This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 1, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, thank you, Shepard.
These developments in Caracas, Venezuela, are not helping our markets any, growing instability there, as you have two men vying to be the duly seen president of that country.
Now we're getting reports that Nicolas Maduro just 24 hours ago was ready to board a plane and get the heck out of the country, and that he was going to allow the man who everyone seems to think is the legitimately elected, constitutionally recognized president of that country, Juan Guaido, assume power.
Then the Russians essentially said, no, do not get on that plane. Stay in the presidential palace. You're not going anywhere.
And that disrupted what some thought would be a peaceful transfer of power at a time when a country that is mired in inflation and looking at historic poverty could not get out of its own way.
So, what's happening right now is the clash as much against protesters and security, as much as security against each other. There are generals in that country who are very closely aligned to Nicolas Maduro, the president, who is keeping them happy, protecting them, providing food and medicine, something the population of Venezuela sees very little of.
But the problem is that lower-ranking soldiers don't have the access to the same benefits that their commanders do. And they're the ones who have sworn that they will not fire on their own people.
Now, why does this matter to you? Because the Russians are involved. We're told that China indirectly is involved and the Cubans are involved. The White House watching all of this quite closely, because there are building fears here that, unless we orchestrate, let's say, a blockade of Cuba or tougher sanctions on Cuba to prevent this sort of thing, this kind of thing will get only worse.
Also keep in mind that the forces that aren't supporting the generals, and by extension Nicolas Maduro, are the same forces that I mentioned earlier that are not intending on leaving that country and still stirring up a crisis in that country.
You might remember yesterday we talked to Florida Senator Rick Scott, who said maybe American troops have to get involved. Others aren't so sure of that, saying it would be an unwise move without help in the region, including from countries like Brazil and neighboring Colombia.
Again, easier said than done, but this has all escalated within the last hour amid signs, we are told, that Nicolas Maduro isn't going anywhere and has communicated to his generals that he expects loyalty from them. Most have stayed very loyal to him.
There are also separate reports coming out of the Venezuelan press, what we get of it, and, again, get relying on English interpretations of this, that assurances have been made to those generals that even at this late stage, if they switch sides, they will not be punished.
But the issue now becomes they're very suspicious of any agreement that would have them going to Guaido. So here we are stuck in the middle of quite literally a revolution and what to do about it.
House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows joins us right now.
Congressman, to call it a mess is an understatement, but what do we do?
REP. MARK MEADOWS, R-N.C.: Well, it is a mess.
And, obviously, Secretary Pompeo and the president have not only been weighing in privately, but publicly, as you have mentioned. I think the other key point here is that the message to the people of Venezuela needs to be clear.
Socialism as a platform results in this. And they have a choice today, whether they take the path of Colombia, which is align themselves very closely with the United States on a path to prosperity, or they align themselves with Cuba and Russia.
And the message needs to be clear to our Russian adversaries in this particular situation that we will not tolerate them intervening in this hemisphere. And for them to get in at the last minute to potentially focus on bloodshed is just not something the American people will support, certainly not something that this administration will support.
And yet we're hopeful for a peaceful resolve. Those generals that you were mentioning just earlier, Mr. Cavuto, is this, is they need to understand, under a new regime and under this new president, that they will be safe.
And, obviously, a dictator like Maduro is -- is used to holding an iron grip on those around him. But I think the voice of those people there, the citizens of Venezuela will speak loudly.
CAVUTO: Well, I hope you're right. But it doesn't look that way.
MEADOWS: It's not.
CAVUTO: And that might be because the Russians are not allowing that to happen, and maybe indirectly working through the Cubans, we're even told the Iranians. Frankly, I don't know what the real skinny is, sir.
But one of the things that's popped up here is that many in Venezuela were urged not to gather in Caracas and continue with these protests. They obviously ignored that, did that. There were assurances by national security forces. They were told, do not fire on the Venezuelan people. And lower-ranking soldiers said, even if commanded, we wouldn't do so.
So isn't this really going to be a test of within the military community who stays with whom? We're told that lower-ranking soldiers are pretty much with the people on this and by extension with Guaido on this, and that those are the top, the generals who have benefited, as has Nicolas Maduro, from things that the population doesn't have, like food and medical supplies, that will not change.
And that's where the real schism is, between branches in the military. And here we are wondering how to intervene and on whose behalf, right?
MEADOWS: Well, listen, I can tell you right now that, when you look at just the privileged few, which would be Maduro and the generals that have plenty of food, plenty of condiments to go with that, and yet the vast majority of the Venezuelan people are suffering, not only within inflation, but with just a real desperate time of potential starvation.
And so it is key that we have humanitarian relief there. But it's also key that they get a clear message from the United States of America. And that is those freedom-loving individuals will have our support, and will have it unconditionally.
CAVUTO: When you say our support, does that mean our troops' support?
I mean, Senator Scott had said, we need to send troops there. I can understand his passion and his concern, but you talk about a slippery slope.
MEADOWS: Yes, I don't -- I don't -- I think that this will hopefully reach a diplomatic solution.
I don't know that there is a real appetite for us to send troops from the United States of America there. That being said, there is a real international coalition that sees what's going on here, with the exception of the few countries that you mentioned.
But if you're going to side on the side of Iran and Russia and Cuba, and not with other freedom-loving countries, we know that wherever there's the greatest freedom, there's the greatest prosperity. And yet we have Venezuela, with some of the greatest natural resources, and their people are starving.
It is time that we actually send a clear message. And that is with all the support, hopefully diplomatically and humanitarian-ly, that we can -- we can muster up.
CAVUTO: All right, we're going to continue to follow this development, if you will indulge me, sir, because this havoc just broke. Things really just ripped loose in the last few minutes.
CAVUTO: So I apologize for that.
But I did want to get your thoughts on the Bill Barr hearings. He had a -- sort of a raucous back and forth that went along predictable party lines, with Democrats chastising him, Republicans trying to understand what was behind what he was saying.
But the gist was that he might have misrepresented a letter that came from Bob Mueller, that he was misrepresenting those bullet points on the report itself. Did you buy that, that he misrepresented that?
MEADOWS: Come on, Neil, how can anybody buy that?
He was given a chance to actually write and really edit the four-page summary. He declined to do that. And then, three days later, he wants to criticize it because the narrative is not to his liking?
Last time I checked, Bob Mueller shouldn't be concerned about a narrative. Listen, this is all about the Democrats looking for a political consolation prize because the Mueller report
to be saying is, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't, to your point. Get the report out. But if you have to delay it for this other supportive information, I would rather that, but that he is calling into question whether Barr might have been acting more as the president's lawyer than the nation's lawyer.
Is that a fair criticism?
MEADOWS: Well, it's not a fair criticism.
It's an unexpected criticism by some, but it's expected by me. When you have Andrew Weissmann and a number of people that were actually writing the report, they wanted a certain narrative to come out of that.
And to suggest that Bob Mueller, after two years, is going to criticize Bill Barr for getting information to
about Barr's impression of that report?
MEADOWS: Well, I think he was complaining about the press saying that there was no obstruction, no collusion.
And I think he had a number of his people that were on the investigation. Now, this is me with a hypothesis.
CAVUTO: No, understand.
MEADOWS: A number of people that were on his investigation saying, Bob, you have got to get the information out there, because there are some things in there that the American people will be upset about.
And, indeed, we know that Bill Barr did that within two weeks. That being said, there is no doubt in my mind that Republicans are going to go to one narrative, Democrats to another.
This is literally a Democrat 2020 exercise and a prelude to impeachment that they have long been espousing.
CAVUTO: So, you think that's the direction this will go?
Because, finally -- and we're going to get a reporter on the scene on this. And I appreciate your patience.
CAVUTO: But did you get a sense from hearing your Democratic colleagues, at least in the Senate, that it will be much the same, if not more vitriol in the House, the House Judiciary Committee?
CAVUTO: And it's still touch and go as to whether the attorney general appears before that committee, especially given the fact that Jerry Nadler, the chairman, wants lawyers to be among those asking the questions.
And I'm not talking congress men and women who are lawyers.
CAVUTO: I'm talking about separate legal counsel talking.
Would you recommend that the attorney general still speak to that House committee?
MEADOWS: I wouldn't recommend tomorrow.
I would recommend and fully expect that he will be before the House, but it needs to be under the same conditions that everybody else comes here. To suggest that you're going to have counsel come in, the Judiciary Committee is uniquely populated, in that we have more attorneys, members of Congress that are attorneys on that committee, other -- than any other committee that is out there.
And so to suggest that they're not capable is really -- it doesn't pass the smell test.
CAVUTO: Got it. So, if Nadler insists on that, you would say, Attorney General, don't do it?
MEADOWS: I would recommend that he not...
MEADOWS: ... until Jerry Nadler changes his -- his decision, and then come voluntarily.
CAVUTO: All right. Chairman, thank you very, very much.
MEADOWS: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: Want to go to Catherine Herridge Capitol Hill.
What are you hearing about that, Catherine, whether the committee would be open to that, the House Judiciary Committee, just to keep it to congress men and women asking the questions?
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Right.
Well, what we understood from Justice Department officials is that if the Democratic chairman, Jerry Nadler, made the call and got the votes to have the hearing with this extended time for staff questioning, that that was really off the table for the Justice Department as far as they were concerned, because they felt that if you have someone who is Senate- confirmed, Cabinet secretary, like the attorney general, that it was appropriate for him to take questions from lawmakers and not staff.
So as far as they were concerned, this was a nonstarter, and that we should expect a very strong statement from the Justice Department. Earlier today, during Barr's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
It seemed to be a case for the Democrats of trying to relitigate the conclusion on obstruction. And they focused on this critical issue, this sort of episode with White House general counsel Don McGahn and the president.
The president, according to the special counsel, telling McGahn to go to the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, because he perceived conflicts for Robert Mueller, and that he should go.
The attorney general explained why they didn't feel this was evidence of corrupt intent. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: So there's no question that that, that the -- whatever instruction was given McGahn had to do with conflict of -- Mueller's conflict of interest.
Now, the president later said that what he meant was that the conflict of interest should be raised with Rosenstein, but the decision should be left with Rosenstein.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERRIDGE: Also, after the hearing completed, Neil, we had a gaggle, kind of an impromptu news conference with Senator Graham, who's the chairman of the committee.
And he was asked by report whether this was sort of over as far as he was concerned and whether he wouldn't call Robert Mueller to testify. And, significantly, Senator Graham said that he was going to ask Mueller if there were any discrepancies between what he heard from the attorney general and his recollection of this phone call.
And if there were, he would recall him -- Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, Catherine.
We will have more after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Was there an underlying crime here?
I'm just trying to state the verdict.
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN, D-ILL.: No, you just absolutely used the word summarize, though, in your letter.
BARR: Summarize the principal conclusions.
DURBIN: Principal conclusions.
SEN. CORY BOOKER, D-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I fear that you are adding normalcy to a point where we should be sounding alarms, as opposed to saying that there's nothing to see here.
BARR: His work concluded when he sent his report to the attorney general. At that point, it was my baby.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have said it was your baby. What did you mean by that?
BARR: It was my baby to let -- to decide whether or not to disclose it to the public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, the grilling back and forth with Bill Barr, the attorney general of the United States.
Now, a lot of you saying, when we first heard it, we didn't hear any drums underneath. Well, you obviously didn't have the volume up.
CAVUTO: Welcome back, everybody.
So, day one. We're told that the attorney general goes to the House tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee. That is far from a foregone conclusion, given the back and forth today he had on a Republican panel, a Senate panel, dominated by Republicans.
Of course, there were many Democrats there, as you know.
Andrew Napolitano joins us right now, the host of Fox Nation's "Liberty File," so much more.
Judge, how do you think it went for Bill Barr today?
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, JUDICIAL ANALYST: I don't think it went very well for him.
I think the impression that he created of misleading Congress, he created yet again, and I think he fudged a lot of his answers. I'm not saying he lied. I'm just thinking he bobbed and weaved. And it wasn't necessarily for him to do so.
On the other hand, I don't think he changed anybody's mind. If you think this was a witch-hunt and you're glad it's over with, you probably still think that.
If you think the president obstructed justice and should have been charged with that, you probably still think that.
CAVUTO: Why wasn't the obstruction thing, if it -- even the report itself that there wasn't enough there to pursue it, and not enough there to just dismiss it. What was wrong with that characterization?
NAPOLITANO: Bill Barr has a very unique interpretation of the obstruction statute, which is a minority view in the law enforcement community.
Most law enforcement people, including prosecutors in his own DOJ, have a different view. His view is, it's impossible to obstruct justice if you're being investigated for crime you didn't commit. So, if you throw a roadblock in the Justice Department's way as they're investigating you, big deal, you were innocent anyway. The roadblock is not a crime.
The DOJ -- the statute, the obstruction of justice statute says whoever, for a corrupt purpose, impedes or attempts to impede an investigation or a judicial proceeding shall be guilty of obstruction. Doesn't matter if you committed the underlying crime.
Richard Nixon was charged by the House of Representatives with obstructing justice by having Ehrlichman and Haldeman lie to authorities. He didn't commit the underlying crime, which was a burglary.
CAVUTO: Yes, but wouldn't it have been easier if Mueller, one way or the other, had made a decision on this matter, rather than punting in this case to the attorney general?
Now, I know he knows full well the attorney general's views on this subject and maybe thought that would be a loss cause.
CAVUTO: But why not do that and feed all these black helicopter..
NAPOLITANO: You know, I don't know the answer why.
My guess is because he would have been shot down by the attorney general, who simply would have said you do not have permission to present this to a grand jury because, in my opinion, as a matter of law, it's not obstruction of justice.
CAVUTO: Would you recommend Barr appear before this House Judiciary Committee tomorrow if lawyers are involved?
NAPOLITANO: Yes, I would.
A, he's very smart and he can handle it. B, the questions will be better when they come from lawyers. They're not looking to score points with the voters back home. They're looking to explore the A.G.'s thinking.
CAVUTO: But a lot of the congress men and women themselves are lawyers.
NAPOLITANO: But they're more politicians than they are cross-examiners, Neil, to be perfectly honest with you.
CAVUTO: Wow. Wow. All right.
NAPOLITANO: Some of those questions drove me crazy today, because they didn't follow up.
CAVUTO: All right.
NAPOLITANO: Senator -- Attorney General, what was the conflict that the president thought?
CAVUTO: Yes. That's the big debate. That's the big debate.
NAPOLITANO: There you go.
CAVUTO: We have -- still have no word on whether the attorney general well tomorrow.
We shall see. More after this.
CAVUTO: All right, a little calmer now in Caracas, Venezuela, but they are on tenterhooks there right now.
The military is under orders not to shoot on the Venezuelan people. We have seen tear gas canisters. Yesterday, we saw soldiers running over protesters. No way to know how many have been injured or, God fearing, worse. But we do know that there are two men competing to be seen as the legitimately recognized president of that country.
Nicolas Maduro, holed up in the presidential palace, he had supposedly been willing to go yesterday. The Russians stopped him. Juan Guaido is still waiting, the duly elected, constitutionally recognized leader of that country. He said, if he came to power, he would be short-lived in there, so the constitutional process could have regular elections to determine who would run the country.
Most of the world backs him. China and Iran and Russia, by and large, backing Nicolas Maduro, but here's what Maduro has going for him, pretty much all the top generals in the country. They are sticking by him. And until more unstick by him, this goes on. And it could get nasty.
To Rich Edson at the State Department as to what we do.
RICH EDSON, CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Neil.
And the administration is watching developments there. This is an attempt by Juan Guaido to continue momentum, to try to lodge Nicolas Maduro from power.
And officials here were saying that yesterday they thought they were closed. They thought they almost had it. Juan Guaido had -- according to some here, they thought they had an agreement with some officials, senior officials in Maduro's government that, at the last minute, according to officials here, decided to chicken out and not support Juan Guaido.
At this point, the administration is still trying to push, trying to figure out ways to get that peaceful transition in power ongoing in Venezuela. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that Maduro was ready to leave Venezuela yesterday for Havana when the Russian government advised Maduro to stay there.
Maduro is still there, according to the last reports that we have. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke today with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that intervention by Russia and Cuba is destabilizing for Venezuela and the U.S. bilateral relationship.
And the president is threatening an embargo against Cuba for this -- Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, Rich, thank you very much.
With us now, Vanessa Neumann, opposition leader Juan Guaido's representative to the United Kingdom.
Thank you very much for joining us.
Where do you think this is...
VANESSA NEUMANN, JUAN GUAIDO REPRESENTATIVE TO U.K.: Thank you for having me.
CAVUTO: Where do you think this is going?
NEUMANN: Well, I think we're -- I think we're in for a bit of a long ride here.
I think it's going to at least take several days. I mean, on the one hand, we knew that this would be a process, that Juan Guaido called that this would be the beginning of the end of the usurpation, the final phase of Operation Liberty, which is in itself phase one of his three-step process, right, end the usurpation, transitional government, free and fair elections.
It is certainly disappointing that the top brass of the military did not see fit to side with the constitution and get Maduro out. There have been various negotiations. And we know that. There are protracted, ongoing negotiations between the Guaido side and also multilateral and international partners, not just the United States, urging the Maduro regime to say that your time is up, it's time for you to go.
The people back Guaido. The constitution backs Guaido. And everybody wants a peaceful transition. It's unfortunate that didn't happen yesterday. But the Venezuelan people see an opening. They're not being shot at. By and large, they're being -- some -- there are some live rounds, but there hasn't been sort of a massacre.
The fact that they know that there are now ongoing negotiations, that that's now public information, means that they know that there are factors. The fact that they have seen some military commanders, this might seem poultry to the international observer, but to the Venezuelan, who has been enduring starvation and repression for 20 years, this is the closest they have come to hope in a long, long time.
So you can expect them to continue pressing forward until Maduro is gone.
CAVUTO: You know, Vanessa, you have reminded me how rich, both in natural commodities and precious resources, to say nothing of oil, Venezuela was a little bit more than a decade ago. They squandered all of that. It's all gone now.
NEUMANN: Well, kleptocracy.
So, one of the reasons why the military hasn't flipped is because that top brass that's not flipping is making $8.8 billion a year, is our estimate, our reasonable estimate, from drug trafficking, money laundering, illicit trade, even in food, diesel, all sorts of things, coltan and gold.
So, of course, Guaido has offered amnesty, but they would like to have not just the amnesty, but also the $8.8 billion.
What has happened is, they have run it into the ground, which started with socialist policies. It started with, we will distribute the wealth. And they just handed out money without really any accounting. That became a recipe for corruption, as you centralized the means of production and finance, and it all went to the government, who mishandled it, stole it, and then just ran it into the ground.
The oil companies, financial sector, finance department became basically a money laundering operation. Those books closed, and the investments weren't going into the oil sector. So now they can't even pump the oil that they're supposed to be able to pump, because it's just become criminalized.
CAVUTO: All right.
NEUMANN: It's a shame. It's a horrible shame.
CAVUTO: So sad.
Vanessa Neumann, thank you very, very much.
Again, there is a bit of a standstill here. They're being very, very careful not to let this escalate or have soldiers fire on the people. Once that happens, all bets are off, a civil war is on, and nastiness, to put it mildly, would be an understatement.
Stay with us. You are watching "Your World."
CAVUTO: All right, down 162 points on the Dow today because interest rates aren't going, well, further down right now, the Federal Reserve making clear the range they're in is the range they will probably be in for a while.
That was deemed a disappointment.
CAVUTO: All right, you have two competing issues, right, the battle back and forth with Attorney General William Barr, whether he testifies to the House Judiciary Committee or not, after talking to the Senate today, and then the improving economy, the -- up until today, of course, the strong markets, the unexpected growth in private sector jobs, which zoomed today by about 100,000 more than most analysts thought, setting the stage for what could be a continuation of very good economic numbers.
That's the backdrop here the president likes to allude to and many Republicans like to point out, as well as savvy investors at the corner of Wall and Broad, as if, you want to interrupt that?
GOP strategist Justin Sayfie joins us, Democratic strategist Roger Fisk, and The Hill's Judy Kurtz.
Judy, you think about it, that's what's drawing the disparity in the press and the reports we all cover, the backdrop of a strong economy and then this political back and forth with the Mueller report, who said what, how far-reaching this is. What do you think is winning out?
JUDY KURTZ, THE HILL: Well, the economy right now, there's no doubt, it's clearly red hot. And things could cool off. That could change. But it makes it for a pretty tough argument for Democrats to say that everything is absolutely terrible.
When Joe Biden was giving his kickoff speech in Pittsburgh earlier this week, the best he could make of it was saying, despite the booming economy, the middle class wasn't feeling, in his words, the effects of the GOP tax cut, and the wealthy were seeing those effects.
CAVUTO: You know, Roger, I'm looking at Cory Booker among those advising that, given his performance today and inconsistent messages -- that is his opinion -- Bill Barr should resign. He's not the only one.
But does that show that in the backdrop to the economic backdrop is this political back and forth, more hearings, more testimony, more, more, more, more, more?
ROGER FISK, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I doubt it comes as a surprise to anyone that one of the senators running for president is trying to make a provocative statement to get into the news cycle.
I think what is going to be very interesting, the last few months are quite telling, good job numbers that just came in. We will see what the Commerce Department comes out with. The month of March, which was I think about 190,000 jobs, also was the single largest addition to our budget deficit, $234 billion in a single month.
And then the previous month from that, February, the Trump economy created 20,000 jobs. So it's not steady enough to necessarily bank a political campaign on. And I think it's risky when the Trump campaign wants to use as a foundation this economic narrative, because, similar to the market, you just don't know what it's going to be like in three or four months.
And it's just not steady enough for someone -- I wouldn't counsel a candidate to base their message around these monthly numbers, because they go up and they go down, as we have seen.
CAVUTO: No, you're right about that.
But I would say -- not taking politics into account here, Justin -- that the trend is the average American's friend . Unemployment levels for all key demographics are way down, historic lows. We have seen that pop up in a lot of figures, everything from consumer sentiment, retail sales.
Sure, they could be stronger, but it's pretty strong. Are you surprised, given all of that, that the president's poll numbers aren't better? What's holding him back?
JUSTIN SAYFIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, look, we do have a very strong economy. The growth in the first quarter was 3.2 percent.
If you're a Democrat, you don't want to talk about the economy. You don't want to talk about how good it's doing, how we're almost in a Goldilocks phase, where unemployment is low, interest rates are modest, and the inflation is under control, and the stock market indexes like the Dow and the S&P 500 are toying with all-time record highs.
But yes, Governor -- President Bush -- President Trump should be getting more credit for that. And I think, over time, as more people feel the effects of this strong economy, he will. And I think that's going to be a big advantage. And he's going to keep using Twitter to remind people, as he's done this week, about how good the economy is.
CAVUTO: Well, be careful what you do on Twitter, right? You could just shoot your own foot.
CAVUTO: Well, we will watch that.
Guys, I apologize. We have more breaking news out of Caracas, Venezuela, where protests are going on right now.
They want a new president. They want him now. And they don't like the guy who is in there.
Steve Harrigan has been following this very, very closely in Caracas.
What's going on there, Steve?
STEVE HARRIGAN, CORRESPONDENT: Neil, we have really seen a dramatic shift in tone over the past two days here.
Yesterday, opposition leader Juan Guaido called for a military uprising. It got violent yesterday, with water cannons and gunshots, 70 people wounded. And now this afternoon, after a peaceful morning of protest, it's getting violent again.
You can hear the pop, pop, pop of small-arms fire all across Caracas, at least 20 people shot so far, and a real shift in tone. Juan Guaido, the opposition leader, said he was going to bring in humanitarian aid. He failed to do that. He said he was going to lead a military uprising against the dictator, Maduro. He failed to do that.
So, after four months of marching, four months of protests, there is some real dissatisfaction and some anger setting in. And we are seeing some violence on both sides today here in Caracas -- Neil.
CAVUTO: Steve, as you have bravely been reporting, a lot depends on the military, particularly the generals who are aligned to Maduro.
Do we know whether the original offer that Guaido and his forces that they wouldn't be punished and they wouldn't be even reprimanded for the special breaks, allowances and all the other stuff that kept them in power and kept them loyal to Maduro?
Do we know whether that deal still stands?
HARRIGAN: It really depends on who you listen to.
The U.S. said that deal was in place. Venezuelan officials are denying it. But there are different military forces here in Venezuela. We haven't seen the army out on the front lines against these protesters. There's a real fear that, especially in the rank and file, lower ranks of the army, they are sympathetic with the opposition, with Guaido.
They wouldn't fire on their own people. But there are certainly other groups, like the colectivos, Cuban militia, who would fire on the Venezuelan people. And that's where that firing is coming from today. There's different military groups under Maduro's control.
He's using the ones that he can manipulate to keep himself safe in the presidential palace.
CAVUTO: All right, keep yourself safe as well, Steve Harrigan. Thank you from Caracas.
Again, we're watching this very, very closely because if reports were true Maduro was on his way out of the country, and stopped by the Russians, who said, don't go anywhere, and they're playing a role in this, you can see how quickly this has complicated this entire affair.
In the meantime, we told about the attorney general of the United States and the back and forth on what's happening there in Washington.
When we come back, a look at whether he's being presented fairly for the words he uses and the characterizations he makes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY, R-LA: When you're investigating leaks at the Department of Justice and the FBI, I hope you will include the Mueller team as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, that voice, that man you know quite well, Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy, who joins us right now.
Senator, good to have you.
KENNEDY: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: You were obviously referring to, of course, the legion of leaks in this entire process, but more to the point the leak of the letter itself, Bob Mueller's letter to the attorney general.
Do you interpret that leaked letter as a sign that Mueller and Barr were and are at odds on the findings of this report?
KENNEDY: I don't.
Well, first, Neil, very good question. There are very few coincidences in politics. And I don't think it was a coincidence that Mr. Mueller's letter leaked the day before Mr. Barr's testimony. A lot of people got their bowels in an uproar over it. It turned out to be much ado about nothing.
My issue was very simple. OK, Mr. Mueller was unhappy. It turned out he was unhappy about the press coverage. It was -- turned out he was unhappy because he didn't like the way that Mr. Barr wrote his letter.
All that's academic now, because we have a final copy of the report. So my question was real simple. Has Mr. Mueller changed his mind? Has he changed his conclusions? Prosecutors either indict or they don't indict.
Now, Mr. Mueller said no indictment on conspiracy, no indictment on collusion, no indictment on obstruction of justice. So, if he's changed his mind, I want to know. He has not changed this man. And...
CAVUTO: Do you think the fact that he didn't on obstruction, sir -- and I'm not a lawyer -- but was built on the idea that you can't indict a sitting president?
KENNEDY: No. No.
Mr. Barr testified very clearly. He said, I met with Mr. Mueller. I met with a -- there were a number of people in the room. He said, Mr. Mueller was asked, is the reason you're not recommending an indictment on obstruction of justice because of the DOJ policy that you can't indict a sitting president?
Mr. Barr said, Mr. Mueller said, absolutely not. Absolutely not. So, that's a very false narrative.
CAVUTO: Well, if you're Bob Mueller -- and I'm just trying to play devil's advocate here.
If you're Bob Mueller and you think that the attorney general, the guy to whom you're submitting this report, has a certain view on obstruction, what is allowed or what's not, that, essentially, Mueller pulled his punches?
Because that was kind of the impression from the letter from Mueller in which he said that Barr created "public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation."
KENNEDY: I saw that. And I asked Mr. Barr about that.
Here's what I -- and, look, I don't know, Neil, but here's what I think. I think Mr. Mueller thought that Mr. Barr's letter was not nuanced enough. OK, that's academic, because now we have the report. Mr. Barr's letter doesn't matter anymore.
I think Mr. Mueller was upset about the news coverage. Well, I don't know what he expected Mr. Barr to do about it. That's up to the news media to cover it like they want. We have...
CAVUTO: It seems like he's blaming Barr -- and I'm making this leap here, sir. I want to stress that.
He's blaming Barr for providing the juice for that coverage.
KENNEDY: I think they're trying to make Mr. Barr look bad, yes. I think that's part of -- and I don't want to paint with too broad a brush.
I think some of my Democratic friends are in good faith here. They have read the report. It's done.
KENNEDY: They're ready to move on.
CAVUTO: Well, a lot of those Democratic friends, as you know, sir, are saying -- Cory Booker and a host of others, I think three or four others, are saying Barr should resign.
How do you feel about that?
KENNEDY: Oh, I know. I know. And that's patently absurd.
Many of my Democratic friends, not all, but many of them, are not in good faith. I mean, Trump could come out tomorrow solidly in favor of children and prosperity, and they would say he is wrong.
And this is the theory of the case now for some of my Democratic friends. Trump covered up a crime that nobody committed. Now, that's -- but that's what they're down to. This thing is over. It's over.
There's a 488-page report. They threw everything they had at the president, 500 witnesses, 500 subpoenas -- no, 3,000 subpoenas -- 500 search warrants, 20 lawyers $25 million.
It was a cross between an endoscopy and a colonoscopy. And here's what they said, no indictment. Let me repeat it, no indictment. It's over. It's finished.
CAVUTO: All right.
But let me ask you this. In the Senate, it might be over. You guys have had this -- this chat and this back and forth with Attorney General Barr.
Now, we're told he is scheduled to go before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow. But the difference there is, they're going to have lawyers interrogating him. And I'm not talking about the elected lawyers.
CAVUTO: How do you feel about that? If you were to advise the attorney general, what would you tell him to do?
KENNEDY: Well, I think -- I think it's an insult to the members of the House.
Does the chairman think his members, his House members aren't -- aren't competent enough to cross-examine or to examine the attorney general? They got to rely on staff?
I mean, I know there's some -- there are some instances where you do need staff.
CAVUTO: All right.
KENNEDY: But I don't know why they would need it here.
And look -- look, this is an effort -- let me say it again. Many of my Democratic friends have moved on, but some of them haven't, and they're never going to move on.
CAVUTO: All right.
KENNEDY: This is about the 2000 -- the next election, instead of the next generation.
CAVUTO: We shall see.
Senator, thank you very much.
KENNEDY: You bet.
CAVUTO: More after this.
CAVUTO: All right, no guns but water cannons are OK. And that is creating fury as we speak in Caracas, Venezuela, where the military has sort of upped the ante, we are told, as Venezuelans were moving in on a government purchasing building, we're told, in Caracas.
This is not far from the presidential palace, I believe about three blocks north away. That has been cordoned off. That is where Nicolas Maduro is presently in hiding, you might say, and this amid reports that he was set to leave the country yesterday. The Russians said that would not be a good idea. Stay. So he stays.
And the one we recognize as the duly elected leader of that country still waits in absentia, Juan Guaido, who encouraged these demonstrations to bring Venezuela back to the people. But, again, they're trying to avoid this escalating. Easier said than done.
What should we do?
Stephanie Murphy joins us now, the Democratic Florida congresswoman, also serves on the House Ways and Means Committee.
Congresswoman, thank you very much for taking the time.
What do we do here?
REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY, D-FLA.: Great to be with you, Neil.
I think that, as a former national security specialist who worked in the Pentagon, I know that we are most effective when we use all elements of national power. And that means, diplomatically, we need to be working with our Latin American allies, as well as the international community.
On the intelligence front, we should be collecting as much information as we can about the situation that is unfolding in Venezuela right now. We need to continue using our economic tools, so, the economic sanctions that are in place, to apply pressure to the Maduro regime, as well as humanitarian aid to make sure that we provide relief to the Venezuelan people who are suffering underneath this failed dictatorship.
CAVUTO: Well, something's not working, right, Congresswoman? And the reason why I mention is, we have tried variations of those things, even with the tough sanctions, to try to force Maduro to cave, but he's not caving. The generals aren't relenting.
What do we do if it gets crazy, and those same generals or soldiers start shooting on those folks?
MURPHY: We take each progression of what is -- the crisis that's unfolding in Venezuela one step at a time.
And I think that's why we need to have good intel on what is happening. And as a strategic deterrence, we don't ever take off the option of military action. It's part of our levers of national security. And I think that that -- as it evolves, we can make those decisions as we go along.
CAVUTO: Are you surprised that those in the region, and particularly the 100 or so generals, top colonels who fled to places like Colombia and Brazil -- I could be wrong about the breakdown, Congresswoman -- but that they are not responding more forcefully, that they are not doing more, that they're leaving it kind of up to us?
MURPHY: Well, I don't think that they are necessarily leaving it up to us, as in the United States.
If you -- I understand you're showing video right now of the Venezuelan people trying to take back their country, trying to make sure that the leader who has been recognized by 60 countries around the world and by the people of Venezuela is allowed to take his rightful place.
So I'm not sure that I agree with that they're waiting on us to do anything.
CAVUTO: No, no, I didn't mean it to sound like that, but neighboring countries, that they are not doing more to help the Venezuelan people.
It does raise an issue as well about the role the Russians might be playing here, Congresswoman. And there were reports, widely based, that the Russians are quite actively involved in this and might have had a key role in preventing Nicolas Maduro from leaving the country in the first place.
Is that a bigger worry for our country, should they succeed in keeping him in power and having an influence in that region to the degree they would?
MURPHY: Let me first say that I think some of the Latin American allies have been engaged in this process.
Colombia has been absorbing a number of displaced people, as well as Peru and other countries in the region are receiving the Venezuelan people as they flee famine and shortages and the violence and the crisis in Venezuela.
But as far as external interference that you outlined, this is why this issue is so important to America, is that we cannot afford to have a failed state in our hemisphere, in our backyard, because failed states open themselves up for people who are adversaries of the United States to take advantage of that space.
CAVUTO: But doesn't it open us up -- and it's a tough tightrope to be on, Congresswoman. I understand that.
But if we get too close, and we get involved militarily, which might be part of your caution here, then we could make the new regime, the Guaido regime, if it ever gets to that point, look almost like a puppet of the U.S. It's a -- it's a tough balance, huh?
MURPHY: Well, I think those are a lot of hypotheticals.
We need to take the situation one step at a time. Right now, the Venezuelan people are at the forefront.
CAVUTO: All right.
MURPHY: Americans should have their back as they try to take their country back.
CAVUTO: All right, Congresswoman, I know we got you on late news developments here. And we do appreciate your taking the time here.
So we just don't know, to the congresswoman's point. This could accelerate or it could die down. We do know there are a lot of powers and players are doing stuff the scenes. We don't know the degree to which they're succeeding to get cooler and calmer heads to prevail.
What we do know is that the duly recognized leader of that country can't lead that country. And the guy who is the target of all of this wrath is but three blocks away, holed up in a compound. And he's not going anywhere.
That will do it here. Here comes "The Five."
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