News and Analysis

‘Why Wait?’: Fox’s Bill Hemmer Presses Democrat Rep. On What Went Wrong The Last Time Russia Invaded — And Why Biden Doesn’t Act Faster
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 17: House Homeland Security Committee member Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) questions witnesses during a hearing on 'worldwide threats to the homeland' in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill September 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said he would issue a subpoena for acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf after he did not show for the hearing. An August Government Accountability Office report found that Wolf's appointment by the Trump Administration, which has regularly skirted the Senate confirmation process, was invalid and a violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer pressed Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) on what former President Barack Obama’s administration did wrong when Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 — and asked what she thought President Joe Biden should do differently to make sure history did not repeat itself.

Slotkin joined Hemmer and co-anchor Dana Perino on “America’s Newsroom” to discuss Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and what she believed the next steps should be.

Perino began with a clip of former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper, who told CNN anchor Jake Tapper that he wished the Obama administration had been “more aggressive” in 2014. Clapper noted that the main difference between 2014 and 2022 is that Putin “clearly is a lot more emboldened than he was eight years ago” — but he also said that the United States had much better intelligence.

“Do you agree with that? If so, what would you do differently now if you were in the Biden administration or a chance to advise them?” Perino turned the question to Slotkin.

“I do think that in 2014 we were just pretty shocked at what Putin was doing,” Slotkin began, saying that the calculus at the time seemed to be centered on a reluctance to see two nuclear powers “come to potential blows.”

“In the intervening years, we watched the Ukraine military get much better, we watched our intelligence get much better, as former DNI Clapper just said,” Slotkin continued. “I think what the administration tried to do was just declassify amazing amounts of intelligence to sort of shame Putin out of invasion. It doesn’t look like it worked. They attempted it. Doesn’t look like it worked.”

Slotkin concluded by saying that the sanctions had to get “stronger and a lot more personal,” arguing that they needed to target the oligarchs who supported Putin directly by sanctioning their wives, their mistresses, and their ability to send their children to foreign universities.

“You can target these folks who are holding Putin up in a much more severe way,” she said.

“You make a great point,” Hemmer agreed. “Why wait?”


“At this point, I think we’re seeing what Putin is doing in real-time. We’ve been watching it. He has made this crazy speech that complements what he is doing along the border. So I think we’re seeing his plan play out and just go for it and throw the book at him,” Slotkin replied.

Hemmer pushed back, saying that if it was clear the response had been too slow in 2014, maybe the Biden administration should be speeding up the timeline. “Are we responding too slowly now in 2022?”

“The question is, is the American public willing to put American sons and daughters into an armed conflict with Russia,” Slotkin said, noting that a showdown between two nuclear powers was something that many had wanted to avoid and arguing that the Biden administration has been clear that it was unwilling to commit to that. “He sort of showed our hand and said we were never going to have American sons and daughters go to fight Russia.”

“I apologize for the interruption. I don’t want to cross lines on the arguments,” Hemmer pressed again. “No one is arguing to put American men and women forces in Ukraine, that’s not the argument. You say go after the oligarchs. And my question was, why don’t you do it now? Because if we were behind eight years ago, it would seem based on your argument, that we’re behind again eight years later.”

Slotkin agreed that it was time for action, concluding, “At this point throw the book at it.”

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