This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," February 12, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Chris Wallace.
President Trump says he will move this week to protect the U.S. homeland, after a federal appeals court blocks his controversial ban on travel from the seven largely Muslim nations.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will continue to go through the court process and, ultimately, I have no doubt that we’ll win that particular case.
WALLACE: We’ll discuss what the president will do next on the ban, his domestic agenda, and his Supreme Court nominee, with White House senior policy advisor Stephen Miller.
And we’ll ask Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about his party’s plans to block Trump policies and his nominees.
Then, the president lashes out at senator on the left and right.
REPORTER: The president is accusing you of lying. Are you?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONNECTICUT: I am simply repeating what Judge Gorsuch said to me.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-NY, MINORITY LEADER: He attacked John McCain, one of the most respected voices on national security.
WALLACE: We’ll ask our Sunday panel of whether Mr. Trump’s personal attacks are getting in the way of his agenda.
Plus, our power player of the week -- time to prevent conflicts from turning into war.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Peace is very practical. It is a set of learned skills, approaches, and frameworks that is essential for our national security.
WALLACE: All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
We begin with breaking news: North Korea launched a ballistic missile overnight. Japanese Prime Minister Abe meeting with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago called the test absolutely intolerable. And President Trump agreed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We’ll have more on that in a moment.
We should also learn soon what President Trump's next move is in the legal battle over his controversial travel ban. The president and top aides have talked about everything from rewriting the executive order to taking the case over the current order to the Supreme Court. Mr. Trump says he will announce new security measures this week to keep America safe.
Joining me now live from the White House is the president’s senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, who was a key player in writing the original travel ban.
Stephen, let's start with the breaking news. What’s the White House reaction to that North Korean ballistic missile test? And are you -- is the White House going to put that regime on notice as you did with Iran?
STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR: Last night, what you saw was the president of the United States sending a powerful and unmistakable signal to North Korea and the entire world as he stood shoulder to shoulder with the prime minister of Japan and declared our steadfast and unwavering support of the alliance. And the meaning of that symbolist will be lost on no one.
WALLACE: But you say it’s an unmistakable message. Other than the fact that we’re standing with Japan, what’s the message?
MILLER: The message is, is that we are going to reinforce and strengthen our vital alliances in the Pacific region as part of our strategy to deter and prevent the increasing hostility that we have seen in recent years from the North Korean regime. More broadly, as you know, we are inheriting a situation around the world today that is deeply troubling. The situation in North Korea, the situation in Iraq, the situation in Syria, the situation in Yemen, and this president is committed to a fundamental rebuilding of the armed forces of the United States that will again send a signal to the world that America's strength will not be tested.
WALLACE: Let's turn to this week’s big controversy over the travel ban. Is the Trump administration and you as a key player in it, are you at this moment rewriting the president's executive order limiting the visitors and the refugees can come into this country? And will that be released this week?
MILLER: Right now, we are considering and pursuing all options. Those options include seeking an emergency stay with the Supreme Court, continuing the appeal with the panel, having an emergency hearing en banc, or going to the trial court in the district level and a trial on the merits. They also include, as you mentioned, the possibility of new executive actions designed to prevent terrorist infiltration of our country.
But I want to say something very clearly, and this is going to be very disappointing to the people protesting the president and the people in Congress like Senator Schumer who have attacked the president for his lawful and necessary action. The president's powers here are beyond question. The president has the authority under the INA Section 8 U.S.C. 1182F to suspend the entry of aliens into this country.
And he has Article 2 foreign powers to also engage in conducting border control and immigration control into this country. Those powers are substantial. They present the very apex of presidential authority. And so, we are contemplating new and additional actions to ensure that our immigration system does not become a vehicle for admitting people into our country who are hostile to this nation and its values.
WALLACE: I want to follow up on that, Stephen. You -- that’s an argument you’ve been making this week, that the courts have no place interfering with the president's constitutional powers over immigration. But I wanted to take you back to what the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said in its ruling upholding the stay of the president’s executive travel ban.
Here, first of all, is what you had to say this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLER: An unelected judge does not have the right to remake the immigration laws and policies for the entire United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But the Ninth Circuit Court disagreed. "Although courts owe considerable deference to the president's policies determinations with respect to immigration and national security, it is beyond question that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges of executive action."
Stephen, the three judges say you are flat wrong.
MILLER: No, the three judges made a broad overreaching statement about the ability to check the executive power and did not even address what I was talking about which was INA 212F 8 U.S.C. 1182F, the power of the president to exclude aliens in the national interest.
WALLACE: But they say --
MILLER: They did not even address that.
WALLACE: -- there is a long history of reviewability here.
MILLER: No, the Ninth Circuit has a long history of being overturned and Ninth Circuit has a long history of overreaching. We don’t have judicial supremacy in this country. We have three coequal branches of government.
The Ninth Circuit cannot confer on to a Yemeni national living in Yemen, with no status in our country a constitutional right to enter our country. Such a right to exist, Chris, that would mean every time we denied a visa to a foreign national, they can sue an American court for damages for lost benefits in terms of welfare and employment. That would be ludicrous.
Eighty million people visited this country through airports, land ports, and seaports. Of course, the president has the authority to impose moderate, necessary and sensible restrictions, including putting in place new vetting procedures to protect this country. That power was delegated to him explicitly by Congress, and adheres to him under its Article 2 powers under the U.S. Constitution.
This is a judicial usurpation of the power. It is a violation of judges’ proper roles in litigating disputes. We will fight it. And we will make sure that we take action to keep from happening in the future what’s happened in the past.
We’ve had hundreds of individuals enter the country through the immigration system on visas, who’ve gone on to do enormous harm to this country from 9/11, through San Bernardino, to the Boston bombing, in Chattanooga, and on and on and on it goes.
WALLACE: All right. I want to pick up on that, and your criticism of the judges, because after Judge Robart’s initial order, President Trump tweeted this, I want to put it on the screen, "Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens, blame him and the court system. People pouring in. Bad!"
But now, Stephen, that judge is getting death threats. So, the question is, if something happens to him, should we blame President Trump?
MILLER: This is one of the most ludicrous things that the media does, where when any crazy person in this country issues a death threat, that they can blame a politician or a public official. That is reckless and irresponsible and should never be done. The reality is --
WALLACE: But some people would say -- some people would say that personally attacking a judge is reckless and irresponsible. In fact, your own Supreme Court nominee, Judge Gorsuch, called it disheartening and demoralizing.
MILLER: Statements that you can’t criticize a judge demonstrate a profound misunderstanding of what it means to have separate and equal branches. Of course, one branch can criticize another branch of government. It’s ludicrous to say that Congress can criticize the president, and the president can criticize Congress, and judges can criticize the president, but the president can’t criticize judges.
WALLACE: So, Neil Gorsuch was wrong?
MILLER: I have my opinions. And Judge Gorsuch has had his comments as you know misinterpreted and misrepresented by Senator Blumenthal, who as we all know has profound credibility issues.
WALLACE: Wait, on the question. First of all, on the question of his saying that he found these remarks disheartening and demoralizing, it wasn’t --
MILLER: That’s different than saying you can’t criticize a judge. I don’t think that Judge Gorsuch would say you can’t criticize a judge in the United States.
WALLACE: No, but he said these comments were disheartening, demoralizing. He said it not only to Richard Blumenthal. He said it to Senator Ben Sasse, who’s a Republican.
MILLER: That’s -- that is not what -- Kelly Ayotte put out a statement. That’s not what she said he said.
You weren’t in the room. I wasn’t in the room. What we do know is that Senator Blumenthal, and we all know his Vietnam scandal. We know how much he has a credibility problem. It’s a serious problem. That should be the focus of the conversation. It’s the degree to which that senator has a serious credibility issue.
But not to get off track here, because we are going all over the place, let's just be very clear and straightforward saying the following: The United States of America has a terrorism problem. We’ve had hundreds cases of foreign national entering our country from other countries and plotting, attempting, or even carrying out terrorist attacks. We’ve spent countless dollars a year, and we have thousands of federal officers and investigators who do nothing but run around the country trying to stop terrorist attacks for no other reason because we make the mistake of letting people in who harbor hatred for this country.
Our immigration system should not be a vehicle for admitting people who have anything but love in their hearts for this nation and this Constitution.
WALLACE: I want to ask you, Stephen, about how this all rolled out, because you and Steve Bannon were reportedly the prime movers behind the rollout of this executive order before it had been fully vetted by everyone, all the key players of the administration or congressional leaders. And, of course, now, it has been blocked in several courts.
Do you and Bannon take responsibility for all of the problems with this rollout?
MILLER: First of all, people are getting way too much credit to me and Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon has no role whatsoever in drafting executive orders. This executive order was drafted by congressional experts and lawyers, career experts on immigration. It was approved and vetted through the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council, the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel -- key people at the departments and agencies were read into the executive order --
WALLACE: You would agree, it hasn’t gone smoothly.
MILLER: Well, here’s where you are wrong, Chris. And I hate to say this, because I think you are fabulous. But we issued three executive orders on immigration that have profoundly improved the security of this country, on border security, interior security, and national security.
Most of those provisions remain in full, total, and complete affect. Aspects of the national security order have been wrongly enjoined, an unprecedented step by the Ninth Circuit and the district judge to extend rights to citizens of other countries who don’t live in our country. But even parts of that executive order still remain in full effect, including the process that begins to set in place the new extreme vetting mechanisms, including the lowering of the refugee ceiling.
WALLACE: All right.
MILLER: And then the other policies.
But something is going to come out of this, which will be very good. In the end, the powers of the president of the United States will be reaffirmed, and the whole world will see clearly and unmistakably, and it’s a message that I want the world to hear today -- that this country will protect its borders. It will protect its people, and it will ensure we have an immigration system that promotes wage growth, that promotes employment opportunities for our people, and importantly promotes compassion for working-class citizens who want to live in safe, secure, upperly mobile communities.
WALLACE: Let me ask about protecting the border, because there has been ramped up immigration this week, hundreds of people in the country illegally, and some with criminal records besides the fact that they came in illegally have been detained. The president tweeted this morning, "The crackdown on illegal immigrants is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers, and others are being removed."
Now, the immigration officials said that this had been in the works for some period of time. The president seems to indicate that this is happening of his order. Which is it?
MILLER: Right now, as a result of the president's order, greatly expanded and more vigorous immigration enforcement activities are taking place. It is true that operation cross-check is something that happens every year. But this year, we’ve taken new and greater steps to remove criminal aliens from our communities.
I had a phone call yesterday with someone who from DHS who talked about an immigration enforcement activity at 4:00 in the morning where a gang member was removed, a wife beater, somebody who was a threat to public safety, with a long arrest record. But because they didn’t have the right kinds of convictions, they weren’t considered a priority by the previous administration.
Because of President Trump's actions, innocent people are now being kept out of harm's way. And we as a country spend too little time thinking about the effects of open borders on vulnerable communities, including our migrant communities, lawful migrants trying to get their start in this country --
WALLACE: Stephen --
MILLER: -- who have to deal with the scourge of cartel violence, the scourge of gangs, the scourge of violent criminals that we’re now removing from this country.
WALLACE: All right. I get your point. We’re way over time. I have one more question to ask you.
And I want to ask you about the personal attacks that President Trump engaged in this week. He dismissed the "so-called judge" who had stayed his order, Judge Robart in Seattle, and he had to say this about the appeals court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I listen to a bunch of stuff last night on television that was disgraceful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: When Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said the president’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Gorsuch, found these personal attacks disheartening, here’s how President Trump responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: His comments were misrepresented. And what you should do is ask Senator Blumenthal about his Vietnam record that didn’t exist after years of saying it did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: And when Senator John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, raised questions about the Yemen raid, the president tweeted this. I want to put it on the screen, "Senator McCain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. Only emboldens the enemy. He’s been losing so long he doesn’t know how to win anymore."
Look, I take your point that you’re not a punching bag here, and that the president and the White House, they take incoming. They should be able to fire back.
But does this kind of personal attack help the president in building the kind of coalitions he is going to need for the bold agenda that all of you want?
MILLER: Thank you, Chris. It’s an important question and I’m glad to have a chance to answer it.
WALLACE: Just briefly, sir.
MILLER: Our position is that we are the ally of millions of hard-working forgotten men and women all across this country, and President Trump is their champion. That’s our coalition. Our coalition is millions and millions and millions of decent patriotic citizens who just want a pay raise, who just want a good school, who just want a safe community.
And Donald Trump will never apologize for looking out for their interest and being their champion.
WALLACE: But does he need to insult John McCain in the process?
MILLER: He needs to protect the integrity and to protect the honor and decency of our armed services. Chief Special Operator William "Ryan" Owens did not die for a failure. He died as a hero. He died in defense of his country. He died in defense of our values, in a successful mission that yielded valuable intelligence.
The bottom line, Chris, is that the president of the United States won 306 electoral votes by being a champion for people who haven’t had voice in Washington, Democrats, Republicans, independents, people of all income and races. And he will continue to be their champion and he will continue to be their voice.
WALLACE: Stephen, thank you.
MILLER: Thank you.
WALLACE: Thanks for your time today. Thanks. We enjoy hearing your voice. And, of course, we’ll be tracking what the president announces this week on the issue of immigration and travel ban. Thanks so much for talking with us, sir.
MILLER: Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin on Mr. Trump’s executive order, his legislative agenda, and charges of Democratic obstruction.
WALLACE: A look outside the Beltway of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which ruled against reinstating President Trump’s travel ban.
To discuss the president's executive order and other issues, let's bring in Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.
And, Senator, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
SEN. BEN CARDIN, D-MARYLAND: Good to be with you, Chris. Thanks.
WALLACE: You just heard top Trump adviser Stephen Miller on the travel ban. Your reaction?
CARDIN: Well, I find his comments very concerning. We all want America to be safer. I can tell you that his executive order, if implemented, will make us less safe.
It’s not just my views. I’ve talked to leaders from around the world who tell us that it will be used as a recruitment for terrorist organizations that will put Americans at greater risk traveling abroad. That it adds to self-radicalization.
Our concern about terrorism is real. But look at the numbers -- the numbers of self-radicalization are much higher than people coming into our country. So, we really need to have a smart policy. And we already have extreme vetting for refugees, particularly.
WALLACE: Well, I want to pick up on this, because you have made similar remarks in a letter that you and five other Democratic senators wrote to Defense Secretary James Mattis this week. And I want to put what you said on the screen. This executive order provides ISIS and other enemies with a propaganda coup of unimaginable proportions.
Honestly, do you really think that ISIS needs another tool to get people to kill us? They already hate us, Senator.
CARDIN: But they need a recruitment message, and I was talking to King Abdullah just last week, king of Jordan.
WALLACE: King of Jordan.
CARDIN: And he said, look, we have 650,000 Syrian refugees in our country. And they are integrated into our country. They’re not the security threats. At the security threat is who could be recruited, how the Palestinians are recruited towards terrorism.
ISIS is on the run, but if we give them a message, look, we are losing territory, the caliphate is shrinking, we are making progress. So, there hope for their future is to recruit. And what America does when its immigration policy gives them a recruiting message.
WALLACE: But, Senator, the new secretary of homeland security, General John Kelly, says that while the courts go through this long process of considering the president's order, it’s his words, entirely possible that someone will come into this country and do us harm. Here’s an exchange that he had this week in a congressional committee hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you do not have any proof at this point.
GEN. JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Not until a boom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not until what?
KELLY: Not until they act and blow something up or go into a mall and kill people. So, we won’t know until then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: He is saying, the president is saying, Stephen Miller is saying, while the courts, while senators argue about, well, this fine-tuning of executive order, we won’t know until the boom.
CARDIN: Well, you don’t know. But we do know one thing. We want to keep Americans safe. We want to do everything possible to do that.
And there are risk factors. There’s risk factors that this executive order could be used as a recruitment for someone here or self-radicalization, and that person may in fact go out and cause people to be harmed. These are -- if you look at what we’ve seen as far as the terrorist threats in America, it’s not the refugees. It’s not the people that are coming in through our regular process.
There had not been an unusual high threat to America. Do we want to do better where we can? Absolutely.
WALLACE: U.S. officials -- I want to turn the subject -- U.S. officials now say that contrary to previous denials that the president's national security advisor, retired General Michael Flynn, did discuss U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador before he took office in December at the very time that President Obama was imposing new sanctions because of Russia's role in interfering in the election.
Here is an exchange that I had before the inauguration with Vice President Pence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Did Michael Flynn ever discuss lifting sanctions in any of those discussions? Do you know?
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I talked to General Flynn yesterday. And the conversations that took place at that time were not in any way related to new U.S. sanctions against Russia or the expulsion of diplomats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Despite that, the White House said yesterday that President Trump still has, quote, "full confidence" in Michael Flynn as his national security advisor. Question: Do you?
CARDIN: No, I think what General Flynn did with the vice president, misleading him or giving him wrong information, that’s not the type of person you want to have around you giving you advice. So, I think he has very much questioned his credibility. We need to get to the bottom of this.
But it goes broader than just General Flynn. The relationship between Russia and our elections is something that needs to be independently investigated. I’d call for an independent commission similar to what we had in 9/11. Russia attacked us. We need to have an independent investigation, and General Flynn's comments just add to our concern about the relationship with Russia.
WALLACE: Well, one of the reasons that all of this has come out is because apparently the FBI, and the NSA, one of our intelligence agencies doing what they should do, had electronic signal intelligence on any conversations the Russian ambassador was having. I’m sure they do it to our people in Moscow. So, o they knew what went on in this conversation.
Should Congress -- and you as a top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee -- should there be an investigation of what exactly it is that Michael Flynn said? And I guess a larger question a lot of people are asking, what’s wrong? In about a month, he was going to be the national security advisor, what’s wrong with him at that point talking to the Russian ambassador about what the policy was on sanctions?
CARDIN: We have one president at a time. That president is conducting a major foreign policy initiative by imposing sanctions for Russia's attack on the United States. That message had to be clear.
And if someone was trying to undermine that in our private conversation with the president -- prime minister of Russia, that’s wrong. That’s why we passed -- a law was passed a couple of hundred years ago to make that illegal.
What our concern is: what is the relationship? Why did Russia do what it did in our elections?
Russia’s continuing to be active not just in the United States but in Western Europe, in these elections. We’ve got to get to the bottom of this, as to how -- what's Russia is employing in order to try to bring down our democratic system of government. Yes, there should be investigations in Congress, and there are some that are starting and taking place. But there needs to be an independent investigation where people devout their full-time to finding out what Russia was doing, why they did it, who was involved here in the United States, and making sure this never happens again.
WALLACE: Let's take a look at where we stand with the Trump cabinet at this point, and the statistics are interesting. So far, seven of President Trump’s cabinet nominees have been confirmed. At the same point in 2009, 12 members of the Obama cabinet were in place. And in 2001, Bush 43 had his entire 14-member cabinet confirmed.
Senator, isn't this blatant Democratic obstruction?
CARDIN: Not at all. We can’t stop these nominees. We know that. What we’re trying to do --
WALLACE: No, but you’re doing everything you can to slow it down.
CARDIN: Oh, because these people have never -- many have never been appointed to positions before. They have vast personal background --
WALLACE: Some people would say that’s a positive.
CARDIN: Well, let's find out about it. When you have a person who’s already been vetted for other offices, it’s a lot easier for the confirmation process to move because you have already gone through that information. With a person like Betsy DeVos, who we knew nothing about her commitment to public education, I think it was important that we took as much time as possible so the American people understood our concern, and we can hold her accountable.
Now, she’s secretary of education. We’re going to use our time to make sure that people understand the background of these individuals, their commitment to the agency that they are being appointed to, and so, we can hold them accountable. And yes, in some cases, we would hope that Republicans may join us in questioning whether this person is the best person.
WALLACE: But, Senator, back in 2013, when Republicans delayed the confirmation of two members of President Obama's second term cabinets, here’s what you had to say about that. "This is a pattern of blocking President Obama's confirmation votes on his key cabinet positions."
Senator, aren't you and other Democrats engaged in exactly the practice that you criticized four years ago?
CARDIN: I think my recollection then was the Republicans controlled the Senate at that time, and we’re not scheduling these votes. We don’t control the agenda. The Republicans control the agenda.
WALLACE: Yes, but you have ways of blocking it.
CARDIN: No, all we can do is take our time. We have time for debate, the 30 hours given to us. We can’t block when it’s brought to the floor. We can’t block when the votes take place. That would be the Republican leader decides.
All we can do is use the time that’s allotted to us to make our points and that’s what we’re doing. We’re not blocking these appointments. We scheduled the earliest possible days for hearings in our committees. I’m the ranking Democrat on Senate Foreign --
WALLACE: Yes, but on some committees, and you boycott it so they couldn’t have a vote.
Let me if I may just bring up one last question. And that is the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. You say that he must be in the judicial mainstream. I understand he is clearly more conservative than you are. President Trump is a more conservative president than President Obama.
Is there anything in his record that would indicate -- just besides the fact that he is conservative, that he isn’t in the judicial mainstream?
CARDIN: Well, I’m just starting to look at his background. I am concerned about whether he will represent individual constitutional rights or whether he’s going to be more concerned about business constitutional rights. And we’ll get into that. (INAUDIBLE) --
WALLACE: Yes, but that’s a judicial mainstream issue (ph).
CARDIN: Well -- well -- I -- we’re just getting into it. Give me a chance to meet with him. I have not met with him yet. Let me review the record.
But, Chris, I want to tell you, this is in backdrop to Republican leadership in the Senate that denied President Obama for ten months a vote on his nominee. We want to make sure we get a fair process. And many of us are concerned as to whether this Republican leadership will allow us to have a fair process in the United States Senate. As you’re already, as you showed earlier in the show, we have a president whose shown a real disrespect for the judicial branch of government. We need to make sure we have an independent judiciary.
WALLACE: Senator Cardin, thank you. Thanks for coming in today. Always good to talk with you, sir.
CARDIN: Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss what President Trump may do next to restrict people coming into the U.S. from countries with a history of terrorism.
And new allegations that Mr. Trump’s national security advisor, General Michael Flynn, discussed easing sanctions with the Russian administrator despite Flynn’s repeated denials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We’ll be doing something very rapidly having to do with additional security for our country. You’ll be seeing that sometime next week. In addition, we will continue to go through the courts process and ultimately, I have no doubt, that we’ll win that particular case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump appearing to preview a two track approach with a new executive action, while at the same time defending his current travel ban in the courts and what he calls his continuing effort to keep the country safe.
And it’s time now for our Sunday group. Michael Needham, head of the conservative think tank Heritage Action for America, Fox News political analyst and columnist for "The Hill" Juan Williams, Julie Pace who covers the White House for the Associated Press, and Laura Ingraham, editor of Lifezette and a Fox News political analyst.
Laura, what do you expect from the president this week? Do you think that because Stephen Miller didn’t tell us that he will issue a new executive order addressing some of the legal concerns raised by the courts?
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: The Ninth Circuit made a complete legal mismatch of the doctrine of standing, of hinting that there’s a due process right of individuals outside the country who are not American citizens to enter the country. That having been said, the rollout of this executive order was not the finest hour for the administration. I believe they’re going to withdraw the order. They will write in more narrowly tailored order that will probably allay the concerns of most -- although some of the language of the Ninth Circuit opinion, it might not even be enough for them, but they’ll lose standing to continue the case. That case will probably go moot.
I would be very surprised if they wanted to take a gamble going back to the district court, then going again to the Ninth Circuit, then going again to the Supreme Court. This has been a major distraction for the administration. If I were -- if I were operating coms over there, I’d have a bit of a different approach.
You’ve got to repeal and replace Obamacare. You’ve got to do tax reform. You’ve got to do the things that you talked about. There’s some wisdom in what they’re saying here, but the way this was rolled out, I know everybody’s going to say, we vetted it all the right way. When John Kelly at Homeland Security says he wishes that, you know, we had done it a little differently, in my view that’s a tell. It’s OK. They can redo this. But they have to learn that it’s a -- you know, running full boar into a -- into a buzz saw of the Democratic resistance in the Ninth Circuit is probably going to distracted you for a while.
WALLACE: Julie, President Trump, I think it’s fair to say, doesn’t like to lose. He suffered a major setback with the ruling by the Ninth Circuit court. This controversy over the travel ban has obviously enough -- you can just see from this show and all the coverage this week -- an enormous amount of time and energy when, as Laura points out, there’s a big agenda out there. Do you get any sense of how unhappy the president is with this development?
JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: He’s told people privately that he does not think that the rollouts went well, despite what he said publicly about the strength of the order and what he said about what he feels is the national security interest of the -- of the country. If you talk to Trump supporters, people who voted for him, yes, they believe that this is part of what he promised he would do, but they are more focused on Obamacare. They are more focused on jobs and the economy. And Trump knows that. And I think he is going to want to shift his administration’s focus to those issues, which frankly are going to be even more difficult to implement than some of what we’ve seen on this executive order.
WALLACE: Michael, Donald Trump came in as a disruptor. It can’t be good when in his first major initiative, and this is -- I mean he’s had some orders or speeches, but this was the first major policy initiative, the disruptor gets stopped in his tracks by the federal court, whether it rightly or wrongly, it doesn’t add to the momentum of, I’m going to shake up the system.
MICHAEL NEEDHAM, CEO, HERITAGE ACTION FOR AMERICA: Well, that may be true, but the courts are wrong and this system in that -- in this instance (INAUDIBLE). This is an instant of the president, at the apex of his political power. He has statutory power given to him by Congress. He has constitutional power. And we want the presidency running the national security. What -- what do these judges in San Francisco, what information do they have from classified briefings that they’ve gotten about the national security threats that our -- that our nation faces? What is --
WALLACE: But judges have done this before. The -- the Supreme Court, again, not saying it’s right or wrong, in the Bumedian (ph) case they slap down President Bush's ability to handle detainees at Guantanamo.
NEEDHAM: Sure, courts have a right. But when -- when we come to immigration policy, it is very clear, as Stephen Miller said, that statutorily the president of the United States has the ability, whenever he wants, to restrict the people coming into this country as he sees necessary. On top of that, he has though the Constitution --
WALLACE: So do you think he should double down on this or do you think he should do what’s --
NEEDHAM: I think that it is urgent for the national security of the United States that I -- I -- I think he’s probably, this week, going to do something to make sure that there are security measures put into place. It is urgent for the national security of the United States, however, that the principle is reaffirmed, that is the executive branch, which has the information, it is the executive branch that holds the meetings to think about trade off, and it’s the executive branch, by the way, that is held accountable at the polls, not the judiciary. And it is urgent for the national security of the United States that we reaffirm that the executives is at the apex of its legislative -- and its power when it comes --
INGRAHAM: What if it goes the other way? What if the court actually circumscribes executive power --
NEEDHAM: Yes, this is why the American people --
INGRAHAM: and we have precedent on the books --
INGRAHAM: That is deleterious to the separation of powers because maybe we rushed in before we had an attorney general and a solicitor general? Then you’re going to have precedent on the books that’s going to be a big albatross around the executive.
NEEDHAM: The American people are losing confidence in our nation’s institutions. That we have courts --
INGRAHAM: You didn’t answer the question. What if they lose at the court?
NEEDHAM: That have now decided that they want to -- it is urgent for our national security --
INGRAHAM: OK, so you’re not answering the question.
NEEDHAM: That it be reaffirmed that the executive branch for national security --
INGRAHAM: It will be a disastrous precedent. I clerked on the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit probably wouldn’t have done this. The Supreme Court, try to predict what Anthony Kennedy is going to do ono executive power. Good luck.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I don’t think there’s -- I don’t think there’s a -- the Ninth Circuit is to be demeaned here. I just -- I think that they made an argument, and specifically an argument that touches on the role. I think like green card, it wasn’t clear to the officials at the time that people with green cards would be allowed back in the country.
Secondly, the suggestion that they don’t have a right to intervene, not only do we have a case involving President Bush, we have a case involving President Obama where the courts in Texas said that with regards to immigration the courts to have some right to look at potential damage to state interest or private interests in the --
NEEDHAM: I’m not saying they don’t have the right to intervene. I said that they got this case exactly wrong. And in their decision, they didn’t even cite the statute that Stephen Miller was talking about earlier. That is very clear that the Congress has legislatively granted the president of the United States the ability to restrict --
WILLIAMS: But the courts have a right to review, Michael.
NEEDHAM: But they got it wrong.
WILLIAMS: And that’s what they were asserting.
NEEDHAM: The Ninth Circuit Court has a record of getting things wrong. It’s probably the most overturned circuit in the (INAUDIBLE).
WILLIAMS: I don’t think they got it wrong, but they -- they have a right to intervene on this subject. It’s not the case -- yes, the president has the prerogative with regard to immigration, but it’s not beyond judicial review.
WALLACE: OK, we have -- we have one more minute here and I want to get into another subject I wanted to talk about, which is the case of the national security advisor, Michael Flynn. He denied that Sean Spicer, based on his assurances denied, Vice President Pence sitting at this table denied that he had talked to the Russian ambassador about sanctions. It now turns out, apparently from signal intelligence, that he did talk about it. Is he in trouble?
PACE: I think that this week will be clarifying on whether he’s in trouble. You have to understand how many times this story has changed. First it was the dates of the calls that changed. Second it was the number of times that he spoke to the Russian ambassador that changed. Now we’re told that the content of the calls has changed. And the fact that the vice president went to Flynn -- and this has been backed up by the vice president’s aides -- went to Flynn and asked what happened in those calls and was told a story that may not be true, it’s hard to see how a national security advisor can continue on in that role if they’re giving incorrect information to the vice president of the United States.
WALLACE: Interestingly enough, apparently Flynn and the vice president on Friday met twice. So Flynn knows he’s in trouble with the vice president.
PACE: And Flynn, presumably given his history at the Pentagon when he was running intelligence, knows that there are plenty of systems in place in the U.S. intelligence agencies to actually capture content of these types of calls. So somewhere these calls exist.
WALLACE: Oh, there’s no question. That transcript -- that transcript exists somewhere.
WALLACE: Anyway --
WILLIAMS: I mean either he lied to them, or they’re lying for him. But in either case, somebody is covering up something.
INGRAHAM: Leaks. There’s a lot of leaks in this White House.
WILLIAMS: Well, no, "The Washington Post" said they had nine sources --
WALLACE: There are a lot of leaks. All right, guys, you’re taking -- you’re taking time from your up next segment.
We have to take a break here. When we come back, the president backs top advisor Kellyanne Conway after she urges the public to go out and buy Ivanka Trump’s fashion line.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about whether Conway crossed an ethical line? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @foxnewssunday and we may use your question on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR: I ask leave of the Senate to continue my remarks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there objection?
MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I object.
She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Well, that happened this week. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren forced to stop participating in the debate over Jeff Sessions for attorney general after Senate Republicans voted she violated Senate rules by impugning Sessions’ character.
And we’re back now with the panel.
Michael, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is an extremely strategic politician. Do you think he was purposely trying to elevate Elizabeth Warren to make her the face of the Democratic opposition, or do you think he was just worn out and fed up with all the Democratic obstruction?
NEEDHAM: Maybe. The Democrat opposition is in big trouble if Elizabeth Warren’s its face. I don't think anybody wants the regulations that she wants, the expansion of Obamacare. She doesn’t think it went far enough. That she wants the social liberalism that she has (ph).
But I think he also is legitimately concerned about the complete breakdown of decorum that exists in this country. You did a segment at the end with Stephen Miller about President Trump and some of his tweets.
Let's talk about the left. Ivanka Trump went to an exercise class in Washington, D.C., earlier this week, didn’t make a big deal of it, was just quietly trying to go and enjoy herself and the CEO of that exercise group decides she’s going to go on Facebook and grandstand about how much she didn’t want Ivanka Trump there. Ivanka Trump is trying to fly across the country with her family and left wing people -- a senior member of the Trump White House was in -- in a shopping store getting dresses with her bridesmaids and was attacked in the shopping store.
There’s a complete breakdown. Look, nobody’s asking Chuck Schumer, hey, do you have the courage to stand up to these crazy people on -- on the left who are -- who are uncivilly and just unreasonably attacking people? Nobody’s asking Nancy Pelosi these questions. And so I think if we want to talk about Donald Trump’s tweets, I think if we want to talk about Kellyanne Conway and all this stuff, we should talk about the complete lack of respect and decorum that the left has and I think that starts with Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and the rest of them.
WALLACE: Well, we’re going to start with Juan Williams. How do you plead?
WILLIAMS: I mean I -- I just sit and listen and wonder because to me, you know, where this starts, a lot of it has to start with Donald Trump.
NEEDHAM: You know Donald Trump’s a counterpuncher. (INAUDIBLE) --
WILLIAMS: Oh, he’s a counterpuncher. I think he’s tweeted out --
NEEDHAM: Juan -- Juan, do you think -- do you think that Nancy Pelosi should have to condemn the way that Ivanka Trump has been treated for the last couple months? It’s disgusting.
WILLIAMS: Look, I don't want any uncivil (ph) behavior, but I’m just saying to you, Elizabeth Warren, the way you describe her, she’s a threat to the nation. She’s not. And she was reading from a letter from Coretta Scott King on the Senate floor. And King had been critical of Jeff Sessions, the senator, now the attorney general, but is that a reason to say that Elizabeth Warren is not allowed to speak? In fact, picking up on Chris' point, because I have the same perception that Senator McConnell is a strategic, smart player. An inside player in the game. So what was the point? Because I looks to me like he all of a sudden elevated Elizabeth Warren and her comments and her criticism.
NEEDHAM: And I -- Juan, but here’s what is a threat to the nation, the breakdown of civility in this country is a threat to the nation. I think it’s important for people like you to start standing up and demanding that Elizabeth Warren and that Nancy Pelosi and that Chuck Schumer -- we spend all of this time talking about Donald Trump. Everything that Donald Trump does gets criticized. It is important to start standing up and asking Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer whether the complete breakdown of decorum and civility that we see -- Betsy DeVos tried to --
PACE: But we can’t pretend like --
PACE: We can’t pretend like this lack of civility in our politics has started in the last -- since the November election. If you look at things that were said about President Obama and you look at things that were said about President Bush, especially at the height of the Iraq War --
PACE: We’ve been dealing with this for years. This isn’t a matter of what people are just saying about Ivanka Trump.
NEEDHAM: Right, and we spend -- and we spend a countless amount of time talking about Donald Trump, and we spend no time asking Elizabeth Warren, asking Chuck Schumer and others to break -- to -- to -- to push back.
INGRAHAM: Let me get in here. We -- we had protesters who this week -- they call themselves protesters. Many of them are just criminals. And they’re criminals because they’re denying a government official the ability to do government business at a public school. Talking about Secretary of Education DeVos. They complain that, oh, she doesn’t know anything about public schools. She hates public schools. She’s going to kill all public schools. They put all that caricature out.
Then she goes to a public school and the most vicious, horrible things said about her, preventing her from actually entering the school at some point. So I think there’s a good point to be made that the resistance movement that has been fueled and fomented by many in Congress who are encouraging it, even former President Obama is heartened by all the enthusiasm. Enthusiasm, protest, fine. What we’ve been seeing at Berkeley, and even at this DeVos thing, which I think frankly gets scary, is that there’s -- there’s a push to bring this to this powder keg moment where at some point force will have to be used to keep people safe. Then they’re going to say, see, it’s police brutality. Trump has a policed state. It’s marshal law. I mean the --
WILLIAMS: Wait a second, Laura --
INGRAHAM: The volume pitch that is being brought up because they lost, they’re bitter about it and they have nothing to do except stop other people from speaking.
WILLIAMS: Laura, do you think --
INGRAHAM: That’s the -- resistance is fine as long as it’s -- if you’ve got to have a protests, that’s fine.
WILLIAMS: I see. So, Laura -- Laura, so when the president speaks about a so-called judge, you don't think that’s demeaning and threatening and scary in terms of the independence of our judiciary?
INGRAHAM: That’s -- oh, yes, that’s never happened before.
WILLIAMS: When the president -- when the president -- oh, no, I’m just saying, gee, look at the fountain here. You want to point out all the splashes. But I’m telling you, where’s the source?
NEEDHAM: Juan, they can’t (INAUDIBLE).
WILLIAMS: And it seems to me he goes after the judiciary -- if that doesn’t scares people. I mean he goes after the acting attorney general. He goes after a judge in the Trump University case and suggests that he’s incompetent because he has Mexican heritage. Do you think people don’t get scared --
INGRAHAM: Well, let’s -- OK, that’s the -- that story in the election. People are still mad about that. I get that. The -- now the president of the United States, these things will go through the legal channels. Debate the substance of these issues. The substantive debate I think is lacking. We’re talking about Ivanka’s shoe line. Then we’re talking about the (INAUDIBLE) moment. Then we’re talking about --
WILLIAMS: That’s not -- that’s not the resisters.
INGRAHAM: It’s -- the resistance (ph) --
WILLIAMS: That was Kellyanne coming on -- on Fox and saying, go by Ivanka’s -- that’s not right. People will have a reaction.
INGRAHAM: Yes, well, actually --
WALLACE: Go ahead, Julie.
PACE: Actually (INAUDIBLE) a real desire to debate the substance of the issue.
INGRAHAM: Oh, really?
PACE: And I -- no, I do. I really do. I really do.
INGRAHAM: I don’t. They lose every time. They lose on immigration. They lose on trade. They lose on -- on -- on fighting all these wars in the Middle East. They’ve lost on the three big issues that Trump ran (ph) on.
PACE: I think part --
WALLACE: Let Julie finish.
PACE: Part of the -- part of the problem is that every time you try to get into the substance of the issues -- I speak as someone who is covering the White House -- you get pulled off side by a tweet from the president, which then gets reinforced in the Briefing Room. The White House, in some ways --
WALLACE: All right.
PACE: Has an interest in focusing on that instead of the substance.
BLITZER: All right, we’re being pulled aside by our clock. But this is a really interesting discussion and the best part I just got to listen to it.
Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our "Power Player of the Week." How one woman is leading an effort to bring peace to hot spots around the world.
WALLACE: A look at the Lincoln Memorial on the former presidents 208th birthday.
Just across the Lincoln Memorial, on the National Mall, is a striking building dedicated to trying to bring peace to troubled areas around the world. Here is our "Power Player of the Week."
NANCY LINDBORG, UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE: Nobody is suggesting that you can eliminate conflict from human interactions, but there is an opportunity to manage it so that it doesn’t become violent.
Good afternoon, everybody.
WALLACE (voice-over): Nancy Lindborg is president of the U.S. Institute of Peace. A government funded independent organization that spent the last 32 years trying to prevent wars.
LINDBORG: Peace is very practical. It is a set of learned skills, approaches and frameworks. That it is essential for our national security.
WALLACE: With a staff of 180, USIP has people on the ground in 10 hot spots across the Middle East and Africa, partnering with locals to head off violence, such as right now in Iran.
LINDBORG: When ISIS was finally pushed out of Tikrit, you had the Shia and Sunni tribes poised for repeated cycles of tribal blood feuds.
WALLACE: USIP worked with Iraqis they had trained to get the key players to talk.
LINDBORG: That peace accord led to the ability of quarter of a million Iraqis do had been displaced by the fighting to return home.
WALLACE: Lindborg has directed efforts to stop conflicts from turning violent in central Africa. And there’s Generation Change, bringing 28 young leaders from 13 nations --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, I want to thank you.
WALLACE: To meeting with the Dalai Lama and discuss how to promote peace.
LINDBORG: The key message is, you need to stay on that journey and it takes a lot of inner resilience and a lot of fortitude.
WALLACE: The institute is next to the State Department on the National Mall. In a striking space, Lindborg says symbolizes its lofty purpose.
LINDBORG: We look across at the Lincoln Memorial, and across the river we have the Arlington Cemetery. So it’s a daily reminder to all of us here on the importance of resolving violence conflict.
SUSAN RICE, OBAMA’S NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We are all patriots, first and foremost.
WALLACE: Last month, USIP tried to broker a different kind of peace, hosting a conference called Passing the Baton to mark the transition from one president to the next.
MICHAEL FLYNN, TRUMP’S NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: The gravity of this moment is a bit overwhelming.
WALLACE: Then, the past and future White House national security advisors had a symbolic handoff of responsibility.
WALLACE (on camera): How did you get into the peace business?
LINDBORG: I have spent the last two decades going to terrible places.
WALLACE (voice-over): Lindborg worked first for the Mercy Corp, and then USAID, providing relief for people caught in Syria’s civil war and African droughts. Two years ago she came to the institute to try to get ahead of conflicts.
LINDBORG: How exactly do we get at the root that are causing all this violence and all this suffering? How do we prevent that from happening? And after it happens, how do you resolve it so that you have a more enduring peace?
WALLACE: Lindborg says there’s been a spike in violence in recent years from civil wars and religious extremism, which means her institute faces an even bigger challenge.
To learn more about USIP, please go to our website, foxnewssunday.com.
And that’s it for today. Have a great week. And we’ll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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