This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," October 4, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE SPEAKER: We feel that we are on very firm ground as we go forward.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: We'll be issuing a letter. As everybody knows, we've been treated very unfairly, very different from anybody else. I don't care about Biden's campaign, but I do care about corruption.
JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I announced I was running for president for three reasons. The first reason was to restore the soul of this country, bring back some decency and honor to the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, HOST: Well, the impeachment is kind of still in full blast. In fact, just moments ago the House moved to subpoena via a letter to the White House requesting documents on this whole issue. The president, meantime, is focusing on how the whistleblower was handled and the talked about. Listen to Adam Schiff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF., CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to. But I'm sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised as the law requires by the inspector general or the director of national intelligence just as to how he is to communicate with Congress. And so the risk to the whistleblower is retaliation.
TRUMP: I heard Adam Schiff got four Pinocchios. That's good. He should've gotten them two-and-a-half years ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: "Washington Post" delivering the Pinocchios, saying "There's nothing wrong with dodging a question as long as you don't try to mislead - - clearly made a statement that was false. He now says he was answering the wrong question, but if that was the case he should have quickly corrected the record."
It goes on, pretty scathing, four Pinocchios worth. Let's bring in our panel, Guy Benson, political editor at Townhall.com and host of "The Guy Benson Show" on FOX News Radio, Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at "The Federalist," and Steve Clemons, editor at large for "The Hill." OK, Guy, thoughts on this day, this week, this moment, because it changes every few?
GUY BENSON, POLITICAL EDITOR, TOWNHALL.COM: It's been a very long month this past week. And I am very much ready for the weekend, and I suspect the president might be too. He'll be on the Twitter machine, maybe on the golf course.
Look, I think there are some very serious questions that the White House needs to answer. I think this argument that the process around how the whistleblower complaint was filed and how it came to be -- interesting, relevant, not the main story. The main story is what the president did, what the president said, and why he did and said those things.
I think it's smart, frankly, though, from the White House perspective in terms of how to fight back on this to make Schiff front and center. I don't think he is a credible person. I think he has honesty problems, as we saw with that four Pinocchios award that he got from "The Washington Post" on this. He is a lightning rod. And I think to focus on a lot of the response onto him is wise.
BAIER: Mollie, the president has seemed to change his strategy a bit, today talking to reporters directly, saying China and Ukraine should investigate because of corruption, he insisted, not politics. Mitt Romney tweeted out "When the only American citizen President Trump singles out for China's investigation is his political opponent in the midst of a Democratic nomination process, it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated. By all appearances, the president's brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling." Thoughts?
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE FEDERALIST": I think I'm going to disagree with the Guy a little bit on what the main issue is, because I think it actually relates to all of this, which is there has been an effort to get rid of Donald Trump going back many years. And been he first efforts failed, whether it was going after the Electoral College or the Russia hoax, which went on for a very long period of time, and then it went into an attempt to get him out by claiming that by being upset at falsely being accused of being a traitor, that he was obstructing justice.
And it is in the midst of this and seeing how the Kavanaugh fiasco played out and whatnot that people just aren't willing to believe what they are told is some huge problem, particularly when it's running in the exact same style as these other things were run. And so I think the problem for Democrats is that people aren't really buying what they are selling about it being a problem. They know enough about what happened in 2016, that our intelligence agencies were working with foreign governments to meddle in our own election. And the idea that you can't investigate that without then getting in trouble again, I don't think sells with a lot of people.
BAIER: I guess my point is that, first there was the talk of the whistleblower and the stories, and then the White House put out the transcript. And then it was right there, the transcript. And then there were questions about the transcript, whether it was edited or something. Then the president came out and talked to reporters and essentially said China and Ukraine should investigate the Bidens.
HEMINGWAY: It's not even just this week. He's actually been saying this going back months and saying it publicly, which is why I think people are having a hard time buying that what he was doing was somehow nefarious because he's been saying it clearly and explicitly, he wants to get to the bottom of some of these things. And so I just don't think people are buying it.
STEVE CLEMONS, "THE HILL": I appreciate Mollie's perspective. I guess I see it very differently. And I agree the American public is exhausted from these issues. I think they are tired of talking about impeachment and Russia-gate, and all of these factors. I do think, however, that when you read that transcript, you look at what Kurt Volker put into the public domain yesterday with the very clear exchange where the president seems to be wanting to get a deal, Zelensky wanted a deal to get a meeting in the White House, and that was related to a national security issue, which is whether you provide this aid to Ukraine or not.
I think this goes back, and it's very interesting. I will remember being on a stage with Tom Cotton at the convention, the Republican convention, asking him about the rumors I was hearing at the time about trying to interfere in the Republican platform over aid to Ukraine. And so this Ukraine thing has been around a lot, and it matters. When you see it in black and white from president doing it, I think it's something you can't walk away from. It doesn't mean that there aren't nefarious players trying to do it. I think you have to get --
BAIER: Is it impeachable?
CLEMONS: I do think it's impeachable.
HEMINGWAY: First off, we actually need to be accurate about what actually happened. Kurt Volker did testify yesterday, and what happened was he completely undermined the impeachment claims that were being put forward. He explicitly talked about what the strategy was and said that there was no quid pro quo and that was not an issue that the administration was dealing with. People are trying to redefine what he said as if he said something - -
CLEMONS: No, I think Kurt Volker was putting out there that he had great trust in the integrity of Joe Biden. I think you are right --
HEMINGWAY: No, he actually said.
CLEMONS: He did say that. I know he said that. But he also said, as you said, that the quid pro quo that many people were assuming was not there. But I think that is Kurt Volker's assumption. I think when you look at other pieces of the puzzle, I think people who are fair and judicious can make a different opinion.
BENSON: I think we need to see the entire transcript. The White House has been transparent releasing a lot of documents. I think the House Democrats need to do the same thing.
And Mollie, your point is well taken. There is a boy who cried wolf problem for many of the president's critics, going to this well over and over again. We can still look at each instance individually, and the polling has shifted on this. A lot of people are taking this more seriously.
HEMINGWAY: I don't know if I even buy that. I understand that there have been push polls that are trying to encourage people toward impeachment. We can't even get an impeachment vote in the House. If it were so popular, I imagine we already would have had a vote.
BAIER: And what about that process and that tact by the White House, saying we're not going to cooperate until you take a vote.
HEMINGWAY: It's hard to take it seriously when they're not taking it seriously. Nancy Pelosi, you said it would be a good idea to put Schiff in front? She put Schiff in front, and he is someone who has a history of not telling the truth, whether it was falsely claiming that he had evidence of collusion with Russia, which is obviously not true --
BENSON: Which he still says, right?
HEMINGWAY: And falsely claiming, falsely describing what's happening with Ukraine. He's had so many problems here, it's hard to take it seriously.
BAIER: Steve, this is not ending anytime soon. And this is --
CLEMONS: No, we are going to see civil war in this country for the next year right up to the election.
CLEMONS: And I think the American public thinks we have real problems out there. The economy may be doing real well, when you look at the numbers today, you've got 3.5 percent unemployment. There's some good news out there.
BAIER: We're going to talk about that.
CLEMONS: There's almost no space for it in the media. I'm glad we're going to talk about it.
CLEMONS: But there are other things that people are having real problems with. And it's a tragedy in a way that this has to happen, it will be a brutal and nasty fight, and people are exhausted, and there are other real problems in the country that we should be dealing with.
BAIER: Next up, Friday Lightning Round, state of the economy, Candidate Casino -- yes, we are going there -- Winners and Losers.
BAIER: In spite all of this, the White House celebrated today because of just mentioned, September jobs report, the U.S. economy adding 136,000 jobs, slightly lower than predicted, but the market loved it because unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent, lowest in 50 years. If you look at the changes since the president took office, GDP growth is down, however, unemployment rates you see is also significantly down, consumer confidence up, and most importantly, average hourly earnings up.
Quickly on the economy, we've got a lot to get to here. Guy?
BENSON: A lot of people coming back into the workforce, which is also a really good number there. So record low unemployment, 50 years, as you say, including a new low for Hispanic unemployment, a tied low for African- American unemployment. There have been some red flags in the economy that the media has really focused on, but fundamentally it's strong. And we saw another indicator today about good projected holiday spending among consumers. So this economy is still one of the strongest assets the president has going into next year.
BAIER: And Republicans want to talk about it, but they're not doing a ton of interviews because they don't really want to talk about impeachment that much.
We are going to take a trip to Candidate Casino. Is it there? Is it still there? There it is. Sometimes the Candidate Casino doesn't start right away, but we are there. OK, Mollie, you were denied a trip to the casino last time.
HEMINGWAY: Yes, I'm excited.
BAIER: You have $100 in chips, you've got to spend them. Holy cow.
HEMINGWAY: Yes, $45 on Warren, which I've always been pretty bullish on here, but she seems to be doing well. And I have $25 still on someone not yet running on the theory that none of the potential nominees can do what it takes to beat Trump, $10 for Harris and Klobuchar, and dropping Biden and Sanders down to $5 each.
BAIER: Wow, that's a big move. Guy, this is your first time. We'd like to see an I.D. first.
BENSON: Is it 18? Is 18 the age?
BAIER: You can bet. Go ahead.
BENSON: I really increasingly believe this is a two-person race. I put ten bucks on the field. I'm not saying everyone else is done, but I think Elizabeth Warren is now in pole position literally nationally and a few key states, and Joe Biden, he is still in there. He could totally be the nominee. He is weak, he is not a good candidate.
BAIER: In fact, fundraising numbers, he's trailing too. He's slumping.
OK, welcome to the casino. I think you were denied too.
CLEMONS: I was denied. Donald Trump preempted my --
BAIER: That's right. Welcome to the casino.
CLEMONS: I am pretty much where my colleague is, I've got $55 and Elizabeth Warren. I think she is showing some real strength, she's coming in a way I hadn't expected. Joe Biden is slipping and looking weaker. But I'd really like Andrew Yang. He's got that guaranteed basic income, so I wanted to give him credit, guaranteed basic $10 on the wheel.
BAIER: OK, all right, here we go, Winners and Losers. Guy, winner first, then loser.
BENSON: My winner is 11-year-old Laila Anderson, superfan of the St. Louis Blues. She has been battling a very tough illness, and she of course was part of that Stanley Cup run. They gave her, the team did, her own Stanley Championship ring, moved her to tears, moved me to tears. And her grace, her poise, her positivity throughout this ordeal has been just spectacular.
BAIER: Nice. Loser?
BENSON: Loser is Kamala Harris. A new poll out today has her fourth place in her home state of California. That's not the first one we've seen. She's now resorting to Beto level stunts, which is pretty grim.
BAIER: Winner and loser?
HEMINGWAY: My winner is Brandt Jean who showed beautiful forgiveness in Jesus Christ to the murderer of his brother Botham Jean.
BAIER: You should watch that video.
HEMINGWAY: And encouraged her to turn her life over to Jesus. It was something unbelievable.
My loser is more aspirational than in reality, it's the Atlanta braves. They are currently right now beating the Cardinals, and I want them to lose. Last night, the Cardinals pulled it off in a nail-biter.
BAIER: All right, winner and loser?
CLEMONS: Volodymyr Zelensky, he's the president of the Ukraine. He's a comedian, became president of Ukraine, but none of us would be talking about him, know him. I think he's out there basically saying make you spell "Volodymyr Zelensky" correctly, because he is getting a lot of air time. And so this is --
BAIER: Good for him. Loser?
CLEMONS: Adam Schiff. I was surprised, despite what we heard before from Mollie, and I understand where she comes from, Adam Schiff can't play this game unless he's holier -- really holier-than-thou, because that's the role he's trying to play. He made a major mistake this week in how he described his interactions with the whistleblower.
BAIER: Panel, thank you.
When we come back, this week's "Notable Quotables." It's a big one.
BAIER: It is Friday. It's hard to believe. It is Friday, finally. "Notable Quotables."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you. Can I give her a hug, please?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They almost need to be African-Americans, not people that are now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got to start eating babies. We don't have enough time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As for was I on the phone call, I was on the phone call.
TRUMP: Nancy Pelosi, she hands out subpoenas like they are cookies. You want a subpoena? Here you go, take them, like they're cookies.
Did you hear me? Ask him a question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just a follow up of what I just asked you sir.
TRUMP: Are you talking to me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going anywhere.
TRUMP: Biden and his son are stone cold crooked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to beat him like a drum.
TRUMP: China should start an investigation into the Bidens.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As far as I'm concerned, leave Joe Biden alone.
TRUMP: They said I want a moat with alligators, snakes, electrified fences so people get electrocuted if they so much as touch the fence, and spikes on top. Never said it, never thought of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: One week, a wild one. Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That's it for the “Special Report.” Fair, balanced, and unafraid. Make it a great weekend. Take some time off. Here is Martha.
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