This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," September 15, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARIA BARTIROMO, ANCHOR: Good Sunday morning, everyone. Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Maria Bartiromo.
Joining me exclusively straight ahead right here on "Sunday Morning Futures," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is here on the Trump administration blaming Iran for yesterday's attacks on the world's largest oil facility in Saudi Arabia.
The ambush already rattling global markets this morning, raising questions about how it could impact the price of gasoline and how the U.S. should respond -- also, the Republican leader on what comes next now that Attorney General William Barr has a draft of the Justice Department's I.G. report into the origins of the Russia probe.
And will Speaker Nancy Pelosi ever bring USMCA to the House floor for a vote? All that coming up.
Plus, we will hear from Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan this morning on progress being made to address the crisis at the southern border. And how safe is the homeland today, 18 years after the attacks of 9/11?
Plus, we will hear from two influential lawmakers on the left and the right. Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin is here and Republican Senator Mark Sanford. Where can lawmakers and the administration find common ground on issues like gun reform, immigration and government spending?
All that and a lot more right here, right now on "Sunday Morning Futures."
And we begin this morning with the White House blaming Iran for yesterday's fiery attack on the world's largest oil facility in Saudi Arabia. The strikes reportedly forcing the kingdom to cut its daily oil output by nearly half.
The Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen took responsibility for it. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is pointing the finger squarely at Iran.
He tweeted this: "Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia, while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen," writes the secretary.
Democratic Senator from Connecticut Chris Murphy pushed back on that, tweeting this: "This is such irresponsible simplification, and how we get into dumb wars of choice. The Saudis and the Houthis are at war. The Saudis attack the Houthis, and the Houthis attack back. Iran is backing the Houthis and has been a bad actor, but it's just not as simple as Houthis equal Iran."
Meanwhile, Senator Lindsey Graham calling for a military response. He said this yesterday in a tweet: "It is now time for the U.S. to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations or increase nuclear enrichment."
Joining me right now is the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, great to see you.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, R-CALIF.: Well, thanks for having me back on.
BARTIROMO: Thank you so much for joining us.
Your reaction to what took place yesterday?
MCCARTHY: Well, to me, it's again what Iran is doing.
Why would a Democrat senator -- this is the same country that shot down one of our unmanned drones. This is the same country that put bombs on tankers. This is the same country that has attacked Saudi Arabia more than 100 times.
I think we need a united front here. I think the way the Trump administration has handled this has been tremendous. What he has done by making sure we're not at war, moving military units over there to make sure to give a very clear message to Iran of what they should and shouldn't be doing.
But, at the same time, Iran's trying to claim they're at the table negotiating? No, they are the bad actors. They are the funder of terrorists around the world. We never should have got into the agreement in the first place. And they're trying to disrupt the price of oil to try to change the price.
Thank God that America changed the course a decade ago, that now we are -- and the Republican majority Congress lifted our ability to export. We export to more than 30 countries.
MCCARTHY: Saudi Arabia is going to have to shut down about 5.7 million barrels per day. It's going to -- they're going to have to evaluate this. It will fluctuate the price of oil, but I don't think long term it will affect it, simply because America is stronger in energy production.
BARTIROMO: But what about Lindsey Graham's tweet that we should put on the table a military response? How should the U.S. react?
MCCARTHY: Look, I think, at any given time, our military is prepared.
But I think we need to have all the facts. But, also, we have got to find what is -- what Iran is doing today. And we have got to be strong with Iran. But I don't think we shoot directly to military.
I think that the answer that the president gave last time when they shot down our drone -- drone was appropriate in the response.
BARTIROMO: OK. So you're -- you're not encouraging any military response here, then?
MCCARTHY: I don't think -- I don't think it weighs a military response at this moment. But we are prepared if Iran goes further.
BARTIROMO: If it was Iran behind all of this, why wouldn't they take responsibility?
MCCARTHY: Because that's the way Iran plays.
They -- why do they go down and the Houthis? Who do they go and fund in every country around in the Persian Gulf? This is what they did with those billions of dollars the Obama administration provided to them.
They didn't become more democratic. They didn't join the Western world. They funded terrorism around, because that's their play and that's what they want to accomplish.
BARTIROMO: How significant is this? I mean, two major Saudi oil installations, they actually cut their output almost in half.
MCCARTHY: They have. They sent 10 drones over there. It's the action that they have done before. They use drones. They hit a pipeline earlier this year. They used their speedboats to go on to tankers, and disrupt the tankers by putting bombs on them.
They have been trying to push the world into war. I think the world needs to unite, isolate Iran, and get them back to the table to make sure they have a different negotiation. And this is why the president, Trump, is 100 percent correct why that agreement was so poor.
Iran can never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. What would they do with it if they're doing this? If they had more powerful weapons, what would we be talking about this morning? And there would be no question we would be at war.
BARTIROMO: Is the rest of the world with us on this? I mean, does the president and the Congress need to ensure that others recognize what Iran is doing?
MCCARTHY: I think the difficulty here is, when you get a response like the Democratic senator there, it makes the world question, is the United States united?
I think, when you're an elected official, we should speak with one voice, especially when there's an attack on another country such as -- especially when it's Iran coming to the table. Put politics aside of what you think of this president, but stand united in our agreement of going against what Iran has been doing and causing terrorism around the world.
BARTIROMO: Tell me -- let me switch gears and ask you about your priorities.
BARTIROMO: You just came from your membership meeting.
BARTIROMO: The president spoke there, the vice president. You had Secretary Pompeo as well.
BARTIROMO: Tell me how that went and what the priorities are right now for the Republican Party.
MCCARTHY: It was a tremendous success, the president again highlighting what we have accomplished and what we need to accomplish.
On the short term, we have just been on a six-week break. We came back from that summer break. I want to -- I don't think we ever should have had. But USMCA, we should be passing that right now. It was delayed. It should have been passed before we departed.
Here we are. It would guarantee at a minimum 180,000 more jobs. Our GDP would go up. And while we're sitting here negotiating with an agreement with China, wouldn't it be nicer to have America stronger?
And you know what took place last month? China was no longer our number one country to trade with. Mexico became number one. Canada became number two. The more -- the stronger we are, the better agreement we will have with China.
But it comes down to one person. Speaker Pelosi has the power when to bring this treaty up.
BARTIROMO: Why won't she bring it to the floor?
MCCARTHY: I'm not quite sure yet, because it will pass. There's support on all sides. Tell me who's opposing it.
And she continues to drag this forward, which only makes America weaker. We need to be strong at this moment. And I think maybe it comes to the fact that maybe she is more concerned about tearing the president down, instead of building America up. That's what concerns me.
BARTIROMO: We talked last week that the trade with Canada and Mexico is $1.1 trillion. The trade with China is $500 billion.
BARTIROMO: So, obviously, this is very important, not just for a trade deal, but for the economy, with that kind of number in terms of trade with Canada and Mexico. And you have got the Canadian elections coming up.
Do you expect that this is going to happen within the next two months?
MCCARTHY: Mexico has already ratified it. Canada is waiting for us to act at any moment. We should pass this, this month.
What did we accomplish this next -- this last week back? The Democrats don't even know what's happening in their own committee. They have this imaginary impeachment. The majority leader didn't know if that's what it's called. The speaker denies to even asking -- answer a question about it in her press conference.
That's what was accomplished last week? There's not one thing that you could point to that this new Democrat majority has found a problem and made a solution to. They can -- there was a poll recently done just with Democrats. Democrats can name the investigations, but they can't name any legislation that the Democrats actually passed.
The Democratic debate last week, this past week, did you watch it?
MCCARTHY: I did watch it, after the president's talk, yes.
BARTIROMO: There was no mention at all of the economy, which I found stunning, because so many of them are talking about a recession on the horizon.
So what are they doing to push back on recessionary climate here? And there was no mention of it.
MCCARTHY: No talk of economy, no talk of impeachment.
This economy is our strongest economy in the last 50 years. And I think one reason they didn't talk about it, because they haven't done anything to achieve it. You remember, when we passed that tax reform, not one Democrat voted for it.
When the administration brought you commonsense regulations, they fought back on it. Here's an economy -- and just take a few -- few data about it. In the last 13 months, the hourly wage has gone up more than 3 percent. You look at women's participation rate from the age of 25 to 54, it's 76.3 percent, the greatest it has been since 2002.
And this is reaching everybody in America.
MCCARTHY: It doesn't matter your gender, your race. Everybody has the best economy they ever had.
BARTIROMO: Right. Well, the unemployment rate is at a 51-year low.
So you're saying, because things are so good, they don't want to touch it.
MCCARTHY: They don't want to touch it, because they didn't have anything to do with it to start out with.
But listen to a Democratic debate. This is not the same Democratic Party we found in the past. This has become a socialist Democratic Party. This is what the new AOC, Tlaib and others call themselves.
But what's unique about it is, in their own Democrat debate in the Democratic primary, you have got the number two person there have to explain how their socialism is different than Venezuela.
MCCARTHY: And what did he -- what did Bernie Sanders recently say? Free health care for anyone illegal, free education.
Does citizenship matter anymore in the Democratic Party? Even Eric Holder, who is far to the left, is now saying the Democrats have gone too far.
BARTIROMO: Is the Squad the face of the Democratic Party?
I mean, tell me about that. Is it just this push from the progressive that's doing this? Because I know even Jerry Nadler right now is facing a primary challenger.
MCCARTHY: Not just Jerry Nadler, the number two, the chairman of Ways and Means, the chairman of Appropriations.
And they're all facing a primary from the socialist Democratic wing, that of AOC, who was successful last time. This is not a family fight. This is a war for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. And what is happening, they're winning.
Nancy Pelosi has the title of speaker. She just no longer has the power. They run the floor. Think for one moment. Have you ever heard of a Democratic running for president afraid to go to the AIPAC conference, which this new Squad was able to prepare?
That they wouldn't even go on a trip to Israel to learn about the Middle East or meet with anyone from the Israeli government when they wanted to.
BARTIROMO: So what are you going to do on the other side fighting the real progressives, in terms of getting your voice heard, in terms of getting the Republican Party policies out there?
MCCARTHY: You have to be clear in the contrasts.
I mean, think for one moment. In this Democratic debate, you know what you also heard? They want to guarantee an income for people who can work, but are just unwilling. It goes against the heart and soul of what America believes in.
BARTIROMO: So you don't think America is going to vote for this, then?
I mean, what if Elizabeth Warren is the candidate vs. President Trump?
MCCARTHY: What if? I think the biggest possibility today is that Elizabeth Warren is going to become...
BARTIROMO: You think so? You don't think Biden is the guy?
MCCARTHY: No, I think -- I think the party has passed Biden by. He's a very nice man. I just don't believe he's up to the job at this moment in time.
I think his -- I think he should have ran four years ago. But I think he - - he's run two times before and failed. I don't know why it's going to change this outcome.
BARTIROMO: So, what if that is...
MCCARTHY: If you look at the movement...
BARTIROMO: Is that going to be the ticket, Elizabeth Warren vs. Donald Trump?
MCCARTHY: I think that would be.
And it will be very clear. It'll be socialism vs. freedom. It'll be about immigration, who wants to secure the border, and who believes citizenship doesn't matter anymore.
MCCARTHY: It'll be about health care. Do you want Medicare for all that will take away 170 million Americans' current health care that they have in the private section?
It'll be about the environment. It will be very clear. Do you want to take straws away or do you want to do something about the ocean?
MCCARTHY: Do you realize that 90 percent of all the plastic that goes into the ocean just comes from 10 rivers? They're not in America.
But you will find the Republicans are introducing legislation. Take our foreign aid, focus on those, and literally do something about the ocean.
BARTIROMO: So, are you -- are the Republicans going to be more vocal about the environment then?
MCCARTHY: Yes, we are. We have legislation...
BARTIROMO: When? I'm not hearing it.
MCCARTHY: You know, in our retreat, we had a great breakout session on this.
Dan Crenshaw has a bill. There is a company that can extract CO2 from the air. They're building it on a large scale down in Texas. Bill Gates has invested, Oxy, Chevron.
MCCARTHY: Why wouldn't we enhance any company that wants to extract CO2 from the air?
BARTIROMO: No, this is very important, what you're talking about.
MCCARTHY: Every scientist will tell you, more trees being planted is good for the environment.
Why don't we plant a trillion trees? It's a big number. But, you know, Ethiopia, what they just did about a month ago?
MCCARTHY: They planted more than 300 million trees in 12 hours.
BARTIROMO: Oh, my God. Wow.
MCCARTHY: We can do better.
BARTIROMO: Leader McCarthy, stay with us.
We are going to take a short break.
When we come back, we will get Leader McCarthy's thoughts on the Republican victory in North Carolina's special election, what that may mean for 2020, as well as a draft of the DOJ I.G. report on the Russia probe now being in the hands of Attorney General William Barr.
Also ahead, my exclusive interview with acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan on the situation at the border and his mission to protect our country, as we remember the terrorist attacks of 9/11 18 years ago.
Follow me on Twitter @MariaBartiromo, @SundayFutures, on Instagram as well.
We will be right back. Stay with us.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back.
We are back with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
And, Leader McCarthy, I want to get your reaction to a draft of the Department of Justice inspector general report on the Russia probe now being in the hands of Attorney General William Barr.
It looks like we're actually going to get to the bottom of the Russia probe. A lot of people don't realize, you were among the leaders out there making sure that people understood what took place. And you exposed the fraud, just the way Congressman Nunes did and John Ratcliffe. Congressman Ratcliffe has been on this program a lot.
What should we expect?
MCCARTHY: Well, I can't think Devin and John Ratcliffe and Jim Jordan the others enough for how much they have done on this, because what we were finding -- remember, we had to pull this information out.
There were people at the highest levels from the government that were causing this problem, but were not allowing. We came the closest ever to this country having a coup. And now we need accountability.
I respect this attorney general so greatly at the way he has handled this. He believes in accountability, but, more importantly, he believes in the rule of law.
BARTIROMO: Are we going to see accountability, though, really?
BARTIROMO: I mean, yes, Andrew McCabe, they are recommending charging an indictment here. We will be seen an indictment?
MCCARTHY: We will see an indictment. And remember what we're talking about here. Here's the number two with the FBI who was going after individuals, trying to prosecute them, believing that they have lied, when he's lying himself.
When law enforcement doesn't uphold the law, when it tries to put their thumb on the scale, that, to me, is where we really have to stand for accountability.
BARTIROMO: So far, anything about Jim Comey, he's getting off.
I mean, people want to know...
MCCARTHY: In the end, I do not believe Jim Comey will get off. America sees that the president was correct about firing this individual.
How -- how worse would it have been if this man was still in his job today, what he was doing and what he was saying? What's even worse is, the Democratic Party wants McCabe to come to a fund-raiser. That's absurd.
A lot of people point to the CIA being one of the masterminds, John Brennan. Are we going to see John Brennan come back and answer some questions?
MCCARTHY: Anyone that has had any association with trying to create this coup should be held accountable, I believe.
Just had a conversation with Lindsey Graham. I know he will bring individuals back into his committee. And I know we will not stop. And I give all trust within this Attorney General Barr that he is doing what is right and will uphold it.
MCCARTHY: He will take it wherever it...
MCCARTHY: ... wherever the evidence and facts lead him.
BARTIROMO: You said this is the closest thing to a coup. That's unbelievable.
Both sides of the aisle should be outraged by that.
MCCARTHY: Just go back to what the text said.
During the campaign, when they were concerned that President Trump could may -- at the time candidate -- could win: Don't worry. We have an insurance policy.
And now we're finding all that insurance policy out. Those people should be held accountable, because no one...
MCCARTHY: ... who ever runs for president should have to go through that again.
BARTIROMO: Real quick, you had a special election. You had Republicans...
MCCARTHY: We had special elections in North Carolina.
MCCARTHY: This is where Democrats should be concerned.
This only takes 19 seats to win a majority for Republicans; 31 Democrats sit in seats that Donald Trump won. This seat Donald Trump won, but we won it in 2018 by only 900 votes. We just want it by 4,000. We improved by 2 percent. Just a 2 percent growth gives us 13 more seats.
And we need six more to go.
BARTIROMO: So should we look at this as something -- as telling going into 2020?
I mean, we have been talking a lot about a lot of retirements in the Republican Party. Can you win back the House?
MCCARTHY: Oh, we definitely can win back the House. I'm not concerned about the retirements.
Every person who's retired has been there maybe 42 years, 20 years. It's new blood. This is about a revolution, not a retirement. These are people who are coming forward. They want to make America stronger.
This is a party that's more united around this president than any other one that we have had. And what the Democrats should be concerned about, when you look how we won this race, Democrats voting for Republicans. Why? Because the Democrats now have a record.
They were afraid that Nancy Pelosi was too far left. She's now a moderate. It's AOC and others. It's a new socialist Democratic Party. This is not the Democratic Party of old. This is a socialist Democratic Party.
And it was a scary time for those Democrats in North Carolina, and they decided to vote a different way.
BARTIROMO: Wow. Really important interview today, Congressman. Good to see you.
MCCARTHY: Good to see you. Thank you.
BARTIROMO: Thank you so much, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader.
Up next, acting Homeland Security Chief Kevin McAleenan is here, giving us an update on the situation along our southern border. Have Mexico and Guatemala helped stem the flow of migrants from Central America? What is the status of the wall?
The acting secretary has new information this morning on where progress is being made on that front, also the secretary on keeping the homeland safe 18 years after 9/11.
We will be right back.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back.
Two border agents involved in a deadly shoot-out along the southern border in Texas. U.S. Customs and Border Protection says that the agents pulled over a vehicle Friday night in Brackettville, west of San Antonio, when a person inside opened fire, wounding one agent. The second agent returned fire, killing the shooter.
The incident highlights the dangers Border Patrol agents face every day. And it comes as a showdown looms on Capitol Hill over President Trump's border demands. Top Democrats are announcing that they will force another vote in the House and Senate, in an attempt to terminate the national emergency that the president declared. He declared that to get the funding for the border wall.
Joining me right now is acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan.
And, Secretary McAleenan, it's good to see you this morning. Thanks so much for joining us.
KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Good to see you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: Let's first get a status check after -- after a lot of pushback from the Democrats in terms of money for the border wall, in terms of the funding.
How would you characterize funding right now? Are you facing any funding shortfalls that would mean canceling any projects?
MCALEENAN: So, first, let me just acknowledge your point about the dangers our agents are facing out there on the border. We're very glad our agents came out of that encounter OK, with their training, with their effective response.
But it does highlight this dual nature of what we face at the border, the border security and humanitarian aspects of what we have been working to counter all year long.
But in terms of the funding, I would -- I would highlight two different areas. One, we have asked for significant investments in border security. The president's asked for additional border wall from his first day in office. We have received some funding, and not the full amount that we have asked for from Congress.
That appropriated funding is already being directed to build wall. But then he declared a national emergency to access additional Department of Defense funding, counterdrug funding, as well as military construction funding, that we're now deploying to fund additional wall projects, and including key areas of the border, where we need to replace wall that's not effective at all, and put new wall there, and also extend our coverage of the border.
So with the president's commitment, we're going to have 450-plus miles of wall done by the end of 2020. And we're really ramping up the pace of construction right now.
BARTIROMO: Four hundred and fifty miles by the end of 2020.
You're also arresting human smugglers. You are seeing the numbers go down in terms of those people in custody. This is the first time you're talking publicly first Sunday that you're talking since releasing the August data.
MCALEENAN: That's right.
BARTIROMO: Give us some of that data in terms of where we are.
MCALEENAN: Yes, what we saw on Monday with our release is, a third month of significant progress on the border, the third month in a row of more than a 20 percent decrease in the flow of people crossing unlawfully or presenting at ports of entry without documents.
That's a 56 percent decline since our peak in May. And that's driven by two factors. First, you got to disrupt the flow. And we have done that with our international partnerships. The government of Mexico has stepped up. They have placed 25,000 National Guard on their southern border, on the transportation routes.
And we have agreements with Central America, starting with Guatemala, as well as El Salvador and Honduras, where we're targeting human smugglers. They have more prosecutions ongoing right now of human smugglers, arrests they have made in the last several months than at any time of the history of the entire region.
And that's based on our leadership engaging Central America, engaging Mexico to focus on this as a shared problem that we need a joint response to. And we're seeing the impact of that in the reduction of the flow.
BARTIROMO: You also saw a Supreme Court ruling this week on asylum.
Give us your sense in terms of the impact. It's being called a game- changer.
MCALEENAN: Yes, that's the other side of the coin.
In addition to the disruption with our international partnerships, it's the efforts we're taking using existing law in the books. Since we can't get Congress to help fundamentally change the immigration law to strengthen the system, the framework, we're using the existing law on the books in innovative ways to place additional layers where we can have integrity in that process and repatriate people that don't have a valid claim to stay in the United States.
So this recent Supreme Court ruling will give us another tool to address the asylum problem and the weaknesses in our asylum system that have been inviting this flow over time. So it's another thing we're going to put in place in the coming weeks and months to ensure that we don't have to release people that don't have a valid claim, and we can repatriate them effectively.
BARTIROMO: Mr. Secretary, talk a bit about what's in the law today in terms of immigration for this country, because the president's skeptics -- and certainly on that Democrat stage this past week, the Democrats like to talk about the president's push on illegal migrants coming into this country, as if that's the policy.
But you have a policy where we let in how many people on a regular basis every year?
MCALEENAN: Yes, there's a whole focus on just one side of our efforts at the Department of Homeland Security.
We also -- our Citizenship and Immigration Services bureau has naturalized more people last year than any year in our history, over a million people that went through the lawful process and had a valid right to remain in the U.S.
So it's -- it's a huge part of our effort as a department to both ensure that that lawful immigration system is functioning effectively and we are properly -- properly processing people applying for citizenship.
But, of course, we have to have that security element and ensure people that are trying to come unlawfully are not allowed to stay.
MCALEENAN: I would also like to emphasize, Maria, that we're still -- we remain the most generous nation in the world in terms of processing both refugee and asylum applications. And we're going to continue to do that work as well.
I mean, if we're letting in a million or 1.2 million every year, the illegals that we're talking about are jumping the line, right? So the people who waited to get their citizenship, their naturalization through the green card process, et cetera, they have waited and done it the legal way.
You have got the illegals just getting in the front of the line to just try to get it first.
MCALEENAN: That's exactly right.
And that's why these measures, including the Supreme Court ruling on the asylum rule, are so important, because it allows us to combat that unlawful entry and repatriate people that are trying to jump the line and give us more resources and space to focus on those who are following the rules.
Secretary, I want to take a short break.
When we come back, I have got to ask you how safe we are 18 years after 9/11.
This exclusive interview with the acting DHS chief continues, Kevin McAleenan, including his mission to keep the country safe 18 years after 9/11.
Also ahead, Senator Marsha Blackburn is here, along with Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, on the attacks in Saudi Arabia.
Back in a moment.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back.
We are back with acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan.
And, Secretary, I want to ask you and get your thoughts on this drone attack in Saudi Arabia. I mean, this is the world's single most important piece of oil infrastructure, and it was destroyed with a drone attack.
How worried should we be in the U.S. that a drone attack could take out important facilities here or fatalities?
MCALEENAN: Well, first of all, it was a very serious attack.
And the Department of State and Department of Defense will be working with our partners in the government of Saudi Arabia on appropriate defensive measures and responses.
On the U.S. side, we don't have a hostile actor like the Houthis that are supported by the Iranian government with that kind of capability with any range toward the United States.
That said, drones or unmanned aerial systems do present a homeland security concern. We got new authority last year from Congress to both do a research and development and start to put countermeasures in across our various missions, whether it's the Secret Service, whether it's CBP on the border, or TSA protecting our airports and aviation infrastructure.
So it's a key issue that we're getting better at right now.
And, in fact, the Department of Homeland Security was created after the horrific attacks of September 11. This week, we acknowledged 18 years ago this happened.
I have this picture that I took. I took this picture of what the North and South Towers look like today, after the horrific attack, the worst attack on our country, where 2,977 people lost their lives.
This is the scene today 18 years later. That's the North and South Tower, which are now pools.
What can you tell us about the homeland 18 years later?
MCALEENAN: Well, we have come a long way in securing the homeland.
I was honored to be there on September 11 last week at the memorial. And that's -- that view you took is actually very similar to the view from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the FEMA offices in the Freedom Tower.
For CBP, they came back to Lower Manhattan two years ago for the first time after the 9/11 attacks. And that commitment, people that were there on 9/11 -- we had people working in that tower that were there on the '93 attacks as well -- shows that will and commitment to protect the country that is sustained.
But our strategy going forward is to continue to invest in those areas that have helped us prevent a significant attack from international terrorists trying to access the United States. That's been DHS' mission and focus in terms of our operation authorities on the international side.
But we also want to empower communities, state and local law enforcement to prevent mass attacks and targeted violence here in the U.S., as we have seen that becoming an increasing concern.
BARTIROMO: So what are you doing going forward? Are you coming out with a new package, new tools in terms of upping the security of America?
MCALEENAN: We are.
We're going to be issuing a new counterterrorism strategy that, again, reinvests in those things that are so effective, the CBP National Targeting Center that identifies and prevents terrorist threats from approaching the United States, TSA technology that keeps our aviation system safe, but also recognizing that DHS has a critical role in training, the awareness, the vulnerability assessments, the active shooter trainings, and supporting local communities on identifying individuals that might be on a pathway to violence, and helping create off-ramps, helping interdict that before it becomes an attack.
MCALEENAN: So we're not only worried about the big Al Qaeda- or ISIS- sponsored type of attack...
MCALEENAN: ... but also trying to help communities prevent the mass attacks and targeted violence that happens domestically as well.
BARTIROMO: Secretary, thank you. Thanks for your work. And we appreciate you joining us this morning.
MCALEENAN: Thanks so much, Maria. You have a good day.
BARTIROMO: And to you, Secretary McAleenan there.
We just heard from the acting DHS secretary on the situation at the border.
My next guest has introduced new legislation to combat asylum fraud and protect migrant children from human trafficking.
Joining us right now is Republican Senator from Tennessee Marsha Blackburn. She sits on the Armed Services, Judiciary and the Veterans Affairs committees.
Senator, it's always a pleasure to see you. Thanks very much for joining me this morning.
SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN, R-TENN.: Good to see you. Thank you.
BARTIROMO: What can you tell us?
You just heard from Kevin McAleenan. Tell us about the -- this new legislation you're trying to push forward.
BLACKBURN: Yes, what we're doing is requiring DNA tests for individuals who come to the border with a child and do not have proper documentation to show that that is their child.
You know, Maria, we have had a problem with this child recycling program or rent-a-child program. And this is aimed at keeping those children safe.
And what we have learned from Kevin McAleenan and the Border Patrol is, sometimes, if they have doubt, if they ask someone to take a DNA test, what they will say is, no, this is not my child.
So this will give us that confirmation that they are related, and have that relationship with the child and can move forward with their asylum process. The test takes 90 minutes. They get the result. And then, if someone needs to be deported, they're immediately deported.
If they need to face a criminal charge, they will face that charge.
BARTIROMO: Where are they deported to? I mean, you just heard Kevin McAleenan say that the number of human smugglers, arrests are going up.
I'm wondering if this is part of that, because the arrests have gone up in that regard. And this renting of the children is so outrageous to me. I think someone told me that someone rented their child at for, like, $80 or something.
I mean, do you have any sense of how this program works? And is this going on today?
BLACKBURN: What we know is that the cartels are involved in all of this trafficking of human beings and drugs.
And we know that we have to secure the border because of that. And then, when you look at the smugglers and the traffickers that are coming over, and these children are being placed into sex trafficking, labor gangs, MS- 13 gangs.
BLACKBURN: This is a way for us to make certain that those children are properly taken care of, and that these traffickers are prosecuted.
So, as they catch more of these smugglers, then this is a way to deport them back to their home country or to prosecute those that need to face prosecution.
BARTIROMO: So, do they go always to whatever country they were coming from?
And, by the way, we're showing video right now when I went to the border. And I was stunned at the number of children that were either alone or with people.
BARTIROMO: It was clear to me that they were using children as a way to have access.
BLACKBURN: That is right.
And then the treatment of these children by the coyotes as they're coming forward, Maria, every girl who is 12 years old and above gets a pregnancy test. It is heartbreaking. It is heartbreaking when the caseworkers will say, we can't ask someone taking a child if they are in the country legally or illegally.
So this DNA tests that will take 90 minutes will help us to root out these smugglers and also to protect these children.
You know, it is -- there's also, though, work that Congress has to do in terms of finishing off legislation for the border. Do you expect to get this done, or are you still facing pushback from your colleagues on the left?
BLACKBURN: One of the things that is beginning to happen -- and you're seeing this as the Democrats have their debates -- the American people are saying, you have to secure this border, because, until you do, every town is a border town, every state is a border state.
The problem of fentanyl and heroin and drugs in our communities.
BLACKBURN: The problem of the sex trafficking.
Today, more than ever, you have more people in slavery...
BLACKBURN: ... than ever in the world's history.
And women are very concerned about this issue.
BLACKBURN: And they're pushing for something to be done.
BARTIROMO: Senator, stay with us. I want to take a short break.
But I have got to ask you about the Department of Justice inspector general report.
BARTIROMO: It has turned in a preliminary version of the long-awaited report on alleged FISA abuse in the Russia probe.
Senator Blackburn, you're on the Judiciary Committee.
We're going to ask her about the evidence that she has seen and what she expects from that finished report.
Stay with us. Back in a moment.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back.
I am back with Senator Marsha Blackburn, who sits on the Judiciary Committee.
Attorney General Barr has a draft of the Justice Department's I.G. report on the Russia probe. And we have been talking about this now for two years.
What should we expect, Senator?
BLACKBURN: What we're going to find out is who did what and when they did it.
I'm looking forward to the inspector general's report. And I appreciate that he has taken his time to properly prepare the report. And I appreciate the job that Bill Barr is doing.
I got to tell you, Maria, I really do believe that they are doing this right. They're being very careful, meticulous. They know, as they bring the report forward, and then if there are indictments that are going to be issued, that it's got to be rock-solid, ironclad.
BARTIROMO: Yes. Well, Kevin McCarthy...
BLACKBURN: And they're going to get it right.
BARTIROMO: ... the minority leader, was just on the program, and he called it the closest we have ever seen to a coup, a coup, to take over the country.
Are we going to see accountability? So far, it looks like Jim Comey is getting off.
BLACKBURN: You will see accountability.
And we at the Judiciary Committee are looking forward. And when I talked to Tennesseans, like I was Friday, when I was out around the state, they say, we want to know who did this.
BLACKBURN: And here's the reason why, Maria. They are sick and tired of having federal agencies, whether it's the EPA, the IRS, the Corps of Engineers, tell them what they can and cannot do.
And law-abiding citizens say, look, the government ought to be there to help this country...
BLACKBURN: ... be a better country, and not to pick on certain people in certain areas. And they are sick of this.
BARTIROMO: Yes, when they have the power to do so.
Senator, it's good to see you.
BLACKBURN: That's right.
BARTIROMO: Thanks so much.
BLACKBURN: Good to see you. Thank you.
BARTIROMO: We will see you soon.
The Trump administration reassuring Saudi Arabia it is standing by the kingdom to support stability in the region after yesterday's attacks on a major oil field there. Iran is now heading back at Secretary Pompeo for blaming Tehran for these attacks.
This comes as the White House confirms the death of Osama bin Laden's son Hamza in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in Afghanistan, the Pakistan region. Hamza bin Laden was considered an emerging leader for Al Qaeda.
Joining me right now is Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin. She is a Democrat from Michigan. She's a former CIA analyst and senior Pentagon official who sits on the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees. She also co-chairs the House Cybersecurity Subcommittee.
Congresswoman, it is great to have you on the program this morning.
REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): Thank for having me.
BARTIROMO: You are an expert in this field.
You did three tours in Iraq yourself. What is your reaction to what took place in Saudi Arabia?
SLOTKIN: Well, I mean, for me, I was a militia analyst in particular.
So I traveled around Iraq, looking at the connection between the Iranian government and the Shia militias that were firing at U.S. forces and plotting against our bases. So I have seen the playbook before.
And Iran provides materiel, training advice, counsel on how these groups around the Middle East can improve their capabilities. I have no special knowledge on who is responsible for the attacks, but I would not be shocked if it was,you know, a local group, a Houthi group that was enabled and supported by Iranian training and leadership.
BARTIROMO: OK, so that's what Secretary Pompeo said: Make no mistake, this is -- this has Iran's fingerprints all over it.
You're saying, it doesn't necessarily have to be the leadership of Iran. They're just supporting local Houthi rebels.
I mean, if you -- listen, we have a problem with Iran in the way that they tend to sow chaos around the region. This is their playbook. And I think they -- this is what we're going to see more and more, I fear, in warfare, is just this lack of accountability, Iran saying: It's not us. It's not us.
But, truthfully, in the intelligence, my guess, my assessment is, it's probably something different.
BARTIROMO: This is disabling the world's single most important piece of oil infrastructure.
We're expecting oil prices to skyrocket tomorrow morning, when the global markets open for trading. Should the America be worried that this output is being shut off? The Saudis had to stop half of their output.
SLOTKIN: I started studying to be a Middle East analyst a long time ago.
And when I started, it was like, if Saudi oil gets hit, we have a serious problem. What we have done in the United States to increase our own output has created a totally different strategic situation. So we will watch. I don't think the markets will go crazy.
BARTIROMO: Yes. Yes.
SLOTKIN: And the United States now has a lever to pull if we want to help stabilize prices.
BARTIROMO: That's a very good point.
BARTIROMO: Congresswoman, stay with me, Elissa Slotkin.
We will be right back. Stay with us.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back.
And we're back with Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin.
Let me ask the congresswoman about USMCA.
Have you gotten any sense from Nancy Pelosi? Is she going to bring it to the floor?
I mean, I think we have had amazing numbers of meetings on this, both with Speaker Pelosi, but also with the negotiator, Ambassador Lighthizer. He's been great from the administration's side.
I have seen a lot of negotiations. This one is solvable. But what we need to make sure is that NAFTA 2.0 is better than NAFTA 1.0, especially coming from Michigan, so, enforcement, making sure that if the Canadians are the Mexicans violate, don't live up to the agreement, there's actually strong enforcement.
And then we need the labor standards in Mexico to come up, because, otherwise, we're going to see jobs continue to move from Michigan down to Mexico. That doesn't work for my state.
BARTIROMO: There is a measure in this USMCA that requires any U.S. worker to make $16 an hour.
SLOTKIN: So, there's the right language in there, but it's enforcement.
SLOTKIN: So what happens if that doesn't happen?
We can't kind of tiptoe around it.
BARTIROMO: If you get that enforcement in there, will you vote yes?
SLOTKIN: If I get enforcement and better labor standards, and it's not in some side agreement, it's in the base agreement, so I can believe it and my voters believe it, then I would sign it.
BARTIROMO: Why -- why aren't we hearing this from the Democratic candidates? How are you dealing with this constant push by the progressives to be all the way to the left?
You're from Michigan. I know this is a working town. You have constituents who want to see both sides get together and get something done.
I mean, for me, especially from the district I'm from, I have a mandate to work across the aisle. People are just sick of the vitriol, of this tone and the tenor of politics.
And I -- we had the debates, the Democratic debates in Michigan. They came to Detroit. And I wrote an op-ed. And I said, hey, if you're interested in looking at what happens in Michigan, we got to hear your plan for the future of work, right?
BARTIROMO: Good for you.
SLOTKIN: The economic vision, affirmative plan. You got to be practical, right? Michiganders are a practical people.
SLOTKIN: We like to get things done, because that's what we have to do every single day.
And then you got to be civil and have decency, right?
SLOTKIN: We have got to be able to disagree respectfully.
If you do those things, I think that's a ways forward down the road to winning Michigan.
BARTIROMO: I love the fact that you said your dad is a Democrat and your mom...
SLOTKIN: The opposite.
SLOTKIN: My dad is a Republican. My mom, who's passed away, was a -- my dad was a Republican. My mom is a -- was a Democrat.
We always got along in Michigan. In Michigan, we fight over sports.
SLOTKIN: We don't fight over politics in the past.
BARTIROMO: I like that.
SLOTKIN: But now it's become so polarized, it's -- you know, it's tough.
BARTIROMO: And I know you're working on prescription drugs.
SLOTKIN: Prescription drug pricing.
SLOTKIN: I mean, that's what people pull me over in the grocery store about.
SLOTKIN: And moms who say: My son is rationing his insulin.
BARTIROMO: Yes. Well, this is a big issue.
It is great to have you this morning.
SLOTKIN: Thank you so much.
BARTIROMO: Thank you so much, Congresswoman Slotkin.
That will do it for us, "Sunday Morning Futures." Have a great day, everybody. I'm Maria Bartiromo.
I will see you tomorrow on FOX Business.
Content and Programming Copyright 2019 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.