This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 20, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know the identity of the whistleblower. I just hear it's a partisan person. I've had conversations with many leaders that are always appropriate. It's just another political hack job.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF., CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Reading between the lines of the president's press conference today, while he said that he hasn't reviewed it, there was certainly a suggestion that other people in the White House may have. And that's deeply disturbing that the intended recipient of the complaint, that Congress hasn't received it.
REP. ALEXANDRA OCASIO-CORTEZ, D-N.Y.: I think at this point we are beyond a constitutional crisis. This is a threat to the very sovereignty of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, HOST: OK, that's the take on Capitol Hill about this whistleblower story, and now we are getting some more details from the reporting. "The Wall Street Journal" adding to that, "President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's son, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, on a probe, according to people familiar with the matter." Here is the president and Joe Biden responding.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: Somebody ought to look into Joe Biden's state, because it is disgraceful, where he talked about billions of dollars that he is not giving to a certain country unless a certain prosecutor is taken off the case.
JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Not one single credible outlet has given any credibility to his assertion.
I said I'm telling you, you're not getting the $1 billion. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money. Son of a --
BIDEN: He got fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: That prosecutor was actually looking into the company that his son Hunter was working for, and he said today that not a single credible news outlet. One of them, "The New York Times," did a big story, and it was on May 1st, "Biden faces conflict of interest questions that are being promoted by Trump and allies." There is a lot of there there. One of the authors of that appeared on TV today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We wrote a story about on May 1st, which is this situation involving Joe Biden's son's work for this Ukrainian oligarch owned gas company, which is, I have to quibble with some of what your previous guests said, is a significant liability for Joe Biden. There is a story here. We've told some of it. There's more to be told. We're going to continue to sort of pull that back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: So we'll see what Joe Biden says about all of that. Let's bring in our panel, Byron York, chief political correspondent for the "Washington Examiner," Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at "The Federalist," and Charles Lane, opinion writer for "The Washington Post." Byron, where are we here?
BRYON YORK, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": A couple of things. One, the allegations outlined in this "Wall Street Journal" story are serious, they need to be taken seriously. And we need to find out what was said in this phone call or communication. We need to find out what the president said, what the United States said, and what the president of Ukraine said. Who brought this up? How was it discussed?
But in a larger sense a lot of Republicans feel that Democrats and some people in the press are getting spun up for Trump-Russia two. And just like in Trump-Russia one, they are using secret information to try to bring attention to their allegations. There is something really big going on but we can't tell you what it is. And so to avoid the torture of two years of Trump-Russia one, we should find out this stuff really soon.
BAIER: Yes, and the House Minority Leader said the DNI is coming up to testify next week. But what's interesting about this, if you want to call it Russia two, is that at the bottom of this phone call as an actual story that deals with Joe Biden and his son that "The New York Times" has been kind of digging into for some time.
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE FEDERALIST": You had "The New York Times" reporting on this. You also had a big "New Yorker" expose on Hunter Biden and all of his use of his family connections for personal financial gain. And that story came out and it kind of just went away. So there's a lot that is here, but I do think it is -- not just that, I want to say, also that the Ukraine was meddling in the 2016 election. And that is something the "POLITICO" reported a couple years ago and also kind of went away.
So we do have interesting issues with Ukraine. A lot of the central characters in the Russia hoax are located in or around their dealings with Ukraine. You have Hunter Biden having some financial problems in Ukraine. So there is something interesting here, but I do think people are not willing to accept the media spin that this is a problem for Donald Trump because we just went through many years of a hoax involving whistleblowers and selectively edited leaks. And so the burden of proof I think is much higher now.
BAIER: The burden of proof is high. As I did with the House Minority Leader, if he did eight times say you need to investigate Joe Biden and his son while talking about $250 million in lethal aid to Ukraine, is that a problem that will lead to something on Capitol Hill?
CHARLES LANE, OPINION WRITER, "WASHINGTON POST": Yes, indeed. And let's be careful and review what supposedly was going on here. Here's the president who has had this fixation on this issue that Ukraine has to investigate Joe Biden, who isn't just some random dude. He's probably going to be his political opponent for reelection in 2020.
And at the same time he's pressuring the president, the new president of this fledgling democracy, he's got his hands on $250 million in military aid without which Ukraine might not be able to survive. And that is a high-pressure situation and not exactly the most appropriate use of presidential authority. That's the worst --
BAIER: The "Wall Street Journal" does not make the connection.
LANE: No, they don't. But I'm telling you, that is the worst-case scenario, and that is why this is a serious matter, as I agree, and why I'd like to hear the national intelligence director at this hearing be as candid as he possibly can about why he didn't want to let this whistleblower's I.G. report go to Congress, which has a legal right to have it.
YORK: It's really unlikely because the inspector general came up to the Intelligence Committee this week and said nothing, didn't say it was the president, didn't say anything.
HEMINGWAY: The situation just described by Charles of a member of an administration pressuring Ukraine to do something in exchange for money is literally exactly what we just saw Joe Biden do. So if that is a huge national security scandal, then we need to investigate what we actually know based on the videotape confession of Joe Biden.
LANE: Because it's his political self-interest which is riding on this. When Joe Biden demanded the dismissal of that prosecutor, that was something that was demanded by every other major western country, the IMF, the World Bank. It was --
HEMINGWAY: It also involves his family's financial situation.
BAIER: It also happened to involve Hunter Biden. That part of it is part of the story.
HEMINGWAY: And if that were being done --
LANE: And so it so happens that when Biden came to Ukraine to do that, he was acting at the behest of his president and the entire western alliance, and you think he was only doing it because his son --
HEMINGWAY: This is actually another issue that I think is key, is that we have had this --
LANE: There is no such national interest going on here with Donald Trump. In fact, it is contrary to national interests as embodied in this --
HEMINGWAY: That is saying way more than we know.
YORK: The reporting on this started with a "Washington Post" report saying that there had been a promise the president made. And if you look at "The Wall Street Journal" today, they said specifically there wasn't one. So it's really clear we don't know what went on in this conversation. Who brought up what? Who said what? We don't know.
BAIER: And that is the key point, and that is what we just went through for the past two years.
HEMINGWAY: And there's also this issue of people just not wanting to let the president be the president and have conversations with foreign leaders. They have this different standard for him than they have for previous administrations.
BAIER: OK, we didn't get to winners and losers, or Candidate Casino, but we had a good talk.
When we come back, "Notable Quotables."
BAIER: It is Friday, we always have time for this, "Notable Quotables."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He's going to get into war, He's going to get into war. He's going to blow everybody up.
REP. TULSI GABBARD, D-HI: My fellow servicemembers and I, we are not your prostitutes. You are not our pimp.
TRUMP: We've got a lot of Hispanics.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: It was something that I didn't think was racist at the time, but now I recognize it was something racist to do.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Did you ask the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: No, actually, I didn't.
CUOMO: So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?
GIULIANI: Of course I did!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you committed to releasing your medical records to address concerns by --
BIDEN: Yes. I don't have withheld concerns. Man, you want to wrestle?
MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I am the vice president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will their taxes go up?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But here's the thing --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's the thing, I have listened to these answers a few times before.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you read the Mueller report?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: No, I didn't.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then how do you know what it says?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you read it right before it went to print?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We thought we had.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: De Blasio, what are you doing in Iowa? You're going nowhere? Come back and clean up this city.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, D-EX-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to end my presidential campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every note that you take of the president you put in safe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a big safe, Congressman, a lot of guns in there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chairman Powell's job is safe?
TRUMP: It's safe, yes. It's safe. Sure. Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You pause.
TRUMP: My wife asked me, why are you the sandman?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Playing the bongos to the Spice Girls with a lime green shirt that's cut down the chest are four things that I never thought I would ever do in my life.
TRUMP: You can fry an eggs on that wall, it's very, very hot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: That's one week. As you look alive at the White House, the president and the prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison and his wife, walking into the White House, thought you'd get a glimpse there as they head into the state dinner. Gorgeous, as we showed you earlier at the Rose Garden. It's going to be fun. A gorgeous night here in Washington.
Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. This weekend on "FOX News Sunday," John Roberts has Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
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