'This Week' Transcript 4-10-22: White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko & Dr. Anthony Fauci

This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, April 10.

ByABC News
April 10, 2022, 9:22 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, April 10, 2022 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.

ANNOUNCER: THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS starts right now.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC "THIS WEEK" CO-ANCHOR: War crimes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These were innocent women and children trying to evacuate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Mass casualties after a missile strike on a train station in eastern Ukraine. And new evidence of atrocities around the capital city of Kyiv.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Civilians executed, bodies dumped into mass grave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Will anything stop Putin? James Longman is live from Ukraine.

Plus, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko and his brother Vladimir (ph) and White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

Too close? Nearly two dozen Washington officials test positive for Covid, just days after an event with President Biden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Even with the president being double boosted, he could still test positive for Covid.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: New concerns for the president's safety as cases rise around the country. Dr. Anthony Fauci joins us live.

And, history made.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The yeas are 53, the nays are 47, and this nomination is confirmed.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed as the first black woman on the nation's high court.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: In my family, it took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Can Democrats keep the momentum going into the midterms? This morning, our brand-new ABC News/IPSOS poll.

Plus, our powerhouse roundtable.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's THIS WEEK. Here now, co-anchor Jonathan Karl.

KARL: Good morning and welcome to THIS WEEK. It's been 45 days since Russia, without provocation, invaded Ukraine. From the first days, the world witnessed a merciless campaign of cruelty and destruction. And this week we learned shocking new details about the terror Russia has brought to Ukraine.

We learned that Russia has been relentlessly attacking medical facilities. The World Health Organization documenting 103 separate attacks on hospitals, ambulances and other health care centers. We learned the Russian leadership has no apparent regard even for the lives of its own soldiers, as evidenced by what was revealed when they pulled out of Chernobyl, a network of trenches dug by Russian soldiers in the Red Forest, so named because its grounds are still dangerously radioactive.

After Russian forces withdrew from the area around Ukraine's capital, we learned the depravity is even worse than most thought. Among the many horrors discovered by Ukrainian forces in the town of Bucha, the bodies of hundreds of murdered civilians, many of them shot with their hands tied behind their backs.

And on Friday, we learned that the Russians bombed a train station used as a hub for civilians fleeing the assault in the east, killing more than 50 people, injuring many, many more. These were residents armed with nothing more than toys, strollers and the clothes on their backs. The remains of one missile used in the attack had the words in Russian, "for the children," scrolled on it.

Some of the words used to describe all of this, war crimes, crimes against humanity and even genocide. But these atrocities raise questions anew for western leaders in confronting Vladimir Putin and fears about what he'll do next.

Our foreign correspondent James Longman starts us off from outside Kyiv.

Good morning, James.

JAMES LONGMAN, ABC FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Jon.

We're at a village east of Kyiv which has now been liberated. This was actually a school being used by Russian troops. You get a sense of the level of devastation. But as this war moves east, there is a sense that things could get far worse. Russia now has a new general in charge of its invasion. He has experience in Syria. Moscow is not going to hold back.

And a warning, the images you're about to see in this report are very graphic.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LONGMAN (voice over): This week, a turning point in Russia's war on Ukraine. Evidence of war crimes committed by Putin's forces emerging and the human toll of this invasion coming into sharp focus.

On Friday, a devastating attack on the Kramatorsk train station in Donetsk. Thousands had gathered here trying to flee before Russia's renewed offensive in the east begins. Russian missiles launched from within Ukraine killing at least 50 people, including five children, and wounded over 100.

Russia denied it was responsible, with their troops gone from around Kyiv, we saw the horrors they've left behind. In the town of Bucha, mass graves, charred corpses, bodies bound and left on the streets.

In a basement of what had once been a children's summer camp, the unthinkable.

I’m looking at one, two, three, four, five bodies in this tiny room in this basement where Ukrainians say people have been tortured.

President Zelenskyy came to see these crimes for himself. His face dark with the shock of what he had seen. Wars are often remembered by the events in certain places, in Bosnia, it was Srebrenica. In Syria, Aleppo. What has happened in Bucha may come to define Putin's war here.

You're shaking.

Mykola (ph) was forced to live in the basement of his apartment building when Russian soldiers moved in.

He says the Russians shot every man under the age of 50. In the muddy yard outside his home, he shows us the graves of his three friends. He had to dig them himself.

Further north in Borodyanka, a city reduced to rubble.

Somehow the devastation is even worse. I mean, take a look at this. Business, homes, just completely destroyed all the way down this road.

Nadia (ph) watched from her apartment as Russian jets dropped bombs on her neighborhood. The only thought I had was I wish it would happen instantly, she told me. I don't want them to dig us out of the rubble.

Moscow says this isn't happening. That Russia isn't doing this. That they're not killing people. Do you have a message for Vladimir Putin?

Let Putin come here and look, she says. I have no future anymore.

U.S. officials confirm that Russian troops are now using mobile crematoriums to burn the bodies of Russians and Ukrainians, an effort to cover up the massive number of casualties.

The Justice Department announced U.S. prosecutors are working with counterparts in Europe to investigate potential Russian war crimes.

MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We are assisting international efforts to identify and hold accountable those responsible for atrocities in Ukraine.

LONGMAN: On Thursday a historic move, the United Nations voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: The suffering of victims and survivors will not be ignored.

LONGMAN: But China voted against the measure and a huge 58 countries abstained. Among them, India, Brazil and the oil rich Arab states -- competing world orders and energy priorities exposed.

The Biden administration taking further steps to isolate Russia, imposing additional sanctions, hitting Russia's largest banks and targeting Putin's two adult daughters.

The Senate unanimously passing a World War II era lend lease program to accelerate the transfer of military equipment.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: The sickening images and accounts coming out of Bucha and other parts of Ukraine have only strengthened our collective resolve and unity.

LONGMAN: But the fight for the east may be bloodier than anything yet seen.

DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The battle for Donbas will remind you of Second World War.

LONGMAN: President Zelenskyy has made it clear, Ukraine needs heavier weapons for this next phase, adding that with them, the battle against the Russians can end in victory and freedom.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LONGMAN (on camera): Russia has had so many losses in this war. They're now re-enlisting soldiers they previously discharged. They are drafting thousands more. Ukraine has successfully defended Kyiv but the war in the east and the south of this country is going to be long and brutal -- Jon.

KARL: James Long in outside Kyiv this morning -- thank you, James.

Let's bring in the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, and his brother, Wladimir Klitschko, who is joining in the fight for Ukraine.

Thank you both for joining us this morning.

Mr. Mayor, I want to start by asking you about those extraordinary images of Prime Minister Boris Johnson walking with President Zelenskyy in your city, in Kyiv, and a city that’s been under siege for more than a month. Symbolically, what message does that send? How important is it to see the British prime minister there walking the streets of your city?

MAYOR VITALI KLITSCHKO, KYIV, UKRAINE: It’s -- we appreciate. This visit was very important signal for our partners that Kyiv, much more safety right now, and also very important signal that Great Britain stay together with Ukraine, support Ukraine -- support our country in the fight for our freedom, for our independency.

And that's why we appreciate for humanitarian support, for political support and weapon support. It's very, very important for us in this critical time and we see who real friends of Ukraine.

KARL: President Biden had said when he visited Poland that he had hoped to visit Ukraine. Would you like to see the American president as well come to the streets of your city?

V. KLITSCHKO: We’re very guest-friendly people and we would be very happy to see our friends in our -- in our city, in the capital of Ukraine. But I understand, today, in the unusual situation when Ukraine is (ph) in war, it’s safety decision of security service, and everyone decide by himself to come into Kyiv or not.

KARL: Well, Wlad, let me ask you about that, because you've been instrumental in organizing the defense of the capital city with the Ukrainian military. The Russians have retreated to the east, do you think -- do you think they'll be back? Will they be back to Kyiv?

WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO, BROTHER OF KYIV’S MAYOR: We are expecting Russian military forces being back and targeting the capital of Ukraine, city of Kyiv. So, in the beginning, their plans didn't work because our military was giving great defense and giving great fight.

But pulling out of Kyiv doesn't mean that the war is over. They just changed the strategy. They're in the east and south of the country, extremely active and while we're talking, the fight in the east and the south of the country are still going.

And obviously, we are expecting them to be back and again targeting the capital.

KARL: And both of you have seen with your own eyes the devastation that the Russians left behind as they retreated from the areas outside of Kyiv. The evidence of war crimes, I think, Mr. Mayor, you've called it genocide.

What kind of justice do you want to see ultimately done for those who perpetrated -- those who did the attacks and those who ordered them?

V. KLITSCHKO: Everybody was shocked. We was also shocked if we see not just images to be present in these -- in town, Borodyanka, Gostomel, Bucha, where killed hundreds of civilians without no reasons -- the women, children, old people, teenager. It's -- it’s genocide of Ukrainian.

KARL: How did this end? What will it take to bring peace back to Ukraine?

W. KLITSCHKO: There are two major issues and points. First and mostly, we need weapons. We cannot defend our country with our fists. We need weapons to defend our country.

Second, isolation. Economic isolation of Russia. Every cent and every trade that you do with Russia and every cent that Russia is getting, they're using for weapons to kill us, Ukrainians.

And relying on their propaganda, Ukraine is just the beginning. They will roll further and if we're not going to stop them in Ukraine, they will go further. If we fail, the rest of the world, the free world will fail.

And that's why it is important to have those isolation -- those sanctions and isolation, economic isolation of Russia, as well as supporting us, Ukrainians, with the weapons.

We don't need and expect any other army and army boots on our soil. We’re going to take care of it ourselves and we’ll defend our homes. We just need those weapons to do that.

V. KLITSCHKO: And also very important, we defend not just our families and our children, we defend the same -- I hope the same values and principles with (ph) democratic countries. And that's why support of Ukraine is very important for us. Still (ph) with Ukraine is the key for peace, unity around Ukraine is key for the peace back in Europe.

KARL: Thank you very much, Mayor Klitschko, Wladimir Klitschko. Thank you for joining us on "This Week".

W. KLITSCHKO: Keep supporting us and thank you.

V. KLITSCHKO: Thank you.

KARL: Joining me now, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

Jake, thank you for joining us this morning on "This Week."

This is, obviously, Putin's war, but when you see the evidence that we have seen of the atrocities committed by the Russian forces, the people who were interrogated and then shot, shot with their hands tied behind their back, what do you -- do you believe this is orchestrated and directed out of the Kremlin by Putin or are these rogue actions by -- by commanders on the ground?

JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, Jon, first, thanks for having me.

The images that we've seen out of Bucha and other cities have been tragic, they've been horrifying, they've been downright shocking, but they have not been surprising. We, in fact, before the war began, declassified intelligence and presented it indicating that there was a plan from the highest levels of the Russian government to target civilians who oppose the invasion, to cause violence against them, to organize efforts to brutalize them in order to try to terrorize the population and subjugate it. So this is something that was planned.

Now in addition to that, I think there certainly are cases where individual soldiers or individual units got frustrated because the Ukrainians were beating them back. They had been told they were going to have a glorious victory and just ride into Kyiv without any opposition with the Ukrainians welcoming them. And when that didn't happen, I do think some of these units engaged in these acts of brutality, these atrocities, these war crimes even without direction from above.

But make no mistake, the larger issue of broad scale war crimes and atrocities in Ukraine lies at the feet of the Kremlin and lies at the feet of the Russian president.

KARL: And Prime Minister -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that those crimes, in his words, doesn't look -- don't look far short of genocide. And Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had this to say. "When we murder wantonly innocent civilians because of who they are, whether it be their religion, race, or nationality, that is genocide. And Mr. Putin is guilty of it."

It was about a week ago that President Biden said that he didn't think this was genocide. Does he still stand by that or is that calculation changing?

SULLIVAN: We haven't yet reached a determination on genocide. That is a determination that we work through systematically. There is a unit at the State Department that gathers evidence and then makes a legal analysis because genocide is actually a legal determination.

But let's set legalities aside for a minute, Jon. I think we can all say that these are mass atrocities. These are war crimes. These are shocking and brutal acts that are completely unacceptable, beyond the pale for the international community. So whatever label one wants to affix to them, the bottom line is this, there must be accountability. And the United States will work with the international community to make sure there's accountability.

In the meantime, though, we're not going to wait for that. We are going to get Ukraine the weapons it needs to beat back the Russians, to stop them from taking more cities and towns where they commit these crimes, and also to squeeze the Russian economy, to increase the pressure and the cost on Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin and the Russian government. That's what we're going to do. And we intend to work in lock step with our allies and partners in support of the Ukrainians as they defend their country.

KARL: Is it time for Europe to cut off Russian oil and gas? I mean it's $850 million a day. It was not long ago a billion dollars a day of Russian energy purchased by Europe. I mean that -- it's a -- it's a massive influx of money that is funding the war machines. Is it time for it to be stopped?

SULLIVAN: Well, first, Jon, as you know, President Biden made the decision to cut off Russian oil, gas and coal from the United States, to ban it, to stop the United States doing anything to fund Putin's war machine in this respect.

KARL: Right.

SULLIVAN: When he did that, he said that we were in a different position from the Europeans because we are a net energy exporter, we have the capacity to absorb that in a way that can impose costs on Russia without imposing massive costs on the American people.

He is now working on a daily basis with his European colleagues on steps Europe can take to wean itself off of Russian oil and gas. In fact, the United States is surging gas exports to Europe in order for them to reduce their dependence on Russia. And he's talking to them about what they can do to get off Russian oil as well.

So, we're not going to get ahead of anything that they ultimately will decide, but it is a matter of priority for the United States to continue to work with our European partners on this issue.

KARL: But you hear the frustration from President Zelensky. We heard it from the mayor of Kyiv that the money continues to flow, that the ruble is not in rubble as -- as -- as the president said in -- in the State of the Union Address. The money is still flowing and flowing in pretty dramatic levels.

SULLIVAN: Well, first of all, if you look at independent projections of the Russian economy, it is likely to fall by something like 10 to 15 percent this year. It is likely to cease to be one of the world's major economies because of the economic pressure we have put on them.

And as for the ruble, I think it was "The Wall Street Journal" that said it's basically entered a central bank induced coma because the reason that it's at the level it's at is that it's being artificially propped up. That's just one example, Jon. Banks aren't allowing -- are not allowed by the Russian government to sell dollars to customers. That's how they're protecting the ruble.

But that has huge economic costs on the -- on the Russian economy. And we will continue to squeeze the Russian economy so that Russia and the Kremlin feel the pain from what they have done in Ukraine. And in the meantime, we will keep working on additional ways to deny them revenue.

KARL: The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said this week, talked quite, it seemed, unusually candidly about Russian casualties, saying "We have significant losses of our troops. It's a huge tragedy for us."

What -- what do you make of that admission and how much do you think the Russian people really know about the casualties, about the losses suffered by -- by the Russian troops?

SULLIVAN: Well, we know that because of the firm control of the Russian state, their grip on information in Russia, that the Russian people are not getting the truth about Ukraine, are not getting the truth about the atrocities and war crimes being committed.

They are not getting the truth, for example, Jon, about the fact that the Russians lost and the Ukrainians won the battle for Kyiv. Kyiv stands despite Russia’s effort to conquer the capital city of their neighbor. They were unable to do that, and they suffered a significant military defeat there.

Now they’re regrouping and reconstituting, trying to make gains in other parts of Ukraine. But they have suffered, as you said, enormous casualties and it probably got to the point where it was impossible, just given the sheer scale of those casualties, for the Kremlin to continue to deny it, despite the fact that they have this grip on the information inside of Russia.

KARL: White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, thank you for joining us.

SULLIVAN: Thanks for having me.

Results from our new poll with Ipsos are coming up. And later, Nate Silver on why he doubts Sarah Palin, with a Trump endorsement, has a chance for a comeback in Alaska. But first, as COVID cases rock Washington, are we really facing another surge?

Dr. Anthony Fauci is here. We're back in just 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We risk-assess just like everybody out in the country. And it's important for him to be able to continue his presidential duties, now and even if he tests positive in the future. This is a time where we are certainly living with the virus, but we have a range of tools at our disposal to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: That's White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki amid an outbreak of cases among top officials here in Washington, including several people very close to President Biden.

Here to discuss that and more is the president's chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Fauci, thank you for being with us this morning. I want to get to the situation in Washington shortly, but first, the overall picture. We see cases rising in 21 states, hospitalizations rising in 11 states. What is your level of concern right now?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NAT’L INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES and WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER: Well, obviously, there is concern that we are seeing an uptick in cases. As I've mentioned, over the last couple of weeks, Jon, that this is not unexpected, that you're going to see an uptick when you pull back on the mitigation methods.

If you look at the CDC calculation with their new metrics, it's clear that most of the country, even though we're seeing an uptick, is still in that green zone, which means that masking is not recommended in the sense of not required in indoor settings. But as people pull back, when you have a highly transmissible virus like the BA.2 and you have pulling back on mitigation methods at the same there is waning immunity, we're going to see an uptick. So the numbers you gave are not surprising.

What we're hoping happens, and I believe it will, is that you won't see a concomitant comparable increase in severity, in the sense of people requiring hospitalizations and deaths. But the idea that we're going to see an uptick, I think people need to appreciate that that's the case and follow the CDC guidelines because, remember, when the metrics were put forth, the new metrics looking at the guidance of masking, it was said that if we do start seeing an uptick, particularly of hospitalizations, we may need to revert back to being more careful and having more utilizations of masks indoors. But right now we're watching it very, very carefully. And there is concern that it's going up. But hopefully we're not going to see increased severity.

KARL: Regarding those mitigation efforts, I want to get your reaction to something that was written, an op-ed in The Washington Post by Dr. Leana Wen, former public health official. She writes, quote: "At this point in the pandemic, we have to accept that infections will keep occurring. During the winter Omicron surge almost half of Americans contracted the Coronavirus. The new Omicron subvariant BA.2 is even more contagious. The price to pay to avoid Coronavirus infection is extremely high. Some Americans might choose to continue to pay that price but I suspect most won't."

At this point, are we at the point where we have to accept there is going to be risk, there are going to be continued infections, and that the cases, thanks to the prevalence of the vaccine, won't be as serious, we can kind of get back to normal lives knowing that there is a risk out there?

FAUCI: You know, Jon, I think she -- Dr. Wen articulated that pretty well. There will be -- and we've said this many times even in our own discussions between you and I, that there will be a level of infection. This is not going to be eradicated and it's not going to be eliminated. And what's going to happen is that we're going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take in going to indoor dinners and in going to functions, even within the realm of a green zone map of the country where you see everything looks green but it's starting to tick up. So you're going to make a question and an answer for yourself, for me as an individual, for you as an individual. What is my age? What is my status? Do I have people at home who are vulnerable that if I bring the virus home there may be a problem?

So we're at that point where in many respects she's correct, that we're going to have to live with some degree of virus in the community. The best way to mitigate that, Jon, is to get vaccinated. If you're not, to get boosted if you're eligible to be boosted. If you're in the certain group like the CDC's recent determination about people 50 and older, and individuals with underlying conditions, get that fourth boost, which, by the way, we really need to concentrate a lot more on that, about getting new tests, getting drugs, getting vaccines which I hope the Congress comes through and gives us the resources so that as we get into what might be another surge that we're prepared with the -- all of the tools that we need to address it.

And right now if we don't get that support, Jon, we're not going to be ready for it.

KARL: Well, let me ask you about the spike we've seen right here in Washington. You and I were both at the Gridiron Dinner. This is a dinner that had about 600 or so attendees. So far I believe we're at 67 people that have tested positive who were at the dinner. I'm told at least so far no indication of anybody seriously ill. But, you know, about 10 percent of those infected. What is the lesson here? Should we not be holding events like this or to the point we just talked about, is it time to accept that we can have an event like this but there's going to be a risk, some people will test positive, if everybody is vaccinated, you know, it won't necessarily be that serious?

FAUCI: I think it gets back to what we were discussing just a moment ago, Jon. It's going to be a person's decision about the individual risk they're going to take. I think the people who run functions, who run big dinners, who run functions like the White House Correspondents' ball, or thinking back, the Gridiron Dinner, are going to have to make a determination looking at the CDC guidelines and seeing where the trends are. I mean, there are some places you go, not only is it required that you show proof of vaccination, but you have to have a negative test the day you go to a particular place.

KARL: Yes.

FAUCI: And I know a lot of social functions throughout Washington and in New York are doing the same thing, and it's up to the individual to determine what their level of risk. We don't want to pooh-pooh getting infected. I think people sometimes say, well, it's okay to get infected.

No, it's not, because there are things like long COVID and there are sometimes people even though they don't require hospitalization, Jon, they get significantly ill. They may be at home, they may require a doctor consultation, but they don't get hospitalized. That’s not something to pooh-pooh.

KARL: Sure.

FAUCI: Again, each individual will have to take their own determination of risk.

KARL: Dr. Fauci, we're almost out of time, but I do want to ask you about the potential risk to President Biden and his exposure this week. Obviously, he was at multiple events with people who later turned out to have been infected or in close contact with somebody who’s infected.

We saw him at -- here's the bill-signing. There you see him right -- literally surrounded by people who were either infected or close to people infected. Several other events this week.

What -- very quickly, what is your level of concern about the president's exposure here?

FAUCI: Well, Jon, the protocols to protect the president are pretty strong. The president is vaccinated. He is doubly boosted. He got his fourth shot of an mRNA.

When people like myself and my colleagues are in the room with him closely for a considerable period of time -- half an hour, 20 minutes, 40 minutes, all of us need to be tested.

Yes, he is mingling there, but we feel that the protocols around the president are sufficient to protect him. And as Jen said, the fact is he could get infected. We hope he doesn't. We’d do everything we can do protect him.

But, remember, he's fully vaccinated. He's doubly boosted, and most of the time, people who get anywhere near him need to be tested. So we feel the protocol is a reasonable protocol.

KARL: Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you for being with us this morning on "This Week".

The roundtable is up next. Plus, Nate silver on Sarah Palin's attempt at a political comeback.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: Nate Silver is coming up and the new numbers from our new ABC poll with Ipsos, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, what made you make this very, very big decision? Was it something specific?

SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, it is pretty ironic that the needs of our nation today are things that Alaska can fulfill, energy, energy independence, security. And I think Alaska can come into its own now. I've got nothing to lose, and I'm in it for the right reasons.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is attempting a political comeback nearly 14 years after Senator John McCain made her the Republican Party's first female candidate for vice president. She's running for Alaska's lone House seat following the death of longtime Congressman Don Young. Donald Trump has already endorsed her, but does she have a shot at winning?

Here's FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: Sarah Palin is an important figure historically. In some ways, she was the forerunner of the populist temperament that would later bring us President Trump. But there are reasons to be skeptical about her comeback chances.

Let's start, though, with her biggest assets, her high name recognition and popularity within the GOP. A recent Economist/YouGov poll found 62 percent of Republicans nationally had a favorable view of Palin, compared to just 23 percent who had an unfavorable one.

But within Alaska, she isn't all that popular. Although Palin was a well-liked governor, her approval rating before she left office was 56 percent. Alaskans didn't like that she quit on the job in 2009 before serving out her term. In fact, her favorability rating in a poll last October was only 31 percent.

She's also getting a late start on a race that is chock-full of other candidates, almost 50 of them, in fact. That includes high-profile GOP contenders like Nick Begich III, who comes from a famous, mostly Democratic political family inn Alaska, and who was running for the seat even before Representative Don Young died.

There's also State Senator Joshua Revak, a former aide to Young, and Tara Sweeney, an indigenous Alaskan who served in the Trump administration.

Palin's polarizing image also won't help her given Alaska's new rank choice voting system where the top four primary candidates advance and then voters rank order them in the general election.

Palin's name recognition may help in the first round, but she could be overtaken later by other candidates, like Begich, which have crossover appeal to independents and Democrats.

I don't know exactly what odds I'd put on Palin. It's safe to say her chances are above zero but below 50 percent. But, overall, I'm not really buying her comeback.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KARL: Above zero.

OK, thank you, Nate Silver.

Coming up, the January 6th committee is closing in on Donald Trump as Trump claims in a new interview that he wanted to join the march on the Capitol on January 6th.

The roundtable is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

But we've made it.

(APPLAUSE)

The celebration at the South Lawn Friday for soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Here to discuss that and more, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie; former DNC chair Donna Brazile; ABC News political director Rick Klein; and Politico White House correspondent Laura Barron-Lopez.

So, Donna, you were there in the Rose Garden. You were also there when the vote was taken...

DONNA BRAZILE, FORMER DNC CHAIR & ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.

KARL: ... on the Senate to confirm her. How big a moment?

BRAZILE: It was a huge moment. And, you know, she said, "But we made it. We made it. We all have made it."

That was the moment, I think, that many of us just started to lose it. And then she finished up by saying -- she quoted the American poet Maya Angelou when she said, "I am the hope and the dream of the slave."

Everyone was crying. I was sitting next to my former mayor, Mitch Landrieu, from Louisiana. We were holding hands. And here Mitch, who took the statues down in Louisiana...

KARL: Confederate statues.

BRAZILE: And we're holding hands. This is a moment -- a moment to rejoice. Now, look, there's work to be done. It's the Supreme Court of the United States. But the fact that we finally have made this moment in American history, it's a moment of celebration.

And yesterday, Jon, I was in the streets of Washington, D.C. They are painting a mural right next to a wonderful restaurant called -- you'll love this one -- Chicken + Whiskey.

KARL: That sounds like a good place.

BRAZILE: And I was there.

CHRISTIE: Can't believe I haven't been there.

(LAUGHTER)

BRAZILE: Well, you were invited. You just didn't show up.

(LAUGHTER)

But this is why this moment was so important for the country and especially little girls and little boys all over this world.

KARL: And it's a marker, four women now on the Supreme Court, high-water mark for women on the court. But let me ask you, we heard -- Governor Christie, we heard from Mitch McConnell this week, not willing to commit that there would even be hearings for -- if there's a vacancy next year, if the Republicans retake the Senate. He won't even commit to holding hearings.

CHRISTIE: Look, there's -- we are in a new era, really starting back with Robert Bork and moving forward since then, of non-cooperation between the parties on these appointments. They have become ideological litmus tests for both parties, and each party has ramped up the contentiousness of -- of these things. And so I said on this show six weeks ago that she would probably get two or three Republican votes in the Senate.

KARL: Got three.

CHRISTIE: She did. She got three. And -- and so this is the new era that we're in, Jon. And -- and if Mitch McConnell is nothing, he is certainly someone who plays his cards very close to his vest. He doesn't know what is going to happen in the next two years and he is not a guy who's going to make any commitments on anything.

And, by the way, if the shoe were on the other foot, Chuck Schumer, I suspect, would be doing the same thing. And so that's the era we're in, whether we like it or not. And we have to be able to find our way forward.

But despite all that, this was a bipartisan confirmation. And so let's keep our eye on the ball in terms of what actually happened versus now moving to the next thing that we're all worried about.

KARL: Yeah.

CHRISTIE: This new justice was, Justice Jackson was confirmed in a bipartisan way, and she will now be on the Supreme Court come October.

KARL: All right, I want to turn to last night. Donald Trump had a -- had a -- his latest rally, this one in North Carolina. And he announced a new endorsement yesterday. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: I endorsed another person today, Dr. Oz, in Pennsylvania...

(APPLAUSE)

Dr. Oz.

(APPLAUSE)

Great guy, a good man. He's a good man, Harvard educated, tremendous, tremendous career. And they liked him for a long time. That's like a poll -- you know, when you're in television for 18 years, that's like a poll. That means people like you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Television is like a poll. Well, I -- I don't know. That's a new one on me. But...

(LAUGHTER)

But, Rick, let me ask you, Mehmet Oz, he's endorsing in the Pennsylvania Senate race. We're going to get a real sense of whether or not Trump truly has a hold on Republican voters over the next few weeks, a series of Republican primaries, where, like just there in Pennsylvania, he's endorsed candidates that don't appear to be on track to win?

KLEIN: Totally fascinating, Jon. He has put himself on the line. And in a bunch of cases, it could blow up in his face. He was also in North Carolina next to Madison Cawthorn. He was next to a 26-year-old first-time candidate who lives two hours away from the district that he's been endorsed to represent. He's with Ted Budd, who -- who's got a tough primary challenge on his own, and of course the races in Georgia, where he has made it his mission in life to try to unseat the -- the Republican governor and the Republican secretary of state who stood up against the big lie.

There's a real chance that Donald Trump loses some of these primary races and/or that the Republicans end up with a candidate who can't win the general election. So this is a big moment, I think, for Donald Trump. I think the conventional wisdom about him is this kingmaker, as the biggest force in the Republican Party. It's going to be tested when you have actual Republican primary voters in a range of states, starting next month.

That's one race, in Pennsylvania. You've got Dave McCormick, who was married to a former top Trump aide. A lot of people were -- were pushing Trump in that direction. He went with Dr. Oz. We'll see if this is successful and if some of these other races turn out.

KARL: I mean, what does it say if -- if he's endorsing a series of candidates, including incumbent governors like, you know, people running against incumbent Republican governors, like in Georgia...

BARRON-LOPEZ: Yeah.

KARL: ... in -- in Idaho. What does it say if he loses these -- loses these endorsements?

BARRON-LOPEZ: I mean, well, we've seen this before, right, which is that Trump doesn't always win when he takes sides in a primary. But when he's on the ballot, it's a different story. So if he were to decide to run again, I don't think it means that he would have any less power if he were to run again, or any less power in knocking off other Republicans, if he were in the race himself.

But when he's not on the ballot, then Republican voters sometimes go their own way in a primary. So I think that it doesn't necessarily mean he has any less grip on the party, because we see Republicans, time and time again, repeating, whether it's the big lie, or repeating, you know, other claims and attempts to try to change election laws in -- in states, in order to make it so Republicans have a better edge in future elections. So that's continuing. That isn't going anywhere.

CHRISTIE: And, look, as a Republican, I have to disagree with Laura. I mean, you've got the Republican Governors Association, which for the first time in my memory, is getting involved in primaries against Donald Trump in Georgia, in Idaho, in Alabama, in Ohio.

And I’m telling you right this morning, I’ll put myself on the line that the Republican incumbent governors will win all four of those primaries -- Mike DeWine in Ohio, Brad Little in Idaho, Brian Kemp in Georgia, Kay Ivey in Alabama. They'll win all of them.

And I think that you're going to see Pat McCrory win that Senate primary in North Carolina.

KARL: So, what does it mean? What does it mean about Trump’s grip?

CHRISTIE: What it means is that his grip on the party is diminishing and it's not just when he's on the ballot because remember back in 2018, he made a lot of endorsements in 2018 where a lot of upsets occurred because of his endorsement. One of the biggest being Ron DeSantis in Florida.

KARL: He made Ron DeSantis.

CHRISTIE: Well, look, I mean, that's what he'd say. I’m sure Governor DeSantis would feel differently.

But let's put it this way, Governor DeSantis was double digits behind Adam Putnam, who is the agriculture commissioner and odds on favorite to win that race when Donald Trump endorsed. This is much different than the last time he wasn't on the ballot which was 2018.

BRAZILE: This is a battle, again, the establishment of the Republican Party is trying to re-emerge themselves after what I call the four years of a president who is still gone mad. He is still holding people to the 2020 standard that he won the election and what Republican incumbent governors are trying to do is to push away Donald Trump, to push him out of the process. But he is still a big force within the Republican Party.

BARRON-LOPEZ: And if Trump is losing his grip on the party, I guess the question I have, Governor, is then why are Republicans like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger being kicked out of the House Republican Conference? Because they seem to have no place in the party and might align more with those other governors who are trying to distance themselves but the house GOP is in a very different place than governors in other states.

CHRISTIE: Look, inside Washington, D.C. politics is not something that the Republican Party en masse is all that concerned with. It’s what the primary voters decide to do. And just because you have a group of folks inside the House GOP caucus kicking folks out, look, my view is always Liz Cheney wanted to be kicked out, because remember, the first time that she made the statements she made she was re-elected to her leadership position. It's only when she continued after that, that looked like somebody who wanted to make a point and wanted to be kicked out.

KARL: Well, she says the point she's making is to defend the Constitution of the United States.

CHRISTIE: Jon, look, whatever it is, it wasn't like she was looking to protect her position and the first time that Republicans inside that caucus had a chance to vote on Liz Cheney, they voted to keep her, overwhelmingly.

KARL: Since we moved to January 6th, I want to ask about the interview that Donald Trump gave to Josh Dawsey with "The Washington Post" where he said this about -- remember he said in the speech he wanted to, you know, let's march to the Capitol. He said the Secret Service said I couldn't go. I would have gone there in a minute.

I mean, Rick, let's just take a minute here. This was the march that culminated in the attack on the Capitol and he said he wished that he was there. He would have gone in a minute.

KLEIN: And it's an utter rewriting of history and it actually is more damning version than what we were told previously, what he said --

KARL: It's probably not true but it’s incredibly damning that he says it's true.

KLEIN: A hundred percent, and, look, I think when the January 6th committee, there's still a lot to get to, there’s still other contacts that were had with the Trump inner circle that day, including lawmakers. There’s a lot of information that’s still coming out.

But as they're sorting all of this through, the role of Trump is right in front of them. When he goes and says this, he digs himself a little deeper. Maybe maybes it harder for Merrick Garland in terms of deciding whether there's a criminal charge, but for the January 6th Committee, it's admissions like this, it’s statements like this, and all of the information that's moved together on this that continues this path -- this is going to still be a lot of interesting things coming out over the next weeks and months, including things we don't know about the communications that day and, of course, when we see public hearings.

BRAZILE: What about the November 5th text messages that we just learned from Donald Trump Jr.? Where he said it's very simple, we can overturn, there are multiple to overturn --

KARL: This is before a winner was determined by the way.

BRAZILE: It's all within our control. I think that is another damning set of facts that we have to put into this whole pot.

KARL: And nobody knows how damning more than you. I mean, you have been out there as a Republican, you have called it out. You called it out in real time.

But let me ask you, Chris, we heard Mitch McConnell say despite all he said about Donald Trump, that he would still support him if he was the Republican nominee. You have said the same thing. How is that tenable?

CHRISTIE: This is -- this is -- listen, this is the gotcha question.

KARL: No, it's not the gotcha. It’s -- no, no, no.

(CROSSTALK)

CHRISTIE: Either let me -- either let me answer or just don't ask me the question, because you've made your determination about what not only -- this reminds me of an interview I saw in the Republican Governors Association between Chuck Schwab (ph) and Ron DeSantis when Governor DeSantis just kept talking and Chuck Schwab said, look, you don't get to ask the questions and give the answers as well.

Look, there's no reason for anyone in the Republican Party right now to start saying who you're going to vote for in the fall of 2024. That is disrespectful to our primary voters. That's disrespectful to the process.

But all of us will be held to account for the things that we've said about what happened on January 6th, what happened on election night. But, look, I said on election night sitting on the set at ABC that what the president got up and said at 2:30 in the morning was beneath the office he held and that there was no evidence at that point, nor has there ever been, that the election was stolen.

Now, I'll be held to account for that as a Republican for the rest of my life.

KARL: Yes.

CHRISTIE: I'm fine to be held to account for the truth. But don't ask me who I'm going to vote for in 2024 because, let me tell you right now, if Bernie Sanders were the Democratic nominee for president in 2024, there is not a chance in the world I could vote for a socialist for the president of the United States.

So, since we don't know who the candidates are going to be, why answer the question?

KARL: I guess -- OK, OK, we'll -- we'll have time to revisit this. We have a long way to go.

But -- but I want to talk about our new poll. It had many interesting data points on it.

One was on the subject of immigration, where it showed that Biden's approval in the handling of immigrant was just 37 percent, 60 percent disapprove. Actually, other than gas prices and inflation, it was his lowest approval rating.

Laura, what -- what do -- what do you make of that? Obviously -- and we have this controversial new decision on -- on -- on Rule 42. What -- what -- how big an issue of this for Democrats and for Biden?

BARRON-LOPEZ: Well, look, one of the issues for Democrats -- I mean Biden had to reach -- had to come to a point where it is either, continue to keep Title 42 in place, which is the public health order that, you know, honestly one thing that I think gets lost about it is that asylum seekers that came to the border were immediately turned around because they were not afforded due process under this rule. That's what happened. So, you have asylum seekers like Ukrainians, like Russians who came and were turned away, as well as Cameroonians and others from Central America.

That aside, you know, they clearly did not have a response in place to the attacks from Republicans. A lot of Democrats felt like the timing wasn't right in terms of when they lifted it. They think that it should have been done months prior, you know, in a midterm right -- like a few months ahead of the midterms, they didn't think that was the best decision.

On top of that, you know, when you talk to one of Biden's top pollster, John Anzalone, he will say that Democrats need to have answers on immigration, repeat over and over again what their position is on it, because a lot of times they just don't -- they're pretty silent on the issue in (INAUDIBLE).

KARL: All right. Unfortunately, we are out of time. Thank you to our roundtable.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: That is all for us today. Thank you for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT, and have a good day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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