Barr says Biden 'weakened' US economy by 'stopping' energy production before Russia's war on Ukraine
The Story w/ Martha MacCallum — Thursday, March 10
On today’s episode of ‘The Story,’ Martha MacCallum sits down with former AG Bill Barr to discuss Russia’s war on Ukraine and how it started. Meanwhile, the White House has no intentions to send U.S troops to Ukraine.
Former Attorney General Bill Barr said President Biden has “weakened” the United States and its economy by “stopping” U.S. energy production, adding that Biden had done so long before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Barr, in an interview with Fox News Digital Thursday about his new book, “One Damn Thing After Another,” reacted to Biden’s announcement this week to ban all imports of Russian oil, gas and energy to the United States amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two-week long invasion of Ukraine.
“Biden has weakened the United States dramatically and the power of our economy by curtailing our energy independence — and that is even apart from Ukraine,” Barr said. Barr added that Biden’s “decision to pull back on American energy was a disaster — is a disaster — for the United States.”
“Ukraine certainly puts a greater emphasis on the need for us to stop all this nonsense about stopping our own energy production,” Barr said.
In announcing the ban on Russian oil imports, Biden warned that it would cost American families at the pump.
Americans are experiencing the highest gas prices since the 2008 financial crisis, with the national average price reaching $4 per gallon, the highest average to date, according to AAA.
Russian oil exports account for about one-third of Europe’s oil imports, but Russian exports are just under 10% of U.S. overall imports.
Amid surging gas prices, Biden has been facing criticism from Republicans, who have urged him to lift his executive orders that canceled the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada and froze new oil and gas leases on federal lands.
Attorney General William Barr speaks during a news conference Dec. 21, 2020, at the Justice Department in Washington.
(Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP)
“It was American production that kept prices low in the United States,” Barr said. “And whether it is stopping the flow of energy over the Keystone, down to the refineries in the Gulf area, or the permitting process, or even the financing of exploration and oil and gas production.”
Barr said U.S. energy independence “helped fuel economic growth and the broader benefits of that under the Trump administration up until COVID.”
“The fact that we are an energy giant, potentially, and that we can have inexpensive energy here in the United States, that’s also relatively clean and natural gas, gives us so many advantages economically and promises to allow us to resume high-end manufacturing and so forth at lower cost then the rest of the world,” Barr said. “And as we learned from COVID, it’s very important that we have here in the United States the vital resources that we need and that we’re not dependent on other countries.
“And there is nothing more vital than energy.”
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said restarting construction of the Keystone XL pipeline was not one of the options on the table to alleviate rising costs of gas for Americans.
“If we’re trying to bring about more supply, that does not address any problem,” Psaki said. “The pipeline is just a delivery mechanism – it’s not an oil field, so it does not provide more supply into the system.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House Feb. 16, 2022.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
When pressed further on whether restarting the pipeline is something the White House is considering, Psaki replied, “There’s no plans for that, and it would not address any of the problems we’re having currently.”
Biden this week said it is “not true” that his administration is holding back domestic energy production, warning that gas prices will “go up further” from their current record levels. And he reiterated his support for government spending on renewable energy sources and criticized the oil and gas industry for not taking full advantage of drilling opportunities in the U.S.
But Barr disagreed and said limiting U.S. energy production “increased Russia’s leverage.”
“It helped open the window for Putin to do what he is doing with the idea that he could get away with it because the Europeans would be too dependent on them,” Barr said. “And the prices that were being paid to him were helping to fuel his war machine.”
Barr was asked about the Biden administration weighing the purchase of petroleum from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
“It seems there is no end to the price that they are willing to pay to avoid having the United States produce its own energy,” Barr said.
“The idea that we’re reopening relationships with Maduro, who has put the Venezuelan people through unbelievable suffering, where a high percentage have fled the country and are living in refugee camps — that we would have turned to get oil from him — just shows you the extreme degree to which they’re willing to go to do anything but have the United States produce its own energy.”
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