'Fox News Sunday' on July 11, 2021

This is a rush transcript of "Fox News Sunday" on July 11, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


Texas Governor Greg Abbott leaving the pushback to President Biden's 

policies and calling a special session filled with hot button GOP 



WALLACE (voice-over): From changing voting laws to border security, 

abortion, and critical race theory, lawmakers in Austin are meeting to 

tackle it all. We'll discuss what's on their agenda and what's not. Plus, a 

possible election challenge from a Hollywood heavyweight.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, only on "FOX News Sunday".

Then -- 


longest war. 

WALLACE:  President Biden moves up the deadline for U.S. troops to pull out 

of Afghanistan, even as the Taliban advances. We'll ask Pentagon Press 

Secretary John Kirby what it means for America's national security. 

Plus, sharp reaction from the administration's door-to-door vaccine drive. 

REP. RONNY JACKSON (R-TX):  This is still an experimental vaccine being 

used under emergency use authorization. It's none of their business who's 

had it and who hasn't had it. 

WALLACE:  We'll ask our Sunday panel about the controversy as the delta 

variant surges. 

All, right now, on "FOX News Sunday".


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

Well, there's an old-fashioned political showdown in Texas right now that 

could shake next year's midterm campaign across the country. The battle 

geared up in May when Democrats fled the state capital to block new voting 

laws the GOP wanted to pass.

Now, the governor is called state legislatures back into a special session 

to deal with that and other issues like the border wall, transgender 

students sports, and critical race theory. 

In a moment, we'll have an exclusive in every with the governor of Texas, 

Greg Abbott.

But, first, let's bring in Casey Stegall in Dallas with a look at what all 

the fighting is about -- Casey. 

CASEY STEGALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Chris, good morning to you. 

The agenda is a mix of both unfinished business and a few new items, but 

they are all measures that appeal, no doubt, to conservative voters. 


STEGALL (voice-over): Efforts by Republicans to pass so-called "election 

security measures" died with a late-night Democrat walkout at the end of 

the regular session. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A quorum is apparently not present. 

STEGALL:  They are now redoubled as House Bill 3 and Senate bill 1 

introduced after the gavel on Thursday. The voting rights advocates 

critical of the election reform bill say the efforts and plans to redraw 

congressional districts will effectively disenfranchise low income Texans 

and voters of color. Texas Democrats are promising not to back down. 


defy the push to suppress our votes. 

STEGALL:  Also on the agenda, border security. The governor meeting this 

weekend with border sheriffs to get updates on the security effort. 

GOV. GREGG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS:  They have incredible needs that have to be 

met if they're going to be able to handle this massive influx. 

STEGALL:  Governor Abbott is up for reelection next year and faces two 

primary challengers. 

Last week, actor Matthew McConaughey teased a possible centrist run for the 

governor's mansion. 


STEGALL (on camera): Republicans no doubt are banking on a victory during 

this special session, with also hopes to energize the voting base and the 

conservative voters ahead of next year's midterms -- Chris. 

WALLACE:  Casey Stegall reporting from Dallas -- Casey, thank you. 

And joining us now, Texas Governor Greg Abbott. 

Governor, welcome back to "FOX News Sunday." 

Joining us now, Texas Governor Greg Abbott. 

Governor, welcome back to "FOX News Sunday".

ABBOTT:  My pleasure. Thank you, Chris. 

WALLACE:  Let's start with the voting bill that Casey was talking about. 

That became the big issue when Democrats were successfully able to block it 

in a regular session. Here is the -- a Democratic state legislator. Take a 




fraud problem in the state of Texas. Our secretary of state testified that 

elections in Texas were safe and secure. The 2020 election was safe and 



WALLACE:  The Texas attorney general's office spent 22,000 man-hours 

looking for evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election and they 

apparently came up with 16 cases -- 16 -- of people filing false addresses 

on their voter registration.

So, my question, Governor, is, is this a problem in search of a solution? 

ABBOTT:  Absolutely not, Chris. Remember this, and that was before that I 

was governor, I was the attorney general of Texas and I prosecuted voter 

fraud cases in the entire state and my successor, Ken Paxton, has been 

prosecuting voter fraud across the state, including the most recent arrests 

and indictments just taken place this past Friday. 

However, I have to disagree with the statement that was just made as well 

as the public perception because I'm going to give you the words of a 

federal district judge appointed by Barack Obama and the federal district 

judge said that voter fraud occurs, quote, "in abundance" as it involves 

ballot harvesting. 

On top of that, Barack Obama and the Biden demonstration, when they were in 

office, they came down to the state of Texas to send an FBI team as well as 

a U.S. attorney to investigate and to prosecute a voter fraud scheme where 

cocaine was being used to buy absentee ballots. 

I will tell you this also, Chris, and that is even Democrats in the Texas 

House of Representatives, they agree that as it concerns mail-in ballots, 

that is an area where improving the mail-in ballot system is a way to 

achieve greater election integrity, so what Texas is doing is we're making 

it easier to vote by adding more hours of early voting then we had in 

current law, but also making it harder to cheat with regard to mail-in 


WALLACE:  Well, Governor, let me ask you, though, about two other things 

that the GOP bills would do. I want to put them up on the screen. They 

would ban 24-hour voting and they would ban drive-through voting. Now, 

there was no allegation of any fraud in either of those. Harris County, the 

Houston area, employed both of those and more than half of the voters who 

showed up were people of color. So, you say you want to make it easier to 

vote, that's going to make it harder to vote and the question is why make 

it harder for some Texans to vote unless the point is to suppress voting by 

people of color? 

ABBOTT:  So you mentioned a couple of things that need to be responded to. 

One, you mentioned how Harris County did this and it was Harris County -- 

for your viewers, Harris County is where Houston, Texas, is located. Now, 

let's go back to Article 1, Section 4 of the United States Constitution 

where it says in there that it is the states, not counties that have the 

authority to regulate elections. 

And despite that constitutional mandate, this past election, Harris County, 

a county, tried to create its own election system that had never been used 

in the state of Texas. It was not used in the other parts of the state of 

Texas, and so what the state of Texas is doing -- 


WALLACE:  But, Governor, why not -- why not let it go on? 


WALLACE:  Governor, I guess the question is if 24-hour voting worked, why 

not continue it? 

ABBOTT:  Well, first, I can tell -- I'm going to answer questions 

specifically, but you need to go back to elections before now because the 

same allegations were made when Texas passed a voter ID law, and everyone 

said the exact same thing, this is going to disenfranchise people of color, 

it will reduce voting. And the fact of the matter is, after we passed voter 

ID, we increasingly saw every election cycle, more people go voted, they 

did not make it harder to go vote. It was easier to go vote.

And the same thing applies here and that is with 24-hour voting, one thing 

that we want to make sure that we have is integrity in the ballot box 

system and we need to have poll watchers and monitors and, candidly, it's 

hard even for a county to get people to be watching the polls 24 hours a 

day. We are providing more hours per day for voting to make sure that 

anybody of any type of background, any type of working situation, is going 

to have the opportunity to go vote. 

With regard to the drive-thru voting -- listen, this violates the 

fundamentals of the way voting and for integrity has always bee achieved 

and that is the sanctity of the ballot box. Now, if you do drive-thru 

voting, are you going to have people in the car with you and it could be 

somebody from your employer, or somebody else, who may have some coercive 

effect on the way that you would cast your ballot which is contrary to, you 

go into the ballot box alone and no one there watching over your shoulder 

so that your -- the way you vote, only you will know what that vote will 

be. And to allow other people to pile into a car with you, it will alter 


In addition to, it would violate state law because in state law, we have 

prohibitions on electioneering close to where people cast their votes. If 

you're doing drive-thru voting, this is going to be electioneering. It 

could be on the bumper sticker in the car right in front of you. 

We do still, however, Chris, provide what's called curbside voting for 

those who qualify for curbside voting, that continues to be in place. 

The bottom line, Chris, is Harris County, under the Constitution, is not 

allowed to come up with their own rules. What Texas is doing where, by 

adding more hours, we're making it easier for people (ph) to go vote.

One last point, Chris, and that is if you look at the hours of voting that 

Texas provides, it is far more hours of voting than exists in the state 

where our current president voted in where they had exactly zero hours of 

early voting. It's far easier to vote in the state of Texas than it is in 

Delaware and yet nobody is claiming that there is some type of voter 

suppression taking place in Delaware. 

WALLACE:  Governor, let me ask you about the special session in general 

because some Democrats say -- and this is the word they use -- that you are 

using it to pander to Trump supporter's on the far right of the Republican 


I want to put up some of the key agenda items: voting reform, as we talked 

about. Border security, social media censorship, transgender student 

athletes, critical race theory, abortion. 

And your critics point out that what isn't on the agenda for the special 

session is the electrical grid in Texas, which broke down during the deep 

freeze last winter. A hundred -- more than 150 people were killed, more 

than 4 million Texans lost their power during that. 

And the question is, why wouldn't you address an issue like that that 

affects people's everyday lives? 

ABBOTT:  So, you raised two issues and let me answer both of them. One is 

if you look at all these issues that are on the special session agenda. 

These aren't new items. All of these items were up on the agenda during the 

regular session. They got close to the finish line and the only reason why 

they didn't get across the finish line is because, as you pointed out 

earlier, the Democrats decided to abandon their job and walk off the job, 

did not give us the time to get those other items across the finish line. 

So, all we're trying to do is to continue to achieve exactly what we were 

trying to achieve during the regular session. 

I need to point out to you, Chris, exactly why the power grid is not on the 

special session, and that is because during the regular session, there were 

robust laws that were passed by the Texas legislature that provide all the 

changes that are needed to make sure that we will have an effective power 


I must point out, Chris, one very important thing that most people do not 

know, and that is, what was the main cause of the power grid failure in the 

wintertime, and it's nothing what anybody knows. The main cause of the 

power grid failure of the state of Texas actually was a failure by the 

power generators in Texas to file a simple document with ERCOT, the 

Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

WALLACE:  All right.

ABBOTT:  And let me -- Chris, I need to explain this very quickly, and that 

is in Texas, like in many other states, whenever there's going to be a 

temporary shutdown of power in a state, there are certain areas that are 

exempt from being shut down, such as hospitals, such as downtowns, such as 

police stations. In Texas before the winter storm took place, power 

generators and power transmission entities, they were not subject to not 

being shut down. When ERCOT shut them down in the winter storm, they froze. 

Had ERCOT not shut them down, this would have been a four-hour event as 

opposed to a four-day event. 

Now, what is required -- 


WALLACE:  Governor, I've got limited time -- sir, I've got limited time. 

And the question -- no, sir, the question I have is the power grid isn't 

fixed. You talked about it being fixed by the legislature, but you had over 

a thousand unplanned outages in June and ERCOT, the agency regulating is 

already asking people in Texas to voluntarily conserve energy because it's 

been in danger of being overloaded. So you haven't solved the problem. 

ABBOTT:  Real quickly, Chris, well, what happened in June did not have 

enough time for all the changes that were made during the regular session 

to go into effect. (VIDEO GAP) problem whatsoever what happened in June, 

there were mechanical repairs that needed to be made to about 15 percent of 

the natural gas and -- 


ABBOTT:  -- coal-fired power plants. And during those repairs, there was no 

blackouts, no rolling blackouts or anything like that. Just for a few hours 

a day, calls for conservation. 

WALLACE:  Sir -- 

ABBOTT:  Here's the important point, Chris, and that is turned out that 

during the summertime, there were exactly zero people who lost power in the 

summertime showing that the power grid does work very effectively. 

WALLACE:  All right, one last question. You've got 30 seconds to answer it. 

You're up for reelection next year and you may face a real high-profile 

challenger. Take a look. 


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, ACTOR:  Something I'm trying to look in the eye and 

give honest consideration. What an awesome privilege and awesome 

responsibility and awesome position of sacrifice and service, something to 



WALLACE:  Governor, how seriously do you take Matthew McConaughey as a 

possible opponent? 

ABBOTT:  It doesn't matter what the name is, I take everybody very 

seriously, and it shows -- I will tell you two things, and that is if you 

look at my polling numbers, they are very, very strong. In addition to 

that, I have $55 million in the bank already, and I'm a very aggressive 


So I will have the resources and the backing of a lot of people across the 

state of Texas to ensure that whoever decides to run against me, we will be 

able to win. 

WALLACE:  Governor Abbott, thank you. Thanks for your time. I got to say, 

some of your fellow Republican governors stick to friendly venues as life 

preservers. I appreciate you coming on and being willing to answer all of 

our questions, sir. 

ABBOTT:  Thank you, Chris. 

WALLACE:  Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the new Biden 

push to go door-to-door to promote vaccinations. Why has that set off some 




BIDEN:  We need to go community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, 

and oftentimes door-to-door literally knocking on doors to get help for the 

remaining people protected from the virus. 


WALLACE:  President Biden laying out a new push to get Americans vaccinated 

as the effort in this country has plateaued.

And it's time now for our Sunday group. 

Marc Short, former chief of staff to Vice President Pence. Julie Pace, 

Washington bureau chief for "The Associated Press", and Charles Lane from 

"The Washington Post." 

Julie, let me start with you. I think it's fair to say that President 

Biden's door-to-door comments started quite a controversy about his effort 

to get more people vaccinated. How frustrated is the White House by the 

fact that a third of all Americans are, it seems, pretty resolute in 

refusing to get vaccinations? And do they have a real plan to deal with 



has become one of the biggest frustrations for the Biden White House. You 

know, they went into this vaccination campaign always expecting that there 

was going to be some group of Americans that was going to be hesitant or 

resistant to getting a vaccine but they thought that they would be able to 

overcome that hesitancy with more information and with proof that 

vaccinations are working. And what they found is that it's really hard to 

get that number to budge and that number is larger than I think they 

expected initially.

And so, you've seen this effort to start to lean into the idea of really 

personal messaging. Biden floating the idea of essentially a door-to-door 

campaign, and I think they were then additionally frustrated by the 

blowback to that because it did get a bit misconstrued, the idea that these 

are people who are going to be coming with clipboards to check off whether 

you are vaccinated or not, that there was some sort of government survey, 

which is not really what they're talking about, they're talking but 

essentially trying to take trusted people and communities to make the pitch 

to people who are hesitant at this point, and they do think that that kind 

of personal interaction is the best way to get past some of the 

misinformation, frankly, that a lot of people are holding on to, to avoid 

getting vaccinated. 

WALLACE:  Marc, how do you feel about this idea of community -- to 

community door-to-door intervention, and you know, they say these aren't 

government officials. They are just volunteers because their community has 

a stake in people get in vaccinated. How do you feel about that effort? 


that's really a medical miracle that we have three vaccines within the 

first year and I think it's an incredible accomplishment, frankly, that 70 

percent of Americans have at least had one dose of the vaccination. I think 

at this point, there really isn't a lack of information or a lack of 

access. The people who are choosing to not get vaccinated are doing so for 

their own reasons. 

And so, I think at some point Americans expect the right to make your own 

choice on health, and I think that probably better resources could be 

expended, perhaps, sending people down to the southern border where they 

seems to be a greater influx of COVID coming across with the free access 

than trying to send community organizers to people's households. 

WALLACE:  I got to commend you on that pivot, Marc, that was very well 


Chuck, let me ask you about this, because there's a fine line here. On the 

one hand, I think the government does have an interest in making sure that 

people are vaccinated or trying to at least give them that option. But on 

the other end, you do run the risk of looking like big brother. And we saw 

that when HHS Secretary Becerra was asked about whether or not the govern -

- it's the government's business who's been vaccinated.

And here was his answer this week. 


XAVIER BECERRA, HHS SECRETARY:  It is absolutely the government's business, 

it is taxpayer's business if we have to continue to spend money to try to 

keep people from contracting COVID and helping reopen the economy. 


WALLACE:  Chuck, Becerra -- the blowback was so fierce, Becerra had to put 

out a statement about, is it government's business, saying no, the 

government is not going to set up a database from this door-to-door thing 

and try to say, here's who's been vaccinated and here's who's not been 

vaccinated. This is delicate. 

CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST:  Sure, it's delicate and you get the 

feeling that the unvaccinated and the White House are sort of talking past 

each other. If you look at the data about who is unvaccinated, they are 

people who tend to be more in rural America and small-town America than in 

the big cities of the coasts. 

And by nature, those people are little bit more distrusting of government, 

so I think the Biden the administration, with the best of intentions, and 

with no real threat to anyone's privacy, messaged this very poorly. I'm 

also struck by the fact that the government seems to not want to try to 

give people incentives, you know, monetary and other incentives to take the 


There's a very interesting piece of poll data from Kaiser Family 

Foundation, a quarter of the unvaccinated say that they would go and get it 

if that got them into a lottery for a million dollars. So I sort of think 

this calls for some creative thinking to get that last few people -- 

there's about a 20 percent hard-core that's never going to do it, but maybe 

another five or 10 percent would be persuadable, maybe with some more 


WALLACE:  And in fact as we know, some states like Ohio have set up those 

lotteries and incentives. 

Julie, I want to turn to another big issue that I was discussing with 

Governor Abbott and that is this question of new voting laws, voting 

restrictions. The president met with civil rights leaders this week and, 

you know, when you've got these red states like Texas imposing the 

restrictions, when you've got the Democrats in Congress with their big 

reform bill which seems, at least for now, to be dead and you have the 

Supreme Court, which just in its final week of its session upheld two laws 

in Arizona about voting restrictions. 

How -- let me put it this way, does the Biden White House have a plan as to 

how they're going to deal with this pullback on voting in the country? 

PACE:  Well, I think what you're going to start to see over the next couple 

of weeks is a pivot from Democrats in the White House to move away from the 

focus on this big sprawling piece of voting legislation that, you're right, 

is pretty much dead in the water on the Hill right now and a focus more on 

restoration of pieces of the Voting Rights Act. 

Now, that is difficult even though it is more narrow than the bigger piece 

of legislation in one of the things that Democrats are keeping in mind as 

they try to pursue that legislation is that this is almost certainly going 

to end up back in the Supreme Court. So, they're trying to craft this 

legislation in a way that could address them of the concerns we've seen 

from some of the more conservative justices, including in the Arizona case 

that we just got the ruling out a few weeks ago. 

But this is going to be a bit of a slog through the summer to try to get 

that voting rights legislation passed. If they do, you could fully expect 

that to end up in the courts. 

WALLACE:  And quickly, Marc, we got less than a minute left. I mean, 

there's no real reason to think that would pass muster in the Senate 

either, wouldn't it? Are you going to get 10 Republicans to go into the 

John Lewis Voting Act? 

SHORT:  No, of course not, Chris. I think that unfortunately there's a 

false dichotomy right now in the nation where it's like if you're 

supportive of these election reforms, that somehow you're accused of 

believing there was widespread fraud and it was stolen, or otherwise, 

you're like Major League Baseball, which requires a photo ID to pick up a 

ticket at Will Call, but says if your state imposes voter ID and a 

presidential election then you're racist and if we're going to move in all-

star game from Georgia to Colorado. 

I think is a lot of people who fall somewhere in between, which is to say 

there was not widespread fraud but because of all the problems of COVID, 

you had states making unilateral decisions from unelected people who are 

extending voting days or allowing ballot harvesting and as Governor Abbott 

said in your last segment, that belongs to state legislatures to make those 

decisions for each state and the people can vote them out if they don't 

like the changes they make. But that's the appropriate process in the 

democratic system that we have. 

WALLACE:  All right, panel, we have to take a break here. We'll see you a 

little later in the program. 

Up next, we go live to Afghanistan as U.S. forces pull out and the Taliban 

makes gains. And we'll speak with a top Pentagon official about the end of 

the U.S. mission. 


WALLACE:  Coming up, President Biden defends his decision to pull U.S. 

troops out of America's longest war. 


BIDEN:  The United States did what we want to do in Afghanistan. 


WALLACE:  We'll ask a top Pentagon official what it means for our national 

security, next. 


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: After 20 years, 2,400 American military 

deaths and $4 trillion, U.S. troops are leaving Afghanistan. And they're 

leaving behind a fractured Afghan government, a surging enemy, and an 

uncertain future. 

In a moment, we'll speak with Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby about 

what it means for U.S. national security.

But, first, let's turn to Greg Palkot in Kabul with the latest on the 

situation on the ground there. 


GREG PALKOT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris, we have been back on the 

ground here in Afghanistan for three days now and there has been no let-up 

in fighting. New reports today of clashes between the Taliban and Afghan 

government forces in a very important southern Afghan city of Kandahar. 

Diplomats said to be evacuating as the trouble spreads nationwide. 


PALKOT: The Taliban on the move, seizing district after district across 

Afghanistan this past week, gaining control of stretches of the country's 

borders, including key crossings. The Afghan military often giving up 

without a fight. Militants displaying commandeered U.S. weaponry. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It is clear to you and to all the 

world that the Taliban has the control of 85 percent of Afghanistan's 


PALKOT: That claim denied by the Afghan government as it said over the 

weekend it was taking back some overrun territory and announcing high 

Taliban death tolls, also unconfirmed. 

What is sure is the bulk of U.S. troops have departed. The hasty exit 

including from the main Bagram base, triggering the Taliban conquests, 

including a renewed threat to the rights of girls and women under a 

passable Taliban rule, people tell us they're afraid. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In our country, everybody, every second, every minute we 

are in the fear -- we live in fear. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is something that happened suddenly in Afghanistan 

because of the withdrawal of the U.S. troops. 

PALKOT (on camera): People want to get out of Afghanistan now? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Afghanistan, yes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to live here. 


PALKOT: By the way, we were out at that huge Bagram Air Base today. We 

spoke to Afghan soldiers there. And they told us they were surprised and 

unprepared for the speed and the manner of the U.S. troops exit from that 

base. Unsettling times all around.


WALLACE: Greg Palkot reporting from Kabul. 

Greg, thanks for that. 

And joining us now from the Pentagon, Press Secretary John Kirby. 

John, the U.S. has spent almost two decades training up the Afghan military 

and the police. We've spent over $88 billion over that time training them 

up. Why are they failing so miserably in repelling the Taliban? 

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Well, you're right, Chris, they have 

much more capacity than they've ever had before, much more capability. And 

they've got an air force, a very capable air force helping defend their 

troops on the ground. They've got very sophisticated special forces who 

have been in the fight, and they're brave fighters. 

So this is a moment of leadership. And I -- you heard the president talk 

about that the other day. It's their right and responsibility now to defend 

their citizens and their country. And I think when we look back, whatever 

the outcomes are, Chris, we're going to look back and we're going to be 

able to say that it came down to leadership, civilian leadership and 

military leadership in the field. 

Now, the one thing that we can assure our Afghan partners is, while we 

aren't going to been the ground with them going forward, we are not walking 

away from this relationship. We're going to continue to support them from a 

financial perspective, logistical perspective and certainly air craft 

maintenance. We're not walking away from this relationship. 

WALLACE: Yes, but -- but, John, your talk about how well set up the Afghan 

military is. They're giving up huge swaths of the country. The Taliban now 

say that they control 85 percent of the country. I know you dispute that. 

But the Long War Journal, which tracks this kind of thing, estimates that 

13 million Afghans now live in areas controlled by the Taliban, 10 million 

in areas controlled by the government --


WALLACE: And 9 million in contested areas. And as you just heard Greg 

Palkot report, the Taliban is now fighting for control of the second 

largest city in the country, Kandahar, and people are fleeing the country. 

Are you surprised that the Taliban is making these kinds of sweeping 

advances so quickly? 

KIRBY: We're certainly watching with deep concern, Chris, the deteriorating 

security situation and the violence, which is, of course, way too high, and 

the advances and the momentum that the Taliban seems to have right now. 

I mean we're not -- we're not unmindful of that, Chris. We're -- we're 

watching it and monitoring it, which is why we are, again, working with our 

Afghan partners to encourage them to use the capacity and the capability 

that we know they have. And we know that they know how to defend their 

country. This is a time for them to step up and to do exactly that. 

WALLACE: The big question from the U.S. point of view is, if the Taliban 

ends up taking over the country, which is certainly a possibility, will 

that increase the terror threat to the U.S. homeland? 

Here is Republican Congressman Michael Waltz. 

Take a look. 


REP. MICHAEL WALTZ (R-FL): Al Qaeda will come roaring back in the wake of 

an Afghanistan -- of a Taliban take over, much like ISIS did when Obama 

pulled out of Iraq. And we saw what happened there with attacks across the 

Middle East, Europe, and the United States. 


WALLACE: John, President Biden talks and talked just this last week about 

our being able to -- to blunt the terror threat from, quote, over the 

horizon, which means from not in country in Afghanistan.

KIRBY: Right.

WALLACE: But our closest military bases to Afghanistan are more than a 

thousand miles away. Are we really going to rely on that to protect the 

U.S. homeland from increased terror threats if terror groups find new safe 

havens in Afghanistan? 

KIRBY: We always want to find additional options, Chris. That's why we're 

working with neighboring countries that are closer to Afghanistan to see 

what the possibilities are. And we're doing that as briskly and as 

energetically as we can to find additional options. 

That said, Chris, and you know this, we have sophisticated and -- and 

robust, over the horizon capabilities even without that. 

Obviously, closing down space and time would certainly make it easier and 

faster for us to deal with any kind of threat emanating out of Afghanistan 

towards the homeland, but we have the ability to do it even from afar, even 

from those bases in the Middle East, an aircraft carrier that's off in the 

Indian Ocean, we can do that. And we've proven that we can done that, even 

in recent years, in places like Libya. It's not like we haven't done this 

before or that there's a -- a scrap of earth that we can't reach if we 

absolutely need to. 

WALLACE: But -- but in fairness, when you talk about Libya, we think of 

Benghazi and the fact that when that embassy was under attack -- though I 

understand we're not talking about that, we're talking about them hatching 

plots, it took hours for U.S. resources --


WALLACE: To get to Benghazi --

KIRBY: Right.

WALLACE: And -- and by the time they got there it was too late. 

Let me -- let me move on to another subject. 

There's also the question that I think a lot of Americans ask about the 

millions of girls in Afghanistan, and women, the girls in schools, the 

women leading full lives. What happens if the Taliban takes over and puts 

all of those girls and women back under sharia law, puts the women back 

under the burqa? Are we really in effect saying that's not our problem? 

KIRBY: I think -- I think the progress of women and girls in Afghanistan is 

the world's problem. It's everybody's problem. We, obviously, share the 

concerns over the progress they've made and the progress they still have 

yet to make. That's why we continue to call for a negotiated political 

solution to the end of this war that is Afghan-led, that the Afghan people 

have a voice in saying and it's not imposed on them outside the country. 

It's got to be Afghan-led in a peaceful, negotiated sentiment so that that 

kind of progress can continue. 

The other thing I'd say, Chris, is that we -- the president's made clear, 

we're going to keep a diplomatic presence in Kabul. That means keeping 

diplomats at it. That means continuing the programs and the initiatives 

that we continue to espouse for women and girls, for literacy, for 

education, for advancement, and for reform. We're still going to be 

committed to those programs going forward. 

WALLACE: But -- but diplomacy and peace negotiations, if the U.S. is out, 

we have lost, and, more importantly, the Afghan government has lost any 

leverage with the Taliban. 

KIRBY: You had this argument that somehow if you have boots on the ground 

all of a sudden you have all this leverage has not panned -- that hasn't 

exactly panned out the last five, ten, 15 years, Chris,  when we had 

100,000 troops on the ground. So the idea that if you have boots on the 

ground all of a sudden that gives you leverage has not exactly been the 

historical record so far. 

What -- what we do have is a lot of diplomatic leverage and we're using 

that. We are still involved in trying to broker forward a negotiated 

settlement in Afghanistan. And nothing has changed about our commitment to 

that. And the rest of the international community also needs to stay 

committed to that kind of an outcome so that it's Afghan-let's so that this 

kind of progress doesn't fall by the wayside. 

WALLACE: I -- I want to talk quickly about two other subjects with you. 

President Biden talked to Vladimir Putin on Friday --

KIRBY: Right.

WALLACE: About continued cyberattacks from that country on the U.S. A 

senior official afterwards, on a readout of the call, said that the -- the 

U.S. will, quote, take any necessary action to defend our infrastructure. 

What kind of measures is the Pentagon's cyber command prepared to take to 

defend the U.S.? 

KIRBY: Chris, I think you could understand the last thing I'm going to do 

on national TV is talk about cyber operations in any great detail. 

What -- what I can tell you is that we -- our job is to provide options to 

the -- to the president. Options in the cyber realm. Options outside the 

cyber realm. And just because you have -- you face a cyberattack doesn't 

mean that that's how you -- you necessarily respond in kind. There's a -- a 

whole range of tools at the president's disposal. Some of those tools 

reside here at the Pentagon and at cyber command, and we're going to be 

prepared and ready to tee up those options for him whenever he might need 


WALLACE: And would it be fair to say that the president has at his disposal 

a -- a wide set of cyber options from the Pentagon if he decides to go in 

that direction? 

KIRBY: That is very fair to say, yes, sir. 


Let's finally turn to Haiti. 

The -- Haiti's government asked the U.S. to send troops there to deal with 

the chaos in the country. Is the Pentagon prepared to send U.S. forces 

there, first of all, to deal with the situation, and, secondly, now that 

we've had the assassination of Haiti's president, is the situation there 

and the disarray, is that a matter of U.S. national security? 

KIRBY: Well, Chris, as for your first question, we are aware of the request 

by the Haitian government. We're analyzing it, just like we would any other 

request for assistance here at the Pentagon. It's going through a review. 

I'm not going to get ahead of that process. 

And -- and today an interagency team, largely from the Department of 

Homeland Security and the FBI, are heading down to Haiti right now to see 

what we can do to help them in the investigative process. And I think 

that's really where our energies are best applied right now in helping them 

get their arms around investigating this incident and figuring out who's 

culpable, who's responsible and how best to hold them accountable going 

forward. That's where our focus is right now. 

WALLACE: And -- and -- and, real quickly, is what's going on in Haiti, is 

that a matter of U.S. national security? 

KIRBY: I think we are watching the situation very closely, Chris. I don't 

know that we're at a point now where we can say definitively that our 

national security is being put at risk by what's happening there. But, 

clearly, we -- we value our Haitian partners. We -- we -- we value 

stability and security in that country. And that's why we want to send a 

team down there today to -- to help them get their arms around exactly what 

happened and what's the best way forward. 

WALLACE: John, thank you. 

KIRBY: Thank you.

WALLACE: Thanks for sharing part of your weekend with us. Always good to 

talk with you, sir. 

KIRBY: You too, sir, thank you. 

WALLACE: Up next, we'll ask the panel what happens if the Taliban take over 





generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable 

expectation of achieving a different outcome. 


WALLACE: President Biden standing his ground on pulling U.S. troops out of 

Afghanistan as the Taliban make dramatic advances across that country. 

And we're back now with the panel. 

Marc, President Biden is ordering this pullout, but President Trump, former 

President Trump, was planning to do the same thing if he were reelected. 

And, in fact, he had wanted to get all troops out by May 1st. 

As you look at what's happening in Afghanistan now, any second thoughts 

about this policy of total withdrawal? 


President Trump was right to initiate it and I actually think that 

President Biden is correct to complete the withdrawal. 

I think that Americans, men and women in uniform, should not be police 

keepers across the globe, nor should we be involved in nation building. 

Having said that, I do know that, at the end, the intelligence community 

came to the Trump administration and said, if we could at least keep a hub 

at -- at a base their because we've had so many effective counterterrorism 

covert operations with special forces and that would not require 100,000 

troops, it would require enough troops to fortify a base.

And if you look at Afghanistan, strategically located between Iran and 

China, having that base to -- continue to do covert operations I think 

would be beneficial to America. 

So I support the withdrawal of the majority of the troops. I think it's the 

right policy that the Biden administration is completing. I think it's 

unfortunate, though, that the intelligence community was -- was not 

successful in getting their wish to maintain some -- some base of troops 

there to allow us to continue to do counterterrorism operations. 

WALLACE: Do -- do you have any reason to believe that President Trump would 

have kept a counterterrorism force there? 

SHORT: No, I don't -- I don't think that at the time that their arguments 

made their way with President Trump either. I think he was anxious to 

withdraw all troops and -- and I think that that's unfortunate. I think it 

would have been good -- better to have had a base for the intelligence 

community to continue to do covert operations. 

WALLACE: Chuck, the president, President Biden, was categorical this week 

that whatever happens in Afghanistan, ultimately it's -- it's their 


Take a look. 



Afghanistan to decide on what government they want, not us to impose the 

government on them. 


WALLACE: Chuck, the -- the flaw in that reasoning, of course, and you heard 

it also from John Kirby, is the Afghan people may not get to decide their 

government because it maybe won't be the U.S. that imposes it on them, it 

will be the Taliban. 

CHARLES LANE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": The way they're going to decide who's 

the government in Afghanistan is probably through war. And that's on the 

way. And that's why in that very good report we heard from Kabul from Greg, 

so many people in that city were expressing fear about what's coming next. 

It's absolutely true that this would have been Donald Trump's problem too -

- or his policy too, but it's now happening on Joe Biden's watch and it's 

happening in some haste and I would say some unseemly haste. It's almost 

like a bugout rather than a phased withdrawal.

And I think we all need to be concern, in addition to the humanitarian 

impact this will have on Afghanistan itself, on the prestige and the 

perceived power of the United States. I think one reason the Taliban is 

being so aggressive is they are going to try to create the spectacle of 

humiliating defeat similar to Vietnam in 1974, '75 for the United States, 

not just to take back Afghanistan, but to create a spectacle in the world 

that the United States is a weakens empire and a paper tiger. 

And if that happens, and I hope it doesn't, it will be happening on Joe 

Biden's watch and better -- for better or worse, he will own it. 

WALLACE: I want to turn to the other big foreign policy story this week, 

and that is the continued cyberattacks on the U.S. emanating from Russia. 

It got serious enough that President Biden spoke to Russian President Putin 

for an hour this week and then had this readout. 


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States expects, when 

a ransomware operations is coming from his soil, we expect them to act if 

we give them enough information to act on who that is.

REPORTER: You said, three weeks ago, there would be consequences. Will 

there be, sir?



WALLACE: Julie, the president keeps saying to Putin, don't do it, don't do 

it, and then it happens again and he repeats, don't do it.

Do they have a plan here as to how to deal with it? 


this feels very similar to the arguments that we were hearing from the 

Obama White House in the final month of that administration where there was 

a similar message being delivered, largely privately at that point because 

we were in the -- in the 2016 campaign, but the message was, we know you're 

doing this, we know this is emanating from Russia and you need to stop, and 

yet here we are several years later and this is still happening.

So I think, no, you know, the U.S. has not figured out at this point how to 

get Russia to change its behavior or how to get Putin to crack down on some 

of these bad actors within his country. 

I do think that there is a pretty aggressive discussion happening within 

the administration right now. John Kirby alluded to this. A lot of this is 

going to be classified. A lot of this is going to be -- is -- the response 

is going to be carried out in ways that we're not always going to see or 

know publicly. But until we see a change in behavior emanating from Russia, 

I think the answer to this has to be that, no, there is not an effective 

plan at the moment. 

WALLACE: Marc, there's a danger when you keep setting redlines and the 

difference between what Obama was doing and what Biden was doing was Biden 

made those red lines very public at the summit in Geneva. There's a danger 

to setting red lines and then not enforcing them. 

SHORT: Sure, Chris. 

I think that previously the Obama administration often prosecuted 

cyberattacks, like the DOJ investigation and a crime. 

One thing that's been, I think, less reported is President Trump gave a lot 

more latitude to our military and to our intelligence communities to 

respond in kind to cyberattacks and to be aggressive with it. And I think 

it deterred foreign actors who were looking to -- to -- to attack the 

United States. 

I don't know whether the Biden administration has relapsed to a previous 

policy that's pursuing it more as a criminal investigation, as to whether 

they're giving the same latitude to our military with cyberattacks. But I -

- I do know -- I do believe that we have the -- an extreme capability to 

cripple other countries who conduct these attacks on us. And whether or not 

our military is giving latitude to use them, I don't know right now. 

WALLACE: Chuck, I've got about 30 seconds left. 

If these cyberattacks continue, and they continued after the warning in 

Geneva, now Putin's gotten another warning. If they continue, how much 

runway does Joe Biden have left before he has to act? 

LANE: I think he's got less runway now then he had before. And I think 

Putin is loving this situation because this is a perfect way to harass the 

United States and cause a perception of weakness by the president without -

- with deniability for Moscow and no cost to Putin. 

WALLACE: Well, and that, of course, was the question, at some point, will 

there be a cost to Putin? 

Panel, thank you. See you next Sunday. 

Up next, our "Power Player of the Week," cellist Yo-Yo Ma spreading hope 

through his magical music. 


WALLACE: He's been a major figure in American music for decades. But as we 

told you this winter, he found a new way to reach us during the pandemic. 

Here's our "Power Player of the Week." 


YO-YO MA, CELLIST: Since you can't be touched, you can't be caressed, the 

music is the caress, is -- is that piece of humanity that is missing from 

your aloneness and when you need it the most. 

WALLACE (voice over): World-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma on the role music can 

play in the time of COVID. Despite quarantines and social distancing, Ma 

has found ways to bring people closer together. 

MA: This is a moment for invention. The thing that we then need to look at 

is the delivery system. 

WALLACE: And deliver he has. Ma began a project called Songs of Comfort, 

where he posts video on social media playing his cello. 

MA: One of my colleagues said, you know, maybe we could do what we usually 

do in times of stress and disasters. How about if we do songs of comfort 

and hope? I said, done. 

WALLACE: Ma's videos have gotten almost 45 million views and he's invited 

other artists to post their own songs of comfort, like James Taylor. 

JAMES TAYLOR, MUSICIAN (singing): Trying not to try to hard. It's just a 


MA: I think we're all trying to figure out ways to find ways to help. 

WALLACE: Music has always been a passion for Ma. Born in Paris, then raised 

in New York City, he was a child prodigy, playing for President Kennedy at 

age seven.

Over the years he's performed on a variety of stages, from Carnegie Hall to 

"Sesame Street" to President Obama's first inauguration. 

WALLACE (on camera): How difficult was it not to be in front of an 

audience, on a stage, for all these months? 

MA: It was not difficult for me because I think I was constantly in touch 

with people.  Music actually does play a part in helping. 

WALLACE (voice over): And so Ma played songs of comfort for us and for you. 

WALLACE (on camera): What a gift. 

MA: Thank you so much, Chris. 

WALLACE: Thank you. 


WALLACE: You can hear more of Yo-Yo Ma's music on his album, "Songs of 

Comfort and Hope." 

Now this program note. Join me on Fox Nation as we mark what would have 

been Nancy Reagan's 100th birthday. Our special "Nancy Reagan: An American 

Story" is available to stream right now. 

And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next FOX NEWS 


Copy: Content and Programming Copyright 2021 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL 

RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2021 VIQ Media Transcription, Inc.  All 

materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not 

be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast 

without the prior written permission of VIQ Media Transcription, Inc. You 

may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from 

copies of the content.