SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Shannon Bream.
President Biden meeting with his national security advisors at Camp David, as fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine grow.
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We engage in diplomacy and dialogue. At the same time, we are embarked on a path of defense and deterrence.
BREAM (voice-over): U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia’s foreign minister head back home after high-stakes talks in Geneva.
But with tens of thousands of Russian troops gathering near the border of Ukraine, the moment is critical, as the world’s two top nuclear powers face a test of wills.
This hour, we’ll cover the standoff in Eastern Europe from Kiev to Moscow to Washington and ask former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the huge political stakes.
Plus, 49 years after Roe v. Wade, the future of the landmark decision is uncertain as the Supreme Court weighs a case that could change the abortion landscape in America. We’ll discuss with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem who is pushing for even more restrictions in her state, only on “FOX News Sunday”.
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He absolutely is not predicting that the 2022 elections would be illegitimate.
BREAM: The White House pushing back on the president’s comments that the fate of the midterms hangs on Democrats passing federal voting laws.
We’ll ask our Sunday panel about new FOX polls showing how voters feel about the state of elections.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday.”
BREAM (on camera): And hello again from FOX News in Washington.
President Biden is huddled this weekend with his security advisors at Camp David as he faces a full-blown standoff with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the middle? Ukraine, the former Soviet republic, along whose border Moscow has masked tens of thousands of troops.
In response, the U.S. and its allies ramping up supplies of weapons to Ukraine as fears rise about the prospect of what could become the biggest conflict in Europe since World War II. And breaking this weekend, the British uncovering a plot by the Kremlin to install a pro-Russian leader in key have it considers an invasion of Ukraine.
In a moment, we’ll get reaction from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but we begin with FOX team coverage. Lucas Tomlinson at the White House, Amy Kellogg in Moscow.
But first to Greg Palkot live in Kyiv.
Greg, what is the reaction to the U.K. claim of this Russian plot?
GREG PALKOT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Shannon, I would say that the folks here are concerned, but expecting it as well. U.K. government claims that Russian president Putin is allegedly scheming to install a pro-Russia regime here in place of the current leadership, even naming Russian- friendly figures who would take over.
Our sources, Shannon, say it is possible that Russia does this kind of thing, it sows disinformation and lines up folks to do its dirty business, but also they tell us, Shannon, that a shadow government could only really put in place during or after an invasion. If Moscow does it and it succeeds, Shannon.
BREAM: The latest on the ground there this morning?
PALKOT: We are watching that buildup of Russian troops. It is said now to a number 125,000. If the information that we are getting is that the latest deployments are now in a town in southeastern Belarus. That is 30 miles from the Ukraine border. It’s about 60 miles from where we are standing right now.
And this weekend here saw the arrival of the first bit of U.S. military aid out of $ 200 million commitment. That’s about 100 tons of what they call lethal aid, including ammunition for Ukrainian troops or duking it out with pro-Russia fighters in Eastern Ukraine, Shannon.
BREAM: Greg, what is your sense of what the Ukrainian people are thinking?
PALKOT: They are worried. They are often brave, and when they speak to us, sometimes hopeful. The churches here, Sunday, filling up with folks saying prayers, lighting candles and in the face of this ominous news, wishing for the best.
Take a listen to a few who spoke with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I’m scared. I used to believe that Russia was our friend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I am scared. It is outrageous that Russia is doing something like this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We are brave and hoping that it’s not going to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Everything is going to be fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PALKOT: That last fellow saying we hope everything is going to be fine. That one was our favorite.
Back to you, Shannon.
BREAM: All right. Greg Palkot in Kyiv, thank you very much, Greg.
Let’s go now to Moscow where our Amy Kellogg is live this morning.
All right. Amy, what is the Kremlin’s reaction to the news out of the U.K..?
AMY KELLOGG, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the ministry of foreign affairs here was very quick to respond, Shannon, putting the story up on their Twitter page covered with a big blaring red stamp saying “fake,” and continuing to comment that this just shows that NATO, led by the, quote, “Anglo-Saxons,” is the one that is amping the pressure up and attention around Ukraine, asking the West to stop, quote, disseminating nonsense, Shannon.
BREAM: So, Amy, what are Putin’s interests in Ukraine at this point?
KELLOGG: Well, I think nobody knows for sure, Shannon, and a lot of people say that he doesn’t even know what he wants to get out — to get out of all of this and that his strategy is a work in progress.
Many here say that despite Ukraine’s worst fears, Putin doesn’t actually want claw back another part of Ukraine. He is frankly very fed up with the anti-Russian sentiment that you could argue he’s responsible for in Ukraine. He clearly does want some sort of partnership though, that we understand, and also he thinks that Russia and Ukraine are basically the same people and he claims to be very worried that Ukraine is fast becoming a tool of the West to be used against Russia’s interest.
He also says that he worries that Ukraine is being overrun by neo-Nazis. Now, opposition figure Alexei Navalny believes that Putin simply doesn’t want democratic movements moving closer to his borders and one thing that a lot of people here agree on is that the bottom line for Putin is he does not want anymore NATO expansion.
He has had it. He’s reached a breaking point. He’s also tired of feeling the West is on his case, that they are sanctioning him and squeezing him and frankly don’t respect them. He for his part doesn’t appear to respect the West very much, and some say he’s playing the West at this point, seeing how far he can push it.
One person who’s very knowledgeable about these things last night said to me he is, quote, trolling the West, Shannon.
BREAM: Amy, very dangerous game to play. So what is his end game?
KELLOGG: Well, a prominent journalist this morning told me that what he’s very concerned about is the fact that this whole standoff has played out completely in the public eye, so the accusations and demands have not been behind closed doors, they are out there in the public domain and that makes it this much more complicated to come to a resolution that will make both sides look like they’ve come out on top.
He said that sacrifices have to be made, concessions on both sides, but he told me that he’s very worried that the West doesn’t quite believe Russia when it says that this and that is a red line. They don’t see it as red, and that he said is cause for great concern. And he’s very worried about where this is all going, Shannon.
BREAM: All right. Amy Kellogg live in Moscow — Amy, thank you very much.
Let’s turn out to Lucas Tomlinson at the White House.
Now, a very big diplomatic challenge, one of the biggest the president has faced — Lucas.
LUCAS TOMLINSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Shannon, one of the alleged plotters named by the British government, Victor Nevkovivch (ph), was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department last week. The White House calling the plot deeply concerning, and issued a fresh warning to Moscow.
TOMLINSON (voice-over): If Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States will impose swift and severe consequences. The uncovering of the alleged plot comes as talks between top U.S. and Russian diplomats in Geneva failed to come to any agreement.
ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is not a negotiation but a candid exchange of concerns and ideas.
TOMLINSON: The State Department working on a written response to Russian demands, something Blinken said he would not do just a few days ago.
The secretary of state hinting another Biden-Putin summit could be in the offering. The U.S. embassy in Ukraine announcing the arrival of the first shipment of ammunition order by President Biden. U.S. officials say javelin anti-tank missiles are expected to arrive any day now.
In recent days, advanced Russian surface-to-air missiles, tanks, and fighter jets deploying to Belarus, which officials say now puts Ukraine’s capital city in the crosshairs.
Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov denies Russia plans to invade buried him
SERGEI LAVROV, RUSSIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Our concerns are not imaginary, but real threats and facts that nobody is hiding, stuffing Ukraine with weapons.
TOMLINSON: U.S. officials say a decision to begin evacuating families of U.S. embassy personnel in Ukraine could come as soon as Monday. President Biden tried to explain Putin’s actions.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNTIED STATES: He is trying to find his place in the world between China and the West.
TOMLINSON (on camera): Last week marks the end of President Biden’s first year in office. Year two could be marked with another potential evacuation of Americans overseas, with tensions the highest in Europe since the Cold War — Shannon.
BREAM: Lucas Tomlinson live from the White House — Lucas, thank you.
Joining us now, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, now a FOX News contributor.
Welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
MIKE POMPEO, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Good morning. It’s great to be with you.
BREAM: All right. Let’s start with the U.K. and it’s telling us that it’s discovered a plot that Russia is trying to put a Russian-backed or Russian- sympathetic individual as the new leader in Kyiv.
The NSA here on the U.S., stateside, says this: This kind of plotting is deeply concerning. The Ukrainian people have the sovereign right to determine their own future. We stand with our democratically elected partners in Ukraine, a number of Russian officials calling this misinformation.
Their embassy in the U.K. saying this: We are resolutely calling upon London to stop the stupid rhetorical provocations, quite dangerous in the current heated situation, and to contribute to the genuine diplomatic efforts aimed at ensuring reliable guarantees of European security.
Given word of this potential plot, which could it be done short of force, how does it play out? Where are we this morning?
POMPEO: Shannon, it doesn’t surprise me, I assume that the U.K. reporting is real.
Vladimir Putin has wanted to put Russia-friendly leaders in the capital in Kyiv and control of that country for an awfully long time now. He’s tried to do so through political gamesmanship, coercion, all the kinds of things, the tools of statecraft that are sub-rosa, not overt.
Now he appears to be massing troops not only inside of Western Russia, but inside of Belarus as well. A short run down into Ukraine from there, preparing coercive force, the capacity to change what the Ukrainian people want from where they are today with President Zelensky running an important country, a country that matters to the United States and wants to put someone friendly to Russia.
And so, he puts this in the newspapers, in “Pravda”, the Russian outlets. This is Russian propaganda.
Vladimir Putin knows that the Ukraine is not going to attack Russia. To suggest somehow that there is a threat from NATO or from the Ukraine is just propaganda, an excuse for Vladimir Putin to do what he ultimately wants, which is to extend his influence, his authority, his power, his control into the former Warsaw Pact countries.
BREAM: So, you mentioned the multiple fronts potentially unfolding. There is face-to-face diplomacy. Our Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, they’ve had conversations.
We’re told the next step in this is that the U.S. is going to provide written answers to some of Russia’s demands. They’ve included things like Ukraine can never join NATO. There are critics of this who think they’re worried that the U.S., whatever we put in writing, Russia’s going to use as a context for moving in. We’re told that there are now conversations about getting our diplomatic personnel out of Kyiv.
This sounds like it’s escalating. How do we bring it back from the brink? Can we?
POMPEO: Shannon, it’s awful late. The real hard work of deterrence would have happened a long time ago, a year ago, when President Putin demanded that we give him a new START treaty extension, we gave it to him for nothing.
When they had Russian cyberattacks and they shut down the Colonial Pipeline, we told them you can only attack certain sectors, but 16 are off- limits. When we left Afghanistan in the way we did — those were the places where the administration had a chance to establish deterrence.
Putin saw this and so these tactical things today about whether our families will stay in Ukraine, we’ve got to the right thing and take care of our families. But these tactical things aren’t what causes Vladimir Putin to recalculate his cost-benefit analysis. I think they don’t see President Biden as credible. I think they see all this talking, these pieces of paper being exchanged just not credible.
They don’t to the right thing. They don’t protect the American people, establish deterrence and prevent — to reduce the risk that what President Biden called a minor incursion — it reminded me, Shannon, of what President Obama called ISIS the jayvee, right? Same kind of downplaying of risk.
When he talks about a minor incursion, this costs an awful lot of lives to be lost, not only in Ukraine but in other places in Europe, and energy prices to skyrocket all across the world.
BREAM: So, when the president made that comment, it certainly got a lot of attention nationwide — the suggestion that a minor incursion would invoke a lesser response from the U.S. potentially. Ukraine’s president, without mentioning the U.S., tweeted this in part: We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations.
President Biden made some attempts to clean that up. Here’s one of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNTIED STATES: I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin, he has no misunderstanding. If any, any assembled Russian units move across Ukrainian border, that is an invasion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: So the earlier comment makes it sound as if the U.S. assumes Russia is going to do something. Is this lack of clarity hurting our ability to negotiate?
POMPEO: Shannon, if you listen closely, even to President Biden’s attempt to clean it up, he said if there’s any assembled units — we need to be unequivocal — when one speaks in diplomacy, especially in the age of cyber and space and true capabilities that exceed what we had seen during the time of World War II, if there’s room for doubt, if there’s space, Vladimir Putin will drive a truck through that gap.
He will perceive any weakness, any gaffe. They say, well, we didn’t send an assembled unit, it was — it was disorganized.
These are the kinds of things that are listened to very closely. You can tell by the response of President Zelensky. He listened very closely.
We had deterrence for four years. Vladimir Putin didn’t do these kind of things. He didn’t threaten. He didn’t use coercive activity to try to push back on NATO in the way that he did.
We made sure NATO was focused on its mission and when we did that, Vladimir Putin respected us. We had respect for him and his power. He’s a very talented statesman.
He has lots of gifts. He was a KGB agent, for goodness’ sakes. He knows how to use power, we should respect that. And if we did that, we could make sure we do the things right for the American people and reflect well on our country’s history and traditions and pushing back and making sure that Europe and the Western World stood together.
BREAM: So, your successor, Secretary Blinken, said just moments ago: If one more Russian force goes into Ukraine, in an aggressive way, that would trigger a significant U.S. response.
What does that telegraph to you? What kind of your response?
POMPEO: That’s a much stronger statement than the one you just played for from the president.
I hope they are serious about this. I hope they are prepared not only to speak about this, and if they have a plan, but they have an execution matrix that sits underneath, so that they are prepared to actually do this in real time, and it doesn’t take days of meetings and discussions with allies and friends, that there is a plan to execute a response that is commensurate with the activity that the Russians take.
These are the kinds of things that reduce risk, Shannon. It’s how we prevent there to be a significant outbreak of conflict and war in Europe.
America can lead. We can’t lead from behind. We have to be the leader.
We should be flying weapons and systems into Ukraine every single day, making a demonstrable commitment to the Iranian — excuse me, to the Ukrainian people who have demanded the simple thing to have their own sovereignty and democracy in their country.
BREAM: OK. Just months ago, we had a disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. People across the political spectrum agree on that. We lost an additional 13 lives, many people feel needlessly, because of the way that withdrawal was done.
So, of course, there are many Americans who are very wary about us getting involved in anything else.
Over the Cato Institute, this piece says: Ukraine is at best a peripheral U.S. interest. The Ukrainian people are entitled to set their own course, but are unlucky: They are sharply divided and live in a bad neighborhood. This is not America’s responsibility to set right.
So what is the proper U.S. role here?
POMPEO: Well, no one is suggesting that we send the 24th Infantry Division or the 82nd Airborne into the Donbass. The suggestion is that America use its enormous capacity — its economic capacity, its diplomatic tools, all the skills of statecraft — to prevent an incursion on a sovereign country like the country of Ukraine.
So, the Cato folks can play the straw man, and say, gosh, we shouldn’t send our military in. But no one is suggesting that. What we — what we’re going to do if we get this right is we’re going to do what we did in the Trump administration.
We’re going to support governments that have outlined their boundaries. We protect our sovereignty at the southern border. That’s what we did during our four years. Other countries should be permitted to do that.
And no rogue nation like the Russians should be permitted to violate that sovereignty, without a response from the Western countries including NATO.
BREAM: So, there have been a lot of conversations between Russia with Iran, with China. There have been joint military exercises. There are all kinds of conversations going on with those individual countries as they work together. How worried are you about China, them watching this, knowing the air incursions they’ve had, for instance, into Taiwan’s air defense zone.
How closely do you think these other nations are watching this particular dispute to make their decisions about what they think about U.S. foreign policy?
POMPEO: Shannon, they’re watching very closely. They watched our administration. When Qassem Soleimani threatened the United States, we took a strike. When we were under assault from different places in the world, we responded in a way that President Trump said, if you used chemical weapons in Syria, we will respond. We did.
We did it all without sending thousands of soldiers or creating a war, any place in the world, Shannon. So they’re watching very closely. They’re watching to see if this administration has the resolve and the steel to use all of its tools to preserve sovereignty for a nation like Ukraine.
I promise you not only are Xi Jinping and Chairman Kim and ayatollah watching, but so are the people of Taiwan, the Iranian people, and the Chinese people as well. The whole world watches how America leads. And when we fail to do so, we create instability and the cost, the risks to people in Iowa, Nevada, and Kansas, my home state, are real.
We have to get this right. We have to establish deterrence in the model of Reagan and the model that we had for our four years. If we do that, America will be safe and secure and prosperous, the world will be more stable. And we won’t have so many of the challenges that are confronting us even as we sit here this morning, Shannon.
BREAM: Secretary Pompeo, thank you. We appreciate your time this weekend. And, of course, we will keep a close eye on all these developments.
POMPEO: Yes, ma’am. Thank you, Shannon. Have a great day.
BREAM: You, too.
Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the critical tests ahead for the Biden foreign policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLINKEN: You can choose the diplomacy that can lead to peace and security, or the path that will lead only to conflict, severe consequences and international condemnation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying Russia has a choice to make, as the U.S. and European allies try to stave off a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It is time now for our Sunday group: Marc Thiessen, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Julie Pace, executive editor for “The Associated Press”, and Mo Elleithee of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service.
Great to have you all with us this morning.
MARC THIESSEN, RESIDENT FELLOW, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Good to be with you.
MO ELLEITHEE, INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE: Good morning.
BREAM: So, Marc, I will start with you. I mentioned with former Secretary Pompeo, this back-and-forth between Lavrov and Blinken, this idea that the U.S. is going to provide written answers to the Russian demands. I mean, some say that, you know, Lavrov is celebrating even that, that we would go that far as a win. Should we be doing it?
THIESSEN: No, we should not be doing it. What we should be doing is laying out in the very specific terms what the consequences will be if Russia does in fact invade, which we have not done. Look, we — what Biden doesn’t seem to understand is weakness is provocative. When you project weakness in the world, your adversaries are more likely to test your resolve.
And the fact is, Putin thinks that Biden is bluffing. He remembers that in 2014, when he invaded and annexed Crimea, the Obama-Biden demonstration refused to put serious sanctions on Russia or impose any real costs. The sanctions cost them about 1 percent of GDP and he was willing to pay 1 percent of GDP for Crimea.
The question now is, are we going to impose the kind of costs on him that would deter him, that would be too high for military action? To do that, you have to sanction oil and natural gas, which are the only exports that Russia cares about, and put massive sanctions on Russian banks.
Europeans depend on Russia for 40 percent of their natural gas, they are not eager to do that, and Biden has not laid out the specific sanctions that he would impose.
He needs to show Putin that the cost would be enormous and specific. He needs to name the bank that he’s going to sanction. He needs to make clear what the sanctions on Russian energy exports are going to be, and show him that the cost are going to be too high for him to bear.
BREAM: So, Mo, Senator Ernst is among the Republicans who say that the president has emboldened Vladimir Putin. Here’s a piece that she wrote. She’s a veteran herself.
She says the president has not maximized his option for defensive weapons sales to Ukraine and Putin knows it. He also knows the Biden demonstration lobby Democrats to reverse course and vote against Nord Stream 2 sanctions, necessary actions to prevent the handover of Western Europe’s energy sector to the Russian regime.
We got a brand-new FOX News poll this morning that shows the president is upside down, 54 percent disapprove on how he’s doing on foreign policy, 41 percent approve.
What does the White House do now?
ELLEITHEE: Well, look, I think, you know — and you hear this coming out of the White House, you hear this coming out of the State Department, that they are being very clear that there’s two paths moving forward or Putin. We can either continue to negotiate and pursue diplomacy, or there can be swift consequences if you don’t pursue diplomacy. So I think they are making that case.
And look, Marc and I actually don’t disagree on this point, that strong economic sanctions and strong and very clear ramifications are critical. But when you look at something like Nord 2, we can go ahead and sanction it now to the bill that Senator Ernst was referencing and take away our leverage in this. Right now, the pipeline isn’t operational. So Putin doesn’t have any leverage with it. We do.
And so, if we sanction it now, we lose our leverage. If we make it clear that any sort of action by the Russians could shut down this thing that Putin wants more than anything, we’ve got some leverage.
BREAM: Julie, Mo mentions Nord Stream 2. So, that puts Germany in the middle of this whole thing. They are a key ally, but obviously because of Nord Stream 2, they are in a different position than many other countries who are parties to this conversation. Germany is blocking Estonia from being able to export certain weapons and equipment to the Ukraine. There’s talk about whether President Biden is — what kind of relationship he’s got with the new chancellor there.
What do you make of where we are with Germany on this?
JULIE PACE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, this is why the situation is so complicated, because yes, it is a conversation about the U.S. and Russia, but it’s all about the U.S. and Europe and Europe and Russia. As you mentioned, Nord Stream 2, it is so crucial to the Germans and Europe’s energy supply as a whole at a time where we are seeing a real energy crush on the continent.
And so, this is going to be a question about not only how Biden is going to negotiate with senators in the U.S. Congress about potential sanctions, but also how he’s going to negotiate with a brand-new chancellor in Germany, someone he doesn’t have a long-standing relationship with my former Chancellor Angela Merkel, and what the climate in Europe will be when it comes to trying to stave off Russian aggression versus dealing with very real energy — a very real energy problem that will directly impact a lot of the people that European politicians will need for their support.
BREAM: So, Marc, the Putin situation with Iran and China, concerning at best. We know that Putin met with his counterparts this week and they talked about this. Putin told him apparently it’s time to take on the power of the Americans with an increased synergy between our two countries.
We know that naval exercises are being held with Russia, Iran, and China. There’s pressure to change the economics of who cooperates with the West, who cooperates elsewhere with may be these three. What about that part of this?
THIESSEN: Well, you know, this is why this is such a crucial standoff right now. A lot of people and a lot of Americans look and say, what do I care about Ukraine? What does it matter what happens in Ukraine?
Ukraine isn’t Las Vegas. What happens in Ukraine doesn’t stay in Ukraine. The reason we are having this crisis in Ukraine is because of the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, which projected weakness. The last time we had this crisis in Ukraine was after President Obama refused to enforce his red line in Syria and sent a message of weakness which emboldened Vladimir Putin.
If we do now not stand up to Putin in Ukraine and forced him to back off with massive specific sanctions and military aid to the Ukrainians, guess what? China is watching and they’re going to look at it and say, well, if Putin can invade Ukraine, we can invade Taiwan. North Korea is watching. Iran is watching.
This has — this could spin out of control on a global scale and cause conflagrations across the world. So we need to start projecting strength in Ukraine. We should immediately, immediately — President Biden should announce the Nord Stream 2 is over. We’ve proven — Russia has proven that it cannot be trusted to hold Ukraine energy supplies hostage and then he should lay out specific sanctions, what are the energy sanctions?
The reason we haven’t done that is because the Germans don’t want to — don’t want to do it. He should lay out those sanctions. He should lay out the specific Russian banks that will be sanctioned and show the cost to Putin, that the cost will be higher than what he’s willing to bear.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: All right, thank you, panel. We will see you just a little bit later in the show.
Up next, states move to the front lines of the abortion battle with the Supreme Court soon to decide a blockbuster case. We will talk to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem on plans to pass new restrictions in her state. She’s next.
BREAM: Coming up, nearly half a century since Roe v. Wade, the pro-life movement marches with an eye on the Supreme Court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully next year will be a new era of building a culture of life because Roe will be gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: We’ll bring in South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, next.
BREAM: Abortion has long been one of the most divisive issues in American politics. Now a decision on a key case before the Supreme Court could come just months before the midterms and bring the biggest change to the abortion landscape in nearly 50 years.
In a moment we’ll speak with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who introduced new legislation this week that would ban most abortions around six weeks.
But first, to Alexandria Hoff on how supporters on both sides have mobilized ahead of a critical moment.
CROWD: Hey, hey, ho, ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go.
ALEXANDRIA HOFF, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Pro-life protesters once again endured the frigid temperatures that often mark the January 22nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, finding warmth in the prospect that this 49th annual March for Life could be the last.
MARJORIE DANNENFELSER, PRESIDENT, SUSAN B. ANTHONY LIST: There’s never been a march like this because there’s never been a moment like this.
HOFF: Friday’s march to the Supreme Court followed a setback for abortion rights advocates. On Thursday, the court allowed Texas’ controversial six week abortion ban to remain in place while the legal battle plays out.
BRYAN HUGHES (R), TEXAS STATE SENATOR We believe that a post-Roe world is in sight.
HOFF: Texas State Senator Bryan Hughes authored the band.
HUGHES: This law, unlike other pro-life laws we’ve passed, was not blocked, and it’s been saving lives since day one.
HOFF: But a separate case before the court poses a greater threat to Roe. Dobbs v Jackson Womens Health Organization challenges Mississippi’s 15 week abortion ban. If upheld, it could effectively remove the nationwide constitutional guarantee of pre-viability abortions.
In response, several states have taken preemptive action.
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (R-NJ): Regardless of whether or not the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, New Jersey’s position in supporting the right to reproductive autonomy will remain clear and unchanged.
HOFF: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a new law this month that guarantees the right to abortions in his state. Other states, such as Washington, Colorado, New York, Hawaii, Delaware, and New Mexico had already either expanded health care coverage or reduced restrictions for abortions. The pro-abortion research organization Guttmacher Institute says overall 12 states now have so-called trigger laws in place that would immediately ban abortions if Roe is overturned. More states are anticipated to tighten restrictions. The Mississippi ruling is expected this spring.
In Washington, Alexandria Hoff, Fox News.
BREAM: Joining us now from Sioux Falls, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.
Governor, welcome to FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R-SD): Thank you so much for having me on, Shannon.
BREAM: Governor, you’ve made clear you’re among those who would like to see Roe struck down. Well, our brand-new Fox News poll and shows us this, when asked about that, 63 percent say let it stand, 31 percent say it’s time to overturn it.
Are you out of step with the American people on this?
NOEM: No. In fact, 71 percent of Americans believe there should be some reasonable restrictions on abortions. You know, when I ran for governor, I talked about being the most pro-life governor in the country. Science has proven to us that life begins at conception. And the bill that I’m bringing this year to our legislatures says that when a heartbeat is detected, that then abortions should not be an options for people, that we need to protect those babies.
And, Shannon, I think what’s interesting in South Dakota is that we’ve proven this issue doesn’t have to be divisive. Last year I brought a bill that protected babies upon the diagnosis of downs syndrome and it unanimously passed my legislature. Republicans and Democrats, together, believe that when parents get that diagnosis of downs syndrome, that baby shouldn’t be aborted just because of that diagnosis.
BREAM: So the bill that you talked about, the new measure you’ve got that you’re working on this year, is very much like Texas SB8, which is the one that’s been back and forth at the Supreme Court, essentially says that people who aide a woman getting an abortion after the time that a day — a heartbeat is detected, they can actually, as private citizens, bring a case against these women. So, this week, the Supreme Court had some dealings with that — that particular bill out of Texas and Justice Sotomayor said this about it. She said, it’s a complicated, private bounty hunter scheme that violates nearly 50 years of this court’s precedents. She went on to talk about the case about the law. She said, it’s a disaster for the rule of law and a grave disservice to the women in Texas who have a right to control their bodies.
How do you respond?
NOEM: Well, that’s her opinion. That is not a legal defense of what that decision was. And the Texas law has been upheld three times now. The South Dakota law is different. It is modeled after the Texas law. And it says, when that heartbeat is detected, that then abortion is not an option.
And, frankly, since we got to the Texas law in place, lives have been saved. You know, in South Dakota, there’s a private right of action clause that is different than the Texas model. But we think that that really gives people the option to really not insert the state into that relationship, but make sure that people have the opportunity to go after those doctors that do perform abortions and save those lives so that we can continue to be bold in doing that.
I was very clear when I ran for governor, and since I’ve been governor, that we wanted to get up every single day and look for ways to protect every single life. That equality truly do — does come from valuing every single life. And that is what we’ve done by putting an unborn child advocate in the governor’s office. I saw Glenn Youngkin just did that as well. And I was so grateful to see him at that job description to the governor’s office there. And we’ll continue to advocate for showing exactly what science has proven over and over, over the years, is that this truly is a life and that it needs to be defended.
BREAM: Pro-choice advocates say the lack of access to abortion is most detrimental to women of color, to people who are struggling for financial stability. We know that just over half of the women who have sought abortions there in South Dakota say that they had a financial interest or a struggle, not thinking that they could actually have this child.
So, what kind of resources, what kind of efforts is the state making to help these women, if you’re telling them they can’t have an abortion, where is the assistance otherwise?
NOEM: And that’s one of the things that we need to do a better job of across the country is taking care of mothers, letting them know that there is options.
We had about 120 abortions in the state of South Dakota last year, which most people would say isn’t very many, but it’s 122 many. And we do have amazing centers and people that wrap their arms around these mother’s in these families and let them know that there are options for that child, that there is adoption, that there is ways that they’ll come alongside them and mentor them so that they can teach them how to be parents and help them through the struggles that come with raising a child.
Right here in Sioux Falls, the Alpha Center is a fantastic organization that’s been doing it for years. And they constantly champion supporting mothers and making sure that they know that there are other options other than abortion.
BREAM: Let’s talk Covid-19. You’ve gotten a lot of attention for the way it’s been handled in South Dakota. Not surprising that you would have critics on the left, but let’s talk about your critics on the right. They say you considered are actually out a number of things they had a problem with, potentially, an executive order that would have required some people to stay at home, proposing legislation that would have given your state health secretary the power to shut down both public and private places, some powers that would have been granted to the counties to do similar things, and using the National Guard to do contact tracing.
So, at what point did you pivot away from those policies, and why?
NOEM: So those were not executive orders. Those were bills that were bought in the legislature that were never put into action and never utilized. The National Guard was used to support our Covid response, and everything was voluntary and an option that people could utilize if they wanted to. And so what we did is partnered together with our people.
I think there will always be critics, Shannon. We’ve realized that, that the people in this day and age, they hear their leaders talk about division and — and trying to create anger and fear when really what we should be doing is talking about letting people have personal responsibility, letting people make the best decisions for their families, have flexibility and get through this together.
We did that here in South Dakota. And I think there are people outside of the state that certainly want to criticize. I guess I can take it. I’ve been taking it for a while now. We’ll do that, but we’ll keep our focus on what’s best for our state.
BREAM: Well, and some of this come of state lawmakers who say they’re the ones who were the true conservatives in actually pushing back so some of these things didn’t take place.
At last check on your state health department website, the positive test rate for PCR tests is 41 percent. So, what are you doing now in South Dakota to get that number down?
NOEM: We are doing exactly what we’ve been doing the last two years. And we’re right in the middle of where all the states rank right now for cases. But, Shannon, in South Dakota, we — we haven’t focused on cases. We focus on hospitalization rates.
We know that we can’t stop this virus. We can slow it down, but that we need to focus on hospital capacity, taking care of people should they get very, very sick. And so we’ve been partnering with our hospital systems to continue to do that.
Nothing’s changed in South Dakota. This is our priority. We’re working together to take care of those individuals. But there are cases, we know that people have been vaccinated, and some people haven’t. But regardless, that we’re going to give them as many options as possible to get through this and to be healthy again.
BREAM: So, a topic that has made a lot of headlines for your, the NCAA this week talking about how it will assess or allow who can assess which transgender athletes will be able to participate in which particular sports. You’re pushing a new bill that would ban transgender women and girls from participating on sports teams for girls, for women or for females in your state. Now, the last time a piece of legislation came through, you vetoed it. You did put out a couple of executive orders that a number of conservative thought were watered down, to weak on this. So, what has changed, and what will you do to get this across the finish line? Will you sign it?
NOEM: Well, Shannon, that’s simply not true. I did not veto a bill. What I did was I asked my legislature for changes, and they rejected it. So immediately, that very same day, I put executive orders in place to protect girls’ sports. And this is about fairness. This is about making sure that our girls have a chance to be successful and to compete, to win scholarships, potentially go on to play professional sports beyond that. We want them to have the opportunity to do that. Title IX fought for that years and years ago. And I’ve been doing this for years, which started, men, almost five years ago now, in a sport of rodeo, where we protected girls’ events.
So, now I’m bringing a bill to the legislature that will be the strongest bill in the nation in protecting fairness in girls’ sports. And I’m hopeful that my legislatures will support it.
BREAM: You’re facing a primary challenge from a former speaker of the House there, the statehouse, Steve Haugaard. This is what he says about you and your profile nationally. He says, we need a full-time governor who’s focused on South Dakota, not on Washington, D.C., who makes decisions based on what’s best for their constituents, not what’s best for their career.
How do you respond to his critique?
NOEM: I think the people of South Dakota are doing very well. And I’m not going to criticize Steve at this time. But we are doing very well. We’re focused on our race. We’ve got a lot of work to do here in South Dakota. And I’m looking forward to talking about these issues and really how well we are doing in our state, preparing for the future and defending our freedoms.
BREAM: What is the scenario, what are the conditions that you would view as a call to you to run for national office in 2024? What’s that scenario?
NOEM: I don’t think there is a call for me to run for national office. You know, I am running for re-election here in South Dakota to be governor, and I’m hoping that the people here will support that and — and allow me another opportunity to continue the good work that we’ve done. We’ve got more to do. We’ve got the strongest economy in the country. We’re — we’ve got historic revenues. We put more money into reserves than ever before. We’ve got — we’re investing in long-term infrastructure projects. Our people are doing very well. So, we’re going to continue to focus on that, but there’s more opportunities ahead.
BREAM: Well, if any of those opportunities involve 2024, feel free to come back and join us on FOX NEWS SUNDAY to make any announcements, Governor.
Thank you for your time. We appreciate it.
NOEM: OK. Thank you, Shannon. You bet (ph).
BREAM: And when we come back, brand-new polls on what voters think about electing President Biden to a second term.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not anticipate that there would be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: A potential glimpse into Democrat’s midterm strategy as President Biden takes a shot at Republicans during a rare press conference Wednesday.
We are back now with the panel, and a little bit more of our Fox News poll, brand-new, fresh out this morning.
Mo, 2024 vote, if it were held today, election today, re-elect President Biden, 36 percent, vote for someone else, 60 percent. That someone else number is higher than it ever got for President Trump.
So, Mo, what does the White House do now?
MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE, FORMER DNC MUNICATIONS DIRECTOR AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, look, those numbers aren’t great. I also, though, think you need to take a little bit of caution. I remember in 1994, and in 2010, when Barack Obama and Bill Clinton lost their midterms big and everyone was writing their political obituaries and they both came back and won re-election. So, there is time here.
But, you know, Joe Biden has done — did very well in the first half of his first year as president with a clear message that showed results, getting shots in your arms, getting money in your wallet’s, referencing the relief package, and was about to roll out the third part, which was jobs in your neighborhoods and talking about the infrastructure bill. And then that got slowed down. And then it started to feel a little less like results in the national conversation. And that’s when you started to see his numbers take a huge downturn.
There’s an opportunity to go back, talk about those three pillars of success so far, but then do what he did in his press conference the other day and say, we’ve laid the foundation, but it hasn’t been enough yet. Here’s what’s next. And demonstrating that he and Democrats have a path forward to deal with people’s anxieties over Covid and over inflation, and that Republicans don’t. That’s got to be the framing of the conversation for the next year out of the White House if they want to be in the game this election, and in ’24.
BREAM: But, Julie, there hasn’t been a pivot or sort of a reset. In fact, Democrats spent a lot of political capital pushing these election overhaul bills that they knew weren’t going to pass, trying to nuke the filibuster, knew that wasn’t going to happen. I mean, why do that, especially in a week that has not been good for the White House the last few days, losing at the Supreme Court in their OSHA mandate. I mean why swing for the fences like this when Democrats knew none of that could succeed?
JULIE PACE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, “THE ASSOCIATED PRESS”: Well, I think this is the big question for the White House, when Mo talks about the White House having to prove to results. That’s certainly true. You know, any president wants to be able to go out to the American people and show what they’ve actually done in office.
The problem for Biden is that he keeps running into the same opposition, and some of that is coming from within his own party. Yes, he has a majority, but it is extremely narrow, and he does not have the full Democratic majority in the Senate on his side to pass many of his priorities. So, how’s he going to get through that? What is — what is the mechanism for him to get results? Because, as you say, on voting rights in particular, I do think there was some political imperative for Biden to show that this was a priority, to show he was going to try to take some action, even if he knew it was — it wasn’t going to pass, but it didn’t pass, so now what is the next step?
This is where I think they are caught in a little bit of a bind right now. They are always going to have this blockaded unless Biden can find a way to change the minds of two very important Democratic senators. And right now I think is very little indication that he’s going to be able to do that.
BREAM: So they didn’t get these voting change bills through. A number of Democrats have talked about that they now have worries about the legitimacy of the next round of elections. The president was pressed on this in a number of different ways during his press conference. And there were a lot of folks who felt he could have been more clear on the way that he answered those questions and sort of this film of doubt he sort of left out there.
“The Wall Street Journal” editorial board asked, what’s worse than a president who claims elections are a sham? To presidents.
So, Marc, where do we go from here on this question now of presidents questioning whether elections will be legit?
THIESSEN: It’s shameful. It was shameful when Trump did it, and it’s shameful when — that Biden said it.
I mean, look, this is — but this is indicative of the big problem that Biden has with his presidency. He was trying to ram through partisan election — a federal takeover of the elections through a Senate using — by getting rid of the filibuster.
The worst thing that happened to Joe Biden was winning those two Senate seats in Georgia because it allowed the left-wing of the Democratic Party to convince him to abandon his promise to be a unifier, a uniter who reaches across the aisle, brings the country together and convince him he could be FDR, he could be — he could pass this transformational, left-wing agenda through Congress. And the reality is, Americans didn’t elect him to do that. That’s why there’s a 50/50 Senate. That’s what he has a couple a vote majority in the House. It was a mandate for compromise. It was a mandate for unity. It was a mandate for reaching across the aisle.
And now’s the time for him to fulfill that mandate because, come November, he’s going to have to because when Republicans take over at least one House of Congress, there’s not going to be any more Democrat-only reconciliation bills. So, better start now and at least looks like it’s a choice.
BREAM: So, Mo, with those very slight majorities right now, there have been questions about why the president has seemed to, and, in some issues, align with the progressives in his party knowing he doesn’t have the big majorities to get that stuff done. He had to say this week, I’m not Bernie Sanders. I’m not a socialist. There are now all these pieces flying around and the chatter around Washington that chief of staff Ron Klain, who spends a lot of time on Twitter, has pulled the president further left than the moderate he campaigned he would be.
ELLEITHEE: You know, look, one of the biggest — when I’m sitting around talking to my friends in the Democratic operative world, one of the biggest concerns I hear about this White House is, we need to hear him out there talking more about the twin anxieties of inflation and of — and of people’s anxiety around Covid. Not even so much the public health part of it, but the impact that it’s having on our lives, the prospect of another shutdown or anything like that. He needs to be out there aggressively talking about those two pieces.
The thing that they’ve got going for them is, as much as the president’s numbers are getting battered, Republicans aren’t talking about those issues in any real way yet. And so there’s an opportunity for him to take the lead on that and turn things around.
BREAM: We know our polling this week also shows that the American public has lost confidence in him to handle Covid as well. A lot of tough issues for the White House.
Thank you, panel. We will see you next Sunday.
Up next, a final word on the week ahead.
BREAM: That is it for us today. I’m Shannon Bream.
Keep it to Fox News Channel and your local Fox station for the very latest on the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
I’ll see you for “FOX NEWS AT NIGHT” tomorrow and week next, midnight East Coast, 9:00 on the West Coast, on Fox New Channel.
Have a great week and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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