Adam Schiff rejects GOP request for Ukraine whistleblower to testify

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," November 11, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


REP. JACKIE SPEIER: This is a very simple, straightforward act. The president broke the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe it was inappropriate. I do not believe it was impeachable.

REP. JIM HIMES, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: What happened was, without question in my mind as someone who sat in those rooms and listened to these witnesses, as the American people will soon have an opportunity to do, was extortion.

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We don't get to have anybody from our side out there to tell our side of the story. So this is going to be more of the same as last week. We don't expect anything different.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Wednesday, it all starts in front of you, the viewers, public hearings up on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning. Meantime, the GOP would like to have their own witnesses come up and testify. They include a long list, including the whistleblower, Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, a former board member of Burisma, Nellie Ohr, Kurt Volker, Tim Morrison, a former NSC senior director, David Hale, and Alexander Chalupa, a former DNC staffer who worked with the Ukrainian embassy to try to get political dirt on the 2016 Trump campaign. But they likely won't get any of those.

Let's bring in our panel: Bill McGurn, main street columnist for The Wall Street Journal; Bari Weiss, staff editor and writer for The New York Times Opinion, and author of the new book "How to Fight Anti-Semitism," and Bill Hemmer, co-anchor of "America's Newsroom" here on Fox.

OK, Bill, what do you expect? Some interesting things come Wednesday.

BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS: My guess is these witnesses will be credible. I think they'll have good resumes. I think they'll make a very good impression. I think for the complete story you're going to have to watch carefully for the cross-examination. I spoke with a House Republican late today very close to the process, and he described the situation the following way. Adam Schiff is a former prosecutor from L.A.

He will develop a, quote, "storyline" in his opening statements. He will make claims of abuse of power and claims of obstruction of justice.

When the cross-examination takes place, he described five areas where Republicans will center on. Number one, a lot of the information they believe from Bill Taylor, the first witness on Wednesday, will be second, third, and sometimes fourth-hand information. They will emphasize was the president's request consistent with U.S. law regarding corruption laws overseas as it relates to Ukraine? Number three, the Burisma-Hunter Biden connection. Was it illegal? If not, should it be? Number four, the U.S. president can recall an ambassador any time. It's his call, ultimately.

Remember, the ambassador testifies on Friday. And the fifth point he made was the Trump administration's support of Ukraine was much greater than what you saw under the Obama administration, meaning we gave Ukraine more equipment to defend itself against Russia and Vladimir Putin.

BAIER: That's really interesting. Obviously, the opening statement last time for Adam Schiff provided the president a lot of information to say that he made up all of these things, which he did, on the opening statement in the hearings when it all started. But Bari, this is the Democrats' chance to put their foot forward to affect public opinion.

BARI WEISS, NEW YORK TIMES OPINION: Right. To me, what's fascinating is that the Republican argument has moved significantly the longer this has gone on. It started off as read the transcript. You've just got to read the transcript. It's going to be clear that the president is in the right.

Well, everyone read the transcript. And then, the argument became that it's not actually impeachable. It's just an appalling thing. It's a gross thing that the president did, but it's not impeachable. I think now starting Wednesday, we're going to have an opportunity to hear from all of these credible people. And the question is, if John Bolton is calling this thing a drug deal, is John Bolton also part of the deep state? The number of people who aren't quite --

BAIER: We're going to hear from John Bolton before all of this goes forward, which is interesting.

WEISS: I'm aware. But I'm saying the number of people who are required for Republicans to make the case that Trump is in the right, it just doesn't and all of these people are somehow in the deep state colluding against him, it just doesn't pass the sniff test to me.

BAIER: Well, the president still is, Bill, tweeting. "Where is the whistleblower who gave so much false information? Must testify along with Schiff and others." To think I signed the whistleblower protection act, and then "Read the transcript. It is perfect!" He is hoping that the transcript still stands on its own, even though, as Bari mentions, there has been some evolution, especially from some GOP members.

BILL MCGURN, WALL STREET JOURNAL COLUMNIST: I think, look, first, to put this in context, we know what the outcome of this drama is. They are going through the hearings to get to impeachment. I don't think there's any doubt once Mrs. Pelosi moved forward that there's going to be an impeachment. The question is, I think there's a lot of good concerns about where the whistleblower came from and so forth. In the same way that a lot of people were angry when Bill Barr said I'm going to look into the beginning of the FBI investigation, how and when it started, a lot of those same people don't want us to look at a whistleblower.

I think this is all drama. I think it doesn't matter. I think what matters is in the Senate. I don't even think the president's complaints about due process, I don't think there's a lot of legal rights. I think the Democrats can do what they want. But at the end of the day, you are playing to the American public, and you have to persuade them that this is fair and principled going forward. I don't think that's going to be the case. Lindsey Graham, I think, when he put that resolution condemning the House, that's going to have an effect.

BAIER: Let me just turn, real quick, to the former U.N. ambassador to the U.S., Nikki Haley, who brings up what she essentially paints as a conspiracy inside the administration with two cabinet members. Take a listen.


NIKKI HALEY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Instead of saying that to me, they should have been saying that to the president, not asking me to join them on their sidebar plan. It should have been, go tell the president what your difference are, and quit if you don't like what he's doing. But to undermine a president is really a very dangerous thing, and it goes against the Constitution, and it goes against what the American people want to. It was offensive.


BAIER: She's talking there about former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Kelly responded to CBS saying "If by resistance and stalling, she means putting a staff process in place to ensure the president knew all the pros and cons of what policy decision he might be contemplating so he could make an informed decision, then guilty as charged." I guess the question I have, Bill, is if Ambassador Haley knew that there was this effort to undermine the president, why didn't she tell the president?

HEMMER: It's a good question. Listening to her today, though, I think she's exactly right.

BAIER: But did she save it for the book?

HEMMER: Maybe. She put it down to written word, so I believe the words she's saying --

BAIER: She believes it?

HEMMER: Correct. But she is right when she says tell him not, me. You work for him. You don't work for me. I'm not suggesting Nikki Haley is working for some angle in this administration. I think she has at certain turns been critical of the president. I don't think she's sucking up right now, but I think she is right about that point. If you've got a problem with the commander in chief, the man who employs you, go to him and not me.

BAIER: Bari?

WEISS: I think she's trying to maintain optionality to run in 2024, and I think she's doing it in a brilliant way. She can make the argument that she's never been a never-Trumper. She's been a seldom Trumper, sometimes Trumper. She's criticized the president about Syria. She's criticized the president when he smeared Elijah Cummings. She spoke out I think, it should have been -- it was wonderful when she spoke out in defense of the protesters for democracy in Hong Kong. So she's maintained a critical distance on a given number of things that she can -- she has thread this needle I think in a way that's been pretty elegant. People that love Trump seem to like her, but then I know lots of people who are never-Trump who are also really, really warm to Nikki Haley.

BAIER: Sure. She is the only exiting official who got an Oval Office send-off from the president himself. Final word on this?

MCGURN: I think that's interesting to put it this way, because Nikki Haley has disagreed with the president on various issues, hard issues, Hong Kong and so forth. Lindsey Graham has also done that too, but the moment they take a principled stand, saying the president has a point here on the impeachment, then all of a sudden they are a sycophant and they're unprincipled, and they are doing it just for their political -- maybe we ought to give them credit that if they were willing to speak honestly before, this is what they believe now.

HEMMER: Maybe we know now why Tillerson and Kelly no longer have jobs.

BAIER: Really quick.

WEISS: Just one last thing about the whistleblower. If an informant calls the NYPD and says there's a house full of cocaine at the end of the block, and the NYPD goes there and they find a house full of cocaine, and then we find out that the informant was biased against that homeowner, does it actually matter if the person was biased if the cocaine is there?

BAIER: Sure --

WEISS: I don't care --


BAIER: I guess that it just raises questions why Adam Schiff at the beginning wanted to hear from the whistleblower, said he should be called up, and then when the story comes out that he and his staff met with him beforehand, suddenly he is not relevant at all.

WEISS: But if there are 10 people who are verifying what this person said --

BAIER: I'm saying we are going to see that play out in the next couple of days.

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