This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 19, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BOB GOODLATTE, R-VA.: Do you believe this text shows political bias?
MICHAEL HOROWITZ, INSPECTOR GENERAL: I think, as we found, it clearly shows a biased state of mind.
GOODLATTE: And, if so, do you believe the political bias shown by this text had an effect on the initiation of the Russia investigation?
HOROWITZ: I think, as you know, Mr. Chairman, that's a matter we have got under review and are looking at right now.
GOODLATTE: More to be determined on that.
HOROWITZ: More to be determined.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Think about what was said there. Forget about the war of words back and forth and what led to an investigation of Hillary Clinton that didn't end up going anywhere and Republicans say didn't do her any harm, even though Democrats disagree.
No, no, this was moving a little forward to the Russian charges and whether some other nefarious things might have prompted that investigation.
We're on top of that, the war of words over what the I.G. knew and when and what concerned him and what was the genesis of that investigation.
We're also on top of a genesis of a big sell-off today that has to do with the guy who ultimately did get elected president, because he's fighting, big time.
And so are they on Capitol Hill. Well, for some of the time.
Catherine Herridge with the very latest on the revelations today -- Catherine.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: You know, that was one of the big themes today.
We're now into the six hour of congressional testimony from the inspector general. And Republicans said that they felt political bias at the FBI impacted both the Clinton and the Trump campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: They prejudged the outcome of that Hillary Clinton instigation before the investigation ended and these exact same FBI agents and attorneys prejudged the outcome of the Russia investigation before it even began.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERRIDGE: Been getting headlines throughout the day.
And within the last hour, we had an important exchange about the Clinton e- mail server and whether there is evidence it was compromised by a foreign nation or foreign intelligence service.
In this exchange from Congressman Mark Meadows, he points out that there was a warning to the FBI in the spring of 2016 from the intelligence community inspector general that there was an irregularity in the Clinton server metadata.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARK MEADOWS, R-N.C.: And so he was really concerned that there was some anomalies in the metadata that would suggest that a foreign actor was getting copies of potential e-mails.
Would you think that part of an investigation would be to go back to the very people that brought up the accusation and say, what did you find?
HOROWITZ: Yes, I assume that would be...
MEADOWS: But that's not in your report.
HOROWITZ: That's correct.
MEADOWS: And they didn't do that, did they?
HOROWITZ: I would have to double-check that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERRIDGE: And the reason that matters is that the FBI did not proceed with criminal charges in the Clinton e-mail cases because they couldn't find evidence of intent and they say they did not find evidence that the server or the e-mails had been compromised by a foreign nation or a hostile actor.
Democrats today, is that they said, hey, you know what? After multiple reviews and an FBI investigation, Republicans still cannot accept that there was just not enough evidence to prosecute Clinton for the mishandling of classified information.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, D-MD.: All their howling about lock her up was bogus. It was baseless. It was unsubstantiated. And now we have another report saying so.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES, D-N.Y.: James Comey decided to play judge, jury and executioner. And on October 28, he executed the Hillary Clinton campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERRIDGE: One of the things that was clear in the inspector general's testimony today, Neil, is that while he said in the FBI look at the Clinton e-mails, he couldn't find sort of a direct link between political bias and decisions in the investigation, but he has certainly left the door open to that possibility related in the Trump collusion investigation by the FBI, Neil.
CAVUTO: Just fascinating.
Catherine, thank you very, very much.
HERRIDGE: You're welcome.
CAVUTO: So, what is at stake going on here, as Catherine pointed out, is whether there was so much ill will toward then candidate Donald Trump that it infected everybody and started a probe that was originally based on just a whole lot of bias.
They hated the guy.
The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway on the significance of today.
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: Yes.
Well, when you read through this report -- and I think we're all getting to spend more time with it and understand its significance -- technically, it's just about the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe. But it's totally related to the Russian probe as well.
One of the things the I.G. looks at is how you have broad discretion when you're in the FBI. You can go really easy on someone or you can go really hard against someone. In the Clinton e-mail probe, every time there was a fork in the road, they went easy on Hillary Clinton and her associates, whether that was declining to ring people up on false statement charges, even though they knew they were giving false statements -- and that goes all the way up to and including Hillary Clinton -- or giving immunity to everyone in her orbit, they really took the path of just going easy on her.
And you look at that, and you take what we know about this Russia probe, where a very different course of action seems to be taking place, where people are rung up quite -- quite hard for everything that they're doing.
Both of those things might technically be what the FBI is allowed to do, but that lack of consistency is really telling.
CAVUTO: The Democrats, to a man and woman today, at least in the House -- there must have been 700 people questioning this guy today, by the way.
CAVUTO: But it seemed that way.
But they argue that it cost Hillary Clinton the election, that that bias or whatever, whether to go light or not, nevertheless took on enormous implications so soon before the campaign.
But very little has been explored until today about what might have been festering in the background on this Russian probe.
And I'm wondering. Again, I know I keep trying to find context for the remarks we got from Strzok and others for their incredible, over-the-top, damning comments about then candidate Trump, whether that was part of it, they were privy to something that wasn't available to everybody else at the time, and that was driving it, or they just hated him.
HEMINGWAY: Well, there's a lot that we need to know.
First off on the Hillary issue, I think Democrats are upset that is that the FBI was so incompetent at helping Hillary Clinton. They were clearly trying to help her by not charging her with mishandling classified information. They were trying to help her by...
CAVUTO: But it backfired, right? It boomeranged because they brought attention to it all over again, right?
And they tried to run out the election clock when the e-mails were found on Weiner's laptop. But they just were unable to do so. So I think the anger from Democrats is that they weren't better at helping Hillary Clinton and they did such a bad job with it.
But when you look at these troublesome texts and you put them in context, they were being written at the time that this -- that this Russia probe was being spun up. And it shows such animus against Donald Trump and a promise of a conspiracy to prevent his election, this is, at the very least, deeply problematic.
And when the I.G. asked all these people who had these texts for explanation, they to a man said, oh, no we didn't mean anything bad by that.
But I think it's very hard to have a nice spin on some of these claims that they had about working to prevent his election, insurance policies to prevent his election, and all the just vile insults against Trump supporters, and fantasizing about his impeachment.
They can say they didn't mean anything wrong by that, but I think reasonable people will have a very difficult time believing that.
CAVUTO: Well, a lot of question marks too whether that was the genesis for something that might have been just all fiction. We don't know. And maybe we never will.
Mollie, thank you very, very much.
HEMINGWAY: Thank you.
CAVUTO: Meanwhile, I want to take your attention to the corner of Wall and Broad, and look at this figure as a relief, down 287 points, because it was down over 400.
Now, a lot of this has to do with a trade flare-up that is very close to becoming a trade war. This started, remember, with $50 billion in tariffs on a variety of Chinese goods the president was imposing.
Then the Chinese responded by saying, all right, we got $50 billion. And then of course that ignited the president's temper in a way we have rarely seen on this trade issue. He said, all right, just for that, another $200 billion. If you ever think of trying to top that, another $200 billion on top of that.
It got that nasty. It got that widespread. And for a while today, it got people that worried.
Ashley Webster keeping track of all of it.
ASHLEY WEBSTER, FOX NEWS BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Rhetoric and headlines and tweets, Neil, but the Dow and investors certainly taking notice, as these trade tensions -- we will call it tensions for now, not a war -- between the U.S. and China continues to ratchet up.
As you mentioned, the Dow off today 287 points. That's the sixth session in a row that the Dow has finished in the negative. We haven't done that for about 15 months.
Year to date, the Dow is still hanging in there, essentially flat. The S&P and the Nasdaq still up just slightly for the year, but, as you can see, down about 0.1 percent on the Dow so far this year.
But certainly talk of trade tensions has a habit of forcing investors to sell and uncertainty certainly no friend to the markets.
Let's take a look. It's not just here that the shudders are being felt a little. It's around the world. Check out the agent markets ahead of the opening today on the Dow, and you can see across the board the Hong Kong down nearly 3 percent. Shanghai, by the way, that was the worst performance in two years today, down nearly 4 percent.
Same story in Europe, maybe not as extreme. They're not in the crosshairs, but they certainly are affected. Germany one of the biggest losers today, the DAX down more than 1 percent in Frankfurt.
The French -- the CAC also in France down 1 percent. Now, what about the big companies that get wrapped up in all of this? Well, certainly, Boeing is one of those, the big airplane maker, the jet engine maker, lost again today, down nearly 4 percent. It's been down nearly 8 percent just over the past week for Boeing.
And another name that always comes up, caterpillar, the big machine maker, also down about 3.5 percent, also 8 percent over the last week.
All of this on what it could mean to get into a tariff war with China.
But what it means to you and me? We know what it does to the markets. We know what it does to big companies, but what about consumers? Well, consider this. How about Canadian lumber? There's been a 20 percent tariff on Canadian lumber going back to last November. According to the National Association of Home Builders, that adds $9,000 to the price of a new single family home.
And that's been in place since January of this year. So there is an impact that. What about car prices? What if we put a 25 percent tariff on imports? Well, for instance, the GM Envision SUV, which is actually made in China -- there are a handful that are made there to come back here -- it will cost you an additional $8,000.
That's potential impact. We don't have that in place right now. And then there is washing machines. We have a tariff. We do have a 20 percent tariff on those. In the past three months, we know that the prices on washing machines have gone up 17 percent.
There really is an impact, Neil, even though we look at the big companies in the markets, it is having an impact, because a tariff is a tax.
And, by the way, I should note that Amazon and Netflix hit all-time highs today, which mean investors probably worried about the trade wars decided go shopping online and watch a movie.
CAVUTO: I like that spin on that development.
CAVUTO: Always a half-full glass guy, Ashley Webster.
Thank you very much, my friend.
WEBSTER: My pleasure.
CAVUTO: So, we're going to explore that.
You probably don't think this affects you. I can't tell you the number of people I talk to who say, well, governments are going to have to pay that higher tax.
No, my friends, you are. Are you ready for that? After this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: China has been taking out $500 billion a year out of our country and rebuilding China. I always say we have rebuilt China. They have taken so much. It's time, folks. It's time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: Well, regardless of you think it's time or not, the time has come to put up or shut up.
The president indicates he's going to put up. He's not going to quit the threat of tariffs that go higher and higher and includes more and more goods. He is going to keep doing that until the Chinese relinquish and start playing fair, he says. They promise that that they will respond tit for tat. And back and forth we go.
The impact on you.
Scott Martin isn't too worried. But Heather Zumarraga is. John Layfield here as well. I guess he will play the arbiter in all of this.
CAVUTO: But you keep seeing this develop, Scott. And so far, what?
SCOTT MARTIN, KINGSVIEW ASSET MANAGEMENT: So far, not much.
No, listen, that doesn't mean, Neil, that this rhetoric isn't going to heat up and both countries are going to lose, by the way, between tariff trade is not free trade. And that obviously is going to end up impacting the consumers.
But let's just look at the backdrop, my friends. You have economic growth this quarter, by our views at Kingsview, that is going to be over 4 percent on average annualized basis. You have got average hourly earnings at multiyear highs. You have got the stock market just a skosh off of all- time highs.
And you have got more jobs available than we have workers available. So to me, while we could see a few extra pennies at the grocery store if you're buying some fruit, maybe melon, which you shouldn't be buying anyway, because it's gross, there's not going to be a big impact to you as the consumer just yet.
CAVUTO: I'll tell you, if all of a sudden, pepperoni gets caught up in this thing, game over, guys.
CAVUTO: But, Heather, I'm looking at this. And I always say be careful what you wish for in a trade war. Whether the other side is playing fair or not, because you are going to get caught up in a host of problems.
Ronald Reagan famously took on the Japanese. And when they were flooding our market with chips. And later on, he said afterwards he regretted it because of all the unforeseen events and the impact on our relationship that remained chilly for a few years after that.
What did you make of that?
HEATHER ZUMARRAGA, FINANCIAL ANALYST: Sure. Wouldn't it be great if all countries just dropped their tariffs across the board?
That's what President Trump said at the G7, saying that if you lower your tariffs, China, Mexico, E.U., Canada, we will also lower ours.
And so far only $50 billion has actually been imposed. The $200 billion today that was discussed has been just suggested. But I'm worried, because, yes, it damages relationships, it can cause higher inflation due to higher prices passed on to the consumer, because it costs more for the likes of companies like Campbell's Soup or auto manufacturers here like GM and Ford in the U.S. to produce their goods, because the cost of raw materials is going to go up if we place tariffs on our allies and China, because that is a form of tax.
CAVUTO: You know, the president's argument has been, as you know, Heather, well, they have been doing it first. I'm bringing your attention to it.
CAVUTO: He said in a speech today just leave things alone. We know what's going on. Don't worry about it
When you here that kind of pooh-poohing that people have to these kind of trade responses, the president does raise a good point, does he not, John, that they have been cheating, they have been taking advantage of us?
The only question I have is whether responding in kind is going to solve anything. What do you think?
JOHN LAYFIELD, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I agree. And I don't think we're responding in kind.
If we went after Chinese companies that were in the United States and said you had to partner with the United States person, United States entity and you had to store your data in the United States, to me, that's retaliating kind.
To me, these tariffs are not going to get there. We're about 10 years too late on the theft of intellectual property. That doesn't mean we shouldn't address it right now. This made in China 2025 is what President Trump is worried about.
The E.U. is also worried about that. But we're fighting the E.U. too right now. So we don't have any allies right now. We're putting tariffs on these guys. And I'm not sure that tariffs are the answer.
The downside potential to this is huge. It looks like it's a negotiation tactic. I hope it is.
ZUMARRAGA: John Layfield, I thought he was in the middle, the moderator here.
He came out. He's -- you're really against.
CAVUTO: No, he's just in Bermuda. He's just in Bermuda.
CAVUTO: It has that appearance.
ZUMARRAGA: That will do it as well.
CAVUTO: But, Scott, I'm looking at this and I'm saying the president or the White House says we're going to take this to the next level. And it looks like that's a distinct possibility.
He's got to prepare people for this, that this is something that he feels strongly about, that a lot of people who feel the Chinese have been hosing us from years.
But to brace people, everyday items that you know and love, especially if it gets up to include everything $400 billion or $500 billion worth of Chinese goods, that's our entire gap with China right there.
CAVUTO: So, shouldn't he be doing that? Shouldn't he be preparing that everybody from washing machines to food staples are going to get caught up in this and you, America, have to be prepared for that?
MARTIN: Yes, I believe he will eventually, Neil.
CAVUTO: But he's not. He's not doing that, because I think in his heart of hearts, he doesn't see it happening.
MARTIN: I don't think he does.
But here's the benefit of Trump's ego and his bravado. I don't think he wants to risk his reputation, the U.S. economy, his legacy -- I know this sounds nuts -- on blowing this thing up with China, Canada or Mexico.
I don't think he wants to risk a stock market crash, an economic recession on his watch because of this tough talk or this tough play with China. And let's face it. If John Layfield is in Bermuda, as it looks like he is, and he's bringing a negative tone to things, we actually may be in serious trouble.
ZUMARRAGA: I do think, Neil, that it's important the viewer understand why this trade dispute or potential trade war started. It's the theft of intellectual property.
CAVUTO: Absolutely. No, no, no, no.
CAVUTO: You're right.
ZUMARRAGA: If you, as a U.S. company, if you want to do business with China, you transfer all your trade secrets.
MARTIN: But we're fixing that with ZTE.
ZUMARRAGA: China transfers it, without your permission, to their domestic companies, hurting or putting U.S. companies out of business.
CAVUTO: Oh, no, they're dirty rotten scoundrels, or whatever that is.
ZUMARRAGA: And that's not OK.
CAVUTO: I fully concur with the stuff we revealed. But just be careful, because it could get ugly.
Thank guys, very, very much.
Just a reminder on the Chinese, though. Their markets have fallen about 11, 12 percent since all of this started. Ours are essentially unchanged. So, from early March to now, you could make the argument the Chinese have a lot more financially on the line. They're trying to rein in and overheated economy and all that, so they have a vested interest in seeing that this doesn't go against their interests on paper.
That's the rational view. But these are not rational times, are they?
And speaking of irrational developments, did you see the North Korean president once again, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in China? This is the third time. I think the next trip is free.
CAVUTO: All right, I don't know if the third time is the charm, but it is interesting.
North Korea's leader meeting with China's leader, third time in as many months. Of course, the last powwow got the president a little concerned because he was wondering what the heck is going on.
But Kim Jong-un is going to be a busy global traveler here. A man who once never really loved his country, save under duress or orders or whatever you want to call it, is going to be meeting with Vladimir Putin in the fall, a host of other dignitaries who have invited him. He is suddenly the man about town, and very often probably not in the hermit kingdom.
Rebeccah Heinrichs on what we are to make of this.
What do you think?
REBECCAH HEINRICHS, HUDSON INSTITUTE: Well, it looks like Kim Jong-un wants to have a different kind of reputation.
And so he's sort of making the rounds. Now, this meeting with Xi in China is interesting, because it shows that the North, North Korea, understands just how critical that alliance is.
China is referred to often as North Korea's big brother. China has taken credit for what it perceives as success from the summit between United States and North Korea. And so it looks like North Korea is sort of debriefing the Chinese and telling them what they think.
And the Chinese are certainly probably giving the North Koreans some advice about what to do next vis-a-vis the United States, because this next step is that they're supposed to be making moves to denuclearize.
So, China is going to be giving them advice about how to go about -- how to go about that and what to get out of the Americans in return.
CAVUTO: Well, good luck with that, because the North Koreans might just offer them advice on trade, because they're going nowhere fast for the time being.
How do you link the two? We have gotten much, much tougher with the Chinese, despite this great personal relationship the president talks up. But even post the meeting, we have dug in our heels and even threatened that, if they even want to respond to these next wave of tariffs, we're going to come down on them like you know what?
HEINRICHS: It's interesting.
And it seems as though President Trump is really -- he's still going hard on the tariffs, even though we still need the Chinese to cooperate on the North Korea issue. And so -- and China is the only country in which President Trump has said that there might be any sort of benefit and relaxation of the tariffs, that sort of thing, if they do help in these other areas.
He hasn't done that with any other country. And so that remains to be seen. But it is interesting how hard he is being and relentless. You got to wonder. Something's got to give.
I would like to see the Chinese continue to put pressure on North Korea. That's not what they have done. In fact, the Chinese have begun to relax some of their trade restrictions that they had on North Korea leading up to the summit and since then.
President Trump even acknowledged that and said that's OK, as long as they're continuing to help the North Korea issue. So there's a lot going on there. And, clearly, President Trump is still negotiating. We're sort of seeing the mix of this. And all of it is wrapped up together.
CAVUTO: I wonder if he reads in the press their terse, snippy comments, much like -- remember Justin Trudeau in Canada, when he felt that he was saying -- that is, the president felt he was saying something differently than what he had said at G7 summit?
And the Chinese have been very dismissive of the president, saying this is reckless, it's unwise. And I'm wondering if any of that just sticks in his craw and he says, oh, yes? You know?
HEINRICHS: It might.
And I actually -- the more I started thinking about the Trudeau flap that happened right before the summit, to me, that seemed a lot like messaging for the North Koreans, which was that don't...
I started kind of -- because the message coming out of administration officials was that don't -- don't try to pull this -- don't try to pull one over on President Trump. You have these private conversations, you make these promises. President Trump is still -- he's not going to stick to his end of the deal publicly if you're not going to stick to your end of the deal publicly.
So, to me that seemed a lot like messaging with North Korea.
CAVUTO: What if it's just impulsive? What if it's just -- sometimes, we look for a method to what appears to madness.
HEINRICHS: It could be.
CAVUTO: And, sometimes, you can be mad.
HEINRICHS: It could be.
One of the things I have learned as an analyst, and with the Trump administration, is not to be overly confident in my own analysis, because President Trump is different.
But it -- but I do think that it's important that -- it did look like it was just almost orchestrated, though, to some degree, if you look at some of the statements from the administration officials after that.
And so I do think right now what we're seeing between the United States and North Korea is, I still -- I still think that there's negotiations going on. And President Trump to still willing to throw the hammer down in the coming months if North Korea doesn't actually make good on its commitments that it made during the summit.
CAVUTO: I will make a bet with you. He's going to say -- if someone says something terse or childish about him or criticizes him on any level, tomorrow, it's going to be a nightmare.
And I'm just telling you, there's going to be a response the likes of which you have never seen ever in tariff history. But that's my hunch. It will be born by some snippy comment.
HEINRICHS: Well, I think it's in the interest of these countries to probably take him seriously when it comes to trade, definitely.
CAVUTO: No, no, you're right, you're right.
HEINRICHS: And another thing too, a lot of what we're seeing with China and the North Korea issue, a lot of the things that the Chinese are going to tell and advise the North Koreans to do vis-a-vis the United States are things obviously that the Chinese want and the North Koreans want.
They want the United States not to be deployed in South Korea. They want the war gaming exercises to stop, which they are on a pause. They want the missile defense systems out of that region.
HEINRICHS: So there's a lot of overlap between what China and what North Korea want. And you got to kind of keep an eye on that. It doesn't do us any favors to see these two leaders meeting in China.
But I'll tell you, China right now, the way it's playing this, not too well, it's one step away from being called an economic loser and it could get worse.
We will have to see what happens, Rebeccah. Thank you very, very much.
HEINRICHS: Thanks, Neil.
CAVUTO: She's the expert. I am not.
All right, just to let you know, an hour from now, the president set to go to Capitol Hill. He's going to meet with House Republicans. They're trying to settle this immigration issue where kids are getting separated from their parents. It's become this sort of what the heck do we do about this, as if it's exclusively a Republican problem.
But you know how the P.R. is to anybody. They worry about this and how it's going to fall out. Republicans feel that the Democrats are abandoning them. It is a mess.
What the president does to fix it -- after this.
CAVUTO: U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and our secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, are expected to speak shortly about withdrawing from the U.N. Human Rights Council. Who takes our place?
We're back in 60.
TRUMP: So, what I'm asking Congress to do is to give us a third option, which we have been requesting since last year, the legal authority to detain and promptly remove families together as a unit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right.
Now, what the president is trying to do and at least Senate Republicans have been trying to do is come up with something that will at least avoid or have legislation that would stop these families who get separated, even though this is something that was really put in place back when Bill Clinton was president.
Now, no other president has exercised that to the degree this administration has. Nevertheless, the pressure is on Republicans right now to take this onus off of them, as if they're solely to blame for this.
But it's become an embarrassing point for Senate Republicans and then, of course, House Republicans, who are going to be meeting with the president in about an hour.
But you just definitely got a feel for how much they're agonizing over this and what to do about this. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF FLAKE, R-ARIZ.: When the president is saying that this is all on the Democrats, that it's their law, that's just not right. That's not true.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: The president has the ability to stop this, if he would like.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-MAINE: It's inconsistent with our American values to separate these children from their parents, unless there's evidence of abuse or another very good reason.
FLAKE: Using kids in this way, in order to prod Congress, is not right. It's just not right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right.
And the Senate Republicans hope to try to do something they think will be right.
But let's get the read from The Washington Examiner's Gabby Morrongiello.
The midterm elections are coming up. They obviously want this addressed. Many conservatives, Gabby, and you have reminded this as well, have been using this sort of as a lightning rod to differentiate some Republicans that they're just honoring the law, they're not mistreating kids, they're just doing what the original intent was, to police those who try to, they say, break into this country.
Where is this going?
GABBY MORRONGIELLO, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I think a lot of Republicans right now are hoping for a swift solution.
And it's certainly something that's going to be discussed when President Trump meets with House Republicans on the Hill in just about an hour.
If you asked Republicans who are facing reelection this fall what they envisioned themselves talking about and arguing over six months before the midterm elections, they would not say family separations at the border.
This is something that has become a P.R. nightmare for the Republican Party. And that's why we're hearing from so many Senate Republicans and now House Republicans, people like House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, who is making an effort and drafting legislation at the moment to create some one-off solution to end this practice.
I think there is a great deal of concerns about the P.R. campaign that is being waged by Democrats and progressive groups ahead of the midterm elections and really how this entire situation is unfolding and impacting the GOP and the administration.
CAVUTO: Gabby, you could go back to the Clinton years, when, of course, we had this tougher policy on dealing with those who try to come into this country for asylum or whatever means.
And while it was understood that you would avoid the kids going with the parents into a situation where they would essentially be in a jail, and that was the heart of this, it then was taken to a new level by the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to really get tough and separate them, albeit, they argued, for limited periods of time.
But it is what it is, and here they are now. So, how much of this is going to thrown back on Jeff Sessions' lap and that he was the one who botched it?
MORRONGIELLO: Well, look, I think that the policy that Jeff Sessions enacted, which is a zero tolerance policy that creates criminal prosecutions for every single person who crosses into our country illegally, is separate from what's happening with the family separations.
It's obviously the primary cause of the surge in children being separated from their parents at the border, but it's not a policy in and of itself. And that's something that's been mistaken by the media over the past few weeks, as we have talked about this and as the....
CAVUTO: But he used it as -- Democrats say that he used it as a scare tactic to prevent those to even think of coming to the border, for whatever reason. But that's for others to debate who know this issue far better than I.
But I am curious as to how Republicans are leaping on this, because it clearly seems they were embarrassed. And for some of them who might welcome the economic and market improvement, today notwithstanding, under this president, they have often recoiled at some of his more controversial moves and statements. And this is chief among them.
So, was this their opportunity?
MORRONGIELLO: Yes, I mean, it's no secret that Republicans do not want to be talking about deportations, about family separation, about the crisis at the border five months out from an election.
They would prefer to be talking about their tax bill. They would prefer to be any talking about improved economic conditions, about the raging economy, things that are really crucial for voters to be paying attention to come November.
CAVUTO: But can Republicans fix this on their own? I mean, if this was something that was decades ago or -- is it that simple? Because, if they can fix it on their own, they can come up with their own immigration policy then on their own.
MORRONGIELLO: I think most are optimistic about the outcome of this meeting later this afternoon.
MORRONGIELLO: But, look, this hasn't been dealt with in decades.
And so I think most people on the outside looking in are probably a bit more pessimistic when it comes to the chances of actually seeing meaningful immigration reform and an end to this family separation situation.
CAVUTO: Yes. I think you're right. Both sides can stop making speeches.
If you're so outraged, get off your ass and do something.
We will have more after this.
CAVUTO: All right.
They're about wrapping up with Michael Horowitz in the House right now, the I.G.
And you know these two lovebirds, or former lovebirds, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. And we know the views they had of then candidate Trump. They didn't like him.
But what is revealing in the Horowitz report is all these other unnamed agents who harbored similar, if not far more damning views. "I'm just devastated. Can't wait until I can leave today and just shut off the world for the next four days," this, of course, somebody who wasn't very happy about the election results.
"You think Hillary Clinton is going to win, right? You think we get nails and some boards in case she doesn't? Well, she better win. Otherwise, I'm going to be walking around with both of my guns."
And again and again, these are multiple agents, multiple folks at the FBI who harbored these views of then president candidate Donald Trump. There are a lot of them there. And a lot of Republicans today, even some Democrats saying, are finding out, who are these people?
Why are they all unidentified? Of course, Horowitz not letting on or revealing the identities. But it's fair to say that it goes just beyond the two lovebirds here, right?
So it does raise legitimate questions about whether this was a pack of folks who really didn't care very much for Donald Trump. Now, you could -- benefit of the doubt, give them context for this. Maybe they were privy to some information. But were they all privy to this information? Because a whole bunch of people didn't like Donald Trump.
Former FBI Assistant Director Ron Hosko on all of this.
Ron, what are we to make of all that?
RONALD HOSKO, FORMER ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR: Well, Neil, it should come as no surprise that FBI employees, FBI agents -- here, I think some FBI lawyers -- held their own personal political views, and in some cases expressed them to others in the work force.
And they, of course, were captured and then shared with the inspector general during the conduct of his investigation.
CAVUTO: But, Ron, they work at the FBI.
I look at people like you who are -- you have to be really smart and shrewd to work at the FBI. It's not just any Schmoe.
They're freely texting back and forth these views about a guy who could become the next president of the United States. Few even envisioned it and scoffed at it. But I thought they were smarter than that, which makes me think, how rampant was this?
HOSKO: Well, I suspect it was probably a bit more widespread than the report reflects.
Just these folks were captured because they were so proximate to the investigations that the inspector general was looking at.
And, yes, I agree with you. I would hope that the work force was smarter than this, that if they were sharing these sorts of point of views, they would do that privately or not on devices that were owned and the content captured and saved by the FBI.
I don't know that it changes much.
CAVUTO: Should we know their identities, Ron? Would it make any difference?
These come out, and the inspector general comes out, and I suspect, where there's smoke, there's fire, or there's many more who harbored these views. These ones, I don't know the means by which they became part of this report, but they did.
And I'm wondering how many more there might be and whether the president has a legitimate gripe, whether you like him or not, to say this was a cabal targeting him.
HOSKO: Yes, I don't think that naming them and shaming them would serve any appreciable purpose, other than just put a spotlight on them.
What I do hope...
CAVUTO: So, why were they included in this? Was it meant to relay the view that there was a viper's nest of folks who didn't really like this guy Donald Trump?
HOSKO: Yes, I think it's that, Neil, to say, look, it wasn't just Strzok and page. There were others. And those others did have an intersection with these important cases.
And I think that's why these folks will be the subject of follow-on inspector general investigation or FBI inspection division investigation. And I do think they will be subject to punishment for it, and maybe very severe punishment, because they let their personal political views get too close to the work that they were supposed to do, that it raised doubts and questions about their professionalism, about their use of FBI communications technologies.
And I think there's going to be a price to be paid by these folks.
CAVUTO: I don't know about the anonymous folks, but maybe the other folks. We will see.
It's always good having you, Ron. Thank you very, very much.
HOSKO: My pleasure.
CAVUTO: All right, we're expecting that announcement from the United Nations. Of course, this will via the State Department. And -- and who else is doing it? The U.N. ambassador is doing it, as well as -- Nikki Haley and Michael Pompeo. I'm sorry.
But from the State Department, where they're going to announce that we're quitting the Human Rights Council. Now, the kicker is, we don't know who is going to take our place. But that's a big deal. We have like been on that forever. We're quitting.
CAVUTO: All right, the president a half-an-hour away from meeting with House Republicans on how to get over this whole separating parents from their kids and the whole dust-up at the border.
I want to get the read from Democratic Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver.
Congressman, what do you make of this dust-up? A lot of your Democratic colleagues say, Republicans are heartless, they're mean, they're ripping kids from their parents' arms, and they meant to do it, it's all targeted, they're heartless.
You're a calming person. So, I will take your view to be maybe more representative of, like, a humane view. But what do you think of this?
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER, D-MO.: Well, I think the policy does rattle the soul of America and it causes most Americans some heartburn.
I try to always deal with the policy, instead of the person. The policy is not a good policy. I think it is embarrassing for many American that we're experiencing something in this country to the point that it may begin to cancel out our ability to be the moral leader of the world.
CAVUTO: So, when this was put in place, even though no one exercised it, no president did exercise it to the degree this administration did, Jeff Sessions did, it was never implemented, right?
Did you know years back that it was there, that you could do this, that legally you could do this?
CLEAVER: I had no idea. And I would venture to say many members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, had no idea that...
CAVUTO: So there was an understanding that when families were apprehended at the border, and they had to go into a jail or whatever to wait it out, that it was OK for kids to join them in the jail?
Because part of it was to avoid that for the kids. But if we return to that and stick to that and we do that, you're OK with that?
CLEAVER: Well, I would like to go back to whatever policy we had previously.
CLEAVER: I went down to the border. And I saw the pens, the jails, whatever we want to call them. And they were not as humane as I would like, because I think the kids were having some trauma when I saw them down outside of Brownsville, Texas.
But the problem we have now is that this has been ratcheted up to a point where we're talking about thousands of kids. And the days gone by, when I didn't know about it, we still -- we had kids, but it was nothing at this same level. And I think it's tugging, as I said, at the soul of the country.
CAVUTO: So if they fix it, Congressman, to the degree the president wants, he wants to solve this, House Republicans -- it sounds like the Republicans can fix it.
Well, what is to stop then Republicans from coming up with an immigration policy on their own as well? Do you think Democrats should be involved in fixing this?
CLEAVER: I do. And...
CAVUTO: Because not a one is part of it yet.
CLEAVER: Well, but the problem we have is that it's just like the tax bill.
And I think, in some instances, Democrats did it when we were in power. And we can't continue this, because it's tearing -- it's ripping through the fabric of this country. And it's going to continue.
And that is, we don't go through regular order. So, the Republicans are writing bills and legislation, like the tax bill, of which we have absolutely no participation.
I would go to the meeting. I would go today if I could go...
CAVUTO: But I wonder if it creates such ill will to say that the president is heartless, Republicans are heartless, maybe the attorney general is heartless.
How do you work with the other side when that goes? How do we ever -- assuming we get this problem fixed, and they seem to want to get it fixed, how do we ever get back to anything approaching, you know, productive behavior, if that ever were the case?
CLEAVER: Yes. I think it was.
I think this would be the kind of an issue, because both sides are needed. You don't want half of America split on this very vital issue of immigration.
So we should be meeting now. A group of us have been meeting here, a group of Democrats, talking about the fact that when and if we ever resume power in the House, that we're going to push against our own leadership about writing bills, leaving the other side out, because then, whenever they come back, they will say, well, we remember that.
And it's going to get worse and worse. And people don't understand we're just tearing apart this country. And it's not going to get any better as long as Congress...
CAVUTO: Do you ever think that some of your colleagues might have seized on this and used it as an excuse to not fix the immigration problem and just overly play this?
CLEAVER: Yes, I think the problem has always been on the Democratic side - - and I'm not sure if there's any been participation in any of these discussions -- has been -- always been the $30 billion wall.
CAVUTO: That's the resistance, right? You guys cannot sign up for that, right?
CLEAVER: Well, as a native Texan, I grew up in Texas. I'm very familiar with the border.
CLEAVER: And so I know that the people who live on the border, whether they are Republican or Democratic, they don't want a wall.
CLEAVER: On the wall, that's why you have Republican representatives from Texas saying, we oppose the wall.
So, that's a problem. And I think we have got to get beyond that, Neil.
CAVUTO: I hear you.
CLEAVER: It's not doing any good.
CAVUTO: Calmer and cooler heads need to prevail on both sides.
You're one of them. Congressman, thank you very much. I'm sorry our time was tight.
CAVUTO: We are awaiting this announcement from Michael Pompeo at State.
We're kicking ourselves off a group at the U.N.
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