Sunday shows
January 12, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has no regrets.

That's what she told George Stephanopoulos on Sunday during an appearance on ABC's This Week. Pelosi was referring specifically to her decision to withhold articles of impeachment against President Trump from the Senate, thus delaying an impeachment trial. While Republicans have criticized her methods, and even some Democrats grew tired of the hold up, Pelosi thinks it has produced some "very positive" results by giving time for new documents to come to light. Plus, it allowed former National Security Adviser John Bolton to announce he's prepared to testify should the Senate issue a subpoena.

Pelosi said the delay has made it clear that witnesses and documentation are required for a fair trial, otherwise the whole thing is a "cover-up." Regardless, it sounds like even Pelosi thinks it's time to move on now; she told Stephanopoulos the House will decide on when to send over the articles next week. Tim O'Donnell

January 12, 2020

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has remained somewhat under-the-radar during the United States' flirtation with conflict with Iran, ceding center stage to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but he opened up about his stance on the situation Sunday during an appearance on CBS' Face the Nation.

Esper stood by President Trump's decision to kill Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike earlier this month in Iraq, arguing that the U.S. is safer now because of it. He didn't, however, appear to convince host Margaret Brennan with his response to her question about the intelligence the U.S. received on potential direct threats prior to Soleimani's death.

Trump previously said Washington received word of an attack against multiple U.S. embassies in the region, though that's been disputed, and it remains unclear if there was knowledge of any tangible threat, or if the decision was based on a wider assessment. Esper noted that he shared the president's view that embassies could have been the targets, but he didn't have much of an argument when Brennan pointed out that sounded more like an assessment than real intelligence. Esper acknowledged he "didn't see" anything specific in terms of threats against the embassies, but that didn't change his expectation that they were the most likely targets.

White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, meanwhile, defended the "exquisite intelligence" gathered by the U.S. in the lead up to Soleimani's death. Tim O'Donnell

January 5, 2020

In a not-so-shocking development, Democratic lawmakers had some harsh words for President Trump's actions in Iran, while their Republican counterparts offered some hefty praise Sunday.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) questioned the White House's stance that killing Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani made the U.S. safer, arguing the fatal airstrike last week might open a "Pandora's box" and possibly expose American officials to assassination. Ultimately, he said, it's likely more Americans will be killed because of the decision.

In an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace, Murphy's colleague Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) went beyond questioning the strategy and focused on the validity of the intelligence that reportedly prompted Trump to order the airstrike, citing the Iraq War as an example of what could happen if governments hang on faulty, or even manipulated, reports.

But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) doesn't see things that way. Instead, he told CBS' Margaret Brennan he thinks Trump has routinely shown great restraint when it comes to Iran, having opted not to make a move after several other incidents. Eventually though, Rubio argued, something had to be done to protect American interests.

Trump's stalwart domestic supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), meanwhile, was happy with how things played out, too. Graham doesn't always approve of Trump's foreign policy decisions, but he said he was "glad" Soleimani is dead and that "we finally got a president who understands Iran is the cancer of the Middle East." Tim O'Donnell

January 5, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the rounds on Sunday, appearing on several news shows to defend and explain the rationale behind the Trump administration's decision to launch an airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani this week. Here are three moments that stand out:

1. President Trump caused a furor Saturday when he tweeted that sites culturally important to Iran could be targeted in retaliatory attacks, suggesting that he was willing to ignore the Geneva Convention. Pompeo told ABC's George Stephanopoulos he wanted to assure the American people that any Iranian target they strike will be lawful.

2. Pompeo told NBC's Chuck Todd that the U.S. is "definitely safer" after the death of Soleimani, arguing that people who are worried about Iran's retaliation are focusing too much on the current moment. The Trump administration, he said, is focused on reducing the long-term risk.

3. Despite the fact that the U.S. is sending more troops over to the Middle East after recent events and maintaining "maximum pressure" on Iran, Pompeo said the Trump administration is still committed to reducing the military's footprint in the region, as the president has promised in the past. Tim O'Donnell

December 29, 2019

The knife attack Saturday evening that wounded five people attending a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi's home in Monsey, New York, has prompted swift condemnation from prominent New York leaders, members of Congress, and presidential candidates, many of whom sounded fearful about the spread of anti-Semitic violence in the United States.

Oren Segal, the vice president of the Anti-Defamation League, voiced that concern as well. In an appearance Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, he told host Jake Tapper that the New York City area — which has recently seen multiple high-profile acts of violence against its Jewish communities — is in the middle of an "epidemic" of anti-Semitic incidents.

He said there's been a 17 percent rise in incidents in 2019, though he added the ADL is still trying to pinpoint the exact reasons for the motivations behind the increase, a priority for the organization. Tim O'Donnell

December 22, 2019

Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.) reached the point of no return when a local New Jersey county party chair told him he would face political consequences if he didn't vote in favor of impeachment.

Van Drew, in an appearance on Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures on Sunday, told host Maria Bartiromo that when he heard that warning he decided it was time to switch parties. "It made me think for all the years that I've worked so hard and tried to give so much not only to the party but to everybody," the former Democratic congressman said. "It all boils down to that I have my own individual opinion on one vote and that's not going to be allowed, and I'm going to be punished for that, and that's when I knew."

Van Drew, who went against the Democratic line and opposed impeachment from the beginning, officially announced he was crossing the aisle Thursday. He said he feels that he did "the honorable thing" and is sticking by his decision so far, even though there are questions about how he'll actually fit in with the GOP when it comes to non-impeachment voting. Read more at The Hill. Tim O'Donnell

December 15, 2019

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) is a little nervous that President Trump soon might feel untouchable.

Coons on Sunday appeared on NBC's Meet the Press, where he voiced to host Chuck Todd a major concern he has about the House's decision to move forward and vote on two articles of impeachment next week.

The senator made it clear that he agrees with House Democrats that what Trump has been accused of (inviting a foreign nation to interfere in domestic elections) is worthy of impeachment, and that there is proper evidence to support the allegation. But he is also wary of what might come after a likely acquittal in the Republican-controlled Senate. Coons think it's possible that letting Trump off the hook will only encourage him to keep pushing the limits going forward.

In other words, be careful what you wish for. Tim O'Donnell

December 15, 2019

Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report on the FBI's 2016 investigation into Russian election interference was a popular topic on Sunday.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday he understands the report revealed things he wasn't aware of two years ago. And while he agrees with Horowitz's conclusion that the investigation's numerous mishaps signaled the FISA process needed "significant" changes, he still defended the origins of the probe.

Schiff told Chris Wallace on Sunday during an appearance on Fox News Sunday that Horowitz "debunked" Trump's claims that the investigation was political in nature and that the bureau was spying on his campaign staffers.

Former FBI Director James Comey also spoke with Wallace, admitting he was "overconfident" in the agency's procedures, and slightly walked back some comments he made about how the report vindicated the FBI. But — like Schiff — he maintained the report proved the probe wasn't tainted from the start.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), meanwhile, was more critical of the FBI during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union. The former CIA officer isn't sure why more people aren't upset about what the inspector general's report revealed. Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads