TRANSCRIPT

Pelosi's future in question amid recent Democrat threats

The 'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in

 

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," June 23, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AINSLEY EARHARDT, FOX NEWS: We're getting word now that some Democrats even want Nancy Pelosi to step down.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: First of all, I hope she doesn't step down. I think that it would be a very, very sad day for Republicans if she steps down. I would be very, very disappointed if she did. I'd like to keep her right where she is, because our record is extraordinary against her.

They are right now obstructionists. All they want to do is try and obstruct. I honestly think they'd do better at the polls. I think the American public is tired of obstructionists.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES ROSEN, FOX NEWS: President Trump in conversation with our own Ainsley Earhardt of "Fox & Friends." Let's bring in our panel: Olivier Knox, Yahoo! News' chief Washington correspondent, Lisa Boothe, columnist with the Washington Examiner, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Olivier, you spend a lot of time on the Hill. Is the American public tired of obstructionists, and are the Republicans better off with Nancy Pelosi right where she is?

OLIVIER KNOX, YAHOO! NEWS: They keep electing them, right? The American people keep sending the same people back to Congress. They tend to be very happy with their own member of Congress and very unhappy with Congress the institution. So I don't know that it's especially convincing to say the American people -- they don't want the other party to be obstructionists. I think that's the main point would I take.

ROSEN: And Pelosi, is she good for the Republicans where she is?

KNOX: Well, they've certainly run a lot of races very successfully by bringing her in, in effect nationalize the race and saying this local candidate represents Nancy Pelosi better than he represents you, and it has been effective. Democrats under her leadership lost a bunch of cycles.

ROSEN: I want to move to what I like to call the scandal industrial complex, the ceaseless parade of charges and allegations and investigations relating to whether there was alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, the unmasking activity by Obama era officials, and all the rest of that stuff. The president commented to Ainsley Earhardt about that infamous tweet of his in which he suggested there might be tapes between him and James Comey. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You never know what's out there, but I didn't tape. And I don't have any tape and I didn't tape. But when he found out that I, you know, that there may be tapes out there, whether it's governmental tapes or anything else, and who knows, I think his story may have changed. I mean, you will to take a look at that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROSEN: Lisa Boothe, what do you make of that comment?

LISA BOOTHE, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Look, I think to some degree he is right in the sense of the fact that we have sort of seen a shift in the narrative a little bit about the Russia collusion story. I think that is both due to the fact of Senator Sessions' hearing. I think he did a good job pushing back on some of these notions and some of these articles that are out there. I also think it helped that the former FBI director came forward and said that Trump, he did indeed tell Trump he was not, or the president that he was not under investigation. I also think that Handel's victory as well helped. Just this week Senator Chris Murphy, a Democratic senator, said that, hey, maybe the whole Russia talk is hurting the Democratic Party. So I think we've sort of seen them back off a little bit on that narrative. So I think to some degree it has helped him. We'll see what happens obviously with the special counsel investigation.

ROSEN: Some analysts have posited said that the Democrats in all of this are shifting from a focus on alleged collusion of which there has been none proved yet after almost a year of investigation to the case for obstruction of justice by President Trump. And they are now even positing those remarks to Ainsley Earhardt, I think, as potentially evidence of obstruction by the president insofar as perhaps he did what he did with that tweet in order to impact James Comey, whom he had just fired. Here is one such suggestion from a Democratic senator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ED MARKEY, D-MASS.: Robert Mueller has to investigate the entirety of this tapes incident to make a determination as to whether or not it was an attempt to intimidate a witness and that it was part of a total pattern of behavior by the president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROSEN: Could, Charles, the president somehow be held accountable for that tweet as somehow an effort to influence someone he knew would be a witness in all of this, James Comey?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: The idea that this is intimidation of a witness is pure rubbish. If you say to somebody, I mean, you've got a great family, hate to see anything happen to your kids, watch what you say, that's intimidation of a witness. If you say there may be a way to actually to figure out exactly what we said, there could be a mechanism, thus you ought to watch what you say, that's not intimidation at all. That's just -- I mean, as you say, we are now at sort of the tertiary level of accusation.

You can't get anywhere on collusion. We have yet in almost a year to have any evidence of collusion so there is no obstruction. Obstruction is really kind of shaky. There really isn't that much there. So now you want to go to intimidation of a witness. They're getting a bit desperate. This is going to happen. It could go on for months and years perhaps, but it is getting more absurd. It's tail chasing. And if the Democrats want to spend the next year, year and a half in a rabbit hole, be our guest.

ROSEN: But Lisa, might the continual perpetuation of all of these charges, regardless what is found at the end of the day, be smart politics for the Democrats simply to keep the White House on the defensive and just keep airing the word scandal as we head into the midterms?

BOOTHE: That's obviously what they're going to do because they've done that even though you have senators like Dianne Feinstein and even Adam Schiff at one point admitting the fact that they have no evidence of collusion, yet they've continued that narrative and the media has happily carried the water for him.

But look, I think in regard to Comey, it is sort of a joke for him to put out this allegation, the suggestion that there was obstruction of justice that took place, particularly from the fact that he admitted that he took Loretta Lynch's instruction to call the investigation a "matter" instead of an investigation. The fact that Loretta Lynch sat on a plane with Bill Clinton, that somehow that doesn't rise to the level of obstruction of justice.

And then you also look at his same, Comey had said that one of the reasons why he wasn't going to recommend indictment for Hillary Clinton was because no reasonable prosecutor would take the case. But yet he listed out a litany of things Hillary Clinton did wrong in her actions. If you take that same line of logic, as Senator Risch had pointed out during the Senate intelligence committee, a former prosecutor, he had never seen anyone prosecuted for using the word "hope." So if you take Comey's same line of logic, there just doesn't seem to be a case against President Trump at all in regards to obstruction of justice.

ROSEN: The discreet acts taken here and an admitted effort to shape the course of this investigation was James Comey's admission that he leaked the contents of his memo hoping to catalyze the appointment of a special prosecutor. To this question of whether the president's tweet about tape recordings could possibly have been meant to intimidate a witness, here is the White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The reality is that he wanted to make sure that the truth came out, and by talking about something like tapes made Comey in particular think to himself, I better be honest. I better tell the truth about the circumstances regarding the situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROSEN: Olivier Knox?

KNOX: The one problem there for the White House is that that certainly implies that they viewed Comey's testimony as truthful, which is something that their spokespeople have not agreed with in the past. They've insisted that John Roberts put out in his report, they've taken issue with very specific parts of the testimony. If you are going to argue that his comment about the tapes was designed to influence Comey to make him honest and that it worked, then the logical conclusion is that he spoke truthfully.

ROSEN: And perhaps helped the investigation.

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