This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 21, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: So many court cases, so little time.
We are live at the U.S. district court in Washington where the former Trump adviser Roger Stone, he's still inside. He has apologized already a number of times for a controversial Instagram threatening post about Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who's now presiding in this case.
Now, he has asked for forgiveness. What's at stake is what the judge could do in return for his comments. She could slap serious conditions or more conditions on his release or harsher restrictions on his ability to even talk to the media, or both.
When that ruling comes down and Roger Stone leaves that courthouse in Washington, D.C., we will take you there.
In the meantime, there's this. Familiar scene, a showdown in Venezuela today, a lot more clashes, and getting a lot more violent and a lot more heated, as a disputed President Nicolas Maduro orders the border with Brazil shut down to keep U.S. aid out.
Now a top Russian diplomat is meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart in Moscow, backing up the Maduro regime, and all of this as the opposition leader, the guy we say is the rightful leader for the time being of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, calls on supporters to rise up and surround military bases this weekend in peaceful demonstrations to get their hands on that aid.
But will all this be peaceful? We're on it.
Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto.
And first my thanks to my buddy Charles Payne for filling in while I was out.
Let's just say things are very, very tense in Venezuela at the moment, as Vice President Mike Pence prepares to make a high-profile trip next week to neighboring Colombia.
To FOX Business Network's Blake Burman on the very latest.
BLAKE BURMAN, CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Neil.
The Trump administration trying to continue to keep the pressure on Venezuela's contested president, Nicolas Maduro, as the White House announced today that the vice president, Mike Pence, will be heading to Colombia in just a few days' time on Monday.
Standing in one of Venezuela's neighboring countries, the vice president will call on Maduro to step aside. A spokesperson for the V.P.'s office saying the following in a statement today -- quote -- "The struggle in Venezuela is between dictatorship and democracy and freedom has the momentum. Juan Guaido is the only legitimate leader of Venezuela, and it's time for Nicolas Maduro to go."
The announcement comes as Maduro has shut off the border between Venezuela and Brazil. Maduro also going on television earlier today saying he is considering shutting down the Colombian border as well to stop who he views as the opposition from bringing in relief.
Guaido, the opposition leader, is organizing caravans, as he is trying to get humanitarian relief that is being stymied at the border to make its way through Venezuela. Last week over here at the White House, President Trump hosted Colombia's president.
Both were critical of Maduro for stopping aid at the border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: I think he's making a terrible mistake by not allowing that to happen. It's showing bad things. And really we're trying to get food to people that are starving. You have people starving in Venezuela.
And it just shows what can happen with the wrong government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURMAN: Meantime, a Russian deputy foreign minister today met with his Venezuelan counterpart in Moscow.
Neil, Russia continues to stand behind Maduro and his allies -- Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, all right, my friend, thank you very, very much, Blake Burman.
Venezuela's opposition preparing for a showdown, as I said, against Maduro's armed forces preventing anyone in the country from getting their hands on that aid. And there's a lot of it. All bridges and roads that lead into the country have been blocked by military men and women and sometimes with trucks or just boxcars, anything they can to prevent anyone from getting their hands on it.
So if they force the issue, then what happens?
To the Independent Women's Forum Claudia Rosett.
What do you think happens, Claudia?
CLAUDIA ROSETT, FOREIGN POLICY FELLOW, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S FORUM: Well, Neil, it's going to be -- what they're trying to do -- what the U.S. is maneuvering to do is move this impasse the direction of the dictator, Maduro, steps down.
That's the whole -- that is the game. And I think it's risky. And at the same time, Juan Guaido has been willing to take the risk. This could actually be a very big weekend. This is taking sort of what's been an impasse for the past months now since he became interim president, the dueling president, and...
CAVUTO: But what would happen, though, if the government were to force that issue with the government that we recognize, Guaido, saying, no, no, no, we want to make sure this aid gets to the people?
That could turn into a real mess come Saturday.
ROSETT: Yes, it could. But it's a real mess already. That's the problem.
And I think part of that the game here -- and it's a deadly serious game -- is that you actually don't want Maduro to know for sure what will happen if he uses force to stop this. You want him afraid.
That was the reason for that little note on John Bolton's notepad last month, 5,000 troops to Colombia, neither confirm, nor deny, just there. And I think the aim of this is, these are images that really matter. If Guaido does succeeds in bringing back some of this aid, it's symbolic.
To help all of Venezuela is going to take a lot more than this, but it's a very important symbol of which way things...
CAVUTO: All right, Claudia, thank you very, very much. I didn't want to interrupt you there.
But we have some breaking news concerning Roger Stone.
CAVUTO: A judge has gone ahead and imposed a gag order on the former Trump confidant who posted a photo on Instagram of the judge with what appeared to be the crosshairs of a gun. And she's not taking any of that lightly.
Catherine Herridge with more on this -- Catherine.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Neil, this was really a crisis of Roger Stone's own making that began a few days ago when he posted on Instagram a photo of the judge in this case, Amy Berman Jackson, with what appeared to be a target or a crosshairs in the background.
He reposted that without the target in the background, ultimately took it down, and then was called the court today, where he spent over an hour on the stand answering questions from the judge, from his own lawyers and the prosecutors about whether these Instagram posts were a violation of the court's direction not to engage in activities that could end up threatening individuals involved in the case.
And the judge has just told Stone that here on out he is not allowed to speak publicly about the case on social media, on TV, on radio, and, significantly, he is not allowed to do that through third parties or surrogates.
So there is now a total gag order on Roger Stone. The judge also said that his explanation to the court, that he was under extreme financial and emotional stress, and he accepted responsibility for this action, according to the judge, rang hollow.
And she made the point that it wasn't just about the social media posts from Roger Stone. It was about how those kinds of images and messages could incite others to commit acts of violence that were related to the case, Neil.
CAVUTO: So she could have been tougher still, right?
HERRIDGE: That's right.
CAVUTO: What do you think happens now? Now, he's been making the media around. He had cut back a little bit, but now he's got to be operation silence, right?
HERRIDGE: I think the judge is taking a very traditional approach, which is, she's making incremental modifications, at least at this point, to the gag order.
The next step would be some kind of modification of the terms of his bail. But I think the judge is taking sort of what I would counsel as a wise and incremental approach to punishing Stone for what she sees as actions that really could have incited violence against herself or others in this case, Neil.
CAVUTO: Obviously, he's been a loose cannon. His reputation is such. He speaks his mind, sometimes goes overboard here. But this judge seems to be saying right up front, it's not going to happen. You're not going to be doing that, period.
HERRIDGE: That's right.
And Stone had made the argument to the judge that he makes his living off of being in the media, being on TV. And this was one of the ways that he generated income for himself. And he testified in court today that he has seen his consulting business dry up, he's basically wiped out his savings. And for all of these reasons, he's under extreme emotional stress.
But that was just not enough for the judge to say, OK, I'm going to allow you to continue with some of these activities because it's how you make your living. So, again, a very incremental approach by the judge, further restrictions on the gag order to stop Stone from publicly talking about the case or authorizing third parties to do so on his behalf, Neil.
CAVUTO: Catherine, I haven't had the opportunity to talk to you about these new reports here that the Mueller investigation could be wrapping up very soon, maybe as soon as next week.
Have you heard anything more on that and all the ancillary cases attached to it like this?
HERRIDGE: You know, there's been a lot of moving pieces, especially today, Neil.
Number one, we got confirmation that the president's former personal attorney Michael Cohen will be on Capitol Hill for back-to-back hearings next week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on the House side, on the Senate side, but the most important day is sandwiched in the middle.
And that will be Wednesday. That will be public testimony in front of the House Oversight Committee. But there are going to be restrictions on what we hear from Cohen. He's going to be asked questions that speak specifically to the case that has arisen in the Southern District of New York.
So that's things like bank, tax fraud, campaign finance violations, and then the hush money payments during the campaign. The other thing that's happened, because we have seen an acceleration of the timeline in the Manafort for sentencing, not only here in Washington, D.C., but also in Virginia
And people who have read the tea leaves see this as another indicator that the special counsel investigation is winding down. Our own reporting, our contacts say that this is really the endgame now, and the report could come in days or weeks.
They don't foresee it as being longer than that, in part because a number of data points have finally aligned. The new attorney general, William Barr, is now in place.
CAVUTO: All right, you can see -- I'm sorry.
You can see Roger Stone now leaving the courthouse. The judge has said the gag order is in effect, don't talk to anybody. And he is not. He's going right out to a waiting van. We will have to watch. Sometimes, he does the Nixon arms raised in the air. None of that.
CAVUTO: He's in the car, and away he goes.
To your point, Catherine -- I'm sorry to interrupt you with that.
HERRIDGE: No problem.
CAVUTO: He's sticking to those orders, isn't he?
HERRIDGE: That's right.
Well, the partial gag order, just to be clear, prevented him from making or his team for making statements on the courthouse steps. So we didn't really expect to hear anything from Stone today.
But the silence with reporters is not second nature to Stone. And he is obeying the new order from the judge, which completely shuts down any media contact or statements about the case.
If I could, just back to the special counsel, because I think this is important for folks at home.
HERRIDGE: Data points have really aligned. The new attorney general, William Barr, is in place. He -- the nomination for his new deputy, a senior Transportation Department official, Jeffrey Rosen, has been announced.
And we have got an end date for the current deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, which is mid-March. And those close to Rosenstein have always maintained that he wanted to stay at Justice until the Mueller report was delivered.
And to really sort of tamp down expectations, what we understand is that the report that goes to the attorney general from Robert Mueller is considered a confidential report for the attorney general only. And it will be attorney General Barr who decides how much is released publicly and how much goes to Congress.
But, in either case, what goes to the public or what goes to Congress will be Mr. Barr's draft or summary of the Mueller findings, not the Mueller report itself -- Neil.
CAVUTO: Got it.
Catherine, thank you very, very much.
HERRIDGE: You're welcome.
CAVUTO: Also on this busy news day, I do want to pass along something that is coming along from The Washington Post and a host of others.
A North Carolina board has ordered a new election in that North Carolina House race. Republican Mark Harris has already called for a new election. You might recall that he had currently led the Democrat, Dan McCready, by about 1,000 votes in what was deemed an undecided congressional race from last year.
If Mark Harris has things his way, he wants a new election. The North Carolina board has done so. So this disputed seat that has just been sort of held in abeyance for the better part of a couple of months now will be decided one way or the other.
No date has been set. But, already, you have Mark Harris himself, the Republican, saying, for North Carolina's Ninth District, let's just do a do-over on this.
We will have more after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDDIE JOHNSON, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: Accusations within this phony attack received national attention for weeks. Celebrities, news commentators and even presidential candidates weighed in on something that was choreographed by an actor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, that was Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson calling out pretty much the media, celebrities, anyone who accepted hook, line and sinker Jussie Smollett's original story of the events that went down in Chicago that now appear to be a hoax perpetrated by the actor.
What happens here, at a time when media bias has become a front-and-center issue of late, with former CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan calling out the liberal bias that she says is rampant in the mainstream media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARA LOGAN, FORMER CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: If there are any independent voices out there, if there are any journalists who are not beating the same drum and giving the same talking points, then we pay the price.
They smear you personally. They go off to your integrity. They go off to your reputation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, she was on with Sean Hannity.
Democratic strategist Rochelle Ritchie is here, FOX News contributor Kat Timpf, and WalkAway campaign founder Brandon Straka.
Brandon, what do you make of just sometimes there is a confluence of events that call into question how the media pounces on certain matters?
BRANDON STRAKA, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Like the Jussie Smollett incident?
STRAKA: I think this is the most wonderful gift from God we could have possibly been given.
It so clearly illustrates exactly what the liberal media does, which starts with a conclusion. They start with a conclusion. Donald Trump is a racist. Donald Trump supporters are racist or they're bigots. Then they work backwards to try to support that narrative and find any sort of evidence that they can find to support that.
So they thought they hit pay dirt when a gay black man stepped forward and said, ah, MAGA people came out for me. And they attacked me in an alley.
They didn't ask any questions. They went with the story, just the same way they attack the Covington kids. And it all backfired spectacularly.
CAVUTO: Rochelle, what do you think?
ROCHELLE RITCHIE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think that 99 percent of national news networks are biased commentary.
And I think that, as a former reporter of 12 years...
CAVUTO: Biased in what way?
RITCHIE: Biased in the fact that it's commentary.
So there's a difference between journalists...
CAVUTO: Or biased that it's liberal?
RITCHIE: Let me finish my point.
There's a difference between journalism and there's a difference between commentary. And so sometimes, when you see these -- like us right now, we're not journalists. But people are listening to what we're saying and they're taking it as fact.
When this report came out from Jussie Smollett, the local news stations reported it as what was given to them. So, sometimes, you're reporting the news as is.
Once their reports were done, that's when people like us came and gave our personal opinions about it. So, I'm not sure about this liberal media bias.
CAVUTO: Well, I never I gave my personal opinion about it. And I beg to differ with you. I am a journalist.
So, When I look at something like this -- and, believe me, I tick off Trump folks as well -- you are making a leap on a story that can sometimes sound too good to be with true.
RITCHIE: But what is wrong with condemning hate, though? There's nothing wrong with condemning hate.
CAVUTO: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
But to leap on a story that sometimes fits your agenda is a difference, right?
RITCHIE: And using the word alleged, because they did that. There were a lot of people that were upset about alleged.
CAVUTO: But did you find the leaping on it was a bit too much? You would have to look at, was the leaping on it a bit too much?
RITCHIE: No. I think you needed to report this story, absolutely.
STRAKA: Do you condemn the hatred of Trump supporters?
RITCHIE: Condemn the hatred of Trump...
STRAKA: The hatred of some Trump supporters, do you condemn it?
RITCHIE: I condemn the hatred of...
STRAKA: Are you condemning Jussie Smollett now and his hatred of Trump supporters?
RITCHIE: Oh, absolutely.
OK, let's get this straight. So the first thing I want to say, since you asked me that, I think what Jussie Smollett did was a slap in the face to anybody that has or will be victims of hate crimes. And I have said that on this network, as well as other liberal...
STRAKA: It was a hate crime. It was a hate crime.
RITCHIE: ... as well as other liberal -- let me finish my point.
STRAKA: It was a hate crime against Trump supporters.
RITCHIE: No, this is what I'm saying.
He used racism to manipulate people.
STRAKA: Yes, that's what the liberal media does, precisely.
RITCHIE: ... to promote himself.
STRAKA: Exactly. That's liberalism.
RITCHIE: But you're trying to paint me into a box that I'm not in.
CAVUTO: Let's step back a second.
Kat, when you're looking at this, it did easily feed a narrative that's out there. It's a popular one, that this is something, yes, a lot of people feel, I could definitely see Trump supporters doing this.
And it got crazy, right?
KATHERINE TIMPF, CONTRIBUTOR: Right.
CAVUTO: No one slowed down enough to say, well, wait a minute, let's start adding this up.
TIMPF: Well, I think the problem is that far too many people in media don't have the goal that they're supposed to have anymore.
Their goal is supposed to be to report the facts and keep in mind that it's better to be correct than to be first. But for far too many people, the goal instead is to try to use their platform to take down Donald Trump.
So, they see something like this, a gay black man attacked in the name of Donald Trump, and they jump on it. A lot of people did jump on it. They weren't using words like alleged, Rochelle.
RITCHIE: They were. They were.
TIMPF: They were saying -- a lot of people did not.
RITCHIE: And a lot of black people were upset that they were using the word alleged.
TIMPF: If I could finish, please.
A lot of people did not. And it was just too good to be true. It was like letting loose a bunch of drunks at an open bar. They were just kind of going bananas, without thinking of what the consequences would be.
TIMPF: And now a lot of their credibility is going to suffer because of it.
CAVUTO: When you look a story like this, sometimes, it, again, feeds a narrative, feeds a position on all this.
And I think it's better to be late and right than early and wrong. And, to your original reporting, of course, it was deemed ultimately wrong. That happens.
But I think it just -- for people to leap on it and run with it as a theme was dangerous.
STRAKA: It is dangerous.
And where was the word alleged with the Covington kids? I mean, where was that? That was -- they were so more than happy to say, this is what happened. This is the narrative. They're guilty. Oh, Trump supporters being Trump supporters once again. There was no alleged.
CAVUTO: And, Rochelle, so, that's what happens. A lot of them were coming out and making statements about...
RITCHIE: Because of perception.
CAVUTO: About the president.
RITCHIE: And it's so...
STRAKA: Yes, but who created that perception? And when is it ever true?
RITCHIE: Perception is based off of your -- can you not think for yourself?
RITCHIE: Perception is based off of how you feel.
STRAKA: When these do these Trump supporters being racist stories ever end up being true?
CAVUTO: All right.
RITCHIE: If you look at a video of some kid...
CAVUTO: Except it is our responsibility, as journalists, here in this case to make sure the perception is the reality.
TIMPF: And as human beings.
CAVUTO: We will have much more after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Duke the better offensive rebounding team. But, usually, that's the North Carolina Tar Heels.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slipping and injured is Zion Williamson.
Back the other way, a layup for Cam Johnson.
And 36 seconds into the game, Zion Williamson is down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He blew through his shoe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Wow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at his -- look at his left shoe. He blew completely through the shoe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, it was a freak injury causing Duke basketball fans and Nike shareholders a freak-out.
Now, the superstar in question was Zion Williamson, who just might be one of the old-time greats, and obviously have an NBA dream career in front of him, suffering what is now being called a mild right knee sprain, after his Nike sneaker basically blew up on him.
Nike stock was down more than 1 percent today.
FOX Business' Deirdre Bolton with more -- Deirdre.
DEIRDRE BOLTON, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I'm here now with Nike shoes, Neil.
But, I mean, this was the biggest game, biggest rivalry, right? Some of these tickets were going for $2,500 a head. And you said this guy is a star, right? He is the hopeful number one NBA draft pick. So sort of the biggest night as far as college hoops go, biggest rivalry, and you have this injury not even a minute into the game.
So, in any case, you even had former President Obama. He was sitting there, saying his shoe broke. But Nike has been here before. It hasn't quite caused an injury. But, Neil, you may remember when LeBron James was playing in Cleveland 2017. It was like the opening night, and his jersey, Nike jersey, split right in half. It was sort of an incredible Hulk kind of moment.
So that time is different, you could say. I mean, all eyes were on the LeBron James at that time, but it didn't cause an injury. So Nike, obviously struggling to figure out what happened, but was also pretty quick on the P.R. and branding messaging to say this was an isolated incident.
I'm going to read you their official statement, because we did reach out: "We are obviously concerned. We want to wish Zion a speedy recovery. The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue."
And, of course, Zion's coach, Coach K., saying that while they are concerned about him, at the moment, they do think it is a slight sprain. So I would say as far as it Nike P.R. goes, they are lucky if he heals quickly.
CAVUTO: Deirdre, thank you very, very much.
CAVUTO: Deirdre Bolton with the latest on this situation.
A black eye for Nike, but we will see how they recover, if they recover.
In the meantime, universal income for all Americans, I want you to meet the Democratic presidential candidate who was pushing this before any other entrant later on, sometimes more than a year later on.
The original proponent of that who is betting with his own money -- after this.
CAVUTO: All right, Roger Stone leaving a courthouse a few minutes ago, no victory signs, a la Richard Nixon, no comment at all.
The judge says that that gag applies to him and anyone having to do anything with him -- after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW YANG, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we're trying to do is, we're trying to create a dividend for all American adults, the freedom dividend, where every American citizen is the owner and shareholder of the richest and most advanced economy in the history of the world.
We can easily afford a $1,000 dividend that's just going to go right back into the economy anyway. It's going to create two million jobs around the country and grow the consumer economy by 8 to 10 percent.
CAVUTO: But you're talking about this chance to deal with truckers and manufacturing workers, be added jobs to them.
YANG: Yes. Yes.
CAVUTO: Right now, we're at record low unemployment. Key groups are looking at the highest employment levels we have ever seen. So a lot of people step back and say, well, Andrew is just missing that big picture.
If it's so horrific, it would show up in the numbers. And it's not.
YANG: Well, if you look at our labor force participation rate, despite a small bounce-back, it's still around 63 percent, which is close to a multidecade low and the same levels as El Salvador and the Dominican Republic higher.
CAVUTO: But it's higher than when Barack Obama was president. So a lot of Republicans will counter that, if you were to become the party's nominee, and say, been there, done a lot better than that.
YANG: Well, you can take a look at the curve. And it goes -- it peaks around 2000, and then it starts crashing shortly thereafter, despite a very small bounce-back.
CAVUTO: You think it's just a matter of time before all this happens?
YANG: Well, if you look at the statistics, almost one in five prime working age American men is out of the work force right now. And this is year 10 of an expansion. These are the good times.
And we all know that when the next downturn comes, then when the tide comes in, we're going to see just what the reality is for many businesses and families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right. That is the fear Andrew Yang has. He's an entrepreneur worth millions of dollars, not quite a billionaire, but comfortable, let's put it that way.
The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate telling me earlier on FOX Business, which, if you don't get, you should demand, that detailing his universal basic income proposal comes down to this. Give everyone over 18 years of age, no matter their financial position, $1,000, every single month, so $1,000 a year.
It might cost upwards of $2 trillion a year to do it, but there will be a great return for the economy.
Charlie Gasparino readily agrees with that. He joins me, as does Jessica Tarlov, and, last but not least, Jillian Melchior.
Jessica, what do you think of what he's proposing? Others are -- have since had variations of that basic income.
JESSICA TARLOV, CONTRIBUTOR: Universal basic income is a conversation that is being had on the left, and there are varying degrees of what the amount should be.
CAVUTO: And who should get it.
TARLOV: And who should get it.
But this all shakes down -- I don't think Andrew Yang is going to end up being our nominee.
CAVUTO: You never know.
TARLOV: You do never -- Donald Trump is president, I hear.
So these are important conversations to be having. And what I'm watching is where the candidates who do have a better shot at this point than Mr. Yang does are shaking out on the spectrum, where Amy Klobuchar is clearly going for getting the center lane there. I imagine Sherrod Brown will jump in and be around where she is, where she says, we can't be for all of college.
CAVUTO: The Ohio senator.
TARLOV: Sherrod Brown recently...
CAVUTO: But on this idea of money and income...
TARLOV: Cory Booker is for it, and there are a lot of people.
CAVUTO: Absolutely. So, there are variations.
There's something in the water here. What do you think?
JILLIAN MELCHIOR, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes.
I mean, it's really interesting watching how much Bernie Sanders has been able to push this conversation left. I mean, this is not something that we would have been talking about in 2016.
CAVUTO: He's almost Ronald Reagan in...
CAVUTO: It's a bit of a stretch.
MELCHIOR: Yes, it's fascinating.
Look, I think, with the universal basic income, people like the idea, because it's a little bit clearer and a little bit more clean than the many, many welfare programs that we have.
But what I'm not hearing is candidates saying, let's do this and let's get away -- get from all these welfare programs. I think it ends up looking a lot like redistribution of wealth, which is in fact what it is.
CAVUTO: One thing that, Charlie, that came up in our discussion when he was on, this idea that you could pay for a lot of this with a value-added tax.
And therein lies another problem, to say nothing of anything that Europe is doing. And Europe isn't firing on all cylinders.
CHARLIE GASPARINO, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: I think it's funny that you said -- I think Biden is the Ronald Reagan of the Democratic Party if he gets in, and he possibly has a really...
CAVUTO: Well, I guess what I meant is this lurch to the far, far left.
GASPARINO: I know. It's crazy. It's crazy.
Listen, I mean, I think the sort of absurdity of guys like this, these entrepreneurs coming on saying that we should basically redistribute wealth, that we need to have universal incomes, is that they became entrepreneurs and created wealth and created and innovated based on the system of capitalism, not on what...
CAVUTO: By the way, he's not anti-capitalist.
GASPARINO: I know.
CAVUTO: He doesn't like these attacks on the billionaires.
GASPARINO: I understand that.
But I'm saying that, what forced Warren Buffett to work hard? What forced this guy to work hard? Not handing them a check. And I think that's the problem that the Democratic Party has.
And I will tell you, we could talk all you want about the implosion of the Republican Party under Trump. There is something fundamentally going on, on the Democratic side that doesn't get picked up so much, because the mainstream media is very much in agreement with the Bernie Sanders.
There is real debate over just how far left. Should you have a moderate center Democratic Party, like most Democrats kind of are, or should you have this party being taken over by socialists? And I'm sure you must feel the heat all the time about this.
CAVUTO: Do this worry, when you obviously want to see a Democrat take the presidency, but that this move and this approach that many are taking of the prominent candidates is counter to that, and will come back and boomerang?
When Dick Durbin comes out and says the green plan and all that, that's a little cockamamie. That they are getting concerned that this could hurt the party.
TARLOV: I think there is a concern. And that was a big one in 2016.
CAVUTO: Are you concerned?
TARLOV: I am concerned.
I think that competition is healthy. And we saw out of the Republican primary 17 candidates.
CAVUTO: But this approach, are you concerned by that?
TARLOV: It's certainly not my approach.
TARLOV: I come from a centrist Democrat family. I have been a Hillary Clinton supporter. I was in 2008 and was very happy with President Obama, but do hew more to the middle on this.
What I'm more concerned about is how the media frames the conversation about it.
GASPARINO: They're not framing it.
TARLOV: Well, they are framing it.
GASPARINO: Not really.
TARLOV: Democratic socialism and socialism are, first of all, different.
There's a New York Times today about...
GASPARINO: OK. Come on. I get it.
I mean, national socialism and socialism are different.
TARLOV: These policies are popular, Charlie.
GASPARINO: No, they're popular with your base.
TARLOV: No, with more than just our base. They're popular with Donald Trump's base too.
They want their health care taken care of.
GASPARINO: On economic issues, I mean, look at what Donald Trump has proposed. Forget about -- listen, I'm very critical of Donald Trump, a lot.
TARLOV: I love you for it.
CAVUTO: You are, really?
Look, what he has proposed policy-wise. It's very, middle, center-right. Now, look on economic issues, what the Democratic Party is pushing now. It is so far to the left, it is literally socialism.
CAVUTO: Well, not everyone. As you know, Senator Klobuchar and some of others are dialing that back a little bit.
I guess I'm just trying to get a sense of the soul, the direction of the party. To Jessica's point, the nomination process will sort that out. But what are you hearing?
MELCHIOR: Well, I think we have a lot of energy from the far Democratic left. It's the driving force in the party.
CAVUTO: But they want to win, right?
MELCHIOR: Yes, they want to win.
And I think it's putting a lot of other Democrats in a difficult situation, because when you have something like the New Green Deal proposal, which is calling for everything from the abolition of air travel to just like these really extreme proposals, I think it puts Democrats in a difficult position, because on one hand they're going to lose the favor of their base if they oppose it.
But, on the other hand, it's totally isolating the general public.
GASPARINO: In the Clinton administration, there was a debate between the Robert Rubin Democrats and the Paul Begala Democrats.
GASPARINO: Now, look at what -- look at the debate now.
We are talking about not Paul Begala. We are talking about something so far to the left that consumes so much energy in this party. And they could be in power.
CAVUTO: If a Joe Biden were to enter the race, is he going to sign on to a lot of this stuff, or no?
TARLOV: I think that he will do a similar move to what Hillary Clinton did, which is say, these are ideals that I have worked for my entire career. I want to make sure that we do something that is feasible, but also speaks to...
CAVUTO: Yes, but even she dropped a lot of these ideas, like college for all, because it wasn't feasible.
TARLOV: Right. So I think Joe Biden will do something similar.
And I think that the results in 2018 in the midterms proved that out. We elected moderates in the midterm elections. we did not elect Bernie Sanders progressives.
CAVUTO: You would never know that.
CAVUTO: No, I agree with you.
But the loud on the left types that are...
TARLOV: Having the most powerful Twitter account doesn't mean that you are driving the most votes.
CAVUTO: You don't want to hear from her?
TARLOV: No, I enjoy her tweets. I enjoy the conversation that she is creating.
I think it is important to tango with these ideas that are percolating on the left. But that doesn't mean that that is who we're putting in governorships.
CAVUTO: AS someone who wants to see a Democrat elected, it worries you?
GASPARINO: Do you enjoy her lack of knowledge on basic economics? I mean, it's a joke.
TARLOV: I mean, listen, you can go and you can read people like Pal Krugman, who has a Nobel Prize, who is talking about a lot of the same ideas.
Elizabeth Warren has the most thorough plan of anyone. And she is the furthest left candidate.
CAVUTO: I might point out Paul Krugman was the same guy who predicted financial Armageddon if Donald Trump...
TARLOV: That is coming tomorrow, Neil.
CAVUTO: Oh, it is?
MELCHIOR: I agree with you that there are moderates in the party.
But I think, when you look at how much Sanders has changed the conversation, it's a shift left, and it's not just a small shift left. It's a hard left shift. And I think that's going off-put some voters.
TARLOV: And the general election, I believe, will be fought in the middle.
CAVUTO: Well, Sanders is more moderate now than some of these guys.
TARLOV: Than Warren? I think it's interesting.
GASPARINO: I think you got him mixed up with Colonel Sanders. Bernie Sanders is not moderate.
CAVUTO: All right, thank you all very, very much.
In the meantime, now it's up to 16 state attorneys general suing the president over this national emergency for a wall. Why the border state of Texas ain't one of them -- after this.
CAVUTO: All right, that border wall battle isn't over yet.
As you know, the president wants to declare a national emergency to get this thing built, and fast, and to do what he wants right now. At least 16 state attorneys general are opposing him, saying that it's an illegal move, and they're not going to let it happen.
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton not joining them, but he is joining us now.
Attorney General, very good to have you.
KEN PAXTON, R-TX, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Hey, thanks for having me back. I appreciate it.
CAVUTO: Their premise is the president doesn't have the right to call an emergency, and this doesn't meet the definition of an emergency.
PAXTON: Well -- well, so, we definitely have a crisis on the border.
I mean, that's the reason that Congress did some funding back in 2006. They had the national -- the national fence act, the Secure Fence Act, that President Obama voted for, Chuck Schumer voted for. But we clearly still have problems down here.
It's up to the president -- has always been up to the president -- to decide what a national emergency is, not -- not some state like California or any other state to step in and say, no, this is not a national crisis.
CAVUTO: Now, you know law very well. Obviously, a court could say you can't do this. Mr. President. It goes back and forth.
But it wouldn't stop the funding that has already been agreed to, the $1.3 billion and some of the other areas from which the president can get money to get this. But are you worried that it could stymie even that?
PAXTON: No, I don't think there's any doubt that the -- that what Congress already authorized explicitly recently, that will -- that should be just fine.
The interesting thing about this lawsuit, I would argue it's very much premature, because we don't know even yet where the president is taking the other money from. We know that Congress has authorized moving money around during a national crisis. But we don't know what money the president's using.
So it's a little strange that California filed a lawsuit without actually knowing what money is being moved around.
CAVUTO: All right. So this only stops the emergency measure. It doesn't change anything else that Congress did approve, the extra $1.3 billion in funding, the 50-some-odd miles of extra wall.
So is your sense that the whole national emergency thing was needed in the first place?
PAXTON: Well, I mean, I'm a border state, so obviously we care a lot about this.
PAXTON: I'm for anything that ends up being authorized to help fix our problems down here, because we have serious issues with human trafficking, drug smuggling.
We -- you just have to meet some of the families that have lost people, lost -- lost loved ones, and it'll -- it'll change your opinion on what's going on down here.
CAVUTO: All right. Thank you very, very much, Attorney General.
We have some other breaking news here. We're following that.
For those of you just joining us, Jussie Smollett has left a courthouse in Chicago, where he was given bail set at $100,000, paid the bail. This was the swarm as he was leaving just a few minutes ago.
But, right now, he could be facing maybe a lot of years in jail as a result of this so-called hoax. That's the way Chicago prosecutors see it, and certainly the Chicago police chief sees it.
So he's got some real issues, as well as his role in the -- in the FOX television series "Empire." Right now, the makers of that series are saying they are reviewing things closely.
We will have more after this.
CAVUTO: I don't know if this is a case of Samsung doubling down or doubling up, but the idea of a $1,000 phone and everyone frantic about it, well, that's so passe, not when Samsung announced a Galaxy phone that will go for upwards of 2,000 bucks.
This one can fold, we're told. It can have 5G. It can make breakfast for you.
CAVUTO: It can't make breakfast for you, but it's a big deal.
Ashley Webster following it very, very closely.
Obviously, Ashley, you think about it, they're betting that the American consumer, for the right product, they will do it.
ASHLEY WEBSTER, BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is for the professional gadget lover
I'm a gadget lover, Neil.
CAVUTO: You are.
WEBSTER: But I'm not going to fork out $2,000. And I think that's the basic price, $1,980.
You want A.C., you want electric windows, you want the total package.
CAVUTO: Wait a minute. That's not on a phone.
WEBSTER: Well, it should be for $2,000.
CAVUTO: But, obviously, everyone said, well, it was a big mistake when Apple tried that with the $1,000 phone and they lived to regret it.
Well, it could be just a case of, hey, all price points are...
WEBSTER: No, I think what's happening is, there is a stagnation in the smartphone world.
And all we get is a little upgrade to what we have already got. It's gone from -- it's just evolution. I think what Samsung is trying to do is revolution.
And it's going to be expensive. And I was reading on some of the social media sites when is it going to come down from $2,000? They don't think it will be below that for perhaps for at least another five years.
This technology is revolutionary. I nearly made my iPhone a foldable by sitting on it the other day.
WEBSTER: But it doesn't work.
WEBSTER: But this is amazing. Oh, yes.
CAVUTO: Even folded, I mean, it's bigger...
WEBSTER: Oh, it is.
But only the true geeks out there will love it and pay that money.
CAVUTO: All right, but it does express confidence that Americans are still spending, will still be inclined to spend, and they have bet big money assuming that will always be the case.
I don't know. It's so critical -- 70 percent of the U.S. economy is the consumer. And we're getting a lot of contradictory data out there. One side, yes, confidence is high. The next side, home sales are not very good.
It's hard to get a grip on where the psyche is. I think getting smaller tax refunds has played with the psyche a little bit.
CAVUTO: Right. Right. And there are always disputes on that. Are they really small?
WEBSTER: I know. I know. I know.
CAVUTO: But when you look at this phenomenon and the recovery that, it's still a record recovery, everyone always gets nervous, says, oh, boy, this can't keep going, keep going. But it keeps going.
WEBSTER: It does.
We keep wanting to move on up. But there's always going to be people. There's always the pessimists among us who say, too good for too long. We're in trouble.
The housing market, I mentioned that. We just got a number today that existing home sales had a three-year low. That's a little disturbing, because the housing market, we'd like to see that. That speaks to the overall health of the economy.
If someone feels confident to sell their house and move on, it speaks to the economy, speaks to their job. It speaks to a lot of things.
And what's interesting is, they're saying the new tax law could be behind this, because the advantages, the tax advantages, or what you get from your mortgage is not there anymore, because they have eliminated, especially in high-tax states like New York, Connecticut and so on.
You're not getting the advantage from the mortgage that you used to get with those tax deductions. So that has hurt.
CAVUTO: Yes. So you might as well pour it all into a phone.
WEBSTER: Just live at mom's and dad. Stay in the basement.
CAVUTO: Yes, tell me about it.
CAVUTO: Ashley, thank you very, very much.
WEBSTER: You're welcome.
CAVUTO: By the way, do want to update you.
"Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has been released after posting a $100,000 bond.
I believe he has to post directly $10,000 of that. This is when he left a little bit earlier. But he's facing a world of hurt here for a story Chicago authorities are saying it's all made up.
We will have more after this.
CAVUTO: All right, despite what must be the obvious temptation on the part of Roger Stone to say something or do a Richard Nixon raised arm thing, not a peep out of him, no physical gestures, just getting in an SUV and leaving a courthouse, where a judge has issued a gag order, saying, not another peep out of you on this case, but extending that to family members, friends, associates to stay similarly quiet.
Joining me on the phone is former federal prosecutor Doug Burns.
Doug, is this too much? I mean, stuff leaks out on court cases and investigations. He can't say a word about it?
DOUG BURNS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I have been in a number of these situations over the last 30 years.
What you call pretrial services alerts the court that something came up, and usually it plays out exactly the way it did today, which is basically, please explain yourself, why did you do this, what were you thinking? A good-old fashioned tongue-lashing. Don't do it again, or they're going to be much more severe consequences.
But now to your question, which I'm not avoiding, Neil, yes, I mean, of course, you're going to get into certain sort of First Amendment and expression issues, but they really are overridden, seriously, by the conduct of an ongoing criminal case.
So when a judge in a criminal case issues a gag order, to the extent it crashes or conflicts with the First Amendment, the gag order is going to win out, basically.
CAVUTO: All right, so the judge did so because he was joking about putting her in crosshairs and all of that, and she was just sort of obviously a little appalled by that.
But I do wonder, when things get out, whether things are leaked or not, that there's any avenue for him state his side of the story, or did he just bury himself with this?
BURNS: No, it's an excellent point you made, because you kind of read my mind, Neil.
What I wanted to say was, he went in, apparently, and he said, look, I wasn't the one who put together this visual and the way that crosshair appeared in the top left corner, and he sort of explained what happened and that somebody else had done it.
So, to your point, absolutely. But the bad news for him was, the judge didn't like it.
CAVUTO: Yes, she didn't at all.
Thank you very, very much, Doug. I apologize for the truncated version here. Roger Stone...
BURNS: Not at all. I appreciate it. Thank you.
CAVUTO: Not a peep out of him for the time being. We will see how long he sticks to that.
Very, very quickly here, folks, we're not missing the fact that we were down 103 points today. Again, this week could be a dicey one to make it nine up weeks in a row. We're well shy of making an up week. Then again, it's still early. We will see what happens tomorrow.
What I know now is that "The Five" is now.
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