This is a rush transcript of ‘Fox News Sunday’ on December 11, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Shannon Bream.
Another document dump from Elon Musk and his attempt to reveal what he calls censorship by the social media giant.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It’s up to these companies to make their own decision about the content on their platforms.
BREAM (voice-over): It’s the latest batch of the so-called Twitter files, seeking to show the internal debate behind the decision to ban President Trump’s account and raising questions how involved the government officials were in guiding decisions.
SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): People want to know, how far did this go? That cooperation between the FBI and social media, how deep was that?
BREAM: And —
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time.
BREAM: One American captive back home, but others still in Russia as the U.S. swaps a notorious Russians arms dealer known as the “Merchant of Death”.
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): This is a Russian play right out of their playbook.
BREAM: We’ll sit down with John Kirby to discuss the decisions that went into the trade and get his take on a move to end the military’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
JEAN-PIERRE: Republicans in Congress have decided that they’d rather — rather fight against the health and well-being of our troops than protecting them. And we believe that it is a mistake.
BREAM: Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joins us for reaction to all the top stories.
Then, nearly a month after the mysterious murder of four college students in Idaho, new clues and new tips. We’ll go live to the scene and break down the latest in an investigation that has captured the attention of the nation.
SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (I-AZ): Today’s announcement is a reflection of my values.
BREAM: Democrat Kyrsten Sinema switches her party affiliation to independent. Our Sunday panel discusses how her move could shake up the Senate.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.
BREAM (on camera): Hello from FOX News in Washington.
Elon Musk using his takeover of Twitter to try to expose what he says was liberal overreach. Over the past week, outside journalists working with Musk have posted batches of internal communications attempting to shed light on claims his predecessors engaged in censorship and raising questions about the powerful platform’s ability to influence heated debates.
In a moment, we will speak life with the NSC’s strategic communications coordinator John Kirby, and we’ll get reaction from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
But, first, let’s turn to Alexandria Hoff for the very latest — Alexandria.
ALEXANDRIA HOFF, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Shannon, more documents are set to drop today. And so far, this has been an unprecedented look at the internal debate at Twitter over content moderation, a showcase that musk says could help restore trust among users going forward.
In his pursuit, Musk must pass what has become known as the Twitter files to notable writers who then relay their findings along with screenshots. According to reporters, the documents show how a small team of high-ranking Twitter executives assumed more and more power over content, leading up to and following the 2020 election.
Reporter Matt Taibbi writing that they were, quote, coming to believe sincerely that it was Twitter’s responsibility to control as much as possible what people could talk about, how often and with whom. Taibbi highlighted what he says could be the personal political bias of staff impacting policy judgment which Taibbi says was often made on the fly.
Journalist Bari Weiss saying that Twitter employees built secret blacklists, seeming to consist of mostly conservatives to reduce their visibility. Now, this prompted some to recall the 2018 testimony by then Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE DOYLE (R-PA): Are you censoring people?
JACK DORSEY, THEN-TWITTER CEO: No.
DOYLE: Twitter shadow-banning prominent Republicans. It’s bad. Is that true?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOFF: Now, it’s unclear whether Dorsey had considerable involvement or if he was consistently aware of ongoing decision-making of content within the company. Now, other Twitter files reporting — they touched on when the company decided to censor the “New York Post” story on Hunter Biden’s laptop. An internal note reflected on that with one employee writing, we block the NYP story, then we unblocked it, but said the opposite. And now we are in a messy situation where our policy is in shambles.
Now, Taibbi also shared that Twitter executives conducted weekly meetings with federal officials, including the FBI, DHS, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. James Baker, who served as Twitter’s deputy general council, was fired by Musk. Baker had formally served as general counsel for the FBI.
Now, critics of the file dump have pointed out that Twitter’s own terms of service state that they can, quote, limit distribution or visibility of any content on the service. And the White House says it is up to private companies to make these kinds of decisions — Shannon.
BREAM: Alexandria Hoff, reporting in Washington — Alexandria, thank you.
Joining us now, Rear Admiral John Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council.
Welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”, Admiral.
JOHN KIRBY, COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS AT THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Thank you, Shannon. Good to be with you this morning.
BREAM: Okay. So a couple weeks ago, you had a conversation with my colleague Martha McCallum. It was in the context of Apple and what it’s doing in China.
You said this: We aren’t in the business of telling private companies how to execute their initiatives.
But it appears from these revelations from inside of Twitter, there were regular meetings between executives there, the FBI, DHS, the DNI. So, you know, flagging tweets, expressing their concerns, it seems trying to drive certain conversations.
So, should or shouldn’t the federal government, federal agencies, in your words, be directing private companies on how to execute their initiatives?
KIRBY: We aren’t directing private social media companies on how to manage their content. These are decisions that they have to make, as appropriate.
Now, look, we, obviously, don’t want to see, you know, the public square polluted with hate speech and disinformation that — that’s not — that’s not a good use of the information environment for the American people. But, it’s up to these social media companies to determine how they’re going to manage their content, how they are going to deliver that content to their users.
BREAM: But how much pushback ability do they have if the federal government and agency like the FBI is calling them up and saying, we don’t like these specific tweets and think they should take action and then they do, it appears.
KIRBY: Well, without speaking to that hypothetical situation, again, these are — these are private companies. And they have to make these decisions based on their own policies, their own — their own initiatives. And we respect that.
BREAM: Okay. Let’s talk about the big news this week between Viktor Bout, the illegal arms merchant who was convicted of a number of things was on a sentence here in the U.S. and he was traded for Brittney Griner, I think all Americans celebrate and have great relief that she is home.
But there are questions about exactly went down — what went down there. NBC initially had reporting that said the White House was given a choice between Paul Whelan, a U.S. marine who is being held on espionage charges by Russia, and Brittney Griner or no one. They said it was a misstatement. They corrected it later to say it was either Brittney Griner or no one.
Can you unequivocally say that there was never an option between Paul Whelan or Brittney Griner?
KIRBY: Yes, ma’am, I can.
There was never a choice posed by the Russians, well, hey, you give us Bout back, and then you can decide whether you want Brittney or Paul. That was never the arrangement. It was only Ms. Griner for Mr. Bout.
They treat Paul differently, Shannon, because of these sham espionage charges. He is put in a special category by the Russians. And try as we might, and believe me, Shannon, we did right until the very end, we were making efforts to try to get both of them out. There was just no way to get there.
So it was either make this deal now and at least get one of them home, and keep up the efforts to get Paul home. And that’s where we are right now.
BREAM: I want to ask about Marc Fogel because he is a U.S. teacher. He’s taught in Russia for I think more than a decade, roughly a decade or so. He was taken into custody in August of last year, also coming through an airport there. Had medical marijuana with him that was that was prescribed by a doctor because of injuries and surgeries that he’s been through.
He’s been sentenced to 14 years. He obviously doesn’t have name recognition or a celebrity of Brittney Griner, but he’s been held on similar charges for longer than she has.
Why wasn’t he part of this conversation or this deal?
KIRBY: There’s a limit in this particular case about what I can say publicly. I can tell you, we’re obviously mindful of this, of course. But there are some constraints here in terms of what we can say, publicly.
I can just broadly say that when it comes to wrongful detentions, of Americans around the world overseas, whether it’s Russia or anywhere else, we’re going to work as hard as we can to get them home.
BREAM: Senator Bob Menendez, Democrat, had this to say. He chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Russians and other regimes that take American citizens hostage cannot pretend that there is equivalence between the Brittney Griners of the world and people like Viktor Bout, the so-called “merchant of death”. Nothing could be further from the truth, and we cannot ignore that releasing Bout back into the world is a deeply disturbing decision.
Reaction out there from one of the former DEA regional directors who was part of putting him away found it astounding that he would be released.
What kind of message does this send to our enemies, to bad actors out there who think, if they’ve got an American, especially with some — with any level of celebrity, they could get someone back like the, quote, “merchant of death”?
KIRBY: Sadly, this is a common tactic by Mr. Putin, and we’ve seen this before.
That’s why the president has put in place additional accountability measures, visa restrictions, other sanctions that give us a little bit more influence and ability to affect the decision-making of potential hostage- takers.
We’ve also included on the State Department website for every country you want to visit, there’s now a new designation which will let you know what the detention risk is if you want to travel to a certain country, whether it’s for business or pleasure.
So, we urge Americans, if you’re going to travel overseas, go look at that so you go fully informed.
But know this: that even if you do everything right, and even if hostage- takers are not dissuaded, that the United States government is going to do everything we can, if you’re wrongfully detained overseas, to get you back home. And that might mean making some tough decisions like the one that the president just made.
But in the end, the president believed it was the right thing to do to get Brittney Griner back home. And, of course, there’s no equivalence. She wasn’t guilty of anything. It was a sham trial to begin with. Mr. Bout obviously was guilty on very serious charges.
BREAM: Well, including on charges that he would sell to terrorists and other people that would freely go around and happily kill Americans. So, you can imagine there’s great deal of worry about him being released back out into the mainstream. We’ve seen what’s happened with some of the people we’ve traded in deals —
BREAM: — and ended up back on the battle front and in places of —
BREAM: — leadership and terrorism organizations.
Over on the House side, Guy Reschenthaler, the Republican in the House, says this: Biden and Secretary Blinken better preserve their documents because the new House majority, Republican majority is going to demand answers on this latest disaster.
So, how will this administration answer the questions about why Marc Fogel and Paul Whelan were left behind?
KIRBY: We will, of course, cooperate fully with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. If there’s a need and desire for more information, we’ll be as forthcoming as we obviously can be. Of course, we respect the role of Congress.
A couple of points here. Mr. Bout wasn’t serving a life sentence, Shannon. He was going to get out in 2029. So, at some point in the not too distant future, he would have been a free man. It is six years earlier.
Nobody over at the White House is doing back flips of joy that he is walking the streets. But this was the deal we could get. Now was the moment we could get it.
We’re obviously going to look after our national security going forward and Mr. Bout has choices to make. If he chooses to get back into that line of work and we’re going to do everything we can to hold him properly accountable as we have in the past. We did a national security assessment. We believe that whatever risk there is was manageable and okay to make this deal.
BREAM: All right. Well, the world will be watching. Admiral, thank you very much for your time. Always good to see you.
KIRBY: Yes, ma’am.
BREAM: Joining us now, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a FOX News contributor.
Secretary, welcome back. Thank you for joining us today.
I want to talk about this report by John Bolton, a former colleague of yours in the Trump administration, who says that there was talk of a Bout for Whelan trade under the Trump administration. You were CIA director. You were secretary of state of state. Certainly you would have to know of those discussions.
Is that true? And why wasn’t the deal made?
MIKE POMPEO, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Shannon, great to be with you. Thanks for having me on.
I don’t want to talk about the private conversations I had. Ambassador Bolton is free to say whatever he might like. But we were very focused on getting Paul Whelan out, every American back home.
There was — there was nothing in my time in service that was as joyous as returning Americans home to their family.
We got three Americans out of North Korea. I got to fly back with them. It was remarkable. We got Pastor Brunson out.
And I’m glad Brittney Griner is back home, too. They were able to accomplish this.
But my mission was always to get every American back but at the same time not create the risk that more Americans would be taken.
And there is no doubt that today, not just Vladimir Putin, but all the bad guys, the Iranians, others, who hold Americans in detention see that if you take a celebrity, the chance of getting one of your bad guys back out of American control is greater. And I think for people out there of notoriety, it is more likely they will be taken hostage today and that is not a good policy.
BREAM: Is John Bolton telling the truth?
POMPEO: I don’t want to comment on our internal discussions. We were working hard on each of the cases, including Paul Whelan’s case during my time in service. We were talking with the Russians at multiple levers. Our ambassador there on the ground there in Russia, John Sullivan, was working with him. There were lots of discussions about what the right mechanism forward was.
But the Trump administration was always very clear: we weren’t going to trade bad guys for celebrities, because it creates the wrong incentives for the bad guys as we go forward. It’s not good for American national security. It’s not good for people who are traveling across the world.
BREAM: OK. Paul Whelan’s brother David is speaking out. He says he is very happy for Brittney Griner and their loved ones, but their family is devastated. He says: We should think about taking, quote, more law-breaking Kremlin-connected Russians into custody. And he said, it’s not like there aren’t plenty of them around the world.
Now, does that put us on their level if we are going to start roping in their citizens in order to facilitate these trades or is that a fair strategy?
POMPEO: I can only imagine what the Whelan family is experiencing today. I pray for them. I pray for Paul to get home just as quickly as we can.
But we can’t — we can’t engage in behaviors like that, where we pull people like — like Brittney Griner who — who may have broken some Russian law, I don’t know. But, who certainly didn’t do anything that warranted the conviction that they brought upon her. It was pure politics, pure extortion on behalf of Vladimir Putin. We shouldn’t engage in that.
We should take down, bring into our custody folks like Viktor Bout who had broken U.S. law and who put American lives at risk with his actions. But we shouldn’t be engaged in the hostage-taking that we see take place around the world.
We’re a nation of laws. We’re a nation that the Constitution governs. This matters. When we get it right, we’ll not only have the moral high ground, but we’ll keep more American people safe as well, Shannon.
BREAM: Yeah. And there are still a lot of names and people around the world that I know you’ve worked on and that this administration is working on as well. We’ll keep track of those.
I want to look domestically now. The House has passed the National Defense Authorization Act. And one of the key measures they insisted on, Republicans did, was repealing the vax mandate in that measure. It’s got to go over to the Senate now.
“The Washington Post” reports it this way: Roll back of COVID vaccine mandate met with furor at Pentagon.
And the piece quotes an unnamed Navy officer. He says this makes him look like a clown. It undermines his credibility to go before his men and women say, you’ve got to follow me on this very unpopular command that I’m going to give you.
You understand military leadership and how important that is. How do you respond to those concerns?
POMPEO: Shannon, look what they did with this vaccine mandate. They took this vaccine that we now know that you can’t get to zero. The Chinese can’t get it zero. We couldn’t get to zero in our schools.
And they put this burden on the American soldiers, American sailors, American airmen that didn’t make sense for the forces, and it drove people who were protecting us, people who raise their right hand to go to recruiting station, to be part of the American armed forces and put it on these young men and women.
It was an enormous mistake. I’m glad that the Republicans have now, it appears, managed to get this out of U.S. law. But there’s a lot more to do. We should go back and fix the wrongs that were done to people who refused the vaccine previously.
The military should focus on the things that matter most. They’re missing recruitment goals at staggering numbers, Shannon. This is bad for America. And it’s because they are foisting some of these progressive, woke ideologies into our military and not focusing on the mission, which is deter the bad guys.
BREAM: And there are plenty of them out there. Let’s talk about China. They have been on the radar for ha long time, certainly during your involvement in the Trump administration they are now.
President Xi post-COVID, at least whatever version they have of post-COVID there in China, is definitely out there making the rounds. He is meeting with leaders, having conversations, Germany, Egypt, he was out in Saudi Arabia this week.
The headline from foreign policy is: Xi’s Saudi visit shows Riyadh’s monogamous marriage to Washington is over.
How concerned are you about him developing these relationships with places like the Saudis which obviously we have a lot of things we could discuss with, with respect to their relationship with the U.S. But xi wants to, it seems, hone in on that.
POMPEO: Shannon, when you won’t be partners with your friends and allies and you offend them and you simply won’t do anything to pushback against your adversaries like Xi Jinping, you see exactly this kind of hedging behavior.
Shannon, we, for the first time, we upended 40 years of American policy and recognized that the Chinese communist party was the singular greatest external threat to the United States of America.
And when we did that, our friends and partners around the world joined along with us, and the Quad, in Southeast Asia, our partners in Europe all came to see it the same way.
This administration came in. They went soft on China. They called the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They said the leader was a pariah.
And when you do those things, you will hurt the American people all across this country, and what you saw happen in the Kingdom this week is a direct result of bad American policy. You got to stick with your friends. You got to stay with your partners, and you must pushback (ph) against your adversaries, or your friends will begin to hedge, right?
They’ll go make friendships to protect themselves if they can’t count on America to be a good partner and friend around the world.
BREAM: Well, and we have talked about how complicated that friendship is and real concerns that there are about Saudi human rights abuses. We could continue that conversation, but I want to make sure to hit a couple of domestic issues with you.
You’re apparently in a thing with Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers. She says that you called her the most dangerous person in the world and writes this in “The New York Post”: what’s truly outrageous are the other things he said, calling what educators do, quote, filth, and, quote, propaganda. And in doing so, he personally insulted the nation builders of the very American democracy he claims to cherish.
She says she won’t debate you but she’ll invite you to go visit schools with her. Will you go?
POMPEO: Happy to go a school with her, and then we should immediately head to the debate stage to share with the American people what the teachers unions are doing to our kids.
Shannon, it’s a — it’s disastrous. She wanted to keep the schools closed until we got to zero COVID. She said that if we didn’t teach our kids — our little kids, about sex in the schools, that this was going to create a civil war in America.
She has done personal attacks on me and on so many others who simply want our kids to learn to read, to write, to do — to be creative, to think logically. We don’t want to foist woke ideology into our schools.
She — the teachers unions have now undermined American education. I called her out for that and we ought to have this debate.
Shannon, there’s no need to attack me. There’s no need to attack her. Let’s talk about what we’re going to teach our kids, why America is a great country and we shouldn’t teach in our schools it is a racist nation.
Happy to have that debate and happy to tour her school.
My son went to public school. My wife was a Wichita State graduate. I’m a product of public education.
Happy to go to a school, be with her, and then share with American people why it is (ph), what the teachers unions and Randi Weingarten in particular are doing to our kids.
BREAM: OK. So, we brokered this school visit and if you guys want to debate afterwards, we’re happy to host that as well.
OK. You tweeted this on Thursday: As I’ve said before, I’m tired of losing, so are most Republicans. It’s past time to show voters that we’re ready to lead.
This comes after the loss of the Georgia Senate race that was ongoing.
Who do you blame for the losses and are you raising your hand to be the new leader of the Republicans heading into ’24?
POMPEO: Well, I hope every conservative will want to be leading what is the Grand Old Party, the GOP. We lost too many races. We had candidates that wouldn’t defend the things that mattered most.
The candidates that won were serious. They were thoughtful. They articulated a vision for taking America forward.
They didn’t focus on the past. They defended the things that matter most, the things about America that are worth fighting for.
And when our candidates did that, they won. And when they were unable to do that, when they talk about wayward (ph) looking ideas, they almost always lost.
And I’m tired of losing. I wish we had control of the United States Senate. I wish we had a president in the White House. I’m counting on us getting both of those back in 2024. And I’m certainly going to be around to do my part to try and help make sure that we get that.
This isn’t — this isn’t liberal or conservative. This is about America and we’ve got to get it right.
BREAM: So about that you’re doing your part or will be as part of ’24. You visited all the right states. You got a book out. You are speaking all around the country.
When will you announce your intentions for 2024?
POMPEO: Oh, Shannon, I don’t know. We’re still thinking our — we, Susan, me, my wife — we’re thinking our way through this, trying to figure out.
BREAM: The clock is ticking.
POMPEO: Yeah, I know, the clock is ticking. But we have to get this right for America.
It’s not about the Pompeos. This is about getting this right for the country. We got to make sure we do that, and I’m confident that the country will get it right come 2024.
BREAM: What’s your timeline?
POMPEO: Some time in the spring, Shannon. You’ll know.
BREAM: On a Sunday, right here on “FOX News Sunday.”
All right, Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us.
POMPEO: Sounds great, Shannon. Thank you, ma’am. Have a good morning.
BREAM: You, too.
Up next, Democrats walked away with a big win in Georgia’s runoff, bolstering their majority in the Senate. But, now, a key Democrat swing vote in the Senate says she’s leaving the party. We’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss when we return.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SINEMA: The national parties are spending a lot of time thinking about how to get one over on the other party. That’s just not what I’m interested in. Not what I’m interested in at all.
JEAN-PIERRE: She has voted with the president 93 percent of the time. And so, we think that partnership will continue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Senator Kyrsten Sinema, one of the reasons that she says she is leaving the Democratic Party to become an independent and the White House saying it’s confident the change will not hurt the president’s agenda.
Time now for our Sunday group: former chief of staff for Vice President Mike Pence, Marc Short, “USA Today” White House correspondent Francesca Chambers, and FOX News senior political analyst Juan Williams.
Welcome to all of you.
Let’s start there. Reaction from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who will stay Senate majority leader. He says we will maintain our new majority on committees, exercise our subpoena power, and be able to clear nominees without discharge votes.
So, Marc, what’s the practical implication of Sinema’s change?
MARC SHORT, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF FOR VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: Well, Shannon, I think the reality is that she’s gone from the Green Party when she served in the Arizona state legislature, to a Democrat, to now an independent. She is getting warmer. But I think the reality is, as you heard the press secretary say she has voted with the Biden administration roughly 95 percent of the time, and she recognizes that she would have a difficult time in the Democrat primary now.
The question will be, does she continue to move and show in the two years in more allegiance with the Republican Party. I think she will. I don’t know if that calculation will work out as well because I think Republicans will see it as an opportunity to pick up the seat.
So, I think you’ll see legislatively, Republican will also have a bloc in the House to prevent any more liberal Democrat legislation. The question will be on confirmations. Does she break with the Biden administration on some of their high profile confirmations, to show more of her independents in the next two years? I think that’s what we should be watching. I think you’ll see her align with the Republicans more over this time period.
BREAM: OK. So, in the meantime, we’ve got this lame duck situation in which Democrats still control the House and the Senate. They’ve got to get funding done because, guess what, Friday I think is the day we run out of money here in the federal government. This seems to happen, Francesca, before the holidays, nearly every year.
“Reuters” reports it this way. It says: Republicans with go-it-alone funding bill.
So, before the House has changed power, at least the House side, Francesca, they still got some lame duck fights to get on, including how to pay for everything around here.
FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, USA TODAY WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And Democrats are expected to put forward a piece of legislation that they hope can gain bipartisan support that would fund the government for the next year. But, at the same time, as you just noted, Republicans want to wait until they have the majority in the House of Representatives.
There’s no appetite for a government shut down, I’m told, by people close to the talks. What you could see is a one-week continuing resolution, and in a sense to continue funding the government at the current levels for weeks so that they can continue to negotiate a deal. But as you were saying, Democrats including in the White House are really trying to put the squeeze on Republicans right now, Shannon, by saying that if you do continue to fund the government at the currents levels, that would mean less money for the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, for the CHIPS bill and a whole bunch of other things that they hope Republican will consider priorities and want to come together with them on a longer term spending resolution.
BREAM: Yeah. So, Democrats want to go through the fiscal year which would end September 30th of 2023. Juan, Republicans say, why in the world would we ever agree to that? Because we’re going to at least have the House in January. So, no, we’re not going to vote for these Democrat strategies for their priorities because they don’t align with ours. You’re going to get maybe a couple weeks of money and we do this every year.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think we have got a situation here, Shannon, where Republicans really don’t want this fight. I think they are pressured, again, to try to impose some limits on spending, but where is the limit?
If — from the Democrats’ point of view, it’s the opportunity to impose cuts on Social Security and Medicare, not popular with the American people. If you think back to 2011 and the Obama years, even in the Trump years, what you see is that when Republicans pushed on this very issue, they had to back off, that the public response was so negative, it had an impact on the economy.
The nation’s credit rating was downgraded in one case. And the – it becomes a fight over social safety net spending, Medicare, and Social Security, and the Republicans just don’t win those fights. They’re unnecessary fights.
Kevin McCarthy, at the moment, is having to respond to the fiscal hawks in order to try to win control to become speaker of the House, but he doesn’t really want to have to have his caucus — you know, be responsible for getting his caucus to back a spending bill next year. It’s a tough fight for Republicans, and Democrats are anxious to have it.
BREAM: Yes, and herding the cats, no matter who you are as speaker, whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat, is always the toughest part of the job.
OK, let’s turn to Twitter because we’ve had another round of Twitter dumps of internal communications. More of that is coming today. “The New York Post” raises this issue of whether Jack Dorsey, when he testified before Congress, told some stories that maybe weren’t true. They quote Jonathan Turley, professor — law professor. He says, on its face, Dorsey has vulnerability after the second release. Dorsey was repeatedly asked about censoring and shadow banning, which has now been confirmed in these files.
Francesca, do you foresee more hearings on The Hill and more Twitter executives called in to give an accounting for something that we now have a little bit more internal information about?
FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, “USA TODAY” WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kevin McCarthy has already signaled that they would be focused on in the new Republican majority, not only on big tech, as they say, but – but also on investigating the Biden administration over a number of things. Investigations he listed. All the things that they would want to focus on.
When it does come to tech companies though, this is potentially an area where you might see some Democratic support in general for investigations because they certainly have questions about Twitter. Different questions about Twitter than the ones that Republicans have. But they do have questions of their own that they have also written into the company about.
BREAM: And so, Juan, what about this? I mean we — you heard these conversations in the reporting we had earlier about the FBI, about DHS, about DNI having weekly meeting and conversations, flagging things they didn’t like. I mean it’s a private actor, it’s a private company, but do they become a state actor when they’re being directed by the federal government to do things that influence their company policy in the way that they mead it out?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think we have a national interest in so many things, but obviously I would say, you know, just as a prime example, terrorism. You don’t want terrorists controlling messaging and disinformation. But it goes beyond that into hate speech and the like.
But, you know, I think we’re lost in the weeds on this one, Shannon, because I think this is not so much a political story, although, you know, it triggers all the talk about conspiracies between big government and big corporations. I think this is an economic story in which Elon Musk paid too much for Twitter and now he’s trying to stir up controversy to develop a new audience.
BREAM: All right, let me –
WILLIAMS: He’s worried about the fact that with the increase of hate speech you see advertisers fleeing.
BREAM: OK, let me –
WILLIAMS: So, he’s busy right now trying to say to people he’s the victim.
BREAM: I want to make sure that we get Marc in here, too, because there’s a lot to respond there.
It looks like what we’ve seen so far, the, quote/unquote, shadow banning, the visibility issues, primarily involved conservatives, conservative commentators. There could be much more to come. There could be some that targets the left. We’re waiting to see.
But, Marc, your quick observation of what we’ve seen so far?
MARC SHORT, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF FOR VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: Well, Shannon, I think the reality is, it’s not a surprise to many Americans that big tech is left biased. And I think that that’s playing out for the American people thanks to Elon Musk. I’ve not really heard Democrats before be concerned about a private citizen paying too much for a company, but I’m grateful that Elon – Elon Musk is now the CEO of Twitter.
But I think the bigger issue here is, why isn’t the mainstream media focused on the reality, less about the drug scandals and the sex scandals of Hunter Biden. But when Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, Hunter Biden was getting tens and tens of thousands of dollars every month from the communist Chinese and Ukraine government where Joe Biden was – that was his portfolio in Ukraine. Why aren’t the mainstream media covering that?
BREAM: Well, I think that we will be when it is front and center on House hearings, probably starting in January of 2023. We’ll cover it, as we know all of you will as well.
Panel, thank you very much. We’ll see you next Sunday.
SHORT: Thanks, Shannon.
WILLIAMS: Thanks, Shannon.
BREAM: Up next, the push for answers in the mysterious murders of four college students in Idaho. We’re going to sit down with two crime expert to discuss why we now seem to have more questions than answers nearly a month after this horrific crime.
BREAM: It’s a story that’s captured the attention of the nation, four University of Idaho students stabbed to death in their off-campus house nearly a month ago. Despite dozens of FBI agents and state police on the case, investigators have yet to identify a suspect.
In a moment, we’ll sit down with former FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano and former D.C. police detective Ted Williams.
But first, we turn to Alexis McAdams live in Moscow, Idaho, with the latest on the case.
ALEXIS MCADAMS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Shannon, investigators are doing everything they can to track down the killer in this situation. And so many people in this community are still on edge as they just put out another alert to travel in groups and be vigilant as the killer is not behind bars.
MCADAMS: This morning, the small and usually quite city of Moscow, Idaho, sits in the national spotlight as police continue the search for a killer who murdered these four University of Idaho students. Now, a month in and no arrests, though the case remains the top priority for Moscow Police Chief James Fry.
JAMES FRY, CHIEF MOSCOW, IDAHO, POLICE: This case is not going cold.
MCADAMS: Investigators say Kaylee Goncalves, Madi Mogen, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin were all stabbed to death inside of this six bedroom off campus home while they were asleep. The three girls were roommates. Chapin, who was dating Kernodle, was sleeping over.
Investigators say the killer attacked the college students with a large knife, then took off into the night.
FRY: We are looked for a fixed blade knife.
MCADAMS: The night started off like it would for many students. Police say Kaylee and Madi went to a local bar, then stopped at this food truck for a bite to eat. Spotted here on the truck’s live street. Back home just before 2:00 a.m.
Around that same time, investigators say Ethan and Xana had just got back from a fraternity party. Their bodies found around five hours later after a 911 call was made from one of the cell phones of the two surviving roommates. Police rushing in to find the gruesome discovery.
MCADAMS (on camera): So how personal is this case with you?
FRY: I’m a dad with daughters. And that’s tough. You know, you don’t – you know, we’re human. We don’t – we don’t go to these and just turn it off. It effects us. But we have a job to do.
MCADAMS (voice over): The families left with more questions than answers.
KRISTI GONCALVES, OTHER OF VICTIM: We just have no information as a family. And it’s tough day after day.
MCADAMS: With no arrest, the case still active.
MCADAMS (on camera): Just because someone’s been cleared right now, does that mean they might be reinterviewed?
FRY: We’ve actually reinterviewed people two and three times because we’ll get tips or we `ill get information that we need to verify again.
MCADAMS: Shannon, right now, police are working to track down the driver or person or persons who were in this white Hyundai Elantra that you’re looking at. It’s a stock photo of an example of the make and model they’re trying to look for. But it’s a white Hyundai Elantra, either 2011 to 2013 model. They believe the people in that car could have vital information in this investigation, asking them to please come forward to help close the case.
BREAM: All right, Alexis McAdams reporting from Moscow, Idaho.
Alexis, thank you very much.
Joining us now, retired FBI Special Agent James Gagliano and former D.C. Police Detective Ted Williams.
I want to go over a little bit of what we’ve heard from the police, the timeline they’ve given us. This one thing jumped out at me. This is from the police department. They say on November 13th the surviving roommates summoned friends to the residence because they believed one of the second floor victims had passed out and was not waking up. At 11:58 a.m. that 911 call went in requesting aid for an unconscious person.
Ted, this seems strange to me. It seems that that two of the surviving roommates who have been completely ruled out, innocent, not involved with the crime by police, that they were at least close enough to one of these girls that they thought they were unconscious. How would they have not seen the – the stab wounds, the blood, enough to call 911 and say we’ve just got someone here unconscious? That seems strange to me.
TED WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Shannon, it’s also strange to me, because you’re absolutely right, from what we’ve been told by the medical examiner out there, this was a very gory, blood splattered scene. And you would have thought that the two roommates would have, even during the night, heard or seen something.
But for them to call their friends over before law enforcement got involved is certainly something that I’m sure law enforcement has — has been part of the — their investigation. But it is strange. Very strange.
BREAM: So they also have said, we have not changed our belief that the murders were a targeted attack. All right, James, the FBI has been brought in. I think 46 investigators. They’ve also got analysts. We have scores of local detectives, state police there in Idaho as well.
What do they bring in, these federal authorities, that can help the local officials? I mean they were brought in the first week. It was clear that they were going to need some additional assistance.
JAMES GAGLIANO, RETIRED FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Shannon, this case has captured the national attention. And — and for the right reasons. You’ve got four young kids that are going to school at the University of Idaho. They live in the northern-most region of Idaho, a place that’s – that’s idyllic, it’s – it’s – it’s remote, it’s – it’s the – it’s stuns the senses. And, look, for – so – so it’s the – the viewers understand, the FBI doesn’t typically investigate murder cases. Those are case that Ted and detectives and local police officers handle. The FBI investigates 4,500 federal violations. Only when they are asked to come in on a case like this, where I think I’m stunned and I shared that feeling with Ted that with all the — with all the attention that’s been put out there, with all the information that’s been put out there, with all of the physical evidence that had to have been found at the crime scene.
And look, you know, Shannon, there are no perfect crimes anymore. And the bottom line is, there has to be a lead. There’s been 6,000 tips called into the national tip line. I believe — I believe they’re going to catch this guy or this person or persons very soon.
BREAM: So there have been questions about the forensics. We know this week we saw that a number of things were being taken from the house that were given back to families. Authorities have said we know how important it is to them to get some of these items back.
But another former FBI special agent, Jonathan Gillam, told Fox News he was worried about that. He said, crime scenes hold on to evidence and sometimes you don’t realize in a case like that until you find a subject. Now that crime scene has been tainted because they have removed things.
Ted, you’ve been there. What – what do you make of these decisions? Do you think that, you know, the forensics have been corrupted in any way?
WILLIAMS: You know, I am deeply concerned about the forensics that have been gathered at this crime scene. You have the crime scene. You process that crime scene. This is what they have done.
But what is concerning to me initially was, that the students called over individuals, other than law enforcement, initially the next day when they found these bodies. And I believe that that could have led so some contamination of the crime scene.
James is absolutely right. I do believe that this case certainly will be settled — resolved. I believe that you’re going — the forensics are going to be to driving force. Look, when you kill somebody or somebodies under these circumstances, you leave a lot of trace evidence. This isn’t like Perry Mason where something is solved right away.
So, what we have to do, I think, is be very patient here and let them continue, meaning law enforcement, to process this investigation and bring someone to justice.
BREAM: Kaylee’s parents have been out there. They have spoken vocally. They say they — they have great respect for the police officers. That they know that they are very hard-working, they’re doing everything they can, but they’re frustrated too. They feel like — Kaylee’s mother has said that she felt like somebody was cleared — potentially some people were cleared too quickly. And her father said that there are injuries to the various victims that don’t match.
James, quickly, does that tell you anything about whether this was targeted at one person, others got caught up in it? What does it say to you that the injuries are so different?
GAGLIANO: Yes, I think, Shannon, and I think Ted will agree with me, you have to follow the evidence, bereft of fear or favor. You can’t have predisposed notion of what happened. You follow the evidence. And there’s a lot of it here. So, I think we’re going to get a resolution sometime soon.
BREAM: OK, James and Ted, we very much appreciate your expertise. Thank you. We will stay on this case.
BREAM: Up next, we’re going to bring in a friend of the show, Brian Kilmeade, to discuss one of the biggest talkers of the week. He joins us live, if he’s up, next.
BREAM: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two American heroes, came from very different background, but were able to put their disagreements aside to accomplish a common goal. That story is chronicled in the bestselling novel “The President and the Freedom Fighter,” which has just been released in paperback.
Joining us now is the author and “FOX & FRIENDS” co-host Brian Kilmeade.
Brian, you’re up on the one day you should get to sleep in. Welcome to FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
BRIAN KILMEADE, AUTHOR, “THE PRESIDENT AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTER” This is sleeping in. It’s not a 2:30 wake-up call.
BREAM: This is.
KILMEADE: It’s a little bit later. So, for that, I’m thankful.
But what I try to do in the paperback is bring up what happened just around the block from you, at that monument – at that monument that was dedicated by Frederick Douglass in – 10 years after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. He didn’t love the design, but the people that paid for it did. They were freed slaves. And they paid for it. And he said, OK, I’ll dedicate it with Ulysses S. Grant there. And then, two years ago, they’re trying to take it down. And in Massachusetts they took out a replica.
So, in doing history, I didn’t realize we’d be looking at the war on history. And that’s what’s happening on a daily basis. So, that’s what I tried to add to the paperback this time.
BREAM: Well, and the book is all about how they came together. They had very different ideas about how to get there, but to end slavery. And it reminds me of something that is being debated here in Washington now, which is very different views on how to get there but agreement that the border is in real trouble. So, we have this headline now from foxnews.com. Senator Tillis and Sinema revived talks on potential immigration deal during lame duck session.
Brian, the border is a mess. Any hope in your mind that there is an appetite on both sides to actually get something done?
KILMEADE: I mean, when you can’t get the president to even go there when asked by Peter Doocy, why aren’t you going to the border, being that you go to a border state, he says, I have more important things to do. Doesn’t that really say it all? Because there is no interest in securing the border. Therefore, this is game over before it starts.
I salute Tillis and Sinema for saying, let’s get something done. But to say that we’re going to let dreamers stay, that’s pretty much a given. Most people know, if you come at three and four, the Democrats and Republican are eventually going to get to allowing them to stay.
But do you know what’s happened over the last year and a half, two years, 5 million more people brought dreamers with them. So now a story that was somewhat contained when President Obama decided to, through an executive order, tell dreamers they can stay, now all of a sudden it’s more complicated because you doubled the number that are in this country.
And does anybody think this administration is serious about sealing the border? Does anyone understand that on December 12th Title 42 disappears? Which means they expect instead of 7,000, which is untenable, to go up to 15,000 to 18,000? We’re already seeing a surge.
We had three border guards commit suicide last month, 14 this year. We had another one killed on Wednesday in pursuit of another illegal immigrant coming here. Until we get serious about stopping the — having security, which you know this, Shannon, you – you work there every day. Senator Schumer used to talk about having border security. Used to have Senator Joe Biden talk about border security. They have suddenly changed and they think it’s a great idea to let every country come and stay for free – oh, excuse me, we’ll give them a nice welcome package, some cash, some belongings, and we also give them a bus ride wherever they want to go. It’s insane. No country does this.
BREAM: Well, and – and the difficult reality, too, is that we’ve tracked the numbers of people who are trying to come here who have also died. Hundreds of them around the border are trying to get through these border crossings. So there are people impacted on all sides of this. And whether Washington gets anything done or not, I’m not going to hold my breath.
I — we also have you here to talk, because you are an expert on all things soccer. The World Cup has captured — I’m told half of the world’s population is watching these games when they’re on. So, we are down to the finals getting into next week. We’ll talk about that.
But in the meantime, reporter Grant Wahl, who is must beloved and well- known as a reporter within the soccer community, an American, passed away there very suddenly. I listened to his podcast where he was talking about Thursday that he had been sick. He had this terrible cough. A lot of people have this cough. And now he’s gone. What more do we know about him and this situation?
KILMEADE: Number one, he’s in great shape. And, number two, he’s very well respected. One of his big stories was a teenager named LeBron James, he put him on the cover and said the next coming. He was 100 percent right. That was really well done.
An investigative piece that he did in a book that he put out, “The Beckham Experiment,” when David Beckham came here, the impact he had on soccer in this country, that I know that your husband, I know, is very interested in.
But Grant Wahl, as — in the prime of his life, in great shape, the premier reporter, to die like this, his brother — remember, just something to think about. I’m not saying anything diabolical happened, but he was delayed for about an hour because he wanted to come in with a patch that had a salute to — the pride flag. His brother’s gay. And it was a salute to his brother. And they said all this stuff has to be banned. And everybody that wears it, your team is going to be fined, they’re going to be sanctioned, they may even get a yellow card per team. So, he stood up for that.
His brother thinks he was killed. And he came out and says there’s no way my brother was sick. We’ve got to investigate this.
There will be an autopsy, but nothing but tragedy and sadness as he has a – – his wife has found out and his body is coming home, that there — that her husband has passed away. No one could get their head around it.
BREAM: Yes, I mean, like I said, in his podcast he talked about how his body had been he said betraying him or kind of giving him signals that he was running too hard and that he had been sick with this cough. We will wait and see now what answers his family gets as we wait for an autopsy and other things.
But, in the meantime, just praying with them in their grief over this.
Brian, thank you very much. We will see you bright and early tomorrow morning on “FOX & FRIENDS.”
KILMEADE: Thank you, Shannon. Thanks so much. Congratulations on the show. It’s awesome.
BREAM: Thank you.
Up next, a look ahead to Fox’s World Cup coverage as we head toward next Sunday’s final match.
BREAM: And a quick programming note before we head out this morning. Check your local listings for next week because Fox is home to one of the biggest sporting events of the year, and that means in most markets you will see this show, you’ll see us live at 8:00 a.m. Eastern.
That is just ahead of the FIFA men’s World Cup final right here on your local Fox affiliate this coming Sunday December 18th. Coverage starts at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. The match starts at 10:00 a.m. And, by the way, FOX NEWS SUNDAY will have special reporting live on the scene to kick it all off for you.
That is it for us today. Thank you for joining us. I’m Shannon Bream. Have a great week and we will see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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