This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 20, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: This is a new fly in the ointment, what happened, shooting down the drone.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: It’s a dangerous situation. The high-tension wires are up in the region. I don’t think the president wants to go to war.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Here’s what Iran needs to get ready for, severe pain. If they’re itching for a fight, they’re going to get one.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., MINORITY LEADER: What is our strategy to deal with the consequences?
TRUMP: This country will not stand for it. That, I can tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: First the shoot-down and now the sit-down.
President Trump, congressional leaders, intelligence officials, they’re all meeting at the White House in the Situation Room as we speak, as the U.S. responds to a random shooting down one of our drones.
Now, officials say it occurred over international waters, the Iranian saying otherwise. The president saying that Iran made a very big mistake.
Is this about to become one very big mess?
Welcome, everybody. I’m Neil Cavuto. Crazy day.
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Jim Risch is in that meeting right now with the president. He will be joining us in just a moment.
First to Jennifer Griffin at the Pentagon on what the military is saying, and Kevin Corke at the White House on what the president may be planning.
We begin with Jennifer.
JENNIFER GRIFFIN, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Neil.
Well, Pentagon officials deny the U.S. drone was shot down over Iran. The Air Force released this video of the actual moment of impact of the U.S. Navy’s Global Hawk drone being shot down by the advanced Iranian surface- to-air missile.
U.S. officials say the U.S. Navy drone was shot down roughly 20 miles from Iran’s shoreline. International airspace is 12 nautical miles. U.S. Navy officials say the drone was flying over the Strait of Hormuz. Here’s the Air Force commander for the Gulf speaking from a U.S. military base in Qatar.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LT. GEN. JOSEPH GUASTELLA, COMMANDER, U.S. AIR FORCES CENTRAL COMMAND: This was an unprovoked attack on the U.S. surveillance asset that had not violated Iranian airspace at any time during its mission.
This attack is an attempt to disrupt our ability to monitor the area, following recent threats to international shipping and the free flow of commerce. Iranian reports that this aircraft was shot down over Iran are categorically false.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: The general did not take any questions, nor did any of the spokesmen here at the Pentagon.
We know that General Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, took with him to the White House military options for the president. The president gave himself and Iran’s leaders an out, perhaps to get them to the negotiating table.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth. I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it.
We will be able to report back. And you will understand exactly what happened. But it was a very foolish move. That, I can tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: The shoot-down of the U.S. Navy’s large unmanned drone with a wingspan the size of a Boeing 737 took place not far from where U.S. officials say Iran attacked two oil tankers last week.
Each RQ-4 drone costs roughly $180 million. It is made by Northrop Grumman. Iran missed when it fired on a lower flying Reaper drone that was sent to monitor the tankers that were hit by limpet mines last week -- Neil.
CAVUTO: Jennifer, thank you very, very much.
Now to Kevin Corke at the White House with the latest on that briefing between the president and congressional leaders -- Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it is under way, Neil.
And I can tell you right now this is all about cooperation and consultation, because, let’s be blunt. You heard Jennifer lay it out there. The stakes simply couldn’t be higher, especially when you listen to what the president had to say on Twitter or read what he wrote.
When you just saw it in its simplicity, you had to say, whoa. He said Iran made a very big mistake. So, when congressional lawmakers made their way here to the White House this afternoon, they did come with questions, Neil.
And I think, notably, they also came looking for answers. Now, for his part, the president before this afternoon’s meeting was asked if he felt like he was sort of being pushed into war by his advisers. Here’s what he said:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: No, not at all. Not at all. In fact, in many cases, it’s the opposite. But I will say, look, I said I want to get out of these endless wars. I campaigned on that. I want to get out. We have been in Afghanistan for 19 years. As you know, we have reduced very substantially in Afghanistan.
This is a new wrinkle. This is a new fly in the ointment, what happened, shooting down the drone. And this country will not stand for it. That, I can tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORKE: "This country will not stand for it."
Over on Capitol Hill, even ahead of a meeting here, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was talking. And she said, listen, there’s simply no appetite for war in the country right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: I think it’s a dangerous situation. The high-tension wires are up in the region. We have to be strong and strategic about how we protect our interests.
We also cannot be reckless in what we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORKE: Report there is some dispute over who may have authorized the downing of the drone and whether or not it actually occurred in international airspace.
The Iranians said, no, it was over their territory. The U.S. said plainly, and you heard, no, it wasn’t. We will see what happens next. And as the meeting wraps up, Neil, I’m going to get a readout. And as soon as I do, I promise to pass it along -- but, for now, back to you.
CAVUTO: All right, thank you very much, Kevin.
Again, did this occur over international airspace, their space? It would matter in the end on how this is decided.
Jim Hanson is the former Army Special Forces Security Studies Group president.
Jim, good to have you.
The president seemed to want to try to leave an out for the Iranians, in that this couldn’t have come from Tehran, that this might have been a trigger-happy general, like, we’re going to explore this. But what do you make of it, and the fact that the Iranians insist it occurred over their space, their airspace?
JIM HANSON, FORMER U.S. ARMY SPECIAL FORCES: I don’t think there’s any question the Iranians are lying. That’s what they do.
And I’m willing to take the word of our CENTCOM folks, who will have data to back it up. I mean, there is legitimate physical data that will show where the drone was. So it was obviously over the Straits of Hormuz.
I understand the president would like to give the Iranians an out. I think it’s a mistake to allow the idea that they might have done this accidentally to come into play. No one in Iran’s chain of command does anything without it going all the way up to the top and back down.
So they made a choice to once again escalate things, and they have been doing this for a month-plus in a wave of attacks. It’s time for it to stop.
CAVUTO: I’m wondering if he also was trying to give them an opportunity to de-escalate this by saying, this was not our intention, in other words, to force them to reverse something that might have been planned centrally in Tehran in the end, no matter what.
HANSON: And that would be a legitimate reason to do it. I just don’t think the mullahs have that in them. That’s not their nature.
They are doing this on purpose. They are trying to find out how far they can push the United States before we actually respond. And thus far, they have been able to push pretty hard. So I don’t think they will back off of this. And the question then is going to become, if they claim they did it on purpose, and or if they claim they did it in response to a U.S. incursion, we have to decide what to do next.
And I think it’s time for some IRGC navy bases to pay the price.
CAVUTO: What does that mean?
HANSON: Well, everyone likes to frame this as if we’re going to war or we’re going to have negotiations and talks. That’s not nearly the case.
We’re not rolling tanks. We’re not going to invade Iran in any way. However, the tools they’re using to conduct attacks on tankers and a lot of the things they’re using to destabilize the region, the shipping, the Straits of Hormuz are available, and could be hit with Tomahawk missiles.
Nobody will be in danger from the United States’ side. And they will be shown that there are consequences for their actions.
CAVUTO: I’m just wondering, it’s very reckless behavior for a country that knows we seem to have half our Navy in the neighborhood, to say nothing out of an additional 1,000 troops on the way.
For them to even toy with this, and to know that, this go-round, they have got virtually the entire Arab League targeting them as well, I mean, are they suicidal? Or how would you describe it?
HANSON: Well, we have got 40 years of a track record where the Iranian Islamic Revolution is something they feel obligated to push, and they think they’re doing God’s work.
So they’re -- whether they’re suicidal or not, they think they’re going to paradise if they die in the effort. So I think you have to assume that, by rational standards, they’re slightly delusional. Consequently, we can’t judge what they’re doing by what you would judge, say, the actions of Germany or another nation that doesn’t act like that. They do crazy things on a regular basis.
And we have to figure out how to deter them from that.
CAVUTO: Jim, I always wonder, when people do crazy things, maybe they have a strategy, and that part of it is, someone’s got their back. I don’t know if it’s Russia, or China, or other entities in the region, but that they’re almost sucker-punching you.
I can’t imagine what they would be using or leveraging to do that. But something has got to explain this -- this push.
HANSON: You know, one of the -- part of the we’re too crazy, don’t push us, we might do something awful, is that it does deter people from doing things.
CAVUTO: Right. Right.
HANSON: I mean, Obama did very little to their provocations, because he didn’t want to blow up his nuclear deal.
And if you go back to President George W. Bush, the Iranians provided all kinds of explosively formed projectiles, which killed almost 1,000 U.S. troops, and we never took any response to that.
So I think it’s a situation where somebody is going to have to stand up to them and say, enough is enough. If you want to come to the negotiating table, first, we’re going to show you there’s a price to be paid.
CAVUTO: All right.
Jim Hanson, we will see. It’s the weirdest thing in the world, to your point. We shall see.
Jim, thank you very, very much.
Now, normally, normally, you wake up in the morning and you hear that an American drone has been shot down, by the Iranians, no less, man, oh, man, that would lead to financial panic worldwide.
Then what the heck happened at the corner of Wall and Broad today? The Dow within a percent of an old record, the S&P at a new record. And that was despite oil prices jumping, but not crazy jumping. So what is going on in this upside-down market world?
Well, as Susan Li, keeping track of it all, could tell you, they’re focused on other things.
SUSAN LI, CORRESPONDENT: Yes, other things, called the Federal Reserve.
And, yes, we are back up to record levels once again for the broader S&P 500 index. But you’re right. The markets did start off this morning with concerns over Iran and the downing of a U.S. drone by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
So, we had oil spiking, with the biggest single-day jump in U.S. oil prices this year. The drone strike, along with the attacks on the oil tankers in the Straits of Hormuz, where a third of the world’s oil passes through, has rallied oil prices back up to their highest levels in three weeks.
So, when oil prices jump, so do oil stocks, Exxon, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips leading the advanced today. And investors also, by the way, run for safety when there are geopolitical tensions.
We had gold hitting its highest in six years, investors also buying 10-year government bonds. And that actually drove down the interest that you get back on them to below 2 percent, which is a level that we haven’t seen, Neil, in three years.
And despite the concerns over Iran, investors are still buying stocks, as you saw, because 100 percent of the market expects the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates at least once this year, maybe twice, or even three times.
So I guess today was pretty good timing for another tech unicorn debut, Slack, which does corporate group messaging, surging in its debut, up more than 50 percent at one point. Now, this is not an IPO because they didn’t need to raise money, but a direct listing, so early investors can cash out.
And Grocery Outlet, they call themselves the T.J. Maxx of groceries, a discount grocery chain, seeing an advance of 30 percent. So I guess when you have the winds in the back behind you, it’s a good day for a day-one debut -- back to you.
CAVUTO: All right, thank you very much.
So, Susan, again, Slack was up, what, about 50 percent today?
LI: Oh, in its debut, and, again, they didn’t even need to raise cash.
CAVUTO: All right.
LI: But a tech unicorn that’s still not profitable.
CAVUTO: All right, thank you very, very much again.
So, I apologize for the bad graphic we had there.
In the meantime, we’re still hearing about this meeting going on in the Situation Room at the White House. The Senate Foreign Relations chairman is among those there, Jim Risch. He will be joining us.
The president is outlining what we’re told is unequivocal proof that this was over international airspace, that it was something that we have to respond to, but we just don’t know exactly how those in that room plan to do so -- after this.
CAVUTO: All right, President Trump is wrapping up this meeting with congressional leaders after Iran shoots down one of our drones. We’re going to have more on that in just a second with the chairman of the crucial Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate. He’s going to weigh in on the importance of that and what happens right now.
In the meantime, we have got Hillary Vaughn taking a look at the Canadian prime minister also in town today on this time talking about securing a trade deal that right now is front and center ahead of any we might be entertaining with the Chinese -- Hillary.
HILLARY VAUGHN, CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Neil.
Well, Prime Minister Trudeau telling me on his way out of the meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that it went excellent. Trudeau started his day at the White House with the president. President Trump and Trudeau both raved about the USMCA, but both the U.S. and Canada are the only countries that haven’t ratified it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I really believe that Nancy Pelosi and the House will approve it. I think the Senate will approve it rapidly. It’s going to be very bipartisan.
It’s great for the farmers, manufacturers. It’s really great for everybody and unions.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: It’s an opportunity for us, as you say, to keep talking about how we have worked hard to great -- build a great trade deal that’s good for Canadian workers, good for American workers, good for Mexican workers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUGHN: Prime Minister Trudeau headed to Capitol Hill to meet with one of the biggest roadblocks to ratifying the USMCA, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has yet to bring the deal up for a vote in the House, which has stalled the agreement.
Pelosi also had a bet to pay off over the NBA finals, when Trudeau’s team, the Raptors, beat Pelosi’s home state team the Golden State Warriors. So she got handed a Raptors jersey from the prime minister himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: I look forward to a lively discussion with the prime minister today on issues that relate to global security, to economics, a relationship in terms of trade. He may want to talk sports. I think that’s off-limits.
TRUDEAU: We have much to discuss, obviously, trade and good jobs for Canadians and Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUGHN: Trudeau was supposed to also meet with House -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. That meeting is now a phone call scheduled to happen around 5:30 p.m.
That rescheduling happened because of the impromptu Situation Room meeting between House and Senate leadership happening now at the White House -- Neil.
CAVUTO: All right. Thank you very much, Hillary.
Well, as we were telling you earlier, stocked unfazed by any of the uncertainty over trade or sudden tensions in the Middle East, and jumping to records, certainly in the case of the S&P. The Dow is getting very close to one.
What the heck is going on here?
Former Chrysler and Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli, among many other lofty titles.
Very good to have you, Robert.
It is weird. It’s like upside-down day. This doesn’t quite jibe.
ROBERT NARDELLI, FORMER CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT & CEO, HOME DEPOT: It is amazing. It’s unprecedented from my experience on this thing, Neil.
I mean, you got to get your Ouija board out.
NARDELLI: The good news is, Mexico certainly moving in the right direction from here, Trudeau. Looks like we will get that trade agreement put in place, which would be great under normal circumstances.
A great stock day, unbelievable, right, from where it started.
CAVUTO: But this particular trade agreement, the president ripped up the old NAFTA deal. Now you had to deal with that back in your days certainly at GE, at Home Depot, Chrysler.
CAVUTO: I mean, it was, we’re told, a solid deal, but it was interpreted be bad for U.S. workers.
Now, the fix that they want here is to make sure it’s good for U.S. workers. Are you convinced it is?
NARDELLI: Yes, we should step back and look at, how did we get there?
I never had a deliberate outsourcing strategy. I had a global competitiveness strategy. And because of the tax rates that we had, when I had to complete with Siemens or ABB or others...
NARDELLI: ... we were forced to be creative in moving some of these operations offshore, not because we wanted to. We wanted to keep them here, but we couldn’t compete globally.
So, I’m encouraged. We’re starting to see manufacturing come back. I have got a number of companies that are getting inquiries now from U.S. companies that had moved offshore, could they repatriate the jobs to factories we have here in the U.S.?
So I’m really encouraged. I think between...
CAVUTO: So, you don’t buy this talk from a number of Democrats, saying, oh, that was -- we got a quick fix from the tax cuts, and then they’re one and done, and nothing’s happening anymore, all these corporate guys have stopped giving breaks to workers?
NARDELLI: No, I think we’re seeing repatriation of jobs, deregulation, some of the things that we have done to encourage jobs here, whether it’s...
CAVUTO: So, you’re not dissuaded by this slowdown talk or any of that?
I think -- look, I think the fundamentals of corporate America are strong. Look at the market today. It’s these other issues that are out there, trade and some of the external issues, that I think may have an impact.
We talked about oil. I mean, there’s plenty of oil capability right now.
NARDELLI: I mean, we could turn on some more fracking in the Permian, and we could strip any of the offsets out there.
CAVUTO: Well, you and I have gotten into this in interviews in the past, that because of our oil independence, or more independence, we would have had a much more severe hit on this Iranian development today.
NARDELLI: No question about it.
I mean, we will see what happens to the market tomorrow, depending on what comes out of the Situation Room. But to really be energy-independent is a marvelous thing relative to technology.
We should be exporting more of our natural gas, and rather than flaring it off. We could use it for political reasons, geopolitical.
NARDELLI: We should be able to tell Merkel, you don’t have to buy any gas from Russia or Putin.
CAVUTO: Angela Merkel of Germany.
NARDELLI: We should be able to supply everything.
CAVUTO: Yes, they have come to loggerheads over that, right, right.
NARDELLI: Yes. Yes, with Gazprom.
And the same thing is true around the world. So, we’re -- we’re in a great position. I think the economy is strong. Technology is strong.
NARDELLI: It’s some of these external things that we have got to worry about, Neil.
CAVUTO: Yes. But they weren’t worrying today, were they?
NARDELLI: No. It was very strong.
CAVUTO: Which is weird. But one day is not a trend, but it is interesting.
All right, Bob Nardelli, thank you very much.
CAVUTO: In the meantime, congressional leaders are being briefed at the White House. We have been telling you about that.
What lawmakers are saying, as these U.S.-Iran tensions are rising, and exactly what are we going to do in response?
When they come out, we’re there.
CAVUTO: All right, that meeting at the White House still going on here.
Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman joining me now. He sits on the Foreign Relations Committee as well, a good read of what’s going on here.
Senator, always good having you. Thanks for taking the time.
SEN. ROB PORTMAN, R-OH: Neil, thanks for having me on.
CAVUTO: You know, the president seemed to want to offer a way out to the Iranians by saying, certainly, it couldn’t have been coming from Tehran -- I’m paraphrasing here, Senator -- but maybe it was a trigger-happy general or whatever.
The Iranians, the only thing they had said on this whole matter is that this drone wasn’t in international airspace, it was over their space. But that’s it.
What do you think is going to happen next?
PORTMAN: We will see.
This meeting will probably be a time for a discussion about specific actions.
Let me say three things, Neil. Number one, there’s no, question based on what I have heard, about the intelligence that it wasn’t in Iranian airspace. It was international airspace. And, in fact, I think that’s what the other countries of the world believe.
Number two, this is not a little drone like a household drone. This is a big -- the size of a U.S. airline in terms of the wingspan. So this is a significant drone that didn’t have any people on board. It’s unmanned. It’s a drone, but it’s a significant asset.
CAVUTO: Do you think they knew that, Senator, that this was a drone, that they were able to identify, this is a drone?
PORTMAN: That’s one of the questions. That’s one of the questions.
PORTMAN: What we’re hearing is it was at relatively high altitude, and there may have been some sense that it wasn’t a drone, that it was an airplane. That makes it worse, not better.
CAVUTO: Right. Right. That’s why I was mentioning it, yes.
And, number three, this is an international issue. I mean, and the reason that drone is there, the reason that the United States has increased our presence in the region, is because we are keeping those sea lanes open, the Straits of Hormuz.
And the United States doesn’t get most of our oil from there anymore. In fact, it’s probably less than 15 percent today. Instead, the countries of Asia, including Japan, as we know, because of the tankers that were hit, India, South Korea, China, they have a very strong interest in this, because they get more than half of their oil from that part of the world, probably over 65 percent.
The Europeans have a strong interest in this. So, one thing that I have been stressing today, and I hope we do this, is, let’s internationalize this.
The United States shouldn’t bear this burden alone. This should be something where the international community steps up immediately, the United Nations, but also, if there’s going to be some reaction to this, it ought to come from not just the U.S., but from the broad group of our allies who are affected more than we are by the possibility that these straits could be closed down by the Iranians.
CAVUTO: You know, I had your colleague Rand Paul here the other day, and he was saying we should be very, very careful about this and trust the president will be, that he doesn’t want to get bogged down in something here.
But many of your colleagues, sir, have been of the opposite bent, that we have to get tough, we have to show force.
Where do you stand in this debate?
PORTMAN: Well, there has to be a consequence.
I mean, I don’t know specifically what the military options are. And I wouldn’t want to talk to that anyway, because I think it should be a sense of surprise, if there is something. But there are other ways.
The United States has done a good job of tightening the sanctions, but not all countries have. And I mentioned some of those countries earlier.
CAVUTO: Right. Right.
PORTMAN: China is an example who have a big interest here. The United Nations can do more.
So, no, China and the E.U. and Japan and India and these countries need to work with us to come up with some way to show real consequences for this. And if they don’t, it makes it hard for me to say that the United States ought to be out there doing their business for them, which is -- it’s not just the sea lanes in the Straits of Hormuz.
PORTMAN: It’s in the South China Sea. It’s around the world.
CAVUTO: Well, you just -- yes, you just read my mind.
If you think about it, a lot of incidents of late have been over whose base is whose, right?
CAVUTO: In South China Sea, China has been militarizing these islands. It’s been -- it’s been -- they’re saying, wait a minute, those are our waters.
Now, this meeting is letting up at the White House here. All the principals have come out, so some of them will no doubt head to the microphones.
CAVUTO: But that is another thing we have to sort of clamp down on, right?
PORTMAN: Well, what’s that, Neil?
CAVUTO: Who has rights to certain space.
PORTMAN: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.
PORTMAN: I thought you meant clamping down on the members who are going to the microphones. I was about to say, we don’t...
CAVUTO: No, we don’t have to do that, yet, yet.
PORTMAN: That’s what you like in the news business.
PORTMAN: No, you’re absolutely right.
And there is a sense that there may be a tolling charge put on some of these ships that go through some of those waters that are international waters that some of these countries, particularly China, is claiming.
I mean, this is -- this is real stuff. So it could be blocking it altogether, which the Iranians have threatened in the past with regard to the Straits of Hormuz.
But, yes, we have got to stand up. John F. Kennedy once said in a famous speech that he actually wrote the day that he was assassinated -- never gave it -- but we are the watch guards on the walls of world freedom, not by choice, but by destiny.
And the United States has been doing this. I mean, we have the capability of doing it. But we should be backed up by our allies who rely on us to enable their commercial activities to occur.
So, I hope we will internationalize this. I hope that we will not take action unilaterally, but, rather, make sure that this is something that the international community steps up. They should.
CAVUTO: You know, Senator, you mentioned John Kennedy.
He also in a famous speech said, those who tempt the tiger can end up inside the tiger.
And I’m wondering if the Iranians are playing that role right now, and they just don’t know it, or they’re so convinced that we will turn the other way, there’s no punishment for them, that they will keep challenging the tiger.
What do you think?
I -- on the Foreign Relations Committee, we have talked about this a lot. It appears as though the sanctions are really biting and really working. And so they’re frustrated, and they’re -- they’re lashing out, in effect, including telling the Europeans, as you probably saw this week, that they have got to get on board with a new agreement, and do it quickly, or else.
So I think -- I think they’re acting in more desperate ways. And, look, what we want is peace and stability in the region. And we don’t want a war.
CAVUTO: Do you really think they’re in desperate ways? They got tens of billions of dollars of that. That could leave them cozy for a while.
PORTMAN: Yes, I think it could.
CAVUTO: So, they might not be as desperate as you think.
PORTMAN: Well, apparently, it’s biting, not just economically, but politically, for them. They’re beginning to feel the effects.
And that’s something that was intended, because we want them to actually stop their march toward nuclear weapons and the means to deliver those weapons through ballistic missiles.
So, I mean, that’s -- that’s what the Europeans and us and other countries in the region who care about Iran, particularly Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf state countries, ought to be pushing them to do, is to reconsider their very aggressive actions in the region.
They are the number one state sponsored of terrorism in the world, based on the State Department analysis. So there’s lots of activities here that they’re involved with, short of what they did today, that the United States and other countries have a strong interest in curtailing.
CAVUTO: All right. Senator, It’s always a pleasure, sir.
PORTMAN: Thanks, Neil.
CAVUTO: We appreciate it.
PORTMAN: Good to talk to you.
CAVUTO: Rob Portman in Washington, D.C.
CAVUTO: All right, that meeting, as the senator was intimating there, he wasn’t commenting on them taking the microphone.
We are going to talk to a couple, though, who were there, or at least get an update on what might have happened in there and what our plans are regarding Iran.
Stay with us. You’re watching "Your World."
CAVUTO: All right, that meeting wrapped up at the White House right now.
It went on for better than 90 minutes right now, Republican and Democratic officials gathering with the president in the Situation Room, what to do about Iran, everyone on tenterhooks.
We are just about to find out the details after this.
CAVUTO: All right, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is speaking with the reporters right now. Unfortunately, he is speaking in French for the time being.
But he has been meeting with the president at the White House, with Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill. He’s been pushing for passage of that new NAFTA they’re calling, an agreement between ourselves and the Mexicans and the Canadians that did get a slam- dunk passage in Mexico, as pretty much complete support and ratification likely in Canada.
But we’re the only ones in doubt, that is, in the U.S. of A. So he is essentially making his pitch, hey, get on board, let’s close this deal and get it done, and then it can be implemented within 30 days from the joint votes going on in all three countries. So, two of the three look good. Right now, the United States still a question mark.
Meanwhile, congressional leaders separately wrapping up their own powwow with the president of the United States on Iran.
Fox News’ Ellison Barber on Capitol Hill with more on that.
Ellison, we did know before everybody left that they think, many Democrats are saying, the president created this by abandoning the nuclear deal.
ELLISON BARBER, CORRESPONDENT: Right.
CAVUTO: The president saying, look, they were provocative regardless.
But I’m wondering where they find common ground.
It’s interesting, because it really seems to be that, when you get to the details of how or why we’re in this situation now, how or why all of this is happening, you do hear from Democrats on the House side and on the Senate side. They point to the Iran nuclear deal and the decision to leave that as perhaps being some sort of contributing factor, be it something that tipped Iran over the edge and upset them, or be it what they see as a lack of our allies being on board with our plans or being on board with us taking some sort of action, if it were to get to that.
They say that we have isolated allies, at the very best, by leaving that deal. Of course, Republicans and the president say, absolutely not. They are saying that Iran was provocative long before President Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement.
Now, though, the question, of course, is, where do things go from here? We have heard from Democrats saying they think, if there is going to be any sort of retaliatory action, whatever it looks like, they hope that the president is going to come to them first to discuss it.
Republicans have, by and large, said they do think the president has the authority to act if it is necessary. The big agreement seems to simply be on who they blame for these recent actions. We know that Iran denied having anything to do with those attacks on the commercial -- the commercial vessels in the strait.
But Democrats and Republicans, they agree there that they say Iran is responsible for that action, they say, including this drone strike, that Iran is not a good actor. They say -- Nancy Pelosi said today there are no illusions about who Iran is in this neighborhood.
For now, that seems to really be the only agreement. When you get down to the how or why we are at this point now or what to do next, you have a lot of different opinions on the left and the right -- Neil.
CAVUTO: Yes, as if going back to what started this will solve any problems right now.
Obviously, we want to send a message to the Iranians, but we don’t know what kind of message to send right? We do know, prior to this, 1,000 additional troops were going to the region. Has there been any talk of whether Democrats think that was a good idea?
BARBER: I think you always see a little bit of partisan politics when it comes to this sort of thing.
You have people on the left saying that they’re hesitant, at best, cautious, skeptical of some of the decisions made by this administration. But we did hear very early -- over the weekend, just after those vessels were attacked, you heard Senator Tom Cotton pretty quickly come out and say that there needed to be some sort of retaliatory strike.
CAVUTO: Right. Right.
BARBER: Democrats were so quick to say, whoa, whoa, whoa, no, let’s not go that far.
CAVUTO: Yes, even Rand Paul said, well, let’s not go that far, certainly.
BARBER: Yes. Right. Yes.
CAVUTO: All right, great reporting, as always, Ellison -- Ellison Barber on Capitol Hill.
BARBER: Thanks, Neil.
CAVUTO: Where we still are waiting to hear what they’re going to decide.
Now, all options are seemingly on the table, but how far legally can the president push this, or even going to war in an extreme case?
Judge Andrew Napolitano on what he can or cannot do, and the judge basing that on something called the United States Constitution -- after this.
CAVUTO: All right, there are executive powers that a president of the United States has in a conflict like this, but how far do you go in terms of responding to Iran?
That depends on, well, the Constitution, for one thing.
We have got Andrew Napolitano here, our senior judicial analyst, much, much more.
What can a president do in response?
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, JUDICIAL ANALYST: OK.
So we have a statute called the War Powers Resolution. It’s called resolution, but it’s a law. It was enacted over President Nixon’s veto.
NAPOLITANO: And it basically says that the president can use the United States military on his own for 90 days without congressional authorization if it is to protect American personnel or American assets or an American ally.
NAPOLITANO: So do we have personnel in that part of the country? Yes. Have they been threatened? Well, the president has intelligence on that.
It doesn’t appear that personnel has been threatened, but it does appear that American assets have been threatened because of that drone. So would the president...
CAVUTO: Would it be more so if that wasn’t a drone, but a manned plane?
NAPOLITANO: Oh, absolutely.
NAPOLITANO: If an American plane...
CAVUTO: Because that’s one thing the president...
NAPOLITANO: If an American plane lawfully, in international airspace -- and a manned plane was shot down, the president would have absolutely every right to retaliate.
But the longer the president waits, the less it appears as though he’s protecting assets. So, if an American asset -- here’s where Lindsey -- Senator Graham is right.
NAPOLITANO: If an American asset has been destroyed by another power, the president should respond swiftly.
Now, the president says he thinks this was a mistake. Either he has intelligence available to him, and he has based that it may be a mistake on that, or this is a shrewd effort to get the Iranians to a negotiating table by cutting them some slack.
In other words, he may know darn well that it wasn’t a mistake, but because...
CAVUTO: Right. I was thinking of that did too. But I thought it was very clever.
NAPOLITANO: Yes, but, actually, I did too, because no American has side.
He said, eh, it’s only $180 million. We will use this as an excuse to start speaking.
The president has...
CAVUTO: But how far can he go, Judge? In other words, if you want to respond...
NAPOLITANO: He has to target the military assets that destroyed ours. So he can’t bomb Tehran, but he can target Iranian military offensive weaponry, so they can’t shoot it down again.
CAVUTO: All right, but what if it -- we still don’t know exactly the origin of the attack, but let’s say it was a ship.
Would we try to go for that ship? And would we be justified the president acting unilaterally to sink it?
NAPOLITANO: Theoretically, he wouldn’t be justified in taking Iranian life if they had not taken American life.
I say theoretically, because the court here is a court of public opinion.
CAVUTO: Right. Right.
NAPOLITANO: He can almost do whatever he wants. And if it has a happy outcome, he is a hero.
But if you want to go strictly by the law, if all they destroyed was hardware, that’s all we can destroy. We can destroy offensive hardware, so that they can’t destroy ours again.
NAPOLITANO: There may be death of the people that manned the hardware. That’s incidental. It’s not intentional.
But he has a lot of leeway in those first 90 days.
CAVUTO: But there’s also a lot of psychological leeway. Who’s going to challenge a sitting president who is going after a unanimously loathed country in this case?
NAPOLITANO: You are right.
CAVUTO: And I’m not justifying constitutionally, Judge. I’m just saying, if he wanted to take action, what Congress isn’t going to just cow to that?
NAPOLITANO: There will be members of Congress who will disagree, but I can’t imagine it would be tantamount to a majority in either house, in part because Iran is so loathed here and so nearly universally disbelieved, and...
CAVUTO: But wouldn’t there be pressure, as there was in the first Persian Gulf War, for President Bush Sr., you better have some support in the region and from other countries, that, if you go this alone, that’s not good?
NAPOLITANO: Well, that’s why, in my view -- and I’m not a military person, but I can tell them the law.
NAPOLITANO: In my view, a pinprick attack on offensive weaponry used to shoot down the drones would be the most legally sound.
Now, politically, I don’t know. Is this a pretext for war? Is this a pretext because they want regime change? The Iranian government is horrific, but it’s the government their people have chosen.
The president ran saying, I’m going to have a modest foreign policy. I’m going to bring the troops home. I’m not interested in using military force to change...
CAVUTO: Because Rand Paul said, you’re the guy who didn’t want quagmires. This could be a quagmire.
I remember something called the Gulf of Tonkin.
CAVUTO: Remember that?
NAPOLITANO: It never happened.
CAVUTO: That’s right.
NAPOLITANO: And it precipitated the Vietnam War.
CAVUTO: For Lyndon Johnson, it justified other actions that went way beyond that region.
NAPOLITANO: Correct. correct.
CAVUTO: All right.
NAPOLITANO: So, in my view, the president has been modest and hesitant and shrewd. We will see what happens.
The idea to sort of take the onus off the Iranians, say, you couldn’t have come up with this, it would have been stupid, maybe it was an errant general, that was actually pretty shrewd, right?
NAPOLITANO: Yes. Yes.
CAVUTO: We will see.
NAPOLITANO: Whether it’s based on intelligence or whether it’s based on his, I’m going to get them to the negotiating right one way or another.
CAVUTO: Right. And maybe that does it.
NAPOLITANO: We know he can do that. Look at what he did tariffs.
CAVUTO: Yes, that’s right. That’s right, for intentions that we had no idea tariffs could be used for.
Judge, always good seeing you.
NAPOLITANO: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: Bestselling author. He’s moved into new offices here. He’s a star.
NAPOLITANO: Oh, don’t start with the office stuff.
CAVUTO: All right, there we go.
Nancy Pelosi is back in the Capitol. They’re all back in the Capitol.
We don’t know -- I don’t know if she’s saying anything.
Can we listen into this, Pam?
All right, but the bottom line is, everyone has been briefed on this. It went an hour-and-a-half. We’re going to get a read here of what a top military guy thinks we should be doing now or at least considering now, while still, to the judge’s point, sticking to the U.S. Constitution.
More after this.
CAVUTO: All right, well, Iran has just accused the United States, a very dangerous and provocative act, also urging the international community to demand U.S. end unlawful acts.
At this one, the president earlier today kind of threw them a bone by saying this could not have been orders coming from Tehran to shoot down this U.S. drone, that maybe it was a trigger-happy general. I’m getting the wording wrong here.
But if their response was to sort of detensify the situation, those comments are just the opposite.
On the phone with us now, Retired Brigadier General Anthony Tata.
General, what do you make of the Iranians’ response?
BRIG. GEN. ANTHONY TATA (RET.), U.S. ARMY: I think it’s a brilliant public relations strategy to shoot down one of our drones and then say, we are being provocative.
I mean, it is 180 degrees on its head. And it’s very typical of this region, where information warfare is really ruling the day, because Iran’s entire play here, Neil, is to attempt to continue to drive the wedge between the United States and Europe, the United States and the U.N., and other entities, because Europe is very interested in the market there.
That was the whole really fundamental deal going on with the Iran nuclear deal, was that Europe would get access to Iranian markets. And so this is all about lessening the sanctions.
This is all about keeping the wedge and driving the wedge between the Europe and -- Europe and the United States. And this is borderline on the -- on brinksmanship. This is brinksmanship.
And President Trump very wisely has downplayed it. He has -- he is holding his cards close to his vest. And what I see him doing is very methodically listening to his advisers. He’s briefed the congressional leaders.
TATA: And now he’s assessing the situation, looking at all of the intelligence.
And let’s remember, over -- a little over a month ago, we sent this carrier strike group into the Persian Gulf, and we just began deploying another 1,000 or so intelligence and signals troops over there.
TATA: And it’s really to protect U.S. vital interests, which are the oil to fuel the world economy, free flow of commerce, personnel and bases in the Gulf region.
All of that, the president, I think, is doing the right thing to protect our vital interests over there.
CAVUTO: All right, General, thank you very, very much, retired General Anthony Tata.
The Russians, meanwhile, are weighing in, but in the oddest way. And he’s taking phone calls. Vladimir Putin is taking phone calls from everyone.
CAVUTO: Well, it was more like a scene out of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"
Russian President Vladimir Putin hosting a call-in show for Russian citizens. Yes. It was that.
Amy Kellogg on the phone in London with more. Hey, Amy.
AMY KELLOGG, CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Neil, or ask Uncle Vlad, right?
We heard about drinking water issues in regions, and shortages of doctors’ appointments in other regions, and he listened raptly. This went on for four hours, Neil.
Putin took copious notes. And, in many cases, he said, "I will get back to you."
Now, this direct line is an annual event. And each year, the audience tries to draw out the officially first lady-less on president on personal issues, with little luck.
When asked today, when was the last time he felt shame, Putin says it was when one citizen slipped him a note detailing a problem she had, and he lost it. Highly choreographed.
But, according to the reporters working the screens in the studio, hackers tried to disrupt the program today. Putin is asked if the U.S. is really able to shut off Russia’s power grid. Putin said he wasn’t sure exactly how to answer that. But he said he has asked Washington if they can agree as sort of arms control for cyber, and has yet to hear back.
On a day that Europe renewed Ukraine-related sanctions on Russia, Putin said Europe is losing out more because it’s out of the Russian market.
And, of course, on Iran, Neil, he said that, if there were any sort of military escalation or attack on Iran, it would be -- quote -- "a catastrophe" -- Neil.
CAVUTO: Did he have any option, if he didn’t know the answer, to call a friend?
CAVUTO: I guess not.
CAVUTO: All right.
KELLOGG: That was -- he was on. He was spot on, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right. That’s amazing. That was wild stuff.
Amy Kellogg, thank you very, very much.
Can you imagine, you get through, you ask a nasty question, and they just happen to have -- I know exactly where you live? Have a nice day.
Anyway, what a strange day. What a strange world. So much going on.
Paul Bremer my special guest tomorrow on FBN to talk about all of that -- after this.
Here comes "The Five."
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