This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," September 2, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BLAKE BURMAN, GUEST HOST: Good Sunday morning to you.
President Trump forging ahead on a new trade deal with Mexico, while threatening to exclude Canada from a revamped agreement, as the Senate prepares to question Brett Kavanaugh throughout the week in a pivotal moment for Kavanaugh's Supreme Court prospects.
Hello, and good morning. I'm Blake Burman, in for Maria Bartiromo, and this is "Sunday Morning Futures."
The president slamming Canada for -- quote -- "ripping us off" and warning Congress not to interfere as NAFTA talks continued. So what's the impact if a deal cannot be reached?
Lee Zeldin is a member of the House Financial Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. He joins me next.
Plus: Congress set to grill tech execs later this week over claims that conservatives are being censored online. The president calling for change, but is regulation the right answer going forward? Congressman Leonard Lance will be questioning Twitter's CEO, and he is here this morning to weigh in.
Plus: The White House says it is withholding 100,000 pages of Judge Kavanaugh's records just days before his confirmation proceedings begin. I will talk to a former Kavanaugh clerk about what we can expect this week, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."
And right out the gate this morning, President Trump renewing his attacks on Canada and NAFTA, warning our neighbors to the north that it will be out of a revised agreement if it doesn't concede to new terms. The president also warning Congress not to interfere with trade negotiations going forward, or he would terminate the trade deal altogether, all of this as the U.S. and Canada are set to restart trade talks a few days now on Wednesday.
Let's bring in the New York Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin. He sits on both the House Financial Services and House Foreign Affairs Committees.
And he joins us from New York this morning.
REP. LEE ZELDIN, R—N.Y.: Good morning.
BURMAN: Good morning to you.
So there's a few ways to go forward with this on a potential revamped NAFTA. There could be a three-way deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. There could be two bilateral deals, one with Mexico and the U.S., one with Canada and the U.S., or there could be nothing as it relates to Canada.
Which side are you on?
ZELDIN: I think that the best thing for the United States is going to be to be able to get a deal that also includes Canada.
However, the president isn't going to just cut a deal with Canada just to cut one. He made a pledge during his campaign that he genuinely believes in that we can do better than NAFTA, that NAFTA has hurt us with regards to the businesses that we have lost, with regards to the millions of jobs that we have lost as well.
So, the president feels good about that deal that was cut with Mexico, and feels like he is a -- and he is -- in a good position negotiating with Canada with really important goals. So I would fall onto the side of being able to enter into a deal that includes Canada.
Our relations -- the United States and Canada, that trade relationship is vitally important. There's a long history. Next to United States and China, it is a massive trade relationship between the two nations. So it would be great for the United States to enter into a better deal with Canada, but not just to enter into one just to enter into one.
So option B ends up being, you enter into a better deal with Mexico. And then you just walk from NAFTA, and then maybe Canada decides to revisit some of the issues that are really important, like dairy, where there needs to be a concession on the part of the Canadians.
BURMAN: Yes, I know that's a big issue in New York.
You saw, I'm sure, that the tweet that President Trump sent out just yesterday. It was kind of a two-fold threat both to Canada and to Congress. This was the tweet right here from the president.
He said -- quote -- "There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal. If we don't make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out. Congress shouldn't interfere with these negotiations, or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely, and we will be far better off."
So breaking that down, let's start with Congress.
Is there an appetite amongst your colleagues there, both Republicans and Democrats, to potentially give this president the trade deal and the trade win that he so desires?
ZELDIN: I think this really about giving the American economy a trade win, giving American workers and American companies the trade win. That is what I want as a member of Congress.
Unfortunately, there are other members of Congress who want political wins.
They want to become the speaker of the House. They want to become chair of a committee in the House. They have taken a pledge to resist, oppose, impeach obstruct this president on everything and anything.
So there are 535 members of Congress. Many of us want what's best for the American worker and the American economy. Others want what is best in their goals to take down President Trump.
So as far as the president's tweet goes, I think that's a strong message to the members of Congress who want a political win, selfishly for themselves, because they want power not to mess around, because you're going to -- you're not only going to be hurting yourselves politically, but you're going to be, most importantly, hurting our country.
BURMAN: Just a couple more on this.
The dairy issue is a big one for New York, the state of which you are representative -- a representative in. If Canada doesn't move on that issue, might change your -- your potential vote one way or the next?
ZELDIN: I don't think that this administration -- I don't want to speak for the administration. And I don't know what I'm about to say is actually their position, but my impression is that they're not cutting a deal with -
- with Canada where Canada is not budging at all with regards to dairy.
And this administration has taken a tough stance, a correct stance, fighting on behalf of many different businesses all across our country and for the American economy that Canada is going to have to make concessions as it relates to dairy.
I don't believe that this administration would be sending a deal to Congress with Canada where Canada makes no concessions on dairy. But, again, I'm just speculating.
OK, one last one on this, Congressman, before we move on. The chief negotiator for Canada earlier this week, on Friday actually, once this was racing to a deadline, was asked whether or not she essentially feels that the United States wants a deal, or at least is acting in good faith with all of this.
And this was her response. Watch here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Do you think they're negotiating in good faith?
CHRYSTIA FREELAND, CANADIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Ambassador Lighthizer and his team through this negotiation have been working really, really hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURMAN: There was a pause there, and it wasn't a yes.
So, the Canadians seem, it believes -- or at least seems to be somewhat skeptical. And you saw the tweet from the president.
What we're in right now, is that just the ebbs and flows of negotiations, or is it possible that these two just cannot get to a middle ground at some point?
ZELDIN: Well, the president is operating from a position of strength, not weakness.
With regards to American foreign policy all across the globe, it is important for us to be operating from positions of strength, and not to just concede that. And what we have seen in the past is -- one of the analogies I like to use, Texas hold'em, the best starting hand are pocket aces.
The worst are the two -- the two, seven off-suit. The United States inherits, the president of the United States, we inherit those pocket aces. And sometimes, as a negotiating strategy, we feel guilty about it. We apologize for American exceptionalism. We trade in our pocket aces. You say, you play these. I will play your two, seven off-suit.
Now, the United States has the largest economy in the entire world. The president understands that. He's leveraging it correctly. And he -- and his job is to represent America, just like Canada is saying they're not going to enter into a deal that's not in the best interest of Canada.
That's a fair position on the part of the Canadians.
But the president's position is one that's a position of strength, that is leveraging the United States economy well, and is not going to just take a position of weakness to grab one, and isn't going to just cut a deal with Canada just to cut one.
BURMAN: All right, I want to move on here.
The president, as we know, he has been has been critical of Canada. He has also been very critical of his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions. He was asked in a Bloomberg interview in the White House in the Oval Office earlier this week, essentially saying that Sessions has his job, the attorney general does, until the November election.
And then he was asked, well, what about after that?
And here's what the president said -- quote -- "I don't want to comment on it. Look, I just would love to have him do a great job. And I would love to have him look at the other side."
It appears, Congressmen, that the attorney general, his time as attorney general, essentially has an expiration date on it. Is that the way to view this?
ZELDIN: Could be. I don't know what the president's thinking is. I don't know what A.G. Sessions' thinking is.
I believe that the attorney general should revisit the scope of his recusal in what we're -- I mean, what we're working every day on, especially on other networks, where it's just 24/7 wall-to-wall coverage 365 about trying to take this president down, is that the attorney general, because of the scope of his refusal, almost seems like he's not in charge of the Justice Department, that he's recused himself out of a large portion of his job in what is by far the highest-profile role that the Justice Department is playing right now in American politics.
So it would be great to have an attorney general, whether that's Attorney General Sessions or someone else, it'd be great to have an attorney general who is completely in charge of the Justice Department.
And, unfortunately, we're at the case right now where you have a special counsel that gets created in order to look into Russian interference, and it appears like the scope of that investigation has gone so far beyond the scope of why it was created, that that needs to be refocused, that needs to be narrowed, and, in many respects, it needs to be ended, where you have six million different -- it's a six million-headed monster right now.
So, if they're -- if they are looking at 17 different things, well, the perception is that they're looking at six million different things. And they created those clouds.
So if you have no evidence that President Trump colluded with the Russians, just come out and say it. Let's clear up some of those clouds, so the American people can move forward.
BURMAN: You say it needs to be ended. We are almost 60 days until the November election. It's Thursday or Friday is the 60-day mark.
In your, mind if Bob Mueller has something or anything of significance, does it need to come out before the end of this week, so that there is some distance between then and the end of the election? Or should he wait if he potentially has something until after the election?
ZELDIN: I mean, if there's anything that is damaging that he wants to come out with, the closer that you get to November, the more it ends up influencing the political process.
So if there's something that he's planning on coming out that is damaging to someone, something, it's best that it comes out right now. Now, between now and November, if -- if there's any dead ends that he is aware of, where there is a cloud over a particular -- a person or a party or a company, he can come out with that information anytime between now and November, because the American public needs to have as much information as possible as to what they have decided wasn't done, where there wasn't any wrongdoing.
But if there's anything damaging that he has that he's going to come out with between now and November, it really should -- it really should come out now.
BURMAN: Congressman Lee Zeldin, joining us from Southampton, New York, this morning, I'm sure it is beautiful out there on this holiday weekend.
So we thank you for stopping in and joining us. Thanks, sir.
ZELDIN: You got it.
BURMAN: Coming up: Can Apple be used as a bargaining chip to defuse trade tensions between the U.S. and China? And might the Chinese use it as one?
My next guest says Beijing not prepared for a long-term struggle with Washington. Asia expert Gordon Chang joins me with his unique take coming up.
And, remember, you can follow us at @SundayFutures right there, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."
Stay with us.
BURMAN: Welcome back.
Could be a big week on the trade front, as President Trump potentially could slap further tariffs, up to 25 percent, on an additional $200 billion worth of imports from China.
The latest volley in the growing trade war, as some would call it, could hurt American companies with interests inside that country. And some analysts warn that Beijing could use Apple and other blue chips to tip the scales in their favor.
Gordon Chang is the author of "The Coming Collapse of China."
And he joins us live in studio this morning.
Thanks for joining us.
GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "THE COMING COLLAPSE OF CHINA": Thanks, Blake.
BURMAN: So we're hearing that, I'm hearing that the president's talked about this possibility of putting the $200 billion worth of tariffs further on China at some point this week. The public comment period, as you know, ends on Wednesday. So it could happen after that.
What do you think the president's going to do, and what do you think he should do?
CHANG: Well, I think he should put the tariffs on the $200 billion of goods. He should do it at the 25 percent rate, rather than the 10.
I would even go higher. And the reason is, the Chinese have been stealing hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. intellectual property each year.
That's what these tariffs are intended to remedy. And the Chinese are not stopping.
So, clearly, we got to make the costs higher.
BURMAN: I know you call this a tech war, not a trade war, because of that I.P. theft, but the Chinese have not given any indication whatsoever that they're going to back off that position.
So would tariffs even move them off it? Because they haven't -- haven't yet.
CHANG: Yes, tariffs may not do it. And we may have to put like 100 percent tariffs on $505.5 billion worth of goods, which is we what imported.
BURMAN: That's not going to happen, though, right?
CHANG: Well, you never know.
But the point is, if tariffs don't work, then we have to go to something even more drastic, which would be just banning Chinese imports. But one way or another, we have got to stop China's theft, because we have an innovation-based economy. If we cannot commercialize that innovation, we don't have very much of an economy.
So we have our backs against the wall. And you can't run. And I know there's going to be costs to the U.S., but you just can't run decades of bad trade policy and think, oh, we can get out of this without cost to ourselves.
BURMAN: Here was the -- the statement from the White House earlier this week that President Trump tweeted out.
He said -- quote -- or the White House statement -- quote -- "As for the U.S.-China trade disputes and other differences, they will be resolved in time by President Trump and China's great President Xi Jinping. That relationship and bond remain very strong."
Where does this end? I mean, you just floated the possibility of 100 percent tariffs, not that the administration has said that they're doing that.
CHANG: No. No.
BURMAN: But what's the finish line here?
CHANG: Well, the finish line is probably not months. It's probably years or maybe even a decade.
We did have a trade arrangement with China last spring. It didn't sustain.
It didn't hold. So President Trump could have a deal with Xi Jinping, and I don't think it's going to hold, because he's seen -- Xi Jinping has decided not to give up.
He has lost some influence recently. He came out of the recent meetings at
-- sort of diminished. So he realizes that, if he gives up, he's going to be eroded even further. So I think he's going to try to bluff Trump into making concessions where we don't really have to.
BURMAN: You talk -- we talk about, in the greater scheme of things, the U.S. vs. China, but the companies within the United States are really the ones that bear the benefits or the cost.
You think the company that potentially has the biggest exposure here is Apple, which is the biggest United States company. Why do you think that?
CHANG: Well, first of all, we know the Chinese have gone after Apple.
They did that in March 2013. They did it in the beginning of last month, where they talked about how Apple had to give more to the Chinese if they wanted to stay in the country.
That was almost extortion. But the, really, reason why Apple has a problem is because it has a supply chain that's very difficult to move. It's got Foxconn, its contract manufacturer. They're in China. It would take a number of years for Foxconn and Apple to move elsewhere.
Other companies, basically, they can move a lot quicker, with perhaps the exception of the pharmaceuticals. But everybody else can move their supply chains quickly. So China's threats against other companies are pretty hollow. Against Apple, it's a real threat.
BURMAN: Real quick, North Korea, the president now is back to the argument that the Chinese are not acting the way that he would like to see fit as it relates to North Korea.
We're now a couple months past the summit. Where do you think things stand with -- with the North Koreans? And the president is starting to make this argument now -- or he has been for a little while -- no missile tests, they haven't been firing off rockets.
Is that a -- moving of the goalposts, or is that a fair metric for us to judge this whole situation by?
CHANG: It's a fair metric, but we have got to remember, in the past, there have been long periods where the North Koreans didn't test and they started to test again
What we're going to have to do is go back to that maximum pressure campaign that made President Trump so successful up to the end of May. Since that time, he's tried to create this really friendly environment. It hasn't worked.
The North Koreans are not taking advantage of that one-shot opportunity the president is giving them. So he's got to go back to sanctions. And, unfortunately, it's going to be difficult. But the North Koreans, again, are not leaving us with much of a choice.
BURMAN: I was going to say, real quickly, if you think sanctions for the North Koreans, you would go full-throttle on that? Real quick.
CHANG: Especially the Chinese banks and the Russians and increasingly the South Koreans.
BURMAN: Gordon Chang, thank you for joining us this morning. Big week ahead. We will see where it takes us.
CHANG: Thanks, Blake.
BURMAN: Appreciate it.
Meantime, coming up: top social media executives set to once again make their way to Capitol Hill amid growing public outcry over what many consider to be anti-conservative censorship online.
House Energy and Commerce Committee member Leonard Lance joins us next with his take, as we look ahead this Sunday morning on a holiday weekend on "Sunday Morning Futures."
BURMAN: Welcome back.
Top executives from Facebook and Twitter set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee later this week, as the social media giant has faced accusations of anti-conservative censorships on their platforms.
Their most vocal critic? President Trump, pledging his administration will not let tech companies -- quote -- "control what we can and cannot see."
Joining me now is the New Jersey Congressman Leonard Lance. He is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Thank you for joining us in studio this morning.
REP. LEONARD LANCE (R), NEW JERSEY: Thank you for having me.
BURMAN: There's a couple different hearings.
The Senate side is more on how these tech companies can -- can help out with elections, and et cetera. On your side, you have got Jack Dorsey in the hot seat and what many view as a bias of these social media companies against conservatives.
You plan to ask the Twitter CEO what?
LANCE: Whether there is bias and why, based upon their algorithm, they may have chosen certain content over other content.
It will be a busy day for Mr. Dorsey. He will be at the Senate first and then he comes over to our side of the Congress, to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Wednesday afternoon.
BURMAN: So I guess the question is, do you think that, if there -- if you think there is bias, do you think it's purposely being directed at conservatives, at Republicans? And if it is, Twitter's a massive company.
Is there anything that you could even do about it?
LANCE: I don't know whether it's intentional or not, but we intend to get to the bottom of it.
And this is based upon our majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, who is very strong on this issue. And he has worked with the chairman of the committee, Greg Walden of Oregon. And we intend to get to the bottom of it. And, of course, the American people demand fairness and not bias in any way, shape, or form.
BURMAN: Of course, the follow-up here is -- is regulation, right, whether this company, other big tech companies need to be regulated.
The president specifically earlier this week, on Twitter, and then there were a lot of questions after it, took on Google. And this was the question that was posed to President Trump. Watch it real quick about regulation and Google. Watch here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what we want? Not regulation. We want fairness. When we have fairness, we are all very happy.
But you're talking about a tremendous amount. I mean, I'm president. They got me here. You're talking about a tremendous number of people. We want to see fairness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURMAN: So the president there wouldn't wholeheartedly endorse regulation.
It's kind of a political catch-22 for him, because he's been talking about one of his big prizes is how they have been able to slash regulation over the first 18, 19 months of his presidency.
So if you endorse it, it's kind of backing something that you want to essentially unwind. Do these companies needs to be regulated?
LANCE: They need to be fair.
And I think the president is 100 percent accurate. Let's see if they can be fair. And I don't favor over-regulation. I favor a free and fair Internet. And so let's get to the bottom of it. And I agree with the president.
BURMAN: If they are regulated, how would you even go about that? How on Congress would that get done?
LANCE: That would be a challenging endeavor.
And, of course, I favor what is known as the BROWSER Act by Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. And that relates to this whole issue.
But, first, let's get to the bottom of it.
BURMAN: Here was the statement that Google put out as it relates to Google. They said this -- quote -- "Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our resorts" -- "results," rather, "toward any political ideology."
A spokesperson goes on to say: "We continually work to improve Google search, and we never ranked search results to manipulate political sentiment."
That's Google's take.
Do you believe them?
LANCE: We will see what is said on Capitol Hill this week.
I am a cautious lawyer, but we ought to get to the bottom of it. And that is why we're holding our hearing in the Energy and Commerce Committee.
BURMAN: All right, the president also brought up the issue of antitrust.
So you could go at it through potentially regulation. He brought up the issue of maybe there's an antitrust issue.
This is what the president said in an interview with Bloomberg earlier this week. He said -- quote -- "I won't comment on the breaking up, whether that's that -- meaning Google -- "or Amazon or Facebook."
He went on to say: "As you know, many people think it's a very antitrust situation, the three of them, but I just -- I won't comment on that."
Antitrust issues here?
But that would be referred to the Department of Justice. And I don't know whether it actually qualifies as an antitrust violation. But, first, we on Capitol Hill are going to see whether or not there is bias, intentional or otherwise.
BURMAN: So I guess the big picture here is just that. Is the bias intentional? Is it unintentional?
We're at the dawn of the Internet age, right? Like, these companies are just a handful of years old. Is it possible that they're just trying to work their way through some things, or is it simply this is Silicon Valley trying to target Republicans here?
LANCE: I hope it's not the latter. I hope that it's a situation where the company is just trying to work through this situation.
But there are some concerns regarding the fact that it might be deliberate.
I don't reach that conclusion yet. That's why we're holding the hearing.
BURMAN: You got Dorsey in the hot seat. Do you want to see Bezos? You have already had Zuckerberg. Do you want to continue to pull these people in there? You think anything enlightening can come from it?
LANCE: Yes, I think the testimony of Mark Zuckerberg was very enlightening, when he came before the committee in the spring.
I think that he may have violated, his company may have violated a consent agreement with the FTC in 2011. I asked him specifically about that. And I asked him whether he had a position the BROWSER legislation, and he's yet to get back to us on that.
BURMAN: OK, wait and see, I guess. And we will see what happens this week.
Congressman Leonard Lance, thank you for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.
LANCE: Thank you very much.
BURMAN: Meantime, coming up, Democrats denouncing a -- quote -- "document massacre," as the Trump administration keeps thousands of pages of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's White House work history from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
How this could affect questioning at Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings coming up later this week, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."
BURMAN: Welcome back.
It looks like the Democrats have lost a weeks-long battle over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's paper trail from his years working in the White House of President George W. Bush.
The Trump administration withholding more than 100,000 pages of document -- documents, rather. They are citing executive privilege, with Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings set to begin just a couple days from now on Tuesday.
Let's bring our panel -- bring in the panel, rather.
Justin Walker is a former clerk for judge Kavanaugh and an assistant professor of law at the University of Louisville. Gregg Nunziata is a former chief nominations counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Thank you both for joining us this morning.
GREGG NUNZIATA, FORMER SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHIEF NOMINATIONS
COUNSEL: Good morning.
BURMAN: So, Gregg, you were there the last time -- and this would have been about a decade ago -- that Brett Kavanaugh was preparing for his nomination on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. You got a little bit of an insight as to what this last week or so might have been like for him.
What do you think it's been like?
NUNZIATA: Well, that, his previous confirmation hearings were pretty intense.
The D.C. Circuit is often called the second most important court in the country. And at the time, he was serving in the Bush White House. And a lot of Democrats kind of used him as a way of attacking the president.
So he's been through this before in a pretty tough environment. This is tougher still. And it's a week long of hearings, including two very lengthy marathon days of question and answers from senators, half of whom are going to be out there to try to trip him up.
So I'm sure he's been the careful lawyer he is. He's been studying his own record and studying existing law, Supreme Court precedent, and he will be prepared this week.
BURMAN: Justin, the best hope here for Democrats, it appears, is that there might be some needle in a haystack-type thing and one of these documents, in a page somewhere over his decades' worth long of being on the bench.
This was the reaction from the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, as he posted this on Twitter about the withholding -- withholding of 100,000 or so pages of documents.
Here's what Schumer said. He wrote -- quote -- "We're witnessing a Friday night document massacre. President Trump's decision to step in at the last moment and hide 100,000 pages of Judge Kavanaugh's records from the American public is not only unprecedented in the history of Supreme Court nominations. It has all the makings of a cover-up."
In a second sweet, Schumer goes on to say: "What are they trying so desperately to hide?"
Your response to that would be?
JUSTIN WALKER, FORMER CLERK FOR BRETT KAVANAUGH: Well, the only thing unprecedented is this kind of hyperbolic rhetoric from people like Chuck Schumer.
The truth is that there have been more documents produced for Judge Kavanaugh than for any nominee in history. And, moreover, the most important documents have been public all along. They are the opinions he's written, the opinions over 12 years on the second most important court in the country.
And if you look at those 300 opinions, you see a judge who always goes where the law leads, who understands the proper limited role of the judiciary, who is very much in the mainstream, and who has been endorsed by the Supreme Court on 13 separate occasions, an unparalleled record of vindication for a lower court judge.
BURMAN: White House officials that I have spoken with this week tell me that they don't feel that there's anything, sort of a needle in a haystack out there. That's their position. They have reason to feel confident, of course.
But I'm wondering, to the both of you -- and, Gregg, you can go first -- when you're preparing for something like this, how are you ever really just entirely confident that that's the case?
NUNZIATA: Well, you -- the Senate, the White House has dozens of lawyers looking through Judge Kavanaugh's public record, his personal life.
I mean, these things are gone over in detail. I don't think anybody should be expecting a big surprise from any of these documents or from the hearing today. And, as the professor says, I mean, his traditional record speaks for itself. And that's what the Senate should be focusing on.
If you want to know what kind of judge he will be on the Supreme Court, look at what kind of judge he's been on the D.C. Circuit for the last 10 years.
BURMAN: Justin, you clerked for him. What was he like?
WALKER: Oh, my goodness.
I have never met a better lawyer. I have never worked for a better man. I had him as a teacher at law school. He believes, he adheres -- he reveres the Constitution. And that comes across in his chambers.
One thing he used to tell us as clerks is, he would say, every case is a separation of powers case. And what he meant is that every case requires the judge to remember that it's the executive and the legislature who make the law and it's the judge who merely applies the law.
BURMAN: Justin, you were up there on the Senate Judiciary Committee. You know that there's a lot of preparation that goes into this. This will be splashed overall the networks, and rightfully so. People will follow this.
There's going to be lots of questions, lots of answers, hours' worth, headlines, et cetera, on down the line.
But at the end of the day, 95, 96 of these 100 senators already have their minds made up. And it appears that conservatives -- that Republicans have the numbers. Does any of this -- I don't want to say it doesn't matter.
But is it a formality, essentially, at this point, just waiting for the confirmation vote?
NUNZIATA: No, I think -- look, this is -- Supreme Court hearings are one of the few times that we as a country really stop to talk about and to focus on the role of the court in our system and what our Constitution means to us as Americans.
So I think it's important just in that sense alone. But beyond that, I mean, we do learn meaningful things about a nominee, about their background, their fitness for the court, and their judicial philosophy.
I think Americans are going to like what they hear when they hear from Judge Kavanaugh. I do think, the more they hear from him, the more inevitable his confirmation becomes. And, yes, there's a handful of votes in play, particularly Democrats from states which the president carried with a large margin in 2016.
I think they're going to be very interested in how these hearings go, and they're going to be very interested in what they hear from their voters who are watching.
BURMAN: Justin, how important is it to actually get Brett Kavanaugh confirmed by October 1, when the -- when the Supreme Court reconvenes?
Is it actually more important to get him in there by September 24, which is the first time that they meet behind closed doors, the week leading into this, or is it -- is it fine for the makeup of the court, forget the person, but just the function of the court as it moves forward, if he isn't in there for one reason or the next by October 1?
WALKER: Well, I think, from an institutional perspective, the sooner the better.
And I think, the Senate obviously has a role to play in advise and consent.
It's a constitutional role. So I'm sure they will do that thoughtfully.
And that takes some time.
But there's -- really, I see no reason why that can't be done by the end of September. And if the senators really take seriously the advice and consent function that the founders imagined, then we will be looking at a 100-0 confirmation vote for Judge Kavanaugh.
Unfortunately, that's not -- that's not the world we live in right now.
We're going to see a lot of vicious attacks at the hearings this week. But I think what we will also see is a witness, a judge who's thoughtful and friendly and scholarly, and someone who really the people -- the American people really will like the more they learn about him.
BURMAN: Justin Walker, Gregg Nunziata, I know you will be watching. so will we. Thank you joining us this morning.
WALKER: Thanks, Blake.
NUNZIATA: Thanks for having us.
And for all of you at home, make sure you stay with the Fox News Channel all this week, as the Senate begins its confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
Our special coverage starts on Tuesday.
So what can we expect at those hearings, now that Democrats are furious at the White House for withholding all of those documents, a lot of them, some of them?
Our political panel takes a look on this, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."
BURMAN: Welcome back.
As you know by now, the confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are set to start tomorrow.
The White House moved Friday night to withhold 100,000 pages worth of documents from his records in the Bush 43 White House. They cite executive privilege. Some Democrats are saying, uh-uh, not so.
Time now for our panel, Ed Rollins, former White House adviser to President Reagan, a FOX News contributor and affiliated with a conservative PAC that supports Kavanaugh's confirmation, we should add. And Al D'Amato is a former Republican senator from this state and a FOX News contributor as well.
Thanks for joining us this morning.
ED ROLLINS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.
BURMAN: Want to start, first, though, I'm sure it's been a tough last few days for the both of you with the proceedings, the services and the passing of Senator John McCain.
Just a word from you both?
ROLLINS: Yesterday was spectacular day.
I mean, we had have two funerals, on Friday for Aretha Franklin, which was a spectacular joining together of the black leadership of this country.
Yesterday was a -- was a memorial to a very decent man who has basically been on the stage for 60 years.
And I think he staged it very well. It was his -- and it was a great song that Aretha sang which was called "Respect."
ROLLINS: John McCain got his respect yesterday from the establishment.
Now, at the same time, the attack and the theme -- underlying theme was, this is the establishment and they were attacking Trump.
ROLLINS: Trump is not the establishment. Tomorrow, he goes back to -his control of -- and the world of John McCain didn't turn out to be quite what he wanted, in the sense that he wanted bipartisanship.
You won't see it again this week. You're going to see the hand grenades back thrown with Kavanaugh.
BURMAN: With Kavanaugh.
AL D'AMATO, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You can't help but admire a great hero.
And why was he a great hero? In my mind, anyone who suffered the way he did, and yet refused to leave early -- he could have left I don't know how many years earlier. But he said, I'm not leaving prison and torture until the men who are in here with me and before me are released.
That's incredible. That's heroic. And, in my mind, he was always a very special person because of that. Did we always agree? Just like all of the people who spoke said, we had conflicts.
But he was a man of principle. He believed in what he did. He stood up, and he had the highest values for this country. And it was a great testimony that people recognized this.
BURMAN: Senator McCain to be buried today in Annapolis, Maryland.
You talked about what is coming up this week.
Senator, you have been through many of these Supreme Court hearings. You would say to Brett Kavanaugh -- what would be the advice that you would give him?
D'AMATO: Keep doing what you have been doing. He's been a fine jurist in the second highest court in the nation, the appellate court.
His work is outstanding. He is a scholar. Everyone admits that. He is a gentleman. He is a family person. And his record speaks for itself. So those who raise questions now about, oh, 100,000 documents, et cetera, that they'd like to see when he worked for the White House years ago, that's just an attempt to slow down the proceedings, to embarrass him.
But his record is going to carry him through. He will get all of the Republican votes. That's my opinion. And he will get several Democrats who will vote for him.
BURMAN: You -- on this show, I had asked you in the days before the president made the announcement, who do you want? You said Amy Coney Barrett. Now you're trying to get Kavanaugh confirmed.
Has it been a full embrace for you, now that he's the pick?
ROLLINS: Oh, totally. Totally. No, totally.
I thought a woman on the court, a conservative woman, would have been very important. And she may end up in the court before all is said here .
He's a superb choice. The document thing is ridiculous. These are President Bush's documents. These aren't his documents. Having worked on the White House staff, a couple White Houses, those aren't your documents.
Those are the president's documents. And he was the staff secretary, so he touched everything, but he didn't write them.
And the idea that the Congress wants them, no president would give those up. So my sense is, he will get confirmed. It'll be a knock-down, drag- out. And all of the good wishes of yesterday's funeral are all by the wayside, and we're back -- we're back to warfare again come next Tuesday.
BURMAN: Real quick, Senator, Democrats hit him how, Kavanaugh?
D'AMATO: He will get several Democrats to vote for him.
BURMAN: Think so?
BURMAN: Manchin, Donnelly, Heitkamp, the folks that went for Gorsuch?
I think he will get two, if not three Democrats, and all of the Republicans, including Senator Collins and Senator Murkowski.
BURMAN: Fifty-two, fifty-three, fifty-four votes?
ROLLINS: And the new senator from Arizona.
BURMAN: And the new senator from Arizona. Exactly.
Doug Ducey has a selection and probably will unveil it soon.
Stay right with us, Ed Rollins, Senator D'Amato.
BURMAN: We will be right back with our panel after this, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."
BURMAN: President Trump now having second thoughts about plans to cancel pay raises for federal employees.
We are back with our panel, Ed Rollins, Senator Al D'Amato.
Thanks for sticking around one again.
ROLLINS: Thank you. Thank you.
BURMAN: This came from the president earlier this week, Wednesday, Thursday, basically saying, federal employees if you are not in the military, you're not going to get a pay raise, potentially look at the issue of merit-based pay.
If nothing else, for these employees, it's something you don't want to see.
And on the political front, it's a -- it's not a good headline for this...
ROLLINS: Well, you don't want to go -- you don't want to go to war with your employees. And the bottom line is that a 2 percent pay increase is not dramatic.
And my sense is, the savings, which is about $25 billion, in a $4 trillion budget, with a trillion-dollar deficit, it's not that significant. And I think it would be a very terrible thing for the morale of the employees.
BURMAN: How do you keep -- how do you keep qualified employees? Because, when you look back -- we were just talking about this. When you look back, President Obama froze it for three consecutive years. The economy was in a much different place in 2011 than it is in 2018 now.
But if you're a federal employee, over the last several years, you have barely seen a pay increase. Why stay if you can get a good private sector job?
D'AMATO: Well, you're absolutely right.
And you might want to save money, but there are better ways to do it. Look at the real problems of how the deficit is growing. Where is the spending?
What do you do to resolve it?
You have Social Security, which if it continues on this pattern, runs out of money not too down -- far down the road. Same thing with Medicare.
So what do you do? Put together a bipartisan panel. It was done.
President Reagan did it. And guess what? We saved Social Security. We strengthened it. You can do the same thing again.
Now, if we're going to talk about bringing the country together and bringing partisan politics, keeping it out, there are two areas where we could save trillions of dollars over the next decade if we came together.
And, by the way, it's not tough. You have people who are living longer.
You should adjust the time that they can retire.
ROLLINS: I would argue you don't want to do it before a campaign season.
BURMAN: Before November.
ROLLINS: I would argue definitely that those are constituents.
And I think I think the bottom line is you -- it's one of these things it's going to take a year to do it, Al.
ROLLINS: It's not simple.
And I think, to a certain extent, the moment you mentioned Social Security, if you're Republican, you get banged over the head by every Democrat in the world.
BURMAN: Got about a minute left.
So, real quick, we're about 64, 65 days whatever it is...
BURMAN: ... until November 7.
BURMAN: Some interesting races this past week.
Where do you think things stand? What's the lay of the land, as we are here?
ROLLINS: The lay of the land, quickly, is, there's three -- three Republican seats in the Senate that are in trouble, or at least potentially in trouble.
One is the Nevada seat of Heller, the Arizona seat, and the Tennessee seat, which are both open seats. They are competitive.
There are four or five Democrat seats that are -- that are competitive.
And the House is very competitive. And it could go either way.
My sense is, they're our seats, so our guys have to lose it. And they have to fight hard.
BURMAN: Biggest worry as a Republican is what?
D'AMATO: I think the Republicans pick up two to three seats, the Democrats pick up two seats. So we will hold the Senate.
I think we have trouble in the House. Reapportionment, court decisions come down. Pennsylvania, we will lose a couple of seats. We may lose one in New York.
The chances are, at this point, we lose the House.
BURMAN: Really? You think so? Chances are?
D'AMATO: Yes, chances are.
BURMAN: Great chances or just coin flip-type stuff?
D'AMATO: Well, right now, I would say it's 60/40. It can turn, but, right now, we're in trouble in the House.
BURMAN: Ed, do you agree, real quick?
ROLLINS: I would argue it's truly, who's going to vote is the critical thing, and can we get our vote out? If we get our vote out, we're going to be OK. If we don't get our vote out, then, obviously, we could lose.
BURMAN: And you got 65 days, I believe, to do that.
BURMAN: So we will see what happens between now and November 7.
Thank you both for joining us. Appreciate it.
ROLLINS: Great. Thank you.
D'AMATO: Good being with you.
BURMAN: That does it this morning, believe it or not, for "Sunday Morning Futures."
I am Blake Burman, in for Maria Bartiromo. Maria will be back next week.
Make sure to watch both of us on the Fox Business Network as well.
"Media Buzz With Howard Kurtz" is coming up next. Have a great weekend.
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