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SESSIONS: Maria, I think Mitch McConnell did exactly the right thing. He serves on the judiciary committee. He understands these issues deeply, he knew he had to make a clear statement and make it soon, and our members would have probably -- a lot of our new members would have -- may have answered differently, but once Mitch showed leadership on that, I think everybody realized that's the only thing to do, that's the right thing to do, otherwise, I think it would have been bad because we would have had probably some division within our conference.
BARTIROMO: what went on in the meeting yesterday or over the last couple of days prompting this comment or this post yesterday that you said, your committee said no hearing? Can you take us behind closed doors and tell us why you're not going to do a hearing?
SESSIONS: Yes, well, first of all, I think our conference is virtually united on this, feels strongly that this is the right way to go and feel like that if we failed in this, our supporters would be deeply disappointed. It's a power within the United States senate, a majority of the United States senate does not consent to a nomination, it should not move and I think we're right there, I sure do.
BARTIROMO: Yes. Let me ask you, also you're a member of the armed services committee. I want your thoughts on President Obama's proposal regarding closing Guantanamo bay, a lot of debate about that, what are the implications here, sir?
SESSIONS: President Obama made an unwise, improvident promise during the campaign to close Guantanamo. It's the perfect place to keep these prisoners, we spent a lot of money, it's a very humane, and safe, and good place to keep the most dangerous of dangerous criminals, and I'm just amazed how determined he is to go around law that's prohibiting him from closing that to try to close it. I think we should not close it. I think we should use it more than we are, and I think it can be a critical asset in the war against terrorism that will last for years to come.
BARTIROMO: Senator, let me get your take on immigration and why this has become the hot button issue that it is. I know you were on the other side of the Marco Rubio's bill that he was backing, but this is one of the fundamental issues of any country's election. Tell us how you see things.
SESSIONS: For 30 years, many more, the American people have asked their politicians to end the lawlessness, have an immigration system that serves their interest, not the world's interest, and politicians have promised it and not delivered, and so this is a decisive event. The gang of eight bill would not have delivered. And so Donald Trump, as I've been suggesting for some time, got out there and talked about it, used the image of a wall and surged to the top. I think the American people are fed up, they want action on this, Donald Trump symbolizing it. Ted Cruz opposed that bill and others opposed it and had good ideas. But right now it does seemed to have helped him, and I think it's being faithful to what our constituents want.
BARTIROMO: And you're saying in terms of the issue, have a clear cap on the number of green cards issued, the number of people coming in into the country, and understand fully what those numbers are?
SESSIONS: Maria, we admit a million a year lawfully to full pathway to citizenship, a green card every year. That's the most of any nation in the world. We have 700,000 here on work visas of various kinds in addition to that. We need to ask ourselves, is that number legitimate? Who should be in that one million? Do we need a full million? Maybe at this time of unemployment and low work force participation, we need to reduce that number? I think so. But we ought to discuss it at any rate and then the test should be, does it benefit Americans, that's the first test.
BARTIROMO: So are you supporting Donald Trump, given that he has brought this up?
SESSIONS: I am real proud that he has. He's also opposed the Obama trade plan, the trade pan-pacific partnership, the pacific commission that would be created as a part of that, also Ted Cruz opposes that. I think those are two big issues. I think it's driving this election, and I don't think a nominee is likely to win who favors the TPT, and who favors more immigration.
BARTIROMO: Because at the end of the day.
SESSIONS: Does not deal with it
BARTIROMO: . because it becomes -- the issue becomes American jobs, right?
SESSIONS: I think so.
SESSIONS: I think our candidates need to be talking about how -- we have robotics.
SESSIONS: We have computers, we have outsourcing of manufacturing, they're just not jobs for people today. They're just not. And to bring in millions every, you know, over millions is impacting adversely American workers, I think, and I'm pretty sure of it.
BARTIROMO: Senator, do you think Donald Trump can actually win the general election? Can he beat Hillary Clinton?
SESSIONS: Well, I think so, if what happened -- it looks like in Nevada last night, it looks like working people who may have been voting Democrats, voted for Trump in huge numbers. They say it's correct, you cannot win an election with the simple Republican base, you have to have a nominee who can reach beyond that base. Trump is reaching out to working Americans in a way others so far have not been able to do. That's the way you get over 50 percent. I've been talking about that for seven years. Our geniuses, our consultant geniuses say you've got to be more moderate, and you have to have more amnesty, and that's the way to win elections. I think that Trump is proving that's not so.
BARTIROMO: Senator, good to have you on the program today. Thanks so much.
SESSIONS: Thank you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: We appreciate your time this morning, Senator Jeff Sessions. Don't forget, Mornings With Maria, starts every day at 6 AM Eastern, right here on the Fox Business Network. Before we take a break, take a look at the best moments you may have missed from earlier in the program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: You get a question, every once in a while, asked about what about this Federal debt. You know, what's going on here.
BARTIROMO: What do you mean, that $19 trillion number.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: That 19 -- a little 19 trillion and the candidate, the answer, the standard answer is go to my website, they don't want to talk about it.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure you check your tires every month like you're supposed to, but most people don't take off the valve cap and check the inflation pressure.
BARTIROMO: So, you're supposed to do that every month.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: You're supposed to do that every month.
BARTIROMO: Note to self.
MCDOWELL: You're supposed to do, yes.
BARTIROMO: Note to self.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: And we expand the internet of things, this could be drones, this could be cars that potentially might be used in terrorist acts. This encryption debate and what the government is legally entitled to do to determine what is at fault or what the issue here in the case, they've got to come to the forefront.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: It's a crime to release sources and methods. Scooter Libby went to jail just for saying he didn't remember something related to sources and methods that he actually didn't have anything to do with.
BARTIROMO: How do the British feel about Donald Trump?
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know how they feel, but they're probably like most people and like most of you here, somewhat surprised. Let's put it in a diplomatic and neutral way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: Oil prices, the story again, selling off after Saudi Arabia's oil minister ruled out any production cuts from the world's major producers. Phil Flynn at the CME group looking at oil, down 3.25 percent right now, Phil.
PHIL FLYNN, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: It is. Its gaining momentum right now and there is uncertainty about what's going to happen with these production cuts or production freeze. You know, the Saudis took a very hard line, oil traders did not like that, neither did the Iranian oil minister, he said that the production freeze talk was a joke. That really set the market on fire to the down side. But you know what else is more, we've got a big inventory report, API says supplies were up by 7.1 million barrels, so we're getting ready for potential big report later.
BARTIROMO: All right, Phil, thank you so much. OK, here are a couple of words for you, death spiral, oil-mageddon. My next guest using those terms earlier this morning, where global economy could be headed. Citigroup strategist, Jonathan Stubbs, is with us live right now from London. Jonathan, good to see, thanks very much for joining us.
JONATHAN STUBBS, CITIGROUP STRATEGIST: Good morning, thanks for having me.
BARTIROMO: Connect the dots for us, of oil and equities, and the economy. We're talking all about the relationship and why oil really predicts or dictates what equities are doing from day-to-day.
STUBBS: Well, they are three very dangerous feat at loops in the moment for the global economy, global markets. One of them is the relationship between liquidity in markets and financial conditions. One is between the disinflation pressures and central bank credibility's, and then you have oil-meggedon where we have, you know, strong U.S. dollar, we have weak commodities prices feeding to weak global trades, hat-trick dollar concerns feeding into weak EM growth and feeding back into some weaker DM growth. So, that's if uninterrupted is the death spiral, and there are three of them that need to be broken as we go through this year and into next year.
YOSHIKAMI: So, Jonathan, death spiral is a very dramatic term and, you know, I don't really -- I don't see a death spiral. I see, how about this a little less dramatic, slower global growth. Is that kind of what you're saying, but a little bit sexier?
STUBBS: That is a conclusion of our reports and our thoughts, yes.
YOSHIKAMI: So death spiral means slower economic growth.
STUBBS: Well, death spiral is what we have been observing in equity markets.
STUBBS: . especially outside of the U.S. and European markets. You know, we seen share prices 30 percent off their tops.
STUBBS: . We see 20 percent down in a couple of months, same in japan. So, that's what financial markets have been reflecting, but the real world, as you suggest, is slightly different. We're seeing an ongoing deterioration in the global growth story, we're seeing the slowdown continuing, but our conclusion is that we do not have a death spiral in the real economy.
STUBBS: . and if this year we go to an environment.
YOSHIKAMI: I'm relieved.
STUBBS: . where the dollar is less strong and oil prices stabilize which is our base case, then we actually break the death spirals.
YOSHIKAMI: So, let's go to your base case. In this death spiral, this spiral scenario you're talking about, a slower GDP growth, whatever we call it, what is your view? And I realize you have -- most people don't realize this that economists have base best and worst case, right? So, what is your view on what intervention monetary policy or monetary agencies are going to have in terms of positively impacting share prices, even if slower GDP growth exists? Don't you think that monetary policies will continue to be incredibly interventionist?
STUBBS: Well, I'm an equity strategist and I work very closely with my sort of economic colleagues at Citi, and you know, we have the last five, six years lent heavily obviously on some central bank actions and there's been this central bank liquidity globally, which the Fed has been for a large.
YOSHIKAMI: Won't that continue.
STUBBS: . for a number of years. Well, this is the key debate, you know, global share prices and risk assets have been supported both by this liquidity team to put, but also this non-recessionary world, both of those are under pressure right now. You have central bank credibility has been shot to pieces, especially here in Europe, and you know, what is important now is that central banks fight to try and regain some of that credibility. And in Europe, that's going to kick start again in March at the next ECB meeting where we expect to see Draghi announcing, you know, further increases to their attempts to try to rebuild credibility.
BARTIROMO: Yeah. One of the issues, Dagen, is the fact that these guys got it all wrong. I mean, the Federal Reserve waited way too long to raise interest rates. When they did raise interest rates, we're close to recession.
DAGEN MCDOWELL, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: Right. And this kind of goes against what you're saying. But have investors completely lost faith in all central banks to do what would help the economy, and to act with some type of decent timing?
YOSHIKAMI: So, let me ask you this, if the central banks have lost credibility, why is it if Janet Yellen tomorrow gives a speech saying they're going to keep rates low for the rest of the year, will the stock market go up 500 points?
BARTIROMO: The stock market did go up when the Bank of Japan went negative.
MCDOWELL: I don't know if it would go up.
YOSHIKAMI: You don't think so.
MCDOWELL: . the stock market. I don't know. But you're asking somebody who thought Donald Trump's campaign would be over by the end of the summer.
BARTIROMO: Jonathan, would you be putting money to work in equities right here?
STUBBS: A key part of that is, you know, what's priced in at these levels. You take European shares, for example, you go back 20 years and you map share prices on to realized earnings, or realized dividends.
BARTIROMO: OK, so.
STUBBS: . and track each other pretty quickly.
BARTIROMO: Right. So what's the answer?
STUBBS: Well, the current share price move we've seen, it affects the 20, 25 percent below trading earnings and trading dividends. So we're already pricing in a significant recession, so, to be bearish, and to turn the question around, to be bearish and to be selling here fundamentally, you need to believe that the world's going to experience a significant and synchronized global recession.
BARTIROMO: So, in other words, the answer is, you are going to be putting money into equities because valuations look good to you then?
STUBBS: You are, but you have to recognize, you know, that is an investment decision rather than a trading decision. You know, we can see a lot of volatility around various central bank actions at our end, and political risk -- political risk is a big risk in Europe as well.
STUBBS: So you have to tread very carefully in the midterm, but we do see the drawdown that we've seen in share prices an opportunity as we look towards the end of this year.
BARTIROMO: Jonathan, thank you so much. Jonathan Stubbs, joining us in London, and then you believe that as well.
YOSHIKAMI: I do.
STUBBS: Thank you.
BARTIROMO: We're going to take a short break, as we do, take a look at this baby gorilla successfully delivered by C-section at the Bristol Zoo garden in the United Kingdom. This highly unusual operation is one of only a handful of these type of procedures done worldwide. The zoo claims in a statement that the surgery was necessary due to emergency health issues with the mother. We're coming right back.
BARTIROMO: Well, the rise of the machines continue. This is just released video of Boston Dynamics latest robot. The Atlas Droid is seen walking through snow, opening doors, even picking up boxes. Now to some other stories we're watching this morning. Check out this video of a pilot to a small plane walking away uninjured after crashing onto a busy street outside of Los Angeles. The plane coming down just outside an airport, plowing into several parked cars, ripping off one of the plane's wings, no one on the ground was hurt, no word yet what caused this unexpected landing.
Meanwhile, Jean-Claude Van Damme, starring in an upcoming comedy pilot for Amazon, this is according to the Hollywood reporter. He'll reportedly play a fictionalized version of himself who secretly works as a black ops operative.
And this, Russian designer taking an interesting approach to dressmaking, check out some of these masterpieces she handcrafted using plain water paper. It takes her months to complete one of these works of art. Wow, that's a pretty one.
Check out the buzzer beater from Vanderbilt's center, Josh Henderson. Henderson who is listed at seven feet tall has only attempted two point shots in his college career, but nailed this 80 foot shot without even jumping. Vanderbilt did go on to win this game. We'll be right back.
BARITOMO: Welcome back. Time for final thoughts, Dagen, what are you thinking about?
MCDOWELL: I am thinking about Super Tuesday and how it increasingly looks like Donald Trump is going to be your GOP nominee for president. And I will say again, a quote, and I paraphrasing The Wall Street Journal today, I don't want a preacher, I want a president, I want a leader, and that's an evangelical who's going to vote for Trump come Super Tuesday.
BARTIROMO: Yeah, because he's showing real leadership. Michael, use your economy, so far markets really haven't been impacted by this, or have they? Is this uncertainty of the race getting under the skin of investors?
YOSHIKAMI: No, I don't think it has anything to do with that. I think it all comes down to oil prices.
BARTIROMO: Final thoughts here. What are you looking at?
YOSHIKAMI: Don't panic. Buy the assets that have been beat down, especially assets that they have dividends. Avoid energy sector for now. Avoid financial services. But don't panic, that's a mistake.
BARTIROMO: Even though earnings which is supposed to be the back drop of everything are down 4 percent in the last quarter.
YOSHIKAMI: That's fine. That's fine, if they're down 4 percent, that's fine.
BARTIROMO: Yes, but I mean -- that means the global slowdown has affected corporate earnings.
YOSHIKAMI: Absolutely. And that's why you see the stock market selling off, but what you're going to see going forward, you're going to see a continuing accommodative Fed, and you're also going to see earnings buoyed by lower energy prices.
BARTIROMO: Morgan Ortagus, what do you think of that?
ORTAGUS: I'm with Dagen, not only that I've been looking at Super Tuesday, I'm looking to see what Cruz can do in Texas. If he can't win Texas decisively, I don't see his path to the nomination going forward. I'm also really looking to tomorrow night the Houston Debate, does Rubio finally go after Trump? If not, is he just running to be V.P.
BARTIROMO: Does Carson, I mean, does Carson and Kasich drop out?
ORTAGUS: Yeah, I think Carson is staying at this point just to irritate Cruz which they don't have a great relationship and.
BARTIROMO: But it cost money to stay where he is.
ORTAGUS: But he raised plenty of money.
ORTAGUS: He got plenty of money.
MCDOWELL: And there's a quote out from Kasich this morning, I don't know if my purpose is to be president.
BARTIROMO: Yeah, he said that last time.
BARTIROMO: Dagen McDowell, Michael Yoshikami, Morgan Ortagus, great to see you all, thank you so much, have a great day, everybody. That will do it for us, Varney & Co., begins now, Stuart, over to you.
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