Secretary Nielsen on synagogue attack, pipe bomb arrest

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," October 28, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.

A mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This evil anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us. It's an assault on humanity.

WALLACE: This, just a day after a man is arrested for sending mail bombs to critics of President Trump, raising new questions about inflammatory political rhetoric that sometimes goes over the edge.


TRUMP: Any acts or threats of political violence -- are an attack on our democracy itself.

WALLACE: This hour from the Kavanaugh confirmation to confronting politicians and the angry debate over the migrant caravan, we will look at the growing national divide.

We'll have the latest on the alleged mail bomb suspect and on the synagogue slaughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a very horrific crime scene. It's one of the worst that I've seen.

WALLACE: And we'll talk with the secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.

Then, we'll break down the battle for the House with the leaders of both party's campaign committee, Republican Steve Stivers and Democrat Ben Ray Lujan.

Plus, we'll ask our Sunday panel about calls for unity amid growing partisan rancor.

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


And hello again from Fox News in Washington.

We begin with breaking news. Yet another tragedy in an increasingly divided nation just nine days before the midterm elections. The mass shooting Saturday at a synagogue in Pittsburgh left 11 dead and six wounded, including four police officers.

Witnesses say the gunman shouted anti-Semitic slurs before firing a semiautomatic rifle. The rampage coming one day after the arrest of a man charged with mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats. In a moment, we'll speak with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

But first, to Steve Harrigan outside the federal detention center in Miami where the mail bomb suspect is being held -- Steve.

STEVE HARRIGAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, we are getting some new information about this mail bomber, some new details about his personality.  Family members are describing him as troubled, but many coworkers say he was simply flat out crazy.


HARRIGAN: Cesar Sayoc, the suspect behind 14 pipe bombs sent to prominent politicians and critics of President Trump will appear before a federal judge here in Miami Monday before being transferred to New York for prosecution. Sayoc, a onetime stripper, deejay and pizza delivery man was arrested at least 12 times for fraud, theft and drugs. He now faces five federal charges and could be sentenced to 48 years in prison.

One day after Sayoc's capture, 46-year-old Robert Bowers brought an assault rifle and three pistols into the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

President Trump condemned the attack as pure evil and said the outcome might have been different with an armed guard.

TRUMP: If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better.

HARRIGAN: The president said he will go to Pittsburgh.


HARRIGAN: Both the pipe bomber and the synagogue shooter were active on social media, spewing hatred right up to the moment of their attacks -- Chris.

WALLACE: Steve Harrigan reporting from Miami. Steve, thanks for that.

With a spike in political and now religious violence in the recent days, we want to take a look at the growing divide in our country that seems in ever greater danger of boiling over.

Here's FOX News White House correspondent Kevin Corke.


TRUMP: Political violence must never, ever be allowed in America and I will do everything in my power to stop it.

KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was a call for peace, but for President Trump, taming America's political tempers might prove to be the heaviest lift yet of his presidency.

In the 21-month since Mr. Trump took office, the nation's political climate has become increasingly disruptive, disrespectful, even deadly. The latest temper of the time, a mass shooting at a synagogue and the arrest of a suspect who authorities believe sent more than a dozen pipe bombs to Democrats across the country, a reflection of a political culture now awash in vitriol and venom are letters sent to leaders containing the raw materials for ricin have barely shocked senses.

And political players mete out harsh judgments with impunity.

REP. MAXINE WATERS, D-CALIF.: You tell them they are not welcome anymore anywhere!

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER OBAMA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Michelle always says that, you know, when they go low, we go high. No. No. When they go low, we kick them.

TRUMP: Any guy that can do a body slam, he's my kind of -- he's my guy.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: When words stop meaning anything, when truth doesn't matter, when people can just make up facts, then democracy, it doesn't work.

CORKE: Just who was at fault for the current political environment is a debate that will be had for some time. What is clear is our need to examine how we got to this point and where we go from here.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: We have some serious political differences at home but our opponents are not evil, they're just our opponents. In the end, we must recognize that we are all Americans.

CORKE: Chris?


WALLACE: Kevin, thank you.

Joining me now, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen.  Secretary, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday".

KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Thank you. It's my pleasure to be here.

WALLACE: Let's start with that terrible synagogue shooting. As you view it now, was this an act of terror, was it a hate crime, and how do we better protect soft targets like a house of worship?

NIELSEN: Well, Chris, first let me be clear: this was a pure act of evil.  You've heard that from the president and vice president yesterday, that's what it is. We all condemn this in the strongest terms possible.

And as you know, we do an extraordinary amount of planning and training for active shooter events as well just protection of soft targets and crowded spaces in general.

WALLACE: I understand that, in fact, DHS officials had been in this synagogue recently?

NIELSEN: Yes. As recently as March, we actually conducted a site visit there with our protective security advisor in the area. This is something we often do.

WALLACE: And what's the advice, how to handle an active shooter? Somebody comes in to a service in a synagogue, what can you do?

NIELSEN: Well each individual location, each individual event is slightly different and that's why the planning and the training is so important. In such events, there is rarely time to think through roles and responsibilities, the response has got to be automatic and that's where the drills and the workshops that we conduct come in.

We've trained over 900,000 officials throughout the country. We will continue to do that. In some cases, the advice is to shelter in place, to some is to orderly evacuate, it depends on the circumstances but you should always listen to the individuals they are in charge who will direct you.

WALLACE: Let's turn to the mail bomb case. Is there any evidence at this point that Cesar Sayoc had any help in constructing and sending these bombs? Is there a chance that there is an accomplice who is still at large?

NIELSEN: Well, as you know, Chris, investigation is still underway. What I can assure you is if there are additional perpetrators, they will also be brought to justice.

The president has directed all federal resources to be on top of this. We are, we continue to work closely through the Secret Service and our Federal Protective Services, with the FBI, and state and local officials and we will bring any and all perpetrators to justice.

WALLACE: But, at this point, is there any sign that there is an accomplice?

NIELSEN: Well as you know, the FBI and their press conference did announce that one individual has been taken into custody, the rest of the investigation is ongoing, and I know that we will learn more in the hours and days to come.

WALLACE: I want to hold up, you can't see it, but I'm going to hold up the front page from "The Washington Post" from yesterday about the capture of Cesar Sayoc and it doesn't say suspect arrested, what it says is, "Bomb Suspect Outspoken Supporter of Trump".

What responsibility do you think President Trump bears for the actions of this individual?

NIELSEN: I think the president has made it extraordinarily clear that we will never allow a political -- political violence to take root in this country.

I firmly believe in the First Amendment but anybody who uses the First Amendment as a cover to threaten or commit an act of violence will not be tolerated. There is no place for hate in this country. Hate is hate, violence is violence. We will do all we can at the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that such attacks are not perpetrated.

WALLACE: We've been talking in this program about the coarsening of our political discourse.

During the height of the family separation controversy, you were at a restaurant where you are heckled as you ate in the restaurant and later protesters went to your home and blasted audio, of crying, migrant children outside your home.

A couple of questions, Secretary, what those protesters did, do you think that was over the line? And what do you think -- do you think the president's rhetoric and politics have contributed to the growing incivility and rancor in our politics?

NIELSEN: I think that folks, you know -- first of all, to the extent that folks exercise their First Amendment rights, that is protected in our country but there is a line when those choose to use the First Amendment to incite violence, to incite disruption, rather than being constructive, that to have conversations that instead tear Americans apart, I do not support that.

I -- you know, there is a time very recently Chris where I daily had to review myself, all of the death threats against the great men and women of the Department of Homeland Security who every day wake up to try to enforce the law and protect other Americans.

There is an appropriate way to express your solutions, to express your ideas. I welcome them at all times. But these calls to violence, these calls to disruptions, are not effective, not productive and frankly they just contribute to additional deconstruction of our ability to work together.

WALLACE: All right. Let's turn to perhaps your day job. You've got a lot of day jobs. Immigration -- there is a report that the president is considering making a major speech this week in which he will announce that he is sealing the border even to people seeking asylum.

On what legal basis could he do that?

NIELSEN: I think what the president has been saying and will continue to say and certainly what I have been saying is this caravan is not getting in. There is a legal way to enter this country. Those who choose to enter illegally will be stopped.

We are working with our partners in Mexico. They have taken unprecedented efforts within their territory to ensure an orderly flow and that those who have no legal right to be there are removed.

We intend to do the same but my general message to this caravan is: Do not come. You will not be allowed in. There is a right way to emigrate to the United States and this is not it.

WALLACE: I want to ask -- perhaps drill down on this a little bit with you, Secretary, because according to reports, the president may use the same legal authority he did for the first travel ban, which is Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

I fully understand that people coming from Honduras don't have a right to come into the U.S. illegally but on what basis can you say that this caravan poses a national security threat?

NIELSEN: We have a crisis of the border right now. We are stopping between 1,500 and 1,700 people a day, trying to cross illegally into this country. This caravan is one iteration of that but frankly we essentially see caravans every day with these numbers.

So, I think what the president is making clear is every possible action, authority, executive program, is on the table to consider, to ensure that it is clear that there is a right and a legal way to come to this country and no other ways will be tolerated.

WALLACE: I fully understand that and a lot of people would say that we should reform the laws. So, the question I have is, he's talking specifically about a provision where the president gets to protect national security, we're talking in many cases here about women, about children, about babies, how do they threaten national security?

NIELSEN: Well I think there's a couple ways to look at this. What I can tell you is last year alone, we've stopped 3,000 -- so first let me back up and let's talk about the caravan, this isn't a ticketed event, you don't have a membership in the caravan. There are -- consistently moment to moment there are those who are raising their hands and saying they're part of the so-called caravan and then there are others who -- yesterday said they are part of the caravan, today say they are no longer a part of the caravan.

What we're really talking about is the flow of people that are headed towards United States. They have chosen to break laws along the way. You saw some of them, frankly overwhelm and burst through (ph) the border between Guatemala and the country of Mexico.

Mexico has offered them asylum. In some cases, they have refused. Mexico has offered them work permits. In some cases, they have refused.

And I think what the president and I are both saying, and we want to be clear on this is, if you seek asylum, do so in the first place, country, Mexico has offered you refuge.

If you want a job, that is not asylum. If you want to be reunited with your family, that is not asylum. If you want to just come live in the United States, that is not asylum; there are legal ways to do that.

But this is about the rule of law. This is about understanding who is in the flow. And Chris, I cannot tell you as Secretary of Homeland Security, that I know every person in this flow.

What I do know is that we stopped 3,000 people a year who have traveled -- of a pattern similar to terrorists from attempting to come in the Southwest border.

And as you know, in general we stopped across United States, 10 known or suspected terrorists a day from getting into the United States.

WALLACE: I've got about a minute left. I want to ask you about another one of your day jobs, and that's the midterm elections coming up nine days from today.

Can you guarantee, to the American people, that their voting systems will be secure, are now and will be up through November 6th, that if you go to vote, that you will be able to do so, and that your vote will be counted accurately, and that there won't be a foreign actor interfering with that?

NIELSEN: The goal here, Chris, just as you say, is absolutely to assure Americans that their votes will count, and their votes will be counted correctly.

We are constantly monitoring, constantly working with them, sharing information. We'll be setting up a virtual Situation Room on Election Day so that we can vertically support any incident response that's needed and so that we can share any information.

We are more prepared than we've ever been and we will continue to prepare, not just for this election but through every election to come in the future.

WALLACE: Secretary Nielsen, thank you. Thanks for joining us today.

NIELSEN: My pleasure. Thank you.

WALLACE: Up next, who and what is responsible for the deepening political divide in our country.

We'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss, whether it's President Trump's job to play unifier in chief.



TRUMP: We have seen an effort by the media in recent hours to use the sinister actions of one individual to score political points against me and the Republican Party.

TRUMP: I would like to think that everybody in America would think it's wrong to spend all your time from a position of power vilifying people, questioning their patriotism, calling them enemies of the people and then suddenly pretending that you are concerned about stability.


WALLACE: President Trump and Barack Obama with very different views about who's to blame for the ugly political divide we see these days.

And it's time now for our Sunday group. Former Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz; Mo Elleithee of Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service; Liz Marlantes, politics editor of "The Christian Science Monitor"; and Jason Riley from The Wall Street Journal.

Well, Congressman Chaffetz, clearly, President Trump is not responsible for the mail bombs being sent to prominent Democrats. The person who created the devices and put them in the mail allegedly, Sayoc is responsible. But does the president bear any responsibility for the growing ugly political rancor in this country?

JASON CHAFFETZ, FORMER CONGRESSMAN, R-UTAH: I'm sure the Democrats would argue that but presidents probably get too much credit and too much blame for what's happening in that rancor.

I think the American people, we need a vigorous debate. That is what we do in this country. Political dissent is the American way but there's a point where it crosses the line and becomes too personal when you're up in the face of somebody who's getting dinner, somebody like a Sarah Sanders and whatnot. Certainly, a shooting and violence, that has no place in the American discourse.

I thought President Trump was pitch perfect, and I think the call from Schumer and Pelosi should have matched with the president did, but unfortunately, it did not.

WALLACE: Mo, I want to hold up again this front page from yesterday of The Washington Post because I've got to say I was really shocked by it.  I fully expected it to say suspect arrested. Instead it says "Bomb Suspect Outspoken Supporter of Trump". That's the headline on The Washington Post.

And I went back and looked at "The Post" from last year after Bernie Sanders supporter attacked a Republican baseball practice and severely wounded Steve Scalise. No headline there about outspoken supporter of Sanders.

So, I guess the question is, is it fair to draw the kind of linkage, front page, suspect outspoken supporter of Donald Trump

MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS & PUBLIC SERVICE: Yes, I probably would have written a different headline if I work at "The Washington Post". But having said that, look, I do not think it is a stretch to argue that the president's comments are helping to stir the pot even further.

I agree with the congressman, presidents get too much credit. And I agree that there are people who overstepped the line. I was outspoken when people interrupted Sarah Sanders' dinner or Secretary Nielsen's dinner. I thought that was inappropriate.

But when the president of the United States is actually questioning people's patriotism and calling them enemies of the people, and, you know, is saying pitch-perfect words in the wake of a tragedy but then goes into a rally and continues to divide and blame people, I think that is worth examination. I think it is worth exploration. I think we can all do a better job in our own lives at being more civil and being vigorous dissenters and arguing with one another politically, but checking how we do it. I would hope that the president would take some of this to heart as well.

WALLACE: Jason, when Congressman Chaffetz talks about the president was pitch-perfect, my initial reaction was which president? Because it did seem this week weak as if there were two presidents. First of all, there was teleprompter Trump. Let's take a look.


TRUMP: We must never allow political violence to take root in America.  Cannot let it happen and I'm committed to doing everything in my power as president to stop it and stop it now.


WALLACE: But then there was Twitter Trump. Here he is at 3:14 a.m. Friday morning. Funny how lowly rated CNN and others can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of bombs, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, it's just not presidential.

Do you think it's fair to say that there were two very different presidential tones here?

JASON RILEY, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE FELLOW: Oh, absolutely, Chris. After two years of president Trump I think this is something have come to expect.

I do want to say, referring to the headline, the newspaper you put up, if you want to know why Trump won't give up Twitter and social media, that is why. That headline is why. He does not trust the mainstream media to treat him fairly and he is going to continue to use social media so long as the mainstream media treats him in that fashion and his supporters are going to appreciate his use of social media. I think that is exhibit A right there.

I think we would like, the country would like public officials to exercise some restraint, to not jump the gun when we see these tragedies happen.  They'd like Hillary Clinton to do it, they would like Eric Holder to do it, and they'd like President Trump to do it and President Obama to do it as well. It would be nice if they did behave that way.

The motives seem to vary when these incidents happen. You mention a softball practice shooter. The guy who shot at the Annapolis newspaper had a different motive. They vary and I think we are trying to shoehorn a political agenda into these actions is wrong.

What we should be doing is bringing these people to justice and hopefully trying future acts by --


WALLACE: But you think that the president's rhetoric is separate and apart. I'm in not -- I'm no way -- I've gotten in some fights on this network about this, I'm in no way saying the president was responsible, but do you think it's possible, that it's useful to say that these events happen in a particular climate?

RILEY: I don't think that's useful at all. Anymore than Bernie Sanders is responsible for the softball practice shooter. I don't -- I don't think that's the proper way to look at these situations.

These events happen because these people are deranged, the person who shot Gabby Giffords for instance. These are deranged people, and that is what we need to look at. I don't see attaching politics to this as helpful at all.

In one case, we had a Trump supporter carrying it out and in the other case we had a Trump opponent carrying it out. So, no.


LIZ MARLANTES, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: What we had seen though with all of these incidents is an increase in really dangerous and ugly radicalization of disturbed individuals online and I think that is something that we need to look at. The same exact process that ISIS uses to recruit people, we are seeing that here with dangerous homegrown extremists in these types of events are on the rise. That is something -- you can talk about the tone of the top or the general political discourse but there is something really ugly going on on the Internet and that is something I need think we need to pay attention to.

ELLEITHEE: It's not limited to the Internet, though. I mean, there are -- I mean, when you talked about the media. I mean, there are hosts on cable news who are giving home to right-wing conspiracy theorists and allowing them to move forward -- unchecked -- with these conspiracy theories.

CHAFFETZ: There's nobody out there advocating that anybody take any violence.

ELLEITHEE: No, no, that's different. That's different.

CHAFFETZ: It is different, you're right.

ELLEITHEE: That's not what I'm saying.

CHAFFETZ: But you're trying to ascribe it to some deaths and some murders and terrorism.


ELLEITHEE: We are talking about the tone of our politics.

CHAFFETZ: You are associating those with terrorism and it's no wrong. No one party has cornered the market on crazy.


CHAFFETZ: You can point on this both ways.

ELLEITHEE: This exchange is a reflection of the challenge right now. I am making a point about the challenge of our political discourse and the lack of civility and the fact that the extremes -- as Liz was saying, the extremes are rising and finding more homes to articulate their vision.  That is what is challenging.

CHAFFETZ: I don't think you can point to a specific television show that's advocating this or --


ELLEITHEE: It is everywhere. It is online. It is on cable news, it is in a variety of places and I would hope that everyone, whether they are a television host, whether they are an elected official, whether it's me and my job in academia, that we all do a better job of checking it.

WALLACE: Liz, final thought.

MARLANTES: I think there's an opening for a politician who wants to come forward and says I want to unite the country, I want to be a healer, not adding to the climate of toxicity that we'd seen. I mean, I was really struck to that package that you play. There was that clip by Nikki Haley, and she had such strong words in the wake of what happened in her state.

I think there's a big opening for a politician who wants to be a healer.

CHAFFETZ: Completely agree.

WALLACE: The one thing you can say, whether it has something to do with politics, nine days before an election, everything has to do with politics.

All right. We'll take a break here. See you all a little later.

Up next, with just over a week until the November midterms, who's got the advantage? We'll talk with the chairs of the Democratic and Republican House Campaign Committees when we come right back.


WALLACE: Coming up, the battle for control of the House may be decided by just a few seats.


TRUMP: If the radical Democrats get control, they will try to erase every single thing that we've achieved.


WALLACE: We'll ask the two House committee chairs about prospects for a blue wave, next.


WALLACE: Just nine days from now voters will go to the polls to decide which party controls Congress. On the House side, Democrats need to flip at least 23 seats to take over. But races in many battlegrounds remain tight.

Joining me now from New Mexico, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and from Ohio, Congressman Steve Stivers, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee.


WALLACE: Gentlemen, we often talk about an October surprise in the closing days of the campaign and I wonder whether the terrible October surprise this year is the outburst of violence this last week.

Congressman Lujan, will Democrats make this an issue, the outburst of violence in our politics, and tie it to President Trump?

REP. BEN RAY LUJAN, D-N.M., DCCC CHAIRMAN: Look, first off, Chris, thanks for having me this morning.

Look, no one should be politicizing what happened this week, number one. The senseless acts of violence that we see in Pittsburgh, the number of people that were killed while they were at a place of worship is a clear reason why Congress must act to keep people safe, number one. And then also with the number of people who were threatened as a result of those bombs that were being mailed across America. But, look, we should come together as a country. This should not be a political response, but rather a response at how we can further bring us together.

WALLACE: Congressman Stivers, can President Trump, clearly not be held responsible for the specific acts of violence, but for a culture, a discourse that contributes to it?

STIVERS: Well, I agree with Ben, that we should not be politicizing these acts of violence. As your panel said earlier, hate has no ideology. If you look at the baseball shooting last year, that happened to be a Bernie Sanders supporter. We need to come together. I agree with Ben.

I want to say that Ben is not my enemy. Democrats are not my enemy. They are my opponents. And while we have different visions for the future of America, different directions for America, we are all Americans first. We need to come together and do what's in the best interest of America. And no matter who wins in ten days, I believe we can come together and make that happen.

WALLACE: All right, let's turn to some nuts and bolts, starting with the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls. Going to put them on the screen. On the generic ballot question, which party do you support in our congressional district, Democrats still lead Republicans at this point 49.5 percent to 41.9 percent.

Congressman Lujan, does that mean that there still is a blue wave and that Democrats are going to regain control of the House?

LUJAN: Look, Chris, while people have described this in different ways, I'm confident the Democrats will win back the House this year. We built our strategy around our candidates. Incredible men and women with records of service. Many of who have served our country in the U.S. military. Former CIA officers, FBI agents who have committed their lives to keeping our country safe. And they're connecting with the American people talking about their personal stories.

I never said this would be easy, but we made a commitment to build a battlefield and leave no stone unturned. And that's why I'm confident we will win the majority in just nine short days.

WALLACE: Congressman Stivers, the fact is history at least is against you. Since World War II the president's party has lost an average of 28 House seats in the midterm after that new president is elected. And when the job approval is below 50 percent, as Mr. Trump's is now, he party loses an average of 37 House seats. And, again, if Democrats take 23 seats, they take the majority.

Congressman Stivers, what makes you think history won't repeat itself again in this midterm?

STIVERS: Well, Mike, we've defied history already. We've had a -- we've created a --

WALLACE: I'm Chris, but thank you very much.

STIVERS: Sorry -- sorry, Chris.

We've defied history already. We've won eight out of nine special elections. We actually have an economy where we have 4 percent economic growth. We have unemployment at 3.7 percent. We have the highest consumer confidence we've ever had. And we've lifted up all subgroups, including record low unemployment among African-Americans and 18 to 25 year olds. So I think people will reward us for what we've done.

We have more work to do, but -- and we have great candidates. We have folks who have -- who are incumbent members of Congress, folks who are police officers, military folks. We have folks who are committed to moving our country forward, working together to make a difference. So I think we're going to be able to hold our majority and I feel like momentum is on our side in this last week.

WALLACE: Congressman Lujan, I mean the fact is, but all objective standards, the economy is strong. Unemployment is down. Growth is up. Usually the economy, if there's not a war going on, is the key issue. How do you beat that?

LUJAN: Well, look, Chris, all across America, hardworking middle-class families are still telling us that their wages and salaries are not keeping up with the cost of living. My Republican colleagues this year do not have a voting record to run on that has actually prioritized hardworking middle- class families. That's number one.

Number two is, you look at the data, Chris, with what you put on the board there. While I never look at any one poll, data's on our side, momentum's on our side, the energy is clear, early voting is up all across America. And as long as people continue to turn up and vote, we will do well.

The other thing is, we're making sure that the American people know about the voting records of our Republican colleagues when it comes to health care. Voting to take away protections for people with pre-existing conditions and moving and agenda forward that would have actually slapped an age tax on people between the ages of 50-64 and resulted in creasing health care premiums, deductibles and out of pocket costs for the American people. That's what we're running on and, again, an agenda anchored around for the people and around our candidates.

WALLACE: We have been talking this hour about the tone, the ugly tone our politics has taken. And I want to play some ads that both of your campaign committees, you're the two chairs of the campaign committees, have run against some of your opponents.

Congressman Stivers, here's one that the NRCC ran against Democrat Elissa Slotkin in Michigan. Here it is.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., MINORITY LEADER: I just don't even know why there aren't uprisings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this the quote/unquote mob?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going on too long. Liberal extremists tearing America apart.

Elissa Slotkin is one of them.


WALLACE: Congressman Slotkin served three terms working for the CIA in Iraq and Afghanistan -- or in Iraq with the CIA and then worked in the administrations of both Presidents Obama and Bush. Is it constructive to call her, of all people, a liberal extremists?

STIVERS: Well, you know, I think -- I respect Ms. Slotkin's service to our country in the CIA and in the administrations, but people's views on issues are legitimate and there are contrasts that we need to run so people understand what folks believe. And I think it is fair to say that she is not in the mainstream of Michigan politics.

WALLACE: Congressman Lujan, here is an ad that your group that you're chairing, the DCCC, ran against Republican Congressman Mike Kelly in Pennsylvania.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2010, car dealer Mike Kelly's elected to Congress. And while there, his net worth increased by millions. So it's no surprise he helped give special tax breaks to car dealers, like himself.


WALLACE: But, congressman, the specific group you site for making that report, the Center for Responsive Politics, says, in fact, his net worth has dropped dramatically during the time in office. It hasn't risen.

LUJAN: Well, look, Chris, when we see our Republican colleagues voting for a tax package dubbed by the American people as a tax scam that was prioritizing corporations on the most wealthy in America over hardworking middle-class families, we're going to call them out on their record.

But, look, to the point of the question that you're asking, Chris --

WALLACE: Yes, but, that's his record. This isn't -- but, sir, that's his record. I'm talking about his net worth and that's a fact.

LUJAN: Well, look, to the point of your question, I think that all committees, and all spenders out there that are investing in campaign ads across the country, they need to be respectful of that tone. But I would agree with Steve that when we're looking at voting records, that I think that that is fair game as well and that we need to make sure that we're all looking to see that we can make sure that we're having a better conversation with the American people, whether it's the last nine days of this cycle or going into next election as well.

WALLACE: All right, I've got a little bit over a minute left and I want you to share it equally, so you each get about 30 seconds.

Yes, you've talked about the economy. Yes, you've talked about health care, immigration. But to what degree is this election really about Donald Trump, either pro or against?

Congressman Lujan, you go first.

LUJAN: Look, Chris, I think all across the country our candidates are not really talking about this president much. There's no one that's going to talk more about Donald Trump than Donald Trump, which gives our Democratic candidates the opportunity to connect with their personal stories and talk about an agenda that is built around for the people and how we're going to be able to help lower prescription drug prices, lower health care costs, move a strong infrastructure package and clean up Washington, D.C., with all the corruption.

Our candidates are doing well and it's because of our candidates the Democrats will win the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

WALLACE: Chairman Stivers, you have 30 seconds.

STIVERS: Well, I think this election is about results versus dysfunction. I already talked about our economic success. We have more to do on infrastructure, lowering health care cost. But the dysfunction the other side would bring, their health care agenda would kick 179 million people off their insurance and bankrupt Medicare on day one. It's -- they have an agenda that's outside the mainstream. They want to abolish ICE. They want to not protect our border when there's a caravan of people coming.

LUJAN: Steve, that is just untrue.

WALLACE: All right, I knew were weren't going to settle things here, but we appreciate both of you coming on. Chairman Lujan, Chairman Stivers, thank you both. Thanks for your time in these closing days of this heated campaign.

STIVERS: Thank you so much.

LUJAN: Thanks for having us, Chris.

WALLACE: Coming up, which issue will have the most traction in the midterms, health care, immigration or President Trump? We'll ask our Sunday group, next.



TRUMP: Democrats want to raise your taxes. They want to impose socialism. That's what they're doing.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: If Republicans keep Congress this fall, you better believe they are coming after health care again. And millions of people across the country who count on this are not going to have it.


WALLACE: President Trump and former President Obama making their closing arguments to voters out of the campaign trail.

And we're back now with the panel.

Well, Liz, with nine days till the midterms, how do you see the races both for the House and the Senate?

LIZ MARLANTES, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: It's anybody's guess. I mean we really don't know right now what's going to happen. Early voting has been really interesting to watch. Turnout has been high across the board. Seven states have already surpassed their 2014 early voting numbers.

WALLACE: More than 8 million people have voted early.

MARLANTES: And -- and it's possible that some states will surpass their 2014 total numbers just in early voting according to some experts. So that's a sign that there's a lot of interest.

The question is, whose voters are going to turn out? And we really don't know. is there still going to be, you know, a silent Trump vote, like we saw in 2016, or is this the year that Democrats really mobilize young people, minorities, their coalition?

WALLACE: We need to point this out though because, Liz, midterms oftentimes, as opposed to a presidential election, turnout is low. This almost seems that it could rival a presidential election in turnout.

MARLANTES: Oh, absolutely. And it -- again, Michael McDonald, who's a turnout expert -- an early voting turnout expert, is saying that it's possible that we will see the highest turnout for a midterms since 1914 based on what he's seen so far.

WALLACE: And I just want to say right now, I was not around in 1914, so -- but I hear it was a heck of a -- heck of a turnout.

Congressman Chaffetz, a lot less talk these days about a blue wave, a sweeping Democratic victory, particularly in the Senate, where I think the kind of conventional wisdom, for what it's worth, is that Republicans are going to hold onto the Senate majority.

But aren't there, in the House, a lot more ways when you look at the map for Democrats to get to a 218 majority than Republicans?

CHAFFETZ: Yes, I would agree with that. But I was in the House in 2010 when there was a red wave --

WALLACE: Absolutely.

CHAFFETZ: And the Democrats lost, I think, some 63 seats and there's no evidence anything like that's going to happen. Keeping the Senate, maybe even gaining in the Senate, I think, is what you're going to see. In a House, it's going to be nip and tuck. It's going to be close. A lot of local issues, like water in California, will play a key role in what's happening in those races there.

But I think the week after the selection of the speaker will be fascinating because neither of the presumptive leaders actually have enough votes of 218 to get --

WALLACE: Well, don't talk about that. We have to wait. We can talk about that the week after the election.

CHAFFETZ: (INAUDIBLE). It's going to be so close.

WALLACE: Let's not burn our political issues.

CHAFFETZ: All right, next week.

WALLACE: Let me talk about issues, because there seem to be several big ones out there. Health care obviously is. The economy is. The -- immigration and concerns about the economy -- about the caravan and President Trump. Let me start with you, Mo. I'm going to get to you, Jason, in a moment. Which of those issues do you think has the most traction with voters?

ELLEITHEE: Look, I think we're kind of living in a populist era and people are feeling that institutions are ignoring them, which is why I think it's really interesting that Democrats -- if you look at Democratic ads across the country, they're focusing on health care. They're focusing on losing the protections for pre-existing conditions. That might be one of the most populist issues Democrats have had in a very long time. And I think it is fueling a lot of these numbers.

Trump is being talked about everywhere else. Democrats are kind of trying to find an alternative by Trump by talking about health care. And I think it's helping them.


RILEY: Well, I think the issues that play to the president's strengths would be, one, the economy. We just had reports, third quarter, 3.5 percent growth after eight years of being told 2 percent was the new normal by all the experts. We could be on track to 4 percent growth for the year. It's within reach. So that will certainly play because the Republicans, in the latest "Wall Street Journal"/NBC News poll have a 15-point advantage when it comes to people who think which party does a better job on the economy.

I also think immigration plays to the president's strength and I don't know why this caravan issue, why the Democrats think this works for them. It simply plays in, I think, to this lawlessness that President Trump has labeled them with. It plays into the abolish ICE, the sanctuary cities. This is more of the same. And I think this -- this is something that works better for the president than it does for Democrats. So that's another issue --

WALLACE: Let me just interrupt for a minute. We have a Democrat there.

What about immigration and the caravan? Is that an effective issue for Republicans?

ELLEITHEE: Look, I think there are two couplings of emotions that drive voters in any election, hope and optimism or fear and anger. This is clearly a fear and anger dynamic. And on both -- an election --


ELLEITHEE: No, no, hold on. Hold on.

I think what has been motivating both sides in the election from day one is anger. Democrats have been angry since the morning after December -- or since November 2016. That has worked very well for them throughout 2017 and has gotten them to where they are now.

The Republicans, I think, there was a bit of a complacency. And then between Kavanaugh and caravan, we started to see the intensity and some anger on the right begin to bubble up. The president has been very effective in stirring the pot and trying to keep them as angry as possible.

So which is going to -- which is going to win out, we'll find out in two weeks.

RILEY: Well, I think that, to the congressman's point, local issues obviously play a big role in midterms. And when it does come to national issues, yes, the Kavanaugh hearings and the caravan have helped Republicans close that enthusiasm gap.

But I think with the caravan issue, Mo, this is a massive humanity headed towards the border. This was not spontaneous or organic. These are -- these are people that have been rounded up by activists and -- and immigrant advocates, told what to say to reporters and -- and people at the border. And President Trump is not only right to do something about this, I think he has a duty to do something about this.

I'm very pro-immigrant, but I do believe in a sovereign U.S. border and in doing things the right way. This is not the right way to seek asylum to America.

ELLEITHEE: Look, I think -- I think Democrats have been using immigration to their advantage for much the past year. When the president and his family separation policy was center stage, you saw a huge outcry, and I think Democrats were able to harness some of that energy and have been saying during this caravan crisis, or, excuse me, discussion, that we need to address this issue at the source and -- and the president's failure to do that has helped add to this.

But when -- when push comes to shove and you look at these districts, these suburban swing districts across the country that are sort of the most competitive and the most nip and tuck and people are talking about a caravan versus losing pre-existing conditions, which is going to be more of the motivator, which is going to be more of the driver if we're talking about the politics of this moment? I think pre-existing conditions is going to be the one.

WALLACE: Jason Chaffetz, what surprises me is the economy is going so well that you would think that this would be a no-brainer, that Republicans would run on that. And the president, yes, he mentions it, it isn't what he spends most of his time talking about. Is it that -- and you've got about 30 seconds here -- that he thinks and Republicans think people are more likely to vote in anger than in ingratitude?

CHAFFETZ: Well, I think the idea that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer would have a gavels, that Maxine Waters would be the chairman of Financial Services is something we talk about all the time. There's a criticism the mainstream media doesn't talk about the good news of the Trump economy, and I think that's very real. But people feel it in their pocketbooks and it helps Republicans going into the election.

WALLACE: Well, we've got a little bit more time to talk about it, and then, after that's over, the election, then we can talk about the election of the speaker.

CHAFFETZ: Yes. There you go.

WALLACE: There's always -- business is good these days.

Thank you, pane, see you next Sunday.

Up next, as we hit the home stretch of midterm campaigns, things are getting even more heated on the trail.


WALLACE: At the end of an ugly week of political violence, it's reassuring to know most of that campaigning followed familiar lines with tough rhetoric and some funny moments and President Trump usually at center stage. Here's a look at the action on the trail.


QUESTION: Is he no longer lying Ted?

TRUMP: To me he's not lying Ted anymore. He's beautiful Ted.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: And God bless President Donald Trump.

TRUMP: Under Republican leadership, America is booming, America is thriving and America is winning because we are putting America first.

OBAMA: So when you hear elephants talk about economic miracles right now, remember who started it.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, D-NEW YORK: Are you saying you don't support Donald Trump?

MOLINARO: I'm saying that I'm absolutely committed to the delivery of mental health services.

CUOMO: Do you support Donald Trump?

MOLINARO: Let's get out of this conversation.

CUOMO: Do you support --

JOSH HAWLEY, R-MISSOURI SENATE CANDIDATE: Have I supported the president? You bet I have, because I think the policies he's pursuing are good for the state.

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MO.: The leader of the most amazing nation in the world thinks it's OK to lie all the time. He doesn't need to do that. So, yes, I have to say, I don't like it that he lies all the time.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: No president has ever led by fear. Not Lincoln, not Roosevelt, not Kennedy, not Reagan. This president is more like George Wallace than George Washington.

TRUMP: The blue wave is being dissipated a little bit. I don't hear them talking -- are you guys still talking about the blue wave?

ANDREW GILLUM, D-CANDIDATE FOR FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Are you all ready to flip Florida blue?

Now, I'm not calling Mr. DeSantis are racist, I'm simply saying the racists believe he's a racist.

REP. RON DESANTIS, R-FLA., CANDIDATE FOR FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I'm not going to sit here and take this nonsense from a guy like Andrew Gillum who always plays the victim, who's going out and attacking -- as you -- aligning himself with groups who attack our men and women in law enforcement.

BIDEN: Get the hell up and take back the country.

TRUMP: Early voting is now underway. So if anybody wants to leave, we'll save your place, you can come right back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love those signs. We are not crazy!

CUOMO: I like kielbasa, but I am -- do prefer Italian sausage. I'm true to my heritage.

MOLINARO: We're having a sausage question. I -- I love -- I always loved my grandmother's Italian sausage.


WALLACE: After this dramatic week, we can only hope for more civil disagreements, even about sausages in the final nine days of the campaign.

And that's it for today, have a great week, and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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