Nov. 12, 2020 – This is a rush transcript from “Special Report” November 12, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Good evening. Welcome to Washington, I'm Bret Baier.
Breaking tonight, President Trump's efforts to challenge the election results in a number of different places but also focus tonight on Maricopa County, Arizona. The Trump team is arguing poll workers in the country's second largest voting jurisdiction wrongly rejected votes, the local jurisdiction pushing back. The President still trails Biden there by about
11,400 votes in Arizona.
There's also a legal win tonight for the president in Pennsylvania and new pushback from people who contend enough is enough. Chief White House correspondent John Roberts starts us off tonight live on the North Lawn.
Good evening, John.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Bret, good evening to you. President Trump again staying out of public view today lunching with the Vice President, then, meeting late this afternoon with the Secretaries of State and Treasury. But in one courtroom today, his campaign put in one in the win column.
ROBERTS: After a week of setbacks, a victory in court for the Trump campaign today. A judge in Pennsylvania ruling Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar had no authority to extend a deadline for voters to confirm their identification.
The victory is more symbolic than anything. The votes had been segregated and not counted. But it gives the Trump campaign hope the U.S. Supreme Court may rule on the state's extension to receive mail-in ballots, which could affect the vote count.
Also in Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign filing new affidavits as evidence voters were not treated equally. Charging mail-in ballots in Democratic counties were illegally pre-canvassed
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: In seven counties, Democrat leaning counties. If they received your ballot in advance, it's illegal to open those ballots until Election Day, the mail-in ballots. But somehow, they were determining which ballots were not accurate, which were not properly done and telling voters to fix them in advance.
ROBERTS: In Arizona court today, the Trump campaign arguing poll workers in Maricopa County improperly rejected ballots. The President tweeting, he is within striking distance from 200,000 votes to less than 10,000 votes. If we can audit the total votes cast, we will easily win Arizona also.
Democrats again dismissing Republican efforts to count legal votes and reject illegal votes.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): They're engaged in an absurd circus right now.
Refusing to accept reality.
This is nothing more than a temper tantrum by Republicans.
ROBERTS: In a new ad, a bipartisan group of Politico's including Trump loyalists Senator Bill Cassidy with a message to respect the vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On January 20th, we'll swear in a president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when we do, we all stand ready to work with him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Together.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Together.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Together.
ROBERTS: And Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and James Lankford, both saying the Trump administration should be giving Joe Biden classified intelligence briefings.
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): There are quite a few of my Republican colleagues who came up to me today and they've also made statements to the media today to say, yes, that's entirely reasonable to continue to do the daily briefings for both until we know the outcome of this election.
ROBERTS: Whether the effort to challenge the current vote count goes anywhere, Republicans are saying it's important for President Trump to campaign in Georgia for Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler's runoff races. Vice President Mike Pence will make the trip to the Peach State on November 20th.
MCENANY: He hasn't made any determinations on that thus far. But I'll tell you this, he's this morning even putting out tweets on behalf of Senator Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. And he wants those two candidates prevail. He knows how important it is. And no one's been more of a team player than President Trump.
ROBERTS: And as everyone is watching the vote count, the nation's business does go on. For the first time in a while, President Trump today turning the financial screws on China, signing an executive order prohibiting Americans from investing in Chinese companies that support that country's military.
The executive order identifying some 31 Chinese companies that supply and modernize the People's Liberation Army, Bret.
BAIER: John, we know the Republicans have talked about Joe Biden getting the presidential daily brief and the importance of that. But what about what's the White House sense of Republican support overall as he continues this fight in various states?
ROBERTS: You know, I've talked to many Republicans that do not work inside this building. And they're of the mind that the president does have the right and the opportunity to challenge the vote to make sure that all the legal ballots were cast. All the legal ballots that were cast were counted and all of the illegal ballots, if there were some that were cast, were not counted.
And let's recall (INAUDIBLE), if you go back a couple of months before the election, Hillary Clinton was saying that Joe Biden should not concede the election under any circumstance. So, these Republicans are making the case.
Well, if she could say that, why should President Trump given at this point without making sure that the vote count is indeed accurate, Bret.
BAIER: OK, John Roberts live in the North lawn. John, thank you.
We now know who will be Joe Biden's chief of staff and there is increasing speculation about who may be in the new president's cabinet. Correspondent Peter Doocy reports tonight from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, some of the names are very familiar.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT): Thank you all.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: A Democratic socialist from the Senate is pitching himself to the Biden cabinet.
WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, CNN: If he asked you to join the cabinet as Labor Secretary, would you say yes?
SANDERS: If I had a portfolio that allowed me to stand up and fight for working families, would I do it? Yes, I would.
DOOCY: A nomination is one thing. A confirmation, it's quite another and what could be a Republican controlled Senate.
SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R-SD): Personally, Bernie's a friend. But most certainly I think he's going to be significantly different in his opinion about what a Labor Secretary should do, than a lot of the members in the United States Senate, I think it's appropriate.
DOOCY: Elizabeth Warren is reportedly interested in being Treasury Secretary. Writing in the Washington Post, we know that Washington insiders and their establishment allies are ready to declare that unity and consensus mean turning over the governing keys to giant corporations and their lobbyists, the exact opposite of what voters want. Democrats must resist this pressure.
But Warren comes from a state where the Republican governor could replace her with a Republican, watering down Democratic numbers in the Senate.
REP. MARCIA FUDGE (D-OH): Thank you.
DOOCY: Congresswoman Marcia Fudge wants to be the Agriculture Secretary.
Telling Politico, I've been very, very loyal to the ticket and I will remain loyal to the ticket. During the primaries, Biden promised diversity.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: In my administration is going to look like the country. Not a -- no no, not a joke. My cabinet is going to be made up of men and women of color and not color. It's going to be made up of people across the board.
DOOCY: Incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain will likely have a say in who gets picked. And he'll also steer the Biden COVID-19 response with experience as Obama, Ebola Czar that he admits wasn't always perfect.
RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I'll be clear, we didn't get everything right in Ebola. And we were late on many things, and we made some wrong choices, so on and so forth.
DOOCY: One of the advisors and claims here is already touting another lengthy lockdown.
DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, BIDEN COVID-19 ADVISORY BOARD: We could pay for a package right now to cover the all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers, for losses to small companies to medium sized companies, then we could lock down for four to six weeks.
DOOCY: And that's the kind of person Biden pledges to take advice from.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, if the scientists say shut it down --
BIDEN: I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists.
DOOCY: Biden started his day at home in Wilmington on the phone with the Pope. The transition team is telling us they talked about ways to work together to address climate change and to take care of the poor and also to be more welcoming of immigrants and refugees in their communities.
And after that call, the president-elect relocated down here about 90 minutes away from home to Rehoboth Beach in his weekend place, Bret.
BAIER: Peter, after an election is called, those first few days are filled with phone calls, any other big ones today?
DOOCY: He also talks to the Democratic leaders in the House, Nancy Pelosi -
- Democratic leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi and also the Democratic leader in the Senate just about ways that they might be able to come together in the lame duck session which began -- begins now to work on a COVID relief package.
Biden though is upfront; he has no ability to do anything himself or sign anything until January 20th. And as best as we can tell, he is not involved in any sort of negotiations yet.
We also heard a little while ago from Kate Bedingfield, who during the campaign served as the communications director for the Biden team. She is starting to say that Republican leaders like Kevin McCarthy are going to start feeling a lot of pressure from constituents to acknowledge that Biden deserves to be declared the winner by the GSA and everything that comes with that, whether it is the transition money that is set aside or the classified intelligence briefings that he still is not getting, but that he told us a few days ago, he thinks he can do without for now because he is not the sitting president, Bret.
BAIER: All right, Peter, thank you. We should note that negotiations are probably not continuing right now between the Capitol Hill, the White House on the coronavirus stimulus package. Hearing from Capitol Hill that that essentially has been cut off for the time being. We'll see where it goes and follow it.
This is the final day for Nevada counties to count ballots from last week's election. Tonight, we hear from the Trump campaign on the ground and get a direct response to that from the State's Attorney General to the claims of voter fraud. Chief correspondent Jonathan Hunt reports from Las Vegas.
JONATHAN HUNT, FOX NEWS CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: The Trump legal team continues to make a number of allegations around Nevada's election integrity, albeit with little solid evidence.
ADAM LAXALT, CO-CHAIRMAN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN NEVADA: I want to put a spotlight on this system because the bottom line is there is fraud. I don't know how wide scale it is.
AARON FORD, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEVADA: There is not widespread voter fraud. It is good to hear Mr. Laxalt admit that he doesn't know if there's widespread voter fraud.
HUNT: We talked to Nevada's Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford, and put some of the Republican allegations to him, including this on signature verification.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): The machine was basically turned off, so they ran me into ballots to this machine. So, they accepted every signature, whether it was fraudulent or not.
FORD: There's nothing wrong with this machine. It works as it is -- as it is supposed to. And in addition to that, we have other redundancies in place to ensure that voter fraud is not taking place.
HUNT: And then there's a claim by a still unnamed election worker who says she saw nefarious handling of ballots in a van marked with Biden-Harris stickers in the parking lot of a voting center.
FORD: Again, that does not, however, support the premise that there is widespread voter fraud.
HUNT: And what about dead people voting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've confirmed dead voters.
FORD: There have been two complaints regarding dead people voting and they are being looked into by the appropriate investigators.
HUNT: And thousands of non-residents voting.
FORD: The military members who are stationed here who are resident here for purposes of voting to have that right to vote. There are other people who may be on that list, we have to look into it. But they may be students.
They may be Mormon missionaries.
HUNT: The courts have indeed so far not been favorable for the Trump team.
And now it appears one of his wealthiest backers Sheldon Adelson may have turned against the president.
Adelson's Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, publishing an editorial today which says, "the president does a disservice to his more rabid supporters by insisting that he would have won the November 3rd election absent voter fraud. That's simply false."
HUNT: And the editorial goes on, "President Trump lost this election." The vote counting here in Nevada is likely to be completed in the next few hours. President-elect Biden's lead currently stands at around 37,000 votes, Bret.
BAIER: Jonathan, thank you.
The Republican who has been heavily criticized by President Trump for the way he claims the votes are being counted in Philadelphia, says Democrats there are not trying to steal the election. Tonight, senior correspondent Eric Shawn talks with Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt.
ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: He is the top Republican official in Philadelphia running the election. And City Commissioner Al Schmidt says President Trump's accusations of voter fraud are wrong.
Commissioner, are any illegal votes being counted or Democrats stealing the election here?
AL SCHMIDT, COMMISSIONER, PHILADELPHIA CITY: No. The only votes being counted by the Board of Elections at the Pennsylvania Convention Center are votes cast by eligible voters on or before Election Day.
SHAWN: The President says there's, "A mountain of corruption and dishonesty here." Is that true?
SCHMIDT: No. It's not true.
SHAWN: The President says observers were not allowed in the counting rooms.
Is that true?
SCHMIDT: That's totally untrue.
SHAWN: Schmidt does come under fire from the president who tweeted in part "A guy named Al Schmidt, a Philadelphia Commissioner and so-called Republican RINO is being used big time by the fake news media to explain how honest things were." Schmidt says, they are.
The president says, "Bad things happen that our observers were not allowed to see." Is that true?
SCHMIDT: Absolutely not. We've seen observers from the Democratic Party and the Republican Party from the Trump campaign and from the Biden campaign, more than we've seen our own families.
SHAWN: He fears election misinformation will underline American's faith in our democracy. Case in point, the president's attacks on Dominion voting machines. He retweeted a report that "Dominion deleted 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide. 221,000 Pennsylvania votes switched from President Trump to Biden". But experts say, that never happened.
An election official say, any initial issues or human error that were corrected. And then there is this, claims that a secret supercomputer called Hammer use a software called Scorecard to steal millions of votes from the president and award them to Biden.
The Department of Homeland Security and cyber experts say that is not true.
All examples of more disinformation.
SCHMIDT: It isn't a danger of one candidate winning or another candidate winning, it's really at the end of the day about how we're all, you, me and your viewers are reacting to everything that they're seeing. And whether they have faith in our republic and the foundation of it, which is our electoral system.
SHAWN: Well, tonight, Dominion issued a statement categorically denying that it's machine switched any votes, calling that misinformation not based on fact.
As for Commissioner Schmidt, he says voters can rely on the results and trust American democracy that ironically was born just a few blocks from where I'm standing now at the convention center back then at Independence Hall. Bret?
BAIER: Eric Shawn, live in Philadelphia. Eric, thank you.
Up next, what will U.S. foreign policy look like in the final weeks of the Trump administration? We'll show you some of the possibilities.
First, here is what some of our Fox affiliates around the country are covering tonight.
WFXT in Boston as a federal appeals court upholds a district court decision, clearing Harvard University of intentional discrimination against Asian-American applicants.
The lawsuit alleges the school's admission officers, uses subjective personal rating to discriminate against Asian Americans. Harvard denies any discrimination.
Fox 29 in Houston as a shelter in place order lifted following a large fire at a recycling plant. Authority say the fire broke out Wednesday afternoon.
It was contained after several hours. A precautionary shelter in place was issued for a half-mile radius around that plant.
And this is a live look at Atlanta from our affiliate Fox Five. One of the big stories there tonight, rain in Augusta, Georgia slows down today's first round of the Masters. The start was delayed for almost three hours.
The tournament being played this week after its postponement in April because of the coronavirus, a little delay, they'll start back up tomorrow morning with the finish of the first round, and then, into the second round.
That's tonight's live look "OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY" from SPECIAL REPORT. We'll be right back.
BAIER: "BEYOND OUR BORDERS" tonight, a helicopter belonging to an international peacekeeping force crashes in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Five Americans are among the eight people killed. Officials say that crash appears to have been an accident.
A typhoon swelled rivers and floods low-lying areas as it passes over the storm-battered northeastern Philippines. Officials say at least 13 people are dead there, 15 others missing. Nearly 200,000 people were evacuated, some forcibly from vulnerable coastal and low-lying areas.
And Amnesty International, says scores and possibly hundreds of laborers have been stabbed and hacked to death in Ethiopia's Tigray Region. It is not saying whose responsible, federal troops there are claiming major advances in their offensive against local forces. Airstrikes and ground combat are killing hundreds and sending refugees flooding into Sudan.
There are growing questions tonight about what U.S. foreign policy is going to look like in the final weeks of the Trump administration, even as the Trump campaign works to challenge the vote in these various states as we've been reporting.
National security correspondent Jennifer Griffin examines what the next two months could look like from the Pentagon.
JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Multiple senior defense officials say the changes at the top of the Pentagon have sent shock waves through the U.S. military since Monday when defense secretary Mark Esper was fired by the president in a tweet.
The acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller has a new top advisor, retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor. Macgregor has, in the past, argued for the elimination of the U.S. Marine Corps, which he has compared to the army's horse cavalry in the 1930s. A relic of an antiquated fighting force.
Macgregor has also called for a complete and swift withdrawal of all U.S.
forces from Afghanistan and wants to shut down the U.S. embassy in Kabul, which would cripple U.S. intelligence-gathering capabilities.
He's also called for the removal of all U.S. forces from the Korean Peninsula, something that has raised concern among defense hawks.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): To trust the Taliban to police al-Qaeda and ISIS would be insane. Our presence in South Korea is a buffer against China and keeps North Korea in check.
GRIFFIN: But the head of the freedom caucus urged the president to accelerate the withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq so that troops can be home by Christmas. "Our forces toppled Saddam Hussein's government and successfully fought terrorists of many different stripes in Iraq, including the Islamic state. But these achievements have simply not been worth the cost.
Today, Iraq's government is shaky at best, addicted to continuing foreign assistance, and easily susceptible to pressure from outside actors, especially Iran."
The new group inserted at the Pentagon have something else in common. They are Iran hawks who might favor regime change and a possible military strike on Iran's nuclear sites before January 20th.
The U.S. has about 60,000 troops in the Middle East at bases that would be immediate targets of retribution by Iran, which has 9,000 ballistic missiles in its arsenal.
GRIFFIN: Currently, the U.S. has 3,000 troops in Iraq and 4,500 in Afghanistan. The angst at the Pentagon since Monday, Bret, is palpable among those concerned about projecting chaos during the transition. Bret?
BAIER: Jennifer Griffin at the Pentagon. Jennifer, thank you. Still to come from the wall along the southern border to Dhaka. We will take a look at how vastly different Biden administration immigration policy may be from President Trumps.
And straight ahead, a Texas funeral director shows us the harsh reality of a new surge in coronavirus cases.
CHRISTOPHER LUJAN, FUNERAL HOME MANAGER, EL PASO, TEXAS: I'm going to show you the walk-in refrigeration units that we added.
BAIER: Stocks were down across the board today. The Dow lost 317. The S&P
500 fell 36, the NASDAQ was off 77.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says he does not believe the U.S. will need to go into lockdown to fight the coronavirus if people commit to wearing masks and social distancing. Every state in the country now is reporting increases in the number of infections. Officials say confirmed coronavirus deaths have surpassed 10,000 in hard-hit Massachusetts, and admit the actual toll is likely higher there, according to officials on the ground.
California is close to becoming the second state to report 1 million cases.
Texas has already eclipsed that mark.
Tonight, correspondent Casey Stegall in Dallas shows us how the virus is hitting one Texas community especially hard.
CASEY STEGALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: El Paso, Texas has become ground zero in the latest coronavirus surge, area funeral homes can barely keep up.
LUJAN: Right now, you're seeing it probably about 50 percent full. We actually had two COVID cases that we took out earlier today.
STEGALL: More than 19,000 Texans and nearly 242,000 Americans have died from the virus. Public health officials say COVID cases now increasing in all 50 states.
LUJAN: Hopefully, we get people to understand that this pandemic is serious.
STEGALL: A growing number of new states are issuing mask mandates, while the CDC now says masks or proper face coverings do protect, in fact, the person wearing them, not just those around them.
LORI LIGHTFOOT, MAYOR OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: These aren't levels that we've seen since May --
STEGALL: Chicago's mayor has issued a stay-at-home order after the city's positivity rate tripled in the last month in some areas now as high as 25 percent.
LIGHTFOOT: If we continue on the path we're on, estimates are that we could see a thousand more Chicagoans die from this virus by the end of the year.
STEGALL: In New York State, restaurants, bars, and gyms must close early starting Friday, following an uptick in cases.
As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy, with more than 6.8 million Americans out of work, today the Labor Department reported another
709,000 first-time unemployment claims. While drug maker Pfizer moves forward with distribution plans for its vaccine, still in clinical trials and boasting and 90 percent efficacy rate, with some test subjects reporting minor side effects.
GLENN DESHIELDS, PFIZER VACCINE VOLUNTEER: I had a headache and I had a lot of fatigue, Injection site pain. It lasted about 24 hours.
STEGALL: Ticketmaster making its posting pandemic plans for customers to provide proof of either a vaccination or negative test result within 72 hours of attending a concert or other big event. Bret?
BAIER: Casey, thank you.
France's prime minister says there will be no easing a second COVID-19 lockdown they are, at least for another two weeks. Jean Castex says the number of infected people and hospitals in France is now higher than at the peak of the first wave, and one in four deaths in the country is now due to the virus. He says the French government will not hesitate to impose stricter measures if infections continue to rise.
California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom has issued pardons and commuted sentences for 35 current and former convicted felons. That includes 10 pardons for immigrants facing deportation. The governor's office says deportation and permanent family separation of the formally convicted immigrants were unjust, collateral consequences of their previous convictions.
We are getting some new information about what the Biden administration immigration policy might entail. Correspondent Jeff Paul shows us tonight from Los Angeles.
JEFF PAUL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: A change of tone in the works at the U.S.-Mexico border, as President-elect Joe Biden aims to undo President Trump's immigration platform both in attitude and in policy.
BIDEN: There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration.
PAUL: But the roughly 400 miles constructed so far won't come tumbling down. Also in store, a renewed focus on DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA protects more than 600,000 people who were brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.
ESTEFANY PINEDA, DACA RECIPIENT: For me this election meant everything, because it meant that I'm about to finish my college degree, and then I can get a job.
PAUL: Biden is signally he will withdraw a travel ban on people visiting from 13 countries, several of which are Muslim majority.
In addition, the former V.P. is focusing on reuniting hundreds of kids who were separating from their parents at the border during the Trump administration.
BIDEN: They got separated from their parents, and it makes us a laughingstock, and violates every notion of who we are as a nation.
PAUL: But some officials along the border have a warning.
ANTHONY PORVAZNIK, YUMA SECTOR CHIEF PATROL AGENT: The system can easily be overwhelmed, and when that happens, we will revert back and see another crisis like we saw in 2014 with unaccompanied alien children.
PAUL: They say a softened stance could have huge consequences.
RODNEY SCOTT, U.S. BORDER PATROL CHIEF: If we continue to send a pattern to the world that all you have to do is get into the U.S. and at some point we will legalize you, there will be no penalty for that, then you can do the math. It would be very problematic.
PAUL: Most of the Trump immigration policies the Biden administration wants to undo are somewhat vulnerable. That's because several were done through executive action without the approval of Congress. Bret?
BAIER: Jeff, thank you.
Up next, the panel on transition mania and where things are headed now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The election is not in doubt.
This is nothing more than a temper tantrum by Republicans, nothing more but a pathetic political performance for an audience of one, President Donald John Trump.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think you'll hear from the president at the right moment. He gave a press conference, of course, last Thursday, but right now he's letting this litigation play out, letting his lawyers take the lead on this while he stays hard at work for the American people on COVID and other matters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: President Trump digging in, his campaign fighting a battle in numerous states, a legal battle, talking about that. The president not talking about that yet. Meantime, the president-elect and his team making plans for a cabinet and what comes next.
Let's bring in our panel, Jonathan Swan, national political reporter for "Axios," Republican strategist Lisa Boothe, and Bill McGurn, columnist for "The Wall Street Journal." Jonathan, there is thought about how long this goes on and what the fight looks like from inside the White House. How do you characterize it?
JONATHAN SWAN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "AXIOS": It's strange, because you've got the president's public comments, which are still insisting the election is stolen, that he is fighting it, that he will emerge victorious.
and then you've got what he's saying privately, which is, as we've reported, he's been talking about running again for president in 2024, how he's been talking about potentially setting up some kind of digital media outlet to compete against FOX News. And then he's got his administration, which is acting with urgency to lock in certain policies and personnel before the inauguration. So it really is a government and inner circle that's operating on the assumption that Joe Biden will be president, but a public posture that is the opposite.
BAIER: Lisa, the public posture clearly is sending the signal that this is going to be fought, every legal ballot counted in every state until every judge throws it out of every state.
LISA BOOTHE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, we're going to have a recount in Georgia. There's probably going to be a recount in Wisconsin. You have lawsuits pending in a handful of states. I think there are legitimate concerns about the process in states like Pennsylvania. Today, as John Roberts noted earlier on in the show, you had the secretary of state unilaterally change a deadline in regard to mail-in ballots in violation of the state.
Further, also concerns that places like Philadelphia opened ballots prior to Election Day, which is in violation of the law, and allowed individuals who send in mail-in ballots that were invalid to correct that with a provisional vote, yet voters in the rest of the state weren't allowed the same opportunity.
And then on top of it, you have the attorney general leading up to the election tweeting out that if all the ballots are corrected, President Trump would lose. So I think officials in the state of Pennsylvania have a lot done a lot to undermine confidence in the integrity of the election there. And that's important particularly when we're looking at the fact that these states, they saw an unprecedented amount of mail-in ballots. And if that is the standard moving forward, then it is imperative as a country that we ensure that that is conducted with integrity, particularly if that's the standard and the precedent that's going to be set.
BAIER: Meantime, Bill, there are numerous Republicans now stepping out, saying that even as these legal challenges continue, that Joe Biden should get the presidential daily brief. Here is Senator James Lankford.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD, (R-OK): There is nothing wrong with the former vice president getting those. Kamala Harris is on the Intelligence Committee.
She has all the clearances that she needs to be able to do that. There is no loss from him getting the briefings and to be able to do that. And if that's not occurring by Friday, I will step in as well and be able to push and say this needs to occur so that regardless of the outcome of the election, whichever way that it goes, people can be ready for that actual task.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: There are some people, Bill, who said after the 2000 delay because of what happened to Florida, that there were concerns about the transition in the wake of 9/11 and what happened in that transition.
BILL MCGURN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I think most of this is kind of a beltway phenomenon. I was just looking at a "New York Times" story from December 13th, 2000. That's when the transition funds were released and the Bush administration got their office space and so forth. We are a month away from that.
My view is I don't believe the results are going to change after all these appeals and so for. But so long as what the president is asking is legal, he may ask for it in an intemperate way, I don't know understand why it's not better to let the process play out. We don't think that a court is going to give the president the election if he hasn't won it. So I think we'll just be in a better place if we let this play out. And then if he's still recalcitrant, I think he will just have fewer people that that will appeal to.
It's just, again, it seems to me if you're confident, let the things play out. The courts are going to act pretty quickly, right. They're not going to let this drag on forever. So I think we're going to get answers pretty quickly.
BAIER: Meantime, cabinet formation, as you would expect, is starting to happen. Here is Senator Bernie Sanders on that prospect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: If he asked you to join the cabinet as Labor Secretary, would you say yes?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT): If I had a portfolio that allowed me to stand up and fight for working families, would I do it? Yes, I would.
SEN. MIKE ROUNDS, (R-SD): I think it would be a challenge. I think you need someone that can work with both sides on specific areas of issue.
Personally, Bernie's a friend, but mostly certainly I think he's going to be significantly different in his opinion about what a labor secretary should do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Jonathan, it's an interesting time because this formation of a possible cabinet happens as you have the Senate majority up in the air essentially in those two runoffs in Georgia. With a GOP majority, it's a lot tougher to get some types of people through in cabinet positions, not to mention somebody like Senator Elizabeth Warren, if she was put into a cabinet, Charlie Baker, the governor, a Republican, would get to fill her seat.
SWAN: Right. Bernie Sanders is not getting approved by a Mitch McConnell controlled Senate, or are many are the other progressive wish list of potential cabinet officials. It would provide Joe Biden a good excuse to go with what many people around him say are his instincts to pick somebody who is more moderate, so he will be able to save to the left wing of his party, which will be up in arms, well, good luck. I can't get anything through Mitch McConnell's Senate, so you're going to have to live with these picks.
So I think that's where this is likely headed.
BAIER: We just got this joint statement in from the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council, the Elections Infrastructure Sector Executive Committees, it says this, this just moments ago, "The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.
Right now, across the country, election officials are reviewing and double checking the entire election process prior to finalizing the result. When states have close elections, many will recount ballots. All of the states with close election results in the 2020 presidential race have paper records of each vote, allowing the ability to go back and count each ballot if necessary. This is an added benefit for security and resilience. This process allows for identification and correction of any mistakes or errors.
There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised." Jonathan, what do you think the White House reaction to that will be?
SWAN: I mean start your stopwatch, there's going to be an explosion from the president about this statement, because it is directly in opposition with what he's been saying. It should be an unremarkable statement from the government to say that the elections were secure and to lay out their evidence, but the reality is that everyone who had a hand in writing this statement would surely know that they are going to face the wrath of the president and his inner circle.
BAIER: When we come back, will it the coronavirus surge force another big lockdown? What is coming next with COVID-19?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: Look at these numbers. Look at these numbers. Look at the predictions from the scientific community.
KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R-CA) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: She played politics from the very first time we did the CARES Act. She sacrificed our economy and people who were hurting.
MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: If things stay on track, we hope to have a safe and effective vaccine in a timeframe that will be absolutely historic.
CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Donald Trump, who is not for helping us in COVID and who was against the Heroes bill has lost. That was an overwhelming referendum by the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: The COVID cases, the numbers are going up. More importantly, across the country, hospitalizations have gone up dramatically just in the past few days. And we are seeing a situation across the country that is serious.
The question is, what comes next. There you see the hospitalizations November 2nd and November 11th.
Bill, let's talk about the stimulus package and the lack of negotiations on that front in just a minute. But first about handling coronavirus. Do you suspect that President Trump is going to do anything different, or the new administration is going to come in and institute a lockdown?
MCGURN: I think it was the main issue of the election, and one of the things I think was unfortunate is that COVID itself, how we respond, became almost a referendum on Donald Trump. And I think a lot of these people took positions, whether it was on masks or lockdowns or so forth based on whether -- or frankly, on the stimulus bill, we'll do this, we won't do this because it might help Donald Trump.
Now that it looks like Donald Trump is out, I'm hoping that we can get away from political decisions, because now the decisions will be Joe Biden's, and he will own the problem. And if it makes it worse, I'm not sure he is going to do everything that he said he was going to do. Part of what he said he was going to do is pretty much what President Trump has set in motion. In fact, Vice President Pence called him out on that at his debate, said, look, you're just plagiarizing what we're doing. so I'm hoping we can at least get past those decision and have some hard conversations about what we should really do without blaming it politically one way or the other, because I'm not sure that the science supports the shutdowns.
BAIER: The White House is now, Lisa, out of this negotiation process.
Treasure Secretary Mnuchin is out. Senator McConnell is running it from the Republican side. But it doesn't sound like there are any negotiations ongoing currently, and that perhaps they're going to punt until after January 20th.
BOOTHE: Any deal would be irrelevant as we shut the economy down for another four to six weeks, which is what the Biden team is proposing. Also, case numbers is not a good metric to use, in my opinion, because this CDC has already said that we are missing cases by tenfold, so that's not really a real number. What we should be looking at is the fact that fatality rates are down for every age group across the country. Of those hospital beds, only a small percentage are actually COVID patients.
And then further we've seen thousands of doses of the Lilly myoclonic drug be shipped to hospitals, which could cut 70 percent of hospitalizations for high risk, symptomatic elder patients. So this is all a lot of good news that is happening that typically doesn't get reported.
Also real quick, I wanted to get this in earlier. I think there's a little bit of gaslighting with the Trump transition process. If you remember what the Obama-Biden administration was doing at this time, the FBI was surveilling Carter Page, and then it was Joe Biden that invoked the Logan Act to target Michael Flynn. And then we saw of criminal leak, I believe it was to the "Washington Post." So I think people should remember that as we look at the coming weeks here.
BAIER: Good context, to remember backwards. Jonathan, the prospect of anything COVID stimulus seems distant right now. But you have this runoff, as I mentioned before, this Senate runoff January 5th, two of them. The Republican candidates, if you're going to talk politics, probably could campaign on a little, if there was something that got through stimulus wise. Still unlikely?
SWAN: Maybe so, but I think what they're really going to be campaigning on is stopping what they will say will be a radical overhaul of government. I think their campaign messages is very, very clear. Joe Biden has to reassess all of his plans. He was planning to come out of the gate next year with a really aggressive COVID stimulus package and a corporate tax hike to pay for it. Good luck getting that through Mitch McConnell's Senate. So they're going to have to reassess and probably do most of their policy through executive action.
BAIER: Jonathan, Lisa, Bill, thank you very much.
When we come back, helping hands.
BAIER: Finally tonight, getting some help. Three high school football players in Hilliard, Ohio, learned something new after one of their games.
You see them right here. Police officer taking the time to teach that group exactly how to properly fold an American flag. There you go. That's a good lesson.
And after months without human contact, much of it at least, elderly patients in Italy, which was hit hard by coronavirus, were beaming with happiness after getting hugs from their relatives. Staff set up a care room, that was basically a hug room so they could get hugs to keep residents safe from the coronavirus while allowing them to be with their loved ones. And that is great and important in these times. We're one day closer to putting it all behind us.
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