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FOX News "FOX News Sunday" - Transcript: Current Situation in Ukraine


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Joining us from New York, the chair of the committee, Senator Robert Menendez. And from Tennessee, the committee's top Republican, Senator Bob Corker.

Gentlemen, you just heard Secretary Kerry.

Senator Menendez, do you believe that the Obama administration is taking the right response in terms of sanctions, in terms of military aid to the shoot down of that Malaysian airliner or should the administration be doing more?

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ, D-N.J., CHAIRMAN, FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, look, the secretary and the president have a tough job. But I'll simply say before the shoot down, I was an advocate of further reaching sanctions to stop Russia's aggression and let Putin know the consequences of continuing that form of aggression.

And, clearly, President Putin created the set of circumstances and has supplied the recourses and armament to rebels, in which this tragedy could take place.

So, for me, I think that the West, including the United States, has to have a far more significant response than we've seen to date. It's what I thought before the shoot down and certainly this is a despicable act that needs to resolve by (ph) the West.

I'm not worried or thinking about what Putin will do. I've -- we've seen what he'll do. It's what we in the West will do.

WALLACE: Senator Corker, last week, before the shoot down, you said that you thought that the U.S. and West were acting like paper tigers in the way they dealt with Ukraine. Now, in the aftermath of this horrific shoot down, 300 people killed, the president still is not going to give military aid to Ukraine and no signs -- at least an immediate response -- that he's going to impose any sanctions.

How do you feel about that?

SEN. BOB CORKER, R-TENN., RANKING MEMBER, FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, this incident is incredibly tragic to watch what's happening with these bodies, and I know the families are incredibly disturbed. But, Chris, what is also tragic is the response that the West has given up to this point, and in many ways, because of that cautious response Russia has continued to foment all the problems that they created in eastern Ukraine. And when that occurs and we said this for months now, incidents like this are going to happen.

So, I hope this will be a catalyst for the West to step forward. I've been incredibly discouraged by not only the U.S. response but candidly Europe's response. The night vision goggles, the bulletproof vests in a conversation this weekend with the State Department, I understand they're not even delivered yet to Ukraine. So, look, I don't know how anybody can say our response has been anything but timid and cautious and has kept Putin from really hanging a price inside his country for the actions that have been taken. So, hopefully, again, on the positive side, this will galvanize the international community to take the kind of steps that should have been taken months ago to push back on Putin and to cause him to pay the kind of price that he should pay for this outrageous act.

WALLACE: Gentlemen, you both have been very skeptical about the West's nuclear talks with Iran.

Senator Menendez, you called the latest offer, offered by Iran this week a nonstarter. Do you feel that the progress so far justifies a four month extension of those talks into late November? And, Senator Menendez, do you think now is the time to impose new sanctions? Will you move for new sanctions to try to apply more pressure to Iran?

MENENDEZ: Well, look, I'm not a big proponent of paying to negotiate and the $2.8 billion that we are giving Iran in essence to continue to negotiate which is something in their own interest is pretty preposterous to me.

At the same time, from everything I understand from the status of the negotiations, there are very significant breaches between the position that I and I believe the majority of the Congress would hold as to what is a good deal versus where we're at. And I am increasingly worried that while I agree with the administration on the refrain, that no deal is better than a bad deal, that we are continuously moving in a direction in which bad deal may very well be viewed as a good deal, because when we started this process we were told that Arak had to be closed down. We were told that Fordow would have to close down and we are now talking about changing it.

WALLACE: Senator Menendez we have limited time. I don't mean to interrupt. I'm getting that wrap today, but I do have to ask you -- are you going to push for new sanctions between now and November?

MENENDEZ: Well, look, I have always been a proponent of the type of sanctions that we had devised in the latest legislation which are prospective, which sends Iran a message that if, in fact, they do not reach an agreement, an agreement that we would think is a good deal, that there are consequences and the consequences would be set up. I believe those before and I believe in them now.

WALLACE: Senator Corker, you said this week before the extension that you felt that Iran was rope-a-doping us, playing us for more time. Do you believe that there should be a four-month extension in the talks and are you now going to push for new sanctions to be imposed now to increase the pressure on Iran?

CORKER: Chris, as I said before when you look at the beginning points of our negotiations, and the agreement that was reached sometime ago and then having a built in extension I think all of us have known that there was going to be an extension.

So, I do want us to reach a diplomatic end. Like Senator Menendez, I'm very concerned about the gaps that exist from what we think is a good deal and where we are today.

But look, all diplomatic efforts should be put in place. This maybe the biggest issue that our nation will deal with during the time that President Obama is president. I do want Congress to be able to weigh in.

And, obviously, I do want to see additional tougher sanctions put in place in the event that we do not don't reach an agreement this go- around. But we should be real clear there will be no more extensions and I think Senator Menendez and myself and so many others in congress have concern that Iran is playing us.

But look, let's carry this on out. I will say we had probably the best briefing that we've had on this topic on Thursday evening, and I'm still hopeful that somehow, despite a very, very bad start, almost agreeing to enrichment on the front end at the time, that we may get to a place that really does limit their abilities and I want to see that carried out.

WALLACE: Senator Corker, Senator Menendez, we want to thank you both so much. Thanks for joining us today, gentlemen.

MENENDEZ: A pleasure.

CORKER: Thank you.


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