Joe Lieberman on Apple showdown, pope vs. Donald Trump

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 18, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: With me right now, former independent Connecticut Senator, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman.

Senator, I think this has gotten way out of control. And you're the expert. But, as you know, I read a prompter, so I think I qualify.



CAVUTO: And I'm wondering, in all -- stepping back, I wonder. This is a single phone. The government just wants access to whatever is on this thing.


CAVUTO: I can go to the Apple Store here if I had any problem with this thing, and they will open it up, and done. It's done.


CAVUTO: So, why do we have to make a federal case out of this? They can do this.

LIEBERMAN: Yes, I agree.

And so what's on the line? The law enforcement authorities have reason to believe that this phone may contain information that can help them prevent future terrorist attacks against America. This -- the guy who owned this phone, along with his wife, killed 14 Americans at a Christmas party in San Bernardino.

And, remember, this is not just the FBI or law enforcement going in and saying, I want this. They have a court order. They had to prove a case.

CAVUTO: But is the court order to just get the information, more to the point, right? Are they making any federal kind of a case where we want a software out there that you can get this stuff off there as a blanket policy, or this -- it's just for this phone?

LIEBERMAN: NO, quite the contrary. It's just for this phone. And I'll tell you...

CAVUTO: So, why has it been made a big federal case?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I think -- frankly, I think maybe Apple and some of the other high-tech companies think that this is what their consumers want.

But, really, I would say to the consumers, we give more information voluntarily every time we use our credit card, every time we use our Apple smartphones, iPads, Google search. And they keep this information. This is about the national interest, the public interest, the public safety.

CAVUTO: And this is about a proven incident. It isn't about, as privacy advocates argue, for something that might happen.


CAVUTO: It's about something that already did.

LIEBERMAN: Somebody who...

CAVUTO: And we want to get the information off the phone.

I don't think -- and the way this order reads, it's for this phone.

LIEBERMAN: It's absolutely for one phone.

CAVUTO: Right. So is the fear that, if they give that once, they're going to have to do this all the time? I just don't...

LIEBERMAN: Well, every time the FBI or law enforcement wants to do this, they have got to go to a court and convince a court that they have got a good reason to do it.

They cannot do it wantonly. And it will only be regard to a particular phone.

CAVUTO: I think it's stupid, not your point. I think we have made a big case out of this...


CAVUTO: ... by saying, look, I can walk to that Apple Store. You see those guys in the blue shirts?


CAVUTO: They would let you go in the front of the line there, because the -- but they fix any -- any time they had a problem, they just fix it.


I will give you an analogy that I read from somebody else, which is, what the government is asking for here is like getting into the room where the safe is. So, in other words, they want Apple to help them into the phone.

CAVUTO: Right.

LIEBERMAN: When they get to the phone, into -- inside the phone, the safe, if you will, they can figure out the password, the pass code. It's a four- digit pass code.

Incidentally, I read that Farook was storing information in the cloud from this phone, and about a month-and-a-half before the terrorist attacks that killed 14 people, he stopped. He cut off that process.


LIEBERMAN: And that makes the law enforcement worry that he was actively concealing something.

CAVUTO: And maybe where the other people are. We will see.

LIEBERMAN: And who was he talking to who we want the government to get to before they kill more Americans?

CAVUTO: Exactly.


CAVUTO: It was a proven incident. We have the phone. It's not some ethereal argument here.

LIEBERMAN: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: I want to bring into other godly issues with you. The pope and Donald...

LIEBERMAN: Yes. I always feel like I'm in a holy area when I'm with you, Neil.

CAVUTO: Well, that's as I do with you.

LIEBERMAN: Thank you.

CAVUTO: The pope and Donald Trump are fighting.


CAVUTO: What do you think of that?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I saw someone -- people will analyze what the impact of this will be on the primaries. I was about to say God only knows.

CAVUTO: That's very good.

LIEBERMAN: But -- yes, thank you. That just came out.


LIEBERMAN: But the reality is that these are two people with two different points of view on the question of immigration.

I have a tremendous admiration for Pope Francis. And, look, he obviously believes -- and this is not just one incident -- that his mission is to bring the Catholic faith, the Christian faith into the world to confront real problems.

CAVUTO: Right. Would we expect him to say anything else?

LIEBERMAN: I wouldn't. He's all about bridge-building. He's all about reaching out to the poor and strangers.

CAVUTO: But, Senator, the reason why it gets some people annoyed is that why did he say this about America and this particular candidate, when European leaders who he has also scolded about not taking in more migrants and refugees, he didn't call them and question their Christianity?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I don't know.


LIEBERMAN: I mean, I do know that he scolded them.


LIEBERMAN: So, maybe next time around, he will question their -- what he is really doing when he says this about no Christian would do this is that he's defining what he believes Christian faith should lead people to do.

You can agree with it, disagree with it, but he's not a politician. He's the pope. He has a right, in my opinion, to define where faith should lead people.

CAVUTO: I see you're very careful about bashing the pope.

LIEBERMAN: Yes. No, as I explained to you, I was raised in a religious Jewish family.

CAVUTO: You're Jewish?

LIEBERMAN: Yes. I know this is a surprise.


CAVUTO: All right.

LIEBERMAN: And I was taught don't bash the rabbi and certainly don't bash the pope.

CAVUTO: Good work. All right, thank you very much, Senator.

LIEBERMAN: All right, my friend.

CAVUTO: He's the best.

LIEBERMAN: It's ecumenical.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, I don't know. Pope on line one for you right now.

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