This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday,” November 12, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, “FOX NEWS SUNDAY” HOST: I’m Chris Wallace.
The push for tax reform heats up as a Republicans face growing political pressure to produce.
REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is about actually improving people’s lives and making a positive difference.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALI., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: If they think that this is the bill that they must pass in order to stay in power, they have it all wrong.
WALLACE: We’ll discuss what’s in the House and Senate plans and whether Republicans have the votes with a point man on tax reform, Republican Chairman Kevin Brady.
Then, after sweeping election losses this week, the GOP is now dealing with growing calls for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to step aside.
ROY MOORE, R-ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: These attacks involve a minor, and they are completely false and untrue.
WALLACE: We’ll discuss what it means for the special election with Chris Van Hollen, head of the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm.
Plus, President Trump on the world stage, taking his America first message abroad.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore.
WALLACE: We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the president’s trip to Asia and his latest comments about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
And our power player of the week, a new high-tech museum for the good book.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bible is, love it or hate it, it’s just one of the great reads of all time.
WALLACE: All, right now, on “Fox News Sunday.”
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
We begin with breaking news. President Trump dealing with a new controversy when he seems to suggest after meeting with Vladimir Putin he believes Putin’s denial of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
White House correspondent Kevin Corke reports from the Philippines.
TRUMP: As to whether I believe it or not, I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership. I believe in our intel agencies, our intelligence agencies.
KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In attempting to clear up confusion over whether he accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials of meddling in the U.S. election last year, President Trump to the surprise of many repeated his beliefs Saturday that Putin was sincerely convinced that there was no meddling.
TRUMP: I think it was very obvious to everybody. I believe that President Putin really feels, and he feels strongly, that he did not meddle in our election. What he believes is what he believes.
CORKE: However, U.S. intelligence agencies have long since concluded that there was meddling. The president’s recalibrated explanation threatens to overshadow his final stop in this five-country Asia tour, and followed a firestorm of criticism back home.
There’s nothing America first about taking the board of a KGB colonel over that of the American intelligence community, said Arizona Senator John McCain in a statement.
Trump said he wasn’t interested in arguing over meddling, and instead wanted to get Russia to work with the U.S. on problems like North Korea, Syria and Ukraine. The president taken to Twitter to slam his critics, writing: When will all the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing?
CORKE: In another tweet, the president actually took a swipe, Chris, at the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, who has repeatedly called the 71-year-old commander-in-chief old. The president tweeting: Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me old when I would never call him short and fat?
The president added that he’d been working hard to become his friend, and despite the dustup, was holding out hope that that could still happen. Good luck with that — Chris.
WALLACE: Kevin Corke traveling with the president in the Philippines — Kevin, thank you.
Now to the push by Republicans to pass tax reform. Both chambers take up separate proposals this week that have big differences, while the House appears on track to pass its version, the process is just beginning in the Senate. If the goal is to get on the same page and send a compromise to the president by Christmas.
Joining me now from Texas, Congressman Kevin Brady, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee that passed its tax plan this week.
Chairman, the biggest difference between the House and Senate tax plan seems to be over the question of deducting state and local taxes.
Let’s drill down on this, your bill lets people deduct $10,000 in property taxes on their federal returns. The Senate plans kills all the deductions for state and local taxes.
And Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says that if they eliminate those state and local taxes, it could cost Republicans the House in 2018. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-NY, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I say to every one of my Republican colleagues in the House who come from a suburban district, this bill could be your political doom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Chairman, you’ve got more than two dozen Republican congressman from high tax states. Can you guarantee them — because they are threatening to vote against an elimination of all the state and local tax deductions, can you guarantee them that the final bill they vote on will not include the total elimination in the Senate plan?
REP. KEVIN BRADY (R-TX), CHAIR, WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE: Yes — well, I can. And here’s why, because we want people to get more of what they aren’t regardless of where they live, including in these high tax states. That’s why we keep the home mortgage deduction, we keep the charitable deduction. We restore $10,000 of the property tax deduction, which is twice the national average, but we didn’t stop there for these states.
So, the way we set the income brackets, we created this new family tax credit that is eligible for families up to $230,000 of income, and we restored the state and local property tax deduction.
WALLACE: I understand that —
BRADY: So, the combination of all of these gets the job done for these families.
WALLACE: But, Chairman, how can you guarantee House members from blue states that the Senate plan, the total elimination will not be in the final bill?
BRADY: Look, I’m convinced that this is where we will end up because this is — it’s important, again, as I told you, Chris, make sure people keep more of what they earn, even in these high tax states. And so, what we are working toward, and what we work so carefully with, our lawmakers from New York and California, New Jersey, is to make sure we deliver this relief, and I’m committed to it.
WALLACE: So, are you saying then that the House will not accept a total elimination, that that just won’t fly even if the Senate passes it?
BRADY: That’s what I’m saying.
WALLACE: Good, thank you.
I want to go through some other big differences between the House and Senate plans. They are technical but they are important, as you well know, to every individual taxpayer. For wealthy people and businesses, your bill, the House Republican bill, repeals the estate tax over six years and cuts the corporate rate to 20 percent right away. The Senate plan delays that corporate rate cut a year, and does not repeal the estate tax ever.
But with the money that the Senate plan saves, while you eliminate the deductions for medical expenses and student loans, the Senate would allow people to keep taking those deductions. My question is, isn’t the Senate plan better for the middle class taxpayer than your plan is?
BRADY: Yes, I don’t believe so. But here’s the point. I think I know that everyone is stressing the differences. There are some. But there’s far more common ground.
And in this regard, look, on the death tax, I’m just convinced this is the number one reason our family owned farms and businesses aren’t passed down to the next generation. Having Washington swoop in and take almost half of what you’ve earned over your lifetime over certain amount is just wrong, and getting rid of it creates 140,000 new American jobs because our local businesses aren’t hindered by it.
And so, I’m convinced it needs to go, I also believe we delivered dramatic middle class tax relief all up and down that area, especially for suburbs and rural communities that I represent.
WALLACE: But, Chairman Brady, I want to show you two independent analyses that seem to contradict what you just said. “The New York Times” says under your plan, about one-third of middle class families will get a tax increase, not a tax cut, next year. And the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, this is bipartisan, as I say, it says that 8.3 percent of all taxpayers will get a tax increase in 2019.
In both cases, Chairman Brady, these analyses say that middle-class families under your plan, some of them, millions of them will get a tax increase, not a tax cut.
BRADY: So, here is where I strongly disagree. I believe there is tax relief all up and down the income level for families, regardless of what they earn. And Joint Committee on Taxation confirmed every income bracket sees a tax relief.
And as far as “The New York Times” analysis, look, they are describing an America that doesn’t exist. One where the economy never grows, and one where your paycheck stay stagnant no matter what happens. We know that’s not the real world, both from the John F. Kennedy proposed tax cuts and from the Reagan tax cuts as well.
When you get the tax code right, where our local businesses can compete and win anywhere in world, when Washington takes less of what you earn, the economy does grow and paychecks do grow. And so, I strongly disagree with analysis by “The New York Times”.
WALLACE: But would you agree — and you’re exactly right that in all of these analyses, if you take each tax bracket, there is a net tax cut. But would you agree that there are going to be a sizable number of middle-class families, families that for instance now get the state and local tax deductions, families that have big medical expenses they can deduct, families that are deducting the interest for their student loans, that there are a lot of those families that could actually be losers in this bill?
BRADY: See, I don’t, Chris, and here’s why — look, we are both taxing less, we are eliminating a lot of these deductions so we can lower the tax rates for every American, but we’re not just stopping there. We’re talking about an economy that grows paychecks in a way that we haven’t seen for really almost two decades if you think about it. And that’s what helps families the most. They are keeping more of what they earn, their paychecks are finally growing. This economy is finally moving again.
So, look, I firmly believe Americans are far better off under tax reform than they ever would sticking with this old messed up, outdated tax code.
WALLACE: I want to turn to a different aspect of this, sir. I talked with a number of top financial analysts this week, none of them said that having a tax cut — a lot of them supported the idea of a tax cut, but none of them said that having a tax cut, a lot of them supported the idea of a tax cut, but none of them said that having a tax cut that will add one and a half trillion dollars to the national debt, which is what your plan does, that that’s good for the economy.
BRADY: Well, I tell you what, I disagree here. So, during the Obama administration, they would add one and a half trillion dollars of deficit every year. That was to grow Washington. We’re talking about the same amount spread out over a decade to grow the economy and grow jobs.
This is a good investment and, in fact, if we just grow the economy slightly over the last decade, slow growth, you would recoup the trillion dollars easily, and if we really get this economy moving, you recoup all of it, plus more. So, I will tell you the surest way to guarantee more deficits and more debt is just stick with the current tax code, stick with the current economy. I guarantee it won’t be a good ending.
It’s time to change and challenge the status quo in this tax code.
WALLACE: All right. Let’s talk about the prospects for all of this, because that’s the bottom line. President Trump called into a meeting of Senate Democrats this week and he reportedly said this. He told them about the Senate plan: You’re going to like it, the Senate plan, a whole lot more than a House plan.
I don’t have to remind you, because you lived through it, that after the House passed Obamacare repeal and replace, the president later said that he thought the plan was a little bit mean.
Aren’t you asking some of your members to take what is a tough political vote when the president may, in the end, after they vote that and you pass it, walk away from the House plan and support the Senate plan?
BRADY: So, I don’t believe he will, and here’s why. His regular conversations with me tell me he likes the direction we’re going in a big way. We are writing towards that framework that the president, the House and Senate came together on earlier this fall.
He also know — he also likes the fact not only are we delivering middle-class tax relief, for the first time, our local businesses are going to be able to compete and win anywhere in the world, and when they win, we will no longer tax them to bring their earnings back home to be reinvested in the United States of America. So, I’ll just tell you, I think we’re making significant changes in this tax code in a real positive way and this is what the president backs.
WALLACE: So, how do you explain? What you make of the president saying to Senate Democrats, I think you’ll like the Senate plan a lot more?
BRADY: Well, I know that’s the Senate Democrats description of the call. All I can tell you is my conversation by telephone with the president are extremely positive and so, the House is going to take a major step, as it did this week in the Ways and Means Committee for the first time in 31 years to fix this messed up, broken tax code, and from there, it goes to the Senate. I have no doubt we’re going to find common ground and work out the differences.
WALLACE: All right. Let’s get to the bottom line, will the House pass your tax plan, or the tax plan by Thanksgiving, as now scheduled, which is just 11 days away?
BRADY: I believe it will. I feel the strong support for this. We continue to make improvements every step of the way, but I will tell you what, our Republicans in the House know that it is time to deliver on this economy and grow these paychecks by getting rid of this current tax code, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
And, by the way, the American people, they are starved. They are starved for a new tax code, one that’s so simple and fair. Most Americans will be able to file using a simple postcard style system, where they are eager for that simplicity and that fairness.
WALLACE: Again, finally on that deadline, can you say that with 100 percent certainty, you’ll pass it before Thanksgiving?
BRADY: Look, that’s our goal and that’s what we’re on schedule to do. At the end of the day, what I want to do is deliver it to the president’s desk by the end of the year. Not for Republicans, but for the American people.
WALLACE: Chairman Brady, thank you, and we will track progress on tax reform in the House next week.
BRADY: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, disturbing allegations against Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama in the wake of Democratic victories across the country on Election Day. We’ll talk with Senator Chris Van Hollen, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, about his party’s prospects to take back control of both the House and Senate in 2018.
WALLACE: This week, allegations of sexual misconduct that date back decades surfaced against Alabama Senate candidate, Judge Roy Moore. Top Republicans took back endorsements and cut off fund-raising efforts for Moore. Alabama’s special election is on December 12 and with the GOP now holding a slim two vote majority in the Senate, what happens in Alabama could determine the fate of tax reform and the rest of the Trump agenda.
Joining us now, Senator Chris Van Hollen, chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Congressman, Roy Moore has flatly denied any improper relationship with teenagers. Sean Hannity asked him about some of the specifics on Friday. Here it is.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?
ROY MOORE, R-ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: Not generally, no.
HANNITY: But you don’t specifically remember having any girlfriend that was in her late teens even in that time?
MOORE: No, I don’t remember that, and I don’t remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator, your reaction?
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, D-MD, CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: Well, Chris, I think Roy Moore is unfit for office, but this is going to be a decision obviously for the people of Alabama. And the good news for the people of Alabama is they have a clear alternative in Doug Jones, who grew up in Alabama. He became a prosecutor.
He is focused on jobs. He’s focused on increasing people’s wages. He’s focused on the things people in Alabama care about and he’s running a good campaign.
So, I’m not going to get into all these details because it’s the people of Alabama who will decide. But those who have, people like Senator Bill Cassidy, obviously withdrew their endorsements. So, let’s let the people of Alabama decide. But the good news as I said is they have a great alternative in Doug Jones.
WALLACE: Let me ask you, what do you think now? The polls have tightened considerably, what do you think are the chances that the Democratic candidate Doug Jones will actually win in the deep red state of Alabama? And what about the notion that is being discussed with these new revelations the governor of Alabama postponing, delaying the special election next month?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, Chris, Doug Jones, again, is talking about all the issues that are important to people there in the state of Alabama. His focus has been on economic issues, kitchen table issues. So, look, we all know that Alabama is a very tough state politically for Democrats, but this is a special situation where we have a great candidate.
On the other hand, you have a very, very flawed candidate in Roy Moore, which is why many people are calling upon him to step down. But I’m going to leave this to the people of Alabama. This is their decision. They are getting the facts now, and they need to make a decision based on the records of these two candidates.
WALLACE: One more question on this subject. From the president to Senate Republican leaders, a number of them are saying that Moore should step down if the allegations are proven.
Here is fellow Alabama Senator Richard Shelby.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD SHELBY, R-ALABAMA: This is a devastating, nasty story. If the revelations — if that’s true, I don’t believe there would be any place for him in the U.S. Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Is that reasonable? I understand I don’t want or expect you to get into the specific allegations, but is not reasonable when you have allegations that date back in some cases almost 40 years, let’s see some proof?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, again, people like Senator Bill Cassidy have looked at the facts and we know what conclusion he drew.
My view, Chris, is that Roy Moore was really unfit for the Senate even before these recent revelations. For example, there is ample evidence, this was also reported in “The Washington Post,” very detailed reporting that he essentially cheated a charity that he was involved in for his personal, a private gain.
So, again, there are lots of facts out there about these issues and the people of Alabama will make up their minds. But I hope they will look at the facts because you got a candidate in Doug Jones who has been sticking to the issues that people really care about — issues about health care, issues about tax policy that’s going to impact the people of Alabama, educating the children in Alabama.
Those are going to be the important issues and I think Doug Jones has shown is a candidate who has a record that can actually help Alabama. But that — that’s up to the state to decide.
WALLACE: Understood. Let’s talk about this question of allegations, and allegations particularly of sexual misconduct, which often can’t be proven one way or another. It’s going to end up being a he said/she said.
Let’s take the case of Bill Clinton, for instance. As you well know, there were allegations of sexual misconduct, even rape against Bill Clinton. Democrats nominated him, elected him president.
There was strong indication — Bill Clinton basically admitted that he had lied to the country about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky and yet Democrats fought his impeachment. Is there a double standard here?
VAN HOLLEN: Chris, I don’t think there’s any double standard here. You were also talking in this case, as you know, about allegations of child sexual abuse. We know what the allegations are, the people of Alabama will have to look at the facts, search their conscience and make a decision.
So, I think that’s always the case when you have revelations like this. But the bottom line is that Doug Jones is focusing on issues like health care and the fact that you saw a Republican Congress try to take away people’s access to affordable health care, and he’s talking but having a tax code that actually works for working people instead of a giveaway to big corporations and the superrich.
WALLACE: As long as we’re — and this is, I promise, my final question in this regard, Senator. As long as we’re talking about allegations, a jury in New Jersey is right now considering, not allegations, but charges of political corruption against Democratic Senator Bob Menendez. If that jury convicts him, convict him, not allegations, but a conviction, should he step down?
VAN HOLLEN: Chris, he — we’re going to leave this decision to the jury and I’m not going to get ahead of the game. People on the jury will look at the facts, just like people in Alabama will have to look at the facts, and they’ll have to render a decision. And I’m not going to speculate about what the outcome of that jury decision will be.
WALLACE: You, as we pointed out, are the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Democrats had a very big night Tuesday with sweeping elections, the governor’s race in New Jersey, the governor’s race in Virginia, down ballot as well.
Here was Virginia’s new governor-elect, Ralph Northam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RALPH NORTHAM, D-VIRGINIA GOVERNOR-ELECT: Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness that we will not condone, hatred and bigotry, and to end the politics that have torn this country apart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator, is there a national message in the vote this week?
VAN HOLLEN: There certainly is a message in the fact that you had a huge grassroots turnout in these elections and it’s not just that the Democratic, you know, won in the Virginia, the governor’s race, but the size of that margin and the scope of the victories. And victories across the country, including in Georgia, New Hampshire, Washington state, even some mayoral races in my state of Maryland.
So, it’s that scope that showed really huge motivation and turnout. The question, of course, is whether that will be sustained, and I can tell you, a lot of people were really upset that Donald Trump and Republicans tried to take away their access to affordable health care, and they’re going to be really mad when they — if they try and pass this huge giveaway to big corporations that’s going to be paid for by millions of middle-class families.
So, those are the kinds of things that are going to keep people motivated to come out.
WALLACE: Well, let’s talk in the time we have left about the tax plan, and let’s talk first of all about the middle class. The vast majority of low and middle income Americans do not itemize their deductions, doesn’t doubling the standard deduction, doesn’t that benefit — I mean, I certainly pointed out as you heard me with Chairman Brady that there are some people who are going to be hurt. But doesn’t doubling the deduction dramatically help most low and middle income voters?
VAN HOLLEN: As you know, Chris, while they doubled the standard deduction, they also took away with the other hand the ability of people to take their personal exemptions for themselves and dependents. And when you washed out all out, the reality is that many families, many middle-class families are going to end up paying more, especially when you take away people’s ability to deduct their state and local taxes.
And the folks in the suburbs are going to get clobbered. As you mentioned in your earlier segment, “The New York Times” analysis, and they used I believe software from a more conservative group, concluded that almost half of middle-class Americans would actually be paying more, and they look at the Senate bill and concluded about a third of middle-class taxpayers would be paying more under the Senate bill.
So, that’s why Paul Ryan, Speaker Ryan and Mitch McConnell this week both had to walk back their statements where they had earlier said that there wasn’t going to be any impact on middle-class taxpayers. In fact, millions and millions of middle-class taxpayers are going to pay more so big corporations can pay less. And folks in the suburbs are going to be particularly clobbered.
WALLACE: All right. Let me ask you, I’ve got one last question, and it has to do with this issue of corporations, and, you know, the Democratic line — I’ve heard it from you, I’ve heard from Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. This is a giveaway to big corporations.
But you certainly have to agree that the U.S. corporate tax rate, which is 35 percent, which is, no question about it, the highest in the world. What’s wrong with lowering it to 20 percent, which puts it in line with other industrialized nations in the world? What’s wrong with making us more competitive, won’t that boost those corporations, boost growth, boost wages, boost jobs?
VAN HOLLEN: So, a couple of things, Chris. First, you know that the effective U.S. corporate tax rate is much lower. Some people put it around 20 percent because corporations take a lot of these deductions. But we could do corporate tax reform, but we should do it a way that doesn’t boost the national debt by 1.5 trillion, and still ask millions of middle-class taxpayers to pay for it.
Did you know about a third of stockholders are foreigners, right? So, you’re now asking middle-class taxpayers to finance tax relief for people who are foreign stockholders.
Corporations in America are making record profits. Wages are pretty flat. This notion that somehow we’ve got to give another tax break to corporations and it’s going to trickle down and lift wages is disproven by what we’re seeing right now. And in fact, as you know, the CEOs from around the country —
VAN HOLLEN: — have been reporting that they are going to use that extra money for stock buybacks in their shareholders. So, at the end of the day, this is a proposal where middle-class taxpayers in suburbs and all the places around the country are going to be paying for the tax cuts for big corporations. That’s just not right.
WALLACE: Senator Van Hollen, thank you. Thanks for your time this week and always good to talk with you, sir.
VAN HOLLEN: Good to be with you.
WALLACE: Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the key takeaways from the Democrats’ big wins on Tuesday night.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about Judge Roy Moore? What should the Republican Party do? Just go to FaceBook or Twitter at foxnewssunday, and we may use your question on the air.
WALLACE: Coming up, Roy Moore hits back after allegations of sexual misconduct decades ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE: These attacks involve a minor. They are completely false and untrue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We’ll ask our Sunday panel what it means for the Alabama Senate seat and the GOP, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE: I’ve been investigated more than any other person in this country. To think that grown women would wait 40 years to come before — right before an election to bring charges is absolutely unbelievable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: GOP Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore fighting back against allegations of sexual misconduct and making it clear he has no intention of dropping out of the special election in Alabama next month.
And it’s time now for our Sunday group.
The head of Heritage Action for America, Michael Needham. Charles Lane of “The Washington Post.” Julie Pace, Washington bureau chief for the “Associated Press.” And former national security council staffer Gillian Turner.
Well, Michael, the Republican Senate Campaign Committee has withdrawn from joint fundraising with Roy Moore, and the establishment camp of the GOP — establishment camp of the GOP is saying, this is what happens when you have Steve Bannon looking for challengers to Republican incumbents. Your reaction?
MICHAEL NEEDHAM, HERITAGE ACTION FOR AMERICA: Well, i think that would be rewriting history. I mean I think what happened in the Alabama Senate primary was most conservatives were supporting Mo Brooks down there. He’s somebody who did very well on the Heritage Action scorecard, up (ph) for growth scorecard. Laura Ingraham (INAUDIBLE). Mark Levin also —
WALLACE: We don’t need to (INAUDIBLE) attack (ph) Mo Brooks. Let’s talk about Roy Moore.
NEEDHAM: Well, but I think it gets do something about the party. If the party is going to say, we are going to always spend millions of dollars trying to defeat the legitimate conservative, the policy focused conservative, because we want the person who will be most loyal to the current Senate leadership. And the Senate leadership fund, Mitch McConnell’s super PAC, spent millions of dollars taking Mo Brooks out because they thought that Luther Strange had a better chance of beating Roy Moore.
WALLACE: Shouldn’t Roy Moore step down?
NEEDHAM: I think that if these allegations are true, Roy Moore should step down. I think that even — even —
WALLACE: Well, (INAUDIBLE) — why (ph) only (ph) if these allegations are true? I mean in the — you’re never — you’re never going to have proof.
NEEDHAM: The Washington Post article — sure, The Washington Post article is pretty compelling. When Roy Moore tells Sean Hannity — Sean Hannity did a very hard-hitting interview on Friday —
NEEDHAM: That he generally did not date teenagers when he was in his (ph) 1930s (ph). I think that Roy Moore is going to need to provide people more confidence that this isn’t true, because the evidence is pretty overwhelming. And if not, frankly, I think he’s going to have trouble being seated in the Senate even if he does win the election.
WALLACE: I — and he also said as part of his defense that he never asked girls out without asking permission for their mother, which is a first, I have to say.
GILLIAN TURNER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Infuriating, that’s why I was shaking my head.
WALLACE: No, go ahead.
TURNER: I mean it’s — that idea is infuriating that somehow had he asked the parents if he could go out with a 14-year-old and they had said yes, it would have been perfectly acceptable. I found that idea repugnant.
WALLACE: Julie, on the record, President Trump is taking the position of most officials that if it’s proven, then Moore should step down. Behind the scenes, what is the political team at the White House want to see?
JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, both the political team at the White House and Republicans on The Hill are kind of at a loss right now because they don’t have a good option. Absentee ballots have been printed. Roy Moore is going to be on the ballot no matter what even if he does drop out. That means he’s going to get votes.
So there are a couple of options being discussed right now. One, could you get a credible write-in candidate? That’s a tricky thing for them to do, though, because it could potentially split the Republican vote that could lead Doug Jones, the Democrat, to sneak through if you do that.
There’s been some discussion about the governor pushing off the election. No one seems to think that that’s a great idea. It’s generally not advised that you have governors stepping in to push back elections because the political situation for their party isn’t good. The repercussions of that could be pretty difficult.
And then to Michael’s point, the third option being discussed is, if Roy Moore does get through, should the Senate seat him? Again, it’s a terrible option for Republicans. If this is the candidate who Alabama voters say they want in spite of these allegations, and in spite of everything else controversial that Roy Moore has done over the years, is it up to the Republican leadership here to say, no, we don’t want him? So everyone I’ve talked to over the last couple of days in the Republican Party at the White House on this is really at a loss. They don’t see a good way out on this.
WALLACE: You talk about a Republican grassroots firestorm. You start not seating duly elected members —
WALLACE: That would create —
PACE: The precedent for — for two of these options, one, pushing off the election, and, two, having Republican leaders decide that they don’t want to seat somebody who was elected, it’s really dangerous no matter what party you’re talking about here.
WALLACE: We ask you for questions for the panel, and we got this on FaceBook from Michael P. Mulhall. Has the mainstream media coverage been fair, or has Moore been unfairly prosecuted in the court of public opinion without the benefit of careful examination and due process?
Chuck, you work for The Washington Post, which broke this story. How do you answer Michael?
CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think the best answer to that is to look at the reaction of a number Republican senators who are not, you know, who you think of as people who uncritically read The Washington Post. We saw Richard Shelby, Bill Cassidy has been mentioned. They regard this story as — or the information in the story as very credible information.
In fact, subsequent to “The Post” story, other news organizations have gone and asked the women the questions and they’ve all repeated what they said. And independent corroboration from people who were told about these allegations simultaneously has come forward.
I don’t think this is a case of the mainstream media making up a story to get Roy Moore, although I would concede that will be an effective line of defense for Roy Moore among the Republican base in Alabama.
WALLACE: Well, that’s what (INAUDIBLE) —
LANE: And he is —
WALLACE: And so is Steve Bannon.
LANE: Yes. And Steve Bannon, going to Julie’s point, I think Steve Bannon must be loving this because what Steve Bannon is about is destroying Mitch McConnell and the quote/unquote Republican establishment. And in a weird way, if Doug Jones wins, that’s a — that too is a win for Steve Bannon because it just complicates Mitch McConnell’s life and makes things more difficult.
This is a guy who compared himself once to Lennon and said he wanted to destroy the state. And in that respect I’d say he’s making a little progress here.
WALLACE: All of this, of course, happens in the wake of the shellacking that Republicans took around the country in last Tuesday’s elections.
Gillian, in the Fox News voter analysis of the Virginia governor’s race, women, let’s put it up on the screen, voted for the Democrat, Northam, over the Republican, Gillespie, women, by a margin of 19 points. If Roy Moore wins the special election next month and is seated in the Senate, won’t that just add to Republican problems heading into the 2018 midterms?
TURNER: I think it will. And when it comes to Moore’s conduct, I think whether or not he’s ultimately exonerated or proven guilty, the whole episode bodes very poorly for the Republican Party at large, both in terms of their ability to legislate over the coming year and then win elections next year because the party’s effectively now, this past week, arguing amongst itself about allegations of assault of minors. It’s a very serious and sort of horrible thing to have to hammer out in a few days before an election.
But I think more broadly speaking, looking beyond this special election, I think the party is going to have to come to terms with, is this something that we are willing to prioritize over and above policy? Meaning, are we willing to put our principles aside in order to get to policy solutions that we can all agree on. And that’s a question that I think the Republican Party has been grappling with since the 2016 general election. Unfortunately, the assault of women was a theme common during that time also.
WALLACE: All right, we’re going to have to take a break here.
When we come back, President Trump wrapping up his long trip to Asia. What did he accomplish? And the latest controversy over Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country. And that’s what they’re doing.
I do not blame China or any other country, of which there are many, for taking advantage of the United States on trade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: A dramatic shift in Donald Trump’s attitude towards China from the tough talk during the campaign to the much more conciliatory attitude these days.
And we’re back now with the panel.
Gillian, we — we did see a big shift in President Trump’s rhetoric towards China, especially on the issue of trade. Did he get played by the Chinese, or do you think that there’s a strategy there?
TURNER: I think there’s — well, those two questions are not mutually exclusive, I don’t think. He could have strategized. I’m sure he did with his advance team every moment of this trip, especially the portion that was in China. To a certain extent, he could also get played by the Chinese government and that Trump as a — his presidential persona aside, seems to be somebody who is very committed to the idea of interpersonal relationships. He puts a lot — a lot of sort of heart and soul and a large stake into how we interacts person to person with other world leaders. And he seems to measure the bilateral relationship in accordance with that.
Do the Chinese look at the bilateral relationship with the United States in the same way? Absolutely not. So whether or not he was played remains to be seen. But I think overall there was a — there was a sort of coming to terms with the personality on the — at the top level of the relationship.
WALLACE: There was also, Chuck, a dramatic contrast between President Trump and Chinese President Xi when it came to the speeches they made at the Pacific Summit in Vietnam. Trump was talking about bilateral trade with individual countries, while Xi was talking in a way that the U.S. used to about major regional multilateral deals. Is President Trump creating, in a sense, a power vacuum that the Chinese are all too happy to fill?
LANE: This has been going on for a while. Xi, in Europe, gave a similar speech after Donald Trump’s election.
I think it’s even bigger than that, Chris. I think the withdrawal of the United States from the TPP — when this period is written about later on, it will be seen as a real watershed in the power balance in East Asia generally. The Asia-Pacific region generally. Because, as you know, this last week the remaining countries that would have been in the TPP have decided to form a deal among themselves and, in effect, kind of deal with China and the United States separately.
But let’s not forget, rejection of TPP was basically bipartisan in this country. 2016, the American people pretty much voted pretty enthusiastically for two candidates, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, who were against TPP. This is not just — this is one of those things that’s not just about Trump. There’s been a real sea change in the attitude of the American public about trade.
WALLACE: Then there is Russia. After meeting with Vladimir Putin at that Pacific Summit in Vietnam, the president first seemed to suggest that he believed Putin’s denial of any meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and later, as we showed you at the top of the show, Kevin Corke’s (ph) piece, he, at a news conference, had to go to considerable lengths to say, no, he agreed with U.S. intelligence that there was meddling, not with Putin.
Julie, let me bring you in on this. Do White House officials think that with the press conference, that he got himself on the hook on the question of Putin and believing or not believing in Russian meddling?
PACE: I think they feel better about that answer. But the mere fact that he had to do cleanup duty for a second day on this question, it remains confounding to people in the national security establishment, including people in the administration, that he can’t get this answer right. Every time that Trump gets asked about this, particularly when he is discussing this matter with Putin, either on the phone or in person, his instinct always just seems to be a little bit off and it turns what could be a simple question into a two-day story in the middle of this big foreign trip.
And, of course, it feeds the notion among his opponents that there’s some reason why he always seems to be a little more generous to Putin, why he always seems to be at least willing to tolerate Putin saying, we didn’t interfere in the election, when we know that U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded otherwise.
And there was a slight dig still at the intelligence community in his answer today where he said he sides with them, particularly under this leadership. Well, this leadership, which is his leadership, was not the leadership that came to that conclusion at the end of the Obama administration.
WALLACE: Well, he trashed the old leadership, the Obama leadership, Clapper and Comey and John Brennan. He called them all political hacks. So —
PACE: And none of that goes over well with the intelligence community, which really views itself as kind of outside of politics, despite the fact that they have politically appointed leaders. They view themselves as people who are making independent assessments regardless of who’s in the Oval Office.
WALLACE: Let’s turn to what was at the beginning of the trip supposed to be the big issue, and was a big part of the trip, and that’s North Korea. The president repeatedly urged Pacific nations to rally together to oppose the Kim regime. Here he has.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The future of this region and its beautiful people must not be held hostage to a dictator’s twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Michael, do you see anything specific that the president accomplished? He made a bunch of speeches calling out the regime. Sometimes he was kind of bad cop, sometimes good cop. But he was always saying, we’ve got to stop the nuclear relation of North Korea. Did you see anything specific, though, that indicates that he may have made some progress in this area?
NEEDHAM: Sure. I think he went over and, first of all, continued to emphasize and strengthen our relationship, both with Japan and Korea. In his speech in South Korea, he said that South Korea will always be an ally of the United States for a long time. And we should say, reciprocally, the United States will be an ally of South Korea for a long time. So I think it’s important as we deal with the North Koreans to solidify those two relationships.
I think he made it clear that America is not looking to preemptively go into North Korea to do anything. That — that Kim Jong-un should know that. And put that into his calculations. But that we’re also going to be strong. And that our policy towards North Korea is going to rely on ballistic missile defense, on strong sanctions, and on keeping pressure on the Kim regime.
So I thought, you know, did he make groundbreaking progress that will go down in the history books? But, obviously not. But I thought on each of those things he may the important incremental progress that’s necessary to keep pressure up and to get to a better outcome.
WALLACE: Gillian is our foreign policy expert on this panel, and I don’t mean to insult the rest of you, but she was on the National Security Council staff.
Where do you think the Trump trip leaves U.S. relations in the Pacific, and particularly on the questions of China and North Korea?
TURNER: Well, I — the way I looked at the trip was it was really a trip in two parts. And — and the first part of the trip had this — as Michael alluded to — this emphasis on multilateralism, on projecting American strength and military prowess. That was why the president chose to do his first stop at Pacific Command. I think that was a direct message campaign for Kim Jong-un.
The second part of the trip, unfortunately, it was all about the Trump doctrine, America first, that goes to the trade point. But the specter hanging over that ended up being Putin. And I think if the president had actually had a bilateral meeting with him at APEC, it would have helped put a lot of this to bed. If he had had an hour with the president and was able to actually take him to task on meddling, rather than just asking him in an offhanded way about the 2016 general election, we might have something that would enable us to move forward. The — us, the American people, the American voters. But, unfortunately, we didn’t have that opportunity. It was a — it was a missed opportunity.
WALLACE: All right, thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our “Power Player of the Week.” A new museum dedicated to the bestselling book of all time.
WALLACE: There are more Bibles in circulation in this country than ever before. An average of 2.2 per family. But how much does each of us know about the Bible? And how can we learn more? Here is our “Power Player of the Week.”
CARY SUMMERS, PRESIDENT, MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE: Children’s museums, dinosaur museums, science museums, art museums. There wasn’t a museum for the Bible. And that’s the reason we built it.
WALLACE (voice-over): Welcome to Washington’s newest attraction. And it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. The Museum of the Bible, inspiring, informative, and downright entertaining.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, can you see the photos? Oh.
WALLACE: Cary Summers is the museum’s president.
SUMMERS: Is where we are as a world right now. If it’s not engaging, interesting, interactive, than many people just walk right by it no matter how good it is.
WALLACE: So, yes, there are 3,100 items on display, many of them remarkable. From fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, to the handwritten poem Julia Ward Howe wrote in 1861 that became the words to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
But there’s also a recreation of the roads Jesus walked in Nazareth.
SUMMERS: They have a perspective they’ve never had before until they see, wow, now I see why he talked the way he talked about all of us, about the synagogue, about ritual baths, and it takes on a whole new meaning for them.
WALLACE: There is even a ride. What’s called a fly board, that lets you soar over Washington looking for biblical inscriptions.
But what may be even more surprising is the attitude of the museum.
SUMMERS: We’re non-sectarian, which is — it means, we don’t try to promote any faith or denomination, and our goal is to get people engaged in the Bible, to get them to at least open it up and take a look at it.
WALLACE: Still, there’s some controversy about the museum. The Green family that owns Hobby Lobby and the National Christian Foundation are the two biggest donors.
SUMMERS: They are what it says. They are a donor. Their — they have not tried to direct the project. They have not tried to interject their personal points of view at all.
WALLACE (on camera): Some critics say this museum is really an evangelical outpost to Congress.
SUMMERS: Yes, that’s a fun one because all you have to do is come in. And if you’re here an hour, you realize it’s not.
WALLACE (voice-over): It’s a sight to behold, from the huge bronze doors that recreate the Gutenberg Bible’s printing plate of the first page of Genesis, to the soaring entry hall with its religious images, to unique artifacts and immersive technology. One quarter of American families identify as evangelical.
WALLACE (on camera): You think there’s going to be a big draw, don’t you?
SUMMERS: There’s going to be a big draw. We know that. It’s going to be very large.
WALLACE (voice-over): And once people come here, Summers is confidence of their reaction.
SUMMERS: The Bible is, love it or hate it, it’s just one of the great reads of all time. Our goal is, when you walk in that front door, is that your jaw hits the ground and you say, wow. And when you leave, you say, this may be the greatest museum, or certainly one of them, that I’ve ever been in. That’s what we’re after.
WALLACE: The Museum of the Bible opens to the public this coming Saturday. You won’t want to miss it.
And that’s it for today. Have a great week and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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