‘Your World’ on growing threat of Russian invasion of Ukraine

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This is a rush transcript from “Your World,” Feburary 7 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

QUESTION: And what is your message to the roughly 30,000 Americans who are currently in Ukraine? Do you think that they should leave the country?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I have had discussions, numerous discussions with the Russians, and particularly with Putin.

I don’t know that he’s even made — I don’t know that he knows what he’s going to do. And I think he has to realize that it would be a gigantic mistake for him to move on Ukraine.

The impact on Europe and the rest of the world would be devastating, and he would pay a heavy price. I have been very, very straightforward and blunt with President Putin, both on the phone and in person.

We will impose the most severe sanctions that have ever been imposed, economic sanctions. And there will be a lot to pay for that down the road. It will affect others as well. It will affect us somewhat. It will affect Europeans. But it will have profound impact on his economy.

And I — but I don’t know. I know that he’s in a position now to be able to invade almost — assuming that the ground is frozen above Kyiv. He has the capacity to do that. What he is going to do, I don’t know. And I don’t think anybody knows but him.

QUESTION: Your message to the Americans who are currently in Ukraine? Should they leave the country?

BIDEN: I think it would be wise to leave the country, not — I don’t mean our — I don’t mean — I’m not talking about our diplomatic corps. I’m talking about Americans who are there.

I hate to see them get caught in a crossfire if in fact they can invade. And there’s no need for that. And if I were they, if I had to go in there, I would say leave.

QUESTION: And to Chancellor Scholz, can you outline specific steps that Germany is taking to reduce its energy dependence on Russia? And what do you say to those who suggest that Germans’ reliance on Russian gas is limiting Europe’s options for how to respond to the crisis in Ukraine?

OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): Thank you very much for raising that question, because it gives me the opportunity to address a topic that’s important to me.

One good news, maybe, within its strategy on fighting manmade climate change, Germany has decided at very short — in a very period of time to phase out the use of oil and gas by — very soon. And by 2045, Germany will have a carbon-neutral economy, as one of the strongest economies of the world.

And with regard to these energies, we often think about heating at home and driving a car, but we’re talking about industrial production producing steel, chemical substances, cement. And changing these industrial processes and reorganizing such systems is what we have planned.

So, this year, we will continue to take far-reaching decisions that will help us to use more wind energy, offshore wind energy, onshore wind energy, and solar energy, and expand the capacities, expand the grids, and have a strategy for Germany, but also worldwide, on the use of hydrogen, which is a central element for us to change our industrial processes that are using oil and gas right now.

The industry is willing to be on board. We’re doing this together with them. But it will probably be the biggest industrial modernization project in Germany in 100 years, with very good prospects that we will develop new technologies that other partners in the world can use as well.

And this will help us fight climate change. And, by the way, the energy mix today, we are talking about one-quarter of our energy that is linked to gas, and only part of that gas come from Russia. A big part comes from Norway or the Netherlands.

And, of course, it is very important to us that we develop an infrastructure that will give us the opportunity to have all options available, and react if needed. So you don’t have to be concerned. There are some who should be concerned who see themselves maybe too much as a deliverer of such resources, because we are focusing on renewable energies.

We will go down that path and make sure that this is the profitable future.

Mr. Rinken (ph).

QUESTION: Mr. President, I would like the ask you a question about LNG.

Germany and Europe are much more dependent on Russian gas than other regions of the world. And you promised European allies to help with LNG. But this resource is more expensive. It is not available in the volumes that might be needed to replace Russian gas.

And I would like to know how you would help Europeans in case of a conflict with Russia. Is this an empty promise, or what can you really do? What can you offer? And, in addition, the U.S. are buying oil from Russia worth billions of dollars.

And I would like to know whether these transfers are also part of the sanctions process against Russia.

And, Mr. Chancellor, liquefied natural gas, there is a big controversy in Germany about fracking gas? And how far is LNG a real replacement, or is it — also with a view to the climate club you intend to found, is it really an alternative to Russian pipeline gas?

BIDEN: Let me respond.

First of all, we are looking at opportunities to make up for lost gas, LNG, from Russia. We’re on the way of trying see what we can do to do that, dealing with our friends around the world as well. We think we can make up a significant portion of it that would be lost.

But what everybody forgets here is, Russia needs to be able to sell that gas and sell that oil. Russia relies — a significant part of Russia’s budget, it is the only thing they really have to export. And if, in fact, it is cut off, then they are going to be hurting very badly as well.

And it is of consequence to them as well. This is not just a one-way street. And so we are looking at what we can do to help compensate for loss of — immediate loss of gas in Europe, if it occurs. And that’s what we have been working on for some time now.

SCHOLZ (through translator): I can confirm that we work closely with the United States of America. And Joe Biden and I are working closely together as well.

We are prepared for all kinds of situations. And that’s part of what we do when we say we prepare sanctions. That means we need to be able to react at any time. And this is happening.

With regard to the use of LNG, I can say that the biggest volume of LNG used across the world is gas. And that is part of the debate. Concerning a long-term perspective, I already outlined what this is about. We will modernize our economy. And where gas is being used, we will switch to hydrogen.

This will be a process that will be fast — it will happen faster than many might imagine today. And that will create a bright future for all of us.

BIDEN: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.




BIDEN: The answer is yes.

SANDRA SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Listening until the very end of there to see if the president took any further questions, meeting with the German chancellor, trying to shore up concerns that Germany has been a forceful enough partner in calming tensions with Russia and Ukraine.

So, we have been watching this news conference, been going on, I believe, for the better part of about 20 minutes or so. Germany’s been facing a lot of criticism, as we have been reporting, for not being forceful enough with Russia.

So did today’s meeting do anything to change that, anything that the world just heard, the fate of that Russian pipeline, as you heard discussed in the first couple of questions there, that pipeline to Germany front and center at that news conference?

We’re going to ask Republican Senator Joni Ernst, a member of the Armed Services Committee, about that.

Welcome, everyone. I’m Sandra Smith, in for Neil Cavuto. And this is “Your World.”

First, FOX team coverage, Mark Meredith at the White House, more on what we just heard, Jennifer Griffin at the Pentagon on Russia’s continued military buildup on the Ukraine border. We will get to Jennifer in just a moment.

To you first, Mark, the news that we just heard. And it was really something, the first couple of questions the president took about that pipeline carrying very essential natural gas from Russia to Germany. He was asked about Germany’s need to win back trust. He says they have complete trust of the United States. There’s no doubt about Germany’s partnership with United States, none.

But he went on — and this is making a lot of headlines — to say there will no longer be Nord Stream to if Russia invades Ukraine. The conditions are, he said, if tanks and troops cross the border. He was asked how, since that is in Germany’s control. And he said, we will do it — Mark.


So, was a short news conference, but, boy, it was packed with a lot of information.

Let’s start with the headline you started with right there, is that President Biden saying he has a strong relationship now with this new German chancellor, and that he believes Germany and the U.S. are seeing eye to eye, that they are on the same page when it comes to trying to deter Russia from invading Ukraine.

The president also making it clear that there will be severe consequences in the form of sanctions, not only from the U.S., but from the U.S. allies, including Germany. And we also heard the German chancellor make that commitment as well.

Then you bring up the other big item out of this, and that is this Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the map you were just showing, which carries natural gas from Russia underneath the Baltic Sea into Germany. And this is a huge deal for Germany’s economy, for its energy security.

And we heard President Biden in his remarks make it clear that, if Russia were to invade, that Nord Stream 2 would not go online. But we also heard the German press specifically pressing the new chancellor asking, why is he not saying the same thing? He was only saying that the U.S. and Germany continue to see eye to eye, that they will work in unison together.

But perhaps he was trying to walk a fine line with the German politics when it comes to this pipeline that, of course, is so controversial, but also very necessary for a lot of people in his country.

We also heard that this continued talk of sanctions is being done now before any potential invasion could happen, the German chancellor saying that’s important because they don’t want to be caught unprepared, that they want to be able to strike back with Russia where it’s going to hurt, in their pocketbook, in a number of different ways.

But they didn’t detail exactly which entities would be targeted by these sanctions, instead saying that these are ongoing negotiations, and they don’t want to give their hand out completely.

We also heard President Biden make it very clear that he believes that Russian President Putin has yet to decide whether or not he is going to invade Ukraine or not. There was also an interesting question about those Americans whose may still be living in Ukraine, whether or not that they should get out now, or that they should wait.

The president saying he believes that they should get out now, God forbid there were to actually be an invasion. We have already seen the embassy there tell family members that they need to leave, but the embassy, of course, still open right now.

As to where all this goes from here. We continue to hear about those negotiations that have been happening today with the French, as well as Russian President Putin. We’re waiting to see if maybe President Biden picks up the phone to speak with President Macron a little bit later on this evening to get a full readout of what’s been going on.

The White House making it clear, though, that this sort of invasion will not be tolerated, the German sayings they are in agreement with them, but still walking that fine line when it comes to the pipeline — Sandra.

SMITH: Mark Meredith live at the White House, thank you.

MEREDITH: You bet.

SMITH: The first U.S. troops, meanwhile, have started arriving in Poland, as U.S. officials say Russia amassed 70 percent of the military firepower needed to invade Ukraine.

Jennifer Griffin has been reporting that. She’s live at the Pentagon with the very latest.

Jennifer, I couldn’t help but really listen in there when the reporters were pressing the German chancellor to confirm whether or not he and his country stand with the United States on shutting down that gas pipeline if there is indeed an invasion.

And what he said was, the German chancellor, that we will act together, we are united, we will take the same steps, and we will be hard on Russia.

Does that leave room for some question whether or not Germany would indeed allow the shut — shutting down of that pipeline?

JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I think it was a very clear statement, Sandra. And it’s something we have been reporting for some time from the moment when the German ambassador appeared on “Special Report” with Bret Baier about two weeks ago, in which she said that the chancellor had made clear that, if Russian troops went into Ukraine, that the Nord Stream 2 would be off the table.

He may not have said the words Nord Stream 2 today, but from what I have pieced together in our reporting, and from what I just heard from the body language and also what the German chancellor said, there is no daylight between the U.S. and this very important NATO ally.

And I think what you heard the German chancellor say is that we don’t outline everything we will do, because we may do more than taking Nord Stream 2 — not allowing it to come online.

Remember, Nord Stream 2 is not online yet. And President Biden was more direct, as you mentioned, and he said there will no longer be Nord Stream 2. The German chancellor was very clear that he was united with the United States, and if those Russian troops move into Ukraine, that there would be consequences in terms of that pipeline, but also more consequences.

And what he — what people didn’t ask about or I didn’t hear them ask about where the SWIFT sanctions. That is something that’s still on the table. There is a very broad base of sanctions that the — both Congress here is putting together. And it’s very significant that on a day when the French president is meeting with Putin, trying to give him an off-ramp from this potential invasion, that the German chancellor is here at the White House meeting with President Biden.

SMITH: Also, the conditions the president was asked about for an invasion, and then the shutting down of that pipeline, he said the conditions that would have to be met, tanks and troops crossing the border.

I don’t know if we have ever heard it, obviously, simple terms there, to define an invasion. But that was how the president phrased it just a moment ago, Jennifer.

GRIFFIN: Well, very significant.

And, of course, we have been hearing from U.S. officials that what they will be looking at in the coming weeks, they expect, and what the Russian playbook has been in the past is some sort of a cyberattack, a potential — trying to remove the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

These are all considered acts of aggression by the Russian government towards Ukraine. And it’s something that the U.S. National Security Council and officials are on the lookout for.

But they also are noting that, with the very large buildup that continues with the active exercises in Belarus with 30,000 Russian troops in Belarus, an unprecedented number of troops there, air force — the Russian air force moving closer to Ukraine’s borders, the continued buildup of the number of troops there, the U.S. officials believe that Russia and Putin are still positioning themselves for a very large, wide-scale invasion that would involve tanks and troops.

And that’s why you heard President Biden say, if those tanks and troops move in, Nord Stream 2 will be dead on arrival. But I think what they’re hoping is that Putin will come around. There are reports that there are some members — some Russian generals who have expressed concerns about what would happen if Russia invaded Ukraine and how bloody it would be.

We heard from U.S. officials last week that an estimated 50,000 Ukrainian civilians could be killed if a Russian invasion went forward. But you’re starting to see some cracks in the top levels of the Russian military, if these news reports are to be believed. The Pentagon wouldn’t comment on it moments ago when we had a press briefing with John Kirby.

But this is — these next few days and few weeks, the window may be closing for diplomacy. But this is a full-court press, an effort by NATO to try and convince Putin that this is a — would be a huge mistake, and that the allies stand united and that there will be significant consequences for Vladimir Putin and for Russia if he goes forward with an invasion — Sandra.

SMITH: Jennifer Griffin live at the Pentagon for us.

Jennifer, thank you.

So, the question does still remain, although it seems like we learned a whole lot more a few seconds ago, does Germany reliably have our backs in this fight?

Let’s get now to former USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold.

Thank you very much for joining us, sir.

Did you hear what you needed to hear from the German chancellor there, standing and speaking and taking questions next to the U.S. president, that Germany stands firmly with the U.S. in this fight?

KIRK LIPPOLD, FORMER COMMANDER, USS COLE: I heard what I heard, and that is that they did not make a firm commitment on what they were going to do.

Granted, in the world of diplomacy, you want to keep a little bit of flexibility. But at the end of the day, I’m going to flashback to 9/11. When we were attacked in Article 5 was invoked, Germany did not send combat troops to fight alongside American soldiers. They sent support and logistics folks instead.

So, whether Germany will stand foursquare with the United States as a NATO member and, in fact, do what’s necessary to ensure that Russia is punished for invasion, I do not believe that Germany is the reliable partner that a lot of people think that they are today.

SMITH: That’s certainly a big statement, as we do look like we’re getting closer and closer to a possible invasion here, as the White House continues to detail.

Do you believe, though, diplomacy can still work and Putin can come around?

LIPPOLD: I do believe diplomacy can work.

I think there are a number of opportunities for both sides to stand back. Putin clearly needs to make actions where he is not reinforcing the troops and building them up, both on the Russian border to Ukraine and on the Belarus border. But, in fact, I think he can do it.

But what struck me about the conversation we just saw between President Biden and the chancellor from Germany was the fact that almost half of it dealt with green energy issues. We have spent too much time sacrificing our national security to the green energy stuff, when, in reality, today, you look at what we have done to our energy independence, which directly feeds into our national security, which also could be bolstering Germany right now.

And we can’t, because we don’t have the capacity today. And at some point, while green energy may be in our future, we also need to look at the reality of what is happening on the ground. And I think that President Biden was not doing that.

SMITH: But it appears that Biden does see that Nord Stream 2 pipeline that carries that natural gas from Western Russia down to Northern Germany, he does see that as leverage, because he said very firmly, if troops and tanks cross the border, they will shut that pipeline down and there will be severe economic consequences.

LIPPOLD: Absolutely.

SMITH: So, don’t you take the president at his word? OK.


I do believe that he does understand what kind of a large stick the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has. Unfortunately, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been a problem years in the making, because, let’s not forget, this is not just Germany that could have put a stop to the European continent being dependent on Russian energy.

Denmark also had an opportunity. And they allowed the pipeline to be built. The fact that it is almost at completion, in fact, Russia can use because they know that they’re going to continue to have energy needs on the European continent through Germany that allow them to bypass Ukraine, which allows them to conduct an invasion, and just bide their time, knowing eventually the Europeans will give in, accept energy from Russia, and then we will — they will be back at square one with that one.

And Ukraine is going to be another satellite of Russia.

SMITH: What about the president’s comment, though, the economic consequences that Russia would suffer and Russia’s people would suffer if that were to happen?

We know that energy is the number one export of Russia. There would be severe consequences for the people should that be shut down.

LIPPOLD: I think the number one consequence you’re going to have is if we start cutting off all of the oligarchs and Putin himself from the international banking system, those SWIFT measures. That’s what’s going to make a difference.

I don’t think we should tip our hand and let them know who we’re going to target or when. But, at the end of the day, if Russia invades, they should feel a financial consequence that is literally going to drop them to their knees.

But we also need to be mindful we don’t want to back the bear into a corner. We want to make sure that they understand that there is opportunities for them to back out, there’s diplomacy that can still work. The sanctions that can be put into place will hammer their financial sector and their banking system, as well as their economy.

But at the end of the day, all those can be used to also rebuild and make sure that Russia understands, if they back off and take a diplomatic ramp, there will be opportunity to be able to have peace.

SMITH: A firm message from you. A firm message the U.S. is trying to send to Vladimir Putin.

Sir, thank you very much for your time. Thanks for joining us.

LIPPOLD: Thank you.

SMITH: All right, well, more on the Russia showdown with Senate Armed Services Republican Joni Ernst. She will be coming up.

And ahead of a key inflation report Thursday, what is the maker of a major food company telling us today?

And with pump prices still surging, is the White House worrying?

All that and what this newly released video could be changing.



SMITH: What are we doing to increase oil production in this country today?

We are by the day becoming more reliant on foreign nations for their oil, when we were very recently energy-independent in this country.


Now, a few months ago, the president released 50 million gallons from the Strategic Reserve. And, certainly, that helped matters. If that’s something we have to look back again at, we will.

SMITH: How did it help? Oil and gasoline prices have only gone up since then.

BERNSTEIN: No, in fact, prices fell by about 10 percent a gallon around that period.

SMITH: They’re now above that level.

BERNSTEIN: Gas prices…


SMITH: Your pain at the pump is still a real pain for this White House. The national average rising again this weekend, and the administration is still scrambling to get a grip on lowering prices.

To FBN’ Edward Lawrence at the White House with the very latest.

So, what’s the plan, Edward?

EDWARD LAWRENCE, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Sandra, no new ideas from President Joe Biden about how to reduce oil and gas prices.

As you know, oil prices directly relate to the price of gas. And, right now, an average gallon of unleaded gasoline is $3.44 a gallon. That is the highest level since 2014, when a then-Vice President Joe Biden was in office.

Now, the price of crude oil more than $91 a barrel. Many experts are saying we could see $100 a barrel by this summer. So, what else is the president saying that he’s doing? He’s calling on OPEC. There’s the price of crude oil today; $91.32 is where it finished. He’s calling on OPEC to boost production, falling on deaf ears.

There’s an FTC investigation into possible price-gouging and pushing for more spending as a way to lower costs, although it’s unclear how that will affect oil and gas prices.

So I asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki if the administration is considering reconsidering the policies meant to discourage investment on oil drilling. Listen.


LAWRENCE: What about encouraging the investment in drilling in other places into the U.S.?

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Again, I think the president’s view is that we are — it is a huge advantage to us to be a leader in the clean energy transition.

And over the course of years and decades, we have become a clean energy superpower, because, ultimately, that’s not just where the jobs are. It’s where the strategic advantage will lie in 10, 20, 30 years.


LAWRENCE: So the answer is no to loosening up regulations going forward on fossil fuel industry, even for a brief period of time just to bring down oil and gas prices — back to you, Sandra.

SMITH: OK, thank you, Edward, live at the White House for us.

Thank you.

Tyson Foods says today’s demand hasn’t been cooling, despite a recent series of price spikes. So, as long as shoppers keep paying, will grocery bills keep surging? And is there anything D.C. can be doing about it?

Let’s get the read from King’s College business professor Brian Brenberg.

Brian, it has not been a few days, a few weeks, a few months. It’s been the better part of a year that we have been seeing these price spikes, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Demand is not going away. So doesn’t that mean higher prices are coming?


Yes, Sandra, it’s not getting better. Demand is not going away. In fact, The Wall Street Journal had a great article today about people buying more bulk items going into 2022. They’re not trusting that supply chains are getting fixed. People are getting more negative that this problem is ever going to get fixed and they are buying more.

That’s driving up demand. That’s going to drive up prices. And the president and his team don’t have any answers to this problem. They’re still talking about spending, nonsensically, in a world where spending is driving inflation. That’s the only answer that they have.

As Edward said, they have no new ideas on energy. That’s a huge driver here, Sandra. If all we’re getting is no answers on energy, no answers on spending, and, in fact, more spending and people not trusting this government to get it under control, boy, we’re going to see prices continue to rise.

SMITH: And if the answer is to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, that’s not a good one, because we have done that, and prices are now above — as you just heard me mentioned to Jared Bernstein there — that was a Friday interview — prices are back above when we implemented that emergency move.

So now you have got consumers paying $3.44 as a national average, those prices well — they have gone up about a buck over year over year. This is crude oil right now. It’s firmly above $91 a barrel. So, when it comes to this energy picture, yes, prices are global.

But we weren’t as dependent on foreign nations for the oil we were refining into gasoline just a few years ago. And now Russia is the number three country that we’re importing oil from, Brian. How does this work?

BRENBERG: Exactly.

Yes, prices are global, but local actions matter.


BRENBERG: Local actions in the U.S. matter, increasing supply, not giving Russia the ability they have right now to dictate world affairs.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve release did absolutely nothing, zero. It was complete window dressing. And you heard the president again referencing that today, talking about going back to OPEC for help. We have got to stop going back to unreliable parties for our energy needs, when we can be doing it here on our own.

We are so backward right now. It’s not just influencing American consumers. But it’s got geopolitics thrown into chaos. That entire press conference was about energy, Sandra, and it — at the heart of it, the leverage is energy. And the reason things are going to move or not move with Ukraine is going to come down to energy.

SMITH: You look at that Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and I thought it was newsworthy as well that the president, when asked, after he said that we will shut down that pipeline if Putin invades Ukraine, the follow-up was, how can you do that or say that we will do that if Germany is not on board, Germany?


SMITH: Germany has control of the pipeline. He said, we will stop it. How? He said, we will. There was no exact plan detail there. Or maybe they just don’t want to share it.

BRENBERG: Yes, that’s really confidence-inspiring

Notice the German chancellor would not name the pipeline. The fact that he wouldn’t name the pipeline tells me I don’t know that they’re so committed to it.

SMITH: They say they are.

BRENBERG: Here’s the problem. Germany — Germany, they are yes, but the guy won’t name the pipeline.

And here’s what happens. I’d rather be the seller than the buyer right here. Russia is the seller of energy. Germany is the buyer. Lots of buyers out there for energy, but where’s Germany going to go? They didn’t build the liquefied natural gas reserves that they needed with us.


BRENBERG: They are in a tough spot. I will believe it when I see it with Germany getting tough on Nord Stream.

SMITH: It puts a real squeeze on the rest of Europe. There will be a scramble to provide that lost energy to Germany.


SMITH: So, OK, we learned a little bit more just a few minutes ago.

Brian, great to have you here. Thank you very much.

BRENBERG: Good to see you.

SMITH: Energy security in the wake of the Russia showdown a major concern.

We’re going to be talking to Senate Armed Services Republican Joni Ernst coming up.

And crime still surging, yet another brazen smash-and-grab incident caught on camera. What more needs to be done to keep this from happening?


SMITH: To the crime crisis now.

The mother of New York City crime victims speaking out, as her son’s alleged killer is out on bail. She’s calling on Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg to reverse the decision.

FOX News correspondent Eric Shawn is live in New York City. He’s got more on that — Eric.


Well, bail reform is being blamed for letting criminals out on the streets. There was a protest against it here earlier today at Manhattan criminal court. Crime victims advocates, people whose loved ones have been murdered and others spoke out against bail reform.

They cite one murder victim as a special symbol of what they say is wrong with it. U.S. Army Sergeant Hason Correa survived Afghanistan, but he was brutally murdered here in New York City in 2018. Police say he was pounced on by a gang and stabbed to death. Three of his accused assailants are in jail awaiting trial, but one suspect is free.

And those here blame bail reform. Accused murderer Mary Saunders had her bail cut to $12,000. And the protesters, including Hason’s mother, Madeline Brame, say Sandra should not be free, but instead should be behind bars.


MADELINE BRAME, MOTHER OF HASON CORREA: There are thousands of all kinds of criminal elements walking free in our streets, free to come and go and do whatever they want to do to whomever they choose to do it to with no accountability, with no repercussions.

Who is anyone to knowingly and willingly allow that to happen?


SHAWN: Hason left a young lady with three young children. And now The charity Tunnel to Towers, which helps families of U.S. troops and first responders who have given the ultimate sacrifice, well, the foundation is helping Hason’S family too.

It is giving them a Legacy Award, payments of $5,000, recognizing crime victims.


FRANK SILLER, TUNNEL TO TOWERS FOUNDATION: The thought of somebody who serves our country, we should always make sure that we take care of their families.

And this is just symbolic of how scary it is out there today in not just New York, but many cities across America.


SHAWN: Well, the pro-bail reform group called Justice Not Fear says bail reform has kept about 200,000 New Yorkers out of jail, and it accuses the critics of fearmongering and what it says giving out misinformation.

But you asked Madeline Brame and her fellow crime advocates about that, and they totally reject it — Sandra, back to you.

SMITH: Eric Sean reporting from New York City for us, thank you.

This as those smash-and-grab robberies are on the rise. Shocking new video here showing thieves raiding a Westchester, New York, Louis Vuitton store, as people inside attempt to shop and stop them.

So what more needs to be done to stop that trend?

Retired NYPD Lieutenant Joe Cardinale joins us now.

Just awful to see that happening just north of New York City, suburban New York. When does this crime stop?

JOE CARDINALE, FORMER NYPD LIEUTENANT: It stops when the DAs and the judges do their job, all right?

You cannot allow these criminals to go out and continue these crime sprees. This is organized crime at its best, right? We have spoke about — spoken about this so many times before. And what — your last segment was the proof of the pudding, all right?

This is the — these are the — what proof do they need, other than — they’re fearmongering? I don’t think so. These are dying people out on the streets, that their families have to live with this. And the bail reform is to blame. And the fact that they know there’s a threshold that they can go to and they can not exceed that is great, because that works in their favor, the criminals.

But in this case, I guarantee you they went over the threshold and they’re still not being challenged, because nobody cares about prosecution anymore. It’s only the big crimes, only when somebody does get murdered. And look what happens even when they do get murdered.

They are let out with the bail reform, because the bail reform needs to be readdressed in such a big manner that it’s — you can’t wait until an election for this. And you have a pants empty suit governor right now that is standing behind these days, instead of getting on their case.

Anything you see on TV, Sandra, with them meeting with the president and the mayor is nothing but a window dressing.

SMITH: I couldn’t help but just watch that over and over again as you were talking. Our viewers were able to watch that at that mall there in Westchester, New York, and the security guards that stood and watched, because, of course, they feel like their hands are tied, Joe.

CARDINALE: Absolutely, because, well, I don’t know what it is in Westchester. I don’t know what the you know what the problem is in Westchester with prosecution.

But that happens all over, in L.A. It happens in New York quite often now. And it’s going to continue to happen, because who’s going to challenge them? The police do their job, say they do lock them up, and they’re out the next day, before the ink is even dry on their arrest reports. They’re out doing the crime all over again. And it’s not just this.

The muggings of the old ladies, and everything on the streets today. This city is out of control right now. And you have a mayor that wants to do it. But when you have city council members like Caban who just outright have a disdain for police officers, this is going to continue to happen.

They feel, they really feel they do not need the police, all right?


CARDINALE: And that is the craziest notion I have ever seen going across this nation.

SMITH: And criminals see this happening. And, sadly, that encourages more to act out just like them.

Joe, thank you.

CARDINALE: Anytime, Sandra.

Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst set to release legislation to crack down on crime. She’s coming up.

And think airfares are pricey now?

Phil Keating is at Miami International on why spring break could break your wallet — Phil.


Everybody’s getting cabin fever. And airline ticket prices are going up. As you mentioned, spring break is right around the corner. And there’s another factor possibly in play, a major low-cost airline carrier merger.

I will tell you all about it after the break.


SMITH: Two low-cost airlines hooking up.

Frontier is buying Spirit airlines for $3 billion in cash and stock just as airfares could be going up ahead of spring break.

To Phil Keating at Miami International Airport to break it all down for us.

Hello, Phil.

KEATING: Hi, Sandra. Good afternoon.

The two low-cost carriers are putting the big picture value of this deal at more around $7 billion, which includes the assumption of net debt and operating leases. Frontier Airlines will get 51.5 percent of the new company, the name of which has yet to be decided.

However the companies say the two carriers will — the deal would add more than 1,000 flights to about 150 airports around the country and create 10,000 jobs over the next four years.

In this statement, the CEO of Spirit described the merger like this: “This transaction is centered around creating an aggressive ultra-low fare competitor to serve our guests even better, expand career opportunities for our team members, and increase competitive pressure, resulting in more consumer-friendly fares for the flying public.”

Federal regulators heavily scrutinize such mega-mergers out of concern with maintaining competition vs. too much industry consolidation. This proposed merger, if approved, would happen most likely second half of this year.

And if you want to fly somewhere this spring and summer, travel experts suggest book now, as airfares are expected to rise nearly 10 percent each consecutive month as we approach July. Plus, the high-demand spring break months of March and April are on deck. Travel agents and passengers tell us how it is.


GABRIELA BERACHA, VIP TRAVEL: We haven’t seen any like amazing deal last minute, come here and spend $200 per night. Now it’s not like that anymore.

KEATING: It’s just more expensive?

BERACHA: More expensive.


KEATING: Not surprisingly, the top destinations right now are the warm places, Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas. That’s where people want to go now.

And analysts are also attributing these higher fares to rising jet fuel costs and something the industry is calling post-Omicron demand. The wave of this Omicron infection is about to subside, predictably, right around March — back to you, Sandra.

SMITH: So, the calm before the storm.

It’s rather calm there behind you at the moment, Phil Keating, but I’m sure it is about to pick up in the coming weeks.

Phil thank you.

KEATING: You got it.

SMITH: All right, shares of Spirit Airlines surging on the news, Frontier Airlines also gaining some ground.

President Joe Biden, meanwhile, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz saying they are teaming up in this Russia showdown, promising sanctions after an invasion.

Is it a mistake to wait?

Senate Armed Services Republican Joni Ernst joins us next.


SMITH: FOX News Alert, to Connecticut, where we are seeing the governor holding a news conference right now, where he has just announced the ending of a statewide mask mandate in schools and child care centers in Connecticut.

That will begin February 28, saying — quote — “The decision after that will be up to individual school districts.

So the mask mandate in Connecticut will come to an end February 28. And this follows New Jersey and Delaware also dropping their mask mandates today.

All right, we will continue to follow that for you.

Meanwhile, President Biden today meeting with German Chancellor Scholz, as tensions keep escalating between Russia and Ukraine.

What did my next guest make of what she heard earlier this hour?

Senate Armed Services Committee member Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst joining me now.

Thank you so much, and great to see you.

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): Thank you.

SMITH: So, you heard what the president and the chancellor had to say. What was your takeaway from it?

ERNST: Well, the takeaway is that we really need to push the Germans to gain this — join this allegiance and really push back against President Vladimir Putin.

It is very important that we show strength through this. And what I hear from the Biden administration, from our president and from the chancellor is that they are willing to impose sanctions after Russia has invaded Ukraine.

And we have all seen the public estimates of what will happen when Russia invades Ukraine. It is up to 50,000 deaths of Ukrainians, that they could take the country within a few days. And all of that is very, very dire.

So we know that we need to show strength. Let’s push back. And I continue to encourage President Biden to do that.

SMITH: When you said we need to see Germany join the United States in this fight, do you believe they’re not committed? They say they are.

ERNST: Well, I believe they are committed to Russian energy sources. That’s what I believe.

And we need to move them away from that. The United States also has decreased our own self-sufficiency when it comes to energy. And we do rely upon Russia as well. We need to move away from Russia. We need to let them know that we are going to impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

We can help Germany move away from their reliance by looking towards the United States and other partners to support their energy needs. That’s what we need to focus on.

SMITH: So do you take Germany at its word when the chancellor said they will stand with the United States in shutting down that Nord Stream 2 pipeline if tanks and troops do indeed cross the Russia-Ukraine border?

ERNST: Well, I believe at that point, then, yes, they would be forced into the position of supporting NATO and the United States.

However, their reluctance to engage in any sort of meaningful sanctions against Russia at this point is absurd to me. Once Russia has invaded Ukraine, those lives are lost, that territory is lost. There is very little you can do to get Russia out of that area.

Just look at Crimea. Look at Georgia. What they’re basically saying, between President Biden and the chancellor, is that, go ahead and invade. There’s no way we can get you out of there. You’re going to destabilize Europe, and we’re going to sit idly by and watch.

SMITH: Senator, switching gears for a moment, you are seeing the rise in crime. We all are across the country. And


SMITH: And, as you take notice, you have decided to introduce a bill to crack down on that crime. We just showed the video of another smash-and- grab robbery up in the northern suburbs north of New York City, in the suburbs of New York.

So what’s your plan to crack down on this?

ERNST: Right.

This has been so discouraging, Sandra. We see a lot of permissive policies coming from these progressive politicians, these very liberal district attorneys. And we see this rise in crime, and not just crime, but violent crime. We see sexual predators, child pornographers, those that engage in, over state lines, domestic violence.

All of this, we need to make sure we’re cracking down on, rather than allowing it to happen. So my bill would essentially increase those penalties for these types of violent crimes, those that prey on children under the age of 12, those that are child pornographers. We need to go after them and certainly include stiffer penalties.

We can’t continue to allow these types of things to happen across the United States. And, again, it comes back to this administration. The policies that they’re enabling, it’s allowing so much of this to happen all across the United States.

SMITH: I have only got about 30 seconds left, but do you think Democrats are waking up? They’re seeing the polling. They’re seeing the crime. People don’t feel comfortable. They don’t feel safe, many, in their own cities and towns.

And all of a sudden, you’re hearing some of these mayors of Democrat-led cities like New York and Chicago and L.A. getting tough on crime, or at least using rhetoric that would appear so.


Well, and you have heard the president also say we need to provide federal funding to help hire back police officers. I’m sorry, but these are the same folks that were engaged in the defund the police movement through the last several years.


ERNST: Now they’re facing the consequences.

SMITH: Senator Joni Ernst, appreciate you joining us on both those big topics. A lot of news to cover today. Appreciate your time.

Thank you very much.

ERNST: Thank you, Sandra.

SMITH: Great to see the senator there.

And a busy news day, indeed, that news conference wrapping earlier this hour, we had full team coverage of it. Coverage will continue here on the FOX News Channel.

Thank you so much for joining us. That will do it for us here. I’m Sandra Smith. Thanks for joining us today.

And you can catch John Roberts and me weekdays 1:00 p.m. Eastern time for “America Reports.” We will see you again tomorrow.

Thanks so much for joining us here on “Your World.”

“The Five” starts right now.



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