Friday Lightning Round: Russia gains in Ukraine

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," February 20, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: The White House has not said much about Ukraine specifically and all of the actions by Russian separatists, but as you look at a map, they are consolidating their gains after a defeat of the Ukrainian military in Debaltseve, and there is a lot of activity along that border, all in the way of Russia. We're back with our panel for our Friday Lightning Round and we'll start here with Ukraine. What's happening there, Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: There was a complete sellout of the Ukrainian republic by the Germans and the French and British and us to Russia. Even apart from the violation of the armistice in which the Russians essentially expel the last remaining Ukrainians, before the agreement was implemented, when it was signed, it gave control of the border over to Russia, which means Russia now owns this entire rump state. It controls who goes out. It's now pouring in weapons and men. It's the worst sellout of a European country since the Munich agreement of 1938. And that was a bad one.

BAIER: Julie?

JULIE PACE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ASSOCIATED PRESS: I think the question is how long does the U.S. and the Europeans sit here and say we're waiting to see if this so-called peace deal works. It's clearly not working. Do they quickly go to sanctions? Will sanctions work? Probably not. I think that there is a sense that it's time to look at other options. It's unclear whether any of these leaders will act on what those other options would be.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: As a general rule, peace deals don't work if one side doesn't want peace. Russia doesn't want peace. It's invading and taking over Ukraine. That's plain as day. The insistence on the West and the United States to sort of ignore that fact or set it aside I think is disgraceful.  I think a lot of this has to do with Iran. The president wants Russia on board on the Iranian negotiations, Iranian nuclear negotiations, because he's determined to have that as a success, and he won't push Russia.

BAIER: Speaking about Iran and someone who will speak about Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. You were reporting today, Julie, about the White House thoughts or actions to counter when he comes to Washington.

PACE: Yeah, there is a lot of discussion about what the president specifically should be doing, what other administration officials should be doing. They have essentially ruled out the order of Obama doing a counter speech to Netanyahu, but there is talk about having him potentially do a high-profile interview, having other administration officials out, and notably sending a lower level official to the AIPAC policy conference.  Usually a president, vice president, secretary of state would go. This time conveniently two of those three are out of the country and the president does not plan to attend.

HAYES: I find this unbelievable. It is a terrific piece by Julie.  You have the leading state sponsor of terror in the world as designated by the State Department racing toward nuclear weapons, violating the interim agreement, and this White House is more concerned with an ally that wants to stop them? I mean, we are in "Alice in Wonderland" territory.

KRAUTHAMMER: It looks like it's petty and political, partisan, and in part it is, but this is really about substance. The Israelis are looking at what America is offering Iran, in other words, our position, and looking at an utter catastrophe in which Iran is essentially a threshold nuclear state. And they want to debate before it becomes a fait accompli.

BAIER: OK, it is time to go to the Candidate Casino. We just love this. It's just built for the graphic. Republican field, it could be a cast of thousands, but you have $100 in chips. Right now as the field stands right now, how would you bet, Steve?

HAYES: So my betting doesn't change. I've still got $30 on Scott Walker, $30 on Marco Rubio, $15 on Jeb Bush, $10 on Ted Cruz, $5 on Mike Pence, who may or may not run. Same is true for Marco Rubio. And $10 on the field.

BAIER: You haven't changed your chips at all?

HAYES: I haven't changed my chips at all. The real question with the way that I'm wagering is whether Marco Rubio in fact runs. I believe he will. I believe a decision is not far off. But if he doesn't, certainly all bets are off. And there's no question that Scott Walker had a very good couple weeks.

BAIER: Julie?

PACE: So excited to participate in this. This is very exciting. So I'm going big on Jeb Bush, 70 on Jeb. It's very early, but he has a lot of -- a lot of donors in his corner, a lot of advantages. Then I'm going 15 on Scott Walker, 15 on Rubio. I think that both are young, both have the potential to really excite the base. I look forward to moving my chips around as this plays out a little bit.

BAIER: Excellent. Welcome back to the casino.

KRAUTHAMMER: I've got a three-way dead heat, $30 each on Walker, Rubio, Bush. Walker had a slight stumble on evolution that he was asked about. Rubio has been treading water. And Bush, even though he had a lousy speech on foreign affairs, is raking in the money. And, I always reserve $10 for wine and women. At least I know I come out ahead in some sense.

BAIER: Wow, 10 bucks. That gets you the house chardonnay or something else?

KRAUTHAMMER: That gets me a coke and a pretzel.


BAIER: As the anchor, I play the field with $100. We do this every Friday. That's it for the panel, but stay tuned for some creative reporting.

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