Rush Limbaugh on whether Trump is justified in taking executive action to secure funding for his border wall

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," February 17, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.

President Trump declares a national emergency to go around Congress and build his border wall.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: We are talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.

WALLACE: What showdowns lie ahead in Congress and the courts?

We'll ask one of the president's top integration hardliners, senior advisor Stephen Miller.

Then --

TRUMP: The only reason we're talking about this is because of election, because they want to try and win an election, which it looks like they're not going to be able to do.

WALLACE: We sit down with Rush Limbaugh for a rare live television exclusive to discuss the border wall, the Constitution and the path ahead to 2020.

Plus, fired FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe speaks out on why he opened an investigation into President Trump's ties to Russia.

ANDREW MCCABE, FBI ACTING DIRECTOR: I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground, that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace.

WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel what this means for the Mueller investigation.

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


WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.

Congress used the power of the purse to deny President Trump all the money he wants to build a wall on the southern border. So the president invoked executive powers to free up billions of dollars to do it anyway. The president says there's a crisis at the border, but critics, including some Republicans, say the president's move has created a crisis of its own.

In a moment, we'll speak with White House senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, but first, let's get the latest from Kevin Corke at the White House -- Kevin.

KEVIN CORKE, CORRESPONDENT: Chris, the president may have avoided other shutdown fight by signing off on a funding bill, but his use of executive power will very likely create a new battle in the courts.


TRUMP: We have tremendous amount of drugs flowing into our country, much of it coming from the southern border. I'm going to be signing a national emergency.

CORKE: In laying out the reason for declaring a national emergency, President Trump lit a political fuse, reigniting a separation of powers debate and setting the stage for a possible constitutional crisis. An issue: border wall funding, illegal immigration and the use of power given to the president by Congress.

But the criticism has come from both the left and the right, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi issuing a statement calling the president's declaration unlawful over a crisis that does not exist. Meanwhile, Trump loyalists howled because they believe the president signed off on a funding bill that restricts much of what and where a wall could be built, accusing Mr. Trump of setting up an illegal immigration stimulus.

ANN COULTER: The only national emergency is that our president is an idiot.


CORKE: Chris, if the White House spends the money sequentially as they currently plan to do, they would spend over $5 billion before any emergency funds are tapped. That's money to get moving, if you will, while this battle makes its way through the courts -- Chris.

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

And joining us now for an exclusive interview, White House senior policy advisor, Stephen Miller.

Stephen, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday".


WALLACE: I want to start with something that President Trump said Friday when he was declaring a national emergency.

Here he is.


TRUMP: I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn't need to do this but I'd rather do it much faster.


WALLACE: I didn't need to do this. How does that justify a national emergency?

MILLER: Well, as you know Chris, we already have 4,000 troops on the border in light of a national emergency, a decision that was made almost a year ago, as we see an increasing number of people crossing the border as well as increasing violence in Mexico. What the president was saying is that like past presidents, he could choose to ignore this crisis, choose to ignore this emergency as others have. But that's not what he's going to do.

WALLACE: The president talks about an invasion, used that word multiple times on Friday -- an invasion on the Southern border. But let's look at the facts, I want to put them up on the screen: 1.6 million people were stopped crossing the border illegally back in 2000, less than a quarter that many were caught last year. The government's own numbers show, for all the president is talking about drugs streaming over the border, 80 to 90 percent of the cocaine, heroin and fentanyl seized at the border is seized at ports of entry, not along unfenced areas.

And in 2017, twice as many of the new people in the country illegally were from visa overstays, as were from crossing the border. Again, where's the emergency -- the national emergency to build a wall?

MILLER: There's a lot of values presented there so I'd like to go through it each one piece at a time if I could.

So let's start with your point about the border crossings in the year 2000. As you know, when George Bush came into office, illegal immigration total - - doubled from 6 million to 12 million by the time he left office. That represented an astonishing betrayal of the American people.

I'm not going to sit here today and tell you that George Bush defended this country on the southern border because he did not. One of the biggest changes that's happened since then and now is the mass release of illegal aliens due to a patchwork of court rulings and loopholes in our federal laws and changing tactics from smugglers and transnational organization --

WALLACE: I want to go into all of this, but let's just focus on that one issue. Four times as many people were coming across the border in 2000 as now, so why is that --


MILLER: Back then, when 95 percent could be turned around in a matter of days. As a result of loopholes, activist judicial rulings, and increasing sophistication from cartels, the reality is that more than half the people crossing the border are what we call non-impactable. They can't be turned around.

And so what you see is sophisticated operations and smugglers will actually push out migrants, and children, and family units to divert border agents and then because there's not secured areas with the wall, they'll then cross after the border agents have been diverted to those areas.

At a fundamental level, we could go down to the details -- and you know, Chris, I could go down to details as much as you want to but the bottom line is this.

WALLACE: Please don't.

MILLER: But the bottom line is this, you cannot conceive of a nation without a strong, secure border. It is fundamental and essential to the idea of sovereignty and national survival to have control over who enters and doesn't enter the country.

And we can get into statistics. You want to talk about drugs? There's been a huge increase in drug deaths since George W. Bush and Barak Obama were in office.

WALLACE: I understand that, but 80 to 90 percent of those drugs, don't come across in unfenced areas, they come from ports of entry. Those are your own Customs and Border Patrol numbers.

MILLER: Which is the reason why we also ask for additional resources at the ports of entry.

WALLACE: But this is what you got.

MILLER: But, Chris, the problem with the statement that you're apprehending 80 to 90 percent of the drugs at the ports of entry, that's like saying, you apprehend this contraband at TSA checkpoints at airports. You apprehend the contraband there because that's where you have the people. That's where you have the screeners.

I assure you, if we had people at that same density and screeners at that same density across every single inch and mile of the southern border, you'd have more drug interdicted in those areas. You don't know what you don't know and you don't catch what you don't catch.

But as a matter of national security, you cannot have uncontrolled, unsecured areas of the border where people can pour in undetected.


MILLER: One more point, I guarantee you this, if Donald Trump had said he's invoking the National Emergency Military Construction Authority to build a security perimeter in Iraq or Afghanistan or around a military installation in Syria, there would not have been one word of objection from Congress. This is defending our own country.

WALLACE: I question whether in fact that's the case, but in any case, let's talk about the constitutional aspects of this because I've talked to you over the years. I know that you are a constitutional conservative and you believe the Constitution should be interpreted as written, correct?


WALLACE: OK, here's Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7, of the Constitution as written. "No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law."

Isn't what President Trump wants to do a clear violation of what the Founders -- of what James Madison talked about as giving Congress the power of the purse?

MILLER: No, because Congress in 1976 passed the National Emergency Act and gave the president the authority, as a result of that, to invoke a national emergency in many different circumstances but among them the use of military construction funds.

And that was the point I was making earlier. If the president were to say we're going to use military construction funds to, say, increase a perimeter around a base in Bagram, around a base in Syria, nobody would even say anything about it, and we have 4,000 troops on the border right now and as a result of that mission, they need to secure those areas where they're patrolling.

WALLACE: But let's talk about national emergencies. National emergencies have been declared 59 times since 1976 when the law was passed, The National Emergencies Act.

Can you point to a single incident, even one, where the president asked Congress for money, Congress refused to give him that money, and the president then evokes national emergency powers to get the money?

MILLER: First of all --

WALLACE: Can you find one case?

MILLER: What you're missing, Chris, is that national emergencies don't have all the same authorities and the same justification.

WALLACE: I assume that, but there have been 59. Can you find one case like that?

MILLER: This authority specifically refers to using military construction funds. Other emergencies, for example, were to --


WALLACE: If you want to talk about military constructions, do you know how many times military construction has been invoked as a national emergency? That would be only be twice.

MILLER: Right.

WALLACE: Twice. Once by George H. W. Bush during the middle of the Gulf War and the second time by George W. Bush right after 9/11.


MILLER: Chris, can you name -- can you name one foreign threat in the world today, outside the country's borders that currently kills more Americans than the threats crossing our southern border?

WALLACE: You know the joy of this is I get to ask you question and --

MILLER: The answer is no.

WALLACE: Answer my question, can you name one case where a president has asked Congress for money, Congress has refused and the president has then evoked national policy to get the money anyway?

MILLER: Well, this current situation --

WALLACE: Just yes or no, sir.

MILLER: The current situation pertains specifically to the Military Construction Authority.

WALLACE: I'm just asking --


WALLACE: When Congress asked for money for military construction, Congress said no and he's then --

MILLER: The meaning of the statute, Chris, is clear on its own terms. If you don't like the statute or members of Congress don't like the statute --


WALLACE: But you agree the answer is no that --

MILLER: But the premise of your question is also false because Congress has appropriated money for construction of border barriers consistently. This is part of the national security --

WALLACE: But they've never done this under a national emergency where the president --

MILLER: Who declared national emergency to promote democracy in Belarus, to promote democracy in Zimbabwe?


WALLACE: But it didn't involve taking money that Congress refused to appropriate.

MILLER: They didn't refuse to appropriate it. They passed a law specifically saying the president could have this authority. It's in the plain statute. That's the decision that Congress made and if people don't like that they can address it.

But to my -- but to my point that I made, this would not be even an issue if the president was invoking that statute to support some foreign adventure overseas. You and I both know that that presidents for years have engaged in one military adventure after another, not to mention the fact that we do operations to destroy drug fields in foreign lands in Afghanistan or in Colombia and we can't even deal with the criminal cartels operating on our border?

WALLACE: OK, let's talk about --

MILLER: -- these two organizations are destabilizing the western hemisphere.


WALLACE: I want to move on respectfully. Let's talk about the logistics here. If the president gets access to the entire $8 billion he's seeking, how many miles of barrier wall would he be able to build and how quickly?

MILLER: Well, if you look at the authorities we have both in terms of drug corridor funds, in terms of national emergency funds, in terms of Treasury funds, as well as appropriated funds and other reprogramming authorities that may exist. In combination with the existing --

WALLACE: Answer the question.

MILLER: You're looking at hundreds of miles collectively.

WALLACE: And how soon?

MILLER: Well, you're going to see probably a couple hundred miles in time I would say by the end of the next appropriation cycle. All together in terms of what we already have underway, what's underway right now and then what we're going to complete --

WALLACE: So, by the end of this year and hundreds of miles?

MILLER: No, next fiscal year, one more after this.

WALLACE: OK, by September of 2020.

MILLER: Right.

WALLACE: Right in the middle of the presidential campaign.

MILLER: My point is that if you look at what we've already outlaid, we have 120-odd miles that are already under construction or are already obligated, plus the additional funds we have and that we're going to outlay, we're going to look at a few hundred miles.

WALLACE: OK, final question. If both the House and the Senate approve a resolution of disapproval, which they're allowed to -- it's specifically called for in the National Emergencies Act and if they pass it in the Senate, it would be with bipartisan support, because there's Republican control.

If they pass a resolution of disapproval, will the president veto that, which would be the first veto of his presidency?

MILLER: Well, obviously, the president is going to protect his national emergency declaration, Chris. And I know that we're out of time, but I again want to make this point. There's not threat --

WALLACE: So, yes, he would veto?

MILLER: He's going to protect his national emergency declaration guaranteed. But the fact that they're even talking about a resolution of disapproval show you this is a statutory issue and a statutory delegation that Congress made.

But again, I want to make this point. This is a deep intellectual problem that is plaguing this city which is that we've had thousands of Americans die year after year after year because of threats crossing our southern border. We have families and communities that are left unprotected and undefended. We have international narco terrorist organizations.

This is a threat in our country, not overseas. Not in Belarus. Not in Zimbabwe. Not in Afghanistan or Syria or Iraq but right here. And if the president can't defend this country, then he cannot fulfill this constitutional oath of office.

WALLACE: Stephen, thank you.

MILLER: Thank you.

WALLACE: Thanks for coming in. It's always good and always challenging to talk to you.

MILLER: Thanks.

WALLACE: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the legal and political battles ahead, as the president tests his powers to make his border wall a reality.

Plus, Rush Limbaugh joins us live. You don't want to miss that.



TRUMP: We're talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: You want to talk about a national emergency? Let's talk about today, the one-year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America. That's a national emergency.


WALLACE: President Trump justifying his declaration of a national emergency at the border while House Speaker Pelosi warns Republicans of the president's action may set.

And it's time now for our Sunday group. Marc Short, former director of legislative affairs for President Trump, Charles Lane from "The Washington Post," Bob Woodward, author of the best-selling book "Fear: Trump in the White House", and Katie Pavlich from

Well, Bob, as we saw from the aforementioned book, you spend a lot of time reporting on this president. How do you explain, why do you think he declared a national emergency over warnings from top Senate Republican leaders and from some of his own top lawyers?

BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, "FEAR: TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE": Two reasons. It's a political promise and even though what he's saying or trying to do here is unsupportable in terms of the facts, he looks tough. He looked strong. I'm protecting you and that's very appealing not just to his base, but to lots of people.

And so, it's not out of the zone of plausible presidential action but as a constitutional matter, it's absurd and, you know, everyone knows that and he's found an angle, and my God, he looks tough to lots of people. You know, this is going to go to the courts, but that will be resolved in about a year or so. And so, it's not going to be on the way there.

WALLACE: All right. Marc, I'm going to give you an opportunity to respond to all that but it isn't just coming from Bob Woodward, it isn't just coming from Democrats, there's been considerable blowback from some Republicans, especially in the Senate. They say it's a violation of the separation of powers under the Constitution. They say you're taking money that had been specifically appropriated for some important military projects and know the president faces the possibility of a resolution of disapproval, passed not just by the House, controlled by Democrats, but by the Senate, controlled by Republicans.

MARC SHORT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: Yes, I think that the reality is that this is actually a statue that has been authorized by Congress to the executive branch. Not just in 1976 but in 1982, Military Construction Act under Title Ten, Code 50 that basically says that the secretary of defense can reallocate dollars.

So, it's fair that Congress want to say we want to vote disapproval, because they never liked the executive branch exerting that sort of influence, but they've given them the executive branch this influence. If they want to change it, they should change the statute. That's the reality.

Any Republican who eventually would choose to vote against this is really not voting against the statue, what they would be voting against is the president's commitment to try to secure the border and that would be a pretty perilous vote for any Republican.

WALLACE: Katie, whatever you think of the wall, the president defends it using, as I discussed, some would say even argued about with Stephen Miller was some very questionable facts, for instance, facts from his own administration from CPB, Customs and Border Protection that the vast majority of drugs that are seized come through ports of entry, not through unfenced areas.

Here's how the president responded to that on Friday.


TRUMP: When you listen to politicians, particularly certain Democrats, they say it all comes through the port of entries. Wrong. It's wrong. It's just a lie.


WALLACE: Does that bother you, the president dismissing facts, as they say, from his own administration as Democratic lies?

KATIE PAVLICH, TOWNHALL.COM EDITOR: I wouldn't say that -- the statistic was coming through ports of entry are not true however, think that there are no drugs coming through these non-ports of entry with no fencing is kind of like saying a tree falls in the forest, did anybody hear it or see it? If you don't have anybody there to look and see or to confiscate --

WALLACE: But that's all supposition. You're going to declare a national emergency and spend billions of dollars because a tree may have fallen?

PAVLICH: Well, you can't prove it's not happening. We do know that walls work. In Yuma, 98 percent of the illegal traffic both in terms of drugs and human traffickers went down.

Human trafficking is a billion-dollar industry. This is not, with all due respect, about the president simply trying to look tough. The fact is that in the bill that he signed, take away the wall, the unaccompanied minor crisis in the Central American migrant crisis is about to get a lot worse because it allows anybody, any adult who has any connection to an unaccompanied minor to get amnesty and not be deported by ICE.

That means that people are not going to use children as human shields, they've been doing since 2014 under Barack Obama, to come into the country illegally. There are 22 million people here who are underground in the economy, both Republicans and Democrats have not decided what they want to do with them. They created an underclass of people, which is anti-American and instead of saying they want to do with a resolution condemning the president on trying to fix the problem, maybe they should try and fix the problem of illegal immigration, changing the asylum loss and making sure the crisis stops at the border before there is one.


CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST: What t strikes me about this whole crisis is if you really stop and think about an issue of just getting money for the wall, the president could have done a lot of that without the national emergency. It's gotten too little attention that almost half of the money he's reprogramming within the executive branch does not require a declaration of national emergency.

WALLACE: That's right. More than two a half of the $6 billion.

LANE: Correct. And if you put that together with the 1.4 appropriated, you are within shouting distance of the famous 5.7.

So, clearly, he feels it is in some other way to his advantage to declare this national emergency and precipitate a crisis. And I would argue it is a political calculation. That he believes that putting pressure on these wavering Republicans in the Senate by arousing his base, by doing something dramatic to keep the political promise, this is to his long-term benefit.

He said himself I don't need it, I don't need an emergency, he is doing it because if parameterize is this issue politically and allows them to play a role.

WALLACE: All right. Then there was the president predicting the legal journey of his declaration of national emergency over the next few months or years. Take a look.


TRUMP: And they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit even though it shouldn't be there, but we possibly get a bad ruling and that we will get another bad ruling and that will end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully, we'll get a fair shake.


WALLACE: Which is actually about how this is going to play out.

Here's the question. As our court watcher, how do you think this will go in the courts because obviously there's some feeling, there are some people in the court, Brett Kavanaugh, expensive presidential powers. On the other hand, if you're a strict constructionist, a textual list, article one, as there were two Stephen Miller, seems pretty clear.

LANE: Well, you know, I think where this boils down legally, basically it's true as Mark said, Congress can do my kind of created a loophole for the provision of the Constitution in the event of national emergencies in certain specific contexts such as this military construction. So, the question is going to come down to two questions, one, is it really a national emergency? And two, is this military construction?

On the first one, courts would be very loath to start weighing what's an emergency and what's not.

WALLACE: And try to overrule the president on it?

LANE: Correct. But the military construction thing, I mean, we're talking about a wall in the middle of nowhere. It's nowhere near a military base and that one is tougher.

The question I have is where the opponents are going to immediately find somebody with standing to sue over this because by the president's own account, the money isn't going to start flowing for months and months.

WALLACE: OK. We got 30 seconds.

SHORT: Yes. When you go back to what Obama did in the borough, he appropriated money out of thin air and told the Treasury to pay those payments to people on Obamacare. This is different. You can be a strict constructionist and support this decision because Congress is giving this authority in statute to the president to do this.

If Congress wants to change it, they can. But it's perfectly legal and constitutional to do what the president is doing.

PAVLICH: If I can just say real quickly, it's not in the middle of nowhere, it's on the sovereign international border, and the president certainly has the military authority to protect that.

WALLACE: You know what? Nobody ever gets the last word.

All right. Panel, thank you for listening to me, Bob. We have to take a quick break here.

When we come back, we want to save time because we are joined by the king of conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, to get his take on the national emergency, the Mueller investigation and Democrats' move to the left.


WALLACE: Coming up, Rush Limbaugh joins us to discuss the president's declaration of a national emergency at the border.


TRUMP: For three hours, he speaks. He's got one of the biggest audiences in the history of the world. I mean, this guy is unbelievable.


WALLACE: We'll ask Rush what he thinks about the wall, the FBI and the race for 2020, next.


WALLACE: He is the most listened to talk show host in America who this week said the budget deal Congress handed the president was an outrage by both parties. Rush Limbaugh joins us live from his EIB studio in Florida.

Rush, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.” We're delighted to have you for your annual visit.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW": Yes, and it's great to be back, Chris. Thank you very much for having me, as always.

WALLACE: All Right, so I know that you are a constitutional conservative and originalist. Do you really have no problem with President Trump declaring a national emergency and taking money that Congress refused to give him?

LIMBAUGH: You know, no, I don't. I -- I just listened to your panel and I think so many -- it's all minutia. All you guys were talking about was minutia. Katie Pavlich had it right, we have an emergency. This is an invasion. The very existence and definition of American culture, American society, the rule of law. Why does nobody talk about the fact that millions and millions and millions of people are breaking the law coming here illegally and that the Democratic Party wants that to happen? We can't have the breakdown of rule of law and law and order this way. That alone would suggest that this has gone on way too long and we need to stop it.

The argument about where drugs come into the country. Can anybody deny that they're coming in and it needs to be stopped and its destroying future generations of the country? We're -- we're so caught up in the game of how Washington debates issues, is this a fact, is that not a fact, it is undeniable that we have a major immigration problem and a political party that needs a permanent underclass of voters that wants that parade of illegal people who are uneducated --

WALLACE: All right.

LIMBAUGH: Don't even speak the language, they want them here.

WALLACE: All right. And -- and you and I have disagreement --

LIMBAUGH: It's a crisis. It really is a crisis.

WALLACE: But I can interrupt you so I can keep things moving because as Donald Trump said, you can go for three hours.


WALLACE: All right, but I want to ask you about the game that you say we play in Washington, because the fact is that when President Obama took executive actions, you were outraged. And, as you would expect, I've got a couple of examples of Rush Limbaugh over the years. Let's put them on the screen.

In June of 2012, when President Obama deferred action against the dreamers you said this, 40 years ago Richard Nixon was hounded out of office supposedly for his illegal actions. And I'm telling you that whatever Nixon did pales in comparison to just this move by Obama today.

In November of 2014, on reports that Mr. Obama was going to protect millions of parents of dreamers you said this, we can't just stand idly by and try to find some political opportunity while the president basically shreds the Constitution and flushes it down the toilet.

So here's my question, Rush. I understand that you like what President Trump is doing and you didn't like what President Obama was doing. But I -- that's the concern here is that to the degree that you give the president more and more powers, yes, you're going to get some things, executive powers from one president you like, but you're going to get things -- executive powers from another president that you don't like.

LIMBAUGH: You may look at it that way. I don't. I look at it as right and wrong. And what Obama was doing was furthering this existing problem in a - - he was politicizing this, using whatever executive powers he wanted to use. Yes, I objected to that, but primarily because of what he was doing with these executive powers. He was taking action that I deemed to be harmful to the country.

I look at what Trump is doing as something he has to do because he's not getting any cooperation what so -- both parties, Chris, let's be honest here. Both parties have people that are still trying to get rid of Donald Trump.

I read this bill, this spending bill. This bill is outrageous. The things - - welcoming centers for newly arriving illegal aliens and all kinds of medical care for. The purpose of this bill, I think, was to eventually be used by the Democrats and some Republicans to tell the American people, see, electing Trump was pointless, worthless, he can't protect you, he can't stop us, he can't do what he said he was going to do because we hate him so much we're not going to allow him to do that. That's what this bill is.

So, to me, all of this boils down to where the heck are we going as a country and what kind of country are we going to have. And if anybody is willing to go to the limit to make this country remain as founded, they're going to have my support.

WALLACE: All right.

President Trump talked about you on Friday. There he is.


TRUMP: Rush Limbaugh, I think he's a great guy. He's a guy that can speak for three hours without a phone call. Try doing that sometime. For three hours he speaks. He's got one of the biggest audiences in the history of the world. I mean this guy is unbelievable.


WALLACE: Now, you've gotten upset with me and some others for saying that President Trump listens to you. But let's go back to what we were talking about, which was last December, Vice President Pence goes to the Republican Senate leaders and he says, you've got a continuing resolution and I'm -- the president has authorized me to tell you he's going to sign it. And then you get on the radio and some others get on the radio and the House Freedom Caucus gets up and they say, look, this continuing resolution doesn't have a dime for the wall and he shouldn't sign it. And the very next day, after they told the Senate Republican leaders he's going to sign it, the president says, no, I've changed my mind and you put on the radio that he sent a message directly to you saying, hey, I'm not going to sign this bill.

So look, I'm not saying that you're a puppet master, but would you agree that he cares about what you say and what you're millions of listeners here?

LIMBAUGH: Of course he does. He cares about what everybody thinks. But I don't make policy.

Can I take just a brief few seconds to correct what happened here?

I'm on the radio. I'm reviewing this bill. It's horrible. It doesn't even have the 1.6 billion that the Senate bill had --

WALLACE: This was back last December.

LIMBAUGH: So I said he's -- yes. Last December. He's getting less than nothing. And I said, he can't sign this thing. This is crazy.

I get an instant message at that moment from somebody close to the president with the message, don't worry, he's not going to sign it. He was never going to sign it. So I report that.

The media then take that to say that he was almost ready to sign it. He had the "d" in his first name sign and then somebody ran and said, no, no, Mr. President, Rush Limbaugh says no.

That's not what happened.

And if these people in the media, Chris, really thought that I was telling Trump what to do and when they'd be calling me, they'd be asking me about it. They would -- they'd want to get down to the -- the dirty details. I haven't had one call. I haven't had one inquiry.

People don't really believe what they're saying about this. It's just another effort to continue to try to diminish the president, diminished Trump as somebody that doesn't know what he's doing, can't do it without guidance from the so-called wacko right. It's not at all the way he's governing and there isn't anybody doing what I do that has a thing to do with actually making policy for this president.


I'm going to switch subjects now. We've had enough about the wall.

Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe is going to say on "60 Minutes" tonight, I'm not predicting this, he's already done the interview, that after James Comey was fired, the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, raised the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president. Here is McCabe.


ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER ACTING FBI DIRECTOR: The discussion of the 25th Amendment was -- was simply Rod raised the issue and discussed it with me in the context of thinking about how many other cabinet officials might support such an effort.


WALLACE: Now, McCabe says that there was no serious conversation. As you just heard, he says, this was raised.

Rosenstein says, to the degree he ever discussed it, it was sarcastic.

Why do you call what was going on inside the FBI a silent coup?

LIMBAUGH: Because these people are unelected. They took it upon themselves to overthrow the election results of 2016, ignoring the potential real collusion and conspiracy between Democrats and Russians to undermine the Trump candidacy and the Trump presidency.

The Mueller investigation, I believe, is a cover-up of all of that. It's to distract everybody's attention.

You know, again, the Washington game. We're losing sight of what happened here. People unelected simply because they don't like a guy's hairstyle or like where he came from decided the American people's decision was invalid and began a systematic process to get him thrown out of office. This is a silent coup. These guys, if you ask me, ought to be the ones in jail. They ought to be the ones under investigation. What they have done, working with agents from the Obama intelligence agencies, is simply unprecedented. This is a kind -- this is one of the greatest political hoaxes that has ever been perpetrated on the people of this country, certainly in a couple of generations.

WALLACE: Federal prosecutors -- speaking of people in jail -- federal prosecutors have recommended that Paul Manafort, for a few months the president's campaign manager in 2016, that he serve up to 25 years in prison. Basically be a life sentence. He's 69 years old now.

LIMBAUGH: Right. Right.

WALLACE: What do you think of the sentence, and should the president -- the president pardon Paul Manafort?

LIMBAUGH: I do not know about presidential pardons on something like that. I just think that every one of these things that has happened here is designed to make it look like there was some kind of collusion between Trump and Russia. Manafort is probably going to die in prison. They have him in solitary confinement. All of these are process crimes that have been committed. There isn't one crime that has been found under the umbrella of what they were ostensibly looking for, collusion between Trump and Russia.

It's serious, Chris. I saw a poll the other day, 42 percent of the American people, after two years of this, believe the Russians tempered with votes and affected the outcome of elections. There is no evidence to suggest so and Rosenstein's even said that that's the case when the indictment of those Russian Internet trolls was announced.

But wearing a wire to somehow entrap the president of the United States? This is classic.

You know, you asked me one time when I was here, deep state, you liked the term, this is it. I mean this is -- and it's all of Washington, D.C., and it's all arrayed against Donald Trump and it's designed to get his approval numbers down maybe into the 30s or 20s. They can then go to him and say, Mr. President, you've lost all support. You have no support. Or then -- you know, this has been an effort to impeach him. The -- the effort that was underway for collusion didn't work. Now the Mueller report that may not happen is going to be used to continue to leak things that may be in it. They're going to ratchet this up for the next election and we're going to face two more years of this collusion stuff. And it's -- I think it's just -- it's -- it's something people need to be paying a heavy price for, for what they've done on the investigatory side of this.

WALLACE: All right. Let's talk about the next election, 2020. Is there anyone in either the announced or potential Democratic presidential field who you think would offer President Trump a real challenge?

LIMBAUGH: Well, I think -- you know, I -- first thing I'm doing here, I'm trying to be one of the first to book a first-class seat on a train to Hawaii after we enact the green new deal or whatever it is from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

I think what we're going to have -- these people are -- they're so convinced they're going to win that that's why so many of them are running. And they are going to be in a contest to see who can out extreme the other. Who can move the country furthest to the left the soonest. It's going to be very entertaining to watch. I hope it is eye-opening for the American people.

Right now, if I had to pick somebody I thought --

WALLACE: Do you see -- do you see anybody in that field, though, who you think, that -- that person could give the president a run?

LIMBAUGH: Well, I think maybe -- well, I don't know that any of them right now give the president a run. But I think the front runner would probably be right now Joe Biden. Seventy-seven years old, plagiarist, nicknamed plugs. I think he's the guy that they probably are thinking is the leader in the polls right now. But it's going to be very crowded. They're going to be knocking each other off. That's going to be fun to watch.

Incumbency carries with it a lot of power, as you know, and I think they're convinced that they've already won this election, like they were convinced in 2016. They're getting way ahead of game. And I don't think it's going to be as easy as they think to win the presidency.

WALLACE: OK, let -- let me ask you about that because you talked about the green new deal and the trains to Hawaii. You've also got --

LIMBAUGH: Right. Great. Isn't that wonderful?

WALLACE: Well, yes, you know, where, what was it, in "Back to the Future," where we go we don't me roads, or apparently tracks.

The calls for Medicare for all calls for huge increases on taxes on the very wealthy.

How potent an issue do you think the president has and how much do you think he will make this case that the Democrats want to make this a socialist country?

LIMBAUGH: I think it's a huge case because we're not a socialist country and even a Fox News poll the other day pointed out how many people prefer capitalism.

We've done a real disservice to our young people. You look at this new green deal and you look at the things that they think are true. They live in the greatest country ever. They have more opportunity for contentment, happiness, success than ever and they think they live in a country that's unjust and immoral. They have an ill-educated, mal (ph) educated and it's really a shame.

I know young people, Chris, who really think that by the time they're 65, the country, the world is not going to be habitable because of climate change, which is another hoax! There's no evidence for it. Climate change is nothing but a bunch of computer models that attempt to tell us what's going to happen in 50 years or 30. Notice the predictions are never for next year or the next ten years, they're always for way, way, way, way out there, when none of us are going to be around or alive to know whether or not they were true. In the meantime, they get to push for more government, big government, more tax increases, more control over people.

I -- it's sad what has been done in -- in K-12 education and higher education to these young -- I mean graduating economics degree graduates, like Cortez, it doesn't know what you could put on a thimble about economics. It's really a shame. And it's a -- it's a problem going forward. They're going to have to be defeated, beaten.

WALLACE: Rush --


WALLACE: Thank you. Thank you for joining us again.

LIMBAUGH: Is that it?

WALLACE: We've been --

LIMBAUGH: Oh, my gosh, that's at? We're out of time. Oh, geez.

WALLACE: We were out 14 minutes.

LIMBAUGH: Thank you so much.

WALLACE: We -- we flew by.

LIMBAUGH: It really did. It always --

WALLACE: Anyway, it's always good to talk with you. Anytime you want to come back, you're always welcome, sir.

LIMBAUGH: Thank you. I appreciate. Thank you very much. See you next time.

WALLACE: Up next, our Sunday group returns to discuss Andrew McCabe's account of what happened in the days after the president fired FBI Director James Comey.

Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about how the FBI has handled the Trump-Russia investigation? Just go to FaceBook or Twitter, @foxnewssunday, and we may use your question on the air.



ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER ACTING FBI DIRECTOR: I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency and -- and -- and won the election of the presidency, and who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia.


WALLACE: Former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe explaining the reaction at the bureau after President Trump fired James Comey. First, trying to protect the Russia investigation, and then some even discussing invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president.

And we're back now with the panel.

Well, we asked you for questions for the panel and we got this on FaceBook from Timothy Pullen, does everyone on this panel believe that McCabe and Rosenstein were talking about the 25th Amendment? What do you think should happen to these individuals if it is found to be true?

Katie, how do you answer Timothy?

KATIE PAVLICH, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the reporting by "The New York Times" a couple of months ago showed that Rod Rosenstein did talk about this.

Now, President Trump called him to the White House. The reporting at the time was he thought he was getting fired. He did not get fired. That could be for political reasons, the president not wanting to show that he was firing anybody, it had to do something with the special counsel. But the idea that this was even brought up is terrifying to everyday Americans because of the implications it has, not for high-powered government officials who may have a lot of money for their legal defenses, but for individual people who the FBI could go after.

But, keep in mind, that Andrew McCabe had been referred to the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., for criminal charges after lying under oath to both DOJ inspector general investigators and the FBI. And so you have to take what he says with a grain of salt. However, the fact that this was going on at the Department of Justice after Donald Trump was elected the president by the American people says a lot about the way that the FBI used to run.

And I do think that Christopher Wray, the new FBI director, has done a decent job of cleaning the place up. However, there is much more to be done and there has to be accountability for the people who were engaged in this kind of behavior.

WALLACE: All this was happening in the immediate aftermath in May of 2017 of Donald Trump firing then FBI Director James Comey. And here's how McCabe talks about that.


ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER ACTING FBI DIRECTOR: I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground, in an indelible fashion, that were I removed quickly or reassigned or fired, that the case could not be closed or vanished in the night without a trace.


WALLACE: Chuck, what do you make of what McCabe says about those days in May of 2017, first of all, that he was trying, as he said there, to protect the Russia-Trump investigation and make sure the people at Justice didn't just sweep it away, and, secondly, that -- and there seems to be some question how seriously this was discussed, but that there was any discussion of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president?

CHARLES LANE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": You know, on the 25th Amendment part, I -- it sounds very desultory what they were doing. It was sort of blue skying (ph) this idea and there is some discrepancy between Rosenstein's account and McCabe's account about this matter.

WALLACE: But what about what Katie says, the idea that they're even discussing it?

LANE: No, I -- to the -- to the extent -- I was about to say, to the extent it was serious, it's very troubling, because it's way above their pay grade to be getting involved in like a head count of which cabinet officers might vote for it or might not. On the other hand, I -- I don't think it went any further than this one or two desultory conversations. It's the attitude is a little bit troubling.

On the question of the Comey firing and preserving the obstruction of justice case, I mean I think this gets right down to the heart of this paradox we've all been wrestling with since the beginning here, is like, who is really watching the watchmen and who is really the top law enforcement officer of the United States? Is it the president, which is -- he's the top guy of the executive branch. Or are there people somehow below the president in the chain of command who do have the authority or should have the authority to hold him accountable when necessary?

We went through -- Bob knows it well -- we went through all of that in Watergate. We've wrestled with this for decades as a country. The expedient we've come up with now is the special counsel. And I think that's ultimately going to be how this one gets worked out.


LANE: And Bill Barr will tell us how much we learn from this report.

WALLACE: It seems to me, Marc, looking back on this, there are two theories of the case when it comes to the FBI. One is that the FBI and now Special Counsel Robert Mueller have been involved in a legitimate, don't know how it's going to turn out, but a legitimate investigation of possible collusion and possible obstruction of justice. The other theory of the case is that the real scandal here is how Comey and McCabe and Lisa Page and Peter Strzok and Bruce Ohr have behaved and -- and how they acted and particular how they acted -- well, to some degree in the Clinton case, but even more so in the Trump case.

Where do you come down?

MARC SHORT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: Well, I think that the actions of some of those actors cast a dark spell on the FBI, and that's unfortunate. I don't know keenly why we continue to talk about Andrew McCabe and listen to him. The reality is that the own inspector general determined that he lied multiple times, including three times under oath. Andrew McCabe, in theory, was supposed to be leading an investigation into Hillary Clinton and he says he's concerned about Russia collusion and that's what he was all worried about as far as this being uncovered. There's $145 million from Russians given to the Hillary and Bill Clinton Foundation when she was secretary of state. $145 million and he's sitting here saying that he's worried -- that he was really worried as to how this was going to interfere with his investigation into President Trump? I mean I don't know why we still listen to the guy. He's been proven to be a serial liar again and again.

WALLACE: Bob Woodward, you have been covering and dealing with FBI officials for more than 40 years, since Watergate. How do you think they have conducted themselves in all of this?

BOB WOODWARD, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Not well. I think there are a lot of legitimate questions. But -- but they're gone. Comey's gone. McCabe is gone. The really interesting point here is Bill Barr. He's now attorney general. He was attorney general for Bush senior 30 years ago and he has a record. He's a very interesting man. He believes that at the time it was the end of the Iran Contra investigation by Lawrence Walsh. He was very -- he said at one point that he had an itchy finger for 18 months to fire Walsh. And he was very upset about what he called the drag-netting (ph) in that investigation going down every possible trail.

WALLACE: So are you suggesting he might interfere with Mueller?

WOODWARD: No. He's made it clear he will not, but he's going -- he's going to look at it. And he's got a very interesting perspective on all of this. At the end of the Iran Contra investigation, with then President Bush senior decided, oh, well, let's pardon Caspar Weinberger, who was indicted. It was Barr who said, well, let's pardon more people. The CIA people and Elliott Abrams. So he's somebody who is going to protect the president, but I think he also knows legally and politically it's very important that the Mueller investigation proceed.

So the spotlight should be, as Marc suggests, not on the past, but on the future. We don't know who's going to run against Trump if Trump runs in 2020. We know who now is the attorney general. And this is the important player in the coming months, maybe coming two years.

WALLACE: And, Katie, I've got less than -- I've got about 45 seconds left. How transparent should Barr be -- when the Mueller report comes out, how transparent should he be in saying here, I'll let you --

PAVLICH: I think he should release as much of it as possible without, you know, compromising any kind of a technique. But the American people, because this has been used as a political weapon, absolutely deserve to know what is in the Mueller report. And as we're looking in the future, yes, the guys at the FBI, Comey and McCabe, they're gone. However, I think that the Senate Judiciary Committee, with the new chairman, Lindsey Graham, are going to be looking into FISA abuse, what happened during the 20 --

WALLACE: He's talking about subpoenaing some of these people.

PAVLICH: Right, looking at the -- looking at that kind of abuse, going back to the 2016 campaign and looking at how the FBI used those tools because they don't want that it to happen again and there should be account ability for it.

WALLACE: OK. Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.

Up next, we'll be back with a final word.


WALLACE: Please stay tuned to this station and Fox News Channel for the latest on the president's declaration of a national emergency at the southern border.

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

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