This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," February 4, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a good feeling we're going to be doing very, very well here in Iowa.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We know there's delays, but we know one thing. We are punching above our weight.
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to walk out of here with our share of delegates. We don't know exactly what it is yet, but we feel good about where we are.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is too close to call. So I'm just going to tell you what I do know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You won!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Well, soon, they may have an answer.
One hour from now, we could have a better idea of the Iowa results, at least half of them, maybe. But, already, a number of the top 2020 presidential contenders sounding like the winners they think they are and shifting their energy right now to New Hampshire.
Welcome, everybody, an incredible news day. I'm Neil Cavuto.
We're watching all of this, and I mean all of it, to the Senate floor, where Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine is expected to announce her position on impeachment and whether or not to convict the president of the United States.
We're also on the president going to the well of the Senate right now in the House to give his view of the State of the Union, that about five hours away.
First to Ellison Barber in Des Moines on the caucus chaos that continues -- Ellison.
ELLISON BARBER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Neil.
A spokesperson with the Iowa Democratic Party says that they will keep releasing results as they become available, after they release the majority of their results at 4:00 p.m. local time, 5:00 p.m. your time.
We're expecting that first -- the majority of the precinct results they talked about, we're expecting that to essentially be a big data dump of all of our those precincts that they have right there, big grouping. Then it'll trickle out more in a traditional caucus, election night fashion after that.
Now, candidates, they are not happy with this, and questions just keep growing about the future of the Iowa caucuses.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: I just don't understand what that means, to release half of the data. So I think they ought to get it together and release all of the data. That's what we need.
There is no system that is perfect, and we should be reevaluating, even before last night occurred, and now for sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARBER: The party made procedural changes after issues came up in 2016 in the race between Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders.
The Iowa Democratic Party chair now says there was a coding issue with one of those changes, a new reporting app. The chair says, while the app was recording data accurately, it was reporting out only partial data.
Staff had to fall back on paper results. But the party chair system they were able to verify that the data recorded in the app and used to calculate state delegate equivalents is valid and accurate.
In terms of any questions about whether or not this was some sort of hacker cybersecurity intrusion, both they and the Department of Homeland Security have said that wasn't the case. They think this was just a recording issue, though, Neil, a very big one.
Ellison, do you know the rationale behind releasing what they're releasing, and not all of it at once? I mean, that's only going to compound confusion, isn't it?
BARBER: Yes, I don't.
And I think you heard sort of from Senator Warren there. And Senator Sanders also spoke about it as well on one of his planes heading out to New Hampshire.
BARBER: And that they are frustrated with this, and they don't feel like how it's going is good. It has not been good. They want results out as soon as possible.
But sort of announcing earlier in the morning they will have this big grouping later in the day and then go into more of a traditional release as it's available, I don't think that sits well with a lot of people.
And I think any time you have a big data dump, people worry about how that's being done. People like to see the process. We're used to seeing the process here in America. And this is different.
BARBER: And you hear a lot of candidates pushing back on that. Whether they had a choice or not is another question, but I think a lot of people would have preferred this to work last night.
CAVUTO: Yes, I think you're right about that.
Ellison, thank you very much.
To the floor of the United States Senate right now.
Susan Collins of Maine may be telegraphing how she will vote tomorrow in the Senate.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): But now, we are concluding our second impeachment trial in just 21 years.
While each case must stand on its own facts, this trend reflects the increasingly acrimonious partisanship facing our nation.
The founders warned against excessive partisanship, fearing that it would lead to instability, injustice, and confusion, ultimately posing a mortal threat to our free government.
To protect against this, the founders constructed an elaborate system of checks and balances to prevent factions from sacrificing both the public good and the rights of other citizens. Impeachment is part of that elaborate system. The founders set a very high bar for its use, requiring that the president may only be removed by a two- thirds vote of the Senate. The framers recognized that, in removing a sitting president, we would be acting against not only the officeholder, but also the voters who entrusted him with that position.
Thus, the Senate must consider whether misconduct occurred, its nature, and the traumatic and disruptive impact that removing a duly elected president would have on our nation. In the trial of President Clinton, I argued that in order to convict, we must conclude from the evidence presented to us with no room for doubt that our Constitution will be injured and our democracy suffer should the president remain in office one moment more.
The House managers adopted a similar threshold when they argued that President Trump's conduct is so dangerous that he must not remain in power one moment longer. The point is, impeachment of a president should be reserved for conduct that poses such a serious threat to our governmental institutions as to warrant the extreme step of immediate removal from office.
I voted to acquit President Clinton, even though the House managers proved to my satisfaction that he did commit a crime, because his conduct did not meet that threshold. I will now discuss each of the articles. In its first article of impeachment against President Trump, the House asserts that the president abused the power of his presidency. While there are gaps in the record, some key facts are not disputed.
It is clear from the July 25, 2019, phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky that the investigation into the Bidens' activities requested by President Trump was improper and demonstrated very poor judgment. There is conflicting evidence in the record about the president's motivation for this improper request. The House managers stated repeatedly that President Trump's actions were motivated solely for his own political gain in the 2020 campaign, yet the president's attorneys argued that the president had sound public policy motivations, including a concern about widespread corruption in Ukraine.
Regardless, it was wrong for President Trump to mention former Vice President Biden on that phone call, and it was wrong for him to ask a foreign country to investigate a political rival. The House Judiciary Committee identified in its report crimes that it believed the president committed. Article one, however, does not even attempt to assert that the president committed a crime.
I sought to reconcile this contradiction between the report and the articles in a question I posed to the House managers, but they failed to address that point in their response. While I do not believe that the conviction of a president requires a criminal act, the high bar for removal from office is perhaps even higher when the impeachment is for a difficult-to-define noncriminal act.
In any event, the House did little to support its assertion in article one that the president will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office. As I concluded in the impeachment trial of President Clinton, I do not believe that the House has met its burden of showing that the president's conduct, however flawed, warrants the extreme step of immediate removal from office.
Nor does the record support the assertion by the House managers that the president must not remain in office one moment longer. The fact that the House delayed transmitting the articles of impeachment to the Senate for 33 days undercuts this argument. For all of the reasons I have discussed, I will vote to acquit on article one. Article two seeks to have the Senate convict the president based on a dispute over witnesses and documents between the legislative and executive branches. As a general principle, an objection or privilege asserted by one party cannot be deemed invalid, let alone impeachable, simply because the opposing party disagrees with it. Before the House even authorized its impeachment inquiry, it issued 23 subpoenas to current and former administration officials. When the House and the president could not reach an accommodation, the House failed to compel testimony and document production. The House actually withdrew a subpoena seeking testimony from Dr. Charles Kupperman, a national security aide, once he went to court for guidance. And the House chose not to issue a subpoena to John Bolton, the national security adviser whom the House has identified as the key witness. At a minimum, the House should have pursued the full extent of its own remedies before bringing impeachment charges, including by seeking the assistance of a neutral third party, the judicial branch. In making these choices, the House substituted its own political preference for speed over finality. The House managers described impeachment as a last resort for the Congress. In this case, however, the House chose to skip the basic steps of judicial adjudication and instead leapt straight to impeachment as the first resort. Therefore, I will vote to acquit on article two. Madam President, this decision is not about whether you like or dislike this president or agree with or oppose his policies or approve or disapprove of his conduct in other circumstances.
Rather, it is about whether the charges meet the very high constitutional standard of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors. It has been 230 years since George Washington first took the oath of office, and there are good reasons why, during that entire time, the Senate has never removed a president. Such a move would not only affect the sitting president, but could have unpredictable and potentially adverse consequences for public confidence in our electoral process. It is my judgment that, except when extraordinary circumstances require a different result, we should entrust to the people the most fundamental decision of a democracy, namely, who should lead their country.
Thank you, Madam President.
CAVUTO: All right, so there you go, Susan Collins of Maine.
Remember, she and Mitt Romney had voted for the witnesses. She and Mitt Romney then were deemed to be those who possibly could go ahead and vote to convict the president of the United States. She has decided to acquit on both the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump.
It remains to be seen what Mitt Romney does, but Chad Pergram on all of this right now.
Chad, your thoughts?
CHAD PERGRAM, FOX NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, we think the vote count in terms of Republicans who are going to vote to acquit is going to be at minimum 52.
There are 53 Republicans in the Senate. The only wild card right now, as you say, is Mitt Romney. However, I had a senior Republican source tell me just before we came on the air that they thought that there would be unanimity on the Republican side of the aisle voting to acquit the president tomorrow afternoon around this time on both articles of impeachment.
I should note that Collins' colleague in the House of Representatives Jared Golden, the Democratic freshman, he split his votes on impeachment back in December when they voted. And I was also told that what resonated with some of these swing Republican senators -- you look at the Murkowskis and maybe the Romneys, certainly Susan Collins here -- was the -- were some of the presentations given by Patrick Philbin, the deputy White House counsel.
I was told by a source that those arguments were directed at those swing Republican senators and that resonated with them. So, we will get to that vote tomorrow afternoon.
The only wild cards now are, will there be any Democrats who might vote to acquit the president? Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator from West Virginia, President Trump carried his state by 42 points. He introduced a resolution yesterday to try to censure the president. That's not even a formal form of discipline in the Constitution. It's a way they discipline numbers in the House, but it's not in the Senate.
Whether or not that has any traction once they get through these votes, that's unclear. Also, Kyrsten Sinema, the Democratic senator from Arizona, who's a moderate, sometimes votes with the Republicans, and I would also look at Doug Jones, the Democrat from Alabama.
So the die is pretty much cast here in the next couple of hours going into the votes tomorrow. I mean, again, people will understand and look at these votes down the road.
And this is where Democrats are going to try to weaponize these votes going into the fall and looking at some of the other vulnerable senators, like Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Martha McSally, of Arizona, and say, look how you voted. You voted to exonerate the president of the United States, Neil.
CAVUTO: So it's more about putting pressure on them than at this stage the president?
PERGRAM: That's right.
This is a seminal vote. This is a seminal vote in this Congress. This is probably going to be the most-talked-about event going into the election.
And this is why, when you talk about or hear Chuck Schumer say, well, we need four Democrats to vote for witnesses, again, the breakdown in the Senate, 53 Republicans, 47 Democrats, 47 senators who caucus with the Democrats, and he says, well, we always need four.
That's also code for talking about the election. Can we flip four seats on the Republican side of the aisle? And then Chuck Schumer would be the majority leader next year and not Mitch McConnell -- Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, Chad, thank you very, very much.
The read on all this, Republican strategist Holly Turner, RealClearPolitics' Phil Wegmann, Democratic strategist Michael Starr Hopkins.
Michael, end it with you, begin with you.
In the end, this would then, if it goes to play, a very partisan affair, Democrats, by and large, almost universally for convicting this president, all Republicans -- we don't know about Mitt Romney -- not.
What did we learn here?
MICHAEL STARR HOPKINS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, we have learned that now Democrats aren't just fired up to remove Trump from the White House, but Democrats are going to be fired up to remove Senate Republicans in 2020.
I think that this is going to be one of the big motivating factors for Democrats. I never really looked to Susan Collins for profiles in courage. And after the Kavanaugh hearing and after now this performance, I think you can pretty much guarantee that that's a seat that Democrats are going to invest a lot of money in.
HOLLY TURNER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, listen, Susan Collins is nothing but a stateswoman that has taken both the Kavanaugh issue and this issue under serious consideration.
And, I mean, her speech is moving. She obviously put a lot of thought into this, unlike Romney, who has just got a burr under his saddle a little bit.
But what Chad mentioned earlier that's really important for us to be watching is those Democrats in those key states, West Virginia, Georgia, Arizona, are they going to be punished for this? Are we -- are they going to vote to impeach the president or to acquit him?
That could affect them coming up in November as well.
CAVUTO: Phil, polls since this whole saga began have actually improved for the president. What do you make of that?
PHILIP WEGMANN, REALCLEARPOLITICS: I think that's something that's very ironic about impeachment, is that it's sort of this vortex that, once it gets started, it consumes all political oxygen.
And we don't know what's going to happen as soon as it gets started. But here, just like during the Clinton impeachment, we have seen that President Trump's approval rating has increased, not decreased.
I was here in Des Moines last Thursday, and I could tell you from the crowd that was packed into Drake University here to see the president, his base is going to rally to him even more.
They are just as fired up as liberal Democrats are for the election. I think that we're going to see a clash of the two bases, based off of what is going to happen with the impeachment vote.
CAVUTO: Do you think, looking at this, Michael, that Democrats, given those polls -- and they're fleeting, and we always should remember that -- that there's frustration on the part of Democrats that they're in a slightly bigger hole than they were?
And this is all pre-Iowa. What do you make of that?
HOPKINS: No, I don't.
I think, when you look at what happened in terms of the White House's effort to block witnesses, to stall the investigation, I think a lot of this is going to be turned into campaign ads.
And I think those ads are going to be extremely effective when it comes time for 2020. I think, when you look at Cory Gardner, when you look at Susan Collins, there are Republicans in the Senate who are very vulnerable. And I think they're going to be a lot of Democrats who are very motivated to not only remove them, but kind of start over in terms of where we are with the Senate.
CAVUTO: Holly, real quickly.
The president is not slated to mention impeachment tonight. A good idea?
TURNER: It's a good idea, but it will be tempting for him to do so. It's hard to -- hard to resist, especially, I mean, look, this economy is booming.
Turnout in Iowa, we don't know who the winner was, but we do know that turnout was low just, like it was in 2016. He knows he's got the votes in the Senate. And his approval numbers are through the roof, especially compared to when...
CAVUTO: Indeed, the highest Gallup numbers he's had.
CAVUTO: More on that and what the president talks about tonight -- after this.
CAVUTO: All right, all eyes on the president of the United States tonight, on the eve of a vote on whether to convict him and throw him out of office in the Senate. He's expected to handily survived battle, pretty much along party lines.
Growing questions as to whether he even mentions the word impeachment. It's not in the speech, we're told.
But, as John Roberts can remind me at the White House, this president is known to improvise now and then -- John.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He is known to call an audible once in a while.
The president's talked about a lot of things today, Neil. The first thing he started off with this morning was the debacle going on in Iowa, where there are a lot of people who are saying, well, maybe this should be reason for Iowa to lose its first-in-the-nation status.
The president standing up for Iowa, tweeting -- quote -- "It's not the fault of Iowa. It's the do-nothing Democrats' fault. As long as I'm president, Iowa will stay where it is. Important tradition."
The president also thanked Iowans for his landslide of the polls, which was -- caucuses, rather -- which was fully expected. The president tweeting "The Democrat Party in Iowa really messed up, but the Republican Party didn't. I had the largest reelection vote in the history of that great state by far, beating President Obama's previous record by a lot, also 97 percent-plus of the vote. Thank you, Iowa."
Now, the theme for tonight's State of the Union address is going to be the great American comeback.
It will basically break down into five different sections. The president will be talking about the great working-class, blue-collar economic boom, supporting working families, lowering the cost of health care, a safe and legal immigration system, and protecting national security.
The big question, as you said just a moment ago, will the president be able to resist bringing up impeachment? Don't forget, Neil, that more than half of the seats in the House chamber will be occupied by people who want to take the president out at the knees.
So, will he talk about it?
Listen to what Stephanie Grisham said this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE GRISHAM, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't think so.
I think that this has gone on for too long. And I think that if you look at their ratings, the American people are, frankly, bored of it. I don't think people want to hear that. People want to hear what the president has done for this country and what he's planning to do for this country.
So it will be very forward-facing. It will be very optimistic. The president's not focused on impeachment either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: White House officials say this is going to be a positive speech.
But, Neil, I think it's safe to say that the president feels tremendously aggrieved by the process in the House and then the Senate trial, and he just may not be able to resist saying something about it.
However, a new Gallup poll shows he's got a 49 percent approval rating, the highest ever in Gallup. So maybe he will be able to resist. We will see.
CAVUTO: Yes, and his economic approval rating higher still.
ROBERTS: Yes, 63.
CAVUTO: Yes, very good point.
John, we shall see.
ROBERTS: All right.
CAVUTO: John Roberts at the White House.
The read on what to expect tonight.
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, he's chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.
So, Senator, if you were to advise the president about whether he should or shouldn't at least make a reference to the impeachment vote that will be going on in the next day in your chamber, what would you tell him?
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): That the State of the Union speech is about the future, the accomplishments of this great administration, and where we want to go from here.
Look, we have a strong, healthy, growing economy. And it's because of what President Trump has been able to do with tax cuts, with regulatory relief, and with trade. And I think we ought to talk about that.
And then he also ought to talk about what we need to do next in terms of infrastructure, the highway bill, roads and bridges, in terms of what we need to do to lower the cost of prescription drugs, specifically insulin, things that matter to people individually, things that we can do to help our veterans.
That's what I would recommend to the president and then -- and also, of course, an optimistic tone to it, confident, optimistic, positive. That's what I would recommend to the president for tonight.
CAVUTO: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is opting not to attend the State of the Union address tonight, that she can't countenance it with this president.
What did you think of that?
BARRASSO: Well, people can make their own decisions about how they want to spend their time.
I would say, for this president, it's going to be a great week. Number one, he won Iowa handily. Number two, I think he's going to give a great speech tonight. And, tomorrow, he will be acquitted of all of these charges brought against him by the Democrats in the House.
His ratings are at an all-time high in terms of the poll numbers. We saw this after the Clinton impeachment. His poll numbers went up. And we're seeing it right now with President Trump. And I think it's going to lead to his reelection.
CAVUTO: Stepping back from all of this, Senator, do you think the two parties can work with each other in this -- these next nine months, before the election?
BARRASSO: Well, I think it's crucial for the American people that we do that.
This highway bill, the committee that I chair, Environment and Public Works, it came out of the committee unanimously, 21-0. There are needs to fix our roads and our bridges and our tunnels in this country.
This needs to be done in a bipartisan way. I'm ready to work with Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, to get this to the president's desk. That's the sort of thing, that's the kind of results that I think the American people expect and deserve from this Congress.
CAVUTO: Senator, thank you very, very much. Good seeing you again.
BARRASSO: Thank you, Neil.
All right, fair and balanced, the read from Steny Hoyer, the number two Democrat in Congress, what he makes of all of this and what happens now -- after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CAVUTO: All right, investors today not freaking out about what's going on in China right now, the Dow racing ahead, very close to all-time highs. The Nasdaq did hit an all-time high.
And then there's Tesla. Elon Musk is about $8 billion richer.
More after this.
CAVUTO: All right, we are less than half-an-hour away from getting some of the results from the Iowa caucuses last night.
We don't know exactly how many, but it will be something. And it's confused a lot of people, a lot of people saying, it's embarrassed Iowa, it's embarrassed the Democrats, who look like they're in disarray -- the president's characterization pretty much that.
House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer on the fallout here.
What do you think of the whole thing, Steny?
REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): Well, I think they had a new system, a complicated system, and they're having a tough time making it work.
We will see what the results are. It appears it's going to be pretty close with a number of candidates. So, how much of a spin they get out of it or momentum they get out of it is -- we don't know yet.
But this certainly wasn't run smoothly. That's unfortunate.
CAVUTO: Do you worry that it -- there might be problems for Joe Biden, we don't know, but that if the vote wasn't as strong for him -- he dodged a bullet about getting immediate negative press on that.
But if it looks like he had trouble in Iowa, do you think this whole nomination battle gets dragged out?
HOYER: Gets what?
HOYER: I didn't hear you.
CAVUTO: Dragged out.
HOYER: It may.
I mean, we will see. We will be see what happens in New Hampshire, then South Carolina. And then they go on to others.
Obviously, this has been -- in Iowa, Sanders has been up, Biden's been up, Pete Buttigieg has been up. So it's been a -- sort of a back-and-forth, wave-like. A wave comes in, and then it recedes, and another person gets a wave.
Now, if that continues, then, yes, I think it's going to be probably longer, rather than near-term, decision.
CAVUTO: Do you think, Leader, that if we had -- when this whole impeachment thing began, that the president would have higher approval ratings than when it started?
HOYER: It's hard to wonder why that's going on.
As Lamar Alexander said, the House managers proved that the president did, in fact, do something for his own personal advantage in trying to dragoon the president of Ukraine to do political favors for him.
And I thought Adam Schiff and our managers made a very compelling argument.
Furthermore, Larry (sic), I just don't understand how any American believes the Senate is doing the right thing; 75 percent said they thought there ought to be witnesses. And nobody has seen a trial where all you have is opening arguments and closing arguments and no evidence in between.
Now, yes, the arguments were -- were evidence of others having testified, but this is the first impeachment in the Senate's history that didn't have witnesses, which is confounding, and I think...
CAVUTO: Well, you might be right, Steny, but, obviously...
CAVUTO: ... when push came to shove, and the American people weighed it all in, they have just given this president, via Gallup poll, the highest whole poll number he has had.
On the economy, two-thirds of Americans also giving him the highest number even his predecessor had. Does that surprise you, meaning Democrats misgauged this whole impeachment thing?
HOYER: That's somewhat ironic, in terms of people understanding what's happened in the economy.
We had a special order on the floor of the House last week which showed that there were 30,000 jobs on average per month in the 35, last 35 months of the Obama administration, and now the first 35 months of the Trump administration.
He said he was going to have 4 or 5, 6 percent GDP growth. It is a third of that or less than half.
So -- but, yes, I think you're right. I mean, the American people obviously think the economy is going well.
I think, for -- the stock market certainly is going well. Does that mean average working people are doing well? We don't think so.
And, a matter of fact, wages have been going up, and then they have hit a - - hit a brick wall. So...
CAVUTO: Well, they're going up at a better clip than they were before. You're quite right. You can go look at this in a variety of ways.
But I do want to ask you this. If it turns out that Bernie Sanders has emerged as a very credible force, there are those in your party, sir, who have said, maybe we got to stop this guy. He would be bad for us. We'd lose with him.
Some have even suggested removing that new provision to forbid superdelegates from voting on the first ballot. What do you think of that?
HOYER: Well, I think it was a mistake to take the vote away from the -- we're not superdelegates.
We are people who have been elected by people across the country, given responsibility, and are accountable to those people. And to think that the party leadership, whether it's members of Congress, the Senate, governors, shouldn't play a role in selecting who the president of the United States is going to be, I think is a -- was not a wise decision.
And I think most members share that view. But...
CAVUTO: Would you want a push to make sure they remove that?
HOYER: I personally would, no doubt about that.
CAVUTO: All right.
HOYER: Yes, I think that they also include those people who have worked with many of these people.
I served with Bernie. I have served with Elizabeth Warren, as -- she is a senator, but I served with her when she was in the administration and worked with her.
HOYER: Obviously, the other candidates, Amy Klobuchar, we know these people. We have seen them. We have seen how they make decisions. We have seen how they respond to crisis.
It seems to me that's a worthwhile group to have making your decision of who's going to be the president of the United States.
CAVUTO: All right, Steny Hoyer, thank you very much. Good catching up with you.
HOYER: You bet. Thanks a lot, Larry (sic).
CAVUTO: It's Neil, but that's OK.
CAVUTO: It's OK.
We have a lot more coming up.
We're going to get a presser coming out of Iowa on the release of at least some of the data, some of the tabulations, but not all of them.
Already, folks like Elizabeth Warren have said, it's either all or nothing, there's a problem with that -- after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CAVUTO: All right, we should shortly be hearing from the Iowa Democratic caucus chair on the release of that data on the voting last night.
When he speaks, of course, we will take you there.
In the meantime, to the ambassador to Germany, Ric Grenell.
Ambassador, very good to have you.
I know you seem a world away looking at these developments here in Iowa and elsewhere. When foreigners are watching our political process and how it's sorting out and how the president is viewed, what is their reaction, particularly in Germany?
RIC GRENELL, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO GERMANY: Well, I don't get a single question about what I think our U.S. media continues to focus on.
What I get is trade deals, the economy, what's going on with defense spending, are we going to support NATO fully?
Look, I hear a lot of talk here when I am in the U.S. all about kind of the style question of President Trump. And I will take that debate all day long, because the president's style is actually working.
You look at $130 billion in increased defense spending, $400 billion in plan through 2024. You look at the trade deals, you look at the fact that President Trump, unlike any other president, is utilizing the Defense Department via the military, in combination with the State Department via diplomacy, whether it's in North Korea or Russia, Iran.
There are so many examples where the president is able to use all the tools of the U.S. government to squeeze with sanctions, to push, but also provide a diplomatic solution to say, let's talk. Let's have an option.
CAVUTO: Some of them, as the president's pointed out, including Germany, that it hasn't paid its fair share when it comes to NATO defense.
Do any of them ever tell you that, you know, maybe if we had a Democrat in there, they wouldn't hound us so much for that, and that might be that -- I'm sure they're not going to volunteer the information, but that, secretly, this president has really put the pedal to the metal to them, and that, all of a sudden, that wears on them?
GRENELL: Look, I have had senior Foreign Ministry officials in Germany tell us, we are exactly right when we squeeze and we say, you're not paying your NATO bill, and you're feeding the beast in Russia with Nord Stream II gas.
They don't always feel very comfortable when we say that, but I will tell you one thing. They know we're right. They don't like us to say it. But they know we're right.
We are launching in Europe, really, a debate about these issues. And there's a whole bunch of people who really like having the pressure to keep Germany and Europe innately with the West.
There's a -- there are many people that don't want to see Europe slip away into kind of a Switzerland foreign policy model, but have an economic- first, like a Germany-first economic model. That's not where they want to go. They want to be with the West.
They know we have got, say, 50,000 troops, when you count all of them up, in Germany from America, and yet the Germans are the ones who aren't paying their defense bill.
And we have a lot of support in the publics. And we have to be able to speak very directly to the governments. They don't always like it, but they totally respect it, and they know we're right.
CAVUTO: Ambassador, pleasure. Thank you very much for taking the time.
GRENELL: Good to see you, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, in the meantime, we are waiting to hear from Iowa whether they really least all of the voting activity from last night.
It looks like they're going to at least release the majority of it. But given the fact that, in some districts and caucus sites, it was as close as a tick, is that going to confuse situations even more?
We will know in just a few minutes. Stay with us.
CAVUTO: We're taking you to Des Moines, Iowa, right now.
We are waiting to hear from Troy Price. He's the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. He is going to outline, I guess, what results from the caucuses get released to the public, and from which precinct and caucuses. There are better than 1,680 of them across the state of Iowa they will release.
Now, Elizabeth Warren and some of the other candidates had said this sort of gerrymandering and the release of some, but not of all the results won't help anyone, it will further confuse things.
So, I want to get the read on all of this from Mike McCaul. He is a Republican member of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Congressman, good to have you.
This is going to begin any second.
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: But they apparently, in Iowa, had a chance, sir, to bounce this technology or this new software with the Department of Homeland Security, opted not to.
Did that come back to bite them?
MCCAUL: Yes, I think so.
I think they should have worked with the Department of Homeland Security.
I have read reports this app came from Hillary Clinton, her prior campaign. I mean, if they can't even count votes in the Iowa caucus, how can they manage this country? And would you trust them with your personal health care?
And so I think it raises a whole lot of issues about their disarray and dysfunction in terms of the Iowa caucuses.
CAVUTO: Now, your thoughts -- I know you're on the other side of the political ledger here, but thoughts of releasing a majority of the results, not all of the results?
Doesn't that risk compounding the confusion?
You're just going to leak out the tally. And you're not even sure what the votes really are. And they're going back to paper ballots now and having to reconstruct this Iowa caucus.
I have never seen this in my lifetime. And I think it just adds to the confusion about the Democratic Party and their -- who's going to be the nominee.
And from what I understand, though, and the earlier reports, I think Sanders, Bernie Sanders, is doing quite well, and Joe Biden's not.
CAVUTO: The acting homeland security secretary had said earlier this morning that, whatever the confusion around what happened there, hacking does not seem to have been the issue. What do you think?
MCCAUL: No, I don't believe so.
And I work with the Department of Homeland Security and make sure we have secure elections. That does not seem to be the case. I think this app was - - was dysfunctional, and that's the primary cause for the confusion, was this particular app.
CAVUTO: Now, some have said Iowa just ruined its chance to be the first- in-the-nation sort of read on the presidential contest.
Do you agree with that?
MCCAUL: I have always wondered why -- why Iowa and New Hampshire? Why do they dictate where the majority of the country is going to go?
And, typically, they didn't always pick the winners. And so I kind of like the Super Tuesday race myself.
But I think this caucus idea, perhaps they need to look at modernizing that. It seems like it's not working so well.
And I think a lot of people from across the nation don't like the idea that two states can control -- have such a play in this election cycle.
CAVUTO: What do you think of caucuses, period? Some have said they have outgrown their usefulness.
Nevada obviously would strongly disagree with that, but your thoughts?
MCCAUL: Well, yes, I think it's kind of old-school, the old grassroots, let's get together as a caucus.
But I think -- I think maybe its time has come and gone. They need to move on, like the rest of the country, and have a more modernized system of elections. And that's -- again, I think the -- part of the problem behind what happened.
I have to say, I was quite amazed at this. I mean, I think it's an embarrassment, to be honest with you, not only for the caucus system, but the Democratic Party.
CAVUTO: All right, we will see what happens.
They're due to speak very, very closely, that is, the guy who runs the Iowa Democratic Party. That's coming up soon.
In the meantime, The New York Post editorial board member Kelly Jane Torrance.
Kelly Jane, I mean, obviously, a big embarrassment for Iowa here on whether it loses its star leadoff play in presidential elections. If it were, then what?
KELLY JANE TORRANCE, NEW YORK POST: Well, that's a good question, Neil.
And nobody has a specific answer, I think, so far. Now, we have seen places like California, of course, have been trying to have a little more say in this, I mean, California, a very big state, very big population.
It's actually been moving its primaries up, trying to get that influence that places like Iowa and New Hampshire have. And people have some points, Iowa not the most diverse state in the union.
People wonder if it represents America. And you do have to wonder, shouldn't more people be able to have say on who is running for president?
Americans end up getting only to choose between two people, basically? We have third-party candidates.
TORRANCE: They're not very viable.
So it is -- I think there's a lot of questions about why a few small states seem to end up getting to decide those two people.
CAVUTO: It's interesting.
I was talking to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. You know, we're very tight, very close. He calls me Larry. I call him House Majority Leader.
CAVUTO: Anyway, one of the things he said to me that I found interesting is that he would be open to changing the House majority rule.
I'm interrupting myself to hear from the Iowa Democratic Party chairman.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
TROY PRICE, IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: ... a little bit about what happened last night.
The reporting of the results and circumstances surrounding the 2020 Iowa Democratic Party caucuses were unacceptable. As chair of the party, I apologize deeply for this.
Last night, we were faced with multiple reporting challenges and decided, out of an abundance of caution, to protect the integrity of the Iowa caucuses and their results by taking the necessary steps to review and confirm the data.
A thorough, transparent And independent examination of what occurred yesterday will follow.
But let me be clear. My number one priority has been on ensuring the accuracy and integrity of the results. And we have been working all night to be in the best position to report results.
And here, in just a couple of minutes, we will be reporting 62 percent of precincts from all 99 counties.
The bottom line is that we hit a stumbling block on the back end of the reporting of the data. But the one thing I want you to know, we know this data is accurate.
And we also have a paper trail and documentation that will -- that have been able to use to provide information to help verify the results.
This is personal to me. I'm a lifelong Iowan. I have caucused for 20 years. And I know how important it is for -- to our party, to our state and to everyone, from our neighbors to new voters, to be able to come together all across the state.
We want Iowans to be confident in the results and in the process. And we are going to take the time that we need to make sure that we do just that.
So, I know folks are going to want to be seeing the results as they come in. I'm happy to take a couple of quick questions before that happens.
QUESTION: How can anyone trust you now?
PRICE: We have been working day and night to make sure that these results are accurate.
The one thing I will say is that the underlying data, the raw data, is secure. It was always secure. This was a coding error in one of the pieces on the back end, but the raw data, the data that has come in, is secure.
And I can assure Iowans of that.
QUESTION: Do you worry it could cost you your first-in-the-nation status or endanger the caucuses (OFF-MIKE)
PRICE: The fact is, is that this is a conversation that happens every four years. There's no doubt that that conversation will take place again.
But, right now, my focus is making sure that we get these results out. We are going to continue to do that. And we will have the results out as soon as we can.
QUESTION: Troy, when do you believe you will get to 100 percent? When do you believe you will get to 100 percent?
And how can you ensure Americans -- assure Americans that these are verifiably accurate results?
PRICE: Well, we're going to take the time we need to get these results done.
Now that we have the first batch that's going to be coming out here in a couple of minutes, we're going to continue to go through our processes, verifying everything.
But the thing to remember here, folks, is that we have a paper trail. We have always said all along that -- throughout this process that we have backups to the system, that we have redundancies built in.
And one of the ways that we do that is through the paper trail.
Now, the fact is, is that, as we started doing this last night, it took longer than we expected. And so -- but the -- my paramount concern is making sure that these results are accurate and reflect what happened last night in caucuses across the state.
We're going to do just that. And that's -- we're going to take the time we need to.
QUESTION: And when will that be? When will that 100 percent be, Troy? When will that be? When will that 100 percent be, Troy?
Do you have an estimate for when that will be?
QUESTION: When was the app submitted for review by an independent third party?
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