Dossier bombshell spells trouble for Democrats?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," October 25, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: This was the Democrats coming up with an excuse for losing an election. They lost it by a lot. They didn't know what to say, so they made up the whole Russia hoax. Now it's turning out that the hoax has turned around. And you look at what's happened with Russia and you look at the uranium deal, and you look at the fake dossier, but that's all turned around.

Hillary would have never announced it was them except for this court case that's going on where the judge was going to reveal it. So they figured we'll do it first. They're very embarrassed by this.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The president on the revelation that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC funded in part this dossier, and this continues, these investigations up on Capitol Hill. The DNC statement on this says the leader of the DNC now, Tom Perez, and the new leadership of the DNC were not involved in any decision-making regarding Fusion GPS nor were they aware that Perkins Coie, that's the law firm, was working with the organization. But let's be clear. There is a serious federal investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia and the American people deserve to know what happened. So you will see the new leadership of the DNC. But what about the old leadership of the DNC?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When did you learn the DNC and the Clinton campaign were behind the dossier?

DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I wasn't aware at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How could you let the DNC be in the dark about the dossier?

SCHULTZ: I wasn't aware of the arrangement at all.


BAIER: OK, so the new leadership doesn't know, that old leader says she doesn't know of the DNC. Where are we on all this? Lets bring in our panel: Byron York, chief political correspondent of the Washington Examiner; Susan Page, Washington bureau chief at USA Today, and Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist. Byron?

BYRON YORK, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: This is apparently the big project that nobody knew about. There were always two questions about the dossier. One was who paid for it, and two was what did the FBI do with it? And now the big question, now that we know who paid for it, the big question is what did the FBI do with it, because we think we know that in the fall of 2016, in other words at the height of the presidential campaign, Christopher Steele, the British spy, former spy who put together this dossier for the Democrats and Fusion GPS, goes to the FBI and shows them what he has found. And the FBI decides to take up this project.

And this is what has left a lot of Republicans really appalled that perhaps the FBI would have something to do in kind of adopting an oppo research project in the middle of a presidential campaign. And the FBI originally agrees to pay for it and then maybe they don't pay for it in fact. But now what Republicans want to know is did the FBI use the dossier as evidence to present to a court to ask for a warrant to wiretap somebody? They have so many questions, and the questions are now for the FBI.

BAIER: There's also a question, Susan, tonight, as we reported about the FEC filing, this complaint from a legal center. DNC and Hillary for America reported dozens of payments totaling millions of dollars to a law firm Perkins Coie with the purpose described as legal services or legal and compliance consulting when in reality at least some of those payments were earmarked for the firm Fusion GPS, the purpose of conducting opposition research on Donald Trump. By failing to file accurate reports, the DNC and Hillary for America undermine the vital public information role that reporting is intended to serve. So it just seems like another wrinkle here in what legalities are involved there in the FEC filings, I don't think we really know.

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: I think there's a lot we don't know. I think this is very embarrassing for the Clinton folks and the DNC. The people with that Clinton campaign are denying they had anything to do with the dossier. That turns out to be incorrect. The cover-up is often worse than the crime.

I would just say one thing though. It took only the two questions that Byron pointed out. There's also the question of what actually happened. And the reality of what happened is what the special counsel is pursuing and presumably is going to figure out whether something happened. But I agree this gives a huge talking point to the White House to attack this investigation as something that was politically inspired.

BAIER: The former spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign, Brian Fallon, after Donald Trump Jr. met with those folks in Trump Tower and part of his explanation was that opposition research happens, Brian Fallon was out and said one thing, and then when all of this happened he said another thing today. You can take a look at the evolution here.


BRIAN FALLON, FORMER SPOKESPERSON, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: There's a difference between going out and hiring opposition research firms that work in the United States of America and going out and soliciting information from a foreign national.

Opposition research happens all the time in campaigns.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Christopher Steele compiled this dossier was a foreign national.

FALLON: So Christopher Steele's actions here, this is akin to counterintelligence work. He was not being handed things by the Russians, otherwise we would probably know the details of these supposed videotapes and the business connections that Donald Trump has with Russia.


BAIER: Mollie?

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: As one of the many Americans who has been skeptical of this Trump-Russia collusion narrative that we have been fed routinely for many months, this is a profoundly vindicating day. It turns out that the Clinton campaign was doing what it accused the Trump campaign of doing, wittingly or unwittingly working with the Russians to undermine the 2016 election or to affect the 2016.

We now know that the Clinton campaign and the DNC were some of the funders of this shoddy Russian dossier in which a foreign spy was actually paying Kremlin operatives and other people for information or what turned out to be disinformation about Donald Trump, and that the person was to leak the information. It is a stunning turn of events, and we will soon learn how serious people were about the need to hold people accountable for any collusion with Russia.

BAIER: So as that investigation continues, obviously the Russia investigation continues with special counsel Mueller as Susan mentioned. We don't know what we don't know with that. But there is this other investigation, the Uranium One investigation. We've told you we did an hour special on this. Brian Fallon figures into that as well as I asked him back then when that all came out about the Clinton Foundation, these speeches, and other things.


BAIER: Why do you think former president Clinton speaking fees from overseas entities jumps dramatically after Mrs. Clinton was appointed secretary of state?

FALLON: Bret, the president has given speeches to all kinds of entities both within the United States and abroad. All of them went through a rigorous vetting process that was conducted at the State Department during the years that Hillary Clinton was the secretary of state. If he gave a speech it was because that the people that inspected it and reviewed and vetted it deemed that there was no conflict whatsoever, and all allegations suggesting there was a conflict are coming from people like Peter Schweizer who, again, has been widely discredited and has had to admit he didn't have any evidence to prove any quid pro quo.

BAIER: You don't think there's any problem there, I get that. But when foreign entities pay Secretary Clinton or the former president to speak or they make large contributions to the Clinton Foundation after they speak, do you think that they expect something in return?

FALLON: If they do, then they are completely foolish for thinking so.


BAIER: So that had evolved obviously through 2015 and 2016.

YORK: Yes, well, Brian Fallon is earning his money. I think one of the things that the entire Democratic postelection campaign to link Trump to Russia, to suggest that there was collusion, one of the things it has done is it has made any contact with Russia radioactive and somehow really awful. Jeff Sessions talked with Russians and he has to recuse himself.

Now if you go to this Uranium One thing you see all of this contact with Russia, and is it now OK to do? And then there is the really stunning question of the U.S. law enforcement intelligence agencies knowing there was a lot of bribery going on around this uranium thing, and somehow the committee on foreign investment of the United States, which should know about this stuff when it makes a decision to approve or not approve this uranium deal, they don't know about it. So it really does warrant more investigation.

BAIER: There are a lot of questions for the FBI, Susan, but very quickly because I do want to turn to ISIS in the other panel, we also have a question why the president is not moving forward with Congress approved sanctions against Russia and what the holdup there is, and how that all factors in if it factors in, and we don't know the answer to that.

PAGE: That's right, and that's an important issue. I would just say the thing that ties these two things together, the uranium investigation and the dossier, is these are self-inflicted wounds by the Clinton campaign. If they had handled things better at the start, if they had not taken these contributions to Clinton Foundation and these high-priced speeches, there would be fewer questions about the approval of the uranium deal. So in both cases they are reaping their inability to be transparent about this from the start.

HEMINGWAY: And not just self-inflicted wounds to the campaign but really wounds to the entire republic. We have spent so much time and money and drama on this Russian story. We have had the attorney general have to recuse himself. We have all these investigations going on. It's a lot of damage to the republic, and I wish that people would think about whether to go down that road in the future.

BAIER: And the Mueller investigation starts because of all this as well.

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