This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," April 14, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
President Trump threatens to send migrants detained at the border into Democratic stronghold. Is he serious?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: California certainly is always saying, oh, we want more people. Well, we'll give them more people.
REP. NANCY PELOS, D-CALIF.: That is unworthy of the presidency of the United States and disrespectful of the challenges that we face.
WALLACE: The talk of shipping detainees to sanctuary cities comes as the president orders a major shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security.
KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, FORMER DHS SECRETARY: DHS has a vast array of missions. I want to make sure that we continue to execute them all with excellence through the transition.
WALLACE: We'll discuss the crisis at the border and the president's response with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, live, only on "Fox News Sunday".
Then, waiting for the Mueller report. Attorney General William Barr promises to release a redacted version this week and drops a bombshell on Capitol Hill.
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur.
WALLACE: We'll get reaction from Democratic Senator Ben Cardin.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, D, SOUTH BEND, INDIANA: This is the way we can begin to win not just an election but an era.
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel about the rise of Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and the 2020 Democratic field.
And our power player of the week, the daughter of Bobby Kennedy on the lasting power of his message half a century after his death.
All right now on "Fox News Sunday".
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
When the story first broke this week, that President Trump looked at a plan to ship detained immigrants to sanctuary cities, the White House said it was an idea that had been floated and rejected.
But now, the president says he seriously considering it as part of this ongoing battle with Democrats over border security. All of this as Washington braces for the release of the Mueller report.
In a moment, we'll speak with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
But, first, Kevin Corke is tracking the latest developments from the White House -- Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, sanctuary cities are supposed to offer at least in theory a protected buffer zone for those in this country illegally to prevent them from being deported or arrested by federal authorities. But to hear officials at the White House tell it, they also may be the ideal place to send thousands of migrants already here as they await further asylum cases to be heard.
HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: We're working with DHS. We're working with ICE, to try to make sure that happens because after all, it's what they want. They should not say this is retribution politically. They should say this is an olive branch.
CORKE: Shortly after that, By White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley, the president tweeted: The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to sanctuary cities.
From city hall, to the halls of Congress, to the 2020 campaign trail, Democrats have long argued that the humanitarian crisis at the border demands a nuance, humane approach, calling the latest White House gambit cynical and accusing the president of using migrants as pawns in a heated political battle.
PELOSI: What the president is doing is, in my view, terribly wrong. What we need to do is sit down and have comprehensive immigration reform.
CORKE: All this in a week that saw leaders from the capital to the White House carefully monitoring the Justice Department, which is expected to release a redacted version of the Mueller report's findings soon.
CORKE: Certainly, we're all looking for that.
By the way, Chris, the president also won a rare victory from the typically left-leaning Ninth Circuit Court of Court of Appeals in California. On Friday, the court stayed a lower court ruling effectively allowing the administration to send Central American asylum-seekers back to Mexico to wait while their asylum cases can be heard here -- Chris.
WALLACE: Kevin Corke, reporting from the White House -- Kevin, thanks for that.
Joining us now White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
Sarah, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday".
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Good morning. Great to be with you, Chris.
WALLACE: So, let's start with the president statement on Friday about possibly shipping detainees, immigrant detainees to sanctuary cities all over the country. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: California, certainly, is always saying, oh, we want more people, and they want more people in their sanctuary cities. Well, we'll give them more people. We can give them a lot. We can give them an unlimited supply.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Is the president serious? Does he really intend to ship thousands of immigrants all across the country to cities like, New York and San Francisco and a lot of other places?
SANDERS: Certainly, we are looking at all options. As long as Democrats, Chris, continue to ignore the crisis at the border, continue to refuse to sit down with the president and Republicans in Congress, and come up with a solution to stop the national security and humanitarian crisis, and the number of illegal immigrants that are flooding across our border, then we have to look at all options across the table, so that the towns right there on the border aren't taking on the entire burden and that we're shifting some of that burden to places who constantly claim to want to have open borders and want to have an open city.
So, let's put some of those people into their communities and into their towns, and see if they are OK then with that same impact.
Again, the big part of the question and the big thing we have to look at here is how do we stop this from being a problem in the first place? We shouldn't have to be putting people and moving them all across the country to spread that out. We should have a border that strong, a border that secure, a border that functions the way that it's supposed to.
That's the president's number one priority. That's what he'd like to see happened, and that's what he'd like Democrats to work with him to solve. If they continued to be unwilling to do that, we're certainly looking at all options.
WALLACE: OK. I want to pick up on this specific option though about shipping migrants to sanctuary cities. The president tweeted last night that he has, the government has, quote, the absolute legal right to do so, but as has been reported, this was floated by the White House, brought over to DHS and they said repeatedly that it was not legal to do so. And also, they said counterproductive.
Take a look at some of the objections that DHS raised. They said: Congress has approved no specific money for this purpose. ICE says it would be an unnecessary operational burden. Sending them to century cities which don't cooperate with federal enforcement of immigration laws would make it harder to round them up later. And then, also, it might be an incentive to more illegal immigration.
I guess the question is, how do you overcome all of those problems?
SANDERS: Again, nobody thinks this is the ideal solution, but until we can fix the crisis at the border, we have to look at all options. This is one of them. Whether or not it moves forward, that's yet to be determined.
This was raised at a staff level initially and pushed back on. The president wants us to export again, so that is being done and they're doing a complete and thorough review. But again, the big thing is, if Democrats, including the mayors and members of Congress in these communities want these individuals, they should be helping the president frankly look for solutions to bring them to their communities instead of fighting that president every step of the way.
Let's work together, let's solve the crisis at the border and let's figure out how it doesn't make a massive impact on any one particular community like were seen in a lot of the border towns all along our southern border.
WALLACE: One of the questions on immigration, I want to move on, there is a lot to talk about. The New York Times reports that last week --
SANDERS: We like to stay busy.
WALLACE: Yes, and you keep us busy and we appreciate that.
The New York Times reports that last week, the president told acting DHS Chief Kevin McAleenan, that he urged him to close the border to migrants and offer to pardon him if necessary. The White House says that's not the way it went down.
What did the president say to McAleenan?
SANDERS: Look, the president has addressed this. DHS has put out a statement on this topic saying that that is inaccurate reflection. The president is a person and a president of law and order. That's his entire focus that's coming in, is actually restoring law and order to this country.
SANDERS: -- real process when it comes to the immigration system.
WALLACE: I understand that, but did he say what I'm asking. What did he say?
SANDERS: Look, the president has asked them to do everything they can and everything they are allowed to do under the law, to stop the massive crisis we have at our southern border. It's the same thing he says publicly day in and day out. It's the same thing he says behind closed doors to staff, is figure out how we stop this crisis, how we fix this problem. Let's look for every possible option to do so. And that's what our team has been doing.
But it would be really nice and much simpler if Congress would spend 15 minutes and sit down with the president and let's just come up with the best solutions so that we don't have to do this. We don't have to look for all of these different options. It seems so basic --
WALLACE: I'm --
SANDERS: -- and yet Congress refuses, to want to spend all of its time up attacking the president, investigating the president on these taxpayer- funded fishing expeditions that are completely outrageous, and completely baseless, instead of doing their jobs.
WALLACE: All right. Let me ask you a little bit about that, and I promise, we're going to ask Democratic Senator Cardin in the next segment about the Democratic plan for immigration, .
Attorney General Barr --
SANDERS: They don't have one. Their only plan is to fight the president. And that's -- it's a sad day in American when the Mexican government is willing to do more for the United States illegal immigration problem than Democrats in Congress. And I hope you will ask them, I hope you'll ask what their solution is, and why they're so unwilling to --
WALLACE: Well, let's get finished with this segment so I can get to the next one. Attorney General Barr says that he is going to release a redacted version of the almost 400-page Mueller report this week.
But I want to put up with the president tweeted last night on this subject. This is the president.
Why should radical left Democrats in Congress have the right to retry and examine the $35 million, two years in the making, no collusion Mueller report when the crime committed was by crooked Hillary, the DNC and dirty cops. Attorney General Barr will make that decision.
I understand the president says there, he's leaving it to Barr, but is he suggesting that Congress doesn't have a right to see the Mueller report?
SANDERS: No, that's not what he's saying. The president has been clear he wants transparency throughout the process, but the president e is 100 percent right. Once they get the report, and they see what the summary has already laid out that there was no collusion, there is no obstruction, it is time to move on. They don't get a second chance and trying to reinvestigate the president after two years and millions and millions of taxpayer dollars wasted --
WALLACE: But --
SANDERS: -- on a complete hoax that we all knew was a lie from the very beginning.
WALLACE: But, Sarah, the --
SANDERS: It's something that Democrats used as an excuse for why they lost an election.
WALLACE: But, Sarah, the report according to Barr, and that's all we know about it, was his bottom line conclusions says that according to Mueller, while the does not find clear evidence that the president committed obstruction, it doesn't exonerate him either.
And the question is, how are you going to deal with some evidence that going to come out in this report that clearly is going to be damaging to the president?
SANDERS: I don't think it's going to be damaging to the president because the entire purpose of the investigation was whether or not there was collusion. Mueller was crystal clear in the fact that there was no collusion, not just between the president --
WALLACE: But he wasn't crystal clear on obstruction.
SANDERS: -- but any American, they couldn't find anything. They couldn't make a determination which is basically Mueller's way legally of saying we can't find anything. We're going to leave that up to the process which is the attorney general.
He has made a decision, and so, we consider this to be case closed. That there was no collusion, there was no obstruction which I don't know how you can interpret that any other way than total exoneration.
WALLACE: All right. We're --
SANDERS: I think it's absolutely absurd that Democrats are going to continue to push this false narrative that there was somehow wrongdoing on behalf of the president. He won because he was the better candidate with a better message, a better vision and he simply outworked his opponent.
WALLACE: OK. I'm --
SANDERS: I mean, it's just absolutely insane that they're going to continue to push this.
WALLACE: OK. I'm trying to ask some questions. Let's do a lighting round, because I got three more questions I want to ask you. Quick question, quick answers.
The Justice Department has now charged --
SANDERS: I'll do my best.
WALLACE: I'll do my best too.
The Justice Department has now charged Julian Assange with conspiracy to hack into the Defense Department computers. Here's what the president said about WikiLeaks during the campaign and then this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.
This WikiLeaks, it's like a treasure trove.
Well, I love reading those WikiLeaks.
I know nothing about WikiLeaks, it's not my thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: How can the president say he knows nothing about WikiLeaks, remembering lighting round, and, does he regard Julian Assange as a villain or a hero?
SANDERS: Look, clearly, the president was making a joke during the 2016 campaign. Certainly, we take this serious. In fact our administration is the only one that's done anything about it.
Let's not forget the reason he is being looked at as because of the engagement he had with Chelsea Manning, that individual is the person that the Obama administration actually commuted their sentence. We're the only ones that have taken this whole process seriously, and actually doing something to solve the problem.
SANDERS: The president was making a joke during the campaign and was talking about the specifics of the case at that moment.
WALLACE: Was a joke he made over and over again.
But in any case, let me ask you about Ilhan Omar. The president tweeted a video Friday of a message that Congresswoman Ilhan Omar made intercutting it with images of 9/11. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ILHAN OMA, D-MINN.: Some people did something --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, that was only -- the only five seconds we felt comfortable showing you. It goes on in a much worse way of her seeming, no question about it, to minimize 9/11 and then horrible images from 9/11.
I guess two questions. One, it goes on for 43 seconds like that. Is the president -- why is the comfortable putting out horrible images like that? And secondly, does he worry at all about inciting violence against Muslims in general or Ilhan Omar in specific?
SANDERS: Certainly, nothing could be further from the truth. The president is not trying to incite violence against anybody. He's actually speaking out against it.
The question is, why isn't the congresswoman, why is she brushing this off dismissively? She continues to make anti-Semitic comments over and over again, and Democrats refuse to call her out for it. If she continues to do it, the president will continue to call her out, call her out by name and he's not going to be ashamed nor should he be.
The only shame I see in this is that Democrats and others aren't standing up and taking the same --
SANDERS: -- hard-line that the president is. That was one of the most horrific moments in American history and for her to talk about it in such a dismissive way is frankly disgusting and abhorrent, and I'm glad the president is calling her out and holding her accountable for it.
WALLACE: OK, final question, and we have just blown through all kinds of lightning round rules. I'm not sure you're going to be invited back for lightning rounds after this.
SANDERS: You're not asking yes or no --
WALLACE: I know that. Well, I try better this time.
House Democrats have now given the IRS nine more days to turn over six years of Trump tax returns. Here's what the president said about that this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: While I'm under audit, I would not give my taxes. There is no law whatsoever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Will the president demand that the IRS not turn over his tax returns or will he live -- this is I think pretty close to yes or no -- will he live with what whatever the IRS decides?
SANDERS: The president has been clear from the beginning, as long as his taxes are under audit, he's not going to release them. He's also filled out hundreds of pages and financial disclosures. I think --
WALLACE: I know, but will he tell the IRS not to --
SANDERS: Hold on, Chris, this isn't --
WALLACE: Will he tell the IRS not to release them though?
SANDERS: We'll have to see what happens on that front. But the president has been clear. This issue has even been litigated. We went through it in 2016.
But one of the biggest things that I think people aren't seeing is the fact that the only reason that the Oversight Committee has the ability to request someone's taxes or for the purpose of determining policy. This has nothing to do with whether or not they're going to determine policy.
This is all about political partisanship. This is a dangerous, dangerous road and frankly, Chris, I don't think Congress, particularly not this group of congressmen and women, are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume that President Trumps taxes will be. My guess is most of them don't do their own taxes and I certainly don't trust them to look through the decades of success that the president has and determine anything.
He has filled out hundreds of pages in a financial disclosure form.
WALLACE: Have you --
SANDERS: And I think it's a disgusting overreach they are making when they're not doing this based on policy. It puts every American who has filled out tax reform or tax forms in the past --
WALLACE: This is a yes or no question. Have you filed -- have you filed your taxes yet?
SANDERS: I'm almost finished. I'm in the process.
SANDERS: I need (ph) a couple more days. I get them in before it's time.
WALLACE: I'm asking for an extension. OK, Sarah, thank you. Thanks for your time. Always good to talk with you.
SANDERS: You bet. Thanks, Chris.
Up next, the president and Washington brace for the Mueller report which Attorney General Barr says he will release this week. We'll ask Democratic Senator Ben Cardin about that and the A.G.'s statement the Trump campaign was spied on, next.
WALLACE: More than three weeks after Robert Mueller handed over his report to the attorney general, we should learn more about what is in the almost 400-page document. But how much of it will we actually see?
Joining me now from Baltimore, Senator Ben Cardin, the number two Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.
Senator, before we get to the Mueller report, is the president's idea of shipping migrant detainees to sanctuary cities all around the country, is that legal? And if the president goes ahead with it, what will Congress to?
SEN. BEN CARDIN, D-MD.: My understanding is it's not legal. There is no budget for that purpose. This is clearly a political move for the president. He is using the immigrants as pawns in his political game of chess.
He's not really interested in a solution. He's more interested in preserving a political issue for the 2020 election.
WALLACE: You may not like the president's possible solution here, but I think you have to agree that there's a crisis on the border. I want to put up numbers.
In March of 2018, last year, 50,000 people were caught crossing the border. Last month, it was more than 103,000. The big spike is in family asylum request. In 2018, DHS decided, these are bureaucrats, and 76 percent of cases that asylum-seekers have established credible fear about what would happen to them if they were returned to their countries.
But when they actually finally saw an immigration judge, only 16 percent were actually granted asylum. Meanwhile, there's a backlog of 800,000 cases and the waiting list, it takes about two years to be heard by a judge.
So I guess the question really is, and Sarah Sanders brought it up, what is the Democratic plan? I know you talk about border security. There clearly is a problem here with people gaming the system on asylum. What's the Democratic plan to stop that?
CARDIN: What Democrats would like to see is let us take up legislation to reform our broken immigration system. We can start with the bill to pass the Senate a few years ago. There have been changes that we have to deal with, including the Dreamers, and TPS. I mean, there were a lot more now about the budget needs of the border.
Let us take up legislation. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader of the Senate, has yet to bring a bill to the floor of the United States Senate so we can debate this.
WALLACE: Sir, we know comprehensive immigration reform, I mean, just as a practical matter, is going to go nowhere between now and 2020. Why not specific niche changes, if you, will to deal with this explosion of people seeking asylum?
CARDIN: Chris, I'm going to disagree with you. If the president would support comprehensive immigration reform and work with Democrats and Republicans, we have the consensus to pass comprehensive immigration reform. But the president doesn't want that to happen.
Certainly, we'll take up niche issues. We have to take up issues. I hope that we could get things accomplished. But what we need is comprehensive immigration reform.
And secondly, you talk about more people coming to our border. We have to deal with the reason why migrants are migrants in the first place, and that is don't cut off the aid to Central America. Let us work to reduce the flow out of countries.
WALLACE: Would you agree that there's a problem with an asylum system where three quarters of the people who come in, they are given incredible fear, excuses, or status, they're able to stay in the country for two years. There is an 800,000 backlog, and then only 16 percent, I guess, it is, yes, 16 percent actually granted asylum.
Do you think there's a problem with that?
CARDIN: I would acknowledge that we have an immigration problem in this country. Our immigration laws are not what they should be. Asylum is a very important policy for America and it's a global value that we protect people that are in fear of their lives.
So, we need -- we want to lead on asylum, but we need to have an orderly process. And because we don't have an orderly immigration process, we find that the asylum laws are not working the way they should.
WALLACE: All right. Let's get to the Mueller report. Attorney General Barr testified before Congress this week and he made quite a stir talking about the investigation of the term campaign. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. It's a big deal.
Yes, I think spying did occur.
I'm not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I'm saying that I am concerned about it and looking into it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator, do you agree there should be a full investigation of how the FBI and other intelligence agencies acted in looking into the Trump campaign in 2016 and then on into 2017?
CARDIN: Chris, what I think the American people want to see first is the release of the Mueller report, so that we can draw our own conclusions and do not have to rely on the conclusions of Attorney General Barr. Whether it relates to the president's involvement, what Russia did in our election, or how the FBI handled the investigation. We need to see the full report.
Yes, there needs to be reductions as it relates to source information or sensitive information that has nothing to do with the president or these issues. But we need to see the report, you need to see the report and the American people need to draw their own conclusions.
So, we are getting dribs and drabs from the attorney general as to parts of the report. Let us take a look at the full report. Then, that's a fair question to ask.
WALLACE: Well, OK, but you're going to get the reports apparently -- unless the attorney general is delayed -- by Tuesday. So, in the next 48 hours.
You know, a lot of people say there are legitimate questions here about how the whole investigation started into President Trump. Was there bias on the part of FBI agents, the FISA warrants, all kinds of stuff? Isn't that the legitimate issue to be brought up as well?
CARDIN: You say we're going to get the report in 48 hours. I'll wait to see if we get the full report in 48 hours. I hope we do. We then need to read the report and be able to understand that.
Then I hope it tells us information more than we have today about Russia's tactics of trying to influence our election, so that we can protect ourselves against future attacks from Russia, tells us exactly how the president and his campaign were involved in this so we can draw our own conclusions and how the investigation was done.
WALLACE: Let me ask you about this. Let's assume and I think it's fair to assume that Attorney General Barr is not lying to the American people.
He says that, according to the Mueller report, special counsel said he found no collusion by the president with Russia. And nobody was indicted for that, including any of the people around him that a lot of people had talked about. And he clearly didn't find overwhelming evidence or a preponderance of the evidence of obstruction.
So, is that the best use of Congress's time to continue to argue about something that the special counsel investigated for two years or shouldn't you be trying to solve the countries problems?
CARDIN: I think Mr. Mueller was looking at the criminal standard beyond reasonable doubt. So let's again take a look at the source documents. He did say that there was clear evidence in regards to obstruction of justice. Whether it reached the standard that it could be proved beyond reasonable doubt is an issue that he, Mr. Mueller, did not draw a conclusion.
Mr. Barr did draw a conclusion. The American people need now to draw a conclusion. Remember, the principal reason for this investigation is that Russia attacked our democratic system in the 2016 elections. We need to take steps to prevent us -- prevent this country from being attacked again and compromised by Russia.
This report is going to be very valuable so that we can take the appropriate steps. Congress passed legislation to deal with this, bipartisan legislation. I was involved in crafting that legislation.
I would hope this report would give us additional blueprint of what we need to do to shore up our protections in America, but also understand how the Trump campaign and Mr. Trump interacted with the Russians.
WALLACE: Senator Cardin, thank you. Thanks for sharing your weekend with us.
CARDIN: Thank you.
WALACE: Please come back, sir.
CARDIN: Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: Next up, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss disarray at DHS and the battle over the border.
Plus, the rise of Mayor Pete in the polls, and his feud with Vice President Pence.
WALLACE: Coming up, Democrats wrestle with how to respond to President Trumps immigration proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They're always saying they have open arms. Let's see if they have open arms.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We all know we're supposed to secure the border. We don't need any (INAUDIBLE) or tantrums from the president on that score.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel how serious the president is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We are giving very strong consideration to having people after a 20 day period, because again you're not allowed legally to hold them for more than that, we will move them into sanctuary cities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump confirming reports Friday that he is thinking about a controversial plan to ship migrants detained at the border to Democratic strongholds across the country.
And it's time now for our Sunday group.
Rich Lowry of National Review, Neera Tanden, president of the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress, Anna Palmer from Politico Playbook, co-author of the new book "The Hill to Die On: The Battle for Congress and the Future of Trumps America," and Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson.
Rich, what do you make of the president's moves this last couple of weeks on immigration, whether it's the idea of shipping immigrants to -- to sanctuary cities, closing the border, cleaning house at DHS? How much of it is real and how much of his is just showing the -- his frustration?
RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW: Yes. Well, I think the shipping -- the idea of shipping these migrants to sanctuary cities is more a rhetorical point than a policy. The idea that ICE this time is completely overwhelmed by this crisis at the border and is underfunded to begin with is going to undertake this major logistical operation on top of what it's doing now to get these migrants to the sanctuary cities is just implausible.
But it all goes to just how the president is infuriated by the situation at the border and he should be. Our rules are completely insane. If you are family units from Central America and you come here, we basically waive you in. And we're seeing a situation where over the course of the next year, 1 percent of the population of Guatemala and Honduras could come to this -- this country and be admitted.
And that's crazy. The president desperately wants to do something to stop it, but he can't without Congress acting.
WALLACE: Anna, there -- there may be, at least in these specific moves we're talking about, more politics and policy in terms of what the president's discussing. But to the degree that border security does become an issue in the 2020 campaign, don't the Democrats have the same problem with immigration that Republicans have with health care, which is they just don't have a plan?
ANNA PALMER, POLITICO: I think it's a problem for them, clearly. They're going to blame the president and the president always says, I want to work with Democrats on this, but everything he's doing right now does not portend for anything to happen before the 2020 election. For Democrats, they're going to have to say, how are they going to stop this? I mean this is not something -- if you're a 2020 candidate, you have to have a policy that is going to stop this crisis.
WALLACE: But you just heard Senator Cardin. He's not a presidential candidate, but he's one of the leaders of the Democrats in the Senate, I mean he's talking about comprehensive immigration reform. The Rubio plan in 2013. They're -- I mean they -- you've got a specific problem now, particularly with asylum. Democrats don't have an answer for that.
PALMER: I think you're going to see Democrats try to pivot a lot on this, right? You -- and I -- in my time covering this, I have never seen Republicans and Democrats further away from any kind of a deal, small or large, on immigration.
WALLACE: Let's turn to the Democratic presidential race and what I would argue is the most surprising development so far, very early in the race, and that is the rise of Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.
Take a look at some polls they came out this week. Two new polls. In New Hampshire, Buttigieg is now in third place behind Biden and Bernie, but ahead of Warren and Harris and Beto. And in Iowa, Buttigieg in also in third place. And, interestingly, he's now making an issue of his faith.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My marriage to Chastain has made me a better man. And, yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Kristen, what's going on here?
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, ECHELON INSIGHTS: I think Mayor Pete is doing something very interesting, which is recognizing that there is a large slice in the Democratic Party and the Democratic primary electorate that does not look like what say Democrats on Twitter want, what people think of the Democratic base as wanting. He's trying to bridge this gap between sort of electability and saying things that I think get Democratic voters excited, by reaching out to Democrats who are people of faith. Democrats who do come from sort of the middle America, small towns like South Bend.
And I think what you're going to see is this Democratic primary being defined by viral moments, which is something Mayor Pete has shown he's very good at. Having these moments where he sort of says something that catches everybody's attention, that sounds a little different than what you're normally expecting. These are the moments that are going to let these Democratic candidates fund raise very well and help them have these boomlets (ph) in the polls.
WALLACE: Neera, a couple of questions. I'll start with this one first .
How seriously should Democrats, all of us, looking -- yes, I know it's crazy -- crazy early in the race, should -- at the boomlet for Mayor Pete? How seriously should we take it?
NEERA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I think he's a serious candidate and he's announcing today. I think, you were right, that actually Democrats are looking for a unifying message. They think that Donald Trump is a pretty divisive figure and is -- are looking for candidates who can have a unifying message that actually does reach out to all parts of the party, but even perhaps some moderate voters.
And that's been a selling point for Mayor Pete. It's also a selling point for the vice president, Beto O'Rourke and others. So I think he's a -- he's a very serious candidate. And the fact that he's willing to defend progressives on issues like faith is something that really is more -- it's something that Democrats are looking for.
WALLACE: You -- you talk about Biden. How reassured should Biden be that after all of this talk for a week or two about his inappropriate invading women's space, that he's still the frontrunner?
TANDEN: Well, I think that speaks to how much Democrats are looking at electability. And the vice president still is very strong in polls against Donald Trump. And there is a well of support for the vice president. He's - - he was -- you know, obviously worked for President Obama and people feel very fondly within the party about the last Democratic president. So I think as a -- as a nominee or as a candidates, he's going to actually have to talk about these things more and be on the stump and really get with reporters. But I do think Democrats feel pretty positively about him.
WALLACE: Rich, what do you make of this field?
LOWRY: Well, I think the rise of Mayor Pete is just one of what will be many surprises. This will be a completely wild ride and we're just at the beginning of it.
But I think what Mayor Pete's trying to do is what Obama did circa 2008, talk about his faith, be a progressive, but do all you can not to be threatening to the other side while you light up the base with your youth and with your narrative. And he's had some really success with that.
WALLACE: You know, it's interesting, Kristen, because on the one hand, when he was -- well he still is the mayor, but when Mike Pence was the governor, they seemed to get along pretty well. And now Mayor Pete is kind of picking a fight with him, which, incidentally, the vice president keep say, no, we got along just fine, obviously, on the issue of -- of gay rights. It seems to be working in terms of elevating his standing and his cred inside the Democratic field.
ANDERSON: Well, and I think it's interesting to contrast the way Mayor Pete has sort of handled his relationship with Pence versus the way former Vice President Joe Biden, who sort of got chastised by the Democratic base for saying, I find Vice President Pence to be a good guy. We may disagree on the issue. He kind of had to walk that back in response to backlash from the Democratic base.
I do think that even someone who may be kind of Indiana nice, like Mayor Pete is, will find that there are limits to what the Democratic voters are willing to accept in terms of olive branches to the other side.
WALLACE: And, briefly, Anna, what about the argument I think some people make that when it comes to Joe Biden, this is his high point?
PALMER: I think that he's going to have a big issue. I think he's probably the most popular before he enters into the race. He's clearly shown an inability to punch back in this environment, where it's just Twitter, which is fast. Everybody's wondering, where is he? Why is he not out there more? Is he going to run or isn't he?
WALLACE: And you also had the sort of ham-handed thing where he made speeches and joked about, well, I got permission to -- to be touched. That didn't go over very well.
PALMER: No. I mean this is not a laughing matter. And clearly, you know, he wanted to kind of sidestep it.
I do think one of the interesting thing is he went on Twitter, he can punched back against the president, and that is why I do think he is so strong in the polls.
WALLACE: All right.
Panel, we need to take a break here.
When we come back, what to look for in the Mueller report when its finally released this week.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about the effort to bring Julian Assange to the U.S. to face charges. Just go to FaceBook for Twitter @foxnewssunday and we may use your question on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This was an attempted takedown of a president. And we beat them. What they did was treason. What they did was terrible. What they did was against our Constitution and everything we stand for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump doubling down on Attorney General Barr's suggestion this week the FBI and intelligence agencies spied on his campaign.
And we're back now with the panel.
Anna, Democrats are going to obviously make as much as they can of whatever damaging information is in the Mueller report once they finally get their hands on it we assume in the next couple of days. And they're going to fight over the reductions, anything that's been left out, and even the underlying evidence, which wouldn't be in the report.
But given the fact that apparently the special counsel did not find hard evidence, any evidence of collusion, and didn't find criminal evidence of obstruction, how much can Democrats really do with this report?
PALMER: I think there is a fear of overreach when you talk to Democratic operatives and some of the staff, that you're going to have a lot of members who are going to want to hit on this and go for the next several weeks to try to continue to press on this because that is where they've been wanting to see this Mueller report. There was all this anticipation that there was going to be some big bombshell that clearly didn't happen. So I do think there is a little bit of concern that they are going to try to overreach on this issue, but I would expect them -- people on Capitol Hill, members of Congress, to hit on this for the next several weeks.
WALLACE: Kristen, Fox News -- I kind of love this -- did a poll but just before the Mueller report was handed over from Mueller to Barr and 70 percent of those surveyed said it didn't make -- it made little or no difference what was actually in the report, their minds were already made up.
So, given that, how big a deal do you expect the Mueller report to be?
ANDERSON: I think very little still (ph). I think you're going to see very little movement in the polls because this is a political inkblot test. If you are a supporter of the president, you will say, look, there's no inclusion, no obstruction. If you oppose the president, you will see collusion and obstruction hidden between the lines throughout the report or behind many of the reductions, which are certainly going to be the political flashpoint.
But for those voters in the middle, this is something that I think at this point they wish we would move on from. And that's why the Democrats who were the majority makers in the midterms, who won those races that were hard-fought and are the reason why Nancy Pelosi is speaker, they ran on things like health care, they ran on pocketbook issues and sort of sidestep this issue altogether.
I don't think this is the type of issue that moves swing voters and I'm very skeptical that barring some major bombshell, this report will have any change in the president's poll numbers or the overall political environment.
WALLACE: I want to turn to the arrest this week of Julian Assange.
Back in 2010, when WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of sensitive, classified documents, some of which endangered people's lives, conservatives generally condemned him. No longer. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: We defend media -- the rights of people to publish for good reason. It is a First Amendment freedom.
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS JUDICIAL ANALYST: This is a case about free speech. This is a case about punishing journalists. In this case, a journalist who revealed information devastating to what the United States had been saying and lying about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We asked you for questions for the panel and on the issue of Julian Assange we got this on Facebook from Carmen Holmes. Why is Julian Assange WikiLeaks being targeted for exposing the truth?
Neera, how do you answer Carmen, and is Assange a hero or a villain?
TANDEN: I think of him as more of a villain, but I would say that what happened here is he's being prosecuted not for publishing, but for actually taking part in a hack, the stolen -- actually trying to steal materials himself. That does not actually -- there's no protections for journalists in actually doing crimes. Publication is a separate issue.
I do think for this, people who cite the Barr report, the Barr report itself said that essentially the Russians did hack into the DNC and into the Clinton campaign and therefore Assange was at least a witting or unwitting agent of that.
And, ultimately, what this whole issue is about is whether Russia undermined our democracy and it's not whether Assange was part of that. But he -- that is not what he is -- that makes his actions bad or good. But what he's actually being prosecuted for is stealing.
WALLACE: Rich, are you surprised that so many of your fellow conservatives, at least these days, and a lot of them were condemning him back in 2010, but these days are defending, embracing Julian Assange?
LOWRY: Yes. And I think it's wrong. Look, I thought he was an anti-American sleaze when he was publishing U.S. secrets. I thought he was anti-Americans sleaze when he was publishing Democratic e-mails during the 2016 campaign.
And, yes, if you're being prosecuted for publishing this information, there would be real First Amendment issues.
As Neera points out, he's -- this charge has to do with participating in the act or attempting to participate in the act of theft.
WALLACE: Well, I'm a -- I'm a little surprised by it too. And I guess my question is, how do you explain it?
LOWRY: Partisanship, basically. It was really helpful to have those e-mails out in 2016. I don't think they swayed the election, but they certainly weren't -- created bad news cycles for Hillary Clinton in for a lot of conservatives. Unfortunately, that was enough.
And it's also -- just to this guy's low and disreputable character, it's worth remembering, the reason why he ended up holed up for seven years in an Ecuadorian embassy in the first place was not that he was fleeing the United States government. He was fleeing a sexual assault charge in Sweden.
WALLACE: You were shaking your head.
ANDERSON: Well, I think he -- Rich is right that, I mean, back in 2010, the polls showed about three quarters of Republican saying that they viewed what Julian Assange was doing was wrong. And there has been, I think, whether it comes to Julian Assange or -- you saw this in the polls actually with Jim Comey where for a moment in time Democrats thought he was public enemy number one and Republicans liked him, and then after Trump fired him it flipped. I think partisanship is a big driver here. And I think we shouldn't forget that Julian Assange's number one goal was not to provide information to the people, but I think to sort of disrupt western government's ability to protect themselves.
LOWRY: It's also worth noting, you know, this whole conspiracy that the Trump administration is beholden to Russia, Obama didn't -- the Obama administration didn't indict Julian Assange. The Trump administration indicted this guy who was a cutout for Russia during the campaign.
PALMER: Yes, I mean, I think what's really interesting here is the defense that they're trying to use that he's a journalist. But clearly I'm a reporter and I'm not trying to hack into government, you know, to get secret documents. So he went a step further than any of us.
And the other thing I think is very interesting, how they are prosecuting him or how they are trying to charge him is very narrow. But what we've heard from members of Congress is, they want to hear what he has to -- what he knows about Russia. What -- get him to the U.S. and he may have a lot more information that we don't know yet.
WALLACE: You know -- go ahead.
PALMER: WE -- I would just say that I do think it's important this -- what you were just saying is -- is a really important point and also you just have to recognize that there's lots of information we don't have. And that is one of the reasons why the Mueller report should be public and something that this entire issue, the entire Mueller report investigation was about what happened with Russia and our elections. And I think if the public --
WALLACE: Well, but, wait, wait, it wasn't just about that. It was also a lot about Donald Trump, his involvement.
PALMER: Absolutely. What (INAUDIBLE) --
WALLACE: And the fact that they spent two years and they didn't find collusion.
PALMER: Right. OK. But the issue is not -- you said evidence of obstruction. We do not know what evidence there was for obstruction or not. They seems to be the --
WALLACE: I understand. On collusion, though, it seems pretty clear that they didn't find collusion.
PALMER: Right, but there could be additional evidence that happened. And, again, that's a criminal question. And I think that ultimately the public has to understand what happened here. What happened with the Russia investigation?
LOWRY: The Mueller report is going to be released.
LOWRY: The attorney general is combing through it with Mueller and then is going to release it.
WALLACE: All right. And, you know what, Fox News is going to be all over it when that happens.
Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our Power Player of the Week. We talk with Robert Kennedy's oldest child about how his words still resonate in today's political climate.
WALLACE: Political speeches used to be inspiring. Soaring rhetoric and calls to meet great challenges. Well, if you think our national discourse has gotten uglier in recent years on all sides, you're not alone.
Here's our Power Player of the Week.
KATHLEEN KENNEDY TOWNSEND, DAUGHTER OF ROBERT F. KENNEDY: If you're an American, you get involved, you act, you make a difference. You don't stand on the sidelines.
WALLACE (voice over): Kathleen Kennedy Townsend on her father's message in his final campaign 51 years ago.
ROBERT F. KENNEDY: We are a great country an unselfish country and a compassionate country.
WALLACE: There's no mistaking --
TOWNSEND: All American shares a common future.
WALLACE: She's Robert Kennedy's daughter.
WALLACE (on camera): Do you realize, as I listen you talk, and look at your face, that you're the living, breathing embodiment of your dad?
TOWNSEND: No. Well, thank you very much. That's sweet of you to say.
Language can lift us up. And I think right now is a time that we do need our language lifted up.
WALLACE (voice over): Townsend was talking about her father this week and the relevance of a collection of his most famous speeches called "RFK: His Words for Our Times."
KENNEDY: Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis (INAUDIBLE).
WALLACE: Speeches like the one he made April 4, 1968, and Indianapolis, despite warnings from local police.
KENNEDY: And what (ph) dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago, to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the light of this world.
TOWNSEND: Here is a man who came from privilege, who quotes the Greeks in an inner-city and calms the crowd. And, in a sense, speaks to the better angels of people's nature and succeeds.
WALLACE: Or a speech he made at the University of Mississippi in 1966. Hostile territory for the former attorney general who led the fight for civil rights.
KENNEDY: It is far easier to accept and to stand on the path than to fight for the answers of the future.
TOWNSEND: He was the devil too many people of the University of Mississippi. And it just taught him that if you are honest, if you go to where it's difficult, you can win over hearts and minds.
Being in Washington is just so filled with memories.
WALLACE: Townsend was the oldest of Robert Kennedy's 11 children. She remembers how he always pushed himself.
TOWNSEND: My bedroom was next his bathroom. And every morning I would hear him do his sit-ups while he listened to Shakespeare so that he could have the language to speak to the deepest issues in our -- in our American spirit.
WALLACE: She was 16 when her father was assassinated.
WALLACE (on camera): Do you feel at all cheated that you didn't have all the years with him you should have had.
TOWNSEND: We were always talked about martyrs. We talked about sacrifice. It's hard to grow up in our family without the idea that life is filled with sacrifice.
WALLACE (voice over): Townsend hesitates to speculate what her dad would think of our current politics, but she has no doubts on one subject.
WALLACE (on camera): What do you think your father would say made of Donald Trump?
TOWNSEND: He would be hurt by the pain that Donald Trump has caused so many people and the glee, it seems, that he takes in causing other people such pain.
WALLACE (voice over): One more reason, she says, to keep her father's message alive.
TOWNSEND: The idea that we're a generous people, that we're a compassionate people, that we have a goodness in us and that we need leaders that appeal to the good part of us.
WALLACE: Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was lieutenant governor of Maryland for eight years. These days she's focused on improving retirement security, noting half of all Americans have saved nothing for when they stop working.
Now, this program note. Be sure to watch a Fox News town hall with Bernie Sanders Monday at 6:30 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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