This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday,” May 23, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


A ceasefire in the Middle East, but how long will it hold? 



genuine opportunity to make progress and I’m committed to working for it. 

WALLACE (voice-over): President Biden walking a tight rope in his first 

foreign policy crisis, praising the truce to end 11 days of conflict. 

BIDEN:  The Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and 


WALLACE:  But where does the situation in the Middle East stand now? And 

what about the glowing split among Democrats over Israel?

We’ll sit down with Mark Regev, senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister 

Netanyahu, only on “FOX News Sunday”. 

Then, the House approves an independent commission to investigate the 

January 6th attack on the Capitol, but opposition from Senate Republicans 


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER:  I’ve made the decision to 

oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal. 

WALLACE:  And Democrats slam Republicans for continuing to stand with the 

former president. 

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER:  They’re caving to Donald Trump 

and proving that the Republican Party is still drunk off the big lie. 

WALLACE:  We’ll talk with Senator Roy Blunt, a member of the GOP 

leadership, who says Democrats are playing politics with the commission and 

get reaction from Congressman Adam Kinzinger, one of 35 Republicans who 

voted for the investigation. 

Plus, we’ll ask or send panel about the divides on Capitol Hill inside both 


And our Power Player of the Week, the owner of Ben’s Chili Bowl, a landmark 

in the nation’s capital for six decades, on how they survived the pandemic. 

All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”. 


WALLACE (on camera): And hello again from FOX News in Washington. 

That fragile cease-fire is still holding in the Middle East after 11 days 

of fighting between the Israelis and Palestinians left almost 300 dead. 

President Biden is walking a fine line, promising to rearm Israel while 

working to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza. And he’s also dealing with a 

sharp split among Democrats about support for Israel. 

In a moment, we’ll speak with Mark Regev, senior advisor to Israeli Prime 

Minister Netanyahu. 

But, first, let’s turn to Mark Meredith at the White House with the latest 

on the conflict and the politics here at home — Mark. 

MARK MEREDITH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Chris, President Biden has spent a 

lot of time on the phone lately, urging Palestinian and Israeli officials 

to stop fighting and as you mention, while the cease-fire is holding today, 

the president is facing a long list of questions about how he hopes to 

achieve lasting peace in the Middle East. 


BIDEN:  I’m praying this ceasefire will hold. I take Bibi Netanyahu when he 

gives me his word, I take him at his word. 

MEREDITH (voice-over): The U.S. says it firmly supports Israel’s right to 

defend itself from terrorist groups like Hamas but some progressives say 

it’s the Israelis who need to be reined in. 

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT):  We should be bringing people together, not 

just being one-sided and saying everything that Israel does is good, 

because it is not. 

MEREDITH:  In the wake of civilian deaths in Gaza, some Democrats want the 

White House to cancel a massive arms deal to Israel. Republicans say it’s 

proof Democrats are divided. 

MCCONNELL:  I think at least half the Democrats are hostile to Israel and 

the rest of them are afraid to those who are hostile to Israel. 

MEREDITH:  Violence abroad has many fearful of increased anti-Semitic 

attacks at home. Cellphone cameras capturing multiple violent incidents 

with Los Angeles Police investigating a fight at a restaurant as a possible 

hate crime. 


MEREDITH (on camera): Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to visit 

the Middle East in coming days. He’s expected to meet Israeli, Palestinian 

and regional leaders, all of whom who may be crucial to keeping this 

ceasefire in place — Chris. 

WALLACE:  Mark Meredith reporting from the White House — Mark, thank you. 

And joining us now from Jerusalem, Mark Regev, senior advisor to Israeli 

Prime Minister Netanyahu. 

Ambassador, how confident are you that this ceasefire will last? Back in 

2014, the last major outbreak of violence, it took nine truces over 56 days 

before Israel and Hamas finally stopped fighting. 

What are the chances we’re going to see that again? 


you’ve just said, after that round of fighting in 2014, we did receive over 

half a decade of relative peace and quiet. And so, that is possible and I 

hope we can do that again. 

Ultimately, in the operation, we gave Hamas a heavy blow. We dismantled a 

large part of their terrorist military machine. We took out part of their 

leadership. We hit their command and control. 

Hopefully, they will think twice, even three times before they strike in 

Israel again. 

WALLACE:  There is no question that Hamas started the military conflict, 

firing 4,300 rockets into Israel and killing at least a dozen Israelis. But 

I think you would agree that the toll was much heavier on the Hamas side, 

in Gaza. 

Now, I want to put up some numbers on that. At least 248 Palestinians 

killed, including 66 children and 39 women; 800,000 people in Gaza do not 

currently have access to piped water. 

Ambassador, any second thoughts about whether the Israeli response during 

these 11 days was proportionate? 

REGEV:  They were firing thousands of rockets, as you just said, on our 

civilian population. They were trying to murder our people in their homes. 

We were defending ourselves. Our operation was fundamentally designed 

simply to protect our civilian population. 

Now, in the process of fighting back, we were trying to be a surgical as is 

humanly possible, in a very complex, combat situation. They were firing out 

of schools. They were firing out of built up areas. They were firing out of 

homes, out of mosques, even out of playgrounds. 

And we tried to be, as I said, to hit the terrorists and not to see 

innocent people caught up in the crossfire.

And while our goal was to avoid civilian casualties, Hamas had actually the 

exact opposite goal. They were aiming their rockets at our people, trying 

to kill them, and, of course, they were brutally abusing Gaza civilians as 

a human shield for their war machine. 

We know for a fact that many of the casualties in this operation were 

caused by Hamas munitions. Almost 20 percent of their rockets fell short, 

landing in Gaza, killing Gaza civilians. It didn’t bother them at all, they 

kept doing that. 

Part of the death and destruction was because of their ordnance, their 

explosives going off. We made a maximum effort to minimize human 

casualties, they did exactly the opposite. 

WALLACE:  One difference is that this time, Israel came under some heavy 

fire from the left wing of the Democratic Party. And I want to play some of 

the clips of that kind of rhetoric this past week. 

Take a look, sir. 


REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI):  Palestinians aren’t going anywhere no matter 

how much money you send to Israel’s apartheid government.

REP. ILHAM OMAR (D-MN): Every rocket and bomb that target civilians is a 

war crime. 

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT):  Benjamin Netanyahu has cultivated an 

increasingly intolerant and authoritarian type of racist nationalism. 


WALLACE: Ambassador, do you worry that Israel is losing support among some 

major political elements here in the United States? And to what degree that 

you’re losing that support does that bolster Hamas and hurt Israel? 

REGEV:  Well, I can tell you this morning before coming to this interview, 

I looked at the polling. And I saw that the overwhelming majority of the 

American people stand with Israel, support Israel, are favorable towards 

Israel. A majority of people who identify as Democrats also support Israel 

or favor Israel. 

And even I saw group — people who self identify as liberal Democrats are 

favorable towards Israel. Of course, they want to see peace, but Israel 

wants to see peace too. We’d love to have peace with our Palestinian 


And people need to understand — Hamas is not just Israel’s enemy. Hamas is 

the enemy of everyone who wants to seek peace and reconciliation in our 

part of the world. There were brutal jihadist terrorist group. No one 

should make excuses for them. 

WALLACE:  So how do you understand, how do you regard the criticism you’re 

getting from Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and 

in addition from much more mainstream Democrats — for instance, the 

chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez? 

REGEV:  So, Senator Menendez is a champion of the Israel-U.S. partnership, 

a champion of the alliance between our two democracies, a real friend of 


I think we weren’t quick enough. He was particularly concerned about an 

attack on a particular structure and we weren’t quick enough in our — the 

facts of that matter out because it was played that somehow Israel attacked 

innocent civilians. It wasn’t the case. 

In that building that the senator was concerned about, Hamas had its elite 

scientific research unit that was working on ways to try to counteract the 

guiding systems on our rockets. If they would have succeeded, not only 

couldn’t we have shut down incoming rockets coming into Israel to kill our 

people, but we wouldn’t have been able to be surgical in our strikes 

against Hamas’ military machine, so that definitely was a legitimate 

military target. 

That Hamas was using journalists as a human shield shouldn’t come as a 

surprise to anyone but we notify the journalists in advance and I’m happy 

to tell you that there was not a single civilian casualty from that 

operation. In fact, from my point of view, it was an Israeli tactical 

success because we took out a legitimate Hamas target, a dangerous Hamas 

target and at the same time, not a single innocent civilian was killed. 

That’s a good thing. 

WALLACE:  One concern — you talked about Israel wants peace. One concern 

is whether Israel is doing enough to address the root causes of the 

conflict. Here is a comment on Friday from President Biden. 



solution. It is the only answer. 


WALLACE:  Does Prime Minister Netanyahu still believe that a two-state 

solution is the only answer? And if so, what is he doing to achieve that? 

REGEV:  I know my prime minister believes in peace very, very strongly. In 

the last year, he — we’ve made it through peace agreements with four Arab 

countries and we want to see more. He wants to expand the circle of peace 

to include the Palestinians as well.

But let me be clear here, Hamas is not interested in peace. Hamas says that 

every Israeli man, woman, and child is a legitimate target in their terror 

war. Hamas says Israel, my country, should be destroyed, wiped off the map. 

Hamas says any Arab or Palestinian leader who makes peace with Israel 

should be murdered. I think in overcoming Hamas and defeating Hamas now, 

maybe we’ve created some room for more Palestinian moderate voices to move 

center stage because as long as Hamas is powerful, they can almost put a 


WALLACE:  Yes, but, you know, there are a number of independent groups that 

say it’s not all Hamas. The human rights group Human Rights Watch came out 

with a report last month that made a serious charge against Israel for the 

first time. I want to put it up on the screen. 

They said the oppression of Palestinians there in Israel has reached a 

threshold and a permanence that meets the definitions of the crimes of 

apartheid and persecution. 

Ambassador, it says that Israel has set up a system that oppresses 

Palestinians, especially in Gaza and the West Bank. 

REGEV:  I’d like to say when that report was issued, we read it carefully 

and we rejected it. It’s simply not true.

Israel is a democracy. It’s a country with a free pass, a free parliament, 

a country where we hold our freedoms very, very seriously. 

We are in conflict with neighbors, especially in Gaza, run by brutal 

terrorist organizations. There’s no parity here. You have a democratic 

country trying to protect its people and a brutal terrorist organization 

trying to kill civilians. We have to act to protect our people. 

WALLACE:  Finally, and I have about a minute left, Ambassador. 

With the — in the — there was an anti-Netanyahu coalition that was 

reportedly within days, perhaps within hours, of forming a government and 

ousting Prime Minister Netanyahu. Now that we’ve had these 11 days of 

conflict, is that dead? And is Israel headed for a fifth election in two 


REGEV:  You know, Chris, this might be the land of the Bible, but I’m no 

prophet and I can’t foretell the future. I don’t know what will happen here 


I do know this: Israelis across the political spectrum were united in the 

need to defend our people against these Hamas rockets coming in and the 

need to take action and to stop it, and I think also Israelis were united 

wall to wall in our appreciation for the president, for President Biden, 

when he again and again reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend ourselves 

against these incoming rockets. It was much appreciated. 

WALLACE: Ambassador Regev, thank you. Thanks for your time. We’ll be 

following developments in the region over next days and weeks. 

Up next, we’ll ask our Sunday panel about the new controversy over U.S. 

support for our oldest ally in the Middle East. 



BIDEN:  I think that, you know, my party still supports Israel. 

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY):  Do Palestinians have a right to 

survive? Do we believe that? 


WALLACE: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez contradicting President 

Biden’s claim there is no split inside the Democratic Party over Israel. 

And it’s time now for our Sunday group, Guy Benson of FOX News Radio; Julie 

Pace, Washington bureau chief for “The Associated Press”; and Charles Lane 

from “The Washington Post.” 

Julie, how much do you think the growing criticism from some Democrats and 

as I mentioned in the last interview, especially from the chairman of the 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez — how much do you 

think that criticism rattled the Biden White House and pushed them to go 

harder and sooner for a ceasefire from Israel? 


White House was certainly aware that the Democratic Party is split over 

this issue, that there is a much more vocal element of the Democratic Party 

that is supporting the Palestinian cause, that is not as reflexively pro-

Israel as we have seen in the past. 

I do think Biden, though, was trying to walk this very careful line. You 

saw this over and over again in statements that he was making in readouts 

of the conversations that he was having with Prime Minister Netanyahu, with 

the conversations that Tony Blinken, Lloyd Austin, and others were having. 

The thing they put forward there at the forefront was, we support Israel’s 

right to defend itself. They felt like it was critical to have that 

statement out there. But you did see then over the course of this conflict 

a move, privately at first, and then publicly to urge Israel to stop. 

I don’t think that was driven fairly by politics but certainly the politics 

was something the White House was well aware of here. 

WALLACE:  Guy, I think it’s fair to say that President Biden stood pretty 

firmly behind Israel throughout this conflict, but you know, whether it was 

the squad, whether it was Senator Menendez, whether it was senator Bernie 

Sanders, you have talk of apartheid, of racism, and war crimes. What do you 

make of that? 

GUY BENSON, “THE GUY BENSON SHOW”:  Yeah, Chris, I listen to your interview 

in the last segment very carefully and I hope that the ambassador is right 

about America remaining steadfastly pro-Israel across-the-board and he said 

he looked at some polling. 

There’s a new poll out in the last few days of YouGov that shows when they 

asked Democrats which side of this conflict they sympathize more with, more 

Democrats say Palestinians than Israelis. I think it that is an 

extraordinary sea change that we’re seeing in the Democratic Party. I think 

some of the old guard remains pro-Israel but the younger, very vocal sort 

of up-and-coming element of the progressive left, they have cast in their 

lot with the Palestinians and I think in some cases amplify what amount to 

Hamas talking points. 

I think it’s frightening to see. I think Republicans are much more united 

on this front, independents remain heavily pro-Israel. But there is a real 

fight here in the Democratic Party over this issue. 

WALLACE:  Chuck, let me pick up on that. Do you think the real story, the 

big story here is that the continuing support for Israel among most 

American politicians, Republicans and Democrats, or this growing criticism 

of Israel from the left wing of the Democratic Party? 

CHUCK LANE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  I would put it this way: when 

commentators in the Palestinian community claimed victory in this contest 

that has perhaps just concluded, the main point they cited was the growth 

of support for the Palestinian cause in global opinion, particularly the 

United States. 

I don’t think they are wrong to see it that way. They paid a heavy price 

militarily, but in public opinion around the world on the progressive left, 

the Palestinian cause is now seeing, ironically, almost as sympathetically 

as the Jewish and Israeli cause was seen 60 years ago. 

I think it’s been a long time coming. There are a lot of reasons for that. 

Certainly in the United States, one reason is that Prime Minister Netanyahu 

made a very overt pro-Donald Trump, pro-Republican kind of lunge over the 

last four years and that alienated a lot of Democrats. He became more 


And I think now we are going to see in our country, Israel, the Middle 

East, become a much more partisan issue with Democrats on one side of it 

relatively speaking and Republicans on the other. 

WALLACE:  Let’s turn to the facts on the ground. Here was Prime Minister 

Netanyahu this week. Take a look. 



and that’s always an open possibility, or you can deter them. And we are 

engaged right now in forceful deterrence but I have to say we don’t rule 

out anything. 


WALLACE:  Julie, under President Trump, I think it’s fair to say that the 

push for the two-state solution, the traditional diplomatic position of the 

United States was put on the shelf and you saw a much greater effort to 

achieve these Abraham Accords between Israel and other Arab countries like 

Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. But didn’t these last 11 days show that 

you just can’t ignore the central conflict between Israel and the 


PACE:  Or that if you do ignore it, that it’s not going to get any better 

on its own and it will continue to flare up and continue to push its way to 

the forefront here. And I think what’s interesting is that when Joe Biden 

came into office, he didn’t put the Middle East, he certainly didn’t put 

the Israeli-Palestinian issue at the forefront of his foreign policy. He 

wanted to focus on rebuilding global alliances, he wanted to focus on Asia 

more, trying to counter China. 

And I think with these last 11 days have shown is that a U.S. 

administration, whether it wants to or not has to deal with this situation. 

I think what we’re going to be watching for in the coming weeks and months 

is what the Biden position is going to be here. How actively involved is 

his administration going to get in trying to potentially restart peace 

talks here that the region has changed, you do have these peace accords now 

between Israel and some Arab countries. That is an important dynamic that 

has shifted here, but the Biden demonstration has a choice now to make 

about what their own approaches going to be and how active and central this 

will be to the president’s foreign policy. 

WALLACE:  And, of course, adding to all the difficulties, you’ve got this 

huge split inside Israel, the Netanyahu forces and the anti-Netanyahu 

forces as we may be headed to the fifth election in two years and a huge 

and growing split among the Palestinians between the more establishment 

Fatah wing and Hamas. So if you are further away from the peace deal and 


Panel, we have to take a break here. We’ll see later in the hour. 

Up next, a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of the January 

6th attack on Capitol Hill faces an uphill battle in the Senate. We’ll talk 

to two key Republicans on opposing sides of the issue when we come right 



WALLACE:  Coming up, the fate of the January 6th commission is now in the 

hands of a divided Senate. 


MCCONNELL:  I made the decision to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and 

unbalanced proposal. 

SCHUMER:  Shame on the Republicans for choosing the big lie over the truth. 


WALLACE:  We’ll ask our Sunday panel whether Congress will approve it. 


WALLACE:  Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to bring a bill to the Senate 

floor soon creating a commission to investigate the January 6th attack on 

the U.S. Capitol. But Republicans appear to have the votes to kill the 


There is a sharp split inside the GOP about the need for an independent 

commission. In a moment, we’ll speak with a member of the Senate 

leadership, Roy Blunt, who says the panel will only slow down reforms that 

are already underway, but first, from Illinois, Republican Congressman Adam 


Congressman, after the House approved the commission with 35 Republicans in 

the House breaking with the GOP leadership to support the panel, it 

appeared that there was a possibility Congress was going to approve this 


But then, the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell spoke out this week. 

Take a look at what he had to say. 


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER:  It’s not at all clear what 

new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could actually 

lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress. 


WALLACE: Congressman, with several congressional committees in both the 

House and Senate investigating the events of January 6th, are there 

questions? And if so, what are they, the biggest questions that you think a 

commission would be able to answer but that these committees will not be 

able to answer? 

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL):  Yeah, certainly. So let’s keep in mind the 

investigations that are ongoing things like into specific criminal actions. 

That’s why you’ve seen 400 people arrested. That’s what the FBI can do. 

There can be discussions about, you know, did the House security fail? But 

what we need is a comprehensive look at what happened that led up to 

January 6th, who was talking to who? What were the lies? 

And here’s the truth, Chris, the American people — and it’s Sunday and you 

learned in Sunday school, truth matters. The American people deserve the 


And my party to this point have said things like it was hugs and kisses, it 

was Antifa and BLM, it was anything but what it was, which was a Trump-

inspired insurrection on the Capitol. And people deserve to hear the truth. 

And I think now what’s going to happen if this thing fails is that Nancy 

Pelosi will run a select committee and this could go all the way to 2024.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Why do you think that Senate Republicans, 

led by Mitch McConnell, are apparently going to be able to block this 

commission? Do you think it’s all about politics on their part?

And don’t they have a point that one of the reasons the Democrats are 

pushing so hard for this commission is because they want to bring the 

controversy over what happened on January 6th and over the alleged role 

that Donald Trump played in it, they want to bring that into the 2022 


KINZINGER:  Well, you know, here’s a revelation, this is going to the 2022 

midterms anyway, particularly if us as Republicans don’t take ownership for 

what happened, if every other day, there’s a new conspiracy theory about 

what happened at the Capitol, anybody but what it was. And so, yeah, that I 

think it will go to 2022. And we’ll look like we are just sitting here 

denying reality and facts.

I get it, it may have a political impact, but I’m going to tell you what 

had a political impact on 2022, if anything does, it’s going to be the 

attack on January 6th and then the subsequent denial to look in the mirror, 

tell the truth, take ownership for what we’ve done and recommit to tell the 

American people and Republican voters the truth. The Republican voter who 

has had their patriotism abused by somebody that simply wants to use it to 

maintain power.

Raw and noble patriotism is beautiful and leaders should be inspiring that 

patriotism to defend democracy and not attack it.

WALLACE:  Let me ask you about one Republican leader in Congress.

Do you believe that it’s a conflict of interest for House Republican Leader 

Kevin McCarthy to do everything he can to oppose this panel, do you think 

it’s a conflict of interest given that he would likely be called by a 

commission to testify about his various conversations with President Trump 

both on the day of the riot on January 6th and then subsequent to that?

KINZINGER:  Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a conflict of interest because Kevin 

is the leader. There’s probably a lot of people that are going to be 

subject to being called in front of any investigation on this, even 

criminal investigation.

But I do think Kevin has failed to tell the truth to the Republicans and to 

the American people and it pains me to say. It’s not like I enjoy standing 

up and saying this, but people, the 74 million voters that voted for Donald 

Trump, the belief — a number of them that believe the election was stolen 

believe it because their leaders have not told them otherwise. The people 

they trust have either been silent or not told them the truth.

That’s where Kevin has failed, because he told the truth on January 13th, 

something around then, and then he went to Mar-a-Lago and said Donald Trump 

is the leader of the party. He’s right. Donald Trump is the leader of the 

party, but we need to tell people the truth.

WALLACE:  You talk about the politics in all this on the part of the 

Republicans who are trying to block the commission but you have set up a 

political action committee called “Country First” and part of the goal, 

maybe the central goal of “Country First” is to try and take the Republican 

Party back from Donald Trump.

So, in effect, doesn’t the January 6th commission serve your political 


KINZINGER:  No, not at all, because when I tell you, history is going to 

tell the truth anyway. It would be nice to confront that through January 

6th commission. My whole thing with “Country First” — and it’s — is just simply to say we owe the American people the 


My very first video on there, I just say, look, the Republican Party has 

lost its way. This party that built the interstate system, that freed the 

slaves, you know, fought for the environment, is now the party that is 

engaged heavily in mass battles, anti-vaccination and whatever the outrage 

of the day is, including Dr. Seuss.

All that may be important but there are much more important things for this 

country. And that’s what we want to get back to, is putting the country 

before the party. And frankly, January 6th embarrasses me. That will in no 

way benefit me at all.

WALLACE: Congressman Kinzinger, thank you. Thanks for sharing this weekend 

with us.

And now let’s turn to Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri. 

Senator, you’re a member of the Republican leadership in the Senate. How 

confident are you that you’re going to be able to block the creation of 

this commission in the Senate? 

SEN. ROY BLUNT (R-MO): Well, I think it’s to too early to create a 

commission and I — I believe Republicans in the Senate will decide that 

it’s too early to — to create that commission. 

You know, commissions often don’t work at all. And when they do work, like 

the Simpson-Bowles Commission produced a good result, nothing happened as a 

— as part of that result. 

The one commission that we generally think did work was the 9/11 

Commission, Chris. I think that was — I was part of putting that 

commission together. I think it was 14 months after 9/11, after all kinds 

of other information was out there for that commission to look at, before 

that commission got started. And, believe me, it would be months before 

this commission could get started. 

I just was part of the Senate Intel Committee looking into the last 

election, the Russian involvement in the last election. We thought that 

would take a year. It took three years. And we already had a full staff 

that was fully cleared to look at everything. It would take months, as 

Chairman Burr said the other day, former Chairman Burr of — of our 

committee, would take months just to get a staff ready to look at things 

and you’ve got 400 plus legal efforts going on against individuals. That’s 

going to produce a lot of information eventually. 

But, believe me, the Justice Department will not let a commission have any 

of that information. We just went through that with the — with the 9 — 

with the effort we looked at after the last election. We got no sharing 

from the Justice Department about a much smaller number of cases than 

they’re dealing with now. 

This information is all going to get out there. I’ve actually opposed the 

idea of a commission from — immediately from the very first because I 

think we’ll start waiting for a commission rather than moving forward with 

what we know we need to do now. 

There’s a bipartisan effort in the Senate with two committees to produce 

not only a report, but also a number of recommendations, and we should be 

able to do that in the first full week of June and we haven’t even waited 

for that to decide what a commission should do. 

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about that. 

You are working with two committees, Senate Rules and Senate Homeland 

Security. Both, of course, chaired by Democrats because they’re in the 


BLUNT: Right.

WALLACE: And, as you say, they’re going to come out with a report, we 

think, as early as — as next month. But the issue is whether or not 

they’re going to answer — and this is what Congressman Kinzinger said — 

some of the key questions that a lot of people have about January 6th. 

I want to put those up on the — on the screen. What was President Trump 

doing during the riot? Did he refuse to approve sending in the National 

Guard? Did White House staff and the military work around Mr. Trump with 

Vice President Pence? 

Will your report, with those two committees, will they answer those 

questions, and have you talked, have you subpoenaed, or have you heard from 

top officials in the Trump White House? 

BLUNT: Well, we had two public hearings and we’ve had several individual 

interviews with people like the acting secretary of defense, the — the 

secretary of the Army. There’s going to be a timeline that will come out 

that — that talks about what happened, when it happened. There will be 

plenty of answers to the questions, I think, of why we had that 30 minute 

gap between the time that the Defense Department says they approved 

National Guard assistance and the time they told the National Guard that 

they’d approved that assistance. 

WALLACE: But — but, sir, what about —

BLUNT: There are some questions there, but — 

WALLACE: I — I don’t mean to interrupt, but what about what was going on 

inside the Trump White House? 

BLUNT: Well, I — I think you’ve got to decide, what’s the priority here? 

Is the priority to secure the Capitol, to do what we need to do to better 

train, better prepare Capitol Police, decide what we want to do in the 

future, or is the priority to take what will be a of couple years, in my 

view, to decide what happened inside the White House? I think that 

ultimately will be out there. All kinds of books being written, all kinds 

of efforts to look at that. Even a commission like the 9/11 Commission 

started at the right time with the information they need, won’t get in the 

way of us doing what we need to do. 

But if we start a commission right now, just last week many people in the 

press were saying about our report that will come out, it will be 

bipartisan, it will be something that — that Chairman Klobuchar, Chairman 

Peters, Rob Portman and I all will have signed off on. 


BLUNT: When that comes out, people are saying, well, maybe we should wait 

until we get a report from the commission. I don’t think we should wait for 

another year or so to decide what we need to do to respond to 9/11. 

WALLACE: Well, I — but you keep talking about the 9/11 Commission. The — 

the two chairs of the 9/11 Commission, one Republican, one Democrat, they 

put out a statement this week and — and here’s what they said. They 

support creation of this panel, saying, unity of purpose was key to the 

effectiveness of the group, the 9/11 Commission. We put country above party 

without bias. 

I — you know, I don’t think many people or anybody is saying that your 

committees can’t do their work. The question is whether the — a — a 

commission, an independent commission, no members of Congress, could serve 

— could serve a useful function. As you say, it may be a year from now 

before they comes out. 

Can you honestly say, in opposing this commission, down — coming out down 

the line, that you’re putting country above party? 

BLUNT: Well, I — I think — first of all, I think I said a minute ago what 

happened on 9/11. Obviously, what I meant what happened January 6th. Those 

are clearly, in my time in — in the Congress, the two seminal moments were 

the — were the — the country, the capital city itself under an attack 

that we wouldn’t have anticipated. 

But I — I do think that the 9/11 Commission had a lot more information 

available to it when it started than this one would have and we made a lot 

of decisions before the 9/11 Commission started that were important to 

further secure the Capitol, to further look at our intelligence failures.


BLUNT: We need to be doing all of those things. We’ll see what my 

colleagues think, but there have been very little bipartisan discussions 

between the House and Senate on this topic. 

WALLACE: Senator, I want to — I’ve got about 30 seconds here, so I need a 

quick answer.

You’re part of a Republican group trying to come up with a deal with the 

White House over infrastructure. They’re at $1.7 trillion. Yu guys are — 

on the Republican side are around $600 billion. Even in Washington, that’s 

a lot of money. 

What do you think of the prospects for a compromise, a bipartisan 

compromise on infrastructure? Thirty seconds. 

BLUNT: Well, I hope we can get there. I think our best meeting on this 

topic was the meeting we had with the president himself and the members and 

a couple of cabinet officers, the secretary of Commerce and the secretary 

of Transportation. 

I think the president would like to get there on a bipartisan deal. Our 

biggest gap is not the money. Our biggest gap is defining what 

infrastructure is. And if we get to a definition of infrastructure that the 

country would have always accepted, that becomes a much narrower space than 

it appears to be right now. 

I do think we’ve got about a week or ten days to decide if we can work 

together on this or not. I’d like to. I believe the president would like 

to. The number is too big because the scope of what the White House staff 

wants to call infrastructure is way too big. 


Senator Blunt, thank you. Thanks for coming in today and we’ll stay on top 

of what happens to the commission and the Senate. 

BLUNT: Thank you too (ph).

WALLACE: Up next, we’ll bring back our Sunday group to debate who’s playing 

politics with this plan for an independent investigation.



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): What is clear is that House Democrats have 

handled this proposal in partisan bad faith going right back to the 


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Once again they are caving to Donald Trump and 

proving that the Republican Party is still drunk off the big lie. 


WALLACE: Senate Republican and Democratic leaders sharply divided over the 

idea of a commission to investigate the January 6th riot on Capitol Hill.

And we’re back now with the panel. 

So, Guy, which side do you think has the better side of this argument, the 

Republicans who it appears are going to be able to block the commission or 

Democrats were are pushing for it? 



Well, the Republicans may have the votes in the Senate, as Senator Blunt 

alluded to. 

In terms of the argument, I heard what Senator McConnell just said there. 

And one person who would disagree is the Republican ranking member on the 

Homeland Security Committee in the House who helped hammer out a bipartisan 

deal on this commission. And it’s absolutely true that one way or another 

there’s going to be an investigation by Congress into this attack on 

Congress, which was an extremely disgraceful moment in our history. The 

question is will it be bipartisan with each side having similar powers, not 

exactly the same, but the exact same number of people that they’re 

responsible for appointing to it, or will it be a partisan, Democratic-

involved situation on enterprise that Nancy Pelosi will run? And that’s the 

point that Congressman Kinzinger made.

So I really do think that this is an appropriate purview for Congress to 

look into. It’s not ancient history. The hands of Congress are not tied to 

go do other things while a commission looks into everything that led up to 

and happened on that horrific day. And I think Republicans are really 

trying to just sort of move past it and look to 2022. I’m sympathetic to 

that. But I think 1/6 was bad enough that it requires real answers. 

WALLACE: Chuck, even if Republicans take a political hit in killing the 

commission, as it at least appears now they’re going to do, couldn’t you 

argue that it’s still smarter politics than creating this panel, which is 

going to hold public hearings and bring the whole issue — I understand if 

not it will be like a Benghazi commission, it will be set up just by one 

party, Nanny Pelosi in the House, but, you know, an independent commission 

has a real political downside to it as well for Republicans. 


independent commissions’ political downside to the Republicans is that it 

has more credibility and, of course, this is a very bad story for the 

Republican Party. I think a lot of Republicans are afraid of what it will 

find out about their desperate but futile effort to get the president to do 

something about this mob that was coming for them.

But, more importantly, I think they feel — the Republicans feel that they 

have to move — just like they had to squash Liz Cheney to change the 

subject, they have to squash this to change the subject so they have a 

clearer field in 2022. 

I just want to say that, you know, this is one where the Democrats are 

galvanized and united and have sort of logic and truth in their direction 

and the Republicans are divided and fighting against the pretty clear 

merits of the subject. 

WALLACE: Right. 

Julie, let’s talk about this not from a political standpoint but from a 

substance standpoint. Are there some questions that — about President 

Trump’s role before the — the riot or — or during the day, January 6th, 

that it commission might be able to answer and that these congressional 

committees, and Senator Blunt made it clear they’re not calling top 

officials from the Trump White House, that congressional committees are 

never going to be able to answer? 


think the commission would be the perfect venue to try to answer some of 

the unanswered questions. And most of those questions do focus on President 

Trump, focus on what he was doing on the 6th, what private conversations he 

was having with aides. We have snippets of details about conversations that 

he was having with some members of Congress and others but I do think that 

there’s a real gap in the history of this seminal moment in our country’s 

history that has gone unanswered. And so this commission would likely be 

the only real venue for being able to have a fair accounting of what 

transpired inside the White House and around President Trump on the 6th. 

WALLACE: Let’s turn to another big issue that I touched on at the end of my 

interview with Senator Blunt, and — and that’s the question of a big 

infrastructure bill. President Biden keeps saying he wants a compromise. 

But at the end of this week, as I mentioned to — to Senator Blunt, the 

White House is at $1.7 trillion and Democrats are about $600 billion. So 

they’re more than a trillion dollars apart. 

Guy, what do you think of the chances they’re able to — to resolve that 

difference and also the difference of how they pay for it. Democrats want 

to raise taxes on corporations. Republicans don’t. Or do you think in the 

end that the president and Democrats will end up going the straight party 

line reconciliation route in the Senate? 

BENSON: A trillion dollars plus apart. And a huge disagreement on taxes. A 

huge disagreement on scope, which I think was a key word from Senator Blunt 

in that interview. 

I think that there is some openness to bipartisanship on this on the 

Republican side. The White House has come down in their number a little 

bit. It’s still astronomically high. The Republicans want to focus on 

traditional infrastructure, which I think makes sense. Maybe they’ll get a 

little bit closer. 

I’m currently, based on what I’m seeing, what I’m reading, what I’m 

hearing, I’m more inclined to believe this is going to end up being a 

partisan exercise by the Democrats to sort of ram it through because the 

parties are so far apart. 

The one potential opportunity though, four senators, two from each party, 

put together a bipartisan bill on service infrastructure, roads and bridges 

and that sort of thing for $303 billion. If they go at this on a piecemeal 

basis, then perhaps there’s more room, more wiggle room for bipartisanship. 

But I think the White House wants something big. 

WALLACE: Julie, I’ve got less than a minute. How do you think this 

infrastructure story ends? 

PACE: I think unless there’s a significant shift in the dynamics this week, 

we’re either going to go down a — a purely partisan route where a big 

package gets passed only on Democratic votes or there is this potential 

opportunity to explore what Guy just outlined there, where you break up the 

bill into some smaller pieces. But the White House officials that I’ve 

talked to are very concerned that taking that route would actually cause a 

split within their own party where a lot of Democrats want to use this 

opportunity to do something big and so there’s some weariness among White 

House officials about doing that, doing that second step.

WALLACE: Well, we’ll be talk about that a little bit longer. 

Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday. 

Up next, our “Power Player of the Week,” a D.C. landmark on surviving the 

pandemic and its special place in Washington history. 


WALLACE: As the country begins to get back to normal, a lot of us are 

looking forward to enjoying a meal at our favorite restaurant. In D.C., 

that includes a local landmark that has played a big role in the nation’s 

capital for 63 years. Here’s our “Power Player of the Week.” 


VIRGINIA ALI, OWNER, BEN’S CHILI BOWL: Well, we’ve faced many, many 

challenges. The pandemic has been truly the most challenging. 

Welcome to Ben’s. How are you? 

WALLACE (voice over): Virginia Ali is the owner of Ben’s Chili Bowl, a 

Washington institution that like so much was threatened by the pandemic. 

WALLACE (on camera): How hard did it hit your business? 

ALI: Oh, wow. I mean, we were open, Chris, from 7:00 in the morning until 

2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. on weekends. That came to a complete halt. 

WALLACE (voice over): Somehow Ben’s made it work, doubling down on carry 

out and even starring in a Google commercial. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People come here to see the photos on the wall, to meet 

the family. 

WALLACE: To understand the fuss about Ben’s, you need to know its history. 

Ben and Virginia Ali were newlyweds when they opened the place in 1958. 

Folks came for the half smoke, a sizzling pork and beef sausage served with 

Ben’s signature chili on top. 

ALI: He had this very special spicy chili recipe. You know, he came from 

Trinidad, where spicy foods was the thing. 

WALLACE: They were on U Street, known in the ’50s as the black Broadway. 

ALI: All the clubs closed at 2:00 a.m. So from 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. you 

could barely get into the Chili Bowl on a Friday and Saturday night. 

And there was Duke Ellington, there was Pearl Bailey, Nat King Cole, 


WALLACE (on camera): That must have been some scene. What was that like? 

ALI: It was just a joyful time. I mean the music was going on the jukebox 

and we had these musicians coming in. We’re just happy to see them. 

WALLACE (voice over): In the ’60s, the civil rights movement took over, but 

Ben’s was still a meeting place. 

ALI: Whenever Dr. King was in town, on occasion he would come down to the 

Chili Bowl, have a sandwich and I’d have an opportunity to sit with him and 

listen to him talk about his dream. 

WALLACE: But in 1968, King was assassinated. Much of U Street was burned 

down or boarded up. 

ALI: Ben’s Chili Bowl was the only place that was allowed to remain open. 

That was scary. But we were not touched. 

WALLACE: In the decades since, Ben’s has remained a landmark, an essential 

stop for African-American entertainers and politician, which brings us back 

to the food. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It’s so good, guys.

WALLACE (on camera): Can you tell me what the secret is to the secret chili 


ALI: Well, that’s our special chili sauce. That’s our special recipe. We 

haven’t given that out yet. But you’ll be the first to get it, Chris. 

When we do, you’ll be the first to get that recipe. 

WALLACE (voice over): With D.C.’s COVID restrictions finally lifted, 

customers are coming back to Ben’s and they can still find Virginia Ali at 

the grill. 

ALI: I like to turn them one at a time. 

WALLACE: Cooking up those half smokes. 

WALLACE (on camera): Why are you still working? 

ALI: I don’t know that I call it work. When you do something that you 

enjoy, it’s not so hard. 

And you’ve been coming for 25 years.


ALI: That’s pretty cool. 

And meeting people, Chris, from all walks of life, just at Ben’s Chili 

Bowl. I just have a good time every day. 


WALLACE: If you want to check out that special secret chili sauce, Virginia 

says there are plans to start bottling it and putting it on a shelf in your 

grocery store. 

And that’s it for today. Have a great week and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS 


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