This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," April 15, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Good Sunday morning everybody. President Trump takes to Twitter this morning as James Comey kicks off the P.R. blitz for his tell-all book. The Justice Department's internal watchdog says former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lied to investigators, and America's future strategy in Syria in the spotlight. Good morning everyone I'm Maria Bartiromo. Welcome to 'Sunday Morning Futures.' President Trump unleashes on Twitter as Jim Comey's new book is about to hit bookshelves, some powerful lawmakers are asking why Congress and the public have not seen or get access to the same memos the former Head of the FBI used to write the tell-all book. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey will weigh in live this morning with me. And the scathing new report issued of the DOJ's Inspector General Friday night, the I.G. report is dropped on Andrew McCabe, misleading investigators about the unauthorized disclosure of information, the reaction from Congressman John Ratcliffe this morning coming up. And the U.S. and its allies send Damascus a message after President Bashar al-Assad launched a chemical attack on his own people. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce on America's steps in Syria as we look ahead right now on 'Sunday Morning Futures.'
Brand new reaction this morning from President Trump to the upcoming tell- all book by former FBI Director James Comey as Comey kicks off a tour promoting his book ahead of its release this Tuesday. The President today tweeted this. 'I never asked Comey for personal loyalty. I hardly ever even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies his memos are self- serving and fake.' My next guest is one of three GOP Congressional Chairman requesting the detailed memos Comey says he kept after encounters with President Trump. They set a deadline for tomorrow, April 16. Joining me right now is Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte who is also the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Mr. Chairman thanks very much for joining us this morning.
REP. BOB GOODLATTE, R-V.A., CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It's great to be with you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: Let's talk about those memos. I have the letter in front of me that you sent to Rod Rosenstein saying that you're requesting the Department of Justice make copies of the Comey memos available immediately no later than the close of business this Monday. Of course, we know that Jim Comey passed some of those memos to his friend, a professor and then the New York Times. Tell us what you're looking to receive here.
GOODLATTE: Well we're looking to receive the unredacted Comey memos so that we have the opportunity to see what Mr. Comey is telling the people in his book compared to what is occurring in terms of his recounting of his meeting with the President -- meetings with the President earlier last year. It's very important that the American people get to hear the whole story. Mr. Comey is out aggrandizing himself, he's out for revenge, I would say when he talks about a higher justice. He's really talking about a higher view of himself than I think the American people have, but they need to have all the facts and the Comey memos certainly play a part of that. These are in the possession of the Department of Justice and Special Counsel Mueller and there's absolutely no reason why they should not be made available. There's no legal principle to not make them available to the Congress.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, three weeks ago, you appeared on this program and you broke the news that you would in fact subpoena the Department of Justice, the FBI if you did not receive the 1.2 million documents that you had requested. At that time, you and your colleagues had been given 3,000 documents out of the 1.2 million documents. How many of those have you received at this point?
GOODLATTE: We have not received very many of those documents. And as you know, we issued the subpoena and we have had some progress because the Department of Justice appointed -- Attorney General Sessions appointed John Lausch, who is the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois specifically charged with producing those documents. I've had two meetings with Mr. Lausch. So far my staff have had additional meetings and I believe that we're very close to being able to get access to those documents later this week.
BARTIROMO: But congressman, I mean, with all due respect, what are you going to do? I mean, you're looking for the Comey memos, the deadline is tomorrow. You've put a deadline in place to get these 1.2 million documents, you've only received three or 4,000 of those1.2 million documents. You've said that if we don't get these documents we're going to move toward contempt of Congress. What does that mean and is that realistic? I mean, if you move to contempt, is that the next step -- by the way, if you don't get these documents what are you going to do?
GOODLATTE: Well, we have additional steps we can take and we will continue to do that. There's a lot of pressure on the Federal Bureau of Investigation and on the Department of Justice to produce these documents. I think the fact that they've now appointed two United States Attorneys, one to oversee the investigation from outside of the main Department of Justice -- I still think we need a special counsel into what my committee and Chairman Gowdy's committee are looking into with regard to how the FBI handled investigations into Hillary Clinton and into both campaigns in 2016 and into 2017. We have made progress in that regard. Now we have a new United States Attorney overseeing the production of these documents. We don't have the documents yet. We don't have access to the documents but I believe we will have them very soon based upon the discussions that we're undertaking. If we do not we are prepared to take additional steps and I believe that people in the administration very much want to have the Congress get these documents so that we can A, conduct our investigation but B, also recognize that right of the Congress and the American people to have access to information so that these investigations, this oversight can be conducted.
BARTIROMO: And one of those tools, as you've said in the past, would be putting them in contempt of Congress with eventually impeachment proceedings. Wouldn't that effectively mean that you would look to fire or impeach certain people of the Department of Justice, senior people like Rod Rosenstein? Are you prepared to go as far as firing Rod Rosenstein?
GOODLATTE: All of those tools are on the table but I don't think we should say what we're going to do until we actually reach a decision that we have to do it, but we have shown a willingness to issue subpoenas and to take our case to the Attorney General of the United States and to take our case to the American people. We'll continue to do that. The Congress is entitled to these documents and we'll get them.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, I have here the office of the Inspector General, I.G. report or the beginning or part of the I.G. report that was dropped late Friday night. Can you talk to us about this? This is the internal watchdog. Of course, this is about McCabe, Andrew McCabe misleading investigators and his former boss, James Comey and the leaks to the media regarding an investigation of the Clinton Foundation. What struck you most? What was most important out of this I.G. report which was dropped on Friday night?
GOODLATTE: Well, first of all, I think the Inspector General's report clearly confirms the decision within the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to fire the Deputy Director of the FBI Mr. McCabe. It's very unfortunate that along career on the part of Mr. McCabe would end in the fashion that it did, but based upon this report, and the original findings by the Office of Professional Responsibility by the way and not a political decision, the Office of Professional Responsibility found that Mr. McCabe took inappropriate actions and then lied about them. And as a result of that, I think it's very important that the Inspector General report is out there now and confirms that the correct decision was made to remove him from office.
BARTIROMO: So in terms of Andrew McCabe lying three times under oath, which is what we learned from this -- from this report from the Inspector General, there's also part of this report detailing a phone call which Andrew McCabe took from a higher up in the Department of Justice, the Assistant Attorney General and he said that that was the most aggressive call he had ever received where he had to ask that person, are you asking me to shut down this investigation of the Clinton Foundation. Tell us about that. I mean, does that indicate that this goes higher up than we knew in terms of into the Obama administration?
GOODLATTE: Well, it may very well go higher up. It may even go all the way into the Obama White House. That's why it is so important that the investigation that we launched last fall into how the FBI and the Department of Justice handled the Hillary e-mail -- Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation and the connection between that and how they launched an investigation into the Trump campaign that carried on into 2017 when the President actually took office. The contrast between how the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation handled the investigation into all the aspects of what was going on with Hillary Clinton, with her emails, with the Clinton Foundation and so on, bending over backwards to not prosecute, to not investigate properly, to not continue to investigate, is very disturbing when you compare that to the Page-Strzok email and texts which indicate very strongly an extreme bias against the Trump campaign and President Trump and his administration.
BARTIROMO: That's right.
GOODLATTE: We cannot have this persist. We certainly can't have it go into the next presidential election in 2020. The American people deserve better from America's premier law enforcement organization. And by the way, they get that from tens of thousands of rank and file FBI personnel who every day keep us safe, fight terrorism, solve crimes. They're doing their job and they deserve better than to besmirched by several people at the top of that organization who thankfully, like Mr. Comey, are no longer -- most of them are no longer there.
BARTIROMO: There may not be there, but many of them are still there in different positions and they still have security clearances. Isn't that right, Congressman?
GOODLATTE: That is right, and those that are still there, based upon information I've seen, should be removed. And I hope that the Department and the Bureau are taking the steps necessary to finish that job because it is very important that justice be served and people who are not serving justice should not be in the Department of Justice or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
BARTIROMO: Congressman we're going to take a short break. I want to ask you about criminal referrals when we come right back. Congressman Goodlatte, stay with us. We'll be right back. Then we'll talk with Congressman John Ratcliffe and Congressman Ed Royce on America's future role in Syria. Follow me on Twitter @MariaBartiromo, @SundayFutures. Let us know what you'd like to hear from our guests this morning as we look ahead on 'Sunday Morning Futures.' Back in a moment.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back and we are back with Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee just a few days after the Inspector General dropped the beginning of the Inspector General report which has been highly anticipated. And this part of the report Congressman is dealing with Andrew McCabe and how he lied on four different occasions, three times under oath. It appears now that McCabe and Comey and Loretta Lynch are contradicting each other in terms of what went on. A moment ago we were talking about that phone call that Andrew McCabe discussed, having heard from senior Attorney General assistant about the Clinton investigation. You said this may very well go higher up into the Obama White House. What do you expect?
GOODLATTE: Well, I don't want to say what I expect. I want to say that this investigation needs to be thoroughly pursued within the Department of Justice, within the Federal Bureau of Investigation under its new leadership with Christopher Wray by the outside United States Attorney, Mr. Huber, from Utah outside of main justice whose been appointed by Attorney General Sessions to look into this and by the United States Congress. And it's why we need to have access to those documents and certainly, the United States Attorney can take the appropriate steps to pursue appropriate criminal action if it is warranted.
BARTIROMO: Are there criminal referrals within this I.G. report?
GOODLATTE: I do not know the answer to that but certainly, those examining the report can make a determination whether or not they should pursue that, regardless of whether or not the Inspector General believes that to be the case. They can take his information, the information they have themselves, and make the appropriate decision to do that. And they should if the Inspector General and/or the outside United States Attorney and the Department of Justice itself believes that Mr. McCabe took steps that violated the law
BARTIROMO: Well, I mean what I'm asking really is the American people want to know where is this going? You know, we know now that the Inspector General says that Andrew McCabe lied under oath and we know now that he was overseeing the Clinton investigation as well as the Trump investigation up until a week before the election. And we know that there was a conflict with his wife having received hundreds of thousands of dollars before that, in her failed bid for a state Senate seat. So where do -- where does this go? I mean will people feel like there was accountability because we know plenty of other people who have gone to jail for lying under oath which is a felony.
GOODLATTE: Well, first off -- well, you're absolutely right, Maria, and the fact of the matter is that the Department of Justice should pursue the truth wherever it leads them and should draw the appropriate conclusions about whether or not Mr. McCabe committed perjury or violated some other law that requires the action be taken in that regard and I certainly support continuing this investigation on their part because that's exactly what we're trying to do in the House of Representatives considering the fact that nothing was done during the Obama years and very little was done at the beginning of this administration to pursue these facts. And the fact that we have persisted in this regard and the Department is waking up to the reality that serious damage has been done to the important reputation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that's all a part of restoring the American people's trust in the premier law enforcement organization of the country.
BARTIROMO: And yet astoundingly, all of this has occurred on Jim Comey's watch and he right now is on a book tour talking about his new book, talking about his criticism of President Trump and very few questions about his performance and his underling's performance like Andrew McCabe and their complicit abuse of power.
GOODLATTE: Again, that's the reason why Chairman Gowdy and I have launched this investigation between the Judiciary Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee into what happened in the leadership of the FBI during the 2016 election. And Democrats and Independence, everyone, American people should be very concerned about the matters that were undertaken at that time. And Democrats should be extremely concerned about the fact that Mr. Comey announced publicly a week or ten days before the election that he was reopening the investigation. He could have informed people in the Congress prior to reopening that investigation that he was going to do so and then the facts could have come out after the election. But if I were a Democrat, I'd be very disturbed about the fact that he made that decision. I think his book is going to confirm that he took inappropriate steps here and that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein who is the person who actually made the decision to terminate Mr. Comey made the correct decision.
BARTIROMO: All right, we will leave it there. Mr. Chairman, thanks very much for joining us this morning.
GOODLATTE: Thank you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: We appreciate it. More on the James Comey book, with House Judiciary committee member John Ratcliffe of Texas. He will join me next to discuss the new report from the Department of Justice detailing its reasons behind the firing of former FBI Director Andrew McCabe and how this plays into the Internal Justice Department investigation on the Bureau's actions leading up to the 2016 election. That and what should we expect coming up from the rest of this I.G. report. We'll be right back, stay with us.
BARTIROMO: Happy Sunday. Welcome back to 'Sunday Morning Futures.' We will get reaction to the latest on the U.S. response in Syria in just a moment but we want to get back to where we left off on that I.G. report, the Justice Department's internal watchdog on former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Joining me now to weigh in is Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe, who's also a member of both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee. Congressman, it's good to see you. Thanks so much for joining us.
REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE, R-TEXAS, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: You bet, Maria. Thanks for having me on.
BARTIROMO: I want to talk to you because you're one of only three lawmakers who have actually seen the raw intelligence behind the Nunes memo on alleging the surveillance abuse at the FBI. What can you tell us in terms of the I.G. report -- the beginning of the I.G. report that was dropped on Friday night? What struck you?
RATCLIFFE: Well, I think the most important takeaway is that the firing of Andrew McCabe was justified. Not once, not twice, not three times but four times the number two person at the premier law enforcement agency in the world, the FBI, lied and was less than truthful, sometimes under oath. So I think that it's important to underscore that that decision was the appropriate one. I think the other important takeaway for the American people is that it shows our congressional investigations into this matter are justified. Remember, Adam Schiff and others were wagging their finger at me and other members for maligning the character of certain FBI and Department of Justice officials. Listen, I love the Department of Justice. I wanted Adam Schiff to be right but he wasn't. Look at the extraordinary circumstances of what the American people have seen in the last week if they've turned on their T.V. or read a newspaper. They've seen the FBI Director, former Director Comey contradicting his Deputy Andrew McCabe, both of them contradicting each other under oath. You've seen Jim Comey contradicting the former Attorney General of the United States Loretta Lynch in recorded and televised interviews and you've seen Jim Comey contradicting himself with respect to his congressional testimony and now some of the things that he's saying in interviews regarding his book tour. So you know, all of this is extraordinarily inappropriate, it's sad, it's disappointing, it's painful, but it shows that it's important for us to get to the bottom of this and for these congressional investigations to continue so that we can hold people accountable. I think Andrew McCabe is being held accountable and I think others need to be as well.
BARTIROMO: Are there criminal referrals here? Where is this going?
RATCLIFFE: Well, we'll see. You know, we're waiting for the rest of the Inspector General's report. Very clearly what has been outlined is that Andrew McCabe, according to FBI's own investigators was less than truthful under oath. The same thing that other folks like Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos and Rick Gates are currently being charged for. So you would expect that Andrew McCabe would be treated the same under the law. I do expect that the next part of the Inspector General report will highlight additional misconduct at the FBI and the Department of Justice and that hopefully, everyone will be treated equally under the law as we get those revelations.
BARTIROMO: Meanwhile, he is on this book tour and he's trashing Trump in every interview. Your reaction to a former FBI Director writing a book with these Comey memos talking about these memos we took on then Candidate Trump.
RATCLIFFE: Well, the funny thing about every Jim Comey story is that the starring role and the hero, in the end, is always the same. It's always Jim Comey. He's always in some sort of tortured matrix to save us all.
RATCLIFFE: The problem is he's not in the Justice League. He's in the justice system and I think that it's a betrayal of the oath that he took to be monetizing that and publicly talking about things that are frankly beneath the dignity of the office that he held but more importantly, I think, you know, at the end of the day, the decisions that he made have really come with some extraordinarily grave consequences for our national security. Jim Comey's the one person in the history of the United States to simultaneously act as the FBI Director investigating what Hillary Clinton did under the espionage act, as the attorney general exercising prosecute discretion, he acted as a member of Congress by adding elements to the statute, the espionage act and acted as a Supreme Court justice in interpreting what the law should be. You know, those kinds of things, superheroes do that in the movies but in real life, we respect the separation of powers and I think that's a system that he did not follow the rules that he should have and I think that's the oath that he betrayed to the American people. And again, that has come with grave national security consequences Maria.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, I want to ask you two other pieces of business certainly as it relates to national security and the homeland. You being on the Homeland Security Committee. Should we be worried given the fact that the President has called out Russia, it has -- he has called out Tehran on the heels of the strikes against Syria?
RATCLIFFE: Well, you know, with respect to Russia, I think they were warned in advance of this attack. I've seen the words that they're going to respond and their fears of retaliation. I wouldn't expect any military response against either opposition forces in Syria or against our own special forces in the region. I'd be surprised if they took that action. This is not the old Soviet Union. They can't go toe to toe with us militarily. And economically they really can't do anything to us either. We're talking about a Russian economy that's smaller than the economy of my home state, the State of Texas. But I do think where we are vulnerable is in cyberspace. You know, DDOS attacks or malicious cyber-attacks are something the Russians or the Iranians could do in retaliation. So I think that the United States and our allies like Great Britain and France would be vulnerable there and there has been some frankly chatter with respect to potential attacks against the U.K. in particular already. But Maria, you know some risks are worth taking and trying to prevent the use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world I think is one of those risks.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, real quick before you go. We know that Paul Ryan is stepping down as Speaker of the House. Who will you support as the next speaker?
RATCLIFFE: Well, first of all, I'm less concerned about who the next speaker is. I'm more concerned about what the next speaker is. I want the next speaker to be a Republican. But Republicans are all ling up, I was glad this week to see. You know, Paul Ryan did a great job. He has endorsed Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise has endorsed Kevin McCarthy. Now, I hate to punish Kevin with the -- with the most difficult and perhaps worst job in Washington but I know that he'd be up to the task and I think it's important that Republicans be unified as we head into the midterms with respect to that. But again our focus needs to be on making sure that the next speaker is a Republican.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, thank you. Thanks for joining us this morning. Good to see you, sir.
RATCLIFFE: You bet. Always great --
BARTIROMO: Congressman John Ratcliffe. Stay with us. More from Michael Mukasey up next.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back. President Trump this morning unleashing a flurry of tweets slamming former FBI Director James Comey. In one tweet, the president says this. 'Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack. He is not smart, will go down as the worst FBI Director in history by far.' It comes as Comey gets ready to release a new tell-all book this week which will be dropped on Tuesday. Joining me right now is Michael Mukasey, he's a former Attorney General under the George W. Bush administration, a former Federal Judge, and partner at Debevoise. Good to see you, sir. Thank you so much for joining us.
MICHAEL MUKASEY, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Good to be here.
BARTIROMO: So this is all quite extraordinary isn't it, judge? I mean, give me your take. Here we have Jim Comey out with this book, talking about his time at the FBI at the same time that congressional leadership is asking for documents that they haven't received yet, pertaining to the FBI's handling of the Clinton Investigation as well as the Trump administration. Your reaction?
MUKASEY: Well, there are a couple of issues raised by that. Number one, there are guidelines, publication guidelines for people who work at the FBI and the first publication guideline is that you're not supposed to write about the substantive issues in pending open investigations. That seems to have been violated with Mr. Comey's book. But beyond that, I think that it bears a good long look into how he came to drop the charges with respect to Hillary Clinton. As your -- as your last guest pointed out he was acting in several capacities, most of them unauthorized in doing that. But there are a couple of clues in plain view that really need to be followed. Number one, President Obama communicated with Hillary Clinton on her server. We know that because he had -- he had a code name and his emails were discovered and would have been discovered had the investigation of her continued. When the President went on television and said she hadn't done anything wrong, did Jim Comey take that as an indication that he should find that there was an added element to the statute and therefor he shouldn't bring a prosecution? I think that bears following up.
BARTIROMO: Well they also, we should point out, changed the language of what in fact Hillary Clinton had done. Changing the language really changed the specific situation in terms of her handling of her emails isn't that right?
MUKASEY: Correct, and they also -- he also misstated whether people had ever been prosecuted for doing what she did. He claims that he hadn't found any cases at the Justice Department. Whether he found any cases or not, the fact is that there were many people in the military who were prosecuted under the identical statute who not only were suffered sanctions but were actually in prison for doing actually a lot less than she did.
BARTIROMO: So there will be more to come from the Inspector General with regard to the Hillary Clinton email investigation and that will be coming out within the month. What struck you about what we've learned so far from the Inspector General about Andrew McCabe in this most recent drop on Friday night?
MUKASEY: Well, I thought the statement that he had been less than candid, i.e. lied, no fewer than four times, a couple of them under oath, was really pretty striking, particularly for someone who has pretended to be a pillar of virtue and who was attracted charitable contributions or contributions to a defense fund.
BARTIROMO: But this is all pretty extraordinary. As a former Attorney General yourself when you see this contradictions between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Jim Comey and Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and these texts, what do you say is going on or has taken place?
MUKASEY: There's a lot that I don't know, but there's also a lot that the rest of us don't know. And what I think is appropriate is the investigation by Mr. Huber in Utah and a full investigation by Congress, which ought to do its job and really tease out all of the details.
BARTIROMO: All right, we will leave it there. Michael Mukasey, always a pleasure to see you, sir. Thanks so much
MUKASEY: Good to be with you.
BARTIROMO: We'll take a break. When we come back, the U.S. and its allies are sending a clear message to the Syrian regime. Congressman Ed Royce is the powerful Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He joins me next to talk about the force that was taken between the U.S., France and the U.K. More as we look ahead on 'Sunday Morning Futures' right here.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back. A bold move from the United States with allies Great Britain and France, helping the U.S. target the regime of Bashar al-Assad after the Syrian dictator killed dozens of his own people in a chemical attack last week. The mission crippling Syria's chemical weapons capabilities according to the Pentagon. But officials admit Assad can still carry out chemical attacks. The U.S. warning it remains 'locked and loaded' to respond should that happened. President Trump on Friday chastising Syria's two main allies, Russia and Iran.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also have a message tonight for the two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime. To Iran and to Russia, I ask, what kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children? In 2013 President Putin and his government promised the world that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons. Assad's recent attack and today's response are the direct result of Russia's failure to keep that from promise.
BARTIROMO: Joining me now California Congressman Ed Royce who serve as Chairman for the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. Chairman, thanks very much for joining us this morning.
REP. ED ROYCE, R-CALIF., CHAIRMAN, HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Thank you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: Was this the right move?
ROYCE: Well it certainly was the right move. And not only was it the right move, but the inclusion of Britain and France in the operation as well as the support that Turkey gave us perhaps gives us a way forward because now we have a situation where all of the neighbors, all of the neighbors around Syria, are dealing with the results of this max mass exodus of people fleeing this conflict. So as a consequence, all of Europe, as well as Turkey and Jordan and Lebanon, are in a circumstance now with 14 million people have been driven out of their homes, a half million killed, and they would like to see a solution. If we can have a strong diplomatic effort now backed up with serious financial pressure against those who are transferring these arms so that Assad can continue this bloody conflict, we may have a way forward for a political solution. That's what we need right now is to bring all of Europe and all of the region together to do that.
BARTIROMO: Understood but what is the way forward? How do you explain to the American people or some people who may say we don't want to be entangled in another war, now Syria.
ROYCE: Well what we're talking about now is what you saw in terms of the diplomacy that went into getting Britain and France on board and getting the support of the regional players here. There's only one actor and that's Iran that wants to keep this kind of disorder because they want a land bridge to bring weapons and fighters up to the border of Israel. They need anarchy in Syria for that purpose. It is actually more beneficial for the rest of the globe to work together right now to get a political settlement. And if it takes safe zones, if it takes, you know, the financial pressure of the types of sanctions that we brought against North Korea, then that's the kind of thing it'll take against Syria and those who are supporting Assad, such as Iran and Moscow. But I think if we now move forward on that front, we can look forward to an end to seven years of a bloody conflict that otherwise the Iranians are going to continue to pour those troops in there and build up their weapons operations up against the Israeli border. We need this international effort.
BARTIROMO: I want to ask you about NAFTA, so I want to switch gears for a moment, but before I do let me ask you this real quick. The President recently said he wants to pull out of Syria. Is that no longer on the table given what has taken place?
ROYCE: We don't need tens of thousands of troops on the ground right now. We need our force there that's taking down ISIS, we obviously need that but we don't need the introduction of U.S. ground forces in those numbers into that region. What we need as I said is a diplomatic political solution right now where we have a strategy. And this week, when we go into session, I'm asking the administration to come up and to testify. That's what we're going to have, is a hearing on a strategy for it. And second, I want that bill that we pass out of our committee into the Senate. We need that Senate bill to get to the President's desk to put those serious financial pressures and sanctions against Assad and his backers.
BARTIROMO: OK, we'll be watching for that congressman. Real quick on NAFTA. This week Vice President Mike Pence said this, and I quote. 'We are very close to the kind of breakthrough on issues of immigration, drug interject that will be the benefit to both sides and we could have a final NAFTA agreement possible in several weeks,' and you say?
ROYCE: And I say one of the important elements potentially of solving this NAFTA problem is trans-shipment that goes from China into Mexico and then up into the border in the United States. We want to end that trans- shipment. If we can get that ended along with these other changes that we're trying to get in agreement, then I think we've got something here that's going to be very beneficial.
BARTIROMO: So you think we could actually see a NAFTA agreement even before the Mexican elections?
ROYCE: I think it would be -- I don't know that it can be done prior to that but if we can get the details ironed out quickly and get that announced, I think it's helpful.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, you're very helpful this morning. We so appreciate your time. Thanks very much, sir.
ROYCE: Thank you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: We will see you soon, Mr. Chairman. Coming up, House Speaker Paul Ryan confirming months of speculation that he will be stepping down at the end of the term. How does this move shake the upcoming midterm elections? That's next as we discuss with the panel as we look ahead on 'Sunday Morning Futures.' Back in a moment.
BARTIROMO: We are back, Paul Ryan says he plans to retire from Congress setting of speculation about what this might mean for Republicans in this year's midterm election as well as the race to lead Republicans in the House. I want to bring in our panel on that. Mary Kissel is Member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, former New York Senator Al D'Amato is with us, also a Fox News contributor. Good to see you both.
AL D'AMATO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: Good to be with you.
BARTIROMO: Your thoughts on Paul Ryan not stepping down, Senator -- I mean stepping down?
D'AMATO: You kind of predicted it, about two months ago, when he said, well I'm going to have to check with my wife before I say anything. And I think most who follow the political scene said he's not running again. That's not the kind of statement you would make. It's -- I think the precursor unfortunately of the Democrats taking control in the house and I think right now they are unsung favorite to win the House because of that reapportionment that hurts the Republicans in Pennsylvania, they've got seats in California that are in danger. You have 40 Republican Congressmen who are not running for re-election. They're in trouble right now.
BARTIROMO: So should he make a move to get out of the way sooner rather than later, Mary? I mean now that we know that he's not sticking around, in order to deep the House given what you're saying does a change need to happen in that regard, Mary?
MARY KISSEL, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, I think the loss of Paul Ryan is an intellectual loss for the Republican Party. This is a guy who spent two decades making coherent arguments for things like the tax cuts, for policies like entitlement reform, Maria, things that are not popular inside the beltway. Now, was he a great Speaker or was he better suited to be Head of the Ways and Means Committee, coming up with these policy ideas, you know, probably the latter. He was better suited as sort of a policy wonk and ideas guy. But he's just one of several retirements here of some of the intellectual leaders of the party including guys like Jeb Hensarling who aren't running for re-election. That's a problem because Republicans need to sell their achievements. They can't just talk in broad strokes about you know, how great tax cuts are, they have to sell it and I think Ryan leaving is a loss.
BARTIROMO: Which is why I ask, now that we know he's leaving, should he be leaving -- I mean this uncertainty, does that open up a whole new can of worms going into the midterms?
D'AMATO: Oh, I think you'd have greater confusion today, you'd have a horrific battle for leadership were he to step down now, so also --
BARTIROMO: So keep him in place knowing that you know, they hope to win the House in November and then he'll step down?
D'AMATO: You guys had better concentrate on your elections, getting some good candidates and it will be an uphill battle. And much of it's going to depend upon the popularity of the President comes November.
BARTIROMO: OK. So the popularity of the President -- real quick before we go, Mary, you have an issue with the Syria strikes?
KISSEL: Well, first of all, the president should be praised for deterring Assad from using chemical weapons. You've had Russia and North Korea use them but there still isn't a coherent strategy there, Maria. The President also says he wants to fight terror and wants to contain Iran. There's not a broader strategy in Syria on that yet.
BARTIROMO: We will leave it there. Mary Kissel, Senator D'Amato --
D'AMATO: He did the right thing by going in and he has to let it be known that we're ready to go further.
BARTIROMO: All right, we will leave it there. Thanks so much for joining us both of you and thank you for joining us. I'll see you tomorrow morning at 'Mornings with Maria' at Fox Business Network.
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