Marc Short on GOP's last-ditch effort to repeal ObamaCare
White House director of legislative affairs discusses health care reform on 'Fox News Sunday'
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," September 24, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY" HOST: I’m Chris Wallace.
Republican senators race the clock and deal with a new defection, in the last ditch effort to end ObamaCare.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SOUTH CAROLINA: If you are Bernie believer, this is your worst nightmare, because I take money and power out of Washington.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is a little tougher without McCain’s vote, I’ll be honest. It’s a little tougher, but we’ve got some time.
WALLACE: We’ll discuss the 11th hour effort to round up the votes with Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs.
Then, President Trump re-ignites a racial controversy, this time with black pro-athletes, including those who kneel during the national anthem.
TRUMP: You see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave.
WALLACE: We’ll ask our Sunday panel what it means for the president’s relations with minorities.
Plus, our exclusive interview with billionaire/philanthropist Bill Gates on his foundation spending billions on global health.
BILL GATES, BILLIONAIRE/PHILANTHROPIST: That a child in Africa is a hundred times more likely to die than a child in the U.S. or Europe.
WALLACE: And our power players of the week. Some of the innovators who are finding ways to deliver life-saving vaccines to the world's poorest children.
All right now on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
We’ll get to President Trump’s confrontation with black pro athletes in a few minutes. But, first, the clock is ticking on Republican leaders' deadline next Saturday to dismantle ObamaCare and keep their promise to conservative voters. The bill needs 50 votes plus a tiebreaker from Vice President Pence, none expected to come from Democrats.
Friday, the GOP’s slim majority took a big hit when Senator John McCain announced he is a no. President Trump attacking him and other Republican senators for their opposition.
Joining me now to discuss where things stand is Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director.
Mark, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."
MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: Chris, thanks for having me.
WALLACE: Is this latest effort to replace ObamaCare now dead?
SHORT: No, Chris, it’s not dead. Here were, just days away from a final vote, and we're trying to win over the support of the last couple of senators to get there. As you know, there's no Democrat support for it.
So, the last time in the Senate, the vote of 52 of Republicans, we gained 49. But all 48 Democrats oppose. That will be the same case this week.
Now, we need to make sure that those last couple of Republicans we win over. Those Republicans, of course, as you know, are John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Rand Paul. That’s our path to victory.
WALLACE: Well, John McCain is unknown. Are you expecting Rand Paul is a no? Are you suggesting Rand Paul isn’t a definite no?
SHORT: I think with Rand Paul, there’s — Rand Paul has been certainly someone who’s very principled on health care. You know, we hope we can earn his support, because when else would he get the opportunity to vote on a bill that actually provides real entitlement reform? When will we get a chance to vote on a bill that doubles the ability to contribute to health savings account? And, Chris, when will we get the ability to vote on a bill that gets rid of the individual mandate, the employer mandate?
And something else that I know is important to Rand Paul and that’s life. This administration stood for life, and this bill protects the sanctity of life by denying taxpayer dollars going to fund abortions. If Rand Paul is the final vote here, it’s hard to see how he could go to his pro-life supporters (ph) and say, I had a chance to protect life and instead, I went the other way.
WALLACE: But Rand Paul has made it clear, he wants to repeal ObamaCare. He says — and, in fact, the bill does leave a lot of ObamaCare, including all of the taxes in place. He calls it "ObamaCare lite".
SHORT: Chris, I think that the support that Rand Paul has given in previous efforts, we supported as well. As you recall last time there was a vote on a simple repeal measure that failed 45-55, the president said he would have supported that, but our choices are continued ObamaCare, continued crushing the American people with higher premiums, with less coverage, or an option of a new path.
And something that hasn’t been told to American people, you have covered the amount of rate increases, in Arizona, 120 percent in four years, or in Alaska, 203 percent in the last four years. You’ve covered the loss of insurance, how half the country has one insurer left.
But what hasn’t been covered is next year — it’s always delayed. The next year, new taxes are going in place, so that everyone who actually has a health care plan gets another tax added on.
WALLACE: All right. Let's assume that they mean what they say, John McCain and Paul are noes, firm noes. That leaves no more contrary (ph). You got to get everybody else. There are a number that are committed or leaning no like Susan Collins. Here's what President Trump said at this rally on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The most will be is one or two votes short. You can’t quit when you have one or two votes short. You can’t do it. And those people are not going to be liked by the communities that they come from.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: You got have one week left. You got until next Saturday. Are you going to change the bill to try to persuade some of these uncommitted to come back? And if so, specifically, how will the bell be changed in these last days?
SHORT: I don’t think there’s significant change, Chris. We have been continuing to talk to various senators, not just Collins and Murkowski, but ways to refine the formula, because what we’re actually doing, as you know, is we’re taking dollars out of Washington, D.C., and sending it out to the states. And so, how each state gets those resources is being continued to try to perfect that formula.
And we’re continuing to have conversations with Murkowski and Collins. What we’ve learned is a utopian notion that Washington, D.C. knows best how to handle your health care has proven to be a disaster. We want this to be handled back to the states, which is why we think every state is a winner, including Maine, including Alaska, because their governors will have the ability to devise a program —
WALLACE: Not everything is a winner. As you know, 34 states get less money than they are currently getting, about 14 or 15 get more.
I want to go to the merits of the bill. Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel has become a big part of this debate after he talked about the fact that his son needed major heart surgery. He says one of the bill’s sponsors — it’s called the Graham-Cassidy bill — Senator Bill Cassidy is misleading people about what is in the bill. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, LATE NIGHT TV HOST: He says he wants coverage for all, no discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, lower premiums for lower class families, and no lifetime caps. And guess what? The new bill does none of those things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Marc, isn’t Kimmel right?
WALLACE: Graham-Cassidy does none of those things.
SHORT: No, this bill continues to protect preexisting conditions. Bill Cassidy is a doctor. His wife is a doctor. They know how to structure. Bill Cassidy is exactly right.
But I want to go back to the point you made about winners and losers in this, because the reality is today, Chris, over 30 percent of ObamaCare dollars go to California and New York. It is not a level playing field. And states —
WALLACE: There are 34 states that lose money.
SHORT: States with nearly equal population, Florida and Texas, get less than 10 percent. It is not equitable now, so what we’re doing is by —
WALLACE: Well, that’s because some states refuse to expand Medicaid and others did, and that was a decision by those states.
SHORT: When you actually make it equitable —
WALLACE: But the fact is 34 states will lose money.
SHORT: No, that is not accurate that 34 lose money. When you actually distribute the dollars actually based upon population, there are states that the ObamaCare already made winners and losers. We are leveling out the playing field. That is not necessarily — that is not in my view is —
WALLACE: They get less money than they would have under ObamaCare and the reason that they’re going to get less is because they — it wasn’t that the ObamaCare law chose winners and losers. It was that the states chose. They decided whether to go with Medicaid expansion or not.
SHORT: ObamaCare —
WALLACE: Can I just — I want to press on this point of pre-existing conditions, because the Republican bill says states can get a waiver, let’s put this up on the screen. States can get a waiver from ObamaCare protections if they explained to federal bureaucrats how the state intends to maintain access to — and this is a key phrase — adequate and affordable health insurance coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, without ever explaining what adequate and affordable coverage is.
And then in the very next page, the Graham-Cassidy bill says that, yes, states can increase premiums for people with pre-existing conditions.
That’s a loophole big enough to drive a tank through.
SHORT: Chris, those are two separate questions. Do you want Washington, D.C., choosing the rates all across the nation for all sorts of factors? That’s a different question that guarantees pre-existing conditions. The bill guarantees preexisting conditions.
WALLACE: No, it doesn’t.
SHORT: You’re correct —
WALLACE: No, it doesn’t. It just says that they have to — forgive me, sir — it says that all they have to do is get a federal waiver that they have adequate and affordable coverage without ever explaining what adequate and affordable coverage is. That’s not a guarantee.
SHORT: Adequate and affordable coverage will be guaranteed to every one of those states that apply.
WALLACE: But they — what’s the definition of adequate and affordable and what does it mean when a state can raise premiums?
SHORT: States — that is — again, that is a separate question. And do you want Washington, D.C., dictating across the country what those rates are for everybody regardless of condition —
WALLACE: What good is insurance coverage if you can’t afford to —
SHORT: Because you are also providing additional financial support to the states so they can make sure those rates stay low for all different individuals, all different classes, including those with pre-existing conditions, Chris.
WALLACE: Well, there is no statement as to how much that’s going to be and, in fact, it says states can raise premiums for coverage — for pre-existing conditions without any guidelines. There’s no question it’s going to be higher in some states than it is under ObamaCare.
SHORT: There’s going to be some states higher, some states lower, Chris. Do you want Washington, D.C. —
WALLACE: So, if you’re a preexisting condition in a state where it’s higher, you're out of luck?
SHORT: No, you’re not out of luck, Chris. You’re going to make sure that there are vast majority of Americans are going to benefit from having lower cost. It doesn’t mean every single individual have a lower premium, because that is not what we want Washington, D.C. doing. We want states to have a flexibility to term that to their own people.
WALLACE: I want to switch to another subject, as if health care isn’t big enough issue. The White House and Congressional Republicans are rolling out your tax reform plan this week. And I want to ask you about two specific items. Senate Republicans have agreed to a tax cut that would amount to $1.5 trillion in lost revenue over the next 10 years. Whatever happened to the party of balanced budgets?
SHORT: Well, the party of balanced budgets in the White House actually submitted a budget to balance over 10 years. This administration continues to be committed to making sure that you're being fiscally responsible. So —
WALLACE: With a tax cut that adds $1.5 trillion to the national debt?
SHORT: It allows for — in short-term decrease in order to provide growth that we think will bring in more revenue in the long term to the economy, Chris. There are — there’s a large debate, as you know, between statics scoring and dynamic scoring. In many cases, the dynamic scoring will show much more significant growth, but that's not what Congress uses, sufficient budget offices (ph). So, you have to allow for that in a short term.
What we’re actually doing is seeing the economy grow. The economy has been struggling for way too long. The growth in this country for 10 years has been dismal. We need to turn it around. This president has begun to do that by pulling back the regulatory state and we lower taxes. You will continue to see our economy grow with significant rates.
WALLACE: The president also said recently he wants to cut the taxes in the middle class, not necessarily for the wealthy. But there is a new report out this weekend that says that this plan is going to cut the top rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. Why do those folks at the very top need another tax break?
SHORT: We don’t think they do. The president is focused on middle class actually. However, what the president —
WALLACE: Are you cutting the tax rate?
SHORT: What the president is doing, Chris, is he’s eliminating all these deductions that most often the wealthy take advantage of. Many others do not get that chance. Our tax code picks winners and losers. By getting rid of those deductions, then people at the higher income will have to pay more taxes. Therefore, we’re nominally lowering the rate to offset the deductions we’re getting rid of.
WALLACE: So, officially, it’s going to be 35 percent?
SHORT: No, sir, I’m not saying that. There are still conversations. The president has to sign off on that, and he’ll make his announcement on Wednesday what the final number is.
WALLACE: Finally, I want to ask you about this racial controversy the president has gotten into this weekend. At his Friday rally, the president went after players like Colin Kaepernick, who take a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest the state of race relations.
Here’s the president on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, get that son of a bitch off the field right now out. He is fired. He is fired!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Then, on Saturday, the president pulled back an invitation to the Golden State Warriors and their star Stephen Curry to come to the White House, as all teams when they win a championship.
And LeBron James tweeted this to the president in response. U bum. Stephen Curry already said he ain’t going, so therefore, ain’t no invite. Going to White House was great honor until you showed up.
Marc, does the president regret reopening the racial wounds started after Charlottesville?
SHORT: I don't think he is reopening the racial wounds, Chris. I think there’s two separate issues here. One is that all across America, high school coaches are getting punished for leading their players in prayer. They’re getting punished and disciplined for asking their players to prayer. Yet, in the NFL, players who take a knee over a flag that many of our generations preceding us have died to protect the freedoms there, they somehow get honored as martyrs by the media.
The president is pointing out that that shouldn’t be accepted. They have a First Amendment right to do that, but NFL owners also have a right to fire those players.
Separately, let's talk about the Curry invitation to the White House. The president has already hosted the Patriots, the Cubs, the Clemson Tigers, all great ceremonies.
Steph Curry is a phenomenal basketball player. He's a great story. In many cases, he’s a role model for young kids. My son wears his jersey around the house all the time. He went to a small school because top positions when schools overlook him. He worked hard as —
WALLACE: So, why did the president disinvite him and the Golden State Warriors?
SHORT: He's one of the best players in the NBA. But he’s the one that injected politics into the invitation to come to the White House. That is what the president reacting to. Other national champion teams have come to the White House honorably.
They're trying to make a political issue out of this. The president said, fine. Don’t come.
WALLACE: But this is — this obviously has a racial component. These are black players talking about — these are black players talking about the state of race relations in the country. They’re not burning flags. They're not chanting. They're simply taking a knee.
I mean, you can argue whether or not it’s the right or wrong thing to do —
SHORT: I think there ways to show your concern on social activism without having to dishonor the flag. And I think that the president is not looking at this through a racial lens. He’s making the case saying that there are plenty of African-American athletes in all those national championships that the president welcomed to the White House, Chris. They’re the ones who chose to make a political issue out of this.
WALLACE: I want to put up one more tweets. This is a tweet from the president in 2013. Let's put it up on the screen. This was during the controversy of the Washington Redskins and President Obama, and this is a Trump tweet from 2013.
President should not be telling the Washington Redskins to change their name. Our country has far bigger problems. Focus on them, not nonsense.
So, at a time when you're trying desperately to get votes for health care, at a time when you're rolling out your tax reform, does the president really need to get into a fight with Stephen Curry and LeBron James?
SHORT: I think, Chris, we have a lot of priorities in front of us right now. It’s not just health care. It’s also tax reform. It’s also a lot of foreign policy issues. And so, I think the president is focused on these issues and continued to make sure the White House is.
WALLACE: Should the president take his own advice that he gave to Barack Obama?
SHORT: I’ll let the president decide what he is tweeting. I think that there's a lot of people in America who have condemned the president's tweets, but they have proven very effective so far.
WALLACE: Marc, thank you. Thanks for joining us. And we will focus on what happens in the Senate on health care. Thank you for coming in.
SHORT: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
WALLACE: Up next, we’ll bring our Sunday group to discuss the fate of repeal and replace.
Plus, more controversy that the president stirred up over players kneeling for the national anthem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When people like yourselves turn on the television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem —
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President wading into a new racial controversy as he condemned players who protest during the national anthem. And it’s time now for our Sunday group. GOP strategist Karl Rove, columnist for The Hill, Juan Williams, Julie Pace, Washington bureau chief for The Associated Press, and Kimberley Strassel of The Wall Street Journal.
Well, the president’s comments about NFL players not standing for the national anthem has reopened the racial controversy that we’ve seen Charlottesville and the protest there. Mr. Trump has kept at it this morning.
Here’s what he tweeted: If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our flag and country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend.
Juan, where is this headed?
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I think you’re going to see more protests today and I think that as we go into the NBA season, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s going to be some kind of expression there. And I’m not only talking about from players, but from fans who recently we saw in Boston, somebody hung a banner that said racism is as American as baseball.
I think this has now created sports as a platform for the discussion of race in the country. And, of course, the owners have the right to fire or not hire in the case of Kaepernick, whoever they choose. But for the president of the United State to be speaking up about firing an ESPN anchor, now about firing NFL players, to disinvite Steph Curry, it seems to me that he is now injecting himself in politics, into sports in a way that we haven’t seen recently. We know about Muhammad Ali, Curt Blood, go back to Jackie Robinson.
And, by the way, the gesture being made by Kaepernick is not popular. I think Trump can be effective in terms of speaking to a base of people who think that Kaepernick is wrong. And, by the way, I think that Kaepernick is disrespecting the flag. It’s not something I would do.
But his right and it’s the fact that he is speaking out about something of substance in terms of the relationship between police and the black community, the Black Lives Matter movement, it seems to me that strikes a chord with people while Trump is playing politics, politics, in a way that I think is very divisive and hurtful especially after Charlottesville.
WALLACE: Kim, I think it’s fair to say that Mr. Trump, if you just look objectively at the numbers has gotten some of his lowest ratings in public polls in his handling of race relations at a time that he is pushing and desperately needs to get a win this week on health care, when he’s going to roll out his new tax plan. Does he really need to even have this fight?
KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: No, this wasn’t the best time to have this fight. He’s got health care. He’s got to focus on tax reform. And we’ve been seeing is he’s been out there doing this push for tax reform in particular, importance of the role of the president keeping an American, the country focused on this and getting behind Republican Congress in doing it.
Now, that being said, I don't necessarily think that this is President Trump talking about race. This is President Trump — this is actually an issue, it’s a 70-30 issue out there. Americans do not like to see people kneeling and disrespecting the flag. He's talking about this in terms of the flag.
WALLACE: We’re talking about black players making a statement about black and race relations in this country. It’s a race issue.
STRASSEL: Well, right, except, I think many more people view it as disrespecting the flag. I mean, yes, I get it’s the racial issue, but as Marc Short said earlier, are there other ways that you can, in fact, voice your disapproval with the racial situation in this country without making it about the flag.
WALLACE: I mean, the only point I’m making, I have problems with it, too, what he’s doing, but the people in power don't get to tell the people who are protesting, what’s the right way to protest.
STRASSEL: No, everyone —
WALLACE: That wasn’t true in civil rights. It wasn’t true in women’s civil rights.
STRASSEL: I’m not saying they don’t have a right to do it.
STRASSEL: Everyone has a right to do it, but the fans don’t have to — are not obliged to like it and go to the games. And watch TV.
KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: The president has two very valuable assets, his time and his voice. And this president wastes it when he engages in things like this. You know, we had an argument over whether Meryl Streep was a good actress or not. And now, he has enjoined this fight, much to his own disadvantage. He’s in a middle of two big fights and this distracts from it.
And there are better ways for the president. I was struck by a line in his speech in New York last week.
WALLACE: At the U.N.
ROVE: At the U.N.
He said, we aspire to the approval of history. What instead of standing up and swearing at them, he’d said, I understand they have a right to do this, but we stand and respect our flag, not because of America's imperfections, but because we're constantly as a nation aspiring to the approval of history? We salute the flag, because the struggles and the sacrifices of generations of Americans to make this a better country. And that’s why we stand and salute our flag and why we put our hand over our heart. And he could have come away the winner.
But he is walking away from this a loser in the minds of the American people for exactly the reasons that you pointed out. He was against the federal government and against the government interfering and telling the Washington Redskins what their name ought to be. And now he is saying, fire those people if they don’t stand and respect the flag. He ought to — ought to be an aspirational figure. He should not be a condemnatory figure.
WALLACE: OK. Let's talk about health care, which is what should be, it seems to me, the real focus and in fact, it’s the president stepping on his own message here. Here's what the president said Friday night about John McCain delivering a real blow to this bill, saying he’s not going to vote for it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: John McCain, you look at his campaign, his last campaign, it was all about repeal and replace, repeal and replace. So, he decided to do something different, and that’s fine. I say, we still have a chance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Julie, do they have a chance? It was very interesting to me that you had Marc Short, the man in charge of counting votes at the White House, somehow thinking he’s going to be able to change Rand Paul's mind, when Rand Paul has been really strong, if it’s not repeal, I’m not voting for it. And what about potential changes that are being talked about?
JULIE PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Yes, it’s interesting and I’ve been hearing that from White House officials the last couple of days. There are three senators on the table right now. It’s Murkowski, Collins, and Rand Paul. And White House officials think that Rand Paul is actually the senator that they could potentially flip here in the next couple of days. It’s interesting, because he’s actually been a hard no, while Collins and Murkowski has said they’re leaning toward no or still studying the bill. But Rand Paul is the one who’s been most forceful on this.
I do think it’s hard to see what they could insert in the bill last minute to get Rand Paul to flip, because his whole point is that he doesn’t think this bill fully repeals ObamaCare. He wants that law to be completely wiped away. There would be a lot of changes you'd have to make that could potentially flip other senators in the process.
Murkowski, I think, is possibly still on the table for flipping. Collins was out this morning looking like she’s going to be a strong no. They have a slim window here, but it is tiny right now. I think that they have a lot of work to do in the next couple of days.
WALLACE: I’ve got about 30 seconds. And, Kim, I want to give it to you, because I know you think this is going to be a big mistake after for the Republican Party if after seven years, they don’t repeal and replace ObamaCare.
STRASSEL: It’s a disastrous mistake and it’s not just going to affect health care either. They’re going to then again have another defeat headed right into this tax reform debate that they’re about to have. They’ll be dis-unified rather than unified and it’s just — it does not bode well for their other priorities.
WALLACE: All right. We have to take a break here.
When we come back, as if all of that wasn’t enough, things get personal between President Trump and the leader of North Korea. And the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election heats up.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of people around the president? Just go to Facebook or Twitter, @FoxNewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air.
WALLACE: Coming up, President Trump imposes new sanctions on North Korea as they threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the escalating tensions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We cannot have mad men out there shooting rockets all over the place.
Rocket man should have been handled a long time ago. Little rocket man. We — we're going to do it because we really have no choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump keeps taunting North Koreans' Kim Jong-un at a campaign rally in Alabama Friday night.
We're back now with the panel. And let's give it you the latest on the confrontation with North Korea. U.S. bombers flew off the coast of North Korea Saturday. It's the furthest north over the DMZ. They were not overt North Korea. They were to the east of it, in the ocean. The furthest north they've gone this century. North Korea's foreign minister fired back at President Trump at the United Nations. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RI YOUNG HO, NORTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Trump, a mentally deranged person full of mental mania and complacence, a person who is chastise even by American people as commander in grief, lion king, president evil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: And President Trump tweeted in response, if he, the foreign minister, echoes threats of little rocket man, he won't be around much longer.
Julie, is there a strategy here?
JULIE PACE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Great question.
Look, people at the NSC and at the State department don't find this — this trading of personal insults to be particularly helpful. But within the president's circle of political advisors at the White House, they are pretty willing to let him take this road. They think that it shows that he's not going to be cowed by North Korea. They think it shows that he's going to give it right back to them. He's not going to back down.
Does it solve, though, the actual nuclear problem? No. I mean right now we're seeing North Korea's nuclear program move in one direction, and that is gaining capacity, continuing to have tests. We're seeing that Pyongyang is not going to back down because of new sanctions from the U.N., new sanctions from the United States. So it leaves the Trump administration in the exact same position that the Obama administration was at the end of President Obama's tenure, which is that, you're looking to China. You're hoping that China takes some — some steps. That they are, you know, kind of tweaking the edges on right now but not going full throttle on. And basically the administration is — is stuck right now.
WALLACE: Kim, how do you think President Trump is handling the threat from North Korea, both this very inflated rhetoric we knew was going to come from Kim. It doesn't usually come from an American president. Also his handling of the diplomatic and economic situation, especially getting China to try to tighten the noose around North Korea.
KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, let's step back and just remember what the point of that Young Ho speech was, this United Nations speech was, which was to get the attention of China and Russia. And I think he certainly did that.
Now, a lot of the attention has been on the insults, but the goal of the administration was to go in and say, there is a new sheriff in town. This is not the Obama administration. And we will act if you don't — if you don't go in and police your own area, then we will do it for you.
And I think that that — certainly message certainly got across. And then combined with the new sanctions that were put in this week. So I think the people to watch are, in fact, China, and see whether or not they get a lot more serious because that is the weak link right now in terms of actually bringing down North Korea.
WALLACE: I —
PACE: But the reality is, behind the scenes, when — even though Trump is talking tough on military action, when you talk to officials at the Pentagon or at the State Department, they're pretty candid about the — about the realities of a military option. They don't see that as where this is headed right now.
WALLACE: All right. I want to turn to another big story, and that is how aggressively — and we found out this week just how aggressively — special counsel Robert Mueller is pursuing his investigation into Russian interference in the election. We learned that FBI agents didn't knock. They picked a lock when they stormed into the office of Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for — for Donald Trump, while Manafort was asleep in his home, and then prosecutors told Manafort that they plan to indict him.
We asked you for questions for the panel and here's what we got on FaceBook from Rhonda Warren. She writes, "I know that investigations like this can start with one thing and often lead to others, but what kind of controls are in place to make sure that it's not a witch hunt?"
Karl, as someone who was the subject of a probe in the Valerie Plame case, you can characterize it (INAUDIBLE), how would you answer Rhonda?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, in this particular instance, the FBI had to have specific permission to pick the lot. They had to go before a judge and get a — a warrant and justify that action. And they would basically have to prove to the judge that there was a high expectation that Manafort, if they knocked on the door, would be destroying evidence. If they — if they — if they didn't have immediate access, that they could be at that risk.
WALLACE: So are you OK with it then?
ROVE: Well, I — I assume that a judge had to be convinced.
Look, as I — let's step back, to use Kim's phrase. I don't think the president has much exposure — I don't think he has any exposure on collusion. I find it hard to believe that Mueller would try and make the case that it was obstruction to fire the FBI director. The president could fire anybody.
But I do think Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn have real exposure, not on things apparently connected with the campaign. Manafort, it has to do with his work on behalf of Ukraine and Russia influence, and Flynn has problems with having taken money from foreign governments.
So — but Manafort is clearly in the crosshairs.
WALLACE: And — and the thought is that if you squeeze Manafort or Flynn enough, maybe they flip on the president?
ROVE: Well, but, I — you know, I find it hard to believe that there's anything to flip on. I just — you know, look, Donald Trump Jr.'s got a problem. I don't think it gets him into legal difficulties, but he's got an optics problem of saying, well, I took the meeting with the Russians who were going to give us bad stuff and there's mention of government official — Russian government officials in there, but they get nothing out of it. But I — no, I don't think the president has to —
CAW: Here's how President Trump dealt with the Russian controversy during that rally in Alabama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It is one great hoax. No, Russia did not help me. That I can tell you, OK. Any Russians in the audience? Are there any Russians in the audience (INAUDIBLE)? I don't see too many Russians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: He does — he does knows how to make a speech.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, he — let me tell you, he's great TV. One of the odd things he said in that speech was, the NFL's having trouble because people are watching me, he says of himself.
WALLACE: We've got about a minute. Your thoughts about how aggressively Robert Mueller is pursuing this? And we found out this week just how aggressive it is.
WILLIAMS: It's very aggressive. And don't forget, in addition to the instance at Manafort's house with the lock picking, you have increase demand for documents from the White House by the Mueller team. The documents seem to relate directly to the firing of Manafort, firing of Flynn, potential for obstruction of justice in terms of how the description, the roll-out on the meeting that took place in June 2016 was handled.
So you have that. And then you have the White House, maybe this is the way we should look at it, Chris. Their — they seem concerned because they've been attacking Jim Comey's credibility pretty aggressively, suggesting that because of those leaked documents, he violated some confidentiality and that maybe the Justice Department should go after him.
WALLACE: To be continued.
Thank you, panel.
We'll see you all next week.
Up next, our exclusive interview with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on his foundation's remarkable efforts to save millions of lives.
And, we'll also find out what kind of smartphone he uses.
WALLACE: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the world's largest private charitable fund. Since it started back in 2000, the foundation has given more than $41 billion in grants for public health and development in more than 100 countries, including the U.S. It is no overstatement to say they've save millions of lives.
This week, while the U.N. General Assembly was meeting in New York, the Gates Foundation held its first goalkeeper's summit to track what it's gotten for each dollar spent so far and to enlist volunteers, including world leaders, to help reach its goals out to the year 2000.
I sat down with the Microsoft co-founder it discuss what the Gates Foundation has done and the challenges it still faces.
WALLACE: Mr. Gates, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
BILL GATES, MICROSOFT CO-FOUNDER AND PHILANTHROPIST: Thank you.
WALLACE: One of the keys to the Gates Foundation is that you push a business model, measurable goals, return on investment, return, in this case, being lives saved. Why are those kinds of metrics important?
GATES: Well, I've been lucky enough through my success, and the unbelievable generosity of Warren Buffett, to be at a foundation with my wife, Melinda, where we have a lot of resources. So it's know where near what government has. But by philanthropic standards, we have a responsibility to make sure this money has big impact. And we partner with governments, taking on HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, all of these things that explain the inequity that a child in Africa is 100 times more likely to die than a child and the U.S. or Europe.
WALLACE: Let's talk about child mortality, because it is such a dramatic and clear example. In your Goalkeeper's report, you do have this chart which shows that over the last — since 1990, the number of people, number of children under the age of five who die has gone from 11 million to 5 million. Then you project out to 2030, and you have three different scenarios. Explain the significance of those three different outcomes in terms of lives lost or saved.
GATES: Yes, this is the first time that the aide field has been able to take our progress and not only track where we are, but also look at the possibilities for where we'll be 15 years ahead. So we took and we set if all the countries adopted the best practices, if the donors stayed very generous in their giving, and if innovation is going full speed, and we show that as the best case. Then we take just business as usual. And then we take a case where people pull back. Where they're saying that they don't care as much about other countries in the deaths and things there and that there's less money, less R and D, less adoption, best practices, and we showed it's quite a range.
WALLACE: It's more than a million young people in 2030 who either live or die. Specifically the difference in terms of the various scenarios. What is it that wouldn't be getting there if people don't continue to contribute or even add to it?
GATES: Well, the best example is vaccines. Vaccines are fairly expensive. About $10 per child to get vaccinated. And it's donor money, the United States and the U.K. been the most generous, that buy those vaccines at the lowest possible price and get them out to all the world's children. And so the coverage just keeps going up. And if we can get a few new vaccines into that mix, and get the coverage level, which is 80 percent, up to 90 percent, then we achieved that very best case were more than a million lives a year, less kids will be dying by 2030.
WALLACE: That brings us to U.S. government funding, which President Trump is proposing to cut by almost a quarter in terms of global health funding. What would that mean in terms of either lives saved or lives lost?
GATES: We took HIV and we modeled what — even just a 10 percent cut would mean. And it's an additional 5 million deaths between now and 2030 because —
WALLACE: Five million deaths.
GATES: Five million total deaths over that — that time period. What happens with an infectious disease, you're either winning by getting less and less people to be infected, and they infect less people, or you're losing. And, in fact, the AIDS cohort that's greatly at risk is age 16 to 25. There's twice as many kids now in that population range as there was back when HIV first hit. And so the miracle of getting those drugs out, if that's not fully funded, until we get a breakthrough like a vaccine, then the death rate is going to go back up and reach new records.
WALLACE: In his speech to Congress in February, President Trump said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: America must put its own citizens first, because only then can we truly make America great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: And in his budget message the president added, it is time to prioritize the security and well-being of Americans, and to ask the rest of the world to step up and pay its fair share.
Given that U.S. taxpayers, at this point, are basically putting up a third of the government funding around the world for global public health, doesn't President Trump have a point, and isn't there a case to be made the U.S. should cut back and other countries should step up?
GATES: Well, the United States is not giving percentagewise as much as the European countries. The U.K., Germany, Sweden, Norway, give three times as much as a percentage of their economy. The U.S. —
WALLACE: Not in total — total dollars, but as a percentage —
GATES: Of their economy, yes.
GATES: Which is viewed as the — the — kind of the fair metric. The U.S. has a huge economy and what we have given is phenomenal. We also fund a lot of the research that's very important in to creating these new tools. If we back off from the commitments that were actually made under President Bush, PEPFAR, the HIV and the malaria work, come from his initiatives, then it would be tragic for these countries, for their stability, for having their health systems be able to stop pandemics early on. And so people like Secretary Mattis has said, if you cut the development budget, you're going to have to spend more on bullets because you're simply not there averting these problems of instability.
WALLACE: I want to ask you one more question about President Trump, because you met with him as president-elect in December. You met with him again in March, just after he had put out his budget. How did those conversations go?
GATES: Well, I had an opportunity in the two meetings I've had, November and March, to share with him my optimism that innovation in many areas, particularly in these global health issues, but also on energy and education, that the U.S. can benefit itself and the world. And, you know, trying to see if — if the innovation agenda was something that resonated with him, because I think it's such a — a good deal, both domestically and for all of humanity, you know, we talked about vaccines and how they're miraculous. We talked about these different programs. And so, you know, I'm hopeful that was enlightening to him.
WALLACE: But it didn't have the impact you hoped.
GATES: Well, in terms of the first budget that he came up with, no, that was a disappointment for us. It was taking the medical research budget called the NIH, bringing that down fairly dramatically. Taking the aide program, including the ongoing HIV commitments, and bringing those. So, definitely, I was — I was disappointed in that.
WALLACE: Did he explain it to you?
GATES: Well, I haven't seen him since that came out. The — there were grumbling that would happen and he, you know, encouraged me to meet with various aides, including the Office of the Management of the Budget. And, you know, I do think the administration was new. I don't think they understood how difficult HIV is and what it means if you cut it back. And so, you know, we'll have to see, both in terms of the acceptance of what Congress does and their next budget. I hope that it's much more generous in these areas.
WALLACE: I want to talk about Congress because you're now pushing them to put this money back into the budget. You admit that you and other folks like you not done as good a job as you could in making the case for foreign aid. Perhaps in the moral sense you have, but you say not necessarily in the practical sense, even in terms of national security.
So explain why you think this is so important in terms of what you call solvable human misery.
GATES: Well, it's always a challenge where a problem is far away that people don't get to see it. If you saw malaria and HIV in your neighborhood, of course people would volunteer and the resources would come out. And that's why it was so phenomenal when President Bush said these drugs cost $100 a year, he U.S. is going to work to try and make sure no one dies because they lack those drugs.
Whether it's instability that leads to migration, you know, like central America not being stable and so that creates huge pressure at our borders, that's a challenge for everyone, or Africa itself, where the population is going to more than double, stability in the world can either be done militarily or it can be done by making sure that the food and health and education is there.
All these countries want to be self-sufficient. They don't, in the long run, want aid. And so countries like India are now rich enough that they're not a — a significant aid recipient. Brazil, Mexico, many countries have graduated. And so now we need to, you know, take the tougher cases, a lot of whom are in Africa, and continue to uplift them until they get out of the poverty trap.
WALLACE: We don't get to talk to you very often, so I'm going to take advantage of this and do a lightning round. Quick questions, quick answers.
You are the leader of The Giving Pledge, getting billionaires to donate at least half their wealth to charity to causes like this. How many people have you gotten to sign on and how much money are we talking about?
GATES: It's 170 people. It's amazing. We never expected to get that many. The vast majority are from America, where we've spend more time talking to people. They're giving to a huge number of causes, education, scientific research. But we meet. We share experiences. We learn from each other. And the goal is to have the quality and the amount of charity go up. And many countries are envious of how strong that tradition is in the United States.
WALLACE: Finally, you had a famously tempestuous relationship with Steve Jobs. What do you think of the new iPhone and what kind of phone do you use?
GATES: Well, actually, the relationship I had with Steve had every aspect you can imagine, particularly in the last few years, our friendship, which had always been there, was greatly strengthen as he was dealing with cancer, as he had done such wonderful work at both Pixar and Apple. And, you know, he and I have a lot in common. We are different in some ways. So, you know, Steve was a genius, absolutely amazing.
It's great that Apple's continuing to do good work. I happen to use all Windows-based PC's. The phone that I have recently — I actually did switch to an android phone with a lot of Microsoft software. But the competition in the software and IT space that Steve helped fostered, it's — it's phenomenal. And Microsoft's a big part of that. You know, it's been a miraculous industry that he and I got to work in.
WALLACE: So no iPhone?
GATES: No, no iPhone.
WALLACE: Thank you. It's a pleasure talking to you. Please, keep up the good work, sir.
WALLACE: Up next, our "Power Players of the Week." It's one thing to say you want to save millions of children, but how do you get life-saving medicine to some of the most remote places on earth? You'll meet the innovators who came up with amazing solutions.
WALLACE: One thing we learned at the Gates Foundation conference is how hard it is to match good intentions with practical solutions. Since the year 2000, the foundation has helped immunized more than 600 million children. But how do you keep vaccines at the right temperature, 40 degrees Fahrenheit, to be effective in remote parts of the world? We met inventor engineers who came up with remarkable solutions, and they are our "Power Players of the Week."
JENNY HU, INTELLECTUAL VENTURES' GLOBAL GOOD: I have met mothers who carried their children several kilometers to be there to get their vaccines. But all too often they find out when they get there, the refrigerator's broken, the vaccines are spoiled and they've just wasted their time.
These are problems that may group wanted to address, and we did that by building a better refrigerator. We call it the Meta-fridge. And here it is.
The first challenge that we wanted to address with this was how to keep vaccine's cold when the power is going out. And this whole top of the fridge is actually full — full of ice. Our innovation was to add a thermal siphon (ph), like this, which is actually inside the frig. When the thermal siphon (ph) is activated, you can see the cold front moving down, and that's heat being sucked out of the vaccine chamber, moved up through the thermal siphon (ph) to an ice block where it slowly melts that ice over a long period of time. So this thermal siphon (ph) technology allows us to keep the vaccines at exactly the right temperature, really stably, without any power at all.
WALLACE (voice-over): But what happens when children cannot get to a clinic? The Gates Foundation had to come up with a way to deliver vaccines to the 50 percent of children they serve and Africa, who live in villages with no electricity and no cars.
MORGAN FOWLER, INTELLECTUAL VENTURES' GLOBAL GOOD: What's really needed is vaccine carriers that have no need for any ice at all. This is the Indigo Vaccine Cooler. It does what nothing else in the world currently does. This cooler will keep vaccines at the right temperature for a long period of time, with absolutely no ice, no batteries, and no electricity needed during cooling. No infrastructure at all.
It's really easy to use. When you want to make the cooling start, you open a mechanical valve like this and the cooling starts. When you don't want cooling, pull it out.
But how do we do this? So we start with something like a thermos. It limits the amount of heat that comes into the unit. And then, instead of adding ice to make it cold, we have an internally built layer of water on the inside that we keep at a very low pressure, which makes the water evaporate at a very low temperature, 5 degrees Celsius, the perfect temperature for vaccine storage
WALLACE: Fin Dean (ph) is a nurse and vaccinator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where only eight of the 21 health posts in her region have any form of refrigeration.
FOWLER: Before we started this field test. There was — the vaccinators reached about 20 of these remote vaccination sites in a month's time period. But now, this month, September, they expect to be able to reach 120 remote vaccination sites due to the capabilities of the Indigo Cooler.
Our goal is that soon all vaccinators across Africa will have access to the Meta-Frig (ph), the Indigo and other advanced cooling technologies in order to vaccinate all kids.
WALLACE: If you want to learn more about the Gates Foundation and its extraordinary work, please go to our website, FoxNewsSunday.com.
And that's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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