Karl Rove to Juan Williams: Your Defense of Hillary ‘Is Embarrassing’

On this weekend’s broadcast of “Fox News Sunday,” political analysts Karl Rove and Juan Williams debated Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign paying Fusion GPS to investigate candidate Donald Trump.

Partial transcript as follows:


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I’m not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I’m not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I’m very frustrated by it.


WALLACE: President Trump making it clear he’s not satisfied with the way his prosecutors and investigators are doing their jobs.

And we’re back now with the panel.

Well, Karl, I was thinking back, the Bush 43 White House, that you were part of, got in trouble for making what turned out to be a completely legal move to dismiss seven U.S. attorneys around the country. What do you make of the president’s comments this week in effect challenging his Justice Department and the FBI to go after Hillary Clinton?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think it’s unseemly. And, more than that, I think it’s dangerous. I think it’s dangerous for our country to get in the habit of where it looks like the political winners direct their Departments of Justice to go after their political opponents and political — the people they defeated at the polls.

I think it’s dangerous for President Trump because, look, this simply — once you unsheathe this particular weapon, you can never sheath it again. Imagine what would happen if a Democratic Congress got in, a Democrat majority in the House and Senate, and used their disagreements with political disagreements with the president to push for impeachment.

You know, and also it looks like he’s got something to hide. Leave this whole thing alone. Move on. Be the president of the United States. Focus on the big things and leave it to the Justice Department to make a conscious decision whether they ought to — I’m confident Mueller is looking at some of these questions. I’m confident the Justice Department is looking at some of these questions. Leave it over there. Don’t have the president engage with it.

WALLACE: Juan, let me take the counter side of the argument. The president does nominate — he’s subject to Senate confirmation — he dos nominate the attorney general. The Justice Department is part of his administration. If there have been violations of the law — and you just heard Lindsey Graham say there have been violations of the law by the Clintons, some of these deals, Uranium One, the GPS, Fusion, why not say to them, take a look?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this is an authoritarian instinct, so I think Karl was exactly right when he says, you don’t punish your political opponents by putting the mechanism of law enforcement on them without saying, hey, there has to be a real basis. This is a law enforcement decision. This is not a political act. And you don’t go after the courts or the military courts in terms of some of the criticism we’ve had this week without understanding. You’re undermining something that is core to America, which is our law enforcement system. And that’s what he’s doing by trying to pressure Attorney General Sessions into taking an act against Hillary Clinton.

Now, with regard to the dossier and this is a — and Fusion GPS, this has a total false equivalency. There is nothing equivalent between opposition research, which is totally legal, and potentially colluding with a hostile foreign state to interfere with an American election.

WALLACE: Well — go ahead.

KARL: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. They — the Democratic National Committee hired a firm that paid money to a British spy in order to contact his Russian counterparts —


KARL: His Russian contracts —


KARL: To collect bad stuff on Donald —


KARL: Absolutely.

WILLIAMS: No. No, not at all.

KARL: There’s — I mean —

WILLIAMS: One is a Russian government.

KARL: Well, wait, who do you think he was talking to? Who do you think the former British spy was talking to?

WILLIAMS: And — but — but the point is, it’s a — now, Karl — Karl, the Russians, not the Russian government necessarily.

WALLACE: Well, he was talking to people that were Russians.

WALLACE: Does it — does it — what’s the difference? What’s the difference?


WILLIAMS: But, Karl, one is foreknowledge —

KARL: Oh, please. Juan, please.

WILLIAMS: One is foreknowledge of working with the Russian government.

KARL: Please, this is embarrassing.

WILLIAMS: If — I’ll tell you what’s embarrassing is the manipulation —

KARL: (INAUDIBLE) paying money to a British spy to talk to — to — (INAUDIBLE) checks.

WILLIAMS: Let me finish this point. Let me — allow me — allow me to finish this point.

WALLACE: Briefly, because I want to move on to something else.

WILLIAMS: One — one is a matter of total distraction, diversion from the Russian probe, put up like a smoke screen by the Trump administration and by his stooges in the Congress.

ROVE: It is not appropriate for American political parties to be paying money to acquire information from the agents of foreign governments. Period.

WILLIAMS: They weren’t. They were paying Fusion GPS which is an American company.

WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait, timeout.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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