‘Fox News Sunday’ on February 6, 2022

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This is a rush transcript of “Fox News Sunday” on February 6, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Martha MacCallum.

The Beijing Games shine a spotlight on China and Russia’s efforts to push back against the United States and the West.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MACCALLUM (voice-over): Presidents Putin and Xi take the world stage at the Beijing Winter Olympics, warning the U.S. and allies not to interfere with their affairs. That as the United States deployed thousands of troops to Eastern Europe and members of Congress prepare for a, quote, near certain invasion of Ukraine by Moscow.

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We’re going to be prepared to defend our NATO allies.

MACCALLUM: We’ll ask White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan about the prospects for diplomacy and how the United States plans to fortify its role as leader of the free world in the face of challenges from China and Russia.

Then, debate on the Hill over the U.S. role in this conflict.

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): It’s a mistake to send more American troops to Europe at this time.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): I think reinforcing our existing NATO allies with troops is definitely appropriate.

MACCALLUM: We’re joined by Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator John Barrasso, a Republican member of that committee.

Then —

MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK: We have a real problem with the flow of guns through the inner city.

MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO: We cannot continue to endure the level of violence that we are now experiencing.

MACCALLUM: Mayors call for federal help to stem the rising violent crime, while President Biden tries to reassure law enforcement.

We’ll ask our Sunday panel how the president walks the line between crime and policing.

Plus — Elizabeth II the second marks 70 years as queen. We’ll discuss the milestone, the monarchy, and the weight of the crown over seven decades of duty.

All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday.”

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MACCALLUM (on camera): And hello again from FOX News in Washington.

A contentious Winter Olympics now underway in Beijing, but it is the Chinese and Russian presidents who say they are now on the same team in a global power competition as tensions rise on the Uraine border and the United States sends troops to the region.

In a moment, we’ll speak with White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan, but first, to Alex Hoff with the latest from the White House.

Hi, Alex.

ALEXANDRIA HOFF, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, the U.S. is joined by countries like Australia, the U.K., India, and various other nations in a diplomatic boycott of the games citing China’s abysmal woman rights record. In particular, the focus is on the Chinese government’s treatment of their Muslim minority.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOFF (voice-over): In an obvious statement to critics, China elected to have an opening ceremony torch carried by a cross-country skier who was part of China’s Uighur population, and ethnic minority group victims to what the U.S. has equated to genocide by the Chinese government.

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): We should now allow communist Chinese whitewash what they’re doing, whether it’s what they’re doing to the Uighurs, what they’ve done into the Hong Kong citizens or the threats to Taiwan right now.

HOFF: A protest and sit-in was held by human rights advocates at NBC’s headquarters, calling on the network to cease broadcasting the 2022 Games. The controversial Olympic backdrop provided the space for meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders expressed solidarity through a joint statement saying they, quote, oppose the abuse of democratic values and interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states under the pretext of protecting democracy and human rights.

While the U.S. allies or Ukraine were not mentioned in a lengthy statement, tension was between the lines as the Pentagon revealed it has evidence of a Moscow plan to fake a Ukrainian attack on Russia.

KIRBY: We know that they’re thinking about doing it and that’s just one of other things that we know they are trying to do to create a pretext for an evasion.

HOFF: U.S. and European efforts towards a diplomatic solution continue. French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken to Putin three times since last Friday, will visit Moscow Monday, and then head to Kyiv Tuesday alongside German foreign ministers.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOFF (on camera): German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is scheduled to visit the White House here tomorrow to discuss with President Biden ways to deter an invasion — Martha.

MACCALLUM: Alex, thank you very much. Alex Hoff reporting from the White House.

Joining us now, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

Jake, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”. Good to have you here today.

I’d like to start with this. Sources are telling us that Russia is now, quote, 70 percent ready to launch an invasion in Ukraine, because they are now or will soon be upwards of 130,000 troops and significant new presence of jets, missiles, antiaircraft equipment in Russia and in Belarus, north of Ukraine.

But the U.S. and Ukraine have sent mixed signals on whether or not they think and invasion will actually happen, so what can you tell us this morning? Is an invasion imminent?

JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, what I can tell you, Martha, is that we are in the window. Any day now, Russia could take military action against Ukraine or it could be a couple of weeks from now, or Russia could choose to take the diplomatic path instead.

The key thing is that the United States needs to be, and is prepared for any of those contingencies in lockstep with our allies and partners. We have reinforced and reassured our allies on the Eastern Flank, we have united the West, we have provided material support to Ukraine, all of President Biden’s direction, and we’ve also offered Russia a diplomatic path if they choose to take it.

If war breaks out, it will come at an enormous human cost to Ukraine. But we believe that based on our preparations and our response, it will come at a strategic cost to Russia as well.

MACCALLUM: That’s what we are learning. According to chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Mark Milley, they are saying that Kyiv could fall within 72 hours if there is an invasion, that 50,000 people could be killed.

What do you think is the likelihood that there is a surprising quick fall of Kyiv?

SULLIVAN: Look, my job here is not to predict what exactly will happen day to day. It’s to prepare for any contingency, including a contingency where Russian forces drive on the Ukrainian capital.

We are working hard with our allies and partners on that, we are providing, as I said before, material support to the Ukrainians, and trying to get them to make sure they are in the best position possible to defend themselves.

So the Russians have a lot of options available to them, but of course we have options available to us in terms of the swift and severe economic consequences that we can impose, the ways in which we can strengthen and fortify our presence on NATO territory and NATO countries and, of course, the global diplomatic isolation that Russia would face should it choose to proceed.

MACCALLUM: I think everyone — you know, it’s fresh in everyone’s memory, the quicker than expected fall of Kabul in Afghanistan. So I guess my question is, when you’ve got troops, U.S. troops, that are sent to NATO states but none sent to Ukraine, I mean, that’s a real possibility that we could be sitting here talking in a few weeks and saying, gee, that was faster than we expected, but we don’t have anybody in the country and too bad.

SULLIVAN: The president has been clear for months now that the United States is not sending forces to start a war or fight a war with Russia in Ukraine. We have sent forces to Europe to defend NATO territory. We have a sacred obligation under Article Five to defend our NATO allies, Poland and Romania, and the Baltic States. We have made that commitment to them. We will keep that commitment to them.

But we can do for the Ukrainians is not send American troops to fight in a war in Ukraine, but we can send defensive assistance which we have done to the tune of more than half a billion dollars over the course of the past year. And we can provide other forms of support alongside our allies and partners, we have done that as well.

We have been clear from the start about the steps that we are prepared to take. And whatever action Russia undertakes next, the United States is ready.

MACCALLUM: Is it likely that what comes out of this — the diplomatic angle is being pursued obviously — is it likely we’re going to see an arms treaty, a situation where Russia starts negotiating with us? We heard there are already talks about moving some of our tomahawk missiles and a reciprocal move from their side.

Is that the likely outcome here, and would it be a scenario where Vladimir Putin could say, gee, I got what I wanted?

SULLIVAN: Well, we’ve been very clear, President Biden directly to President Putin, Secretary Blinken in meetings with his counterpart just in the last couple of weeks, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, that we’re prepared, alongside our allies and partners, to negotiate issues of mutual concern when it comes to European security.

And yes, that would include reciprocal limitations on the placement of offensive missiles. It would include greater transparency measures. It would include mechanisms to reduce the possibility of mistake or escalation if there were incidents at sea or in the air. We’re prepared to do all of that, just as we have been over the course of the past decades in the Cold War and after.

If Russia wants to sit at the table into that, we are prepared to come flanked by allies and partners and negotiate an outcome along those lines. If Russia chooses to go a different path, we’re ready for that, too.

MACCALLUM: Why not move more troops from Germany? Germany has really been on the sidelines in this. They have large energy deals with Russia. They’re not giving any lethal aid to Ukraine.

So we have 30,000 to 50,000 troops in Germany. I think a lot of people look at the situation and remember some of the proposals in the prior in administration and say, why aren’t we — why aren’t we doing that? Why aren’t we moving those troops to NATO, to our stronger allies than Germany at this moment?

SULLIVAN: Well, first of all, we’ve been coordinating closely with Germany in advance of the chancellor’s visit to Washington tomorrow, on a swift and severe package of sanctions that the United States and Europe would both impose on Russia in the event of an invasion of Ukraine, and Germany has been working with us on that.

Second, while it’s true that Germany has not sent arms to Ukraine, after the United States, they are the second largest donor to Ukraine and Europe. The great thing, Martha, about having the kind of alliance we have, with 30 NATO allies, is that different allies step up to take different pieces of this. So, we and the U.K. and some of the other countries are supplying weapons, and then there are other allies who are providing different forms of support to Ukraine.

But the bottom line is this: the reason that we are able to swiftly move a battalion into Romania to reinforce the — and reinsure our ally Romania is because those forces were stationed in Germany. Having forces stationed in Germany is in fact a strategic asset to the United States because not only can they help defend German territory, but they can be moved to our allies in the East to reinforce, reassure, and deter Russia and that puts the United States and a stronger position to stand up to Russian military aggression.

MACCALLUM: I know you said that the larger goal is that the United States and our allies are stronger on the world stage and that Russia and, of course, China as well are weaker on the world stage.

But how did it serve that goal to remove opposition to Nord Stream 2, because now we’re in a position where we’re hoping it can be turned off if an invasion happens. But if we had held fast in opposition to Nord Stream 2, wouldn’t we have denied Vladimir Putin some of the leverage that he now clearly has?

SULLIVAN: Nord Stream 2 is leverage for us, not leverage for Vladimir Putin.

You said turn off Nord Stream 2. Nord Stream 2 hasn’t been turned on. There is no gas flowing through Nord Stream 2 right now and there won’t be for months, in part because of the diplomacy of the United States.

And we have been absolutely clear that if Russia invades Ukraine, one way or the other, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward. That’s leverage for us that we have right now, so we intend to use that leverage and Vladimir Putin has a choice to make. If he chooses to move on Ukraine, he will not be getting the benefits of Nord Stream 2. We both —

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: And Germany has agreed to that? Germany has agreed that — I know they’ve given an extension for a few months, but do you really think that Germany will not turn that pipeline on if Russia invades for the foreseeable future?

SULLIVAN: What I believe is that we will follow through on the clear and definitive statement we have made as the Biden administration. One way or the other, if Russia invades Ukraine, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.

MACCALLUM: Why not reopen the Keystone pipeline and reopen federal leases on U.S. land? Because we had energy independence and that was large leverage for the United States over Russia. Now we don’t have that anymore. In fact, we now buy more fuel from Russia than we have in the past.

So how — why wouldn’t you want to revisit those in order to increase our leverage over Russia?

SULLIVAN: Well, first, Martha, the United States is still a substantial producer of energy. Second, we have worked with partners around the world to take steps to ensure that Russia’s attempts to use energy as a weapon get frustrated.

One of the things that President Biden has been very focused on is making sure that if Putin turns down the supply of gas to Europe, that we can find cargoes of liquefied natural gas going elsewhere in the world and redirect them to Europe. So the United States is prepared for a contingency against Russia —

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: But you do concede that we’re no longer energy independent, Jake? And we were before.

SULLIVAN: What I would say is that the United States is investing massively in being a leader in energy transition in which, yes, for now, we continue to use fossil fuels but over the course of years and decades, we become a clean energy superpower, because that ultimately is not just where the jobs are. It’s where the strategic advantage will lie, because we can’t just look at next year or the year after. That’s not what China is doing.

We have to look out 10, 20, 30 years. And over those years, President Biden’s investments and his visions for how to make the United States the world’s clean energy superpower, that’s what’s going to put us in the best strategic position alongside democratic, like-minded allies and partners.

MACCALLUM: Some might say that Russia and China would look at that answer and feel that they are in a pretty good position.

They came out and said, you know, we have a deep friendship. We have an unshakable alliance now. The two of us are in lockstep.

What’s the United — what’s the White House reaction to that statement from them on Friday?

SULLIVAN: Well, first, Martha, they didn’t use the word “alliance”. They used some other phrases, but did not actually go so far as to call themselves allies.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Well, let me — let me put this up on the screen for you. It says: Friendship between the two states has no limits. There are no forbidden areas of cooperation.

They also suggested China would have Russia’s back on their decisions with regard to Ukraine, and the same would be true for Russia of China’s decisions with regard to Taiwan. That sounds like an alliance.

SULLIVAN: Well, 5,000 words of that statement and 5,000 words that the two leaders put down on that paper, the word Ukraine does not appear — which suggests that China is not so excited about cheerleading Russia on Ukraine.

But there’s a more important point here, which is that the United States, the West, the free world, we need to believe in ourselves, we need to have confidence in ourselves. The U.S. and the West collectively comprise more than half the world’s GDP. Russia and China comprise less than 20 percent.

We’ve got innovation. We got entrepreneurship. We’ve got immense capacity and human potential.

And one thing that President Biden has done over the course of the last year is rally our allies in Europe, in Asia, and other parts of the world, to stand together for a vision in which democracies will win the day over the years ahead, not autocracies. And we feel very good about the fact that we have that kind of strategic alignment and convergence with close friends and partners in the G7, in the Quad, in NATO, with the European Union.

And we’ve already put points on the board and we are ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

MACCALLUM: All right. We’ll see with those challenges are and thank you very much. It’s good to have you with us today. Jake Sullivan, from the White House, thank you, Jake.

So, the U.S. role in the Russian showdown, is this our fight? We’re going to get reaction from to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: A bipartisan group of senators is negotiating legislation that would impose sanctions on Russia to deter the country from invading Ukraine. Joining us now, two members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We’ll get to Senator Ben Cardin in just a moment.

We begin with Republican Senator John Barrasso.

Senator, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday.” Good to have you with us.

All of the senators received closed-door intel briefing at the end of last week, and there are quite startling figures and news coming out of that. One is from the Joint Chiefs Chair Mark Milley, who said that it’s possible that Kabul could fall inside of 72 hours. What was your reaction when you came out of that briefing in terms of where this is headed?

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): Well, first, let me just say the picture that really tells the story is that picture from the Olympics of Putin and Xi, because Putin is the clear and present danger and Xi is the long-term threat. And to see the two of them standing in solidarity and seeming to be eager to double-team America is going to be a real test of President Biden’s resolve.

So the question now comes down to Putin and, does he or doesn’t he? It’s not, can he or can’t he? He certainly has the potential to do this if he decides to move. I think it’s incumbent upon us to do everything we can to discourage that action.

But ultimately, he’s going to make that decision by himself. It became clear to me from the briefing that he’s not going to take input from others, he is a predator, he’s going to see what it costs him and what he gets. And if we put biting sanctions in place right now, without delay before an attack, then those will be financial, as well as make sure that Ukraine has the weapons that they need to defend themselves. That’s not U.S. troops, that’s Ukraine defending themselves with first-class weapons, then that will make Putin think twice.

MACCALLUM: So if Putin rolls in, you know — I mean, the question is going to become, what do we do, you know? Do you see something happen here that’s some sort of arms agreement that allows Putin to be in Ukraine and then sort of take some of the — some arms off the table?

I mean, you heard — I (inaudible) Jake Sullivan moments ago, and there’s a commitment to put troops in the region, but not in Ukraine, which I think a lot of people agree with. I know your colleague Josh Hawley agrees with that. But how far are we willing to go is the question.

BARRASSO: I think Putin hasn’t made his final decision yet. I think you’re 100 percent right, he does use energy as a weapon and we can talk more about that, but we ought to have biting sanctions in place now, not later. We have a bipartisan piece of legislation that we’ve been working on and I’ll tell you what is happening now is the administration has been weak kneed on this, they’ve been dragging their feet, they want Democrats to water it down. We need pressing, biting sanctions now, not after an invasion.

What Putin is talking about has been putting together the old Soviet Union. Ukraine is the first part of that. He wants to swallow the whole thing, and it’s about — it is the second largest country in Europe. We need to prevent that through letting him know that it’s going to be very painful if he tries to do it.

If he gets away with it, that’s the bigger problem. He needs to choke on trying to swallow Ukraine because if it’s easy pickings for him, my worry is that then China moves against Taiwan and Iran moves quickly to a nuclear weapon.

MACCALLUM: Scary scenario. I want to switch gears with you for moment, Senator, if I might. This is a clip of the Former Vice President Mike Pence at a speech that he gave at The Federalist Society on Friday with regard to January 6th and his role. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I heard this week that President Trump said I had the right to overturn the election. But President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Do you agree with Mike Pence on that, sir?

BARRASSO: You know, I voted to certify the election and I think Mike Pence did his constitutional duty that day. It’s not the Congress that elects the president, it’s the American people, but I tell you, President Trump and Mike Pence did remarkable things for this country and I hope they can work out their differences.

We are better as a party when we’re unified and we are united, certainly here in Wyoming, about what this current administration is doing with regard to high prices, inflation, an open border, crime in the cities. People of Wyoming are fed up, as they are all across the country with what’s happening today and my focus is on the future, taking back the House, taking back the Senate, the 2022 elections, not the 2020 elections.

MACCALLUM: So you agree — but do you agree with Mike Pence, because you did vote to certify that he did not have the power to overturn the election?

BARRASSO: I voted to certify the elections. I will tell you, I’ve been at 15 events in Wyoming in the last week. Last night 800 people at a Boys & Girls Club dinner, this never comes up. People are really concerned about empty shelves at the grocery store, high prices — a dollar a gallon higher price for gasoline, an open —

MACCALLUM: Absolutely.

BARRASSO: — southern border with criminals — all of these people coming across, crime in the cities. People in Wyoming want me to focus on the future, not the past. That is where —

MACCALLUM: And us (ph) too.

BARRASSO: — I am focusing —

MACCALLUM: And we know that that —

BARRASSO: — all of my attention.

MACCALLUM: — is where their priorities are. I just want to ask you, because she is a Wyoming colleague of yours, your reaction to the censure of Liz Cheney by the RNC?

BARRASSO: You know, many of our county parties have already done that in Wyoming, the state party has done it as well. You know Liz and I disagree. I voted against the January 6th Commission, voted against impeachment twice. We’re going to have a very spirited primary here, it’s a late primary, late August here in Wyoming. That is going to be very engaging, I can tell you. And Liz is going to have to travel the state and make her case to the voters of Wyoming, if she intends to get reelected.

MACCALLUM: Senator Barrasso, thank you very much as always for your time. Good to see you today.

BARRASSO: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So joining me now, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin.

Senator, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.

You heard Senator Barrasso urging a bipartisan sanctions bill. It looks like it needs to happen fairly quickly the way things are going. We going to see that bill, and when?

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D-MD): Well, Martha, first, it’s good to be with you.

And, yes, there is a strong effort, a bipartisan effort, to give President Biden the strongest possible hand to discourage and hopefully prevent Putin from further incursions into Ukraine. That bill is just about complete. We have a few issues we’re — we’re trying to resolve. But from a substance point of view, it will contain the strongest possible sanctions, including financial sanctions and personal sanctions. And, by the way, it is supported by the Biden administration.

So we hope to be able to show Mr. Putin that Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and the House, and at the White House are united, that if he does do further incursions into Ukraine, he’ll pay a very, very, very heavy price from the economic point of view and the isolation politically.

MACCALLUM: There — there is some division within both sides, really. This is a sample of that from Pramila Jayapal, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.

Here’s what she had to say this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): We are raising the questions around sanctions and how they would be crafted and who would be hurt by those because our experience is that typically those sanctions do not affect the autocrats, they affect the people. And they are not an effective way of moving forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: What do you say to that, sir?

CARDIN: Well, first, the sanctions that we’re talking about will affect Mr. Putin and his economy and financing his aggressive activities. Secondly, there will be personal sanctions that go against the individuals that prevent them from traveling or using the international banking system. So these are gripping sanctions that will have an impact on the bad actors, and on the Russian economy generally because it is financing through corruption Mr. Putin’s agenda.

MACCALLUM: I want to play this clip from John Kirby because there’s been a lot of back-and-forth over this false flag video that was discussed that came through U.S. intelligence pathways.

Listen to what he said about this video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We believe that Russia would produce a very graphic propaganda video, which would include corpses and actors that would be depicting mourners and images of destroyed locations, as well as military equipment, at the hands of Ukraine or the west.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So there was some skepticism with regard to this. And I’m just curious what you think about it. Would you like to see more evidence of this false flag video? Obviously, it’s only one avenue that’s being pursued here likely by the Russians.

CARDIN: Martha, a few years ago I produced a report for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that talked about Mr. Putin’s asymmetric arsenal to bring down democratic states, and that’s in the playbook. It’s financing propaganda, misinformation, putting people on the ground that will cause dissension. That’s all part of what Mr. Putin does.

So, yes, I think it’s very clear that he has his operatives directly, indirectly in Ukraine in order to produce false information to justify an invasion if, in fact, he does invade. So that’s clearly part of his past record and it’s clear that he’s trying to do that in Ukraine if — if, in fact, we see an incursion.

MACCALLUM: You know, what to think of about the energy picture? Because the — we didn’t see this kind of activity. We saw it in 2014 under the Obama administration in Crimea. Then we didn’t see it during the Trump years. Now we are seeing this kind of saber rattling and really more of that along the borders of Ukraine at this point.

Do you think it was a mistake to remove opposition to Nord Stream 2, to shut down the Keystone Pipeline and to stop federal leasing and remove our energy independence, which was hard-earned?

CARDIN: Well, I’m against Nord Stream 2. I thought it was a mistake when it started. It was — it was mostly completed before President Biden took office. It should have been stopped long before now.

We do have an agreement with Germany today that it will not become operative in the immediate future. And if Mr. Putin further incurs into Ukraine, it will not be used.

So, to me, it’s a mistake. At this particular moment, I don’t believe it’s an issue in regards to Mr. Putin’s calculations, other than he knows that he — if he does invade, he will not be able to get that pipeline open.

You are correct, part of his playbook is to use energy as a weapon. That’s Mr. Putin’s playbook. So we don’t want to give him a stronger hand in the use of this — of weaponizing energy.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: But we have, really, in shutting down the Keystone Pipeline and curtailing our own leases on natural gas production and giving up energy independence, no?

CARDIN: No, I don’t believe so. I — America’s energy policy, both short- term and long-term, is one of national security, what is best for our economy and our environment. So I think we’ve made the right decisions in regards to our energy sources and helping our allies around the world.

MACCALLUM: All right, Senator Cardin, thank you very much. Good to speak with you today, sir. Thank you for being here.

CARDIN: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, coming up next, we’ll go live to Ukraine as civilians prepare themselves for war.

And we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the growing Russia-China alliance.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: Moscow has signaled an apparent readiness to talk with the United States and NATO, even as Russia continues to build up along the border of Ukraine, and also in Belarus.

For more, let’s turn to Steve Harrigan, who is live in Kyiv with a look at how the country is preparing for possible invasion.

Steve.

STEVE HARRIGAN: Martha, Russia’s military budget is more than ten times Ukraine’s.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIGAN (voice over): Ukrainians are training to fight against a military superpower with wooden rifles. In this village north of Kyiv, they have no illusion about what they face. For some, brave words are mixed with tears.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will fight. We will share our blood. And if the God decides, we will die. But we will defend our country.

HARRIGAN: It is a world turned upside down for many here. This underground bunker was built during the Cold War to protect Yuri’s family from an American nuclear attack. Now he’s getting it ready to protect his family from the Russians. The change is not easy to process.

YURI KRIKUN, UKRAINIAN RESIDENT (through translator): I still can’t imagine Ukraine fighting Russia, but I guess anything is possible.

HARRIGAN: If Russian forces crossed the border, many Ukrainians, like 68- year-old Yuri, will face a choice.

KRIKUN: To tell you the truth, I’m not the kind of person who hides, but my wife is worried and nervous about the situation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIGAN: Martha, the word we keep hearing here is “pawns.” A lot of people feel like they’re caught in something bigger than they are, and they’re not sure how they got here.

Martha, back to you.

MACCALLUM: Steve Harrigan, thank you, as always, reporting today from Kyiv for us. Good to have you with us, Steve.

So it’s time now for our Sunday group.

Senator Mitch McConnell’s former chief of staff and co-host of the “Ruthless” podcast, Josh Holmes, Fox News correspondent Gillian Turner and Fox News political analyst Juan Williams.

Great to have you all with us today.

So, Gillian, I spoke earlier with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. And one of the things that we discussed is this strong partnership that has been announced on the world stage at the Beijing Olympics between President Xi and Vladimir Putin.

So, are they upping the stakes in what they would like to see as a changing world order?

GILLIAN TUNER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: They are, Martha. And China and Russia have announced what they are calling a no limits partnership. That’s the term they used. It might sound a little absurd and rather juvenile, but the reality is it poses a threat to the United States. They have now said going forward they’re going to work together on Taiwan, they’re going to work together on Ukraine. Those are the two biggest issues to those countries. But they’re also going to partner on this whole host of other issues, from work and, you know, defense, in space, to artificial intelligence, to Internet security.

Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor, tried to push back on you, Martha. He said, well, nowhere in this 5,000 page document does it call this partnership and alliance. Again, the reality is that this means whatever Russia and China wants it to mean on any given day. They might not be calling it an alliance right now, but it’s an alliance.

MACCALLUM: Yes, Juan, how much of a concern is this, and do you feel like it is being taken seriously enough in the halls of power in the United States?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, I do. I think that it’s being taken seriously globally, Martha. And, you know, here in the United States, you have had discussions earlier today about the sanctions efforts against Russia, but, you know, we’ve also seen sanctions efforts now in Congress against China. You know, there’s talk about the diplomatic boycott, but the sanctions effort is really the power here.

And just in terms of China, just on Friday, the House passed a substantial sanctions bill. In June, the Senate passed it on a bipartisan basis. The House bill got caught up in some politics. Only one Republican vote there. But the overall power of it as it goes into conference is to impose serious sanctions on China, and also to boost America’s economic independence from China, which I think is absolutely critical to make us more innovative, strengthen American manufacturing, go in terms of American ability to do things on the energy front, like scrub air, produce clean energy, so that we are less dependent on China. This is all, it seems to me, critical.

I think the partisanship is regrettable. I think it’s shameful that there was only one GOP vote in the House over issues like, you know, clean oceans and coral. You know, I think we need, at this point, to stand strong and be very clear, we’re not going to play around with China or Russia.

MACCALLUM: Josh, is Congress going to have an impact on this dynamic?

JOSH HOLMES, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDING PARTNER OF CAVALRY, AND CO-HOST, “RUTHLESS PODCAST”: Well, it could. Look, I think the Biden administration has all of the tools that are necessary to try to unite the west against basically what’s happening with Russia and Ukraine and send a strong message to China vis-a-vis Taiwan.

I think what Juan was talking about, in terms of the congressional angle here, is that what has become a hallmark of Democratic-led Congress, they can figure out how to screw up a two-car parade. This is something in terms of the China aspect of it that passed the United States Senate with broad, bipartisanship this summer and it subsequently was pulled out of negotiations made entirely partisan and had a whole bunch of different Democratic priorities that frankly didn’t reflect the will of the Senate in the first place in crafting a bipartisan package. And so now that’s stuck, right? And that’s the kind of gridlock we don’t need.

I think that what this needs is a very strong response from the Biden administration, which I certainly hope they get, because the message it sends to Xi vis-a-vis Taiwan is extremely significant.

MACCALLUM: So, obviously, this is all getting a lot of attention overseas. But one of the biggest things that’s getting attention here, Gillian, is crime. And the president came to New York. There was an editorial that came out in “The New York Post” which basically said that the president needs Eric Adams, the new mayor of New York, who’s talking tough at least at this point on crime, more than Adams needs him.

Gillian, was that a successful trip to New York for the president?

TURNER: I’m — the Biden administration counts it as a success, absolutely, because they’re facing a midterm where violent crime is going to determine a lot of the races in various regions across the country. This is their best shot at trying to team up with a mayor who’s been, you know, very tough on crime, but, at the same time, has embraced President Biden personally and directly.

You know, Adams has called himself the Biden of Brooklyn I think he said. He also has boasted that he is President Biden’s favorite mayor in America. And that all is fine. But I would agree that the Biden administration has more eggs in this basket then Mayor Adams. They are desperate to put some credentials behind their new slogan, which is, we’re getting tough on crime.

MACCALLUM: Josh, is gun-control a likely way to go here, and is there too much focus on guns and not enough on the overall violence picture?

HOLMES: Oh, of course there is. But I think it’s indicative of the larger problem in the progressive movement with talking about crime in general. I mean the reason that this is a huge liability for the Biden administration is because Democrats have, frankly, thought it’s impolitic to talk about violent crime across this country for the last two years. And the only way that they can discuss crime at all is about eliminating guns, to say nothing of the carjackings and the lootings and the riots all across this country for the last two years.

I think they have an extreme problem. I think this administration understands that. But they still can’t get to a point where they’re talking about it in a way that resonates with the American people.

MACCALLUM: All right, we’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be back with more with our panel. Glad to have you all here.

When we come back, Mike Pence officially rebuked former President Trump’s claim about the election, while the RNC censures two Republicans on the January 6th committee. We’ll take a look at that and the impact on the midterms, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election. And Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: That was the former vice president, Mike Pence, responding to former President Trump’s claims that Pence could have done something to prevent Joe Biden from taking office.

We’re back now with the panel.

Josh, let me go to you on this.

What do Mike Pence’s comments say about his relationship with the former president and his own future in the party? He’s talking there about 2024.

HOLMES: Well, he’s right, of course, and he’s a man of integrity and principle, and I think he demonstrated that on January 6th. He’s demonstrating that again today. I think it says less about his relationship with the former president than it does about himself.

What I found most interesting about this speech was the venue that he chose. It was at The Federalist Society, which is sort of an intellectual hub of conservatism. Certainly, the site of the group most influential and President Trump’s probably largest accomplishment with the reshaping of the judiciary. And it certainly — you’re not going to find a gathering more conservative anywhere in the United States. So that — the fact that that was warmly received, I think, is an interesting takeaway going forward for those remarks.

MACCALLUM: There’s also the censure, Juan, RNC censure of two members of Congress. And I want to put it up on the screen. Participating in a democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse, and they are both utilizing their past professed political affiliation to mask democrat abuse of prosecutorial power for partisan purposes.

Your thoughts on that censure?

WILLIAMS: Wow. Legitimate political discourse is the line that’s gotten everybody’s attention, Martha.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

WILLIAMS: You know, I think it was carefully worded and written with the intent to support former President Trump and, you know, what’s called the big lie about January 6th. The cleanup afterwards was pretty pathetic because of the fallout from the use of that phrase, legitimate political discourse. What happened, everyone in the world saw it on tape, you can watch it today, was not legitimate political discourse. There was an effort by the RNC chair to say, well, she was not talking about — she was not talking about the violence, she was talking about everything before. But, clearly, everything that happened before and during this episode, you know, is defined by the violence, police being hit with bear spray, speared with flag poles, people dying. That’s not legitimate political discourse.

And, you know, again, I think that it’s in-service to President Trump’s narcissism. It’s all about him. I don’t think this is helping the Republican Party going forward. And I think it just opens them up to widespread criticism.

MACCALLUM: Well, let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about the Republican Party going forward because President Trump was able to sort of discuss politics and midterm realities with Benny Moreno, who’s a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio. He dropped out of that crowded primary.

So, Gillian, how much does it appear that President Trump is really influencing a lot of what’s happening out there with regard to the midterms?

TURNER: He all — Martha, I just want to flag — he also, in a statement a couple of days ago, said that he thinks America is going to hell. So, he clearly doesn’t have a very optimistic outlook going forward. I don’t know what that says about him as a politician.

I will say, with the two measures you just talked about, vice president — — former Vice President Pence’s comments combined with the GOP’s censure of Cheney and Kinzinger, they really — I mean the Republican Party this week really codified this litmus test that has been in place now for the better part of a year. It — this litmus test goes something, you know, to the tune of, was January 6th and insurrection, right? And if you’re a politician, if you’re a candidate right now and your answer is yes, you are in mortal peril. Odds are you’re not going to survive the next midterm elections. And your career is dead in the water. I think both these things were like looming, huge elephants in the room over the better part of a year and now they are putting them all out there.

MACCALLUM: Yes, Josh, you know, I’m thinking back to my discussion earlier with Senator John Barrasso. He said, you know, because I asked him to respond to these issues. He said, this is not on people’s list. You know, it’s not what people are talking about in Wyoming. When I go out and hear what concerns — and they’re really concerned about inflation. We know Americans are very concerned about crime, which we spoke about in the last bloc.

So, you know, how much of this really matters in the midterms? But, obviously, the behind the scenes king making stuff probably matters more for these candidates than the — than the issues, the larger issue underlying.

HOLMES: Yes, I mean, look, of course Senator Barrasso is absolutely correct about this. This is nowhere in — near the top ten of concerns of Americans regardless of your political affiliation across this country. I think the challenge for Republicans is to try to figure out how to stay on message here. You don’t want to be distracted by things that turn the firing squad within. But you what to figure out basically how to communicate a message that most Americans are concerned about, the economy, immigration, foreign policy, things like that.

MACCALLUM: Thanks, guys. Good to have all of you here today. We’ll see you next Sunday.

Coming up next, today marks the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. As the country gets ready for an enormous celebration that will mark her platinum jubilee, the queen sends a strong message today about the next queen. We’ll speak with one of the world’s most connected royal watchers, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tragic news reached Princess Elizabeth and her husband while in Kenya, and the new queen left immediately for London.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So, Queen Elizabeth, today, marks 70 years on the throne. The duty of monarch began for her with the shocking news that her father, King George VI, had died. And I just 25 years old, she became queen of an empire that at that time spanned a quarter of the world. Her grand coronation that June was the very first to be televised. The ceremony captivated the world. It was watched by over a hundred million people. She has served with 14 prime ministers.

During her reign, the British empire has shrunk considerably and the royal family has certainly had its ups and downs under the glare of global media. Now the royals are hoping for a reset as she celebrates this milestone.

Joining us now from London, U.K. media correspondent Neil Sean.

Neil, welcome to FOX NEWS SUNDAY. Good to have you with us today.

I want to start with the news this morning which is significant to people who watch this sort of thing, and that is that Queen Elizabeth has essentially given the nod for Camilla, Prince Charles’ wife, to become queen, essentially, when he takes the throne after she passes. Why is that so significant?

NEIL SEAN, U.K. MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, welcome also to the queen of Fox. As you know, Martha, love you.

MACCALLUM: Thank you, my friend!

SEAN: Yes, right. Right. Now, let me explain this. Let me explain this, though. It’s very simple. She’s queen consort. So what the queen is actually doing is this. She’s reshaping the monarchy.

And I don’t know about you, Martha, but I found it very strange actually when she, you know, used the phrase, you know, “in the fullest of time.” She’s setting up the shop, as it were, for the next session of the monarchy.

And what’s interesting also, Martha, is that, you know, people are then saying, well, is Camilla going to be queen? No, she is the queen consort. So it’s King Charles and then she is the consort. But I think by her majesty the queen putting this out there, she’s basically saying, these are my wishes, even after I’m no longer here, sadly. This is what I want you to do. And telling, of course, not just the United Kingdom, but the commonwealth, this is what’s happening.

As you know, I admire greatly our gracious majesty the queen and I think what a girl and what a time to do it on the eve, of course, of the accession (ph). Marvelous.

MACCALLUM: Yes, she’s 95 years old. And you spent some time at Buckingham Palace sort of taking the pulse this morning outside of what people think about this because everybody, you know, really things of Camilla as the person who broke up Diana and Charles’ marriage. But has that mellowed a little bit?

SEAN: Oh, it’s mellowed a lot. Let me tell you, I was at a functionalist week with Catherine, Prince Charles and Camilla, and you can see a really good bond, for instance, with Catherine and Camilla. And the public, you know, has really changed over the last 17 years. I’m not decrying — you know, we all have a past. Camilla will be the first to admit that. And when you think about other people in the royal family who have moaned and moaned about media intrusion, did anybody apart from Camilla, and of course the duchess of York, go through terrible times in the ’90s with the media? That’s already changed because she’s been very strong with a lot of her charities, you know, the abused charities, the reading charities.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

SEAN: She’s set to become very quickly the patron of the national theater too. Never ended for Camilla. Her big, big turnaround. We like her.

MACCALLUM: So this spring there will be, obviously, the big festivities. Today is the anniversary. But the spring will be the anniversary of the coronation. So, obviously, Prince Philip is no longer by the queen’s side. Who do you expect will be sort of in the prime spots there, and do you think Prince Andrew and Meghan and Harry, will they even be there?

SEAN: You have to spoil it, Martha. The thing is — no, the thing is, yes, you’re right, I think I’m — we’re going to see a lot more of Princess Anne. She is one of the figures behind the scenes putting a lot of this together. We will see Prince William and Prince Charles alongside our gracious majesty the queen. Do I believe Prince Andrew will be involved? I think privately, yes, but publicly, no. That’s his choice. Meghan and Harry, there is no appetite over here in the United Kingdom for them to return, whatever the message you’re hearing over there. Over here they’re polling incredibly badly. And I think after the messages over the last couple of days about, you know, the things that Prince Harry does and the Oprah Winfrey interview is still rated so badly in people’s minds over here. It’s actually made Prince Charles and Camilla even more popular. A lot of people feel incredibly sorry for them.

MACCALLUM: Interesting.

SEAN: So you know, difficult times.

MACCALLUM: All right, just 30 seconds left, but I want to swing you over to 10 Downing Street for a moment because, obviously, this garden party-gate has exploded. Do you think that Boris Johnson can hang on to his position as prime minister?

SEAN: I’m going to be back there this afternoon. We’ll have more about this. But I do. He will cling on. He’s reevaluating what’s going on there. He’s got some good people around him now and so we’ll keep you posted.

MACCALLUM: Plus, he lifted all the restrictions, right, which everybody loved.

All right, Neil, thank you so much. Always good to see you.

SEAN: Bye-bye.

MACCALLUM: Neil Sean from London this morning.

And that is it for today. I’m Martha MacCallum. I’ll see you tomorrow for “The Story,” weekdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. We look forward to seeing you there on the Fox News Channel. Have a great week, everyone. Thanks for joining us. And we’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.

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