Rep. Liz Cheney on peace talks with the Taliban

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," September 9, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Let's talk about the issues of the day with the number three Republican in the House GOP Conference Chair, Congresswoman Liz Cheney. Thanks for being here.

REP. LIZ CHENEY, R-WY.: Thanks for having me, Bret.

BAIER: I want to start with something you wrote about and the concerned about, and that is the Taliban peace talks. How do you think it got to the point where they were actually going to come to Camp David and how concerned are you that it got that far?
CHENEY: Well, I think that the important thing is to look at what actually transpired and what has transpired now as the President has done exactly the right thing. This President has shown that he is willing consistently to walk away from bad deals. He walked away from the nuclear deal with Iran. He walked away from the IMF treaty.

This is a President who has demonstrated his willingness and his ability and his determination not to let the United States be taken advantage of. 
And I think what you've seen now with the announcement that the talks are dead, with the announcement that they've been canceled, is the President demonstrating that he fully understands that the Taliban cannot be a partner for peace and that the United States should not be in a position where we're putting our security in their hands?
BAIER: You also said that they should never be at Camp David ever.
CHENEY: That's right. You know, I would not have them at Camp David. I would not have them in the United States. I think that it's crucially important that we recognize what is at stake in Afghanistan. And what the President has done as he has said, I am not going to make a situation where the United States has to put our counterterrorism responsibilities and obligations in the hands of the Taliban. We have to prevent safe havens. 
It's very important that we recognize the importance of that, particularly as we get here again close to the anniversary of 9/11.

There are over 20 foreign terrorist organizations operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan today. It's the highest concentration of terrorist organizations anywhere in the world. And our responsibility and the President's responsibility, as he fully knows, is to make sure that they cannot form safe havens from which to launch attacks against us.
BAIER: But yet he also is very adamant that U.S. troops are coming home, and he'd like to see eventually all U.S. troops come home. And he's drawing down to 8600 now.
CHENEY: You know, I think that what the President has been adamant about and what you've seen, both with the strategy that he laid out in 2017 as well as with his determination to end these talks now, is he's not going to repeat the mistakes we saw Barack Obama make. He's not going to withdraw in a situation where we leave a vacuum, where America's enemies can rise again.

The Taliban has not ever separated itself from al-Qaeda. They fight hand- in-hand with al-Qaeda.

BAIER: So, why are we negotiating with them to begin with?

CHENEY: We shouldn't be. And that's why I am very glad that the President said these talks are dead. We're not going to be negotiating with them. You can't trust the Taliban. You know, we've been talking to the Taliban for years. But the notion that somehow, we think they're going to be a partner for peace is somehow they're going to give us counterterrorism assurances--

BAIER: But somebody did, somebody thought it.

CHENEY: It's wrong. We shouldn't be doing it. And I'm very glad to see the President took the important courageous step that he took to say, that's it. I'm not going to let America be taken advantage of.
BAIER: You're back in session. What is possible in the Republican side that you're in the minority? What working with the Senate leadership can get done?
CHENEY: Well, we're going to fight very hard every single day to make sure that people across this nation understand how important it is that we fight against socialism. You know, when you look at the agenda that the Democrats have put forward, while Nancy Pelosi has been speaker across the board, you've seen whether it's Green New Deal, whether it's Medicare for all, whether it's all the efforts that they've made to fundamentally violate American constitutional rights, whether it's their embrace of anti-Semitism.

This is a very radical Congress. Any candidate that is out there, you just did a piece on North Carolina. Any candidate in the Democratic Party that's out there saying that they're going to work across the aisle and work in a bipartisan fashion. I would urge their constituents not to believe that.

Instead, to look at what's actually happening here in Washington, which is a Democratic Party in the House that is totally captured, totally held hostage by the agenda of the most radical members of the House.
BAIER: Well, they do have an agenda. Take a look at this ABC News Washington Post poll on gun issues required background checks, support 89 percent, red flag laws 86 percent. You see the ticking down there.
And here is the House Speaker talking about what she's going to do.

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE NANCY PELOSI: We are not taking no for an answer. We are not going away. If this bill is not passed, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans in the Senate and the President will have held to pay.

BAIER: Your response to that? Do you think Senate Republicans are going to act?
CHENEY: Look, I think that we all want to make sure we're doing everything possible to keep this nation safe as a mother. Certainly, I'm very concerned about the safety of kids in schools, but I have watched the Democrats time and time again play political games with these issues.

Use these horrific tragedies that we see for their own political purposes with no regard at all to America's constitutional rights. As Jim Court has held that the Second Amendment is an individual right. And I can absolutely assure you that the President, that Mr. McConnell, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, all of us in the House, in the Republican Party will not do anything that's going to violate America's constitutional rights.
BAIER: Two more quick things. One, the Congressional Budget Office just came out. The federal budget deficit has topped a trillion dollars in the first 11 months of FY2019. That's 168 billion more than last time this time. October 1st is the new fiscal year. Has the Republican Party lost all of its fiscal concern about deficit and debt?
CHENEY: No, we're very concerned about it. I think it's a huge issue. I think there are two huge issues, really that face this nation. One is national security set of threats and one is the debt. And I think that in order for us to be able to deal with the debt, we have to recognize 72 percent, 73 percent of the spending every year is mandatory spending. It's on autopilot.

And because of this thing called the Budget Control Act, which is misnamed, Democrats demand increased domestic spending whenever we want to do anything like the President has done and committed to do increased defense spending. I think we need to repeal that. And I think we need to have a very firm focus on in a bipartisan manner with leadership from the White House, how we're going to deal with the debt and the deficit, because these are ticking time bombs for the nation.
BAIER: Congresswoman Cheney, thanks for being here.

CHENEY: Thanks for having me, Bret.

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