'This Week' Transcript: President Obama

ByABC News
June 29, 2014, 10:50 AM
PHOTO: President Barack Obama on This Week.
President Barack Obama on This Week.
ABC News

— -- Below is the rush transcript of "This Week" on June 29, 2014. It may contain errors.

ANNOUNCER: Starting right now on ABC's "This Week" -

Security alert: U.S. authorities on edge.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never seen a threat matrix so serious.


ANNOUNCER: New airport worries this holiday week. Pierre Thomas with breaking details.

And President Obama on the growing fears in our exclusive interview.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Are we under serious threat right now?


ANNOUNCER: Then breaking overnight. Emergency move from the White House responding to a humanitarian crisis on the border. We're on the ground with the latest.

Hillary under fire. Why is she charging nearly a quarter of a million dollars to speak at a university?

And breaking the silence: the father of the Santa Barbara shooter speaks out. What warning signs were missed?

From ABC News, "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" begins now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning. We're tracking two developing stories, including a major new response from the White House to that humanitarian crisis on our southern border.

And a new terror threat from the al Qaeda group gaining more control of Syria and Iraq. Their advances raising security fears here at home. ABC senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas starts us off with the latest.


PIERRE THOMAS, ABC SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right now, sources tell us, at this moment in Syria, al Qaeda bombmakers are trying to design a new generation of explosives, including nonmetallic bombs. And the U.S. government is wrestling with how to respond.

ABC News has learned the government is considering a number of new measures, including asking overseas airport authorities to increase security.

DIANE SAWYER, ABC ANCHOR: There is a new terror warning --

THOMAS: This threat was initially discovered near the beginning of the Sochi Winter Olympics, prompting warnings about toothpaste and cosmetic bombs that could be smuggled onboard planes. Sources tell us evidence continues to come in, indicating the bombmakers in Syria are still at work.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: This is exactly the kind of threat that keeps me up at night.

THOMAS: It's a potentially deadly convergence.

Al Qaeda bombmakers from Yemen have come to Syria at the same time thousands of foreign fighters, including many from Europe and some from the U.S., have arrived to join al Qaeda-inspired groups. The fear is that once the stealth bombs are designed, there's available manpower to carry out attacks with fighters carrying passports from Western countries that allow easy access to the U.S.

What's more, terrorists are flowing back and forth over Syria's porous border with Iraq. This week, after a classified intelligence briefing about Iraq, senators issued a warning.

SEN. LINDSAY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: One thing I've learned from this briefing, our homeland is at risk.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: This is an urgent counterterrorism situation that our country faces.

THOMAS: Congressional leaders say it's an especially dangerous moment.

ROGERS: I've been on the Intelligence Committee for 10 years, chairman for the last four years. I have never seen a threat matrix so serious, so varied, and so many different streams of threat.

THOMAS: In addition to threats from abroad, those officials have to worry about so-called lone wolves here at home. Extremists radicalized on the Internet, like the Tsarnaev brothers, who allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon.

So as Fourth of July celebrations near, those intelligence officials will be as intense as ever, even though there's currently no known specific plot.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Pierre joins us now. And Pierre, we also saw yesterday that the Libyan charged with being the mastermind of those Benghazi attacks, Ahmed Abu Khattala, was brought to federal court in Washington, D.C. after two weeks of interrogation on a slow boat from Libya. There are some reports that he's been cooperating with questioners. How much is he cooperating? What are we learning?

THOMAS: George, on this slow boat ride across the Atlantic, Khattala faced two separate sets of interrogation. First, the special team pressed for intelligence about any imminent threats. Then about a week ago, he was read his rights by the FBI, who also pressed him for answers. We're told he cooperated, giving some details, but never admitting guilt.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And this is a complicated prosecution ahead.

THOMAS: George, he'll be treated like a common thug in civilian court. Prosecutors have to be able to show evidence that ties this guy directly to their case. The pressure is going to be on the Justice Department to prove that case in court. And he faces pressure because he now is looking at the death penalty, he's going to have to roll the dice. He can either go to trial or plead guilty and perhaps save his own life.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Pierre, thanks very much.

Let's hear more on that terror threat from the crisis in Iraq. Officials estimate that the ISIS militants have about 2,000 fighters with Western passports that can enter the U.S. without a visa. In my exclusive interview with President Obama, he conceded that the threat they pose is growing.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, I think we have been under serious threat my entire presidency. I think we have been under serious threat pre-dating 9/11 from those who embrace this ideology.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But they're gaining strength, aren't they?

OBAMA: Well, they're gaining strength in some places. We have seen Europeans who are sympathetic to their cause traveling into Syria and now may now travel into Iraq, getting battle-hardened. Then they come back. They've got European passports. They don't need a visa to get into the United States.

Now, we are spending a lot of time, and we have been for years, making sure we are improving intelligence to respond to that. We have to improve our surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence there. Special Forces are going to have a role. And there are going to be times where we take strikes against organizations that could do us harm.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s get more on this now from Congressman Peter King from the House Committee on Homeland Security. ABC chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz just back from Iraq. Welcome back.

And Congressman King, let me begin with you. You saw the president right there. Conceded that the threat is growing, what is the biggest danger right now?

REP. PETER KING (R-NY), COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY: The president shouldn’t be conceding it. This is a real, real threat. There’s nothing to concede. We should be very aggressive on this.

Syria is our biggest threat right now because not only are there thousands of Europeans who have visas sent to the United States going to Syria, there’s also at least 100 or so – 100-plus Americans who are over there in Syria right now. So any of these people can go back in the United States and they could carry out that type of attack that they’re being trained in in Syria. And the terrorists in Syria are extremely sophisticated, very advanced. And so thousands of people can back to Europe and come here. That’s over 100 Americans who could come back to it. All we have to do is miss one or two of them, and we could have a very, very lethal attack here in the U.S.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we saw that American a couple of weeks back carry out the suicide bombing in Syria.

Pierre also talked about U.S. officials considering asking overseas airports to enhance security. What’s going on with that?

KING: I can’t go into all the details, but that is very important to do because a number of airports don’t have the type of security they should have. But basically, we are saying anyone that (inaudible) to fly to the U.S., they have to increase their security. We’re going to be pushing it. I can’t go into all the details, but overseas airport security is a real concern we’ve had in the U.S.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So it is something we’re keeping a real eye on right now?

KING: Yes, we are. And we shouldn’t be denying it. We shouldn’t be just conceding; we should be very aggressive so the American people know how real this threat is.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Martha, so much support now coming in for the Iraqi military, the Iranians are helping. And the Syrians are also launching air strikes. We saw this morning Russian fighters going in, as well, of course –

RADDATZ: Russian fighter jets, yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Russian fighter jets going in. And of course, we know those U.S. advisors are now on the ground. What difference are they making?

RADDATZ: Well, I think first of all, they have to assess what’s going on. I think a bigger help right now is the intelligence, is the drones that are flying. The surveillance aircraft that’s flying. Because they’re giving the Iraqis a sense of where things are happening. In Tikrit, where the Iraqi military is trying to move in and root out ISIS and has had some success, although this morning it’s really back and forth who’s in control of that city now. The advisors, once they establish what’s going on and how they can help will really go outside of the embassy. And that’s where they can really start helping and start telling the Iraqi military, start helping them more with command and control and morale. That’s the amazing thing that they saw there, is an absolute collapse of the morale in the Iraqi security forces.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Soldiers were running away.

RADDATZ: Soldiers running away, and once they started running away, then there was a tidal wave of morale collapse.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, when I talked to the president earlier this week, he said – he wouldn’t say that he was ready to order air strikes right now. What does he need to hear from those advisors on the ground and from the Iraqi government before he acts?

RADDATZ: Well, from the Iraqi government, he has to have a sense that they are not just going after Sunnis, that they’re not just going after the minority Sunnis. And the other thing they have to hear is that the Iraqis are being careful. That they too are not ordering air strikes just on their enemies. I think there’s a series now of things that have to happen before the United States is involved in air strikes. And I don’t think they’re quite close to that.

Obviously, if the Americans were threatened, if the embassy were threatened, they could do something about it, they would probably take action, or if there was a very easy target perhaps out in the desert, they would take action. But any kind of massive air strikes, I just don’t think you’re going to see it.

KING: I think the U.S. is concerned about the embassy, about the airport, and so I think the U.S. will take whatever security measures are necessary, even if additional ones are necessary, to protect the Americans who are there, to protect our assets that are there. And I think the president, on that he can count on support, I believe, certainly from Republicans in Congress, to do whatever is necessary to protect Americans.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Does the president have all the authority he needs from Congress right now to act?

KING: They may ask for additional powers. I’m not someone who’s a totally addicted to the War Powers Act, but I think for the president to play it safe, I think any additional assets or troops that he sends or any forces at all, I think he will go to Congress.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Peter King, Martha Raddatz, thanks very much.

Now to that breaking news on the humanitarian crisis on our southern border. The White House now asking Congress for billions in emergency funding to deal with the record surge of unaccompanied children from Central America, and for the legal power to deport those children more quickly. We'll hear from the men on the frontlines in a moment after this report from ABC's Jim Avila.


JIM AVILA, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It's a double barrel breach of the southwest border. Waves of unaccompanied children, 52,000 of them so far. And at the same time, moms from Central America hand-carrying their children across the border.

Escaping violence at home, these groups exploit legal loopholes in American border security, a humanitarian crisis that is actually caused by U.S. law, frustrating as that may be to border states.

GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: We believe in the rule of law, and dang it, the federal government has got a job to do.

AVILA (voice-over): So here's the law, signed in 2008 by President George W. Bush, a bill that passed Congress unanimously and says that children cannot be sent back. They must held humanely until the courts release them to a suitable family member in this country.

The Obama administration, as the president himself told George, has no choice.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to house these kids and take care of them until the machinery under current law allows us to send them back.

AVILA (voice-over): And now President Obama is requesting $2 billion in emergency funding from Congress to help deal with the crisis, along with expanded power for DHS to fast-track deportations and tougher penalties for smugglers. Homeland Security sources say currently, more than 80 percent of these kids stay in the U.S. with either family or foster homes.

Meanwhile, those moms flooding the border, there's no place to house them. So the border patrol just drops them at the local bus station to safely join relatives here across the country.

They must promise to appear in immigration court, but no one will say how many ever do. DHS says it's rapidly expanding facilities, but until then, these are empty threats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they'll get sent back.

AVILA (voice-over): For "This Week," Jim Avila, ABC News, McAllen, Texas.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And joining us now from the border crossing in McAllen, Texas, the mayor of McAllen, Jim Darling. Mayor, thank you so much for joining us this morning. You've seen this new request from the White House. Will that do the job?

JIM DARLING, MAYOR OF MCALLEN, TEXAS: Good morning, George. Well, hopefully that funding will work. We don't think it's a crisis. We're doing everything -- efforts here at the border to make sure it doesn't turn into a crisis.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Where are you seeing on the ground right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, as I said, we are -- our bus station is kind of point zero. What happens as people are processed through border for protection, they -- border patrol -- they're dropped off at the bus station. We found out a lot of times they have to wait overnight for their bus. They come - they only have the clothes that they have on their back. They haven't had proper hygiene for the last couple of weeks. They're hungry. They're a lot of little kids.

And so what happened to us is a Catholic Church at the city of McAllen, other community entities got together and decided that we're not going to send them from our city in those conditions. And they're providing for all those needed services.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And what do you think is behind this surge? There's a great debate going on. Some say it is because many families down there believe that they come here, they're not going to get deported. And the amount of deportations has been just a fraction of those coming in. Others says it's children fleeing violence.

DARLING: Well, I think it's a combination of that. You know there's two categories. There's the unaccompanied children, which don't come to our bus station. They're handled by HHS. The others are moms and young kids that come across with the idea that if they make it here, they're going to be able to stay here.

And so I think that's the rumor, and as far as I know, I don't know what the enforcement is or collecting all the families, but they have anywhere between -- I've heard 15 days to 60 to 90 days to appear before a court. And they're now, by that time, assimilated into that society, whatever city they go to. So I think the promise of being able to stay here is what's fostering the rumors that go on. Whether that happens or not, that's really up to the federal government to enforce.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor, you say this isn't a crisis. But let's take a look at the front page of your local newspaper. It says the costs are really mounting for immigrant care. What kind of strain is this putting on McAllen?

DARLING: Well, quite a bit. We've spent $70,000 so far. We expect to spend over half a million before the end of the year. The Catholic charities and other charitable organizations are spending about $150,000. They expect to spend almost a million dollars before the end of the year. So it's not fair to our taxpayers. It's not fair to the charities to have to front those monies when really this is a federal situation.

We have great volunteers. I think the story is how our community has come together to provide for people in need. And we're really worried about sustainability, both from the standpoint of dollars, but also from community participation. We have doctors that volunteer to see the kids and the moms, and that's way, way too much to expect them to do that on any kind of sustainable basis.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Well, good luck with it all. Mayor, thanks for joining us this morning.

Up next, it was a big week at the Supreme Court, wrapping up another historic term. We take a closer look at the Roberts court and what it means for you with ABC's Terry Moran and our panel of experts.

And later our powerhouse roundtable takes a look at the money problems Hillary just can't shake.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does anyone out there think it's worth paying Clinton almost a quarter mil to hear her speak? Is anyone, anyone worth that much money?





STEPHANOPOULOS: Our closer look now at the Supreme Court. Ending his term tomorrow after several landmark rulings on everything from affirmative action and presidential power to cell phone privacy. It's a term marked by both bitter dissents and some surprising consensus. Our experts will break it all down after this wrap-up from ABC's Terry Moran, who's covered the court for more than two decades.


TERRY MORAN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: They've been together for four years now, these nine justices. The Roberts court: strongly conservative but sometimes surprising on their constitutional journey.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Each case, each interaction both with my colleagues and with others, will change me.

MORAN (voice-over): The justices heard about 75 cases this year. The big ones, affirmative action. In perhaps the most emotional case of the term, the court upheld a Michigan constitutional amendment passed by voters banning affirmative action in state university admissions.

While Justice Anthony Kennedy said voters could decide whether race matters in public higher education, Justice Sonia Sotomayor passionately disagreed. "Race always matters," she wrote, "because it reinforces that most crippling of thoughts: I do not belong here."

The court tore down the 35-year-old limit on the total amount of money any one person could contribute to federal candidates in one election cycle.



STEWART: Finally, we're rid of the corrosive influence of not enough money in politics.

MORAN (voice-over): Chief Justice John Roberts said campaign contributions were a basic right.

On cell phone privacy. The issue: can police search your cell phone without a warrant if you're arrested for anything?

Chief Justice Roberts drew a sharp line around our digital lives, even acknowledging it would make crime fighting harder but declaring privacy comes at a cost.

Abortion clinic buffers. The hot-button issues of abortion and free speech collided when the court struck down Massachusetts' 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics where protesters could not go.

It was a unanimous ruling, but perhaps just as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who spoke generally about free speech this year, had to swallow hard before casting her vote in this one.

JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG, SUPREME COURT: This group wants to march. We hate what they say. But we believe in their freedom to say it.

MORAN (voice-over): One big decision remains. The owners of Hobby Lobby say ObamaCare's mandate to provide contraceptive coverage violates their First Amendment right of religious liberty. That ruling will come down on Monday.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And Terry joins us now with Dahlia Lithwick, who covers the court for "Slate" magazine and Carrie Severino, chief counsel with the Judicial Crisis Network. She was a clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas.

OK, let me being with you, three big cases this week, all unanimous. That makes more than two-thirds of the cases this term unanimous.

What does that tell you about the Roberts court?

MORAN: It tells you that John Roberts is an institutionalist. He has been concerned about the reputation as it were of the Supreme Court with the American people at a time of deep partisan polarization. He's trying to get the court to speak with one voice and stand apart from politics.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Dahlia, you think this was especially important on the cell phone privacy case?

DAHLIA LITHWICK, "SLATE": I think that the cell phone privacy case is interesting because up until now they fought about how to get there. In other words, no matter what the court thought about privacy, the fight even in the GPS cases, how are we going to think about this?

To get nine people to not fight about what Madison was going to think about cell phones is a big deal and to not write what would Madison think about cell phones is also a big deal.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And now, Carrie, you think it was more of an incremental decision? So which of the decisions or which decision this term do you think will have the most lasting impact?

CARRIE SEVERINO, JUDICIAL CRISIS NETWORK: Well, I think the Mill caning (ph) decision was another unanimous decision we saw last week was one of the hugest ones not only because it was the 12th unanimous defeat this administration has suffered at the hands of --


STEPHANOPOULOS: It was the one that took away the president's --


STEPHANOPOULOS: -- to curb the president's ability to make recess appointments.

SEVERINO: Absolutely. But I think it is very important because it shows the court is willing to hold the line on those checks and balances.

We have an administration that's pushing a law legally and particularly pushing the constitutional boundaries on what it can do. And the fact that the court was standing up, that even the president's own appointees weren't willing to rubber-stamp what he was doing I think is great progress.


STEPHANOPOULOS: What really surprised me as well, Terry, look ahead to tomorrow. I know it's sometimes hard to read these tea leaves, but it looks like Chief Justice Roberts is going to be delivering the opinion on this major contraception case.

MORAN: On the Hobby Lobby case, the one where do corporations have religious liberty. And it seemed from the questioning in the oral argument that the court is inclined to say to some degree, yes, which is going to strike a lot of Americans as strange and could throw a monkey wrench into the entire regulatory state, which corporations, which religions, which regulations, which taxes and that could open a huge --

STEPHANOPOULOS: You're nodding your head.

LITHWICK: Well, I'm nodding because the court in all of these cases always has a chance to go big or go small and will be signed. The argument was the court trying to figure out a way to caveat (ph) so this so that it's not really throwing everything into question. Can we limit it to closely held family corporations? Can we wait and decide about Exxon another day?

But I think that the fact that the court went small all week last week really tried to be unanimous and find a way to resolve this question and leave the big, big questions later, raises the possibility they go big tomorrow.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Although there was -- yes, there was some indication in the oral arguments that Justice Kennedy, for example, may have seen this really like an abortion case.

SEVERINO: Well, for the plaintiffs, is really is an abortion case. In their religious belief, these four contraceptives of the 20 that they object to, it's because the FDA agrees they have the ability to terminate an embryo after it's been fertilized but before it's been implanted.

It's their religious belief that that is ending a life, then the state doesn't get to second-guess that. They have to follow that.

MORAN: And one things we've seen about the Roberts court, it is a Libertarian court, not just for people but for corporations, too. So it's some people think that the best way to win a civil rights case at the court is to incorporate.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A year ago we had the Windsor case on gay marriage and what a difference a year makes. Ever since then, courts, including an appeals court for the first time this week, lead to striking the gay marriage ban in Utah, court after court after court striking down bans on gay marriage.

Dahlia, I mean, Scalia seems to have called in his dissent. He said this would happen.

Do you think the rest of the court expected it to happen this quickly?

LITHWICK: I don't think not this quickly and not this passionately. You read the district judges' rulings and they are swinging for the fence this year. They're writing for the ages.

And so I think one of the things here you really see is that to the extent that the court waited because they weren't quite sure that public opinion was on board with them, they weren't quite sure the country was ready.

The country is ready and I think that Justice Kennedy is going to look at all these district court opinions and now appeals court opinions and say there's not going to be a backlash. This is done and I can write this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what does he do when it comes back?

SEVERINO: I think it's anyone's guess. I mean, I don't think Kennedy wanted it to go that far that fast, which is why the opinion, the lower courts are taking the Windsor opinion way farther than it goes.

But I think it's anyone's ball game. And that's why actually the next election is so important. The next president's going to have as many as three judicial appointments. That could change the face of the Supreme Court for a generation.


STEPHANOPOULOS: It's interesting you bring that up. Justice Ginsburg pushing back against all those calling for her to retire now to the president would have a chance to appoint someone.

If she holds on, which it certainly seems she will, Terry, this could really mean that President Obama doesn't get any more picks. The window's going to close, especially if Republicans take the Senate back in November.

MORAN: No question about it. And I think what we're seeing with Justice Ginsburg pushing back against this, retire now so a Democrat can appoint your successor, is once again that sense of institutionalism.

If she's seen by the country to game her seat and give it to a Democrat, it kind of degrades even more this sense that the Supreme Court is apart from all the mess that we've got to live with every day.

And I think she's not just enjoying the job, but defending the court.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You both agree she's not going to retire?

LITHWICK: No, I think she loves her job.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Thank you all very much. Great discussion.

We'll be right back with the powerhouse roundtable's take on the president's new strategy, the Speaker's new threat, then the uproar over Hillary Clinton's six-figure speaking fees.

First our big winners of the week.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now, George's pick, Meriam Ibrahim is George's big winner of the week.



STEPHANOPOULOS: You've got Speaker Boehner talking about suing you for executive actions that he says has crossed the line. He says "We elected a president, we didn't elect a monarch or king.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, you notice that he didn't specifically say what exactly he was objecting to.

I'm not going to apologize for trying to do something while they're doing nothing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if you get sued?

OBAMA: You know, the suit is a stunt. But what I've told Speaker Boehner directly is if you're really concerned about me taking too many executive actions, why don't you try getting something done through Congress?

The majority of the American people want to see immigration reform done. We had a bipartisan bill through the Senate. It's sitting in the House.

Why haven't we gotten it done? And they're going to squawk if I try to take some parts of it administratively that are within my authority while you are not doing anything?


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about this on the roundtable now, joined by Bill Kristol, editor of "The Weekly Standard," Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of "The Nation;" ABC's Matthew Dowd and Donna Brazile, also a Democratic strategist.

And Matthew, let me begin with you. Boy, pretty clear from being with the president for a couple days this week and everything we've seen in the last few weeks, he's given up on Congress completely, going to go on offense with the American people and going to continue with these executive actions.

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think both sides have given up on each other, actually, from the extent of this. You can just feel watching the interview and then watching Republicans' reaction to many different things, this incredible frustration that neither side can get anything done right now.

And I think they're looking at it as they're not going to be able to get done over the over the next two years, and so you have this situation where both are had bad stakes in the public's mind, the president's approval rating is down. The Republicans in Congress approval rating's down. They both think things need to get done. They're frustrated that neither side willing to give on the other side.

And they're both angry about it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Bill, isn't there a risk here for the Speaker on suing the president, reinforcing the idea that both sides aren't going to get anything done at all?

BILL KRISTOL, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, but this is a president who lost a 9-0 opinion in the Supreme Court precisely by overreaching on presidential power.

But I agree. As a law student, I would not highlight that. I would say that the House of Representatives has the power of the purse, they have the power of legislation, they have the power of oversight. Those are the three primary ways it seems to me you check a president. And they're doing a decent job in some of those respects.

BRAZILE: But, Bill, this is the president...

KRISTOL: But they could do more. Now there are times when the courts have to intervene, as in recess appointments. I'm not crazy about this particular move that the speaker is taking. But I think he is...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Why is he doing it?

KRISTOL: Well, because I do think there's a genuine...


KRISTOL: This president has waived things, aspects of Obamacare, and aspects of immigration law, and delayed things and created new deadlines in a way that I really do think goes beyond the normal executive discretion.

VANDEN HEUVEL: John Boehner had no problem with George Bush's executive actions. The Republican Party has become a distraction machine. First of all, the Congress has no standing in this. And they don't have any jobs plan. They have no health care plan.

They're not doing anything to govern on behalf of the people in this country, no wonder the president is saying, we need some action. Let's get some minimum wage. Let's get immigration reform. Those are dead because of the relentless resistance to legislate, to compromise, to govern.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, he's not the only -- it's not only John Boehner who has turned around though, look at President Obama. And I want to bring this to Donna Brazile. When he was running for office back in 2008, he was the one talking about George Bush overreaching on executive power.

BRAZILE: Well, George Bush did, in terms of, you know, not just executive powers, but signing statements, 1,200. I mean, compared to President Obama, who has been very cautious -- in fact, one of the criticisms of President Obama from Democrats, liberals, progressives, is that he's not using his executive power.

You have to go all the way back to Grover Cleveland, back in 1885, to see an executive to not use the pen to basically enact, you know, good, progressive change.

Look, the truth is, is that John Boehner is in a pickle. He's in a pickle because the tea party and other parts of his base, they are restless. They want someone to check the president's power.

Why are they not focusing reauthorizing the Highway Trust Fund? Passing the minimum wage, which the American people agree. Background checks, the American people agree. Immigration reform, the American people agree. Because they do not want to give this president any good victories.

DOWD: I think the biggest part of the problem, and you I think highlighted it in the panel before ours about what has gone on in the Supreme Court. The most powerful people in Washington today are the nine unelected people in the Supreme Court.

It's no longer the Congress and it's no longer the president. I think we should have a vibrant Congress who takes on the president legislatively and passes and pushes the president, and doesn't do these things. Both sides are -- I think have been reduced to stunts. The president has...

VANDEN HEUVEL: I agree with Matt.

DOWD: ... been reduced to stunts. The president has been reduced to stunts, and the Congress has been reduced to stunts.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I agree with Matt. You do need a legislative branch which asserts its authority. And it's not to say one doesn't have problem with executive authority when it comes to drones, or a questionable kill list of Americans, NSA surveillance.

But the balance is out. The balance is off. For example, the president should go to Congress if he's going to take military action in Iraq. And that was a part of your interview.

And I think we're sitting here at a moment, George, where we're talking about John Boehner. But the central question of war and peace for this country, there is no military solution to Iraq.

And I have to say, sitting next to Bill Kristol, man, I mean, the architects of catastrophe that have cost this country trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, there should be accountability.

We should not -- if there are no regrets for the failed assumptions that have so grievously wounded this nation, I don't know what happened to our politics and media accountability. But we need it, Bill, because this country should not go back to war.

We don't need armchair warriors. And if you feel so strongly, you should, with all due respect, enlist in the Iraqi army.

KRISTOL: That's a very cute line, Katrina, but people...

VANDEN HEUVEL: No, no. But it's real...


KRISTOL: A million Iraqis...

VANDEN HEUVEL: ... because look at the displaced million...

KRISTOL: Thousands of people are being killed...


KRISTOL: Can I just make a point?

VANDEN HEUVEL: A million Iraqis have been displaced. You gave that...



VANDEN HEUVEL: ... humanitarian aid for what we have done to that country is a crime.

KRISTOL: We have done to that country? What we did to that country?



STEPHANOPOULOS: Katrina, let him respond.

KRISTOL: Yes, let me respond. The president of the United States, President Obama, said at the end of 2011, we have a stable and peaceful Iraq, thanks to the sacrifices mostly of American soldiers and marines, which we did.

President Bush made mistakes. He was punished for those mistakes electorally, as he should have been, in 2006 and perhaps in 2008. He also had the courage to order the surge in 2007 which made up for those mistakes and left things peaceful.

The president -- this president pulled out of Iraq in 2011. He let the Syrian civil war explode. And now we have a terrible situation.

VANDEN HEUVEL: The president signed an agreement in 2008 with the Iraqi government to withdraw. And President Obama tried to negotiate with Maliki, couldn't get a Status of Forces Agreement that would give immunity to our troops.

The issue now, and we were talking earlier, this country cannot pour more men, women, money into it. It needs diplomacy. It needs tough political resolution, and bringing the region together.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Isn't that what the president is doing?


DOWD: I would like to say, I worked for President Bush in his first election, helped him at the White House, worked on his second election, have a son who served in Iraq, two tours of duty in Iraq.

We all know -- most everybody knows that this has been a colossal waste of money and men and women -- the blood of men and women of our country, over 5,000 people have been killed, our armed services.

And this is going to end up costing us probably $3 trillion when you add all that into -- in the moment of this. We don't fix a first mistake by continuing to make a second mistake. And if you ask anybody that's an enlisted person in this, they will tell you that the only way this can be solved is you have to commit troops there for 100 years. Any enlisted person says...

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is not going to happen.

DOWD: That is not going to happen. And what we ought to do -- and we're on the 100th anniversary -- we were talking about, we're on the 100th anniversary of the killing of the archduke that brought us into World War I, where the borders of all of these countries were settled back then by European countries.

We are continuing to reap the problem of that in the Middle East in this situation. And I, for one, don't think we should send another man or another woman over there in a mistake that was made in the first place.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You get the last word and we'll take a break.

BRAZILE: Well, all I believe is that at this point, the parliament is meeting tomorrow -- I mean, on Tuesday in Iraq. They need to come up with a political settlement. Give the Sunni Arabs, the Shia Arabs, and the Kurds, they all have to sit down and share this power.

But al-Maliki is a problem. As long as he's heading up Iraq, nobody is going to come together...


STEPHANOPOULOS: Everyone seems to agree with that as well.

We're going to take a quick break. And before we go though, our "Powerhouse Puzzler," special World Cup edition. Team USA escaped the "group of death," will face Belgium Tuesday in the knockout rounds.

Here's the question, name the three, yes, three official languages of Belgium. We're back in two minutes with the answers.


STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, so what are Belgium's three official languages? Let's see. Bill Kristol, French, Flemish, and Dutch.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Flemish, French, and Dutch. My grandmother is from (INAUDIBLE).

DOWD: French, Flemish, and I don't know.

BRAZILE: French, English, German, and waffle.



STEPHANOPOULOS: I just learned this, French and German, both. But Flemish and Dutch, Flemish is an offshoot of Dutch. So it's French, German, and Dutch.

Well, let's get to more politics. And, you know, we saw Hillary Clinton get a lot more questions this week, continuing on her wealth and the questions of these speaking fees, facing a backlash for taking over $200,000 from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

I asked President Obama this week if he thought it was becoming a problem for her.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that Hillary has been to this rodeo a bunch of times. She is in public service because she cares about the same folks that I talked to here today. As soon as you jump back into the spotlight, in a more explicitly political way, you're going to be (INAUDIBLE) like this. And she's accustomed to it. Over time, I don't think it's going to make a big difference.


STEPHANOPOULOS: So, Donna Brazile, let me bring it to you. A lot of Democrats have been worried and a little bit surprised that Hillary can't shake these questions. Is he right that it's not going to make a difference?

BRAZILE: I don't think so. If she can pivot and start talking about working families, what she's going to do, bring out her substantive ideas about how she's going to address income inequality.

If she can pivot and discuss that, come 2016, this is all in the rearview mirror.


KRISTOL: No, no, she's not. She is a weak candidate. I don't think the president did her any favors when he said I think Hillary's been to this rodeo a few times. A bunch of times, he said. Is that whom Democrats want to nominate in 2016? Someone who has been to this rodeo a bunch of times? Don't they want someone with new ideas and a fresh vision for the country? I think the more you hear, leaving aside the money -- the more one hears, the more one wonders, what will she run on? She can't run on Obama's foreign policy, as we've just discussed. So what is she going to run on? What are her achievements?

STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the things the president said, Katrina, is he thinks the Democrats are now more unified against a more populist economic agenda. Is that what you're hearing from Hillary?

VANDEN HEUVEL: You know, I think there is more unity. But there's still the Elizabeth Warren wing of the party talks about how our system is rigged. That is different. That requires tackling with the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party. I think Hillary Clinton needs to do that. Lay out her program. But she's going to need to say good-bye to some of her husband's policies, because he presided over the deregulation, over some of what we have seen play out in the crisis of 2008.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Should she cut back on the paid speaking too?

DOWD: Absolutely. I think if she is going to run for president, there is no reason for her to keep taking $200,000 a speech. These are two people who have made over $100 million over the last eight years. To me, it's the problem is not the money. The problem is authenticity related to this. It seems like they both want to be wealthy, but they don't want to be perceived as wealthy. I thought she could have handled this much better by saying listen, we have been blessed in our life, we have been lucky.


BRAZILE: She did.

VANDEN HEUVEL: She did. Go to the Guardian interview. They failed to report that part.

KRISTOL: She made her money by hard work. All those rich guys who started businesses, they got lucky. It's that hard work of showing up and speaking.


KRISTOL: You and I have spoken together, Donna. Is it hard work to show up and speak for an hour?


KRISTOL: $200,000 of hard work?

DOWD: Gandhi said that what we say and what we think and what we do need to be in alignment. The problem I think for most Americans with Hillary Clinton in this is that what she says, what she thinks, and what she does -- she might fight for the working poor. She might do that. But when you're in the not just the 1 percent, you're in the 1 percent, the top half of 1 percent of this, and then you act like it's somehow wrong that you are because --


BRAZILE: Maybe she has a hard time talking about her wealth. But this is a woman who has --

DOWD: She has to come the terms with that.

BRAZILE: -- aligned with the values of the middle class. She has always fought for the working poor. Even this week while she was being criticized for her money, she was announcing a youth initiative that employs people 16 to 24 who are out of work.

VANDEN HEUVEL: But think of our history. Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, these were not paupers. I mean, it's not about your wealth. It's about which side you're on, what you lay out for working people in this country, and what kind of economy for working people you want to build.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Maybe she can figure out more elegant ways to make that case.

I want to move on to Mississippi now, because there was a big primary, Senate primary this week as well. And ABC's Jeff Zeleny was covering it.


JEFF ZELENY, ABC NEWS: A bizarre Senate race in Mississippi has the Tea Party boiling.

CHRIS MCDANIEL, GOP SENATE CANDIDATE: There is something a bit unusual about a Republican primary that is decided by liberal Democrats.

ZELENY: Chris McDaniel is not backing down even after narrowly losing the Republican Senate primary to Thad Cochran. Cochran made no secret and no apology for reaching out to African-Americans, union workers, and other Democrats to win.

SEN. THAD COCHRAN, R-MISS.: We all have a right to be proud of our state tonight.

ZELENY: Asking for Democratic votes is not a violation of Mississippi law, but accusations of voter fraud have fired up conservatives.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: I wonder what the campaign slogan was in Mississippi the last couple of days? Uncle Toms for Thad?

ZELENY: The fight took an even stranger turn Friday. A Mississippi Tea Party leader committed suicide. He had been arrested for breaking into the nursing home of Senator Cochran's wife.

Ken Cuccinelli, a leader of the conservative movement, says the fallout goes well beyond Mississippi.

KEN CUCCINELLI, FORMER VA ATTORNEY GENERAL: The conservative grassroots is not going to tolerate this. They're going to risk ongoing sort of trench warfare within the party.

ZELENY: Establishment Republicans believe Cochran's win increases their odds of taking back the Senate. But President Obama told George he thinks Democrats will hold their majority.

OBAMA: I don't intend to have to deal with this, because I think the Democrats will hang on to the Senate.

ZELENY: Still, the president and all Democrats know it's an uphill climb to November.

For "This Week," Jeff Zeleny, ABC News, Washington.


STEPHANOPOULOS: So Bill Kristol, this win by Thad Cochran I think surprised a lot of people. Did it surprise you?

KRISTOL: A little bit. They're (inaudible) a very good technical drive of turning out some additional voters. But I think it's a Pyrrhic victory. I mean, the momentum in the Republican Party is not with Thad Cochran. It's with the Tea Party. The Tea Party is the one group in America...


STEPHANOPOULOS: They had one big win during these primaries against Eric Cantor. Right?

KRISTOL: Yes, but they have nominated a lot of nominees who are accepted, in many state, who are acceptable to both the Tea Party and the establishment, are running much more populist campaigns.

I do think the Tea Party infusion into the Republican Party gives the Republicans a chance to be the party of the working class and the middle class.

To get back to our earlier discussion, I very -- Marco Rubio, who gave speeches last week on reform and conservatism; Ted Cruz; Scott Walker; Mike -- all those people can run against Hillary Clinton as spokesmen for working and middle class Americans.

And that is a huge tribute to the Tea Party that they have changed --

DOWD: They're changing the Republican Party. They're changing the Republican Party.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Donna, explain to me how Thad Cochran, the conservative Republican, got African-American Democrats in Mississippi to vote for him.

BRAZILE: Well, in 1964, he voted for Lyndon Johnson he said, in part, because of the Civil Rights Act.

In 1972, he ran against a conservative segregationist Democrat, beat him. He was a Republican, hired the first African-American ever from anybody from Mississippi when he worked in Congress.

Of course no one will forgot the aid, the support he gave to not just African-Americans but all the people in the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. That and many other reasons. He had reasons to go after these votes in these high-producing black counties. That's why, I think, he won.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I think there is an irony because this is the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer campaign to register African-Americans. And you have a party which has worked assiduously to roll back voting rights. You're facing the greatest curve of voting rights since reconstruction.

And here, you have Thad Cochran, who was, I think, put over the top by African-American voters.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He might have to resist those calls to curve that.

VANDEN HEUVEL: But also what he did. And Donna told me this. He also spoke of government as a force for good. There were ads up, Trent Lott, you can eat --


KRISTOL: I'm happy to go to the voters in 2016 on that issue.

DOWD: This is a pyrrhic victory for the establishment Republican Party. It's a total pyrrhic victory. It's only going to engage more energy in this. This, what it looks, is that the Republican Party in Mississippi want to go one direction. The establishment came in and said, no, no, no, let's not do that. We love the status quo. We love the status quo.

Here's what I have to say about Thad Cochran's victory. If by him winning, which you can expand an electorate, I'm all for all of that, it's going to change the way he behaves in office, then God bless him. But if all of this was about a cynical attempt to win an election, then God save him.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's the last word for today.

BRAZILE: $24 million they spent to defeat the Tea Party. They're caffeinated.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you all very much.

Up next, the father of the U.C. Santa Barbara gunman speaks to Barbara Walters about the anguish he feels, the signs he missed.

And up next, we discuss what can be done to stop this madness?



BARBARA WALTERS, ABC HOST: Did you know that he was sick?

PETER RODGER, FATHER OF SANTA BARBARA SHOOTER: No, I just thought he was a disillusioned, aloof, shy young man that needed as much love as we could give. And he wasn't easy. He would suck the oxygen out of the room.

WALTERS: The father of Adam Lanza now says that there are times he wishes his son had never been born.

Do you ever feel that way?

RODGER: I -- that's a loaded question, Barbara. A part of me says yes. And the reason is, because he did an awful lot of harm to young men and young women who didn't deserve to die. And my son did it.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Peter Rodger, speaking to Barbara Walters about his son, Elliot, who went on a shooting rampage this spring in Santa Barbara.

For more on this, we're joined by ABC's Dr. Richard Besser and Andrew Solomon, author of the book "Far from the Tree."

And Andrew, I want to begin with you. You probably spent more time with the parents of these killers than anyone. Hundreds of hours with Dylan Klebold's of Columbine's parents. You also spoke for hours with Peter Lanza, the father of the Newtown shooter for a riveting report in "The New Yorker."

And one thing that shines through. Even if we resist it, we tend to blame these parents. But you learn when you speak to them, they're real victims as well.

ANDREW SOLOMON, AUTHOR: They are real victims. I think we used to blame parents for almost everything that went wrong with their children, they were responsible for autism and homosexuality and all kinds of other qualities their children might have. And we have dropped that. But we still blame parents when their kids commit crimes.

And while some kids have their criminal tendencies exacerbated by abuse or neglect, there are many cases, including all three of these, in which an essentially loving, attentive family has a child who incomprehensively has this terrible --


STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, they know there's a problem, they're paying attention to it. And one of the things that Peter Rodger talked about -- I want to show a little bit more of this before I talk to you, Rich - is missing those signs.


BARBARA WALTERS, ABC CORRESPONDENT: You have said you're going to spend your life, and it's the reason you're doing this interview with me, to raise awareness for other families who live with children who are mentally ill. How can you do that?

PETER RODGER, FATHER OF SANTA BARBARA SHOOTER: By telling Eliott's story. By looking at the red flags, the markers, the common traits between perpetrators. Asking families to understand, love, and support children who might be in the same position as Elliott.


STEPHANOPOULOS: So Rich, what are the markers?

RICHARD BESSER, ABC NEWS CHIEF HEALTH AND MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, I think we would all sleep better if we could really predict who will be a mass killer. The things that he was talking about. Looking for someone who is isolated, a loner, disaffected. But that describes so many adolescents, so many young adults. And even psychiatrists are no better than flipping a coin at able to determine who, with mental illness, is prone to violence.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've spent so much time with parents, Andrew, who - and your book, "Far From The Tree" covers this -- who have all kinds of remarkable children, both with great talents and great disabilities. Is there any common threads that successful parents of these children share?

SOLOMON: Well, if you're looking in the general sense the parents who find some sort of meaning in having the challenge of having these children who are different do a better job of parenting them. There are studies that show that parents who believe that they've had meaning in their experience have children who are more successful than parent who is don't. When you're looking at horrific acts of crime like this, I don't think there's any way you can find the joy in it. All you can find are the pointers for how to perhaps prevent other such events.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you know, when you spoke with Peter Lanza and Barbara talked to Peter Rodgers about it as well, he came to the conclusion it would have been better had his son had not been born. That is a different conclusion than Dylan Klebold's participants reached.

SOLOMON: I remember having dinner with Sue Klebold. And she said to me, when it first happened, I used to wish I never had gone to Ohio State, that I never met my husband, that we'd never had this child, this horrible thing wouldn't have happened. She said but over time, I've come to feel I love the children I had so much that I don't want to imagine a life without them. Even at the price of this pain.

When I say that I, I'm talking about my own pain, both the pain of other people. But while I accept it would have been better for the world if Dylan never been born, I've decided it would not have been better for me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: She had to think about it so much.

And Rich, this is such a tricky area, this whole issue of mental illness and violence. We know people with mental illness are more prone to violence. But the overwhelming number of violent crimes committed by people are not mentally ill.

BESSER: Right. If you look at overall gun violence, mental illness accounts for -- well, mass killings are less than one percent. Mental illness is about four percent.

But I view this as a public health problem. That's my background. If you do studies, you can understand what are the risk factors and how do you reduce that risk? The president called for that after Newtown. And when the Congress didn't act, through executive order, he's calling on research.

And this fall, the NIH is launching research to understand how much is related to mental illness, how much is related to gun policies. And what things truly work? If you do that, you're not going to eliminate these kind of mass killings. Hopefully, you can reduce the chances these are going to occur.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let us hope. Richard Besser, Andrew Solomon, thanks very much.

SOLOMON: Thank you.

Up next, our Sunday Spotlight looks back at freedom summer after this from our ABC stations.


STEPHANOPOULOS: In our Sunday Spotlight, an unlikely alliance that made history. Idealistic white volunteers from the North teaming up with courageous blacks from the South to take on the Jim Crow culture 50 years ago this summer. They called it Freedom Summer. The title of a new documentary on PBS, and Martha Raddatz spoke with the filmmaker Stanley Nelson.


MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC CORRESPONDENT: It was 1964. African-Americans had been given the right to vote almost 100 years earlier. Yet fewer than seven percent had registered. And it was no wonder.

STANLEY NELSON, FILMMAKER, FREEDOM SUMMER: You could be fired from your job if you even tried to go down and register to vote. If you had a loan, any kind of loan, they would cut your loan. They would publish your name in the paper. Then there was something called the registrar, who would then make you take a test. And inevitably, if you were African-American, you failed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You didn't write anything in there. You didn't pass it.

RADDATZ: Stanley Nelson's new film is a deep and at times unsettling look at the brave women and men who fought for voting rights just 50 years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have your certificate showing you're a registered voter.

RADDATZ: Civil rights organizers in Mississippi had been fighting an uphill battle to register African-Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; We must be stronger than the enemy!

RADDATZ: They need help from outside the state and looked North.

NELSON: They invited 700 volunteers, mainly white college students.

RADDATZ: Students who had no idea what they would be getting into.

One of the things that surprise me, there was tension.

NELSON: Part of the frustration with the organizers was in trying to say, this is what it is going to be like down there. They could see that the kids didn't really understand it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to wind up in jail. I suggest we be a little more serious about this thing.

RADDATZ: But that would quickly and tragically change.

NELSON: They went missing on the first day of Freedom Summer. The very first day.

RADDATZ: On June 21, 1964, three young activists, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner from New York and James Cheney from Mississippi vanished.

NELSON: The people who understood Mississippi knew they were never going to be found alive.

RADDATZ: The bodies not discovered for six months. Those murders dramatized in the movie "Mississippi Burning."

NELSON: It put this kind of shadow over the whole summer.


RADDATZ: For his film, Nelson shares the real-life stories of the once young freedom fighters, who lived in fear every day.

NELSON: They put this noose over my head and it was attached to a long rope. They jumped back into the car. And I just saw myself being dragged to death.

RADDATZ: It wasn't just intimidation. They were killing people.

NELSON: One of the terms that people always use for what was happening in Mississippi was terrorism. They were being terrorized.

RADDATZ: After Freedom Summer, after those murders, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, which banned discrimination in voter registration. Last year, a sharply divided Supreme Court struck down a key part of the law, citing racial progress since Freedom Summer. But have we gone far enough?

NELSON: I think it's really important to understand the struggle that we had to go through to get people the right to vote. And that probably that struggle is not over.

RADDATZ: For "This Week," Martha Raddatz, ABC News, Park City, Utah.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And now, we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice. This week, the Pentagon released the names of four Marines killed in Afghanistan.

And that is all for us today. Thank you for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out World News with David Muir tonight. And I'll see you next week on GMA.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events