This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 20, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHARLES PAYNE, HOST: It's the bullet train to nowhere. Now the president wants California to bite the bullet and return billions in what he calls wasted taxpayer dollars for a high-speed rail project that are now off the rails.
Welcome, everyone. I'm Charles Payne, in for Neil Cavuto. And this is "Your World."
California's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom today slamming the move, calling it retribution for suing to block the president's wall. So will taxpayers see a dime? We report, you decide.
With John Roberts on what the White House is demanding now, and Jeff Paul in Los Angeles, where they're saying not a dime now.
We begin with John.
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Charles, good afternoon to you.
A war of words erupting between President Trump and the California governor, Gavin Newsom, over that now failed bullet train project between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The president tweeted this morning -- quote -- "California now wants to scale back their already failed Fast Train project by substantially shortening the distance so that it no longer goes from L.A. to San Francisco, a different deal and record cost overruns. Send the federal government back the billions of dollars wasted."
The federal government contributed about $2.5 billion in federal grants to the project. Gavin Newsom admits that California wasted billions of dollars in the failed project, but at the same time says that the president's not going to get back a dime, making it very personal as well.
You may remember back in 2011, during the Obama administration, Florida Governor Rick Scott said, I'm not going to take $2.4 billion that the federal government has offered me to build a similar bullet train that would go between Orlando and Tampa because we are fearing here in the state of Florida dramatic cost overruns.
So it's not that Scott ever gave back the money. He just never took it in the first place because he knew it wasn't going to work.
The other big topic of discussion here at the White House, when the Robert Mueller report might come down. The Department of Justice today said that it's not commenting on a potential release date for that. It would go from Robert Mueller's office to the attorney general.
But some stars beginning to align, Charles, that suggests that it may be coming soon. Remember, the former acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, said recently that he thought that the Mueller investigation was sort of nearing the end.
The deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who announced yesterday that he is going to be leaving sometime around mid-March, said that he wanted to stay until the Mueller report was released. So there is another star that's lining up.
In the Oval Office today, President Trump saying he will leave it up to his new attorney general, William Barr, what to do about the report. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Should the Mueller report be released when you are abroad next week?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: That will be totally up to the new attorney general. He's a tremendous man, a tremendous person who really respects this country and respects the Justice Department, so that will be totally up to him, the new attorney -- the new attorney general, yes.
TRUMP: I guess, from what I understand, that will be totally up to the attorney general.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: So, the question there, which was partially hidden, was, will the report be released next week? If it were released next week, it would happen as the president was in Hanoi, Vietnam, meeting for the second time with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
And it would be highly unusual for a report of this magnitude to be released while the president is abroad.
I also checked with the president's legal team, Charles, Rudy Giuliani telling me that the president's legal team has not been advised that the Mueller report is complete yet. But Giuliani and the president's team still believe there is absolutely no evidence that President Trump colluded with Russia to try to influence the 2016 election -- Charles.
PAYNE: John, thank you very much. We will have more on the Mueller report coming up.
But, first, want to go back to California's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, who is vowing to fight to keep all of those federal funds.
Jeff Paul's in Los Angeles with the very latest -- Jeff.
JEFF PAUL, CORRESPONDENT: Charles, on top of the $2.5 billion the feds want back, the Trump administration says it's terminating a billion- dollar grant for the high-speed rail project.
The president tweeting earlier about the situation, referring to California Governor Gavin Newsom's recent state of the state address. During that speech, Newsom said he wants to scale back the scope of the project and focus on finishing a line that runs from Merced to Bakersfield.
But the governor also had a message for the president about giving any of that money back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM, D-CALIF.: Abandoning the high-speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions and billions of dollars. And with all due respect, I have no interest in sending back $3.5 billion dollars of federal funding that was allocated to this project to President Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Now, this all happening a day after California filed a lawsuit challenging President Trump's emergency declaration at the border.
Gavin Newsom, the governor here in California, released a statement calling into question the timing of all this. He says it's clear political retribution and that it's California's money that the state will continue to fight for.
House Minority Leader and California Republican Kevin McCarthy released a statement of his own, calling the rail plan broken and that it's time to move on -- Charles.
PAYNE: Jeff, thank you very much.
So, the question now is, should California have to return this money, your money, by the way?
Let's ask RealClearPolitics Phil Wegmann, Democratic strategist Cathy Areu, and GOP strategist Kimberly Klacik.
Kimberly, let me start with you. It is federal taxpayer money. Gavin Newsom more or less admitted that this -- at least this portion of the rail project was a failed idea. So should it be returned to the taxpayers?
KIMBERLY KLACIK, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, absolutely.
I think it's weird that we never have a say on where our tax money goes. We elect people to spend money how we expect them to spend this. I mean, I don't understand why they're making this call without actually taking us in consideration.
PAYNE: Cathy, I mean, again, this is an idea that so many people in the state of California pushed back against originally. We just heard John Roberts explain, in the state of Florida, they said no thanks in the very beginning, knowing that it was it was folly to even try to go down this particular path.
California, of course, has greater, grand -- the grander ambitions, but those have been curbed. So what's now the responsible thing to do for the state?
CATHY AREU, PUBLISHER, CATALINA: What's right for the state. So what the constituents want in California is what the politicians have to give them in California.
So what the rest of the country may want may not be what California wants.
PAYNE: Even though we're talking about taxpayer money from all citizens of this country?
AREU: Well, I mean, doesn't California know best, though, what's right for California?
So it seems like they understand. And we're all hearing it and we're able to debate it and the conversation is being had. So I think it does go back to the point that taxpayers should say where they want their money to go.
PAYNE: Phil, what are your thoughts?
PHILIP WEGMANN, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Well, let's be very clear about the money in question here.
Already, the $2.5 billion, that has been sent to California, so that the job of the Trump administration will be to claw that money back.
WEGMANN: The nearly $1 billion, though, that has been appropriated, but not disbursed to California. So the Trump administration could potentially just sit on that money, instead of sending it to California.
The question here, though, is, this is money that has been appropriated by Congress. We don't know if Trump actually has the constitutional authority not to send that money there. So it's going to be an interesting constitutional question going forward.
PAYNE: No doubt about that, Phil. But what about the question that many, many folks are asking themselves. If, indeed, the governor, the new governor of California says, hey, I have looked at this, it doesn't make sense, it doesn't work, and then more or less admitted that this is a failed project, then why not the idea of the American taxpayer getting this money back and reappropriating, reallocating it somewhere else?
WEGMANN: And that's the brilliance of this political move that the Trump administration is making here.
Set aside constitutional questions. What they're doing here is politically very savvy, because it does two things. First, the Trump administration is able to knock California and knock Democrats at the same time for spending all this money on this train boondoggle, while ignoring border security.
And, second, it allows them to take a second bite at the apple and knock these sort of high-speed rail projects, which are being put forward as environmental solutions. We just saw this the other day in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal.
So the constitutional question is not settled, but the politics here are very savvy.
PAYNE: Let's talk about the politics here, because Gavin Newsom saying, hey, this is just retribution of California filing a lawsuit over the national emergency.
But, last night, Elizabeth Warren sort of saying hey, OK, if we're going to have these national emergencies out there, then at some point a Democratic president will be able to take advantage of it, because it is indeed a slippery slope. Let's take a listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: What would constitute a national emergency?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, let's do list.
Climate change, gun violence, student loan debt, right off the top.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAYNE: Cathy, those are national emergencies?
AREU: I think it's scary.
The genie is out of the bottle right now. By Trump doing this with a national emergency, we haven't heard this kind of talk since 9/11. So now to be asking people who are running for office, what's your national emergency, very scary.
Trump has introduced something. The genie is out. And it's not good for Democrats. Not good for Republicans. I don't think it's good for the country. So Trump shouldn't have done this. Let's leave it for emergencies. I'm not with Warren on this one at all.
PAYNE: Kimberly, so Warren is taking this list and running with it.
But she's not the only a declared Democratic candidate that is. And I think Americans are going to find it pretty frightening.
KLACIK: Oh, yes, definitely.
I would like to say I find it disturbing that Senator Warren is willing to call a national emergency on our individuality and freedoms of America -- being American.
I mean, for her to defend the notion of climate change, she would have to convince Americans that the government should control your individual footprint. So that means the way you transport yourself, what you eat, how you heat your home, et cetera. People aren't going to go for that.
As far as gun control, she should really look at the laws that are already on the books and try to enforce them. I know Democrats have a problem doing that. We see that with immigration, but she should give it a shot.
And also with gun control, she would have to acknowledge mental health and the fact that, inner cities, lots of those guns are illegal and caused by gang violence.
Now, as far as student loans and debts, yes, that was a mistake. But a lot of that, again, Democrats again are to blame there. I mean, my generation, we were told that if we go to college, earn degrees, great careers will be waiting for us when we got out.
The problem with that is, Democrats are pro-welfare state and not pro- business. So the great careers just weren't waiting for us.
PAYNE: Of course, we're talking about a $1.5 trillion problem right now.
Thank you. Want to thank you all. Really appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Meanwhile, Covington Catholic teenager Nick Sandmann suing The Washington Post for a quarter of a billion dollars. The charge? Defamation. Does he have a case?
And according to a new report, special counsel Robert Mueller could be wrapping up his report as early as next week. Should the attorney general, Bill Barr, make it public? The judge on both those stories is next.
PAYNE: First, the viral video, then the lawsuit
Covington Catholic High School junior Nick Sandmann suing The Washington Post for defamation. The price tag, $250 million.
Sandmann at the center of a video that was initially shown out of context, with many of the media portraying him as an aggressor with Omaha tribal elder Nathan Phillips. It wasn't the case.
President Trump giving his support, tweeting -- quote -- "Go get them, Nick. Fake news."
But does he have a case?
All rise. Judge Andrew Napolitano is here.
Judge, does he have a case?
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, JUDICIAL ANALYST: So let me give you both sides.
The one side is that the portrayal of the young man was obviously false and erroneous and incorrect, and he probably suffered as a result of that. I think his suffering is probably over, but he did suffer.
The other side is, when he stood there on national television like that, he entered a public arena for the purpose of affecting its outcome. Stated differently, he becomes what we call a limited purpose public figure, and thus The Washington Post is protected.
And his lawyers would have to show that what The Post published, it knew was false or it was reckless in its concern whether it was true or false. If they can overcome that obstacle -- let's say for the sake of argument, they can -- is that clip worth $250 million?
Well, the original -- the old rules were that you cannot defame a minor, because a minor -- he's 16 years old -- doesn't have a reputation to be damaged. Some lawyers when they ask for money in a lawsuit will demand the sun and the moon, because if you get more than you demanded, then you're not going to get the more. So they demand more than they could possibly get.
Other lawyers know you can't demand a number in court unless you can actually prove that. And I suggest to you it's impossible to prove damages for a 16-year-old to reputation of $250 million.
PAYNE: Well, I mean, but we had people, well-known people in the media and the celebrities, talking about physically harming this kid.
His face is known. His face -- I mean, even Bill Maher wrecked him that same weekend.
NAPOLITANO: Well, then Bill Maher should be...
PAYNE: But I'm just saying, the idea that this is gone, like his life is not impacted for the rest of his life, I don't know about that.
NAPOLITANO: Well, the -- you would have to tie all of that to The Washington Post, rather than to his standing there like that, because when he stands there like that, in the face of this Native American, who was chanting gibberish, whatever, it's a public event.
And you can make fair comment about a public event. See, we start from the proposition that the freedom of speech is protected. And defamation is an exception to the freedom of speech, a very narrow exception.
And when it's a public event, that exception is even narrower.
PAYNE: There's no onus on The Washington Post, in their haste, and perhaps, according to this lawsuit, their tremendous animosity toward President Trump, to have some journalistic restraint, the idea that, hey, let's pause for a moment, the idea that once this goes -- in this environment, where we have seen these kind of things, anything involving a red hat instantaneously create a villain out of the person wearing a red hat.
PAYNE: Is there any onus on them to be responsible?
NAPOLITANO: You make a very strong moral case with which I'm in full agreement. But that is not the law.
The law doesn't impose a moral standard on The Washington Post to engage in restraint. The only thing the law imposes on The Washington Post in this environment -- and the same would be for FOX News and The New York Times or The Washington Times -- is not to publish something knowing it was false, and not to publish something with reckless disregard for whether it was true or false.
That's the door...
NAPOLITANO: ... into which the plaintiff's lawyers have to try and get here.
NAPOLITANO: And they will engage in discovery to say to The Post, well, what did you know and what did you examine and what did you verify before you said what you said?
I do want to switch gears, because a lot of speculation now that the -- that the Mueller report is ready, or at least it will be released perhaps as early as next week. Your thoughts on that?
NAPOLITANO: Well, I hope it's not released next week, while the president is in Vietnam. That would -- whatever the report is, it would be exquisitely unfair for him to have to deal with this when he's 10,000 miles away trying to negotiate a nuclear agreement with the head of North Korea
It appears it's coming to an end. But if it's coming to an end ,it means that people like Roger Stone wouldn't be tried by Mueller's team, if Mueller is going to close down shop.
My own view is, there's not going to be one report, there's going to be more than one report, and they will come at different times, since Bob Mueller's authority was expanded at least once and we think twice by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.
And once the report comes, it goes to the attorney general.
NAPOLITANO: It doesn't necessarily become public.
But if that report gets in the hands of Congress, no way will it stay secret, because any member of Congress could go to the floor of the House or the floor of the Senate and, with impunity, like Senator Feinstein did with the 6,000-page CIA torture report, release it.
PAYNE: Before we wrap, real quick, do you think the public should see the entire report?
NAPOLITANO: I do.
NAPOLITANO: Senator Grassley, the former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I believe Senator Graham, the current chair, agree.
PAYNE: Judge, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
NAPOLITANO: Oh, you're welcome, Charles. Any time.
PAYNE: From some -- from some retreads to reelections, the warning Democrats may want to pay attention to as they sift through their 2020 candidates.
Also, the warning for nearly 200 million Americans, as another nasty winter storm dumps rain, ice, snow across much of the United States, schools closing, flight cancellations. And delays are mounting.
We're on it.
PAYNE: Bernie Sanders is in for 2020, and President Trump already tweeting: "Crazy Bernie has just entered the race. I will him well."
But get this. Bernie's already raising some crazy money for his campaign.
To Peter Doocy on a war chest that's already bulging -- Peter.
PETER DOOCY, CORRESPONDENT: Charles, before yesterday, Senator Kamala Harris had been getting a lot of credit for a smooth rollout.
But Bernie Sanders just quadrupled her day one fund-raising total, bringing in $6 million from a quarter-million donors chipping in an average of $27 a pop.
Now, Sanders' advisers are seeing a historical precedent for a Sanders primary victory, since the field is so big.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK ROCHA, SENIOR ADVISER, BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN: I think I would remind all of your viewers exactly how Donald Trump won the Republican nomination, when we had debates, junior debates and field debates. We're going to have the same issue on the Democratic side.
So that means that the vote is going to be split 10 ways, 15 ways, 20 ways. Well, guess which candidate has the core base of support that follows him?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOOCY: Republicans trying to figure out who President Trump's opponent will be next year sound impressed by the Democratic socialist's muscular fund-raising on day one, and they sound encouraged that his strength as a candidate could define all the Democrats as a far more liberal group than previous cycles, since many in the top tier are borrowing proposals he championed last time, like tuition-free college or Medicare for all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIR, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: That is a good haul. It's significantly more than Kamala Harris run -- raised in her first day of her announcement.
Bernie Sanders is going to force Democrats to lurch further to the left, further to the progressive, socialist side of the Democrat Party. You're already seeing candidates trying to out-Bernie Bernie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOOCY: But there's only one Bernie, and he's in the race now, so voters are going to have a choice between the person who originally brought Democratic socialist policies into the primary process and a handful of others who have since made those ideas part of their platform -- Charles.
PAYNE: Peter, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
And with the 2020 field growing, Democrats might want to look at recent history before looking to Bernie.
Both political parties have suffered big losses trying to unseat an incumbent president after nominating someone who has run in the past or who has a lot of political experience.
So let's get to read from presidential historian Doug Wead.
Doug, Bernie Sanders, he's got a heck of a start, though, six million bucks in 24 hours.
DOUG WEAD, FORMER ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Hey.
Well, look at George McGovern. He was a phenomenon.
WEAD: I mean, I remember when McGovern was saying, I can't believe these polls. These crowds are so excited. You can feel this. How can those polls be accurate? In his case, unfortunately, they were accurate, and the Democrat Party went down the tubes.
PAYNE: You know, Doug, it is interesting, because the Democratic Party has had this -- in the midterms had this sort of excitement of young infusion of young blood.
They prided themselves on the women, the Hispanics, the blacks, you know, this sort of big, big tent, big umbrella, new faces, new names. And yet it feels like it's boiling down to perhaps the same old names, right? Perhaps it will be Bernie vs. Biden at the end. Is that going to work even within their own current narrative?
WEAD: Well, some of the writers and observers are saying that it won't work.
In fact, this recent article in Politico criticizes the idea that Biden is a front-runner, and he's an old name, and Bernie has -- already, they're saying, is an old name. Those are the two top vote-getters right now.
And they take out Amy and Kamala in that article as well. They promote Beto. They say, you want to win, you're going to have to go way outside and get somebody new and fresh.
PAYNE: Well, there's the notion that Beto still may decide. I think he told Oprah Winfrey recently that he would make his decision really in short order.
So the field should be set up within the next month or so. Is it going to be a problem for them if we have 20, 30 candidates? That's a weeding-out process, which means a lot of lumps for the eventual winner.
And what's going to happen is the person who distinguishes themselves from the herd is going to have an advantage. If you will remember the crowded GOP field, when they had that first debate, the very first question of the first debate was an easy one, a no-brainer. Is there anybody on stage who will not support the eventual nominee of the Republican Party?
And guess who raised his hand?
WEAD: It was Donald Trump. So what he achieved even by answering the question incorrectly, he distinguished himself from the pack. And that's what's going to have to happen to one of these Democrats or more.
They're going to fight each other to distinguish themselves from the pack.
PAYNE: Doug, it's always great having these conversations with you. Thanks a lot.
WEAD: Thanks Charles.
Freshman Democratic -- Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she's -- don't blame her for this Amazon pulling out of its massive New York City plans. But that's exactly what the guy behind this billboard in Times Square is doing today.
Meet him. He's next.
PAYNE: New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrated Amazon backing out of a deal in New York City for a second headquarters.
Now a new billboard in Times Square saying, "Thanks for nothing."
We're back in 60 seconds.
PAYNE: "Thanks for nothing, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez."
That's what a new billboard in Times Square says. It's bashing the Democrat lawmaker over Amazon scrapping a second headquarters in New York City, taking thousands of jobs and billions of dollars with it.
Alfredo Ortiz is the CEO of Job Creators Network. And, well, that's the group behind the billboard.
We did call the congresswoman. So far, no response.
Wow, that's a heck of a billboard right in the heart of Times Square.
ALFREDO ORTIZ, JOB CREATORS NETWORK: Right down the street. That's right. PAYNE: Do you think she got the message? ORTIZ: Well, we're hoping she got the message.
I mean, all we're really trying to do is highlight a very, very important thing. And I know you have had some great conversations on many of the shows here as well, is that socialism takes and capitalism creates.
And what this did here is, socialism took from the New York -- from the fine New Yorkers here 25,000 jobs. We estimate about $4 billion in lost annual wages, about $12 billion in lost economic activity.
I mean, these are real numbers. And you talk about the tax incentive piece she had a problem with. I guess she thought that there were $3 billion sitting somewhere in some fund.
PAYNE: That they would get a check.
ORTIZ: And they were going to write a check, right, not an incentive that was going to be over many, many years.
But when you look at it overall as the deal, which, by the way, it was Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio that actually worked on this deal, right? So the two CEOs of the state and of the city working on this deal, they thought it was a great deal. They brought it together.
It was $27 billion of tax revenues over 25 years, I mean, at a cost of $3 billion. Look, I'm not a math major, but that sounds like good math to me.
PAYNE: Those are pretty good...
ORTIZ: Those are some pretty good numbers.
PAYNE: But then does this worry about what we're seeing even on a larger scale, this -- whether it's an embrace of socialism, or a rejection of capitalism?
And it's a movement that is real. It's got amazing wind in its sails. You have a lot of people who are dissatisfied with really -- I mean, we're right now an economic juggernaut, and they're unsatisfied.
PAYNE: What happens at the next recession?
So, I think what it is, it's just really a lack of education. I think this is one of the things -- and, in fact, I think on one of the morning shows, the other shows, on CNBC actually, Andrew Ross Sorkin actually said, this was one of the dumbest things he's ever seen.
I mean, this is -- just made no sense whatsoever, a huge opportunity, but it was the lack of education, I think, in terms of how policy really impacts people overall and how policies work.
We need to do more of that. We need to teach people more in simple terms about how that works.
Well, then how do you teach someone? If someone, let's say, the third generation in the housing projects...
PAYNE: ... and they keep saying rich wealthy guys. Alfredo, you got on a nice suit, a nice tie, and you're talking to them, sometimes, they feel like you're mansplaining, like, you're talking down to them.
PAYNE: So, how do you get someone who feels like they're not a part of this great American experience, no one in their family is a part of it, get to buy into this, without telling them in so many words that they're not educated?
Look, I think when 70 percent of, let's say, New Yorkers said they liked this idea, they want it, and it still went away because one person, frankly, who wasn't even representing the district, basically talked it away, right, when they see that happen, they go, you know what? We will never have a chance at this American dream.
So we got to break it down into the opportunity that exists for people to take advantage of this American dream. I mean, we talk about the tax revenues and the incentives and all, but I want to focus on the lost economic activity that was going to happen there in Long Island City.
Think about the pizza guys, the deli guys, the shoeshine guys, the dry cleaners. I mean, this is -- these are the real people of America, hardworking Americans that have an American dream, who all of a sudden lost that opportunity to take advantage.
Think of all the companies, all the people that had to service something like an Amazon headquarters, I mean, an unbelievable opportunity. And, by the way, Charles, remember, there are other companies that would have come to help service Amazon.
ORTIZ: So this would have built upon itself, upon itself.
I mean, I can see why the governor and the mayor decided to do this. It was a good thing for New York. And, unfortunately, she made a call here that, frankly, she shouldn't have made, because she doesn't even cover that district, for heaven's sake.
PAYNE: Yes, although some of the local politicians -- you mentioned how the two captains in New York sort of quarterbacked this.
There was some little -- local politicians who were upset they weren't part of the process. But I think this social justice idea is what's driving a so-called economic policy with -- particularly within the Democratic Party, and it's gaining traction.
And this is the thing that you wonder, what's the responsibility of business? For instance, I talk often about General Motors.
PAYNE: A week ago, they posted earnings. They made $3 billion in North America. They made nothing around the world.
But they're letting people go in this country and keeping workers outside of this country.
PAYNE: So where's the responsibility of capitalism almost to save itself from people in this country who are saying, I'm doing OK, but, golly, look at those guys?
And I think that's where the opportunity does exist for -- for companies to really do the right thing. I actually really believe that Amazon would have been the right corporate citizen.
And I'm not here, trust me, to try and defend Amazon.
ORTIZ: But I'm defending this idea of capitalism, of the American dream.
I mean, again, when you look at, for example, Nancy Pelosi, who called the wage increases and the bonuses from the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, when she called that basically crumbs, and then you take Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who takes these $150,000-per-year jobs -- that was the average one -- 25,000 of them, and she calls those scraps, I mean, this all of a sudden becomes the party of basically crumbs and scraps, basically, right?
So -- but I think, as true corporate citizens, I really do believe they would have done right here. And you see these companies do invest in their community.
PAYNE: Right. Well, that billboard was fantastic.
ORTIZ: Thank you.
PAYNE: I'm glad you put it up. And I think a lot of people are going to start to think.
Alfredo, thank you very much.
ORTIZ: Thank you, Charles. Appreciate it.
PAYNE: Hey, don't think we are taking the threats from Russia seriously? Well, then why do we have our guys training in conditions like this?
PAYNE: Russian President Vladimir Putin out with a new warning for the United States: You point missiles at us here, we will target you over there.
Now, this comes at a time when our military is training for winter warfare as threats from places like Russia grow. How serious is this getting?
Retired Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin joins us now.
General, I got to tell you, it's so interesting to see the white camo, not necessarily the sand camo or the jungle camo that we have been watching for the last 40, 50 years.
And it's interesting, because, when I was in the military, and they first went to the sand camo, we knew the big wars were going to be in the Middle East. So what is this and these images we're looking at right now telling us?
LT. GEN. JERRY BOYKIN (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Yes, I don't think we should make too much of that, Charles.
I think that we have to understand we have been training in mountain, cold weather environments going all the way back to World War II, when the 10th Mountain Division trained up outside of Vail, Colorado. The 1st Special Service Force, which was a combined Canadian and U.S. force, trained up in Montana.
So it's just prudent to have capabilities that we can go into any environment with at least some kind of force initially. So I wouldn't make too much of this.
PAYNE: How much would you make of the idea that Russia is claiming to have a new missile technology that they say is undetectable or unstoppable by America, and that they'd be willing to somehow start to even more rapidly deploy it, particularly if we start to make changes with our -- with respect to how we're established in NATO?
BOYKIN: Well, first of all, I doubt very seriously if we have any plans on the books to move additional capabilities into Europe, which seem to be the trigger, based on what Putin said.
Now, that said, we have to take him seriously here. I thought his speech was kind of a carrot-and-stick speech. It was the Russian equivalent, where he -- it was pretty harsh talk about his new capabilities, which I think are probably overrated or overstated.
But then he ended it by saying, but we don't want conflict with America and we're willing to talk. So I think it was a carrot-and-stick approach. But these new capabilities, while very serious, and we need to take them seriously, and America is not prepared to deal with those, I think he probably overstated or exaggerated those capabilities a bit.
BOYKIN: I think most analysts believe that.
I also read where perhaps this speech was less bombastic than one a year ago. So there is that.
I do want to kind of shift gears here, because we have got this big meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. They're going to meet in Vietnam. And the jury's still out on what came from the first meeting, although there are no more missiles flying over Japan and those kind of things that had the world on edge.
But what should we get accomplished in this next meeting?
BOYKIN: Well, let's start with, what do we see coming out of the White House right now? I think we see an effort to reduce the expectations.
I think that the president learned a great deal from his summit in Singapore. I don't think he will come out this time saying that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat. But I also think that he's handling this very well.
But I think that what you're seeing is, I think you will see this go a long ways towards helping to reduce these tensions between North Korea and the West. But I don't think this is going to result in an immediate nuclear disarmament. I think there are going to be more of these sessions, not necessarily between the president and Kim.
BOYKIN: But I think the secretary of state is probably going to follow up with additional meetings like this.
And this is going to be an iterative process. I don't think Kim is ready to give up his nukes yet.
PAYNE: Before I let you go, then what exactly would the ultimate deal look like that would persuade him to give up those nukes?
BOYKIN: Yes, it would have to -- it would have to be a lot of economic incentives and probably a withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Korean Peninsula.
I'm not sure that the president is ready to go there yet.
PAYNE: Yes, although the South Korean president might be ready.
BOYKIN: Oh, that's a major problem, Charles.
BOYKIN: I think that, if we don't close a deal sometime soon, we have a danger of the South Korean president cutting his own deal, which, in my view, will be a capitulation.
PAYNE: General Boykin, thank you very much.
BOYKIN: Thank you.
PAYNE: Massive lines at food stores, spin-outs on roadways, folks from the Rockies to the East Coast facing a nightmare, with a massive winter storm bearing down, 39 states in its path -- what you need to know.
PAYNE: More than 7,000 flights already delayed or canceled today, as a fierce winter storm slams the United States.
AccuWeather meteorologist Melissa Constanzer on just how bad this could get -- Melissa.
MELISSA CONSTANZER, ACCUWEATHER METEOROLOGIST: Charles, unfortunately, the map showing still a lot of winter weather advisories, even winter storm warnings in place, because, well, the radar, it kind of says it all.
It's got a lot of snow here in through parts of the Northeast. We have already seen several inches of accumulation. The problem is, as this storm system works its way to the northeast, it's followed by a very warm sector here, which means a lot of rain as it's starting to work into Pittsburgh.
This is some very heavy rain, leading to flooding in the South. But as it moves over some of those areas that saw several inches of snow, the concern is ice. So, we're talking sleet, freezing rain, and eventually in some places just a change to rain, as that snow does melt and temperatures do warm up.
So, yes, it's going to be an active time here for the next few hours in the Northeast, as that continues to move its way off towards the northeast, snow into Boston later on. It changes into rain as we head into early Thursday morning. And then things start to quiet down, snow, though, through the state of Maine. That's how it stays as it leaves and throughout Thursday.
So, really, what could we get from this storm? Well, several inches of snow. There's three to six through the state of Maine and Northern New England. The problem has been in through parts of Pennsylvania and the Appalachians. We have seen a lot of snow.
And as that transitions to rain, this could mean some big icing concerns, especially along the Interstate 81 corridor. It'll lead to power outages, not just with the weight of the snow, but also with the weight of the ice.
So, a messy setup here for the next few hours, Charles.
PAYNE: All right, Melissa, thank you very much. Always appreciate it.
Well, President Trump heading overseas next week to meet with Kim Jong-un, but will a bigger bombshell drop right here at home?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: should the Mueller report be released when you are abroad next week?
TRUMP: That will be totally up to the new attorney general. He's a tremendous man, a tremendous person who really respects this country and respects the Justice Department, so that will be totally up to him, the new attorney -- the new attorney general, yes.
QUESTION: Should the report become public?
TRUMP: I guess, from what I understand, that will be totally up to the attorney general.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAYNE: New reports that the Mueller probe is wrapping up, and President Trump says it's now up to William Barr to decide if or when the report is released.
To former DOJ prosecutor John Yoo.
John, this was sort of anticipated, but now a lot of moves, including Michael Cohen's going -- reporting the jail being pushed back. A lot of pieces are -- it looks like everyone's bracing that this could possibly be true.
What do you anticipate? Because it feels kind of eerie down in Washington, D.C., that maybe this won't be what Democrats had hoped it would be.
JOHN YOO, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, first, if the Mueller report is finally finishing up, if the investigation is closing down, this is not just good for President Trump. This is good for the country.
It's good that we finished the investigation and that the attorney general can now decide what to release the to the public. I hope that he releases a lot. I think it's in President Trump's interest, because, so far, we haven't really seen a lot of facts that would suggest President Trump in any way committed a crime or conspired with the Russians.
And so it's in President Trump's interest to have this get out in public, to reassure the public that their president didn't do anything wrong. And then, if Democrats in Congress want to make a big hash of it, then let them go ahead and try.
PAYNE: John, should we see the entire report, anything that doesn't -- crosses the line with respect to national security? Should the public see the entire report, so that they can finally read and judge for themselves whether this last few years was worth it, and whether or not we should continue to pursue this?
YOO: A great question, Charles.
One, first of all, we should realize that the DOJ regulations that led to the appointment of Bob Mueller as special counsel don't call for the public release of his report. He sends his report to Mr. Barr.
The attorney general decides that what to release or not. The attorney general actually writes the formal report to Congress. And so the attorney general could attach Mueller's report to it, make the whole thing public. He will have to scrub it to make sure there's no classified information or grand jury information.
But I agree that, Charles, most of what the public is going to be concerned about, I think, could be released, and we can all consider whether the last two years have been a big waste of time, or whether we have got a good set of facts out, and then people in Congress can decide if they want to try to impeach the president.
President Trump can declare his innocence. But let's get the criminal justice system out of it.
PAYNE: John, we got from Jake Gibson a note here. And it says: "I'm being led to believe that someone Congress will be disappointed with what they get from Barr and that we should expect another oversight battle between Congress and the DOJ."
I think we have got these -- oversight fatigue. I think we have got investigation fatigue. I think the American public probably would this time may even be resentful if the Democrats, indeed, like Adam Schiff says, are going to completely ignore the results of this and continue this on.
YOO: I agree, Charles.
I think that, if Mueller is the gold standard here for prosecutors, he's got a report, he's going to issue it, what are people in Congress in the House Democratic majority going to add to whatever Bob Mueller comes up with, other than to just run out the clock on President Trump's presidency and just try to generate more scandal?
So that's why I think it's actually in Trump's interest and the nation's interest that the attorney general decide to release the report in public.
PAYNE: John, if it turns out that this is essentially a dry hole with respect to any proof that President Trump and those immediately around him colluded with Russia, the collusion part -- we haven't even seen any real indictments or convictions with respect to Russian collusion, maybe some other things, like the Michael Cohen situation -- does that do any harm to even future ideas of these sort of special -- special prosecutors?
Because it wouldn't be the first time one went off the rails. It wouldn't be the first time millions and millions of dollars were spent, and people felt that it was more politically motivated than anything else.
YOO: It's another excellent point you make, Charles, that our experience with special counsels, whether it's Starr in Whitewater, or now Mueller with the Trump investigation, if we're not finding any great scandals, if we're not finding President Trump violate the law, why are we trying to off-load what is really Congress' job?
If it wants to have impeachment hearings, they can have impeachment hearings. But why are we off-loading this and trying to criminalize what really is a policy dispute between the president and Congress?
So I hope maybe this might lead us as a nation to reconsider whether vesting all this power in someone like a Bob Mueller, no matter what -- how a great guy he is, is not the right way we should be running the separation of powers in our government.
PAYNE: There is no doubt.
Real quick. We have only got 30 seconds, but I do want your thoughts on whether or not it should be released next week, if it's ready, while President Trump is away.
YOO: That's a good point.
I -- traditionally, we try not to undermine our presidents when they're abroad...
YOO: ... particularly in sensitive matters like North Korea.
All right, John, thank you very much. Really, really appreciate it.
YOO: Thanks, Charles.
PAYNE: And, folks at home, I appreciate it. It's been a great time filling in for the great Neil Cavuto, but he's back tomorrow.
And "The Five" starts right now.
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