tv Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace FOX News April 2, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
chris: i'm chris wallace. congress' investigation into links between the trump campaign and russia get sidetracked by questions of whether a committee chair is working to help the white house. ♪ ♪ >> there's no question that there is a cloud over the investigation. >> what occurred between chairman nuñes and coming here was both routine and proper. >> it's very mist rouse to me, though, why all of a sudden general flynn is out there saying he wants immunity. i don't think congress should give him immunity. chris: the latest on what the president calls a witch haunt and what some democrats are calling a cover-up when we sit down with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell.
then, in the wake of the gop's defeat on health care, president trump moves ahead with the rest of his agenda, this week rolling back obama climate change policies. >> my action today is the latest in a series of steps the create american jobs and to grow american wealth. chris: we'll discuss the president's move to revive the fossil fuel industry with scott pruitt, head of the environmental protection agency. it's a "fox news sunday" exclusive. plus, president trump attacks members of his own party, but the house freedom caucus fights back. >> it may allow a child to get his way, but that's not how our government works. chris: we'll ask our sunday panel about the growing civil war inside the gop. and our power player of the week going even deeper into space. >> this telescope will be over a hundred times more sensitive than the hubbel. chris: all right now on "fox news sunday."
and hello again from fox news in washington. the white house is fighting back against the investigation into possible links between the trump campaign and russia, claiming the press and congress should focus instead on allegations the obama administration conducted political surveillance of the trump team. in a moment we'll discuss the fallout with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. but first, let's bring in fox news correspondent kevin corke with the latest from the white house. kevin? >> reporter: chris, as is usually the case in washington scandals, it's the cover-up and not the crime that usually ensnares, and there are legitimate questions about that with respect to the ongoing controversy over what house intelligence committee chair devin nuñes knew about possible surveillance of trump aides and how he came about getting that information. nuñes, you may recall, claimed to have such compelling information, he needed to rush to the white house and tell the president himself. but he did that without sharing what he found with fellow members of the intelligence committee which is highly unusual.
this as fox news has confirmed that nuñes received key information from a pair of white house aides, calling into question not only his rich with the administration -- his wynn with the administration, but his ability to be impartial. concerns further complicated by his decision to delay former acting attorney general sally yates from testifying about possible links between russia and the trump campaign, hearings that would have included former director of national intelligence james clapper and too former cia director john brennan. >> i hope she testifies. i look forward to it. it was never -- let's be honest, the hearing was never, was actually never notified. if they choose to move forward, great. we have no problem with her testifying, plain and simple. the report in "the washington post" is 100% false. >> reporter: chris, speaker paul ryan said that nuñes told him his source has whistleblower-type information. we'll see what that means.
we don't know at this point, but what we certainly know is that mike flynn, the former national security adviser, had his rights violated in this saga. we'll see if he's able to testify with immunity. we'll see how
that all turns off. chris? chris: kevin corke, thanks for that. joining me now from kentucky to discuss this and much more, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. senator, welcome back to "fox news sunday." >> good morning. chris: let's start with russia. you were last month briefed by fbi director comey as part of the so-called gang of eight congressional leaders. have you seen any evidence of collusion between russia and the trump campaign or any evidence that the obama administration did anything improper in surveilling the trump team? >> well, chris, as you know, i asked the senate intelligence committee to investigate all of these allegations. senator burr and senator warner are going forward in a very
constructive, bipartisan basis. the only thing i asked them to do is to find out what happened. and once they've found out what happened, hopefully, they'll be able to issue a unanimous report, and we'll all know what, if anything, went on based on these allegations. chris: do you worry -- and, obviously, we don't know what went on -- do you worry, though, that this continuing controversy is interfering with the president's ability to push his agenda? >> well, it's certainly not helpful. the president's actual agenda has been really quite constructive. all the efforts to begin the deregulatory effort we need to get the economy moving again, fabulous supreme court nominee that i know we'll be discussing later, moving forward on tax reform, this is just what the country needs to get the kind of growth rate that would produce jobs and opportunity for the next generation.
chris: i want to ask you one last question about russia, too, before we get to the supreme court justice. given all of the politics on all sides, the continuing controversy, why not appoint an independent 9/11-style commission or have the justice department appoint a special counsel so you have a truly nonpartisan, independent investigation that everybody can trust? >> it's just not necessary based on what we know now. we've got a bipartisan investigation underway. it's called the senate intelligence committee. senator burr and senator warner had a joint press conference this week. i think they clearly laid out that they're going wherever the facts take them. we don't need yet another investigation. we know the fbi's looking at it from their perspective. it's being handled appropriately, and it will be handled well. chris: you have promised that the senate will confirm judge neil gorsuch to the u.s. supreme court by friday. two questions. one, do you stand by that schedule, friday vote; and, two,
do you have the eight votes of democrats so that you can beat a filibuster? >> well, look, judge gorsuch deserves to be confirmed, you know? unanimously well-qualified by the american bar association, my counterpart, senator schumer, once called it the gold standard. in the majority 99% of the time, 97% of his rulings were unanimous, only reversed one time in a case in which he participated by the supreme court. president obama's former acting solicitor general said there's no principled reason to pose him. that's why he'll ultimately be confirmed. exactly how that happens, chris, will be up to our democratic colleagues. i think it is noteworthy that no supreme court justice has ever in the history of our country been stopped by a partisan filibuster. ever. and, in fact, the business of filibuster oring judges is a fairly recent invention.
ironically, of the now-minority in the senate, the democrats. and in particular senator schumer who convinced his colleagues after bush 43 got elected to start routinely filibustering judges. chris: let me ask you some specific questions. will there be a confirmation vote by friday? >> yes. we're going to confirm judge gorsuch this week. chris: secondly, do you have the eight democratic votes as we sit here today to avoid a filibuster? >> well, i don't think we know. there are democrats who have not yet announced their position. i assume, chris, during the course of the week what you asked me will become revealed by announcements of democrats who have not yet set out what they're going to do. chris: you say that he'll be confirmed one way or the other, so does that mean if you can't stop a filibuster, that you will go to the nuclear option and change the senate rules so that you can cut off debate with 51 votes and confirm him? >> look, what i'm telling you is that judge gorsuch is going to
be confirmed. the way in which that occurs is in the hands of the democratic minority. and i think during the course of the week, we'll find out exactly how this will end. but it will end with his confirmation. chris: let me pick up on that. back in 2013 the democrats invoked the nuclear option to allow a simple majority, 51 votes, on confirmation of lower court judges. at that time you said that was a big mistake. here you are, sir. >> you think this is in the best interests of the united states senate and the american people, to make advise and consent in effect mean nothing? obviously, you can break the rules to change the rules to achieve that. but some of us have been around here long enough to know the shoe is sometimes on the other foot. chris: now you're prepared to do the same thing, break the rules, change the rules to break the rules. and the question is i understand
you want neil gorsuch on the court, but is it worth it? because what you're basically doing is destroying part of what makes the senate special, the need to reach out otto a bipartisan -- out to a bipartisan majority. >> well, the answer to your question is, of course i was upset about their effort to break the rules in order to change the rules. but the rest of the story is when we came to the majority a year and a half later, we discussed whether or not we should change it back. and i argued against that precisely because the way we ended up was the way the senate had operated on confirmations for 230 years. down to 2000. this business of filibustering judges and cabinet appointments is a recent phenomenon. even though it was always possible, chris, to filibuster executive branch appointments, it just wasn't done. and the most conspicuous to example of that was the clarence thomas nomination. he was confirmed for the supreme court 52-48.
just for your listeners to know, all it takes to get a filly buster in the senate is for any one of the 100 senators to say you have to get 60 votes. not a single senator, not one, not ted kennedy, not joe biden, no one said you had to get 60 votes. so even though i very much disliked the way the senate democrats did this in 2013, in effect it restored the practice, the practice and the custom of the senate down to 2000. chris: the government runs out of money on april 28th which means we could have another government shutdown on the 29th which just coincidentally would be donald trump's 99th day in office. how confident are you that you and congress can avoid a government shutdown? >> yeah, i'm very confident. the two appropriations committees are work working on the bills on a bipartisan basis. we'll be talking to senate democrats, they will be relevant
to this process. it will require 60 votes. i'm confident senate democrats are not going to want to shut down the government. they used to use that against us all the time, and i think it worked pretty effectively for them, and i can't imagine they would want to acquire the government shutdown label. chris: but, look, there's some argument they'll say it's you, republicans, who could make the shutdown happen. there are a number of priorities that president trump and other republicans want that democrats find unacceptable. i want to go through a couple of them with you, senator. $1.5 billion to start building the wall with mexico, a major defense spending increase and domestic spending cuts, and some house conservatives want defunding of planned parenthood. question: are you prepared to risk a government shutdown over any of those issues? >> look, we're going to negotiate all of those items in the context of this funding bill which will fund the government
through september 30th. we'll be debating these issues again for next year's appropriations which start october 1. but we'll be able to work all that out. nobody wants a government shutdown. i think the senate democrats know that every time we've had a government shutdown situation, it's been the congress that's been blamed and not the president. so i would advise president trump don't worry about them sticking that label on you. congress owns the government shutdown brand, and there's no incentive, frankly, for either side to go to the brink. i think we're going to be able to work all this out later this month. chris: but just to push on one of them because president trump says he wants that $1.5 billion to start building the wall. you would not risk a government shutdown by insisting that be in a spending bill? [laughter] >> what i'm saying, chris, is we're going to work all this out on a bipartisan basis. the democrats will be fully involved in the discussion, so
will the president. we'll work it out and avoid any kind of catastrophic event. chris: senator
mcconnell, that's a helpful note on which to end. thank you. thanks for your time. it's always good to talk with you, sir. >> thank you. chris: up next, the man behind president trump's sweeping effort to roll back obama climate change policies. epa chief scott pruitt. ♪ ♪ oh, how waso good!en house? did you apply? oh, i'll do it later today. your credit score must be amazing. my credit score? credit karma. it's free. that's great! um hm. just whip bam boom, it's done. that apartment is mine! credit karma. give yourself some credit.
so you'rhow nice.a party? i'll be right there. and the butchery begins. what am i gonna wear? this party is super fancy. let's go. i'm ready. are you my uber? [ horn honks ] hold on. the biggest week in tv is back. [ doorbell rings ] par-tay! xfinity watchathon week starts april 3. get unlimited access to all of netflix and more, free with xfinity on demand. ♪ ♪ chris: a look at nationals park where washington's finest have opening day tomorrow for the baseball season. but there will be no presidential first pitch as the white house declined an invitation. mr. trump, who once called global warming a hoax, signed a
sweeping executive order this week calling for regulators to rewrite president obama's climate change policies. joining me now from oklahoma is scott pruitt, mr. trump's new administrator for the environmental protection agency. mr. pruitt, welcome to "fox news sunday." >> good morning, chris. how are you? chris: good. when the obama epa announced its clean power plan, it said that the reduction in carbon pollution would have the following health benefits, i want to put them up on the screen. by 2030 it said there would be 90,000 fewer asthma attacks a year, 300,000 fewer missed work and school days and 3600 fewer premature deaths a year. without the clean power plan, how are you going to prevent those terrible things? >> well, chris, i think what's important this past week is to recognize that the president's keeping his promise to the american people to roll back regulatory overreach that's been
occurring the last several years. and as you know, the clean power plan is subject to a u.s. supreme court stay. and the steps that have been taken by the epa historically have equally been challenged several times with respect to co2 regulation, and each of those times the supreme court and courts have entered and said that the power that's been used has been an overreach. so the president's keeping his promise to deal with that overreach, chris. it doesn't mean that clean air and clean water is not going to be the focus in the future. we're just going to do it right, within the consistency of the framework that the congress has passed. and i think that's very important to recognize. chris: sir, you're giving me a regulatory answer, not a health answer, i talked about 90,000 fewer asthma attacks, 300,000 fewer missed days in school and work. the obama clean power plan called, that said that carbon pollution from the power sector would be reduced by 30%, it would be a third lower than it
was in 2005. here's what the american lung association says. half of all americans now live in counties with unhealthy air. you talk about regulatory overreach, but the question is, there are 166 million people living in unclean air, and you're going to remove some of the pollution restrictions which will make the air even worse. >> well, chris, a couple things. we're actually at pre-994 levels with respect to our co2 foot print. this country is doing far better than most across the globe. as you know also since 1980, we've had a 65% reduction in those key air pollutions, particulate matter and to ozone while at the same time growing our economy. i think we've adapted to and adopted this previous administration's view that if you're pro-jobs and pro-growth, you can't be pro-environment. if you're pro-environment, you can't be pro-growth and pro-jobs, and that's just simply --
chris: but, sir, if i may, you're talking about these reductions, but even with those reductions the fact is that according to the american lung association -- which would have an interest in this -- 166 million people are living in unsafe air. and if you do away with the clean power plan and boost as the president promises coal production, then you're going to make the air even worse. what about those 166 million people? >> chris, i think what you're referring to is we have about 40% of the country in nonattainment right now with those key air pollutants under our ambient air standards which is outside of the co2 discussion. i agree wholeheartedly we need to focus our attention at making sure we make progressing there. that's one of the key priorities of the administration, is to improve air quality beyond the 60% attainment that we see. that's not been a focal point over the last several years, as much as it should be -- chris: and let me just ask, you think rewriting, in effect, doing away with the clean power plan is going to improve air
quality which you say is a major goal? >> look, chris, what we have to keep in mind is that the epa only pezs authority -- possesses authority that congress gives it the epa has tried twice with the co2 rule, the clean power plan that the president introduced in 2015 which is subject to a u.s. supreme court stay. as much as we want to see progress made with clean air and clean water with an understanding that we can also grow jobs, we have to do so within the framework of what congress has passed. the tools have to be in the toolbox. the past administration just made it up. they reimagined authority under the statute. there's a commitment with the new administration to have a pro-growth, pro-environment approach to these issues but also to respect rule of law. you've talked about many times the regulatory overreach by executive fiat that the previous administration engaged in. we can't continue that process because what happens, chris, is clean air is not advanced because you have litigation such as the clean power plan, and you have stays of enforcement against that clean power plan,
and there's no progress being made with clean air, and we also are spending money on litigation -- chris: but you, look, i mean, that goes both ways, sir, because the fact is that you're already in litigation on the attempt to reverse the clean power plan. you're already getting sued on that, so there's litigation either way. let me, let me pursue this issue because president trump is going to sit down this week with chinese president xi, and for years american presidents have been pushing chinese leaders to improve greenhouse gas emissions, to reverse them. are you comfortable seeing the roles reversed this week where it'll now be the chinese president pushing pr trump to cut down on pollution? >> well, look, i mean, chris, it's quite -- when you look at what happened in paris at the paris agreement and paris accord, china and india weren't required to take any steps toward reduction of co2 until the year 2030. that discussion, to think that
china and india are more committed to co2 reduction in this country, i think, is quite false. as i indicated earlier, we are pre-1994 levels, and you know what? largely because of fracking, because there's been a conversion to natural gas. and what's important, chris, in my view is utility companies today cross this country, you ought not have the regulator in washington, d.c., in this instance the epa, picking winners and losers, saying to the american people that we're going to be anti-coal, anti-fossil fuel as we generate electricity. that's bad for america. fuel diversity is very important. we have shown leadership. as i've indicated, we've made great progress with our air quality since 1980, and we're -- we've made progress on the co2 reduction side as well at the same time as growing jobs -- chris: but if i may -- >> we have nothing to be apologetic about as a country -- chris: i'm sorry, say that again? >> we have nothing to be apologetic about with respect to leadership that we've shown as a
country with respect to these key issues, and the president doesn't either. he's showing great leadership, and we can do both. chris: let me ask you a specific question on that. you talk about the paris accords which do call for reductions by china and other countries by 2030 and, in fact, china has already begun reducing its carbon emissions from coal power plants as you well know. president xi in january said that the paris climate accords should remain in force as the chief environmental officer for the trump administration, can you make the same commitment to the paris climate accords? >> engagement internationally is very important. to demonstrate the leadership that we've shown on this issue with china and india and other nations is very important. those discussions should ensue. but what paris represents is a bad deal for this country. we front loaded our costs, china and india back loaded theirs. that caused a contraction in our economy. we have shown leadership in a
key way, chris -- chris: but the point is, sir, the point is that president xi is more committed to paris than the united states is. >> but is he more committed in action and deed, and the answer is, no. we've demonstrated through the steps we've taken already pre-1994 levels because that technology, we can burn coal in a clean fashion. we shouldn't have this commitment by the u.s. government to say that fossil fuels are bad, renewables are good. the u.s. epa and the u.s. government should not pick winners and losers, chris, and that's what's happened the last several years, and we demonstrated that leadership -- chris: i'm sorry to rush you along, but we do have limited time, sir, and i say it respectfully. you had a famous exchange last month that i'd like to play right now. >> do you believe that it's been proven that co2 is the primary control knob for climate? do you believe that? >> no, i would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see. chris: mr. pruitt, there are all
kinds of studies that contradict you. the u.n.'s panel on climate change says it is at least 95% likely more than half the temperature increase since the mid 20th century is due to human activities. noaa, that's our own national oceanic and atmospheric administration, says there's more carbon dioxide now than in the last 400,000 years, and noaa says 2015 and 2014 are the two hottest years on record. mr. twiew wit, are we supposed to believe that's all a coincidence? >> no. look, chris, i've said through the process in my confirmation process, individually with senators as well that there's a warming trend, the climate is changing, and human activity contributes to that change in some to measure. the real issue is how much we contribute to it and measuring that with precision. but then also, what is the process as far as response. what can we do about it. the tools in the toolbox to address the co2 issue. and you can't just simply from
the epa perspective make that up. you can't do what president obama did and his administration to simply reimagine authority. that's why we have a u.s. supreme court stay against the clean power plan, that's why president trump is dealing with that regulatory overreach and charting the new path forward to deal with these issues within the framework of the -- chris: but, sir, you're kind of sugar coating what you said. you said i would not agree that co2 is a primary contributor to global warming, and the question i have is what if you're wrong? what if, in fact, the earth is warming, what if it is causing dramatic climate change and that we as humans through carbon emissions are contributing to it? simple question. what if you're wrong? >> see, look, let me say to you co2 contributes to greenhouse gas, it has a greenhouse gas effect and global warming as methane does and other types of gases. the issue is how much we contribute to it from the human activity perspective and what can be done about it from a
prosper spective, chris. chris: but don't you think the fact that we have these coal power plants belching carbon emissions into the area, you don't think that plays a role? >> i think we've done it better than anybody in the world at oning coal in a clean fashion. the technological advances that we've seen along with natural gas production and generating electricity which all contributed to -- have all contributeed to a co2 footprint that's pre-1994. we've been a good steward of our environment. we have nothing to be apologetic about. we're going to operate within the framework of the clean air act to deal with these issues and make sure we advance clean air, clean water not just with respect to co2, but with those key air pollutants under the ambient air quality program we have. chris: again, i apologize sir, because it goes to the whole question of the commitment to trying to improve the environment. under the president's new budget, the epa is cut 31%, that
is more than any other agency, and i want to put up some of the cuts kin colluded in the -- cuts included in the president's budget. great lakes restoration, water run ah control for farmers, pesticide safety. what does that say about the commitment of this administration and you to cleaning up the environment when you're making a 31% cut in your agency and cutting things like that, water run ahs for farm -- runoffs for farmers? >> well, part of the issue, chris, is over the last several years there's been a lack of commitment to state partnership. you know, we have state departments of environmental quality across the country that have the resources and the expertise to deal with clean water and clean air issues, and so renewing that partnership -- chris: are you sure they're going to pick up the slam, or might water safety, water runoff, great lakes restoration, might that all just go by the wayside? >> i've met with several governors, in fact, within the first week of having been on the
job i met with 20-plus governor cans, and they're claimed to pro-jobs and pro-environment. they have to serve the people in their states as well. and this attitude in washington, d.c. that people in texas and oklahoma and kansas and colorado and the rest of the country don't care about the water they drink or the air they breathe and are not going to take care of the air and water locally, i just don't believe that. that narrative is something we reject, and we look forward to partnering with states across the country to achieve good outcomes. chris: mr. pruitt, thanks for joining us. it's an important conversation, and we'd love to count with you, sir. >> thanks, chris. chris: up next, the growing russia controversy. the trump team says the real scandal is what the obama administration did. ♪ ♪ i'm only in my 60's.
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documents misused, mishandled and potentially did some very bad things with classified information. chris: white house spokesman sean spicer pushing back on questions about the trump campaign and russia saying the real focus should be on the obama administration's leak of class fayed information -- classified information about the trump transition. it's time now for our sunday group, laura ingram, gerald seib, julie pace who coffers the white house for the associated press, and former national security council staffer gillian turner. laura, the president and his team dug in deeper this week on this whole russia scandal, and their argument now is that the obama administration surveilled the trump team and then spread that classified information for political purposes. is this helping or hurting the white house? >> i think they know that as long as this investigation goes on, the harder it is for them to push on a number of fronts their
domestic agenda, foreign policy. because i think a lot of folks do believe that the russia focus is meant in part to delegitimize the presidency of donald trump: so when sean spicer makes that point, i think he's right. if grassley's letter that he sent a few days ago -- chris: senator grassley. >> yeah, senator grassley who you don't want to tangle with. he's like a dog on a bone when he gets on an issue. he sent a letter to the fbi about andrew mccabe who was the number two person at the fbi. andrew mccabe's wife received $700,000 in political contributions arranged and facilitated by none other than clinton friend terry mcauliffe. and his concern is that all documents be preserved, all communications better be turned over about what andrew mccabe knew and when he knew it about the unmasking of individuals who were surveilled during the trump
transition or during the trump campaign. if it turns out at the end of all of in that the fbi and our intelligence agencies have turned into partisan, political operations with an agenda, then republicans and democrats should be very concerned. if it all turns out this is just a routine investigation, the trump administration will be egg on its face. but i have a feeling that we're going to find out a lot more about who was involved in the unmasking and who had an agenda. chris: julie, it was devin nuñes, the chair of the white he intelligence committee, who indicated that he got information about surveillance and unmasking from an outsider. take a look. >> sources and methods are kept very confidential. we invite whistleblowers to come forward. >> [inaudible] should the administration -- [inaudible] >> the administration, i don't think, is aware of this. i want to make sure i go over there and tell them what i know, because it involves them. chris: but as the week went on,
it became clear that officials at the president's own national security council inside the white house were deeply involved in this which raises the question as to are the president and his team and devin nuñes all working together to protect trump. >> and i think it's important to note that even before nuñes came out and said he had received this new information, there were officials in the white house that were telling reporters you should really be focused on this issue of improper unmasking. this is where we think the real story is. and suddenly devin nuñes shows up and says he's received information on exactly that topic. look, if there is improper unmasking of trump officials -- chris: unmasking means identification. basically that there was surveillance of people, and they have not even been in american, they may have been foreigners, and they're talking about americans, and one american person, american person two, if it becomes clear american person
one is donald trump, you not supposed to say that. >> though if you talk to intelligence officials, they say when you are talking about someone like the president or the president's national security adviser, their identity becomes almost impossible to reveal based on the nature of the conversations. if there was improper handling of classified information, if it was spread improperly throughout the government, that's a real concern, but the white house and nuñes aren't doing themselves any favors when they try to cover up how this information is getting into the chairman's hands. chris: gillian, as someone who worked in the national security council both in the 43 administration and the obama administration, how unusual for officials in the national security council to get involved in such a partisan, actively partisan issue, and also for the former national security adviser, michael flynn, to seek immunity from criminal prosecution in return for testifying? and along those lines, i want to point out here's what mr. flynn and donald trump said during the campaign about the fact that
clinton campaign officials got immunity in the e-mail investigation. here it is. >> when you are given immunity, that means you've probably committed a crime. >> and if you're not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for, right? chris: and now president trump is supporting immunity for michael flynn. >> yes. which the whole situation, the whole scenario is highly unusual. but i would say this, that this story especially with nuñes' involvement is like an onion where every day we're peeling back more and more layers, and we could kind of go back and forth for infinity on who checked into the white house when and when they left and who talked to who. but at the core of the story remains two national security issues. one is the leaking of classified information to include the surveillance issue. the other is potential russian attempted interference in the united states general election. now, both of these issues are very more important than the politics surrounding them, by which i mean they both have
implications for american national defense. and, by the way, they both span two presidential administrations at this point. people will push back and say but there's no evidence of collusion between trump campaign team and russia in the general election. and that's fine and that's true. but i actually argue that that makes an investigation, a really thorough investigation about russian efforts more important because it means that whatever they were able to, wherever they were able to get to, anything they achieved they did on their own. isn't that more compelling? chris: well, we don't know that. i mean, that's one of the things, and as fbi director comey said in the house hearing, he said that they are currently investigating russia and also the possibility of trump campaign involvement. jerry, you and i have covered a lot of scandals, too many scandals in this town. [laughter] what stands out for you about this one? >> never a scandal like this. this is singular. i've never seen anything like this. i think what stands out is the fact that you have basic, core intelligence issues being discussed so publicly and so
openly. i'm not sure that's in anybody's best interests, and i'm not sure it's in the white house's interests to have it go on for infinity. if everybody could just turn out down the volume and figure out how to get to the bottom of both of these questions. and i think the one thing that happened this week is you got a glimpse that maybe there's one place that can happen, and that's the senate intelligence committee where you had senator burr on the republican side and senator warner on the democratic side, the two chairs, the chair and the ranking member come out and have a press conference and an initial hearing in which they looked like responsible adults, an actual bipartisan effort that might answer some of these questions in a way that's credible, believable and maybe will make this all go away eventually. chris: eventually. heavy emphasis on the word eventually. [laughter] when we come back, we'll discuss the president's war with the conservative freedom caucus following his defeat on obamacare repeal and replace. plus, what would you like to ask the panel about the growing divide inside the gop?
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>> we're going to get judge gorsuch confirmed. there'll be an opportunity for the democrats to invoke cloture, and we'll see where that ends. >> if judge gorsuch fails to garner 60 votes, the answer isn't toker revocably change the rules of the senate, the answer is to change the nominee. chris: senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and democratic leader chuck schumer both showing no signs of blinking in the showdown over the nomination of judge neil gorsuch to the supreme court, and we're back now with the panel. laura, as our resident supreme court watcher and a former supreme court clerk under clarence thomas -- and i'm not
taking sides here, i'm just really asking because it just keeps getting worse and worse. is there any way out of these ever more partisan wars? and what do you think -- i'm not saying this is the fault of one side or the other -- about the fact that it looks like this week we're going to see a part of the institution of the senate change and turning more into the house where it doesn't take a bipartisan majority of 60, a simple majority can decide any nomination. >> yeah, well, i think mcconnell was right in his point. this is a 200-year senate tradition that will be forever changed. and chuck schumer, i hate so -- to say this, but he's absolutely fraudulent in the way he characterizes this. there has never been a partisan filibuster of a supreme court nominee. when my former boss was confirmed during all of the controversy surrounding clarence thomas, there wasn't a filibuster. he was confirmed. it wasn't the largest of margins, but he was confirmed. the vote went forward, and he, you know, he ended up sitting on the supreme court much to the consternation of the left.
but this is just -- chris: but, i mean, look, nobody comes into this with clean hands. republicans were filibustering lower court judges in the bush administration -- not in the bush administration, in the clinton administration, i mean, this has gone back and forth. >> well, but the supreme court nomination process has never gotten to this point where there is a threaten of a partisan filibuster. mcconnell, i mean, mcconnell is, he knows this stuff inside and out, and he's completely in the right the way he characterizes it. it understand that the democrats don't want neil gorsuch on the court. i get that. but he's going to be on the court. this hurts chuck schumer, this hurts the democrats because if you get rid of this rule, now you will only be able to have 52 justices to confirm the next nominee -- chris: 51 senator, yeah. >> 51 senators. and it could be the next opening will come in june. chris: well, that's what i want to pick up on with you, jerry.
as explosive as this is, this is conservative judge scalia being replaced by another conservative judge, gorsuch. there is a lot of talk -- and it's speculation, who knows -- in june anthony kennedy, the key swing vote in the senate, might retire. and at that point, trump is naming somebody who can shift the balance of the court for three decades. >> right. and that's the argument that some to democrats even are using for not invoking -- letting the nuclear option be invoked this time. this is not an appointment that changes the ideological balance of the court. this preserves it. it's a status quo shift. the next one probably won't be or may not be. so maybe you ought to preserve your firepower until then. i think the problem right now is my colleague wrote a good piece this week say there are dueling narratives. this is a stolen supreme court seat, this belonged to merrick garland, republicans stopped it. republicans say there was a national referendum on who should be on the supreme court, it was called the presidential election. we won, this is basically a
mandate. those two can't be reconciled. chris: no, that's right. there are no clean hands in this, and there's perfect hypocrisy. let's turn to the trump agenda in the wake of the health care defeat, and the first big issue which i talked about with senator mcconnell which is the real possible of a government shutdown on to april 28th. julie, the president has been attacking members of the house freedom caucus this week, at least they're talking about reaching out to senate democrats and house democrats. do you have the sense that they have any legislative strategy going forward on this issue, preventing a shutdown, or anything else? >> no. [laughter] chris: okay. gillian. >> moving on. look, they talk about a government shutdown and feeling confident they are going to be able to avoid that, they talk about reaching out to democrats, they talk about trying to put pressure on the house freedom caucus, but it's largely just talk at this point. when you look at the democrats, there is almost no indication that democrats are cead to start working -- ready to start
working with this administration on even something like an infrastructure package which should have bipartisan support. and when it comes to the house freedom caucus, you see these guys responding to these tweets from trump, they are not feeling the pressure, they are not backing away. and this has always been a relationship that has been a little odd between trump and the freedom caucus because they may all be outsiders, they may all want to shake up washington, but the freedom caucus guys come in with a clear ideology. chris: quick specific question that i also asked mcconnell. is the president, do you think, willing to shut the government to insist that funding for the wall -- $1.5 billion -- be in the spending bill which democrats say will blow it up? >> that is a great question, and that, i think, could be a real pressure point here. if trump is willing to go to the mat for the wall funding, it's going to be hard for him, i think, to get support on both sides for that. chris: and i was going to say, then his supporters will say you promised us the wall -- >> this was one of the clearest
promises of the campaign. chris: we asked you for questions on the panel, and on the growing divide inside the gop, we got this tweet from someone known as frank the tank who writes: is it really on the divide inside the gop, is it really a divide, or are they just playing politics as usual at the expense of the people? gillian? how do you answer frank the tank? and i want you to address him by name. [laughter] >> mr. tank -- [laughter] this is for you. i think whether in the started out, you know, as more politics as usual or is really grounded in ideological opposition is debatable depending on what side of the aisle you sit on. but what's clear to people like me who sit somewhere in between is that this this has now becoma very real divide, maybe entrenched in the wake of the collapse of the health care bill. i think what we're seeing in the last few days especially is the white house digging in its heels. they're drawn up, as you mentioned, a kind of a hit list where they're now targeting people individually -- chris: by name in tweets.
>> by name, representatives amash, meadows, sanford, there's a few others. and what we're seeing on the side of the freedom caucus is they're now gearing up for their future. what is our role going to look like in the tax reform debate, how are we going to make inroads there. so i think, again, the origins of this and what the original sin is is kind of obe at this point. the battle lines have been drawn now, and i don't see how this is going to improve. chris: and as i said to julie, the question is, is there an end game here if they're going to alienate the house freedom caucus and not reach out to democrats, there's a problem. thank you, panel. see you next sunday. up next, our power player of the week. nasa's new eye on the universe. ♪ at red lobster's lobsterfest any of these 9 lobster dishes could be yours. so don't resist delicious new lobster mix and match or lobsterfest surf and turf because you won't have this chance for long.
>> for the past 27 years the hubble space telescope has been providing answers to some of the mysteries of the universe but now nasa is running with a new and improved model with hopes to uncover much more. here is our power player of the week. >> size matters when you try to collect light from a distant object. >> the james webb space telescope a project he's been working on for more than ten years. when it is lost in the fall of 2018 it will be vastly more
powerful than the hubble telescope. >> it was 100 times more sensitive than the hubble telescope. we can see objects that are 100 times more fate. one hundred times more distant. and yes part of that is size. >> twenty-one and a half feet across where hubble was only 10 feet across. we had seven times the collecting areas that hubble did. >> as the web sits it will also had five son shields as he distorts -- heat distorts images. >> the area of a tennis court. you five layers of the sun shield in each is less than how half the thickness of a piece of paper. >> it's about 100 degrees fahrenheit on the space deck. on the side it's minus 4 degrees . tight. >> we got a look at the web
and the huge clean room. outside washington. to get the huge mirror to fit in the spacecraft they have to folded up like a transformer than the shaken and expose it to deafening noise. to make sure it will survive the violence of a rocket launch. >> checking to make sure that the hardware has not changed at all. >> what will the web allow us to see that we can see now? >> it will allow us to see the first stars been formed. the vast reaches of space some of the light we see now was admitted from the first stars after the big bang. >> in effect you will be able to go back in time. you will see a light that is only now getting to us from 13 billion years ago. >> we think we will know what we will see but we are not positive. >> it was supposed to launch in 2014 at a cost of $4 billion and now it is
scheduled for eight late 2018 and the cost of $8 billion. is there one question that you hope the web will answer? >> i would love to answer that we are not alone. for instance the web will give a much clear answer whether the seven planets that were recently discovered orbiting another star can support life. it's all part of what is being called our new eye on the universe. >> we push the area -- push the envelope in every area. you wake up what's can hit my desk today and we just tackle it as a team. it's a great experience. the telescope is set to begin the first leg of the long journey -- journey later this month. it will be flown to houston and then los angeles for assembly. and finally go through the panama canal. the launch right next year.
have a great week. we will see you on the nextnews. us, we will back at 4:00 and i will be on the fox report at 7:00, see you seen. >> all right. ♪ ♪ ♪ paul: welcome to the journal editorial report. i'm paul gigot. votes on president trump's nominee expected next week. the senate judiciary committee is scheduled to vote monday on neil gorsuch with republicans now planning for a full senate vote by the end of the week before lawmakers leave for a two-week easter recess and as democratic opposition to gorsuch continues to mount and the threat of a filibuster continues to grow, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell vowed this week that he will be confirmed one way or another. >> we are going to get judge