Rep. Ratcliffe says former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s story has bigger holes in it than the Titanic

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," February 16, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: Happy Sunday morning, everyone. Thanks for joining us. I'm Maria Bartiromo.

Joining me straight ahead and right here on "Sunday Morning Futures": new challenges to President Trump's declaration of a national emergency to build the border wall.

Reaction from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy this morning.

I will speak with Democratic Congressman Jeff Van Drew as well on his party's response.

Plus: Attorney General Bill Barr starts his first full week on the job tomorrow, as former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe drops a bombshell in the Russia investigation.

Republican House Intelligence Committee member and former prosecutor John Ratcliffe is here live coming up.

We are awaiting word from the White House this morning, as President Trump calls a meeting of his top trade negotiators, as the clock ticks down on a March 1 deadline to reach a trade deal with China.

The Hudson Institute's Michael Pillsbury is here.

All of that and more, as we look ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures."

Democrats are vowing and aggressive response to the president's declaration of a national emergency to get more money to build the wall.

Here now is Democratic Congressman Maxine Waters on Friday:


REP. MAXINE WATERS, D-CALIF.: It's time for everybody to stand up, all hands on deck, to refuse this president these fake emergency powers that he'd like to have. And so I'm urging everybody, get together, rally in every community across this country all this weekend.

Send a message to Washington, D.C.


BARTIROMO: And a number of Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate say that they object to the president's plan as well, some calling it an overreach of executive power.

Joining me right now, in an exclusive interview, is Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Congressman, it's always a pleasure to see you. Thanks so much for being here.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, R-CALIF., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Well, good morning, and thanks for having me back, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Is this a national emergency? Your reaction to what's happening, with the president saying that it's a national emergency? But some of your colleagues are pushing back.

MCCARTHY: Well, first of all, does the president have the authority? And the answer is yes.

Since 1976, when the law passed, presidents have declared more than 60 emergencies. But also look to this. When the federal government doesn't act, governors have the responsibility that they can declare an emergency

And in 2005 in Arizona, Janet Napolitano, who then became DHS secretary for Obama, declared an emergency because of what was happening on the border. So did New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. And Bill Richardson cited the lack of movement by the federal government.

So the president, one, has the authority. Yes, it is a crisis and emergency along our border. First of all, think about the human trafficking that is happening.


MCCARTHY: Think about the children that are being moved across these -- country.

But think about the amount of drugs and how many thousands of Americans are dying. And most of that is coming through the southern border. So the president, one, has the authority. Yes, it is an emergency that has been shown before.

And I believe, at the end of the day, this wall is going to be built, not sea to shining sea, but about 200 miles.

BARTIROMO: Well, the...

MCCARTHY: He's got the appropriations which just passed.


MCCARTHY: He's got 55 miles there.

Then he has other abilities to pull money, such as from the Treasury, the forfeiture. This is from illicit -- illicit crimes that people have done. So he's got about $600 million there. He's got $2.5 billion from inside Department of Defense to be used for counternarcotics, to fight drugs as well.

This is where that should be used. And then he's looking at MILCONs, the military construction items.

BARTIROMO: So -- so this is about $3 billion, roughly, that he can use, other monies from other areas.

But this -- the overall bill was a lot lower, as you know, than what the president wanted. He wanted $5.7 billion. But you still voted yes for it.

MCCARTHY: Yes, I did, because you know what? It was a down payment moving forward.

Remember this, just -- just about a month ago, what was Nancy Pelosi saying? Only $1 for the wall, that they would eliminate beds, which would mean criminals would be left out into our society, and they would -- they would abolish ICE.

ICE has just received more money than they ever had in the past. We have the ability to keep the number of beds we had before, and they just voted for $1.375 billion, 55 miles of new wall.

So if I'm weighing that compared to a continuing resolution, which wouldn't get any, of course, this is moving it in the right direction. Is it as far as I want it to go? No. But the combination of this bill and the action, what the president is doing, we're getting to the end result that we need to protect the southern end of our border.

BARTIROMO: Let me move on and ask you about this meeting that the president has called today and tomorrow for members of his trade team.

The China talks are going to be continuing next week. And, of course, then you have got USMCA on the table. A lot of colleagues in the House have told me on the Democratic side they won't vote for it as it is.

First, talk to us about how the China talks went and what you would like to see in terms of a deal between China and the United States, as these talks continue this upcoming week.

MCCARTHY: Well, I haven't been able to get an update since they have come back from China. But I was talking to Lighthizer and others before going.

I want to credit this president, because he has really -- moving against China and making for a level playing field is something that America should have done a long time ago. The entire Western Hemisphere should have been able to do this.

What -- what I find is that we are getting movement to where we need to do to protect our intellectual property rights, to have a fair and level playing field when it comes to trade.


MCCARTHY: And I'm seeing good movement. So the president wants to have an update, continue those talks in Washington next week.

And I think the entire world is watching that this would put us on a better stage to compete against China at the same time with a level playing field.

BARTIROMO: Is he going to have to change USMCA in order to get that ratified?

MCCARTHY: OK, now, that's different. That's between Canada and Mexico.

I'm not sure that he will. For those Democrats who are saying that they wouldn't vote for it, I'm not sure they read it or seen it, because nothing's been rolled out completely.

This is looking at NAFTA and improving it, modernizing it. I think, at the end of the day, they will support it because it's going to make not only America stronger, but our trading partners as well. It is a good policy for American jobs, and it's stronger in, one, when you're modernizing it, protecting our intellectual property as well.

BARTIROMO: Let me move on to some of the big news over the weekend.

Congressman, you sent a letter to Adam Schiff, the chairman -- now the chairman of the Intel Committee. We know that Adam Schiff has said for a long time -- he said this two years ago -- that he has more than circumstantial evidence that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

And we also know that this past week we got news from the Senate, where the Senate said there was -- all of its findings after a two-year -- a two-year period, they have found no collusion.

Explain the letter that you sent to Adam Schiff and what you're trying to do.

MCCARTHY: I put it out on a blog.

And what I -- I raised questions about Adam Schiff. Yes, you state that, in March 2017, he said he had this proof. He sounds like a modern-day Joe McCarthy and can't produce anything as we move through.

We have had the Senate and the House investigate this and say, there is no collusion from Republicans and Democrats. But what we recently found out, Maria -- and I have got to thank you, because this is something that you have been monitoring the entire time and bringing out information on.

We now find that Adam Schiff met with Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, the individual that created that fake dossier, in Aspen, which was never been known to us.

First of all, what did they meet about? And this was after the committee wanted to look into Glenn Simpson even further because the credibility of the answers he gave when he came before the committee.

Then think about this. I want to know, what did they talk about there? How many other times have they met? But why did Adam Schiff fight when we wanted to find out who paid Fusion GPS?

Well, we found out that it was the Democrat National Committee. But why did Adam Schiff fight that? And then why did Adam Schiff ask Glenn Simpson in the hearing, what should we investigate? Where should we go? Why is he taking direction from this individual that doesn't have credibility, that created a fake dossier?

And then Adam Schiff, who is now the chairman, why doesn't he hold himself to the same standards that he asked Jeff Sessions and Devin Nunes? He should recuse himself, based upon meeting with an individual that's under - - that we're looking at from creating the Fusion GPS -- I mean, from Fusion GPS -- and not even telling us.

In that part, the bias of what's going forward, he should recuse himself from any future investigation or being the chairman.

BARTIROMO: This is, of course, the guy who was paid -- his firm was paid a million dollars to create that dossier.

Bruce Ohr's wife worked at that firm, Glenn Simpson running the firm, Fusion GPS, that created that dossier, which was used to wiretap an American citizen, Carter Page. And we know that it was unverified and salacious, which is what Jim Comey called it.

MCCARTHY: And remember what Adam Schiff said, because he said Devin Nunes met with somebody at the White House. He had to recuse himself.

Remember Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, had to recuse himself because he met with some Russian he didn't really even realize when he went through.

Now we're knowing from the Hill that Adam Schiff knew who he was meeting with Glenn Simpson, and asked him, what did they meet about, even after the committee knew they had to investigate Glenn Simpson further because of the credibility of the answers he gave inside the hearing.

They contradicted. He could be lying before Congress, based upon investigation and answers given by other individuals.

BARTIROMO: Right. And now, of course, we all know that Hillary Clinton paid his firm, Fusion GPS, to create that dossier, when we didn't know the specifics before.

OK, Congressman, let's take a break. You want him to recuse himself from the Russia probe. That was one of your questions within -- within that blog post.

We will take a short break.

When we come back, you also had a tiff with Congresswoman Omar. We're going to get to that coming up.

And a lot of people questioning the Republicans' financial responsibility and discipline, as we look at debt.

We will take a break, and we have got more with Congressman Kevin McCarthy when we come right back. Stay with us.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

We're back now with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy this morning.

And, Congressman, we were ending that first block talking about the Adam Schiff situation.

We should point out that we got compelling testimony from the number four guy at the DOJ, Bruce Ohr, who basically provided calendar notations and notes which told us that, in fact, Glenn Simpson started meeting with Bruce Ohr back in August.

And we know that the Democrats were saying that they hadn't met until Thanksgiving, which was important, because it shows you when they actually started investigating President Trump.

MCCARTHY: That's the key question of why we wanted to look at Simpson even further, because there's reports that his testimony is not the same, matching, to the credibility there.

But now you have a chairman of the committee privately meeting with him when the committee is going to investigate him further. That's bias.


MCCARTHY: And this is why he has to recuse himself, so the American public can trust any report that comes out of that committee or any investigation.

BARTIROMO: Let me...

MCCARTHY: This is a real challenge. He has to answer, why did -- what did they talk about, and how many other times has he met with Glenn Simpson?

BARTIROMO: Let me move on because, Congressman Omar made...


BARTIROMO: ... a remark.

She said, "It's all about the Benjamins." You -- which you reacted to.

And then there have been calls for her to be moved off of the Foreign Affairs Committee because of her comments. You got in a tiff with her on Twitter. Tell us about it.

MCCARTHY: Well, I had a press conference a week prior. And I was just talking about the Democratic leadership to a number of these new freshmen Democrat congressional people, their anti-Semitic talk, the other items that they have been saying.

And the leadership has been silent. And if they're silent, are they agreeing with this? In doing so, a reporter wrote about my press conference. And that's what Congresswoman Omar was responding to.

But she was saying people were supporting Israel based upon receiving money, which is false. I thought, again, it was anti-Semitic. And, finally, the Democratic leadership came out and said she should apologize.

But there's something much further they should do. Congresswoman Omar sits on Foreign Affairs. And we have watched what she's done through investigations, I mean, through questioning and others.


MCCARTHY: She should be removed from that committee.

When you watched what the Republican leadership had done when anybody in our side made some questionable comments and others, we removed them from committee.

So it's a little telling to us why they would not act. Now, we acted on the floor. We added an amendment to a bill to make sure that America stands with Israel, that we do not support this type of language anywhere in the world, because we have watched what has happened in history in the past, and we will not let it repeat itself.

BARTIROMO: Yes, I know that you relieved Steve King of all of his committee assignments after remarks that he made.

So, we will see if there's any movement here in terms of taking her off of Foreign Affairs.

Real quick on debt, you have been the majority leader and now minority leader for several years. But, over these years, a lot of people are questioning the Republicans' fiscal discipline. You are looking at $22 trillion in debt right now.

What's the plan to start weaning ourselves off of debt as interest rates move higher? And the interest payments alone are quite substantial.

MCCARTHY: This is the greatest threat to our country, Maria . And you're correct.

Now, when we were in the majority, and I had to hand that gavel back to Nancy Pelosi, and those eight years, what Congress has real, real control over is discretionary spending. When I handed the gavel back, in those eight years, discretionary spending was actually lower than when we were given it to her eight years ago.

It's the mandatory side that's a real challenge, with the movement of the entitlements, the growth when you came to Obamacare, a new entitlement. And now you look to the Democrats, this new Green Deal that would add $3 trillion.

This is a real concern, should be for all Americans. When we failed to actually reform and sustain what we need for the future of Social Security and others by reforming Obamacare, we lost by that one vote, but the House was able to pass that.

This is something that both sides should sit down and seriously take a look at, but not just look at, take action. And on the discretionary side, we have done well. On the mandatory side, we cannot sustain these programs for the future without taking some action now.

And that's something that we have been running on for the last 10 years.

BARTIROMO: Well, I don't -- I don't expect anything to do about this during an election year.

But, as the Committee for a Responsible Budget points out, you are talking about interest spending topping a trillion dollars, interest spending alone.

MCCARTHY: You need to do it now, in an election year. You have to be honest with the American people, just as we have been before we even took the majority.

We laid out that we would protect Medicare, we would protect Social Security, because if you do nothing, it cannot sustain itself into future generations. And we laid our budget out, where the Democrats attacked us, but the American people supported.

We were able to pass that. But what the viewers need to understand, for any reform to happen, it takes 60 votes in the Senate.


MCCARTHY: It was the Democrats who have denied the ability to have this chain. So the debt continues to grow.

That continues to harm future generations, future opportunity. It is the greatest threat we face today for the -- for the next century being ours.


MCCARTHY: That's why, yes, we should tackle it now, not wait until after the election.

BARTIROMO: We will be watching, Congressman.

It's good to see you this morning. Thanks so much, Congressman Kevin McCarthy there.

Democratic Congressman Jeff Van Drew is up next on the emergency declaration and his rejection -- rejection of the Democrat proposal the Green New Deal.

We will get reaction from the Democratic side next, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."

Back in a moment.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

The Democrats in Congress reportedly devising a strategy to challenge President Trump over his declaration of a national emergency at the southern border, this setting up a showdown in Congress and the courts that could go on for years.

Joining me right now to discuss that is Congressman Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat from New Jersey.

And, Congressman, it's good to see you this morning. Thanks so much for joining us.

REP. JEFF VAN DREW, D-N.J.: Oh, it's great to see you. And thanks for having me.

BARTIROMO: So, Congressman, are you going to join your colleagues in pushing back against the national emergency?

VAN DREW: Well, let me just say something real quickly.

When I believe the president is right, I support him, and I have supported him. When I believe he's wrong, I say that he's wrong. I'm not a real strong partisan, and I believe in bipartisanship.

In this case, I think the president has overreached. I think this is a constitutional issue. I think it's an important issue. And I do think it sets up a precedent for many reasons.

The bottom line is, you have to be careful what you wish for. And right now, folks -- some folks -- might be happy and think that this is good, but I don't know if they'd be so happy if there was, for example, a very progressive president in who decided that it was a national emergency what's going on with climate change, and decide that they were going to move a lot of money from the military and other areas to climate change issues, or if there was a president that was from a different viewpoint and really felt that the gun issues were a tremendous emergency, and actually moved money to have guns confiscated from people.


VAN DREW: You always have to watch for executive power getting too great on either side of the aisle.

It's something that our founding fathers believed in very much, the balance of powers. And taking money, military construction money...


VAN DREW: And it isn't the amount so much. The amount isn't so huge. It's the principle of it. It's the principle of it.

And actually using it for something totally in which it wasn't intended budgetarily, I really do think is problematic.

BARTIROMO: Well, let's talk about that, because you are talking about -- about $3 billion from these non-emergency funds.

You heard your colleague Kevin McCarthy talking about it a moment ago, $600,000 from Treasury, forfeited funds. This law was signed obviously into law by the Congress -- and passed by the Congress, rather, and it's been utilized 58 times since it was implemented. On average, it's been used every -- every nine months.

So if you have got funds that are meant or allocated and appropriated for anything around national security, construction of national security, that sounds about as close to building a wall around a border as it gets.

VAN DREW: Well, now we're using money that's military money to build a domestic project.

Usually, money is used in this case on that line item for the military to protect the different areas, whether it's -- in this case, it would have been housing.


VAN DREW: It would also be the housing for the military planes itself.

Those 58 times -- let's be clear with that -- all -- those 58 times, only once or twice has there actually been an appropriation of money involved with it. And, of course, the one time that really mattered -- and it was appropriate -- was in 9/11.

But the other times, the other 50 some times, the money is used for emergency situations, such as when there is a terrible situation that occurs, a catastrophe, or money was used...


VAN DREW: ... for freezing funds because a country was doing something wrong.

BARTIROMO: Yes, I understand that, but do you think...


VAN DREW: But that -- the money wasn't used in this way.


VAN DREW: This is different. This is unique.

BARTIROMO: I think you make really important points. And it's very practical of you.

But do you think there's an emergency? I mean, given that there is drugs coming over the -- coming through the border, as well as the ports, given that there's human trafficking, as the president has discussed, and all of the other things that we see coming through the southern border, is this an emergency?

VAN DREW: This is a serious situation.

And you know I believe that it is, and I have spoken about it.


VAN DREW: And I have supported him in a lot of what he has spoken about.

So, what I think we should have done is use -- more money still is going to be spent for this issue of border security than ever before in history in this budget.


VAN DREW: Let's use that money. Let's go forward. Let's get all the work done that we can with it.

Let's keep the working group going. In fact, I really recommended having a working group where you didn't have elected officials necessarily. You had completely nonpartisan experts...


VAN DREW: ... make more recommendations and, as we get into the next budget, allocate more money where and when needed.

I don't think it is of such a nature that we really have a constitutional breach. And I think this is a real constitutional issue. And there are many Republicans that feel that way.


VAN DREW: And people that really strongly believe in the Constitution feel that way.

BARTIROMO: Of course.

VAN DREW: And nobody should ever allow this to be getting mixed up with the other 50 sometimes that the emergencies were used.

They were totally different situations that didn't take the power of the purse away from the constitutionally dedicated area, which is Congress.


And, as you said a moment ago, you have taken sides when you think it's right or wrong. I mean, the Green Deal, you put out a statement about. You were against it, your colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's trillion- dollars-plus deal for a green -- a green change.

VAN DREW: Exactly. We can't do it right now.

It would -- I don't know that we ever can do it but we certainly can't do it now. We do not have the money.

You were speaking about the debt before. The debt is a very serious issue. If interest rates rise significantly -- or even if they rise at all -- the debt issue is going to become a huge problem.


VAN DREW: We fund in the United States of America, through all the interest we pay, the entire military of China. Think about that.

BARTIROMO: Yes, that's pretty incredible.


BARTIROMO: And I said a trillion dollars when I was talking with Congressman McCarthy.

I want to make sure people understand that's a trillion dollars a day, a trillion dollars a day just in interest payments.

Real quick, Congressman. Because you're from New Jersey, I have got to get your thoughts on Amazon. Obviously, they have changed plans because of the pushback from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and some of your other colleagues there.

Would you like to see Amazon set up shop in New Jersey?


What -- Atlantic County is looking into it down around Atlantic City area. I know Newark is looking into it. The bottom line is, this is the world we live in now. I know some people don't like corporations or don't like incentivizing corporations, but I think that we have to compete.

And we certainly have to make sure that we create jobs. And, frankly, if they don't want those jobs in New York, we sure do want those jobs in New Jersey.

BARTIROMO: All right. So you think it was a mistake, what happened in New York, then?




We can't be -- we are still -- I mean, we're going to have to make a decision, in all seriousness, as a nation, Republicans and Democrats. Are we an entrepreneurial, capitalist nation...

BARTIROMO: And do we want jobs?

VAN DREW: ... that certainly has a safety net, and do we want jobs, and do we want to succeed, and do we want to compete?


VAN DREW: And do we want to see our people do well?

BARTIROMO: Well, all very good questions.

VAN DREW: The answer that I have is yes.

BARTIROMO: I think I know the answers as far as our viewers' personal feeling about that.

Congressman, it's good to see you this morning. Thanks so much. Very important conversation there with Congressman Van Drew.

Meanwhile, there are big new developments this morning in the Russia investigation, amid reports of discussions removing President Trump from office, all of this as a brand-new attorney general, Bill Barr, set to begin his first full week on the job tomorrow, with a very full plate.

A member of the House intelligence and Judiciary committees, Congressman John Ratcliffe, a former prosecutor, is here next up.

"Sunday Morning Futures" right back in a minute.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

Two Cabinet members were -- quote -- "ready to support" an effort to remove the president from office. That is according to former top FBI lawyer James Baker.

In a closed-door testimony to Congress last fall, Baker said he was told by senior Justice Department officials that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein spoke of the two Cabinet officials' support.

Want to bring in right now Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe from Texas. He is a member of the Homeland Security and Judiciary committees, as well as Oversight.

And, sir, it's good to see on the program this morning. Thanks so much for joining us.

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE, R-TX: Good morning, Maria.

BARTIROMO: We want to get your take on this story.

You are a federal -- a former federal prosecutor, Congressman. And we learned some information this week on two fronts. The Senate told us that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, after two years of investigating this.

And, number two, Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director at the FBI, in an interview with "60 Minutes" tonight, said that he launched the investigation into President Trump.

Your reaction?

RATCLIFFE: Well, as to the collusion issue, the Senate just confirmed what the House and every other investigative committee has found, which is no evidence of collusion.

And, as you mentioned, Maria, the only person in Washington so far that says they has -- have evidence of collusion between Donald Trump and the Trump campaign and Russia is Adam Schiff. And, of course, he says that it is evidence that is neither direct evidence or circumstantial evidence, which are the only two types of evidence that exists in the law.

So we will wait on that.

But as to the issue of Andy McCabe, he may be a disgraced former FBI agent who's been criminally referred for lying, but he's going to make at least one truthful statement in this interview tonight.

Many of us have been saying for the last year that senior leaders at the FBI and the Department of Justice have been secretly investigating Donald Trump and trying to remove him from office. Tonight, Andy McCabe will tell you that he and other senior leaders at the Department of Justice and the FBI were secretly investigating Donald Trump and trying to remove him from office.

Now, once you get past that one truthful statement, the rest of his story, frankly, has bigger holes in it than the Titanic.

BARTIROMO: Well, I mean, look, we heard from Bruce Ohr in that other testimony a couple of weeks ago, when he did tell us that, in fact, he met with -- he met with the Fusion GPS founder as early as August of 2016.

And we did get that -- that testimony was quite illuminating in terms of what did go on.


And we have gotten a lot of testimony that -- as you pointed out, Maria, as a former federal prosecutor, I will tell you that, as a conspiracy starts to unravel, sometimes, the co-conspirators turn on one another. And you get inconsistent testimony.

Bruce Ohr's testimony is inconsistent with his boss, Sally Yates. Andy McCabe's testimony is inconsistent with his boss, Jim Comey. Jim Comey's testimony is inconsistent with his lawyer, Jim Baker. McCabe's testimony is also inconsistent with Rod Rosenstein.

So you have all of these things that were taking place. And, again, it underscores the point that there were senior officials at the Department of Justice that were the same officials that had undermined and prejudged Hillary Clinton as innocent, prejudged Donald Trump as guilty.

And they were the ones making the decision in these investigations.

BARTIROMO: So here we are, beginning week one for the new attorney general. He is now in the job, Bill Barr.

Tell us about what you're expecting from him, because people would like to see accountability. And we should point out that Andrew McCabe is doing this interview around his book, but he has already been referred to by the inspector general for criminal charges.

RATCLIFFE: Yes, so let's go back to Andy McCabe and what you're going to hear tonight.

One of the things he's going to say is that he started this investigation when Jim Comey got fired on May the 9th because he believed that order may have come from Vladimir Putin, and that Donald Trump was acting as an agent of the Russian government in carrying out that order.

The problem for Andy McCabe is, every newspaper in America reported that, eight days later, on May 17 of 2017, Andy McCabe was one of four people to walk into the Oval Office and interview with Donald Trump to become the FBI director.

So how do you go from, I think you're an agent of the Russian government committing treason to, eight days later, I think you're an agent of the Russian government committing treason, but I would sure love a job working for you every day?

So, this is just part of the challenge that faces Bill Barr. I will tell you, it's an incredible challenge, but he has the opportunity to be perhaps the most consequential attorney general of our lifetime, because he's going to have the opportunity to try and restore the American people's confidence in a Justice Department that has been torn apart by the darkest chapters that have been written under the Comey-Lynch-McCabe era of the Justice Department and its component agencies, like the FBI.

I would certainly hope that, in engaging and doing that, the first order of business for Bill Barr would be to address the byproduct of those senior leaders at the FBI and the Department of Justice that were trying to undermine the American election of 2016.

And that byproduct is the Mueller investigation.


RATCLIFFE: If Bill Barr's first action, Maria, is not to bring in Bob Mueller and say, the American public has been consumed with this for two years, and this idea of collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians.

After two years, either you have evidence of it or you don't. And if you do, let's see it. And if you don't, let's make that clear to the American people, so all of this can end, and we can move forward with what the Department of Justice should be doing.


But, in the meantime, you have got people like Adam Schiff saying they're not going to slow down, they're going to expand the investigations into President Trump right now.

Congressman, stay with us. I want to ask you about that, but I also want to ask you why you voted against the bipartisan border security deal.

We will talk about that right after this short break. Stay with us.

More John Ratcliffe next up.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

We are back with Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe.

And, Congressman, we just ended our last block talking about what will be on Bill Barr's plate. Do you think we will see accountability? And what about Adam Schiff and the Democrats vowing to pursue investigating every corner of President Trump's life?

RATCLIFFE: Well, I certainly hope there's accountability.

Bill Barr pledged that there would be during his confirmation hearing. He said he was troubled by a lot of the developments that have now become public. And he promised Senator Graham and others at his confirmation hearing that he would get to the bottom of that. And we intend to hold him accountable to that standard.

As to Adam Schiff, again, it remains to be seen whether or not Adam has this secret collusion evidence that he hasn't been able to produce up to this point.

But what we do know Adam Schiff does have is a conflict of interest under a standard that he created. Remember, he said that Devin Nunes needed to recuse himself because of a perceived bias with regard to the Russia investigation.

Now we learn that Adam Schiff met with Glenn Simpson, the same Glenn Simpson that got a million dollars to commission the phony, fake Russian Steele dossier document, the same Adam Schiff that is now believed to have lied to the committee that Adam Schiff chairs, the House Select Intelligence Committee, that I'm on.


RATCLIFFE: So, under Adam Schiff's own standard, Mr. Simpson needs to come forward, but Adam Schiff can't be the one presiding over that.

BARTIROMO: Congressman, let me -- let me switch gears and ask you about this budget deal.

You voted against this border funding deal.



RATCLIFFE: Because the president, as commander in chief, said he needed $5.7 billion to fulfill his primary role, securing the sovereignty and integrity of our territorial borders to provide for the common defense, the one thing that we have a federal government for.

Congress gave him a quarter of that, $1.4 billion, woefully short of what's needed. So I certainly wasn't going to support that. And

I am going to support the president again meeting his constitutional obligations.


RATCLIFFE: Again, the Constitution says it in the preamble. And, as you pointed out, Maria, the National Emergency Act, created by Congress, also gives him that authority. And he's testing it.

Listen, if the Supreme Court says that that's improper, Donald Trump will abide by that. But I appreciate the fact that he's being relentless with respect to his desire to secure the sovereignty and integrity of our territorial borders.

BARTIROMO: Yes, relentless, to the extent that people are saying it's not lawful. You just heard what Congressman Van Drew said.

Walk us through this money, this $3 billion that is available to him, and your reaction to some of your colleagues saying it's the wrong move, constitutionally speaking, to declare a national emergency to use this money.

RATCLIFFE: Well, as you have pointed out already, Maria, the National Emergency Act was created by Congress.

It has been used, I think, 58 times. So we see it quite frequently. And, in this case, what the president is trying to use is military construction money. That, by definition, means the military is using it for national security purposes.

So, when the president says, I want to use it for national security purposes for the purpose of constructing a wall, it seems entirely appropriate and would be on solid legal footing with regard to that.

So I hope the -- the president continues on this course. I think -- again, I think he is on solid legal footing. But beyond the legal determination here, there's a political calculation as well.

And I think it's the right one. The American people are waiting to see whether or not this is the first president, Republican or Democrat, to address a crisis at the border that has resulted in immigration troubles in this country...


RATCLIFFE: ... from illegal immigrants, from drug trafficking, human trafficking, you know, an opioid epidemic.


RATCLIFFE: And he's trying to address that.

And many of us believe that this is maybe the most important thing that he can accomplish over the next two years. And I'm going to support him in that regard.

BARTIROMO: Congressman, it's good to see this morning. Thanks so much.

RATCLIFFE: You bet, Maria. Thanks.

BARTIROMO: Congressman John Ratcliffe there.

The president sounding optimistic, meanwhile, on a trade deal with China. He calls a meeting of his top trade advisers today. We are talking about that. And they will resume the talks in Washington this upcoming week.

Michael Pillsbury, director for Chinese strategy at The Hudson Institute, is here next up.

Back in a moment.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

President Trump citing progress in U.S.-China trade talks, as he calls a meeting of his top trade negotiators today.

Michael Pillsbury is a senior fellow and director for China strategy at The Hudson Institute. He is also a former assistant undersecretary for defense for President Reagan.

Michael, it's good to see this morning. Thanks very much for joining us.


BARTIROMO: So, my sources tell me that the state of play is exactly where it was. The Chinese will not admit to the cyber-intrusions. They will not admit to stealing intellectual property.


BARTIROMO: But they are willing to buy more soybeans from the United States.


BARTIROMO: Do you think we will get a deal?

PILLSBURY: Well, as you know very well, Maria, there can be a cosmetic deal, what's been discussed the last couple of days.

There's apparently a -- in the White House statement, there is an effort to move toward a memorandum of understanding. The Chinese statement about the talks last week say the same thing.

The Chinese go a bit further. They use the word consensus, that consensus has been reached. This could be very bad news, because it could mean the Chinese are going to get away with a kind of agreement in principle to be better citizens of the world, but no enforcement, no monitoring, no punishment, and they could still play for time and try to keep the tariffs low or off entirely over the coming couple years, and hope for a new president.

This has been what Vice President Pence warned about back in October, that China doesn't want Trump to continue as president for a second term, because he's been so tough on China. This is part of his campaign promise.

So, this coming week is going to be awfully important. When the Chinese come here at the working level, Maria, we're going to try to find out, I think, what will be in this memorandum of understanding.


PILLSBURY: Will it have enforcement and time limits and be tough, shall we say, or will it be a cosmetic agreement?

BARTIROMO: And when we get that memorandum of understanding, should we trust it? I mean, do you believe...


BARTIROMO: ... that if the Chinese say, yes, we will try to move the needle on I.P. theft, we will stop the constant hacking and the intrusions that this country gets, both, by the way, on a military standpoint, as well as commercial, will they -- will they put that in the MOU, and will they actually follow through on it? Should we believe them?

PILLSBURY: Well, I think I can answer your question most tactfully by describing a couple of meetings I had over in Beijing, where I showed them Chinese translations of our government's two biggest complaints.

That's the Peter Navarro study on 50 techniques China uses for what Peter calls economic aggression. Even bigger study is Bob Lighthizer's long list of Chinese misconduct. It's over 1,000 footnotes.

The Chinese told me, in some very, very long, painful sessions, this is all false. They never do any of this. The government of China never condones this, and, therefore, they can't really negotiate about it or put it in a memorandum of understanding because they're innocent.

So, in metaphorical terms, Maria, we're dealing with someone who some claim is a bank robber, and the bank robber is saying, no, I didn't do it. I was nowhere near at the time.


Should we be worried about the fact that China is one of our most important debtors? I mean, they're buying our securities.


BARTIROMO: China and Japan hold so much treasuries.

And I mentioned earlier to Congressman Kevin McCarthy that the fastest growing item in the budget over the next decade will be just interest on that debt.


BARTIROMO: Interest payments will rise from $325 billion last year to $928 billion by 2029.

That's a trillion dollars. We're inching toward a trillion dollars for the year as these interest payments -- I mean, some people are saying it's $2 billion a day. That's what it's looking like up to 2029.

So, should we be worried that this fight is going to lead the Chinese to start selling our debt?

PILLSBURY: It's a possibility.

But I think, if you pay careful attention to the president's statements and the tweets, his book 19 years ago about all this, he doesn't want a new cold war with China.


PILLSBURY: He doesn't want to punish the Chinese economy, and certainly doesn't want to hurt our economic growth.

He sees kind of a win-win situation here, especially in terms of American companies making profits in China.


PILLSBURY: Our saving our technology supremacy, that's extremely important, Maria, our not letting China become the number one power in the world through our complacency.

BARTIROMO: Right. And...

PILLSBURY: So, he's got a lot of goals to balance.

But the fear of China selling our treasuries, I think, is exaggerated.


PILLSBURY: They really have no place else to put their money.

BARTIROMO: Well, that's exactly right. That's what the Chinese have said: We deem this as a safe investment. We don't have anywhere else to put it.


BARTIROMO: Let me ask you this. The first...

PILLSBURY: I think they're telling the truth in that case, yes.


BARTIROMO: The first $50 billion in terms of tariffs was on Chinese high- tech stuff, the areas where China wants to be number one on.

That was 25 percent in tariffs. The next $200 billion is expected to start at 10 percent, but it could go up to 25 percent.


BARTIROMO: Do you believe the president will delay the tariffs come this March 1 deadline or not, real quick?

PILLSBURY: If I were to bet, from his body language and his comments on Friday, I think he's interested in putting the tariffs at a higher level, going up to 25 percent.

He's essentially giving the Chinese one last chance next week, and then perhaps a short extension. He's giving them one last chance.

But notice how the president always refers to the tariffs as bringing in revenue...


PILLSBURY: ... billions of dollars of revenue to us.

BARTIROMO: That's right.

PILLSBURY: So he is not somebody who's anti-tariff.


PILLSBURY: He called himself tariff man. And I believe him.


BARTIROMO: He did. He does.

Michael, thank you.

PILLSBURY: And that has brought the Chinese to the table, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Yes, it sure has.

PILLSBURY: Those tariffs have brought the Chinese to the table. They work.

BARTIROMO: Michael, thank you so much, Michael Pillsbury.

PILLSBURY: Thanks, Maria.

BARTIROMO: And that will do it for "Sunday Morning Futures." Have a great Sunday, everybody.

I will see you on Fox Business this week.

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