This is a rush transcript of ‘Fox News Sunday’ on May 14, 2023. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Shannon Bream.
The Trump era border restrictions end and that means that President Biden now owns what happens next.
BREAM (voice-over): Record numbers of migrants flood the southern border now that three years of Title 42 restrictions are over.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas making this claim:
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I want to be clear: our borders are not open.
BREAM: The Biden administration announces new enforcement plans and a major change to U.S. asylum policy, but both already face legal challenges. We’ll have a live report from the Texas border.
Then, Democrats and Republicans finally come to the table to talk debt ceiling and tried to prevent economic catastrophe. But as a high-profile meeting with the president is postponed, are they making any progress behind closed doors?
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We explicitly asked Speaker McCarthy, would he take default off the table? He refused.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: But I think what we really need is a partner that’s willing to work together.
BREAM: This morning, we have two members of the House Oversight Committee, Republican Byron Donalds of Florida and Democrat Ro Khanna of California, to discuss the border, the debt ceiling standoff and the latest on the House Republicans’ investigation into foreign payments made to members of the Biden family.
Then, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis draws crowds in multiple cities in Iowa.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: It may be that Florida is the Iowa of the southeast.
BREAM: We’ll ask our Sunday panel whether he can loosen the former president’s grip on the polls in this critical state.
Plus, this Mother’s Day, we head to the National Zoo, where one very proud mom is showing off her little ones.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.
BREAM (on camera): Hello from FOX News in Washington.
We begin this morning with developments in a pivotal week along the U.S.- Mexico border. This is the situation you have been seeing on TV last few days, thousands of migrants showing up, hoping to be allowed to stay in this country. Many making the journey of the specific moment because the U.S. just ended a health restriction that had seriously blocked their entry.
Some local mayors say the amount numbers were not as high as it feared possible, though they are breaking records. And border cities are facing huge challenges. And the migrants are facing a major shift in border enforcement and in policy.
The Biden administration announcing sweeping new rules that bar most immigrants from entering for five years if they tried to cross illegally. But the rules curbing asylum are already facing a major legal challenge from the ACLU.
In a moment, Florida Republican Byron Donald joins us to discuss his state’s lawsuits over the planned release of some migrants without court dates or any plans to even track them.
But, first, we turn to Matt Finn, who’s live in El Paso, with a look at what’s really happening to migrants who show up at the border hoping to cross into the U.S. — Matt.
MATT FINN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Shannon.
Inside of this downtown shelter, there are 140 migrant women and children outside as the sun comes up here. These migrants are slowly waking up after sleeping on the street.
FINN (voice-over): In downtown El Paso, outside of the overwhelmed Sacred Heart shelter, migrants are spread across two city blocks. Sleeping on pavement and sheltering in a dirty alley, before they find the means to move on to their next location, in the U.S.
Not far from that shelter, is this point of entry at the border wall, where the migrants arrive. They are bused, processed and potentially released.
In Brownsville, Fox News cameras captured this video of migrant groups who were released, as they have been in this border town for well over a year now.
The White House denies there are mass releases and is now promising to fight a federal judge’s ruling that the government cannot release any migrant without issuing them a court date.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So, let me just say on the ruling that you just — you just laid out to me. So, look, the way we see that, it’s sabotage. It’s pure and simple, that’s how that leads to us.
FINN (on camera): And this morning, Shannon, the latest numbers from the city of El Paso, it reports it has now released 4,297 migrants into the streets here, just this past week alone. That is the highest number for any week this calendar year — Shannon.
BREAM: Matt Finn reporting from El Paso, Texas — Matt, thank you very much.
Joining us now, Florida Congressman Byron Donalds.
Congressman, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): It’s good to be back with you and happy Mother’s Day to you, Shannon, and all the mothers out there, including mine.
BREAM: Yes, to all of those precious women doing the toughest job the world will ever ask of any of us.
Okay, so let’s start at the border there because there’s not anything happening here in Washington as far as moving forward on immigration legislation, other than the House GOP has passed something, probably will die in the Senate.
Chairman Mike McCaul has said: This is our blueprint. If we win back the White House, we have the House and Senate, this is the bill that we will start from.
But Republicans have held all of those key posts before and have not fixed the border.
How much does the GOP bear blame with what we’re seeing now at the border?
DONALDS: Well, first of all, Shannon, good to be with you.
A couple of things. Under the pres — under the Trump administration, we never saw anything like this. We actually had the border under control, it was secure.
We’re still trying to figure out some side pieces of immigration policy overall because Democrats would never work with us on commonsense immigration policies, where the Democrats have always wanted is this massive surge to the border with no checks at all, no balances at all.
So, the House Republican position is a border security package that would secure the border and it was my position as well, as well as Chairman McCaul’s, that’s where we’ll be moving when we went back to the White House in 2024. And I do stress, when.
Now, that being said, what’s happening now is because of Joe Biden’s recklessness. His desire when he became president just to rip up all the Trump era policies that actually had our border secure. And now, they’re scrambling to find a solution to the crisis that Joe Biden created.
BREAM: So, Democrats will say, yes, it is true, this administration got rid of those policies, but it’s because they called them cruel and inhumane. They worked but they weren’t kind to the people who are coming here.
So, what do you say to them? And is there any area where Republicans will compromise when it comes to negotiating over some legislation?
DONALDS: Well, first of all, the Democrats do this all the time. They don’t like a policy, they call it cruel.
But what truly is cruel, Shannon, are the young women who are being raped in the journey to our southern border. They’re being raped by the coyotes. They are being raped by the drug cartels. They are being raped by other men who were in their package of people that are moving to the border.
Number two, also inhumane, the fact we’ve given operational control to the drug cartels under Joe Biden’s administration. The drug cartels are going to make about $13 billion this year, trafficking people to our southern border and then they use Joe Biden’s reckless policy to traffic massive amounts of fentanyl into our country, killing 75,000 Americans per year. That’s inhumane.
When it comes to negotiations with the Democrats on this policy, I say to them very clearly, let’s secure the border first. Let’s get it done. Let’s finish building the wall in doing all the other mechanisms that are crucial for our countries security, and when we have that done, then we can talk about all the immigration policies.
But the left wants to bring out young kids who came in through no fault of their own, quote/unquote, and use that as a poker chip, as a leverage point to say, we don’t need to secure the border. That’s insane policy for our country. We can do better.
BREAM: I want to play something that one of your colleagues said in a hearing this week. He says Republicans actually savor the situation at the border.
Here’s what Congressman Hank Johnson said about why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. HANK JOHNSON (D-GA): Republicans like to see them lined up at the border, because they know that that’s a stream of labor ready to be exploited. If you could get back to slavery, you would gladly do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Your response to your colleague?
DONALDS: I don’t have no response to Hank on this. Hank also thought Guam was going to tip over. So, that doesn’t make any sense at all.
What Republicans want to see is a secure and orderly process at our southern border. You can’t have a situation where a group of 30 or 40 migrants just walk up to a border agent, and it’s border agent because of Joe Biden and Alejandro Mayorkas policy, had to stop their job of actually patrolling the border to start filing paperwork. That’s what’s happening. And it makes no sense.
Again, the Democrats come up with all this hysteria. They bloviate. They — frankly, they gaslight the American people, instead of actually doing the job of securing the border. And once again, we see Joe Biden and the Democrats, they have no plan. And when crisis comes, they are flailing about trying to find a solution.
BREAM: So, the other big problem that needs a solution is the debt ceiling. We’re told negotiations continue through the weekend. The president’s likely we think, to meet with congressional leaders next week if they can make moves on that.
In the meantime, we got a guest essay in “The New York Times” by a former Hill staffer, worked on the Senate and House Budget Committees, who says this: Republicans are the ones putting our standard of living at risk with their risky posturing. They’re playing Russian roulette with America’s primacy in the global financial system, a privileged position undergirding our standard of living and international influence.
You understand this better than most. You have professional background in banking. The dominance of the dollar at this point.
How worried are you about the point he’s making that certainly China and Russia are rooting for the dollar to fail, for us to continue to have financial instability and uncertainty here in the U.S.?
DONALDS: Listen, I’m very concerned about China and what Russia are doing, but the solution is not just massive borrowing and massive spending. That’s no solution. That’s putting your head in the sand and is actually going to lead us to a much greater crisis down the road.
Listen, I know we just talked about the border but new problem, same issues, and the same issue is Joe Biden doesn’t lead, Joe Biden doesn’t have a plan. Joe Biden doesn’t have a strategy. And what Joe Biden brings America to every single time is a crisis point.
A hundred days ago, House Republicans started crafting together a solution to bring our spending down to pre-COVID spending levels, and also preparing to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion. We passed that plan a couple of weeks ago.
Do you know what Joe Biden and the Democrats were doing? Nothing. They did nothing, except run to the cameras and say we should just pass a clean debt ceiling.
Any family in any business in our country understands, you cannot just continue to spend massive amounts of money, and borrow massive amounts of money and there will be no consequences. Every American family has already seen the first consequence from Joe Biden. And that is a massive inflation that has been the most insidious tax the American people have seen whether you’re rich or poor, whether you’re a black or white, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, it has come for everybody.
So, to this Democrat staffer who doesn’t have the courage to share their name, I would say, sit down and be fiscally responsible. Don’t go and hide behind a reporter throwing out your talking points because you’re not being honest and you’re not telling the truth.
BREAM: So, on the issue of consequences, on this issue of default, which were told us coming days potentially in days if there’s been a deal, former President Trump who you’ve endorsed had this to say on Wednesday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I say to the Republicans out there, congressmen, senators, if they don’t give you massive cuts, you’re going to have to do a default.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: The current president says this about default. It would raise millions of jobs, trigger a session, hit retirement accounts and increase borrowing costs. It’s not an option.
So, is it an option or not? Which president do you agree with?
DONALDS: Well, look, I would you tell you right now, President Trump is a master negotiator. I don’t know what Joe Biden has ever done to negotiate anything of substance.
Let’s be very clear, Shannon, you’re going to have to curtail spending. Joe Biden wants to spend $7 trillion, that’s his budget. We only take in about $4.2 trillion to $4.5 trillion in taxes.
So, he wants to massively spend money we don’t have. He wants to massively borrow and think that there are no consequences. And like I just said, inflation is a consequence for every American under Joe Biden’s reckless policy.
So, the House position is very clear. Let’s go to pre-COVID spending levels.
Everybody understands why we had to ratchet up spending to respond to the pandemic. We all get that, but the pandemic is now over. It’s time to bring spending levels back to pre-COVID, and then we can talk about raising the debt ceiling. And, frankly, not even talk about it, Republicans have passed that plan.
If Joe Biden brings nothing to the table, if all he does is sit there with his hands in his pockets, and not understanding what he has done in a way to actually negotiate, then he’s the one leading our nation into default. And it’s very sad thing to see.
Last thing on this, there’s a proposal that’s been floating around Congress about payment prioritization. What Treasury can do is pay interest and principal on our debt first. That would actually stave off all this concern of this default. Then we could pay Social Security, Medicare, pay for our military and then go down the line.
If Democrats want to continue to run so many of the agencies that they basically put a bunch of their crazy policies into, and then they have to find a way to bring spending with Republicans so we can raise the nation’s debt ceiling going forward.
BREAM: I’ll ask Congressman Khanna about that coming.
But before we let you go, because you’re on House Oversight and part of the role of big documents that show various payments to different Biden family members from foreign accounts — from foreign actors, you said at that press conference this week, you’ve said to the press there, this is Pulitzer material. Well, not all of them are buying it.
This from “The Washington Post”, an opinion piece, says: What does the GOP have on Biden? A whole lot of nothin’. The committee produced no evidence to suggest that Joe Biden did anything at all to help his son’s overseas business partners, and there’s no evidence that one penny of any funds Hunter Biden might have been paid by foreign companies ever reached his father.
The committee (ph) set pretty high expectations on this. Are you worried about overpromising and under-delivering?
DONALDS: No, I’m not. Listen, we were able to document nine members of the Biden family who are getting money through Jim Biden and Hunter Biden from foreign companies, from China and from Romania. We’ve documented that.
Number two, since when are grandchildren getting wire payments and getting cashiers checks? That definitely sounds like a web of corruption to me.
Number three, how is Hunter Biden and Jim Biden facilitating all these business deals? All by themselves?
I remember very clearly, Hunter Biden was on Air Force Two a lot when Joe Biden was vice president. Maybe he was just hanging out getting, eating a club sandwich on Air Force Two? That’s not true.
And number four, and let’s be very clear on this one as well, there’s another bank account that’s just labeled “Biden”. It doesn’t go to Jim or Hunter or any of Hunter’s wives or girlfriends or any grandchildren. It’s just named Biden.
And we already have Tony Bobulinski who said that there was always 10 percent for the big guy. I wonder who the big guy is. Since the one guy who’s the center of all this controversy, and frankly, corruption, in my view, is the current president, who was the former vice president, who was a United States senator for 45 years.
I would tell this opinion writer to actually do some investigation. Don’t shut — don’t shut it down because anybody with basic common sense can see that the Biden family, which has no business, mind you, no business whatsoever, was making money from foreign interest because Joe Biden has been at the center of our politics for more than 50 years.
BREAM: Well, the White House and the president deny any wrongdoing. There are serious allegations and we will follow the committee’s investigation.
Congressman Donalds, thank you very much for being with us this morning.
DONALDS: Thank you.
BREAM: Up next, we’ll reaction from the other side of the aisle. Congressman Ro Khanna, Democrat, joins us next from a pretty important 2024 state. We’re going to ask him why he’s there, too.
BREAM: With the end of Title 42, there are renewed calls from some lawmakers to talk bipartisan immigration reform.
California Democrat Ro Khanna says his party is willing to compromise on immigration policies but Republicans aren’t.
Joining me now, Congressman Ro Khanna — who is notably live in New Hampshire, a key 2024 primary state, this morning.
Congressman, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Thank you, Shannon. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms watching today.
BREAM: Yes, and blessings them.
Okay. Let’s start with the border. This week marked the highest recorded number of people showing up illegally at the border. By the end of the week, it was 82,000 people recorded so far.
“The National Review” points the finger at your party, saying this: Democrats made this mess themselves. They dismantled the policies that the Trump administration had used to get a handle on the problem.
At the border this week, Senator Ted Cruz said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): I have to say, I am angry because this is deliberate. This is a decision that was made by President Joe Biden, and Kamala Harris, and congressional Democrats, to open up the border, to what is nothing less than an invasion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: So, President Biden did get rid of Trump era policies that he called inhumane. You heard what Congressman Donalds said that that’s an easy way to label things that were actually working in his estimation.
But nothing got done in this administration the first couple of years of Democrats controlling the White House and both houses of Congress.
So, who owns this chaos now at the border?
KHANNA: Shannon, nothing has gotten done since President Reagan signed bipartisan immigration reform in 1986. And instead of throwing fingers at each other, why don’t we come together in some common principles?
We need a safe and secure border. And we need an orderly and humane process. That means Congress needs to act. We need to provide the money to have judges there and to have immigration officers, so that we can actually be quickly processing the claims. The president is saying that these claims should be processed in hours, people who aren’t legitimate should be sent back.
We need to have more money for Border Patrol, which by the way, the House has passed under Democratic leadership two years ago. The Republicans didn’t vote for that.
But why not come up with a bipartisan solution? That’s what I want.
BREAM: Well, is there anything that you could work with Republicans? Because a lot of those things — you know, ramping up immigration personnel, border agents, those kind of things are included.
They say you guys had to secure the border before you can do anything else. They have things included in their bill as, you know, E-Verify as well, that all employers would have a database to make sure they are hiring people who are here legally.
Are you opposed to that?
KHANNA: Their bill is extreme, even — their Senate — the Senate won’t pass their bill. I mean, their bill takes away funding from any of the NGOs.
In El Paso, you talk to Veronica Escobar who represents that area. Why wouldn’t we want NGOs giving water to people coming across or helping deal with the situation on the border?
Their bill is for border wall. That is not something Democrats can or will support.
But we will support increased funding for Border Patrol. We will support increased funding for immigration judges to quickly process things. We will support better technology and security of the border. So, why not come up with a compromise there?
And the president, by the way, is doing everything he can to reverse the catch and release. You have border agents now, and judges, quickly calling people who are coming at the border within hours, and many of the folks who don’t have legitimate — legitimate claims aren’t being allowed in.
BREAM: So, just a couple of recent FOX polls on this, on how the president is doing on the issue of immigration — 36 percent approval, 61 percent disapproval. And how he’s treating illegal immigrants who show up, 9 percent say too tough, 60 percent, the overwhelming majority in this poll, saying not tough enough.
So, whatever the administration is doing, voters out there do not think it’s effective. They lay this at the president’s feet.
KHANNA: They understand that there is the border crisis right now in terms of people not being treated in an orderly, safe and human process.
But the problem is often with Congress. I mean, we have not provided the administration with the resources for the immigration judges or processing. We have not provided the resources for Border Patrol. We have not provided the resources for securing the border.
And I don’t believe this either Democratic or Republican issue. It’s a both party issue. I mean, President Reagan is the last president who’s gotten this done. And since then, we’ve had no bipartisan agreement.
So, the question I have for Representative Donaldson (ph) or others is, do you want to just score political points or do you want to actually work, compromise and get something done? I want to get something done.
BREAM: Well — listened to the two of you, it sounds like there are some nuggets there that you do agree on. And so, we wish you luck on doing that.
In the meantime, there were a number of GOP senators who went to the border. They are back here in D.C. talking about the issue of the fentanyl crisis. Here’s what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): Joe Biden doesn’t give a damn about Americans. And why would I say that? Seventy thousand Americans died of fentanyl overdose. Why? Joe Biden doesn’t care. He’s a completely open border.
SEN. PETE RICKETTS (R-NE): President Biden could use this health crisis of fentanyl poisons to implement Title 42. He could do that today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: I believe it’s GOP Senator Bill Haggerty who’s a guy that proposed legislatively to give the power to the president to do this, to trigger Title 42 with fentanyl as the health crisis.
Would you support that?
KHANNA: Shannon, first of all, the exact problem with politics is what Senator Scott said. I mean, come on, President Biden doesn’t give a damn about Americans? Here’s someone who has dedicated his entire life to public service.
I would never say that about President Trump. I would not say that he doesn’t care about Americans.
So, why don’t we actually deal with the issues, instead of these ad hominem attacks on our president?
Of course, I will support stronger policy to get fentanyl out of America. I’m concerned about China that’s been shipping it. It’s wrong.
I’ve heard the testimony in Congress of mothers who’ve lost their children. And let’s solve that. I mean, instead of launching ad hominem attacks at the president.
BREAM: Okay, let’s do a little lightning round and get to a couple of other things.
The debt ceiling. There is a call by the White House for clean debt ceiling. There are enough Senators, Republicans who say that’s not going to happen. They won’t vote for a clean debt ceiling. It’s filibuster proof there.
“The Federalist”, though, is summing up the idea that you can’t use the debt ceiling as a negotiating tact this way. It says: If the debt ceiling is mechanically lifted without any debate over spending, then it doesn’t really exist. If you want to spend without any limit, just say so.
What do you say?
KHANNA: We say that we should pay our bills, but we are open and believe their need to be cuts in the deficit. And here’s how Democrats would do it.
We would increase taxes on the wealthy. We would make sure that billionaires had to pay at least a 25 percent minimum tax. We would make sure that there were strategic cuts in defense spending. We would end the cap on Social Security and have tax — taxes and have taxes over $250,000 on Social Security.
We have a proposal. We just wanted to first pay our bills before implementing our proposal.
BREAM: Okay, let me touch on this as well because you also said in Oversight Committee, the bank transactions that were outlined by Republicans this week raising questions about Hunter Biden, what work he was doing, and why people — as you heard Congressman Donalds say — like grandchildren were getting paid.
More questions than answers for a lot of folks right now, but here’s something else that Congressman Donalds said this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): Whenever there was like this many companies, just laying all over the place, and you see wire transfers, cashier checks over here, going the random members of the family to no apparent purpose, at the size and velocity at which all of this is being conducted, the only logical conclusion of a financial professional is, you are concealing money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Do you have any curiosity, any questions about these transactions?
KHANNA: Steve Doocy from FOX himself asked. He said, there’s no evidence of anything illegal and there’s no evidence of anything that ties it to President Biden.
I wish the House Oversight Committee would spend more time worrying about the ordinary income of Americans going up, than they are worried about the income of Hunter Biden. And I guess the —
BREAM: So, no questions?
KHANNA: Well, I do have — here’s is my point. There is a U.S. attorney that President Trump appointed that is charged to look into all of this. And I have confidence in him. When he comes out with something, I’m not going to question it.
But why are we wasting our time politicizing this in Congress? Let him do his job. He’s a Trump appointee. He has full authority.
He can look into all of this. I’m not going to question the facts.
KHANNA: Let him do it and then, let’s agree to his process.
BREAM: Yeah, we wait on that.
Before you go, quickly, I want to ask you, you’re in New Hampshire. There is a debate about whether President Biden is going to spend much time there because there’s this fight over the primary calendar, and whether it’s going to count and who — what order.
You’re worried that he may overlook New Hampshire.
KHANNA: He should be here. He would win the state decisively in the primary. But look, people are going to be here for a year in 2023 — Trump, DeSantis, Pence. It would be a mistake for us not to make our case.
We’ve got to be in New Hampshire talking about what this president has done in North Country, in towns like Berlin, where he’s helping revitalize those small rural towns, factory towns. The president should come. He should come and give a speech about his agenda.
BREAM: All right. Congressman Khanna, always great to see you. Thanks for dropping in today.
KHANNA: Thank you.
BREAM: Former President Trump’s biggest potential 2024 challenger just barnstormed Iowa. We’ve got a live report about what voters there are thinking.
And we’ll bring our Sunday group to debate the GOP rivals’ dueling visions for the party.
BREAM: Iowa’s diehard Republican voters heard firsthand this weekend from one of the former president’s potential 2024 challenges. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis traveling to several cities in Iowa to test his message as he weighs a presidential run. There was supposed to be a bit of a showdown there with former President Trump, but he had to cancel his rally because of tornado warnings there.
Well, Alexis McAdams is there live for us in Iowa this morning with a look at what voters are thinking.
ALEXIS MCADAMS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Shannon.
That’s right, we did have a chance to talk with several voters here across Iowa. They tell us that they do not like where the country is heading, and they’ll back whomever will beat President Joe Biden.
We did have a chance to catch up with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. I asked him about what he thinks is happening at our southern border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): It’s a disaster and it’s a man-made disaster with bad policies. That border should just be shut down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCADAMS: Now, Governor DeSantis expected, Shannon, to announce a presidential campaign in the coming weeks. Fox News now confirming DeSantis will move his political operation into a new base in downtown Tallahassee on Monday. That triggers disclosure requirements with federal officials here.
And this comes as he was out in Iowa at a series of events talking with supporters in some pretty packed events. Former President Donald Trump had also planned to be here in Iowa but his team said bad weather forced them to cancel that large rally.
DeSantis then seizing on the opportunity, stopping by Des Moines, right about that time that Trumps rally would have taken place.
We asked voters what they think.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYAN ANDERSON, IOWA VOTER: Trump’s a great candidate too. I think DeSantis is even better. But that’s what the primary’s for. You’ve got to duke it out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCADAMS: And endorsements, Shannon, are rolling in on both sides here. We checked in with DeSantis’ team, who tells us that they have dozens of supporters, including three dozen Republican legislators from Iowa backing him to be the next president. And Donald Trump says he has the backing of more than 100 local elected officials in the Hawkeye state.
BREAM: All right, we’ll see if they’re both officially be running soon.
Alexis McAdams in Iowa.
Thank you, Alexis.
It is time now for our Sunday group. Fox News correspondent and former national security council staffer, Gillian Turner, “Forbes” contributing writer Richard Fowler, former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove, and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, also the author of the brand-new book, “A Watchman in the Night.”
Welcome to all of you. Great to have you here today.
OK, so you heard about the competing endorsements there in Iowa.
Karl, DeSantis isn’t even officially running yet, but Trump outpacing him there. Does it matter?
KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, we’re at the beginning of this process. Remember, Hillary Clinton was way ahead in Iowa of a – of a fellow named Barack Obama and – and was upset on caucus night.
I, frankly, thought it was a good start for DeSantis. He wisely did – in Iowa they like to see you up close and personal. They don’t want to be part of a 10,000 person crowd of a 5,000 — they want to see you up close and personal. And he had several events like that. And I thought it was good.
I was very impressed with his legislative endorsements. The Republican Senate president and the Republican House leader both endorsed him, along with 30 of their colleagues. That’s a strong – a strong start and he’s being hosted by the Republican congressman in western Iowa, Randy Feenstra, and that’s – that’s a Republican stronghold when it comes to the caucus.
BREAM: Meanwhile this week, at the town hall, former President Trump very much protecting as if he’s already the nominee. I mean that was deafly his statue there, although Marc Thiessen called it a three-alarm dumpster fire for the GOP. “Axios” reports it this way. A source familiar with the Biden campaign’s thinking told “Axios” Sophia Cai that Trump’s town hall provide weeks’ worth of damning content in one hour.
GILLIAN TURNER, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL STAFFER AND FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Marc’s not the only one to call it a dumpster fire. You know, I — I think it received widespread criticism on a whole – for a whole host of different reasons. To me they billed the event as a GOP primary town hall, yet for some reason they decided not to press the former president on the issues that Republican voters, including his own supporters, actually care about. They spent an inordinate amount of time asking him about January 6th, asking him about his allegations that the 2020 election was stolen, asking him about the accusations from E. Jean Carroll. None of those issues are things that his supporters and the Republican Party want to talk about at large. It seemed a missed opportunity to actually – if they were going to cater to Republican voters, seems like that was the moment to do so.
BREAM: Well, one of the issues that did come up was abortion, which we got a signal from the Trump campaign weeks ago that he wouldn’t be for a federal ban. Here’s what – here’s how a “Wall Street Journal” reports it. They say, when an audience member asked what he would say to women worried about last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overturned the right to abortion, Mr. Trump told her the decision was a great victory and brag about his role in nominating conservative justices to the high court. At the same time, he refused to say whether he would sign a federal abortion ban.
And, Cal, just to be clear, it obviously sent this back to the states. But this issue of whether or not he would sign off on a federal ban, he really demurred on that.
CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, you know, the Democrats used to say they wanted abortion safe, legal and rare. I think pro-lifers need to start focusing on the rare. I think those of us who are pro-life have been on the wrong end of this, are you trying to defend ourselves against charges of rape, incest, life in the mother.
The other side of the argument is more powerful. Would you be OK with abortion up until the moment of delivery? How about the eighth month? How about the seventh month? With viability? I think there’s a much stronger argument. Polls show that’s where a majority of the American people are. You’re always going to have abortion, you’re always going to have crime and these other things. But we can reduce it with the right policy. And I think arguing it from the other perspective, the beginning of life at nine months, eight months, seven months, when the fetus can be viable outside the mother, is a much better way to go, politically and morally.
BREAM: OK, in the midst of all of this, when, you know, voters and polls tell us on both sides, people are not super excited about a 2020 rematch, there’s a lot of, you know, whispering about a third-party potential contender. Axios says this headline, Manchin flirts with Iowa voters. Says he took time from his busy Senate scheduled to tell a gathering of Iowa business and community leaders Wednesday in D.C. that he’s fiscally responsible and socially compassionate. Another hint that he’s considering a potential third-party presidential bid.
Another interesting piece, Richard, out of “Axios,” they talk to a group of swing voters in Georgia who said, if they’re confronted with this rematch in 2020 but somebody who was independent and had the financial backing to actually win this thing, they’d vote for that person, or at least consider it.
RICHARD FOWLER, FORBES CONTRIBUTING WRITER AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Look, I think there’s always this flirtation with a third party. And I – and we have Karl Rove here, so he could talk about this.
Here is the problem, for many third party candidates they lack the infrastructure to get on the ballot in many of these states which creates a problem for them. I think when you think about, if there’s a potential rematch between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the recent ABC poll that came out that shows some – I mean the media that’s been fodder in the beltway. But the truth of the matter is, I think for many American voters they’re looking at it and saying, look, the election is 18 months away. There’s a lot of time here.
And we’re also looking at our wallets. We see that inflation is on its way down. It’s stubbornly high. Now, let’s not take away from that. But it seems to be on its way down and we’re now getting ready to see many of the policies that Joe Biden has – Joe Biden – Joe Biden passed, including the bipartisan infrastructure bill, start to make its way into place. And we’re going to see what that looks like. And I think that’s what voters are going to decide on.
BREAM: So, Karl, would a Manchin candidacy, which candidate would be most hurt by that, in your estimation?
ROVE: We have no idea. Look, first of all, there will be a – in all likelihood a no party’s label on the ballot.
BREAM: And they’re doing the infrastructure (INAUDIBLE).
ROVE: Because they – they’re spending $50 million. I’ve seen their plan and their plan is meticulous, well-staffed by lawyers and being executed. And I – you know, in 2016, I guess it was, we had a third-party candidate who got on 24 state ballots and was on — received write-in ballots in another 11. I think there are going to be 51 jurisdictions this year. The District of Columbia, and 50 states, with a no party, no labels party candidate (INAUDIBLE).
Who that candidate is going to be, I don’t know. If it’s Joe Manchin, we don’t know how that’s going to play out. Is Joe Manchin, if he were the candidate, going to appeal more to people who might otherwise vote for Republicans or centrist Democrats? Or is it going to be, you know, sort of a pox on both your house? We don’t – this is going to be one of the most unpredictable presidential elections that we’ve seen in our lifetime, if not the most. But it is — there will be a no labels candidate, I suspect, because they’re going to have a label and he ain’t got a good place to go home and run for the re-election to the U.S. Senate. West Virginia, which went for Donald Trump by 40 some odd votes, is not going to be particularly excited about voting for a Democrat from the Senate.
BREAM: He’s got a little trouble there based on votes on things for the – things called the Inflation Reduction Act and other things like that.
In the meantime, “Washington Post” is calling at the current president, who is running for re-election, for not doing press. They say they promise transparency but he’s stonewalling the media as he runs for a second term. He should be eager to show he can handle all aspects of the job.
THOMAS: My favorite line in that editorial is, the media is not your enemy. Now, when “The Washington Post” has to tell a Democrat that the media is not your enemy, what does that mean? You know, they used to fault Ronald Reagan for not holding more press conferences, but the American people want to see their president and feel that he is capable, especially right now when there is so much stuff out there in the water, saying that he is displaying all of the signs of mental decline. And this is serious stuff. And we’ve got to find out if the guy is equipped for a second term. He’d be 82 if he won. He’d be 86 when he left.
Look, Biden and I are the same age. He’s a – he’s a month older than I am. But I’m clean and I’m articulate, as he once said about Barack Obama.
BREAM: Are you running? Is that what you’re doing here announcing –
THOMAS: I’m running from office is what I’m doing, yes.
BREAM: Cal is announcing he’s running for president.
All right, panel, thank you very much.
We’re going to take a quick break here.
Up next, the growing fight between House Republicans and the FBI over a whistleblower document as investigations into the Biden family divide Washington and Capitol Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY MACE (R-SC): For years the left has said no one is above the law. Well, put your money where your mouth is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: South Carolina Republican Nancy Mace calling on Democrats and the press to look into documents Republicans provided this week regarding the Biden family with the same energy they expended investigating former President Trump.
We are back now with the panel.
All right, I want to put up these two opposing headlines here. “National Review” says it this way, Bidens used web of shell companies to conceal foreign cash, bank records obtained by House GOP reveal. But “The New York Times,” same response to — different responses to the same event says, House Republican report finds no evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden.
Karl, where does the truth lie? Somewhere in between? Is this a Rorschach test on how you feel about the Bidens?
ROVE: Well, they’re all sort of semi-accurate but — but let’s be honest about it, this stuff stinks! The vice president of the United States, in 2016 – or 2014 is a guy named Joe Biden. And his son gets hard by an – by a natural gas company in Ukraine, which is under examination because it’s – it’s corrupt oligarch boss and owner is – is playing footsie with Moscow and doing bad things. There’s only one reason they hired him, he was the son of the vice president of the United States. They had recently hired the longtime bag man and confidant of the – of the secretary of state, John Kerry, who recommended his business partner, Hunter Biden, be on the board. And we know that a couple years later he made a million three from this and a corrupt Romanian oligarch.
When the president — vice president goes to Ukraine in 2015, NGOs involved in the anti-corruption efforts say it really stinks to have the guy from the United States, who’s been detailed by President Obama to come and lecture us on fighting corruption to have his son be on the payroll of a corrupt company.
Now, put a Republican in there. What if it had been, you know, Jenna Bush had been hired while her father was president, or Liz Cheney had been hired while her father was vice president? Would we say there’s something stinky here?
And, now, maybe they didn’t violate a law, but the vice president of the United States, we’ve got to ask him a couple questions. Did he know in advance that – when his son went on there and did he have a problem with it and did people inside the administration say, you know what, it really doesn’t help our effort to encourage anti-corruption efforts when your son is on the payroll of a corrupt company.
This stinks! And I’m glad they put that stuff out. And, of course, everyone has like 11 LLCs for their family names. And, you know, you – you – you get money from foreign — from Romania and Ukraine and Kazakhstan and you give it to your grandkid and your sister and your brother-in-law and your wife’s blah blah and blah blah.
BREAM: Well, Richard –
KARL: I mean this is just like crazy (INAUDIBLE).
BREAM: You’re itching over here, but what about these questions? What was Hunter Biden actually doing and why were grandkid getting checks?
FOWLER: Sure. Listen, I – I think that this committee has set high expectations. And I’m not going to defend the private criticize, Hunter Biden, but there’s a couple of things here. Number one, we’ve seen elected officials’ families engage in business practices before. I point to the former president and his children who worked at the White House and then did business out of the White House, but I digress.
Let’s talk about what this committee has put out here. They put out information that’s been reported before by both “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post.” They set high expectations behind a podium in front of cameras.
What I want to see this committee do is now get behind a dais and if they have this evidence and they believe it’s hot and its good like we heard the congressman say earlier, then have a committee hearing, subpoena some people. And then when you’re done subpoenaing some people, send recommendations to the Justice Department on who they should prosecute. If not, then stop standing behind a podium and stop standing in front of cameras. It’s all we’ve seen since they’ve taken the gavel.
And let’s – let’s remind — let’s remind – let’s remind the American people that this investigation started in the United States Senate when they were under Republican control in 2018. If you don’t have the evidence by now, where is it?
BREAM: Well, and that’s a question, too, about what the U.S. attorney is doing with respect to Hunter Biden. That investigation started in 2018 too. We’re waiting for answers there.
I want to get to –
ROVE: I’m glad Richard has sort of laid the predicate. So when — if the U.S. attorney in Delaware indites Hunter Biden –
ROVE: He’s going to say that’s a good thing to have happen?
FOWLER: Sure. Sure, absolutely. Absolutely.
BREAM: OK, I want to – I want to make sure we hit on another legal case, though, and this is Daniel Penny, who has been charge in the death of Jordan Neely on the subway. He’s facing up to 15 years in prison. He’s out on bail right now. But Donte Mills, who is an attorney for Jordan Neely’s family, a young man who was obviously struggling , they want tougher charges. Here’s what that attorney said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONTE MILLS, NEELY FAMILY ATTORNEY: There was no attack. Mr. Neely did not attack anyone. He did not touch anyone. He did not hit anyone. But he was choked to death. And that can’t stand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: I mean, Cal, there’s a lot we don’t know in this case, but we know that these charges are moving forward.
THOMAS: Yes, well, that never stops anybody from speculating. You have the rhino, Al Sharpton, reverend in name only, out there, just like he did with Tawana Brawley, making all kinds of unfounded statements. This was a man, clearly, as you indicated, who had mental troubles. He has a history of harassing, especially women, on the subways. And it’s interesting though that the crowdfunding amount of money now has exceeded $1 million for his defense. It’s going to be interesting to see what comes out in the trial.
A United States Marine veteran, against a guy who had serious behavioral and mental problems, with a history of harassing women, and 40 other charges against him. And Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, who likes diminishing felony charges to misdemeanors. I think the Marine has got everything on his side, even with a New York jury.
BREAM: Yes, it will have to go through a grand jury and then to a jury.
“The Wall Street Journal” is worried about this. They say, even if Mr. Penny is acquitted by a jury, the charges against him will surely deter other potential Samaritans from intervening to subdue a seemingly dangerous person or even to stop a robbery or assault. If you do and something goes wrong in New York, you will be the one prosecuted.
Gillian, this is a big talker this week.
TURNER: It is. You could also argue that someone ending up dead is not merely something going wrong. There’s a lot of ways in which people can intervene to protect their fellow citizens. This is coming from someone – I grew up riding the subway in Manhattan. I lived there until I was, I think, 22. I’ve been all kinds of harassed, intimidated. This is not Sunday morning conversation, but somebody exposed themselves to me on the subway. I have lived this, right? It can be terrifying. Something has to be done to try and help people live their lives. At the same time, stepping in for self-defense, and defend other passengers, cannot encompass folks ending up dead.
BREAM: Yes, prosecutors will have to show that Penny caused Neely’s death and did so recklessly, meaning he knew the chokehold could kill Neely and unreasonably chose to apply it anyway.
Very quick, final word.
FOWLER: Well, listen, I think, let’s be very clear, I agree with Gillian. But let’s remember, being a panhandler, being homeless and having a mental illness is not a death sentence. And if you’re a veteran, you should know that this person wasn’t trying to cause danger and that you could still be a good Samaritan and not kill somebody.
BREAM: Yes. He may have thought. We’ll see what the jury thinks.
Thank you, panel. We’ll see you next Sunday.
Up next on this Mother’s Day, I’ll take you behind the scenes to meet an actual mama bear raising two adorable cubs as part of a critical study of the Smithsonian National Zoo.
BREAM: And now a little Mother’s Day sweetness for you.
Zoo lovers went gaga last fall when beloved Andean bear Brienne gave birth to two adorable cubs. They’ll be six months old tomorrow. So, the Smithsonian Zoo invited us in behind the scenes for an up close visit with the cubs and the mom, who loved showing them off.
LEIGH PITSKO, ASSISTANT CURATOR OF ANDEAN BEARS, GREAT CATS: Ian was the one that was boulder first, and Sean was a little shy. And now I think that reversed.
BREAM (voice over): Meet Ian and Sean, the Smithsonian National Zoo’s adorably playful Andean bear cubs.
PITSKO: They’re out in the morning from about 9 to 11. And they’re super charismatic to come and watch. And the cubs going up the tree, it’s just a really nice little spot in the zoo.
BREAM: They were born of the fall and stayed quietly snuggled up with their doting mother, Brienne, for months. But now they’re allowed to roam and climb trees and even fall, but under Brienne’s love supervision.
PITSKO: Andean bears are very special. One of the reasons is they are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. And there’s thought to be maybe less than 18,000 of these guys in the wild.
BREAM: The family is an invaluable presence at the zoo because bears are difficult to study in their natural habitats.
PITSKO: We collect behavioral data on everything they do, every day. And we can share that information with others zoos, we can share it with researchers in the wild and to help promote the conservation of these bears.
BREAM (on camera): And with all of that, they have very distinct personalities too!
PITSKO: They do. Sean is always more social than Ian. He’s at the top of the tree all the time. So, they’re really, really sweet bears. And we are lucky to have them here.
BREAM (voice over): We were with Leigh Pitsko for a small but hilarious cub first.
PITSKO: This is their first box. So, we’ll see how they like it. And it has peanuts inside and hay and Brienne loves both of those things.
BREAM: The cubs love the goodies.
PITSKO: They love it.
BREAM: And Brienne called dibs on the cardboard box.
The cubs father, Quito, is just as sweet as they are, and just as ready for a snack.
PITSKO: Here he comes.
BREAM (on camera): Oh, Quito.
PITSKO: Look, he’s all wet. So, he was just in the pool.
BREAM: You were in the pool.
So, we got a chance to meet Quito. He is a big, beautiful, impressive bear, but you said he’s also one of the sweetest.
PITSKO: Yes. Quito is 340 pounds, and he has the sweetest temperament of almost all of our animals here.
BREAM: You like the peanuts too!
PITSKO: He’s everyone’s favorite. And he’s also very genetically valuable. He came to us from a zoo in Germany. And I was fortunate enough to go and pick him up and bring him on the airplane home.
BREAM (voice over): Pitsko says she knows the baby bears are an easy sell to crowds who visit the zoo. And she hopes that as they grow, young visitors’ interests in animals will grow as well.
PITSKO: When I was a kid I loved going to zoos and it inspired me to do what I’m doing now. And I hope it does the same thing for kids that come. They can learn that there’s simple things that they can do to protect these animals.
BREAM: So, most of us go to work – we have some coworkers, may we feel like some of them are bears when they’re having a bad day, but you literally are here with animals all day. What is it like? This is your office.
PITSKO: Yes, it’s amazing. Especially in this little corner of the zoo, it’s so peaceful and quiet. It’s just a lovely place to be at work.
BREAM: And just a note, by the way, my podcast, “Livin the Bream” has dropped new this morning. This Mother’s Day week I chat with author Bethany Mandel. We talked about the joys and fulfilment to be found in one of the most underappreciated jobs out there, motherhood.
And you can hear all of today’s program on the FOX NEWS SUNDAY podcast. Download and subscribe at foxnewspodcast.com or wherever you like to get your podcasts.
That is it for us today. Thank you for joining us. I’m Shannon Bream. Happy Mother’s Day to my mama, Marie, and to Gillian, giving us part of her Mother’s Day, joining us on the panel too.
Have a great week out there. Celebrate your moms. We’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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