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FOX "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace" - Transcript - Trial of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspects

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BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

WALLACE: Well, we've already introduced Senator Feinstein and Congressman King. So, let's talk to them about some of the policies.

To Senator Feinstein -- one of the big issues that's come up now, should Tsarnaev be treated as a criminal, questioned under the public safety exemption to the Miranda rule, but then read his Miranda rights and have his right to a lawyer? Or should he be treated as an enemy combatant with no such protections?

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-CALIF.: I believe very strongly the former. I believe that's the only legal way to proceed. I do not believe, under the military commission law, that he is eligible for that. It would be unconstitutional to do that.

Let me say this, Chris. One of the great things about America is that we come together at times of trial. I very much regret the fact that there are those that want to precipitate a debate over whether he's an enemy combatant or whether he is a terrorist, a murderer, et cetera.

Federal law, we've had 435 terrorist convictions under federal law. We've had 100-plus arrests. There have been maybe half a dozen under the military commission.

It is really very clear to me that the course that can be taken -- you've got the high value interrogation group. They're skilled. They know how to do this. The Miranda right can be read at a later time.

He's reportedly been shot through the throat. He's intubated. He can't talk now.

So there is time to do the investigation, to make a clear assessment, and to move from there. So I really regret all of this discussion, which is creating a conflict that need not be there. The administration is ready for this.

WALLACE: Let me bring in Congressman King.

Despite the comments of Senator Feinstein, do you think Tsarnaev should be treated as a criminal or an enemy combatant?

REP. PETER KING, R-N.Y.: I believe he should be treated as an enemy combatant for the purpose of interrogation. I put out a statement with Senator McCain, Senator Graham, Senator Ayotte.

The reason for it is, there's so many questions unanswered. There are so many potential links to terrorism here. Also, the battlefield was now in the United States. So, I believe he is an enemy combatant.

And he would not to be tried before a military. Ultimately, he will be tried in civilian court, and the statements taken from him cannot be used against him in that trial.

But, right now, he's really the only link we have as far as any Chechen involvement in Al Qaeda movement, in the overall Islamist movement, and we don't know, are there other conspirators out there? Are there explosives out there?

Where do they get the radicalization? Are there mosques, imams we should be looking at? Who did his brother meet be when he was in Russia, in Chechnya?

These are only questions that I believe can be obtained, through -- if he does not get his Miranda rights, because even though right now, there's the public safety exception. That's going to expire in about 48 hours. And after that, he can lawyer up and stay quiet.

I'm not interested -- he's going to be convicted one way or the other in a civilian court. Right now, we should get intelligence. This is a unique opportunity --

WALLACE: Let me --

KING: -- to go into the treasure trove of intelligence only he has.

WALLACE: Let me -- excuse me, Congressman. But I do want to get to the intelligence because I know you both have been briefed by the administration this week.

Senator Feinstein, what can you tell us about the plot at this point? Was there any foreign involvement, and especially, what do you know, if anything, about the older brother, Tamerlan's trip to Russia last year?

FEINSTEIN: Well, we do not know specifics. However, we do know that there was very likely a call from Russia before he went back to Dagestan and Chechnya, asking about it. I think just conjecture would lead one to believe that this may have come from his running jihadist sites on his Web site.

Anyway, he went home for six months. That's a lapse. We will find out what happened during those six months. I think there is likely going to be an assessment that this was somebody who did want to participate in a jihadist event.

There is ample evidence, fingerprinted, I understand, direct testimony from one of the people that had his legs blown off, that he recognized him. They admitted to the driver of the car that they hijacked that they were the bombers.

So I think there's going to be a great deal of evidence put together to be able to convict him, and it should likely be a death penalty case under federal law. I believe that the federal competence in doing this at this time is extraordinary. I believe that -- let me just finish -- that the HIG can interrogate him. They did this --

WALLACE: High Value Interrogation Group.

FEINSTEIN: Yes -- with Abdulmutallab, they've done this with many, many others. And they've gotten many convictions.

WALLACE: Let me bring in, Congressman, what do you --

KING: I don't worry about conviction. I don't worry about a conviction. He's going to be convicted.

I want the intelligence so we can save American lives. And that can only be done I believe, effectively, if he's treated as an enemy combatant --

WALLACE: OK.

KING: -- and he's not have access to a lawyer.

WALLACE: You've both made your point very ably.

Let me ask you if I can, Congressman. What do you make of the fact, because of a Russian request, the FBI interrogated the older brother Tamerlan back in 2011 about his ties to radical Islam. They found out he was not a threat.

And I guess two questions. First of all, what do you make of the interrogation? And what about the fact that when he returned after six months in Russia, he apparently was not on an FBI watch list?

KING: Chris, I have great regard for the FBI and for Director Mueller, but this is the latest in a series of cases like this. Anwar Awlaki, Major Hasan, Carlos Bledsoe, Robert Headley (sic), and now, this case with the older brother, where the FBI is given information about someone as being potential terrorists, they look at them, and then they don't take action. And they go out and carry out murders after this. So, again, I'm wondering, again, is there something deficient here? What was wrong?

Again, there was nothing they could find in 2011. He goes to Chechnya in 2012. He has statements up on his Web site. He's talking about radical imams. Why didn't the FBI go back and look at that?

I don't want to run Monday morning quarterback. They did a great job of resolving the case. But as far as getting information in advance and not seeming to take proper action, this is the fifth case I'm aware of where the FBI has failed to stop someone who ultimately became a terrorist murderer.

WALLACE: Congressman King, you said after the bombings -- and this is your quote -- we are letting our guard down. Do you believe that this attack should have been prevented?

And you have also said, I gather, that political correctness be damned. We have to do more effective surveillance inside the Muslim community.

KING: Well, actually, as far as letting our guard down, I was being critical of those in Congress. Some of my own party want to start cutting funding for homeland security because they think this war is over. It's not.

As far as the other question, Chris?

WALLACE: The surveillance inside the Muslim community.

KING: Oh, yes. Listen, the threat is coming from within the Muslim community in these cases, in New York. That's why Commissioner Kelly has 1,000 police officers out in the community. Unfortunately, he gets smeared by The New York Times and The Associated Press.

But the fact is we've stopped 16 plots in New York because we know that Al Qaeda is shifting its tactics. It's not going to be attackers from overseas. We've been able to prevent that.

They are getting people in our country who are under the radar screen, who have clean records. We saw it with the Times Square bomber, the subway bomber in New York, and now we've seen it, it appears, in Massachusetts.

And 99 percent of the Muslims are outstanding Americans. The fact is that's where the threat is coming from. When the FBI was after the Westies, they went to the Irish community. When they were after the mafia, they went to the Italian community.

If you know a certain threat is coming from a certain community, that's where you have to look --

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Let me bring in Senator Feinstein. Your reaction to that?

FEINSTEIN: Well, that's exactly where they will look. I mean, I -- I don't think all of this is very helpful. I think the important thing is to get the facts. Let the investigation proceed.

The FBI has very good interrogators. They know what they are doing. I believe that they will put a case together that will be very strong.

With respect to whether we are doing enough in the Muslim community, I think we should take a look at that. But I don't think we need to go and develop some real disdain and hatred on television about it.

WALLACE: I must say, I don't think that's what Congressman King was saying. He was saying, that's where the threat was coming from. We have to address that threat.

FEINSTEIN: Well, this came at this point from two individuals. That's what we really do know. We do not know what their connections are.

So I think we ought to find out before we begin to charge them with all kinds of associations.

WALLACE: All right. We have a couple of minutes left, and I want to ask you a question and Congressman King a question.

Senator, reaction to the Boston bombings has spilled into other issues, including gun control. There are some conservatives who say -- some conservatives who say that, when a million people in Boston were forced to stay in their homes, that a lot of those people -- particularly in Watertown where they were going door to door and there was a real concern that this fellow might be on the loose, might break into their house, might take hostages -- would people like to have guns?

FEINSTEIN: Oh, some may have, yes. But if where you're going is do they need an assault weapon? I don't think so. As the vice president said --

WALLACE: Shouldn't they have the right to decide whatever weapon they feel they need to protect themselves?

FEINSTEIN: Well, how about a machine gun then? We did away with machine guns because of how they're used. I think we should do away with assault weapons because of how they're used.

WALLACE: Semiautomatics, that's the most popular rifle in America.

FEINSTEIN: And you could use a 12-gauge shotgun and have a good defensive effect. And there's the element of surprise.

Now, you've got police all over the place in Watertown, so I don't really think that this is applicable. I think there are people that want to make this argument, but 12-gauge shotgun, there are many weapons, 2,000-plus weapons that are available to people for choice without an assault weapon.

WALLACE: We're running out of time. So I'm not going to give you a chance to answer that question, Congressman King.

But I'm going to give you a chance to answer the other question. This has also spilled into the debate over immigration reform. Some conservatives like Charles Grassley, senator from Iowa, are saying, you know, before we reform the system, we ought to focus more on who we let into this country.

Your response?

KING: Well, first of all, I don't think it should have a severe impact on the immigration debate. I do think it should focus on whether or not it should be refined, and that if people are coming from a country which has terrorist background, if there's a strong terrorist element in that country, that there should be extra vetting for people from that country.

But, listen, I'm a grandson of immigrants. While I have some concerns with the security aspects of immigration reform, I don't think we should use that as an excuse to stop the debate. But I do believe that, again, if someone's coming from a country which has strong Al Qaeda or any other type of terrorist element in it, that we should not be afraid to ask the extra questions or the extra research, do the extra vetting to make sure that people coming in here have no affiliation at all to those terrorist groups.

WALLACE: Senator Feinstein, Congressman King, we want to thank you both for a spirited discussion. Thank you for coming in today. We will stay on top of all of these developments.

FEINSTEIN: Thank you, Chris.

KING: Thank you, Chris.

WALLACE: Thank you.

KING: Thank you, Senator.

FEINSTEIN: Thank you, sir.

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