‘Fox News Sunday’ on March 13, 2022 – Fox News

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This is a rush transcript of “Fox News Sunday” on March 13, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Bret Baier.

Breaking today, Russian air strikes hit a military training center near Poland’s border and President Biden issues a stark warning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will not fight a war against Russia in Ukraine. Direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is World War III.

BAIER: Russian forces advanced, pushing their offensive west, fueling Ukrainian leaders’ calls for more support, while U.S. officials warn of possible dangerous new false flag attacks.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We have serious concerns that Russia may be planning to use chemical or biological agents against the Ukrainian people.

BAIER: We’ll have live reports on the ground with the latest and the plight of millions forced to flee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hope that this nightmare will end as soon as possible.

BAIER: And we’ll speak with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who’s leading the Biden administration’s strategic dialogue with Russia. Wendy Sherman, only on “FOX News Sunday”.

Plus, lawmakers blast the Biden administration’s plans to restore the Iran nuclear deal as Russia stalls negotiations over sanctions.

SEN. JAMES RISCH (R-ID): It is absolutely stunning that this deal is being negotiated by two of our worst enemies on the planet.

BAIER: We’ll ask Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, about the ripple effect of the war on Ukraine on global security. And it, too, is a FOX News exclusive.

Then, Americans face surging prices on groceries, cars, clothing, and homes. And the White House shifts its messaging on those eye-popping gas prices.

BIDEN: People are already feeling Putin’s price hikes at the pump.

BAIER: We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the practical and political cost of rising inflation.

All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday.”

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAIER: And hello again from FOX News in Washington.

You’re looking live at Lviv, in western Ukraine, where Russian forces have escalated attacks, striking a military base near the Polish border and bringing the war closer to NATO’s doorstep, where the U.S. has dispatched soldiers and refugees have fled harm’s way.

Russia had warned it sees U.S. weapons shipments to Ukraine as a, quote, “legitimate target,” but the White House is sending another $200 million in military aid after three weeks of brutal attacks.

In a moment, we’ll speak with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. But we begin with FOX team coverage. Mike Tobin in Lviv, where the refugee crisis shows no signs of slowing.

First to Benjamin Hall on the ground in Kyiv where leaders remain defiant – – Benjamin.

BENJAMIN HALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Bret.

In a very significant strike this morning by Russian forces, just 12 miles from the Polish border, they were striking at a large Ukrainian military facility and they have 35 people dead. That is the largest, biggest loss of life since this conflict began in a single strike.

The target had been a former NATO training facility, which housed U.S. troops until just a few weeks ago. Yesterday, Russia said that arms shipments will be targeted and aid and thought this attack was an attempt to cut off that supply weapons.

Meanwhile, there has been repeated shelling overnight on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv — still though no major push to put into the city itself. The concern now though is with other cities where grounding patience are faltered, the Russians will resort to indiscriminate shelling.

President Zelenskyy earlier warning them against it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: If they kill all of us, then they will enter Kyiv. If this is the goal, then let them enter, but they will end up leaving a lot of this land, certainly without us. They will not find friends among us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HALL: Ukrainian forces have had significant success ambushing Russian convoys, largely thanks to the U.S. Javelin antitank missiles that have come in, but it’s also because the Russian army has performed poorly. Its equipment is old. It’s tactics outdated. Instead, they have been relying on overwhelming force.

In some of the smaller cities and towns that Russia does control, now they’re trying to put in place a civil governance of their own, kidnapping one mayor and replacing him with errors while also pushing to set up breakaway states in the south.

But even there, they are facing resistance, hundreds of people coming out and protesting the new occupation, a reminder that they will never tolerate Russian rule.

Meanwhile, the siege of major cities like Mariupol and Kharkiv continue with hundreds of thousands still stuck without water, food, heating, medicine. The mayor of Mariupol says over 1,500 people have died in that city alone, while other smaller towns and cities to resist have been totally destroyed.

On the diplomatic front, the Foreign Minister Kuleba says that they are willing to negotiate but they will not surrender. President Macron of France and Chancellor Scholz of Germany spoke with President Putin yesterday, seeking just a 24-hour cease-fire, they couldn’t get even that.

Now, President Zelensky saying he hopes Israel might be able to mediate between the two countries, possibly hosting talks in Jerusalem — Bret.

BAIER: Benjamin Hall reporting from Kyiv, Benjamin, thank you.

Earlier, we took a look at Russia’s latest maneuvers with FOX News strategic analyst, General Jack Keane.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BAIER: General Jack Keane, thanks for being here.

GEN. JACK KEANE (RET.), FOX NEWS STRATEGIC ANALYST: Great to be here.

BAIER: Look at what’s happened over the last 24 hours. There’s still this big movement in the south and yet, Kyiv is still the focus. Overnight, though, General, the big focus was out west. And these strikes, one of them just miles from the Polish border.

Significant?

KEANE: You know, what this is a part is, they begin to open up a campaign in the West here after two weeks of the war, which has largely been focused in the east and the north and the south and on the east side of Ukraine. And this is about taking control of this area eventually. But they’re starting with an aerial bombardment campaign, certainly very close to the Polish border here.

It’s well-established that a lot of our re-supplies for the Ukrainians are coming through Poland and also through Romania. Eventually, they’re going to interdict those supplies that are coming in here.

BAIER: Got it.

And there’s another airfield here and one up here that was hit over the past, basically, 36 hours.

KEANE: The Ukrainians have still 56 airplanes left, and most of them are positioned in the West.

BAIER: Got it.

KEANE: And that is another reason for the bombing campaign.

BAIER: OK. Then we’re taking a look at Kyiv here. This is the central city, but it seems this red is the Russian forces coming down. There’s also a big movement this way, right?

KEANE: Yeah, there’s two. Right.

And where they are is right at the outskirts of the city now, and it’s taken them — it’s taken them almost two weeks to get there.

The purpose of that is on the northwest side in the northeast side of the city, the purpose is really to encircle the city, to go around the city as the circle would indicate, and they’re bringing their artillery forward. And once they get that artillery in position around the city, they’ll begin to hammer it.

As soon as it’s in range, they’ll start to hammer it, but it will be consistent and persistent once they encircle the city.

And this is the Russian way of war. Their intent here is to rubble as much of that city as they can, slaughter the people that are inside of it, and get a capitulation out of Zelenskyy —

BAIER: Yeah.

KEANE: — without having to go into the city. And — but they won’t —

(CROSSTALK)

BAIER: It’s the same — the same thing they’re doing in the south.

KEANE: Exactly.

BAIER: This is Crimea. We saw the forces move out from here. But in Mariupol, that same philosophy is happening?

KEANE: Yeah. Mariupol is under siege. They’ve shut up all the water. They shut off the power. They shut off food coming into the city.

And Mariupol is key because it’s establishing a land bridge to Crimea.

BAIER: All the way down.

KEANE: And it cuts off Ukrainians’ access to the Sea of Azov. Over here in Odessa —

BAIER: Down here.

KEANE: Right.

What they’re attempting to do here is make certain that the entire Black Sea is cut off. I don’t know why my finger doesn’t work.

BAIER: Yeah. So, they’re trying to get the coast.

KEANE: Yeah. And this is going to be a major operation and we’re probably weeks away from an assault on it because they want to come by land and they also want to come by sea with naval infantry.

BAIER: This is not a fast operation throughout the country, but we’re seeing a lot of different activity.

I want to take you to a bigger map here. You talk about what’s coming in and the effort to interdict it. That is going to start happening here?

KEANE: Yeah, there’s no doubt about that. They know full well that the roads from Poland and the roads from Romania are the sources of the resupply that’s sustaining the Ukrainians. I mean, these arms and munitions are the lifeline for Ukrainian military. If that gets shut down, it’s likely the Ukrainians are going to have real problems.

BAIER: Quickly, I want to take it to another place. And this is Iraq, in the Kurdish region, Erbil.

Our U.S. consulate hit overnight by 12 rockets fired we believe from inside Iran. That is a provocative action.

KEANE: Yeah. And here we are negotiating a deal with the Iranians as we speak, and this is the fallacy of that deal. The deal does not cover Iran’s malign behavior. Here’s an indication of that malign behavior. And it doesn’t cover the prohibition on ballistic missiles.

Why are they firing his missiles here? Because they want the United States out of Iraq and they want to put — they want to create a violent situation where the legislature and the government at some point makes a decision to ask the Americans to leave.

The Iranians have confidence about this. Why? Because we gave up seven military bases and three CIA bases east of Iran in Afghanistan, and they want us out west of Iran.

BAIER: It’s going to be fascinating to watch. Fortunately, no one killed there.

General, as always, thank you.

KEANE: Yes. It’s great — great being here with you, Bret.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAIER: Joining us now live, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.

Madam Secretary, welcome to “FOX News Sunday”.

WENDY SHERMAN, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: Good to be with you, Bret.

BAIER: I want to obviously talk a lot about Ukraine, but I want to start where I left off there with General Keane, and that is these 12 U.S. missiles fired on the U.S. consulate in Erbil, Iraq, from inside Iran.

Just in the past few minutes, Iran is now claiming responsibility for that attack.

What is the reaction to that, and is there going to be a response?

SHERMAN: This was a very concerning attack as General Keane pointed out. Indeed, we do not believe that the consulate was actually the target of this missile attack. We are very glad that our facilities are secure, that everybody is accounted for, that no one has been hurt or killed.

But all of that said, this is great concern. There will indeed be a statement I’m sure coming out shortly, as well as calls in. This was an attack on Iraq’s sovereignty, among other things, and of great concern to all of us. We will be following this closely.

BAIER: Obviously, we have U.S. personnel there who work and live there, and as you mentioned, no casualties as of yet that we’ve heard of. But at the same time, the U.S. is closing in on this nuclear deal with Iran. Is that true? Is it close?

SHERMAN: Well, I think it’s close and we would like all of the parties, including Russia, which has indicated its got some concerns, to bring this to a close. You know, we are very concerned about what Iran is doing but imagine these Iranians with a nuclear weapon. We need to get that off the table so we can address their malign behavior in the Middle East, and we will do all of the above.

But first, we’ve got to get this deal and it is not yet closed.

BAIER: Madam Secretary, you can understand the disconnect for the average American watching this happening as we’re sitting at a table not only with the Iranians, but the Russians in Vienna, we’re getting fired upon by Iran. You’re saying the target wasn’t the U.S. consulate, but that’s where it ended up.

Help people get — square this circle, because it doesn’t seem like a lot of people think that we should be doing that.

SHERMAN: It’s hard to understand. I appreciate that.

But here’s the deal: If Iran has a nuclear weapon, its ability to project power into the Middle East and to deter us, our allies, and partners, is enormous. So, President Biden believes very strongly, as does Secretary Blinken, as do I, that we need to make sure that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon, and then we also need to deal with their malign behavior in the region.

But, first, we’ve got to make sure that they cannot obtain a nuclear weapon.

BAIER: Right. I just have two more quick questions. Do you think that this deal is as good as the 2015 deal? You were a part of that as well.

SHERMAN: I think we don’t know yet. It is not closed. It is not finished. We are urging all parties to do what they need to, and there’s a lot of onus on Iran to decide whether in fact it wants to move forward or not, come into compliance and ensure that Iran never has a nuclear weapon.

BAIER: Right. And regardless of whether the deal is reached or not, is there a plan to deal with Iran’s regional behavior, proxies, terrorism, fighting these missile, drones? Whether there’s a deal with removing sanctions or not?

SHERMAN: Absolutely. Very high priority, working with our partners and allies in the region to do exactly that.

BAIER: Okay, and last thing, there is reporting that two Iranians belonging to the Quds Force have been plotting to assassinate former National Security Advisor John Bolton, according to the Justice Department.

And this is the “Washington Examiner” reporting that the department possesses indictable evidence against the Iranians. But the Biden demonstration resisting publicly indicting the men for fear that it could derail their drive for the nuclear deal with Iran, currently nearing completion in Vienna.

Do you know that to be true?

SHERMAN: What I know to be true is that we have a responsibly to protect American citizens from harm. We do that every single day, and that is true of all present and past American officials, and that is our highest priority.

BAIER: But nothing’s being held back?

SHERMAN: Nothing is being held back. We are going to protect Americans wherever they are, however we can.

BAIER: Madam Secretary, now to Ukraine. These new strikes tonight in the West, just miles from the Polish border. The death toll now at 35, 135 wounded there.

Nothing NATO or the U.S. has done so far has stopped Vladimir Putin. How does this end?

SHERMAN: Well, right now, it looks like it ends very badly already for the Ukrainian people. I think we all spend every day just horrified at the suffering of the American people, as your reporter on the ground discussed. It is just awful, particularly in Mariupol, where people are either going to starve to death or freeze to death or die because they don’t have their medicine. It is truly horrifying.

There are two objectives that we have. One is to support Ukraine in every way we can and indeed since the Biden the administration began, we have put $1.2 billion forward in security assistance to help Ukraine defend itself against this horrible attack. And the second is to put enormous pressure on Vladimir Putin to try to change his calculus, to end this war, to get a cease-fire in the first instance, to get humanitarian corridors, and to end this invasion.

That pressure is beginning to have some effect. We are seeing some signs of a willingness to have real serious negotiations, but I have to say, as your reporter said, so far, it appears that Vladimir Putin is intent on destroying Ukraine. We need to help Ukrainians in every way we can.

BAIER: Madam Secretary, everyone is wary of World War III. President Biden mentioned that the other day.

But on Capitol Hill, there are now more and more lawmakers seeming to say that they are tired of giving Putin the upper hand here, at least publicly.

Here’s Senator Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): President Putin has actually said the things we’re doing are provocative. He’s already said that the sanctions we put in place are like declaring war. He’s going to continue saying that, and we are fearful of provoking him.

It’s time for him to be fearful of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: So is there a way to flip the script here?

SHERMAN: I think we’ve already started to flip that script, Bret. I think that $1.2 billion in security assistance, antitank, anti-armor, antiaircraft, is really helping Ukraine to resist the onslaught of what your reporter said is a army of Russia where Putin very badly miscalculated how this war would go.

It is nonetheless horrifying for the Ukrainian people, and so, we want to support them in every way we possibly can, and we want to support everyone’s efforts, coordinated with United States, to try to mediate and end this terrible, terrible situation.

BAIER: You’re saying you support them in every way but the MiG-29 situation, these jets from Poland, really seem to be a mixed message.

Republicans are now talking about that openly, criticizing the administration.

Here is Senator Tom Cotton. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): They’re saying on the one hand, Ukraine is on effectively using its current aircraft and can’t effectively use this aircraft. So the gains would be very small. But on the other hand, Vladimir Putin is going to you view this as such an escalation that he might strike United States or strike NATO. Both of those things can’t be true.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): The Ukrainians don’t need applause. They need jets.

ROMNEY: They want MiGs. Get them the MiGs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: The Ukrainians say — if the Ukrainians say they do want these MiGs, whether we assess that they’re good or not from the battlefield, why not get them that?

SHERMAN: So, look, if I were President Zelenskyy, I would want everything and anything I could possibly get, so I understand this.

The Pentagon, however, made an assessment that trying to move these planes was very complicated, that backfilling them was virtually impossible, that what Ukrainians really needed were antiaircraft, antitank, and anti-armor weapons, which is what we are supplying them in great measure and coordinating with other countries to do the same. So I understand the frustration.

And one of the things I think has been really terrific in this horrifying situation is there has been bipartisan support for Ukraine. I’m really grateful that Congress recently passed the legislation to provide an additional $200 million in drawdown that Secretary Antony Blinken signed out yesterday. So this is a bipartisan effort.

At the Munich Security Conference, there was a strong bipartisan delegation in support of Ukraine, and there is that kind of support on Capitol Hill, which I think sends an important signal not only to Ukraine, but to Putin, that he can’t divide America. He can’t divide NATO. He can’t divide Europe. He can’t divide the world.

A hundred forty-one countries signed up to a resolution at the U.N. General Assembly denouncing what Vladimir Putin is doing. This is one man’s choice to wage a premeditated, unjust, unprovoked war against a sovereign country. We can’t let it stand.

BAIER: Quickly, has the Russia-China relationship suffered or strengthened as a result of this invasion?

SHERMAN: I think that’s an open question yet, Bret, to be perfectly honest. We saw Russia and China come closer together, certainly before the Olympics, putting out a long manifesto about their partnership and how they were going to move forward together. And at the same time, we’d seen China pretty uncomfortable with an invasion of a sovereign country.

China has — the People’s Republic of China has often said that sovereignty is key, territorial integrity is key, that countries should decide their own political future. We agree with those principles. We hope that China does as well.

You know, in two weeks, in two weeks, Vladimir Putin undid 30 years of economic development.

There was an international order that China and Russia both subscribe that helped both countries developed. For Russia, that is now gone. We’re seeing them be taken out of every organization. The president is going to move forward with the Congress on removing them from most favored nation status at the WTO, the World Trade Organization.

I think the PRC watching very closely, has to make some tough decisions.

BAIER: Yeah.

But yet, they’re sounding very bold, Madam Secretary. Just yesterday, China warned that any country supporting Taiwan militarily would face, quote, the worst consequences, adding no one, no force, would be able to stop the Communist Party if it attacks Taiwan. That does not sound positive.

So, the last question I have for you, has Russia’s invasion changed China’s calculus when it comes to Taiwan?

SHERMAN: I hope that China is looking very carefully at what’s happening. We have a united world with very grave and very consequential sanctions on Russia.

We understand and support a One-China policy, but we don’t believe that China, PRC, ought to take Taiwan by force, and we will do everything we can to deter that effort by the PRC, and I think they’re watching very closely.

In fact, I think they made that statement, Bret, because they’ve seen what’s happened and they’re trying to go on the offense, knowing that they ought to be on the defense.

BAIER: Secretary Sherman, thank you. Thanks for your time this weekend.

SHERMAN: Thank you.

BAIER: Coming up, we’ll get reaction from Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: Diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in Ukraine are fast becoming intertwined with another delicate matter. As you just had, eleventh hour efforts to revive the nuclear deal with Iran as Russia tries to push back on sanctions.

Joining us now from Boise, Idaho, Senator Jim Risch, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.

SEN. JIM RISCH (R-ID) SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER: Thanks, Bret. It’s good to be with you again.

BAIER: Senator, you just heard Deputy Secretary Sherman.

Let’s start with Iran and what’s happening with that deal.

What’s your sense of this?

RISCH: Well, you know, Bret, sitting here listening to this, I feel like the administration is living in an alternative universe from where we are. I mean, I — I heard Wendy try to excuse the Iranians that, well, they didn’t really intend to shoot at — at our embassy there in Iraq. What else were they shooting at? They fired seven missiles out of Iran into Iraq that hit near where — where our — a new construction that they’re doing on an embassy there. I mean this is — this is nonsense.

And then it sounds like it had exactly the effect that the Iranians wanted. They — they hit the — they fired these missiles at a U.S. installation and now Wendy is saying, oh, well, we need to get signed as quick as possible.

I mean this is — that got them exactly what they wanted it sounds like to me. This is nonsense.

BAIER: Is the of administration briefing Congress about where they are on that — on that deal?

RISCH: No, they’re not. They promised they would. They did — they haven’t. They — look, they know they are out of — out of touch with Congress. There’s — it’d be nice if they would brief us. But this was an awful deal when it was made the first time around.

What we’re hearing, and we’re getting only leakage, it’s going to be worse this time than what it was. Now, you’ve got to remember what’s happening here. You got a room that the Iranians are sitting at the table, the Russians and the Chinese are in there, they don’t even let the U.S. delegation in that room. They’re sitting at the kids table out in the hall peeking through the keyhole to see what’s going on.

So, you’ve got the Iranians and the Russians negotiating a deal for us. I mean, what could possibly go wrong here?

BAIER: But you can’t do anything about it, right?

RISCH: This stuff is — this is surreal.

BAIER: You can’t do anything? Republicans can’t do anything about it on Capitol Hill?

RISCH: Well — Yes, they — there’s — there’s no question about that. They refuse, just as the Obama administration did, to submit it to Congress, as required by the Constitution to be submitted as a treaty. If indeed it was submitted as a treaty and we voted on it, there would be ideal.

There is no deal. Even if the Biden administration signs, they have what’s called an executive agreement with Iran. It will not last past the next Republican president that’s elected, just as the last deal didn’t last the minute that the Republicans took over.

Look, if you’re going to get this done, everybody needs to get together on this and we need to have a deal that is livable and a good deal. This is — this isn’t even close.

BAIER: OK, let’s turn to Ukraine.

How do you stop Vladimir Putin without starting World War III?

RISCH: Well, there’s no doubt that you always have to keep in mind that you don’t want to escalate to direct confrontation with Russia. I wouldn’t call it World War III. I think if — if the thing did get away there, I think it would end pretty quickly because with the conventional forces that he’s had there, you know, we haven’t seen this kind of ineptness in a long, long time.

So, I’m not as concerned about that. I think you always have to — you always have to be wary of that.

But, look, the administration has projected weakness throughout this. It’s been too little, too late from the beginning. Remember, everything that we’ve tried to do they said, no, and then eventually they say yes. And that started with the sanctions. It started with giving them stinger missiles. They said, no.

Then when our allies stepped up and gave stingers, then they said OK. The same thing with the javelin antitank weapons. They said no. Then when our allies stepped up they said yes. They’re just dragging their feet.

Look, when you’re dealing with these people, if you project weakness, you’re going to have a real problem. And that’s going on with both Iran and with Russia right now and it is a serious situation. We need them to project some strength.

BAIER: Senator, there are some in your party who think that some of these sanctions are having a reverberation on Americans in the middle of the country and that we need to have kind of a cost basis analysis for what we’re doing before we levy these things. How do you respond to that?

RISCH: Yes, well — the — look, we’ve been doing these sanctions for a long time. And there is collateral damage sometimes from the sanctions. But the sanctions are usually not broad blanketed. They have what are called waivers in them where you can put them on surgically.

But, you always have to be concerned about that when you’re — when you’re putting on sanctions, that you’re not shooting yourself in the foot when you do it.

This is a — a delicate operation and it’s watched very carefully. It is — it is not painting with a broad brush. It’s not shooting with a shotgun. It is very targeted, very much shot with a rifle and not a shotgun.

BAIER: You know, there are some former military folks, generals, who have written an open letter now to call for a no-fly zone. It says, we, the undersigned, urge the Biden administration, together with NATO allies, to impose a limited no-fly zone over Ukraine starting with protection for humanitarian corridors that were agreed upon in talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials on Thursday.

Is that feasible or is that too dangerous and crosses the line where you’re going to have confrontation?

RISCH: Well, it’s feasible, but there are it — there are dangers involved with that.

Look, this is another thing that we’ve been pushing the administration on for some time. The Ukrainians can pretty much put up their own no-fly zone if we supply them with the SAM missiles that — that we have, that the allies have, the surface-to-air missiles.

Look, remember, the — the Russians do this. They supplied it to the eastern Ukrainian breakaways. And they brought down an airliner with it, as you remember. They brought down a Malaysian airliner some time ago. And the stingers are too light. They only go to about 15,000 feet. They’re not quite fast enough. They do some — they do some good. The patriots are too big. They’re, you know, the launch system’s about 5 billion. Each shot’s about a million. But you — there’s a lot of stuff in between that are intermediate that the Ukrainians could use to inflect their own no-fly zone, particularly — particularly in the west part of the country.

BAIER: Senator, you voted against the omnibus.

RISCH: I did.

BAIER: And in there is the aide for Ukraine.

RISCH: Right.

BAIER: So you’re talking about aid going to Ukraine, but you voted against that. Defend that vote.

RISCH: Yes. Well, the problem — if it — if it was just that straight a vote, this would have been an absolute no-brainer for me. I support that 100 percent. I have. But the other pork that they had in there, the — the numerous other things.

For instance, there’s a piece in there that most Americans don’t realize, it brings back earmarks, for crying out loud. We fought for years to get rid of those earmarks.

In addition to that, the — there were — there was some gun legislation that was included in that, that a couple of the — of the gun lobbies were very much against. There were some provisions in there that a number of the pro-life groups we are against.

Whenever we have these doggone big bills, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, whether you vote yes or no. But I — I have — I hope that no one would take this as not being the support for — for the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian war.

BAIER: Senator Risch, we appreciate your time. Have to leave it there.

RISCH: Bret, always good to be with you. Thanks so much for having me.

BAIER: Thank you.

Up next, they leave their homes behind, bringing only what they can carry. We’ll go back to Ukraine for the latest on the dangerous trek millions are making to escape harm.

Plus, we’ll bring in our Sunday group on the Biden administration’s response to the war.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: The images are heartbreaking. Ukrainian families hugging goodbye as mothers take children toward the border, fathers stay behind to fight. Just three weeks into the war, more than two and a half-million Ukrainians have now fled to other European countries.

Let’s turn now to Mike Tobin in Lviv, a key point along the path of exodus.

I do want to warn our viewers, there are some images here that you may find disturbing.

Mike.

MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bret, the horrors of war have driven millions from their home and here to the west of Ukraine. Their reality is hard to witness some of that is reflected in this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOBIN (voice over): The town of Dnipro had been spared from the bombing until Friday.

Paulina Kruzulina fled in 15 minutes, then spent 20 hours on the train. She has only what she could carry and hasn’t thought about a new home.

PAULINA KRUZULINA (through translator): We are just leaving now. We will search when we get there.

TOBIN: The exodus of refugees has slowed, but not stopped. Highways remain jammed, buses are packed. Crossings over Ukraine’s western border operate at capacity.

On the platform of the Lviv central train station, the arduous journey proved too much for one elderly person. Another victim of Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade.

TOBIN (on camera): A lot of these people you see in the crowds now are the people who have been stuck in their bomb shelters for days and they finally had a chance to make a break for it.

SVETLANA NOVIKOVA (through translator): She was running straight to the metro (ph) station and she injured her leg. You could even see her bone.

TOBIN (voice over): Svetlana Novikova survived World War II. With her daughters and her grandchildren, she spent 11 days in a Kharkiv bomb shelter until they could flee to Dnipro. Then Dnipro was struck.

NOVIKOVA: We woke up because we heard that something was exploding outside.

TOBIN: They fled again with only the family cat. There coats, the blankets Svetlana carries are all donated by aid organizations.

The men stayed to fight. Svetlana is hopeful she will see her husband again. And hopeful, when the violence ends, the people of Ukraine will see a fresh start.

NOVIKOVA: We are Russian speaking people. It is strange to hear that somebody come to us to liberate us. So why are you killing your own people?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TOBIN: They come here hoping it is safer than the east of the country, but the west has now seen three air strikes in three days, the most recent this morning, just 20 miles from here, killing 35 people, just 60 miles from U.S. troops stationed in Poland. The Lviv mayor posted a message asking the U.S. and NATO rhetorically, do you now understand that war is closer than you imagined.

Bret.

BAIER: Mike Tobin reporting live from Lviv. Mike, thank you.

It’s time now for our Sunday group.

Fox News correspondent Steve Harrigan, former Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, “USA Today” Washington bureau chief Susan Page, former State Department spokesperson, Marie Harf, a Fox News contributor.

It’s good to have you in studio, all of you, and especially you, Steve. Just back a few days from Ukraine. You’ve been to a lot of war zones for us and for others. You know, put this in context.

STEVE HARRIGAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It is a movie I’ve seen before. It’s a bad movie. Twenty years ago when I got started in Chechnya, Putin surrounded the capital of Grozny and he used the verb “rubble” before. It’s a verb now. That’s what’s going on. They’re rubbling cities.

So they rubbled it until everyone was dead or left. And every day we are waiting, did Grozny fall, did Grozny fall? They put us in an armored vehicle, drive us in, you pop out, you look around, it looks like the moon.

Kyiv could look like the moon in six months. I don’t see what’s going to stop it. He’s done it before. I’ve seen how this ends.

BAIER: You know, we just heard Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Susan, talking about, you know, how do you stop Putin. And right now it’s the international get together to try to sanction him, to affect him on the ground. But it does not seem like it’s moving.

SUSAN PAGE, “USA TODAY”: You know, first, I think we should recognize what an incredible job the Ukrainian people have done. You know the — in prediction beforehand were that Kyiv would fall in one to five days. We’re into week three of this war. But there is no expectation among U.S. officials that Russia will not prevail in terms of taking control of a great part of Ukraine.

And that’s going to open a different kind of conflict there. We’re going to have a different role. The Ukrainians, we assume, will move to an insurgency. We’ll have questions about the government we recognize and where they’ll be. I think that is the planning that is now going on within the United States government and the capitals in Europe.

BAIER: Jason, new polls from CBS out about the president’s handling of this situation, Russia and Ukraine. Approval March 1st, 41 percent, but now he’s ticked up to 46 percent in this latest poll.

Sanctions are Russia’s oil and gas, 77 percent support in this newest poll just out today. That’s a lot of support in America, despite the fact that we’re feeling it at the pump.

JASON CHAFFETZ, FORMER CONGRESSMAN (R-UT) AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Every American needs the president and the vice president to be doing well. When things are going on overseas, it’s no time to just be throwing political barbs for the sake of politics. But I think Americans are frustrated. Why weren’t more stringent sanctions put in place before? Why are we so hesitant to sanction Russian oil? How is it that we’re still buying Russian oil and not developing U.S. assets?

The president at the State of the Union talked about buy America, buy America, buy America, but doesn’t want to buy American energy. There are American jobs and things that can help Europe and help this situation by being pro-American energy.

BAIER: Marie, you heard Senator Romney say that there’s — he’s sick of hearing that we’re afraid of Putin. That he needs to be afraid of us. But there is that balancing act because getting in a war with Russia directly changes the dynamic.

MARIE HARF, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It does. And President Biden has led the world in this economic isolation we have put on Russia. We haven’t seen this since the Cold War. I think this will have an incredible impact on his people, maybe on government officials, on people like oligarchs who have some power or some leverage with Putin. That’s the goal. But that’s not an immediate solution.

And so the challenge is to find ways we can support them militarily that don’t escalate, that don’t get to a World War III or a direct — even a direct confrontation with Russia. There’s no magic bullet. There’s no, you know, one plane or weapon we could give them that would do that. And I think this is a real inflection point, Bret, for NATO. You know, NATO is committed to defending its members, but we haven’t figured out how we can defend non-NATO members that are threatened by the Soviet — or by, excuse me — look at that slip of the tongue there —

BAIER: Yes.

HARF: By Russia. Whether it’s Georgia, whether it’s Ukraine, that is a — we’re at a real inflection point for this — for this alliance that was formed to counter then the Soviet Union that we’re seeing Vladimir Putin try to reconstitute in some way.

BAIER: Speaking of NATO, Article Five means that we have to come to the aid of anybody under attack. These missiles at this base are just 12 miles from the border with Poland.

HARRIGAN: Yes. Yes.

BAIER: One errant strike and suddenly we’ve ticked up Article Five.

HARRIGAN: That’s right. And, keep in mind, the forces that are arriving too on both sides now. Volunteers from around the world, come and fight with us. No regulation, no governance. Putin says he’s bringing 16,000 from the Middle East. There will be atrocities in this war.

BAIER: Yes.

Susan, it does seem like the bad actors in the world are — seem embolden. You have Iran firing missiles on our base, our consulate in Iraq, even though they — the administration’s saying that it was not targeted to that. You have China with this very aggressive statement about Taiwan just yesterday. And you have a Russia that’s not stopping.

I mean, why is this happening?

PAGE: So is — does the — China’s attitude towards Taiwan get — does it make it easier for them to take action against Taiwan because they see Russia moving ahead, or does it get harder because they see the united U.S. response to it? I mean the rhetoric on Taiwan, I think, has been very concerning to a lot of American officials.

The Iranian attacks, you know, there are reports from the region this attack was targeting actually Israeli facilities, Israeli intelligence facilities, not the U.S. consulate. I don’t think that matters to the people who are working in the U.S. consulate —

BAIER: Right.

PAGE: Whether the missile was actually aimed at them or not. It’s one more obstacle to this Iranian deal, which has already been stalled, a pause in the talks announced on Friday even before this attack. But maybe we’re seeing a new arrangement of the world getting organized in which some of these forces, China, Russia, Iran, are going to be more of a problem than they’ve been even in the past. Maybe it’s going to be a situation where the rest of the world is more united against them.

BAIER: Jason.

CHAFFETZ: The president does need to lead an effort to make sure the world is united. I think the effort has been leading from behind, though. I don’t see President Biden out there in front of this making sure that we are bringing that united coalition and making it as painful as possible on Putin, making sure that they’re talking tough and doing things about China. It seems as if we are reactionary, not being proactive enough.

BAIER: I had Senator Dan Sullivan on “SPECIAL REPORT” this week talking about that Russia-China relationship.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-AK): These two dictators are increasingly working together. I think we’re going to see more of that soon. You know, China has been putting on this notion of neutrality. I think it’s going to be pretty clear soon that they’re more of a coconspirator in Ukraine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Secretary Sherman said it’s still not certain how China is going to fall, but its concerning what they’re doing and saying.

HARF: It’s concerning, but I agree that it’s not certain. And we should not assume that they would just support Moscow. I mean I think that Beijing and leaders in China actually think the international system can be used to their advantage. They don’t really want to blow up the international system, whereas Putin does, right? He’s thumbed his nose at every international effort to bring him back in line with his obligations.

So, I don’t think we should assume that about China. And we should have, right now, an intense diplomatic effort to try and bring China away from Moscow. There’s other countries we have to work on too, the gulf states, the UAE, Israel has had a closer relationship with Russia, India. So there is a diplomatic — there should be, I hope, a diplomatic sort of full-court press going on around the world for countries that have those ties to Russia, to pull them away, especially after, as Steve mentioned, you see these atrocities. How can you defend that?

BAIER: But, Steve, the prospect of sitting at a table with Putin right now negotiating, even if China is at that table, just doesn’t seem like it’s happening.

HARRIGAN: Yes. Stop treating Putin like he’s a president. He’s a thug.

BAIER: We’ll leave it there.

Panel, we have to take a break here.

When we come back, why are gas prices so high? It depends on who you ask. We’ll explore that, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The second big reason for inflation is Vladimir Putin. From the moment he put his over 150,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, the price of gasoline in January went up $0.75.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: President Biden telling House Democrats at a retreat on Friday who he thinks is to blame for surging gas prices.

Meantime, “The Wall Street Journal” has a couple of polls. Biden’s approval for handling inflation, 34 percent according to this poll. On the overall job approval, he stands at 42 percent, which is a little bit of an uptick. And then on the midterms, the question about congressional preference, Republican, 46, Democrat, 41.

Jason, that line that it’s Putin that’s behind the uptick, obviously we can point back to before this invasion where it was all going up. How does it sell politically?

CHAFFETZ: It isn’t going anywhere because it’s — there’s no basis in fact for it. Government spending, the Federal Reserve, they’re the ones that are responsible for inflation. And the fact that on day one Joe Biden shut down Anwar, he shut down Keystone Pipeline, he shut down our ability to expand our — developing energy products on federal lands and whatnot, that is all on Joe Biden.

They wanted higher gas prices in order to prove the case for their green new deal. It had nothing to do with Putin. It’s making it worse, but that’s not where it started. And if Joe Biden wants to reverse course, he can open up energy production in the United States and he can fight inflation by curbing U.S. spending.

BAIER: How big a political volatility is the gas prices and the feeling at home that you’re paying more for food and everything else?

HARF: It’s a huge vulnerability and it’s real. We all feel it. About a third of that inflation is energy related. That’s why you heard President Biden announce in the State of the Union that he’s opening up the Strategic Oil Reserves. We produced plenty of oil and other kinds of energy here in this country. They’re going to be making that case.

Look, he wants to make the case ahead of the midterms about what they’ve done to rebuild the economy and there is some good economic news combined with some bad economic news. So, it’s getting that good news in front of people. But that’s hard, Bret, as you know, when you go to the pump and things are more expensive.

So, I think they’re going to try to do some things. The Fed will take action, I think, this week on interest rates, which is supposed to help. But President Biden can’t do a whole lot to address inflation, and that’s the reality.

BAIER: Yes, the energy question, Steve. You know, when you have the administration going out to Venezuela, going out to Iran, this Iran nuclear deal, looking for oil, it is a tough story to tell for them.

HARRIGAN: Right. Right. It’s going to anger a lot of people in Florida too. I talked to my brother yesterday about — he said he filled his tank in Tennessee, in Knoxville, $90 for his truck. So I said, for Ukraine, or gas prices. He said, heck with Ukraine. So, the longer this goes on, the higher prices go, support will change.

BAIER: And does that reverberate on the Biden administration, do you think?

HARRIGAN: Yes, definitely. He said, you know, they’re looking for a slogan. He said, thanks Biden. So that’s — it’s made for the Republicans, that slogan.

BAIER: Right.

Here’s Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.

Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Our agenda is extremely popular. And the question is, is if they agree with us, why don’t they like us more? And — and we spent a bunch of time talking but attributes in addition to issues.

That we need to address the most urgent needs of the American people. They need to know we’re doing it. And we need to be fighting like hell every day for the things that matter in people’s lives. And we need to talk like real people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Talk like real people, Susan. And they know, Democrats do, talking to them on The Hill, that there’s an uphill battle heading to November.

PAGE: And, you know, Democrats have been looking for a reset. There were looking for a reset during the State of the Union Address that was just two weeks ago. I think that did not succeed in resetting some of President Biden’s problems.

You saw at the — at the meeting with House Democrats in Philadelphia that Biden addressed them but did not outline what they should be trying to do in a united way this year to try to pass more legislation on The Hill that will deliver results for people. You really get the sense that they are braced for the worst possible outcome in November.

Things sometimes change. We’re still nine months away. But it is a tough time for Democrats looking at November.

BAIER: Meantime, Republicans, former President Trump, had a big rally last night. He talked again about the 2020 election.

Meantime, the former attorney general, Bill Barr, has been out talk about his book. He said this about Republicans and MAGA.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL BARR FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: And I would also say that the Make America Great Again movement has to mature. People were very angry in 2016. They didn’t like the smug elite and — and — and the excess of the — of the media and — and of the progressives. And, in some ways, Trump was there wrecking — you know, a wrecking ball. We’re going to take a wrecking ball to these people. And he did disrupt the momentum of the left. And I give him credit for that. But to make America great again requires more than that. And it requires a more decisive victory.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: All right, there’s Bill Barr.

We’ll come back another time, Congressman.

Thanks, panel. We’ll see you next Sunday.

Up next, a final word on the week ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: A final word this morning as the fighting intensifies in Ukraine.

The global Red Cross network is on the ground right now helping families impacted by the conflict. You can join Fox in our support of Red Cross efforts in Ukraine, surrounding countries, as they help people most in need now and the long term. Donate now, redcross.org/foxforward.

That’s it for today. I’m Bret Baier in Washington. You can see me weeknights on “SPECIAL REPORT,” 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Fox News Channel.

Have a great week and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.

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