‘Fox News Sunday’ on January 30, 2022

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‘Fox News Sunday’ on January 30, 2022

This is a rush transcript of "Fox News Sunday" on January 30, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS

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This is a rush transcript of “Fox News Sunday” on January 30, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Dana Perino.

A winter blast buries the Northeast and the world’s eyes on Vladimir Putin to see how he’ll react to U.S. and NATO demands in the escalating standoff over Ukraine.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: This is larger in scale and scope and amassing of forces than anything we’ve seen in recent memory.

PERINO (voice-over): President Biden sends warplanes to Europe and warns his Ukrainian counterpart Russia could invade within weeks.

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We have to be ready in case this happens very, very soon.

PERINO: And the high-stakes diplomacy continues has Washington and NATO try to speak with one voice to counter Russia.

We’ll ask Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby about U.S. partners, U.S. military preparations, and plans to help Americans in Ukraine if Moscow makes a move.

Plus, the president expected to nominate a liberal judge to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court.

PERINO: But a 50/50 Senate means a razor-thin margin for confirmation and Republicans are not sold.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): I’m fearful that the president is going to nominate a left-wing ideologue.

PERINO: We’ll talk with Republican Senator Tom Cotton, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will oversee confirmation hearings.

Then — a funeral for a fallen police officer.

DOMINIQUE LUZURIAGA, WIDOW OF NYPD OFFICER JASON RIVERA: The system continues to fail us. We are not safe anymore.

PERINO: As law enforcement colleagues in cities across the country fight and face rising crime, we’ll ask our Sunday panel about calls to reverse progressive soft-on-crime policies.

All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

We’ll get to the tense situation in Ukraine in a moment, but first, let’s begin with breaking weather news as a nor’easter dumped almost 2 feet of snow across parts of the mid-Atlantic and New England. Wind gust of more than 70 miles per hour knocking out power to more than 100,000 homes and businesses with bitter cold in the forecast. The powerful storm also forcing airlines to cancel flights in and out of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston.

We have team coverage. Alexis McAdams here on the ground in New York City, but let’s begin with Molly Line. She is live in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Hi, Molly.

MOLLY LINE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dana.

It is a beautiful but very frosty, cold day here in Plymouth. 9 degrees up in Boston, just 11 degrees, pretty cold or a dig day, which is what today amounts to be. Boston also seeing the biggest single day snow record, 23.6 inches.

Now, throughout the course of the storm, some hundred thousand people were without power. Very gusty storm, a lot of high winds. Utility crews came in from all over the country, from Michigan, from Florida, to get the lights back on, and at this hour, there are still more than 50,000 people without power according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management map app that they have.

When you talk about the course of the storm, a lot of coastal flooding. Lots of problems to the south city of Boston, from Plymouth, lots of flooding out Nantucket, and at this hour the flights are finally beginning to get off the ground. But Boston Logan Airport still seeing a lot of cancellations and delays, and just to the south of us in LaGuardia, 45 percent or so delays and cancellations.

So, today a beautiful sunny day to get things up, back in the air, and off of the ground and getting cleanup going, likely the kids will be back in school on Monday — Dana.

PERINO: I love how positive you are about it all, Molly. Truly a woman from New England. Thank you so much.

Let’s go now to Alexis McAdams. She is live in Central Park.

Hi, Alexis.

ALEXIS MCADAMS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Dana. Well, it’s beautiful here in Central Park, a very picturesque scene, lots of people out enjoying the winter elements here in Central Park, according to the weather service, rather, take a look, they had about 8 inches of snow here that fell and it’s that light fluffy stuff so that’s what caused a lot of the visibility issues. But we will give you a live look around Central Park. You can see there’s really not too many issues out here right now.

The light fluffy mix, though, is creating picturesque views here but Long Island was hit with about 2 feet of snow, while the storm moved out overnight, it left behind a large cleanup task. So it’s not beautiful everywhere around New York. The roads are still pretty messy.

The Department of Sanitation has crews on 12-hour shifts, working to clear the snow and ice for the roads, preparing for Monday’s commute. Today, less flight cancellations, both are operating, LaGuardia and JFK, at about 50 percent. But still a lot of work needs to be done, Dana.

PERINO: Fun to see everyone out and about, thank you, Alexis.

For extended coverage, download the FOX weather app at foxweather.com.

Now to the high-stakes diplomacy to stop a war in Eastern Europe. The U.S. and its allies confronting Russia over its buildup of troops along the border of Ukraine and fears Vladimir Putin could invade within weeks. And tomorrow, the U.S. will square off with Russia at a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York.

In a moment, we’ll speak live with Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.

But, first let’s turn to Alex Hoff. She’s at the White House with the latest developments.

Good morning, Alex.

ALEXANDRIA HOFF, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dana.

This U.S. Security Council meeting, the hope there is to call attention to Russian aggression in order to preempt Russia from playing victim in order to justify a military attack.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOFF (voice-over): The U.S. making it clear there is still space for diplomacy.

LLOYD AUSTIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Conflict is not inevitable.

HOFF: Even as Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops on the border of Ukraine, with the equipment capable of immediate invasion.

MILLEY: I think you have to go back quite a while there and into the Cold War days to see something of this magnitude.

HOFF: Russian Defense Ministry video shows air defense units arriving by rail in Belarus, where thousands of Russian troops now also stand just 60 miles away from Ukraine’s capital.

According to the Pentagon, since December, the U.S. has sent more than $200 million in security assistance to Ukraine, while reinforcing security for NATO allies.

On Friday, President Biden said he will put troops in the region.

BIDEN: I’ll be moving U.S. troops to Eastern Europe and the NATO countries in the near term — not a lot.

HOFF: On Monday, President Biden will meet with the emir of Qatar to discuss fallout from the U.S. departure from Afghanistan. They will also discuss how sanctions on Russia could affect Europe, which relies on Russian natural gas. Qatar’s reserves could serve as a backup.

Timing on Russia’s decision when or if to advance may come down to sport. Putin is expected to attend Friday’s opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman warned that a military action could follow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOFF (on camera): Ukraine’s president said last week that he doesn’t want to see panic over the situation but a White House official told FOX News over the weekend that the risk of invasion should not be downplayed — Dana.

PERINO: Alex Hoff, thank you so much, reporting from the White House for us. Alex, thank you.

Joining us live now from the Pentagon, Press Secretary John Kirby.

Welcome back to “FOX News Sunday.”

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Thanks.

PERINO: John, I know yesterday, General Milley spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart. And all week, you had the president of Ukraine suggesting that the White House is overstating the risk.

But is it also possible that the president of Ukraine is underplaying the risk?

KIRBY: Look, we’re in constant communication with our Ukrainian counterparts. Secretary Austin has spoken to his as well. We’re making sure we’re sharing information and context as best we can.

I can’t speak for what President Zelensky is saying or what he is seeing and certainly what he is saying about what he’s seen, but we’ve been nothing but clear and transparent about our concerns here at the Pentagon over this rapid buildup over the last few months around the border with Ukraine and in Belarus, not to mention, you know, maritime activity by the Russians in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

So, what we said, Dana, is that he has a lot of options, he Putin has a lot of options available to him if he wants to further invade Ukraine and he can execute some of those options imminently.

PERINO: So what is the Pentagon’s definition of imminent?

KIRBY: Imminent means it could happen really honestly at any time. Now, when I say “it,” it depends on what Vladimir Putin might want to do.

Again, as Secretary Austin said on Friday, he has a lot of options, a lot of capability available to him. He could do something on a small scale, he could do something on a fairly large scale, and he continues to add troops to that border with Ukraine. We are watching that even over the course of this weekend, so he increases his ability to choose options and to do something if he wants to act militarily.

The other thing that we said though, Dana, is it doesn’t have to come to conflict. We still believe there’s room and space for diplomacy, and we’d like to see that be the solution here.

PERINO: Certainly. I know that the Pentagon has been very much a urging diplomacy and I understand the need for a deterrent on the back end. But as you just pointed out, Vladimir Putin has already escalated this quite a bit.

KIRBY: Yes.

PERINO: And so, is there any possibility that it would be worth it to maybe name the banks that would be sanctioned, or to make some sort of effort now to show them that we mean business and to ask, like, do you want a little bit more of that if it gets any worse?

KIRBY: I think we’ve been very clear with Mr. Putin about the economic consequences that could come his way and the way of the Russian people should he further incur and invade inside Ukraine. And one of the things about sanctions is once you trip that, then the deterrent effect is lost.

So I think we’ve been very, very clear that we are going to look at sanctions and economic consequences, the likes of which we have not looked at before, or even considered even as far back as 2014. We don’t want to lose that deterrent effect.

The other thing is, you know, the Russians talk about it. One of the last things they want is a strong and bolstered NATO on their western flank. But if he does another invasion inside Ukraine, that’s exactly what they’re going to get. They’re going to — you’re going to see the United States and our NATO allies bolster our capabilities on the Eastern flank of the alliance.

PERINO: I’m glad you brought up NATO, because that was exactly what I wanted to ask about as well. It’s an organization that runs by consensus. It’s a lot of different players.

Germany certainly giving everyone a little bit of headaches and heartburn given that it’s got such a reliance on Russian in terms of its energy. You had France wanting to go its own way. Turkey is a very strange ally at this point in NATO’s history.

Given all of this and going forward, do you believe that NATO can survive, and should it survive?

KIRBY: Absolutely yes, and yes. The secretary spoke with his French and German counterparts just on Friday morning before he went out to the press room here, and they were very good conversations. The French and the Germans are the same level of concern out of them about what they’re seeing from Russia doing (ph) as we have.

Now, each country in the alliance has to act within their own dictates. Of course, they’re sovereign states, but both of them are deeply concerned about what we see Russia doing and both of them are incredibly strong NATO allies.

Germany hosts thousands of U.S. troops on their soil. We couldn’t have fought the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without their support. They very much are strong allies and we’re confident that NATO is going to stay united.

PERINO: All right. So let me also ask you a little bit more about the energy policy, because a lot of this all has to come back to where you get your energy.

Listen to “The Wall Street Journal”, this is editorial from this week.

The self-created energy vulnerability of the West is one of the horrifying marvels of the age. You have to go back to the disarmament of the 1920s to recall a time such willful self-delusion. Even as President Biden races to rescue Europe, his build back better plan would send the U.S. down the same road of energy disarmament.

John, does the Pentagon factor in the United States’ own energy partner when it considers what all needs to be done to protect us in the future?

KIRBY: Well, what we’d like to have is a lot of options here at the Pentagon, and that means diversification of alternatives for our logistics and our sustainment, you know? And without speaking to larger U.S. energy policy — I mean, we absolutely always look at alternatives to our own energy flow here at the Defense Department. And I know that the Biden administration is working with countries around the world to talk about alternative energy suppliers, energy routes, energy alternatives should the Russians try to use energy of some sort of weapon in this — in this conflict.

PERINO: All right. I want to ask you also about China because no doubt China is watching what is happening in Ukraine and you saw just last Sunday alone, China sent 39 warplanes over time want to try to intimidate that small island.

Is China seeing enough of a pushback, enough strength, from the U.S. and NATO in the Ukraine to deter it from trying to go after Taiwan after the Olympics?

KIRBY: I think one of the things you can read into some of this increase China activity here is in fact that they recognize that the international community remains committed to trying to achieve some sort of stability and peace there in the Indo Pacific region, and that the United States is been very clear and very consistent about our commitment to this — to Taiwan’s ability to defend itself through the Taiwan Relations Act. We’ve been very consistent about our one China policy.

And I think they see the way we have marshaled allies and partners throughout the Indo Pacific region. Five of our seven treaty alliances are in the Pacific, and they know that. And we’re working on those alliances and partnerships, and I think some of what you’re seeing out of their activity is a recognition on their part that we and our partners and our allies are actually only getting stronger, only getting more resolved to see a free and open Indo Pacific.

PERINO: Someone who might not agree is the leader of North Korea, desperate for attention always. This year alone — and today is only January 30th — North Korea has reportedly conducted more missile tests, including one this weekend, than they did in all of 2021. So, seven tests this month.

So, is the president spending enough time paying attention to North Korea, or do we need to focus a little bit more on that as he tries to increase his capabilities?

KIRBY: No, look, the administration — certainly here at the Defense Department — laser focused on the challenges to the Korean peninsula coming out of Pyongyang. We are in close coordination and consultation with our allies and partners. That just — that’s not just South Korea, but Japan as well, about the threats that the burgeoning ballistic missile program by Kim Jong Un continues to present.

And we noticed this launch over the weekend. We have condemned that. It is a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, and we’re going to be discussing that with, again, allies and partners on the world.

I mean, but the other thing is here, we’ve got to make sure that that alliance on the Korean peninsula is strong. We remain committed to a denuclearized Korean peninsula. We remain committed to diplomatic talks.

We told Pyongyang, we’re willing to sit down without precondition to have those kinds of dialogues, but obviously, Kim Jong Un wants to go a different way. So we have to make sure that we’re ready militarily on the peninsula and in the region.

PERINO: Also, just more back here focusing on some criticism in the U.S. military, that perhaps there’s too much of a leftward tilt, or a wokeness in our military when we face really determined adversaries, committed adversaries in China, Russia, Iran, who maybe don’t have those same kind of pressures.

How do you respond to those criticisms?

KIRBY: You know, it depends on what they are, but I think a lot of it, quite frankly, is driving a stake through a straw man here. This argument of wokeness in the military — I was in the military for 30 years, and I can tell you things like diversity and inclusion, that makes us a better military because it brings to the fore, in the decision-making, operational decision-making, that we conduct better ideas, more unique perspectives. Somebody else’s lived experiences which might actually make us smarter on the battlefield.

So we know those kinds of arguments I think — I think are ridiculous —

PERINO: All right.

KIRBY: — because we are stronger military because of our diversity and because we represent all Americans, just like we defend all Americans.

PERINO: One last quick question. I’ve been watching the stories come out of Syria as ISIS tries to reconstitute itself. How concerned is the Pentagon that this is a real possibility?

KIRBY: Well, look, I mean, our job in Syria is very limited to counter ISIS fights and to helping the Syrian Democratic Forces continue to go after that threat. Nobody wants to see Syria further destabilize as what it already is.

I think it’s important — and we said this routinely — that all neighboring nations, particularly in that region, should have a stake in a more stable Syria, we don’t want to see refugee flows, we certainly don’t want to see the conflict expand. But for us, our purpose here at the Pentagon is to make sure that we are staying locked on to that ISIS threat which still exists in Syria, and quite frankly in Iraq, too.

PERINO: John, thank you for joining us today. Good luck to whichever team you are supporting in the NFL Sunday that we’re about to have. Always a pleasure, thank you.

KIRBY: Thank you, Dana.

PERINO: Up next, President Biden says he will pick a Supreme Court nominee by the end of the month as liberal groups call for a progressive justice. We get reaction from Republican Senator Tom Cotton, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PERINO: Negotiations ramping up behind the scenes as lawmakers try to hammer out a deal on Russian sanctions if Moscow invades Ukraine.

Joining us now, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, a member of the Armed Services Committee.

Senator, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday.”

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Thanks, Dana.

PERINO: I want to start with my interview with Admiral Kirby just now. When it comes to deterrence, to try to make sure that Russia does not invade Ukraine, what did you think about the Pentagon’s position there?

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Well, Dana, it’s not so much the Pentagon’s position now, as it has been Joe Biden’s weakness and his appeasement of Vladimir Putin for the last year. I mean, literally in his first week in office last year, he gave Vladimir Putin his number one foreign policy priority, an extension of a badly one-sided arms-control treaty. And then he gave his number two foreign policy priority right away by waiving sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that is being built between Russia and Germany. Along the way, he’s also let out a Russian cyber criminal before his prison sentence was up.

Just a couple days ago at a press conference, he declared that a minor incursion in Ukraine might not elicit a strong Western response, and there are reports this morning even that the administration has already taken the toughest sanctions off the table, sanctions on Russia’s oil and gas industry, and removing it from the international banking system.

So, again, if Vladimir Putin has seen what Joe Biden has done over the last year and then he saw his fecklessness in Afghanistan, and I’m afraid that he thinks now is the time to go for the jugular in Ukraine, which he has wanted to do for as long as he’s been in power.

PERINO: So, there is some pushback from some elements of the Republicans saying that the U.S. should not get involved here.

Here is a tweet from Thomas Massie, a congressman, who says: Too many in our government care about the Ukrainian border more than the U.S. border.

I know because I follow you and I have you on “America’s Newsroom,” you care about the U.S. border very much.

What would you say to some of those Republican elements?

COTTON: Well, it’s true that a lot of Democrats — to include Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and others — do seem to care more about Ukraine’s border than our southern border at a time when we had 2 million illegal immigrants cross our border under Joe Biden’s tenure in office. That’s like adding the entire population of Nebraska to this country.

But you’re right, Dana, you can be concerned about both. You can want to secure our southern border effectively and change our laws that so many of these illegal immigrants are taking advantage of, while at the same time recognize that if Russia invades Ukraine, it won’t just be bad for Ukraine and for Eastern Europe, but it will be a signal to bad guys around the world that they can push even harder to harm American interests.

Imagine what it will say to Xi Jinping if he sees Russia invade Ukraine and just get a few mealy-mouthed sanctions slapped on it. As you mentioned in the first segment of your interview today, that China just sent dozens of airplanes into Taiwanese airspace last week, the biggest incursion in months. I think it’s not a coincidence that that’s happening right now as the West seems divided under Joe Biden’s leadership in Europe.

PERINO: One of the things you have talked about and criticized the Pentagon over and a Biden administration is the idea that there’s more of a leftward tilt in our military. I asked Admiral Kirby about that. He thought that that concern was ridiculous, saying that the diversity actually strengthens the military.

COTTON: Well, it’s not ridiculous, and it is happening, I can tell you, Dana. First, we have had a whistle-blower for many months, we’ve gotten hundreds and hundreds of calls about the kind of egregiously inappropriate training sessions that commands have had around the world. And second, while the diversity of America may be reflected in our military and strength, something I saw in my years in the army, it’s not something that our military needs to constantly obsess about.

Troops fight for the flag on the shoulder, and they fight for the man and a woman to their left and right. If you undermine their belief that that flag stands for a good and moral country, if you undermine their belief that the man and a woman to their right is fighting for them, irrespective of their skin color, are they going to be as motivated to fight as they otherwise might be? Are they going to enlist? The Army just missed its enlistment targets for the year, Dana.

And also, do you think those Chinese pilots that are flying into Taiwanese airspace are getting hammered for hours and hours of training about structural racism or diversity? Do think those Russian troops on Ukraine’s border are going to have to stop and take lectures on climate change? Something tells me not.

We need our military to be focused 100 percent on protecting America.

PERINO: Let’s talk about China a little bit.

In just a few days, the Olympics will begin in China. We’re in year three of the pandemic and way back when it was first becoming publicized that it was happening, you took a lot of flak from some quarters in which you suggested it might’ve been a Wuhan lab leak. Even “The Washington Post” corrected that. I’m sure you were gratified by that.

But I want to ask you — does it matter kind of now more than ever that we get to the bottom of how this happened, even while China is about to have this great propaganda opportunity to show the world that they can host an Olympics even though they unleash this?

COTTON: It very much does, Dana. A couple years ago now that I first said that maybe the virus came from that lab. I didn’t even assert it as fact, I just said it’s a question we should ask, whether it came from this food market that didn’t even have bats present, or maybe it came from the lab a few blocks down the street where they research novel coronaviruses that originated in bats under the leadership of a scientist whose nickname was literally “The Bat Lady”. And, of course, the Democrats in the media condemned that.

But it’s now become increasingly obvious in last year that the lab is almost certainly the origin of this coronavirus. Unfortunately, it looks like some parts of our government helped fund the research there. And bureaucrats like Tony Fauci and Francis Collins even try to cover up these inquiries two years ago. They encouraged the kind of left-wing scaremongering campaign about me and anyone else who pointed to the lab as a possibility.

The world needs to know the origin of this virus and China needs to be held accountable for it, especially as we go into these Olympics that never should have been given to China, that should have been pulled from China a year ago and should have been rebuilt elsewhere.

We can’t let China have a big propaganda victory without any inquiry into their role in spreading this plague around the world.

PERINO: Two more topics before I lose you. One is on the southern border but also the fact that the administration had been sending these flights in the middle of the night. We saw this in Westchester County.

This is from August and Rob Astorino, wants to be the governor of New York. He got this FOIA-ed video. We released it.

And I’m just curious what you hear, if anything, from the Biden administration. Do they have a sense of how Americans are feeling about seeing things like this?

(LAUGHTER)

COTTON: They seem to be totally clueless about it, Dana, and they’re doing everything they can to conceal these things. I mean, you’ve seen that video where the flight is landing in New York. You’ve probably seen the video of illegal immigrants being transited to a bus station at Brownsville, to what a DHS official called was their final destination.

Well, Dana, any illegal immigrant’s final destination should be back in their home country. We’ve even seen reports, Dana, of DHS coaching illegal immigrants on how to use their arrest warrants to board an airplane when they get to a TSA checkpoint.

Just think about how crazy that is. People who should be under arrest were being told to use their arrest warrant to get an airplane when in some Democratic cities, American citizens have to show their vaccine passports if they want to buy a hamburger.

PERINO: Yeah. How do you even know that that’s the real name on the arrest warrant? Anyway, I get (ph) there’s one of those.

COTTON: Yeah.

PERINO: I also wanted to ask you about this. The president is going to have an opportunity to replace a Supreme Court justice. No doubt, many on the Republican side of the Judiciary Committee remember what it was like for Brett Kavanaugh.

Let’s take a look back at this exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THEN-SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): Can you think of any laws that give government the power to make decisions about the male body?

BRETT KAVANAUGH, THEN-U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: I’m happy to answer a more specific question.

HARRIS: Male versus female.

KAVANAUGH: There are medical procedures —

HARRIS: That the government get — that the government has the power to make a decision about a man’s body?

KAVANAUGH: I thought you were asking about medical procedures.

HARRIS: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: And it went on and on from there, and we also remember all the things that happened — in fact, a second hearing for him to defend himself.

How do you think the Republicans will approach the vetting of the nominee that President Biden will choose?

COTTON: Well, first off, Dana, as a member of the committee, I will try to ask questions that contain a bit more logic than Kamala Harris’ line of questioning right there.

But I suspect we’ll all keep an open mind. We will review the nominee on her merits. I can’t say that I’ve got wild expectations that Joe Biden is going to nominate someone who I think I can support or many Republicans can support because I’ve seen dozens of his nominees to the lower courts, and they’ve almost to a person been left-wing ideologues who think judges should make the law rather than apply and uphold the Constitution and the laws as they are passed.

I can say one thing that I won’t do, and I doubt any Republican will do, is engaged in the kind of grotesque smear campaign against the character of fine men like Clarence Thomas or as we saw what happened with Brett Kavanaugh two years ago.

We’ll give a thorough vetting into any nominees’ legal philosophies, as well as their career and their character and their temperament, but we’re not going to do what Democrats do, which is simply make up smears against a nominee. And I — I hope that that never happens again.

PERINO: Yes, not looking back into yearbooks, so to speak.

Thank you, Senator Cotton, have a great time today watching any football game that you want to see, and hope that your team wins, whoever it may be. Thank you.

COTTON: Thank you, Dana.

PERINO: Up next, we will bring in our Sunday group to discuss how Justice Breyer’s retirement throws a curveball into the midterms.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PERINO: Coming up, tensions boil over between school leaders and parents over mask mandates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They’re discriminating and segregating our kids. They’re bringing us back to the ’60s.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: We’ll ask our Sunday panel about pandemic politics on the path back to normalcy, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GENERAL MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: If Russia chooses to invade Ukraine, it will not be cost-free, in terms of casualties or other significant effects.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs laying out the stakes for Russia and for Ukraine if there is an invasion.

And it’s time now for our Sunday group.

Former RNC Communications Director Doug Heye, Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich, and my co-host on “THE FIVE,” former Democratic Congressman Harold Ford Junior.

Great to have all of you here.

Jacqui, I want to go to you first.

The administration has made some pretty serious warnings in Ukraine, but the president of Ukraine has pushed back on that.

Here’s something that Zelensky told reporters on Friday. Quote, I don’t consider the situation now more tense than before. There is a feeling abroad that war is here. That’s not the case.

Jacqui, the White House has again pushed back on that. What is the challenge here for Biden to speak — help NATO speak with one voice?

JACQUI HEINRICH, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think that there’s an interesting dynamic here where you see President Zelensky does not want to, you know, increase fear among his own people and cause people to flee, or give some sort of outsized response to what’s happening and make his own people be more afraid of that.

But I think the president and the White House, they’re up against this acknowledgment that this is going to happen if they risk downplaying it, that it’s going to be a really terrible thing for them. And, also, they’ve got Americans in Ukraine who they’ve got to be concerned about. So they’ve got to really deliver honest messaging about the severity of this situation and they’ve also got to have a unified voice with NATO. And I think that’s something that Putin is really trying to divide right now. He’s trying to sort of capitalize on the fractures within NATO, disagreements among allies about what the sanctions package might look like, Nord Stream 2, those kind of things. And so the White House has to be very consistent with its messaging and make sure that it doesn’t open itself up to some sort of vulnerability that Putin could then use to play into his hand buried

PERINO: Harold, Biden is dealing with the situation where you have Germany, for example, getting over half of its energy, natural gas, from Russia.

So, how does that play into Putin’s hands?

HAROLD FORD JUNIOR, FORMER CONGRESSMAN, EMPOWERMENT AND INCLUSION CAPITAL CEO AND CO-HOST OF “THE FIVE”: Well, it certainly is — well, happy Sunday, first off.

It is certainly playing into his hands and he thinks into a positive way.

But I would counter a little bit what your previous guests said. I thought that Senator Cotton laid out some of the — some of elements, but really didn’t offer a counter.

I thought what Mr. Kirby said at the outset, which is diplomacy remains foremost on our minds, it appears that many of our allies in NATO are prepared to implement strong sanctions as well.

I know you asked, Dana, if he would enumerate some of those sanctions. He refused to do so, which I thought was smart to do.

I thought the piece yesterday and “The Wall Street Journal” by Peggy Noonan, where she said that, you know, we’re used to being lucky as a nation, but luck is not a — luck is not something you should get used to in these kinds of situations. This is a test for us and I think most important for me and foremost on my mind is the question you asked Mr. Kirby at the end. China is watching. And what do they take from this?

So, we have to be prepared. We have to fortify the alliance, ensure that our allies understand what we’re doing and try to speak in one voice and in concert in whatever action or actions we have to take.

PERINO: Harold, I’m going to take note of the fact that you said it’s a good thing that the guest did not answer my question. I will not be offended by that, although —

FORD: Not, I didn’t say he didn’t. No, no, no. No, no, I didn’t say that. I said he did not answer.

PERINO: No, he didn’t and I — you’re right, he was smart not to, I get it. I get it.

Doug, let’s look back here.

I mean we — I think that the world has seen the mistake on the energy policy there in Europe. We have a chance here in America to not be following that path. But we seem to be if we continue to go on this Build Back Better version of the bill that the president wants to do.

What about that? I mean we have concerns of our own, our own energy independence going forward.

DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Sure. Absolutely. And one of the first things this administration did was to stop any movement on the Keystone Pipeline, which is sort of ironic for Joe Biden because he talks so much about union jobs. These were union jobs that were going to help American energy independence.

Europe has these same problems. And as the Biden administration continues to talk about America is back and trying to shore our allies, this should be an opportunity for Biden to show strength and to show real leadership in moving NATO forward and unifying NATO. Russia, right now, is looking and probing for any sign of weakness that they can. And as Congressman Ford mentioned, it’s not just Russia that’s looking at this, it’s China as well.

PERINO: You have permission to call him Harold. I finally allowed myself to do that as well.

HEYE: The honorable.

PERINO: I know that you are very respectful of the congressman, as I am too.

Jacqui, let me ask you just one real quickly about the Supreme Court.

The president said he will name a candidate sometime in February. This announcement came at a good time for them there at the White House. Curious about the timing and how that announcement was made, but also what the White House is thinking about when they will get this done and how do they hope to make this a pivot for their communications.

HEINRICH: Yes, I think that they’re going to work to move this through expeditiously. I think that the timing does work for them. It comes at a moment when the president has been struggling to get out from under these terrible poll numbers when it comes to inflation, foreign policy, Covid, all these things that have been dogging the administration.

We know from our reporting that Justice Breyer did not feel forced out, that this was a decision that he made, but it certainly benefits this president. Although, you know, he just did say at the year-end press conference that he had done a pretty poor job of reaching out to black voters. This gives him a moment to show that he’s going to make good on his campaign promise. And you see Jim Clyburn, congressman who really is credited with rescuing his flailing campaign, make a strong push for Michelle Childs. The White House has not said — or given any indication of who is on the short-list. But I do think that they’re going to be working to get this through and to sort of shift away from the elements that have dogged this administration.

PERINO: One last quick word to you on that, Harold.

FORD: Well, you know, President Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor back in 1981 and ended the inglorious position of there not being a woman on the court. Presidents Reagan, Obama, Clinton, and even President Trump, and now President Biden are going to give us more women on the court.

I’m a little concerned when I hear people conflating political philosophy and political ideas and their own personal aspirations in politics with what they think the nominee might be. I was most encouraged hearing Senator Cotton say he would have an open mind on the committee. I hope he speaks for all of his colleagues, and that they will vet whomever the president puts forward in a serious and robust way. That person deserves to be vetted that way because it’s a lifetime appointment. I look forward to seeing who the president appoints and I’m sure it will be a person who’s competent, has great legal judgment, and has the experience to serve on the court for a long period of time.

Doug, you have 20 seconds in you on the Supreme Court?

HEYE: Yes, look, this is a lifeline for the administration. But I too echo what Tom Cotton said, Republicans, don’t take your eye off the ball politically. If you go after this nominee too hard, you’re going to take attention away from rising inflation, whether or not we have things on shelves, what people are paying at the pump, and all the other problems that this administration has. They’re on the ropes now. Don’t take your eye off the political ball.

PERINO: All right, panel, we have to take a break here, but when we come back, violent attacks against police are on the rise across the country as the NYPD lays one of its own to rest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOMINIQUE RIVERA, WIDOW OF OFFICER JASON RIVERA: We are not safe anymore. Not even the members of the service.

I know you were tired of these laws, especially the ones from the new D.A. I hope he’s watching you speak through me right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: The widow of a young NYPD police officer killed on the job at just age 22 as a crime wave plagues the nation.

And we’re back now with the panel.

Harold, Officer Rivera’s funeral last week felt to me like a big moment, a pivotal moment, and I know that, you know, I can talk about progressive prosecutors, we can talk about it on “THE FIVE,” but when you hear it from a young widow like that, do you think like somebody like Alvin Bragg here in New York City was listening, and do they understand that they need to actually change the policies, just not — not just talk about it, but to actually do something?

FORD: I hope so. I heard from — first of all, my prayers and condolences and thoughts continue to go out to both the Rivera family and the Moore family.

I’ve heard from those who met with the D.A., Mr. Bragg, a week or so ago and heard that the meeting was a good meeting, that they convey to him — many of these business leaders and other community leaders convey to him a lot of Mrs. Rivera — what the — what the slain officers’ widow said in her incredible remarks.

I also hope that D.A.’s across the country listen. We have to take violent offenders off the streets. I think some of the bail laws, or at least the motivation for the bail laws nationally were to ensure that non-violent offenders didn’t sit in jail for long periods of time than if they were convicted, not to release violent offenders.

Second, anyone that shoots a cop, that shoots a police officer, there should be no bail for and there should be a mandatory minimum. And I would even go further, but that’s not for — that’s not a topic of the show. We should have and make clear to people that’s not going to be tolerated.

Second, you got to put more police officers on the street. And here in New York you have to flood our subways with cops because if you don’t have a transportation mode for people in the city to go to school, to go to work, to go wherever they choose, New York won’t be the city that it’s been.

PERINO: Yes.

FORD: The dynamism would leave.

PERINO: Jacqui — and — well, you’re absolutely right about the subway. And I experienced that last week.

And, Jacqui, I’ve got to tell you, there are some staggering statistics here. I wonder if the White House is paying attention.

Let’s look at it. In 2021, 73 law enforcement officers were intentionally killed in the line of duty, the most since 9/11. This week, six officers were victims of gun violence in a period of less than 48 hours. And 2021 saw record homicide rates in nine cities.

I know the White House has said they’re willing to spend some more money, but what else? To they understand how much this issue is waiting on Americans?

HEINRICH: You know, it’s hard to say because this president often makes a point, and the White House makes a point of trying to put distance between this administration and the faction of the Democratic Party who wants to defund police. They often talk of at the initiatives from their Department of Justice to crack down on things like ghost guns.

But the crime that’s happening in cities, that is an issue that people vote on. And, you know, you’re going to need to see the White House take a more serious look at that going into the midterms if they have — want to have any impact on the midterm races because this is something that is going to come back to haunt them if they end up taking two soft of an approach. Have pulled back from weighing in on the policies of these prosecutors who have been coming under fire for being too soft on crime. And the president’s going to be going to New York on Thursday to talk about crime. But they haven’t been facing questions on it as much as other issues, and I expect that they will more and more as we get closer to the midterms.

PERINO: Doug, tell us about, you know, your personal experience here, but also not only that but how that fits into the politics. You know, in 1994, when the Republicans were back, one of the issues was crime.

HEYE: Sure. Yes, so, just in October, I was walking to the grocery store, a five block walk, and got mugged. And it happened right where a streetlight was burned out.

FORD: Oh.

HEYE: The streetlight was — was fixed that week, and I can tell you, walking down that same path just last week, it’s out again. And when I’ve contacted government officials here in the district, I’ve been told, well, you can’t expect to keep the lights on.

And as we have these philosophical conversations about Build Back Better and what the size and scope of government should be, people want their government to do the things well and competently that it should. And when you’re told that your municipality government can’t keep the lights on — and this is happening brought the country — it’s a failure. It’s a failure in federal leadership, state leadership, and on the local level. And it is one of the things that’s going to have very real reverberations in these coming elections if Democrats can’t get a hold on this.

PERINO: I totally agree.

I just want to ask — try to get — squeeze in one other topic here, Harold. I know you’re a father of young children and you pay a lot of attention to what’s going on out there.

There’s some tense feeling down there in Virginia at some of these school board meetings.

Watch this from this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the love of God, please unmask the kids. This isn’t science, it’s using kids as political pawns. And it needs to stop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s causing an incredible amount of damage to these kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It’s not about the science or safety, it’s about control.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: Harold, I think in 2022 the parents are going to continue to roar back.

How do you see it?

FORD: Doug, I’m glad you’re OK, brother, first off.

HEYE: Thank you.

FORD: I’m a parent and I — look, I understand the frustration. I’m frustrated too. I hope that parents and school boards and, for that matter, school systems can find a way to get — keep schools open, to keep kids in classrooms. There’s no doubt we have lost a lot over the last two years. Fortunately, my kids are little younger. I can only imagine if they were in middle school and high school facing these kind of challenges. I do hope that saner heads can — can — cooler heads can help us come to some conclusion here that’s — what’s right for kids and not what’s right for politics.

PERINO: Jacqui, the White House has this top of mind or not?

HENRICH: It doesn’t seem to be. And in conversations, you know, about topics that were a big issue in the Virginia governor’s race, it seems like the White House hasn’t put a lot of attention on how big of a factor education was. And just as we talked about with crime, education has become, as we saw in Virginia, an issue that people vote on.

I think that they have been mired in their own issues when it comes to Covid. Muddled CDC messaging on vaccinations and boosters and masking and the like, and they’re — they’re taking steps to remedy that.

PERINO: Yes.

HENRICH: You saw the CDC director coming out in the last couple of weeks and trying to sort of say, look, we acknowledge that our guidance has been confusing. We need to be doing a better job of saying that it might change over time. But I think that they need to also pay attention to how it’s playing out at the local level and make that part of, you know, how they discuss this issue.

PERINO: Doug, check my instincts here. I think the parents are going to have a big impact in the midterms. Do you think so too?

HEYE: Yes, absolutely, as we saw in Virginia. And it’s not just the issue of whether or not there’s mandatory masking. It’s about whether or not the schools are open. It’s a running joke that a northern Virginia if you say it may snow in three days, you’re going to be closed for an entire week, whether it snows or not. Parents are outraged, and rightfully so.

PERINO: It is pretty funny. You know, I came from Wyoming and Colorado. And when I first moved to Washington, D.C., when they closed school and work in anticipation of a snowstorm, that was new to me. But, I get it, the roads get icy.

Panel, we’re going to take a very quick break.

Up next, the week ahead, including the Tom Brady news, or not news, and the other big stories that will drive the week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PERINO: Now for a look at what to watch in the week ahead.

NFL quarterback Tom Brady says he has not yet made up his mind on retiring, despite reports he will do so. The 44-year-old, who has seven Super Bowl rings, is under contract for 2022, leaving fans wondering, will he or won’t he?

The White House says the president will meet Monday with the emir of Qatar to discuss concerns about gas supplies to Europe as the crisis in Ukraine escalates.

And, the winter Olympics begin Friday in Beijing without dignitaries from the United States, which is protesting China’s detention of more than a million Uighur Muslims.

And we’re back now at the panel.

Harold, just quickly, will he or won’t he? Do think that Tom Brady plays in 2022?

FORD: Probably not. He deserves to go out on his terms. He’s the most accomplished, decorated, and best guy to ever put a uniform on and compete in the NFL. So, best to him, and go blue.

PERINO: It did remind me of the Breyer news this week. Some — I said — I saw somewhere someone said that Michelle Childs will be replacing Tom Brady this year. So, a little inside (INAUDIBLE) joke for you there.

Harold, all of this is against a backdrop of Covid and China. We are in year three of the pandemic. These games are about to get started. Do you think we’ll ever really find out what happened there? With this Olympics, does China get to turn the page?

FORD: They probably — well, I hope they don’t. Look, I think we have to assume that this was a lab leak until they let us in to prove otherwise. At least I’ve reached that conclusion. And I think those are — many around the world are as well.

I think the best way to combat the propaganda that might come during the Olympics is just for U.S. athletes to do what they do best, which is to win metals. The IOC — we should weigh in with the IOC going forward. It seems odd that we’d be having this debate or conversation just a week before the Olympics. China has behaved in certain ways over the last many years, yet they’ve gotten two Olympics in this century. Maybe we should communicate more clearly with the IOC going forward.

PERINO: Yes, maybe chose a place, Doug, where they actually get snow and don’t have to make it all.

President Xi is, obviously, watching what is happening with the U.S. and Ukraine, but also what happened in Afghanistan. Your thoughts about whether China should be a part of this calculus when we’re thinking about Russia and Ukraine?

HEYE: Yes, look, China is — China is a big part of anything that we do globally around the world. Whether — whatever continent you go to, China has very serious and deep involvement. I remember being in Nigeria one time at a road that was paved, it looked like, the day before. Who built it? China. And they got every mineral resource there that they could. And they’re doing this in country after country.

PERINO: Jacqui, this is going to be pretty interesting. You know, I read this morning that 36 athletes have tested positive for Covid before they even left their countries to get to China. The opening ceremonies are on Friday. This is a big propaganda opportunity for China. Does the White House have any sort of counter programming that it’s planning?

HEINRICH: You know, they say that they’re always paying attention to the propaganda that comes from China and countering it. I think it’s important, though, that during this period that nobody takes their eye off of Ukraine, because you know that Putin has used the Olympics in the past as a timeframe when he’s taken action to breach the sovereignty of other countries, in 2014 and in 2008 in Crimea and in Georgia.

And we also know that Putin — Taiwan is, you know, sort of what Xi is looking at. Everyone’s keeping an eye on Putin to see what we do in response to that because we recognize that Taiwan is part of one China and if the U.S. doesn’t do anything and NATO doesn’t do anything to stop Putin from taking over a sovereign country, then that’s giving a green light to Taiwan. So this is all very interconnected. And you also have to keep, as you mentioned at the top of the show, an eye on keeping at bay North Korean aggression and that you don’t allow something like this to become a wild west.

PERINO: Not only that, but I also think that you look at the Houthis and pretty aggressive action against the Emirates, right, this week? And then that caused a reaction. And you also have what I mentioned to Admiral Kirby, the real possibility that ISIS is reconstituting itself right there, right there in Syria, and they are training a new generation of fighters with these young boys that are there. So, we have a lot on our plate worldwide.

But, of course, first I want to thank you all, the panel. Wonderful to see you.

Harold, I’m sure I will see you this week on “THE FIVE.”

Jacqui, Doug, and Harold, thank you so much and good luck to your teams today.

Of course, the NFC championship between the 49ers and the Rams airs tonight on Fox. It starts at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. You can bet I will be watching that and I will read sports for you tomorrow on “NEWSROOM.”

And that’s it for today. I’m Dana Perino. I will see you on “AMERICA’S NEWSROOM” tomorrow and weekdays at 9:00 a.m., and for “THE FIVE” at 5:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox News Channel.

I hope everyone has a great football Sunday, and a great week ahead. And we’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.

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