Former Obama aide explains why he supports Pete Buttigieg for president

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 13, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: Well, it is the battle of the billionaires. Michael Bloomberg saying he is prepared to drop a billion bucks, if that's what it takes to defeat that other billionaire, President Trump, even, by the way if Mr. Bloomberg is not the Democratic nominee.

The president already ripping Bloomberg as mini Mike in a tweet. And, soon, the president himself may be speaking at the microphones. He will be departing the White House any moment now for the college football championship in New Orleans. We will be watching for any remarks, in case he stops to talk to reporters, before hopping on Marine One.

Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto.

And what does President Obama's former special assistant Reggie Love make of all this back and forth within and outside the Democratic Party?

Now, you might make the assumption, since he worked for so long with Barack Obama, that he's naturally enamored well to Joe Biden, his vice president. Think again.

First to Peter Doocy in Iowa to break it all down.

Hey, Peter.

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Neil, Michael Bloomberg is drawing inspiration for his campaign from the most expensive U.S. Senate race in history, down in Texas, and the candidate who lost it to Ted Cruz.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Beto showed that a Democrat can win Texas.

(LAUGHTER)

BLOOMBERG: But only if you invest time and resources in each and every one of your 254 counties. And that's what we're doing.

We are going to finally turn Texas blue.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BLOOMBERG: And we're not going to leave anyone behind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOOCY: The Bloomberg strategy skips early states and spends big in Super Tuesday states. He's already spent more than $200 million on this campaign. It is very heavy on TV advertising.

And, this weekend, he launched a traditional campaign bus tour down in Texas. That's where he told The New York Times he'd withdraw a billion dollars from his bank account to beat Trump, even if he is not the nominee.

And even the candidate calling for a wealth tax, who has sworn off big- dollar fund-raisers, says she would cash those checks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hope he's engaged. I hope he will work on the issues. I'm glad for him to help candidates, including me, but I'm not going to sell access to my time. I'm not going to change anything I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOOCY: President Trump has apparently caught some of Bloomberg's campaign commercials.

He tweeted this: "Mini Mike Bloomberg is spending a lot of money on false advertising. I was the person who saved preexisting conditions and your health care. You have it now, while at the same time winning the fight to rid you of the expensive, unfair and very unpopular individual mandate."

And a different billionaire, Tom Steyer, is going to be on the debate stage here in Des Moines tomorrow night. Bloomberg, though, who is not even trying to get on the stage, thinks he can win without a debate -- Neil.

CAVUTO: Peter, thank you very, very much.

Well, he was a close personal aide to former President Barack Obama. In fact, he was called the chief of stuff, the body man, the hand man. No matter, he was as close as you get to the Obama White House.

Now Reggie Love has a different candidate in mind. And it is not Joe Biden.

He joins us right now, former Obama personal aide Reggie Love.

Reggie, good to have you.

REGGIE LOVE, FORMER PRESIDENT OBAMA AIDE: Neil, thank you for having me today. Great to be on with you.

CAVUTO: The same here.

It's interesting, too, because of your closest and affinity to President Obama throughout his presidency. And you wrote a great book, "Power Forward: My Presidential Education," in which you...

LOVE: Thank you.

CAVUTO: ... go through that.

It just surprised me to hear that, as much as you regard Vice President Joe Biden highly, you prefer who?

LOVE: Now, I think that I spent a lot of years with President Obama and with Vice President Joe Biden, and I think they have been great leaders and have had tremendous service to this country.

I think Pete Buttigieg has a great opportunity to do something unique, bring about transformational change to the country. I think he's got a great message about unity. And, ultimately, when you look at the difference in 2016 and 2008, it's really about getting people excited to vote.

And I think the only way you get people excited to vote is to bring them into the fold and to give them new ideas and meet them where they live, things around national service, immigration, the Douglass Plan, all these things that will talk about the things we want to do for communities and for people, and not sort of the fear-mongering of, let's just get the guy currently in office out.

It's got to be about a plan to do something unique and something special and to bring people together to be a part of something that's bigger than themselves.

CAVUTO: So why not the vice president, or why not Bernie Sanders, who leads right now polls in Iowa and New Hampshire? And I know that could be fleeting, and polls generally are.

They're the same polls that dismissed Barack Obama in Iowa then.

LOVE: They are, same polls.

CAVUTO: And that launched the campaign.

But Mayor Pete, a lot of people were surprised at that choice by you, and particularly surprised, given the fact that he has had such a tough road with African-Americans in general so far. What do you make of that?

LOVE: Well, I mean, look, I think there are a couple points there.

I think, in terms of the polls today, I mean, if you look at the polls that just came out, it says that 45 percent of caucus-goers in Iowa are still undecided. And I would argue that, given Pete's relative newness on stage, it's pretty impressive that, when people get to actually hear Pete's message, they like him.

And when people are undecided, and they haven't had a chance to meet him or talk to him or learn about him, I kind of dismiss that a little bit.

In terms of -- and I would say too, like Obama, the polls didn't really favor Obama at the beginning, because people knew Hillary Clinton very, very well. I'd argue that, in the African-American community, many people haven't gotten a chance to meet or hear from Mayor Pete.

And I think, as people in the African-American community get to hear his message, I think that they will -- they will find it to be one that resonates with him.

CAVUTO: Did you bounce this off, Reggie, President Obama, that, look, I just am leaning toward this guy?

(LAUGHTER)

LOVE: Look, I mean, I think I may have sent like just a heads-up, but, no, I didn't have to get my permission slip signed.

CAVUTO: No, I realize that.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: I'm just curious whether the president is surprised, that is, Barack Obama.

A number of former administration insiders are leaning to Mayor Pete Buttigieg and others, but not the vice president. I'm wondering what that could mean.

LOVE: Well, look, I think, when Barack Obama won Iowa, before that, not many people knew who he was.

CAVUTO: Sure.

LOVE: And a lot of people said very similar things about him. He's -- like, oh, well, he's a nice guy. He's very articulate. I like his policies. But maybe he's a little too young, a little too brown, a little too -- maybe not born here in this country.

I mean, there were a whole host of things that people said about them that made him think that he wouldn't be fit to be president. And I think that he dismissed all of those things and ended up being a pretty impressive president.

A lot of people thought we could never get universal health care, right? And now...

CAVUTO: So, you think that a Mayor Pete would be able to do a lot of this stuff?

The reason why I mention it is, right now, with Bernie Sanders leading in these key states, some other Democrats have been telling me, if he's our nominee, we lose, we will go down to defeat, because all of a sudden people are going to say he's Mr. Big Government, and it's George McGovern all over.

What do you say?

LOVE: Well, I think a very important statistic you should take into consideration between -- the difference between 2008 and 2016.

In 2016, we had roughly 250 million and people in the voting age population. And we grew roughly 15 million more eligible voters between 2016 and 2008.

But in 2016, we only had four more million voters from 2008 than we did in 2016.

And to your point about Bernie is that people have to be inspired. They have got to want to go do something special, they have got to want to be a part of something in order for them to want to go out and vote.

And that's why I think Bloomberg's spending actually will be pretty impactful, because I think he's going to continue to remind people how important it is to be out on Election Day in November to make sure your voice is heard, I think.

And 2016, I think some people felt a little marginalized. And I think voters didn't turn out the way they did in 2008 and 2012. And I think Pete has the ability to inspire people to come be a part of something different.

CAVUTO: Now, you were part of something very different when we elected our first African-American president.

Now the question is, will this country elect a gay individual to be president of the United States?

LOVE: Look, I mean, I imagine that America is a place where we think everything is about how hard you work, what product you produce, and those things matter more to Americans, what you can do for them, than what your sexual orientation is.

And I think that, if a 38-year-old who's a mayor of a town of 100,000 people who is same-sex oriented can go out and win Iowa on the 3rd of February, I think it says that maybe we are -- maybe there's something we can be hopeful for.

I think that's how people felt about Obama in 2008.

CAVUTO: Do you feel that it's -- obviously, many Democrats feel, we have got to defeat Donald Trump. We can't go through four more years of this.

The economy has been very, very good. And the president likes to claim that it's much stronger than when your friend and the former president was in power.

When you hear that kind of stuff, and you're still close friends with Barack Obama, how does he feel about that? How do you feel about that, that he -- the president will always say the numbers bear me out, take a look at the markets, take a look at the economy, take a look at the jobs?

What do you say?

LOVE: Yes, look, I think that, I mean, you can talk a lot of stuff, and you can look at history, and you can look at Bush and Clinton, how Bush's tax cuts in the '90s helped lead to a balanced budget for Bill Clinton.

You could say that the things that Barack Obama did in 2009 and 2010 around the American Recovery Reinvestment Act, around Dodd-Frank, all these things to help solidify the financial services industry, I think you can say that a lot of those things have helped and have created a bit of a tailwind to allow the economy to continue to grow and prosper.

And I would say that, look, America is pretty resilient. I'd say that, as a whole, I think that when you look post-recession 2008-2009, a lot of countries still haven't really recovered. You look at Europe, and you look at parts of Southeast Asia.

CAVUTO: No, you're right about that.

I'm just curious, do you think that the former president will just wait until after the Democratic Convention to throw his support behind whoever the Democratic nominee is, and he's comfortable with that? Are you comfortable with that?

LOVE: I mean, I don't think he's going to do anything before the before the convention.

Look, I think, whoever ends up being the nominee -- and I'm in the same boat as well -- I think people -- Democrats are going to get behind to support, whether it's Mayor Pete, whether it's Bloomberg, whether it's Warren.

I think Democrats right now are hungry to try to bring a new look and new leadership into the White House.

And, ultimately...

CAVUTO: Well, does that mean, Reggie -- I apologize for jumping on you.

Does that mean that the party would elect someone who would be electable? The fear with an Elizabeth Warren or a Bernie Sanders is that they're not. Do you share that, that you would support whoever the nominee ultimately is?

LOVE: It wouldn't be my preference to be on -- to have a Democratic nominee who isn't going to be able to move center, who isn't going to be able to convince middle-of-the-road Republicans and people who've been outside of the voting process and a little apathetic.

I would be a little concerned about not having someone a little more moderate running the -- running at the top of the ticket.

But, that being said, I still would probably be very supportive of them. But my preference would be to have someone like Mayor Pete at the top of the ticket.

CAVUTO: All right. We will watch very closely.

Reggie Love, great seeing you. He was called a lot of things under Barack Obama. The one I used to love is chief of stuff.

But he was the guy who got things done and played a very instrumental role.

(LAUGHTER)

LOVE: Well, I'm glad you didn't say I, Reggie.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: No, I didn't do that. And I wasn't going to repeat some stories from your book. They're a little -- this is a family show.

So just keep that in mind, Reggie.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Thank you very, very much. Happy new year.

LOVE: Neil, thank you for having me on today.

CAVUTO: Same here.

All right, in the meantime, the House is preparing to send articles of impeachment over to the United States Senate. Now, more Republican senators seem open, at least open to the idea of witnesses in a Senate trial.

Is Texas Senator John Cornyn one of them? We will ask him. He's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: There are some Senate Republicans who are at least open to witnesses, but only after both sides have made their respective cases, one being Republican Senator John Cornyn, who joins me right now.

Senator, thank you for taking the time.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: First of all, do we know when those articles of impeachment will make it to your side of the Capitol?

CORNYN: Well, Nancy Pelosi said soon.

And we're assuming that that will happen this week. She's got a meeting with her caucus tomorrow. And so that will start the preliminary process, which could well result in us starting to actually hear the arguments of the impeachment managers and the president's lawyers on Tuesday, after Martin Luther King holiday on Monday.

CAVUTO: Oh, OK. So that's pretty soon.

So let me ask you, Senator. You are at least open to witnesses. It wasn't an ironclad type of a thing for you or a goal, but that you were open to it.

Several of your colleagues are as well. And it would appear that, if they all committed to that -- I'm including Mitt Romney and Susan Collins and senator of Alaska here -- if all of a sudden they were to say, yes, we're open to that, that would compel witness testimony.

John Bolton comes to mind. The president has already indicated that we might have to cite executive privilege to prevent Bolton from testifying.

But, again -- I was referring to Senator Murkowski of Alaska. I apologize.

If they're open to that, then what happens?

CORNYN: Well, this would be the third time in American history, the entire life of our country, where we have actually had this process.

And so we're looking for precedents or what has happened before. And the most logical one would be the way the Clinton impeachment trial was conducted, which allowed both sides to make their presentation, allowed senators to ask questions, which were then responded to by the impeachment managers or the president's lawyers.

And then and only then there would be a decision made, are there additional witnesses we want to hear from? In the Clinton case, there were three. And they were -- their sworn testimony was taken outside of the Senate chamber, and then excerpts presented for the trial.

I think that is the fairest way for us to do it, based on the way the Clinton impeachment trial proceeded. What's good enough for President Clinton ought to be good enough for President Trump.

So that's the way I see this going forward.

CAVUTO: I see.

So, in other words, they wouldn't be a part of public testimony, they would speak behind closed doors or give a deposition of sorts, and then it would be up to you and/or your colleagues to quote from that deposition, right?

CORNYN: Right.

It would be -- yes. I view this as we are like a jury, not exactly analogous, because, obviously, we're not disinterested like -- as a jury typically is.

CAVUTO: Right.

CORNYN: But it would be up to the impeachment managers, the House prosecutors, or the president's lawyers to present that evidence for us to consider as part of our deliberations.

But here's the -- here's the thing I'm wondering about, is, I'm not sure to what extent the facts, the underlying facts in support of the articles of impeachment are in dispute.

And so I'm not sure yet -- and that's one reason to leave it open for later determination -- whether additional witnesses will actually share any additional insights or any other perspective, or whether it will simply be repetitious.

CAVUTO: Do you get a sense as well, Senator, that, to that point, where minds won't be changed, whether you're for impeaching the president and you still are of that mind-set, if you're against, you're still against, that nothing will change in this process?

CORNYN: Well, I think, given the fact that Speaker Pelosi herself said in March of 2019 that impeachment was too divisive, and it just wasn't worth it unless there was bipartisan support and it was compelling.

But then, of course, she decided to veer off on a partisan, rushed impeachment process. I think we know, more or less, what the outcome is going to be, unless there are additional facts that we don't know now that are introduced here.

And I think 67 votes is a high threshold.

CAVUTO: Yes.

CORNYN: No president has ever been convicted and removed before. And I think it's unlikely to happen here.

CAVUTO: I don't know if this is unlikely.

Real quickly, Michael Bloomberg was saying at a campaign event today he's convinced he can make Texas blue. What do you think of that?

(LAUGHTER)

CORNYN: Well, I think -- I think that's the dream of a lot of Democrats. And we have seen huge voting turnout.

We're expecting more than 11 million votes. in 2020. The last time I was on the ballot in 2014, we had 4.7 million voters, so huge surge in turnout, and a lot of new people who have moved there because of the jobs and opportunity that our great economy is providing.

So, we're going to have to talk to all those folks and talk to them about the things they care about and earn their vote.

But I think, first, Mr. Bloomberg has got a preliminary problem. He's got to become the Democratic nominee -- nominee first. And I think that's unlikely to happen. But we will see.

CAVUTO: You never know. Strange country. Anything could happen.

Senator, always good seeing you. Happy new year.

CORNYN: Thank you, Neil. Same to you.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator Cornyn.

We do know that the president is talking to reporters outside the White House now, before he leaves for the college championship game.

When we get that tape, we will whisk it back here and play it for you.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: Iran is now denying reports that it fired live ammunition at anti- government protesters after the regime admitted to shooting down that Ukrainian plane by mistake.

So how is this playing out?

Let's get the read from the former deputy assistant to former Defense Secretary James Mattis, Amber Smith.

Amber, they're not backing down. The protesters are not backing down. And, if anything, they're growing in numbers. So, this is a little different than prior insurgencies, isn't it?

AMBER SMITH, FORMER U.S. ARMY HELICOPTER PILOT: It's absolutely different.

What we saw from the protesters who were avoiding stepping on not only the American flag, but the flag of Israel as well, is nothing short of absolutely incredible, as well as these protests that are popping up all over the country.

And I think that it just really shows it is a crime punishable by death to speak out against the ayatollah. And so I think it really shows where the heart of the Iranian people are, once you remove the curtain that the Iranian regime has held over the people for so many decades.

CAVUTO: So what does the regime do now?

Because also in the middle of this is a country that is spiraling and, an out-of-control recession. Growth there contracted 10 percent in the latest period. That's a borderline depression.

SMITH: It is.

And that's one of the reasons the protesters are speaking out in the way that they are, is that their economy has absolutely almost flatlined. And so I think what we're going to see from the regime is an attempt to sort of prevent forms of communication. They don't want the protesters being emboldened.

They don't want them to feel support from the West. And that's exactly what they're getting right now from the president. We have seen an uptick in tweets from the president. He's been tweeting in Farsi support for the protesters and speaking out negatively against the regime.

And so that sort of messaging from the administration is working. I think that it's going -- we're going to see some more of that. There's not going to be any sort of intervention or any sort of direct covert action towards Iran. The American people have zero appetite for any sort of additional conflict in the Middle East.

They're looking to remove American military forces from the Middle East. So I think, more than anything, it's just going to be a strategic communication push.

CAVUTO: You know what's different too? And you know this far better than I, Amber, but that the usual making the United States the great Satan and the boogeyman, and that worked in 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini was able to take people's attention away from the spiraling out-of-control Iranian economy to the great American Satan.

And that was working for a little while in Iran. And then, of course, the shooting down of this airliner and everything else combining, it's not working again, is it?

SMITH: It's not.

And the Iranian people have seen firsthand what life is like under the Iranian regime. And for too long, they have -- there's been no jobs, no opportunities. Their people are essentially looking for a way out.

And so I think when the regime could no longer lie about the Ukrainian airline that was shot down, I think that it was enough was enough for the Iranian people.

CAVUTO: Right.

SMITH: And with the president of the United States supporting them, using his Twitter platform that is absolutely unprecedented in the way that he's essentially able to speak to an entire group of people the way that he is, is changing the way that the people of Iran are viewing the regime that has been oppressing them for so long.

CAVUTO: Amber, thank you very much. Good catching up with you.

SMITH: Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: Again, the president might be commenting on this.

He did finish remarks, quick, we're told, before boarding Marine One for the college championship game tonight.

In the meantime, we're following that, also following her majesty across the pond weighing in on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Let's say she got right to the point -- after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: Now we know why Elon Musk was dancing. His stock just crossed $500 a share. His company is worth more than Ford and General Motors.

And you don't have to be a great dancer to drive home the point.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: Well, what a royal mess.

They're gathering at the queen's estate for an emergency meeting on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's future role in the family.

I don't know if it was quite settled, but let's say a couple agreed to points.

Amy Kellogg in London with the latest -- Amy.

AMY KELLOGG, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Neil.

Well, the queen said that the meeting was constructive, and she gave the couple her support for their new life.

But her statement, Neil, was very thin on details. She did, however, use the word family eight times in her relatively short statement.

Now, of course, this is about family, but this also might have been to give sort of a warm and fuzzy or cozy feel after a week that was very acid in tone. The 93-year-old monarch refers to the couple as Harry and Meghan in her statement, as opposed to the duke and duchess of Sussex, leaving people to speculate about what will be done about their titles and whether they will be allowed to continue as your royal highnesses when this is all done and dusted.

Here is more of her majesty's statement.

She went on to say, Neil -- quote -- "Harry and Meghan have made clear they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives. It has therefore agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the U.K."

That, though, leaves open the question of who will pay for security. Of course, after Princess Diana got divorced from Prince Charles, she did not have royal protection all the time. Those were different circumstances, but it's still not clear who will protect the couple, especially when they're in Toronto or Los Angeles, and how that will be done.

And then the commercial side. They're, of course, renouncing public funds and wish to make their own money, but their ability to do so will always be connected to their roles as royals. And the royal family, Neil, as we have been saying, is supposed to be apolitical and not commercial.

So there's still a lot to be worked out. The queen has said she wants this to be sorted out in a matter of days and not weeks. But, again, it is still very much a work in progress. But I think the bottom line is that she really did give her blessing today. And she said she wanted them to stay, but she is prepared to help them split their lives and largely go, to the best of her ability, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, Amy, thank you very much.

So is that her majesty's way of saying don't let the screen door hit you on the way out?

Dominic Green of Spectator USA.

What do you think, Dominic?

DOMINIC GREEN, SPECTATOR USA: Well, Neil, it's not the Wars of the Roses. It's the wars of the poses.

None of the parties wants to be seen to be the bad guys in this. Harry and Meghan obviously are making a break, trying to cash out. The queen, however, has reasserted control. She's been in the game for longer, she's a heavyweight, and she's basically saying, go on then. Try your luck.

CAVUTO: All right, are they still royalty? What are they?

GREEN: They will always be royalty, but they will be in a spiral, really, unless they're able to quickly monetize themselves.

And judging from that announcement, as Amy is saying, they're not going to be able to cash out very soon. And unless they really keep their brand up, they're simply going to spiral down to the C-list.

CAVUTO: You know, I just was wondering if the queen was lamenting not so much the royalty part of her job, but just being a grandmother who's grandchild is going to be half-a-world away from her now.

GREEN: Oh, yes.

I mean, and she's been through this so many times. She's already had to cut out two of her sons, Prince Edward and Prince Andrew, for getting their fingers caught in the till.

CAVUTO: Right.

GREEN: The grandchildren are rather wayward.

And, yes, her great-grandson Archie is now going to be off, off in Canada somewhere with his parents. As families go, it's a tragedy.

CAVUTO: You know, what about Harry in all of this? Certainly, he is aware of what his mother went through and the paparazzi, different time, I know, and all.

But that must be entering his mind and Meghan's mind as well.

GREEN: I think it is.

And a lot of people, in blaming Meghan, I think they're making a mistake. I think Harry very much wants out. He's made it clear he loathes the attention.

CAVUTO: Yes.

GREEN: The question is, are they going to be able to control their media image in the way they're talking about doing? They're saying they want to effectively limit the press' access.

But if you're just Mr. and Mrs. Windsor living an ordinary life with a private security detail in a rented mansion in Canada, you're not going to be able to stop people photographing you.

CAVUTO: Yes, that's true.

We will see if history does provide the same paparazzi example. We hope not, but we will watch it closely.

Dominic Green, thank you very, very much. A great read on everything going on across the pond.

Meanwhile, the president just wrapping up a couple of questions with the media outside the White House before boarding Marine One for the college championship football game tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Mr President, on the strike...

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So we're going to the game. It'll be a great game. It'll be something that a lot of people want to see. And we'll be in New Orleans, and we look forward to it.

The stock market way up. The country is doing really well. And we'll see you at the game.

QUESTION: Mr. President, what did the intelligence show about the threat to the four embassies? What did the intelligence show?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, I think it's been totally consistent. But here's what's been consistent:

We killed Soleimani, the number one terrorist in the world by every account. Bad person. Killed a lot of Americans. Killed a lot of people. We killed him. And when the Democrats try and defend him, it's a disgrace to our country. They can't do that.

And let me tell you, it's not working politically very well for them.

So, we killed the number one terrorist in the world, Soleimani -- and it should have been done 20 years ago.

We'll see you at the game. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: All right, the president before leaving for tonight's college championship game, but making it very clear he has no doubts or no concern at all about all the back and forth over the controversy of killing this Iranian General Soleimani, saying that he did the right thing, and indicating again that the American people stand by him.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: On December 6, 2nd Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force, entered a building on grounds of the Pensacola Naval Air Station and killed three U.S. sailors and severely wounded eight other Americans.

He was killed during the attack. This was an act of terrorism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: So why did it take the attorney general, William Barr, so long to say it? He was making sure he could say it and had the facts to back him up.

Retired Marine Joey Jones with us right now.

Joey, what do you make of this and what was announced today?

JOEY JONES, U.S. MARINE CORPS VETERAN: Yes, I think the first question is how.

How do we have nearly two dozen Saudi Arabians training on an installation that American citizens couldn't walk onto with jihad and radical Islamic terrorists material on their computers, beliefs they withheld in tweets, as well as even reports of child pornography on -- I think 15 of them had access to or had shared child pornography.

And the question is just, how? How did they make it into this program this way? How were they afforded the access they were afforded? And how did we not see it before it turned into a deadly incident?

CAVUTO: You know, what I also wanted to ask you about, Joey, is why and how.

I know -- I an understand bringing foreigners to the base to learn how to fly some of the equipment, and they're going to purchase it. I get that and all. But it seemed like the process was sort of scattered about checking the credentials and the backgrounds of some of these guys.

JONES: Yes, I think one thing I even learned myself -- and, understand, I trained in the early 2000s with people from Bahrain and Georgia and Romania and California on radio equipment that is -- involves our encryption. So it's very classified.

I trained in 2008 and '9 in Florida in our EOD, our bomb tech school, one of the most classified schools in the world, with Aussies and English and people from all over the world.

But keep in mind, not all things are the same. And so one of the things I learned is that some of the Saudis that were sent here because of the dynamic of the royal family were basically aristocracy for the royal kingdom, and didn't have the credentials necessary.

And one of the complaints that were anonymously reported was that many of them would get multiple opportunities to do the basic tasks necessary to complete this training, just because they didn't have the prerequisites necessary, the vision, the coordination, things like that.

And so, at that point, it becomes dangerous. And a purchase, A sell of planes to Saudi Arabia, and some of them coming here to train for them is much different than training our allies that we operate with abroad, and they -- and we need to know how operate, so that we can operate together.

Those are two different things. And you can see, one is much more risky than the other.

CAVUTO: You know, am I being a little too overly concerned about the consistency of the Saudis, the Saudis, the Saudis?

JONES: No, this turned into a deadly incident.

Overly concerned went out the door the day someone died that was an honorable service member of our country. At this point, we should be asking our government to look at this with a microscope.

And, quite frankly, we should be asking Congress to look at the bureaucracy with a microscope. You know, I was in the Marine Corps.

CAVUTO: And can we be looking more at the Saudis? Maybe they're not the friends we think they are?

JONES: Oh, absolutely.

Well, I mean, I think that declassifying the rest of the 9/11 report and understanding the role of the Saudis played, some of the families are lobbying for that every day.

CAVUTO: Right.

JONES: I think that we know enough today to know the Saudis have played both sides of a lot of things.

We know that about Pakistan. We know that about Turkey. We know that about the Saudis. At some point, we put up with it, but it shouldn't be to the point that innocent Americans or American service members are dying, so that we can sell planes.

And that would be the big concern today.

CAVUTO: That's an understatement.

Joey Jones, thank you, again, but more for your incredible service to this country -- Joey Jones.

All right, by the way, there are new attacks right now on the Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, not, by the way, from President Trump. Try Bernie Sanders.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me.

He knows who I am, where I come from, what I have worked on and fought for.

I hope Bernie reconsiders and turns his campaign in a different direction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: All right, Bernie Sanders a little later on in the day saying he has not attacked Elizabeth Warren, that he thinks very highly of her.

But there is a bit of rift going on in the party right now, with the insurgent Sanders then heightening the tension with the once surging Elizabeth Warren.

The read from California Democratic Congressman Ami Bera.

Congressman, thank you for taking the time.

Is there -- is this a battle going on here? How would you describe it?

REP. AMI BERA (D-CA): I was just in Iowa this weekend. And you can tell the caucus is a couple of weeks away. It's a very tight race out there.

And it's election season. So it's a contact sport.

CAVUTO: Yes, it is.

And I'm wondering whether the Warren forces are getting a little frustrated. Now, it seems to me, Congressman -- you follow this far closer than I -- that everyone will take a turn being the leader, so maybe it's Bernie Sanders' turn.

But others are saying, no, what he is doing is sticking. It's registering in Iowa. It's registering in New Hampshire.

What do you think?

BERA: Yes, I think you have seen polls all over the place. She's had two polls come out today that showed Vice President Biden in a nice commanding lead.

Again, it's going to be a competitive race. No one's taking anything for granted. Obviously, I have endorsed Vice President Biden, was out there on his behalf.

And I think this is going to go down to the wire in Iowa.

CAVUTO: You know, it's interesting.

If I read the former vice president's strategy, Congressman, it's to eschew Iowa, New Hampshire, hope for the best, but put everything on South Carolina and maybe Super Tuesday.

It's a risky strategy. Do you think it will be a productive one?

BERA: Well, that's not what I saw on the ground when I was out there meeting with his organizers, his precinct captains, et cetera.

There's a real energy within team Biden with the vice president's folks. And, again, you also hear that from the Warren team and the Sanders team and the Buttigieg team.

It looks like the top four are going to be competitive. Again, it's a caucus state, so every vote is going to count, but I think the vice president has got some momentum here.

CAVUTO: All right.

So let's talk about electability. I mean, Joe Biden's argument, maybe your argument for the vice president, is that he's electable, he polls the best against President Trump. Bernie Sanders doesn't, although he doesn't do too poorly.

Is it the fear among some in the Democratic Party that a hard-left candidate -- that's tough to judge these days, because they're all a little left of center, to put it mildly -- is going to lose in a general election?

BERA: I think there's some concerns that someone who is pretty far left, who considers themselves potentially a social Democrat, socialist Democrat, is going to make it tougher.

But someone with -- who's well known, with the experience of Vice President Biden, could make it easier for some of our competitive down-ballot races.

And I think what you're seeing is the number of folks that are starting to come out and endorse Vice President Biden, Abby Finkenauer, who turned a Trump district, Conor Lamb, who turned a Trump district -- this morning, we had Representative Colin Allred and Sean Patrick Maloney, who turned a Trump district.

So you're starting to see folks say, OK, who's our best candidate in a general election? Who can help us down-ballot? And that does seem to be Vice President Biden.

CAVUTO: Are you worried, as a Biden supporter, the resurrection of all these tapes showing his support for going after Saddam Hussein and other foreign ventures?

People like Bernie Sanders come out and say, that's the problem.

BERA: No, I think a lot of folks in 2002-2003, given what the Bush administration was suggesting, that there might be weapons of mass destruction, took President Bush at face value.

Obviously, in hindsight, we know the information that they presented was false and misleading. And I take the folks that were in the Senate and in Congress at that time when they said, really, they were trying to give President Bush leverage to negotiate.

Vice President Biden's been matter of fact that, when the full data came out, and they knew that they didn't have weapons of mass destruction, that going to war in Iraq wasn't the right decision. And he has said that in the past.

CAVUTO: All right, we will see what happens.

Congressman, thank you for taking the time. I appreciate it.

BERA: Thanks, Neil. Be well.

CAVUTO: All right.

The Oscar nominations are out right now, and folks are chiming in right now, including those who say that the snubs were over the top.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right, just like the Globes, Netflix topping the list of Oscar contenders, 24 nominations this year, largely thanks to films like "The Irishman," the "Marriage Story."

So is this the future of Hollywood?

We might posit, of course, that, in the end, Netflix-related movies won two Golden Globe awards, despite all those nominations. What happens now?

FOX News entertainment producer Ashley Dvorkin.

Ashley, what do you think?

ASHLEY DVORKIN, FOX NEWS ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCER: Yes. Hi, Neil.

So I do think that things aren't just changing. They have changed. When it comes to streaming services, they are getting more recognition than ever.

Netflix has more nominations, as you said, 24, more nominations than any major studio.

CAVUTO: Incredible.

DVORKIN: And those two movies, "The Irishman and "Marriage Story," are both up for best picture.

Now, there are some holdouts in the industry. Some still prefer the traditional theatrical releases. And the Academy rules are that a film does need to be in theaters for seven consecutive days still. Will that change.

It mind, as there are more streaming services, more content? So we have to keep an eye on that. Now, will they win? There's a lot of competition this year from big box office success stories too -- Neil.

CAVUTO: Yes, I was noticing, even in the case of the "Joker," of course, that got, what, 10 or 11 nominations, including best actor, best move and all.

What is going on here, you think?

DVORKIN: Yes.

Well, I think that a few things. They have -- I mean, the Academy, of course, does want more people watching the show itself.

CAVUTO: Sure.

DVORKIN: So that could be part of it, where you have people who might be tuning in to see if films that they have actually seen have won.

Also, there's a great quality of films that are in theaters, some that roll out well in advance, so people are more familiar with them. The "Joker" goes in with 11 nominations, as you said, and that is the lead for any single movie.

That film, by the way, was the first R-rated movie to cross $1 billion worldwide, so a huge success.

And some of the others are huge commercial success stories as well. "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," you have. You have "Ford vs. Ferrari," "Little Women, "Parasite," "Jojo Rabbit."

Even these indies made very impressive debuts. And you have "1917," which just knocked "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," out of the number one spot at the box office, as it expanded nationwide this week.

So there's a lot of big movies. There's still plenty of indies and, of course, those on streaming, many movies to catch up on, if you haven't yet -- Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, we will watch it closely, Ashley Dvorkin, FOX News entertainment producer.

So many big names battling it out on the best actor category, best actress category, one of those rare treats for viewers, on an event and a telecast, we're told, will not feature a central host. They're using multiple hosts in multiple segments -- so, no Ricky Gervais for the Oscars. We will see how all of that goes.

The Dow up again today about 83 points, but the big test for 29,000 will have to wait.

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