Rep. Steve Scalise on impeachment impasse on Capitol Hill

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," December 29, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

Mike Emanuel: I'm Mike Emanuel in for Chris Wallace. More than a week since the impeachment vote, and no sign of a break in the standoff over a trial in the Senate.

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Donald Trump: She's doing a tremendous disservice to the country. She's not doing a good job.

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Mike Emanuel: President Trump lashing out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats for holding up his day in court --

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Mitch McConnell: You know, I'm not anxious to have this trial. So, if she was all of the papers, that's -- go right ahead.

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Mike Emanuel: -- while leaders remain at odds over format and whether or not witnesses should be called. We'll discuss the deadlock with Congressman Steve Scalise, the number two Republican in the House, and get reaction from Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, only on Fox News Sunday. Plus, Christmas passes without a so-called gift from North Korea.

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Donald Trump: Maybe it's a nice present. Maybe it's a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test.

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Mike Emanuel: We'll ask our Sunday panel about the fragile state of U.S.-North Korea relations, all right now on "Fox News Sunday."

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Mike Emanuel: And hello, again, and Happy New Year from Fox News in Washington. The debate over the parameters of a Senate impeachment trial goes on this holiday weekend. President Trump spending it in Florida, slamming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a series of tweets about the process, which he calls, "very unfair." In a moment, we'll speak with the number two Republican in the House, Congressman Steve Scalise. But first, let's get the latest from Rich Edson at the president's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida. Rich?

Rich Edson: Mike, President Trump is about halfway through his two-week trip here in Florida. The president is now working in daily criticisms of the House Speaker who led the effort to impeach him.

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Donald Trump: She hates all of the people that voted for me and the Republican Party.

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Rich Edson: And she's trying to force Senate Republicans to allow witnesses in any impeachment trial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still withholding House-passed impeachment articles, delaying a Senate trial. The president suggests Pelosi should focus, instead, on homelessness in California and face a primary challenge. Pelosi tweeted -- quote -- "The facts are clear, and every witness told the same story. Despite the president's attempts to cover it up, President Trump abused his power for his own personal gain. #defendourdemocracy." Senate Democrats say if the president did nothing wrong, administration officials should have no problems testifying.

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Chuck Schumer: Give an answer to why we shouldn't have witnesses and documents. And he hasn't given a good answer, plain and simple.

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Rich Edson: Republicans claim Pelosi's --

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Nancy Pelosi: [inaudible]

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Rich Edson: -- tactics -- rush impeachment through the House and then delay a Senate trial -- shows impeachment is a political charade.

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Male Speaker: There are not two-thirds of the senators willing to convict and remove the president. We all know how this ends.

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Rich Edson: Though there is some dissension among Republicans. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski told a local TV station she was disturbed to hear Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say he was "closely coordinating with the White House on impeachment trial strategy." Senior Republicans have pushed for a quick trial, though the president has said he wants the trial to examine Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter's conduct in Ukraine. Biden told The Des Moines Register, Friday, he would defy a subpoena to testify at the president's impeachment trial. Biden is now clarifying, saying he would "honor any legitimate request from Congress," though he says, "subpoenas should really go to those responsible for shaking down Ukraine." He says, "That's the Trump house." Mike?

Mike Emanuel: Rich Edson reporting live from Mar-a-Lago. Rich, thank you. Joining me now from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise, the House minority whip. Welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

Steve Scalise: Good to be back with you, Mike.

Mike Emanuel: Congressman, we want to begin with breaking news reports out of New York that an intruder with a large knife, perhaps even a machete, attacked the home of a Hasidic rabbi, as people were gathered to celebrate Hanukkah. Police say they've arrested a suspect. Your reaction, sir?

Steve Scalise: Well, it's really alarming. And we're seeing a growing anti-Semitism. It's something that we all need to speak out against, people of all faiths, because, you know, whether it's a synagogue in Pittsburgh, whether it's the home of an orthodox rabbi, we all need to stand up and say, "It's wrong to attack people based on their faith." And to see this anti-Semitism growing throughout our country, it's something we all need to not only be alarmed about, but also stand up against.

Mike Emanuel: Is there some kind of government response that's logical to this, to a wave of anti-Semitism that we've seen in New York?

Steve Scalise: Well, I think our reaction needs to be quick and direct: that anti-Semitism is wrong, that attacks on people of faith are wrong, and that regardless of who's attacked, we're going to stand up against it, not try to figure out who did it. That's law enforcement's job. And law enforcement is doing a great job, by the way, of making sure that they're getting the suspect. We, you know -- and, too often in Washington, you see people trying to figure out somebody's motives instead of just saying, "It's wrong," and attack it, call it out for what it is. Anti-Semitism is wrong. We need to stand up against it. And it's, unfortunately, starting to pop-up all around the country, more and more. So, we need to stand up and be very vocal and very united against it.

Mike Emanuel: Okay. To your role as one of the top Republicans in the House of Representatives, what are your expectations when Congress returns? Will Speaker Pelosi cave and send over the articles of impeachment quickly?

Steve Scalise: Well, it's our duty to turn it over. It's not like some mechanism she can control. The House passed it; they shouldn't have. I mean, you look at what the evidence was, and Speaker Pelosi wanted to talk about the evidence, every one of their witnesses testified under oath, saying, "There was no crime," saying, "There was no quid pro quo." Maybe she's trying to carry out her own quid pro quo by acting as if she's got some kind of role in the Senate trial. They had a weak case. I think she knows they had a weak case. There was no evidence and no crime committed. And, yet, they still wanted to impeach the president to appease their radical base. That's what this was about from the beginning. They've neglected a real agenda for hardworking families, by the way. And so, what you're seeing right now is, I think Pelosi just exposing the fact she has no case and trying to have one more bite at the apple. They're talking about more impeachments next year. How about they focus on lowering drug prices, securing our border, doing an infrastructure package that they could have done in a bipartisan way? They don't want to do any of that because they've become the party of impeachment. They have this obsession, it seems like, with carrying out this political vendetta that they have against the president, instead of working with them to get things done. At least President Trump is working for families and getting -- creating jobs, getting an economy that's booming, and higher wages in people's paychecks. That's what we should all be focused on.

Mike Emanuel: Do you believe Speaker Pelosi is overreaching by trying to influence a Senate trial?

Steve Scalise: Well, it's not her role to go over to the Senate. She could run for the Senate if she wants to be a senator. But the House has a role; the Senate has a role. It's time for the Senate to do their job. Look, for months she was saying how important it is, they've got to remove this president immediately, he's a threat to their, you know, their whole way of life. And then, once they pass the impeachment, she doesn't want the Senate to get the papers to start the trial. They can't have it both ways. I think people see through the charade. It's a political charade. This is not what our founders intended impeachment to be used for. In fact, they wrote about it. Hamilton talked very specifically about the concern that impeachment would be used to carry out a political vendetta instead of to go after a crime. There was no crime committed. And so now, all they're doing is trying to just attack the president, personally, because their field is so weak on the Democrat side and the president's done such a great job at fulfilling his promises, the things he actually ran on doing. I wish Barack Obama and Joe Biden would have stood up to Russia and helped Ukraine as much as President Trump has helped Ukraine: selling Javelin missiles, allowing them to stand up to Russia in ways that Barack Obama and Joe Biden wouldn't allow Ukraine to do.

Mike Emanuel: Looking ahead, you've said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will run a fair trial in the Senate. But Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski was critical this week of coordination between McConnell and the White House. She doesn't seem convinced, Congressman.

Steve Scalise: Well, you've seen her make statements concerned about what Democrats have been doing and saying, as well. And, you know, you've heard Chuck Schumer making comments recently, in the last two weeks, that contradict things that Chuck Schumer, as a candidate for United States Senate, said in 1998, when he was running, saying he was running on a platform, in part, of acquitting Bill Clinton, when he got to vote against impeachment in the House and then went over to the Senate and voted against impeachment there. So, in the end, look, the Senate's going to conduct a fair trial. I have confidence in Mitch McConnell doing that. There was not a fair trial in the House. And I think that was very clear. And you see what Pelosi did there, literally shutting down the ability for the minority to even have a day of hearings, which is required under House rules. They broke that rule. They broke a lot of rules to ram through this impeachment charade just because they have a political vendetta against the president. He didn't commit a crime. Their star witnesses said, under oath, when asked, "Can you name an impeachable offense? Was there any bribery?" Every one of them said, "No." And, yet, they still carried on. The Senate will have a fair trial, and you'll see an acquittal. Everybody knows that it's going to end in acquittal. What they haven't done is what I think is just as important: they haven't focused on lowering prescription drug prices -- which, we passed a bill, by the way, unanimously, out of committee. Every Republican, every Democrat voted to lower drug prices. Families would be paying those lower drug prices today because the president would have signed the bill. Pelosi won't bring that to the floor because of this obsession with impeachment.

Mike Emanuel: Connecticut Democrat Senator Richard Blumenthal says there are five to 10 Republicans with -- quote -- "severe misgivings" about McConnell's strategy. Does further delay risk bringing out more Senate GOP concerns?

Steve Scalise: Well, look. You know, people can question strategy, and everybody might have their own tactics of how they'd go about it. Every impeachment -- when you had a Republican-divided House and Senate, with the White House, they've always negotiated with the White House to have a fair process.

Mike Emanuel: [affirmative]

Steve Scalise: That, I think, is what's missing in this. There was never an attempt by the Speaker to have any kind of negotiation on a fair process with the White House. It was done with a Republican House and a Democrat president, under Clinton. It was done with a Democrat House and a Republican president, under Nixon. They negotiated fair terms and processes so that you could have a fair trial. They didn't have that in the House. It was very clear that Pelosi didn't want a fair process. But in the end, it's going to end in acquittal. And so, why don't we --

Mike Emanuel: Okay.

Steve Scalise: -- focus on real things that matter for hardworking families?

Mike Emanuel: Leader McConnell doesn't sound like he's in any rush. Meanwhile, President Trump's down at Mar-a-Lago, stewing. Is there tension there?

Steve Scalise: I don't think there's tension. I think the president has been focused on delivering for families. We just -- before we left -- were finally able to get the USMCA trade agreement passed. It should have been passed months ago. By the way, Mike, that --

Mike Emanuel: [affirmative]

Steve Scalise: -- that was something that could create over 160,000 jobs for workers all across the country, and better trade relations, and sending a message to China. And Pelosi sat on that for over six months because of this obsession with impeachment. So, the president said, "Look, I want to work with Congress to get things done." They just spend all their time going after him personally because they don't like him. And as he said, they don't like the people who voted for him -- which I think is a bigger concern that they're missing -- that I think those people are going to speak out again in 2020 and re-elect President Trump, and send in a Republican House, because they don't want the House spending all of its time carrying out political vendettas. They should be working for those families that President Trump is working and delivering for.

Mike Emanuel: Congressman, how do you take the fight to the 31 House Democrats in districts President Trump won?

Steve Scalise: You've got to go back and just continue to talk about the things that we would do if we were in the majority -- actually delivering for those same families that expect Congress to be working for them, not fighting over their own personal power in Washington. And I think that's what you see this about -- is, you know, they still don't like the fact that, in 2016, Donald Trump got elected. They're trying to reverse and negate the votes of those millions of people who elected Donald Trump as our president. And they're trying to hurt his ability next year. Many of them said it publicly, that they're afraid President Trump will get re-elected, so they have to impeach him. But that's not why you have impeachment. That, in fact, is an abuse of the power of impeachment. And I think they're going to be punished for abusing that power next year when they go before the voters who elected them last year.

Mike Emanuel: To be clear, we are not naming the name -- but do you have any issues with President Trump re-tweeting the name of the alleged whistleblower?

Steve Scalise: Look, the whistleblower should have testified a long time ago. In fact, they don't really meet the definition of a whistleblower. They never saw a crime. And personally, from everything we've seen -- the person hasn't disputed this -- this person had a political vendetta against the president. He supposedly worked for Joe Biden -- so, has a political axe to grind. It's a little concerning that you could have somebody anonymously try to take down a sitting president using innuendo. And, in fact, some of these things were false statements, false claims that were made. And there was coordination with Schiff's staff -- maybe even Schiff himself -- which is, I think, why Schiff didn't want the whistleblower to testify. And so, a lot of that should come out. I think the public ought to know. All of those meetings that Pelosi and Schiff held in secret behind closed doors, to remove a duly-elected president -- that ought to be alarming to all Americans -- whether you voted for this president or not -- that they would try to go behind closed doors and reverse the will of the people in an election. So, yeah, the whistleblower absolutely ought to be known and testify. Look, they tried to take out a sitting president. Everybody in America has the right to face their accusers.

Mike Emanuel: [affirmative]

Steve Scalise: Why should the president be denied that same constitutional right?

Mike Emanuel: Congressman Steve Scalise. Thanks for joining us this holiday weekend. See you back on the Hill in the new year. Up next, reaction from Democratic Senator Ben Cardin on the impeachment standoff and potential renewed arms race with Russia.

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Mike Emanuel: Both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate are largely lining up behind a shorter impeachment trial, but differ on whether or not to call witnesses. Joining us now is Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland. Senator, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

Ben Cardin: Mike, it's good to be with you.

Mike Emanuel: Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has been arguing for four witnesses in a Senate trial, with ties to the White House. Yet, former vice president Joe Biden has said he will not testify at a Senate trial. Now he's saying he would, of course, obey and subpoena sent to him. Still, do Biden's complaints about the process undermine leader Schumer's negotiations with majority leader McConnell?

Ben Cardin: Well, first of all, the Senate has the sole responsibility for the trial. And we have a responsibility to have a fair trial. We need to hear from those who have the direct information about the president's call with the president of Ukraine about the holding up of a presidential meeting, about holding up of aid. Those witnesses need to be heard in the United States Senate. I think what leader Schumer is saying -- let's have at least those witnesses testify, along with the documents that would reflect exactly why the funds were held up, why a meeting was not allowed with the president of Ukraine, and exactly the context of the July phone call. I think that's a minimum for a fair trial in the United States Senate.

Mike Emanuel: Isn't the reality, senator, that Democrats had all the power and leverage in the House, but very little of it in the Senate, just another example of how painful it is to be the minority party?

Ben Cardin: Well, in the House, of course, the president chose not to cooperate. But worse than that, he told the key witnesses not to testify before the United States Congress. He refused to allow documents to be produced. Never before, in an impeachment inquiry, has that been done by the president of the United States. So, you had unusual circumstances in the House. The Senate now has its responsibility. The House has sole responsibility on impeachment, the Senate on removal. It’s our responsibility, and we would hope that our leader would want the Senate to operate in a fair manner and hear from the key witnesses and receive the key documents.

Mike Emanuel: Alabama senator Doug Jones is seen as the most endangered Democrat in the Senate next year. Jones says he’s focused on doing his job during an impeachment trial.

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Doug Jones: If I did everything based on a pure political argument, all I’d need is a computer to mash a button. That’s just not what this country is about. It’s not what the Founders intended. It’s not what I intend to do.

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Mike Emanuel: You’ve said the process cannot be controlled by politics, but if you’ve got Jones up for reelection in ruby-red Alabama, doesn’t that make it more difficult for you to win back the majority?

Ben Cardin: Well, we’ll let the politics play out, but we do have a constitutional responsibility. This is one of our solemn responsibilities, an impeachment process, so we have to do what’s right under the Constitution. We’ll take a separate oath at the beginning of the trial to act as an impartial juror. That’s our responsibility. We need to do that, but at the same time, I agree with Senator Jones. We need to continue to do the business of the people of this country. Unfortunately, the House has sent us hundreds of bipartisan bills on health, education, labor, public safety, and Leader McConnell hasn’t brought any of those bills up on the floor of the Senate. That was this year. Next year, I hope that he will allow us to take up these important issues so that we can deal with the other issues that are so important to the people of this country.

Mike Emanuel: Well, let’s get specific about that. Looking ahead, things so polarized right now with impeachment on the Hill, what do you think realistically can get done in this election year that’s upcoming?

Ben Cardin: Well, we have to deal with the key issues. We have to deal with prescription drug costs; we have to deal with infrastructure. They’re important issues. I heard Steve Scalise talk about that. But we also have to deal with labor rights; we have to deal with minimum wage; we have to deal with our environment. These are all issues that have been passed in the United States House of Representatives that are sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk.

Mike Emanuel: You sit on the Foreign Relations Committee. North Korea promised the United States a “Christmas gift.” It hasn’t come so far, but what are your concerns about more provocative behavior from that regime?

Ben Cardin: Well, North Korea is a nuclear-weapon power. They have the ability to use a nuclear weapon. The meetings with the two leaders have produced very little in regards to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. So, what I want to see -- I want to see the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, make a full declaration of his nuclear weapon program and make a real commitment to start to dismantle that. We haven’t seen any of that during the Trump administration.

Mike Emanuel: China, Russia, and Iran are right now engaged in military exercises in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. They started four days of exercises on Friday. An Iranian official says the joint drills serve as a signal that relations between Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran have reached a new meaningful level. How alarming do you find that?

Ben Cardin: Extremely alarming. We are seeing that Russian is continuing its military alliance with countries that are very much against our interests. The only reason the president imposed sanctions against Russia for its behavior in regard to Ukraine, its behavior in regard to our own elections, was because Congress, in a bipartisan manner, passed very strong sanction bills against Russia. Now we find that Russia is starting to operate with Iran, with China. Where’s the Republican leadership in Congress to say, “No, we’re going to stand up to Russia, we’re going to stand up to Iran, we’re going to stand up to China to make sure that this type of a military threat against the United States is held in check?” We’re not seeing that.

Mike Emanuel: Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin is boasting about a new hypersonic weapon that he claims can evade American missile defense systems. Do you believe the hype?

Ben Cardin: I would treat what he says very seriously. The president seems to want to embrace Mr. Putin, wants to embrace President Xi of China, Kim Jong-un of North Korea. This is ridiculous. These are people who are enemies of the United States. They’re trying to bring down our system of government. We have to treat their threats very seriously and make sure that we are -- protect our national security interests.

Mike Emanuel: There are published reports suggesting the United States is behind the Russians, with plans to deploy our own hypersonic system by 2022, which some suggest is optimistic. Do you find that troubling, sir?

Ben Cardin: Well, what the United States should be in leadership is to try to calm things down globally. We are the leader of the free world. It’s in our interest to not only engage in arms agreements with countries like Russia, but to expand them so that we have not only a nonproliferation policy, but also a policy that will reduce the amount of arms that are around the world, particularly nuclear weapons. So, it is concerning that our intermediate arms agreement, INF, has -- the president is withdrawing from that. We have New START with Russia, which deals with their nuclear weapons. What’s the future of that? We need U.S. leadership to engage the international community, make it safer for all.

Mike Emanuel: Senator, there's been that awful news out of New York of an intruder with a knife attacking an Hasidic rabbi's Hanukkah celebration. Your reaction to what appears to be the latest in a wave of anti-Semitic attacks in the New York area?

Ben Cardin: Mike, this is extremely tragic. I am the representative for anti-Semitism of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Parliamentary Assembly. I also serve on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. We see a rise of anti-Semitism globally, and what is first required is that leaders must stand up and condemn any marginal -- any action against marginal groups. It's not only words, it's actions, to make clear that those responsible will be held fully accountable and that we work together to keep our community safe. But it's our language; it's our actions. This is -- the rise here in the United States is something that should be of concern to every person in this country.

Mike Emanuel: Governor Andrew Cuomo is on the scene there in New York. He's calling it an act of domestic terrorism. Do you agree with that assessment, sir?

Ben Cardin: I do. I think these individuals are acting not just out of a hatred towards one person, but a hatred towards anyone who's different, and to me that is what terrorism is about. So, I agree with Governor Cuomo; I think this is an act of domestic terrorism.

Mike Emanuel: Senator Cardin, thank you very much. Happy New Year to you. See you back on the Hill.

Ben Cardin: Thanks, Mike.

Mike Emanuel: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the impeachment standoff in the battle between Democrats in Congress and President Trump.

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Mike Emanuel: Coming up, Senator Amy Klobuchar, riding on the momentum of the last debate, visits every county in Iowa.

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Amy Klobuchar: I now have the most endorsements of any elected and former elected [unintelligible] in the country in Iowa.

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Mike Emanuel: We’ll ask our Sunday panel about her strategy to crack into the top tier, coming up on Fox News Sunday.

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Chuck Schumer: We have a slogan in America that's at the core of our justice. It's called "speedy and -- a speedy and fair trial.

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Donald Trump: We have the majority and now they want McConnell to do wonderful things for them. I mean, he's going to do what he wants to do.

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Mitch McConnell: I'm not anxious to have this trial. So, if she wants to hold onto the papers, that's -- go right ahead.

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Mike Emanuel: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer making a push for the Senate to issue subpoenas, demanding testimony and documents ahead of the president's impeachment trial, while Senator Mitch McConnell declares talks, "at an impasse." And it's time now for our Sunday group: former Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, from The Washington Post, Charles Lane, Marie Harf, executive director of the Serve America PAC, and Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt. Great to have you all. Jason, you heard Congressman Scalise and Senator Cardin talking impeachment. Do you expect Speaker Pelosi to, essentially, cave when Congress returns in about a week or so?

Jason Chaffetz: It's interesting to me that the Democrats are asking for critical documents. But it starts with actually presenting the articles into the United States Senate. I'm shocked. And if you really look at it, what you have is this unique position where the accused, Donald Trump and the Republicans, they will actually want to start this process, where those that are making the accusations, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and the like, they won't even send over the documents so they can start that process. I think they're poll-testing it. I think they, the Democrats, are holding this back for a reason. But it doesn't serve our country very well.

Mike Emanuel: Chuck, you had Vice President Biden saying, "I'm not going to testify in a Senate trial." Then, he kind of backpedaled a bit, and said, "Of course I will comply with a subpoena." Is he hurting Leader Schumer's ability to negotiate with Senate Majority Leader McConnell?

Charles Lane: I don't think so. I think he probably ended up where he should have started, namely, saying, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it; however, if they present me with legitimate process, I will probably obey it." I think what it illustrates is that this whole business of impeachment is a little bit of a drive-by shooting for Joe Biden because his name, and Hunter’s, keep getting dragged into it. On the question about Nancy Pelosi's strategy here, you know, I kind of started out thinking this was all a little too clever, by half, on her part. But, now, I sort of see what she's up to. I think she is trying to see if she can sew a little division in Republican ranks. She's giving Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell an opportunity to say slightly different things about the process.

Mike Emanuel: [affirmative]

Charles Lane: Lisa Murkowski has come out kind of as a wild-card. And I think she's keeping her options open to see how this develops. Now, of course, that's all political stuff. That's not exactly the constitutional part. But, as Leader McConnell is fond of saying, "It is a political process."

Marie Harf: [affirmative]

Mike Emanuel: Chris, as we watch the House, Democrats didn't seem too concerned about whether Republicans were getting anything, or any of -- anything they wanted, in terms of impeachment process. Is there any reason to believe that Leader McConnell is going to give Schumer anything?

Chris Stirewalt: If he has to. They're in your gallimaufry of clips and quips there. The key sentence: Donald Trump said, "Mitch McConnell will do whatever he wants."

Male Speaker: [laughs]

Chris Stirewalt: And that's exactly what from -- was -- the President of the United States, Speaker of the House knows the truth. Mitch McConnell is the one who's going to get to decide this. What Pelosi is doing is applying maximum pressure, right now, on McConnell to try to drive a wedge between him and Trump. Because Trump and his squad want total chaos, right? They want absolute pandemonium. They want to have Matt Gaetz swinging from the chandeliers --

Marie Harf: [laughs]

Chris Stirewalt: -- on the Senate side to make it just as wild a zoo as possible, and drag Joe Biden in, drag Hunter Biden in, do the whole thing. That's what they -- that's what Team Trump wants. What team Republican wants, what the GOP wants is, "Keep it quiet; keep it cool; and don't force 40 bad votes on Susan Collins, and Thom Tillis, and every other vulnerable senator." How can Pelosi keep it up? I don't know.

Marie Harf: Yeah.

Mike Emanuel: Do you expect some tension or something to bubble over between the White House and Leader McConnell, at some point?

Chris Stirewalt: She's going to keep putting firecrackers in their shoes, and we'll see what happens.

Mike Emanuel: Marie, your foreign policy background. We've got the Russians, the Chinese, and the Iranians doing military exercises right now: that alliance. And then, you've got the North Koreans promising this Christmas gift. What's troubling you most, at this point?

Marie Harf: Well, I was thinking about this question this morning. And a lot of things trouble me, as we go into 2020. Obviously, the alliance that we've seen in these exercises, Iran working more closely with Russia and China, a lot of countries working separately from the United States, whether it's on climate change, whether it's on the Iran negotiations, quite frankly. The United States has really been on an island because of a lot of President Trump's rhetoric and a lot of his behavior. So, I'm worried about what Iran will do, if there's potential for conflict there, if that's -- the negotiations aren't handled well. They're really only negotiations in name right now. There's not a lot of movement there. I would say the same about North Korea. And the final issue, which is a foreign policy issue, is these tariffs. We had a new Fed report out this week that says the tariffs that President Trump put in place cost manufacturing jobs, they caused prices to be higher, they caused job losses in many different sectors. That is both a foreign policy issue and a political issue that Donald Trump is going to have to grapple with, heading into 2020. All of those things make me concerned. And, of course, in the foreign policy world, there's always the prospect of something we don't know, right? Some crisis, something we don't foresee, we can't --

Mike Emanuel: Sure.

Marie Harf: -- foresee. With so much political division here at home, how we would handle a crisis right now, how this president would handle it, feels very, I think, concerning to a lot of people.

Mike Emanuel: Jason, what did you think?

Jason Chaffetz: Well, as somebody who worked for Senator Kerry -- Secretary of State Kerry -- I can understand that you'd feel that way. But I tell you, those of us that are supportive of what the president is doing look to China. And the fact that we're making progress on a trade deal with China does bode well, not only with our negotiations and work with North Korea, but also around the world. And the USMCA makes us stronger in this hemisphere than ever. So, the president has a lot to point to. The world has been fairly calm, cool, and collective. Things can blow up in a moment. It is concerning with what the Iranians are going to do in such close proximity there in the Gulf of Oman. But I got to tell you, I think the president has scored a lot of victories. He was able to plus-up the defense budget. He's doing the Space Force, which is important for our long-term health and prosperity, in our abilities. I think that concerns the Russians. So, the president does have another side to this story.

Mike Emanuel: Chuck, are you concerned about the North Koreans perhaps ending this moratorium? And, obviously, we saw this president take a different approach than some of his predecessors by talking directly with the North Korean leader. Thoughts on North Korea, at this stage?

Charles Lane: Well, I guess, back in April, Kim Jong-un announced, like, "We need something by the end of the year." He was kind of getting a little perplexed, I guess, about this on-again, off-again thing that President Trump was throwing at them. And this -- the negotiations have essentially gone nowhere since then. And then, we get the idea of the Christmas gift, which didn't quite come. But basically, there's an end of the year deadline to be followed by a January 1st annual address by Kim, in which he's going to announce all sorts of new policies. And I think it was interesting that this week he sort of prepared the North Korean ruling party with a big event, where they talked about the hardships that they may have to go through next year, which tells me that they're perhaps preparing for the sanctions not being lifted because they, themselves, do something that the U.S can't ignore, that will be regarded as provocative. But I think, you know, it's like everything else with North Korea: they talk; they often talk very tough; they often talk very bellicose terms and then kind of under-deliver.

Marie Harf: But with both Iran and North Korea, their programs, whether it's missiles or their nuclear programs, have both progressed over the last year because these negotiations haven't gone anywhere. They stalled.

Charles Lane: There have been a number of missile tests, yes --

Marie Harf: That's right.

Charles Lane: -- in North Korea. And I think I was 13 this year.

Marie Harf: [affirmative]

Mike Emanuel: So, Chris, heading into a presidential election year, when the entire House is on the ballot, and much of the Senate, will it take a significant foreign policy crisis to get everybody's attention, to get everybody kind of refocused and not so hyper-partisan?

Chris Stirewalt: One of the things I love most about the American electorate is that it could care less about foreign policy, unless it hurts them, or their family, or their lives immediately. American voters, one of the reasons we've been able to have, or used to have for so long, a broad bipartisan consensus on big foreign policy issues is that it doesn't move voters, particularly, whether they have this or that meeting, or this treaty or that treaty. It's not that big of a deal. Until Americans are dying, or the gas prices go up, or there's some disruption in their lives, American voters tend to ignore it. But for the partisans, it's sometimes hard to take advantage of the opportunity of actually working together.

Marie Harf: And it's interesting. We're in the middle of the longest war in American history in Afghanistan. We still have troops fighting and dying there. Talking about when it hits home --

Mike Emanuel: [affirmative]

Marie Harf: There are real negotiations now that have some promise there. That's the thing to watch in 2020: whether we can actually bring home our troops, some of whom were born after the attacks of 9/11 and are fighting in Afghanistan now. We don't talk about it enough.

Mike Emanuel: Although an Army sergeant was killed Christmas Eve, his dignified transfer happened Christmas Day --

Marie Harf: Yeah.

Mike Emanuel: -- and the Taliban claimed responsibility for it. So tough negotiations there. Panel, we have to take a break here. But when we come back, just a little over a month to the first-in-the-nation vote. We'll discuss Amy Klobuchar's pitch to rural America and whether Iowa could swing back blue in 2020.

[commercial break]

[begin video clip]

Amy Klobuchar: I want to tell you how excited we are to have made all 99 counties today. [cheers] Every one in Iowa. But the point of this -- which is -- you should learn something about me -- I kept my promise.

[end video clip]

Mike Emanuel: Senator Amy Klobuchar trying to break into the top tier in the Democratic race, giving voters in Iowa a second look by visiting all the Hawkeye State's 99 counties. And we are back now with the panel. Let's take a look at the Real Clear Politics average of polls in the Hawkeye State, with Amy Klobuchar running fifth, even though she has campaigned in all 99 counties. Marie, is Iowa make or break for this Midwestern senator?

Marie Harf: Probably. I think that Democratic voters look at Joe Biden. A lot of them really like him, but they think, "Maybe, if there's a moderate who's a little younger, maybe has a little more speed on their fastball" -- because they don't -- they're concerned that Bernie and Elizabeth Warren cannot win a general election. So, someone like Amy, I think, has to do well in Iowa. She's from the Midwest. But, you know, Iowa isn't necessarily make or break in general. Just ask President Santorum or President Huckabee --

Mike Emanuel: Right.

Marie Harf: -- how well their Iowa wins, you know, showed how they could do in a primary. But I do think Amy Klobuchar might surprise us, because people are looking for someone -- Democratic voters are looking for someone that can win a general election. They're worried Biden can't. They're worried Mayor Pete can't. And they're worried the far-left candidates can't. Amy Klobuchar may be the one to benefit from this.

Mike Emanuel: Okay. So, Fox News politics editor -- [laughter] -- Mayor Pete is leading in Iowa in the polling, according to the RCP average. How many tickets out of Iowa are there?

Chris Stirewalt: Well, it depends on who. Now, the big danger for Joe Biden is that somebody wins both Iowa and New Hampshire, and it ain't him, right? It's -- if Amy Klobuchar won Iowa, and then Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire, that's fine. Regional favorites, and on and on. And then, Biden can still, by Super Tuesday, stretch his legs and go out, and be the national candidate, and win. The danger for Biden is somebody like Buttigieg wins Iowa, then finds a way to win in New Hampshire -- where also, he's led in polls recently. That sets Biden up for trouble. It puts Biden in the same position in a lot of ways that Hillary Clinton was with Barack Obama in 2008. Iowa means more for Democrats than it does for Republicans. For Republicans, it's sort of a one-off. For Democrats, Barack Obama, John Kerry, others know that this is the launchpad into success.

Mike Emanuel: And for Biden, there's super-high expectations and a challenge to meet them, right?

Chris Stirewalt: Absolutely. And the -- overlaid with this concern, now, that he continues to mishandle things like, "Will I testify in front of the" -- well, of course you're going to testify in front of the Senate, Mr. Former President of the Senate. And the fact that it takes him so long to get to the obvious answers should be disquieting to Democrats.

Mike Emanuel: All right, Chuck. So, Elizabeth Warren's fundraising has dipped about 30 percent in the fourth quarter, from $24.6 million to $17 million. In the RCP average, she's running fourth in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Are voters in that left lane of the Democratic Party choosing Senator Bernie Sanders over her?

Charles Lane: I think, actually, there's sort of -- maybe like a split left lane? There's perhaps not as much interchangeability between Warren and Sanders voters as we thought. I mean, these are nuances visible only to those voters, I suppose. But she said, "I am a capitalist," and he's out there saying a socialist. And that sent a signal. And so, I don't think they are interchangeable, as much as we thought. It seems like, more, that Warren kind of soared as somebody who was lapping over into the non-left lane for a while, and then she lost some of that to Pete Buttigieg when he came up. I mean, his rise really is a pretty amazing story of 2019. We -- no one really saw that coming. But that also makes you think that, perhaps, he's volatile -- that if Amy Klobuchar is going to move up, it might be by taking votes away from Buttigieg -- because Buttigieg is, like, the alternative a lot of people have picked. He's the alternative to Biden -- because maybe they thought he was too old -- and an alternative to the others, Warren and Sanders, because they thought he was too left. And Amy Klobuchar can do that too, for some voters. So, he's now starting to take some fire. People are going negative on him at the debates. Who knows? Maybe she'll peel off some of his voters.

Mike Emanuel: How do you think the Biden campaign folks are feeling at this point? There's been great expectations, obviously. Do you think they're playing the long game at this point, thinking that, eventually, he'll get his mojo if he doesn't get a win right off the bat?

Charles Lane: I think they have to be reasonably happy, actually, with how well he's held on to, basically, frontrunner status, despite all the inevitable gaffes that you get with Joe Biden. He's got a bedrock of support in African American voters -- and to a large extent, Latino voters, who are the key to the Democratic base. And if he rolls up a big win in South Carolina, after Iowa and New Hampshire, I think -- which is very foreseeable, he would be in good shape.

Mike Emanuel: Speaking of Latino voters, Mayor Pete's talking and trying to break in with Latino voters. He's talking about a path to citizenship, doing something on that in his first 100 days. He's also tweeting on Christmas Day about Jesus saying, "Today I join millions around the world in celebrating the arrival of divinity on earth, who came into this world, not in riches, but in poverty, not as a citizen, but as a refugee." That got the attention of a lot of Christian leaders. Jason, your thoughts on Mayor Pete's pitch to Latinos?

Jason Chaffetz: He's been doing a lot of pandering lately. No doubt about it. I don't think he can run all the way to the finish line. I do think he'll do well in Iowa. He has to. If he can't win in Iowa, you know, where is he going to actually -- actually win? I think there's room for two, maybe three, people that are coming out of Iowa. But I've got to tell you, I do not see -- I think the big story there is that the Democrats don't just neatly line up behind each other when they start dropping -- that that far-left radical AOC, Bernie Sanders, you know, wing of the party, they don't neatly get behind, say, a Joe Biden, moving forward. I think there's a lot of animosity there, a lot of resistance there. And when you had Michael Moore this week say that he felt like Joe Biden was sort of the Hillary Clinton of the year, I just don't feel the energy that you felt with Barack Obama. You could just sense the intangibles -- that they were coalescing around somebody. And here we are, some -- about 35 days away from Iowa? And we really don't know who the top -- in the top 5, who is going to pull it out.

Mike Emanuel: Marie, are you stunned by Bernie Sanders' comeback? I mean, it wasn't that long ago he had a heart attack in the middle of his presidential campaign. I think a lot of people were thinking he might not have the endurance to go much further in the campaign. And he seems to be doing a lot better, at least with those left voters.

Marie Harf: Yeah. He's hanging in there. It's interesting. Though, I think Donald Trump taught all of us that you can survive things politically that we never thought you could in the past, including a heart attack during a presidential campaign. I'm not concerned that, 35 days out from Iowa, we don't have a clear frontrunner. I think these primary processes tend to play out, often, in a way that's helpful for the party. I'm actually glad that my party doesn't just fall in line behind who the frontrunner is. I like that we're having a debate in the party about how we fund health care, how we deal with the military, how we protect our country. Those debates are good. I do, though, want to make sure that voters stay focused on the number-one priority, and that’s beating Donald Trump. And so, if Joe Biden is the nominee, I hope that Democratic voters and all those independents who voted for Democrats in 2018, even some moderate Republicans that helped us take back the House, that those principles are still applied as they look at this presidential election in places like Iowa, where Democrats took a number of House seats. It’s going to be a key state in the presidential election. All of those same issues we’re fighting over, whether it’s prescription drugs, whether it’s national security, those are all going to be on the ballot, and it’ll be very interesting to see how those play out, especially if it’s someone like Elizabeth Warren, who’s more far-left.

Mike Emanuel: Chuck, what if an impeachment trial drags a bit, and you’ve got a bunch of senators who would like to be in places like Iowa and New Hampshire?

Charles Lane: Yeah, you know, there’s a part of me that wonders if, in the back of her mind, Nancy Pelosi is trying to just hold this thing off until the Iowa caucuses. I mean, we haven’t seen any evidence that that would be at least an unintended consequence of not filing the impeachment papers until early February, when the State of the Union takes on. No, it’s going to be a little bit of a bump in the road if there is an impeachment trial in January, because Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, among the top tier, and then you even have people like Michael Bennett, you know, Cory Booker, would have to sit there literally silent, because those are the rules of the Senate. If there’s anything anybody running for Senate hates, it’s having to be silent for six hours at a time. [laughter]

Mike Emanuel: Right.

Jason Chaffetz: But this whole impeachment debacle has taken and sucked all the energy and all the attention away from these candidates who are out there supposedly talking about these issues. You never see that on the news. It is a total distraction. They are not getting the name recognition that they need going into Iowa and beyond, and I think that’s really hurting them.

Chris Stirewalt: One thing --

Marie Harf: I think the conversation on the ground, though, in Iowa -- to your point, Jason -- is very different. Right? People on the ground aren’t talking about impeachment; they’re talking about the fact that Democrats passed 400 bills, including on prescription drugs, including on USMCA --

Jason Chaffetz: No, they’re talking --

Marie Harf: -- that Mitch McConnell is not moving. Elizabeth Warren --

Jason Chaffetz: USMCA --

Marie Harf: -- is not talking impeachment --

Chris Stirewalt: I do think --

Marie Harf: -- on the campaign trail.

Chris Stirewalt: We met with Mayor Pete Buttigieg the other day at the post, and one thing he did say was that people out in Iowa aren’t asking a whole lot about impeachment on the road. And I do think there is a way in which it kind of generally mixes up the messages of the Democratic Party, although, to be sure, it does fortify the base, and that --

Mike Emanuel: Chris, briefly --

Chris Stirewalt: Biden is a net winner out of this. The impeachment stuff is bad for him, because it talks about his son’s sketchy conduct, but it’s good for him because it keeps the focus off the race. That’s good. If you’re the frontrunner, the less attention paid to the race, the better, and that’s why he’s gone wire to wire.

Mike Emanuel: All right, thank you, panel. See you next Sunday. Up next, we revisit a few of the interesting people who were power players of the week in 2019.

[commercial break]

Mike Emanuel: Most Sundays at this time, you’ll find Chris Wallace here, sharing the inspiring or interesting stories of those he’s met in and around Washington. 2019 brought some particularly memorable encounters. Here are a few highlights from this year’s Power Players of the Week.

[begin video clip]

Chris Wallace: And is this a dream come true to have -- I’m going to start to slide this over. You talk; I'll slide.

Male Speaker: [laughs] It is a dream come true, Chris. It’s something I’ve -- we’ve wanted for a long time here. It’s for the fans of D.C. who have been great for us, and it’s for everything good about game.

[end video clip]

[begin video clip]

Lisa Marie Riggins: You have very proud families and proud men who aren’t going to beg.

Chris Wallace: Lisa Marie Riggins is talking about FAIR, Fairness for Athletes in Retirement, a nonprofit she helped set up last year to advocate for former pro football players. She has the support of Hall of Famers like Dick Butkus, Franco Harris, and her husband, John Riggins.

John Riggins: I’m getting by all right for now, but there’s a lot of guys out there that aren’t, and they deserve a little bit better than what they’ve been shown.

Lisa Marie Riggins: I will get tremendous satisfaction knowing that there are these 4,500 players and their families that will have a check that they earned that is commensurate with their contributions. That’s something that will improve their quality of life, and it will be a thanks for everything that they did. They were not forgotten; they are not ignored. They are honored.

[end video clip]

[begin video clip]

Tara Westover: I could not continue to have my family in my life and be in any way respectful of myself.

Chris Wallace: Tara Westover is describing her journey, the story she tells in Educated. It’s a remarkable but painful account that has captivated hundreds of thousands of readers. Tara grew up in Bucks Peak, Idaho, one of seven children. Their dad was a Mormon survivalist. You never went to grade school or high school. Why not?

Tara Westover: He thought that if we went to school we would be brainwashed.

Chris Wallace: What’s your birthday?

Tara Westover: I don’t know my birthday.

Chris Wallace: Her family said her academic success came at the expense of her soul.

Tara Westover: That tension for a lot of years between this idea of myself as this whore and my idea of myself as a scholar was very difficult to reconcile.

[end video clip]

[begin video clip]

Chris Wallace: Robert Caro has spent more than half his life telling the story of Lyndon Johnson, four books, some 3,400 pages. But he’s only up to 1964, not yet to Vietnam. Caro took us into his office.

Robert Caro: This is the outline of the rest of my latest volume, from here to there to the end of the book over there.

Chris Wallace: If you should be unable for whatever reason to finish the book, have you made provisions for somebody else?

Robert Caro: No, I’ve made provisions that nobody else can finish my book. Nobody is going to publish anything with my name on it that I didn’t write, not a word.

[end video clip]

[begin video clip]

Toby Keith: I might not be as good. I might not can out-sing everybody. I don’t know. I’m in a new world. But I’m going to outwork you.

Chris Wallace: At age 58, Toby Keith has slowed down. Instead of 200 shows a year, he now does 50, and he says his music is not what sells now.

Toby Keith: It’s more of a hip-hop country. I hope the kids make a half a billion and end up on Forbes. I made mine, but I’m not going to write that stuff. Oh, sure.

Chris Wallace: But if our staff at Fox News Sunday is any sign, he still has his fans, and his music -- well, that will last forever.

Toby Keith: [singing] We’ll raise up our glasses against evil forces, saying, “Whiskey for my men and beer for my horses.”

Chris Wallace: That’s pretty good stuff. Oh, that’s [unintelligible].

Toby Keith: Give me a guitar, and we’ll do a whole show.

Chris Wallace: I would love it.

[end video clip]

Mike Emanuel: Some fantastic stories. Chris will be right back here next Sunday. Can’t wait to see what power players are in store for next year. And a program note: tonight, you can see Chris on a special Fox News Sunday Power Player Hall of Fame at 7:00 p.m., Eastern, on Fox News Channel. And that’s it for today. Have a great week, and we’ll see you next Fox News Sunday.

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