Published May 26, 2019
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," May 26, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
President Trump gives his attorney general sweeping power to declassify intelligence related to the Russian investigation, as his war of words with speaker Pelosi escalates dramatically.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Get these phone investigations over with.
PELOSI: I wish his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention.
TRUMP: She is not the same person. She lost it.
WALLACE: We'll discuss the president's latest moves and the standoff with House Democrats with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
It's a "FOX News Sunday" exclusive.
TRUMP: The "I-word." Can you imagine?
PELOSI: The White House is just crying out for impeachment. That's why he flipped yesterday.
WALLACE: We'll ask Congressman Eric Swalwell, one of the many Democrats running for president, about prospects for impeachment.
Plus, President Trump orders 1,500 more U.S. troops to the Middle East to counter the threat from Iran.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Forty years of terror coming out of the Islamic Republic of Iran and President Trump is determined to change the course of that regime.
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel if the U.S. is headed for another war in the region.
All, right now, on "FOX News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again on this Memorial Day weekend from FOX News in Washington.
President Trump is in Japan today leaving behind a nation's capital here more unsettled than ever. The president and Speaker Pelosi continue to attack each other. Trade talks with China at a standstill. And now, Mr. Trump is giving his attorney general authority to declassify intelligence about how the Russia probe started. In a moment, we'll talk with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.
But first, John Roberts traveling with the president in Tokyo.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was a first for President Trump, a guest of honor at a sumo wrestling championship. The president, long a fan of American wrestling, handing out the 70-pound trophy to the winner.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is eager to show off his friendship with the president, earlier taking him for a round of golf. But most importantly, inviting him tomorrow to be the first international leader to meet Japan's newly enthroned emperor, Naruhito.
While pomp and ceremony will take up part of the visit, the prickly issue of trade will also take center stage as President Trump still works to reduce the $58 billion trade deficit with Japan.
TRUMP: The prime minister and I talked a lot today about trade and military and various other things. I think we had a very productive day.
ROBERTS: The strains over trade aside, the trip is a welcome respite for the president from investigations and swirling talk about impeachment back home. Add to that new criticism that giving Attorney General William Barr sweeping the power to declassify documents about the origins of the Russia investigation could imperil national security.
TRUMP: I don't care about payback. I think it's very important for our country to find out what happened.
ROBERTS: On trade with Japan, President Trump told FOX News earlier today that he will wait until after elections in Japan in July to really push for a new trade deal and in a tweet, the president appeared to contradict his national security advisor John Bolton who said on Saturday that North Korea's firing of missiles into the Sea of Japan was a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions. President Trump said he's not worried about it and believes that Kim will live up to his commitment, the promise he made to President Trump to eventually denuclearize -- Chris.
WALLACE: John Roberts reporting live from Tokyo -- John, thanks for that.
And joining us now from South Carolina, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senator, President Trump, as we just reported, has given Attorney General Barr, quote, full and complete authority to get in declassify all government secrets related to the Russia investigation.
Here is the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I declassified everything, everything they want. I put it under the auspices of the attorney general. He's going to be in charge of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator, any problem with that?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: No, not at all from my point of view. I was one of the Republicans insisting that Mueller be allowed to do his job. I never thought it was a witch hunt. The report is in, no collusion. No -- you know, Mueller didn't do anything on obstruction.
Now, I'm insisting that we get to the bottom of this. I want all the documents around the FISA warrant application released. I want to find out exactly how the counterintelligence operation began. I think transparency is good for the American people. Not one Democrat seems to care.
I was the hero when I said let's support Mueller. I wish some Democrat would come forward to find out if the FISA court was defrauded by the FBI and the Department of Justice.
So, I support Attorney General Barr to make this as transparent as possible.
WALLACE: Critics make two points, particularly about this issue of declassify, because these are, after all, the crown jewels of the intelligence community, including reportedly the identity of a key informant was close to Vladimir Putin.
Here are the two questions that they raised: one, can Barr be trusted with these secrets? And two, can he be trusted not to cherry-pick the information to make a case for the president?
GRAHAM: Well, I think he can be trusted. I'm going to look at this. You know, nobody doubted my trust or my ability to be fair when I supported Mueller.
The people who are about this are worried about being exposed for taking the law in their own hands. It doesn't surprise me that the people we are looking at, they don't want transparency.
We're not compromising national security here. We're trying to create a system to make sure this never happens again by shedding light on what happened with the FISA warrant process, the counterintelligence investigation. Did they have a lawful reason to surveilled President Trump's campaign? Did they lie to the FISA court?
Every American should want to find that out.
WALLACE: The other big story in Washington this week is the extraordinary war of words between President Trump and Speaker Pelosi. The president ended up saying that House Democrats have a choice, they can either legislate, or investigate. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I walked into the room and I told Senator Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, I want to do infrastructure, but you know what? You can't do it under the circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: You have made it clear senator you disapprove of what the Democrats are doing to the president, but you also say that he can't allow them to goad him into ignoring the nation's problems.
GRAHAM: Yes. What started off as Nancy Pelosi is writing a bucking wild bronco called the Democratic Caucus. Seventy percent of the Democratic base throughout America wants President Trump impeached. She knows that impeachment would be political suicide because there's no reason to impeach the president.
So, she's trying to keep the party intact. If she goes down the impeachment road, Republicans take back the House, we keep the Senate, President Trump gets reelected, but her job is very much at risk.
So what I think is going to happen here -- I think that she's going to be driven towards impeachment. If she goes down that road, it will be suicide for the Democratic Party. From President Trump's point of view, I disagree with the idea that you can't work with them while they're doing things like this. You have to work with him.
If you can't control, Mr. President, with the Democrats do, but you can control what you do and you need to leave this country to better bridges and roads and lower prescription drug prices. They say no to you, that will help you. They say yes with you, and work with you, that will help the country. So, I don't believe that the idea of working with the Democrats should be taken off the table because they're going too far.
WALLACE: you call all of what's going on here in Washington a political circus, but you took it a different view back when you were leaving the impeachment effort against Bill Clinton back in the late '90s. At that time --
WALLACE: -- you said that any president, and you talked specifically about Clinton and Richard Nixon, who defied Congress when it came to subpoenas was in danger of impeachment. Here you are back then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: You're becoming the judge and jury. It is not your job to tell us what we need. It is our job to comply with the things we need to provide oversight over you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Question, why is it an impeachable offense for Clinton or Nixon back then to ignore congressional subpoenas, but it's OK for President Trump to do now?
GRAHAM: Well, there's two things here. The Mueller investigation was a special counsel appointed to find out if the president committed a crime, if he colluded with the Russians, if he obstructed justice. The president gave him 1.4 million documents to Mueller, everybody around the president was allowed to testify. He never claimed executive privilege.
He complied, no cover-up, worked with Mueller. Mueller is the final word on this for me.
So, if Clinton had stiffed Ken Starr, that's different.
What Nadler is doing is trying to destroy the president and his family. If I were the president, I'd fight back against this political revenge coming out of the House. Mueller was the man of the law. Mueller was an independent voice that we all trusted to be fair.
I don't trust House Democrats to be fair. They're trying to redo the Mueller report. They're trying to make up other stuff. And at the end of the day, it will be political suicide for them to impeach. If I were the president I would fight Nadler tooth and nail. I'm glad he Cooperated with Mueller. That's the difference.
WALLACE: As we have reported, the president today -- I don't know, maybe it was today, maybe it was yesterday, this time differences with Japan confuse me. The president tweeted this and I want to put it up on the screen.
North Korea fired off some small weapons which -- excuse me -- which disturbed some of my people and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me.
Do you share the president's conference in Kim and how do you square that with the fact that his own national security advisor, the president's national security advisor, John Bolton, said just the day before that the firing of these missiles was a violation of U.N. resolutions?
GRAHAM: I don't think it's remotely possible that Chairman Kim will give up his nuclear weapons until he feels the threat to do so. I'm glad the president is engaging him. All those before President Trump failed on their watch, and President Trump has finally got Kim Jong-un's attention.
But I'm not naive about this. I think they're trying to run out the clock on President Trump. The only way Kim will give up his nuclear weapons if he believes he's better off without them and you've got to make the threat of military force real if he continues to develop missiles and bombs directed at America.
What we do in Venezuela and what we do in Iran will make a difference as to how Kim reacts to us in North Korea.
WALLACE: I want to get to both of those trouble spots in a moment, but just to go back, you say that he needs to in effect present a threat to Kim. So what good does it do, or do you think it was a mistake to tweet out that some of my advisors were upset about firing these muscles, but not me and that he has confidence in Kim to keep his promise?
GRAHAM: I think is trying to give North Korea some space to come back to the table and end this, but like every other president, he is trying very hard to stop the nuclear advancements of North Korea. I think he's made more progress than other presidents because he's engaging him personally.
But President Trump will be judged by the outcome. It's not the process. At the end of the day, did Kim give up his nuclear arsenal on President Trump's watch in return for security and prosperity? We are a long way from there but I hope we can get there.
I'll give Trump the space he needs to deal with Kim, but I will remind the president that you have to deliver on this. This is one of the signature issues of your administration.
WALLACE: All right. Let's talk about Iran, presidents and a 1,500 more troops to the Middle East to counter the threat in Iran and also he says as part of the counter to the threat to Iran, he has announced arms sales on an emergency basis, $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
Any problem with the president going around Congress, and particularly when it comes to arms sales to Saudi Arabia, continuing to do business with the regime that slaughtered Jamaal Khashoggi?
GRAHAM: Yes, I've got a real problem with going back to doing business as usual with Saudi Arabia. Jordan is a great ally. The UAE has been problematic in Yemen, but a good ally. Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally but the crown prince was in my opinion involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and he's done a lot of other disruptive things.
So, I don't -- I don't support the arms sales now, but I do support American troops going in to the Mideast in larger numbers to deter Iran.
Let there be no doubt, from my point of view, the threat against American personnel in Iraq coming from Iran, particularly Shiite militia controlled by the ayatollah was real. I'm glad Abraham Lincoln is in the region. I'm glad we are sending more troops.
And why is this happening? The maximum pressure campaign against Iran is working great if you can play oil from Iran anymore without being sanctioned yourself, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the henchmen of the ayatollah, now are subject to sanctions, their terrorist organization.
So, president Trump is putting a lot of pressure on Iran. They're trying to break our will and this is an effort to deter Iranian aggression, not to invade Iran.
WALLACE: Senator, I've got two more issues, I want to squeeze them both and if I can. If the president is reportedly considering issuing pardons around Memorial Day, around tomorrow to service members that were either convicted or accused of committing war crimes.
Here's how the president explains it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are looking at a lot of different pardons for a lot of different people. Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard, long. You know, we teach them how to be great fighters and then when they fight sometimes they get really treated very unfairly.
WALLACE: As someone who spent three decades as a military lawyer and then a military judge, how do you feel about the president's possibly granting parties to people accused or convicted of war crimes?
GRAHAM: Well, it depends on what case you're talking about. I don't mind the president looking at these cases, but Mayor Pete said he shouldn't pardon anybody.
I spent a lot of time in the region. We had a situation where we would catch the terrorists because the legal system was so broken in Iraq and Afghanistan, there would be right back on the streets the next day. That was frustrating to our soldiers.
But we also had a case where a young man went in and murdered a family and raped the daughter. That's not the conduct we want. Military justice is about good order and discipline and dealing with crimes.
So the rules of engagement conduct, there are a lot of people had to make snap decisions under a tremendous amount of pressure. Look at these cases individually. Let the military justice system work its will. Make sure that every soldier is looked at as an individual.
There was a time in Iraq where -- and Afghanistan if we caught a terrorist, they would be right back on the street in a matter of days and that was frustrating to our troops. But again, we are an ethical force, we are well-trained in the military justice system is designed to maintain good order and discipline. Look at these as individuals, not holistically.
WALLACE: OK, I've got about a minute left on going to ask for a quick answer here. You had a tough article in "The Wall Street Journal" this week in which he said that the U.S. really needs to get much tougher in Venezuela. You said we need to order Cuba to get all of their forces out of Venezuela immediately and to even talk about the U.S. invading Venezuela like Ronald Reagan invaded Granada.
GRAHAM: Yes, really. So here's the deal. We are being tested in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Assad is going into it Idlib now. There's a lot of pressure on the Trump administration. And Trump said rightly, Maduro is not the legitimate leader of Venezuela, the entire region supports the Trump approach that Guaido is the legitimate leader. He wouldn't be in power without 6,000 or 7,000 Cuban security forces in Venezuela.
I would do exactly what Reagan did. I would give Cuba an ultimatum to get out of Venezuela. If they don't, I would let the Venezuelan military know, you got to choose between democracy and Maduro, and if you choose Maduro and Cuba, we are coming after you. This is in our backyard.
Trump said that he was for democracy, against socialism --
GRAHAM: -- and he has drawn a red line when it comes to Maduro. If he doesn't ask, everybody in the world is going to think he's weak. If he does act, it helps us with North Korea, Iran, Russia, and everybody else.
WALLACE: Senator Graham, thank you. We covered a lot of ground. Thank you for sharing part of your Memorial Day weekend with us. It's always good to talk with you, sir.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, Democrats are ready to take on the president, but split whether impeachment is going too far. We'll discuss where things stand with congressman and 2020 hopeful, Eric Swalwell, next.
WALLACE: Democratic calls for impeachment are growing with revelations from the Mueller report and President Trump rejecting congressional subpoenas. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that's what the president wants, figuring impeachment will backfire on her party.
Joining us now from New Hampshire, congressman and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, Eric Swalwell.
Congressman, let's start with the new powers that I discussed with Lindsey Graham that the president is granting to the attorney general to declassify all secret information about the Russia probe. The special counsel Robert Mueller was given 22 months to investigate whether Donald Trump had colluded with the Russians.
Why not give the attorney general the power to conduct this investigation?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good morning, Chris, and also this Memorial Day weekend I just want to thank the Gold Star families for their sacrifice of their family members.
But, Chris, what concerns me about this order by the president is that he is asking our intelligence community to essentially not do the job that we are asking them to do the next time they may see something like this. This is to put a chilling effect into place. So, if you're an FBI agent and you get a tip that a foreign adversary is seeking to help either the Republicans are the Democrats in his upcoming election, you're going to think twice about that, because you may be attacked by this president or you may lose your job and if we step back and look back at what happened in 2016, they may not have amounted to the crime of conspiracy.
But I don't think anybody can read those 200 pages of contact that the Trump team had with the Russians and say we want this to happen again in 2020. I think this is an abuse --
WALLACE: I'm going to get to that in a second but let's go back to the Barr investigation because some would argue if anybody in the FBI or the intelligence agencies did something wrong, we should find out about it. If they didn't do anything wrong than the investigation will turn up nothing.
SWALWELL: That's right, and the inspector general has already looking at that. But for the president of the United States to instruct the attorney general to do that, again, it looks like he is using the attorney general to be his personal lawyer rather than having attorney general look at whether there are still ongoing threats to our country.
And you said the Mueller report did not find any collusion. We should also remember Mueller did not look at the financial aspect of Donald Trump and his family foster his dealings with Russians. That was a red line. We're going to look at that an intelligence committee because we are not convinced that the president is not compromised, so this work continues.
WALLACE: All right. I want to pick up on exactly that because you are one of the Democrats leading the charge for years that the president, his team, colluded with the Russians in the investigation -- the election of 2016. Here you are just days before the Mueller report was handed over to the attorney general.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe the president himself colluded with the Russians?
SWALWELL: Yes. So, the president knew the Russians were seeking to help them. And so, he went out as a candidate and invited them to hack more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe there is direct evidence that the present included?
SWALWELL: His invitation for them to hack more, that's direct evidence of inviting them to collude.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But, Congressman, the special counsel directly contradicts you. Volume one, page five of the report: The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.
Congressman, the Mueller report spent 22 months, look at all the evidence, says you were wrong.
SWALWELL: It did not say that, Chris. Actually, it played out 200 pages of contact between the campaigns, and because a prior Congress had a failure of imagination to specifically articulate a crime of collusion doesn't mean a future Congress shouldn't say we don't want this to happen.
I respect the special counsel's finding of the laws we have today and with the limitations of not being able to look at finances, he could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt conspiracy. I don't accept that this is what we want a president or a candidate to do. So I've written legislation to put an onus on any campaign family member or candidate if they have this type of outreach.
WALLACE: Congressman, let's take a look at the one case you gave there on that MSNBC interview. You said, well, the president called for more hacking. I mean, seriously, I remember that vividly. Most Americans do, it was in July after the hacking of the DNC and the president -- then Donald Trump, holds a press conference and says, well, you know, if the Russians want to find those 30,000 emails that Hillary Clinton deleted, I'm sure the media will be interested in that.
You can't possibly think that is collusion.
SWALWELL: Well, Chris, what are the Russians do next? The Mueller report lays out that they undertook more hacking within hours of that and --
WALLACE: And you think that was an order? I mean, you think that was an order from Donald Trump? You don't think the Russians were already in fact probably already doing it?
SWALWELL: I don't believe in coincidences with the Russians and your last guest, he used to not believe in coincidences with the Russians until he got too close to Donald Trump.
WALLACE: If Mr. Trump colluded with the Russians, if he obstructed justice, as you claim, both of those, you claim, why not move to impeach the president? You're one of the Democrats was not calling for that yet?
SWALWELL: Yes. And, Chris, you just pointed out, no one is going to question how hard I fought while our democracy has been on the line, but I also believe dearly in the rule of law. I was a prosecutor and I know when I go to court I got to have my pencil sharpened, my subpoenas ready and my witnesses and exhibits ready to go.
You only get one shot at this, I want to make sure we get it right. I think that means first getting the full Mueller report unredacted, getting Mueller to testify himself, getting people like Don McGahn in. And so, we are pressing that and we are winning in the courts right now.
The president is outnumbered with the subpoena power and the court rulings that are on our side. I think that's a road would go down but we are not going to do Donald Trump justice here because we only get one shot to make sure the rule of law still stands in America.
WALLACE: Meanwhile, we have the standoff now between Speaker Pelosi and President Trump. She accused him of a cover-up an hour before she was going to meet with him on infrastructure.
No concern that if you continue to pursue this, the subpoenas, the insults, that the allegations of lawbreaking that you will fail to do the people's business whether it's infrastructure or funding the government or raising the debt limit?
SWALWELL: Donald Trump is not the first president, Chris, to be investigated, but he is the first president to be investigated and not be able to work with Congress. Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, they still had production while there was perceived obstruction.
And this president is doing a disservice to the American people by just walking away from our obligation to build roads, green our grid, to work on gun violence. We sent a background check over to the Senate and he's missing that opportunity.
I also want to say, something that doesn't help this debate is the distortion that we are seeing on Facebook or even by Fox Business News by taking with the president is saying about Nancy Pelosi and distorting and altering video of her to suggest that there something wrong with her health. That really just means the conversation.
WALLACE: I understand that as part of moving your bones as a Democrat to attack Fox News. We have you here, we're treating you fairly, let's move on, OK, Congressman?
WALLACE: All right.
SWALWELL: But it distorts the debate and it's something the Russians did in the 2016 election. I just don't think that Facebook and the president should be conducting themselves that way.
WALLACE: All right. Well, we'll talk about Facebook and the president. You're one of the two dozen Democrats running for president and I want to put up on the screen the latest polls because nationally, we have you at zero percent. We don't, that's the latest Monmouth University poll and your 1 percent in Iowa, which is the state where you were born.
Question, sir, why run for president when there are so many candidates -- I get this to thousands now, Democratic candidates and you're so far behind?
SWALWELL: Yes. Well, Chris, you know, I'm from a generation that is paying the price on climate change. I took my kid to school for orientation last week and I saw -- you know, while I was thinking about things that most parents didn't have to think about a generation before, which is whether he's going to be safe or not.
And when it comes to our health care, were paying so much out of our pocket today that I feel a responsibility to run. I was the first in the family to go to college but I see that my generation is going to see worse than the next generation and I'm going to do something about that and I'm not going to give up. It's early in the race, and I'm going to keep fighting.
WALLACE: Congressman Swalwell, thank you. Thanks for your time. Safe travels on the campaign trail, sir.
SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: Coming up, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss President Trump's decision to let the attorney general declassify intelligence on the Russia probe.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about whether the president can work with Congress amid the partisan gridlock? Just go to Facebook or Twitter, @FoxNewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air.
WALLACE: Coming up, President Trump and Speaker Pelosi spar over investigations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let them get rid of the nonsense first. But you can't go down two tracks at the same time.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We can walk and chew gum at the same time. I hope he can too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel with the feud means for taking care of the nation's business, next on "Fox News Sunday."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was an attempted coup or an attempted takedown of the president of the United States. It should never, ever happen to anybody else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump explaining why he's giving Attorney General Barr power to declassify information related to the origins of the Russia investigation.
And it's time now for our Sunday group.
Jonah Goldberg of "The National Review," Peter Baker from "The New York Times" and author of "Obama: The Call of History," Liz Marlantes, politics editor for "The Christian Science Monitor," and Fox News correspondent Gillian Turner.
Well, Gillian, you have good sources inside the intelligence community. How strong is the pushback to the president's decision to give Barr access to this information, both in terms of concern about the security of the information and also concern that he might use it to make a political case for the president?
GILLIAN TURNER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: So up until now only two people in the entire government had the power to essentially snap their fingers and declassify any information, any intelligence they wanted, and that's the president and that is the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats. So what the president has done confers tremendous new powers on the attorney general.
Now, the challenge, according to the intelligence community, my sources there, is really, this sets up a potential epic battle between the attorney general and between the director of national intelligence, because what happens if somewhere along this investigation Barr decides to declassify information and then on the back end, the director of national intelligence says, wait, wait, wait, wait, this was -- this went way too far, this compromises national security, this compromises intelligence operatives around the world, maybe puts their lives at risk. What happens then? And nobody knows, because there isn't really a precedent.
WALLACE: So there's heartburn.
TURNER: There -- there's a lot of angst about how this could play out.
WALLACE: Peter, what's your sense of what the president hopes to accomplish by giving Barr this information and the -- the runway to -- to have this investigation and, of course, Barr has called in the U.S. attorney from Connecticut. Does he really think that this investigation is going to turn up a deep state effort to take him down, either in the campaign or as president, or do you get the sense from his people that he sees it more as, well, this will keep people chattering about something else while the House continues to investigate?
PETER BAKER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, I think both things can be true. I do think he honestly believes that he has been targeted and he feels very aggrieved about what has happened and he thinks that if they root around in there, that they'll find some, you know, misdoing by the Obama administration and they'll be able to -- to prove it.
At the -- but there's also a convenient and useful political narrative, right? The narrative isn't what I did wrong, the narrative is what the investigators did wrong. And let's make sure we focus on that rather than try to redo the Mueller report. It's a way of keeping his supporters focused on what matters most in his mind, which is the misdeeds of his enemies and his perceived adversaries.
WALLACE: Which brings us to the remarkable standoff this week, and we've seen a lot of it, but this took the cake, at least for today, between the president and speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Here's just a taste this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Crying Chuck, crazy Nancy. I tell you what, I've been watching her and I have -- I have been watching her for a long period of time. She's not the same person. She's lost it.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We asked you for questions for the panel about this showdown and Tamara Hyland sent this on FaceBook, is impeachment the only remedy that Democrats will be satisfied with from all of the investigations? They need to get back to work. It's partially a question and partially a statement.
Jonah, how do you answer Tamara?
JONAH GOLDBERG, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Look, I'm sort of an outlier on this. I think that Congress can impeach anything they want. If a grand jury can indict a ham sandwich, Congress has the power to impeach someone for eating a ham sandwich. They just have to do it. They have to have the political will to do it. It has to be in their political interest to do it. And right now Nancy Pelosi believes it's not in their political interest to do it. There are lots of rank and file based Democrats who think it is in their political -- or it's the right thing to do. And it will have to be just sort of worked out. I think that Nancy Pelosi's probably right on the political calculation and --
WALLACE: That it would be a mistake?
GOLDBERG: That it would be a mistake.
But, also, just to get to this weird standoff, you know, one of the things I think people miss is that Donald Trump's superpower is the ability to destroy Republicans by giving them, you know, nicknames and insults and all that kind of stuff. There's very little evidence it works the same way against Democrats. And so when he starts attacking Nancy Pelosi this way or Chuck Schumer this way, he can't -- riling his base against those people doesn't weaken them the way it would weaken a Republican. And so this is not going to play out the same way we've seen this play out before where he destroys someone like Jeff Flake or even Justin Amash right now because he can't marshal his troops in the same way he can with a Republicans.
WALLACE: Liz, to sort of go past this, though, who runs more of a risk if nothing gets done in Washington over the next year and a half, is it President Trump and the Republicans are Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats?
LIZ MARLANTES, "CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR": I think it depends. I mean I think, for example, infrastructure is what got derailed this week. That was President Trump's most popular campaign promise. Two-thirds of Americans, when he took office, said that they wanted him to do something on infrastructure. And it hasn't happened. It's actually quite interesting to think about what would have happened if he tackled that first. If that had been the very first thing he tried to do in office, we might have had a very different two and a half years than what we've had.
GOLDBERG: But infrastructure's been in our hearts all along.
MARLANTES: Oh, yes, we all want -- we all want infrastructure to happen.
TURNER: Well, also, Nancy Pelosi took a dramatic behavioral like left turn this week because up until now she's been all about, you know, when they go low, we go high. She arguably went lower than the president this week and that's going to hurt her.
MARLANTES: And, so some extent, you could say she took a page out of his playbook. And I do think part of it was to distract from this growing drumbeat for impeachment that is coming up within her own caucus.
WALLACE: But -- but, you know, for all the talk about -- and I want -- I want to bring Peter in on this. For all the talk on infrastructure, there wasn't going to be an infrastructure deal, was there? I mean if they had -- if she hadn't said what she'd said and they'd met in the room when it got to the fundamentals of how big of the -- the -- the program going to be, who's going to pay for it, where's the money going to come from?
MARLANTES: Absolutely -- no, absolutely. I mean that is a factor of, you know, Congress is kind of broken right now. Congress seems unable to do pretty much anything. We have divided government. The House Democrats would tell you they have passed 50 bills since taking office -- or since they took the majority, and -- and the Senate has taken up almost none of them. So, you know, we're in a situation where it's pretty clear to everybody that nothing is going to get done. And so the question is, you know, to what extent can they make the politics work in their favor?
WALLACE: Peter, I want to pick up on the president who came out dramatically to the Rose Garden after his three minutes in the room and we've heard from a half-dozen of his top aides that he was very calm and very -- very resolute.
WALLACE: At some point the president said, you've got to choose, either legislate or investigate. At some point doesn't he have to do business with Democrats?
WALLACE: I mean you've got to fund the government. You've got to raise the debt limit. I know he desperately wants, maybe more than infrastructure, to pass this straight deal with Mexico and Canada. So, I mean, he really can't freeze out the Democrats for the next year and a half.
BAKER: Look, on all the basic blocking and tackling, they're going to have to do something. They're going to have to, as you say, pass a debt limit increase and keep a government open. Presumably this disaster relief bill that's sort of making its way to the president will eventually get there.
The question is whether they can move the country forward in a big way more than just treading water, right? There's a treading water kind of piece of legislation. Infrastructure is something where we actually could move forward.
The USMCA, the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, is something we can move the country forward. That's where the harder things are going to be.
And this is the difference with Bill Clinton, right? We -- you and I were around and Bill Clinton, Jonah, like, when Bill Clinton was under impeachment, he would never have talked about his enemies and impeachment if he could help it, right? He wanted to actually look at least like he was trying to focus on the people's business. And that worked to his benefit. His number went up
WALLACE: No, you're saying -- I can't -- I can't waste time on this. I've got to go back --
BAKER: Those guys are dealing in the muddy stuff and I care about your problems. His numbers went up. They didn't get a lot done, but his numbers went up.
Trump, on the other hand, can't help talking about it, loves talking about it, engages in the fight. The fight is what animates him. And maybe in this current moment with Twitter and social media and the prevalence of cable news, that's the only way to do business. It's certainly the only way he knows how to do business, but it's a big difference in 20 years.
WALLACE: All right.
MARLANTES: And the biggest -- the biggest risk I would say for Trump in this particular situation is that he comes across as seeming like he's more concerned with his own political wellbeing than the go of the country.
WALLACE: All right.
MARLANTES: And that is a risk for him.
WALLACE: And we have to take a break here.
When we come back, the president orders more forces to the Middle East. How does that square with his promise to bring troops home? Our panel ways in, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective, and some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now and we'll see how -- and we'll see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WALLACE: President Trump announcing his decision Friday to send 1,500 more troops to the Middle East, responding to what he says is an increased threat from Iran. And we're back now with the panel.
Gillian, two interesting develops with Iran this week. First of all, sending those 1,500 more troops not to Iran, but to the Middle East. Also the president announcing an emergency arms sale as a counter to Iran. $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
What message do you think the president is sending to Iran?
TURNER: Well, the message that he's intending to send to Iran is that we're choosing sides in the ongoing civil war in Yemen. We're choosing Saudi Arabia's side every day. We've been choosing their side for five years and we're going to continue to do that.
The challenge with this weapons sale is -- is not necessarily that he's bypassing Congress. I personally believe the he's got the legal authority he needs to do that if he believes it's in the national interest.
The problem in all of this is Saudi Arabia, because the question becomes, what is Saudi Arabia going to do with those weapons? And the answer to that question is, they're going to continue to drop dirty bombs in Yemen, as they've been doing for at least four years. Dirty bombs being bombs that kill civilians indiscriminately. And that's a -- that's a very big problem. And I think the administration, thinking geostrategically about this, is not really thinking about that. And from the foreign policy community, from a diplomatic immunity's perspective, that is the number one, you know, hot- button issue in all of this. And I have yet to hear the president or anyone in the administration really address that.
WALLACE: Well, in fact, more than not think about it, when Congress voted to end U.S. involvement with Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the president vetoed it. So, I mean, they -- they're doubling down on that policy.
Liz, for all of the president's tough rhetoric about Iran and other places, here was another case and a pattern that we have seen where there was a lot of talk -- I mean the Pentagon wanted 15,000, 20,000, and he agreed to 1,500. I mean, once again, this is a president who really is reluctant to commit U.S. troops overseas.
MARLANTES: Yes, I mean I think we're seeing almost like a good cop/bad cop routine going on with the president and his own advisors.
But what's interesting on -- on this particular issue is, Trump is the one who seems to be backpedaling on almost every other issue when you see that, or trade or whatever. It's the advisors who are trying to rein him in. And, on this one, you really get the feeling it's Trump reigning in his advisors.
And, you know, he campaigned as a very different kind of Republican on all of these issues. He was outspoken in his opposition to the war in Iraq. And I think, you know, in terms of heading into the 2020 campaign, he doesn't want to be involved in a new military venture that is controversial, that's really not his political identity at all.
WALLACE: In the time that we have left, I want to turn to another story.
The Justice Department, late this week, issued another indictment in the case of Julian Assange, charging him with violating the Espionage Act by working to obtain and disseminate secret documents. What you're looking at there is him being hauled out of the Ecuadorian embassy a couple of weeks ago.
Jonah, free press advocates are saying, well, yes, look, Assange is a bad guy, but by accusing him or indicting him for what he did as a violation of the Espionage Act, you're also -- it's an assault on the First Amendment and what reporters do.
How much sympathy do you have for that concern?
GOLDBERG: I have sympathy for the concern, I have zero sympathy for Assange.
GOLDBERG: I think he's a force for evil.
But it is true when you read the indictment, when you read the paperwork, it sounds like it could be -- they could be describing "The New York Times" or "The Washington Post" or Fox News in terms of thinking -- blaming the recipients of classified information for the government's inability to keep their own secrets.
GILLIAN: But he wasn't just the recipient.
GOLDBERG: No, that's right. So, the thing is, where I draw a distinction, or where -- where I'm waiting to withhold judgment is to find out in the actual details of a prosecution how much the -- because what Julian Assange really is, is a cutout for Russian intelligence. And if they -- if he behaved in that way and was basically a proxy of a foreign power and not acting as a journalist, then he deserves whatever he gets coming to him. And that's a safe harbor for mainstream journalists (INAUDIBLE).
WALLACE: Let me bring Peter into this. "The New York Times" was mentioned.
WALLACE: Can't prosecutors, or, if necessary, in terms of changing the law, Congress make a distinction between what Julian Assange did, and we'll get into the details of it, and the very different things that reporters do?
BAKER: Yes, and they did. Look, when the Justice Department came out with the indictment, they said, look, we're not targeting journalists. This is not meant to. We think this is different than what journalists do. We think journalists behave responsibly in their -- you know, even when they have information, we would just chose they not have, they -- they look at it responsibly.
"The New York Times," when we publish stories based on classified information, doesn't just throw it on the website willy-nilly. We try to verify it. We talk to the government about what might be, you know, dangerous to individuals.
WALLACE: But you've got to know some of your colleagues --
BAKER: But --
WALLACE: Are concerned that this is a slippery slope.
BAKER: And -- and that's the point is the distinctions that he made, that the national security official, the Justice Department made are all well and good, but they're a matter of policy, not principle. And I don't know whether legally you can make a distinction between responsible behavior by journalists and irresponsible behavior by people who act as journalists. And that's when you get really, really fuzzy. Then you start having the government decided, you've acted responsible, you haven't. And there's no distinction in the First Amendment between responsible action and irresponsible action as long as it's truthful.
WALLACE: But -- and let me bring you into this, Gillian, because when you look at specifically with Assange is charged with doing, he openly solicited this information. In fact, he even posted a list of, quote, most wanted leaks. So he was -- he wasn't just the recipient of this information. I understand reporters are sometimes urging sources to give them information.
In addition to which, once he got the information, he published on the Internet the names of people who had -- and basically been helping U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, very much endangering their lives.
I guess I understand the concern about journalists being swept up in this, but it seems to me that there ought to be a way to distinguish between the two.
TURNER: There is. To -- from my perspective, having now worked on both sides of this, in the national security community and then now as a journalist, there is a very clear, distinguishing line. And it gets crossed when you conspire with your sources to actually commit illegal acts.
Peter, I'm sure you're not on the phone with your sources giving them keys about how to navigate classified government systems to extract information and then disseminate that information. That is where the line becomes drawn. So if it's ultimately proven that he did -- Assange did conspire with Chelsey Manning to help her obtain the tranche documents that she did, he becomes an active participant in the illegal acts.
WALLACE: But -- but the argument back would be, they already had him on that because they'd already charged him with conspiracy and that he was helping try to break the code for the -- for -- so that they could get into this information. What you need the Espionage Act?
TURNER: Well, because you have to -- you need the Espionage Act because you helped define the line between somebody who's serving as a foreign agent and somebody who is not. So the Espionage Act comes into play when you're working for a foreign government. And that is the -- that is the missing link in all of this that will come to light, as Jonah says, over the course of the next several months probably. Whether Assange was actually actively communicating with the Russians on a daily basis to kind of enterprise all of this.
WALLACE: Thirty seconds, are you persuaded by --
BAKER: No, I think that is a distinction. I mean you're not a -- you're not a journalist if you're acting on behalf of a hostile foreign power. And if that's what they end up proving, the that at least draws that clear line you're talking about. The question is whether they'll get to that or not. And we -- we have not seen anything yet about his actions in the 2016 election for instance when he seemed to be acting on behalf of Moscow.
WALLACE: All right, thank you, panel, see you next Sunday. Thanks so much for coming in on your holiday weekend.
Up next, our "Power Player" this Memorial Day weekend. A man who's made it his life's work to honor veterans in 24 musical notes.
WALLACE: We first met him ten years ago sharing the story of how he's worked to ensure all veterans receive a proper tribute. It's become a Memorial Day tradition here. And, once again, he's our "Power Player of the Week."
TOM DAY, FOUNDER, BUGLES ACROSS AMERICA: When you're playing it, it's only 24 notes, but it's so meaningful to that family.
WALLACE: Tom Day is talking about playing "Taps" at the funerals of military veterans, and he should know.
He's the founder and president of an organization called Bugles Across America.
WALLACE: (on camera): All told, how many funerals have you done since you started Bugles Across America?
DAY: At 200,000.
DAY: In ten years. Right.
WALLACE (voice over): It started back in 2000, when Congress gave every vet the right to a funeral with military honors, including two uniformed officers to present a flag and play "Taps." The problem was, the military only had 500 bugler's, so they sent someone to play a recorded "Taps" on a boom box or an electronic device inside a bugle.
Tom Day, who played in the Marines in the '50s, didn't like it.
DAY: I call it stolen dignity that these veterans can't get live "Taps" when we are out there ready to perform live "Taps."
WALLACE: So he started his organization, recruiting 400 horn players within a year.
DAY: Now we have 6,270 horn players. And we're doing 2,200 funerals a month.
WALLACE: It's become quite an operation that Day runs out of his basement near Chicago. Families can go on his website to ask for a bugler. A message is sent to every horn player within 100 miles of the funeral. Day gives away bugles and helps with uniforms. While he gets support from foundations, he runs a deficit every year.
WALLACE (on camera): How do you make up for the shortfall?
DAY: I kind of make it up myself.
WALLACE: $15,000, $20,000 a year?
DAY: Probably ten. You finish, you know, the last of the 24 notes, you put the horn down and the flag has been presented, then the family comes over. The kisses, the handshakes from these families, there is nothing -- no amount of money could ever buy the feeling that I get from the family once I've finished the 24 notes.
WALLACE (voice over): With soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus some 400 veterans of World War II dying every day, there is a flood of military funerals. Day says he wants to keep going until he dies, then leave his organization in solid shape to carry on.
DAY: I want every family to have live "Taps" at that going away presentation of their veteran. And it kind of tells the Marines who are guarding the gates in heaven, live "Taps," we're going to let this veteran right in.
WALLACE: What a lovely story.
Day turns 80 years old next year. He tells us playing "Taps" for veterans and their families is what keeps him going.
Now, this program note. Next week, "Fox News Sunday" will be live in Dubuque, Iowa, ahead of our town hall with 2020 Democratic candidate Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. That's 7:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox News Channel.
And that's it for today. We hope you'll take a moment this Memorial Day to reflect on a sacrifice of our fallen troops. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
Content and Programming Copyright 2019 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2019 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.