Secretary Mike Pompeo previews upcoming Trump-Kim summit

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This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday,” May 13, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I’m Chris Wallace.

North Korea announces it will blow up its nuclear test site as a gesture of goodwill leading up to the landmark summit with president Trump.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what gets you into nuclear wars? Weakness. Weakness.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: If Chairman Kim chooses the right path, there is a future brimming with peace and prosperity.

WALLACE: We’ll preview next month’s summit and discussed the president’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his first interview since returning from North Korea.

Then as the high-risk, high reward summit approaches, what happens if the two leaders can’t make a deal? We’ll ask retired Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It’s a “Fox News Sunday” exclusive.

Plus, tensions spike in the Middle East as Iran and Israel faced off across the Syrian border. We’ll ask our Sunday panel, will this trigger a wider war?

And our “Power Player of the Week,” the changing role of the USO as the military’s home away from home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will no longer working with young men who were being drafted into the military. All of a sudden, we have families.

WALLACE: All right now on “Fox News Sunday.”


WALLACE: Hello again and happy Mother’s Day from Fox News in Washington.

North Korea has scheduled what it calls a dismantling ceremony of its nuclear test site ahead of President Trump and Kim Jong-un’s Singapore summit. That’s now less than one month away. A plan to negotiate a nuclear deal with North Korea comes as the president pulls out of an agreement with Iran and Mr. Trump says he wants to signal the kind of hard bargain he’ll demand from Kim.

In a few minutes, we’ll discuss this moment, what happens next with Iran and growing tensions in the Mideast with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his first interview since he returned from North Korea this week.

But, first, to Kevin Corke at the White House with the impact of dramatically changing U.S. policy around the world — Kevin.

KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, senior White House officials characterize the president’s recent foreign policy decisions, each by the way with major global implications, in four simple words: promises made, promises kept.

But a more nuanced assessment might be even simpler: America First. That’s because whether it’s North Korea, Iran, Syria, even Israel, what you have no is a clear departure not just from the previous administration’s approach, but from Washington orthodoxy. In each case, for example in North Korea, you also have a policy of engagement based (ph) in subtle aggression but also tempered by the promise of cooperation.


POMPEO: America’s track record of support for the Korean people is second-to-none. If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearize, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on par with our South Korean friends.


CORKE: In the Middle East, the administration’s rejection of Washington orthodoxy also on display as Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump represent the country as the U.S. embassy moves from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move seen as a symbolic and a diplomatic stake in the ground and full throated support of the Israelis, and against the growing influence of Tehran in the region, which was further disrupted by the president’s decision to break the terms of the Iran nuclear agreement this week.

There is talk, Chris, that decision by the president emboldened the Iranians to attack the Israelis. As you know, the Israelis struck back, hitting Iranian targets in Syria. It is also certain they have tacit support in Washington to do so — Chris.

WALLACE: Kevin Corke reporting from the White House — Kevin, thanks for that.

And joining us now, the new and very busy Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Mr. Secretary, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”

POMPEO: Good morning, Chris. It’s great to be with you.

WALLACE: Let’s start with breaking news. First of all, that savage attack last night in Paris, a Chechen knifing, killing one person, wounding four others. What can you tell us about a possible link to terror?

POMPEO: We don’t know much more. We know that the caliphate ISIS has claimed responsibility that he was one of their soldiers. We can’t verify that yet. The French authorities with all the intelligence help the United States can provide will do our best to unpack this in the coming hours.

WALLACE: OK. Let’s talk about some other breaking news. The North Koreans announced yesterday that they are going to blow up their nuclear site in 10-12 days. How big a development is this and is that, we believe, their only nuclear test site?

POMPEO: Chris, it’s good news. Every single site that the North Koreans have that can inflict risk upon the American people that is destroyed, eliminated, dismantled is good news for the American people and for the world. And so, this is one step along the way. I had a good set of meetings this past week aimed at heading exactly this direction.

WALLACE: I want to go back to the comment and Kevin just played it. Your comment on Friday that if Jim chooses the, quote, right path, the U.S. is prepared to work with North Korea to, quote, achieve prosperity.

What does that mean as far as direct U.S. investment in North Korea and are we as part of this willing in effect to guarantee Kim’s security? That regime change will be off the table?

POMPEO: Chris, here’s what this will look like. This will be Americans coming in — private-sector Americans, not the U.S. taxpayer, private-sector Americans helping build the energy grid. They need enormous amounts of electricity in North Korea, to work with them to develop infrastructure. All the things that the North Korean people need, the capacity for American agriculture to support North Korea so they can eat meat and have healthy lives.

Those are the kinds of things that if we get what it is the president has demanded, the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea that the American people will offer in spades.

WALLACE: And as part of that are we in effect saying to Kim, if you give us what we want, you can stay on and power?

POMPEO: We will have to provide security assurances to be sure. This has been the trade-off that has been pending for 25 years. No president has ever put America in a position where the North Korean leadership thought that this was truly possible that the Americans would actually do this, would lead to the place where America was no longer held at risk by the North Korean regime. That’s the objectives.

When I said earlier this week that I think Chairman Kim shares the objectives with the American people, I’m convinced of that. Now, the task is for President Trump and he to meet to validate the process by which this would go forward, to set up those markers so that we can negotiate this outcome.

WALLACE: Do you have any problem — given Kim’s history and the history of his family as an oppressive regime, any problems with the idea of the U.S. — even if we get our deal — in effect giving the security guarantee to the Kim regime?

POMPEO: Look, we’ll have to see how the negotiations proceed. But make no mistake about it: America’s interest here is preventing the risk that North Korea will launch a nuclear weapon into L.A. or Denver or to the very place we are sitting here this morning, Chris. That’s our objective, that’s the instate the president has laid out, and that’s the mission that he sent me on this past week — to put us on the trajectory to go achieve that.

WALLACE: Let’s talk about denuclearization, the objective. Two weeks ago, national security advisor John Bolton sat in this very seat and he told me that the U.S. negotiating position going in is that Kim has to ship out, has to dismantle and take out of the country all of his nuclear weapons, all of his nuclear infrastructure, all of his long-range missiles before the U.S. will grant any concessions.

On the other hand this week, Kim met with Chinese President Xi and he called for, quote, “phased and synchronous measures”. In other words, action for action. Have you and Kim agreed with the sequencing is? Is it all of actions by him first or is it step-by-step and is that something, as I said, that you’ve agreed with, or is it something that Kim and the president will have to work out at the summit?

POMPEO: Chris, we’ve had discussions on how this would proceed. There’s still a great deal of detail to be worked on. In the coming weeks, we will continue to work on that so we can be in a good spot on June 12th in Singapore for President Trump.

But make no mistake about it: we’ve done this before, right? We’ve done trade for trade, moment for a moment. You give me X, I give you Y, and it has failed repeatedly.

I think Chairman Kim understands that. I think he appreciates the fact that this is going to have to be different and big and special, and something that has never been undertaken before. If we are going to get to this historic outcome, both sides have to be prepared to take a truly measures to achieve it.

WALLACE: And how confident are you? Because you’re going to be putting the president of the United States in a room with Kim in Singapore with the whole world watching. How confident are you that not only he understands it, but that he’s going to have to — that he’s going to deliver on our expectations?

POMPEO: Well, to quote President Trump, we’ll see, right? We are not to the place yet, but we should be remotely close to declaring that we’ve achieved what it is we want. There’s a great deal of work that remains. Our eyes are wide open with respect to the risks, but it is — it is our fervent hope that Chairman Kim wants to make a strategic change, a strategic change in the direction for his country and his people. And if he’s prepared to do that, President Trump is prepared to assure that there’s going to be a successful transition.

WALLACE: All right. I want to talk about that. You said that we understand and John Bolton talked about that nobody in the administration is starry eyed. The president has been raising expectations for this summit, saying he thinks that they’re going to make a great deal, now his phrase. Your predecessor at the CIA, John Brennan, says he thinks that’s playing into Kim’s hands.

Take a look.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we’re going to have a success. I think this will be a very big success.

JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I think he has been masterful in how he has manipulated perceptions and how he’s manipulated and quite frankly duped Mr. Trump.


WALLACE: Is it a mistake for the president to predict a, quote, great success?

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think former Director Brennan’s remarks are silly on their face.

We are going to enter into a set of discussions with two nations doing their best to achieve outcomes for their own people that are consistent with their objectives and goals. I think we now understand that there is the potential that there are shared objectives and our mission is to prepare the groundwork. We are pretty far along the way in doing so and we’ll continue to work in the days ahead, 30 left to prepare for June 12th.

So, the president can have a successful outcome that the two of them can meet and see if there is sufficient overlap so that we can achieve the ultimate objective for the American people.

WALLACE: After you brought the American hostages home and the whole world celebrated that, President Trump praised Kim for releasing them in that praise, not the release of the hostages, but that praise upset some critics. Take a look at this.


TRUMP: Kim Jong-un did a great service to himself, to his country by doing this.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-NY, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: We can’t be fooled into giving the North Korean regime credit for returning Americans that never should have been detained in the first place.


WALLACE: According to your State Department’s latest report, North Korea still holds at least 80,000 political prisoners in its labor camps and other facilities. Is human rights an issue in this summit, or is this just going to be about the nuclear issue?

POMPEO: Yes, Chris, the administration is always concerned about human rights. It’s the case not only there are political prisoners that remained in North Korea, there are Americans held around the world by other rogue regimes too. I can assure you, this administration — I saw it in my role as director of the CIA and I’ve seen it now in first two and a half weeks as secretary of state — is intently focused on achieving the return of each of those as well.

We had a success this week. We are happy for those families and for America that those three Americans returned home. But we recognize there is much more work to do. We still have Americans held and we are working diligently on behalf of each and every one of them.

WALLACE: When I — people found out that you were going to be on the program today, they all of question I must say I did, what is Kim like? With the possible exception of Dennis Rodman, you had spent more time with him than any other Westerner, at least two and a half hours, the way I figure it.

What is he like? Give us any kind of personal insight. How aware is he of what President Trump has been saying? Was there any mention of little rocket man?

POMPEO: Well, I’ve got a lot fewer rebounds than Dennis Rodman, but I did get to spend a great deal of time with Chairman Kim. The conversations are professional. He knows — he knows his brief, he knows what he is trying to achieve for the North Korean people. He is able to deal with complexity when the conversation requires it.

He does follow the Western press. He will probably watch the show at some point. He’s paying attention to things the world is saying. He too is preparing for June 12th.

He and his team, we’ll be working with them to put our two leaders in a position where it’s just possible we might pull off an historic undertaking.

WALLACE: Was there any mention of the exchange of insults back and forth?

POMPEO: No, we didn’t cover that, Chris.

WALLACE: That’s probably wise.

I want to turn, there’s a lot on your brief. Iran and Israel got into an armed conflict across the Syrian border this week after President Trump pulled out of a nuclear deal with Tehran.

Do you think that there’s any connection that Iran feels less constrained now that the U.S. no longer is part of this deal about Iran nukes?

POMPEO: That’s ludicrous. It’s ludicrous.

To suggest that Iran feels less constrained when during the JCPOA, they have now fired missiles into an airport where Americans travel each day in Riyadh. They have now fired missiles into Israel. To suggest that somehow the withdrawal from the JCPOA is driving the Iranian conduct that has taken place during the JCPOA, in Yemen, the rise of Hezbollah, all of those things took place during the JCPOA.

Indeed, I would argue that they thought they could act with impunity. They watched — they watched Europe at exactly zero sanctions on their missile program during the JCPOA. I think Rouhani and Zarif need to explain why it’s the case that while this agreement was in place, Iran continued its march across the Middle East.

WALLACE: President Trump made it clear that he is not only going after Iran, but he is also prepared to sanction European companies that continue to do business in Tehran. Here is the president.


TRUMP: We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction. Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States.


WALLACE: But the leaders of France, of Germany, of Britain all say that they’re going to stay in the deal and they’re going to look for a way to protect European companies that continue to do business. The question is, how hard is the Trump administration prepared to go after European companies that ignore the U.S. pulling out?

POMPEO: Two things come across. First, the wealth that was created in Iran as a result of the JCPOA drove Iranian malign activity. It fueled Qasem Soleimani, it fueled the IRGC, it provided resources for their work in Syria and Iraq.

President Trump’s withdrawal is denying them that wealth, denying them the resources to continue their bad behavior, to take the money away from them. The withdrawal wasn’t aimed at the Europeans. I worked hard over the short time I’ve been the secretary of state to try and fix the deal. We couldn’t reach agreement with our E3 partners.

I’m hopeful in the days and weeks ahead, we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behavior, not just their nuclear program, but there missiles and their malign behavior as well. And I’ll be working closely with the Europeans to try and achieve that, Chris.

WALLACE: What about if the European companies and the European countries say, look, there’s not going to be a renegotiation anymore than there’s going to be a renegotiation of the Paris Climate Accord. Is the U.S. prepared to go after companies and our allies like Britain, France and Germany if they try to continue to do business?

POMPEO: The sanctions regime that is now in place is very clear about what the requirements are. My mission that I’ve been given by President Trump is to work to strike a deal that achieves the outcomes that protect America. That’s what we are going to do and I’ll be hard at it with the Europeans in the next several days.

WALLACE: A couple of final questions.

Israel — the U.S. opens its embassy in Jerusalem tomorrow. The Palestinians are talking about a day of rage, violent, mass protests and the PLO won’t even talk to the U.S. anymore as an interlocutor in terms of the Middle East.

Is the peace process dead? And given the threat of violence, what are you as the secretary of state saying to Americans in the Middle East, in those parts of the world over the next few days?

POMPEO: So, the peace process is most decidedly not dead. We’re hard at work on it. We hope we can achieve a successful outcome there as well.

With respect to security, we’re aware of the situation on the ground. The United States government has taken a number of actions to ensure that not only our governmental interest, but the American people in that region are secure as well, and we are comfortable we’ve taken action that reduces that risk.

WALLACE: Finally, and it’s pretty remarkable given all that’s happened, all that is on your brief. You have been secretary of state for barely two weeks now. What’s your vision for the State Department?

POMPEO: Well, first, Chris, I hope I haven’t peaked in my first two weeks.


POMPEO: But it’s pretty clear, we’ve got to go put the diplomatic team on the playing field. It should be the United States State Department that is at the front of American foreign policy, delivering solutions to solve America’s problems without resorting to military force. And so, I’m going to build the team, we’re going to get our swagger back and the State Department will be out in front in every corner of the world leading America’s diplomatic policy, achieving great outcomes on behalf of President Trump and America.

WALLACE: Secretary Pompeo, thank you, thanks for your time in a very busy schedule.

POMPEO: Thank you.

WALLACE: Always good to talk with you, sir.

POMPEO: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: Up next, we’ll get reaction from the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen on the Trump-Kim summit and growing tensions in the Middle East.


WALLACE: With the Trump-Kim summit now less than one month away, excitement and hopes are building. But there are both risks and rewards to this high-stakes diplomacy. And we want to discuss that with Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Bush and Obama.

Admiral, welcome back.


WALLACE: You just heard Secretary Pompeo and President Trump is also talking with growing optimism about his summit with Chairman Kim. Take a look.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it’s going to be a very big success, but my attitude is, and if it isn’t, it isn’t, OK?


WALLACE: What do you think are the prospects for a Trump-Kim summit? What is — what are the prospects that this will work out, that Kim will give up, as you just heard the secretary say, give up his nuclear program and agree to give us means to verify it?

MULLEN: I think it’s really uncertain. I think — I want to give President Trump credit for getting to this point. He has moved the needle on this one that has not been done in the past, but I also think given the stakes, it’s a very much higher risk, high reward opportunity, and I think the downsides potentially are really, really significant as well.

WALLACE: All right. I want to talk to about that because you gave a speech in Washington this week and you talked about what could happen if the summit falls apart, if they walk away from Singapore without a deal. Let me put it up on the screen.

If the talks do fall apart — excuse me, you didn’t cough, I did. The failure is likely to stir the president’s most bellicose aggressive instincts.

Are you saying that if there is no deal, that we could be worse off than if there had been no summit in the first place?

MULLEN: I think what I’m saying is if the talks fail, that the likelihood of options are dramatically reduced to potential conflict. And that’s a huge worry. I think despite the progress that has been made to try to understand Kim Jong-un, there’s a lot we don’t understand. And that he would be significantly different from his father and his grandfather to make the kind of changes that are being discussed would be a huge, huge shift, and I’m more skeptical than I am optimistic that he would do that.

That said, it could happen. But I do worry about the downside of breaking — of conflict breaking out where tens and hundreds of thousands of people particularly in South Korea could die very quickly and Kim has a huge arsenal to include nuclear, chemical, biological weapons. And the outbreak there could be huge.

I don’t know that we’ve had much of a debate in the country about the potential outbreak of nuclear war — use of nuclear weapons, which haven’t been used since 1945.

WALLACE: But you have said, you’re on the record as saying that you do not believe in the feasibility, the utility of trying to contain North Korea, that we can’t live with North Korea as an active nuclear threat. So if this agreement were to fall apart, what would you have President Trump do?

MULLEN: Well, I mean, that’s — I’m not really sure. Those are the stakes that we are playing for right now. I would — I really want this agreement, I want the result to be denuclearization complete, exactly with the president is seeking, and also have not any outbreak of war. That’s a pretty thin lane to get into, particularly if the talks break down.

I also think we need to put as much pressure on China to ensure that combat doesn’t — there is no combat outbreak and certainly include our allies in Japan, as well as the South Koreans in generating this kind of outcome. What I’m most concerned about is if this doesn’t result in a positive outcome, the potential for, I think, military conflict goes up, and therefore, you get into whether or not he would use the nuclear weapons.

WALLACE: I mean, the question I have is, would we be better off, because you are saying if — if we get together and it falls apart, then there is not much more to talk about. Would it be better not to have the summit? Are you suggesting that maybe we’re doing this too quickly?

MULLEN: Well, I think actually that’s hypothetical at this point. I think we are going to have it. It’s another 30 days. It’s going to be 30 days of prognosis about the pluses and minuses here, but I am convinced it’s going to happen. And I want to try to manage — not manage, I want to try to understand what potential outcomes could be both on the upside and the downside.

WALLACE: Let’s turn to Iran and President Trump’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal with Tehran. Here he is.


TRUMP: It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement. The Iran deal is defective at its core.


WALLACE: You were the former chairman, you were the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. With the president’s decision to pull out of the deal, has the risk of Iran developing a nuclear weapon, has it increased or diminished?

MULLEN: I think it is increased. I think has actually increased fairly dramatically. I think one of the things we forget is how bright and capable the Iranians are and that they can rebound from setbacks pretty quickly technically and I think their capability could be developed very, very rapidly.

WALLACE: But you have criticized Iran for continuing its missile program, its ballistic missile program and the JCPOA, the Iran nuclear deal did not stop that. It clearly did not curtail Iran’s bad actions across the Middle East and the support for terror groups in number of countries. Aren’t there flaws in the deal that President Obama and John Kerry negotiated that had to be addressed?

MULLEN: I think we lose the context, if you will, of the JCPOA, which was very specifically focused on the nuclear weapons, and those weapons are so devastating that that focus I think was very well-deserved.

The other thing that I’m concerned about is if Iran gets nuclear weapons, that it will proliferate nuclear weapons in the region. So, that’s one thing.

Secondly, we ought to press them as hard as possible to push back, bring as much pressure on their nefarious activities with respect to terrorism and support of terrorists as well as their missile program and do that with every available capability. And Iran has not acted well since the implementation of the JCPOA outside its requirements. Everyone I’ve spoken to says Iran is in full compliance with the specifics of the JCPOA, which eliminates their ability to develop nuclear weapons over a period of time.

WALLACE: Of course the period of time ends, and that’s one of the concerns of President Trump, is that in 2025, you have the sunset clause. And that apparently was the issue that broke us apart from the European allies, and that’s when the president decided to pull out.

MULLEN: Yes. I think, clearly, eyes wide open, we knew going in that there was a sunset aspect of this. Ten years is a long time in some ways to look at it, in which case you would hope that there would be developments where they wouldn’t develop, or once that sunset clause went into effect.

WALLACE: I want to ask about two other issues while I have. What do you think of Gina Haspel’s nomination to head the CIA? And do you believe, as some Democrats made in the confirmation hearing this week, that her involvement in enhanced interrogation after 9/11 somehow disqualifies her?

MULLEN: I’ve aligned myself with John McCain, Senator John McCain, for a long time on views of torture and what the standard is. He is the gold standard there. So, I’m very supportive of the position that he has taken in that regard. And I recognize — lots of intelligence professionals I talked to think that — think Gina is an extraordinary person with a great background.

That said, she has a past and then recently, while she stated that she was in compliance with the law, where I think Senator McCain is, is where I am, that morally it was wrong. It was torture. And that — she should be held responsible for that.

WALLACE: And therefore should not be the CIA director?

MULLEN: I’m not voting. I’ll let those that vote make that decision.

WALLACE: But you would say that what she did was wrong?

MULLEN: I just — yes, I’m very much where Senator McCain is.

WALLACE: I’m sure that — that someone is going to note after your appearance here that back in 2016 Michael Bloomberg considered running for president and he at one point vetted you as a possible running mate. So I’m sure someone’s going to say it and I want to give you an opportunity to respond. Hey, you’re a never-Trumper.

MULLEN: No, I’m not, actually. I’m not a never-Trumper. I’ve never said that. And I worked hard to try to stay out of the politics of all of this, quite frankly.

WALLACE: And so what is your attitude towards the president and the fact that you apparently were thinking of running with Michael Bloomberg?

MULLEN: Well, that was — that was a time that I was focused with Michael Bloomberg on the possibilities. It never really came to fruition. And, in the end, it — I honestly came to a point with my family that it really wasn’t my kind of life or — or that we would pursue anything like that.

WALLACE: Admiral Mullen, thank you. Thank you for coming in today and pursuing this live and talking to us. We appreciate it.

MULLEN: Thanks, Chris.

WALLACE: Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss a foreign policy landscape that is shifting rapidly.

Plus, now that we have a date and location, what would you like to ask the panel about the Trump-Kim summit? Just go to FaceBook or Twitter, @foxnewssunday, and we may use your question on the air.


WALLACE: Coming up, President Trump keeps another major campaign promise, pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail.


WALLACE: We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the fallout and prospects to negotiate a new deal next on “Fox News Sunday.”



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today’s action sends a critical message, the United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them.


WALLACE: President Trump staking out an aggressive foreign policy as he announces the U.S. is out of the Iran nuclear deal and prepares for talks with North Korea.

And it’s time now for our Sunday group.

GOP strategist Karl Rove. Charles Lane of the Washington Post. Former Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards. And former National Security Council Spokesperson Michael Anton, now with Hillsdale College.

Well, we asked you for questions for the panel and on this issue of the Trump-Kim summit we got this on Facebook from Wichert Vanderbend. What are the chances of a tying denuking to a treaty giving Kim security?

Michael, you heard me ask Secretary Pompeo about that. You heard his answer. How would you answer Wichert?

MICHAEL ANTON, FORMER NSC SPOKESMAN: I would say that that is one of the goals and the South Koreans and the North Koreans, the want — you know, the Korean War never formally ended. They want a peace treaty that formally ends the Korean War. I think if I were in the administration or giving advice to the administration, I would hold that out as a carrot toward the end. It’s not something you give up front. You see what you can get on the denuclearization front. The destruction of that one site, as the secretary of state said, is very positive. But for this to work, they are going to have to be robust inspections. The North Koreans are going to essentially have to lay bare their entire program and let people crawl all over it and confirm that they’re shutting things down, destroying things. They’re not heightening —

WALLACE: But — but were you surprised that Pompeo made it as explicit as he did in our interview, look, if we get all of that, where willing to say, Kim, you can stay in power?

ANTON: I was not surprised just because I have known from the beginning that the policy of this administration has never been regime change. I think people like — such as Admiral Mullen, who are most concerned about conflict, you know, the point I would make to them is, making U.S. policy explicitly regime change, that’s how you, in a way, up the chances of conflict because you scare the North Korean regime so much that if it thinks its survival is on the line, it’s much more likely to do risky things. Whereas if it thinks the United States is willing to live with it, hopefully that reduces presser and calms them down a little bit and makes them less likely to do risky things.

WALLACE: Congresswoman Edwards, what do you think of the way that President Trump is approaching this summit. And when the president praises Kim for releasing the hostages and you see Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer on the floor criticizing him for that, doesn’t that add to the sense that the Democrats won’t give credit to Donald Trump for anything he does?

DONNA EDWARDS, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN (D-MD): Oh, I mean, I think it was positive that these three men, three Americans, were released. The question is, you know, that is a precursor. Even the dismantling of the nuclear site is a precursor. My question is what are Americans going to get and how are we going to verify that we’ve gotten something of substance? I mean I remain a little skeptical about the ability to negotiate denuclearization in North Korea. But I think it would be a positive development, obviously, if that happened. But I don’t want to hang too many hopes on what’s going to happen on June 12th in Singapore.

WALLACE: Let’s also turn to Iran and the president’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Here was part of Mr. Trump’s announcements.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.


WALLACE: Karl, we all understand that there are gaps in the deal, gaps about Iranian behavior, about Iran’s ballistic missile program, about the question of the sunset clause. But after failing to get a deal with the Europeans, and that was the effort that, yes, we’ll keep this deal but we’ll add on these other measures, you heard the president, you heard Mike Pompeo talk about the Iranians coming back to the negotiating table. How realistic is that?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, actually pretty realistic. If you saw the comments yesterday of the foreign minister of Iran, he talked, first of all, of the threat. We’re going to — we’re going to restart our program on a, quote, industrial scale. But then he immediately pivoted and said, basically, we’re going to be sitting down with the Europeans to see if we can salvage the deal. And literally this week —

WALLACE: But he’s talking about salvaging the deal with the French and the —

ROVE: I — I know.

WALLACE: Not — not with the U.S.

ROVE: I know. I know. But here’s the deal. This is — this is the — the — the risky strategy of the Trump administration, in my opinion. The three m’s are going to be meeting with him. May, Merkel and Macron. And the question is, has the United States, through Pompeo and others, and through the president, signaled — we know there have been conversations with all three of them. Had — has the administration signaled what it wants? And in — and then are the Europeans going to be willing to carry those issues forward with the Iranians and are the Iranians going to be willing to do a deal? The three steps could fall apart at any — any one of them.

But I took it as a sign, when the — when the Iranians, after their typical bellicose rhetoric, said, we’re going to try and salvage the deal because, remember, they’ve got problems. They’ve got an economy that’s in meltdown. They’ve got domestic unrest.

And then you have the Europeans concerned about the impact of the sanctions from the United States that effect companies in their countries, which are already a little nervous about doing business with Iran. But — so it’s going to be difficult. It does — no — no guarantee of success. But if the president has been clear with the Europeans as to what he wants out of a better deal, whether it’s anytime, anyplace inspections, get rid of some of the — make prohibitions rather than caps, maybe there’s a way forward.

WALLACE: Chuck, you think that is the — the — the — the method here is, look, I’m going to pull out and now the Europeans are going to basically negotiate what the president wanted?

CHARLES LANE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I don’t know if that is the conscious method, but if there’s any way out, that’s one avenue through which we’ll have to pass. That’s the — the — the nice — the carrot. The stick, by the way, is the hammer that Israel and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia are putting down on the Iranians.

The Israelis, with this huge massive retaliations and the threats that they’re not going to tolerate an Iranian presence in Syria. And the Saudis didn’t get enough attention, promising to turn the oil taps back on because, as you know, the spike in oil prices that was being caused by this, you know, transaction where — where Trump pulls out of the deal was something Saudi Arabia’s now going to counteracts so that the U.S. economy won’t suffer from it and so the Iranians won’t benefit.

The U.S. has really pivoted from Europe in support of its other allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. And that’s sort of the group U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel that’s pressuring Iran right now.

WALLACE: I’ve got less than a minute left in this segment, Michael, and I want to ask you because the president threatened Iran and said, look, if they start their nuclear program back up, they’re going to have problems they’ve never seen before. From your time on the National Security Council in this White House, do you think that President Trump is really prepared to launch a nuclear — launch a strike against Iran if it resumes its nuclear program?

ANTON: I think he would never rule anything out for the future because ruling things out doesn’t make sense when you don’t know what —

WALLACE: No, but I’m asking you — and you’re no longer a spokesman. I’m asking you a question, do you really think he’s prepared to launch a military strike to take out a new Iran nuclear problem (ph)?

ANTON: It looks to me like we’re a ways away from that. What’s going to happen now is significant sanctions are going to be back imposed on Iran which will require Europe essentially to choose between access to the U.S. financial system and the U.S. economy and the Iranian economy. And at the end of the day, that’s not a choice, the Iranian economy is just too small.

So this will hurt Iran a lot. I mean what they really want most, they want access to European business contracts so they can make money. If they don’t have that anymore, it will put pressure on the regime and it will also starve them, limit them of the resources they need to fuel the program. I think that’s the next step that we’re going to see happen if we can get a deal such as the secretary described.

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

When we come back, President Trump’s nominee to head the CIA faces challenges on the path to confirmation, including opposition from Senator John McCain.



GINA HASPEL, CIA DIRECTOR NOMINEE: My moral compass is strong. I would not allow the CIA to undertake activity that I thought was immoral, even if it was technically legal. I would absolutely not permit it.


WALLACE: President Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, facing tough questioning at her Senate confirmation hearing about the agency’s use of harsh interrogation after 9/11.

And we’re back now with the panel.

Well, I want to play a little bit more of what Haspel told Congress this week.


GINA HASPEL, CIA DIRECTOR NOMINEE: After 9/11, I didn’t look to go sit on the Swiss (ph) desk. I stepped up. I was not on the sidelines. I was on the front lines in the Cold War and I was on the front lines in the fight against al Qaeda.


WALLACE: Karl, what do you think of the approach by most of the Democrats in that hearing to judge how people acted during the crisis of 9/11, or after the crisis of 9/11, by how they feel now 17 years after the fact?

ROVE: I think it’s reprehensible. If people say that she is morally unfit because she was following a program that was carefully crafted by the lawyers and approved as being within our international obligations and the statutes of the United States, it’s now been ruled by an act of Congress and — to no longer be applicable, no longer be of tool be available. But if they’re saying she is morally unfit to head the CIA because she was part of that program, then every one of those people who was in the United States Congress at the time, who knew about this program and refused to be — to — to condemn it and agreed with it, like Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein, who today find it convenient to attack Haspel, they are morally culpable if she’s morally culpable. She’s the exact right person to head the CIA. She will be approved. At least two Democrats have already announced they’ll support her. She will be nominated — she — she — even with the two Republicans mailing (ph).

WALLACE: Let me — let me — let me pick up on that because despite strong Democratic opposition, it does look like Haspel will be confirmed. Two red state Democrats running for re-election this year, Joe Manchin in West Virginia on the left and now Joe Donnelly of Indiana on the right there both say that they will vote for her.

Congresswoman Edwards, should — directly to Karl’s point, should Haspel be blocked for following a presidential directive that was viewed as legal by the Justice Department and was briefed to Democratic members of Congress, should she be blocked from serving as the CIA director?

EDWARDS: Well, what I was hearing in the questioning was a question about whether she believed today, looking back on it, that the program was immoral. And she refused to answer that.

Look, I think that the two Joes, Manchin and Donnelly, who’ve now said that they are going to support her nomination actually opens a pathway for — or — a — opens a pathway for confirmation. But I think the question is legitimate for all of us to look back on a program that may or may not have been — may have been authorized but just saying —

WALLACE: But she made it clear, in the sound bite that we played, that she would not permit that kind of activity again.

EDWARDS: No. Well, what she didn’t say, and this was going directly to the question, was whether looking back on it she believed the program was immoral. I think that’s a really important question to ask. And she never answered it.

ROVE: It’s not an important question to ask. It’s sackcloth and ashes. We want you to take out a whip and beat yourself bloody in front of the American people because we didn’t — we didn’t like the war in Iraq and we have now retrospectively decided we didn’t like what was done to keep America safe.

EDWARDS: No, it tells us what we would do in this now —

ROVE: This is politics, pure and simple, and hurtful to our country. This is — this discourages good people from stepping up —

EDWARD: Karl, it tells us what we would do in the future.

ROVE: No, she has made it clear, she will abide by the laws and statutes of the United States of America, approved by Congress, and signed by the president of the United States.

WALLACE: But, you know what, let — let me bring in our other two.

Go ahead.

ANTON: I mean I would make two points. One is, there’s some — you hear a lot about a supposed conflict between the president and the bureaucracy of the so-called deep state, yet he has nominated the first career professional to lead the CIA since William Colby in the early 1970s. And the same people who are criticizing the president for being hostile to the bureaucracy, you know, the federal career civil servants are trying to block this nomination. I find that surreal.

The other point I would make too is that I think what this is about, what Karl said is right, and I would go a little further, it’s about trying to re-litigate this issue. I think there was a lot of anger about it. There were investigations done. People were cleared. There was a hope I think at certain corners of the Democratic Party and on the left that when the Obama administration came in, some people would get punished, raked over the coals, investigations were launched and everybody was cleared. And I think there are some people who never got over that and they want to find some way to punish somebody and Gina is now the target.

LANE: The reason people are focused on this, Karl, is not the attitude of President Bush, whom you work for, it’s the current president that concerns them. And during the campaign, he promised to do worse than waterboarding. And so I think people wanted to establish Gina Haspel on the record about it, not because of her or the past, but because of the present president.

KARL: Well, maybe so, but I — I — I think at the heart of this is, they’re — they’re both getting back at Bush over the war and getting back at the war and then cleansing themselves. This is about the people who didn’t stand up and say — who today say it was immoral, who back then didn’t say it was immoral.

ANTON: And although the president did say that at a campaign rally, he also made clear later that he had subsequent conversations with Secretary of Defense Mattis and he changed his mind.

LANE: Well, he does change — he does change his mind, yes.

EDWARDS: All the more reason to have Gina Haspel on the record.

LANE: But on the — on the other hand, to be fair —

ROVE: And she is now on the record. So let’s agree, she’s now said, I will abide by the law of the United States of America and I will not do anything that is immoral, even if it is technically allowed. Confirm her.

LANE: Well, you know something, in the spy business, they do immoral stuff every day of the week. So I’m not sure how important that is. There is a separate category, which is torture. But for the rest of it, I found it a little bit of a — everybody was doing a little posturing when they said, oh, no, no, the head spy will never do anything immoral when, in fact what they do is blackmail and extort and steal secrets and stuff every day of the week. So that was a little bit of a —

ROVE: In the interest of the United States.

LANE: Which makes it moral, yes.

ROVE: Yes it does.

WALLACE: All right, I’m glad we’ve settled all that.

Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.

Up next, our “Power Player of the Week,” the USO. You may be surprised, these days it’s about a lot more than putting on a show for the troops.


WALLACE: It’s an American institution that for years has worked to lift the morale of our troops at home and abroad. But there’s a lot you may not know about today’s USO. Here’s our “Power Player of the Week.”


ELAINE ROGERS, PRESIDENT, USO-METRO: I am just so passionate about our military and their families and I get to meet heroes every single day.

Hey, hi.

WALLACE (voice over): Elaine Rogers is president of USO-Metro and she has been on the job since 1976. It’s the largest USO affiliate in the country, with ten centers across the D.C. area. And it shows how dramatically the USO has changed over the years.

Young soldiers used to go to the local USO for Friday night dances.

Bob Hope lead tours to entertain troops stationed overseas.

BOB HOPE, ENTERTAINER: I just want you boys to see what you’re fighting for, that’s all.

WALLACE: But as the military switched to an all-volunteer force, the USO had to adjust.

ROGERS: We were no longer working with young men who were being drafted into the military. All of a sudden we had families.

WALLACE: USO-Metro now serves 350,000 troops and their families in facilities like this 25,000 square-foot center at Fort Belvoir outside Washington.

ROGERS: The USO is truly saving lives today. And it’s with the services that we’re doing, whether it’s art therapy, music therapy, those kinds of programs, which people don’t normally think of the USO doing.

Without you, we couldn’t have a USO.

WALLACE: With a budget of $17 million raised privately and 3,000 volunteers, Rogers offers all sorts of assistance. If a family flies to Washington to visit a wounded warrior, or bury a fallen hero, the USO meets them at the airport. When a soldier is about to be deployed, they can take advantage of something called United Through Reading.

ROGERS: The active-duty mother or father can come into our USO and actually read a book. This is the last thing that they do before they leave the United States. And then we send that book back to their families so they can see their loved one reading it.

WALLACE: And, yes, the USO still has celebrities lifting troops’ morale. Working with Gary Sinise and his foundation to put on shows. Stars like Tom Hanks and Sheryl Crow visiting soldiers in the hospital.

FDR started the USO just before World War II. Then there was Vietnam, when so many Americans scorned the soldiers who fought there.

ROGERS: It was a sad part of our history. And today we find so many people wanting to reach out to the military, help them, be supportive.

WALLACE: Through it all, Elaine Rogers has carried on the mission for 42 years.

ROGERS: It is so emotional for me because I know how much that we are giving back to our military. I truly know that this organization, through our volunteers and our staff, are making a difference in so many lives.


WALLACE: The USO affiliate Rogers runs has also given more than 2 million care packages to troops deployed overseas. All part of being their home away from home.

And that’s it for today. For all you moms, have a wonderful Mother’s Day and a great week and we’ll see you next “Fox News Sunday.”


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