This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 1, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C., SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Barr should be talking to Australia. He should be talking Italy. He should be talking to the U.K. to find out if their intelligence services worked with our intelligence services improperly to open up a counterintelligence investigation of Trump's campaign.

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think the whole thing that the attorney general is involved and is highly unusual, ordering an investigation of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies when there was already an investigation underway by the inspector general.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: There was a lot of corruption having to do with the 2016 election against us. And we want to get to the bottom of it.


BRET BAIER, HOST: The president there talking about what his attorney general is doing, getting a lot of attention. Just one part of the impeachment questions and all the surrounding questions of the Ukraine call. The DOJ putting out a statement last night on all of this. "As the Department of Justice has previously announced, a team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating the origins of the U.S. counterintelligence probe of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign. Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries. At Attorney General Barr's request, the president has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the attorney general and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials." And the president has talked about that publicly.

Let's bring in our panel, Matthew Continetti, editor in chief of the "Washington Free Beacon," Susan Page, Washington bureau chief at "USA Today," and "Washington Post" columnist Marc Thiessen. OK, Matthew, it seems this element of it, the Barr part, is getting a lot of attention, but not a surprise.



CONTINETTI: Everything he has said since this became an issue last week has buttressed his position. If this debate is about 2016 and what went wrong with the FBI and the intelligence services in 2016, the Trump administration is at an advantage. If it's about 2020 and what might have gone on between Rudy Giuliani, Trump, and Ukraine, then I think they are at a disadvantage. Given what we know now, Trump is in no danger of losing Republican support.

BAIER: It seems like, Susan, that Democrats are focusing on the Ukraine with a laser focus. Just to wrap up the Australia part, after the president said he wanted the A.G. to look into Australia and Ukraine and Italy, the Australian ambassador to the U.S. sent a letter to the A.G. saying "The president referred to Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Ukraine as potential stakeholders. The Australian government will use its bets endeavors to support your efforts in this matter. We stand ready to provide you with all the relevant information to support your inquiries." So it was kind of out there at that point.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": The question critics raise is, has Bill Barr acted as the attorney general of the United States or as the attorney for the president of the United States, which is two different things.

But as you said, this is not the issue on which Democrats are focusing in the House. We are looking at -- Nancy Pelosi has made it clear she wants narrow impeachment inquiries focused on the Ukraine case, on which there is a clearer and simpler sense that there was misbehavior by the president in pressuring a foreign leader.

BAIER: On that phone call, Secretary of State Pompeo was on that call, he pushed back on these elements to try to get subpoenas for some of his people to testify, for documents. "I'm concerned with aspects of the Committee's request that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully, treat improperly distinguished professionals at the Department of State, including several career FSOs. Let me be clear -- I will not tolerate such tactics, and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated officials whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State."

The pushback from Capitol Hill came basically, if you do that and prevent us from getting what we need, that could be an article of impeachment, as it was with President Nixon.

MARC THIESSEN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: So they're going to impeach Mike Pompeo now?


BAIER: No, no. It's part of the impeachment, as a part of the impeachment of President Trump.

THIESSEN: They want to impeach Kavanaugh, they want to impeach Trump. Them might as well impeach Pompeo, too. Let's throw him in there as well. Look, they keep saying they have an impeachment inquiry. There's no impeachment inquiry. There hasn't been vote. There hasn't been vote. So they don't have -- one of the reasons -- the reason we don't have a vote is because she doesn't want to make the freshman Democrats from Trump's districts have to vote on this before all of this is played out and they see where the political winds are.

BAIER: But the individual committees, the individual committees can do their own investigations.

THIESSEN: But it also means that impeachment inquiry, if you voted on it, would give the impeachment committee certain authorities to compel witnesses and all the rest, which they haven't done, and that's one of the things Pompeo is pointing out. And if you look at his letter, which most people haven't read through the entire letter, it's really well-lawyered, because he makes the point that they did not send a notice of deposition that fails to meet the legal requirements to compel.

Most Congressional testimony, I worked on Capitol Hill for seven years, is voluntary, and they are trying to compel it. He makes the point that they want to depose these people, but they haven't given them time to get a lawyer or to get counsel and prepare for that. That puts them in legal jeopardy. They are denying them the right to have State Department counsel present at their depositions, which is illegal because the State Department also has rights.

These people, for example, do not have the legal authority to hand over classified documents to Congress. That is a decision for the executive branch led by the president, and in this case, the State Department and the secretary of state. So there's a whole bunch of legal reasons that he lays out why they should not be forced to cooperate with this.

PAGE: Some of them have already decided to cooperate with them already.

BAIER: Already, Volker, Kurt Volker.

PAGE: The former ambassador to Ukraine.

BAIER: We'll put up the five State Department official scheduled to testify, for former State Department officials, before House committees. There has been a little delay. The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, it supposed to be tomorrow. It's not going to be, but these are the five who are scheduled to appear before committees.

PAGE: That's right, and so voluntarily, right. They are choosing to appear before the committee despite the shield that the secretary of state tried to put up before them. And interestingly we have the inspector general of the State Department going to the Hill tomorrow to present some kind of documents to House investigators. We don't know exactly what that's about, but that is one more sign of the velocity, of the speed with which this whole thing has been unfolding. The story is only like a week old, 10 days old. And we're already here.

CONTINETTI: And it has to move quickly, because the Democrats understand that if they are allowed to get bogged down in procedure, if it becomes a case where the State Department is restricting access to certain witnesses, and the critics of the Democrats are able to voice their arguments about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, then the political momentum for impeachment slows and possibly ends. They need to do this quickly in order to inflict maximum damage on President Trump.

BAIER: Do you buy the lawmakers and some of the pundits who say that this is also a race against Horowitz and Durham on the other George?

CONTINETTI: It's not necessarily a race. We have to understand that it's a multifaceted controversy. So the Durham track and of the Horowitz track may both come to culmination in the middle of the impeachment debate. And if that happens, then, too, the Democrats' momentum will slow down.

This is a bank shot impeachment. The Democrats know with what they have now, they are not going to remove Donald Trump from office. So what they need to do is inflict maximum damage on him in order to basically bring out either a Republican challenger or a strong third-party movement in 2020.

BAIER: We will have this talk many times in this panel. We will try to bring a white board with us next time.

Next up, violence in Hong Kong is a presidential tweet about China raises some eyebrows.



XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT, (through translator): Forging ahead, we will remain committed to the leadership of the Communist Party of China, put people first, stay true to the Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, comprehensively follow through with the party's basic theories, guidelines, and strategies to meet people's aspirations.


BAIER: Xi Jinping in Beijing talking about the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party in China. This as you saw some images from Hong Kong, protests there extremely violent today. One protester was shot in the chest, in critical condition tonight. More than 1,700 protesters arrested, 145 law enforcement officers injured, 1,000 flights in and out of Hong Kong disrupted or canceled due to the protests.

This comes on a day when the president gave a tweet to China, essentially, saying "Congratulations to President Xi and the Chinese people on the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China." We are back with the panel. Marc, I talked to some people today who said that Ronald Reagan may be turning over in his grave with that communist reference from a Republican president.

THIESSEN: They are 100 percent correct. According to the Black Book of Communism, in the 20 century communist regimes killed 100 million people, 65 million of those were killed by the Chinese communist regime. So this is literally the most murderous regime in the history of mankind. And I agree with Liz Cheney and Mike Gallagher who tweeted out that the president should not have done that.

But that said, the president has a pretty strong policy vis-a-vis China. He's got them in a painful position. Their economy has stop growing and it may even be contracting. They have lost 3 million manufacturing jobs and their industrial chain is breaking up, which is very painful for them. And on top of that, they have Hong Kong, which is -- if they could have easily crushed the protests in Hong Kong, they would've done it months ago. This is not Tiananmen Square. It's not easy to crush. And so they are losing their crown jewel right now.

BAIER: So is this a ham-handed good cop/bad cop? Senator McConnell put out a statement that was pretty stern about the 70th anniversary of Communist China.

PAGE: I think that President Trump has not paid very much attention to human rights abuses in China. He's paid a lot of attention to trade with China, but not so much to human rights abuses. Mitch McConnell, who has differed with the president on very little, his statement talked a lot about the abuses of the Chinese government against its own people.

And you had this incredible split screen today on the 70th anniversary. You had the scene in Tiananmen Square of this huge military parade that included new and bigger multiple tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles.

BAIER: Their hypersonic missiles, all kinds of new --

PAGE: On the other hand, you have this remarkable photo of a police officer in Hong Kong shooting at point-blank range of protester, the first such shooting in 17 weeks of protests. They have been pretty cautious. These protests have gone on for 17 weeks. There are no signs of it ending. There are only signs that they're being fueled.

BAIER: Gordon Chang is in South Korea. We talked to him today. Take a listen.


GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "THE COMING COLLAPSE OF CHINA": Decided they did not want to have anything to mar the celebrations in Beijing. The Hong Kong people, though, have made it very clear that they are determined to defend their home. They see this as a last stand, and so therefore we are going to see these clashes continue for a very long time.


BAIER: Saying it's going to continue. Matthew, at the same time, talks announced with North Korea again, U.S. and North Korea, and we are getting word from U.S. officials and South Korean military that North Korea has fired another missile, a projectile, looks like medium range, but just in time for the weekend talks about the situation.

CONTINETTI: Usually it takes two people to take good cop/bad cop, but President Trump is so unique he is able to combine them all in one solo performance. The fact is I think that tweet was evidence the president understands he needs a foreign policy victory, either a trade deal with China or some type of relationship with North Korea, some progress in the nuclear talks there, in order to bolster his reelection chances. The politics of impeachment make this even more complicated, though, because if the president is taking damage domestically, it may make him more likely to make concessions internationally.

BAIER: All right, our podcast, The Campaign, it's on foreign policy this week. Check that out. You can get there a number of different ways.

When we come back, a good friend's love for baseball on a big night.


BAIER: Finally tonight, it's October. Major League Baseball, the Washington Nationals will take on the Milwaukee Brewers in tonight's National League Wild Card Game right here in D.C., big night. No one would be more excited about this game than our dear friend, the late Charles Krauthammer. Charles loved baseball. It was his passion. He became a devoted Nats fan when the team came to Washington in 2005, and as he told us a few years back, he almost never missed a home game even when he was right here on the SPECIAL REPORT panel that ended at 7:00 p.m.


CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, CONTRIBUTOR: When I started to do your show every night, it ends at 7:00 p.m. The game starts at 7:10 p.m. The garage at FOX is seven minutes if the wind is fair in the Third Street Tunnel from the garage at Nat Stadium. So I get there in the bottom of the first. How can I resist?

BAIER: it actually took us eight minutes to get to the stadium. When we took our seats, Krauthammer went into analyst mode right away.

KRAUTHAMMER: OK, this is an unfortunate matchup. On a one-out count you want to steal on a breaking ball because it's slower. As is he likely to throw a breaking ball? No. So he is unlikely to try to steal right now.

BAIER: So this is the prediction right now, after watching what you watched today, the Washington Nationals, World Series this year?

KRAUTHAMMER: They will be in the Series, they may not win it, but who cares after today's game?



BAIER: Charles often wrote about baseball, particularly about his beloved Nats. In 2012 he joked, quote, "I may be an addict, but I do draw the line somewhere. If I find myself at the park at 3:00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday, it's time for an intervention." Charles would say tonight, go Nats, and so will be. Not so fair and balanced if you are a Brewers fan, but sorry about that.

And to our Jewish friends, Shanah Tovah, good New Year on this Rosh Hashanah.

Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That's it for the “Special Report,” fair, balanced, and unafraid. "The Story" hosted by Martha MacCallum, with a lot of news, starts right now.

Hey, Martha.

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