This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 17, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: If we're worried about foreign influence, for the very same reason, we should be worried about whether government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale.
And so I'm not saying that happened. But I'm saying that we have to look at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Attorney General William Barr, in an exclusive interview with our own Bill Hemmer, vowing to get to the bottom of what triggered the Russia probe and whether government officials, as he put it, put their thumb on the scale.
Today, the fast and furious fallout. Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto.
In a moment, we're going to hear from the House Judiciary Committee's Jim Jordan on what he thinks of all of this.
First to Mike Emanuel on the attorney general, he says, trying to get to the bottom of all of this -- Mike.
MIKE EMANUEL, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Neil, good afternoon.
In that exclusive interview with FOX's Bill Hemmer, Attorney General William Barr spoke about his desire to get to the bottom of how that whole Russia investigation got started.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARR: No one's really looked at it. I think there's a misconception out there that we know a lot about what happened.
The fact of the matter is, Bob Mueller didn't look at the government's activities. He was looking at the -- whether or not the Trump campaign had conspired with the Russians. But he wasn't going back and looking at the counterintelligence program.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: The attorney general also revealed he's looking into the events leading up to Election Day 2016 and a January 2017 briefing intelligence officials gave them president-elect Trump at Trump Tower.
That's when the president was briefed on Russian election meddling. And Barr says he wants to find out if some government officials acted with bias.
House Intelligence Chairman Democrat Adam Schiff of California wasn't impressed with Attorney General Barr's answers, tweeting the following: "Barr says Trump's campaign was spied upon. Trump claims treason. Both are incendiary. Neither is true. Barr suggests a finger was put on the scale to affect the election. But the Trump probe was kept secret. The Clinton one wasn't. It's the Trumpification of the DOJ."
There is no surprise Adam Schiff disagrees with William Barr -- Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, buddy, thank you very, very much.
EMANUEL: You bet.
CAVUTO: Mike Emanuel on Capitol Hill.
Well, the president just weighing in on all this a short time ago. Take a look.
Oh, I'm sorry, we do not have that. But, look, it's colorful. So I'm telling you, you got to stay tuned for that.
In the meantime, the back and forth on this has a lot of folks wondering who's going to win out? One thing that's safe to say is, we're looking at a lot of hearings, a lot of investigations, and something that could drag on a while.
Republican strategist Nick Adams is here. We have also got Democratic strategist Cathy Areu and The Washington Examiner's Siraj Hashmi.
Siraj, end it with you, because I want get your sense of where you think this is going. What are we looking at now?
SIRAJ HASHMI, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, right now, we're seeing the unintended consequences of William Barr looking into the investigation of - - or the impetus of this investigation into the Trump-Russia campaign collusion.
Basically, James Clapper, former DNI, as well as former Director of the FBI James Comey, and John Brennan, the former CIA director, seem to be throwing each other under the bus a little bit. You're seeing Comey, basically, in a late 2016 e-mail say that Brennan was the one who was pushing for the dossier, the Steele dossier to be included in the intelligence community assessment that was focused on why they were going to start this investigation.
So there have been a lot of different people saying that the investigation started this way or it started that way, whether it was the Steele dossier or basically Papadopoulos saying something to an Australian agent in London.
But specifically looking at Brennan and Comey, Comey actually has a stronger case in terms of this paper trail that's being led here, because Brennan is obviously pushing back on this idea that he pushed for the Steele dossier. And Comey's e-mail seemed to suggest that it wasn't.
CAVUTO: You know what is interesting about this, Cathy Areu? I would be curious your take. If the attorney general wants to look into what started this investigation in the first place -- and the Democrats have seized on this to say that this is just deflection and there's nothing there.
But as a Democrat yourself, would you then be surprised if it turns out that it was built on a false premise, and that there was a lot of hanky- panky going on, but it wasn't on the president's side, it was on investigators sort of setting him up?
CATHY AREU, PUBLISHER, CATALINA: Whatever that hanky-panky may be that you are referring to, the summary does say that the Russians did influence the election.
So we're not saying collusion or obstruction, but the first chapter of that big report...
CAVUTO: But that's not what I'm asking, though.
If it was built on a premise of false allegations, in fact, made-up -- if it was -- and we don't know. But if it was...
AREU: But then the justified the means, though.
CAVUTO: Is that what you're saying? The ends...
CAVUTO: See, that's what I thought you would say that.
AREU: Well, the report shows -- yes.
CAVUTO: All right.
So, Nick, here's where I want to go and get your sense what this means going forward. We have an inspector general's report we're awaiting. That's a separate issue here, I understand.
But for the American people watching all this from home and maybe getting investigation fatigue, where do you think this resonates for 2020?
NICK ADAMS, FOUNDER, FOUNDATION FOR LIBERTY AND AMERICAN GREATNESS: Well, I -- look, I think this is one heck of a moving, Neil.
I mean, get the Whoppers ready. Get the Skittles ready. Get the popcorn ready. You have got all these different people involved.
CAVUTO: You would have Whoppers and Skittles?
CAVUTO: Touche. Go ahead.
ADAMS: Thank you very much.
ADAMS: Well, so, look, this is going to be one -- one incredible movie.
You have got Comey, you have got Clapper, you have got Brennan, you have got Lynch, you have got Obama. You can see the cannibalization has already begun.
I think it's pretty fair to say that these people are at each other's throats, because it's increasingly apparent that the power of the government was used to tilt the election.
We saw the 6th of January meeting, before the president had even been sworn in. We saw that meeting where Jim Comey spoke to the president, said that he had all of this stuff about the president consorting with Russian prostitutes and everything else.
I think it's pretty clear from day one, Neil, that this -- that these people were against this president taking office, against his goals for America. And I'm -- I think what we're going to see is, I have been very impressed with Bill Barr, and I think, in his own, quiet, dignified way, he's going to make sure that these guys pay.
CAVUTO: Well, we will see.
But, Siraj, one of the things I got out of the interview with Bill Hemmer is, the attorney general saying that he did talk to Mueller after the report and ask him about why no final conclusion on obstruction, where he expected, as a prosecutor, he would have sort of made a call on that.
What did you think of that?
HASHMI: Well, it kind of follows that point that Robert Mueller had two decisions to make.
He could either basically say that President Trump was cleared of any wrongdoing and exonerate him in full or not come to a conclusion because the idea of indicting a sitting president of the United States is how do you move forward in the criminal trial, and basically getting in a fair and impartial jury to hear the president's case on obstruction of justice?
And so he decided that by not clearing the president of any wrongdoing, he can leave it up to the Justice Department, in which case they decided not to move forward on it. And so it was kind of a rock and a hard place for special counsel Robert Mueller.
And I think Barr is probably saying that, in many ways, because they couldn't reach any conclusion, they're just -- it didn't happen.
CAVUTO: Yes. Well, he was surprised by that.
Guys, thank you very much.
We have a lot of breaking news, including the read on all this from the House Judiciary Committee's Jim Jordan, who was telling me what he thinks this means at this stage on FOX Business.
Take a look.
REP. JIM JORDAN, R-OH: What I do know is, Bill Barr is not just serious. I think he's very serious.
He said in his interview with Bill Hemmer that someone may have put their thumb on the scale. He's concerned about that. Did that actually happen?
When you take that statement and couple it with what he said four weeks ago in front of the Senate, when he said that he felt there was a failure of leadership at the upper echelon of the FBI, that was certainly the case. He said spying did occur. There's a basis for his concern about the spying that took place.
And then probably, fourth, and most importantly, he used two terms that should scare every American. He talked about unauthorized surveillance and potential political surveillance. So, I think he is starting from the right premise. And he is very serious about finding out what exactly took place when they launched this whole Trump-Russia investigation in the first place.
CAVUTO: Do you think that, when the Mueller investigation started, they ever looked at -- the attorney general dismissed it -- the possibility that it was a false premise?
JORDAN: I don't think they did.
And go back and look at the charge they were given by Rod Rosenstein. It was very broad. It said, you look at Trump-Russia, you look at the interference in the election, was there any type of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to do this, and then it said, or anything arising there out of that.
So it was a pretty broad charge that they had. In fact, they ended up going after Manafort for failure to registering as a lobbyist and all these others. So why not look at that? Why not looked at, was the dossier verified? Did they actually -- how did that whole thing get us at the FISA court? Why not look at that?
Obviously, they didn't. And Bill Barr's going to, along with, of course, the inspector general, whose report we expect now any week.
CAVUTO: James Comey, if you're right, lied.
JORDAN: Well, it's funny, because you got Comey and Brennan pointing each other.
So, we don't know how this all took place. We have seen some of those text messages and the one sort of blaming the other. Was this -- was the dossier part of the intelligence community assessment, was it not, who wanted to include it, who didn't?
But I think, as Bill Barr said, there was a complete failure of leadership at the upper echelon of the FBI. Comey was fired. Andy McCabe, deputy director, fired, lied three times under oath, according to the inspector general.
Jim Baker, the chief counsel of the FBI, demoted and left, currently under investigation by the Justice Department. And it's interesting who in the Justice Department.
John Durham in Connecticut, who's actually going to lead Bill Barr's investigation of this whole thing. Lisa Page, demoted and left, and Peter Strzok, deputy head of counterintelligence, who ran both the Clinton investigation, launched and ran the Russia investigation, he was demoted and then fired.
So, when he talks about a failure of leadership, I mean, I -- that's a pretty, pretty accurate depiction of what was going on at the top levels of the FBI.
CAVUTO: And on and on, we go.
In the meantime, attention, all shoppers. You're about to get stuck with higher prices, and sooner than you think. Get ready for the tariffs that aren't already here, and they're here.
CAVUTO: All right, well, you know the tariffs are coming, and big retailer Wal-Mart saying they might already be here. Get ready for the hit in your wallet.
Deirdre Bolton the jolting about to come.
What is going on?
DEIRDRE BOLTON, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey.
Yes, Neil, it's -- a lot of stuff is going to cost a lot more money. You just showed Wal-Mart there. And so when we go to stores after June 1, we are going to pay more for everything, pretty much, everything furniture, electronic gear. The list is pretty long.
But if you look at the way that the markets reacted today, someone anticipating all of these changes for consumers and for businesses, you had markets down across the board, investors just seeing these trade talks stalling between the U.S. and China.
So if we look at the groups that weighed the most heavily, energy, real estate, industrials, mitigating a few of these losses, though, was the notion that the U.S. and Canada and Mexico would be lifting trade tariffs against one another.
And, of course, if those three North American countries can lift the tariffs on each other, the new NAFTA can pass Congress, it can also be ratified in Canada and Mexico. So that remains to be confirmed officially, but it looks as if it is moving in the right direction.
Sources telling us the Trump administration doesn't want to be fighting allies and neighbors on trade. It wants to focus that trading firepower on China.
Now, in this U.S. and China trade context, the analyst community is monitoring Apple. I wanted to tell you, Nomura cutting its price target to $175 from $180, citing concerns about Apple's China exposure.
But there's also IBM, Microsoft, Intel. It's a long list. Each of these companies relies on China for a good chunk of sales or component manufacturing. Also, analysts are watching some companies in relationship to the Trump administration's decision on Huawei.
So, as we know, the Trump administration basically making it harder for American companies to do business with Huawei, a punishment for Huawei, but there are a few American suppliers that may be hurts, Qualcomm, Qorvo and Micron three of note -- Neil, back to you.
CAVUTO: Deirdre, thank you very, very much, Deirdre Bolton on all of that.
Well, of course, the U.S. and China are going back and forth on this thing. And what was interesting in the last couple of days is the market kind of shrugged through it. Why is that?
Let's ask Gary Kaltbaum, one of the best market reads I know.
Gary, today's 98 point sell-off notwithstanding, I mean, think of how we started the week, down over 600 points, I think in the end down about 150. So it could have been a lot worse. Is this the market's way of saying, we have moved on from focusing on the trade talks that are looking good, then looking bad, we are on to other stuff?
GARY KALTBAUM, CONTRIBUTOR: I'm not so sure.
I'm hoping that negotiations go underground, instead of negotiating out loud. I think it's moving markets crazily.
KALTBAUM: The auto tax going away, that helped the markets. Now the steel and the aluminum looks like it's going away, but...
CAVUTO: That's a separate deal with the Canadians and the Mexicans.
KALTBAUM: Right. Exactly.
CAVUTO: But do you think it telegraphed potential good news with China?
KALTBAUM: That helps.
But with China, we're hearing like everybody's backing away, nobody wants to talk anymore. China's probably not happy that they're being called criminal and crooks, and Huawei does this and that.
Again, I hope it goes underground. For markets and I even think for the economy and the average person out there, we don't want to hear this anymore. Let's go back to business. Let's go back to work.
But I -- there's somebody in the White House that likes negotiating out loud.
CAVUTO: One of the things that you have reminded me of, depending on where you look, but most of the earnings surprised on the upside, right?
I did, so we had about a 4 percent surge in the first quarter, when I guess people were expecting earnings would contract. And then a lot of companies have been buying back stock. And I don't know if that pace slows down. But what are you seeing for the next couple of months?
KALTBAUM: Well, buybacks help. Earnings per share, take stock off the market, just helps. And there has been a heck of a lot of buybacks.
But going forward, the best thing that's going on right now is you're under 2.4 percent 10-year.
KALTBAUM: That is a tailwind.
And you have a Fed who I actually think the next move is going to lower rates because of the -- how low rates are.
CAVUTO: Lower rates when?
KALTBAUM: I think in the next few months.
KALTBAUM: Yes. As long as the 10-year stays low, they have room to actually go down to 2 percent from 2.5. And I can promise you the market will react well to that. Markets love easy money.
CAVUTO: But wouldn't it also be deemed, Gary -- you're talking about the 10-year note now around 2.5 percent or actually less, 2.4 -- had gone up to 2.5 -- that it would welcome a move like that? Because you could also read panic on the part of the Fed, right?
KALTBAUM: You know what, Neil?
I really don't know what's going on, how low these rates are. I would have thought that rates would be 5 percent right now with GDP in the 3's and unemployment in the 3's. But it stays low.
KALTBAUM: And, again, there's nothing bad about low rates. If we can get oil prices down also, that's the double good whammy.
Hopefully, that occurs too. I think we're in decent shape here because of the easy money, because of low rates. But there is an issue on earnings going forward. They have stagnated in a lot of places. You saw something out of Deere today. That's not good news.
But on the other end, I look at a Costco, which we do own, strong earnings, strong sales growth. So there's some good and there is not so good. I just happen to think that we had such a big fourth -- four months of the beginning of the year, two to three years of average gains already, I think that's the problem for the market right now, because I don't think we're going to be up 40 percent. At least I don't think so.
CAVUTO: Yes, that would be a little unrealistic. But we will see.
But, finally, your sense of what Wal-Mart is warning consumers about. And we have heard it from a lot of the retail CEOs , many on this show and on Fox Business, who've been saying to a man or woman pretty much the same thing. It's going to hit you. We can't absorb all of this.
KALTBAUM: When Wal-Mart talks, the rest of business will listen.
They do $500 billion, $500 billion in sales. So that's going to matter.
KALTBAUM: We got a tax cut, a big corporate tax cut, a smaller individual tax cut.
This is a smaller individual tax increase. That's going to offset that. That is not good news. And that's why I'm hoping they go underground, get this done sooner, rather than later. Or prices are going up on a lot of stuff.
It's not going to be a great time for Christmas. Toys are going up. Your Gumbys are going to go up 10 to 25 percent.
CAVUTO: I cannot believe how you seem to relish this bad news.
KALTBAUM: No, I don't.
CAVUTO: All right, Gary Kaltbaum. I'm kidding.
All right, fine reminder of what's going on, retailers, the market, you name it, Gary Kaltbaum. "Bulls & Bears" is the show on FOX Business.
In the meantime, we now know that Conrad Black is exonerated completely by the president, pardoned by the president. He says he didn't see it coming, got a call from the White House, didn't think it was real.
How did all that go down? The Lord Conrad Black is next.
CAVUTO: All right, you're looking live at a campaign event that will begin shortly, we are told, for South Bend, Indiana, Mayor and presidential candidate Peter Buttigieg.
Ahead of that, just keep in mind he's part of about two dozen Democrats vying for the White House. So you might ask yourself, they know that only one of them is going to be the nominee, right, so what do the other 23 get out of it?
Well, a lot more than you know. It might not even be the long-term goal to become president, but all the benefits that come with running for president.
The former Deputy White House chief of staff, bestselling author Karl Rove.
Karl, we're going to go through a couple of examples of former and present candidates who have done anything from sign on to the every big book deals, to rich speaking engagements. Others move on to Cabinet positions themselves, just from those presidential runs.
It can be lucrative, can't it?
KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes, it can lead to a second or third chapter in your life.
I mean, you're right. Hillary Clinton became secretary of state after losing to Barack Obama. Rick Perry became a member of Trump's Cabinet after running himself for president in 2016 and 2012. Newt Gingrich is a valued adviser to President Trump, having been a candidate in 2012.
And, of course, there are book deals. There are the speaking circuit. There are business opportunities. John Connally lost in 1982 Ronald Reagan and came home to Texas and started a big real estate development named Barton Creek. And one of his major investors in it was the head of a savings and loan in Saint Louis, Missouri, who had supported him for president and fallen in love with him and wrote a big check to underwrite his development.
And other presidential candidates have lost in gone on to successful careers in business, because people say they got intelligence, they got contacts. That's the kind of person we need, either on our board or as part of our financial institution.
CAVUTO: Yes, I'm just curious, Karl.
I mean, it has been the case of late, between your old boss, George W. Bush, of course, Barack Obama, where the first try was the charm. But more often than not, it's after multiple attempts, whether you're looking back at Richard Nixon, or you're looking at Ronald Reagan.
And I'm just wondering whether there's value in that. Your name gets out. If you made it a close battle, certainly as Ronald Reagan did in 1976 with Gerald Ford, you could be well on your way.
But what about that? Of the group that you see, who looks promising for the future? They might not get the brass ring now, but could put in play their names for maybe the next time or the time after that?
ROVE: Well, look, almost all of them have that opportunity.
I don't think Mike Gravel, for example or Mr. Yang are going to have great opportunities in the future. But a lot of the others that we think about in the first and second tier of the Democratic race do have potential.
How big a potential matters on how they handle themselves both during the campaign and then afterwards. Let me give you an example. Howard Dean crashed and burned in the 2004 primary, but, even today, when I'm out giving speeches, I will be doing joint appearances with Howard Dean.
Why? Because after he was a presidential candidate, he turned into being an entertaining speaker and to be somebody who liked doing that kind of thing and, as a result, got better at it. So we really don't know what their next chapter will be. But it depends partly on how they perform during the campaign. A large part of it does, but part of it also depends on how they adjust to the life that they have afterwards.
CAVUTO: And to your point, some of them might have been not ready for prime time when they announced. But when they do get speaking fees and the rest, and do this again and again and again, they get better at it.
CAVUTO: And by the next go-round, they're much sharper.
ROVE: Yes, they either get better or they don't.
CAVUTO: Yes, or they don't. Yes, you're right.
ROVE: If they don't, we generally tend not to hear from them again.
But if they get better, they tend to have some presence and some staying power, regardless of whether they want to be in public service or whether they want to be in the private sector, whether they want to be on the speaking circuit or write books, or whether they want to burrow into a business and make a career there.
We have seen several former presidential candidates. Joe Lieberman, who ran in 2004, has enjoyed a wonderful run in business as an adviser to companies and as a member of boards of directors.
CAVUTO: All right, we will watch it closely.
Karl, thank you very much. Good seeing you.
ROVE: You bet. Great to see you, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, it's the one thing being president of the United States can grant you, an enormous power. I'm not talking about going into wars or battle. I'm talking about the power to pardon people of almost any crime at almost any time.
A big name this week north of the border that got the president's attention here -- after this.
CAVUTO: You ever got a ticket for texting while you're driving? How about texting while you're crossing a street? In New York City, it could happen and soon, and all because you're endangering yourself and others?
The Big Apple big controversy -- after this.
CAVUTO: All right, he spent more than three years in prison for charges he said were trumped-up and wrong and unfair, namely on wire fraud, obstruction of justice. We will get into details in a second.
Bottom line, the president of the United States of this country gave him a call up in Canada to tell him, Conrad Black, I just pardoned you. There's more to it than that.
But the publisher joins me right now from Toronto, Conrad Black, Lord Conrad Black.
Good to have you.
CONRAD BLACK, FORMER CHAIRMAN, HOLLINGER INTERNATIONAL, INC.: Good to be back, Neil.
CAVUTO: So, could you explain the process, first off, how you found out about it?
BLACK: You mean how I found out that it was sort of in progress, or how I found out that it happened?
CAVUTO: No, no, no, that the president of the United States calls you, you got to a call from White House, how that all went down.
BLACK: Well, I -- frankly, I assumed -- the lady who answers the phone for me said who was calling, and I assumed it was a prank, probably from one of the London newspapers, The Daily Mail or something like that.
They like to -- occasionally, they try and -- you get through to Buckingham Palace claiming to be the head of some country in Africa or something. I thought it was that sort of thing.
BLACK: And then I started out to say, is this a prank? And the lady on the other end said, please hold for the president. And then he came right on.
So I knew, unless it was Rich Little, it was the president. And then he said some things that made it clear it couldn't have been an impersonator. And so I told him, he did me great honor by phoning. And he couldn't have been more gracious.
And he authorized me to say that his motivation in doing this was that the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, and the legal team had -- had looked through the material that Alan Dershowitz and others had sent on my behalf, legal -- legal analysis, and concluded that I never should have been charged.
And it was, in the president's own words, a bad rap and an unjust verdict. So, I was very -- that, of course, is true, but it was extremely gratifying to have ultimately the highest authority in these matters came to that conclusion and take the decision he did.
So, I thanked him, naturally, profusely. And we chatted for a few minutes. And the conversation ended after about 10 minutes. He couldn't have been more -- more pleasant.
CAVUTO: Well, you probably had a common shared bond about overzealous prosecutors there. Did he talk to you about that?
BLACK: Well, the names of a few -- of a few well-known figures, at least one of whom he has described as a bad cop, came up.
And just by complete coincidence and on a very trivial level, I was contending with some of the same people who have been harassing him.
So, it would be an indiscretion of me to say exactly what was said, but more flattering things have been uttered about those people, I think, but probably less flattering also.
CAVUTO: Was James Comey among those people?
BLACK: He -- he figured prominently in that part of the conversation, yes.
CAVUTO: One of the stipulations of this, I understand, when you first got out of jail, was that you couldn't travel to the United States.
BLACK: Jail is -- jail is for the town drunk, Neil.
BLACK: I got out of a deluxe federal prison. The...
CAVUTO: There we go.
CAVUTO: And, by the way, you were not at a country club prison, I remember.
BLACK: No, no, I don't think they have country clubs in the correctional system in your country.
No, no, but it was fine. There was no violence, I mean, not -- nothing that affected me anyway. I had no problem with anybody, either the fellow residents or the regime. I had no problem.
CAVUTO: But you couldn't travel to United States afterwards. Are you free to travel now to the United States?
BLACK: No, I could if I wished to apply. And I was assured that, if I applied, I would be accepted.
But because of the way I was treated by your legal system, and despite my great admiration for the United States, I didn't feel like applying. But now, as the president explained, the whole matter is expunged.
BLACK: I was officially never prosecuted, and I'm welcome to come and go, like anyone else.
CAVUTO: Well, you can't...
BLACK: And like I can with the other 197 countries in the world.
CAVUTO: But you can't undo those three years in prison. Are you -- are you bitter about that experience?
BLACK: I'm philosophical. I'm -- I -- you know, I agree with -- in many things -- as you know, you have kindly referred at times to the book I wrote about President Roosevelt.
And he -- his best answer at a press conference was, what do you think of vengeance? And he said, "I'm for it."
BLACK: If -- there are a few people that I would -- if I had the chance, I would return the favor to them they showed me.
But in -- but it doesn't preoccupy me, and I'm not bitter against the country. It's the country. And I -- it's a free country, and you run it the way you want it, but you have got terrible problems in the justice system.
CAVUTO: Let me ask you. You mentioned a book. You have written several books, but among them was "Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other." It was a largely flattering book.
But I have read that book. It wasn't entirely flattering. So I'm wondering...
CAVUTO: ... if the president read it. I mean, and the perception was that you got this because you said some nice things about him. But, again, I read that book. It wasn't entirely all fawning.
So did the president explain to you why he did this? And did the book have anything to do with it?
BLACK: I have no reason to believe, Neil, that he read the book or even that he's aware that I wrote the book. The subject has never come up.
He has occasionally let it be known through other people that -- our mutual friends -- that he was grateful for some of the things I have written about him in The National Review and on American Greatness.
But, you know, those of us who comment favorably on him are few in quantity, but of the highest quality. It's down to Victor Hanson, Roger Kimball, and a few other people, including myself.
CAVUTO: And, by the way, you were on this show many times throughout the campaign, I remember, being very complimentary of him, and that he did have a chance to do what he did.
But I'm just wondering now whether you look at this whole experience any differently now? Would you get back into publishing in a big way? I mean, obviously, you have written some very big books, big historical biographies and the rest.
What do you do now?
BLACK: Well, I'm still writing. And I'm not on American affairs now.
But I write -- it is three columns a week in one country and another. And I do write books. That's one good thing that came of all that. You have got plenty of time to write.
BLACK: And it's also a great way of taking your mind off the problem.
But, on that, I am actually a historian. And what I wrote about President Trump was just as objective as what I wrote about President Roosevelt and President Nixon. If you want to keep a reputation, you can't be a propagandist and a whitewasher.
And I have pointed out some of the soft points in his career. But I don't -- I don't think he is even aware I wrote the book. And, certainly, it's never come up between us.
So, he told me that his reason was the motive I said. But that's what I do. And I'm rebuilding my fortunes, but not in the publishing business and not in public companies.
CAVUTO: OK, We shall see.
Conrad Black, pardoned by the president of the United States, joining us out of Toronto.
We will have a lot more after this, including the latest news out of the Persian Gulf. It's getting a little dicey there.
You wouldn't notice it in the market. You wouldn't notice it in oil. You wouldn't notice it in any of that stuff that markets do when they're getting nervous about, oh, I don't know, a war.
CAVUTO: All right, they're looking like planes backed up at La Guardia, the USS Lincoln the latest in the Persian Gulf now. And that's not bothering Iran.
One of the top military officials there saying that short-range missiles they have can easily reach these warships, presumably including the Lincoln, quite, quite easily.
Retired Army General Anthony Tata joins us right now, co-author of the book "Reaper: Threat Zero."
Always good to have you, General. Thank you for taking the time.
BRIG. GEN. ANTHONY TATA, RET., U.S. ARMY: Great to be here, Neil.
CAVUTO: I'm looking at this, and I can't figure out where this is going. Where do you think it's going?
TATA: Well, I think where it's going is, Iran is going to back down in the face of significant deployment of forces and the Lincoln carrier strike group.
You know, there's destroyers that go with that and other ships that come along with that, potentially subsidies, 60 airplanes, give or take, on the Lincoln. And so that's a significant force that's moving into the Persian Gulf. And it's what's called -- what we call a flexible response option that the president has.
He could send a platoon of Marines or he could send a carrier strike group or anything in between, based on the level of threat. And as you have heard Secretary Pompeo say and others, that this is a credible and imminent threat.
And what has happened is, Iran has resourced its proxy groups in Iraq primarily and other places in the Middle East with funds, with ammunition, with weapons, and given them plans to attack critical soft targets that America has in that region.
And our deployment of forces there makes a very clear statement that if they do so they will pay a price.
CAVUTO: Do you think this has anything to do with obviously we got off that deal that President Obama and other countries had signed with Iran, and this is our way of advancing that?
TATA: Well, I think it's related, Neil, for sure, because Iran is feeling the pinch because all the waivers are being denied for exceptions to the sanctions.
And now they are really feeling the pinch. And so they're lashing out in the way that they know how to lash out, and that's through terrorism, that's true military action in the region. They are not good at diplomacy.
And, frankly, what we see now is that -- there was a Wall Street Journal article saying that there might have been a misread on the intelligence.
TATA: But what it is that the Iranians now are backing down.
And I don't believe that there was a misread on the intelligence. What I believe is that, now that we have significant military force in the Persian Gulf, the Iranians are changing their tune a little bit. And what we see now is this thing's going to back down and we're going to have that presence there.
And if they do attack this carrier strike group, it'll be a huge mistake on Iran's part.
CAVUTO: We will watch closely. General, thank you very much. Have a good weekend.
TATA: Yes, you too, Neil.
CAVUTO: In the meantime, closer to home, texting while crossing could soon have you paying.
Gen Hexed is hexed.
CAVUTO: This is the segment where people say, Neil, this is where you try to be hip, as if I need to try.
CAVUTO: Anyway, Gen is Hexed over a couple of big issues here.
Pay up the next time you text on crossing a street in New York City. Apparently, the state Senate is considering a law that would fine people for using a smartphone while crossing the street, so not even texting, mere looking at it crossing a street.
So is this going too far?
Let's get the read from my buddy "Blood in the Streets" author Dion Baia. We have got the Internet radio sensation Mike Gunzelman, and, last but not least, The New York Post's Brooke Rogers.
Brooke, what do you think of that, pay up for texting when you're crossing the street?
BROOKE ROGERS, THE NEW YORK POST: This is just a classic Bloomberg-style nanny state law.
This is something no one asked for and probably won't even help, because research shows that texting while crossing the street doesn't significantly increase accidents.
CAVUTO: Really? Do you -- while you're crossing, let's say, Times Square, you are texting?
ROGERS: I think that if you make sure that there -- that you have the right of way before you cross, and then you look down at your phone, I don't think it'll increase your chances of being hit.
DION BAIA, CONTRIBUTOR: I think this is a great idea because, I mean, especially nowadays, where it's like the Wild Wild West in New York City, where there's bikes going the opposite way, literally not obeying the traffic laws.
BAIA: And then all of a sudden, you're taken out because some guy is going the wrong way on a one-way street, you could seriously get some problems.
MIKE GUNZELMAN, INTERNET RADIO HOST: See, I have a different take.
I say, if you are dumb enough to get hit by moving traffic, then so be it.
GUNZELMAN: We don't need a law. We actually want these people to get hit. We want them out. We want them gone.
BAIA: Well, that's the problem. You see people walking around in malls and stuff. They're walking, they're falling into fountains and all that stuff.
CAVUTO: But it could endanger other people as well, couldn't it?
GUNZELMAN: We will worry about that when it happens. You know what I mean? We don't need a law to protect -- to stop us. You know what I mean?
CAVUTO: It was dicey.
CAVUTO: Let's go on to the other issue here, before the lawsuits pile in.
HBO's hit show "Game of Thrones" it's airing, I guess, its series finale on Sunday night.
GUNZELMAN: Oh, yes.
CAVUTO: Now, according to a survey that is out, nearly 11 million people could call out sick the next day, Monday, because of it, this as a petition is going around to make -- remake the entire season because fans are not satisfied.
CAVUTO: What do you think?
ROGERS: I think George R.R. Martin is already rewriting it, right? I mean, he's finishing the book, so why don't you just wait until those come out, see if you like that any better, and then...
CAVUTO: Do you like "Game of Thrones"? Are you...
ROGERS: I do. I just started watching those. I'm not caught up.
CAVUTO: Would you call in a sick day the next day to watch the final one?
ROGERS: Oh, absolutely not.
BAIA: But why? It's not airing that early. It's only airing at like 9:00, right? But what are you doing that -- the rest of the night? It's not like football.
ROGERS: Yes. If this show is driving people to binge-drink so much that, after an hour, they have a hangover the next day, I understand why they want to rewrite it.
BAIA: You see me. I function every day. And I'm binge-drinking.
CAVUTO: No, you don't.
BAIA: That's a very good point.
GUNZELMAN: It is interesting, though, because they're saying upwards of 11 million people might call out the next day, which is how many called off after the Super Bowl. But those are like insane fans and whatnot.
This is "Game of Thrones." Everything will be OK. You don't have to have a petition...
BAIA: Like, why isn't -- wouldn't you keep it a secret if you were going to call out sick? You're telling everybody, by the way, Neil, I'm going to call it sick Monday, so you're not going to -- like, who...
CAVUTO: Maybe it's an algorithm they use.
BAIA: I don't know.
GUNZELMAN: Also, who wants to call out the day after? That's the best time to go to work, so everyone discusses it. By Tuesday, no one's going to care anymore.
BAIA: That's true.
CAVUTO: I'm that way when I have seen something on The History Channel. Did you see how they portrayed Adams?
BAIA: And then they did this with "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."
People were -- fans were so mad about it -- you know.
BAIA: They tried to petition to get it removed from the canon.
So that's another thing here.
ROGERS: Ironically, the show writers are actually next up to write a "Star Wars" movie, so I'm sure that...
CAVUTO: I think it's the show's producers who are putting out, 11 million people might call...
BAIA: As Brooke said, too, that they're ahead of George R.R. Martin's books. So, if you don't like this ending, as you know...
CAVUTO: I want to end with a little sadness here, but I know this is bumming you out.
The Internet is apparently mourning the death of Grumpy Cat, a viral sensation, passing away at the tender age of 7. The cat's famed scalp reportedly earning its own millions of dollars. It has millions of followers on social media.
CAVUTO: Big deal.
GUNZELMAN: Neil, after this, I will be going to adopt a cat right after this, if it's going to bring in that much revenue.
CAVUTO: What was the draw with this cat?
GUNZELMAN: It just -- it was miserable-looking. It was really just grumpy.
BAIA: It was just the face.
BAIA: I didn't know what happened to this poor cat.
GUNZELMAN: It's dead. It died.
CAVUTO: I'm told a urinary tract infection.
CAVUTO: What are the equivalent human years for every cat year? Do we know? I know it's seven years for dogs.
ROGERS: I think the average cat life expectancy is about 16 years.
ROGERS: So, this is pretty short.
BAIA: It's so sad. So let's not make it sound completely heartless at this poor cat.
GUNZELMAN: No, we don't care about that cat.
ROGERS: But millions of moms on Facebook have lost the beloved meme. And that is very sad.
BAIA: And it's sad. And the real -- the cat's real name was Tartar Sauce.
ROGERS: Tartar Sauce.
BAIA: Tartar Sauce.
BAIA: Not tortoise. Tartar.
BAIA: Tartar Sauce
CAVUTO: I did want to raise real quickly with you guys a development at Uber, where you could pay a little premium for your driver to be quiet.
GUNZELMAN: Oh, I love that. Amazing.
ROGERS: I don't like it .
ROGERS: No, I think that putting up technological barriers to avoid natural human communication is not good for us.
And I think that it contributes to a society where, if you can't get into your Uber and tell your driver, by the way, if we could have -- if I could just focus on what I'm doing right now, I would appreciate it, then it's so dehumanizing to just turn on quiet mode and get into the car and expect to not talk.
CAVUTO: Do you talk to your driver?
ROGERS: If they would like to have a conversation, I do.
GUNZELMAN: Oh, no.
ROGERS: If I'm working on something, I will ask them politely not to.
GUNZELMAN: Uber etiquette. Rule number one, don't talk to the passengers.
BAIA: ... be so nice. And you're like, no, no, I want to talk.
And he's like, so, you work at Fox, eh? No, I just don't want to talk.
BAIA: So, how is Neil Cavuto?
CAVUTO: Bottom line, in perspective, there's no Grumpy.
BAIA: I'm calling out Monday.
CAVUTO: No more Grumpy.
CAVUTO: All right, if you want to be the next president of the United States, you got to get out there.
And it seems like each and every one of the major presidential candidates are going to be getting out there now, right through this weekend.
Doug McKelway has been following the latest on the campaign trail.
They're busy, huh, Doug?
DOUG MCKELWAY, CORRESPONDENT: Very busy, Neil.
And given how crowded the Democratic field is now, 23 candidates in all, it's really hard to get their messages out. Senator Cory Booker mired in seventh place, with only 3 percent support, is taking a novel approach.
Here he is on MSNBC's "The Beat With Ari Melber."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER, D-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's no feat to be on "The Beat," so far away from the actual street.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC: And we will add a beat under that.
BOOKER: Yes. If you want to be understood, you got to come to my hood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKELWAY: Well, don't expect a rap from Bernie Sanders. But he needs some mojo too. He is at a distant second place at 17 percent, down from a high of 23, before Biden entered.
He's going to be looking for that in the South this weekend with stops in the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama. That state's strict new abortion law will provide a rich target for Sanders and suburban pro-choice voters and African-American voters he would like to win over.
Senator Elizabeth Warren also piggybacking off Alabama's new pro-life law. In a blog post today, she argued that access to quality reproductive health services, including safe and legal abortion, is essential to a woman's health and economic security. She also wants Congress to pass a law to make it harder for states to restrict access to abortion.
And that's the latest -- Neil, back to you.
CAVUTO: You covered a lot of ground in not too much time. Thank you, Doug, very, very much, Doug McKelway.
Obviously, all these candidates are busy and that, to a man or woman, they're saying essentially the same thing: We can do better in this country.
The irony is, whether you like this president or not, he's overseeing a pretty good economy, pretty good markets. So how do you counter that? We're going to explore that in detail, how you fight a good economy and a bull market, by saying you would be better in that place, tomorrow live beginning at 4:00 p.m. -- I'm sorry -- it's 10:00 a.m.
We will see you this weekend.
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