FULL EPISODE: 5/16/21 Sen. Intel Chair Mark Warner on the pipeline hack; Sen. Mike Rounds talks House GOP’s new #3

Published: May. 15, 2021 at 11:21 PM EDT
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Washington, D.C. – Greta Van Susteren interviewed Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) for Gray Television’s “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” airing Sunday, May 16, 2021.

On President’s Trump’s role in the 2022 election, Sen. Rounds said: “He can be a true asset with regard to bringing people back into a conservative approach to government. One, which is less taxes, less regulation, more economic development. That was a positive message. And I think if we would’ve stayed on that message in the last election, he would still be president of the United States.”

Sen. Rounds told Van Susteren that he respected Rep. Liz Cheney, but said members of the House “get to choose their own leadership and they get to live with that.” Rounds also said “emotions are running wild” in the House of Representatives, adding: “At some point, I think it’ll cool off. I think they’ll come back around again.”

On the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, Sen. Rounds said: “We have to have stronger cyber defenses, and we have to have stronger cyber offensive capabilities to make them think twice about trying to get in.” Sen Warner said: “This is a critical, critical threat. And I think that the signs of those gas lines have brought it home to the American people in a very real way.”

On the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Sen. Rounds said “We have to send a message that we will support Israel, there should be no question about that at all.” Sen. Warner said: “Clearly Israel has a right to defend itself … But I do think some of the Israeli actions of a few weeks ago …. were appearing to be stirring the pot.”

Interview highlights are below.

Sen. Mike Rounds Highlights

On Liz Cheney, the future of the GOP, and Donald Trump

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

We are a big tent party, but the House of Representatives specifically gets to choose their own leadership. Founding fathers, when they created the House, they said it was going to be the place where the emotions would run wild, emotions are running wild. At some point, I think it’ll cool off. I think they’ll come back around again.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

I will tell you that I respect Representative Cheney. I respect her point of view, but I also recognize that the House of Representatives has the ability to choose their own leadership and they get to live with that.

Greta Van Susteren

Former President Trump obviously wanted her out. Is he the leader of your party? I know people have different views on that. And he has also said, or at least people around him have said that he’s going to have three rallies beginning soon. Are his rallies helpful to your party or not?

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

We would love to have President Trump work hard to get House members elected this time around and to get members of the Senate elected this time around. He can be a true asset with regard to bringing people back into a conservative approach to government. One, which is less taxes, less regulation, more economic development. That was a positive message. And I think if we would’ve stayed on that message in the last election, he would still be president of the United States.

On the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

We are vulnerable. There’s no question about it.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

In the United States, we have to have stronger cyber defenses, and we have to have stronger cyber offensive capabilities to make them think twice about trying to get in.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

We’ve actually directed in the National Defense Authorization Act this last year, that there be a national director of cybersecurity. Now, administrations don’t like it, when Congress tells them, you need to add somebody or you need to do this. We’re doing it because we’ve got to have expertise that’s helping to coordinate cyber defenses throughout the United States.”

Greta Van Susteren

So what should President Biden say or do when he meets with Putin?

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

It would be my opinion only, but I think the first thing would be to say, “Look, if there are sanctions that need to be imposed, we’re not afraid to impose additional sanctions. Second of all, if you’re not prepared to address the criminal activity that starts in your country, then we’re probably going to have to do something about it. And you’re not going to like it the way we do it.

Greta Van Susteren

Is that sanctions, or is that like equal force? We’re going to do a cyber attack.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

I don’t think we put limitations on ourselves. Remember, you have different domains, you have air, land, sea, space and cyberspace in which you can respond. Simply, because an action, an attack made in cyberspace has never stopped us from identifying that we can use our other resources to respond.

On infrastructure

Greta Van Susteren

When I hear about spending more money in research and development, the first thing that flashes in my mind is that your party says, “No more taxes.” And that’s a red line with the infrastructure bill. Are you going to give on that? I mean, where do we get the money for this? I mean, I’m not saying we don’t need this stuff, but where are we getting the money for it?

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

When you grow the economy, you grow tax revenues, we can grow tax revenues. If we start taxing the economy again, like had occurred before the 2017 tax bill was passed. We will go back into the doldrums of two to two and a half percent growth at best. With this new economy that we’ve created, where unemployment was the lowest it’s been in 50 years, where the GDP was starting to roll again. We’re investment was coming back into this country rather than going into other countries. Then we’ll have the tax revenue begin to move in. We have to grow our economy, if we want to be able to pay for the development that we have to have in order to compete with those peer competitors of China and Russia.

On the Israeli/Palestinian conflict

Greta Van Susteren

All right. I’m going to turn to your other job on the Senate Foreign Relations [Committee]. What’s going on in the Middle East right has caught everybody’s attention. They’re firing missiles, there are air attacks, and there’s even a dispute within people here in the United States, whether the United States should be backing Israel, our historic ally, or whether we need to give more help to the Palestinians. Where are you on this?

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

We all want peace in the Middle East, but we also want, and very clearly we have to send a message that we will support Israel, there should be no question about that at all. They’re a democracy. They are our ally. They are being attacked. And by the way, they’re being attacked by Hamas, who is being funded and getting their arms from the worst terrorist support organization in the entire world and that’s Iran. And what we ought to be doing is going back to Iran saying, “We’re not making any deals with you at all. We’re not going to make a single deal with you at all. While you are actually creating in the Middle East, an environment in which terrorists are being funded by you. And they’re getting their arms from you.

Sen. Mark Warner Highlights

On the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

What really concerns me is, this is an example of what happens with simply a single ransomware attack against a single country. 35% of the country without gasoline for a few days

Greta Van Susteren

Everybody’s getting hacked and they’re having to shut down. So, if it’s so important to

... report it to the US government, why can’t we move swiftly on getting a bill to the president’s desk on that, so that we can head it off at the past as much as we can?

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

Well Greta, this is an area where, one of the few areas left where there’s broad bipartisan support. I can tell you on our Intel committee, we’ve got the whole committee,

Democrats, Republicans working on this. The business community has actually changed their position. As long as people can confidentially, and they get some limited immunity, and we already have those provisions on voluntary … reporting, I think we can get this done. "

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

This is a critical, critical threat. And I think that the signs of those gas lines

have brought it home to the American people in a very real way.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

Whether this was connected to the Russian government or not, I can tell

you the Russian spy services, the Chinese spy services, were watching how this plays

out, watching what kind of chaos that this created in our country.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

We are so much more technologically dependent, our economy is, than say the Russians or Chinese. You shut down Moscow for 24 hours, you got a problem. We shut down New York for 24 hours, you got a crisis.

On infrastructure

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

Well, I think, I hope there would be a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure and it appears President Biden has indicated he might be willing to do one that’s more

kind of classic infrastructure, roads, bridges, water systems.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

One area that I disagree with President Biden [is] on traditional infrastructure, like

roads. You can’t take user fees off the table.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

I think Americans, nobody likes paying a gas tax, but we have not raised the federal gas tax since 1992.

On a January 6 commission

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

I am in favor of this. I mean, I was on the floor of the Senate on January 6th.

I heard the windows break. I heard the folks outside that if they turned the opposite

direction might’ve, frankly, done bodily harm to vice-president Pence.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

So, I think we ought to find out what happened. But I do think this will be only about the sixth? I do think we need to understand though that domestic violent extremists, oftentimes either on the left or the right, disproportionately coming out as white supremacists were here long before January 6th, and they’ll be here long after even Donald Trump fades off the political scene.

On a China competition bill

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

We have never faced an economic rival like China. The Soviet Union was a military

threat. It was an ideological threat. China with an economy almost as large as ours,

China as a country that has been stealing $500 billion of intellectual property from the

rest of the world on an annual basis.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

If we pass this bipartisan piece of legislation next week, it will put a plan in place for us to make significant investments in research. The two things that I’ve been working on with Republican partners is a $50 billion emergency appropriation for semiconductors and a $3 billion emergency appropriation for next-generation telecom systems to confront Huawei, the Chinese telecom company that is unfortunately going to be is a security threat, but may win the world’s battle on next-generation wireless semiconductors….anywhere in America.

On the Israeli/Palestinian conflict

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

We look at these images, the highest level of violence since 2014, and clearly Israel has a right to defend itself. And the idea of Hamas sending these missiles into population centers around Israel is wrong, and Israel needs to do everything it can to prevent that. But I do think some of the Israeli actions of a few weeks ago, particularly out of the Netanyahu government where they were appearing to be stirring the pot and potentially kicking Palestinian families out of their homes in East Jerusalem during the

middle of Ramadan, my fear for somebody who wants peace in the Middle East, I think

Israel will be able to take care of Hamas and needs to be able to, again, defend itself against those missiles.

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About Greta Van Susteren:

Greta Van Susteren is the Chief Political Analyst for Gray Media and host of Full Court Press. Ms. Van Susteren is a veteran of Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN. Her prime-time Fox News Channel Show, “On the Record,” was number 1 in its time slot for 14 1⁄2 years. Before joining Fox News, she hosted CNN’s prime-time news and analysis program, “The Point with Greta Van Susteren,” and co-hosted the network’s daily legal analysis show, “Burden of Proof.” Her legal analysis for CNN’s coverage of Election 2000 earned her the American Bar Association’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Journalism. She continues to host the weekly 30-minute program “Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren” on Voice of America, which broadcasts exclusively outside of the United States.

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