'Your World' on US involvement as Russia-Ukrainian tensions grow

CHARLES PAYNE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Shortages, soaring prices, the arrival of Omicron making it a December most retailers don’t want to remember.

Shoppers pulling back, as inflation takes a toll, retail sales dropping nearly 2 percent from the prior month, with department stores taking the biggest hits. Stocks also getting hit today, the Dow dropping almost 200 points, although it was down much more than that earlier.

Now, today’s report is raising worries about the economy and earnings. So how bad will this get?

Welcome, everyone. I’m Charles Payne, in for Neil Cavuto, and this is “Your World.”

To FOX Business’ Gerri Willis. She’s keeping track of all of it — Gerri.

GERRI WILLIS, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Charles. That’s right.

Retail sales falling 1.9 percent in December, a big slowdown at the holiday season’s end, as both the Omicron variants and inflation surged. Retail shares today selling off, with Macy’s, Target, Bath & Body Works falling, as you can see here. Also trading lower, bank stocks, after J.P. Morgan Chase lowered its earnings guidance, saying headwinds of higher expenses and moderating revenue will cause returns to fall.

Citigroup shares were lower as well, as the company reported lower net income. Meanwhile, the lower retail numbers revealed troubles for Americans and their budgets. Wages are increasing as workers face high demand in the tightest labor market in years. But families are also facing high inflation and rising household debt.

As a result, the U.S. worker is actually worse off than they were a year ago. Here are the numbers, the Labor Department reporting on Friday that average hourly earnings for employees declined 2.4 percent from the same month a year ago, when factoring in rising consumer prices.

Debt also playing a role here. According to the New York Federal Reserve, the average family as of the third quarter of 2021 owes $ 155 — $ 155,622 — pardon me — that’s up 6.2 percent from a year ago, when you combine mortgages, home equity lines of credit, credit cards, auto loans, and student loans.

All of this as government aid in the form of sweetened jobless benefits and stimulus checks have expired. And if you needed any more evidence of the difficulty for Americans right now when it comes to their money, credit card debt is rising and savings rates, well, guess what, they’re falling — Charles, back to you.

PAYNE: Gerri, thank you so much.

So with the economy showing signs of sputtering and prices spiking, is it time to start worrying?

And let’s bring in economist Steve Moore, along with retail watcher Hitha Herzog.

Steve, let me start with you.

And I will add one other thing before you start. Consumer sentiment was out today as well, the second lowest number in a decade. So what’s it all pointing to?

STEPHEN MOORE, FORMER DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, I call it, Charles, the big squeeze.

And this is the squeeze on workers’ incomes, which actually were up by about 4.5 percent it last year. The problem is, they faced 7 percent inflation. So they lost — workers basically lost almost 2.5 percent of their purchasing power when it comes to the money they make in their paychecks.

And that’s causing a lot of economic anxiety. You can see it, by the way, when you go to the gas station. I was in the checkout counter yesterday at the grocery store. People were grumbling about how much they’re paying for everything from milk to bananas to eggs and steak.

And I don’t see any end in sight right now, Charles. When you have prices up by 7 percent at the consumer level, and you have got the producer prices up 10 percent, it means that eventually those higher costs are going to get passed on to consumers.

So the Federal Reserve Board better get going quickly in dealing with this crisis. And one other quick thing, Charles. We do not need another $ 5 trillion spending bill. That would be like giving a cancer patient a pack of Marlboro cigarettes. It’d be terrible for the economy.

PAYNE: Yes, yes, throwing kerosene on a raging fire that is inflation right now.

Hitha, you see it from the inside with the retailers. What are they saying?

HITHA HERZOG, RETAIL WATCHER: You know, we’re looking not just at department stores and retailers that are selling clothing and items that people were buying during the holiday, but also the grocery stores.

And while we’re seeing this increase in product, we’re also seeing a labor shortage. So, just to give you an idea, Charles, there was a grocery store CEO that was saying that about 8 percent of his labor force is out. And during this time — this is because of the Omicron variant. People are sick and people are just not coming to work.

But during this time period, usually, it’s around 2 percent. So, 8 percent doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you compare it to the 2 percent, it’s significant. And then, as we were talking about, rising prices of product, and you’re seeing the short supply just on the supply chain as well.

That becomes a real issue for the consumer.

PAYNE: Steve, I find it amazing, because you got economists, particularly those who are advising the White House — and I’m going to say Mark Zandi out loud, because he’s the main one — who keep saying how great this economy is doing.

And yet we saw retail sales missed by a mile. We saw the jobs number, another complete disaster, consumer sentiment a disaster. The banks reported earnings. J.P. Morgan’s stock was down the most today than it’s been done in any single session in 20 years.

I feel like the markets are telling us we should be doing something different than what we’re doing now. And maybe — and maybe it’s time, like you said earlier, to put a halt to this sort of free money economy, because it’s backfiring.

MOORE: Yes, we should have done it about a year ago, Charles.

I mean, think about this. We passed three COVID relief bills that spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $ 4 or $ 5 trillion. Biden comes in, spends another $ 3 trillion or $ 4 trillion. He wants another $ 5 trillion on top of that, I mean, we’re just deluging the economy with cheap money and debt and with — of course, the Fed is accommodating that by printing more money.

And, obviously, that’s going to lead to inflation. I mean, it was so predictable. And now the Fed — by the way, if you notice, Charles, the Fed is finally saying we’re worried about the idea that it’s not transitory now. They say it might become entrenched.

PAYNE: Yes.

MOORE: Entrenched means the opposite of transitory.

So why did they let — Charles, you’re much more a Fed watcher than I am. I cannot understand why the Fed didn’t start raising rates six to nine months ago, because, as this snowball rolls down the hill, it gets harder and harder to contain.

PAYNE: Yes, and now people are worried eventually they will go too far.

But the main reason is, they — really, this is a woke Fed. And they were trying — they tried an experiment.

MOORE: That’s right.

PAYNE: And, obviously, it backfired.

Hitha, I will give you the last word with less than a minute to go. So I guess grin and bear it? I mean, is there any — it’s tough in this environment to really be able to say to people, hey, buy a cheaper cut of meat when you go to the butcher. But, I mean, that’s the solution, right?

HERZOG: Well, that and also shop local.

So we were talking about — on FOX Business earlier about the small businesses. A lot of these small businesses, especially the grocery stores, have a 79 percent brick-and-mortar presence, according to the Data Catalyst Institute.

So these small businesses are way more nimble than the big box stores. They are able to sell things online, get groceries to people more quickly. There are shorter lines. So if you are a small business and you have local grocery stores near you, or you have small businesses, that you need to get those — those significant supplies for your home, you hit — you go to them, instead of going to the big box stores.

PAYNE: Yes.

And, by the way, crude oil was up another two bucks to $ 84. That’s another reason why you want to shop local, particularly if you can walk.

Steve, Hitha, thank you both very much. Appreciate it.

MOORE: Thanks, Charles.

PAYNE: Now there’s this. No jab, no job. Today is the last chance Citigroup workers have to prove that they’re vaccinated, or submit documentation for religious or medical exemption.

Citigroup, though, says that 99 percent have complied. For the other 1 percent, well, they will be placed on unpaid leave and fired at the end of the month, this according to a memo that was obtained by Reuters.

And, by the way, it’s not just Citigroup. More companies are doing this, despite yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling. So what’s the legal fallout?

With me now, George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley, also a FOX News contributor.

Jonathan, we know that private businesses can kind of do what they want, but is there anything, has anything kind of changed with respect to those workers who believe they have rights as well?

JONATHAN TURLEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, what has changed is, of course, the main mandate, the big one, the OSHA mandate, was shot down by the Supreme Court this week.

And that was a major pillar of the Biden pandemic policies. What got through was the mandate that applies to federal workers. And that is already creating issues.

I heard from a nurse who does telemedicine in California who’s about to get fired because she doesn’t have the vaccine.

PAYNE: Telemedicine.

TURLEY: Right. And she says, I don’t actually meet with patients, and yet I have been told I will be fired if I don’t get the vaccination.

It’s that type of loony application that really worries a lot of people. Some of these workers have natural immunities. They have had COVID. They — some have had the variant, and they’re objecting that they don’t want to do the vaccine because they already have those immunities.

PAYNE: Yes.

TURLEY: Now, all those arguments are — largely been rejected by courts.

These companies have the CDC, which has their back. And CDC says, we think you should do this. And most courts are going to let them do it.

PAYNE: With that ruling yesterday and the Biden administration’s attempt to force this through in using OSHA, a lot of people were saying we should look just beyond that part of it and what would have happened if it would have gone the other the way, other than just sort of a big — bigger government with more power.

Just how much more control, particularly over the areas of health and medicine?

TURLEY: I think this could be one of the most significant decisions that has come down that deals with our constitutional system.

What the majority was saying is that this really is about democracy. This is about who makes decisions. And they didn’t want an agency to make such a sweeping decision affecting over 80 million workers, basically, on their own fiat, on their own discretion.

They said Congress needs to make these decisions. That’s where the representatives of the people reside. And I think that what they were worried about is that agencies can become a type of fourth branch. And that’s one too many in a tripartite constitutional system.

And so while everyone is — not everyone, but many people are vilifying the court, they were actually trying to use the democratic process to say that’s the process where you make tough decisions, where you have to justify them and get the votes to support them.

PAYNE: Right.

Well, the flip side of that, of course, is making three branches into one, because we have got a dueling narrative going on in this country. And it was a tough week for President Biden, but he really has lashed out. He lashed out earlier in this week at the Supreme Court, which, by the way, is what this voting rights bill is all about, the fact that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was — quote, unquote — “watered down” through various Supreme Court decisions, and also the — negating the — what the framers wanted to prevent the tyranny of the majority within Congress.

How far should the administration go with its public outbursts toward these other branches, particularly the Supreme Court?

TURLEY: Well, this is not helping.

I was disappointed by the president’s speech in Atlanta. Arguments don’t become stronger simply because you state them louder. And that applies to politics and the law.

He went on Capitol Hill and had another diatribe, accusing anyone who’s supporting the filibuster of basically being segregationists, of being in favor of autocracy. Well, that’s bloody ridiculous. And the result is that you have all these people attacking people like Senator Sinema and members of his own party.

President Biden himself supported the filibuster for most of his career. He said it would be disastrous to democracy if it was eliminated. So did Barack Obama.

PAYNE: Yes. Yes.

TURLEY: So did Chuck Schumer, who said it would reduce us to a banana republic.

So there is democracy, there is autocracy, but there’s also hypocrisy.

PAYNE: Yes.

TURLEY: And that’s where we are right now.

PAYNE: And they used it quite a bit when the other party was in office.

Jonathan, you’re one of the best. I appreciate being able to talk to you about this. Talk to you soon.

TURLEY: Thanks, Charles.

PAYNE: So, Ukraine hit with a cyberattack.

Now U.S. officials warn Russia is prepping for war. The question, of course, is what can be done.

We can get no better guest than the former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He’s next.

(MERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: Ukraine getting hit by a massive cyberattack, as U.S. intel suggests Russia is making moves to justify a Ukraine invasion.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be here in a minute.

First, though, to Benjamin Hall with the very latest from the State Department.

BENJAMIN HALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hi, Charles.

Russia’s military is set up and almost ready for its invasion. But there are two things that Vladimir Putin still needs before he would go ahead. One is he needs to persuade the Russian people that it’s warranted and justified. The other is that he needs a pretext for doing so.

And intelligence today suggests he’s putting in place both of those things to move ahead. According to numerous U.S. officials today, Russian intelligence operatives are already inside Eastern Ukraine. They are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives. And they’re in place, ready to carry out acts of sabotage and maybe planning operations against Russia’s own proxy forces.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We have information that they have prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct what we call a false flag operation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HALL: Russia also appears to be preparing its own people for an invasion with a massive spike in media stories emphasizing the deterioration of human rights in Ukraine and the increased militancy of Ukrainian leaders.

U.S. officials say an invasion could happen between mid-January and mid- February.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Russian influence actors are already starting to fabricate Ukrainian provocations in state and social media to justify a Russian intervention.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HALL: Today, Ukraine was also hit with a massive cyberattack, as you pointed out, which took down numerous critical government Web sites and contained a message that said, in part, “Be afraid and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future.”

Cyberattacks have, of course, become a key part of Russia’s arsenal. Now, the White House said that Russia is preparing for an invasion should diplomacy fail to meet their objectives. And, remember, their objective is to get a legal guarantee that NATO won’t spread any further. That’s a nonstarter.

Based on how the diplomatic meetings went between Wendy Sherman, deputy secretary of state, and her Russian counterpart in Europe earlier this week, Charles, it does not bode well — back to you.

PAYNE: Benjamin, thank you very much.

So, how should the U.S. respond to this latest Russian aggression?

Former Secretary of State and FOX News contributor Mike Pompeo is here.

Secretary, thanks for being on.

It’s — everything I read and hear says that this is going to happen. And if that’s the case, what should we be doing? Shouldn’t there be a greatest sense of urgency, whatever the Biden administration decides?

MIKE POMPEO, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Charles, thanks for having me on today.

There certainly should be now and there certainly should have been weeks ago. Vladimir Putin has essentially predicted this. He has tipped his hand multiple times, threatening the administration, threatening the United States of America and the region, saying, here’s the things I’m going to go do.

And what he’s gotten a response is weakness, appeasement and mere words. You remember he allowed Russian hackers to shut down a pipeline inside the United States. For several days, we couldn’t get gasoline in the Southeast part of the United States from the Colonial Pipeline. It seems like a long time ago. It’s not. It happened on President Biden’s watch.

We have we have watched him push us around in Southeast Ukraine. We have watched his work in Belarus and in Kazakstan. He has made very clear that he is going to push until he sees word — excuse me — deeds, not words from the administration.

When we say, you shut our pipeline down, well, don’t do it again, or you — you act in a way that says I’m going to dominate European energy by completing a pipeline, and we say, sure, go ahead, we’re not going to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, when he sees that from America, he’s not going to stop until steel meets steel and he sees that there is real American resolve.

They need to take this on immediately. They can’t wait. I don’t think there’s much left to talk to the Russians about. Everybody’s staked out their positions. We ought to begin to take a set of actions, making clear to Vladimir Putin that the costs will be enormous.

PAYNE: Right.

POMPEO: That starts with supporting the Ukrainian effort to defend themselves.

PAYNE: To that — on that note, there have been these meetings, these Zoom-type meetings, and it feels like the Biden administration is going by some form of old-school statecraft.

And I remember President Obama also was sort of really — it really was critical,and important to him how the world perceived him as a leader, and he had to look upright and straight out of just the casting, Hollywood casting of how presidents should look and sound.

And I feel like the Russians, people like Vladimir Putin, President Xi of China, they eat that up, that they actually take advantage of that. And it just only buys them time, and actually makes him look like, hey, I negotiated with the United States, and it still didn’t work.

I feel like we’re falling into the hands with that.

POMPEO: And, Charles, there were many times during my time as secretary of state that we chose not to have talks because the talks themselves were going to lend authority to our adversary, just the presence there.

They’d be able to do exactly what you described. They’d say, well, we talked, we tried, gosh, darn it, the Americans were just pretty darn obstinate, we’re going to go about our business.

No diplomat — and I was America’s secretary state for 1,000 days. No diplomat has any capacity without a president standing behind them who has demonstrated his ability to use American power, not putting thousands of soldiers, no one’s suggesting that here, but America’s economic power, America’s diplomatic power, all the tools that we have, our intelligence services.

When we bring those to bear, we can convince bad guys, bad guys like Vladimir Putin or Chairman Kim or Xi Jinping, that we mean what we say and we are prepared to defend the things that matter to America.

PAYNE: Isn’t there a sort of irony here, though, that NATO perhaps is the one thing, whether they halt the expansion into some of these former Soviet satellite nations, that that’s at the center of this?

And it just — again, we remember when you and President Trump were an office, that the push for NATO to pull their own weight, just — and what worries me and I think what worries a lot of Americans, how far we go, not only to help protect Ukrainians, but to sort of help NATO, who might be reluctant to do anything really concrete, anything serious that would deter Vladimir Putin.

POMPEO: So, Europe is definitely not all thinking about this the same way. And that means NATO member countries aren’t thinking about this the same way.

The Poles, the Estonians, the Latvians would have a different risk profile than folks in France or Germany.

PAYNE: Right.

POMPEO: So, that’s certainly true, Charles.

President Trump was clear. I was pretty clear. We wanted NATO to have done more 10 years ago, five years ago, now today for themselves to protect their fellow European countries. We have made a commitment to NATO. It’s an important commitment. It’s one we should continue to maintain.

But in the end, this is a European problem in the first instance, and the Europeans should provide the resources needed to protect and secure Europe, right alongside the rest of the Western democracies.

PAYNE: Right.

You know, in the meantime, most Senate Democrats blocking Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz’s bill to sanction that Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline. What’s your reaction to that?

POMPEO: It’s ironic.

It reminds me what’s going on in Iran. The Iranians are firing rockets through proxies in Iraq into the U.S. Embassy, American Embassy, Charles, in Baghdad, and we’re sitting in Vienna talking to them. The Russians are staging troops on the border of Ukraine, and we are — the Biden administration is on Capitol Hill saying, no, no, no, no, no, don’t sanction a Russian pipeline, so that Americans can sell gas and energy into Europe. We want the Russians to do it.

I must say, Charles, I’m confounded. It doesn’t make much sense to me. It was an enormous mistake, although I was glad to see that there were a handful of Democrats that opposed their own president, their own party’s president, and decided to support what would have made sense, which is what we did in the Trump administration, sanction that pipeline and make sure that Russia can’t dominate Ukraine and Germany when it comes to energy.

PAYNE: Yes. And we already know it’s going to be one cold winter in Europe.

Secretary, it’s really a pleasure.

POMPEO: Yes, sir.

PAYNE: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

POMPEO: Thank you very much, sir. Have a good day.

PAYNE: So, President Biden taking a victory lap today for his infrastructure plan that was signed into law two months ago, a distraction, of course, from the recent setbacks on Build Back Better and voting rights. We’re going to debate that.

Also, you’re looking live at Buffalo, New York, where the NFL playoffs are kicking off tomorrow night. Fans there, though, will be dealing with some brutally cold weather, millions in the path of a nasty winter storm.

We will give you the latest when we come back.

(MERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: A surge in violent carjackings in New York City and other major U.S. cities has everyday citizens on high alert. So, what can be done to stop it?

Former NYC Police Commissioner Howard Safir, he’s got some ideas. He’s coming up.

(MERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There’s a lot of talk about disappointments and things we haven’t gotten done. We’re going to get a lot of them done, I might add.

But this is something we did get done. And it’s of enormous consequence to the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAYNE: Looking for a distraction by looking back.

President Biden talking up infrastructure today, something, though, that passed months ago, so why?

Well, let’s get the read from Democratic strategist Robert Patillo and Patrice Lee Onwuka from Independent Women’s Forum.

Patrice, your thoughts?

PATRICE LEE ONWUKA, INDEPENDENT WOMEN’S FORUM: Oh, I’m not surprised, Charles, that President Biden is looking back to the infrastructure bill.

That’s actually the one thing that he can highlight because it represents some form of bipartisanship. It’s — the irony — and I believe I have been on with Robert before — before the election, when I said President Biden is going to lead in a very partisan manner, despite his rhetoric.

And he’s lived up to that unfortunate expectation. Bipartisanship has not been a part of a moniker. And now here you are, the only thing you can hang your hat on is actually working with conservatives.

PAYNE: So, you see, Robert, she warned you.

(LAUGHTER)

ROBERT PATILLO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely.

And I think what President Biden is doing is highlighting the fact that, if — when we have big votes coming up, votes on voting rights, votes on the Build Back Better plan, that you can get Republicans and Democrats, once they become — get to the middle, to come across party lines.

So this is why he’s highlighting the infrastructure bill. And I think he’s going to try to find more like-minded Republicans, because, right now, you cannot simply let Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema control the entire agenda of the American people.

We have an agenda that 81 million people voted for just last year. So he wants to make sure that he’s able to execute that for the American people.

PAYNE: Is there a chance, Robert, though, that he would be able to lure Republicans, even the Susan Collins of the world, on something like getting rid of the filibuster or some of these other things that have become a strong no, obviously, for Sinema and Manchin?

PATILLO: Well, I think, when you look at getting rid of the filibuster, that was also an idea that President Trump had, that, on very narrow issues, some things are too important to remove the voice of the majority of the American people, or even simply bring back the talking filibuster.

If you’re going to do it, stand up and speak for 20 hours straight if you want to actually filibuster, instead of just writing a little letter. I think the American people want a Washington that works. They want to actually have the machinery of government moving, and they need a president who’s willing to do what it takes to get that happening.

And I think Joe Biden is going to take a more aggressive stance on that.

PAYNE: Patrice, I tell people to be careful what you ask for, because President Biden did mention “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Remember, that character was 30 years old. The average senator is 63, with a whole bunch 70 and 80 years old.

They better be careful that, yes, let’s stand up, because they might find themselves after the midterm having — maybe just having to skip the whole thing altogether.

But you brought up bipartisanship. And I think this is the one area that a lot of people are a little bit frustrated with, even we heard some Democrats this week, with the tone that President Biden has been using. That speech in Atlanta, when he bolted out of the Democratic Caucus yesterday, this is not the president that we were promised to sort of help heal the nation.

ONWUKA: It wasn’t.

And it’s interesting when you look at the poll numbers. He’s losing support among independents, 57 percent of which say that they do not approve of his handling right now, his job, of his job performance.

That says to me that they’re listening to the rhetoric that he’s saying. He’s throwing unvaccinated people under the bus. He’s lashing out against conservatives and Republicans, by the way, the people who saved him on infrastructure.

And so this is not the leadership, the unity that he promised that — on the campaign trail. I’d like to believe that we can have common sense and common ground here in Washington, D.C. It’s unfortunate that President Biden is not the one who’s leading the pathway on that.

PAYNE: Robert, the midterms are coming up. And you have got folks like Chuck Schumer saying, hey, we’re going to hold these votes on the floor. And there’s a lot of senators who aren’t as vocal as Manchin — Democrats who aren’t as vocal as Manchin and Sinema who probably wouldn’t want to reveal their hand in these kind of votes.

At what point does the party start to sort of go its own way, as people seek out political self-survival? How much of a window does President Biden have left to even try to get these things through?

PATILLO: Well, I think President Biden has to start putting some points on the board, whether that be through executive orders and executive actions, or if that is through pushing through some programs that many of the American people have really been pushing for, for years, things like student loan cancellation.

Who’s going to be mad if you cancel student loans? So get that done. Get the simple things done for the American people and give these senators who are in tight races, people like Warnock here in the state of Georgia, give them something to run on, so they can hang their hand on. And that will open the door to get some of your bigger legislative agenda items through.

But you’re right. The minute that these congresspeople think that it’s them or nobody else, then they will give up.

ONWUKA: Charles, I…

PAYNE: Real quick, Patrice.

ONWUKA: Charles, I don’t know how many — a lot of Americans probably don’t want student loan cancellation, when they did not — when they either paid for their way through college or they never went themselves.

So I don’t know about that.

PAYNE: All right.

And we’re out of time, but I thought Stacey Abrams not being there on Monday said a lot.

Thank you both very much. Appreciate it.

Meanwhile, folks, scenes on the streets of New York, well, looking more like the Wild West during a wave of violent carjackings.

Forming NYC Police Commissioner Howard Safir on why we’re seeing this and what can be done — coming up.

(MERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five-six and Broadway! Five-six and Broadway!

Eighty-five! Five-six and Broadway!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAYNE: The scary scene in Midtown Manhattan this week, with violent carjackings racing out of control there, also in other major cities in the United States.

We’re going to talk with former NYC Police Commissioner Howard Safir in just a moment, but, first, let’s go to David Lee Miller. He’s in — live in New York City with the very latest — David.

DAVID LEE MILLER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Charles.

The best advice to drivers is that they should beware. There is a soaring number of carjackings taking place not just here in New York City, but from coast to coast. As you point out, the major cities are seeing the biggest spikes.

On Wednesday here in New York City, in just about one’s hour span of time, there were three separate carjackings. The aftermath of one of the most brazen was caught on video in Midtown at the start of rush hour. The driver of an Audi SUV was threatened with a Taser.

A police officer tried to stop the thief. But he was able to speed off, but smashing into another car. He’s still being sought.

In Philadelphia that same day, two carjackers were not as lucky. They were taken into custody after rear-ending a Chevy Impala, only to discover the driver was an off-duty city cop who took them into custody. And only yesterday in Philadelphia, a driver opened fire, seriously injuring an armed teenager who attempted to take his white Pontiac.

Now, anyone can be a target. In December, Pennsylvania Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon had her car taken at gunpoint. And in suburban Chicago, an Illinois state senator and her husband had their Mercedes stolen after three masked men open fire.

The latest statistics show that, in 2021, there were 757 carjackings in Philadelphia. And that’s a 34 percent increase over the previous year. In New York City, 511 carjackings, that’s up 56 percent. In Chicago, 1,836 incidents, a 30 percent spike. And in the nation’s capital, 426, up 18 percent.

Many police departments are beefing up efforts to combat the surge, including the city of Philadelphia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIELLE OUTLAW, PHILADELPHIA POLICE MISSIONER: The Philadelphia Police Department is actively working to identify and apprehend the individuals committing these crimes.

We are deploying additional resources to investigating these incidents and working to get ahead of and prevent these incidents from happening in the first place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MILLER: According to the experts, carjackings are a crime of opportunity.

The experts are advising people to stay alert, lock the car windows and the car door. They also say, rather than looking for a specific model car, in many instances, the carjacker is targeting a victim who appears to be vulnerable. Keep your guard up at all times — back to you, Charles.

PAYNE: Absolutely.

David, thank you very much.

I want to get right to it, former New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir.

Commissioner, I got a lot I would like to go through with you. But, first, let’s talk about these carjackings. And exactly — I mean, all of a sudden, it just mushroomed. This is — I remember when these were big a long time ago. What’s driving it?

HOWARD SAFIR, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE MISSIONER: Well, we’re back to the battle days.

The district attorneys like Alvin Bragg in New York and Gascon in Los Angeles are sending a message to criminals. You commit a crime, you’re not going to be held accountable. I just saw that the NYPD arrested the murderer of that young woman at the Burger King up in Harlem who was shot for absolutely no reason.

He had seven previous arrests for violent crime. We are letting things get out of control. District attorney Bragg doesn’t understand what his job is. It’s not to legislate the law. It is to enforce the law. It is not to protect criminals. It is to protect the public. He just doesn’t get it.

PAYNE: Is part of the thing — and I don’t want to digress a little bit, but I saw something this week.

And it made me think maybe the certain elites who do — who kind of really set the tone, right? I mean, people vote, but it’s the rich and powerful in these cities who set the tone. In Manhattan, rents for doormen’s apartments are up 30 percent. Without doormen, they are up only 11 percent.

They’re in these bubbles, right? These very wealthy folks, they have a car waiting for them. They live in the doorman buildings. They don’t see this. I mean, I’m trying to — I’m knocking myself crazy trying to figure out why they — why would you let dangerous criminals go, someone with seven arrests, a rap sheet like that?

I mean, why do they allow them to menace society unless they never feel it themselves?

SAFIR: Well, until they start becoming the victims, they’re not going to change their attitude.

But I can tell you, back in the ’80s and the early ’90s, they were the victims. And it’s going to happen again. It doesn’t take long for New York to go back to the bad old days. It’s almost there now.

And what we have to do is, we have to come up with a strategy to combat people like the district attorney. I just saw that the LAPD arrested a cop killer and decided to take the case to federal court. That’s exactly what we should be doing in New York, although, unfortunately, the federal courts can’t handle the volume.

PAYNE: What is the strategy? What would the strategy be? We have a DA who’s — to your point, he’s given a green light on almost every crime imaginable.

What would the — what’s the alternative strategy to keep communities safe?

SAFIR: Well, there are a number of alternative strategies.

The best thing would be for the governor, who has the ability to remove the district attorney, she should remove him. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. So, you have to look at other kinds of strategies.

The police have to become more assertive even in the face that their crimes are not — that they arrest people for are not going to be prosecuted. Richmond did an interesting thing a few years ago, when they were overrun with gangsters carrying guns.

They did something called Operation Exile, where they got the U.S. attorney to prosecute all of these criminals and send them far, far away from their homes to prison.

I don’t know if the U.S. attorney in the district, Southern District of New York, could do that. But we really have to come up with something creative, because the district attorney is going to cause more and more people to be victims of crime. It’s going to come to the Upper East Side. It’s going to come to the Upper West side. Just be prepared.

PAYNE: Yes, we’re out of time.

I hope we can — unfortunately, I think we will have to, but I want to — so many more things I want to talk to you about this, because I also want to get into the sentencing. I just think it’s nuts how quickly some of these violent folks get out of prison or don’t go at all.

Commissioner, thank you so much.

SAFIR: OK, we’re back to the revolving door.

PAYNE: Yes.

Meanwhile, folks we have got some wicked weather that might have you rethinking your weekend plans. The latest on where a major storm is really set the bear down, and on millions.

It’s coming right up.

(MERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: Snow no, a major storm set to deliver a wintry wall up over the weekend. And it could impact as many as 75 million Americans.

FOX Weather chief meteorologist Rick Reichmuth has more on where it’s headed — Rick.

RICK REICHMUTH, FOX NEWS CHIEF METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Charles, yes.

Rare when you get a storm that has such big impacts for so many people. This is one of those storms that we’re going to be talking about that has really big impacts for about three to four days.

We’re already in the middle of it. Now, first off, there’s one storm you see here off the coast of the East Coast. That is kind of a fish storm, because that’s setting the initial stage and it’s going to bring really cold air. Get ready for temps that are going to feel below zero this weekend again across parts of the Northeast.

This, however, is a storm that’s brought already about a foot of snow to parts of North Dakota. And that’s the storm that is our next three-day-or- so storm maker, starting off tonight into tomorrow morning, more snow, up to about a foot of snow, across some spots of Central Iowa.

Then we transition to the Southern portion of the storm that’s going to have snow again, places like Nashville that have seen a ton of winter weather already. We’re going to get another storm here. But you will notice here winter storm watches, warnings in effect where you see that purple? And that pink there is an ice storm warning in effect.

And that I think could be some of our most damaging piece from this entire storm, areas around Greenville, South Carolina, up towards Greensboro, North Carolina. Charlotte, we’re going to be talking about some very significant icing with this. Some of that could be really damaging and probably have some big power impacts. Power outages will be very, very significant.

That’s what you’re looking at, that pink there. That happens for us into the morning hours throughout the day on Saturday. Then, by Sunday afternoon, storm moves in across parts of the Northeast. You will notice, though, storm looks at this point that it takes a little bit farther westerly track. That brings warmer air back in along the cities of I-95 Corridor, and probably where we will see a little bit of snow to start, likely crossing over into some rain afterwards.

That would probably melt any of that snow, maybe make some of that slushy issue that we deal with across the city sometimes. Notice where the winter weather watches are in effect, winter storm watches all across the interior sections. For now, it is not across the I-95 Corridor, because we expect this from take a little bit further westerly track.

When you look at the snow forecast, you see the heaviness of the snow, some spots over a foot, again, once you get up across the higher elevations of the Appalachians and in across parts of the Northeast. The cities I will tell you, Charles, we’re still about three days out from where the cities are going to have these impacts from the storm or, say, 2.5 days.

Storm deviation 30 miles or so, could have much bigger impacts for the cities. A little bit of time to watch that, but, overall, a lot going on this weekend in weather — Charles.

PAYNE: Absolutely.

Rick, thank you so much.

REICHMUTH: You bet.

PAYNE: So, let’s face it. You’re looking forward to leaving that mask behind, right?

Why a new study might change your mind, and it has nothing to do with health.

(MERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: Bottom’s up. A new poll finding 11 percent of adults are drinking alcohol more than they were before the pandemic, but is that all?

“FOX Across America” host Jimmy Failla and FOX Nation host Abby Hornacek with us now.

Only 11 percent, Jimmy, that seems low, I got to be honest. You buying that?

JIMMY FAILLA, HOST, “FOX ACROSS AMERICA”: I actually am buying that.

You want to know why, C.Payne? Because at this point in the lockdowns, I think more people have moved on to much stronger stuff than alcohol.

(LAUGHTER)

PAYNE: I don’t know, Abby. You laughed like you kind of know about that.

(LAUGHTER)

ABBY HORNACEK, “PARK’D” HOST: No, never. Never.

FAILLA: Yes. Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

HORNACEK: I will stick to the beer.

(LAUGHTER)

PAYNE: You’re one of the few beer drinkers still around, OK.

(CROSSTALK)

HORNACEK: I am. I am. I will go through a few beers, but, no, none of that other stuff.

PAYNE: Well, here’s the good news.

All those wine coolery things that they tried to bring back, sales have plummeted, right? So hard seltzer, right? Isn’t that the ultimate oxymoron? You thought jumbo shrimp was an oxymoron. Hard seltzer. Drinks you some hard seltzer. Give me a break.

Go ahead, Jimmy.

FAILLA: Oh, no, it’s so — it’s so true.

All of that hard seltzer junk is catered to people who don’t want to drink. Like, if you want to drink, drink alcohol. Like, that’s the kind of stuff I would have snuck when I was in high school, not that a high school kid should ever do that. But if you have seen my grades, there’s no way I’m going to be able to deny my high school activities.

PAYNE: Yes.

FAILLA: You will notice the direct correlation.

But the point is, C.Payne, I’m glad that stuff went down, because, if we are going to drink, we deserve to drink right in 2022.

PAYNE: I agree with that 1000 percent.

By the way, if someone orders a hard seltzer and a Beyond Burger, I don’t know if I could be friends with them.

(LAUGHTER)

PAYNE: All right, the mask, right? The mask might be doing a lot more than protecting your health, folks.

There’s a new study finding that women rated men wearing face masks as — quote — “significantly more attractive.”

Jimmy, significantly more attractive. Maybe reason to keep them around.

(LAUGHTER)

FAILLA: Yes, I know.

And I will say this. I will say this, C.Payne, OK? Here’s the mask. Look at how much of my face is covered right now, OK? And what that means — and everybody at home has had this experience where you meet someone, you think they’re good looking with the mask on, and then the mask comes off, and you’re like, who let the creature from the Black Lagoon in here?

This is terrible.

(LAUGHTER)

FAILLA: And if you haven’t had that experience, that means you were the person who took off your mask and freaked somebody out.

PAYNE: Yes.

Abby?

HORNACEK: Well, this was such a funny study to me, because I remember when masks first started being implemented, all of my single friends were like, oh, my gosh, how am I going to find my person? They can’t see my face. I can’t see their face.

And now it turns out that both of them are more attractive, so that I would love to see the dating numbers at this point. But here’s here’s my theory. I think that people find other people more attractive with the mask because they love intrigue, right? It’s like, what’s underneath the mask? Do they have a beard? Do they have a strong jawline? Are they a baby face? I don’t know.

And so I think that’s what it all boils down to.

PAYNE: So, when you make that — Abby, what happens when, OK, because Jimmy is like, hey, I got the mask. I’m doing great. We’re hitting it off pretty good.

Do you break someone’s heart when they take it off, and you’re like, whoa?

HORNACEK: No, you have to wear it the rest of your life.

(LAUGHTER)

HORNACEK: You can’t ever take it off. Get it tattooed onto your face.

FAILLA: No backsies.

PAYNE: You can just tell people, yes, that’s my husband. He’s got one of those big beards, right, one…

HORNACEK: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

HORNACEK: I think we could just fix every problem if you just got a tattoo of a mask on your face, and you’re good to go.

FAILLA: No.

PAYNE: Yes, I mean, listen, you might just start something there.

Let me tell you, where we’re going right now with these tattoos, that’s the only thing left, is to tattoo the whole face, the whole grill.

Jimmy, you look good with it or without it, though, my friend.

Thank you both very much. Have a fantastic weekend.

FAILLA: Oh, I will take it.

PAYNE: And, folks, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.

You can catch me on weekdays FOX Business, 2:00 p.m., on “Making Money.”

Really wild days, really tough times in the market right now, but I saw some great things today. We’re starting to come back. I think we’re oversold. The big nemesis is the Federal Reserve.

Also, make sure you catch us tomorrow, FOX News Channel, 10:00 a.m. for “Cavuto Live.”

Have a fantastic weekend.

But, first, enjoy “The Five.” It starts right now.

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