This is a rush transcript of ‘Fox News Sunday’ on November 20, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Shannon Bream.
Post-election shakeups as Republicans prepare to take the gavel; former President Donald Trump regains access to Twitter; and Nancy Pelosi ends her era as Democratic leader.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus.
BREAM (voice-over): Political reverberations as Republicans take control of one House of Congress and President Biden faces a tough choice about his own political future.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: In order to make America great and glorious, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.
BREAM: Donald Trump declares he’s in, and days later, Elon Musk reinstates his Twitter account.
We’ll discuss what the return of divided government means for Washington and the country with FOX News senior political analyst Brit Hume.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It’s unlikely that it was fired from Russia.
BREAM: The prospect of Russia’s war with Ukraine bleeding into Europe, rattles a gathering of world leaders as a missile strikes a NATO ally. We’re joined by Tom Cotton, Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Mark Warner, the top Democrat on Senate intelligence.
BREAM: The Taylor Swift ticket snafu brings renewed scrutiny to Ticketmaster, and leads lawmakers to question the company’s dominance yet again.
Our Sunday panel weighs in on the calls for an investigation and accountability.
Plus, our reporter’s notebook with Peter Doocy on trading barbs and pleasantries with the president.
BIDEN: Wait, wait. Let me take the one question from the most interesting guy that I know in the press.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Mr. President.
BREAM: All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.
BREAM (on camera): Hello from FOX News in Washington.
We begin with news breaking overnight, five people are dead, at least 18 more injured after a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. Police say a suspect is in custody and they do not know the motive. We’ll bring you more on that as soon as we learn it.
Here in Washington, President Biden returned from an overseas trip to a changed dynamic, one where Republicans are poised to return to power in the House giving them leverage over Mr. Biden’s agenda as he faces concerns about recession and questions about a second term. Among challenges he’ll face, tougher scrutiny of additional aid to Ukraine as Russia’s war rages on.
In a moment, we are joined by two top senators, Democrat Mark Warner and Republican Tom Cotton.
But we begin with team coverage. FOX News senior foreign affairs correspondent Greg Palkot is live in Kyiv.
First, though, to Lucas Tomlinson live at the White House — Lucas.
LUCAS TOMLINSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Shannon, President Biden turned 80 years old today, becoming the country’s first octogenarian commander in chief. But his birthday was not the main event here at the White House this weekend.
TOMLINSON (voice-over): The big headline was the wedding of the president’s daughter. But Biden’s 80th, a reminder to Democrats that Biden would be 82 at start of a potential second term. Biden says he intends to run again.
On Capitol Hill, two Democratic icons were also in their 80s, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer are stepping down from party leadership, paving the way for a younger generation of Democratic leaders as Republicans get ready to take control in January, the GOP already promising to investigate the president’s son Hunter.
Late this week, the president returned from an overseas trip, his first face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi, who was appointed to an unprecedented third term. Days later, Biden’s attorney general announcing a new probe into the former president, appointing a special counsel, explaining why it’s needed.
MERRICK GARLAND, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Based on recent developments, including the former president announcement that he is a candidate for president.
TOMLINSON: Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, weighing in.
WILLIAM BARR, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I personally think that they probably have the basis for legitimately indicting the president.
TOMLINSON (on camera): The White House says it was not aware ahead of time, and the Justice Department acted on its own — Shannon.
BREAM: Lucas Tomlinson live at the White House — Lucas, thank you.
We turn to Greg Palkot live in Kyiv.
GREG PALKOT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Shannon.
Yeah, there were raid sirens again today here in Kyiv, more shelling reported at a big nuclear plant in southern part of the country and, yes, we’re working our way through an international high-stakes drama. Ukraine has been pummeled again in recent days by Russian missiles and drones, many were shot down. But some got through, with several were killed, injured, civilian sites hit, especially the energy infrastructures, power knocked out for millions.
Now, one explosion happened in next door NATO member Poland, first thought and claimed to be Russian missile. There were questions about an alliance response. The U.S. and others decided it was Ukrainian air defense missile. Kyiv now says it could be fragments of both. Investigators were there.
All through these events, Russian President Putin decided low profile. As for Ukrainian Zelenskyy, he is not in a mood to negotiate with some now and cold arriving here. Officials still say they will defeat Russia, but they’re just a bit more grim about it. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLEKSII KULEBA, KYIV GOVERNOR: We understand that next month will be even harder than it was previously, but we are sure that in any case, we will win. We live for this victory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PALKOT: And a message from the head of a utility here, Shannon, suggesting to Ukrainians with energy shortfalls in mind, that if they could lead this country for a couple of months, the next few months, winter, maybe they should. Ominous stuff.
Back to you.
BREAM: Greg Palkot, reporting from Kyiv, Greg, thank you very much.
Joining us here in Washington, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, member of the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, and author of the brand-new book, “Only the Strong.”
Senator, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Thank you, Shannon. It’s good to be back on with you.
BREAM: OK, so let’s talk domestic a little bit first. Some interworkings of the GOP. You had leadership elections this week. There was an open challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by Florida Senator Rick Scott.
I understand the meeting was a little contentious. But this is what Senator McConnell said when he emerged.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I’m not in any way offended by it in an opponent or having a few votes in opposition. As everyone has said, we had a good opportunity to discuss various differences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: A good opportunity to discuss differences. I do understand from a couple folks who were in there, it was heated at times, that there are fractures within the party. How do you move forward, reassess what happened in ’22, as you’ve got to already look at ’24?
COTTON: Well, Shannon, I saw some of those stories as well about the tense or angry tone of the meetings. I’ve got to say, whoever was the source for this story is on a very low threshold for tension and anger. I’ve seen —
BREAM: I spoke to a couple of them and they said it was not kumbaya in there.
COTTON: I’ve seen — I’ve seen much worse in my days in the Army. I thought it was a very frank discussion. We had a disappointing election. Obviously, we want to win the Senate, in addition to winning the House.
But one thing we all agreed on is that we needed to have the elections this last week and then move forward united to make sure that we help elect Herschel Walker in this runoff because as we’re all looking forward to the next Congress, we still have one more election on the books in the 2022 election.
And it — there’s a big difference between having a 50/50 Senate, as we’ve seen over the last year in stopping some of the most extreme policies and nominations from Joe Biden, and having a 51/49 Senate.
BREAM: So, a lot of folks are already passed voting to ’24, including former President Trump. He’s in. What do you make of his entry in? By the way, back on Twitter if he wants to go there. Elon says, you’re welcome back.
COTTON: You know, Shannon, I opted out of being a candidate in 2024. So, I don’t plan to be a strategist or a pundit for 2024.
The former president announced this week. I suspect more candidates will be announcing in the months ahead. But, again, I want to keep our focus on the final chapter of the 2022 election and making sure that we do all we can to elect Herschel Walker next month in Georgia.
BREAM: Let’s talk about China. The president just back from a meeting with President Xi. It’s no secret that you’ve been a vocal critic of China.
This is what the president had to say after their meeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do not think there’s any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan. And I made it clear that our policy in Taiwan has not changed at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: What do you make of that? Are you as convinced of the – what the president is, that there’s not an immediate threat regarding Taiwan?
COTTON: No, I’m not Shannon. I’m concerned that as early as next year Xi Jinping could decide to go for the jugular. This has been a very important year for him in China. He just secured an unprecedented third five-year term. He’s made it clear that by the end of that five-year term in 2027 he wants to invade and annex Taiwan back to mainland China.
I think he may see a window of opportunity to do so in the next couple of years in the same way that Vladimir Putin saw a window of opportunity to go for the jugular in Ukraine earlier this year. Even if President Biden believed that an invasion is not imminent, I would suggest that it’s not helpful to say that publicly because it might invite more adventurism from Xi Jinping.
What we should be doing instead is working with Taiwan, making sure they’re armed up to prevent any such invasion.
BREAM: You’re also worried about TikTok. You told people, if you got the app, delete it. If you can, just get a whole new phone. You’re worried about the collection of data.
The FBI warning about that this week as well, Director Christopher Wray. But TikTok says this in a company statement: We store all TikTok U.S. user data in the United States with backup redundancy in Singapore. Our data centers are located entirely outside of China and none of our data is subject to Chinese law.
Number one, is that a lie? Is that –are you calling them a liar? And, if so, what can we do about it?
COTTON: Yes, those are false statements, Shannon. There have been reports —
BREAM: That’s what I said (ph).
COTTON: — reports indicating that that data is accessible in mainland China. That TikTok, a Chinese company, is subject to communist China’s laws and that TikTok is one of the most massive surveillance programs ever, especially on America’s young people. That it’s not just the contents you upload to TikTok but all the data on your phone and other apps, all your personal information, even facial imagery, even where your eyes are looking on your phone.
That’s why I’ve encouraged every American, if they’re using TikTok, to delete it from their phone. And if they can, to get a new phone all together.
BREAM: So another foreign policy hotspot, Saudi Arabia. This week, the Biden administration got involved in a — the federal lawsuit here in the States. They were asked to weigh in on whether or not they have a position on whether the crown prince has sovereign immunity. They did, though the State Department, say that there is sovereign immunity in this lawsuit regarding the death of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Fred Ryan, publisher and CEO of “The Washington Post,” said this: President Biden is failing to uphold America’s most cherished values. He’s granting a license to kill to one of the world’s most egregious human rights abusers.
You know, President Biden had talked about making them pariahs when he was campaigning, then July, the visit, the fist bump, all the things that have happened.
Do you agree the president is betraying American values by weighing in to say sovereign immunity?
COTTON: Well, what the administration decided this week in granting sovereign immunity to Mohammed bin Salman is in keeping with the practice of custom of lawsuits involving foreign heads of state. It would have been a major break if those customs did not grant that kind of immunity.
What I would say is that Saudi Arabia’s far from the world’s worst abuser of human rights. You look at what’s been happening in Iran for the last three months, for instance, in the way they’ve massacred protesters in the streets, or what China does to harvest organs or to commit genocide against religious and ethnic minorities.
Look, if we didn’t have allies and partners who don’t always share our political systems, our cultural and social sensibilities, we wouldn’t have any allies and partners.
Saudi Arabia has been an important partner of the United States for 80 years. Presidents of both parties have worked with them. Unfortunately, President Obama and President Biden have taken steps to try to ostracize and alienate this important partner. What we should do is work with them to protest our interests and the interests of our allies in the Middle East.
BREAM: But how do we — how do we rate these things. You talk about China and Iran and other places, Saudi Arabia has got a lot of accusations regarding human rights abuses. This is, you know, a U.S.-based journalist. I mean, somebody who was — our intelligence agencies say murdered by the crown prince, at least knowing about or being okay with the operation. We can’t just toss that aside.
COTTON: Shannon, the way I look at it is, what matters most about governments around the world is less whether they’re democratic or non- democratic and more whether they’re pro-American or anti-American. And the simple fact is, Saudi Arabia has been an American partner going back 80 years. That doesn’t mean that we overlook or excuse countries that are pro- American, and we can even help midwife or nurture them into democratic countries, like Ronald Reagan succeeded in doing in South Korea and the Philippines.
But to protect American interests, of course, we have to partner with countries that don’t always share our political system and our cultural and social sensibilities.
BREAM: But the Biden administration didn’t have to weigh in here. They chose to. They chose to take this step.
COTTON: Well, they —
BREAM: That sounds a lot like overlooking what happened there.
COTTON: Well, you’re right, they didn’t have to weigh in, but, again, it would have been a major breach with customary practice and international law to not weigh in. In every case, going back decades, citing the State Department’s own statement, heads of state have been given sovereign immunity.
Now, in the 1970s, we changed the law pursuing foreign governments. That’s why, for instance, American citizens have been able to sue governments that have sponsored terrorist attacks, and terrorist victims can get retribution.
But when you’re talking about individuals who are at the head of a foreign government, it’s been customary for decades to grant them immunity. So it would be a major break and another effort in the campaign to alienate and ostracize Saudi Arabia not to recognize this traditional kind of immunity.
BREAM: All right, Senator Cotton, thank you for your time. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
COTTON: Thank you, Shannon. Happy Thanksgiving.
BREAM: Joining us, Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Thank you, Shannon.
BREAM: OK. I want to get on a couple of things we talked about with Senator Cotton.
Let’s start with TikTok. You also have concerns about this, and you’re also quoted now as saying: As painful as it is for me to say, if Donald Trump was right and we could have taken action then, that’d have been a heck of a lot easier than trying to take action in November of 2022.
OK. Did Washington simply not listen because they didn’t like the messenger then? And what can we do now?
WARNER: Well, I think Donald Trump was right. I mean, TikTok is an enormous threat. It’s a threat on two levels. One, it is a massive collector of information, oftentimes of our children. They can visualize even down to your keystrokes.
So, if you’re a parent and you got a kid on TikTok, I would be very, very concerned. All of that data that your child is inputting and receiving is being stored somewhere in Beijing. The idea that we can somehow separate out TikTok from the fact that the actual engineers writing the code in Beijing I think is a — the Justice Department trying to come up with a solution. I’m going to let — I’m going to take a look at that solution, but they got a huge mountain to climb.
The second problem is that TikTok in a sense is a broadcasting network in a sense. And if the Chinese communist party and TikTok, at the end of the day, has to be reliant on the communist party. The China law states that.
If they suddenly want to dial up the fact that we are going to decrease content that criticizes Chinese leadership but increase the content that your kids may be seeing saying, hey, you know, Taiwan really is part of China. That is a distribution model that would make RT or Sputnik or some of the Russian propaganda models pale in comparison.
BREAM: Okay. So, some bipartisan agreement on that.
Let’s talk to you also about the issue of the crown prince in Saudi Arabia. You heard what the senator said about how we characterize the relationship we have with Saudi Arabia. You said back in 2018 when President Trump was in the White House that he failed to hold Saudi Arabia responsible in any meaningful way for the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
So, you heard about what the State Department has essentially done now, saying he should have sovereign immunity. Will you also call out President Biden for not being tougher?
WARNER: Here’s — well, let’s — and, again, I hate to go — so many places where I actually may agree with my friend Tom Cotton.
BREAM: It’s not a bad thing.
WARNER: He and I are on the same — he is on the Intel Committee with me.
The reason why there was a grant of sovereign immunity, even to leaders we don’t like, is as much to protect American leaders and American diplomats when they’re posted abroad from being subject to Saudi Arabian law or Russian law, or South African law. So, this is — this has been historical precedent.
Do I think the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was awful? Absolutely, absolutely. Am I disappointed particularly in the most recent times when Saudi Arabia which used to a bulwark against the Soviet Union for decades on end decided to kind of escape the middle in terms of siding with democracies against Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine? I’m very disappointed there.
But I also have to — we need to be enough of a realist to realize that Saudi Arabia has been a bulwark against Iran. It is a leader in a very messy part of the world.
And if there are ways we can continue to push the Saudi government, MBS in particular, towards greater reform and willingness to get off the sidelines and stand with democracies against Putin’s war in Ukraine, I think that would be a good thing.
BREAM: Was it unfair then to criticize President Trump for not being tougher on them two or three years ago, and then say, well, the Biden administration is doing what they have to do?
WARNER: Well, look, I think you saw many members with the Trump administration at that point in time call out the Saudi leadership for the brutal murder of Khashoggi. What you didn’t see because of this, you know, strange affinity that President Trump and his family — remember his son has received massive investments from the Saudi investment funds — those still bother me a great deal.
BREAM: Okay. I want to talk about the same sex major bill, the Respect for Marriage Act, that essentially has gotten through this first vote in the Senate. It will have more action down the line. But it essentially ensures that all 50 states will recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
Conservatives are warning, though, that the Biden administration could end up using this as a weapon.
Here’s something that Senator Ted Cruz said on this podcast about it this week.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Any charity that believes marriage is the union of one man and one woman, any charity that does not embrace same-sex marriage, this bill is designed to strip their 501(c)(3) status, to persecute the churches and universities and schools and charities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: So, Senator Mike Lee —
WARNER: Well, first of all, let’s make one thing clear.
WARNER: One more time, Ted Cruz is 100 percent wrong —
BREAM: Okay. Let’s talk about that.
WARNER: — on that statement.
You would not see and one of the things that gain 12 Republican votes —
WARNER: — and I think more on final passage is there were greater protections for religious freedom put in.
And so, you see the Mormon Church, you see a number of mainstream Protestant denominations. You see a series of other faith organizations actually support this marriage equality law.
This marriage equality law is not only about same-sex marriage, but it also validates something that literally 60 years ago my state of Virginia was illegal, which is interracial marriage. I think this is where vast majority of Americans are at.
I think you will see the numbers even go up in the Senate —
WARNER: — as we get to the final passage. We saw 47 House members vote in favor of this legislation.
Mr. Cruz, one more time, saying stuff that has no basis in truth or fact.
WARNER: That just how he —
BREAM: Okay, you know, critics —
WARNER: — he rolls.
BREAM: But critics are worried.
Senator Mike Lee is among those who say they are sort of toothless protections in there for religious minorities, and not minorities, but people who hold whatever faith they are, this conviction about traditional marriage, is his wording.
He’s offered this amendment. I got it here in my hand. He says it’s done in good faith. It will offer further protection to people and religious organizations.
Why not allow a vote on the amendment? If that is truly an issue and it may get you more votes but more protection for those who have religious freedom?
WARNER: I would — I would, first of all, point out the fact, you know, I believe Mike Lee is a member of the Mormon Church.
WARNER: His organization, his church —
BREAM: But he still got concerns.
WARNER: — his church endorsed the legislation.
My understanding and I have not followed all of the ins and outs of what happened two nights ago, I believe there was an offer on 50-vote margin for Mr. Lee to have that kind of amendment.
I think this is a series of folks that just don’t want this to happen and they’re going to throw up roadblock after roadblock after roadblock —
BREAM: Would you let him have a vote on the amendment?
WARNER: Again, my under —
BREAM: To quell their fears.
WARNER: My understanding is that that vote was offered.
BREAM: Okay, my understanding is they want to do it after Thanksgiving. There’s a lot of time between now and then.
WARNER: Listen, if the vote was offered this week, which I believe it was, I’m sure your viewers will correct me if I’m wrong, but that was kind of the —
BREAM: Yeah, in talking with his office, they want to offer this after Thanksgiving. So —
WARNER: Other than simply trying to delay, other than simply trying to burn off the clock so we can’t get to things —
BREAM: But this may bring (ph) his vote?
WARNER: If he had a chance to have the vote on Thursday, why didn’t he take the vote then?
BREAM: OK, we’ll ask him.
BREAM: But they under — my understanding is his office will offer this up after Thanksgiving. You guys will have a chance to look at it and potentially maybe you win over a few more votes if this amendment is considered.
WARNER: End of the day, end of the day, some of the opponents want to do everything they can to run out the clock. I would — again, urge people of goodwill to look not only at Mormon Church, but look at all of the church organizations that have felt that religious freedom is protected. There is nothing in this bill that would require any faith to marry anyone they don’t want married in their house of worship.
BREAM: I know they have more concern at religious universities and schools, as well.
We appreciate your time and we wish you the best Thanksgiving with your family. I know you have a lot to celebrate this year.
WARNER: Thank you, Shannon. Happy Thanksgiving to you.
BREAM: You, too.
All right. Up next, a room of rivals as first big Republican cattle call for race for the White House takes place in Vegas.
We’ll bring in FOX News senior political analyst Brit Hume on who was there and who wasn’t.
BREAM: President Trump officially kicked off his 2024 campaign on Tuesday amid speculation over who his primary rivals may be. That’s starting a fever pitch.
In a moment, we will bring in FOX senior political analyst Brit Hume to discuss the stakes for the former president over the next few weeks.
But, first, let’s go to Alexandria Hoff live in Las Vegas where the Republican Party’s biggest starts gathered together for the first time since Republicans won the House.
ALEXANDRIA HOFF, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Shannon.
Yeah, the speakers were certainly happy that Republicans won the House, but they were not thrilled by the margins nor the GOP’s performance in the Senate and some governor’s races, and many of those who attended here blame former President Trump.
GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R), MARYLAND: If you repeatedly lose to a really bad team, it’s time for new leadership.
GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Let’s stop supporting crazy unelectable candidates in our primaries.
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Candidates matter, everybody.
HOFF (voice-over): Inside the Republican Jewish coalition’s annual leadership meeting, big party names strove to impress.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): The damage being done in Washington is catastrophic.
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): This is about the very soul of America.
HOFF: The event is seen as starting line for potential presidential hopefuls.
NIKKI HALEY (R), FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: I’ve never lost an election and I’m not going to start now.
HOFF: Exploring the prospect of challenging the only declared candidate so far.
TRUMP: We have to stay strong and we have to fight, and frankly you better hope that a certain person wins the election in 2024.
HOFF: Former President Trump addressed the coalition via web stream.
His former vice president was there in person, urging Republicans to correct course and move on.
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: We must unite our party around a bold optimistic agenda.
HOFF: Governor Ron DeSantis closed out as keynote speaker, with a nod to his accomplishments in Florida.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: We’ve got a lot more to do and I have only begun to fight.
HOFF (on camera): But one interesting moment came when Senator Ted Cruz asked the crowd to support his 2024 campaign for Senate, seemingly implying that he would not be seeking out the White House. Now, he has not completely dismissed the idea, but he did later reiterate to reporters that his focus right now is keeping the position he has — Shannon.
BREAM: Okay. Alexandria Hoff, reporting from Vegas, Alex, thank you very much.
Joining us now, FOX News senior political analyst Brit Hume.
Brit, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you, Shannon. Nice to see you.
BREAM: OK. So, we last spoke, the attorney general has announced there will be a special counsel picking up a couple of these investigations into the former president with regard to January 6 and those documents at Mar-a- Lago. The former president talked about this on Friday. He said, what about all these other presidents who have taken documents? Why are they being investigated? And he added this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Of course, Hillary Clinton, where she illegally deleted 33,000 e- mails after getting a top level subpoena from the U.S. Congress. So, she’s allowed to get a subpoena and delete 33,000 after the subpoena, not before, after.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: So, Brit, he knows that there is this sense among a lot of Americans that there is double standard when it comes to how justices being meted out by the Justice Department and other places.
Is he going to be able to turn this latest development into actual political gain in some way?
HUME: Well, he will with his hard-core supporters, Shannon, who basically there is a — there is a set of voters within the Republican ranks who think the president is the best president in history and basically that he can do no wrong. Their ranks, I think, are much smaller than the number of people who voted for him when he ran in 2020, and much smaller than the number of people who would vote for him now. But, nonetheless, anything that happens to him will make him seem to — in their eyes a martyr.
Now, I think it was entirely appropriate for an independent counsel to be appointed in his case, but – but I would say that for the Justice Department to do that, for the attorney general to do that, while leaving the president’s son’s investigations and those associated with him to be handled by main justice, it seem to me, is a problem because the reason you appoint an independent counsel is if there’s a conflict of interest. There certainly is where Mr. Biden and Attorney General Garland are concerned, and therefore an investigation of Mr. Biden’s family would seem to fall under the heading of something that would require that, but they haven’t done it. That opens them up to, I think, reasonable criticism.
BREAM: So, while we’re talking about 2024 in the context of the former president making another run at it, the American spectator has this headline. It says, it isn’t time to care who the 2024 nominee is. They say, Republicans have got to figure out how to get together this ground game on the issue of early voting, mail-in ballots, drop boxes. They say, it’s like hand-crafting widgets while your opponents is shipping in mass produced ones from Chinese slave labor sweatshops. You can’t win that game. It’s time to demand the GOP get off its posterior and figure out how to compete in this new era.
Brit, what kind of conversations are you hearing on that front about how Republicans may have to change the way they do this?
HUME: Look – well, that’s perfectly sound advice, but it seems to me it’s comparing apples and oranges. Your candidate selection is a – is a legitimate concern, always will be, always has been, really. The nuts and bolts of getting your voters to the polls and – and dealing with whatever rules may prevail in any given state is – is a related but separate matter. So, there’s no reason why the Republican Party can’t deal with both. They’re going to have to deal with the candidate issue. We – this last election’s results proved that. They also, undoubtedly, have to deal with early voting and – and whether one party is taking full advantage of it and one party is not. So, you know, I think that’s — editorial is fine, but – but you can walk and chew gum at the same time, one trusts.
BREAM: Well, and – and House GOP leaders say that’s what they’re going to do when they take over in a couple of months. And they say they’re going to have those investigations. You reference Hunter Biden. That’s, obviously, going to be one of their targets.
But this is the pushback from the White House – or this is the White House Counsel’s Office says, Congressional Republicans’ top priority is to go after President Biden with politically motivated attacks chock full of long-debunked conspiracy theories. President Biden’s not going to let these political attacks distract him.
How does the House GOP navigate this?
HUME: Well, it’s got to be done, I think, with some skill. If – if the Republican Party, in its new position that is in control of the House, is seen as spending its energies, all of its energies, or nearly all of its energies, on investigations and contentious hearing and all the rest of it, I’m not sure how well that will sit with voters. They need to be doing other things as well. And when it comes to investigations, of course, they’re legit investigations beyond that of Hunter Biden. There’s investigation of other matters that — and how the Justice Department has handle them it seem to me would be fair grounds. So, they need to be careful that there’s no – that – but investigations, I think, are inevitable.
BREAM: All right, Brit, Happy Thanksgiving to you. Good to see you.
HUME: Same to you. Same to you, Shannon. Thank you.
BREAM: Hope you’ll join us again soon.
Up next, President Biden’s students loan cancellation plan facing more and more legal challenges as the administration has taken its case straight to the U.S. Supreme Court. We’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss borrowers in limbo as critics accuse the president of political overreach.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We’re asking the nation’s highest court of the land to allow us to deliver student debt relief to millions of middle-class Americans.
Just outrageous that Republican officials and special interest group are trying to block that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on the administration’s emergency appeal to the Supreme Court after multiple lower courts have ruled their student loan forgiveness plan unconstitutional.
Time now for our Sunday group. “Axios” senior politics correspondent Josh Kraushaar, former State Department spokesperson Marie Harf, Guy Benson of townhall.com, and Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason.
Welcome. Good Sunday morning to all of you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (ph): Good morning.
BREAM: OK, let’s start here. One of the lower court judges who overruled the program, put it on hold, said, in this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone. Instead, we are ruled by a constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government.
Jeff, the White House says, we have the power.
JEFF MASON, REUTER WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And – and they’re going to stick to that argument. And they are confident that they’re going to win. I think popularity of this program has been surprising, even to some people within the White House. I remember speaking to a White House official who initially was opposed to this. They ruled it out. And, man, has it been successful. But the legal – in terms of the political support. But the legal implication have been a challenge, and now they’re going to fight it out in the courts.
BREAM: Yes, so it’s sitting there at the Supreme Court. We wait for some action on that potentially within the next few days.
Meanwhile, “The Washington Post” is raising some questions, Guy. The editorial board says this, sure, an extension would be popular, especially with younger voters, and Georgia has a Senate runoff coming up. But an extension of the student loan moratorium looks more like buying votes with taxpayer money.
Even they’re skeptical.
GUY BENSON, TOWNHALL.COM, HOST OF “THE GUY BENSON SHOW” AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that’s precisely what that part of this program is. Then there’s the even more egregious abuse of power with this so-called forgiveness scheme that is deeply unfair to the vast majority of American voters who don’t have any college debt or loan debt of this type. It’s very inflationary. And it’s also just flatly illegal. I think the quote from the judge is exactly right. I suspect that if the White House gets what they’re asking for, which is a hearing of the Supreme Court, they won’t like the outcome of that case because it seems pretty cut and dried. And you might not agree with the judges or the justices, should they decide that, you might not agree with me, but no less a figure than Nancy Pelosi, the outgoing speaker of the House, said last year that the president did not have the authority to do what he then turned around and did. And we’re a nation of laws. If the White House would like this type of loan forgiveness to happen, they can go to Congress and they can get it passed.
BREAM: Well, meanwhile, “The Federalist” is writing about this and they cite this online magazine that specializes in education issues who did. The poll of people who have either applied for the forgiveness or they’re planning to already. So these people who are (ph) benefit. They say nearly three-fourths of them admitted they would spend the money, not on basic necessities or fulfilling their entrepreneurial dreams, but on, quote, non- essentials, including vacation, smartphones and drugs and alcohol, Marie.
MARIE HARF, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I’m not one to throw cold water on online polls. Maybe they’re not entirely accurate. But there’s no requirement that they use this money to pay for their – their loans. But the fact is, it is incredibly popular. Many legal experts have actually said it’s legal. And it supports, you know, middle-class, working-class Americans, millions of whom now have been thrown into, you know, financial chaos by these Republican groups trying to challenge this in the courts. We have millions of Americans today who thought they were operating under a system where they would not have to repay their loans and now Republicans essentially are making the argument that they’re going to force them to, while at the same time trying to ram through, you know, tax cuts for the wealthy. We can talk about the legal issues all day. From a political perspective, this is a popular program. It helps working and middle-class Americans. And if Republican, at Christmas, want to say, oh, actually, sorry, we’re OK with big tax cuts for corporation, we’re OK with saving big pharma, we’re not OK with helping you with $10,000 of loan relief? That’s a tough political argument, Shannon.
BREAM: Well, that – and looking at the filing that this administration had with the Supreme Court. Their argument was, oh, people already think they’re getting their loans forgiven. So this throws in this chaos.
HARF: That’s right.
BREAM: But doesn’t that, Josh, just get to the argument, well, any president could say, all right, I’m going to start this program now and if the court stops it, then they’ve thrown you into chaos, even if what I did is potentially illegal.
JOSH KRAUSHAAR, “AXIOS” SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: This is the first time I’ve heard the White House defer to the pretty conservative Supreme Court to try to bail them out politically. You know, I think the best way to understand what the White House did initially was view it as a political ploy to try to get younger voters energized for the midterm elections. I think it worked. You saw pretty healthy young voter turnout in the midterm. But even the exit poll showed America is divided 50/50 in the exit polling. So this is something that they got a quick sugar high before the midterms. They’re dealing with the legal problems and I think they realize, they blamed Republican officials, but it’s the courts that are – that are blocking their ability to get this done.
So, I don’t think the Supreme Court is going to be very — look at this very kindly. It’s taking, as Guy said, what should be done in Congress to the executive branch and ultimately they may get the political sugar high, but it will likely be blocked in the courts.
BREAM: Well, and, Guy, quickly to your point, I mean the Supreme Court has pushed back on executive power in a number of administrations during, you know, Obama as well. I mean it’s not just a partisan issue. For them they often say, you’ve gone too far, executive branch.
BENSON: Yes, and for a party that lectures us constantly about democracy, this is a matter of democracy and the rule of law. If you want to go through the Democratic process and let the system work the way it was designed, go ahead and do it. But to say that this is somehow Republican- caused chaos, this was an illegal, political ploy and it should be treated as such.
BREAM: We’ll see if the justices treat it that way.
All right, panel, we’ve got to take a quick break. Don’t go anywhere.
Up next, calls to investigate Ticketmaster after the T. Swift ticket snafu shines a light on the company’s practices. That’s next.
BREAM: Oh, boy. Many fans hoping to catch a glimpse of Taylor Swift live on tour now empty handed after Ticketmaster says its system was overwhelmed by the demand. The pop star sold 2 million tickets in Tuesday’s pre-sale, the most in a single day for any artist ever. But now there are questions about how many tickets remain and how are they going to be sold. And the problems have Congress, right here in D.C., demanding answers.
We are back now with the panel.
OK, everyone’s favorite topic. If you could have heard our discussions during the commercials.
OK, I want to start with the CEO of Liberty Media. They own a majority stake in Live Nation. Here’s what he said about how they’re trying to handling this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG MAFFEI, CEO, LIBERTY MEDIA: We are working hard on this. And, again, you know, building capacity for peak demand is something we attempt to did, but this exceeded every expectation. And the reality is, Taylor Swift hasn’t been on the road for three or four years, and that’s caused a huge issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Wait a minute, Marie, is that blaming Taylor Swift? And, also, she is very angry and said they asked numerous times and they said, we got you.
HARF: And her fans, millions of them across the country, are very angry. Ticketmaster, not the best PR strategy to blame Taylor Swift, one of the biggest popstars in the world. And, look, she – she actually may get some regulatory action here.
Ticketmaster is a monopoly. They are the only way to get tickets to a majority of events in this country, football games, concerts, and now we have the Tennessee attorney general, other federal agencies, investigating this company. Taylor Swift gets things done.
And look, she has power, as an artist with so many fans, and you saw what happened this week when they were disappointed.
BREAM: Yes, she may make a difference.
All right, Ticketmaster had a big, long statement and they went through explaining exactly what happened. In part they said, the biggest venues and artists turn to us because we have the leading ticketing technology in the world. And that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.
But, Josh, it may mean that they’re the only game in town.
KRAUSHAAR: So, Ticketmaster is basically saying, shake it off. But that’s not going to —
BREAM: Oh, no, he did not —
KRAUSHAAR: That – that –
BREAM: Just say that.
KRAUSHAAR: But that’s not – that’s not going to – that’s not – that – that’s not going to work with the Tennessee attorney general, Republicans. It’s not going to work in Congress where Democrats are starting to wonder about Ticketmaster’s monopoly. And, like, that’s the big problem, Ticketmaster has this monopoly over some of these artist’s ticket sales. If I want to buy a Nationals ticket or go to a sporting event, there are a lot of different choices I have to find the best priced ticket. But because of the merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation, there’s not a lot of choices. And it all goes through one ticket broker. So, I think that is going to be the issue that congressional regulators start looking at.
BREAM: Well, and we’ve heard – we heard from the venues as well who say that they have to play this game or else there are concerns that – that Live Nation and Ticketmaster are so giant, they will actually put together their own venues and route things to other places.
So, you mentioned the Democrats over on the House side. A number of them wrote a letter to the attorney general on Thursday. They say, there’s overwhelming evidence that the merger between the world’s largest concert promoter and the largest ticket provider strangled competition for ticketing in the live entertainment marketplace.
So, Guy, we know there was already some type of anti-trust investigation before T. Swift that was ongoing, but it sounds like there’s going to be a real ush for possible change.
BENSON: Well, here’s the news hook, right? Now this accelerates any sort of investigation that might have been already underway. This is a massive story. We’re talking about Taylor Swift on FOX NEWS SUNDAY. That doesn’t usually break through this sort of way.
BREAM: Lyrics included.
BENSON: And I – I have to say that, thinking about this panel today and thinking about our topics, I have been actually quite nervous about what I was going to say about this because the Swifties are ferocious.
BREAM: Be careful.
BENSON: And I just want to say –
BREAM: At Guy Benson.
BENSON: I – like, I’m completely cool with you guys and just don’t be mad at me on the Internet.
BREAM: He’s –
BENSON: That’s all I have to say, Shannon.
BENSON: Back to you.
BREAM: Jeff, would you like to take a swing at this because, as Marie points out, I can see Taylor Swift actually making head roads on something that has been complained about by a lot of people. I can see the C-SPAN that – you know, bringing her up here on Capitol Hill. Oh my gosh, we think security’s bad now. If she comes here and has something to say, lawmakers are going to listen to her.
MASON: Absolutely. I mean, look, to bring it all into politics, the midterm elections showed how divided this country is, right? Well, they’re not divided about Taylor Swift. I think we all knew someone who was trying to buy tickets –
BREAM: For days.
MASON: For – for days, right, either for their children or for themselves and really struggled. And then you see reports about some of these tickets going for tens of thousands of dollars. That’s not something you’re going to find support for politically from either party.
And so I think you’re absolutely right, if they pursue this and competition policy and anti-trust policy is huge, there could are hearings up here and they could be bringing this very, very popular person involved and – and see what kind of change she can make.
BREAM: It can be a very wonky, dry issue, but this brings it to real life for a lot of people, for millions of them.
OK, panel, thank you very much. We’ll see you next Sunday.
Up next, in the nearly two years since President Biden took office, fewer reporters have gone more rounds with him than our very own Peter Doocy. Peter joins us next to give us the back stories behind their often viral exchanges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: When you said a chemical weapon used by Russia would trigger a response in kind?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will trigger a significant response (INAUDIBLE).
DOOCY: What does that mean?
BIDEN: I’m not going to tell you. Why would I tell you? You’ve got to be silly.
DOOCY: The world wants to know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: He is the one reporter who has likely most sparked the ire of the White House in the Biden era. Fox’s Peter Doocy has broken news, makes headlines right and left, and he’s picked up the phone a few times for private calls with the president himself.
Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy just back from the president’s overseas trip joins us now for a reporter’s notebook.
Good to see you. Welcome back.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good to be here. Thanks for having me.
BREAM: OK, so, you’ve got some memories for us. And there’s one that gets a lot of attention, and I always think of, was when the president might have had something to say about you that sparked one of those phone call. I’ll put it that way.
DOOCY: Well, it’s a – a big part of our strategy with this administration, because they almost never leak to anybody about anything. And so our only chance to get information about any topic is either at a formal presidential event, a press conference with the press secretary, or just at prepared remarks and just shouting something.
DOOCY: And so I always try to ask something a little off topic. January of this year, the big topic was Ukraine. That’s what everybody was yelling about. And so I just tried something else, inflation. So – and this is what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOOCY: Will you take question on inflation then?
Do you think inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). Go. Thank you.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, it’s a great asset.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
BIDEN: More inflation.
What a stupid son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: We had to bleep it there.
DOOCY: I – and we don’t ever hear a Biden bleeped, any president bleeped. But I think that that became the story, the bad word then, when just a few months later he’s — went on to say that inflation is his number one domestic priority.
BREAM: You were ahead of the curve, Peter Doocy.
DOOCY: And it was just because we were trying to ask something different, which is what we already do here at the Fox News Channel.
BREAM: Yes, you do. We noticed that.
Did you get a call from the president?
DOOCY: I did. Yes. We had a nice chat. We laughed about it.
BREAM: And everything’s good?
BREAM: OK. But sometimes the president likes to ask you questions.
DOOCY: And that is a different kind of dynamic. I remember the big foreign policy issue so far, the biggest of the first two years of his term, was the Afghanistan withdrawal. Widely panned still. And on the worst day of his presidency, I had a chance to ask him whether or not he bears any responsibility. He had been saying that the buck stops with him. And I was trying to ask him about his policy that led up to this – this deadly day where 13 U.S. servicemembers were killed, but he didn’t want to talk about his policies, he wanted to talk in the moment about Trump’s, right here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what, I’m asking you a question be – because before —
DOOCY: Donald Trump is not the president right now.
BIDEN: No, no, no, wait a minute, I’m asking you a question. Is that – is that accurate, to the best of your knowledge?
DOOCY: I know what you’re talking about. But, Mr. President, respectfully, since –
BIDEN: What –
DOOCY: I don’t think that the issue that — do you think that people have an issue with pulling out of Afghanistan, or just the way that things have happened?
BIDEN: I think they have an issue that people are likely to get hurt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOOCY: And you saw he buried his head into his hands that hat this notebook that only had bad news that day in it. And it shows he’s an emotional guy. That benefits, I think, anybody that is asking a question or hoping for an answer because he will give you a candid, emotional response. We just need a chance – we just need staffers to let us close enough to ping him.
BREAM: OK, but they don’t like that. As – as any staffer that’s trying to protect the main guy, I mean they are often rushing you guys out of the room, they’re often rushing him out of the room when he seems like he does want to stay and engage with you guys and they’re like, no, no, Mr. President, time’s up.
DOOCY: But my experience with him, now three and a half years going, back to the campaign trail, I always think about one of our first exchanges. He – the story of the day was a campaign story. It was about like Bernie and Warren having bigger crowds than him. And he just, in the middle of a scrum with reporters, he pointed to me and said, you’re going to go after me no matter what, but it’s OK, I’m a big boy, I can handle it.
And if you look at all the dozens or hundreds of times that he’s still engaged since, I think he was right, he can handle it. He enjoys having a chance to defend his own positions. And he deserves a lot of credit for that.
BREAM: How was this trip? I mean it always looks agonizing to me. I know when you’re out on the road with candidates, and in this case the commander-in-chief, you’re in different time zones. He’s got all these events. You’re there covering it. What is it like?
DOOCY: It’s kind of interesting because when the stuff that’s going on, if you see the president say something, there’s nobody to text it home because everybody is asleep.
DOOCY: And so he had a press conference. He had an emergency G7 meeting. That’s the reason that we go. But these things are – they are tough to get to, like two days there and two days back. But glad to – glad to go.
BREAM: Well, and – and a lot of those days are traveling. You know you’re on the plane and you’re – you’re trying to adjusting to the time zones yourself. You’ve got a lot to do. A lot of work to do.
DOOCY: Yes. But, again, we – we have to go just in case something happens, like this incident in Ukraine last evening.
BREAM: By the way, I got to say, people don’t know, you and I, years and years ago, shared an office.
DOOCY: And –
BREAM: And I would not have thought you would be chasing around the president and – and traveling around on Air Force One and being, you know, a headline maker over there, and I’m sitting here at FOX NEWS SUNDAY. Like, little did we know.
DOOCY: That is kind of – that is a nice way to look at it.
BREAM: I’m getting older. You’re getting younger. I don’t know what’s happening.
DOOCY: I don’t think so.
BREAM: But thank you for joining us for a little bit of reporter’s notebook today. Really appreciate it.
DOOCY: Thanks for having me, Shannon.
BREAM: Have a great Thanksgiving.
DOOCY: Thank you. You too.
BREAM: All right, that is it for us today. Thank you for joining us on FOX NEWS SUNDAY. I’m Shannon Bream. Have a great week and a blessed Thanksgiving to all of you out there watching. We’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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