Friday Lightning Round: IRS, Detroit and Rolling Stone

'Special Report' All-Stars sound off


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 19, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BILL HEMMER, ANCHOR: Each week we ask you to vote in on our Friday Lightning Round for your favorite topic of the week and this week you chose the IRS probe and what is next there. We're back with our panel, Steve, Julie, and Charles.  Now, before we do that, there was a hearing yesterday in the House and the story seemed to move forward with the suggestion of one principle character in Washington important to this story. Watch this.


REP. JIM JORDAN, R - OHIO: You said one group should be approved for tax exempt status and one should be disapproved and get further information for the data, is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's correct.

JORDAN: And they gave them to someone who had no experience dealing with this. And they also took them away from you, after, according to your testimony, you met with the chief counsel's office. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's correct.


HEMMER: So this is the name that we now know, William Wilkins, chief counsel, head lawyer for the IRS here in Washington. Steve, where does this story go from here?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I do think this is an interesting development. You have people who are sympathetic to the White House's arguments on this saying we knew this, it was the IG report back in May.

I think it's significant because William Wilkins is a long-time Democratic donor, long-time Democratic staffer on Capitol Hill. He represented Jeremiah Wright's church pro bono according to the Wall Street Journal back in 2008. He is clearly a partisan actor. That doesn't mean that he acted in a partisan way in this particular investigation, but it raises a lot of questions that I think people should be asking.

HEMMER: One of two appointees in the entire agency that's appointed by the administration. Julie, where does it go?

JULIE PACE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, I think that is the question -- where does it go? The hearings were very lengthy, very fiery yesterday. I imagine that given that Wilkins' name has now surfaced that there are going to be more hearings, some of that is up to --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They call it lightning for a reason, Charles.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: And where it goes, it left Cincinnati and arrived in D.C. with these hearings. And with this Wilkins' involvement it now rises for the first time to a political level. It isn't a civil servant. It's a guy appointed by the president. And I think gets hot right now as a result of that.

HEMMER: Big news out of Detroit as you well know. Apparently the vice president was asked earlier today what the administration can do to help the Motor City.  This is how he answered that.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Can we help Detroit? We are now going through exactly in detail what -- we had a meeting yesterday, just getting a brief on the status. The question is we don't know at this point.


HEMMER: Will they do anything, Julie?

PACE: Well, I think one thing that they're not going to do is do a massive bailout of Detroit. In the White House briefing today, Jay Carney said that they are looking at policy options to help the city. Unclear what those are. The HUD secretary is going to be involved, a top economic adviser at the White House is going to be involved. But I would not have anybody holding their breath for a bailout of the state.

HEMMER: That would be an about face, would it not, if they continue on course.

That was a classic answer that Biden gave. He said essentially, we have no idea but it took him a paragraph.


HEMMER: He was part of the lightning round wasn't he Steve?

KRAUTHAMMER: Exactly. You wouldn't have had him on a lightning round.

HAYES: I admired his candor. He ended by saying we don't know. I think they don't know. I think they are looking for answers now.

HEMMER: Alright, next topic and the final topic, there was a shocking story to many people in Boston this past week when Rolling Stone put Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover. And overnight last night we learned that a Massachusetts sergeant, a photographer who was taking pictures of the arrest and apprehension of Tsarnaev on that Friday night in Watertown really should be portrayed this way. That was the point he was making. He has been put on leave, at least for a day. There will be an internal investigation. What he argues, Steve, is that the American people should remember him this way as a terrorist in Boston and not on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

HAYES: And he makes a pretty compelling argument. I think his picture says everything. Magazines are in the business to sell magazines.  I think that's what Rolling Stone was here -- but I think the more that we get -- the further we get from 9/11 the more you are tempted to glamorize terrorists, or some people are. I think it's a mistake.

HEMMER: Julie, do you think he should keep his job.

PACE: The police officer?


PACE: Well, he has a lot of people rooting for him right now. Whether they ultimately make the decision to keep him on is a Boston decision, but a lot of people certainly think he made the right decision in putting out these pretty powerful images.

HEMMER: Yeah the people of Boston are behind him based on what we have heard so far today. Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I would put the cop on the cover of the magazine instead of a terrorist. I think it isn't only a mistake is to put the Tsarnaev kid on the cover. It glamorizes him, it gives him this kind of halo of a lead singer for the Doors. But worse than that, it's the kind of Che chic, you know the angelic, the cherubic face of a killer. Che loved to kill. He killed a lot of opponents gleefully of the Castro regime. And kids now wear him on their t-shirt. And that's exactly what this cover was about.

Had it been for ideological or these people were hard left, you know, I would have a lot less of an argument than it was done for pure cash and publicity.

HEMMER: And it could have been a business decision.


HEMMER: But 14 companies across the country refuse to stock the magazine on shelves, and you wonder if this has backfired on Rolling Stone.

KRAUTHAMMER: I don't think so. I think it's talked about on every show on every network and it will increase their circulation and their notoriety.

HEMMER: It's been years since we've talked about Rolling Stone going back to Stanley McChrystal, four years ago.


HEMMER: It's still out there. Thanks. Get a break here. That's it for the panel. Stay tuned for a red carpet perp walk. 

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