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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Face the Nation

Jan 29, 2023 | Press Releases

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Face the Nation, along with Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), to discuss the Biden Administration’s refusal to brief the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the mishandling of classified documents and the future of the U.S.-China relationship. See below for a transcript.

FTN 2023

On the Biden Administration’s refusal to brief the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the mishandling of classified documents:
“I don’t know how congressional oversight on the documents, actually knowing what they are, in any way impedes an investigation. These are probably materials we already have access to. We just don’t know which ones they are. 
“Here’s the bottom line: If in fact those documents were very sensitive, and they pose a counterintelligence or national security threat to the United States, then the intelligence agencies are tasked with the job of coming up with ways to mitigate that. How can we judge whether their mitigation standards are appropriate if we don’t have material to compare it against? And we can’t even make an assessment on whether they properly risk-assessed it…. 
“Let me tell you how absurd this is. There isn’t a day that goes by that there isn’t some media report about what was found, where, some sort of characterization of the material in the press. I just saw one this morning again. 
“So somehow the only people who are not allowed to know what was in there are congressional oversight committees. Apparently the media leaks out of the DOJ are unimpeded, in terms of characterizing the nature of some of the materials that were found, plus whatever the individuals involved are telling the media. This is an untenable situation that I think has to be resolved.”
On the possibility of withholding funds to demand information on the documents:
“I’m not in the threat business right now, but there are things we need to do as a committee every year to authorize the moving around of funds. I think the Director of National Intelligence and other heads of intelligence agencies are aware of that. At some point I’d prefer for them just to call us this morning or tomorrow or whenever and say, ‘This is the arrangement that we think we can reach so that the overseers can get access to this.’ I’d prefer not to go down that road, but it’s one of the pieces of leverage we have as Congress.”
On the economic threat posed by Communist China:
“The Chinese have found a way to use capitalism against us. What I mean by that is the ability to attract investment into entities that are deeply linked to the state. That military-commercial fusion that exists in China is a concept that we don’t have in this country. We have contractors that do defense work, but there is no distinction in China between advancements in technology, biomedicine, whatever it might be, and the interests of the state. 
“[The second problem is Beijing’s] access to our capital markets. The third is the risk posed [by Chinese companies’ lack of transparency]. Up to this point we have not had levels of transparency in terms of auditing and the like on these investments into these companies. When you invest in these companies in U.S. exchanges you don’t have nearly as much information about the bookkeeping of those companies as you would an [with] American company or European company, because they’ve refused to comply with those restrictions. 
“So there’s systemic risk to our investments. And then there’s also the geopolitical reality that American capital flows are helping to fund activities that are ultimately designed to undermine our national security.”
On Communist China’s abuse of the international market: 
“20 years ago everybody thought capitalism was going to change China. And we woke up to realize that capitalism didn’t change China; China changed capitalism. And they’ve used it to their advantage and to our disadvantage, and not simply from an old Soviet perspective, to take us on from a geopolitical or military perspective. They’ve done so from a technological and industrial perspective. 
“And so you have seen the largest theft and transfer of intellectual property in the history of humanity occur over the last 15 years, some of it funded by American taxpayers.
“I think it is nearly impossible for any Chinese company to comply with both Chinese law and our expectations in this country. Chinese law is very clear. If you’re a Chinese company and we ask you for your data, we ask you for your information, we ask you for what you have, or we ask you to do something, you either do it or you won’t be around.”
On banning certain Chinese companies from the American market:
“There are certain investments where there’s no way we could protect the country [without] doing that. Go back to TikTok. People say, ‘Why do we care about what some 16-year-olds are doing?’ I don’t think the threat is that some 16-year-old likes these cool videos that are on there, which I admit are attractive, obviously because the artificial intelligence makes it so. [The threat] is the massive amount of data that they’re collecting, not on one 16-year-old, not on a thousand 16-year-olds, but on millions and millions of Americans. 
“[Those data] give them commercial advantages, potentially the advantage of being able to shape American public opinion in a time of crisis, and extraordinary insights that allow them to steer the conversation in this country in any direction they want.”
On Rubio’s proposal to ban TikTok from operating in the U.S.:
“I don’t know what the data protections [TikTok has offered] are, and there’s a technical aspect to it, but it’s beyond the data protections. I filed a bill to ban [TikTok] last year. We’re going to re-file it again this year. It’s bipartisan, it’s bicameral. Some people are not willing to go that far, but I certainly think it’s the right place to be. 
“But in the end, we’ve got to do something about it, whether it’s a ban or something else. As I sit here with you today, I don’t know how our national security interests and the operation of TikTok in this country, as long as it’s owned by Bytedance, can coexist.”
On Communist China’s influence over American companies:
“It goes beyond Elon Musk. Business interests have invested in access to the Chinese market but also in the means of production. And it’s allowed them, in many cases, to be deputized, and that includes the finance and investment world, to come to Washington and argue for things that are against the national interest but in favor of their short- and mid-term profit line for their investors, for their company.”
On the role of government in advancing the national interest:
“I don’t believe in government intervention in the private sector, but I do believe in government intervention in our national security. Capitalism is going to give you the most efficient outcome. But what do you do when the most efficient outcome is not in our national interest? 
“It’s more efficient to buy rare earth minerals from the Chinese. It’s more efficient to have things built over there in many cases. But is it in our national interest to depend on them for 80-something percent of the active ingredients in our pharmaceuticals? I would argue it is not. And in those instances where the market efficient outcome is not in our national interest, it is my opinion that we default to the national interest. 
“Because without our national interest, our national security, the other things won’t matter. We are not a market, we’re a nation. And the market exists to serve the nation, not the nation to serve the market.”
On crafting an effective pro-America industrial policy:
“We need to identify what are the critical industries and capacities that our country needs to be able to have without being leveraged or having to go through the Chinese to get it. And then we need to figure out what the government’s role is. 
“Now, I want to make sure that we’re not turning this into a lobbyist trough where every industry comes here and gets money. And we have to make sure that if we’re going to invest in research that that research is protected, that there’s sufficient safeguards. Because what’s the point of putting billions of dollars to innovate something they’re going to steal anyway?
“This is not about government running or owning these companies, but there are capacities that we need. We’re not going to rely on the Chinese or someone else to make it for us because we will be denied that capability in a time of conflict.”