This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 13, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: He made 911 calls from the club during the attack at about 2:30 in the morning, Sunday morning. And there were three different calls. During the calls he said he was doing this for the leader of ISIL who he named and pledged loyalty to, but he also appeared to declare solidarity with the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing and solidarity with a Florida man who died as a suicide bomber in Syria for Al- Nusra Front, a group in conflict with the so-called Islamic State. But we are highly confident that this killer was radicalized and, at least in some part, through Internet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The FBI director today talking about the investigation into Omar Mateen, the 29-year-old terrorist at the center of all of this. And just in the past few minutes, Peter Doocy talked to a survivor shot four times at that nightclub, saying from his hiding place in the bathroom with 30 others he could hear the terrorist laughing, describing it as "a laugh of satisfaction, like I'm getting done what I came here to do."
With that, let's bring in our panel: Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard; Charles Hurt, political columnist for The Washington Times; Ron Fournier, senior political columnist of National Journal, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Steve, your thoughts on the whole thing, and then specifically and on the investigation that the FBI director talked about.
STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: The thing that struck me most today was listening to the 14-minute statement that the president delivered after the briefing. What he said today I thought was better than what he said in the past if only because he acknowledged that this obvious terrorist attack was a terrorist attack. But that's really damming with faint praise. I think if you think about some of the other things that the president said, they were at least in tension with one another if not outright contradictory.
He said, for instance, that we didn't know the motivation of the attacker. He said, "I think we don't yet know the motivation." He said this today, 36 hours after we learned that, at least eyewitnesses said he shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he carried out the attack. As you heard Director Comey say, he pledged loyalty to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. We know that he had long contact with jihadists in the past.
BAIER: He mentioned the Tsarnaev brothers.
HAYES: We know that he told people that he wanted to emulate Al Qaeda. We know that he claimed in 2014 in interviews with the FBI that he wanted to be martyred. How in the world is there any question about what his motivations are? It beggars the imagination that the president of the United States can say on national television even as he allowed that this person did pledge loyalty to ISIS? It beggars the imagination that he could say that we don't know the motivations.
But the second point, real quickly, is that he also said in this same 14-minute statement that we think it was a homegrown attack, that he doesn't have any associations with outside terrorists. Again, how in the world would you know that after 36 hours? I certainly wouldn't point to the FBI investigation.
CHARLES HURT, WASHINGTON TIMES: The point where he said that there's no clear evidence that this is part of a larger plot, hello. I mean all of these are part of a larger plot. And then for him to actually pivot and within such a short period of time turn into, you know, some way to advance the partisan political agenda about gun control. This doesn't have anything to do with that. This is a national security --
BAIER: It is powerful when they make the point that this guy had been investigated twice by the FBI and yet still didn't send any red flags up, is it not?
HURT: But he got the guns. He wouldn't have gotten the guns if they had, perhaps, investigated further, done whatever it took. It's like this whole argument about people on the no fly list making sure. It's a canard. They are just bringing that up because, you know, the problem there is that they are not doing the investigations fully enough, because if they did, then those people would be on a list and not be able to get guns.
BAIER: To hear the FBI director, Ron, it's like a needle in the haystack and they have thousands of needles.
RON FOURNIER, NATIONAL JOURNAL: Yes. And we're having a hard time figuring out when the straw turns into a needle.
It is an awfully imprecise and imperfect thing the FBI has to do. They are not going to be able to get all the bad guys. That's just a fact of the matter. At some point we have to realize that this is a little bit harder than we want to believe. We try to oversimplify these things.
For example, what are the underlying issues here? Yes, one is Islamic extremism. Also gun control is an underlying issue. What do we have to do to get the guns out of some of these people's hands? Mental health is an issue here. It's not just one of these things. Our leaders are giving us false choices.
On the president, you are right, he is very tone deaf on these issues, but he did call out today we have to counter extremism. He didn't say Islamic extremist but we know what he's talking about. On the other side, we have Donald Trump, who his first reaction to this, or actually his third tweet, was to give himself a pat on the back. And then he suggested the president of the United States is involved in the terrorism. No matter what you think of the president, you don't think he is actually involved in terrorism.
BAIER: Specifically he said on a morning show, he said either he is completely unable to do his job, or unqualified or there's something else.
FOURNIER: He said there's something going on here. What is he talking about?
BAIER: We are going to talk politics in a second. Charles?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think there's one thing here that the president refuses to understand, and I think it's because of the failure of his policy. The way to defeat and prevent these things is not gun control and it is not the FBI investigating. Yes, to some extent that will mitigate it. But in a country of this size with so many people as potential target of investigation, unless you want to create a police state, there is no way you can prevent.
There's only one way to go after this. And that is the Usama bin Laden theory. He knew about jihadism of the strong horse and the weak horse. I think Brit Hume had it right. Ultimately, the only way to decrease recruitment is not with logic, not with argument, not with really clever programmers who know how to do Twitter. It is by defeating the jihadist or showing them in retreat. These movements only grow when they have a sense of inevitability and growth. One they are in retreat, people stop recruiting. You are not going to die in a suicide attack for a movement that is not advancing. That means attacking ISIS where it is.
BAIER: Here is the father, Seddique Mateen, and he had previously expressed loyalty to the Taliban in Afghanistan. He said interesting things. This is the father on Facebook.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEDDIQUE MATEEN, SHOOTER'S FATHER (via translator): The issue of homosexuality and punishment belongs to God. It does not belong to a servant of Allah. But I am really saddened that he has committed this action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: The longer part of the video, the interesting thing was that even this far into this that there were people making this case that this was more about a hate crime against homosexuals and because this guy had expressed problems with that. But the linkage between radical Islam, they want to erase homosexuality, and they throw people from buildings, homosexuals from buildings, radical Islamists do.
HAYES: Not only radical Islamists. You look at certain states in the region, homosexual acts are punished by death, literally punished by death.
Brit pointed that out in his commentary. I think there's a huge double standard. You saw it in the e-mail Hillary Clinton's campaign set out this afternoon where she emphasized again and again and again the LGBT issues, she talked about need to ward of Islamphobia, but didn't talk about the ideology in any detail motivates that thing.
FOURNIER: We also had a guy that was caught with a whole bunch of killing weapons that was heading towards L.A. This isn't just in a vacuum. There obviously is a homophobia problem out there internationally and in the United States. There's nothing wrong with pointing that out.
HAYES: There's nothing wrong with point it out. You can't pick and choose what your issues are. You read these letters from Hillary Clinton and from the president from Organizing for America, they are picking and choosing the issues. They are choosing not to talk about it.
BAIER: Or at least focusing more heavily on one than the other.
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