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‘Fox News Sunday’ on March 5, 2022

This is a rush transcript of ‘Fox News Sunday’ on March 5, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Shannon Bream.

The president, lawmakers, and Western leaders look on with concern as China and Russia grow closer.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): There’s no secret that the relationship between Putin and Xi has gotten much stronger. They share a common adversary.

BREAM (voice-over): The president huddles with German leaders as Chinese President Xi meets with the Russian ally. The two superpowers flexing their diplomatic might, trying to shape the outcome of the war in Ukraine.

And intelligence officials say they don’t see any proof that foreign weapons caused the mysterious Havana syndrome. But American victims and their lawyers say they still have a lot of questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just doesn’t make sense.

BREAM: We’ll bring in the top senator on the Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner.

And we’ll get reaction from former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who’s considering a run for the Republican nomination. We’ll ask how he would manage these global challenges.

Then —

MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Can answer the question?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): No, you cannot. You have refused to answer the question.

BREAM: Republican lawmakers blast Biden’s attorney general over protests near the homes of Supreme Court justices and allegations of political interference at the DOJ. We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the fiery exchanges on the Hill.

All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BREAM (on camera): Hello from FOX News in Washington.

The president met with top Democrats this week as he thinks through his 2024 strategy, but foreign policy challenges continue to push his domestic plans to the side.

Breaking overnight, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs visiting U.S. troops in Syria. General Milley is there to talk about U.S. efforts to prevent a resurgence of ISIS.

Syria’s foreign ministry condemned the unannounced trip. They’re calling it a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty. This trip comes as Russia, China, and the U.S. all jockey for global influence.

In the moment, Virginia Senator Mark Warner joins us live on the war in Ukraine, on China, and a new U.S. intel assessment about the mysterious Havana syndrome.

But, first, let’s turn to Lucas Tomlinson live at the White House on those dueling meetings held by President Biden and Chinese President Xi — Lucas.

LUCAS TOMLINSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Shannon, U.S. officials privately admit the war in Ukraine is at a stalemate right now. The front lines haven’t changed months despite billions of dollars of American weapons flowing into the country over the past year.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOMLINSON (voice-over): Russian forces making incremental gains, assaulting the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. That’s where Ukrainian President Zelenskyy visited shortly before flying to the White House and presenting this flag to Congress in December.

Friday, President Biden hosted his German counterpart, with Ukraine dominating the discussions.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Beyond the military support, the moral support you gave to Ukraine is profound.

TOMLINSON: Despite both sides approving tanks for Ukraine, U.S. officials admit few have sent more than a month since the announcement.

Today, Russian forces control 17 percent of Ukraine, and there are more Russian troops inside Ukraine now then any time in the past year.

In late January, the U.S. military’s top officer admitted getting the Russians out of Ukraine this year would be, quote, very, very difficult.

Only about half the 20 leading economies in the world are sanctioning Russia. India has increased its oil imports. At the G20 summit in New Delhi, Russia’s top diplomat made the following claim, immediately rebuked by the audience.

SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN MINISTER: The war, which we are trying to stop, which was launched against us using the Ukrainian people.

(LAUGHTER)

TOMLINSON: One of the biggest concerns in Washington, China potentially arming the Russians.

JOHN KIRBY, NSC COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR: We haven’t seen the Chinese make this decision. We don’t think they’ve taken it off the table.

TOMLINSON: The president also met with Democrats late last week on Capitol Hill. The backdrop, his potential reelection bid in his annual budget rollout this week. President Biden already making this pledge:

BIDEN: And I want to make it clear, I’m going to raise some taxes. Many of you are billionaires out there. You’re going to stop paying at 3 percent.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TOMLINSON (on camera): Right now, former President Donald Trump leads Biden in the polls and a potential rematch in 2024.

Trump spoke last night for nearly two hours outside the nation’s capital at the Conservative Political Action Conference, better known as CPAC. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was among a handful of prominent Republicans who did not attend — Shannon.

BREAM: Yeah, we’ll have more on that with the panel coming at. Lucas Tomlinson, from the White House — Lucas, thank you.

Joining us now, Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Welcome back. Good to see you, Senator.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Thank you, Shannon.

BREAM: OK. So, this week, you will have a hearing on worldwide threat assessments. You will have the DNI, the director of the CIA there.

WARNER: Uh-huh.

BREAM: You have long been warning about China on multiple fronts.

Do you think that we have lost valuable time in assessing the threat accurately? Will you talk about that this week?

WARNER: Well, I think for a long time, conventional wisdom was, the more you bring China into the world order, the more they’re going to change. And that assumption was just plain wrong.

China even changed their laws in 2016 to make it explicitly clear that every company in China, their first obligation is to the Communist Party.

So, we have never had a potential adversary like China. Soviet Union, Russia, was a military or ideological. China is investing in economic areas. They have $500 billion intellectual property theft. And we are competition not just on a national security basis but on a — on the technology basis.

That’s why national security now includes telecommunications, satellites, artificial intelligence, quantum computing. Each of these domains, we’ve got to make the kind of investments to stay ahead.

And I think we’re starting that in a bipartisan way. We did the CHIPS bill, of trying to bring semiconductor manufacturing back. We’ve kicked Huawei out of our telecom systems.

This week, I’ve got a broad bipartisan bill that I’m launching with my friend John Thune, who will be the Republican lead, where we’re going to say, in terms of foreign technology coming into America, we’ve got to have a systemic approach to make sure we can ban or prohibit it when necessary.

BREAM: Does that mean TikTok?

WARNER: That means TikTok. It’s one of the potentials.

Listen, TikTok is not only — you have 100 million Americans on TikTok 90 minutes a day. Even you guys would like that kind of return, 90 minutes a day.

They are taking data from Americans, not keeping it safe. But what worries me more with TikTok is that this can be a propaganda tool to basically — the kind of videos you see would promote ideological issues.

If you look at what TikTok chose to the Chinese kids, which is all about science and engineering, versus what our kids see, there’s a radical difference.

BREAM: Yeah. OK, we’ll watch that, because now that’s a bipartisan offering potentially this week.

This past week, we got information. It was revealed that both the Department of Energy and FBI believe that the origins of COVID were most likely a leak from the Wuhan Institute for Virology.

This is something that early on was called a conspiracy theory. You were racist if you talked about it. The Senate has actually unanimously passed a measure that would call on this administration to declassify information that we have about the origins. White House won’t say whether the president will veto it or not if it gets to his desk.

Do Americans really — worldwide, do people not have a right to see that information?

WARNER: Shannon, here’s again an example of what we’re dealing with, with the communist party in China. If this — if this virus had originated virtually anywhere else, we would have had world scientists there. The Chinese communist party has been totally opaque about letting an outside scientist to figure this out.

Now, you still got some parts of the intelligence community that think it originated in a wet market, other saying it could have gotten out from a lab, although I would say that one entity says it came from one lab in Wuhan, another said from another.

You know, at the end of the day, we’ve got to keep looking, and we’ve got to make sure, in terms of future pandemics, that we can have access to where the source of these diseases originate a lot earlier on in the system.

BREAM: They’re not going to —

WARNER: Three and half years later, and we still don’t have access to Wuhan.

BREAM: Right. They’re not going to cooperate with that, especially if they assess internally they were at fault.

How do they pay for this? Now, billions, probably trillions in damage and losses for people, millions and millions of lives. How do they pay?

WARNER: Well, I think again, this is where we’ve got to have that united front of countries all around the world, that there has to be consequences. There has to be consequences potentially in terms of sanctions.

It’s one of the reasons why, if China moves forward to support Russia in Ukraine, I can’t understand some of my colleagues who are willing to say, well, I don’t really care about Ukraine, but I’m concerned about — I’m concerned about China.

Well, China and Russia, these authoritarian regimes, are linked, and we’ve got to make sure Putin is not successful in Ukraine and we’ve got to make sure that Xi does not have — further his expansion plans around Taiwan.

BREAM: Well, we know that even if they aren’t selling — sending bullets over to Russia, they are buying up copious amounts of Russian oil. They are sending dual use projects or products that could actually be used on the battlefield.

Xi doesn’t seem very worried about the warnings from the U.S. at this point. They haven’t acknowledged or apologized for the balloon that went across America, we think capturing American information as it went.

Is Xi afraid of this administration? Does he — do our warnings mean anything?

WARNER: Well, I think Xi, as Putin thought — thought when the invasion of Ukraine, that the West would basically throw in the towel. The fact that we’ve not — the fact that you’ve got, for example, the German chancellor in this past week, Germans dramatically increasing their defense budget, the fact that we’ve got, you know, nations like Finland and Sweden trying to join NATO. I think Putin made a major miscalculation.

And I do think Xi is watching the West stand up against Putin and is taking some lessons from that.

BREAM: You’re just back from India among many other countries you visited. They abstained from the U.N. vote that’s condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and called for an end to this.

How important is it, a critical place like India, that they choose a side and with the West?

WARNER: I think it’s time for — India is a great nation. As a matter of fact, I’m chair of the India Caucus and a big supporter of India.

And India is now a major, major power, fifth largest economy in the world and a place where remarkable things are happening.

And my message for the Indians has been: we understand that you have historic ties to Russia and you still get a lot of your arms, but you cannot be a world leader and attempting to be a moral world leader without picking a side.

And in this case, I think the younger Indians get that. Some of the older generation, I think, we still got some work to do.

BREAM: OK. So, let’s turn to — continued funding for Ukraine. Another $400 million was announced on Friday. There are questions about — there’ll be more requests from Congress no doubt in the coming weeks about that.

And while there is strong support there, here across the U.S. and across the West, the polls show that it’s pulling back a little bit.

And here’s the reality from one analysts, funding for the Ukrainian at this government has not demanded any tough bureaucratic trade-offs between funding priorities. Has not required balancing needs for Ukraine against domestic spending.

We’ve hit our ceiling. We’ve got some kind of negotiations that’s got to happen very shortly. There are competing needs and they are very real. So where do we assess our financial commitment to Ukraine?

WARNER: Well, Shannon, let’s look at this. We’ve allocated $113 billion to Ukraine. We have actually only given them actually less than half of that, and on the military side, about $30 billion of roughly $60 billion. We still got some runway to go there. But I think we need to keep that commitment.

And the truth is the Russian army is being chewed up by the Ukrainians. We had — we spent $800 billion a year on defense, and most of my lifetime to prevent Russia from exploiting that. We are having Ukrainians do that right now, in a sense, for us.

And I think we need to continue that. I think we will see the vast majority of members of Congress in both parties. There are some loudmouths on both sides that are pulling back. But if we’re going to keep this competition against Russia and China, Putin cannot be successful.

And at the same time, we have to realize as we look at China that national security is no longer simply tanks and trucks and guns and ships. It is also telecom and AI and quantum computing and advanced synthetic biology. We’re going to have to make investments in those domains, as well, which is both an economic investment and I believe a national security investment.

BREAM: Speaking of other national security interests, Iran, and this report on their nuclear capabilities came out this week is kind of getting lost I think a little bit in all the other foreign policy headlines. But basically what the internal — International Atomic Energy Agency told us is that they have hit 84 percent as far as enriching uranium. They said that short of the 90 percent that you would need for a weapon.

Britain, France, and Germany say they want to censure Iran over this. The U.S. is kind of hesitant, we’re told. The reporting is the Biden administration doesn’t want to go there.

Are we now then softer on Iran’s new program than Europe?

WARNER: I do not — I do not believe that. We have made it explicitly clear — and I was just in Israel recently with a group of senators — that we agree with Israel. Iran cannot be a nuclear power. I think that has been our policy and will continue to be our policy.

There are two steps in this process. One is the enrichment issue, and I believe we will be tougher than the Europeans. We always historically have been.

BREAM: So, why are we against censuring, reportedly?

WARNER: Listen, I think — we have all — we already sanctioned and censured more Iranian companies by far than our European friends. But there’s also the question around delivery systems.

Again, I think we and our Israeli friends are following this very closely. And again, we will not allow Iran to become a nuclear power.

BREAM: OK. So, I’ve got to hit this Havana syndrome. The reporting out this week, and assessment from several intelligence agencies that they don’t think that this was — or it’s unlikely there was a foreign adversary that was carrying out these attacks, whatever they were, where people — our diplomats or intel officers around the world, U.S. missions, have suffered really debilitating symptoms from this.

Senator Rubio, your colleague, tweeted this: The CIA took his investigation of Havana syndrome seriously, but when you read about the devastating injuries, it’s hard to accept it was caused by AC units and loud cicadas. Something happened here and just because we don’t have all the answers doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Will you continue to try to pursue answers?

WARNER: Absolutely.

First of all, the most important thing is, anyone who got sick, whatever the source was, whether they are CIA, or they’re DOD, State Department officials, we owe them the world’s best health care, and I think we are providing that now.

Initially, frankly, under the last administration, this whole issue was attempted to be swept under the rug. We are now making sure that health care is provided.

And I know how — particularly the CIA, how extensive their investigation has been, and I’ve made very clear to them, if there are — they need to continue that investigation, if new facts come to light, they ought to pursue that. But at this moment in time, I know how thorough they’ve been, and they have not found the evidence that I think perhaps they thought they would have found.

We’ve got to follow the facts. At the end of the day, that’s what we owe these members of this intel community, who protect our nation, and that means giving them the health care. And if it ends up sensing some other source that what’s been discovered so far, we have to pursue it.

BREAM: All right. Senator, Chairman, it’s great to have you with us. Thank you for coming back to “FOX News Sunday.”

WARNER: Shannon, thank you.

BREAM: All right. There are several former Trump administration officials who are either running or consider running in ’24. That includes a few who had a direct hand in the Trump foreign policy. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is one of them. He joins me to respond to Senator Warner, and we’ll ask him again whether he plans to challenge his former boss for the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BREAM: The Energy Department has now joined the FBI concluding that the COVID-19 pandemic more likely than not originated from a lab leak — a notion characterized at one point as a fringe conspiracy, deemed by some even as racist, when the Trump administration began giving the lab leak theory credibility at the beginning of the pandemic.

Joining me now, former Trump secretary of state and author of “Never Give an Inch,” Mike Pompeo.

Good to have you back, Secretary.

MIKE POMPEO, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Good morning, Shannon. It’s great to be with you.

BREAM: OK. Your book, you talk about this quite a bit, because you are an early adopter of the possibility that this could have been a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. And you said you weren’t surprised that the Chinese pushed back on it — on it and some of your opponents on the left politically did, too. But you were surprised that some U.S. scientists were.

You mentioned Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins specifically and say this: I think they were being fearful of being exposed for gargantuan conflicts of interest and activities that sidestepped American laws.

What exactly did you mean?

POMPEO: Well, Shannon, we now know there was U.S. money funding the research that was taking place inside that laboratory, and I think Dr. Fauci and Peter Daszak knew that. And so, they went — they went full battle stations in March. Now, goodness, three years ago, think about that, three years ago, I was on “Good Morning America”, excuse me, this week, on “ABC”, and said, hey, I think this looks like it came from Wuhan Institute of Virology and they went full battle stations.

I think they were fearful that the facts that we now know would be true, that they would have some complicity in what took place there.

I don’t think we know the full scope. The Chinese Communist Party has torn up all the documents, thrown away the journalists. They’ve made it all go away.

But it is now good to see that the Department of Energy has come to the same conclusion that I did, my State Department did years ago, that this leak came from a laboratory in China and then Xi Jinping foisted this virus upon the world.

BREAM: We may not know on the Chinese side, but are you optimistic we will know on the U.S. side, our part of the equation in this? And should there be responsibility? Who should be held responsible?

POMPEO: Yes, we should hold all parties accountable for this, Shannon, every one who had a role.

Look, make no mistake: this is a Chinese virus that came from their laboratory. There’s no mistaking that. But we should make sure we understand fully what the U.S. role is in that. If there were laws that were violated by any senior American officials, they should be held accountable, too.

Millions of people died around the world, Shannon. We’ve had billions of dollars of economic harm inflicted on the U.S. economy. The only way to get this right for the American people is to make sure that everyone connected to this is held accountable.

SHANNON: OK. I want to turn to Russia and Ukraine, but first this. You have been criticized for calling Vladimir Putin things like talented, savvy, elegantly sophisticated, not reckless, always does the math, and that you have enormous respect for him.

You know you’ve been criticized for that. Is there context to that? How do you explain those very flattering descriptions?

POMPEO: Yes, those are what I was taught at West Point. Always respect your adversary. Don’t call ISIS the jayvee, right? That’s what Barack Obama did.

Don’t underestimate Vladimir Putin. That’s what the Biden administration did. That’s how we ended up not being able to deter him from attacking Ukraine.

When you — when you think of your enemy as weak or dumb or not capable of executing things that can harm your country, you put American lives at risk.

And so, when I use those words, I was serious about them. This is a guy who made a huge strategic blunder. But we, even today, Shannon, even today, we should not underestimate his tenacity, his capabilities, the willingness of the Russian people to continue to pose enormous harm on Ukrainian civilians and to upset the space here in the global order.

Vladimir Putin should still not be underestimated. He’s threatened all kinds of things. We should be sure we are doing great things to deter this adversary who wants to do the American people harm.

BREAM: So, to be clear, though, on a scale of morality, where would you place him?

POMPEO: Zero.

BREAM: OK, very good.

POMPEO: Assuming — assuming one is the lowest, yes, zero, Shannon.

BREAM: OK. All right. Let’s talk about what’s going on in Ukraine, because there is a lot of speculation there’s a bit of a split within the GOP, folks who are on the Hill now, folks who are running for president, who may want to run for president.

Here’s what former President Trump said last night about us spending tax dollars overseas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Instead of spending hundreds of billions of dollars to defend the borders of distant foreign countries, under my leadership, we will defend our borders first.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: Okay, as we talked about with Senator Warner, there is some flagging of support in Ukraine. People know, we don’t have our fiscal house in order here. We may face other threats around the globe that will require our resources.

There are genuine competing needs, so how do we make that assessment?

POMPEO: Shannon, there certainly are competing needs but America can do this all right if we get lots of things first. Let’s talk through three things that are buried in what you asked.

First, yes, we should secure our southern border. I was involved in that. We’ve built remain in Mexico. We’d actually had sovereignty for the United States of America. I’m proud of the work we did in the Trump administration to make sure that our southern border was secure. It is possible to do.

We simultaneously made sure that Vladimir Putin didn’t invade Europe and had deterred that kind of aggressive attack on Europe. It happened for four years on our watch. We didn’t allow Vladimir Putin to take an inch of Europe.

And, finally, as for the fiscal house in order, the four years the Trump administration spent $6 trillion more than it took in adding to the deficit. I came to Congress, Shannon — you will remember this, in 2011, as part of the Tea Party class. We were determined to get America’s fiscal house in order and it’s going to take serious American leadership to do it.

But I’m confident, Shannon, we can do each of those three things. America will get there. We just need serious leadership that’s prepared to actually speak honestly with the American people about each of those.

BREAM: Would a President Pompeo do better at managing the deficit and debt than a President Trump did?

POMPEO: I think a President Pompeo or any conservative president will do better than not only we did in the four years of the Trump administration, but Barack Obama, George Bush. The list is long, Shannon, of folks who come to Washington on one theory and don’t — aren’t prepared to stand up and explained to the American people how we’re actually going to get that right.

It matters to the next generation. The system is at risk. If we don’t get it right, we are $31 trillion in the hole. We’ve got to begin to grow the economy, build it back with lower taxes. And when we do that, and grow our economy, we’ll get it right — back right. It’s going to take a true conservative leader, Shannon.

BREAM: Are you saying that President Trump wasn’t a true conservative leader?

POMPEO: Six trillion dollars more in debt, that’s ne — that’s never the right direction for the country, Shannon.

BREAM: OK. I want to hit on Iran. As I talked about with Senator Warner, it seems to be flying under the radar just a bit, this nuclear advancement that’s been assessed this week.

Your critics say this, the scope of Trump’s failed Iran policy comes into sharper focus. They say this lies at your feet.

As Iran’s nuclear program advances, it’s important to understand just how spectacularly Donald Trump’s policy failed and in turn created the current mess.

You were secretary of state when he pulled out of the nuke deal. Do you accept any of the blame for where they are now?

POMPEO: Shannon, they blamed Afghanistan on us. They blamed the China problem on us. Eventually, the Biden administration will take responsibly for something now, I guess, two years in, right?

No. Our policy on Iran was fundamentally right. This administration has walked away from the nation of Israel. The Israeli leadership doesn’t have the confidence to do what it may need to do to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon, that America will be with it in its time of need.

We had isolated Iran. We built up the Abraham Accords because we sanctioned the Iranian regime. We have made life difficult for them.

We took away their money. They went from $96 billion down to $4 billion worth of foreign exchange reserve. Hezbollah soldiers were getting paid less, Shannon.

We had the right policy with respect to Iran. We had begun to put them in a box where they would have had to make difficult decisions. And I can say this, the Israelis knew that, the Gulf Arab states knew that.

And I think the American people understood that our relationship with Iran can’t be one of coziness. We can’t negotiate with them while they are trying to kill Americans. Those are the wrong policies with respect to the United States and Iran. We have to get this right and the Biden demonstration has failed miserably.

BREAM: Well, they’ve been ticking forward on that program. So, we’ll continue to track that.

I want to give you a chance to respond to what Senator Warner said about the Havana syndrome. This assessment from the intel agencies it wasn’t a weapon or something that was done by a foreign adversary. He said you guys tried to sweep it under the rough, didn’t take it seriously, didn’t send investigative teams.

POMPEO: Yeah, I’m disappointed in that because Senator Warner knows better than that. He was the chairman of the intelligence committee when I was the CIA director.

We were the ones who identified this problem. We were the ones who got our officers, broadly speaking, both State Department and CIA, out of the dangerous places that they were in. And then we began a massive effort to try to identify what happened.

It’s proven very complex. It’s now five years on, still not clear precisely how it is these folks became sick and injured. We have to keep at it.

But to make this about partisanship or suggest that somehow our administration didn’t either help the folks who were injured — we did, we provided the medical attention — or do our best to figure out how to deter and push back against it. That’s just — I wish — I wish Senator Warner hadn’t done that. That’s beneath him.

BREAM: OK. Last time you were here, I asked you whether you’re going to run for president in 2024. You said you’d get back to me. I have not heard from you, so we are still waiting any announcements on that front.

But you were at CPAC and had a very pointed speech there, hit a number of top issues, that sound like somebody who could be giving a stump speech. I want to play a little bit of what you said Friday night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POMPEO: We can’t become the left, following celebrity leaders with their own brand of identity politics, those with fragile egos who refused to acknowledge reality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: Well, “Washington Post” assessed it this way. It says: In case it isn’t obvious, Pompeo was talking about his former boss, Donald Trump. Pompeo avoids naming names so he can have plausible deniability and potentially avoid a backlash.

So, celebrity leaders with fragile egos, who were you talking about?

POMPEO: Oh, Shannon, I was talking to the American people. I was talking to the American people about the series of the moment that we find ourselves in. We focused on foreign policy today, but, Shannon, you and I talked about the problems in our schools, we talked about crime in the streets. We spoke for a moment about our southern border.

No, I was talking about the time to elect serious leaders who are thoughtful, who speak about America as the most exceptional nation in the history of civilization. They’re not denigrating it. They’re not — they’re not throwing out whoppers. They’re not spending all the time thinking about Twitter. That’s what I was speaking to.

It’s a moment for celebrity. The moment of stars is not with us. It’s the moment for America to go back to its conservative founding, its conservative ideas, and I am very confident that room — that room cheered that idea and I’m very confident that we’re heading back in that direction.

BREAM: OK. Celebrity leaders with fragile egos, big voices, people obsessed with Twitter. You leave us with no other assumption in that you are talking about your former boss and that you may be considering a serious run yourself. I mean, who else are you talking about?

POMPEO: Shannon, again, I’m not talking about any — I’m talking about what’s happening in states and counties, school boards all across America. It is time for a thoughtfulness and a weightiness and a seriousness that I think we’ve kind of moved away from. And we’ve got to get back to.

It’s not about President Trump or former President Trump. It’s not about President Biden. It’s not the American people and getting this right.

And, you know, I’m not dodging your question either. We are working our way through. Susan — my wife Susan and I are working our way through, trying to figure out what’s next for us. And in a very short order, we’ll figure that out and we’ll let everyone know, Shannon.

BREAM: What does short order mean? Got a timeline?

POMPEO: Not a — not a hard one, but next couple of months.

BREAM: OK. We’ll see you back here on “FOX News Sunday” for your announcement, Secretary.

POMPEO: All right. Shannon, thank you, ma’am.

BREAM: Thank you so much.

POMPEO: Have a great day.

BREAM: You, too.

All right, big-name Republicans fanned out this weekend at a pair of high- profile conservative gatherings. That includes President Trump. He hit the stage at CPAC last night, took a few veiled swipes at potential challengers, and he was pretty excited about those straw poll results. We’ll break it down with our Sunday group and talk about the new head in the 2024 race, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: That’s why I’m standing before you, because we are going to finish what we started.

We’re going to complete the mission.

We will expose and appropriately deal with the rhinos. We will evict Joe Biden from the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: President Trump taking the stage at CPAC, laying out his re-election platform and vowing a return to the White House.

Itis time now for our Sunday group.

White House reporter for “The Wall Street Journal,” Catherine Lucey, Former Bush White House advisor, Karl Rove, Fox News senior political analyst, Juan Williams, and host of the “Jason Rantz Show,” it would only be Jason Rantz.

Guys, welcome. Good to have you with us is morning.

OK, so let’s put up the CPAC poll. No surprise, Donald Trump runs away with it, 62 percent to Ron DeSantis’ a distant second at 20 percent, Perry Johnson, not going to lie, I had to Google him, 5 percent, and Nikki Haley at 3 percent.

All right, Karl, you have talked about who the nominee should or shouldn’t be or may or may not be. This is just one slice. This is one straw poll that we knew was going to go this way.

KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.

BREAM: But our polling last week also showed that President Trump continues to dominate the primary field.

ROVE: Yes. He’s the frontrunner. It’s interesting, July 21, he was 70 percent at CPAC. And August 22, in Dallas at CPAC, he was 69 percent. And now he’s 60 percent. So there’s a slight diminish (ph) in his support.

BREAM: Sixty-two percent.

ROVE: Sixty-two percent, excuse me.

BREAM: He’s not going to want to give up a two.

ROVE: Even among – even among his – and this is Trump-fest, let’s be clear about this.

BREAM: It is.

ROVE: I mean this is totally Trump-fest. But, look, he’s the frontrunner. And the question is going to be, is he going to be the frontrunner in early 2024 or is he going to be slipping in some of the early states. Early states are indicating – in New Hampshire, for example, and Nevada, there’s polling that indicates that he’s now the frontrunner there. So, we’re in for an exciting contest, but he’s – he’s in the – he’s in the poll position, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

BREAM: OK.

And, Catherine, this morning we get word that former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a frequent Trump critic, says he’s not going to get into the mix. He’s not going to run.

CATHERINE LUCEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, “WALL STREET JOURNAL”: That’s right. And one of the things he’s talking about is the idea of, you know, a pileup or a really crowded field. And that’s a thing that we saw in 2016 with Donald Trump is that a lot of people ran against him, you know, splits the rest of the vote and makes it easier for him to solidify his support and rise above. And that is something that I think people who are looking for an alternative to Trump or worried about.

But I think the question now is, is there another candidate? I think we just don’t know yet. We have to see more people get out in the field. Is there another candidate who can really sort of rally the rest of the party’s support against Trump?

BREAM: Well, and he was asked apparently by a reporter yesterday, what happens if you get indicted? And he’s like, well, I’m definitely still running. And he said it will probably help his numbers, which, Jason, is probably true.

JASON RANTZ, HOST, “THE JASON RANTZ SHOW”: It probably is. Look, he is someone who has done really, really well because he is seen as someone that is anti-establishment, the folks out to get him, and is obviously going to play into that. The question is, can someone else move ahead without alienating the Trump supporters?

Larry Hogan would not be able to do that. And a lot of folks who are contemplating running, including Mike Pompeo, they will be seen as sellouts to this administration. And Ron DeSantis, I think, is playing this really, really, really well, where he’s not going after Donald Trump very much. Kind of not even mentioning him at all, and focusing on his record in Florida. And I think that that has — for him, that’s going to be a very, very strong strategy.

BREAM: Interesting that Marquette University had a poll of people who described as GOP or GOP-leaning independents, 70 percent of that group say they still have a favorable view of President Trump. But when they went head-to-head, that group, they had DeSantis at 64 percent and Trump at 36 percent.

Juan.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that Jason’s right. I mean what president — former President Trump is doing is making DeSantis into the establishment Republican candidate. And I think back to ’16 and the races there, and what I see is that nobody figured out how to counter Trump’s very personal mocking, belittling attacks and has kind of popular culture plays in politics. You know, low energy Jeb, little Marco, lying – you know, on and on, right? Nobody really figured out how to counterpunch.

DeSantis is not counterpunching. Right now he’s not mentioning Trump. It’s as if he’s just saying, you know what, I’m counting on something else to take you out of the race. He could actually come Trump from the right. And when I say that, he could go after him on failure to win elections, you know? He could go at him on failure to deal with Covid, failure to deal with immigration. He could say, look at Florida on Covid. Look at Florida on immigration. I’m farther to the right than you. But he hasn’t done that. He’s on this book tour, but it looks like it’s a fantasy tour where he thinks he’s pretending to run but not willing to say it because he does want to alienate the Trump base.

BREAM: Well, and there are things that he has to iron out potentially. They’ve got to fix this potential issue down in Florida during this legislative session that there may be a state law that would bar him from running for federal office. There are all kinds of other things.

ROVE: Well, it wouldn’t bar him. It would require him to resign from the governor –

BREAM: Right, to resign. Yes, you can’t do both at the same time.

ROVE: But, look, I don’t mean to disagree with my friend, Juan William, but –

BREAM: What?

ROVE: But, look, to take last night in Dallas. A huge crowd. The night before that did both Houston and Dallas, the Republican Party fundraisers are the biggest ones in history, both in dollars and people. He is out there selling his vision of what Florida freedom means. And that’s a very important step to laying out his case.

And you do things in a campaign, building upon things. And he is, right now, doing the very important work of giving people a lot of things to understand that he’s done in Florida. And that’s a – that’s an important part of a winning strategy. You don’t need to come out of the box and start throwing haymaker’s at Donald Trump, but he has very effectively counterpunch.

When Trump came after him, basically saying, you shutdown Florida prematurely. You say, well, I’ll take my record in opening up Florida against your record of keep – of shutting down America, and did so in a very polite and direct fashion that I thought was pretty powerful.

WILLIAMS: Well, see, that’s what I think he has to do more of, but he’s avoiding people like Shannon Bream. He’s not doing media.

ROVE: He’s got – he –

WILLIAMS: And when he does it, he had a big slip up this week on Ukraine.

LUCEY: What he is – he is doing this week or –

WILLIAMS: I think he alienated Republican establishment by not saying, I 100 percent supports Ukraine.

ROVE: Well, you could – you could sign up as his campaign manager and give him that kind of council.

BREAM: By the way, is taking these – Juan Williams announcing this morning-

ROVE: (INAUDIBLE) job.

BREAM: Juan Williams announcing he’s going to be Ron DeSantis’ campaign manager.

WILLIAMS: There you go. You heard it here, first.

ROVE: First.

BREAM: By the way, open invitation, Governor DeSantis, come on down. We’d love to see you.

Catherine.

LUCEY: No, all I was going to say is, as Karl was saying, DeSantis is taking these arguments to the early states. So, he’s heading soon to Iowa. And what we know from our reporting is that there are a lot of Iowa Republicans who are interested in an alternative to Trump, who have not made up their minds. Those early states tend to really kind of keep their options open. And so that’s the play he’s making right now, is trying to tell this story of what he’s done in Florida for those places.

BREAM: Well, and we don’t even know, Jason, if President Biden is going to run again. We’ve always assumed he would, but there are questions now about these delays.

RANTZ: It is, but the focus can’t be on Biden right now because we obviously know that if DeSantis is going to do this and be successful, he’s going to have to go after trump. He’s going to have to defeat him and he’s going to have to do it in a way that is still polite to an extent. But he understand that there’s a threat here. And right now he’s focused on the substance of his record. Instead of being drawn into a battle with Donald Trump, which is a lose-lose for him. Because, again, it will alienate the base. And just being at CPAC, and speaking to these people, they are very open to Ron DeSantis. They’re fans of Donald Trump.

BREAM: Oh, yes.

RANTZ: And they are his – their first choice. However, if it doesn’t go that way and he ends up not advancing, you do need someone who’s going to be able to keep the party together. And with all due respect to Larry Hogan, while his argument is a valid one, where you don’t want to break everyone apart, he wasn’t going to be that candidate to break everyone apart.

BREAM: All right, I want to make sure, before we go, that we mention the train derailment in Ohio, because there was another one this weekend. Not to the extent, and reportedly not carrying hazmat materials. But we’re a month into this now, and “The Daily Beast” is calling out President Biden on this. They say, Biden’s befuddled response is the Ohio trans disaster is unacceptable. They say, showing up is an important part of leadership. Biden should know that by now. Failing to show up in East Palestine was a crucial mistake, and Biden’s opponents have seized on this opportunity and used it to say, you don’t care about rural white people.

Juan, should he be there? He says he’s going at some point.

WILLIAMS: Yes, look, what’s important here is taking care of people who are in the midst of a crisis. And I think everyone agrees, including Governor Mike DeWine, the Republican governor, and Republican members of Congress, that the EPA has been on the ground from day one, the people who are in, you know, in charge of like, you know, health controls and helping people who might have health consequences from this spill have been there from day one. The Transportation Department has been there.

So, it seems to me there’s a certain performative aspect to this that’s being requested by Biden’s critics. But, to me, it’s about taking care of those people. And I just think that, so far, based on what, you know, the opposing party has to say, the administration has been doing its job and forced Norfolk Southern to take full responsibility and promise full compensation to those people.

RANTZ: They don’t – they don’t feel like they’re being taken care of. That’s the problem.

BREAM: Right, perception for people is reality in that – in that place, a lot of them.

RANTZ: Yes. Absolutely. I mean, look, at the end of the day, if folks are still showing up to their homes and they’re saying, I’m sick, my kids are sick, and then you have the EPA coming out there and saying, oh, no, everything is fine, the president won’t show up, you’re just not feeling confident in this administration. And there are significant health and political implications to avoiding this particular demographic when you’re deciding whether or not you’re going to run for re-election.

WILLIAMS: Well, you don’t want to interfere in the ongoing work, right?

RANTZ: What would be the interference at this point to show up and show your support?

WILLIAMS: Well –

KARL: Yes. Look, look, look, as someone who’s painfully been through this process with a thing called Katrina, the president – President Biden needs to have been there long before one month after the event.

RANTZ: Yes.

KARL: He — the president – a president fills an empathetic role. And the president of the United States needs to go to this place. He should have been there within a matter of days, not a matter of months. And he’s going to suffer from this. And it is going to leave a – and a bad taste in the middle part of the country and a belief that he is, you know, more inclined to fly off to Kyiv than he is to fly to East Palestine.

BREAM: All right, we’ve got to leave it there for now.

Panel, don’t go anywhere because President Biden has sparked outrage in his own party after backing down on an issue a lot of Democrats support. One lawmaker reportedly calling the president’s move, quote, amateur hour.

And there’s new momentum in the push to end daylight saving time. We’ll explain both stories next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): When rioters descended at the homes of six Supreme Court justices, night after night after night, you did nothing. The department did nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: Republican Senator Ted Cruz blasting Attorney General Merrick Garland over protests outside the homes of Supreme Court justices.

We are back now with our panel.

And, Catherine, he took a lot of incoming in this hearing this week, but he stood there and took it.

LUCEY: Yes. And he took it — he pushed back. He insists that his, you know, department is not politicized. He pushed back against a lot of Cruz’s comments. And specifically on safety of Supreme Court justices, he said that they had sent U.S. Marshals to their homes. That he had not done nothing in the face of, you know, threats to their safety. So, yes, there was — but it was certainly a fiery hearing.

BREAM: It was. I want to play a little bit more of this because Senator Mike Lee out of Utah, a Republican, was pressing him on arrests of pro-life protesters versus people who have attacked pro-life pregnancy centers. Here’s their — a little bit of their exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: There are many more prosecutions with respect to the blocking of the abortion centers, but that is generally because their actions – those actions are taken with photography at the time, during the daylight. Those who are attacking the pregnancy resources centers, which is a horrid thing to do, are doing this at night in the dark.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: Jason, you’re shaking your head.

RANTZ: I mean, is that now where we’re at? We can’t really do investigation because it’s dark outside? I’ve seen the surveillance footage from Washington state were a number of these locations have been targeted. There is a difference between – it is fair to say that we’re doing a lot of stuff behind the scenes. That’s how investigations work. However, when there are attacks or vandalism or threats towards entities or people that happen to be progressive or liberal, there is a very loud push vocally to say we’re going after these folks, that we’re actually going to make sure that we make these arrests. And yet there was a lot of silence when it was conservatives, or those who were perceived as conservatives, being the targets.

And so, again, it’s very similar to East Palestine where, if you don’t feel like your concerns are being heard, you start to – you’re earning resentment on the left. And I don’t think that they can afford to do that right now.

BREAM: Yes, and there are these questions about, they say, the attorney general said, we’re not politicized. That’s not how we make decisions.

But, Juan, there were questions about classifying Catholics who actually, you know, believe Catholicism as radical, whether they were some kind of threat, parents at school board meetings. You know, all kinds of things that this attorney general was confronted with, because he had — they have to deal with the optics of it (INAUDIBLE).

WILLIAMS: Well let me just say, no evidence. So, there’s no evidence of this accusation.

By the way, he was up there for four hours. All of this, including the bit that you just showed, happens in the last 20 minutes. It looks like, basically, you had Cruz and others wanting to create made-for-TV moments to show that they were taking on the attorney general for the right wing. But there’s no evidence. And the suggestion is that he goes somehow easy on left-wing extremists but hard on right wing extremists. But – or — and also that he plans to indict President Trump. It looked like basically they were trying to drum up the idea that this guy is partisan and fighting for the far left.

And, you know, what is with this? I mean, the right says we are tough on crime, we love police, but when it comes to the FBI, oh, you guys raided President Trump. Gee, did he do something wrong? You don’t like the Justice Department because the Justice Department has rightly said white supremacists, white right-wingers are the major terrorist threat to this country, but somehow –

RANTZ: But they’re not.

WILLIAMS: What?

RANTZ: But they’re not. I mean we have a threat –

WILLIAMS: Oh, come on, Jason.

RANTZ: There is a threat.

WILLIAMS: There’s no doubt about it. I’m repeating with the FBI said.

RANTZ: (INAUDIBLE) but he’s the difference. Number one, the criticism is against leadership, not against the men and women in uniform who are engaged in the investigation. And, number two —

WILLIAMS: I think they shot at FBI agents after the Trump — visit to Trump to try to recover stolen documents.

RANTZ: Yes, and that was widely celebrated by the right. Of course it wasn’t (INAUDIBLE).

WILLIAMS: I’m just telling you. This is the facts.

RANTZ: But, number two, all the conversation about white supremacy, you know what we don’t hear about? Jane’s Revenge, we don’t hear about ANTIFA, which are organizations that y’all on the left pretend do not exist.

WILLIAMS: Oh, my gosh.

BREAM: But these organizations do. And you mentioned Jane’s Revenge, like, they take credit.

RANTZ: Yes.

BREAM: They were online calling for attacks on pregnancy centers and saying, like, celebrating them in leaving their tags on the building. So, again, Karl, it gets back to this idea of perception, the view (INAUDIBLE).

ROVE: Yes, look, I’m going to give – I’m going to give the attorney general the benefit of the doubt that they really are investigating. And there is a certain logic to the fact that – that people protesting abortion clinics generally do so publicly and in front of cameras, and people who assault pregnancy crisis centers generally do it at night because they’re cowards.

I will say this, though, with all due respect, Juan, there is evidence. We know that the – that at the highest echelon of the Department of Justice there was a serious effort to consider parents in northern Virginia who were upset about their schools as terrorists. And that there were progressives providing draft language to the Department of Justice.

We also know that there were people inside our U.S. law enforcement agencies who are openly talking about, do we need to target Catholics because of their views? And there’s a culture inside our government that is – that Merrick Garland ought to be concerned about. If we’re sitting there and having U.S. law enforcement agent saying, you know what, if you’re a deeply observant Catholic, you’re a threat to the United States of America.

WILLIAMS: Karl, I think some of this comes from letters written to the Justice Department.

ROVE: No.

WILLIAMS: Arguments among people about, well, how should we do it? Which –

ROVE: This – this came – this was a – this was –

WILLIAMS: That discussion is totally legitimate and not evidence of bias.

ROVE: This — this was a report being circulated, recommendations being framed up by people inside our government that we ought to seriously investigate. And Catholics –

WILLIAMS: I think we want them discussing where the threat exists, and I don’t think it has to do with religion.

ROVE: I think a deeply observant Catholic is not a person who represents a threat. And that’s what they were talking about.

BREAM: All right, let’s take it down to this, which is, off of that, should we keep changing our clocks?

Senator Rubio is offering up this measure again, saying, like, let’s stop doing this. He says this, quote, the ritual of changing time twice a year is stupid.

Catherine, is it stupid?

LUCEY: You know, I’m not the industry (ph). I think there’s lots of views on both sides of this, and that’s part of the reason that this hasn’t actually advanced all the way yet. There was an effort to do this last year. It didn’t advance in the House. There were some people who think there should be more daylight in the morning for kids to go to school. Some people think there should be more in the evening for businesses to stay open. And so, I think, this debate keeps going and we’ll see if this time we reach a conclusion.

BREAM: So, a reporting in “The Hill,” they spell this out so we have a real-world example.

The sun typically rises around 7:15 in the morning, sets at 4:30 p.m. on the first day of winter in New York City. Permanent Daylight Saving Time would change sunrise to 8:15 a.m. and sunset to 5:30 p.m.

I am for that. But, Jason, you say no.

RANTZ: No.

BREAM: It should be dark at night and early in the morning.

RANTZ: It should be dark at night.

BREAM: Are you a farmer?

RANTZ: I’m not a farmer, but I do live in Seattle, where, I’ll tell you, at 10:30 at night, during the summer, it’s still a little bright outside. And it’s kind of creepy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I –

RANTZ: It’s hard to sleep. Look, at the end of the day, the argument is all about safety and health, right? And I would argue that we should probably be more in line with our actual body, which. when it’s dark, we’re supposed to go to sleep. When it’s light, we’re supposed to wake up. And I think ultimately that will make all of us healthier.

BREAM: Senator Rantz is voting no on this pretty good measure.

RANTZ: I’m voting no.

BREAM: Quickly, I want to do this. D.C. home role.

So, D.C. counsel had changed the criminal laws here. It was going to lessen penalties for some things. There was a big backlash on this. House and Senate have a right as a — over this federal district to say, we’re not going to do that. They’ve overturned this. The president says he won’t veto it.

And, frankly, Karl, Democrats are mad. They say the president is — this proves that D.C. needs statehood.

ROVE: Yes, well, he’s saving them from themselves. The D.C. law would do away with mandatory minimum sentences for many violent crimes. It would elevate low ranking crimes to have jury trials, which would discourage people from being charged. And then it would reduce the penalties for burglary, carjacking, robbery, and some other (INAUDIBLE). The president of the United States is doing his party a favor by keeping the, you know, soft-on-crime labeled being able to be slapped on him with ease, as it would be if the Democrats oppose this.

WILLIAMS: Well, so, I think in reality –

BREAM: Real quick.

WILLIAMS: The Republicans are trying to put Biden and Democrats in a box. And as Karl said, I think the president avoided the trap. By the way, I’m a D.C. resident.

BREAM: Yes.

WILLIAMS: My wife has been carjacked. I think this is a bad bill.

BREAM: All right.

WILLIAMS: The president did right.

BREAM: OK.

ROVE: Good for you.

BREAM: All right, panel. Look, they ended at a moment of kumbaya.

ROVE: Kumbaya. Kumbaya.

BREAM: OK, thank you, panel, we’ll see you – we’ll see you next Sunday.

Up next, a prominent religious voice found herself caught in the middle of a political firestorm. More on that, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BREAM: She spent decades as a prominent Bible scholar and teacher, but in her new book, Beth Moore is incredibly transparent about everything, from childhood abuse she suffered, to finding herself in the middle of a political firestorm that turned her life upside down. She is my guest this week on “Livin’ the Bream,” my podcast. It is freshly out this morning. You can download it right now anywhere you like to get your podcasts.

That is it for today. Thank you for joining us. I’m Shannon Bream.

Have a great week. We will see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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