This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 20, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


MAJOR GENERAL HOSSEIN SALAMI, IRAN'S REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CHIEF (through translator): Early this morning the air defense system of the Revolutionary Guards aerospace division bravely shot down an unmanned U.S. spy aircraft which trespassed our borders and was violating our national security boundary.

LT. GEN. JOSEPH GUASTELLA, U.S. AIR FORCES CENTRAL COMMAND: Iranian reports that this aircraft was shot down over Iran are categorically false.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: We are not going to be talking too much about it. You're going to find out, they made a very big mistake.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Here is what Iran needs to get ready for -- severe pain inside their country, that their capabilities pale in comparison to ours. If they are itching for a fight, they're going to get one.

REP. ELIOT ENGEL, D-N.Y.: I fear military action because I don't want to get us into a war. But we will have to see.


MIKE EMANUEL, ANCHOR: So the Iranians shoot down a U.S. military drone, a very sophisticated drone, escalating tensions there. You see it on the map, the Strait of Hormuz where much of the world's oil travels through. And so this has really escalated tensions both here in Washington and around the world. Some leading senators commented on the possibility of whether this could lead to war.


GRAHAM: We are a lot closer today than we were yesterday, and only God knows what tomorrow brings.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The president may not intend to go to war here, but we are worried that he and the administration may bumble into a war. We told the room that the Democratic position is that Congressional approval must be required before funding any conflict in Iran.


EMANUEL: That was Leader Schumer after top Congressional officials were brought to the White House Situation Room for a briefing.

With that, let's bring in our panel, Charles Hurt, opinion editor for "The Washington Times," Amy Walter, national editor for the "Cook Political Report," and Matthew Continetti, editor in chief of the "Washington Free Beacon." Panel, welcome. Matthew, your thoughts on the situation with Iran tonight?

MATTHEW CONTINETTI, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "WASHINGTON FREE BEACON": I think it's pretty clear that the Iranian strategy is to provoke the United States into a large scale military response in order to divide us from our European allies, whom the Iranians are trying basically to hold hostage and keep them in two the JCPOA, the Obama nuclear deal.

So far, President Trump has not given in to this strategy. He continues to have a foreign policy of restraint here. It is Iran who is being provocative, not the United States. And I would just add there is no equivalence between what Cent Com says and what the IRGC disinformation campaign is saying about where this drone was shot down or who has responsibility here. There is also no equivalent between economic sanctions, which we imposed on Iran, and terrorist acts such as blowing up tankers trying to have safe passage through the Strait of Hormuz or now downing an American surveillance drone.

EMANUEL: I want to play what the president was asked about in the Oval Office today, and I'll get you to react, Amy. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe that members of your administration are trying to push you into conflict with Iran?

TRUMP: No, not at all. Not at all. In fact, in many cases it's the opposite. But I will say, look, I said I want to get out of these endless wars. I campaigned on that, I want to get out. We've been in Afghanistan for 19 years. As you know we've reduced very substantially in Afghanistan.

This is a new wrinkle, this is a new fly in the ointment, what happened shooting down the drone. And this country will not stand for it, that I can tell you.


EMANUEL: To the president suggesting it's a huge mistake. Amy, where are you on this?

AMY WALTER, NATIONAL EDITOR, "COOK POLITICAL REPORT": Suggesting it's a huge mistake, but also suggesting that just because you are hearing from other people in the administration or, as we saw, we saw Senator Lindsey Graham suggesting that we are very, very close to war, that's not where this president has been and it's never where he has wanted to be in any of the dealings, whether it is with North Korea, whether it's with China, or here.

But he also has sold himself as the great negotiator. That was his selling point as a candidate, still as a president. And being able to negotiate either a better deal with Iran or a better deal with North Korea or a better deal with China, some on trade, some on security, hasn't come to pass yet. And that's going to be the challenge going forward in these next two years as he's running for reelection, telling voters that, yes, I came in to make these changes, but how many of them actually were successful?

EMANUEL: Charlie, your thoughts?

CHARLES HURT, OPINION EDITOR, "WASHINGTON TIMES": First of all, does anyone doubt at this point that Iran was responsible for the attacks on the oil tankers last week? I think this action sort of blows that out the window. Clearly Iran is desperate, and I think, as Matthew said, they are bruising for some sort of conflict with the United States. Imagine for a minute how desperate the domestic and economic situation must be inside of Iran today if a hot war with the United States would be an improvement of the situation.

The last thing is the clip you just showed, where the president reiterated that he does not want to get into -- he wants to put an end to these endless wars. I still have faith that he does want to avoid war. And there's a huge difference between making sure that tankers have safe passage around the world and protecting American interests abroad, and an all-out hot war.

EMANUEL: Interesting that this Iranian news overshadowed the Canadian prime minister being in town on another big foreign policy issue in terms of getting a trade deal done with Canada and Mexico, getting it across the finish line. Take a listen to this and I will get you guys to react.


TRUMP: I really believe that Nancy Pelosi and the House will approve it. I think the Senate will approve it rapidly. It's going to be very bipartisan. It's great for farmers, manufacturers, really great for everybody.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: But this is just a really great opportunity for us to continue to work and to develop and to build on the closest alliance in the world.

ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, MEXICAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I celebrate the ratifying of this treaty. We jumped ahead before Canada the United States. We reiterate our determination and conviction to maintain the ties of friendship and cooperation for development with Canada and the United States.


EMANUEL: So briefly, thoughts on the trade deal, does it get across the finish line?

HURT: One thing, I don't know, because, of course, you have Democrats who absolutely do not want to give them this win, but it's because they don't want to give him a win, and that's a bad position for Democrats to be in.

WALTER: And the clock is really ticking. If this does not get done within these next few months, nothing is going to happen in 2020. We know that for sure. So it really, truly has to happen before these guys go on their summer break.

EMANUEL: Matthew, quick thought?

CONTINETTI: Mexico and Canada's support helps, but it might not be enough to convince Pelosi to give Trump a win before the election.

EMANUEL: All right, next up, Joe Biden refuses apologize for saying segregationist senators used to get things done.



JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here's the deal. What I was talking about, I could not have disagreed with Jim Eastland more. He was a segregationist.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE SPEAKER: He considers certain things a resource, that he has worked across the aisle. That's what he was saying.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They were misplaced and, frankly, misinformed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to apologize like Cory Booker has called for?

BIDEN: Apologize for what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cory Booker has called for it.

BIDEN: Cory should apologize.

SEN. CORY BOOKER, D-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For his posture to be to me, I've done nothing wrong, you should apologize, I'm not a racist, is so insulting and so missing the larger point.

BIDEN: He knows better. There's not a racist bone in my body.


EMANUEL: After that dustup, Fox News confirmed that there was a phone call between former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Cory Booker. The readout from the Booker campaign is that "Cory shared directly what he said publicly, including helping Vice President Biden understand why the word "boy" is so painful to so many. Cory believes that Vice President Biden should take responsibility for what he said and apologize to those who were hurt."

And we're back with our panel, Charlie, Amy, and Matthew. Matthew, your thoughts on this battle with the Democrats.

CONTINETTI: Pass the popcorn. As a conservative, I am loving it. This is the second time in one month that Joe Biden's mouth has gotten him in trouble. They first was over the Hyde Amendment where he was moving toward the Democratic position, but it was a flipflop nonetheless on taxpayer funding of abortion. And now it's over this issue, over how he was friends with or collaborated with or was able to work civilly with segregationist senators decades ago. Presidential elections are about the future, not about segregation, and this is a bad week for Joe Biden. And Democrats have to understand, Joe Biden's mouth has been getting him in trouble for half a century. They better get used to it.

WALTER: So here's the funny thing. I remember sitting at this desk back in the 2016 election when many of us, me included, were saying things like, candidate Trump, you can't say McCain is not a war hero, you can't say things about free trade, you can't say these things about, fill in the blank, or his positions that he's held in the past. He's never going to make it through the primary.

So I think we have to wait a little bit to see if these are the sorts of things that are bubbling up here in Washington in the Twittersphere, whether or not they're actually penetrating with voters.

The second thing that I think is really important and goes to a bigger problem for Biden right now, though, is he's selling himself as the great compromiser. I'm going to come back and bring these things that people say they pine for that no longer exist in Washington, working across the aisle. But when you ask voters, and Pew just came out with a poll today and asked Democrats and Republicans, do you think that a Democrat, if you're a Democrat, should go work with a Republican, or a Republican should work a Democrat for elected officials? Less than half of Democrats and Republicans think that that's a good idea. They all want the other side to compromise with them, but they don't think their side should have to compromise with the other party. So even that as a selling point is not a very big winning message at this moment in time.

EMANUEL: Charlie, do you think the brander in chief, President Trump, is sitting back watching this and getting new material?

HURT: Yes, I think he definitely is. And I think Amy is -- I always liked the idea of taking a step back and taking a breath and seeing how things turn out. But the differences between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Donald Trump was saying things that were shocking around here, but he was saying things that a lot of people outside of Washington, that related to them, that they understood, that most politician didn't say, but he was not afraid to say it.

Biden just says stupid things, like really dumb things that have no real meaning. I have to say, that of the stupid things that he has said, this is kind of a funny one to use to accuse him of being a racist. But it's also, it sort of like what comes around goes around. It's amusing because of course, Joe Biden himself, obviously the whole Democratic Party has done this, does this regularly. But Joe Biden himself has done it. He told a gathering of black voters in 2012 that Mitt Romney was going to put him back in chains and he launched that despicable campaign launch where he lied about what Donald Trump said in Charlottesville. And so -- I just find it amusing. I think it is unfair, but it's amusing because he's done it to other people.

EMANUEL: Of course, some leading Democrats on the Hill today were asked about this fallout. Take a listen.


SEN. CHRISTOPHER COONS, D-DEL.: In the upcoming debates in Miami, every minute that is spent attacking each other is a good minute for Donald Trump's reelection campaign.

PELOSI: Let them all debate it. I think any one of them would be a better president than the current occupant of the White House.


EMANUEL: So I guess the question is does this have any lasting damage.

WALTER: And that is going to be at the question. I think we've known from the very beginning of this, what's the durability of Joe Biden. Are these every week going to issues that over the course of time become just too heavy for him to handle?

And second, if not Joe Biden, then who? Who fills in? The question, the reason he is in first is because he is seen as the most electable. If it's not Joe Biden, then who is it, and we don't have an answer for that.

EMANUEL: And of course, Democratic voters just want to win, baby, right.

CONTINETTI: And as soon as that aura of electability rubs off, though, Biden is in serious trouble. He's the frontrunner now, but that might not last through the end of the year.

EMANUEL: Does this campaign have legs, Charlie?

HURT: I don't know. He's been part of the problem around here for almost 50 years. I just see a real problem, even running against an incumbent, I have a real problem putting all those eggs in Joe Biden as the guy who is going to take out the guy that promised to come in from the outside of Washington and turn this place upside down.

EMANUEL: Does he ultimately apologize?


HURT: He will say whatever he needs to say, that's for sure.

CONTINETTI: Not on this because it seems to be the basis of his campaign. As Amy was saying, he wants to run as the person who is going to bring all sides together. So you can see how forcefully he is defending these kind of politically disastrous remarks.

HURT: Except the situation with the Hyde Amendment, I think that undoes that position even more.

CONTINETTI: In a general election.

EMANUEL: All right, panel, thanks.

When we come back, a young ballplayer with an inspirational story.


EMANUEL: Finally tonight, a young athlete with big dreams.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is as good as you will find in the country. He can throw at any time in any count. His curveball is the best you're going to find around here at our age group.


EMANUEL: Thirteen-year-old Grayden Lucas was born without part of his right arm and hand, but he is still an all-star on the baseball field. Grayden plays for a youth travel team in Idaho, and he wants to be a major league ballplayer after college. Baseball runs in the family. Grayden's dad is a former college player, and his brother was just drafted by the Miami Marlins earlier this month. And he is quite an inspiration. You go, Grayden.

We thank you for watching “Special Report” this evening. I'm Mike Emanuel in Washington. Stay with Fox News all evening for the latest updates on the situation in Iran. We have you covered.

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