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
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
It’s a “FOX News Sunday” exclusive.
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
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
So please don’t blame this on the media. You had your day in court and you
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
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
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
Look, the left has governed as the most radical left government in our
nation’s history. There’s a four-seat majority right now.
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.
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.
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
Meanwhile, Democrats are taking steps to go it alone.
Joining us now, the man in the middle on Capitol Hill, Democratic Senator
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.
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
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
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.
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
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 —
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
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
Question, aren’t you being naive about this continuing talk about
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 —
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.
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
(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.
(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
(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
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
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
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.
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?
(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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.”
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
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
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!
WALLACE: And our best wishes to the students and the parents of the class
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
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