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ICYMI: Rubio Joins Sunday Morning Futures
Miami, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo to discuss the latest on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the future of China on the global stage. See below for highlights and watch the full interview here.
On the United States’ support for NATO:
“The redline that we know of for sure is NATO. We have a commitment to NATO; it’s an old commitment, it’s an existing commitment.
“If any NATO nation comes under attack and invokes Article 5, the United States has an obligation that it will meet to join those nations in taking on the aggressor. If that’s Russia, then that’s what’s going to happen. That’s a pretty clear red line and one that’s existed for a very long time and predates this president. It’s one that I believe in and should continue.
“I think the likeliest thing you’re going to see from Putin is [him] trying to use chemical or biological weapons, but doing it in a way that makes it look like someone else did it. That’s his history. For example, when chemical weapons were deployed in Syria, clearly, Assad was behind it. But [Putin] spent weeks building up this notion that somehow the rebels from the opposition to Assad were the ones that were going to use chemical weapons and did.
“My feeling is that that’s exactly the kind of thing he would try to do here. I don’t think he would admit that he’s using chemical weapons. I think he would want to blame that on Ukraine or NATO and say it was them who did it.
“What’s really important here is we should not be in the position of ruling out what we’re going to do. ‘We’re not gonna do that, we’re not gonna do this if he does that.’ We don’t know exactly how this is going to play out and who it’s going to impact. It’s possible that these kinds of attacks could very well have a direct impact on a NATO country or American personnel in the region. And then the response would be pretty clear about what we’d have to do — we’d have to go after whoever did that or where they did it from.”
On the potential for Russia to wage an attack with biochemical weapons:
“Going off their past history and what they have done in the past, one of the things you might see is [an attack] deployed in an urban area, and they would stage it to look like it was actually the Ukrainians who are using chemical weapons in the battlefield. Another option is a biological agent, some disease.
“As you’ve seen, [Russia has] been arguing for weeks that NATO and the United States have biochemical weapons labs inside of Ukraine. The reason why they have been saying that for weeks — in fact, for years — is because now, if something happens, they’re going to argue, ‘Well, that’s the Ukrainians, and the Americans, and NATO deploying those weapons against Russian troops, and it spread.’ In my view, that’s the likeliest approach they would take.
“This is a very rapidly escalating situation, so who knows which way it will twist or turn. But that’s what I think you would see, given their past history and what they have been setting up and what they have been saying up to this point.”
On the possibility of a Russian cyberattack:
“Cyber is an ongoing threat all the time. There are a bunch of cyber criminal groups out there. These are people that hack into companies, they gain access, and then they sell them. They sell them out there on this dark market and, oftentimes, they’re offering them to countries. They’re offering them to China, they’re offering them to Russia, and they’re offering them to North Korea, who themselves have developed these accesses. It’s quite possible the Chinese could do a cyber intrusion to steal things from American companies, like they do every day, hoping that Russia will get blamed for it in the process.
“If you look at the situation today, Putin has to change the battlefield conditions at this point. He has to regain momentum. He’s not going to be able to do that diplomatically. He can’t do that economically. He can’t do that through his conventional weaponry. His military today is stuck in a quagmire. They’re stuck. They’re stalled.
“So, how can he escalate? He has a handful of options. We talked about chemical and biological options. Cyber is another option, an attack against the United States, [or] against one of our companies. In essence, he will have strike options before him, and they will say, ‘Look, we have access to these companies, these industries.’ Obviously, the ones I’d keep an eye on are telecommunications, banking, energy, oil and gas companies, because those are the ones that would most hurt the country. That would be his equivalent of sanctions against the U.S. economy.”
On the partnership between China and Russia:
“I read some articles and columns last week about [how] China’s in a tough spot and they have to decide — China’s already decided. Xi Jinping in China is 100 percent on Russia’s side. Now, they’re going to try to hide it. They would prefer not to be caught doing it, because it hurts… how people view them around the world. But they’re 100 percent on Russia’s side. And I understand why.
“Number one, they figure, as long as Russia is strong or strong enough, it distracts [the United States] from focusing on China.
“The second is because they view…China and Russia as co-combatants. In essence, they’re partners in this broader conflict against the West and the United States. So [China is] 100 percent with them.
“As far as [China] buying oil and gas from [Russia] – sure, especially now that you can buy it at a discount around the world, because many oil and gas traders are reluctant to touch Russian oil and gas. I think one of the things China’s going to try to do is create an alternative to the SWIFT program to allow banking transactions to occur electronically without having to go through SWIFT.
“We need to sanction every one of these Chinese entities that does business with Putin and is helping Putin evade, simple as that. We need to announce that any Chinese company or entity that is helping Russia evade sanctions will also be sanctioned.”
On China’s future plans:
“I don’t think [Xi Jinping] is going to invade [Taiwan] in the next six months, but I don’t think we can finish this decade without China making a move. I think certainly by the middle part of this decade [or] in the next few years, they’re going to do something one way or the other. I’d watch very closely in October [or] November of this year, when they have their annual party conference. They’ve said they’re going to announce a new Taiwan policy.
“It’s very clear that, for Xi, this is a key part of his personal legacy. Taiwan is to Xi what Ukraine is to Putin. He’s going to do something. Their preference is for Taiwan to just surrender, to just say, ‘Look, America’s not going to do anything about it. We’re going to lose a war against you. We might as well surrender and negotiate the terms by which we fall under your umbrella.’ That, I think, is his priority.
“The Biden Administration is schizophrenic about China. On the one hand, they talk about them being an adversary, and a competitor. On the other hand, you’ve got people there that are obsessed with this idea of cutting some Green New Global Deal with China to get their cooperation on green energy and climate change.
“Here’s the one thing they don’t tell you. All those batteries, the lithium, and all the minerals that go into those batteries, the rare earth minerals, the solar panels that are constructed, all these things that John Kerry and these guys fantasize about — they all come from China. So they don’t want to antagonize China.
“[The Biden Administration has] got to make our national security a priority ahead of that crazy stuff.”