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July 15, 2018

President Trump promised to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin at their Monday meeting about extradition of the 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe Friday — but Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday said don't bother.

"I think it'd be a moot point. I don't think Russia is sending anyone back over here for trial, the same way we wouldn't send anybody over there for trial," Paul mused on CNN's State of the Union. Americans would be better served, the senator said, if Washington worked to develop stronger security for future votes.

"I think we have to protect ourselves," Paul said. "So, because we waste time saying, 'Well, Putin needs to admit this and apologize' — he's not going to admit that he did it, and we can't take on face value anything they tell us. We have to assume — and if we have proof that they did it, which it sounds like we [do] — we should now spend our time protecting ourselves instead of having this witch hunt on the president," Paul continued. "If the president is involved, by all means put the information forward."

The Kentucky senator noted that the U.S. has a long history of meddling in foreign elections, arguing that though American and Russian actions are not "morally equivalent," the U.S. would do well to remember that past interference in Russia's sphere of influence may have helped motivate Russia's actions. "If we don't realize everything we do has a reaction," Paul said, "we're not going to be very clear on having peace in the world."

Watch an excerpt of Paul's comments below. Bonnie Kristian

July 8, 2018

President Trump wants to testify before Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said on ABC's This Week Sunday, but his lawyers won't allow him. To let Trump talk would be leading "our client like a lamb going to the slaughter," Giuliani said. "We wouldn't be lawyers if we would do that."

Furthermore, Giuliani told host George Stephanopulos, Mueller's probe into Russian election meddling is "the most corrupt investigation I have ever seen" and "they've never really told us what they're investigating [the president for], which of course we want to know."

Giuliani also spoke confidently of Mueller's investigation of his predecessor, Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in connection to the president's relationship with and Cohen's payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. "I have no concerns that Michael Cohen is going to do anything but tell the truth, and if he does, as I said, there's no suggestion that anything happened," Giuliani maintained.

Watch two clips of Giuliani's remarks below. Bonnie Kristian

July 8, 2018

"Republicans are holding four lottery tickets, and all of them are winners," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Fox News Sunday of President Trump's shortlist to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. "If you are a conservative Republican," he continued, "the four people named — particularly Thomas Hardiman, I'm glad he is on the list — are all winners and every Republican should embrace these picks."

Senate Democrats, Graham predicted, won't join in that embrace. "Here's the truth. Donald Trump could nominate George Washington or John Marshall and they couldn't get through," he argued, adding, "There's nobody that President Trump could nominate from a conservative bent that will get many Democratic votes."

Graham also addressed Syria, Turkey, and North Korea. Read the full transcript of his interview at Fox, or watch his SCOTUS comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian

July 1, 2018

President Trump has been "soliciting my views on the type of nominee that I was looking for," Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on CNN Sunday of the process to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. "I emphasized that I wanted a nominee who would respect precedent, a fundamental tenet of our judicial system."

The specific issue of precedent where Collins — who with fellow moderate Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) is likely to be a deciding vote for this nomination — differs from the administration is on the question of Roe v. Wade. As a candidate, Trump said willingness to overturn the landmark abortion ruling would be a litmus test for his SCOTUS picks, but Sunday on Fox News, he said he would not ask potential nominees their views on the subject.

"I think what [Trump] said as the candidate may not have been informed by the legal advice that he now has, that it would be inappropriate for him to ask a nominee how he or she would rule on a specific issue," Collins told host Jake Tapper. "I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade, because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law."

Watch Collins' comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian

July 1, 2018

In an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures, President Trump discussed his forthcoming Supreme Court pick, his plans for "phase two" of the GOP tax reform law passed last year, and his trade policy, particularly in connection to China, the European Union, and Harley-Davidson.

The president also repeated his unfounded claim, first made on Twitter Saturday, that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has "liberated" towns from MS-13:

He expressed confidence in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un despite reports from U.S. intelligence agencies that Kim is not pursuing complete denuclearization as promised:

And Trump warned his political opponents to "take it easy" because "there's probably never been a base, in the history of politics, like [his] base":

"Because some of the language used, some of the words used," the notoriously foul-mouthed president continued, "even some of the radical ideas, I really think they're very bad for the country. I think they're actually dangerous for the country." Bonnie Kristian

June 24, 2018

President Trump has faced institutional checks and balances to his power, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) argued on ABC's This Week Sunday, but they haven't come from Congress.

It's difficult "for a lot of my colleagues to say, 'Hey, let's stand up to the president," Flake told host George Stephanopoulos. "But, boy, we ought to more jealously guard our institutional prerogative. I think in this crisis we're in, I think the judiciary has stood up well. The press has stood up well in terms of institutions. The balance. But the Congress has been lacking."

Flake highlighted tariffs as an issue where congressional Republicans ought to be pushing back, and he suggested that refusing to confirm judicial nominees might prod Trump to shift his stance. "I do think that unless we can actually exercise something other than just approving the president's executive calendar — his nominees, judges — that we have no reason to be there," Flake said. "So I think myself and a number of senators, at least a few of us, will stand up and say, 'Let's not move any more judges until we get a vote, for example, on tariffs.'"

In his final question, Stephanopoulos asked whether Flake, who is not seeking re-election, might "be prepared to challenge the president in 2020." Watch his answer below. Bonnie Kristian

June 24, 2018

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) declined to join other progressive politicos in endorsing the call to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union Sunday.

"More than a dozen Democratic congressional candidates reportedly support abolishing ICE," said host Jake Tapper. "Do you agree that ICE should be abolished?"

"I think that what we need is to create policies which deal with immigration in a rational way," Sanders answered, sidestepping the question. "And a rational way is not locking children up in detention centers or separating them from their mothers."

Tapper also pressed Sanders as to whether the left "only seemed to start caring about these [immigrant children detained by the government] under Trump," noting that some Democrats circulated photos "taken in 2014 under the Obama administration during the unaccompanied minors crisis from that year," unfairly attributing the situation depicted to Trump in 2018.

Sanders pushed back, arguing that Democrats had "a lot of concern about how undocumented people were treated under Obama," and that Trump's immigration policy operates at a distinct level of abuse. Watch an excerpt of his comments below. Bonnie Kristian

June 17, 2018

Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon resurfaced Sunday for an appearance on ABC's This Week to weigh in on, among other things, President Trump's honesty and what's wrong with the pope.

President Trump "has not always told the truth," host Jonathan Karl said while recalling Bannon's time in the White House, but Bannon disagreed. "I don't know that," Bannon replied. “This is another thing to demonize him." Karl pushed back: "You think the president has never lied?"

Bannon said he thinks exactly that. "Not to my knowledge, no," he answered. "Except when he called me Sloppy Steve."

Bannon also addressed the Trump administration's broadly condemned and not legally mandatory policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border. "It's zero tolerance. I don't think you have to justify it," he said. "We have a crisis on the southern border but the elites in the city ... want to manage situations to bad outcomes. And Donald Trump is not going to do that."

In contrast with his praise for Trump, Bannon, a professing Catholic, slammed Pope Francis for his approach to Europe's refugee crisis and labeled the Catholic Church "one of the worst instigators of this open borders policy." Watch those comments below. Bonnie Kristian

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