This is a rush transcript from “Sunday Morning Futures,’ 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Good Sunday morning, everyone. Welcome to “Sunday Morning Futures.” I’m Maria Bartiromo.
Today: Spend, tax and cancel, the Biden agenda.
The former White House Chief of Staff under President Trump Mark Meadows is here on the new administration’s big plans, including that $1.9 trillion spending package, 45 executive orders and actions, and plans to cancel the Trump administration.
Then: challenging the Biden administration. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on why he says President Biden’s executive orders violate the law.
Then, an early Friday morning in the Senate this weekend, as Democrats went at it alone, voting on Joe Biden’s $2 trillion stimulus bonanza. Senator Ron Johnson is here on COVID relief and why he’s not getting any answers to his queries in the Capitol Hill breach. Who knew what when about the January 6 siege, and what was done about it? Plus, what does the intelligence say now that warrants barbed wire, eight-feet fencing protecting the Capitol at least for another month?
And then there’s Hunter Biden’s new book amidst new comments about his investments in China. Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on China, Biden and the 2021 economy.
All that and a lot more, as we look ahead right now on “Sunday Morning Futures.”
All that coming up, but, first, the Biden agenda.
In his first two weeks in office, President Biden has signed 45 executive actions and orders, pushed through a boffo $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, and has managed to cancel several key Trump policies on immigration, energy and foreign policy, all seemingly in the name of unity.
Joining us right now with reaction to the new administration and its policies is the former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Mark, it’s great to have you this morning. Welcome.
MARK MEADOWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Good to be with you. Thanks, Maria.
BARTIROMO: Assess the new administration and its policies. What strikes you most?
MEADOWS: Well, I think we see Biden administration that’s very active, but not on behalf of the American people. It’s on behalf of special interests.
We have seen it with all these executive orders. And not only are they prepared with executive orders that were probably written by special interest lobbyists, but they’re going against the very heart of America. It’s going against energy. It’s going against our immigration policy.
You’re going to have Attorney General Ken Paxton up talking about how not only it affects Texas, but all of America. And yet we also see the Biden administration coupling up with Iran, getting applause from the foreign minister of Iran for actions that they’re taking there.
I can tell you, it is not about America first. It’s about America last. And we need to make sure that we fight back on behalf of the American people.
BARTIROMO: So, how can you fight back?
Can the Republicans do anything to stop this aggressive agenda? We have a graphic here that shows executive orders from President Biden vs. other presidents. And it is obviously the most aggressive we have ever seen, 28 executive orders and an — additional executive actions, putting the executive order number at 45 in just the first two weeks in office, Mark.
Can you stop this in any way?
MEADOWS: Well, obviously, we have seen a temporary stay in Texas, but we need to be more aggressive on that front, fighting back with lawsuits, making sure that the American people are heard.
One of the interesting things is, there’s a role for Congress. And that role is defined. And we have Joe Biden saying he wants to unify, but it’s more of a Joe Biden go-it-alone-kind of approach and making sure — it took 30 minutes for him to meet with Republicans in the Oval Office to decide that he wanted to do the stimulus by himself.
But what we need to make sure is that we challenge it at every turn. We have got a number of Trump-appointed justices in office that need to uphold the rule of law, and ultimately give this authority back to Congress, where it — where it belongs.
BARTIROMO: We’re going to talk with Senator Ron Johnson in a few minutes, Mark.
And he has been trying to do his own investigation, a query into who knew what when around the siege on our democracy, the January 6 Capitol breach.
What can you tell us in terms of what you knew, as the outgoing administration, what you knew in terms of the threat and what was done about it?
MEADOWS: Well, Senator Johnson does a good job of trying to get to the bottom of it.
And we can — we know a couple of things. One is, this impeachment process they’re going through is unconstitutional. It’s all designed for nine House Democrats to do two things, to get political vengeance and have a viral moment.
And yet what we’re also seeing is, is that some of the things happened even before the infamous speech that everybody tries to allude to and hold this impeachment process. But we also know this. Help was offered multiple times, not just in January, but throughout the summer, with the D.C. mayor, saying that the president stood by willing to offer National Guard assistance, other assistance, and often, in fact, every time, was rebuked and said, no, we can go it alone.
And so they do need to get to the bottom of it. And, hopefully, we will we will see that in the very near future.
BARTIROMO: So, you say that the president had offered up Capitol Police, National Guard, even went to the Department of Defense?
And so we also know that, in January, but also throughout the summer, that the president was very vocal in making sure that we had plenty of National Guard, plenty of additional support, because he supports the rule of law, he supports our law enforcement, and offered additional help. Even in January, that was given.
As many as 10,000 National Guard troops were told to be on the ready by the secretary of defense. That was a direct order from President Trump. And yet here’s what we see is, there’s all kinds of blame going around, but yet not a whole lot of accountability. That accountability needs to rest with where it ultimately should be.
And that’s on Capitol Hill.
BARTIROMO: Well, what are you going to do in terms of the impeachment? Let’s talk about that.
It is set, a trial is set for February 9. What can you tell us in terms of how this plays out?
MEADOWS: Well, listen, we can tell you how it’s going to play out, because we have seen this already play out. This is all about a political theater. It’s really about Democrats trying to once again make a political point.
Listen, this whole impeachment is designed to remove someone from office. President Trump is a private citizen at this point. And yet what they — they can’t stand it. They have to continue to go ahead and try to put forth some kind of narrative that scores political points.
But we have seen it before. The American people are not going to have it. We have already had 45 senators say that this is unconstitutional. But it’s more than that. It’s a violation of due process. It’s not what our founding fathers set up. And it sets a very bad precedent for future — of future officeholders.
BARTIROMO: So, how will it look? Do you believe that the Democrats will call witnesses?
I mean, from a practical standpoint, what is this going to look like?
MEADOWS: Yes, the question witnesses will be generally decided here in the next 48 hours or so, as it goes before the Senate.
But, generally speaking, that is something that should have already happened in the House. They should have called witnesses. They should have gathered evidence. But they were so — so impressed to try to get this done, so that they could score a political point, that they actually bypassed all of that in the House.
That’s where it’s supposed to happen. And then they’re supposed to hear that evidence in the Senate. Hopefully, that’s what we will do. I’m optimistic that we will find a bipartisan agreement that says, let’s get this thing over with very quickly. Let’s move on to things that the American people are concerned about and hopefully will bring unity, whether it’s help through a stimulus or actually putting people back to work on Main Street, and focus on the real thing that matters to most Americans.
BARTIROMO: Speaker Pelosi was asked about witnesses.
And, well, I want you to hear her answer. And then I want to get into some of the communications issues that we’re talking about with regard to the Biden administration.
Here’s Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: I’m just curious. As far as the impeachment trial is concerned, Senator Graham said that, if the Democrats call any witness, that they will be prepared, that the Republicans will be prepared to call in the FBI and – – quote — “Tell us about people who planned this attack and what happened with the security footprint at the Capitol.”
What’s your response to that?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Your question is a waste of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MEADOWS: You know, it…
BARTIROMO: Wow. Well, that shut it down, Mark. “The question is a waste of time,” the speaker said.
MEADOWS: Well, that’s what Speaker Pelosi does when she can’t answer a question. She says it’s a waste of time, because the answer would not be one that would be one that she would want to share with the American people.
I can tell you that, when we look at Washington, D.C., the Capitol Police, many of them are my friends. I can tell you, they do a tremendous job. But they need to be empowered to do that job. And there were plenty of assets there to assist them in their efforts.
And some of those decisions weren’t made appropriately, in my opinion. And those decisions did not come from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It came from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
BARTIROMO: Wow. That is pretty significant. We will talk more about that coming up to find out what Senator Johnson has uncovered.
Real quick, what about this $1.9 trillion stimulus package? I know you worked so hard with Steven Mnuchin and the Democrats to try to come up with continued aid. It looks like we will see a $1.9 trillion package. Your thoughts?
MEADOWS: Listen, the president has done — President Trump did three bipartisan deals. This is going to be a partisan deal that has all kinds of pork for local municipalities and states. It’s all the special interest things that they have actually fought back on.
Listen, America needs help. We need to make sure that the economy continues to go. There is some bipartisan support there. This partisan way is not the answer, though.
BARTIROMO: All right, we will leave it there.
Mark, it’s good to see you this morning. Come back soon. Thank you, sir.
MEADOWS: All right, thank you.
BARTIROMO: Mark Meadows joining us this morning in Washington.
Coming up: breaking news on the Texas lawsuit.
The man who sued the Biden administration over its 100-day deportation freeze and won a 14-day restraining order, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, is here on the next steps in his case, with that stay expiring. And now we are understanding it’s going to be extended. It is now expiring on February 23.
We will talk about the breaking news next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN MILLER, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think you’re going to increasingly see more and more conservative and Republican states attorneys general step forward and file lawsuits against the Biden administration, because, ultimately, this is, as I said earlier, a fight that is going to have to be waged in the federal judiciary, in our Article 3 courts, because it gets to core fundamental constitutional issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: That was former White House senior adviser Stephen Miller on this program last week right here on why he believes state attorney generals are the last line of defense against President Biden’s sweeping executive orders.
My next guest is leading that charge. He was the first attorney general to sued the Biden administration over its 100-day pause on deportations. That resulted in a 14-day restraining order.
That order was supposed to expire this Tuesday, but it has been extended. And now it will expire on February 23.
Joining me right now is the man himself, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
A.G., good morning to you. Thank you so much for being here.
KEN PAXTON (R), TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Hey, good morning. Thanks for having me on.
BARTIROMO: First, we have talked about the crux of your lawsuit.
Tell me what happened in terms of why you’re now getting another two weeks extending the stay to February 23? What have you heard?
PAXTON: So, the Department of Justice felt like they needed more time to argue their case, because we are coming back in, and we’re seeking not a temporary injunction, but a permanent injunction.
The reason we want that is, we want to keep in place the law that Congress put into place, so that we don’t suffer any damage while we’re arguing the merits of the case, which is what we want to get to ultimately, because we think we will be successful.
And a court will grant that if you show two things, one, that you’re likely to win on the merits, which is hard to show before trial, but we did that, and, two, that you would suffer irreparable harm, that there’d be some great harm to Texas and other states.
And so we have been able to show that.
BARTIROMO: So, let’s talk about the merits of the case and why it impacts Texas so severely, A.G. Paxton. Tell us about it.
PAXTON: So, they’re pretty significant.
As a border state, we’re probably more impacted by this than any other state. We have the largest border with Mexico. And so, when you eliminate the laws that were put in place by Congress, you eliminate those protections for my state.
So, now we have health issues. We have COVID issues, which we all know. And, clearly, we made a lot of restrictions in this country limiting citizens from doing certain things. And now we’re going to open our border and say that that doesn’t matter. So, that creates a huge risk for our state and makes it very uncertain as to how we would deal with that.
On top of that, we have law enforcement issues. We have the problem with human trafficking and drug smuggling and all kinds of gang issues. And then, in addition, it costs our state a lot of money, because we have to take care of education. We have to take care of health care costs, law enforcement costs.
Really, the list is pretty large. And it’s an unfunded mandate for my state. And it’s really hard for us to assess what, ultimately, that’s going to end up costing us.
BARTIROMO: So, President Biden said this week: “Look, I’m not making new law. I’m eliminating bad policy.”
BARTIROMO: That was his reaction to the pushback on all of his executive orders.
Tell me about these E.O.s this week on immigration that impacted Texas most severely.
PAXTON: Well, so, he’s just wrong about this. These were laws put in place by elected representatives basically requiring that, if you come here illegally, and you’re caught, that you would be deported.
And he basically said, no, we’re not going to do that anymore. The border is open. You can stay and we’re not going to deport you.
And you can see what’s happening. We’re having people come in from other countries through Central America. They believe that he has opened the border for them. And I think most Americans believe that he’s opened the border. That’s not just a change in policy. That’s a change in law.
And if he wants to do that, seems to me that he could go back to Congress and get pretty much what he wants.
BARTIROMO: So, you have got the Department of Homeland Security urging people in the country illegally to get COVID vaccines, at a time when U.S. citizens want those vaccines.
You have got an impact on the Border Patrol agents. They’re talking about what they’re seeing at the Texas border. It also gives normalcy, according to one report, that the Biden E.O.s gives normalcy for cartel human smugglers to return.
What are you hearing from the border agents in terms of the activity at the border now, given these E.O.s?
PAXTON: So, I have talked to a lot of border agents. And their concern is partly personal, because now they’re going to be exposed to people coming across the border that they don’t know what — whether they have got COVID or whether they’re carrying other diseases.
And, apparently, we don’t — we’re not concerned about that. In addition, they, I think, really appreciated the opportunity under President Trump to actually do their jobs. They were hired to protect the border, to protect citizens, to protect my state and other states.
And I think they appreciated the opportunity to actually do their job and do it well. And I think they were successful in doing that, and making progress in a way that we hadn’t seen in decades. So, I think they would appreciate the opportunity to continue to do that job, because that’s what they were hired to do. And that’s what they were trained to do.
And I think they do a pretty darn good job when they’re given that opportunity.
BARTIROMO: A.G., I want to mention to you that the attorney general of Arizona has also sued the Biden administration over the 100-day deportation memorandum.
I want to talk about that and ask you if you have spoken with other attorneys general in the nation to see if we’re going to see similar lawsuits that you have brought in Texas.
We will take a break. We will get back to that. I want to ask you who you spoken with, other A.G.s.
And then I want to ask you about Florida. Ron DeSantis, the governor, is waging war against big tech and its dominance. Will you join him in pushing back on big tech?
All that when we come right back. We’re talking this morning with A.G. Ken Paxton.
Stay with us.
BARTIROMO: Well, welcome back.
We are back with Texas Attorney General right now Ken Paxton, who has been called the most important to Republican in America today, because of his lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s executive orders.
Ken Paxton, let me ask you about other attorneys general, because now that the Democrats have control of the White House, the Senate and the House, people are wondering if Republicans will have any opportunity to challenge some of these executive orders.
You have done just that. Have you spoken with other A.G.s in the country that they too are readying to challenge?
PAXTON: Yes, I have.
I have spoken to numerous Republican A.G.s particularly. I wish all A.G.s would be involved in this process. But you can see — you mentioned earlier the Republicans in Arizona are fighting back. Mark Brnovich has done a good job filing a similar lawsuit to what we filed. And I’m proud of him for doing that.
I think you’re going to see — as time moves on, you’re going to see more attorney generals filing lawsuits in other states challenging various executive orders, especially as we’re moving forward and we understand what these executive orders are doing to us.
BARTIROMO: So, the Arizona A.G., Mark Brnovich, a Republican, filed the lawsuit on February 3 in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, becoming the second state after Texas.
Where do you see the vulnerabilities? Which A.G.s do you expect to move on this?
PAXTON: Well, I’m proud of him for doing this.
Obviously, he’s on a border state as well. And he can show similar damages that Texas is showing. And so I have a feeling he will be successful as well. And I think more A.G. speaking out on a president that’s out of control already, and overstepping his constitutional role, I don’t think there’s anything more important today that we could address as Republican A.G.s as a president who is going beyond his constitutional authority.
And given the fact that Congress is controlled by the Democrats, I don’t know where else we can go. And the courts, fortunately, are a place that Trump put a lot of good judges who are going to focus on the law, the rule of law, the Constitution, and what federal law actually says, not what they want it to be.
BARTIROMO: So, you say that President Biden came in and just blew off law and decided to make these changes, which is inconsistent with the rule of law and the Constitution?
PAXTON: Yes, I mean, it’s really surprising, in a way, because he controls Congress. He’s got Democrats controlling both the House and the Senate. So he can make these changes. He doesn’t have to basically issue edicts from on high, ignoring federal law.
He calls it policy. But, I mean, this is federal law that he calls policy that he’s ignoring, and basically telling border agents and customs and immigration not to enforce. That’s just wrong. And that is not — that’s not what our founders intended when they created three branches of government and also gave the states powers.
BARTIROMO: Well, what is your reaction to this vaccine story?
Jen Psaki, the president’s spokesperson, told reporters last week that the Biden administration wants undocumented immigrants to have access to the vaccine. And she said: “We need to have them have access to the vaccine because it’s morally right, and it ensures that people in the country are also safe.”
But there are plenty of Americans who are being denied the vaccine for whatever reason. They’re not eligible.
PAXTON: Concerning to me, because I certainly know a lot of people, people that are in higher risk categories who have not gotten the vaccine yet.
And why should non-citizens, who don’t pay taxes, be treated better and given the opportunity to be safer than our citizens? To me, that just doesn’t — that doesn’t…
PAXTON: That actually seems morally wrong to ignore your own people.
BARTIROMO: Let me switch gears and ask you about what Ron DeSantis is doing in Florida, A.G., because he is putting out proposals to what he says protect Floridians from the dominance of big tech.
He says he wants to protect Floridians’ data privacy, prevent big tech from interfering in an election, including a $100,000 daily fine for deplatforming any political candidates, which, of course, is what they did to President Trump right before the election.
Will you follow Florida in this regard in pushing back against big tech?
I am so encouraged by what he’s doing in Florida. Thank you, Governor DeSantis, for doing that.
We actually already have started. We have a lawsuit against Google right now that focuses on some of these very issues about their dominance, about how they abuse consumers, and how they take their private information. And they don’t pay these consumers. And then they use that information to make billions of dollars, without the consumer really knowing exactly how their private information is going to be used.
And so, yes, I think you’re going to see more from my state in the coming months and coming years, because, if we don’t do something now, it may be too late, and these companies may have such dominance and so much money, given the fact that many of them are larger than most countries.
If we don’t address this now, I think we could be in trouble and may not be able to address it in the future, because of their power.
BARTIROMO: Wow. All right, we will keep watching this.
Attorney General Ken Paxton, it’s great to see you this morning. Thank you, sir.
PAXTON: Thank you. Have a great day.
BARTIROMO: We will be watching that lawsuit in Texas.
And to you.
Coming up next: Washington, D.C., transformed into a military state. Even some of our top lawmakers do not know why.
Senator Ron Johnson will join us with the theory coming up next.
Stay with us.
BARTIROMO: Well, welcome back.
We want to show you these images of our nation’s Capitol, revealing a military state around the Capitol.
Look at this security fencing. You have got thousands of troops guarding Washington, D.C. And this will be in place for at least another month. Look at these pictures of how the Capitol is being protected. What kind of threat would merit this level of fortification around the Capitol?
Senator Ron Johnson has been asking this and other questions about the January 6 siege. But he has so far received no information from Capitol Police. He joins me right now.
Senator, good morning to you. Thank you so much for being here.
I want to ask you about living in a military state. But I know you wanted to react to what you just heard from Ken Paxton.
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Well, first of all, obviously, leaders in Congress think walls and barriers work, because they have surrounded the Capitol with them.
But, no, we already have a crisis at the border. It’s not being reported on. There are days where it’s 3,500 people coming across the border. At the height of the crisis, in the summer of 2019, over 4,000 people, on average, daily were coming across the border. That’s a — that’s a caravan a day.
And President Biden took an oath to support defend the Constitution. He is constitutionally obligated to faithfully execute the laws. And that’s what he’s not doing. So, no, I am highly concerned. We have got a crisis at the border now. It’s not being reported on.
But this was — this crisis was set in motion during the presidential debate, when Democrats were promising health care for illegal immigrants and the vice president promising to end deportations. So, they’re coming. And it’s going to be a crisis. It is already a crisis.
JOHNSON: It’s going to be building. It’s going to be a disaster.
BARTIROMO: All right, well, we will talk about that and keep spotlighting it, especially since that stay has been extended now to February 23. The DOJ wanted more time to review this case.
But let me ask you about the fortification around where you are, the Senate. Last night, CNN obtained a letter that the former chief of U.S. Capitol Police sent to Speaker Pelosi. I assume Pelosi leaked it. And this letter was about the events leading up to and including January 6.
The former police head is blaming four federal agencies and slow bureaucracy for hindering the department’s ability to secure the building that day.
Your reaction to this letter? And tell me about the letter that you have sent to the speaker asking for information.
JOHNSON: Well, I have sent four letters to the two former sergeant at arms of the House and Senate, now the acting sergeant at arms of the House and Senate.
I have gotten absolutely no response. I actually appreciate what the former chief of police of Capitol Police, Steven Sund, sent in the letter. And he lays out the diligence that he undertook to provide security around the Capitol. And it seems like he took pretty reasonable precautions. He’s obviously being one of the scapegoats here.
But Senator Graham and I have called for a completely independent investigation to find out exactly what happened. And it’s amazing. A month has gone by, and we still don’t know. And yet we have these eight-foot-tall fences with concertina wire completely surrounding the Capitol.
We have been told they’re going to be put in place since — until March, at least. Listen, the Capitol is the people’s house. It shouldn’t be barricaded. Unless there is some real threats that I’m not aware of, that they’re not telling us about, I think we ought to take that fencing down and return to as normal position as possible.
I think the fencing is being — is remaining in place to send a signal, a narrative that 74 million Americans that voted for President Trump are dangerous to our democracy, they’re all insurrectionists. And that’s simply not the case.
So, I mean, you have been asking these questions about who knew what when about the January 6 siege. You haven’t gotten any information. Have you gotten information about the intelligence that they have now that would merit, that would warrant this kind of protection around the Capitol Building?
JOHNSON: No. Our staff was briefed by some FBI briefers last week, and they got no information whatsoever.
And, again, this is a month later. And this is how — by the way, this is how rumors spread. This is how conspiracy theories get spun up, by government not being straightforward and not getting information that it’s aware of, that it has access to, and make that public right away.
I’m for transparency. And right now, there’s very little transparency, other than Steven Sund’s letter to Speaker Pelosi, which I truly appreciate. I wish the former sergeant at arms, I wish the current sergeant at arms would also lay out what they did, what they’re aware of.
I wish other people would come forward. The American public deserves to know what happened. We need this information. We need it now.
BARTIROMO: So, you are not getting that information. And yet you have an impeachment trial coming up next week. You say that this is part — partly — all part of the plan, deflection.
Tell me about that.
JOHNSON: Well, again, I have always believed the Russian hoax was a diversionary operation from the corruption that was occurring within certainly the FBI and potentially some of our intelligence agencies.
You have to kind of ask the question, what is this impeachment all about? We now know that 45 Republican senators believe it’s unconstitutional. Is this another diversionary operation? Is this meant to deflect away from potentially what the speaker knew and when she knew it?
I don’t know. But I’m suspicious.
BARTIROMO: And President Biden on Friday called for the defeat of — quote — “political extremism, white supremacy, and domestic terrorism.”
These are the new catchphrases going on. Domestic terrorism can capture a lot of people, if you’re talking about this protection that they have in place.
JOHNSON: Well, I’m against all violent extremists, whether they come from the left side of the political spectrum or the right. I’m very consistent. I wish Democrats were equally consistent.
But this is an attempt by Democrats to paint Republicans and Trump supporters with a broad brush, thinking that we’re all domestic terrorists, that we’re all insurrectionists, and that we all need to be monitored by a police state. That’s the direction we’re headed in.
And I’m extremely concerned about it. We all should be.
BARTIROMO: All right, let’s talk about the agenda, because you were there pretty early on Friday morning, at 5:00 a.m. or so, dealing with the $1.9 trillion stimulus package.
Tell me about the Biden agenda and what Friday looked like, when Kamala Harris, the vice president, came in and was the deciding vote.
JOHNSON: Well, they’re jamming through $1.9 trillion in additional spending. And that’s on top of $4 trillion, about 19 percent of last year’s GDP.
Now we need another $1.9 trillion? So, the Biden agenda will be spend a lot of money and increase people’s taxes by a lot. It’s going to be just that simple. And they’re going to have the power to basically do that within the budget.
BARTIROMO: So, tell — yes, go ahead.
JOHNSON: It ought to concern every American.
BARTIROMO: Yes, so, tell me about that.
JOHNSON: Oh, just…
BARTIROMO: What will they be able to get through, Senator? Do you have any power to stop this aggressive agenda? Go through what you think they’re going to get through.
First, it’s spending, and then I guess it’s revenue.
JOHNSON: Yes, again, this is going to be $1.9 trillion. There’s really nothing we can do about that.
Hopefully, they will at least target that to the people that actually need it, so we’re just not shotgunning that out throughout the economy. That’s probably what’s going to happen.
And then the next bunch of reconciliation will be for tax increases, and they’re going to tax businesses. They’re going to tax the wealthy. It’ll be interesting to see what they consider wealthy. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren both have their proposals for a wealth tax.
The long-term concern here is that we make it so unattractive to start businesses and create wealth in America, that wealth, those businesses, that business creation will move offshore, and we will kill the golden goose that makes America the most prosperous economy in the world.
So, what we need is, we need a rational and a simple tax system that’s fair, that we all contribute a fair amount to government that we need, to our national defense, so to homeland security. But we don’t have that right now. We have a completely irrational, complex tax system that, now under President Biden, will punish success.
That won’t work out very well in the long term.
BARTIROMO: Well, I mean, you make a good point, because the programs that they want to push through are expensive. And you’re going to need to pay for it.
So, when you say we will see how they define wealthy — in other words, they have been saying that they’re going to raise taxes on anybody making more than $400,000. You think it’s going to be much deeper than that and broader in terms of people’s income levels?
JOHNSON: Well, it always is.
I mean, the vast majority of the wealth in America is in the middle class. And if you really want to raise the revenue to close the deficit, when you are spending that much money, eventually, the middle class is going to have to pay as well.
They do it sneakily. They allow bracket creep through inflation. And people that were at a lower tax rate, because of inflation, all of a sudden, they’re in a higher tax rate, and they don’t even realize what’s happening to them.
So, we’re all going to be like frogs in a pot of water. We won’t even realize it until it’s too late.
BARTIROMO: What about schools opening? This is another major issue. Families across the country are frustrated that their kids are losing out on important learning.
And yet we have got more money going to teachers and setting up schools, but the teachers unions do not want to go back to work.
JOHNSON: I get so tired of Democrats preaching to Republicans, conservatives we have to follow the science, but they only follow the science when it supports their policy prescriptions.
The science says that children are not generally carriers. The seasonal flu is much more dangerous to children than COVID is. So, why not open up the schools?
Again, I can’t understand the mind of a liberal. But, from my standpoint, I think the way we have approached COVID in general has been insane. We should have isolated the sick. We should have protected the vulnerable. And the rest of us should have carried on as safely as possible.
But that’s not what’s happening. And, by the way, we also should have focused on early treatment. And the fact that our health agencies have not only not focused on it, but vilified anybody that had the courage and compassion to treat patients, and now you have YouTube censoring Senate testimony of Dr. Kory talking about ivermectin, which could be a lifesaving, generic, easily used and cheap drug, is a further travesty of the bias in the social media.
BARTIROMO: That’s a really important point that you’re making, because Google’s YouTube removed two videos on the early treatment of COVID.
This was your Senate hearing. And you gave Senate testimony and — you listened to Senate testimony, rather, to use safe drugs to save lives. But here we go. You wrote about this in your op-ed in The Journal. YouTube cancels the U.S. Senate now.
JOHNSON: Well, Dr. Kory…
BARTIROMO: Is there anything you can do in terms of Section 230?
I mean, will you be able to push back on big tech dominance in the Senate?
JOHNSON: I hope so.
You have to realize, Dr. Kory’s testimony was viewed by over eight million people before YouTube took it down. And one of the things he said in his testimony was a study that had come in just the day before out of Argentina — 800 health care workers were prophylaxed with a drug that included ivermectin.
Not one of them got sick. Of the 400 that didn’t get ivermectin, 15 percent got sick, pretty strong evidence, maybe not a random, controlled study. But it’s powerful evidence that the American people ought to be able to hear.
So, in terms of Section 230, I think what we need to do is take a look at their moderation policies, make sure they publish them transparently. And when they don’t follow them, they ought to be able to be sued, when they deplatform and they demonetize, when they destroy businesses that rely on these, basically, common carrier monopoly platforms.
All right, Senator, we will be watching this. This is a really important issue. And we will be all over it as well, this dominance of big tech and censorship.
Senator Ron Johnson, we will see you soon. Thank you.
So, coming up, former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is here on President Trump’s final days in office and the Cabinet member he believes stonewalled his former boss down the homestretch.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Very concerned about the policies, because they sound like a checklist of all the dreams of the radical left and are being — that are being put in place by executive order, unprecedented, over 35 at last count, in less than a week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: That was Florida Senator Marco Rubio raising the red flag on President Biden’s signing blitz, when he joined me last week on “FOX News Primetime.”
Before an executive order reaches the president’s desk, it must first be vetted. It’s vetted by the Department of Justice, which begs the question, how were 17 of these executive orders ready to go and waiting for President Biden to sign minutes after inauguration on day one?
Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro prepared executive orders for President Trump. He knows the process better than most.
Peter, good morning to you. Good to see you.
PETER NAVARRO, FORMER DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF TRADE AND MANUFACTURING POLICY: Good morning, Maria.
BARTIROMO: So, let’s talk about that in terms of the executive orders.
What is the process, Peter? Take us through, so that we can better understand how it was that President Biden was able to get so many E.O.s out on day one.
NAVARRO: Sure, Maria.
In my term, four years at the White House, I had probably drafted over 50 of these orders. What you have to do is make sure you have the statutory authority to do what you’re going to do, right? And the last checkbox that needs to be done is at the Department of Justice for what’s called form and legality.
Now, here’s the news behind the news. Bill Barr, President Trump’s attorney general, actually turns out to be also Joe Biden’s first attorney general, because here was what was happening.
We had over 30 executive orders queued after Election Day ready to go. But we kept running into all these roadblocks and roadblocks and hurdles. It turns out that Bill Barr’s Office of Legal Counsel was fast-tracking all of these Biden E.O.s. And, basically, it was a deep state coup.
Now, this has implications, Maria. I will tell you about one that got away from us. And I will tell you about one that Biden did.
The first one that Biden did is an abomination. We did a beautiful executive order. I worked with Bruce Walker and Dan Brouillette over at the Department of Energy and Mark Menezes to basically prevent the communist Chinese from selling bulk power equipment into our electricity grid.
If we ever have a conflict with China, they’re much more likely to pull down our electricity grid using cyberattacks than they are to, say, drop a bomb on us. Why? Because that’s modern warfare Chinese style, right?
So, we had this beautiful order. One of the orders that Bill Barr helped Joe Biden do was to basically unwind that order.
NAVARRO: So, bad news there.
But, at the same time, I was trying to get through this really good order on offshoring.
BARTIROMO: Yes. Hold on. Hold on. I want to…
NAVARRO: And we couldn’t get that through.
BARTIROMO: And that’s the one that you worked on so much, offshoring.
We want to take a break and come back and talk about that, because I see what’s happening here.
Stay with us. We’re talking with Peter Navarro. And we will be right back.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back.
We’re back with former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.
Peter, you were telling me about — us about the executive orders that you drafted. And one that got away was on onshoring, because you say Bill Barr was working on the incoming administration’s E.O.s, as opposed to the outgoing administration’s E.O.s.
NAVARRO: Yes, we got slow-walked at the Department of Justice.
And this is a problem that I told Barr about numerous times. And, yes, he should have been fired months before he was. I mean, by the last year of this administration, he was really working against this administration in a lot of ways.
NAVARRO: And these executive orders were — the bottleneck — the bottleneck was at the Department of Justice on so many things we did.
But you can see what President Biden is doing now. He’s just unwinding things that are going to come back to haunt the American worker big time.
BARTIROMO: Well, let me ask you about the economy.
We have a $1.9 trillion stimulus package coming to Americans now, with an economy that seems to have slowed a bit in the month of January. Your assessment?
NAVARRO: In May of 2020, I was in the Oval Office with the president. We wanted to get a $2 trillion package passed, much like the one — but we lost nine months now because Nancy Pelosi thought it would be better to stonewall that package and hope that President Trump lost on the economy.
She got her wish, but she has killed thousands, hundreds of thousands of small businesses. That’s the scarring Janet Yellen has been talking about in her speech. And 2021 is going to be a tough time, because those small businesses are gone. They ain’t coming back.
BARTIROMO: Well, we also are wondering about the policy regarding China.
You worked so much on that. Hunter Biden got a $2 million advance for his new book.
NAVARRO: Yes. Yes.
BARTIROMO: It is now on the bestseller list. “Beautiful Thing,” it’s called, by Hunter Biden. And he still has that investment in a Chinese company.
Does that get in the way of policy?
NAVARRO: Four minutes after Joe Biden got inaugurated, I went on the sanctions list of China, along with Pompeo, Pottinger, Bannon, and others.
And, meanwhile, Hunter Biden, a crack addict who used influence peddling to profiteer in China with a top Chinese spy, using his father’s name to make money, is getting a $2 million book deal, while Josh Hawley — yes, Josh Hawley is getting his book contract burned.
That’s an abomination.
BARTIROMO: That’s true. Wow.
Peter Navarro, always a pleasure. Good to see you, sir. Have a good Sunday.
And have a good Sunday, everyone.
I will see you tomorrow on FOX Business, “Mornings With Maria.”
Catch this show today again at 3:00 p.m.
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