This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday” February 14, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Chris Wallace.
The school reopening debate heats up as the CDC issues new guidelines and
the White House faces criticism it’s setting the bar too low.
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: His goal that he set is to have
the majority of schools open by day 100 of his presidency and that means
some teaching in classrooms, so at least one day a week.
WALLACE (voice-over): Backpedaling from the Biden administration and
pushback from frustrated parents, students, and lawmakers who say one day a
week is not enough, while some teachers unions oppose any return to the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The school district is hell-bent on forcing thousands
of educators into unsafe buildings.
WALLACE: We’ll ask CDC Director Rochelle Walensky if the agency’s new
guidelines will speed up school reopenings.
SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT): The yeas are 57. The nays are 43.
WALLACE: Then, the Senate votes to acquit former President Trump of
inciting last month’s deadly riot at the Capitol.
We’re joined by Lindsey Graham, one of Mr. Trump’s staunchest supporters in
the Senate, and get reaction from Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar.
Plus, we’ll ask our Sunday panel about the fallout from the trial and where
it leaves Donald Trump as a political force.
And our “Power Player of the Week,” best-selling author James Patterson on
why his latest book on real life soldiers may be his most important yet.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.
WALLACE (on camera): And hello again from FOX News in Washington.
The big story in the nation’s capital this week was the second impeachment
trial and second acquittal of former President Trump, and we’ll get to that
in the next segment.
But when it comes to affecting people’s daily lives, the real news was the
CDC issuing updated guidelines for getting the nation’s students back to
school quickly and safely.
That includes mask-wearing, distancing, handwashing, and cleaning, but not
necessarily vaccinations for teachers, as well as a color-coded guide to
help school districts decide under what conditions they can offer in-person
The phased approach based on community spread corresponds to either full
in-person, hybrid, reduced attendance, or virtual-only instruction.
And joining us now, the Center — director of the Center for Disease
Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
Doctor, as I understand these new CDC guidelines, if you have proper
mitigation in place, even in communities with high transmission, some
students can go back to school at least some of the time for in-person
instruction, is that correct?
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Good morning. Good to be back with
In fact, that is correct. So even in the areas of the highest community
spread, we are advocating with the strict mitigation measures that you
described, including universal and mandatory masking, as well as six-foot
of distancing that at least our K-5 children should be able to get back to
school, at least in a hybrid mode.
WALLACE: So given that, Doctor, is there any scientific reason why for
instance the 52,000 public school students in San Francisco have been shut
out of school for 11 months now, since last March?
WALENSKY: It’s a great question. What we have tried to do with this new
guidance is to take the extensive literature that has occurred from
September through now, where we had experiences from other schools, from
other countries to see what the science says and how we can do so safely.
It’s not just that we need to include these mitigation measures, but
they’re hard to do.
So some of them suggest, for example, diagnostic testing and contact
tracing within 48 hours of a contact to ensure that people can be properly
isolated and quarantined. So, really, it’s a layered mitigation approach
and what we put forward in this guidance is the road map to get us there.
WALLACE: But to just press on this issue, given your CDC guidelines, if
you have proper mitigation in place, is there any reason why a public
school district needs to shut down for the better part of a year?
WALENSKY: So, in — we need to make sure the K-5 schools and the density
is down and part of the reason I haven’t been able to open is because we
hadn’t previously had the science in order to inform how to open safely. We
didn’t have the data, and prior, we didn’t have any guidance as to how to
do it safely.
So, we are really anticipating that with this guidance emerging, that
schools will be able to start opening.
WALLACE: President — you talk about science, President Biden since the
campaign has talked about we’re going to follow the science. But 11 days
ago, you were speaking a formal briefing and you said that teachers do not
have to be vaccinated for schools to reopen and after you said that, the
White House said not so fast.
Take a look, Doctor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALENSKY: A safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be
vaccinated in order to reopen safely.
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Dr. Walensky spoke to this in her
personal capacity. Obviously, she’s the head of the CDC, but we’re going to
wait for the final guidance to come out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: When you’re speaking in public, since you took this role and you
were speaking there as the CDC director, are you ever speaking in your
personal capacity, and is it clear now that when teachers unions insist and
continue to insist that all teachers, all staff must be vaccinated before
any schools can reopen, that that’s not based on science?
WALENSKY: You know, here’s what I will say: My goal is to make sure the
guidance got out. The guidance has gotten out and it was released on Friday
and the guidance does specifically say that there are many mitigation
strategies that are layered mitigation strategies that are necessary to
reopen. There were also additional mitigation strategies such as teacher
vaccination. That’s what our school guidance says.
Our other guidance on who should be vaccinated, our Advisory Committee on
Immunization Practices suggests that teachers should be prioritized in the
1B group. That is the group with greater than 75-year-olds.
So I am a big advocate of ensuring that the ACIP guidance is followed, that
teachers are prioritized. But from a scientific standpoint, we know that
it’s possible to reopen schools safely without all of the teachers being
WALLACE: During the campaign, the president set a goal for what he wanted
to accomplish in the first hundred days in terms of reopening schools. But
the White House backpedaled on that this past week. Take a look at this,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My team will work to see that a
majority of our schools can be opened by the end of my first 100 days.
PSAKI: Well, teaching at least one day a week in the majority of schools
by day 100.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But according to a national study, 64.8 percent of students K-12
are already attending schools that are open at least one day a week. So,
Doctor, aren’t we already meeting the goal that President Biden has set for
the nation to meet by next April? Aren’t we already meeting that goal?
WALENSKY: Well, the first thing I’ll say is that we know that the less
community spread of this disease is out there, the more children will be
able to get back to school. So we know that as our numbers come down, if we
continue, each of us as individuals continue to follow these mitigation
strategies to get the spread of disease down in the communities, we will
have more and more children back to school. The guidance that we released
on Friday is the road map to get there, to follow how much diseases in the
community and how much our kids can safely be back in school.
And so, if everybody is doing their part to decrease disease in the
community, we will have more children back.
WALLACE: So, you’ve talked repeatedly here about mitigation, and your
guidelines depend on schools spending money to make the environment inside
the classroom, inside the building more safe.
But I want to put this up on the screen. As part of his COVID relief plan,
the president wants $130 billion for those improvements to schools. But
having said that, Congress has already approved $68 billion, and so far,
school districts have only spent $4 billion of that $68 billion.
Isn’t the $64 billion that’s still in the pipeline, enough money maybe not
to solve all the problems but to get a lot more kids back to school?
WALENSKY: You know, these schools need — need space, they need to de-
densify their classrooms, they need staffing, they need nurses. They —
another layer of mitigation would be school screening to keep folks safe
even after vaccination.
So I think we need a lot more resources in order to get the schools safe.
One of things that’s really been emphasized in the school reopening is how
unsafe some of our school ventilation systems are. That’s a problem not
just for SARS-CoV-2 about for other respiratory viruses, for children with
asthma, for exposure to mold.
So I think that there’s a lot of work that we need to do in order to get
our children — our schools a safer environment.
WALLACE: Doctor, in the time we have left, let’s do a lightning round —
quick questions, quick answers, about some of the issues that are
Where are we right now on these variants? And are there any variants that
are out there now that can already beat the vaccine?
WALENSKY: We have over a thousand cases of the B117 variant in — across
the country, 39 states. Other variants, the P1 —
WALLACE: Is that — excuse me, is that the U.K. — is that the U.K.
WALENSKY: Yes, the B117 is the U.K. variant. The P1 variant, we have a
couple of cases, three cases so far that we know about. That’s the Brazil
variant. As well as the B1351 variant, we have at least 15 cases in at
least five states.
So, we have — we are increasing our detection of these variants. Some of
these variants, we are studying in the lab — well, these variants we are
studying in the lab to understand how they will work, how the vaccine will
work against them and more information to follow essentially.
WALLACE: But at this point, the vaccine can still handle all of these
WALENSKY: As far as we know, the B117 in the lab has — is susceptible to
the vaccine as well as the B1351, has decreased susceptibility in the lab
but there is enough of a cushion in terms of efficacy such that we believe
the vaccines will work against that variant as well.
WALLACE: Dr. Fauci says that by April, that it should be open season, his
words, for everyone wants a vaccine to get a vaccine. But then later this
week, this past week, President Biden said it could be past the summer
before everyone actually gets the vaccination. I understand there’s a
difference between availability and the logistics and all of that.
But let me ask you, when will everyone who wants a vaccine be able to get
it, and when do you think that we are going to be back to something
WALENSKY: So we anticipate by the end of March, we’ll have 200 million
vaccines available. I’m proud to say that as of yesterday, we have put 50
million vaccines into people’s arms. We anticipate by the end of the
summer, we will have enough vaccine in order to vaccinate the entire U.S.
population that is eligible.
What I worry about is the vaccine hesitancy. So once we have enough
vaccine, at some point, we are going to have more vaccine than people
wanted and we very much need to make sure that everybody rolls up their
sleeves when it’s their turn and when they are eligible. And much of the
hard work that we’re doing now is to ensure that we can inform all of those
who might be hesitant now as to the reasons why it’s safe and why it’s
WALLACE: Do you think that by the end of this year, you and I will be able
to walk down the street without a mask?
WALENSKY: I think that very much depends on how we behave right now. I
think we need to do — all of us need to do our part. If we have another
search because we are not taking the proper mitigation strategies, I think
it would be foolish for me to project.
WALLACE: Dr. Walensky, thank you. Thanks for your time this week. And
we’ll stay on top of those schools opening back up, thanks.
WALENSKY: Thank you very much.
WALLACE: Up next, Senator Lindsey Graham, one of former President Trump’s
closest allies on his second impeachment trial and his second acquittal.
WALLACE: The Senate voted yesterday 57-43 to acquit former President Trump
in his second impeachment trial. Seven Republicans broke party ranks to
join with all 50 Democrats, making it the most bipartisan vote ever to
convict a president. But it was still well short of the 67 votes needed to
find him guilty.
In a moment, we’ll speak with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who was in
the center of the action.
But, first, let’s bring in David Spunt on Capitol Hill on the trial’s
surprising final day — David.
DAVID SPUNT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris.
As expected, Democrats voted unanimously to convict, but they needed 17
Republicans to join.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: We have no power to
convict and disqualify a former officeholder who is now a private citizen.
SPUNT (voice-over): While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted to
acquit the former president, seven Republicans voted to convict. North
Carolina Senator Richard Burr, who is retiring next year, surprised
colleagues with his vote to convict on the lone article, incitement of
Donald Trump’s fate almost hung in the balance another few weeks after a
floor fight erupted live witnesses.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): We would seek the opportunity to take their
depositions via Zoom also for less than an hour.
MICHAEL VAN DER VEEN, TRUMP DEFENSE ATTORNEY: None of these depositions
should be done by Zoom. These positions should be done in person, in my
office, in Philadelphia. That’s where they should be done.
SPUNT: But in the end, both sides agreed no witnesses. Next, closing
RASKIN: He abused his office by siding with the insurrectionists at almost
every point rather than with the Congress of the United States.
SPUNT: The former president’s attorneys defended their client without
VAN DER VEEN: This has been perhaps the most unfair and flagrantly
unconstitutional proceeding in the history of the United States Senate.
SPUNT (on camera): Chris, former President Donald Trump out with a
statement from Florida last night, I want to read part of it to you. He
says: I have always and always will be a champion for the unwavering rule
of law, the heroes of law enforcement, and the right of Americans to
peacefully at honorably debate the issues of the day without malice and
Meanwhile, the current president, President Biden, out with a statement
condemning violence saying the United States needs to move forward,
underlining the word “united” in United States — Chris.
WALLACE: David Spunt reporting from Capitol Hill — David, thank you.
And joining us now, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
Senator, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R-SC): Thank you very much.
WALLACE: Senator, let me ask you, have you spoken to President Trump since
the acquittal yesterday, and if so, what was his reaction?
GRAHAM: Yes, I spoke to him last night. He was grateful to his lawyers, he
appreciated the help that all of us provided. You know, he’s ready to move
on and rebuild the Republican Party. He’s excited about 2022 and I’m going
to go down to talk with him next week, play a little golf in Florida.
And I said Mr. President, this MAGA movement needs to continue. We need to
unite the party. Trump plus is the way back in 2022. He’s mad at some folks
but I understand that.
My goal is to win in 2022 to stop the most radical agenda I’ve seen coming
out of the Democratic presidency of Joe Biden. We can’t do that without
Donald Trump, so he’s ready to hit the trail and I’m ready to work with
WALLACE: Let me ask you about one person that he might be mad at and tell
me if he is or he isn’t, Mitch McConnell, who made a curious speech
yesterday in which he basically said the president is guilty, but that the
Senate doesn’t have the power to convict, to act against a former
What did he think of McConnell’s speech? What did you think of McConnell’s
GRAHAM: Well, number one, I was a bit surprised but I heard this in 1998,
I’ve been in three of the four impeachments. I’m sorry about that, but the
bottom line in 1998, you had a lot of Democrats acquit Clinton but got on
the floor and said how bad he was, so you know, Nancy Pelosi called us all
cowards. I don’t think most Republicans care what she thinks. And I think
Senator McConnell’s speech, he got a load off a chest obviously but
unfortunately he put a load on the back of Republicans.
That speech you will see in 2022 campaigns. I would imagine if you’re a
Republican running in Arizona or Georgia or New Hampshire, where we have a
chance to take back the Senate, they may be playing Senator McConnell’s
speech and asking about it as a candidate and I imagine if you’re an
incumbent Republican, they’re going to be people asking you will you
support Senator McConnell in the future.
So I like him, Senator McConnell, he worked well with President Trump. I
think his speech is an outlier regarding how Republicans feel about all
this. I felt the impeachment trial was not only unconstitutional — I
condemn what happens on January 6th, but the process they used it to
impeach this president was an affront to rule of law.
He is the first president to ever be impeached without a lawyer, without a
witness, without an ability to confront those against him and the trial
record was a complete joke, hearsay upon hearsay and we’ve opened Pandora’s
box to future presidents and if you use this model, I don’t know how Kamala
Harris doesn’t get impeached if the Republicans take over the House,
because she actually bailed out rioters and one of the rioters went back to
the streets and broke somebody’s head open.
So we’ve opened Pandora’s box here and I’m sad for the country.
WALLACE: Does Donald Trump bear any responsibility for the attack on the
Capitol on January 6th?
GRAHAM: No, in terms of the law, no. He bears responsibility of pushing
narratives about the election that I think are not sound and not true, but
this was politically protected speech. The speech on January the 6th was
not an incitement to violence. Every politician has used the word fight,
fight hard, so I don’t think that he caused the riot.
His behavior after the election was over the top. There was a preplanned
element to this attack, Mr. Wallace, that we need to look at. Did Nancy
Pelosi know on January the 5th that there was a threat to the Capitol? What
did President Trump do after the attack? We need a 9/11 commission to find
out what happened and make sure it never happens again and I want to make
sure that the Capitol footprint can be better defended next time.
So I want to look at what Pelosi knew, when she knew it, what President
Trump did after the attack, and on the Senate side was Senate leadership
informed of a threat, so there was a preplanned element to this attack,
totally unconnected with the speech. And I thought the —
WALLACE: Well, let me —
GRAHAM: — managers failed miserably in making the case.
WALLACE: Let’s pick up on something that you specifically talked about.
Let’s look at the timeline of what happened that day, especially after the
At 2:24, the president tweets “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do
what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution.”
Two minute later at 2:26, the president speaks to Senator Tommy Tuberville
who tells him Vice President Pence has been evacuated from the Senate.
Around that time, the House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy calls the
president, pleading with him to do whatever he can to call off the rioters
when the president says he thinks it was actually Antifa that was involved,
McCarthy told Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler that he had to
persuade the president it was his own folks who did it.
Take a look at this exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAIME HERRERA BEUTLER (R-WA): These are your people. They have MAGA
hats on and the president’s response to him was, “Well, Kevin, I guess
they’re just more concerned about this election then you are.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: What does that tell you, Senator, about how the president viewed
the riot while it was happening?
GRAHAM: It doesn’t tell me a whole lot, because it’s all hearsay. Why
don’t we have a 9/11 investigation? I think it’s at 2:28, he told people to
be peaceful. He tweeted out several times at 4:00 and did a video basically
to be peaceful and leave.
Could the president have done more? Yes. Did he incite this riot by his
speech? Absolutely not. If Donald Trump’s speech is going to be seen as
incitement by a politician to call violence about every Democrat and
Republican up here is in trouble but I’d like to know that. I’d like to
know did the Capitol Hill police inform the House sergeant at arms and the
Senate sergeant at arms the day before the attack that they needed more
troops? So I want to look at all of it.
WALLACE: Senator, I want to just pick up on that because — and the
question of the president’s personal responsibility, whether it was legal
or not, whether his personal responsibility. Here’s what you said on
January 7th, the day after the riot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: It breaks my heart that my friend, a president of a consequence,
would allow yesterday to happen. And it will be a major part of his
When it comes to accountability, the president needs to understand that his
actions were the problem, not the solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: His actions were the problem, allowed the riot to happen. It sure
sounds like you’re saying that he violated his oath of office.
GRAHAM: No, I think what he did is he encouraged supporters throughout the
country to fight like hell to take back an election that he thought was
stolen, a lot of politicians have said that. On January the 7th he wasn’t
impeached. The guy was impeached within 48 hours, he didn’t have a lawyer,
no evidence gathered. The speech of January the 6th is politically
protected speech in my view, did not cause the riot. It doesn’t represent
the 74 million people who supported him. This will be part of his
historical record of the Trump presidency.
But Democrats, because they hate his guts, wanted to impeach him before
they ever met him, have now started a process that you can impeach somebody
in the House within 48 hours without a lawyer, without a witness, without
the ability to cross-examine those against you and have a trial record
based upon articles from the media. This thing is turning into a nightmare
for the presidency.
I rejected the article of impeachment. I didn’t think President Trump was
guilty, and you have now opened up Pandora’s box.
As to Senator McConnell, he is a friend but he’s going to be center stage
now in the 2022 effort to take back the Senate. I’ve been asked by a lot of
people, Chris, calm President Trump down, talk to him, get him to calm
down. Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn’t. But to my Republican
colleagues, this is a two-way street.
Ninety percent of the Republican Party thought this impeachment was a
partisan exercise. That’s what I thought. He is out of office and so to the
Republican Party, if you want to win and stop a socialist agenda, we need
to work with President Trump. We can’t do it without him and to you,
President Trump, you need to build the Republican Party stronger.
I’m into winning and if you want to get something off your chest, fine, but
I’m into winning.
WALLACE: Senator, I’ve got one final question, Nikki Haley, the former
governor of your state of South Carolina, made some pretty tough comments
about Donald Trump this week. I want to put them up on the screen.
She said “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have
followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that
ever happen again.”
Senator, is Governor Haley wrong about Donald Trump’s future in the
GRAHAM: Yes, Donald Trump is the most virulent (ph) member of the
Republican Party. The Trump movement is alive and well. People believe he
brought change to Washington. Policy wise it was long overdue.
All I can say is that the most potent force in the Republican Party is
President Trump. We need Trump plus and at the end of the day, I’ve been
involved in politics for over 25 years, the president is a handful and what
happened on January 6th was terrible for the country, but he’s not
singularly to blame.
Democrats have sat on the sidelines and watched the country be burned down
for a year and a half and hadn’t said a damn word and most Republicans are
tired of the hypocrisy.
So no, Nikki is wrong about President Trump. North Carolina, the biggest
winner I think of this whole impeachment trial is Lara Trump. My dear
friend Richard Burr who I like and have been friends to a long time just
made Lara Trump almost the certain nominee for the Senate seat in North
Carolina to replace him if she runs. And I certainly will be behind her
because I think she represents the future of the Republican Party.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Senator Graham, thank you. Thanks for
coming in today. Please come back, sir.
GRAHAM: Thank you. I will. Thank you.
WALLACE: Up — up next, what did Democrats get out of the second Trump
impeachment trial? We’ll ask Senator Amy Klobuchar when we come right back.
WALLACE: Coming up, Democrats pull back on calling more witnesses in the
Trump impeachment trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): We’ve offered you overwhelming and irrefutable
and certainly unrefuted evidence that former President Trump incited this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We’ll ask Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of her party did
WALLACE: Now that impeachment is over, Democrats hope to make a hard pivot
to President Biden’s agenda. But what did they accomplish in trying Donald
Trump once again?
Here to discuss that, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar.
And, Senator, welcome back to FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Chris. t’s great to be back on hear your voice as a
host of the show instead of having your interviews used as an exhibit in an
impeachment trial. So it’s good to be on. Thank you.
WALLACE: Well, thank — thank you for noticing.
But any case, what was — what’s the fallout from the trial? You heard my
discussion just now with Senator Graham.
What did Democrats accomplish impeaching and trying Donald Trump for the
second time and then seeing him be acquitted for the second time?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, you know, Chris, it’s really not what we accomplished.
This wasn’t a matter of convenience right now as our number one goal is to
get this pandemic under control. It’s what our republic accomplished. What
was the right thing to do for our nation? And as Liz Cheney, the number
three in leadership on the Republican side in the House said on your show
just last week, we’ve got to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.
And what this was about to me, Chris, is about not hiding history. This
will now be seared in the memory of Americans for generations to come. And
what the House managers did was put the case together as you just discussed
with Senator Graham, put a timeline forward and showed exactly what Donald
Trump did. And it resulted — I was disappointed in the result, but it
resulted in the most bipartisan vote we’ve ever seen in an impeachment of a
president of the United States. Seven courageous Republicans, including
from very red states like Louisiana and Alaska voted to convict this
president because they agreed with Liz Cheney, this cannot happen again.
And they joined, of course, every single Democrat who stood up with those
police officers, who put themselves between a mad mob and our safety. And
well — as you listen to the shrieks of that police officer wedged in the
door, I thought to myself, he stood up for our liberty when the president
of the United States wouldn’t even send out a tweet to save the Capitol.
WALLACE: But, Senator, if this was so serious and so terrible, why did
Democrats back off on calling witnesses? You could have called House
Republican Leader McCarthy to ask him about his conversation with the
president. You could have called Senator Tuberville to ask about his
conversation. You could have called White House aides to — to ask them
about what the president was saying and doing while the riot was going on.
But, instead, you didn’t.
Why — how come?
KLOBUCHAR: Look, first let’s make clear, I voted for allowing witnesses.
But I think, in the end, when you look at what people said after the trial,
it wasn’t more witnesses that were going to change their mind.
Mitch McConnell, who didn’t vote to convict, said himself there is no
question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible
for provoking the events of the day.
Chris, he said — he basically said right there that they’ve proven their
case. They proved their case on the facts.
What happened here was a number of Republicans used as what I would call an
excuse, not as a reason, a faux constitutional arguments that somehow you
couldn’t convict a president after he was out of office. We know that’s not
true from precedent with the secretary of war back in the 1800s. That’s not
true, including comments by conservative lawyers and scholars —
KLOBUCHAR: The Republican lawyer of the year and it’s just not correct in
the plain language of the Constitution. But that’s what they wrapped
themselves around when they gave their excuse for how they voted. It wasn’t
the facts. So my answer to you is, in this case, it would not have changed
their minds. That’s obvious or Mitch McConnell would not have given the
speech that he gave.
WALLACE: Let — Senator, let me ask you, though, about some of the facts in
the case, and the case that the House managers brought.
Yes, it is true that President Trump summoned the crowd to Washington on
January 6th. Yes, it’s true that he asked them to fight like hell. But,
yes, it’s also true that he said this.
Here is the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT (January 6th): I know that everyone
here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and
patriotically make your voices heard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Does that, Senator, meet the Supreme Court test in Brandenburg v.
Ohio that his speech was directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless
action and was likely to incite or produce such action? Does it meet the
legal standard for incitement?
KLOBUCHAR: What the standard here is, Chris, it’s about impeachment and
whether or not he followed his oath of office, committed high crimes and
misdemeanors. So let’s look at what he did. To me, it’s not just what he
said in that speech. I mean I’ve asked for people to fight for things, to
fight for 48 hour maternity leave — maternity — staying in the hospital
for new moms and their babies. That was my first fight that I took on. But
those moms didn’t storm the maternity wards with bear spray and handcuffs.
They didn’t do that. Why? Because that’s not what I asked them to do.
Look at the facts. Leading up to this, on your interview he would not
commit to a peaceful transition of power. He undermined the election. He
called it a steal.
Then we get to the day of the speech. He told people to show up on January
6th, put a target on the Capitol, basically told them to go wild, leading
up to it.
KLOBUCHAR: Then he gives a speech, tells them to march down The Mall. And
what happens after they invade the Capitol and they’re impaling police
officers? He does nothing. I’m sorry, just throwing in the word peacefully
once isn’t enough. To me the answer is in his 6:00 p.m. tweet, after people
had already died, when he called them great patriots and once again
repeated the lie that the election victory, in his words, had been
unceremoniously and viciously stripped away and he said, remember this day
forever. It wasn’t a one word, it was an entire plan.
WALLACE: Senator — Senator, I’ve got less than 30 seconds.
Lindsey Graham makes it clear he thinks that Donald Trump is still a viable
and important force in Republican politics. Is he?
KLOBUCHAR: No. And that’s because, and you can see where the numbers are
right now with how he’s doing, what people think of him across the country,
I say no. One, as Mitch McConnell points out, there’s a lot of other
investigations going on about this man. Two, the American people have now
seen clear out what he did. He violated his oath of office in what Liz
Cheney called the greatest betrayal of a president’s oath of office in
history. And those memories and those police officers screams will be
forever etched in the memories of Americans. He is done.
WALLACE: Senator Klobuchar, thank you.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.
WALLACE: Thanks for your time. Always good to talk with you.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss what acquittal
means for Donald Trump’s future as a political force.
And, Governor Andrew Cuomo faces even more criticism for his handling of
COVID in nursing homes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): There’s no question, none, that President
Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of
the day. No question about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blaming last month’s riot
directly on Donald Trump after voting to acquit him on the grounds the
Senate can’t try a former president.
And it’s time now for our Sunday group.
Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute, Fox News correspondent
Gillian Turner, and Charles Lane from “The Washington Post.”
So, Marc, what do you think the second Trump impeachment trial
accomplished? Was it a failure for Democrats or did they at least succeed
in tying him more closely and more directly to the events of January 6th?
MARC THIESSEN, RESIDENT FELLOW, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE, WASHINGTON
POST COLUMNIST AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it’s a little bit of both,
Chris. I mean, first of all, if you believe that President Trump committed
impeachable offenses, and I do believe that, this is the headline he gets
to hold up today. Just like he did last impeachment, Trump — Trump is
acquitted by the Senate. So he gets to hold that up and declare victory.
At the same time, the trial did force us as a nation to confront what
happened on that day. We did — we saw for the first time with that
surveillance video how close the mob came to actually reaching senators and
congressmen and Vice President Mike Pence, seconds away from seeing — from
Vice President Mike Pence.
And even if you believe that Trump is not responsible for inciting the
riot, his behavior after the riot began is absolutely indefensible. The
fact that he didn’t stand up immediately when he saw what was happening and
say, no, no, that’s not what I meant, stand-down. That when — that when
Kevin McCarthy called him and was begging for help, he said, these people
care more about the election then you do, Kevin. You know, these — these –
– these are indefensible things. And so that is all on the record now and
the country is better for that.
WALLACE: Chuck, do you think Republicans face any downside from voting, 43
of them, to acquit President Trump, or is that good politics for them? And
what you think this does to the president? Does — is he tarnished or —
and I guess maybe the answer is both, is he tarnished or — or is he seen
as the victim once again of a Democratic witch hunt?
CHARLES LANE, “THE WASHINGTON POST” AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think I’m
going to answer that by referring to what Lindsey Graham just set on this
show, which was, quote, I’m about winning. And he believes that winning for
the Republican Party means doubling down on the party’s attachment to
Donald Trump and disparaging those Republicans who voted to convict and
otherwise, including even Mitch McConnell, who didn’t vote to convict but
just condemns the president. I was really struck by that because there’s a
senator from the south, from a red state, who does the political
calculation and decides that the future of the party lies with Trump. And I
think that’s impressive. It’s very sobering. It’s almost shocking because
we — as Marc very ably said, whatever else you can say about this
president, his fingerprints are all over an ugly act of mob violence in the
heart of our capital and yet he does still seem to have sway over the bulk
of the Republican Party.
WALLACE: Gillian, let’s pick up on exactly that point. You heard my
discussion with Senator Graham about his former governor, Nikki Haley’s
very tough statement in which she said that Donald Trump has lost any
political viability. He said she’s wrong. Do you think she’s wrong?
GILLIAN TURNER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT AND FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY
STAFF: I do. I think that former President Trump still has a stranglehold
on the vast majority of the Republican Party. Maybe not every single
politician in office, but most of them. I think yesterday’s acquittal vote
demonstrates as well as the fact that, Chris, he left office just three
months ago. He’d already been impeached twice. He had an 87 percent
approval rating among Republicans. So I think those two things put together
demonstrate exactly what Lindsey Graham said.
The other, I think, million-dollar question to ask right now is, does
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have any control over his caucus in
the Senate moving forward? That’s much less clearer than — I think than
the Trump question.
WALLACE: Let’s turn, in the time we have left, to another politician who
had a very bad week, and that is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. It first
came out that — that the state of New York had — had severely
undercounted the number of — of people living in nursing homes who had
died from COVID-19. And last month Governor Cuomo said this about that.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We’re below the national average in number of
deaths in nursing homes. But who cares? Thirty-three, 28 died in a
hospital, died in a nursing home. They died.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, one of Cuomo’s top aides was quoted this week as having said
that the Cuomo administration froze on — her word, froze on releasing the
numbers when the Justice Department asked for them because they were
concerned that the Trump administration was going to use those — those
figures against them.
Marc, how damaging for Andrew Cuomo?
THIESSEN: Well, just think of it this way, imagine if Donald Trump had done
what Andrew Cuomo did and falsified data on the pandemic for political
purposes, we’d have a — we’d have a third impeachment going, you know?
But the other thing is that I think people are missing the real scandal
here. So everybody’s focused on the fact that he did not give data that was
supposed to go to the Justice Department on August 23rd investigating the
The real scandal is that for months before that, starting in May, he was
providing false data to public health officials. So public health — this –
– the virus started — that spread across the country was not the variant
on the West Coast, it was the Italian variant that started in New York, and
that seeded the entire pandemic across the country. Public health officials
were desperately trying to figure out how this virus was spreading, who was
most vulnerable, how they could stop it and Cuomo fed them false data about
who was getting sick and where. That — that is an unbelievably
irresponsible thing to do and it probably led to the deaths of a lot of
Americans across the country because it interfered with the public health
officials ability to fight the virus. So I think that’s the real scandal
here and it’s very damaging.
WALLACE: Chuck — Chuck, we got a little over a minute left.
Cuomo was getting a lot of praise in those first months, last — last
spring for what were considered very factual briefings. It all seems to be
coming apart for him now.
LANE: Especially because the criticism he’s coming under is bipartisan.
Don’t forget this latest round began with a Democratic attorney general’s
report. A number of Democratic members of the New York state legislature
are criticizing him.
You know, he has sharp elbows. He’s not shy about making enemies no matter
where, and what party. And I think some of that’s coming back to haunt him.
And so that is what’s particularly damaging about this, is it’s not just
Republicans coming after him.
WALLACE: And, Gillian, in — in the 30 seconds we have left, there’s also
the basic criticism that he was ordering nursing homes to take people who
TURNER: Yes, and that speaks to the broader problem, which is much bigger
than Cuomo himself here, which is that Americans sadly don’t really care
about policy that much anymore. They care about the persona of politicians.
If you’re in a press conference and you sound authoritative and commanding
and also sympathetic, they give you a pass. Nobody really pays close
attention to the underlying policies that politicians are implementing
anymore. And I think there’s a real reckoning coming with that pretty soon.
WALLACE: Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday. Happy Valentine’s Day to
all of you.
Up next, our “Power Player of the Week,” bestselling author James Patterson
on his publishing empire in the new book he says just may be his most
WALLACE: He is the best-selling author of the past decade. And if you think
I’m talking about Stephen King or John Grisham, think again.
Here’s our “Power Player of the Week.”
JAMES PATTERSON, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR: I love to tell stories, and I want to
know what’s going to happen at the end.
WALLACE (voice over): Author James Patterson tells lots of stories. Three
hundred and fourteen books, 241 best sellers, over 400 million copies sold.
Loyal fans buy so many. Their hash tag is patterstack.
WALLACE (on camera): What’s the secret to a best-selling book?
PATTERSON: Oh, I — you know, characters and interesting situations.
I’m James Patterson. Welcome to “The Inn.”
Read about it in “The 18th Abduction.”
WALLACE: There does seem to be a bit of a James Patterson formula, bite
size chapters and a plot that — that races like the dickens.
PATTERSON: Yes, for sure. I think it’s a good way. I think it fits the
WALLACE (voice over): Patterson’s signature character, Detective Alex Cross
(ph), is a publishing franchise, adapted into hit films.
But his latest book, “Walk in my Combat Boots,” written with Retired Army
Sergeant Matt Eversmann, is a non-fiction page-turner.
PATTERSON: These are the people on the ground. This is their stories.
WALLACE (on camera): Why was that important to tell, and particularly why
to tell now?
PATTERSON: If you’ve been in the military, if you’ve been in combat that
you’d say, these people — these guys got it right. And if you haven’t,
you’ll understand, maybe for the first time in your life, what it means to
serve, what it means to put your life on the line for somebody else.
WALLACE (voice over): His favorite story is about twins, Jason and Kevin
Droddy, who both served as Army Rangers in Iraq.
PATTERSON: One of them would go through a hair-raising experience, and —
and all he would think about is, I hope my twin is OK. And Jason would
always say over and over again, Kevin and I are going to go home. We’re
going to get home. And they did get home.
WALLACE: Patterson runs his own story-telling army.
PATTERSON: I have some co-writers. What I do is I will write a 50 or 60
page outline for everything. There was one year, two years ago, where I had
— I wrote I think it was 2,700 pages of outlines, which is crazy.
WALLACE (on camera): Do you ever get writer’s block?
PATTERSON: No. No. I — what is that? I’ve heard about that, but I don’t —
no. Obviously not. Some of my competitors wish that I would get writer’s
WALLACE (voice over): No writer’s bock, but he still finds mystery in the
PATTERSON: I never know for sure how it’s going to turn out.
WALLACE (on camera): When you write a book, you don’t know what the ending
is going to be?
PATTERSON: Frequently, I don’t know the ending, because I get to it and I
go, it needs more.
WALLACE: You’ve got to have a sense that, OK, that — that is coherent with
where he took me along the trip.
PATTERSON: Or it’s, you’re hooked, you’re hooked, you’re hooked, you have
to — and it’s aliens. You go, what? No, not aliens. You can’t do that,
you copout. You — that’s awful.
WALLACE: Maybe the butler, but not the aliens.
PATTERSON: I haven’t done the butler yet, but I — I’d like to do that.
That would be humorous.
WALLACE: Patterson has just finished another nonfiction book, his
autobiography. And you can learn more about “Walk in My Combat Boots” in a
new special cohosted by Patterson available now on Fox Nation.
And that’s it for today, have a great week and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS
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