This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 6, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Hey, Dana, thank you. Good evening. I'm Bret Baier.
A quick reversal for President Trump tonight over the coronavirus task force. He tweeted, the panel will continue its work indefinitely, and then, told reporters the same thing.
Yesterday, the president said, the group would be winding down its activity in the coming weeks. This comes as deaths in the U.S. surpassed 72,000. Total infections are around 1-1/4 million and recoveries at almost 200,000.
Tonight, chief White House correspondent John Roberts, starts us off from the North Lawn. Good evening, John.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Bret, good evening to you. Every day we pass another grim milestone in the course of this pandemic, and it's taking its toll on the men and women who work every day trying to help people recover from coronavirus disease. Today, President Trump took some time out for them.
ROBERTS: President Trump, today paying tribute to people on the front lines battling coronavirus disease, declaring National Nurses Day.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: History will ever -- will forever -- and I really mean that, forever. Remember, how our nurses answered the call of duty in America's hour of need.
ROBERTS: The president also doing an about-face on yesterday's announcement that the White House coronavirus task force would be winding down, now saying it will continue indefinitely.
TRUMP: When I started talking about winding it down, I'd get calls from very respected people, saying, I think it would be better to keep it going. It's done such a good job.
ROBERTS: President Trump, indicating the mission of the task force will change, and that some members will leave, while others will be added next week.
TRUMP: But, we'll be adding some people to the task force, and there'll be more in the neighborhood, probably, of opening our country up, because our country has to get open again.
ROBERTS: The president's saying, Doctors Fauci and Birx will be staying on a task force. In the Oval Office this afternoon, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, saying that meat-packing plants in her state should soon all be back up and running to capacity.
GOV. KIM REYNOLDS (R-IA): We're moving in that direction as the secretary said. You've going to think South Dakota's coming back on board, we'll have most of our facilities up and going.
ROBERTS: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, saying plants in other state should be back in business within 10 days, easing meat shortages being felt everywhere from fast food outlets to grocery store shelves.
On the origins of the virus, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, today, again, pointing fingers at China, though there still remains no smoking gun.
MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: We don't have certainty and there is significant evidence this came from the laboratory. Those statements can both be true.
ROBERTS: President Trump, also weighed in today on Dr. Rick Bright, who yesterday filed a whistleblower complaint about what he called political cronyism in the department of health and human services.
TRUMP: I did not hear good things about him at all. And to me, he seems like a disgruntled employee that's trying to help the Democrats win in election.
ROBERTS: Bright is scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee next Thursday. The senate minority leader, saying today, he also wants to see Bright before the Senate.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): President Trump seems unwilling and unable to handle the truth. And it is hurting our country each and every day.
ROBERTS: On the topic of reopenings, I asked President Trump about new projections that suggest the number of coronavirus cases and attended deaths may increase as the company increases its reopenings. The president told me, "Hopefully, that won't be the case but it may be the case." The president adding that during this time, people who are in high-risk categories, and that is the elderly and people with what we called, comorbidities or pre-existing conditions, need to stay isolated. Bret.
BAIER: John Roberts, live on the North Lawn. John, thanks.
Late this afternoon, President Trump vetoed a war powers resolution intended to limit the president's authority regarding Iran. The president called it an insulting resolution designed to help defeat his reelection.
So, he dropped the hammer on it, vetoing it. Fox is told, a veto override attempt could come as early as tomorrow in the Senate.
Another unusual situation for the nation's highest court tonight. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, participated in telephone arguments today from a hospital bed. Those arguments dealt with the latest challenge to Obamacare.
Fox News chief legal correspondent and anchor of "FOX NEWS @ NIGHT", Shannon Bream has details.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: As the nine Supreme Court justices held arguments remotely, each dialed in by phone, the Little Sisters of the Poor stood at the steps of the Supreme Court, the same spot where they gather to make their case back in 2016.
Since then, the administration has changed, and so, have the regulations governing which businesses and organizations can be required to provide cost-free birth control to their employees.
President Trump vowed to protect entities like religious orders and made regulatory changes. Pennsylvania, now joined by more than a dozen states, and the District of Columbia sued.
Speaking from the hospital where she underwent a gallbladder procedure on Tuesday, Justice Ginsburg, said today, the Trump administration is not following the Affordable Care Act.
RUTH BADER GINSBURG, UNITED STATES ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT (via telephone): You have tossed entirely to the wind what Congress thought was essential, that is, that women be provided these services, with no hassle, no cost to them.
BREAM: Solicitor General Noel Francisco pushed back, saying, Congress never mandated contraceptive coverage, instead, delegating that policymaking authority to regulatory agencies, which is where the Trump administration made the latest changes.
Justice Alito questioned why the issue is still being debated? Giving the court's 2014 Hobby Lobby decision which he authored.
SAMUEL ALITO, UNITED STATES ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT: If a person sincerely believes that it is immoral to perform an act that has the effect of enabling another person to commit an immoral act, a federal court does not have the right to say that this person is wrong on the question of moral complicity. That's precisely the situation here.
BREAM: But the Chief Justice John Roberts, and also the Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, both seem to question today whether the Supreme Court is the right body to actually decide this dispute.
The chief actually asking this. Is it really the case that there's no way to resolve these differences if the court does indeed decide they are the ones to resolve it. Bret, we should have a decision by the end of June.
BAIER: Shannon, Justice Ginsburg has had plenty of health scares. How is she doing this evening?
BREAM: Well, we're told she is resting comfortably in the hospital. She did make history by participating in the arguments this morning from her hospital bed. She had what we're told is a nonsurgical procedure for a gallbladder infection.
We're told she'll probably be in the hospital for another day or two, we'll keep you updated. Bret.
BAIER: OK. Shannon, thank you.
"BREAKING TONIGHT", new video of the confession of two Americans being held in Venezuela, after what appears to be a failed coup. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, says the U.S. will use every tool available to help secure their release.
Correspondent Phil Keating is in Miami with this story tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who was leading the (INAUDIBLE) military (INAUDIBLE)?
LUKE DENMAN, AMERICAN ARRESTED IN VENEZUELA: Captain Sequea.
PHIL KEATING, FOX NEWS CHANNEL NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: American former Green Beret Luke Denman, paraded like propaganda on Venezuela state T.V. today. Confessing to being involved in a mercenary lead attempted coup on disputed President Nicolas Maduro's socialist regime.
DENMAN: My responsibility is to Silvercorp.
KEATING: It included this contract, allegedly also signed by opposition leader Juan Guaido, the man recognized by the U.S. as a legitimate president.
NICOLAS MADURO, PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA: Mike Pompeo.
KEATING: Maduro used the occasion to take questions on live television, like a televised town hall.
They were captured, convicted, and caught unexpectedly, he said.
New video out of Venezuela, shows the two Americans being arrested. The video obtained by our sister outlet, The New York Post has not yet been authenticated by Fox News.
The two former Special Forces soldiers identified as Denman and Airan Berry. To further prove they have the Americans in custody, the Venezuelan government tweeted out this photo, showing their passports and old military I.D.s.
It also put out this video of surrender. Men on boats with their hands up in a Venezuelan helicopter buzzing overhead on the northern coast.
POMPEO: If the Maduro regime decides to hold them, we will use every tool that we have available, trying to get them back.
KEATING: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, denies the U.S. government had any involvement in the operation.
POMPEO: If we had been involved, it would have gone differently.
KEATING: According to the State Department, former Green Beret Jordan Goudreau, who owns the private security firm Silvercorp, took responsibility for the incursion, claiming a force of 60 Venezuelans, and the two former Green Berets.
KEATING: Opposition leader, Guaido, denies he had any involvement in the operation. As for the health and whereabouts of the two Americans, the Maduro regime isn't saying. Bret.
NAIER: Phil Keating in Miami. Phil, thank you.
There's a major political fight brewing over the interview transcripts from the investigation of the Russian interference in the 2016 election. The president's acting director of National Intelligence, says they're ready for public viewing.
The Democrat who runs the House Intelligence Committee is refusing though to release them right now. That could come later this week.
Congressional correspondent Chad Pergram looks at both sides tonight.
CHAD PERGRAM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Intelligence Committee conducted 53 top-secret interviews, filling 6,000 pages. And tap to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff to release the mostly unredacted transcripts. And if he doesn't, the intelligence community may do it for him.
Acting Director of National Intelligence Rick Grenell, wrote to Schiff, saying the transcripts were ready.
In a letter obtained by Fox, Grenell told Schiff that if the committee doesn't release them, he is willing to release the transcripts directly. The House Intelligence Committee, then, under Republican control, launched one of the first probes into foreign meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): If the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it, aided or abetted the Russians, it would not only be a serious crime, it would also represent one of the most shocking betrayals of democracy in history.
PERGRAM: The committee heard from a parade of witnesses. The investigation formed the basic framework of what we now know about foreign meddling and the 2016 campaign.
A committee spokesman accused the DNI of being, "overtly political", leaking the letter that the transcripts are ready. But says the panel is ready to release the transcripts which, "relate to misconduct by the Trump campaign and the president himself.
Key House Republicans say the transcripts show there was no collusion with Russia.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): So, Adam Schiff released the transcripts that your committee already voted to make public. Why won't you let us see that information?
PERGRAM: The Senate Intelligence Committee recently released a bipartisan report backing the intelligence community's findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Democrats tell Fox that Republicans want these transcripts released to refute some of those findings. Bret.
BAIER: Chad, thank you.
Stocks were mixed today. The Dow lost 218, the S&P 500 dropped 20. The NASDAQ gained 45.
Nine states plan to seek a total of $36 billion from the federal government to cover the cost of unemployment benefits during the coronavirus outbreak. That's according to POLITICO tonight.
The story says, Illinois tops the list with $11 billion requested from May and June. It's filed by California, the $8 billion, and Texas with $6.4 billion for that request.
President Trump told Fox during Sunday's virtual town hall, he will not sign off on any new legislation that does not include a payroll tax cut. Democrats and some Republicans are resisting so far. Here is chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel.
MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If Congress has its way, it doesn't sound like President Trump's payroll tax cut will be a part of the next coronavirus relief package.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): If there's any red line, it's on litigation. The litigation epidemic has already begun.
EMANUEL: Other Republicans sound like they might need to be convinced to get behind it.
SEN. KEVIN CRAMER (R-ND): It's not a red line for me, but I'm also don't -- I also don't consider it a non-starter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's become less effective in terms of a means of delivering aid.
EMANUEL: Democrats see funding for state and local governments a top priority. Their leader in the Senate notes the White House and McConnell will have to negotiate with them.
SCHUMER: This idea of drawing red lines particularly when they're not really related to what the needs of people are. It's not productive and it's not going to work.
EMANUEL: Republican Whip Steve Scalise likes the payroll tax cut idea but his party isn't in charge of the House.
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): It's pride the quickest way to get money back to hardworking Americans. And, you know, it's something that I sure would like to see us do.
EMANUEL: The woman with the Speaker's gavel isn't interested in the president's demand.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA): There are other things we direct payment, unemployment, insurance, issues like PPP, there's a great deal of money that is being put out there in a way that helps businesses stay open.
EMANUEL: And others suggest the payroll tax cut might not make the cut.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): Obviously, Speaker Pelosi is not inclined. And I think it's -- it -- it's on the table, but there's going to be a lot of things on the table.
EMANUEL: Since the White House and top congressional leaders are still arguing for their respective demands, that's a sign they are not close to a deal. Many Republicans prefer that. Wanting to wait and see the impact of nearly $3 trillion in emergency spending before they spend any more. Bret.
BAIER: Mike, thank you. Tonight, we look at what could be the new normal where you work. It may involve having a lot more personal space, new anti- touching technology, and of course, plenty of antibacterial soap. Correspondent Aisha Hasnie shows us from New York.
AISHAH HASNIE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT: Cough guards around cubicles, arrows signaling which way to walk. This may be the office millions of Americans go back to as cities and states around the country reopen.
BRETT WHITE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, CUSHMAN AND WAKEFIELD: The transition back to the workplace needs to be slow and managed.
HASNIE: Management firm, Cushman and Wakefield created the six-feet office, a demo for its clients on how to keep workers safe.
JOANNA DALY, VICE PRESIDENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES, IBM: Visible cues like that are going to be important.
HASNIE: IBM's Vice President of Human Resources Joanna Daly, says the tech company, which employs more than 300,000 people will also screen employees for symptoms before they come in.
DALY: Are you experiencing any symptoms? Are you experiencing fever?
HASNIE: Architecture firm, Vocon Principal is proposing companies add touchless technology to high touch surfaces like doorknobs, faucets, and elevator buttons. And invest in plenty of sanitation stations.
TOM VECCHIONE, PRINCIPAL AT VOCON: The idea of cleaning stations, owning your own hygiene, that's very important.
HASNIE: And if you use elevators, get ready for long lines with some companies possibly staggering schedules. But the biggest difference, according to Cushman Wakefield will be the lack of people in the office, as some businesses may rotate workers into the office.
WHITE: There is a growing consensus that sadly, this is a trial run for what may come again.
HASNIE: And lunchtime at the workplace could also change. Vocon Principal, says companies will likely exchange those salad bars and buffets for prepackaged meals.
Bret, back to you.
BAIER: Aisha, thank you.
Up next, how one Dallas small business owner ended up in jail for going to work and opening up? First, here is what some of our Fox affiliates around the country are covering tonight.
Fox Two in San Francisco as California sues ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft. The state saying, they misclassified their drivers as independent contractors under the state's new labor law.
The law makes it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors, instead of employees who are entitled to minimum wage and benefits such as workers' compensation.
KTMF in Missoula, Montana as state and federal attorneys there urge and appeals court to throw out significant portions of a ruling, blocking the first grizzly bear hunts in the lower 48 states in almost three decades.
The animals lost their federal protections but had them restored in 2018 by a judge in Montana, just as hunting was scheduled to begin.
Q13 Fox in Seattle, our affiliate there as Washington devotes $50,000 to study possible biases in the state patrol after an investigation found troopers searched people of color at a higher rate than white drivers.
The legislature has also approved $150,000 to help the patrol hire a more diverse workforce.
And this is a live look at Salt Lake City from Fox 13, our affiliate there. The big story there tonight, the 5-year-old Ogden boy, who borrowed the family car to buy a Lamborghini hits the surprise of a young life.
We told you about Adrian's traffic stop yesterday as he was driving the vehicle to California to see his sister and buy the sports car. So, a Lamborghini owner from a nearby town gave the boy a ride in his car. He did not let Adrian drive though.
That's tonight's live look outside the Beltway from SPECIAL REPORT. We'll be right back.
ANNOUNCER: This program is brought to you by Otezla. Learn more at otezla.com.
BAIER: A federal judge, says the New York Democratic presidential primary must take place June 23rd, overruling the party's cancellation decision. The judge says that decision was unconstitutional. Agreeing with lawyers for withdrawn presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang. The judge says there is enough time before the primary to determine how to carry it out safely.
New York City subway trains are now stopping overnight, so the system can be cleaned. Today was the first day for the 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. shutdown. City workers will also move homeless people who have been more visible in subway cars during the coronavirus.
The New York Police Department has assigned more than 1,000 officers to secure many of the system's 472 stations since fewer than 200 can be physically locked up.
Litigation over government lockdown restrictions continues to escalate. Account by Ballotpedia reveals, at least, 60 separate lawsuits filed in 30 states so far. In Pennsylvania, a challenge to Democratic Governor Tom Wolf's order keeping businesses closed has been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In Texas, the owner of a beauty salon is in jail tonight for the crime of opening her business and refusing to apologize for it. Senior correspondent Alicia Acuna has her story tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Open Texas now.
ALICIA ACUNA, FOX NEWS CHANNEL SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: The Dallas salon owner, who has been a symbol of the movement to reopen Texas will now spend seven days behind bars after a contentious hearing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sit down and be quiet!
ACUNA: A Dallas County district judge issued a temporary restraining owner against Shelley Luther a week ago, ordering her to close. She's been open for two weeks despite state orders salons remain shut down.
SHELLEY LUTHER, OWNER, SALON, DALLAS: We sanitize every station, the clippers, the scissors in between all clients. We're only allowing one client in at a time, we have people sitting six feet social distance chairs outside.
ACUNA: Just yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, announced salons will be able to reopen this Friday with restrictions. Back in court, the district judge in the case said the salon owner could avoid jail time by apologizing and closing until Friday. She refused.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The actions itself putting your own interest ahead of those of the community in which you live. That they disrespected the executive orders of the state, the orders of the county in this city.
ACUNA: The salon owner disagreed. They rather feed their kids. So, sir, if you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision, but I'm not going to shut the salon.
And in a statement, Governor Abbott said the sentence was excessive. "Compliance with executive orders during this pandemic is important to ensure public safety. However, surely there are less restrictive means to achieving that goal than jailing a Texas mother.
Outside, protesters rallied in support of the salon owner, and her attorney says, they'll appeal.
WARREN NORRED, ATTORNEY TO SHELLEY LUTHER: Maybe the vulnerable can just stay inside and order pizza.
ACUNA: The salon owner also faces fines, $1,000 for each day she remains open after the restraining order was imposed. Bret.
BAIER: Alicia will follow that one. Thank you.
Up next, can Congress save the U.S. aviation industry? We'll bring you that story. But first, "BEYOND OUR BORDERS" tonight. A high-rise tower caught fire in the United Arab Emirates, in a city-state neighboring Dubai.
Flames rapidly shout up the size of the 48-story building. Flame debris -- flaming debris showering neighboring parking lots and leaving metal siding littering surrounding streets. At least seven people suffered minor injuries there.
Kenya's government, says, at least, 194 people have been killed in the last three weeks by flooding and heavy rains. It says more than 100,000 people have been displaced from their homes. Kenya is in its first rainy season of the year.
Indian government forces killed a top rebel commander and his aid in disputed Kashmir today. They also shut down cell phone and mobile Internet services during subsequent anti-India protests.
The death is seen as a major victory for India's counterinsurgency efforts, but it is likely to spark more unrest in the region.
Poland's governing party, says Sunday's presidential election will not be held, no new date has been announced. Preparations have been thrown into disarray by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
Just some of the stories "BEYOND OUR BORDERS" tonight. We'll be right back.
BAIER: The aviation industry is working with tens of billions of dollars in bailout money essentially from Congress. Tonight, experts are mulling over how they use the money to save a business that has been devastated by the pandemic. Correspondent Doug McKelway is at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, tonight with the latest. Good evening, Doug.
DOUG MCKELWAY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Bret. It was just seven short weeks ago that the nation's air carriers were living in what they called golden age of aviation, 2.5 million passengers were traveling across the U.S. every day by planes, 80 million passengers came to the U.S. in 2019 by planes. Airfares were cheaper than they had ever been. But today, take a look at the main corridor here at Reagan National Airport. This is peak travel hours. It's a virtual ghost town. There are few passengers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bottom fell out. In the most recent week alone, passenger volumes declined to levels that we have not seen since the 1950s before the dawn of the jet age.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKELWAY: Late today, the Senate Commerce Committee heard a litany of devastating news from air carriers in the aerospace industry. Fifty percent of the nation's active fleet has been idled. U.S. carriers are losing $350 million to $400 million every week. New bookings have fallen 97 percent. Given the complexity of the industry and of making plans, industry leaders say getting back on their feet is going to take a long time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC FANNING, AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION CEO: Not weeks, but years. Even once orders for new aircrafts are made again, it takes longer to build and deliver a play than it does a pizza.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Passenger volumes took three years to recover after 9/11 and seven years after the financial crisis. The U.S. airline industry will emerge a shadow of what it was on March 1st of this year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKELWAY: As part of the first CARES Act, Congress gave the airlines $32 billion in payroll support, but Committee Democrats are concerned that money intended the spare the industry layoffs and furloughs is not working as intended.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARIA CANTWELL, (D-WA) SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE: We are very concerned that when hours are being reduced of aviation airline workers, this is counter to what the legislation entailed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKELWAY: The Committee heard that airport revenues are now drying up and that more money, or at least as much money as was originally in the first CARES Act will be needed just to service their debt. And when passengers do return, they are going to find lots of changes. Masks will be required, whether by regulation or by federal law we are unsure at this point. You'll find new partitions, Plexiglas partitions in parts of planes that you never saw before. There will be some form of social distancing within the cabins themselves, and new cleaning and sanitizing regimens. Bret?
BAIER: Doug McKelway at Reagan National. Doug, thanks.
The newest branch of the U.S. military is launching its first official recruiting effort. Well, we had it. The Space Force is appealing to young people to plan for what's possible while it is still impossible. Last month the service swelled its ranks to 88 when it added 86 lieutenants graduating from the Air Force Academy. We'll show you that ad tomorrow.
President Trump signed a declaration today honoring the nation's nurses. It comes as those health care professionals receive perhaps more public gratitude and recognition than ever before. Tonight, correspondent Matt Finn with some of their stories of life and death.
MATT FINN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: National Nurses Day 2020 comes in the midst of a global pandemic.
KETURAH BURRELL, RUSH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER NURSE: This year, we are so emotional. It's so meaningful. This is affecting everyone.
FINN: There are an estimated 4 million nurses nationwide. In Cook County Illinois, Chicago, Johns Hopkins currently listed as the nation's fifth deadliest for COVID-19 victims.
WHITNEY BOYD, RUSH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER NURSE: We are completely isolated now. There's no visitors, no family.
FINN: FOX News went inside a Chicago hospital where nurses tell us they are often the only other human in the room as a COVID patient dies in the required total isolation.
BURRELL: Because their families can't visit them, you are more important to them than anything. And because you know that, you're willing to give them everything.
BOYD: I want everyone to know that their family members are not alone, they're not alone in the recovery, they're not alone in their death. There's always a nurse there.
FINN: Inside hospitals, nurses are working grueling shifts separated from each other, rolling with the punches. They tell us people on the outside might not realize what they're up against.
BOYD: It's really hard to understand the gravity of the situation if you're not experiencing it or if you don't have a loved one who is experiencing it.
FINN: Nurses say the pandemic has brought death, but also the joy of survival.
BURRELL: I'm seeing them recover on ventilation, on just almost near death, and they're walking out of here. That gives me so much hope. And I'm proud to be a nurse. Definitely proud to be a nurse.
FINN: And Bret, the extra PPE, the social distancing and heightened sanitation, nurses say, is here to stay in the hospital, and it's not clear if it will ever go back to what was. Bret?
BAIER: Matt, thank you. And thank you to all the nurses around the country for all you do for all of us.
Up next, President Trump changes his mind about shutting down the Coronavirus Task Force. So what's next? We'll get reaction from the panel when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I thought we could wind it down sooner, but I had no idea how popular the task force is until actually yesterday. When I started talking about winding it down, I'd got calls from very respected people saying I think it would be better to keep it going, it's done such a good job. So the task force will be around until we feel it's not necessary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: President Trump today in the Oval Office saying the White House Coronavirus Task Force will continue, may evolved a bit to focus on reopening the country in some way, a bit of a change from yesterday.
Let's bring in our panel, Bill Bennett, former education secretary and host of "The Bill Bennett Show" Podcast, Julie Pace, Washington Bureau Chief for the Associated Press, and Steve Hayes, editor of "The Dispatch."
Bill, it seems like there's going to be this evolution, more of a focus on the economy even as some states in the middle of the country may see numbers rising and our death toll -- daily death total is reaching peaks at times.
BILL BENNETT, FORMER EDUCATION SECRETARY: Of course, there will be. There will be more deaths. One reason is there is a lag, and the second reason is this virus continues. But we have flattened to the curve. And remember, the point of flattening the curve was to make sure there was hospital capacity.
But there are obviously risks we are now discovering through staying at home, too. The reports out of New York today I think that everyone heard about is that so many people, particularly in that vulnerable age group, died at home. And of course, we know a very large percentage of the fatalities are nursing homes. It's not as if the choices go out and you will die or stay home and you will live. It's become more complicated, as I think I just suggested. But also, open carefully, open thoughtfully, open in a rational way.
But I think the thing that's becoming clearer is that it's not just a choice between, if you will, the economy or making money and life. It's a choice between life and life. People who stay at home died, people who say at home don't go see their doctors. I can tell you the opioid addiction rate is way up, suicide hotlines are way up, there are all sorts of problems incident to the shutdowns. So we need to be subtle and careful and rational, but proceed because the country needs to get back into business.
BAIER: Julie, there was a moment in that Oval Office get together, and it was about nurses and signing a proclamation about Nurses Day where there was an exchange between the president and some of the nurses about PPE, the protective equipment. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOPHIA THOMAS, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION NURSE PRACTITIONERS: I talked to my colleagues around the country. Certainly, there are pockets of areas where PPE is not ideal, but this is an unprecedented times.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sporadic for you, but not sporadic for a lot of other people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have what we needed.
TRUMP: Good. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had to change the way we did things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: One nurse saying it's sporadic, and obviously "sporadic" mean around the country, different anecdotes about hospitals and their ability to get it. We don't really have the full sense of that, do we, state to state?
JULIE PACE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, ASSOCIATED PRESS: We really don't, and it is a state to state, and when you're talking about hospitals, I think really a hospital by hospital situation in a lot of these places. And this is what is really interesting about this, the phase that the president is going to be in right now is that the White House is trying to push him more in touch with people who have been at the front lines of this.
And the president is often used to hearing a pretty sunny story, almost entirely a sunny story when he is at the White House briefing room surrounded by aides. And he's going to be hearing some pushback, he's going to be hearing, hey, it hasn't been perfect. It has been sporadic. We have had to change the way that we are doing things. That is the reality. And what you hope in situations like that is that you take the advice, you take the feedback that you're getting from nurses, from other front-line workers, and you use that to shape your response. Part of the reason that the task force is still going to be there is there is a response that is still needed. So I think this was an opportunity for the president to hear from people who have been doing this in a very real way that, while it hasn't always been horrible in every situation, it has uneven.
BAIER: Steve, the next big challenge logistically is obviously a vaccine and getting that to enough numbers to help in the situation, and the president is predicting before the end of the year. That's a logistic lift.
STEVE HAYES, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It is, and it's not consistent from what you hear from most epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists. But we can all hope and we can all pray. I think there is a sense that when you have the global mind focused as it is on one thing like this, particularly people who work in infectious diseases, there is the hope that you could outperform past performance on things like vaccines and treatments.
But I'm glad the president reversed the decision to shut down or to slowly, to gradually end the task force. The reason to do so is not of course because the task force is popular, but because it's respected and I think it has provided by and large good advice both to the president and to the governors around the country. It has played an important role in making sure the voice of epidemiologists and virologists and public health officials have been heard and that those voices have helped guide the decisions that the president has made and governors have made along the way.
BAIER: We talk about a lot, Bill, about how this is a potentially setting up this election to be a referendum on how the president has done with coronavirus on the health and the economic side. I wanted to get this on the record before we wrapped up this panel, but you think that this is not a done deal and the Democratic side?
BENNETT: I don't think it's a done deal. I think there is an almost 50 percent chance Joe Biden will not be the nominee. He's in the basement, he's not performing very well. Maybe he's better off there than going out and making these flubs he's been making, but the election is still six to eight months away. He'll be older, and I think there's a trouble on this Tara Reade thing. If Ronan Farrow is on the case, there may be a case there. And I think this whole thing has thrown the Democrat Party into a serious self-examination, if you will, if not worse. So there's a lot of talk about their about can something be done? Very unusual, but we live in very unusual times, Bret.
BAIER: All, we'll to play the tape back if it happens, Bill. Thank you.
Next up, the fight over releasing interview transcripts from the Russia collusion investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN, (R-OH) HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Adam Schiff, release the transcripts that your committee already voted to make public. Why won't want to let us see that information? So Adam Schiff, give us that information. Director Wray, give us access to this agent who was there when they set up General Flynn, and let us see that original 302.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: What he's talking there are some new transcripts that they're not new, they're part of an investigation into the Russian interference, and they go back a ways, when the House Intelligence Committee was controlled by Republicans. Now the Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell says we have been through it, we've scrubbed it. We are declassifying it, all the redactions are there necessary. You can put it out to Adam Schiff now, the House Intel Committee Chairman, 6,000 pages, 53 top-secret interviews. But it's not coming out. We're back with our panel. What about this, Steve?
HAYES: I remember, Bret, when we had our first discussions about this process and these investigations, and my position then with Republicans controlling the Congress was that we should do as much out in the open with as much transparency as was humanly possible. The same thing holds now that Democrats are in control. I think we ought to see these transcripts. I think we ought to see them soon. I think the scrutiny they bring should be welcomed scrutiny, and there's no reason not to let people have a look.
PACE: I'm a journalist, so I am always in favor of transparency and always in favor of more information than less. And certainly you get in these situations where sometimes there is an actual national security reason why something may not be able to be made public here, and now you have the Director of National Intelligence saying we have vetted these transcripts and that we should move forward.
I do think the reality is that this has become quite politicized, and I think that you are going to see some Democrats question because of Ric Grenell's political connections to the president whether he's making a political calculation in coming forward. But I agree with Steve. I do think that there's going to be pressure on Democrats, on Schiff to go forward and release this, because there are members of the committee in both parties that have wanted this to go forward, and if you do believe in transparency, you have to believe in transparency regardless of which party is in power and running a committee.
BAIER: Sure. Bill, obviously there are a lot of political calculations that went into the impeachment effort, how it was run, and how it unfolded under Adam Schiff. Your thoughts on all of this and perspective.
BENNETT: I agree with the journalist, yes. And as a citizen, I too agree with Justice Brandeis, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Put it out in the open. By the way, doesn't this seem like almost ancient history, like the land before time? You remember when we were doing this? Hope Hicks and Steve Bannon appearing before the committee. I can barely remember this.
Anyway, yes, I think it will come out. Grenell is a tough customer. Interestingly this may help John Ratcliffe's confirmation. The Democrats may decide they are better off with Ratcliffe than having Grenell in there. But it will eventually get out, and my guess is we need disinfectant here. There's something in there that's rotten.
BAIER: If Republicans are pushing to put it out, one would think it's not bad for Republicans.
BENNETT: I think that's correct, and Grenell wants to push it out. So let's let the chips fall where they may. Again, same rules, both teams.
BAIER: Last thing, Steve, the Russia investigation, how that all came about and how it finished, do you think that it is, to Bill's point, in the collective mindset of any voter heading into November?
HAYES: Yes, I think it still motivates the Trump base. They feel that there was a real injustice done there. I think there are legitimate questions to be looked into and to be investigated. I think there are also legitimate questions about the way the FBI behaved. You can't read some of the things that we've read that have come out in recent months about what some of the FBI agents, not all of them, but some of the FBI agents involved were saying and doing. It has to trouble you. I think we deserves answers on that as well.
BAIER: All right, panel, as always, thank you. When we come back, the brighter side of things. Bring it back.
BAIER: Finally tonight, a few items on the brighter side might make you smile. A Los Angeles couple celebrated the birth of their son Rambo. Yes, that's his name. Maybe Stallone fans, we don't know. With a special parade, new dad Jason is an L.A. City firefighter, and new mom Wendy is a nurse. The Monrovia Fire Department drove by with its sirens on, but baby Rambo seemed to be asleep and asleep right through it.
A family in Miami, meantime, usually celebrates its grandmother's birthday on Cinco de Mayo by watching a mariachi band play at a restaurant. This year, for her 85th birthday, her family brought the mariachis her, and she loved it out there on the porch. Happy birthday. Those are good things.
Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That's it for this SPECIAL REPORT, fair, balanced and still unafraid. "THE STORY" hosted by Martha MacCallum starts right now.
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