Sen. Manchin on S1 election bill: ‘Too broad, partisan’

 

This is a rush transcript of “Fox News Sunday,” on June 6, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  I’m Chris Wallace.

Former President Trump returns to the political stage and goes on the

attack.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE (voice-over): From accusations of a COVID cover-up.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT:  Fauci has perhaps never been more wrong

than when he denied the virus and where it came from.

WALLACE:  To his report card on his successor.

TRUMP:  The Biden administration seems to be putting America last.

WALLACE:  To renewed claims he won in 2020.

TRUMP:  They used COVID and they use mail-in ballots to steal an election.

WALLACE:  We’ll ask former Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, now

head of a Trump super PAC, where the former president plans to take the

Republican Party.

It’s a “FOX News Sunday” exclusive.

Then —

JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Now is the time to build

on a foundation we’ve laid, because while the progress is undeniable, it is

not assured.

WALLACE:  President Biden and Senate Republican’s try to bridge their

divide over infrastructure but with Congress split over many issues, we’ll

sit down with a man in the middle on Capitol Hill, Senator Joe Manchin, and

ask how he plans to break the logjam.

Plus, new controversy over the origins of COVID-19 puts Dr. Fauci in the

line of fire. We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the growing backlash.

And our power players of the week: wise words for the class of 2021.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

WALLACE:  All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday.”

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE (on camera): And hello again from FOX News in Washington.

Well, former President Trump made one of his highest profile public

appearances last night since leaving office in January. Addressing the

North Carolina state GOP convention, he called out President Biden on the

economy and Dr. Anthony Fauci on COVID.

He also teased the prospect of another presidential bid in 2024, but said

his focus for now is supporting candidates in next year’s midterms who are

loyal to him.

In a moment, we’ll speak with former Trump campaign manager Corey

Lewandowski, now head of a Trump super PAC.

But we start with Mark Meredith in Greenville, North Carolina, reporting on

a former president who’s looking to the past and to the future.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK MEREDITH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Former President Trump

told a crowd of conservatives last night he is eager to be back in the

political spotlight as he offered fresh criticism of his successor.

TRUMP:  Joe Biden and the socialist Democrats are the most radical left-

wing administration in history. Gas prices are soaring. Our industries are

being pillaged by foreign cyber attacks.

MEREDITH:  The president also had harsh words for China, saying the country

must pay for its role in the pandemic.

TRUMP:  The time has come for America and the world to demand reparations

and accountability from the Communist Party of China.

MEREDITH: Meanwhile, his on-again, off-again relationship with Dr. Anthony

Fauci was on full display.

TRUMP:  Dr. Fauci, who I actually got along with, he’s a nice guy. He’s a

great promoter, you know? Not a great doctor but he’s a hell of a promoter.

He’s been wrong in almost every issue and he was wrong on Wuhan and the lab

also, very wrong.

MEREDITH:  The speech in Greenville was supposed to kick off the next

chapter of his post-presidency. He plans to hold rallies within weeks and

is offering up scores of new endorsements.

TRUMP:  The survival of America depends upon our ability to elect

Republicans at every level, starting with the midterms next year. We have

to get it done.

MEREDITH:  While Trump was warmly received in the Tar Heel State, online,

he’s essentially still blacklisted. Facebook says Trump will remain off its

platform for at least two more years.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MEREDITH (on camera): Last night, Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump

announced that she will not seek the open Senate seat here in North

Carolina next year. The president praised her decision to sit this one out

and moments later offered up his own endorsement for Republican Congressman

Ted Budd who will likely face a fierce competitive primary — Chris.

WALLACE:  Mark Meredith reporting from North Carolina — Mark, thanks.

And joining us now, the chairman of the Make America Great Again Action

Super PAC, Corey Lewandowski.

Corey, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN ACTION SUPER PAC CHAIR:  Thank

you for having me, Chris.

WALLACE:  So, President Trump last night attacked Democrats right from the

start.

Here is one of the more dramatic examples. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT:  They’re vicious, they’re violent, they in

many cases hate our country, and they have bad policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  Does Mr. Trump really believe that the Democratic Party is

violent and many of them hate our country?

LEWANDOWSKI:  Well, Chris, if you look at some of the numbers of the

Democratic Party have stood for, which is bailing individuals out who have

been arrested for causing mayhem and violence, attacking police stations,

burning our court houses in northwest part of the country, their actions

and their wallets speak for themselves.

When you look at their policies, Chris, in the first three months of this

administration, the Biden administration has canceled drilling in the

Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. He has canceled the Keystone pipeline and

he has caused the devastation and the loss of tens or hundreds of thousands

of jobs that allow us to be energy independent, all while allowing Russia

to move forward with their pipeline and supporting that.

So the question is, is this an America First agenda, which is what Donald

Trump had laid out, or is this everybody else first agenda, and I think the

policies of the Biden administration clearly show that Joe Biden does not

care as much about this country as he does others.

WALLACE:  Mr. Trump also went hard after Dr. Anthony Fauci, which raises

the question, if he was so concerned about the Wuhan lab, why didn’t Mr.

Trump do more to investigate it? Why didn’t he do more to put pressure on

the Chinese when he was president?

LEWANDOWSKI:  Well, Chris, as we know, Secretary Pompeo was very involved

in trying to find the origins of the COVID-19 virus and where it came from.

What we also know now, Chris, is that over 600 — almost 600,000 Americans

have perished because of this terrible tragedy. That’s more people than all

of the foreign wars that the United States soldiers combined have been lost

in. That’s the equivalent of about the size of the city of Milwaukee,

Wisconsin. We’ve lost more people then reside in Baltimore or Miami or in

Atlanta, Georgia, and we don’t even have a commission to look into this.

So the question is, when the president — President Trump said we believe

that this originated in a lab in Wuhan, the media by and large dismissed

that, and even Jonathan Karl of ABC News came out and said the media had

egg on their face for dismissing that potential claim of what transpired.

So why don’t we have a commission, Chris? Let’s appoint Secretary Mike

Pompeo and maybe Secretary Clinton to look into why 600,000 Americans have

died because of this. Let’s hold China accountable. Let’s ask for the

reparations which they owe not only us but probably the world, and I think

$10 trillion sounds like about the right amount to me.

WALLACE:  Yeah, but, Corey, back as late as March 27th, so at least two

months after Donald Trump was warned by his own national security advisor

that this was going to be the greatest threat of his presidency and

proceeded to play it down, as late as March 27th of last year, Donald Trump

was still praising President Xi of China and still talking about how

cooperative he was.

Again, if he was so concerned about the Wuhan lab, if he wanted — he had

the opportunity as president, why didn’t he get tough with China then when

he had the opportunity?

LEWANDOWSKI:  Well, Chris, we were listening to what the media has defined

as the experts and Dr. Fauci specifically, and you know that Dr. Fauci was

against banning flights coming in from mainland China.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  Oh, come on, Corey. Corey, Corey, wait a minute, you’re telling

me that the president —

LEWANDOWSKI:  Chris —

WALLACE:  — you’re going to blame the president’s inaction on Dr. Fauci?

LEWANDOWSKI:  No, but, look, Chris, if we’re going to follow the science

and listen to Dr. Fauci, which has been — he has been lifted up by the

media as the foremost expert on this matter in the world. Listen to what

Dr. Fauci said.

First, he said masks would not be needed. Then he said banning flights

coming in from mainland China were not necessary, and now we know, Chris,

that Dr. Fauci, through his government agency, funded at least $800,000 of

government taxpayer money to the Wuhan laboratory.

So the question now with all the emails coming out from Dr. Fauci is what

did he know and when did he know it, and did he give information to the

president which we could have used to prevent a series of these deaths from

occurring?

So, look, this president, President Trump, was very tough on China. We put

a series of tariffs on their products so that we could compete on a global

scale. We also found out, Chris, that because of the inadequacies of the

previous administration, we were completely unprepared when it came to

finding PPE equipment, the reason being everything was manufactured in

China.

So through Operation Warp Speed and the retooling of some plants here in

the United States, the president was able to once again produced personal

protective equipment so that we were not reliant on China.

WALLACE:  We could — we could go on on this, and the fact that the

president refused to wear a mask in public for over three months after the

CDC recommended it.

But let me move on to another subject. The president continues to say that

the 2020 election was stolen. And according to a number of reports from

across the political spectrum, various news outlets from “The New York

Times” to “The National Review”, he has told people around him recently

that he believes he will be reinstated as president by August.

Corey, can you please explain to our viewers under what provision of law or

the Constitution President Trump can be reinstated as president?

LEWANDOWSKI:  Sure, Chris, and I can tell you, I’ve spoken to the president

dozens if not more than a hundred times since he has left the White House.

And the president and I have never had a conversation about him being

reinstated. So I can’t specifically comment on what he has said to other

individuals because it hasn’t been a conversation that I’ve had with them.

And I know of no provision under the Constitution that allows that to

occur, nor do I know of any provision under the Constitution that allows an

individual who lost an election t come back if a recount is dubbed

inaccurate.

So, look, there are election integrity matters that we need to deal with.

There’s no question about that. And specifically when I was in

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after the election results, we notified the

media of at least one dead person who voted. It is unequivocal, but the

response from the media was, well, that person was a Trump supporter.

Chris, we have to have election integrity in this process.

WALLACE:  But again, Corey, you keep blaming this on the media. The fact of

the matter is this went to more than 60 different court cases and you were

beaten in everyone. The Supreme Court refused to even hear the Trump

challenges.

So please don’t blame this on the media. You had your day in court and you

lost.

LEWANDOWSKI:  But, Chris, what I’m saying that the media’s obligation and

responsibility should be is making sure we have a fair and honest account

of what the election results were.

Look, I have provided specific examples of the dead person who voted in

Allegheny County.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  What about the courts? What about the courts?

LEWANDOWSKI:  It’s not, Chris —

WALLACE:  Including Trump-appointed judges, including — including the

Supreme Court that has a 6-3 conservative majority? They threw you out of

court.

LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, it’s not the court’s decision or obligation to ensure

that dead people aren’t voting. That’s a legislative responsibility.

And, look, Chris, in my hometown in Windham, New Hampshire, and you know

this and the listeners know this — we had voting irregularities from what

the voting machines reported on election day to what the actual count was,

and the reason we know that is because the Democrat state representative

who lost election in my hometown was entitled to a recount.

That recount transpired on three separate occasions. It was hand done, and

the voting tallies from election night show that the Republican

representative was shorted approximately 300 votes based on what the

machine said as opposed to what the recount said.

Now, in the state of New Hampshire, we passed a bill, the governor signed

it and a full forensic audit is underway to determine what irregularities

or potential malfeasance occurred in that election. But we should, as the

greatest republic in the history of the country — of the world, have the

right to know what the final election tally was for the most important job

in the world.

WALLACE:  Well, let’s talk about that final election tally. President

Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, spoke about all of that and

specifically about the January 6th insurrection on Capitol Hill this week.

Take a look at what Vice President Pence said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT:  January 6th was a dark day in the

history of the United States Capitol. Violence was quelled. The Capitol was

secured and that same day, we reconvened the Congress and did our duty

under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

WALLACE:  So, you’ve got the president’s vice — running mate, Mike Pence,

saying that Congress did its duty under the Constitution, certifying the

election of Joe Biden.

First of all, how does President Trump view that and what you think are the

chances that if Trump does run for president in 2024, Mike Pence will be

his running mate?

LEWANDOWSKI:  Well, the 2024 election is a long way off, and very honestly,

where we’re focused right now, where President Trump is focused and where

we’re focused is taking back the House of Representatives and the U.S.

Senate and retiring Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer from their leadership

positions.

Look, the left has governed as the most radical left government in our

nation’s history. There’s a four-seat majority right now.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  I got that. But what I’m asking you about is Mike Pence saying

that Congress did its duty certifying Biden’s election?

LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, we don’t have a national election apparatus in this

country. We have a series of 50 states that all report into the Congress to

ratify the results of their respective states, and that’s what occurred.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE:  And they all certified the results.

LEWANDOWSKI:  And, Chris, it’s very — Chris, it’s also very important to

remember this: there was no state in the country that sent dueling electors

to Washington, D.C. So every state had the opportunity to send their

electors to Washington to be certified. Each state did that respectively

and the Congress accepted those certifications from the states.

WALLACE:  We’re going to have to leave it there. Corey, thank you. Thanks

for your time. It’s always good to talk with you.

Up next, he’s been called the most powerful man in Washington not named Joe

Biden and he has a big say in the success of the president’s agenda. We’ll

talk with Senator Joe Manchin about infrastructure and voting rights and a

lot more when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE:  President Biden has rejected the latest infrastructure offer from

Senate Republicans, but the White House says he’ll talk again tomorrow with

their lead negotiator, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, in hopes of striking a

bipartisan deal.

Meanwhile, Democrats are taking steps to go it alone.

Joining us now, the man in the middle on Capitol Hill, Democratic Senator

Joe Manchin.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Good morning, Chris.

WALLACE:  Senator, the president and Senate Republicans are still far apart

on any kind of infrastructure compromise. I want you to take a look at some

of the differences. We’re going to put them up.

MANCHIN:  Sure.

WALLACE:  The president now wants $1 trillion — he’s come down from $2.25

trillion — $1 trillion in new spending on infrastructure. Republicans are

offering $300 billion in new spending. The president proposes a minimum

corporate tax rate of 15 percent to pay for it. Republicans oppose any tax

increase. So, as you can see, they’re far apart.

You’re part of another bipartisan Senate group working on a possible

compromise. If this negotiation falls apart, and it sure looks like it’s

going to, what’s your plan?

MANCHIN:  Well, Chris, first of all, I commend the president and Senator

Capito, my colleague from West Virginia, for continuing to work hard.

They’re working hard trying to find a compromise. They’ve come a long way

and they’re moving in the right direction.

We have to wait and see the outcome. You know, Shelley’s also a part of our

— what we call our G20 club, which is basically there’s ten Democrats and

ten Republicans.

So we’re supporting, we’re working with everybody that we can, bringing all

the different good ideas to the table of how we come together.

We need a bipartisan infrastructure bill. We most definitely need that. And

infrastructure is something that’s been delayed for far too long by past

administrations. So it’s time for us to move forward. There’s a lot that’s

been done with the COVID bills that we’ve put out that basically overlap in

some areas of infrastructure, but there’s a lot more that needs to be done

and I think we can come to that compromise to where we’ll find a bipartisan

deal. I’m very — very confident of that.

WALLACE:  Well, Secretary of Energy Granholm reiterated this morning that

House Democrats are going to start their markup of the bill with or without

Republicans. And if there is no compromise on infrastructure, and I think

it’s fair to say maybe not enough, but that Joe Biden has made some big

concessions, both on spending and a different tax plan. If it were to go in

the Senate as a straight, party line vote on — you know, though budget

reconciliation, will you support that kind of bill? In other words, I guess

what I’m asking is, is a straight party line infrastructure build better

than no bill at all?

MANCHIN:  Well, I think — you know, I still have all the confidence in the

world, Chris, we’re going to get there. My goodness, the president has gone

from $2.25 trillion down to $1 trillion. The Republicans have come up quite

a bit from where they started. This is the same type of challenges we had

back last year when we had to all get together and break a deadlock. But I

— we’re not there yet. I think they’re going to be talking again tomorrow.

We’ll wait. We’ll talk to Senator Capito after those meetings. We’ll talk

to the White House. And we think we can find a pathway forward. We’re not

that far apart.

Look at the things — Chris, I want to say this. In the last — in the

first five months of this year, we have operated more the way the Senate’s

supposed to operate, in a bipartisan way, than ever since I’ve been here in

ten years. So under — under Schumer’s — under — under Senator Schumer’s

leadership, we’ve had more bills, we’ve had more amendments voted on. We’ve

gone through a normal process more. And people are continually trying to

push us to more division. And I keep saying, let’s continue to keep

working.

The Senate’s working. We’ve done bipartisan in the Asian — about the Asian

hate crime bill. It was, you know, 94-1. We’re now based on the new

frontier, the endless frontier, we’re going to that bipartisan next week as

soon as we get back. So we’re moving in the right direction.

WALLACE:  But let me ask you about another issue, voting rights. You’re the

only Democrat in the Senate who is not supporting S-1, the so-called For

the People Act.

MANCHIN:  Yes.

WALLACE:  Which would be a major voting reform bill. You say it’s too broad

and too partisan. And, instead, you support basically a — a renewal of the

1965 Voting Rights Act which says that the feds get free clearance on any

voting right changes in individual states, but you’d like it to apply to

all 50 states, not just the states in the south that had a history of

segregation.

A couple of questions. One, is Chuck Schumer making a mistake in pushing

this big bill, the For the People Act, and saying that he wants a vote on

it by the end of the month? And, two, if he does bring it to the floor,

will you vote against that bill?

MANCHIN:  Well, I’ve been pretty clear on that. I did an op-ed back home in

— in West Virginia that came out today and laid out my — my concerns and

— and my preference of what, you know, what I think would happen.

You know, voting is the bedrock of our democracy. An open, fair, secured

voting. We used to go around the world and explain and show and observe

voting procedures in a democracy. And now if we can’t practice what we

preach, and we’re going to basically do an overhaul, an 800 page overhaul

of the voting rights or what we call For the People Act, I think there’s a

lot of great things I agree in that piece of legislation but there’s an

awful lot of things that basically don’t pertain directly to voting.

So the Voting Rights Act, well now we’ve —

WALLACE:  So — so let me just —

MANCHIN:  Sure.

WALLACE:  I just — I just — so just to put a — a — a button on this,

you will vote against that bill if it gets to the Senate floor?

MANCHIN:  I think it’s the wrong piece of legislation to bring our country

together and unite our country and I’m not supporting that because I think

it would divide us further. I don’t want to be in a country that’s divided

any further than I’m in right now. I love my country and I think my

Democrat and Republican colleagues feel the same.

If we continue to divide it and separate us more, it’s not going to be

united and it’s not going to be the country that we love and know and it’s

going to be hard because it will be back and forth no matter who’s in

power. And that’s why I’ve been protecting —

WALLACE:  So that brings —

MANCHIN:  The process.

WALLACE:  Well, let me just — let me just add, that brings us to a comment

by President Biden this week about you and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I hear all the folks on TV

saying, why doesn’t Biden get this done? Well, because Biden only has a

majority of effectively four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate

with two members of the senate who vote more with my Republican friends.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE:  Now, we — we looked it up and, in fact, on bills that have

gotten to the Senate floor, you have voted with President Biden 100 percent

of the time. But you have opposed him on bills that haven’t gotten to the

Senate yet. For instance, this For the People Act, with the Democrats

intend to put on the floor. You say you’re going to vote against that.

You’re against the $50 minimum wage.

I don’t really want to get into the detail of those, but is it fair when

Joe Biden says he doesn’t have solid support from Democrats like you?

MANCHIN:  I think that’s taken out of content and I really — you know, on

that, I support President Biden and what he’s doing and what he’s trying to

do. No one understands the Senate, the makeup of the Senate and the

challenges that we have as a Senate more than — than President Joe Biden,

who was here over 30 some years.

With that, he understands, there’s got to find a pathway forward. And Joe

Biden always could do that. And I know he understands where we are on this

and we’re trying to find a pathway. Of course he has his position. He lays

out his proposals. We look at those and we make adjustments accordingly.

And that’s what we’re trying to do.

And I think deep down in his heart he knows we need to bring this country

together and — and so I’ve said this, I believe Joe Biden is the right

person, the right place, at the right time for our country. Now we have to

unite together. And that means a little bit of difficulties and challenges,

but we’ll get through this. We’re the most deliberate body in the world and

that was by design.

WALLACE:  I — I want to ask — I want to ask you to questions quickly, if

I can, Senator Manchin, about that.

MANCHIN:  Sure. Sure.

WALLACE:  First of all, you have made it clear, and I’m not going to ask

you again, you said that you oppose scrapping the filibuster. The question

I have is, whether or not — and you say you hope that that will bring the

parties together. The question I have is whether or not you’re doing it

exactly the wrong way. And hear me out on this. If you were to keep the

idea that maybe you would vote to kill the filibuster, wouldn’t that give

Republicans an incentive to actually negotiate, because old Joe Manchin is

out there and who knows what he’s going to do. By taking it off the table,

haven’t you empowered Republicans to be obstructionist?

MANCHIN:  I don’t think so because we have seven brave Republicans that

continue to vote for what they know is right and the facts as they see

them, not worrying about the political consequences. I believe there’s a

lot more of my Republican colleagues and friends that feel the same way.

I’m just hoping they are able to rise to the occasion to defend our country

and support our country and make sure that we have a democracy for this

republic of all the people.

I’m just very hopeful that — and I see good signs.

WALLACE:  Well —

MANCHIN:  We’re doing, Chris, more things than ever before. Give us some

time. I know everyone’s putting deadlines, got to be done by this, this and

this.

WALLACE:  Well, but wait — but — but let me ask you the final question,

sir. I mean let’s just take the nine — the idea of creating a 9/11

commission to investigate the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol.

Republicans blocked that. Senator McConnell, the head of the Republicans in

the Senate, says that he’s 100 percent focused on blocking the Biden

agenda.

Question, aren’t you being naive about this continuing talk about

bipartisan cooperation?

MANCHIN:  I’m not being naive. I think he’s 100 percent wrong in trying to

block all the good things that we’re trying to do for America. It would be

a lot better if we had participation. And we’re getting participation. But

when it comes time to final vote, I disagree with — with Leader McConnell

on this and minority leader on this issue that he puts politics before the

policies that I think we need for our country.

I’m going to continue to keep working with my bipartisan friends and

hopefully we can get more of them.

I can tell you this, in 2013, at that time, Harry Reid, the leader of the

majority party, the Democrats —

WALLACE:  Right.

MANCHIN:  Basically (INAUDIBLE) the nuclear option, which did away with the

filibuster on appointments and district and circuit judges. Come back to

2017, then we had Leader McConnell at that time in the majority and he did

away with it for the Supreme Court.

So what goes around comes around here. They all understand that. And there

were 33 Democrats in 2017 that signed a letter to please save the

filibuster and save our democracy. That’s what I’m trying to do.

WALLACE:  Senator Manchin, thank you. Thanks for coming in today. Please

come back, sir.

MANCHIN:  Thanks, Chris, I will. Thank you.

WALLACE:  Up next, we’ll ask our — up next, we’ll ask our Sunday group

where we’re headed on infrastructure and what the U.S. can do to protect us

from escalating cyberattacks from Russia.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Coming up, the ongoing investigation into

how COVID-19 began and how it was handled.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER FOR COVID-19: The

situation is that we didn’t know and we still don’t know what the origin

is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the fight to uncover what

happened and why Dr. Anthony Fauci is on the firing line.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This much is already clear,

we’re on the right track. Our plan is working. And we’re not going to let

up now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: President Biden continuing to push for his jobs bill, including a

huge infrastructure plan, but making little progress in talks with Senate

Republicans.

And it’s time now for our Sunday group. Former RNC communications director

Doug Heye, Susan Page of “USA Today,” and Fox News contributor Marie Harf.

So, Susan, let me start with you. You’ve been around Washington a while, as

I have. What’s your sense of where we’re headed with infrastructure, a

bipartisan compromise, a straight party line vote through budget

reconciliation in the Senate, or no bill at all?

SUSAN PAGE, “USA TODAY”: You know, I think that we’re at the point where

the negotiations are making a point, not making a deal. And making a point,

first and foremost, to your last guest, Joe Manchin, I think that

Democrats, especially the White House, trying to make the point they have

tried in good faith to reach a bipartisan deal.

And I thought it was interesting that Senator Manchin, in your question —

response to your question, did not rule out voting for a bill along a pure

party line vote, a reconciliation bill when it comes to this

infrastructure. I think that was a significant suggestion.

Democrats are now moving ahead on the things they need to do to pass this

bill on a party line vote through reconciliation, including hearings that

begin in the House this week on that transportation bill.

You know, Senator Manchin said he’s very confident they can reach a

bipartisan bill. If he’s very confident, he is the only one in Washington

who feels that way. I think we are moving toward a party line vote on it.

WALLACE: Doug, you know, infrastructure is almost always popular with

voters. They like seeing new bridges. They like seeing resurfaced highways

without potholes in them. And — and you look at the latest jobs numbers

that came out on Friday. The economy is still struggling a bit. Is it a

smart political play for Republicans if in the end they don’t come to an

agreement on infrastructure and Democrats end up taking either with the

responsibility and the benefit of passing it?

DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, it’s certainly a risky

strategy but one not without precedent. If we go back to 2009, Joe Biden

led a shovel-ready stimulus job package that Democrats said would be

electoral doom for Republicans if they opposed it. Obviously in 2010 that

didn’t happen.

I still hope that a deal was possible. But the — the reality is, Chris,

it’s not a question of what is the number, $1.1 trillion versus $900

billion or what have you. The reality is, Republicans and Democrats

disagree on what the parameters are. How do you pay for it? Is it really

infrastructure? Those are real differences.

WALLACE: Marie, let me ask you about that. Republicans say if — if the

answer was just spending more money, that the economy would already be

booming, and as we saw with the latest job report for May, it isn’t

booming. And the president is talking — let’s assume now that there’s no

deal with the Republicans, so he can go back to his original $2.25 trillion

for jobs and $1.9 trillion for his families plan. You’re talking about $4

trillion in more spending, $4 trillion in more taxes.

Isn’t there a political risk for Democrats in that Joe Biden is going to be

sticking a big tax and spend liberal sticker on the back of any Democrat

who runs for election in the 2022 midterms?

MARIE HARF, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON AND FOX NEWS

CONTRIBUTOR:

Well, Chris, both Republicans and Democrats have proven themselves very

willing to spend a lot of money in the past few years. And so this is

increasingly a bipartisan way to do business in Washington.

But I think Joe Biden will make the argument in the midterm elections that

first this spending is helping real Americans. We just saw this week how

the government programs that helped people come out of COVID, come out of

the economic situation, were really helping real Americans on the ground.

And he will also make the case that this spending is about building up the

middle class and coming out of this crisis even stronger. Something we

didn’t do very well in the previous economic crisis.

And so if he makes the case that, look, I came down on spending, I tried to

change the way we would pay for it and Republicans just had no interest in

governing, they are already gearing up for the midterms and all of these

programs, all of this spending, is impacting real Americans in a really

positive way, that’s the case Joe Biden and — and — and Democrats in

Congress will have to make in the midterms.

WALLACE: Right.

HARF: And we will see evidence of that if this actually passes with roads

and bridges and all of the things we’ve talked about.

WALLACE: I — I want to turn to a serious and growing issue, and that is

cyberattacks. And you had the extraordinary statement this week from FBI

Director Christopher Wray that he now compares the threat from cyberattacks

to the threat from terrorism and compares it to what we were facing just

before 9/11. And here was White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on that

same subject this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: President Biden certainly thinks

that President Putin and the Russian government has a role to play in

stopping and preventing these attacks. Hence, it’s a — it will be a topic

of discussion when they meet in two weeks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Susan, do you expect President Biden to be able to make headway on

the issue of cyberattacks and what the world is going to do about it first

when he meets with allies starting this week in Europe and then on June

16th when he sits down with Russian President Putin?

PAGE: Well, those two venues are related, right? If there can be more

concerted action by allies to pressure Russia to stop supporting these

cyberattacks, to stop providing a safe haven for these groups that are

mounting them, that would be helpful.

You know, it’s hard though. We’ve seen the administration, the Biden

administration, in April impose some tough sanctions on Russia to not great

effect. And the question is, I think, to what degree are you willing — is

the United States willing to disrupt U.S.-Russian relations on this front

when there are other issues on which we want to have some cooperation. I

think this is a tough one.

That meeting in Geneva that’s coming up between the president and Putin,

really are crucial one to watch.

WALLACE: Doug, what can we do, both the U.S. unilaterally, the U.S. as part

of a western movement, the public side of it, the private side of it, what

can we do to protect ourselves from cyberattacks? I mean when you see the

biggest meat supplier in the country shut down, when you see the — the

owners of the biggest gas energy pipeline in the country shut down, that’s

got to get your attention.

HEYE: Yes, absolutely, and it needs to be a — from top to bottom effort.

Not just from the federal government, not just from the — President Biden

being tough with Vladimir Putin when they — when they meet in Geneva. Also

China. We shouldn’t leave them out of this conversation. But it’s up to

Congress to — to strengthen our cybersecurity rules.

I — you know, I’ve been working on issues around this going back to 2005

and our electric grid is very vulnerable. It’s a soft underbelly for our

entire economy. Thus far, Chris, we’ve been lucky that it’s been a few

things that have caused inconveniences but not crises. We can’t count on

being lucky too much longer.

The president has to show leadership here that, frankly, Donald Trump

didn’t show, Barack Obama didn’t show, George W. Bush didn’t show. We need

to show real leadership from America and also with our allies in Europe

that we’re not going to put up with this anymore and real strategies moving

forward to prevent it here in the United States.

WALLACE: All right, panel, we have to take a break here.

But when we come back, the growing attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci over the

origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Is he in trouble?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER FOR COVID-19: It is

more likely to be a natural jumping of species to an animal reservoir to a

human. However, since we don’t know that for sure, that you’ve got to keep

an open mind.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Dr. Fauci, to this day, says he still trusts the

Chinese scientists. I don’t think he seems to be aware of the way it works

in a communist government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Dr. Anthony Fauci on the debate over the origins of COVID-19 and

Senator Rand Paul, one of many Republicans slamming him for being too

trusting of the Chinese government.

And we’re back now with the panel.

Susan, what’s going on right now? Why all this renewed focus on the origins

of the coronavirus and why all the attacks on Dr. Fauci?

PAGE: Well, Dr. Fauci apparently much more powerful in the Trump

administration than any of us realized, judging from your conversation with

Corey Lewandowski about the influence he had on policy towards China and

everything else.

You know, of course, we want to find out the origins of COVID-19. I think

it is fair to say that scientists, including Dr. Fauci, too quick to

dismiss the possibility that it was a lab leak from Wuhan. We’re now going

back to look at that with the benefit of additional information.

I — I think that the — some Republicans and some veterans of the Trump

administration are focusing on Dr. Fauci and the question of the origins so

that we are not talking but the Trump administration response to the

coronavirus pandemic, which has been really criticized as something that

was not adequate to the challenge of the moment. I guess I think that

politics is what’s going on.

WALLACE: What a surprise. It’s like, what, in “Casablanca,” there’s

gambling going on in the back room.

But, Marie, I mean, one thing — one of the points Republicans would argue

is that last year when Donald Trump raised the possibility that this had

escaped from the — the Wuhan lab, whether it was just an accident, whether

it was on purpose, that there was a knee-jerk reaction from Democrats to

dismiss that. And the argument — and also from some in the media and that

the argument in effect was, if Trump says it, it can’t be true.

HARF: Well, a lot of things Donald Trump said weren’t true, so he didn’t

have a lot of credibility with the American people. But he also talked

about it in a way that many people found offensive, borderline racist. Not

even just borderline, outright racist, and also used it as a tactic to

deflect from his own administration’s responsibility.

I think what’s important that’s happened in the past few weeks is the

intelligence community did something really smart. They released — sort of

they pulled back the curtain and said, there are two working theories. Some

of our analysts believe one and some believe the other. Both are low

confidence and we’re going to dig back in to all of that information that

we have from the last year to see if we can get some more clarity. Not

trusting politicians, but having the experts say, here’s what we know and

here’s what we don’t know.

And, look, Corey Lewandowski calling for a commission to investigate the

Trump administration’s response to COVID, every Democrat I know probably

heard that and said, fine, yes. Dr. Fauci did what he could to save

American lives with incomplete information and the Trump administration is

using — and his allies are using Dr. Fauci as a punching bag today to

deflect from their failures.

WALLACE: Doug, look, nobody comes out of the pandemic looking particularly

good. Donald Trump clearly made some mistakes. Joe Biden clearly made some

mistakes, talking about the president’s decision to close — to shut off

travel from — from China.

I guess the question is, why the focus on Dr. Fauci? And if you can, make

the strongest case you can as to why Dr. Fauci should somehow be held

accountable here.

HEYE: Well, everybody should be accountable. You know, this is a situation

that we basically haven’t dealt with in over 100 years with the — with the

Spanish flu in the previous century. So mistakes are going to be made. This

is the first time dealing with a global pandemic for everyone involved. But

what we’ve seen — and you — you mentioned this earlier, is there’s been a

politicization of everything around COVID. So everything has to be somebody

else’s fault. That’s also been weaponized.

And I think one of the — one of the problems in this situation is, when

somebody is as deified in the American popular culture as Dr. Fauci has,

somebody I have great respect for, when they’re deified with all of the

Fauci pouchi (ph) cocktails and the Dr. Fauci t-shirts and murals and

hashtags and bobblehead’s, it’s going to create a backlash among people who

are on the other side who want to defend President Trump, want to defend

Republicans in Congress. He then becomes a very easy target because he’s

seemingly everywhere.

So it’s not surprising that we’d see some kind of a backlash. The reality

is the science then gets lost in that conversation. And what we should be

talking about is, what were the origins of this — of this pandemic? That

gets lost and silenced. And I would say, you know, if it weren’t for the

work that, as Marie pointed out from the intelligence community, but also

Josh Rogin at “The Washington Post,” who has been dogged in — in having

this come out, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. We need

to get to the bottom of what happen so we can prevent the next one from

happening.

WALLACE: But — but — and you’re — you’re here as a former Republican

official. I guess what I don’t understand is, what is it that Dr. Fauci

supposedly did wrong? And then particularly with regard to the origins, he

said he believed it was more likely that it was a naturally occurring

phenomenon than a lab leak. We still have no hard evidence that it was a

lab leak. And there was this $600,000 grant, money that went to the Wuhan

lab but — and, you know, and I — there seemed to be no hard evidence it

was used for gain of function or to somehow weaponize the — the virus.

What’s the hard evidence against Fauci, Doug?

HEYE: Well, I don’t think there is a lot of hard evidence. I think it’s,

let’s ascribe blame and then find the evidence that — that suits our

argument when we do later. Unfortunately, that’s a lot of what happens in

Washington, D.C., right now. And if you look at every House or Senate

hearing that Dr. Fauci’s out, it becomes very contentious very quickly if

not immediately. And we know beforehand that certain senators, certain

members of Congress are going to use him as a punching bag. Unfortunately,

I don’t think that helps us get to the bottom of the information that we

need.

WALLACE: Susan, you know, there was an interesting comment this week from

the senior advisor to Donald Trump, Jason Miller, who said that there are,

his words, visceral reaction in the Trump base to Dr. Fauci. People

associate him in the Trump base with shutdowns, with their kids not being

able to go to school.

But, you know, we did have these 5,000 emails, or whatever it was, that —

that were released under the Freedom of Information Act. And I can’t say I

read every one. I certainly read accounts about every one. I — I — is

there — is there some smoking gun there that I’m missing?

PAGE: You know, here’s what strikes you when you read these — these

emails. Number one, that he responds to emails from strangers who had

questions. That’s pretty remarkable. But also that what he was saying in

emails and private largely consistent with what he was saying to the public

out loud.

So when you find things about masks, for instance — you know, there was a

point when the expert opinion was that masks were not required. Then it

changed. In private he was saying masks were not required, changed. I mean

it could — it led — it — it contributes to his credibility. And one

reason Dr. Fauci may be so annoying to President Trump is that his

credibility on this issue is about double President Trump’s credibility

when it comes to handling the coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci has a higher approval rating than either President Trump or

President Biden.

WALLACE: Well, you can’t trust anybody who has got a high approval rating.

Marie, you — you used to be the State Department spokesperson, so you’ve

dealt with this. And I guess one of the questions I have, for all this talk

about, we’re going to find out what the origins of — of — of the

coronavirus were, the Chinese have now had more than a year. They weren’t

cooperative at the start. They’ve now had more than a year. What do you

think are the chances that they’re going to be able to — we ever going to

find out what the origins were?

HARF: I think the chances that the Chinese government will cooperate our

very, very low. And that’s why I think the intelligence community, our

public health experts, maybe some whistle-blowers from China, from Wuhan,

they will actually be the ones, if we can get to the bottom of this, that

we’ll be able to dig out some of those facts. We may never have a complete

picture or a smoking gun and I do not think that the Chinese have any

incentive to help anyone. I wish they did. I wish there were levers of

power we could pull to — to make them cooperate.

But, unfortunately, if Donald Trump had pushed them to cooperate all those

many months ago, we would have had a better chance. He didn’t. So let’s

rely on intelligence, scientists, experts, to see if we can get some

clarity on how this started.

WALLACE: And in ten seconds, when the president, President Trump, talked

yesterday about seeking $10 trillion in reparations from China, how will

that be received in Beijing? You got ten seconds.

HARF: It will be received with the same amount of — of credibility it has

here. They will probably laugh at it and ignore it.

WALLACE: Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.

Up next, some inspiring advice for the class of 2021 from our “Power

Players of the Week.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WALLACE: It’s an end of school year tradition here to share the best

moments from commencement ceremonies. And while some events remain virtual,

the graduates got some very real advice from our “Power Players of the

Week.”

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TIM TEBOW, NFL PLAYER: I am going to urge you and ask you, when we leave

here today, to do something. So I hope we leave in courage, but, dang, I

hope we leave inspired. I hope we leave inspired to go attack the world. I

hope we leave inspired to go bring faith, hope, and love to those all

around the world.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Pledge today to do something

about making life better for those who have less than you do. I will tell

you something. When you ask, why do I have so much, it is a much better

foundation and you get there by looking at those and working with those who

have less. It will never allow you to be entitled or grieved again.

STERLING K. BROWN, ACTOR: Do not let the world convince you that you are

anything less than what you know yourselves to be. This Aggie pride that

you have, let it carry you from success to even greater success. There

should be no dampening of this pride, only amplification.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I graduated, my two

political heroes, Dr. King and Robert Kennedy, were gunned down. The

Vietnam War divided the nation and families. We faced an inflection point

and we did our best to seize the moment. Now you face another inflection

moment.

JIMMY DUNNE, VICE CHAIRMAN AND SENIOR MANAGING PRINCIPAL, PIPER SANDLER:

The fashions that wash over higher education don’t get far at this

university. Our goal is an independent mind in the service of truth instead

of fads and groupthink. The great problems and moral obligations of life

are not suddenly discovered here. Those obligations have been the core

purpose from the start.

RUBY BRIDGES, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: You see class of 2021, opportunity

comes packaged in many boxes and it often shows up with no return address.

The sender is history and she does not accept returns. Once the package is

opened, you accept the gift and you embrace the demands attached to it.

JOHN LEGEND, SINGER: When we live with this kind of love, when we lead with

this kind of love, then one day, one day, one day when the glory comes, it

will be ours, it will be ours.

TIM ALLEN, ACTOR: Don’t take life too seriously. I had made a living on

that. And one of my best friends in the world will say, as I leave here,

you guys are headed to infinity and beyond!

Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: And our best wishes to the students and the parents of the class

of 2021.

Before we go, my book, “Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the

Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World” is now out in

paperback just in time for Father’s Day. It’s a history thriller I think

your dad will enjoy.

And that’s it for today. Have a great week and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS

SUNDAY.

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Tyson Houlding
Tyson Houlding is a 28-year-old associate at a law firm who enjoys walking, writing, and learning new languages. He is creative and bright, but can also be very unfriendly and a bit lazy.He is an Australian Christian who defines himself as straight. He has a post-graduate degree in law.