But most of the time he -- he -- he seems to go out of his way to try to make people crazy.
ROVE: Take -- take a look at (INAUDIBLE).
HUME: And all you have to do is stop that and -- and he'd be immeasurably better off.
Can he do it? I have my doubts.
ROVE: Take a look at the gap in his numbers. His approval in RealClearPolicits on the economy is 54.6 approve, 41 disapprove. His overall approval is 43.8 to 53.1.
HUME: There you go.
ROVE: Now, having said that, remember this, at this point in -- well, in October of 2011, Barack Obama's re-election was 38 re-elect and generic Republican 46. Today, Donald Trump is 41 re-elect, generic Democrat 48. So it's roughly where Obama was at this point -- or slightly earlier than this. So the same rule can apply, can he disqualify the 2020 Democratic nominee as Barack Obama disqualified Mitt Romney.
WALLACE: Marie, let me --
ROVE: (INAUDIBLE) --
WALLACE: Le me bring Marie in here because I know that there are a lot of Democrats who are saying, well, OK, maybe the overall numbers are good, but when you talk about, can you afford health insurance, can you afford tuition, the kind of jobs that people are getting in at -- behind that 3.6 percent, there's still a case to be made against the Trump economy.
HARF: That's right. And put health care in that same bucket when you talk about tariffs and you look at individual states that Trump needs to win, the tariffs are having still an impact to this day because he can't wrap up these trade wars.
I also think that they don't sell their own economic news. The fact that a lot of people don't think they benefited from the tax bill, that it still polls pretty negatively, they're not even selling that.
So, President Trump can certainly win re-election, that is true, but I don't think he can do it based on the economy alone. Democrats are going to make this a moral contest, an ethical contest. Sometimes economic news isn't enough and there are still a lot of people hurting. Whether it's health care, whether it's education. And the president, to Brit's point, I do not think can find that discipline within him. We've never seen him be able to do that. I don't think he can now (ph).
WALLACE: And let me just say this, because I've had the opportunity to sit with the president and he does say, I'm president and you're not. He's a 72-year-old billionaire. He ran against all odds and become the president. So I'm not sure it's that easy to tell them how to perform. He seems to --
HARF: I don't think it's easy.
HUME: And the other thing is you had going for him is that there does not seem yet to be emerging in the Democratic field anybody who might be an obvious winner. You know, Joe Biden -- Biden can --
WALLACE: Well, in the polls, some of these guys are leading, I understand - -
HUME: Right, I understand that. But -- but Biden comes out of the box and he goes up in the polls and he raises a bunch of money and so forth. And the next thing you know you're playing clips of him saying dumb stuff on television. And -- and this is the story of Joe Biden. It has been a lot of good in Joe Biden. But he -- you know, I -- you know, the idea that he's some blowout great candidate is that -- because of his blue-collar roots is going to be able to knock Trump off I think is -- is fanciful. He'll -- he'll struggle against Trump.
WALLACE: We've -- we've -- we've only got a year and a have to talk about this.
WALLACE: Thank you. Thank you for coming back, Brit. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our "Power Player of the Week," a household name who, for the first time, is opening up about her own household, trying to give all women a lift.
WALLACE: She grew up in Texas, the daughter of an engineer, who worked in the space program. And she remembers watching the countdown to lift-off when a rocket would spring into the sky. Now she's using that image to call for a lift-off for women. Here's our "Power Player of the Week."
MELINDA GATES, AUTHOR, "THE MOMENT OF LIFT": If you lift up women and you take the barriers away that hold them down, women will lift up not just themselves, but everybody else around them.
WALLACE (voice over): Melinda Gates has spent two decades, along with her husband Bill, running the Gates Foundation, giving more than $45 billion in grants to fight poverty and disease around the world and support education in the U.S. Now she's written "The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World."
WALLACE (ON CAMERA): You say that you feel rage about some of the injustice you see. Rage about what?
GATES: Rage that we hold women down in so many ways.
WALLACE (voice over): Such as cutting off access to contraception.
GATES: It's our greatest anti-poverty tool ever. When a women can space and time the births of her pregnancies, she's not only healthier, the children are healthier, the family, the kids are better educated, and they're wealthier.
We want to use this window, this opportunity.
WALLACE: Another big issue for Gates, unpaid work. In the U.S., she says, women do 90 minutes more unpaid work a day than men do, taking care of the family.
GATES: Over the course of a woman's lifetime around the world, it's seven years of her life. So I think there's -- every man and woman can imagine what they might do with seven more years of their life.
WALLACE: It has been tough for Gates, stepping out front and pushing a personal issue like birth control, especially as someone raised catholic.
GATES: I was terrified to go out and speak about this, but somebody had to do it. And -- and, at the end of the day, I think it also had to be a woman.
WALLACE (on camera): You are famously private about your own life.
WALLACE: How hard is it to open up about your marriage, your kids?
WALLACE (voice over): Gates talks about unpaid work in her own family, and convincing her husband to share in driving their first daughter 45 minutes each way to kindergarten.
GATES: A mom came up to me and said, do you see any change her, and I said, yes, there are a lot of dads coming into the classroom and doing drop off. And she said, we went home and said, by gosh, if Bill Gates can do it and he's CEO of Microsoft, you can do it too, to their husbands.
WALLACE: Then, there was cleaning up after dinner.
GATES: Everybody started to peel away and I said, hands on hips, no one leaves the kitchen until mom leaves the kitchen. And I kept thinking, why is it that Bill can go up to his desk and I can't, or the kids can start their homework? Isn't my work just as important too?
WALLACE: Gates acknowledges they have plenty of money for drivers and housekeepers, but she says to make sure her children understand the real world they need to live in it.
WALLACE (on camera): You're 54 years old. You've been married now for 25 years. You have just written your first book. How would you describe this chapter of your life?
GATES: I'm not afraid to say what I believe and what I know to be true. I had a bout of perfectionism that I've had to work on thinking, do I know enough to speak my truth. But after you've traveled and seen what I've seen, you know that you know enough.
WALLACE: "Forbes" magazine ranks Melinda Gates as the most powerful woman in philanthropy, putting her at number six in its list of the world's most powerful women.
And that's it for today. Have a great week, and we will see you next “Fox News Sunday.”
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