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This is a rush transcript from “Your World,” February 14, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHARLES PAYNE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: White House briefing ongoing as the world awaits and Americans wait to hear more further information on where this White House stands as the situation in Russia continues to get intense.

In fact, the big question right now, could Wednesday be the day that Russia moves in? Ukraine’s president, in fact, predicting it. Now key U.S. senators are being briefed on it.

Welcome, everyone. I’m Charles Payne, in for Neil Cavuto. And this is YOUR WORLD.

With more U.S. troops heading into Europe, where’s all of this heading? We will ask Senate Armed Services Committee Republican Mike Rounds and Pentagon spokesman John Kirby in a moment, but first to Aishah Hasnie and – – on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are being briefed at this moment — Aishah.

AISHAH HASNIE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That’s right, Charles. Good afternoon to you.

That Senate briefing is still under way. And this one is classified. And it comes at a time when Republicans are warning that time is running out for Congress to act, as Democrats and the State Department and the White House, as you just heard there, believe that the window for diplomacy, they believe, is still open.


NED PRICE, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We are not saying that President Putin has made a final decision. We have not communicated otherwise to our partners.

We believe that diplomacy continues to be viable. We believe that there still remains a window to resolve this through dialogue and diplomacy.


HASNIE: So, Charles, let’s talk about that bipartisan sanctions package that Jacqui just asked about.

So some Senate Republicans here believe the White House is the reason why that package is stalled here on the Hill. There are two major sticking points right now, whether to hit Russia with sanctions before or after an invasion, and then also what to do about Nord Stream 2, the White House wanting to wait until an invasion to kill that pipeline.

But there are some questions about that today. This morning, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan gave ranking House members an unclassified briefing of the situation. And a source familiar to that briefing tells me that Sullivan said, if Russia were to invade Ukraine, that Germany would either deny the license for the pipeline or the U.S. may impose sanctions that would deny operation.

So the source says bottom line here is that it’s still unclear if Germany will stand with the U.S. on this or if we’re going to have to force its hand.


REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): No deterrence, passive deterrence, at best. We have advocating for active sanctions, because it is an act of provocation, what they’re doing, even before an invasion.

Why did he waive Nord Stream 2 pipeline sanctions that Congress mandated? It’s a very grim assessment. I think the time for diplomacy is running out. And the noose is tightening around the neck of Ukraine.


HASNIE: All right, so when it comes to U.S. troops reinforcing NATO countries, there are differences there too, Charles.

There are liberals and conservatives who do not want to see our men and women anywhere near Ukraine. But Speaker Pelosi, she doesn’t think the president needs congressional approval for that. But, Charles, if anything were to escalate inside of Ukraine, if things were to possibly get out of hand, then the administration absolutely does not have the authorization from Congress to move forward — Charles.

PAYNE: Aishah, thank you very much.

Now to Jennifer Griffin at the Pentagon — Jennifer

JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Charles, the mood here at the Pentagon gravely serious and concerned, as U.S. officials say they see no evidence that Putin is backing down.

Eyebrows were raised when Ukraine’s president even referenced Wednesday as the day many western officials believe Russia plans to invade.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): That February 16 will be the day of attack. We will make it a union day. The decree has already been signed. That afternoon, we will hang national flags, put on blue yellow ribbons, and show the world our unity.


GRIFFIN: But local Ukrainian officials who serve as advisers to President Zelensky, a former TV comedian, say the president was joking, being ironic.

An odd time to be making jokes, given the intelligence being shared by NATO allies with Ukraine’s government. We just came out of a briefing with press Secretary John Kirby here at the Pentagon, who announced Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is leaving for Brussels tomorrow to meet his NATO counterparts, and then traveling on to Poland and Lithuania.


GRIFFIN: You do not see evidence that his forces have moved into attack positions yet?

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Yes, I’m not going to talk about what specifically we’re seeing on the ground when it comes to unit by unit.

What I would tell you is that we continue to see him advance his readiness and improve his capabilities and provide himself more options should he decide to take another — to take military action in Ukraine.

GRIFFIN: Do you have evidence that China gave its tacit support to Russia during that meeting on February 4 for an invasion of Ukraine?

KIRBY: The statement itself reads, in our view, as tacit support.


GRIFFIN: This is the first time we have heard U.S. officials go so far and say President Xi of China, with the backdrop of the Olympics, gave President Putin a nod to invade a sovereign democratic nation — Charles.


Jennifer, thank you very much.

So, how does my next guest see it all playing out?

South Dakota Republican Senator Mike Rounds is a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees. And he joins us now.

Senator, obviously, a lot of moving parts, a lot of opaqueness here too for the American public. I’m hoping you could give us a better glimpse of what’s happening here.

SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R-SD): What we know is that Mr. Putin right now is in charge of his own schedule. We are not.

This has been going on since last March. He’s continued to make his buildup. It’s unfortunate that we find ourselves as a nation in the position of offering diplomacy, but not being in as a strong position as we should be with regard to providing defensive capabilities to the Ukrainians.

PAYNE: Senator, you mentioned last March and then our position. It seems like we’re trying to catch up.

I wasn’t aware of that this — the origins of this go back that far. If that’s the case, why aren’t we — why haven’t we been prepared better? Why weren’t we over there helping to train more effectively? Why weren’t we giving them or selling the sort of systems that would allow the Ukrainian people to defend themselves more effectively?

ROUNDS: I think Mr. Biden has had his focus in other areas, the fact that he was working on getting out of Afghanistan.

In the meantime, he’s been working on his own domestic policies here at home. And, right now, I think Mr. Putin has followed this whole thing, and he’s decided that this is the right time in which he can push his agenda. And, unfortunately, we’re not doing as much as we could be doing without actually encumbering any of our troops.

Just to give you an example, if we would have started with our defensive capabilities in Ukraine earlier, that might have made Mr. Putin rethink whether or not it was worthwhile to actually come in and attack them, knowing that he could have loss of life that was greater than what he wanted.

Second of all, right now, as you know, we have had in the United States a change in our heart with regard to being a producer of energy. And beginning with Mr. Biden stepping in and shutting down pipelines, deciding that he didn’t want to do oil and gas leases on federal lands, that sent a message to the crude oil — or at least to the markets that they’re going to have to increase the price on crude oil, which, right now, as you know, has resulted in significant increases to the American public, over 40 percent increases due to inflation on the supply side with regard to petroleum.

The same thing impacts Russia, except on the other side. Mr. Putin gets more for his products. Right now, if we opened up production again, and we said immediately, let’s go on out, let’s open production up again, let’s start being a producer again, that would drop the price, and it would give Mr. Putin less dollars, less money to actually use to fund his armies.

PAYNE: Senator, along the lines of that, one question being asked today is about Nord Stream 2 and if we can, in fact, trust the Germans to shut down the pipeline if there’s a Russian invasion.

Where does this stand right now?

ROUNDS: My understanding, in talking with other members who have actually spoken with German officials, they have very little doubt but that Germany would shut down that pipeline.

That’s the information I’m receiving personally from other members. And I tend to believe them, because I think Germany right now is recognizing that Mr. Putin has to be stopped. He has to have a very, very strong message sent, or, otherwise, he’s going to do it again.

Europe needs to have peace if they’re going to thrive. I don’t think Germany wants war anymore than anybody else does. I don’t think anybody wants to have war. And I think part of that sends a message to Mr. Putin that, if he does this, all hell is going to break out, but it’s going to be economic hell, and it’s going to be one that’s going to really hurt his country badly.

And there’s going to be pain and suffering. Don’t get me wrong. There’s pain and suffering on our part of it as well. When you do sanctions, you’re telling your own businesspeople that they can’t do business. Financial services are going to hurt.

But Germany clearly, I believe, understands how serious this is, as their neighbors are being attacked, or at least threatened at this point. Hopefully, Mr. Putin still has time to back off, but it’s getting closer to the point where he’s going to have to make a decision.

And he’s got some front-line troops in there that they normally don’t allow to deploy. They go back in and train again, but they don’t leave them on the front lines very long unless they’re going to use them.

PAYNE: Senator Rounds, thank you very much. Really appreciate it.

ROUNDS: Thank you.

PAYNE: So, all of these worries over a Russian invasion sparking more worries for drivers here in America.

Gas prices, folks up 33 straight days, a gallon costing $3.49. Oil surging fast today, approaching 100 bucks a barrel. Of course, we will be watching that.

And, as more U.S. troops head out today, where is our involvement in all of this heading? We’re going to speak with Pentagon spokesman John Kirby later in the hour.

But, first, Nancy Pelosi digging in on spinning, even though fellow Democrat Joe Manchin says Americans are spent. Are midterm voters listening?

And after a weeklong blockade, a key crossing between the United States and Canada is back up. Still, truckers in Ottawa and Canada’s prime minister are not backing down — Grady.


Prime Minister Trudeau is considering invoking a never-before-used law to remove the truckers. But will it work? We’re talking to the protesters here in Ottawa next.


PAYNE: To Ottawa, where truckers say they’re not moving.

And now Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reportedly ready to make a move of his own.

To FOX Business’ Grady Trimble live from Ottawa, Ontario, with more — Grady.

TRIMBLE: Hey, Charles.

We understand the prime minister is considering invoking the Emergencies Act, which has never been done before. And what that does is, it gives him broader authority to bar people from gathering in a certain area or traveling to a certain area.

And he’s set to speak in about 15 minutes. The goal there, you can assume, is to remove all of these truckers who remain on Wellington Street right here in front of the Parliament building in Ottawa. One of the protesters who drove about 3.5 hours to be here is with me.

Lindsay (ph), why do you feel so passionately about this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I’m here for my children. My husband and I, we have two girls, 7 and 2 years old. My 2-year-old doesn’t know anything different.

And unless we stand together and fight for this, this is going to be her normal for the rest of her life. And that is not acceptable.

TRIMBLE: Do you think this move by the prime minister will work? Will it be enough to get people out of here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think what he’s going to do is going to give more fuel and more energy and more passion into this cause and this movement than he could ever imagine.

TRIMBLE: To the people who say that protesters and truckers have taken the city under siege by closing businesses in this downtown area, what’s your response?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that’s a really unfortunate turn of events. I think — I understand that, yes, it is kind of hard to get into the downtown core.

But from the locals that we have met since we have been here — this is our second time being here with our children. And they’re all happy that everybody’s here. Yes, it’s unfortunate that they can’t open their business. But that’s a choice. They’re making a choice not to open it.

They’re allowed to, but they’re making a choice not to, whether it’s because of staffing issues. I understand some people are a bit intimidated by a massive crowd. It’s been two years since we can do this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it’s an unfortunate event.

TRIMBLE: I will say, Charles, from what we have seen over the past couple of days here, it’s more like a party atmosphere, but in the middle of the street, so like a street festival.

The mayor has struck a deal with the truckers in order to get them out of the residential areas and into Parliament Hill here right in front of Parliament Building, which means there are now going to be more truckers in this area and fewer in the neighborhoods.

I don’t know what the aim there is. But both sides seemed pleased with that agreement.

PAYNE: Yes, I think so. The residents probably feel like, hey, we’re not in this. We support you, but give us a break.


PAYNE: Thanks a lot, Grady. Really appreciate it.

Switching gears now, folks, to a big battle gearing up for the children. Voters in San Francisco heading to the polls tomorrow for a special election on recalling three Democrat school board members, and some parents accusing them of putting a political agenda ahead of their kids’ education.

I want to go to Claudia Cowan, who is live in San Francisco — Claudia


That’s right. It’s been one controversy after another with the San Francisco School Board. And tomorrow’s recall, takes aim at three board members who you mentioned are all Democrats and who critics say prioritized racial equality over education through a series of blunders during the pandemic, including renaming 44 schools they deemed to be offensive, including schools named after Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, without a plan to get kids back into those very same schools, covering an historic high school mural because it depicts images of slaves and slain Native Americans.

Refusing to consider Seth Brenzel, seen here during a Zoom meeting with the board for a parent advisory council, because the white gay father of a biracial child wasn’t diverse enough, and eliminating merit-based admissions at an academically elite high school because too many Asian kids were getting in.

San Francisco’s Chinese community was further enraged by a series of racist tweets by Alison Collins, who is black, before she was on the board and became its vice president. Among other things, she tweeted Asian Americans had used — quote — “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and get ahead.”

When Collins was subsequently demoted, she sued the district for $87 million, fueling yet another pandemic sideshow. If these three are recalled, San Francisco Mayor London Breed will choose their replacements.

She has blasted the school board for being — quote — “distracted by political agendas.” While Breed is a Democrat who supports the recall, opponents have framed it as a conservative power grab and a waste of money.

Charles, we could know the fate of one, two or all three of these board members by late tomorrow night — back to you.

PAYNE: Claudia, thank you very much.

Democrat Senator Joe Manchin tearing into D.C. spending with inflation surging. Now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is tearing into him. How is this Democratic divide going to play out in November?

And we’re getting new information on the John Durham investigation, after that bombshell report into the Hillary Clinton campaign. A live report from the Justice Department is next.


PAYNE: More U.S. troops on their way to Eastern Europe today, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby moments away with an update on what they will be doing and what American involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict will look like.

We will be right back in 60 seconds.


PAYNE: New details emerging in the Durham probe, which FOX has just learned is accelerating.

FOX News correspondent David Spunt has more from the Justice Department — David.


John Durham’s probe looking at the origins of the Russia investigation began almost three years ago. May will mark three years. And our colleague Brooke Singman just reported a few minutes ago that this probe is — quote — “accelerating” and more people are cooperating and coming before the federal grand jury.

This latest news came out of a court filing on Friday. And many Republicans, including the former president, may feel a little vindicated about what happened because they believe this is finally getting to the substantial part.

On Friday, special counsel Durham filed a motion relating to a potential conflict of interest within the defense team of former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann, who pleaded not guilty to lying to the FBI.

Now, in this motion, Durham reveals that Sussmann was involved with someone known as tech executive one who worked with an Internet company to infiltrate servers at Trump Tower and the White House. According to the filing, the tech executive tasked researchers to mine Internet data to establish an inference and narrative tying then-candidate Trump to Russia.

In doing so, the executive indicated he was seeking to please certain VIPs, referring to individuals at a law firm and the Clinton campaign. Donald Trump, the former president out with a statement this weekend, several statements.

He said in part: “What Hillary Clinton and the radical left Democrats did with respect to spying on a president of the United States even while in office is a far bigger crime than Watergate.”

Many on Capitol Hill, at least Republicans, publicly at this point agree with the president and are speaking out on his behalf. Listen.


REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): We have to get to the truth. I mean, this is a threat to our democracy itself. It doesn’t matter really which political campaign this is or which political party this is. This is so wrong.


SPUNT: And Congressman Mike Turner there, he made it clear that, if Republicans take the majority in November, where there is a distinct possibility that will happen, there will be public hearings on the findings of this Durham probe — Charles.

PAYNE: Thanks, David.

SPUNT: Sure.

PAYNE: Switching gears now to inflation, take a look at this.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Part of the consequences of all of that investment in the infrastructure bill and the rest is that more people have jobs and, therefore, inflation goes up.

With all the respect in the world for my friend Joe Manchin, it’s not right to say that what we’re doing is contributing to inflation, because it is exactly the opposite.


PAYNE: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defending the president’s spending agenda and taking a shot a West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin after he said this:


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We have inflation and we have basically an economy that’s on fire. You don’t throw more fuel on the fire that’s already on fire, causing the problems that we have.


PAYNE: We’re going to get to the midterm impact from all of this in a moment.

But, first, let’s get to the money read from FOX News contributor Brian Brenberg, Democratic strategist Jonathan Harrison, and The Washington Examiner’s Sarah Westwood.

Brian, so who’s got this right? Who understands cause and effect better here?

BRIAN BRENBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, this was fascinating, Charles.

Nancy Pelosi just blamed workers. She just blamed job gains for inflation, which gets things exactly backward. The reason inflation is raging is because we don’t have enough supply. We haven’t been producing enough because people haven’t been on the job. It’s the government spending, plus this diminished supply, that gives us inflation.

She is entirely 100 percent backward. Joe Manchin has got it right. And thank goodness, because he’s keeping us from the kind of spending that would make this inflation problem much, much worse.

PAYNE: Jonathan, of course, it’s well-known that you have folks like Larry Summers complaining about this. Jason Furman has written about it also, two well-known Democratic economists. So where’s this heading, because it doesn’t look like either side’s going to give?


And I think what she was trying to say — and I think people who are more familiar with the economy know this, but maybe the average person does — I think what she was referring to is something called the Phillips curve, which essentially says that, when unemployment is low, it’s going to make inflation rise.

It’s basically the reason being that, when people rush to work, it increases demand and they have to pay workers more, so prices increase.

But we also know that the inflation is directly tied to the pandemic, directly tied to supply chain issues, which is why it’s happening all over the world. So I’m not sure what Manchin is referring to there. And I think Pelosi is absolutely right. I just think she maybe didn’t realize she needed to explain the Phillips curve to people.

PAYNE: You know, Sarah, the Phillips curve also focuses on wages.

And a lot of folks are saying — and spending, right? So you have a lot of people out there saying, listen, the $1.9 trillion absolutely was the sinker. That’s what Jason Furman, again, a Democratic economist said. That was the one that tipped us over into this inflation spiral, which is a spiral so far we haven’t been able to get out of.

SARAH WESTWOOD, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Yes, well, first of all, if you’re looking at unemployment rate, right now, it’s about 4 percent nationally.

In 2017, when Donald Trump was president, it was at about 4 percent, and we didn’t have this inflation problem. So to isolate that and say that people getting back to work is causing inflation really doesn’t make any sense.

But, politically, Democrats have been searching for months now for some sort of scapegoat that they can blame inflation that voters will buy, and they haven’t found one yet. First, they said it was the result of congestion at the ports, it was the supply chain. You don’t really hear the White House or Democrats talking about that so much anymore.

Then they tried to blame it on corporate greed, maybe on price gouging from some unnamed bad actors in the market. That’s clearly not the case. So this is just the latest new excuse that Pelosi is searching for, because they don’t want to talk about the real issue, their out-of-control spending, because their pitch to voters in November is going to depend on convincing Americans that more spending is needed.

PAYNE: And, of course, at first it was dismissed as a high-class problem. And, of course, that’s been anything but.

All right, so let’s switch gears to Texas and the midterms. New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in San Antonio over the weekend for a midterm campaign rally and said this is:


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Texas turning blue is inevitable!


OCASIO-CORTEZ: Inevitable!


OCASIO-CORTEZ: It will happen. The only question is when, Texas!


PAYNE: All right, Sarah, Texas turning blue, is that inevitable?

WESTWOOD: Yes, Democrats have been hoping that demographics is destiny for years now, that, as minorities grow as a share of the U.S. population, that more Democratic voters would grow as well and sort of almost eradicate Republicans just by default.

That has not turned out to be the case. And, in fact, the original authors of that theory have now backed away from it as well. Texas is a classic example of that. The last census showed that the share of the Hispanic population in Texas grew significantly over the last decade, but the share of Democratic voters did not match that.

And, in fact, Hispanics are leaving the Democratic Party in droves. So I think that’s wishful thinking from Texas Democrats. You can just look at the millions and millions of dollars of investments that they have put into Democratic candidates in the past, only for them to get embarrassed in the elections.


Jonathan, obviously, that has been the miscalculation, where Hispanic voters are going to go, particularly in those border towns recently. They have voted overwhelmingly for Republicans.

HARRIS: Well, I think that census data also shows that Texas’ population is becoming incredibly diverse. And it’s actually the youth in the population is increasing.

And I think was The New York Times, if I have that correctly, that said, in 2020, the Republican victory margin was about 600,000. So if the Democrats target about two million young eligible voters, they only need to win a fraction of those to flip Texas.

So — and also, if you look at just sort of the national vote, increasing victories for Democrats there too. So I think I think she’s safe in her in her estimation that eventually it’s essentially inevitable. When is really the question.

PAYNE: Brian.

BRENBERG: Yes, well, the only thing that’s become more diverse is people being fed up with things like inflation and crime and not having a say in their kids’ education.

So, pre-2019 Texas may be going more blue? I don’t know. But things have changed. And even people fleeing to Texas now, the reason they’re doing it is because they are tired of the politics of New York and Chicago and San Francisco. They want out of that. They want to be in a place like Texas, where they’re not beholden to AOC’s policy preferences.


BRENBERG: That, I think, is the future of a place like Texas.

PAYNE: All right, panel, thank you very much.

With more U.S. troops heading out, where’s our involvement in this Russia showdown heading?

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, he will tell us.


PAYNE: To the crime wave now.

At least 13 police officers wounded by gunfire in four states over just a 24-hour period.

To FOX News correspondent William La Jeunesse with the details — William.

WILLIAM LA JEUNESSE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Charles, last year was the deadliest in three decades for police; 73 officers in the line of duty intentionally shot, including eight ambush-style similar to this one Friday in Phoenix.




LA JEUNESSE: The suspect opens fire on five cops who are responding to a domestic violence call. Four more were injured by shrapnel.


JERI WILLIAMS, PHOENIX, ARIZONA, POLICE CHIEF: This is just one more example of the dangers our officers face every day keeping us and our community safe.

If I seem upset, I am. This is senseless. It doesn’t need to happen.


LA JEUNESSE: Also Friday, Maryland, a suspect shoots two officers, saved by their body armor.

In New Mexico, suspects rammed a state trooper, then fired eight shots, arresting the two individuals you see here. That man said he shot because he didn’t want to go back to prison, while, in Philadelphia, a drug suspect shot a SWAT officer serving a warrant.

All 13 officers involved in Friday’s crime spree will survive. Yet this is, again, six cops killed in light of duty this year alone, Charles. Why the increase? Well, after two years of anti-police rhetoric, analysts say some say suspects feel justified in shooting cops — Charles.

PAYNE: William, thank you.

I want to get right to our next guest. And he’s the author of a new op-ed claiming President Biden and Vice President Harris created this current crime wave, and now they must fix it.

Former Assistant FBI Director Chris Swecker joins us now.

Chris, walk us through your reasoning for putting the blame solely on the White House with President Biden and Vice President Harris.

CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, Charles, the buck stops at the top.

Now, we started to see some crime increases in 2020 because of that so- called summer of love lawlessness that took place. And cops began to sort of back off on doing their jobs because they were branded as racist. And they were undercut.

The Biden administration really continued that narrative when they took office. You even had the vice president promoting a fund to bail out these criminals that committed 97 police arson — arsons of police cars and assaulted 2,000 police officers and over 600 arsons, including government buildings and county courthouses.

So that sort of lawlessness and promoting that or at least undercutting the police officers is part of that atmosphere that’s been created.

PAYNE: Right.

SWECKER: And it’s something that you will hear across law enforcement ranks, not just from me.

PAYNE: Chris, part of this is, any progressive wind can blow this president, the prevailing winds, demagoguery, demagoguing the guns, the cops, the racist criminal justice system, Trump, even the victims.

Why is this? Is it because there’s such a tenuous hold on power within the Democratic Party, and it’s so fractured, that these progressives get this much push? Only recently, as this has become a national issue, are we seeing some elected leaders in the Democratic Party push back. But, before, they were all beating the drumbeats of defund the police and it’s always the police who are guilty.

SWECKER: Yes, it caught on for a while there.

I mean, the premise that police officers are racist, and we got to take their funding away, and they can’t — they don’t do the right thing out there is absolutely absurd. And we saw this in the ’90s during the crack epidemic. I mean, entire neighborhoods were ravaged.

And it will happen again, if you allow a small group of lawbreakers who are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the violent crime to just run rampant. So, when you allow lawlessness to prevail in the cities, they’re going to take over the cities.

PAYNE: Right.

What would you expect? What could the president do, the vice president do now? If they were to have an epiphany and say, yes, we really went down the wrong path, we need to fix this now, what would they do?

SWECKER: Yes, I mean, I chaired the governors crime commission in North Carolina during a time when they have what they call COPS grants and Byrne grants.

And those were funded grants to states and cities to actually put police officers on the street, more police officers. So, that’s what they ought to do first. Second, let’s control the borders, because we have criminals just flowing across the boards, MS-13, human traffickers, drug cartels, fentanyl, responsible for twice the amount of deaths as COVID.

So let’s get control of the borders, get control of our cities and promote law enforcement, not undercut them.


Chris, I always wonder, for me — because I was in one of those neighborhoods you described in the ’90s and the ’70s and ’80s. And I just don’t know why we don’t get our sentencing together.

I just don’t know how someone — I have seen people commit violent assault, and they’re out in a year. And I have seen someone sell some weed, and they’re out in a year. It’s just — it’s just — we need to put the fear of God into hard criminals. There’s no way they should ever walk among us. And I think that’s the real problem here, is whether it’s no bail or they go to jail for such a short period of time. Everybody’s held hostage by them.

Chris, thank you so much. And a fantastic op-ed, by the way.

SWECKER: Thank you, Charles. Thank you. Take care.

PAYNE: So we told you about this — this move that was expected, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just announcing that he is invoking emergency powers to quell those truck protesters against COVID restrictions.

We will see where it goes.

Those Russia-Ukraine tensions, meanwhile, still escalating, with more U.S. troops deploying. So where is this heading?

We’re going to get an update from Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby on how the administration is preparing.


PAYNE: And more U.S. troops heading to Europe today, the Pentagon sending 3,000 soldiers to Poland ahead of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.

FOX News correspondent Charles Watson is live from Pope Airfield, Army airfield, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina — Charles.

CHARLES WATSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Hey, good evening, Charles.

Those 3,000 additional troops deploying with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg quite the sight to see a short time ago, as we watched one of the first groups gear up and say their goodbyes before taking off one of those — in one of those large aircrafts to assist some of our NATO allies in Europe.

We had the opportunity, fortunately, to speak to some of these brave young men and women who are deploying today, many of them in their 20s on their first deployment. And they tell us they had just a few days to mentally prepare after getting notice that they were heading overseas. Take a listen.


AARON MOSCOWITZ, 82ND AIRBORNE: We had a little bit of an idea. We just didn’t really know any exact times or dates.

And it really was moment’s notice. And everything changed really quickly.


WATSON: And, yes, so when you talk to the soldiers, you quickly realize that this is not only tough on them, but also on their families as well.

Just about everyone we spoke to tells us their loved ones emotionally are a mix of excited and nervous, emphasis on nervous, as they get set to spend weeks, maybe even months apart. And these soldiers could be very busy once they make it to Europe. They’re expected to spend most of their time in Poland, where they will support the needs of the U.S. and its allies there.

And that includes training soldiers and host nations as tensions ramp up on the Ukraine-Russia border. Right now, Charles, no timetable on when these soldiers are expected to return. But the bottom line is, these young folks are excited and ready to contribute to helping the U.S. and its allies out in any way they can, Charles.

PAYNE: Thank you very much, Charles.

Russian tensions may be reaching a boiling point. Ukraine President Zelensky says he’s been informed Russia will attack Wednesday in an address to the nation.

What is the Pentagon, though, saying about all of this?

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby joins me now.

Sir, thank you very much for joining us.

The latest on where we are right now? Obviously, things are moving fast, but we just heard where this — the latest troop deployment caught some of the soldiers off-guard.

KIRBY: Well, right.

And we’re very proud of those 82nd Airborne soldiers. They are a high- readiness unit already. They are — they were — we put them on a shorter tether to deploy, heightened alert, a few weeks ago. I think you guys remember that. So they certainly knew, as that soldier said, that it was a possibility.

But we believed it was the right thing to go ahead and get them over there to join the 1,700 of their — of their fellow soldiers in that — in that same unit.

PAYNE: Today, Ukraine’s president said, in a series of announcements or posts, that Wednesday looks like it could be the day.

And, now, one said he might have been joking. Another one felt like he was really serious about that. But where are we with respect to the timeline, the potential invasion of Ukraine by Russia?

KIRBY: Well, we have said for quite some time now, Charles, that it could be any day now.

And what I said earlier today is that he could move with little to no warning. So, it could — it could clearly be really any time now. And I wouldn’t get into specific predictions here. It would be difficult to put a date certain on it.

But we have been sharing our information and the intelligence that we have been getting on what we’re seeing the Russians do along that border with our Ukrainian partners, with Ukrainian leaders, so that they have the same information that we do.

PAYNE: There was also report out earlier today that Russia’s Defense Secretary Lavrov was committed to giving diplomacy a little bit more time.

That report seemed to have faded away as the day has gone on. Any update on that?

KIRBY: Well, he said it publicly.

And, certainly, we welcome those kind of sentiments. In fact, we have been saying the same thing, Charles. We still believe that there should be time and space for diplomacy to work. We still believe here at the Pentagon that that’s the right way forward here, to de-escalate this thing and find a diplomatic path forward.

So, again, we welcome Mr. Lavrov’s comments, and we hope that he’s sincere about that.

The problem is that what they say and what they do aren’t exactly the same.

PAYNE: Right.

KIRBY: We continue to see him add to his forces along that border with Ukraine. Even just over the course of the last 24 to 48 hours, he has increased his military capability, should he want to invade Ukraine again.

PAYNE: And, to that point, if Russia invades Ukraine this week, what would the U.S. response be? Is there a scenario where our troops would be deployed to Ukraine?

KIRBY: The president has been crystal clear that U.S. troops will not be fighting in Ukraine.

He has also been crystal clear that, should there be another incursion inside Ukraine by Russian forces, that they will be met with swift consequences, mostly of an economic nature, of course. And he has been very clear about the fact that we would be willing to put in place economic measures of a severity that we have not done before.

And it won’t just be the United States, Charles. Other nations will also — we have indications, certainly, that they will also try to hold Russia accountable through economic measures as well. So, this is not going to go well for Mr. Putin should he decide to invade again.

And the other thing is that what he’s seeing is a more unified West, a more unified NATO. He has done exactly what he said he didn’t want to see, which is what — a strong NATO on his western flank.

PAYNE: Right.

KIRBY: He — all of these actions, all of this uncertainty, all of this bellicosity has actually unified the alliance.

PAYNE: John, what if the NATO Response Force is activated?

KIRBY: Well, again, I won’t get ahead of NATO. That’s going to be a North Atlantic Council decision.

But if it’s activated, it is a highly ready force of 40,000 members. We have a contribution to that in the United States. And, as I think you know, a couple of weeks ago, Secretary Austin put 8,500 troops on a heightened alert posture. Those troops are largely dedicated to the NATO Response Force.

So, if it gets activated, what I can assure you is that the United States’ contribution to the NATO readiness force will be ready to go

PAYNE: Speaking of Defense Secretary Austin, I understand he is set to travel to Europe tomorrow, where he’s going to be visiting troops, also meeting with NATO allies.

What’s the message that he’s going to convey on this trip?

KIRBY: The biggest message he’s going to convey on this trip in Brussels, in Poland, and Lithuania is that the United States takes our commitment to NATO very seriously, specifically the Article 5 collective defense requirement.

It’s a serious requirement. It’s a big commitment inside the alliance, and the United States will take it seriously.

PAYNE: A lot has been made, of course, about the sanctions, possible sanctions. Should they go on before or presumably after? And the centerpiece of that, of course, is the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Some concern in America by some lawmakers that maybe Germany will not be willing to cut off the pipeline. It’s still winter. It would be a major source — obviously, Russia is a major source of natural gas for them anyway.

Are you assured, are you confident that Germany would go with President Biden, who, on February 7, made the promise that the pipeline would be shut?

KIRBY: I would put you back to exactly what the president said. Should there be another invasion, Nord Stream 2 will not go forward.

And he had good discussions with Chancellor Horowitz about this the other day at the Pentagon — at the White House. Excuse me. It will not go forward.

And, look, I mean, I think we all recognize that there’s a lot at play here. But the president was, again, very clear.

PAYNE: John, also, an emerging narrative is that maybe this will be a minor incursion, not to — not to make light of the comment that was made not long ago by President Biden, but, certainly, to occupy a nation, particularly one the size of Ukraine, is not easy — they have got 260,000 soldiers and other people willing to fight — but that there could be a strategic culling out of certain land there, not unlike Crimea.


PAYNE: And if that were the plan, what — is there anything we could do about it? Ultimately, there was nothing we could really do about Crimea.

KIRBY: Well, look, we’re not going to put American troops on the ground in Ukraine to fight. The president’s been clear about that.

It is unclear what Mr. Putin will do. Certainly, with the forces that he has arrayed on that border — and there’s a lot of them, well north of 100,000, and they keep adding to it every day, and increasing their capabilities — they have a lot of options available to them.

They could go in, in a large, conventional way, and try to surround Kyiv. They could do something more tailored, more small, like you suggested, maybe another action in the Donbass or down south. They could do all of it together.

PAYNE: Right.

KIRBY: It’s just not exactly clear what he’s going to do.

But the president has been clear. Any incursion, no matter what the size, any incursion inside Ukraine is going to trigger economic consequences.

PAYNE: Are you worried about a Russian cyberattack on America here?

KIRBY: We are constantly watching what the Russians are capable of in cyber operations. We take the resilience and the security of our own infrastructure, cyber infrastructure, very seriously.

Here at the Pentagon, our networks get attacked every single day. So it’s something we’re always focused on and always watching for. And we will certainly be mindful of that going forward here with Russia and their capabilities.

It is certainly not — from your last question, when we were talking about his options, certainly, one of the options he has available to him as well inside Ukraine is to start this off with some sort of cyber offensive operation.

PAYNE: Right.

KIRBY: Again, we will be watching for that.

PAYNE: John, I got 20 seconds.

But there’s a report — there are reports that President Xi gave a tacit OK for this invasion to happen during the Olympics. Are you — how worried are you about this combination of China and Russia, how tightly they’re becoming — their relationship?

KIRBY: Yes, look, we don’t think they’re strong, strong allies. These are not two countries that always play well together.

But the comment by Xi, that statement they issued in early February was sort of tacit approval for Russian aggression against Ukraine. And, as I said earlier in the day, that’s deeply alarming.

PAYNE: John Kirby, thank you so much for being so — for your time and the questions and answers.

We really appreciate it.

KIRBY: Yes, sir, Charles.

PAYNE: And, folks, that’s all the time I have for today.

Catch me on FOX Business today.

Meanwhile, “THE FIVE” starts now.

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