New developments in Roy Moore scandal

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," November 15, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PHILLIP L. JAUREGUI, ATTORNEY FOR ROY MOORE: We demand that you immediately release the yearbook to a neutral custodian so that our expert, you can send your expert as well if you'd like to, so that our expert can look at it. Not a copy on the Internet, the actual documents, and we can see how old is the ink. Is it 40 years old or is it a week old?

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY.: Roy Moore should withdraw. The women who come forward are completely credible. His campaign is collapsing.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: You must remove any doubt. If you can't do this, then Judge Moore needs to get out of this race.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: A lot of Roy Moore talk today, and tonight breaking news out of Alabama, the papers down there reporting a sixth accuser with a detailed accusation from 1991 when this girl was 17. We'll get into that. The president obviously asked about his thoughts today after his speech.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should Roy Moore resign, Mr. President? Do you believe his accusers? Do you believe the accusers of Roy Moore, Mr. President? Should he resign?


BAIER: He did not weigh in. His daughter, however, Ivanka Trump, telling the Associated Press this, quote, "There is a special place in hell for people who prey on children. I have yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims' accounts."

So with that let's bring in our panel. We'll start there: Jonah Goldberg, senior editor of National Review; Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, and Charles Lane, opinion writer for The Washington Post. You couldn't be senior editor? It would be so much easier.


BAIER: Mollie, let's start with you.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: When these first allegations came out, you had some immediate rush to judge. And other people were waiting to see what happens, what kind of reaction will Judge Roy Moore have? So now we're days into this, more allegations coming out, some questions about some of the allegations. He needs to figure out what his game plan is, and more importantly I think Republicans and conservatives in particular need to have a game plan for what's going to happen to serve the Alabama voter. They are the people who are not being thought of right now as everyone is very interested in this story.

So people should think about whether he will step down and maybe they're waiting for some leadership from Trump or conservatives in the Senate. And then what happens? Do you do a write-in campaign? Do you vote for Roy Moore with the understand that he'll be replaced? Does the legislature down in Alabama come up with some kind of solution to the problem?

BAIER: Listening to the lawyers, Jonah, you just didn't get the impression there is any back down at all. They are calling in handwriting experts and they are going to the mattresses.

JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW: The most telling thing about that press conference was there was zero mention of the allegations in the The Washington Post. It was entirely yearbook trutherism. And there are two interpretations of that. One, they needed to give their supporters something to hang things on. It was not a coincidence I thought that they mentioned how they don't have $20 million to be able to do the analysis that they need to do, so it was a bit of a fundraising pitch too.

On the flipside, just as a matter of intellectual honesty, it could be that they know there are problems with this fifth woman's account, and I'll be honest, any time Gloria Allred is involved in something, I get a little skeptical. But Moore's own responses to Sean Hannity, you know, were pretty lawyerly and evasive. And his own lawyer this afternoon did not make any effort whatsoever to rebut what I think are absolutely credible allegations in The Washington Post. So I think it is at best an attempt to muddy the waters.

BAIER: We're not going to go into the details of the sixth accuser but it is, let's just say, very detailed about the 17-year-old, and there's another one as a waitress in a Red Lobster down there. Anyway, the bottom line is that there are more that seem to be coming forward. The fact that the president didn't weigh in today but yet Ivanka Trump weighed in with a pretty obviously aggressive quote, what does that tell you?

CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST: It tells me that Roy Moore's running room is shrinking, and probably the president is hoping he will get out before the president has to say something himself. That would be ideal option for the president.

I think Steve Bannon has even started to waver, saying if he is lying I will put him in a grave myself. He doesn't need to dig the grave, though, because Judge Roy Moore has been digging his own grave, specifically, as Jonah, by giving those wishy-washy responses to Sean Hannity.

BAIER: Let me just interrupt you. Steve Bannon has since refuted, saying that he is still on board and we'll see how that plays out. But today, late today he said that.

LANE: Which is still -- the mere fact he even has to say that shows that there is some trouble in paradise.

In any case, the Sean Hannity demand now that Judge Roy Moore prove the negative within 24 hours is just more evidence his base is shrinking. His only hope is that the people of Alabama are in a defiant mood with respect to the mainstream media and all the other outsiders trying to tell them what to do and that he can still ride that to victory.

BAIER: And clearly that's palpable thing down in Alabama overall.

HEMINGWAY: It was a big part of the race and how he actually got the nomination. Mitch McConnell was and affiliated PACs were kind of involved in the primary. They thought Roy Moore would be easy to defeat. They were working for Luther Strange, their candidate. People showed them that in fact they would be willing to choose even Roy Moore over a Mitch McConnell- approved candidate, which is why if the Republicans want to save this seat, the conservatives in the Senate and conservative leaders in D.C. need to be the ones to provide some guidance to Republican voters down there if Republicans in Alabama don't have a solution themselves.

BAIER: This was all going to be about tax reform, but the late-breaking news about Roy Moore changed this. About that, Jonah, you have this House bill they're going to vote on tomorrow. The Senate bill now includes this repeal of the individual mandate. What do you think the chances are tonight?

GOLDBERG: I think the changes are better. I think the chances of it passing in the House are solid. And I think that in a year where you can't point to a lot of brilliant moves by congressional Republicans, the repeal of Obamacare mandate I think is a really smart move. I do think that the CBO estimate that it's going to save $300 billion is going to get revised down and it's pretty rosy, but that doesn't really matter. It's worth repealing on the merits. I think they can make a case that it's a tax cut because, remember, the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare precisely because they decided the mandate was a tax. This in a lot of ways lets the Republicans kill two birds with one stone if they can get it through conference and pass because it lets them say they both gutted Obamacare and they did tax reform.

BAIER: Chuck?

LANE: There's a lot of controversy about exactly how unpopular the individual mandate is, but I think there is no controversy that it's the least popular, polls the least well of any aspect of Obamacare. So it's a little more difficult for the Democrats to portray this as repealing health care to reward big business. So in that sense it's politically smart.

I think what is still puzzling me a little bit about this whole effort is exactly who the constituency is supposed to be for this big tax plan. Gallup has a new poll out today. It's very interesting, only two percent of Americans say taxes is the big problem facing the country. There is so feel to me that this is all about almost an existential effort by the Republicans to show their core, especially their donors, that they can just do something, almost anything. And now ironically it reminds me a little bit of the way the Democrats passed Obamacare. It was almost like it was an internal party political imperative to get something done, take advantage of being in power, and almost regardless of what was in the bill.

HEMINGWAY: On the one hand, yes, that's true. You don't see a lot of people clamoring for tax reform even if it's nice to get an additional $1,000 a year or have a simplified tax code. On the other hand, I think that one of the things that people really forget is how much the economy plays into political decisions, who much that sluggish economy in 2016 contributed to the victory of Donald Trump, and there has been so much improvement in terms of consumer confidence and small businesses showing that they are excited about what's happening. I think Republicans understand that it is the growth of the economy that will seal their fate as opposed to people being particularly excited about a middle class tax cut.

BAIER: We'll follow it. Tomorrow, a big vote obviously and the Senate lining up soon after that.

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