Rand Paul: Green New Deal would shut down the US economy

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 26, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, attention boys and gills. See what I did there?

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: We're live at the White House, where President Trump is meeting with lawmakers.

And now that the Mueller probe is all wrapped up, we're on Capitol Hill, where a key vote on the Green New Deal is about to go down.

And we're live at the Justice Department, where Obamacare, at least as we know it, is back to being front and center and maybe down and out.

Welcome, everyone. Glad to have you. I'm Neil Cavuto.

I would like to thank my buddy Charles Payne for filling in while I was doing jury duty. So, I appreciate that, my civic duty. You're welcome, America.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Meanwhile, we're following all these fast-moving developments with Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul, Fox team coverage with Catherine Herridge on the Mueller fallout, Peter Doocy on Democrats who are speaking out.

We begin with Catherine.

Hey, Catherine.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well, thanks, Neil.

Today, Attorney General Bill Barr told Republican Senator Lindsey Graham it will be weeks, not months, to get a version of the Mueller report to the Hill, according to a senior Justice Department official, who also told FOX News that Barr did not tell Graham that he intends to share the report with the White House in advance of the public release.

On Capitol Hill earlier today, the president took aim at Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: I don't think they're talking about impeachment. We have the greatest economy we have ever had. Our country's in incredible shape.

They and others created a fraud on our country with this ridiculous witch- hunt, where it was proven very strongly no collusion, no obstruction, no nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HERRIDGE: Separately, these text messages between former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and FBI lawyer Lisa Page obtained by FOX News raise new questions about a high-level meeting among senior intelligence officials right after the 2016 election.

The meeting included former intel chief James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, his deputy, and, according to the text message, the information was shared with Pete, believed to be FBI agent Peter Strzok.

Lisa Page : "By the way, director of national intelligence James Clapper told Pete that he, Clapper, was meeting with Brennan and Cohen for dinner tonight. Just FYI."

Cohen -- McCabe replied -- pardon me -- "OK."

Now, FOX News has reached out for comment to all of the parties asking if the meeting focused on collusion, the president or former General Mike Flynn.

A former government official characterized the dinner as a routine monthly sit-down to discuss ongoing intelligence matters, adding -- quote -- "Clapper does not know Strzok and certainly never kept him in the loop."

And also, within the last hour, Neil, we have got new information about George Papadopoulos. His legal team has formally asked the president for a pardon in his case, and Papadopoulos has told FOX News that, if it were to be granted by the president, he would be honored and willing to accept it - - Neil.

CAVUTO: All right. Thank you, Catherine.

HERRIDGE: You're welcome.

CAVUTO: By the way, Papadopoulos will be speaking out tonight. He's going to be joining Martha MacCallum at 7:00 p.m. Eastern time on FOX News. Don't forget to catch that.

Meanwhile, the Green New Deal is coming up to its first big test moments from now, a vote that Democrats say is more cosmetic than anything else, Republican say is crucial to see if they mean what they say.

Peter Doocy has more from Capitol Hill.

Hey, Peter.

PETER DOOCY, CORRESPONDENT: Neil, any minute now, there is going to be a procedural vote on the Green New Deal.

The majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is trying to give Democrats a chance to vote on the record for this transformation of society to benefit the environment, because so many of them are talking about it out on the campaign trail.

But because this procedural vote is expected to fall far short of the 60 votes it needs to pass, Chuck Schumer is calling this a gotcha vote. And Kirsten Gillibrand, one of the Democrats running for president, is signaling now that she's just going to vote present.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY., MAJORITY LEADER: And pretty obviously a vote present today is a vote in favor of the Green New Deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOOCY: There's about to be a big fight over Obamacare here as well, because the Trump Justice Department just agreed with a judge in Texas that ever since the Republican tax reform bill gutted the individual mandate of Obamacare, the law must be unconstitutional.

So, now Democrats are accusing Republicans of trying to take coverage away from people with preexisting conditions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN.: I thought we were beyond the effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act. The administration is proving new lows in abrogating responsibility, which it has an obligation to do in defending this law.

And it will mean preexisting condition sufferers will go without health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOOCY: Obamacare was the big congressional legislative win for Democrats the last time that Nancy Pelosi was the speaker of the House a decade ago.

But President Trump today sounded confident about whatever they have planned. He said that, soon, Republicans will be known as the party of health care -- Neil.

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

Is the president right about that? He was up visiting the Senate side today, meeting with Republicans, right now at the White House meeting with other Republicans when it comes to trade pacts.

But let's go to Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, how that meeting went with the president.

I understand the president got a standing ovation when he entered the room.

SEN. ROB PORTMAN, R-OH: He did. He got a standing ovation. But he always does when he enters that room, because it's the Republican Senate.

And he did a good job. He talked about health care, by the way -- I just heard your report -- and said that Republicans ought to be for protecting people with preexisting conditions. I couldn't agree with him more.

I think that's the consensus among Republicans. The question is not about preexisting conditions. We agree on that. The question is about the incredibly high costs that have been associated with the Affordable Care Act. And how do we provide better access to people and lower costs?

CAVUTO: All right, but if the president and other -- and your colleagues, sir, are interested in -- the Justice Department right now following up on a Texas law to just -- just get rid of the Affordable Care Act, you don't have anything yet in its place.

So you could be behind a rock and a hard place, right?

PORTMAN: Yes, it'll take a while, as you know.

And I don't know that this will make its way up to the Supreme Court even before the end of this first term for the president, the end of this Congress. But it doesn't mean we shouldn't get started. We should. And we should have a backup plan.

We should be sure that we're protecting preexisting conditions. We should also be sure that we're giving people a better deal for their health care dollars. I mean, our costs continue to go up.

CAVUTO: Because don't you think you should have a backup plan, though, Senator, before you jettison the one that's out there?

PORTMAN: Yes. Yes.

CAVUTO: Because you're going to have millions of people potentially who are going to be very scared, if not, in the most extreme case, out of coverage.

PORTMAN: No, of course.

But it wouldn't be Congress that gets rid of it. It would be the Supreme Court saying that it's unconstitutional.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Yes, but those people would still be left out, right?

PORTMAN: Yes. So we should...

CAVUTO: So, what do you do? I mean, they're going to turn around and blame you guys, whether that's fair or not.

PORTMAN: Yes.

CAVUTO: What do you do?

PORTMAN: Yes. So we should act. We should -- we should act.

I mean, I have always believed that the constitutional underpinnings of the Affordable Care Act were really questionable. We have talked about this before. It's been a couple years probably, but it never made sense to say that this was somehow a constitutional bill, when, in fact, the mandate was viewed to be a taxing power issue by the Supreme Court, which was quite a stretch, to be able to call it constitutional.

Then that was taken out in the tax bill. As you know, that is something that has now led this court in Texas to say, well, now there's really not a constitutional leg to stand on.

But the question is, what should we do legislatively? So, regardless of what the court does, if the court decides it's unconstitutional, or if it upholds the ACA, we should still move, because legislation is needed to be able to reduce costs in health care, improve access, ensure people have preexisting condition coverage.

CAVUTO: Right.

PORTMAN: And we're getting started on that right now with prescription drug costs, as you know.

CAVUTO: So you're confident -- you're confident something will get done to avoid that? Because that was obviously a big issue in the midterms.

PORTMAN: Well, it should.

CAVUTO: But, Senator, I would like to switch gears here on the Mueller report and what you think the messages were.

Your colleague Lindsey Graham says it's time to investigate how the investigation started. Are you in the camp that says, all right, as all these other investigations are going on in the House, for example, looking at the president's finances, and starting your own, Republican starting their own, to get to the bottom of how the investigation of the president started, sounds like a lot of investigations.

PORTMAN: Yes. Yes.

I think some people are getting investigation fatigue. And I don't blame them. But let me just say two things about it.

CAVUTO: Do you think that Senator Graham, maybe with the best of intentions, risks doing the same?

PORTMAN: Well, no, look, I think we have got to be darn sure that we haven't politicized our justice system, and particularly the FBI, and particularly the FISA courts. And so I do think it's a worthwhile investigation to have.

I don't support having another independent or special counsel to do that. I think that's the difference. I think the Justice Department should have and I hope they are investigating that anyway, Neil, because some of the charges that have been talked about and some of the information that you provided today, for instance, about some meetings that might have taken place and so on, of course, the Justice Department should look at that.

But it doesn't require having another independent counsel and another big investigation. It should be something that they do on their own.

But in terms of this Mueller report, as you know, I said from the start, let's let Mueller do his work. Let's have him do it expeditiously. It did take almost two years. And let's have him follow the facts wherever they lead. And that's what happened.

And guess what? There was no collusion. And because of the recommendation from the report, the attorney general and the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who actually began this investigation, both say that there is no obstruction.

So I think this is good for the country. This is what everybody in the country should be happy about, because it shows that there was not this collusion and there was not the obstruction of justice that was talked about.

That's good for the country. It doesn't mean that the Russians didn't interfere. They did. And that's also in the report. I can't wait to see it. And I'm for having the report be provided.

CAVUTO: All right, now, obviously, your Democratic colleagues want that same report out, sooner, rather than later.

PORTMAN: Yes. Let's get it.

CAVUTO: They also want to know whether Bob Mueller did give the president a complete pass on obstruction of justice.

We're led to believe from Attorney General Barr that there was nothing there either damning or un-damning.

PORTMAN: Right.

CAVUTO: But I'm wondering what you make of the back and forth over this obstruction issue, and whether any delay will just compound that Democratic attack mode?

PORTMAN: Yes.

Well, look, I don't think there should be much of a delay. I'm told it'll be a matter of days or weeks before we get the report. That's good. Obviously, there will have to be some grand jury and classified information that's redacted.

But I want to see the report. The American people deserve to see it. That's what's most important. And I think what we will find is, based on the summary, that there is no evidence with regard to the obstruction issue in terms of an actual indictment or a charge.

CAVUTO: All right.

PORTMAN: And, again, it wasn't just the attorney general. It was also the deputy attorney general, who looked at all the information in the report and concluded that there was no basis for an obstruction of justice charge to be leveled.

So I think that's -- I think that's good news for the country. Again, I hope that we can kind of move on and deal with other pressing issues we have got, like health care, and ensuring we protect people with preexisting conditions.

CAVUTO: All right.

Senator, thank you. It's always good catching up with you.

PORTMAN: Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: Rob Portman, beautiful state of Ohio.

PORTMAN: Good talking to you.

CAVUTO: By now, you have heard that charges have been dropped in the case against actor Jussie Smollett, but prosecutors are really not indicating why they did that.

We do know that the mayor of Chicago and the police chief of Chicago are livid over this -- after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right, this one was a stunner.

No one saw this coming, prosecutors dropping all charges against the actor Jussie Smollett earlier today. But prosecutors still think that Smollett was up to something. And the mayor's flabbergasted, the police chief in Chicago flabbergasted.

Matt Finn has more from Chicago -- Matt.

MATT FINN, CORRESPONDENT: Neil, as we all know, after Jussie Smollett was indicted on 16 felony charges of lying to police, he was scheduled to be back and coordinate next month.

And then suddenly today, there was an emergency hearing in which his case was dropped. A judge granted the prosecutor's requests to stop prosecuting these 16 charges.

The Cook County State's attorney's office wrote in part -- quote -- "After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett's volunteer service in the community, an agreement to forfeit his bond to the city of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case."

This afternoon, Chicago's police superintendent, Eddie Johnson, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are slamming the Cook County state's attorney's office for dropping the charges. Chicago's -- Chicago's top cop says this is not justice, and Smollett owes this city an apology.

Chicago's mayor says those 16 counts that came from a grand jury could not be any more clear.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAHM EMANUEL, D-MAYOR OF CHICAGO: He did this all in the name of self- promotion. And he used the laws of the hate crime legislation that all of us collectively over years have put on the books to stand up to be the values that embody what we believe in.

This is a whitewash of justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FINN: After the hearing, Smollett said: "I have been truthful and consistent every single moment since day one. I wouldn't be my mother's son if I was capable of one drop of what I have been accused of" -- Neil.

CAVUTO: All right, Matt Finn.

If you're confused, folks, you're not the only ones here.

Let's go to attorney and Fox News contributor Emily Compagno.

Emily, in the end, Smollett said: "I was truthful and consistent on every single level since day one."

Well, if that were the case, he wouldn't have been charged in the first place. So what happened?

EMILY COMPAGNO, CONTRIBUTOR: Frankly, the police chief and the mayor of Chicago are just as surprised as I am.

I don't know one person that isn't shocked right now. I will say that I have never in my career seen such a disconnect between the prosecutorial division and law enforcement that wasn't rectified behind closed doors. I haven't seen a presser like this that that is that clear and that kind of belies this blindsidedness that law enforcement felt with this.

You saw there the fact that they cited the grand jury indictments on those 16 charges. Usually, if there's some type of procedural misstep or some type of evidentiary deficit, witness weakness, all of that, that all goes on behind closed doors in a conference between law enforcement and the police, so that, before proceeding to trial, those are rectified.

Here, it seems like it was just a unilateral decision made by the prosecutors here, to everyone's shock.

CAVUTO: To what end, though?

COMPAGNO: I don't think we know.

And I will note that the police union, the Chicago Police Department union, called for a separate federal investigation by the DOJ into the prosecutors, the state's attorney office there, because of the, they said, inappropriate text messages and communication between the state prosecutor and the FBI regarding a request to investigate Jussie Smollett's case on the federal side.

So that request is pending, by the way. And then don't forget the other concurrent federal investigation into the alleged hoax letter, which, by my account, kind of calls up the possibility of three separate -- three separate charges and 30 to 45 years in prison if convicted on that front.

So, it's not the last of the Jussie Smollett story, nor the tension between law enforcement and prosecutors there in Chicago, but at least on the state level, with this particular one, I think it's dead in the water.

CAVUTO: You know what I don't understand, normally, when they drop charges, it's because the defendant has fessed up or taken some responsibility for something. There were over a dozen charges here.

But not at one. In fact, he insisted on his innocence today. And I think that was why the mayor and the police chief were flabbergasted, because they argue that they had him dead center on this, and they weren't even given much of a heads-up on this. That, in and of itself, is weird.

COMPAGNO: Exactly.

And I think what kind of doesn't sit well with me, at least as a constituent and as a citizen, is that overt level of tension between those two justice bodies, right? No one wants to feel that there's this huge disconnect and frankly, animosity between the law enforcement and the prosecutorial arms of cities, right?

We want to have faith that these are collaborative, and that there's a checks and balances system, but one where there's not some animus and some total shock happening between the two.

Obviously, the attorneys on his part are crowing right now with joy. He, as you said, is maintaining his innocence, which means he likely will not deliver the apology that the police chief and mayor have requested.

And that $10,000 restitution, you could call it, by the way, I have seen so much heavier and larger fines for such less accused behavior. So that, in and of itself, is a shock.

CAVUTO: But that was given to Chicago. That was looked as sort of like another favorable act on his part, to just surrender that to Chicago.

COMPAGNO: Right.

That's what I mean. That's like a drop in the bucket, compared to the resources deployed on his behalf, because, remember, he's the one that filed that original police report.

CAVUTO: Yes, which went into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

All right, Emily, thank you very, very much.

COMPAGNO: Yes.

CAVUTO: If we get any more new on this, folks, of course we will pass that along.

Then we will be back on what exactly the attorney general, William Barr, might have gotten wrong when he said that the president didn't obstruct justice.

By now, wouldn't Bob Mueller have corrected him, if that indeed were the case?

Judge Napolitano is here on that after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right, it's a procedural matter, but the Green New Deal vote, it's a test vote going under way right now.

A lot of Democrats have sort of gotten marching orders from Chuck Schumer, just vote present, it's a trap by Republicans, just vote present. Republicans are saying, either you stand by this thing, the Green New Deal, or you don't.

So they're putting it to the test. And we will see later on how far that test goes.

In the meantime, the attorney general, William Barr, is saying it's going to be weeks, not necessarily months, before the full Mueller report is released to Congress. And we don't even know if it's the full report. In fact, I'm reminded that that's a lot easier said than done.

Judge Andrew Napolitano on why it gets to be a little bit more complicated than that.

Good to see you, Judge.

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, JUDICIAL ANALYST: Good to see you, Neil.

Do you remember the controversy caused by Jim Comey when, in the summer 2016, he announced, we're not going to prosecute Mrs. Clinton, but we have a lot of evidence against her, and here's what some of it is?

That was a violation of the federal rules of criminal procedure, which prohibit discussing evidence when there is not a prosecution. The same rules prohibit Bill Barr from revealing what Bob Mueller accumulated and decided wasn't sufficient to prosecute.

So, in order to review that, even though there's a pressing public desire for it, he has to go to a federal judge and get an order to do so.

But if you read between the lines, there were some little time bombs in there the president might not be happy with. For example, when describing Mueller's report, Attorney General Barr says, we are not able to establish the existence of a conspiracy.

That doesn't mean there's no evidence of a conspiracy. If Bob Mueller found no evidence of a conspiracy, Bill Barr would have told us that. Instead, he said, we can't establish, which means to lawyers beyond a reasonable doubt, the existence of a conspiracy.

But when that Mueller report comes out, it's going to show what evidence there is in there against the president, much of which he would just as soon not be in the public domain.

CAVUTO: But if Barr had gotten his interpretation wrong on the exoneration issue and on obstruction of justice, wouldn't Mueller have corrected him by now?

NAPOLITANO: I don't think he got his interpretation wrong at all.

And I'm sure that...

CAVUTO: That's why Mueller didn't come out and correct it.

NAPOLITANO: Correct. I'm sure...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: We have heard from Jerry Nadler and others, oh, wait a minute. That's the attorney general saying that. That's not Mueller.

NAPOLITANO: Well, I am sure, knowing Barr and knowing his intellect, he got the bottom line correct.

But I'm also sure that there's a lot of evidence in there that is damning for the president. And the Democrats want it out there, so that they so they can second-guess Bob Mueller and Bill Barr as to whether that damning evidence is sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

And then they're going to want not just the 700-page report, because the 700-page report is itself a summary of two million pages of raw evidence.

CAVUTO: Oh, my God.

Do you think these summary items that he outlined were -- I know Rod Rosenstein saw them and all. Do you think he ran this by Mueller before he sent it out?

NAPOLITANO: The AP reports he didn't. I don't believe those reports, because I know the relationship.

CAVUTO: Because he wouldn't want to risk saying something wrong. Right?

NAPOLITANO: Correct. Correct.

First of all, the attorney general and his team do not have time to go through all two million pages. And, secondly, Bob Mueller and his crew can point out to them things that they need to know to save them from having to do that.

So the bottom line is, there is bad stuff in there about the president, both on conspiracy and on obstruction of justice. And when the report comes out, the Democrats are going to feast on it.

CAVUTO: And Republicans will feast on them feasting on it. So the back and forth continues.

NAPOLITANO: Probably. Probably.

And then Lindsey Graham will want to know who started the feasting?

CAVUTO: Yes, and why, and the legal cases about that, and on and on we go. But they're not going to stop, right?

NAPOLITANO: We talked about this earlier, Neil. It's in human nature not to want to stop. I wish they could. I believe in small government, but good government. This is not government working. This is government devouring itself.

CAVUTO: That's pretty good. I like that. You have a future at this law thing, Judge.

NAPOLITANO: Yes.

CAVUTO: He is so smart. I knew he would put this in perspective, Judge Andrew Napolitano.

We have got Senator Rand Paul coming up, not only on this, but on this green vote test that's going on, where a lot of Democrats have been told, just vote present, it's a Republican trap. And Republicans said, no, it's not a trap. It's your idea. We're voting on it -- after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: You're looking live on the floor of the United States Senate, where a test vote for the Democrats' Green New Deal is under way.

A lot of Democrats say they're just going about present. A lot of Republicans say, you're just wasting your time.

Both sides going at it -- after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right, a lot to discuss with Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul, who joins us right now on this vote, this green vote that's going on, a test vote.

A lot of Democrats have said it's a political stunt by Republicans. Republicans say, well, you came up with the idea. If you stand by it, support it, vote for it. So, a lot of them, we're told the Democrats are going to vote present on this. But it is a test of strength there and a lot of people say politics on both sides.

Senator Rand Paul, how would you vote on this?

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, I'm not for socialism.

I'm also not for ending an era in which we can drive cars or fly on airplanes. I'm not for regulating cows out of existence. So there's a lot of absurdities here that the left -- and the left has gone farther and farther to the left with this climate change alarmism.

I think that they need to be called out for the crazy things they are asking for. And if people want to give up cars, airplanes, cows, if all of that's going to happen, and we're going to spend about $50 trillion, $60 trillion it, people need to know that this is the lunacy that's coming from the left.

CAVUTO: So, for those Democrats who presumably vote present, with marching orders from Chuck Schumer, what do you think of that?

PAUL: Well, they're going to say, oh, this is not what we're really for.

And yet we put their own words before them, so they're going to get a chance to vote on it. But it gives us a chance to discuss really kind of the craziness of what they're advocating. This is something that would shut down the whole modern economy of the U.S. And it is so naive and also dangerous, that there does need to be discussion about it.

Nothing will happen because of this vote, other than to draw attention to it. But if they're really for this -- and all the leading Democrat candidates are coming forward and this is the new litmus test, you got to be for the Green New Deal -- the American public needs to know it's going to cost somewhere between $50 trillion and $90 trillion.

And it would bankrupt the country, but it would also shut down whole industries. Think of how many people work in the fossil fuel, oil industry. I mean, hundreds of thousands of people. Think of how it would be with no airplanes. Think of how it would be if we regulate how much you can drive your car.

So this is a very extreme proposal, and they need to come forward and defend it.

CAVUTO: The president, if I can switch gears, Senator, says he's been completely exonerated on the Mueller probe. Do you agree?

PAUL: Absolutely.

And I think this is a good day for America, if we're going to get beyond all this. I think it was a partisan witch-hunt from the beginning. The president has been exonerated.

The Democrats and some in the left-wing media that promoted this, I think they need to apologize to the country, and they need to try to be more objective in the reporting and not create some kind of narrative that somehow President Trump is a Russian spy, which was ridiculous, but also insulting.

CAVUTO: Apparently, though, it's not open and shut when it came to the obstruction of justice charge. Democrats want to see that report quickly, so they can conclude for themselves.

Attorney General Barr has said, one way or the other, there was nothing conclusive on that front, and if he was wrong on that, then Mueller certainly would have corrected him.

But what do you think about that?

PAUL: I think that you can't obstruct justice when there wasn't a crime. How do you cover up for a crime that didn't occur?

So, if President Trump and nobody in his campaign colluded with Russia, which was the accusation, if they didn't do that, how can they be covering up for something they didn't do?

So I think it's -- this idea that where's the burden? It's sort of like, somebody stole some groceries in New York today. Are you guilty of it, Neil? Do you have to prove that you're not guilty? Or should the government have to prove you're guilty?

It sort of turns it on his head, and it's like, oh, the president needs to prove that he didn't obstruct justice. No, that's the government's job. And they have a burden to prove it. They couldn't prove it. But there also is no crime, so you can't obstruct a crime that didn't happen.

CAVUTO: If it were groceries, people might suspect I would have seized on it, Senator.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Could I ask you something, though, about this request the Papadopoulos camp had and others, I'm sure, down the road for pardons from this president. Do you think he should pardon anyone?

PAUL: The one that I have the strongest feeling about is General Flynn, because I think no American should be prosecuted for something they said in a private phone call, unless a judge gave a warrant to the government and said they can listen to the phone call.

They listened to General Flynn because they were spying on the Russian ambassador, OK? That's foreign intelligence. But that shouldn't be domestic prosecution. So what they did to Flynn should not only is -- not only was unfair, but I think should be unconstitutional.

And I have been bugging the president for years to come forward and fix this for all Americans, and say that no foreign intelligence gathering of information could ever be used against an American citizen in court for a crime unrelated to terrorism.

So what they did to General Flynn was unfair. And I have told the president -- he's not responded to me -- but I have told him my opinion is that he ought to pardon General Flynn.

CAVUTO: The president, meanwhile, has gone after those who appeared on TV throughout this two-year saga, including, you know, people like the former CIA Director John Brennan, who all but called him -- I believe he did -- a traitor.

Do you think anyone who said stuff like that, particularly those who were in a position of power, should apologize?

PAUL: I think, with people like John Brennan and James Clapper, who are known to have lied in their official capacity, that their partisanship is really unbecoming.

And what they have done and said about the president is unbecoming. So I can understand the president's anger towards them. And, really, I do think John Brennan should have been prosecuted for tapping into Democrat computers when they were studying the issue of torture.

And I think James Clapper should have been prosecuted for lying to Congress and saying they were not collecting all of our phone data, when in actuality they were. So I worry about people that have that much power and control and can eavesdrop on every moment of our lives.

I worry that they're dishonest. But I also worry that they have now come out of the closet as extreme partisans with extreme vitriol and hatred for the president.

CAVUTO: Senator Rand Paul, good seeing you again. Thank you very, very much.

PAUL: Thank you.

CAVUTO: All right, it's one thing to be concerned about the country not going in the Green New Deal direction. It is quite another if you're a young woman and you're not having children because of it -- after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: So fearful for the future this world that you don't want to bring kids into this world.

According to report in USA Today, a growing trend here at home, more women are saying they will not have children because of climate change.

Independent Women's Forum senior adviser Andrea Bottner. We have Democratic strategist Marjorie Clifton and The Washington Examiner's Tiana Lowe.

Tiana, I don't understand the thinking behind this that I guess the world's going to be a dangerous place, you don't want to bring kids into a world like that. Is that the gist of it?

TIANA LOWE, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: So, first thing, if you aren't going to have children because you think climate change is going to kill us all within the next 12 years, please don't have children because I.Q. is hereditary.

But, realistically, this is the sort of utilitarian fanaticism and this idea that if women don't have children, that somehow that will help the fight against climate change. And we aren't even discussing the expansion of nuclear power, or even sanctioning India and China.

It is truly delusional and it is truly just this radical utilitarian apocalyptic turn that I think that a certain wing of the Democratic Party has embraced with this Green New Deal.

CAVUTO: Well, Marjorie, they could just be concerned with the future of the planet and don't want to risk bringing a child into see its halcyon days, right?

MARJORIE CLIFTON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I don't like to pass judgment on people's decisions to have children or not.

But I think, in this situation, actually, it's a lot of women afraid for those children, not about the impact on the planet, but more so what the planet is going to be like for them, which, you know what? Having children is a selfless act. And that's a pretty selfless thought. So I actually think that's not a terrible way to be thinking.

But it also signals a big change in how these younger generations are thinking. And when you look at millennials, they are much more socially conscious. About 66 percent of women in the United States believe that climate change is a major issue, in comparison to 51 percent of men.

And in other countries, like Australia, 22 percent of women are choosing also not to have children due to climate change. So climate is on the mind of a lot of people around the globe. And it signals a shift in people's thinking. And for politics, I think that's an important thing to pay notice to.

CAVUTO: All right, Andrea, what do you think?

ANDREA BOTTNER, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S FORUM: Well, I think to have a child is a very personal and unique decision.

I think there are many, many issues. Climate change may be one of many that people worry about and wonder about. But anybody who has a child or thinking about having a child knows what a big, weighty decision it is.

And I think, frankly, when we look back in this country, and we think of times when we have gone through world wars, depression, nuclear threat, there -- there are many concerns. But there's no guarantee with parenthood. You have to take leap of faith.

CAVUTO: Well, I think you mention a very important point, that it might not be climate change you're worried about, but any male or female thinking of bringing children into this world would think, all right, I'm worried about war, I'm worried about all this other stuff, I'm worried about whatever, the debt.

I think it's a push if you're thinking of the debt as your reason.

But anyway, Tiana, I'm just wondering if there are other forces at play here that are reflecting this frustration on the part of women to say, no, no, I'm not going to risk it.

LOWE: Well, I think that there's the issue that two things can't be true at once.

We can't say that this is such an imminent problem that we aren't seriously discussing -- discussing sanctions, or that we aren't seriously discussing the mass nationalization of nuclear energy. So the fact that these aren't conversations that are being brought up by anti-natalists just goes to show how unserious the concern about the problem is.

But, ultimately...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But we don't know that.

Marjorie, we don't know that, right? We just -- let's accept these women at face value that they're concerned.

CLIFTON: Right.

CAVUTO: And this is the best way they could see addressing it, by not adding to the population.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Go ahead, Marjorie.

CLIFTON: Yes.

No, so the issue there was women talking about climate and future. But when you look at the actual birth rates in the country, 2017 being the lowest we have ever had in history -- or at least since they were measured in 1909 -- when you look at trends through history, when we have had lowest birth rates, it's actually been economically driven, because the Depression was actually the last time we had a significant drop.

So I think today, things also we need to look at is the cost of school, I mean, college admission being something that's a big trend right now, the cost of college. And that's the things I hear parents talking a lot about, so not only just, what does the future look like for my children, but what can I provide to them in the current environment?

CAVUTO: Well, by the way, maybe this is going to cinch the deal under -- we're just learning that Republicans got enough votes to defeat the Green New Deal.

So, if these women were on the fence about not having kids, this just might have cinched it. What do you think?

Well, absolutely.

BOTTNER: I don't think there's any -- any sort of debate that there is climate change.

But the way that we're going to address it, how much we're going to spend, how vociferously we're going to fight that problem, that's all going to come into play. And it's one of many issues that women and parents to be and everybody else are going to be worrying about.

But there's -- again, there's no guarantee with parenthood. There's -- you have got to take a leap of faith at some point.

CAVUTO: Indeed, for good or ill, right?

BOTTNER: That's right.

CAVUTO: Ladies, thank you all very, very much.

Again, Republicans getting their way on this Green Deal, but Democrats aren't done -- after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: You know, Boeing has been flying these test flights of the 737 MAX just to see how they're doing.

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 landed safely in Orlando, we're told, declaring an emergency landing after suffering engine-related problems. This is according to the FAA.

If we find out more, whether these problems were similar to the ones that were encountered in a couple of other 737 MAX 8 aircraft, we will -- we will keep you posted.

In the meantime, keeping up to date on the House today failing to override the president's veto to end a bill -- end this national emergency declaration of the border wall.

Count this next guest happy with that outcome, the former Border Patrol chief under President Barack Obama Mark Morgan.

Mark, good to have you back.

MARK MORGAN, FORMER BORDER PATROL CHIEF: Thank you.

CAVUTO: So, this was defeated. In other words, they couldn't override the president's veto.

We're already getting word that the administration's working to reincorporate about a billion dollars initially of defense funds, I don't know from where, to pay for this. What do you think?

MORGAN: So, obviously, it's a good day for our national security.

That $1 billion is going to come from the Pentagon spending. That's going to be a good down payment, a good start, to help that multilayered strategy that we have talked about.

CAVUTO: Do you know where that money is coming from, though, in the Pentagon, though, Mark?

MORGAN: So, no, I don't know the specifics of where the money is coming from.

CAVUTO: OK.

MORGAN: But, again, as part of that -- we have talked about, Neil, that multilayer strategy of infrastructure, the wall, technology and personnel and strategic locations, it's absolutely needed.

This is a good start on its way. But, remember, we're fighting a double crisis here along the southwest border, both a threat and humanitarian crisis. So that multilayer strategy, including the wall, will go a long ways to addressing the threat, but it does nothing to remove the incentive and pull factors of the Central American families and minors coming here.

And that today is what's overwhelming us at the southwest border.

CAVUTO: What's also being overwhelmed are these detention centers.

You and I have talked about it. Do you think any of that money should be at least fronted into the centers, so that they're not releasing 2,000 every week, as was the case last weekend?

MORGAN: Absolutely, Neil. And you're spot on.

First, let's start with ICE. We have to fund ICE at a greater extent, increase their detention space, specifically on family units. We're going to have to take a look at this same thing for Border Patrol as well.

But that's still not going to fix the problem. The problem is, we have to remove the incentive and the pull factor from them coming here. We have to fix the asylum laws. We have to work with Mexico. We need to stop them from coming.

If not, it's not going to change.

CAVUTO: All right, Mark Morgan, thank you very, very much, the former Border Patrol chief under Barack Obama.

Sorry, with all this breaking news, Mark, for truncating this. Always good seeing you.

In the meantime, the president, as you know, has been consistently ripping the press for this Russian collusion delusion, and his lawyer Rudolph Giuliani is going one step further, demanding some in the media quit pontificating, start apologizing.

The read from Joe Concha on that after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right, the president has been slamming the mainstream media on Twitter and elsewhere for its coverage of the Mueller investigation. Does he have a point? And is it time to balance things out?

Let's ask The Hill.com's Joe Concha.

Joe, he's essentially saying it was a rigged sort of a presentation built on a rigged dossier, and they bought it hook, line and sinker. At the very least, they should apologize.

What do you say?

JOE CONCHA, THE HILL: Well, Neil, what I'm seeing at this point is defiance, instead of apologies.

I saw a morning show host on another network this morning saying, anybody who's criticizing the media on this, save your breath. We're going to continue to pursue this path.

And, look, this was a matter of building a narrative, Neil, around information that was coming from sources that probably weren't in the room with Bob Mueller or weren't in any sort of inner circle, where they really knew what was going on. And it was fed to reporters, much like I feed my dog steak from Ruth's Steak House or it could be week-old pizza, and the dog is going to eat it.

And reporters were doing that far too often. They were accepting information that either they knew was false, or they wanted to believe it, and then they went to air with it. And we saw example after example of -- and it only went one way, by the way, negative towards the president or the administration, negative information around there is collusion here, this meeting happened, this happened.

And it all turned out to be wrong in too many examples to count. So there should be apologies here. We saw it after the Iraq War with WMDs, and some important people in this business came forward and said, we got it wrong. We should do better.

I'm not seeing one hint of that in this situation, Neil.

CAVUTO: I am wondering though, how far the back and forth on this goes.

As you know, Joe, Lindsey Graham wants to get an investigation going based on how this all started, which is all well and good. But I'm thinking, oh, my gosh, not another investigation, not another drawn-out thing.

I mean, when do you stop?

CONCHA: Well, I think the problem is that there are multiple investigations on the Democratic side.

So, if you're a Republican, a Trump supporter, you say, hey, what's one more where we're looking at this from another angle, from another prism?

CAVUTO: Well, I understand. I understand.

But they can't just cease and desist, right? I mean, the temptation on the Democratic side to keep hearings going on impeachment, what have you, they will continue. On the Republican side, to get to the bottom of how this started in the first place, that will ensue. I get it. I understand that.

But no one will have a mutual, let's stop.

CONCHA: Oh.

Well, I think the American people want that, Neil. I saw a CNN poll this morning that said zero percent of people say that the Russia investigation will affect their vote, zero percent. That's remarkable to me.

And I would think that, yes, both sides would cool it, but I think too often, from a media perspective, that's what our media wants, because hearings do well from a ratings perspective. Investigations have a lot of sizzle, maybe not a lot of steak, as we saw with Russia collusion.

So, unfortunately, Neil, I think we're going to end up going down this path, and we're going to miss the big stories. I keep going back to this. The opioid epidemic kills more than 70,000 people in this country per year, more than car crashes.

And you tell me how often you see in-depth reporting on that on the evening newscasts or even on cable news. That's the big story in this country right now that's affecting people's lives on a daily basis, as is the economy as well. We can talk about that.

CAVUTO: Absolutely.

CONCHA: We can talk about foreign policy as it pertains to the ISIS caliphate. And we barely see any coverage on that as well.

So we're missing big stories, because we want to focus on all this stuff that involves, as you put it, too many investigations.

CAVUTO: And I'm wondering too, with the president's call, maybe we can work on the things in which we agree -- I think he was talking about infrastructure -- and Democrats who have expressed hope that they could follow certain progress here.

But I don't see it. And maybe it's just the wounds that are still festering from this. Could take time.

CONCHA: You know what the problem is, Neil, is that we're always in an election year now.

CAVUTO: You're right. You're right.

CONCHA: Right? Last year was the midterms, and we can't give Trump any victories before the midterms.

And now the 2020 election is already in full swing, 14 Democrats, 13 already declaring, Joe Biden not even in yet. So, yes, if anybody thinks that Democrats going to work with Republicans and the president on infrastructure, and give the president a victory going into 2020, now that he has the wind at his back with the collusion thing gone, I don't think it's going to happen. I agree with you.

CAVUTO: Yes, I hear you.

Joe Concha of TheHill.com, always good catching up, Joe. Thank you.

CONCHA: You too, sir. Take care.

CAVUTO: All right, at the White House, meanwhile, they're wrapping it up, the meeting here that was on trade, largely with Republicans, the president powwowing with them, as he had earlier in the day with Republicans, about the agenda that ensues following that and the fallout from all of this for a president who right now seems to have the upper hand.

And, at the corner of Wall and Broad, they celebrated that.

Here comes "The Five."

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