SPECIAL REPORT

Is the coverage of the Trump transition fair?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," November 16, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Democracy depends on a peaceful transition of power, especially when you don't get the results you want.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It's a hive of buzz and activity. Obviously there's more choices than one to fill each position, so we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to many of those positions.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: No administration is ready on day one. We weren't ready on day one. I've never met one that's ever been ready on day one. But I'm confident on day one everything will be in good hands. They will handle anything that can come before them.

JASON MILLER, TRUMP COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It's very calm. It's very structured. And anyone saying anything else is either, A, bitter because they're not on the inside and they're not being considered.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Some reaction there to all the coverage about how this transition is going. If you read The New York Times today, the headline, "Firings and discord put Trump transition team in a state of disarray." The president-elect tweeting out last night "Very organized process taking place and I decide on Cabinet and many other positions. I'm the only one who knows who the finalists are." Continuing this morning, "The failing New York Times story is so totally wrong on transition. It's going so smoothly. Also I have spoken to many foreign leaders." And they point out a long list of foreign leaders who have spoken to the president-elect and the vice president-elect today.

If you take a look at the presidential campaign announcements and the Cabinet announcements from previous presidents, you can kind of follow this chart. And this is the number of weeks -- you see on the left week one, two, three. President Obama nearly three weeks before he made an announcement to his Cabinet in 2008. There you see Bush 43, who obviously had a unique situation in the recount in 2000. But Reagan was in week six when he made his first announcement. And President Carter in 1976, week five before he made an announcement. Again, it's been one week and one day.

Let's bring in our panel, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor at Real Clear Politics, editor in chief of Lifezette, Laura Ingraham, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Before we start, Laura, you are on this list of possibles.

LAURA INGRAHAM, LIFEZETTE.COM: Oh, I am? Gosh…

BAIER: How is that -- have you been talked to? What's the deal?

INGRAHAM: We're going to have a conversation about it. It's nice to be mentioned, as it always is. But I love what I do here at Fox and I love my radio show and I love Lifezette. So it would be a big life change for me in a different role. I worked in the White House before in the Reagan years as a junior speechwriter in domestic policy and a few other departments with Bill Bennett and the Department of Transportation. So I have very junior experience. But it would be a great honor to do something that I thought I could contribute to significantly.

BAIER: I wanted to talk about that. First, Charles, your take on this and how it's being covered?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think the coverage is slightly over the top. In fact, it's remarkably over the top. First of all, as you showed in the chart, historically there's nothing unusual about not having made an announcement after one week and one day.

Second, the Trump campaign has been described as in disarray since about January and he won the election. Third, I don't think there's any question that if we come to inauguration day and we don't have, say, a secretary of commerce nominated, the foundations of the republic will not be threatened. So I think this is sort of a tempest in a teapot. And now I think Trump approaching the most delicate stage of the selection process, the swimsuit competition.

BAIER: A.B.?

A.B. STODDARD, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: I agree. I think this is drinking water through a fire hose. It's not easy. It's totally overwhelming, and it's complex. And they do not have to wrap this up right away. And they have a lot of time, and I think people need to give them a break. It's very new. He will talk to the foreign leaders when he needs to. They don't need to be the third caller. And everyone will get taken care of.

I think the concerns really are about the transition work with the current administration at the department of state and the Pentagon. If they haven't heard from them and there's always these squabbles going on between what is sort of the Republican establishment intelligence community that was very much opposed to Donald Trump and now is being urged to come on board and help him, you know, what the voters want to hear is that that -- as we enter a very fragile time because the transitions, it's been one of the most vulnerable, not only these months but from January to, say, June, a new and young administration, I think they need to reassure people that they are going to be able to hire the best people.

And a loyalty pledge will not be the only task that they are going to -- I would urge all those people if they are patriots to come on board and help fill out a robust national security team no matter what. And I think that the arrangement with his kids is a very big concern to people because when they throw around the term "blind trust," they're not talking about what a real blind trust is.

BAIER: OK, Laura?

INGRAHAM: I think there's not all that much to report for the press right now. And so there's a lot of time to fill on 24-hour news. And there's a lot of newspaper articles to write. So the speculation is just all over the place.

And I'm getting calls from people throwing out names -- I have never heard that, so I don't know what you are talking about. I understand it. It's frustrating. There's a bit of emptiness in the news perhaps for people after this campaign that was so tumultuous and so surprising. But I think people should take a bit of a breath and let this play out a little before they jump to all these conclusions about what Trump is looking at or not looking at.

It seems to me, they are talking to a lot of people. And isn't that good? Isn't that what we want them to do and have a breadth of advisers from all walks of life, which from I can gather they are really doing. And it's not just Trump loyalists. It's people with business experience and different types of political experience. And I think that's a healthy thing. But the idea that it's all going to be wrapped up in ten days, that's just not realistic.

BAIER: In the risk of speculating, some lists that we're told are being talked about. Secretary of state Rudy Giuliani, he is pushing for it, we're told. But we don't know if there's decision made on that or whether this is the problems you have seen reported about his ties on money, it's going to be a problem for him overseas. John Bolton, Bob Corker, and even David Petraeus' name has been talking about. Defense secretary, we're hearing Jeff Sessions, who, again, is another person who on this team went early into the campaign and is said to have his pick for the most part.

Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas, outgoing Senator Kelly Ayotte, and even General Jack Keane has been talked about. Treasury secretary, this is very interesting, Steven Mnuchin, Jamie Dimon was talked about a week ago, again surfaced today, and Congressman Jeb Hensarling. Charles, let's just stop there for a second. You have two Wall Street people definitively in there. Does that fit in a treasury secretary position for a Trump administration?

KRAUTHAMMER: Trump said when he was campaigning that he wants the best minds and most experienced. He spoke, for example, of Carl Icahn to be a negotiator with China. I think he would be justified in picking someone -- they would say establishment, they would say from international banking. But I don't think anyone really cares. Can they deliver? Do they know what they're doing? Will they send some reassurance to the markets?

In the same thing with the national security posts, the ones you've showed, Trump is a novice. He is coming in from the outside. I think the one thing he might want to think about is reassurance. And somebody like Jack Keane or a Petraeus, somebody who has got a track record and is not identified with an ideological camp I think might be a pretty good choice and would reassure allies and also people in the military.

BAIER: But it doesn't fit a lot of areas of Trump foreign policy.

INGRAHAM: I think the candidates for these jobs are going to have to advance Trump's worldview. And the world view that Trump really laid out in the campaign was we're going to have a robust foreign policy but it's going to be more pragmatic, given our current financial situation. We have to rebuild the American economy. We're not going to be the world's policemen. But we're going to live up to our obligations. I know people think, he's just going to abandon everything. I never got that from what Trump said. So whoever is in that position at defense is going to have to be more in line with I think more Reagan-esque than George W. Bush in foreign policy. If it's more George W. Bush, I don't think it's going to work.

BAIER: A.B., quickly, we're talking about this outsider status. Also hearing that there's talk about the inauguration and maybe not having inaugural balls and having a populist theme that we don't need that. You have the swearing in and it's like Jimmy Carter's thing, it's a little Spartan.

STODDARD: Look, I think it's great that Trump says he's not going to take a paycheck, that he wants to do the inaugural different. Those kinds of rules are made to be broken. I think him working as a volunteer president I think is a great thing.

I think there's just some other rules that people don't want broken, like the press pool that travels with him and is supposed to be -- provide protective reporting coverage no matter where he is. There are just some rules that people are going to be uncomfortable with if they are broken. And particularly in the case of secretary of state, which I also read today Nikki Haley is in the running for. It's great that they're looking at everybody. Rudy Giuliani will come under, it seems -- maybe he will be cleared of this -- the same criticism that Hillary Clinton did, the same baggage she carried to the State Department that Donald Trump campaigned against. And I don't think he wants to start off with a bunch of swampy characters when he really wants to drain the swamp.

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