This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," June 15, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The report yesterday maybe more importantly than anything it totally exonerates me.
The end result was wrong. There was total bias. When you look at Peter Strzok and what he said about me, when you look at Comey, all his moves. So it guess it was interesting. It was a pretty good report, and then I say that the I.G. blew it at the very end with that statement.
Peter Strzok should have been fired a long time ago, and others should have been fired.
The top people were horrible. If you look at what happened, they were plotting against my election.
SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y.: This report contains no evidence to make any reasonable person conclude that the special counsel investigation is anything other than independent, impartial, and just as important today as it was before this report was issued.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: It was a bit surreal today, the president walking out on the north lawn there. Interview live on "Fox & Friends" and then holding a gaggle with the press, it's the first time every that that has happened with the president of the United States, and he made a lot of news today.
Let's bring in our panel. Joining me here at Shinnecock Hills, my colleagues Bill Hemmer, co-host of "America's Newsroom" here on Fox News Channel -- now three hours -- and Melissa Francis, co-host of "After the Bell" on Fox Business Network; in Washington, Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, and in New York, Bill McGurn, Main Street columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Welcome all.
Bill, that happened right after your hour, and it was continuing into your hour. What about that sight?
BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS: I thought it was remarkable. I thought about the juxtaposition between meeting with Chairman Kim on Tuesday and then walking out on the north lawn as he did earlier today. It was my sense, Bret, when he became president that he was the one who was going to run his communications department, that he was going to be his press secretary, not literally but figuratively as commander in chief.
And the Mueller matter took that club out of his bag, so to speak.
BAIER: Nicely done.
HEMMER: Thank you. And set that to the side for now. And with the economy moving the way it is, I think with the Singapore summit behind him, with I.G. report yesterday, my sense watching it live was here is a president who feels liberated yet again, because I believe he would much rather hold a press conference once a week if his lawyers up to this point had allowed it.
BAIER: Mollie, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit in this I.G. report if you are a Trump supporter, in the Trump administration. I think there were a lot of people I talked to who said they were disappointed with the characterization that it was a nothing burger from the start.
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: I read all 568 pages and I have the lack of sleep to prove it. Chuck Schumer is absolutely wrong about what he said about this report. It was an exhaustive, detailed look at widespread corruption, bias, poor judgment, bad decision-making throughout the FBI as focused on Comey and the Clinton probe.
But of course the same people were involved in the Clinton probe as were involved in what has now become the special counsel. And when you look at what people were saying, how they were openly conspiring against Donald Trump's election, how they were fantasizing about his impeachment after the election, that really called into question what's going on with the entire basis of the Mueller probe particularly as now a year-and-a-half into this we have no evidence of treasonous collusion with Russia and a lot of evidence of bad behavior by the FBI.
BAIER: We'll obviously see if there's another I.G. report to come. The other news made today was about China. Take a listen to what the president said and China's reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
TRUMP: We're going to do $50 billion on $50 billion of high technology equipment and other things coming into the country because so much of our secrets -- we have the great brainpower in Silicon Valley, and China and others steal those secrets.
GENG SHUANG, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): If the U.S. takes unilateral and protectionist measures that harm China's interests, we will immediately respond and take necessary measures to defend our legitimate rights and interests.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BAIER: Melissa, what are we looking at here? Is this heading down the road of a trade war?
MELISSA FRANCIS, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: I think all you have to do is look at the markets to see where it's headed. And markets went down right away on this news. By the end of the day they clawed their way back to still down but well of the lows of the session.
There's one thing to keep in mind when you are listening to all this chatter about the trade war. There was a moment at the G-7 when President Trump said, hey, why don't we all drop all of our tariffs on everything, and it went over like a lead balloon. Everyone just stepped back. There was no response. That's where he's headed. He understands that no tariffs are best for consumers and workers, a true free market. But we haven't had that for a long and he's going to continue to use both the carrot and the stick to get closer to that. But that's the truth of the matter. When he said that it was revealed that he doesn't believe in tariffs, he believes in no tariffs, but he knows it's going to take a lot to push other countries there.
BAIER: Bill, how does that play on main street?
BILL MCGURN, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, I don't know whether main street likes this. The Chinese are guilty of bad behavior. I would like to see a few more carrot rather than the sticks. I too was heartened by the no tariffs call the president made, but if you were serious about that I think what he should do is, look, he doesn't like multilateral agreements, right. Negotiate with a partner like Britain or even Canada, a bilateral deal that has no tariffs. Find a partner that has very few trade issues with us. Negotiate the ideal bilateral and then say, this deal is open to anyone else who wants the same terms. I think that is a more effective way of doing it and it's more with the carrot than the stick.
BAIER: Let's talk immigration. Here's what the president said about that this morning, and some reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
TRUMP: I'm looking at both of them. I certainly wouldn't have signed them the more --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does the bill have to have?
TRUMP: I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security, I have to have that. We have to get rid of catch and release.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that mean the wall?
TRUMP: We have to have the wall. If we don't have the wall, there's no bill.
REP. JEFF DENHAM, R-CALIF.: We are waiting for the president to clarify his comments. We have negotiated the four pillars deal, his deal.
REP. STENY HOYER, D-MD.: The president asked this house to act. Everybody says to the public, yes, we want to work in a bipartisan way. Well, you have the opportunity to do it. And you have retreated.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BAIER: There's some heart failure on Capitol Hill today and the White House put out a statement this afternoon. "The president fully supports both the Goodlatte bill and the House leadership bill. In this morning's interview he was commenting on the discharge petition in the House, not the new package. He would sign either the Goodlatte or the leadership bills. So straightening that out, Bill, important clarification.
HEMMER: I have half an eye on a midterm election that is five months from now, and it's my sense that none of this moves until then. Perhaps depending on the outcome in November you get a little more movement on this. But I think the talk right now is just that. The House is one thing. The Senate is a whole different ballgame. And they are looking at balance of power. And I think that's where this attention is.
HEMINGWAY: Him saying originally that he wouldn't sign the moderate bill made sense. Why give up leverage when you have it right now? The walk back from the White House was curious, and they are saying that this does have the four pillars that Trump sought except it really does water down chain migration restrictions that were a big part of Trump's goals, and it also expands amnesty in a way that is really dangerous in how much people who are children of temporary foreign workers would be able to apply for amnesty. That's a really uncontrolled program there, and I think the White House should look a lot about why they are really, truly are onboard with this or whether they are giving up way too much and losing their leverage.
BAIER: Bill, both sides are saying the other side is preventing them from getting the bill across the finish line. How does this play? To Bill's point here, it seems like it may push past Election Day.
MCGURN: I think that has been the history. I'm old enough to remember, I was in the Bush administration when the bipartisan deal fell apart. It's very hard to get immigration through. I think some people would rather have the issues and have it resolved. There should be a pretty easy path at least on DACA or something to give the president his wall, which he's not going to back down on, in exchange for some of the things Democrats want on DACA. So it's kind of sad because we're not going to get anywhere until we start taking this apart piece by piece.
BAIER: Last thing, where we began. He took over the news cycle. He owned the day by that hour on the north lawn.
FRANCIS: Can you imagine any other president doing that? You made the point earlier today that it hasn't happened. It is that astounding. That is the kind of presidency we're going to have. And you look at, the reporters went wild. They looked like a frenzied team of, I don't know what, yapping puppies, something. Others said that he looked like the crazy one. It was definitely an unusual scene.
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