This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," August 13, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARIA BARTIROMO, "SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES" ANCHOR: Good morning. The Justice Department opens an investigation into what led to the deadly violence in Charlottesville. The White House looks to rein in North Korea as tensions with the Rogue nation ratchet up. And Will President Trump keep the heat on Senator Mitch McConnell to get something done on healthcare? Good morning, everyone. I'm Maria Bartiromo. Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures." One person is dead this morning, 19 others injured after a car plows into a crowd at a unite the right rally in Virginia yesterday. Meanwhile, two state officers are dead this morning after their police chopper went down nearby.
We'll talk to the man who represents the people of Charlottesville in Washington, Republican Congressman Tom Garrett coming up. Also North Korean state media says Pyongyang is ready to strike the U.S. mainland this month. Is the crisis about to escalate? House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry is with me live. And President Trump goes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell telling him to get back to work on overhauling ObamaCare. How will the fight affect the president's agenda? I'll ask Former Bush Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, as we look ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures."
And the federal government is launching a civil rights investigation this morning after a violent white nationalist rally in Virginia turns deadly. A horrific scene captured on video as a car plows into a crowd in Charlottesville, killing one person, injuring 19 others, five of them critically injured. Police believe it was intentional. And they have arrested the suspected, the driver, 20-year-old James Alex Fields of Ohio. Also, two police officers were then killed in a helicopter crash nearby. Their deaths linked to the incidents in Charlottesville. Meanwhile, as America reflects on the events from yesterday, President Trump addressed the nation, calling for unity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We're closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence, on many sides, on many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, it's been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: Joining me right now is Virginia Congressman Tom Garrett, Charlottesville is part of his district. Congressman, thanks very much for joining us this morning.
REP. TOM GARRETT, R-VIRGINIA: Maria, I would love to join you under different circumstances.
BARTIROMO: Yes, condolences to you and the people of Charlottesville and this country. What did you make of the president's response?
GARRETT: Well, you know, I think we were - we were a lot more direct in who we criticized, but I'm not going to criticize the president. I think we ought to on both sides of the aisle take him at face value right now and not criticize whether the condemnation was condemning enough or what have you. But let's find something to unite over. Regardless of whom you voted for, regardless of what you believe America should look like moving forward, I think we can all agree that all men are created equal and
(INAUDIBLE) we're created with certain (INAUDIBLE) rights. So I want to focus on what brings us together and not tears us apart.
BARTIROMO: What triggered this yesterday? Can you talk to us about the scene on the ground and why this occurred?
GARRETT: Well, you got a small handful of local radical lunatics, but I want to point this out because the Fifth District of Virginia is unique among Congressional districts in its place in American history. We have a murder, a terrorist from Ohio. We have got people from Arkansas, and Colorado, and Louisiana, and New York who all came to a bucolic town where Thomas Jefferson sat when he wrote those words that all are created equal and so, you know, what triggered it? I don't know. It is - it's beyond my ability to comprehend that in 2017 in a place like Charlottesville, Virginia, people can't understand that Dr. King was spot on when he said we should judge one another by the content of our character and not the color of our skin. It is tragic.
BARTIROMO: Where does this go now? What do you need to do to bring people together?
GARRETT: I'm trying - I don't know, but I want to reach out to people who don't agree with me on things and say let's agree on this, that human beings are human beings, that none of us chose our skin color or our place and station in the socioeconomic strata but then in America everyone is entitled to an opportunity to pursue their dreams so long as they don't harm others. I will tell you, Maria, I'm afraid for our future. I have a child due in a month, this world, we've worked since 1776 to erase horrible flaws like slavery and second-class citizenship and to think that my child might be born into a world where we're regressing is genuinely frightening. And I want to be clear again, this person, if this was an intentional act, is a terrorist. I said this at 3:15 yesterday on Kelly Wright's program, and, you know, whether it goes federal or state, the argument should be over which prison he dies in.
BARTIROMO: The federal government is launching a civil rights investigation, the Department of Justice opening up this investigation today. What do you want to see come out of this investigation? And do you want to see anything different from the president right now?
GARRETT: Well, I don't know exactly what the president wants to see coming out of the investigation, but I was a prosecutor for 9-1/2years, what I want to see come out of any investigation is justice. But again, I will tell you this, the prosecutor in Charlottesville, Virginia, can do a good job making sure that this gentleman never sees the free light of sunlight again. If ever, whoever wants to get involved, then they're welcome to get involved. I think we need to know whether there were co-conspirators. I think we - I think we need to know just who this person was within the ability of the professionals doing the investigation to tell us while it is ongoing because I think, when we wrap our brain around what a deviant this individual probably was, we might realize that we have more in common with one another condemning him across the political spectrum than we do with the monster that would do something like that with intent.
BARTIROMO: Yes, I mean, let's talk about the driver for a moment. I mean, do we know what was going on? Was he on something? What was happening in his mind to plow into this group?
GARRETT: Well, look, I mean, I think that most of the horrible actions that people commit are driven by fear. Fear creates hate, hate creates action and we need to really spend time trying to understand each other and respect each other. I think that that's one thing the president did say, the kind of (INAUDIBLE). In other words, when he said, we have a responsibility to respect one another and in a perfect world, we should love one another. That's very true. Just again, I mean, to ask me what made this happen or what - I can't wrap my brain around it.
BARTIROMO: Right, right, meanwhile, the two police officers who were killed in the helicopter crash nearby that was indirectly linked to what was happening. Can you give us some background on that?
GARRETT: Well, I'll tell you, I prosecuted for just under ten years and I was the elected prosecutor in the county adjacent to the county where Charlottesville is. I know a lot of troopers. I knew a lot of law enforcement professionals who were on - who are on the ground in Charlottesville. And you know, when I heard about that, I just prayed for the - for the professionals who were willing to put their lives on the line to stand between people who are spewing hate (INAUDIBLE).
BARTIROMO: Yes, I mean, it's their deaths were linked to the incidents in Charlottesville, but it's sketchy in terms of why. What was behind that crash?
GARRETT: Well, I'm not going to comment on that right now. I have been in touch with the secretary of public safety. I want to tip my hat to my colleague from the other side of the aisle, Governor McAuliffe and to the mayor in Charlottesville who I often disagree with, but I think really put some poignant statements out yesterday encouraging folks who want peace and harmony, just to go home. I know a little bit about the accident, but I think I'm going to let the professionals do their jobs.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, what can you tell us in terms of what's behind this horrific situation?
GARRETT: Well, I mean, again, you know, the sad thing is that they were able to find hundreds of people who think that they are better than others, based on the color of their skin. I guess if there's any good news, they had to dig through a nation of 323 million to find them. Then the down side is that when these clowns go home, they are going back to Louisiana and New York and Arkansas and Ohio and that means that there are people who think that this sort of world view is OK, and this is an opportunity, I hope, for folks across the political spectrum to say these clowns do not represent nor have a legitimate place in the America that I put on the uniform to defend, so many people whose names we will never know bled and sweat and cried and died to give us. So, that's what I hope to see come out of this is that you know, people can say hey, I don't like the way Garrett votes on healthcare, or what have you, but we're on the same team as it relates to what America is supposed to be.
BARTIROMO: You say the perpetrators were not from your area.
GARRETT: That's correct. And I've spoken with law enforcement professionals who were on the scene and told that probably north of 90 percent of the people from this fascist rally were out-of-staters, not just out-of-towners. So, you know, I don't want to wish this on anybody else, but we don't want you in the fifth district of Virginia.
BARTIROMO: But the driver just decided that he was against the alt right groups and just wanted to kill people.
GARRETT: Well, I think the driver based on my understanding was part of the white nationalist groups, not opposed to them, so I would wager that there were more counter protesters than protesters.
BARTIROMO: OK. We'll be watching. We know that the details are sketchy right now and the investigation is alive and well. We will - we will keep watching. Congressman, thank you very much for your thoughts this morning
GARRETT: Thank you, Maria, pray for our nation.
BARTIROMO: Our prayers with Charlottesville and America for sure this morning. Representative Garrett, thank you. North Korea meanwhile says it is standing by to launch against the U.S. mainland this month. How the Pentagon is responding this morning. We'll talk with the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Mac Thornberry is with me next. Follow me on twitter @MariaBartiromo, @SundayFutures. Let us know what you'd like to hear from Mac Thornberry as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures." Stay with us.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back now. North Korea in response to President Trump's latest warning, North Korea's state run newspaper is now saying that the country's military is, "on standby and ready to fire on the U.S. mainland." Joining me right now is the Chairman of House Armed Services Committee, Texas Congressman Mac Thornberry. And Mr. Chairman good to have you on the program. Thanks so much for joining us.
REP. MAC THORNBERRY, R-TEXAS, CHAIRMAN, ARMED SERVICE COMMITTEE: Thanks for having me, Maria.
BARTIROMO: What should we think of that, that North Korea is saying we're ready to launch in the next couple of weeks, perhaps in the middle of August?
THORNBERRY: Well, there's - North Korea has a history of inflammatory rhetoric, but at some point, we've got to take what they say seriously. And so what we have to do is really augment our defensive capabilities so that if they launch something, we can knock it down.
BARTIROMO: So last week we spoke with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. I want to ask you about what Ambassador Haley had to say, get your reaction to it. Here's what she said last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We hope that they don't do anything further. We hope that they stop this reckless activity. We hope we don't have to do anything. But all options have always been on the table and will continue to be on the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: Congressman, what are those options?
THORNBERRY: Well, there are a variety of military options, diplomatic options, economic sanctions options, which are all have to be available. But I think Ambassador Haley is exactly right or as Dr. Kissinger wrote yesterday, for decades our policy has been condemnation and procrastination. We have tried to hope this problem away. It is not going away. And so what we have to do is increase our military capability there in the region, to make it clear to North Korea and to China that we're going to stand up and defend ourselves and our allies.
BARTIROMO: Yes, I want to ask you about China in a moment but let me ask you about this idea that in fact, their missile can reach the U.S. main land. Do we know that for a fact that they have the capacity to reach the U.S. mainland right now or is that speculation?
THORNBERRY: Well, there were - I think the whole government has been surprised at the progress North Korea's missile program has made. On July 4th, and then about a week ago, there were two missile launches, which could reach part of the continental United States. Now, they were aimed straight up and straight down, but if you alter that trajectory and point them more in a sideways direction, they can reach us. We've known they have had nuclear weapons for some time, and so the acceleration of their testing and as well as their aggressiveness is what makes this such a dangerous time, I think everyone acknowledges.
BARTIROMO: What are the connections to Russia and Iran? You know, we've talked about this so-called axis of evil, North Korea, Iran, and Russia, are there connections there that you can tell us about? Then I want to ask you about the Far East.
THORNBERRY: Well, without going into too much detail, North Korea did not make these leaps on its own. It's had help from others. We have some information about that help, but the key is, we are where we are. And unfortunately, our side has underfunded missile defense and as well as other military capabilities for so long, and now we're playing catch-up, to meet the threat. That is where I think we really need to focus our efforts. For example, when Congress comes back next month, we need to pass the full year military funding bill at adequate levels to pump up our missile defense, to get our ships and planes in good repair, so that we can better meet this and other threats around the world.
BARTIROMO: Yeah, we talked a lot about the readiness or lack of, of our military right now, not just missile defense systems, by the way. What do your colleagues in Congress have to say about that, given that they were part of the issue to vote against increasing funding for missile defenses?
THORNBERRY: Well, I think it's been a wake-up call for members of Congress on both sides of the aisle in both the House and the Senate, and you are exactly right, the current state of our readiness is partly the responsibility of Democrats and Republicans in Congress, both of whom try to use military funding as political leverage for their other projects. We can't do that anymore. We've got to face these threats straight on and fund the military at the level it needs to, regardless of these other factors.
BARTIROMO: That's absolutely right. Let me ask you about the Far East, China. Are we giving up on China at this point? They haven't done anything to rein in North Korea. What should we be doing in terms of China, does it include increased sanctions on Chinese companies, what to do there and what about Japan?
THORNBERRY: Yes, well, I'd say the number one thing is we need to stay close to our allies, Japan and South Korea. And we're already seeing significant improvements. South Korea's announced they're increasing their defense budget. They are going to have I believe the THAAD fully operational soon. Japan is taking additional steps to protect itself. We need to stay together. Secondly, we cannot give up on China. I think the only way this gets resolved peacefully is either we accept North Korea that can hold us hostage or we and China work together to put North Korea on a different track.
So I think economic sanctions are important. Yes, I would sanction Chinese banks that help facilitate North Korea. But even more important is for us to put significantly more military capability right there in the region which happens to be on China's front porch. They may not like it, but our message to them is OK, you want - don't like this extra missile defense and more planes and ships right here in your neighborhood, then help us get this guy under control.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, what are the chances of military activity on the ground in North Korea?
THORNBERRY: They're not zero but they are not 100 percent either. I think what concerns everybody is not only North Korea's military action but the erratic nature of Kim Jong-un.
BARTIROMO: Do you want to see regime change?
THORNBERRY: I don't think we have to see a regime change unless he doesn't change his direction. If he's going to threaten us, then their regime is in danger.
BARTIROMO: OK, we will - then their regime is in danger that's the bottom line. Congressman, good to see you, thanks very much for joining us this morning.
THORNBERRY: You are welcome, thank you, ma'am.
BARTIROMO: We'll be right back with Karl Rove. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Citizens must also restore the bonds of trust and loyalty between one another. We must love each other, respect each other, and cherish our history and our future together, so important. We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: President Trump asking America to look in the mirror after yesterday's deadly violence in Charlottesville and calling for unity. His daughter Ivanka Trump also echoing the point tweeting out this morning, "we must all come together as Americans and be one country united. #Charlottesville." Joining me right now is Karl Rove, former Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush and a Fox News Contributor. Always a pleasure, Karl, thanks so much for joining in the conversation here.
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You bet.
BARTIROMO: Your reaction to the president's response to Charlottesville. I know the mainstream media is going nuts all morning saying that he should be slammed. What did you think?
ROVE: Well, I don't say slammed but I'm frankly a little disappointed. It was a missed opportunity. I thought his opening statement was pretty darn good up to a point. He said, we condemn in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred bigotry and violence and I thought that was a great beginning. But then he veered off, and he clearly is reading - not reading off of his script, he said on many sides, on many sides, it's been going on for a long time in our country, not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, this has been going on for a long, long time. Sort of like defensive and it's not my fault, and this isn't me, this isn't Barack Obama. I thought the Attorney General of the United States hit a much better tone when he announced his investigation - federal investigation.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of Americans, American law, and justice when such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred they betray our core values and can't be tolerated. I thought that was a strong statement. I don't know why the president missed this opportunity. We need in moments like this, the president to express our values, to express our angst, to express our - and to comfort us, and instead, we got, it's not my fault on many, many sides.
Look, this - let's be clear, this occurred because a group of white racist supremacists, Nazis chanting anti-black, anti-Jewish slogans marched through the city of Charlottesville in a deliberate attempt to provoke a confrontation. That was a violence perpetrated by the counter-protesters absolutely. But this occurred because a group of white supremacists attempted to provoke a confrontation and the president should have been - in my opinion - condemned them in the kind of terms that his Attorney General did.
BARTIROMO: No doubt. But at the same time, you see what's coming out of the left. You know, Nancy Pelosi tweeting repeat after me Donald Trump, white supremacists do not belong here or whatever she said, but repeat after me, she said in her tweet. Chuck Schumer coming out immediately, you know, condemning the president for his response. I mean, on the one hand, they're saying let's all get together and have some unity here, and on the other hand, they are fueling this fire against the president.
ROVE: Yes. Well, let's be clear -
BARTIROMO: Because maybe his response wasn't exactly what they wanted, it wasn't exactly perfect.
ROVE: Let's be clear, Nancy Pelosi doesn't want the country to be united.
BARTIROMO: That's right
ROVER: What - she wants - the resistance of the Democratic Party - I wrote about this last week in my column in the Wall Street Journal. The intolerance of the Democratic Party towards the president is evident each and every day. They can't find, you know, any moment in which they could join with him. Instead, they condemn him as an illegitimate figure, they condemn everything he does. I get that. So, I'm going to ignore Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, I just want my president, the president of all Americans to strike the right note in a moment like this, and I don't know why he went off and veered off with, you know, on many sides, on many sides. You know, he didn't need to get into that. He didn't need to say this has been going on for a long time. We know that. He didn't need to say it's not my fault, not Donald Trump and not Barack Obama. It just - it was a missed opportunity.
BARTIROMO: Really important points you are making, Karl. Let me switch over to what's going on within his own party because this week we saw the president and Mitch McConnell get into it a bit. First, you had Mitch McConnell saying look, the president's expectations are excessive. Donald Trump hits back, basically the president says, I've been hearing about repealing and replacing for seven years, get the job done. And all of a sudden now, it is this ditch Mitch idea that the president says, if Mitch McConnell can't get healthcare done, then maybe it is time for him to step down. Your thoughts on what took place this week?
ROVE: Well, if the president continues along this line, he may get Mitch McConnell ousted as Majority Leader but replaced by Chuck Schumer, creating a civil war within your own party. Look, Mitch McConnell made a comment in front of a group in Louisville saying, the president has got excessive expectations; this is tough work and takes a long time. Frankly, he's right but the president shouldn't have taken offense at it. If he had ignored it, this would have not happened. Instead, he launches a barrage at the Leader of his own party in the Senate. And frankly, it was unfair. Mitch McConnell did everything humanly possible to try and get a vote done in the Senate and it failed by three votes, by John McCain flipping at the last minute.
And, you know, you don't - you don't - when that happens, the president cannot condemn his own people. And particularly when he went on and said now I want you to get tax cuts done, healthcare done and an infrastructure and get it done quickly. Well, the president has yet to lay out his own infrastructure package. In fact, this is the week that he's appointing his Infrastructure Committee, he's having an event this week to announce the appointment of some of these people. So, if he hasn't even laid out his own package, why does he have any expectation that the Congress should immediately pass it?
BARTIROMO: How should -
BARTIROMO: How should he react, Karl?
ROVE: The president should step back -
BARTIROMO: How should he react?
ROVE: Well, you know what?
ROVE: You know what he ought to say? First of all, you've got to be the president. Most of the - members of Congress say things about the president of their own party all the time and most of the time the president ignores it. And if he has something to say about it - and I was in a White House for seven years in which lots of Republicans said things about the president that I'd serve. And what he would do was ignore most of it and if he had something to say about it, he would say it privately and end up having a better understanding and better relationship. A civil war inside the Republican Party will hurt the Republicans in the senate in 2018.
But after 2018, all the damage will fall on the head of the president. If he loses control of the Senate, how many investigatory committees led by parties of Democrats does he think he's going to enjoy? And in 2020, if his point is you can't anything done, in 2020 people will say, you know what, I've heard you complain about the Republican Congress not get anything done, but you are the Republican president and you haven't gotten anything done.
BARTIROMO: So let me ask you -
ROVE: This is dangerous for the president, very dangerous.
BARTIROMO: You know, all the right points obviously, but let me ask you this. How should he deal with the fact that we know that there is a group of Republicans who probably don't care if he succeeds or not? I mean, seriously, don't you think that's true, Karl? There are a portion of the Congress whether on the Senate side or even on the House side that - especially in the Senate, they're going to be there for six years, they don't care if he succeeds or not and they're going to say things out there that sound like they are Democrats actually. How should he react?
ROVE: Well, I think - I'd put it just a little bit differently. There are a lot of people who think their fate - their fate is not tied to him and what he's got to do is say we're all in this together. Our success as a party y and a country depend upon us delivering on our promises. Mitch McConnell has not given up on trying to get something done on healthcare and neither should the president give up on trying to get something done with fellow Republicans. Strengthen them, don't weaken them.
BARTIROMO: All right, we'll leave it there. Karl Rove, always a pleasure.
Thanks so much.
Next up, Gordon Chang, we're talking North Korea and China.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back. Tensions continuing to rise between the United States and North Korea. President Trump again calling on China, North Korea's most valuable trade partner to step in and pressure Kim Jong- un to negotiate in hopes of avoiding an all-out nuclear war. Let's bring in the Columnist for the Daily Beast, Author, Gordon Chang is with us right now. He is in Toronto this morning and it's good to see you, Gordon.
GORDON CHANG, THE DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: Thank you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: This is an - this is an unknown Gordon. First of all your reaction to what we have heard from North Korea, that they have the capability to launch a nuclear warhead to the United States within 18 miles of Guam in the next couple of weeks.
CHANG: You know, well, certainly the North Koreans can hit the United States with a missile and by that I mean the 50 states. They have the capacity to miniaturize a nuke, they've got guidance systems which aren't too good and they do have the heat shielding despite what many missile experts say. They've got all the pieces, they just haven't integrated it.
Whether they can hit Guam or not, that's for sure, they've got a number of missiles that will be able to reach and even overfly Guam if they want. I don't know if they'll actually do that. That's going to be dependent on the diplomacy between President Trump and Xi Jinping. Plus a lot of other things that the United States can do to push China in a better direction because we haven't really tried to do that to the extent that we need to.
BARTIROMO: Yes, I want to read you a quote from Mac Thornberry the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the House. He just joined us five minutes ago. And he said to me - I said to him do you want regime change? He said if Kim Jong-un is going to continue to threaten us, then, yes, their regime is in danger. What are your thoughts about the U.S.
taking out Kim Jong-un?
CHANG: Well, we shouldn't be doing that now. We have a lot of non-kinetic options that we can employ and indeed we have to do this because war on the Korean peninsula would be horrific as Secretary of Defense Mattis has said. We would have casualties perhaps in the hundreds of thousands in the first hours of a war. So clearly we need to do everything possible to avoid that. And we do have the tools, Maria. You know, we can sanction Chinese banks for money laundering for the North Koreans.
We should be stopping the flow of semi-processed missile material from China to North Korea for their nuclear weapons program. All sorts of things that we have the capacity and capability to do immediately, and we have not done as good a job of that, either in this administration or in prior ones. So before we actually start to talk about war, I think that we should be employing these tools because I think that by themselves, these no kinetic tools can actually disarm North Korea because we have overwhelming leverage over China and China has overwhelming leverage over North Korea.
BARTIROMO: Yes, I want to ask you about China. Obviously your first book, "The Coming Collapse of China" then you followed up with "The Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World," in the next book released by Random House. What can the U.S. be doing with China? I saw you on the air a couple days ago and you said President Trump's response was as much about North Korea as it was speaking to China. Tell me about that.
CHANG: Yes. I was talking about the fire and fury comments, and yes, that reinforces the notion of deterrence and we need to do that with North Korea because once they are confident in their arsenal, they can do all sorts of things that could trigger Armageddon, but I thought that that comment was more directed to China to instill a sense of urgency in the Chinese because I don't think they have it. And also, I think the Chinese doubt President Trump's political will which I think is a mistake on their part. So, I think Trump was actually talking to Beijing saying look, you got to get this done. Now President Trump needs to follow up to show that he indeed has that political will.
We might see that tomorrow with a section 301 investigation launched, but there's so many other things. So for instance, the largest Chinese banks have been money laundering for North Korea. We haven't fined them, we haven't sanctioned them. If we were to unplug one of those banks from the global system under section 311 of the patriot act, then I think the Chinese would sit up and take notice and say, for first time since 1994, the Americans are really seriously about protecting the American homeland. And then, I think we would see Beijing move in much better directions. Chinese President Xi Jinping is in an extremely sensitive period in the run-up to the 19th Communist Party Congress, we can use our leverage on him at this moment.
BARTIROMO: The words fire and fury, any significance to those words that the president used?
CHANG: Well, that was threatening the use of our nuclear weapons.
CHANG: And indeed that's the way the North Koreans and Chinese took it.
BARTIROMO: And what about China responding in state run media reported that China basically feels that if the U.S. were to make a preemptive strike, that China would encourage the U.S. to back down if North Korea were to make a strike, they would stay neutral?
CHANG: Yes, the global times article that you're referring to, it's semi- official media and I think it did actually speak for Beijing in this case. It's really a statement of what many Chinese foreign policy analysts and diplomats have been hinting for some time. But what they've done now is they have actually codified it in a way that we can look at it. So I know, clearly China is on North Korea's side. They've been supplying ballistic missile equipment and probably technology for North Korea's most advanced missiles. They have been weaponizing North Korea. We've been letting them do that. And when historians write the history of this period, they're going to be focusing on the failure of American presidents to use all the elements of our national power to protect the American people.
BARTIROMO: Yes, so -
CHANG: And I hope that President Trump changes that.
BARTIROMO: So real quick, Gordon, what did you make of the president's response?
CHANG: Which particular response?
BARTIROMO: Well, as he has taken on North Korea, you know -
CHANG: Oh, in general?
BARTIROMO: He's gotten tougher than we've seen in past commander-in-chiefs and very direct.
CHANG: Yes, and I think that's a good thing and I'd like to see him get tougher still because we have very little room for margin. The North Koreans will be able to nuke the U.S. within let's say 9 months to a year. And so, you know, he has to act fast and he has to act strong, boldly, seize the initiative. He can do it.
BARTIROMO: All right. We will leave it there. We'll be watching. Gordon, always a pleasure to have you on the program. Thanks very much.
CHANG: Thank you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: Gordon Chang joining us. President Trump taking shots at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, how will the feud affect Trump's agenda? We're talking tax reform coming up next with our panel. We are looking ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures" right now. Thanks for joining us. Stay with us.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back. President Trump is keeping up the pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the failure to move the president's agenda forward. The president tweeted this, "Mitch, get back to work and put repeal and replace, tax reform and cuts and a great infrastructure bill on my desk for signing. You can do it." Let's bring in our panel, Guy Benson political editor of townhall.com and Charlie opinion editor of the Washington Times, both are Fox News contributors and it is great to see you both. Thank you so much for joining us.
CHARLIE HURT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning.
BARTIROMO: Your reaction, Guy, to what's going on?
GUY BENSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, I understand the president's frustration. I think he's channeling the frustration of a lot of conservative voters who said there were 7 years of promises on ObamaCare. The Senate Republicans couldn't get that across the finish line and he wants to make sure that the system is fixed because that is what the pledge was. I'm not sure if it is productive going after Mitch McConnell. I know how hard McConnell worked to get repeal and replace passed. His beef, his problem is with the three Republican Senators who voted no. McConnell did everything he could in sort of begging, borrowing, cheating to get these guys to vote yes and ultimately it was Collins, Murkowski, and McCain who sunk that. So, again, Trump calls people out. This is sort of how things roll. My guess is McConnell is going to keep his head down and keep his job because he's very good at it and he's got the support of his - of his members, of his conference.
BARTIROMO: Yes, but what is he going to do about this division going on? I mean, there are these Senators that - I mean look, what was McCain's move all about, Charlie? What do you think that was? That was a surprise. We thought he was going to come here and actually close the deal.
HURT: I thought - I was absolutely shocked. That was the most shocking vote I think that I saw out of that whole thing. But, you know, and I do think -and Guy is correct. You know, Mitch McConnell is very good at sort of the back room stuff that goes on in the Senate. And there's nobody is a better parliamentarian than he is, but the problem is, the message of the Trump election was that voters are sick and tired of people not getting things done. And when Mitch McConnell goes out there and talks about excessive expectations of the president, he's talking about excessive expectations of the American voter too. They're really fed up.
And I thought that that was - it was a terrible thing to say because it sort of - I think it suggested that maybe he hadn't learned his lesson from the election. But, you know, speaking of excessive expectations, when Mitch McConnell set out to prevent Antonin Scalia's seat from being filled by Democrats, he didn't start from the position of excessive expectations. He latched himself to the rotter and headed for the fight and protected people like John McCain for a year and a half from having to make any tough votes on that. And he won, it was a huge victory
BARTIROMO: That's a really good point, Charlie.
HURT: And then - and then John McCain returns that favor by going and kind of stabbing him - not stabbing him in the back but -
BARTIROMO: That's how people see it, though. I mean, that is really how people see it.
BENSON: And I think - I think if I'm trying to sort of understand this, right, when you look at the whole excessive expectations formulation, that McConnell used, I think if you look at it narrowly, within the D.C. structure, he's right. However, if you are a voter out there and you have heard the Republicans tell you in 2010, you've got to give us the House. And then 2014, you've got to give us the Senate. Then 2016, we just - we really just need the White House. You say OK,
BENSON: That's the problem. When you keep moving the goal post and telling people what you need to get things accomplished and what the expectations should be, then you have failed from the get-go about expectations management and that's why a lot of people are ticked off.
BARTIROMO: What does this mean for the agenda? I had Kevin Brady on, Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee this weekend on Wall Street week, he's so adamant about getting tax reform done. He's going to the Reagan ranch in California on Wednesday and going to make a big event about it. He's talking about all the principles that they want. They've decided to do away with the border adjustment tax. Things like these fights with Mitch McConnell, does that add more uncertainty to the idea that he's got to get tax reform done? And if they don't get tax reform done, does Nancy Pelosi become the new leader of the House after the 18 elections?
BENSON: I think the Republican Party has to know that if they waft back- to-back on healthcare and tax reform, there will be a lot of voters saying, I don't understand what the point is of showing up and voting for those people. So there's a huge amount of pressure to get this done and I think McConnell and Paul Ryan, and everyone understands that. Although to your first question, I am not convinced that these little spats will really impact the agenda. I think this is -
BARTIROMO: You just think it's noise.
BENSON: This is how Trump operates, it's a news cycle, it goes away. There's a larger goal here, and the party does seem to be moving towards that goal.
HURT: And the fight is an honest fight. And I think that that alone is sort of appealing from my perspective. We've seen both Democrats and Republicans if they own the White House, and they own Congress, they just reduce all of their responsibility in Congress and hand it over to their president over in the White House. And here we actually have what the framers intended, which is an adversarial Congress and an adversarial White House, even though they are the same party duking it out and I think that that's a very healthy thing for our country.
BARTIROMO: So, you do think you agree, you think they'll get tax reform done?
HURT: I do. Well, I think, they have to.
BARTIROMO: They better. OK, we will take a break. When we come back, let's talk North Korea tensions growing between the North and the U.S. Our panel will weigh in on that as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures." We'll be right back.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back. This alert now, Police in Charlottesville now identifying the victim in yesterday's deadly car crash in Charlottesville, Virginia. Authorities say 32-year-old Heather Heyer was one of the pedestrians in the crowd when that car plowed into them. 19 others suffered injuries ranging from serious to minor. A suspect is in custody and of course, she was pronounced deceased at the hospital. We are back with our panel this morning. Guy Benson and Charlie Hurt, terrible situation in Charlottesville, your thoughts, Charlie?
HURT: It's just - it's incredibly sad. But, you know, the degree to which I think that you know, I get so annoyed with the media because the media keep - you know, they fan the flames of these situations, and the idea that -I flipped over to CNN for a while yesterday, the number of times they quoted David Duke and I'm just like what - nobody cares what this dirt bag has to say, why give him any free air time?
BARTIROMO: Yes, exactly.
BENSON: And I'm torn on this one because it drives me crazy how much attention the media is lavishing on a very small group of horrible people.
BENSON: But when you have people openly chanting racist and anti-Semitic things and, you know, carrying torches and in this case of this one person murdering people, I think there has to be very loud condemnation. So on one hand, you want to just make it very clear this is totally unacceptable in our country. On the other hand, we really are I think inflating the importance and the relevance of these garbage people.
BARTIROMO: Yes, I think that's a really good point here.
HURT: The founders, you know, intended for us to be aloud, they called it multiplicity of faction. It's going to be a loud clamorous democracy, that's the way it's intended to be. And as long as you have a lot of voices out there - you know, these (INAUDIBLE), they are never going to generate the critical mass needed to do anything.
BARTIROMO: Yes, how was the president's response then? I mean he said hatred and bigotry which was all right and then he seemed to ad lib a bit.
HURT: Yes. I actually, you know, I feel like people put a little bit too much pressure on politicians in these situations.
HURT: I don't really care what any politician has to say about any of it.
BARTIROMO: That's true. What can you say? It's horrible.
HURT: After, you know, this whole situation went awry, that's disgusting. I don't care what any politician has to say about anything. I'm horrified about it, my family is horrified about it and I pray for the victims.
BARTIROMO: Quick break, let's look at the one thing to watch in the week ahead with our guests right after this short break next on "Sunday Morning Futures." Stay with us.
BARTIROMO: Let's look ahead what's most important Guy Benson.
BENSON: I think the bigotry and violence on display in Charlottesville is going to dominate the news cycle for a couple of days and hopefully we can heal.
HURT: I think tax reform, you know, if Republicans can't - as we talked about earlier - if Republicans can't work with Donald Trump and get something done on that, it can be a real disaster.
BARTIROMO: Great to see you both, Charlie Hurt, Guy Benson, thank you so much. Have a great Sunday everybody, that will do it for us on "Sunday Morning Futures." We'll see you next week on the Fox Business Network.
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