Joe Biden denies sexual assault allegation, but personal records remain inaccessible

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 1, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Good evening, I'm Bret Baier. "BREAKING TONIGHT", presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, says he did not sexually assault a former member of his Senate staff. Biden broke his silence on that matter this morning. We'll have that story shortly.

But first, a breaking development in the fight against the coronavirus. President Trump, says the Food and Drug Administration has granted authorization for the maker of an experimental drug to begin treating patients with COVID-19.

Gilead Sciences has reported success with the antiviral therapy, remdesivir. The news comes as the president takes his first break from the White House since the pandemic took the world's attention.

Chief White House correspondent John Roberts, starts us off tonight from the North Lawn. Good evening, John.

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Bret. Within the last half hour, the president jumped aboard the helicopter headed up to Camp David for the weekend. Little change of scenery, it's the first time in a long time that he has been out of the White House.

He makes some calls, he said, with the world leaders, meetings with staff before heading back to D.C. for our big Town Hall on Saturday night.

And today, a big move to get a very promising therapy into the hands of people who need it most.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: In the Oval Office today, President Trump welcoming the president of Gilead pharmaceuticals, the makers of remdesivir, which in clinical trials has proven effective in treating coronavirus.

The FDA today, granting an emergency use authorization to make remdesivir more widely available.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's really a very promising situation. We've been doing work with the teams at the FDA, NIH, and Gilead, for spearheading this public-private partnership to make this happen very quickly.

ROBERTS: Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day, saying his company will donate 1-1/2 million vials of remdesivir, so more patients can have access to the drug.

DANIEL O'DAY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, GILEAD SCIENCES: And we don't want any time to waste for that. And we're also fully committed to continue to expand the supply of this medicine.

ROBERTS: In her first White House briefing, new press secretary Kayleigh McEnany doubling down on the president's assertion yesterday that there is evidence to show the source of the pandemic was a virology lab in China.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He's seen intelligence suggesting it could be in the Wuhan laboratory.

ROBERTS: President Trump still vowing that China may be forced to pay a price for letting the virus get out. The markets took a swan dive today after the president suggested punishment could come in the form of new tariffs.

But some administration officials say, at this point, there is no serious consideration of slapping more taxes on Chinese goods.

TRUMP: In the midst of so much pain, to here as we honor today are a true source of inspiration for us all.

ROBERTS: In the latest in a series of White House events this week, President Trump today paying tribute to people he called everyday heroes for keeping the country running during the shutdowns.

The president and White House aides today also continuing to bang the drum that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was set up by the FBI.

MCENANY: I'm glad they kept such good documentation of their intent to slow-walk General Flynn into a trap and to essentially create, as I mentioned, a grave miscarriage of justice.

ROBERTS: Flynn was fired in early February 2017 for lying to the vice president and the FBI. Vice President Mike Pence, says he now believes Flynn did not intentionally mislead him about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Yesterday, President Trump said he would consider bringing Flynn back to the White House. This morning, Counselor Kellyanne Conway, tempering those expectations.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: The president is more likely to bring Michael Flynn to the Oval Office, to the White House as his guest. And to review what has happened to Michael Flynn, which should have a chilling effect on every American, Sandra, and Ed, because if it can happen to the president's newly installed national security adviser, it can happen to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: On possible tariffs against China, I asked the president about that as he was on his way out of the White House, the president said a lot of things are under consideration when it comes to China. It's a very bad situation that happened there that obviously has spread around the world, and that putting new tariffs on Chinese goods is certainly an option. Bret.

BAIER: There's a report out tonight, John, that the Trump administration is blocking Tony Fauci from testifying in front of the House Appropriations Committee. Anything on that?

ROBERTS: Yes. I just got a statement from the White House, which confirms that, in fact, that has happened. Let me just read it to you really quickly here. This is from Judd Deere, deputy press secretary, says, while the Trump administration continues its whole-of-government response to COVID- 19, including safely opening up America, again, an expediting vaccine development, it is counterproductive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at congressional hearings. We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time.

That's just breaking just in the last few minutes. So, Fauci is not going anywhere near Capitol Hill, at least, not for this foreseeable future. Dr. Birx as well. I imagine that they probably keep Redfield away in addition to that. And probably, Bret, anybody who's associated with the coronavirus task force.

BAIER: All right, John Roberts, live in the North Lawn. John, thank you.

We have heard over recent days rumors of Kim Jong-un's death. Well, today, North Korean state radio, said the dictator was seen in public for the first time in 20 days. Now, that report says, Kim attended the ceremony marking the completion of a fertilizer factory near Pyongyang.

That report, however, according to U.S. officials is unconfirmed and no pictures of that event have been released by the North Koreans. President Trump would not comment on the report. A short time ago, leaving the White House talking to journalists. There has been speculation, as we said, that Kim was either ill or even deceased.

As John mentioned, a rough start to -- for the month for Wall Street. The Dow cratering 622, the S&P 500 fell 82, the NASDAQ plunged 285 today. For the week, the Dow and the S&P lost about one-fifth of a percentage point, the NASDAQ dropped about a third.

If you're a small business owner or employee, you want to ask President Trump a question about how the country may get back to work? You have an opportunity, send us a video at townhall@foxnews.com or log on to the Fox News Facebook or Instagram pages, either one.

Martha MacCallum and I will anchor "AMERICA TOGETHER: RETURNING TO WORK", a virtual town hall with President Trump live this Sunday, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Live from the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall.

Send us your question, you might get an answer from the president himself.

"BREAKING TONIGHT", a classic he said she said with the highest possible political stakes, the presidency of the United States. Joe Biden says he did not sexually assault a member of his Senate staff in 1993. Tara Reade says it happened.

Today, for the first time, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee answered that allegation directly after many interviews. We have "FOX TEAM COVERAGE" Chad Pergram, takes on the issue of Biden Senate files, which could hold vital information and he talked about today.

But we began with correspondent Peter Doocy on what Biden said and the reaction to it. Good evening, Peter.

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Bret. Joe Biden never described any interaction with his former staffer, Tara Reade, positive or negative. But he did say the one she remembers never happened, the alleged rape on Capitol grounds.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't remember. I don't remember any complaint ever having been made.

DOOCY: It has been 27 years.

BIDEN: If that document existed, it would be stored in the National Archives.

DOOCY: With 77-year-old supports searching those records --

BIDEN: Look, this is an open book, there's nothing for me to hide. Nothing at all.

DOOCY: But not his personal files under seal in Delaware.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, HOST, MSNBC: Why not do a search for Tara Reade's name in the University of Delaware records?

BIDEN: Who does that search?

DOOCY: The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network writes, "We urge Vice President Biden to release any and all records that may be relevant, including those housed at the University of Delaware."

Biden believes that could make his life's work a campaign sideshow.

BIDEN: They could be really taken out of context. Their papers are position papers, they are documents that existed, and that when I was, for example, when I go -- when I met with Putin or when I met with whomever.

DOOCY: President Trump has disputed allegations of sexual misconduct himself.

TRUMP: You talk about false accusations. So, I understand that. And I could understand if he said it. I could also understand, you know, I watched her and she seems very credible.

DOOCY: So, what does Biden think is motivating Tara Reade to talk now?

BIDEN: Don't know what -- I don't know what's behind any of it, but it's irrelevant, it never happened.

DOOCY: But in 2018, Biden saluted Brett Kavanaugh's accuser Christine Blasey Ford, and said, "For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you've got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she's talking about is real."

CONWAY: Believe all women means all women. You don't get to choose.

DOOCY: So, is there a double standard?

BIDEN: And I never -- and I'm not saying any woman. Just they should come forward, they should be heard. And then, it should be investigated.

DOOCY: Before Biden broke his silence, Tara Reade told BuzzFeed, "It was really devastating when Kirsten Gillibrand and Stacey Abrams and Hillary Clinton, all on the same day, just basically implied my story wasn't true and they believe Joe Biden. They didn't just say, oh, we're standing with Joe Biden until we hear more. They've just discounted me.

Now, we've heard more about Biden's memory of 1993 in the Russell Senate office building.

BIDEN: This was not the atmosphere in my office at all. No one has ever said anything like this.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOOCY: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was watching that, and said this afternoon, she thought he dealt with it, and gave a complete denial. So, Biden might not have to say much more to prevent the powerful women who already support him from breaking ranks. Bret.

BAIER: Peter, thanks. Biden's personnel files from his time in the Senate could shed more light on this situation, as just mentioned. But the question is, where can those papers be found? Congressional correspondent Chad Pergram, tells us where we go from here.

Good evening, Chad. You know, the former vice president says any complaint by Reade would be at the National Archives.

(CROSSTALK)

CHAD PERGRAM, FOX NEWS SENIOR CAPITOL HILL PRODUCER: God evening, Bret.

BAIER: Is that true?

PERGRAM: Well, it depends where she might have filed the complaint. It depends, you know, if you went to the Senate employment office, which existed back in those days, that office has evolved three times since 1993. So, it's unclear where those records could be whether she complained to the chief of staff or the committee. You might remember, he was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time.

Now, just before we came on the air, we got a statement here from Joe Biden. He has directed and asked the Secretary of the Senate Julie Adams, to release any documents pertaining to this. And he says, "I request that you take or direct whatever steps are necessary to establish the location of the records of this office.

And once they've been located, to direct the search for the alleged complaint to make public the results of this search. I would ask that the public release include not only a complaint if one exists, but any and all other documents in the records that relate to the allegation."

You know, Bret, it's kind of like looking for a needle in a haystack but you have to find the right haystack. That's according to Dan Schuman, he is a congressional transparency expert.

BAIER: All right. Chad, what's the typical way for lawmakers to archive their papers? We're talking about the University of Delaware, the president -- the former vice president mentions the National Archives.

PERGRAM: Every office is different. We've had about two dozen presidents, they send their papers to the National Archives. Nancy Pelosi, when she was the Speaker of the first time, she sent her documents to the Library of Congress. You had to the late Senator John McCain, sent his papers to Arizona State University. Tom Daschle, the former Democratic leader in the Senate to his alma mater South Dakota State University.

But a lot of these papers and documents are historical and legislative. And sometimes, Bret, they leave out the bad stuff.

BAIER: Last thing, if the complaint existed, why wasn't it founded before?

PERGRAM: That's a big question because, you know, you don't know if something could have been lost or covered up. You know, Joe Biden has been in the public eye for about 50 years. He's run for president multiple times, he's been vetted for vice president. There are opposition researchers out there and they leave no stone unturned. They go through everything.

So, one thinks that it's possible if it exists, that this document exists, we would have heard about it a long time ago. But if it does not exist, and if there was not actually a complaint, how does Joe Biden prove a negative. Bret.

BAIER: All right, Chad, thank you. Let's bring in our panel early tonight. Charles Lane, opinion writer for The Washington Post. Susan Ferruccio, chief congressional correspondent for the Washington Examiner. And Bill McGurn, columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

Susan, your thoughts on how the former vice president did today and where this story goes from here.

SUSAN FERRUCCIO, CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, I thought he sounded pretty firm when he said this never happened. And that will help him. But I also think what Chad said is really true here, how does he prove a negative.

And how do Democrats, overall, navigate this when they are so adamant about investigating accusations against Republicans. So, those two things together will be problematic for Biden going forward. But he has the advantage of time. The election is months away, this will have time to kind of get baked-in for voters.

We'll get a sense of what they think about it in polling as time goes on. And it may be, as a terrible way to put it, this may be -- may be kind of old news by the time the election rolls around, unless, unless some new information is uncovered when people start digging into these records.

BAIER: We may chuck here from Tara Reade, in coming days. And obviously, that will factor in as well.

CHARLES LANE, OPINION WRITER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It could make a huge difference. You know, I don't think the public has seen a whole lot of her affect or demeanor, how persuasive, her body language, all the rest, and that, you know, could make all the difference.

Because right now, she has some contemporaneous witnesses, she had the phenomenon of her mother, calling into Larry King, and about the same time, this allegedly happened. And so that's circumstantial evidence that had occurred.

But again, there's no smoking gun. And of course, the smoking gun is kind of what Joe Biden is offering or insisting be produced. Seemingly very confident that no such smoking gun exists. He was very firm and low-key this morning under pretty tough pressure from Mika Brzezinski at MSNBC, but the obvious implication of what he was saying was, look, she's got -- she's not to be believed because she can't produce the document that she's supposedly file.

BAIER: All right, control room, let's play SOT two, Tara Reade from the "Katie Halper Show". And then, SOT one, which is the Biden denial. More of it, take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TARA READE, FORMER BIDEN SENATE AIDE: She just had me up against the wall, and the wall was cold. And then his hands were on me, and underneath my clothes.

BRZEZINSKI: Did you sexually assault Tara Reade?

BIDEN: No, it is not true. I'm saying unequivocally, it never, never happened.

BRZEZINSKI: Do you remember her? Do you remember any, any types of complaints that she might have made?

BIDEN: I don't remember any type of complaint she may have made. It was 27 years ago.

BRZEZINSKI: Are you confident there is nothing?

BIDEN: I'm confident there's nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Bill what about this whole University of Delaware, whether those records should be opened or searched for, at least, Tara Reade's name?

BILL MCGURN, EDITORIAL BOARD, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": Yes. I mean, I think that he'll be pressured into doing that. Business Insider says that the archives told it that they don't keep the records that Joe Biden says is there. So, I think they should do it.

I was struck more by two things, I wish, Mika Brzezinski had asked. Once she did those -- that speak to his credibility. One, if she didn't ask about the campaign's talking points, telling people to use a New York Times story on the allegations as having concluded that the event didn't happen. The Times itself said that's not true.

But the biggest whopper is that when she was -- she asked a good question, she asked, you know, how you explain the one standard for Christine Blasey Ford and another standard for Tara Reade? And he said -- he said explain that believed the women, means that you give them the presumption, then you vet their statements, and what really matters is the truth.

What that is that he never said anything like that. You go back into his believe the woman's statements. There's no mention of vetting, no mention of getting to the truth, none of those qualifiers. So, I'm so -- you know, I think he got away with a little bit of a switcheroo there.

BAIER: And I guess, Susan, that's the rub here is the last public figure who was facing a serious allegation during the spotlight was Brett Kavanaugh, and that's why we keep on going back to that and how people talked about it, and how people covered it.

The White House press secretary today was asked about President Trump and the allegations against him from some 25 women, she said that he denied all of those, and then, the voters -- the American voters had a choice.

What about that, you know, back and forth between the Biden and Trump and where this play is going forward?

FERRUCCIO: And the difference with Kavanaugh is, he was before the Senate as a nominee. So, he had to basically sit there and be grilled by the Senate about this, and be subjected to additional FBI inquiries.

Now, neither Trump nor Biden is in that position. And I think going forward, what this does is, I think this could hurt Biden in some sense, and that voters who are looking for an alternative to Trump based on personality flaws they see in the president, will now look at Biden, and perhaps say, well, hey, they're all like this.

You know what? They're kind of -- each one is flawed. And it kind of takes away some of the shine off of Biden as a candidate who would serve that purpose for the party. And I think that's one of his biggest problems.

But again, it's -- you know, he's got months before the election at this point. And he's got -- there's more time for him to talk about this and defend himself. However, there's also more time for other people to come out with corroborating statements, other stories that may come out about Biden during his time in the Senate or otherwise.

The 1990s were a different time in the Senate. I work there in the 90s. So, anything could pop-up. But again, this is -- you know, certainly not helpful to Biden. I don't think it's a fatal blow at this point.

BAIER: All right panel, thank you, we'll see you later in the show. Up next, easing lockdown restrictions and pushing back against the government, we'll bring you around the country.

First, here is what some of our Fox affiliates around the country are covering tonight. Fox 45 in Baltimore, as five planes begin hovering over the city after a 5-year debate. Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, hopes they will be a valuable tool in the war on violent crime, privacy advocates are not happy with this move.

Fox Five in San Diego, as the Trump administration suspends immigration court hearings for asylum seekers waiting in Mexico through June first because of the coronavirus.

Homeland Security and Justice Department, say asylum seekers with hearings scheduled for this month should appear at a border crossing when instructed to get new dates.

Fox 11 in Los Angeles, our affiliate there, the judge ruling an heir to the Hot Pockets fortune, and a former investment executive who participated in the college admissions cheating scheme cannot serve their punishments at home because of the pandemic.

The judge, says Michelle Janvits -- Janavs and Douglas Hodge, can remain free until the end of June when the -- will the appropriate sentence will be issued.

And this is a live look at Miami from WSVN. The big story there tonight, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent and a telecommunication specialist are accused of stealing personal protective equipment, toilet paper, and other supplies from an agency warehouse in Florida, amid shortages, obviously, caused by a coronavirus pandemic. The lawyer for the DEA agent, says his client denies wrongdoing.

That is tonight's live look "OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY" from SPECIAL REPORT. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: As parts of America attempt to reopen, there are people who feel the progress is not swift enough or people feel it's not safe enough. Many of them are doing something about it.

Senior correspondent Mike Tobin takes a look from Chicago tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: From coast to coast open the state protesters took to the streets with the claim that rights are being trampled, livelihood destroyed in the name of disease prevention.

In Illinois, demonstrators claimed Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker is using the crisis for a power grab.

BRANDON HARRIS, PROTEST ORGANIZER IN ILLINOIS: The governor is overstepping his bounds as 30 days are up. He needs to go home, take a silver spoon, and feed some of the people with it.

TOBIN: In neighboring Michigan, tensions were even higher Thursday as hundreds of protesters, some carrying firearms occupied the state House. That led President Trump to call on the governor to give a little and put out the fire.

Those demanding a return to work were countered by those refusing to work. Businesses which have become essential in the pandemic. Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart, and Target's delivery service shipped had employees walk off the job or call in sick.

Those employees are demanding personal protective equipment, hazard pay, and sick leave. The company's claim from deep cleaning to Plexiglas partitions, and hazard pay, they are taking care of their employees. And a minority of workers are raising a majority of the complaints.

Amazon claims to have spent $800 million on coronavirus precautions, and that most employees are working. "While there is tremendous media coverage of today's protests, we see no measurable impact on operations," said Amazon spokesperson Rachael Lighty.

Also across the nation, rent strikes. People who can't work and can't pay, so they say they won't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're afraid for our health and for our livelihoods right now and we shouldn't have to worry about rent on top of that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TOBIN: At the demonstration in Illinois, protesters say they have a right to assemble, a right to make their voices heard, and a right to risk their own health. Bret, back to you.

BAIER: Mike Tobin in Chicago. Mike, thanks. Members of the public are not alone in expressing their dissatisfaction and frustration over the coronavirus restrictions. Some people working in government also speaking out. Here is correspondent Steve Harrigan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE HARRIGAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: After six weeks of lockdown, the rift between some governors and local officials is growing.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): To a hard close.

HARRIGAN: California Governor Gavin Newsom, who shut down Orange County beaches after crowds formed, now faces the ire of surfers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have the gyms shut down, we have -- you know, everything is shut down, you know, leave the -- leave the water to the -- you know, the people that, you know are enjoying it.

HARRIGAN: And the city council lawsuit.

MICHAEL GATES, CITY ATTORNEY, HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA: The governor really arbitrarily and capriciously is just changing the rules day by day as he goes on what is permissible and what is not permissible.

HARRIGAN: As California remains shut down, tiny Modoc County, population 9,000 has decided to go its own way, reopening all businesses.

WILLLIAM DOWDY, SHERIFF, MODOC COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: It's not like we're opening Pandora's Box, we're doing it very strategically and in stages, just as the governor is recommending, and we feel confident in that.

HARRIGAN: There are echoes of the same battle in Georgia. But there, it's Conservative Governor Brian Kemp, saying people have the right to work.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): If people want to, then, I believe they ought to have the opportunity to do that. And that's all I did was give people that opportunity.

HARRIGAN: While under attack by the mayor of Atlanta, who is telling her constituents don't listen to the governor.

KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, MAYOR OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Putting someone's health on the line should trump economics at every turn.

HARRIGAN: In Texas, two of the governor wants to reopen, while the mayor of Dallas does not. The dispute comes as Texas just reported its highest single-day death toll since the outbreak began. For some, the result is uncertainty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it comes down to eating or abiding by something -- you know, abiding by a mandate, anyway, you know, it's -- so, you seriously think about it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIGAN: Not everyone can afford to play it safe. Bret.

BAIER: Steve Harrigan, thanks.

Up next, the Chinese disinformation campaign to blame the coronavirus on the U.S, we'll bring you that.

First, "BEYOND OUR BORDERS" tonight. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, says Canada is banning the use and trade of assault-style weapons immediately. Trudeau cited numerous mass shootings in his country, including the killing of 22 people in Nova Scotia, two weeks ago.

The Cabinet order does not forbid owning any of the military-style weapons and their variants. But it does ban the use and trade of them.

Explosions rocked the Syrian military base housing a weapons warehouse, and what the defense ministry there is calling human error in moving ammunition.

Earlier, a local Syrian official, said the cause of the explosion was not immediately clear, while a human rights group blamed an Israeli rocket attack. No word on casualties.

Police in Istanbul detained, at least, 15 people who tried to stage a May Day march in defiance of a coronavirus lockdown, and a ban on demonstrations at the historic square. Several union leaders were detained. The Istanbul governor's office, says they were later released.

China has sent scientists to climb Mount Everest, while the world's highest peak is empty of commercial climbers because of the coronavirus pandemic. China and Nepal canceled spring climbing on their sides of the mountain to prevent infections from spreading as expedition teams travel to the region and live for weeks in tightly packed camps at high altitudes with little access to emergency medical help.

Just some of the other stories Beyond our Borders tonight. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: China is doing everything it can to deflect international blame for coronavirus pandemic. Tonight, State Department correspondent Rich Edson tells us that includes a massive effort to get out false information from another questionable source.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICH EDSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: An official Chinese government spokesman pushing Russian propaganda.

GENG SHUANG, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): The U.S. established multiple biological laboratories in former USSR countries, but kept its mouth shut regarding the lab's functions, purpose, and safety.

EDSON: The story ends up in state run media like CGTN an becomes a multipronged Chinese government narrative. State Department officials took notice. They say China's COVID-19 disinformation campaign is evolving quickly, shifting to elevate and amplify Russian information. The head of the State Department's Global Engagement Center tells FOX News, quote, the CCP is employing a whole of government approach, using political, economic, military, and information tools to advance its influence.

And analysts say the Chinese government campaign is becoming more aggressive.

KRISTINE LEE, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: The negative messaging is a new dimension to its information operations that we're seeing unfold today and that may become more prominent in its influence campaigns in the future as well.

EDSON: Analysts say Beijing is also adopting Russian government tactics, leveraging automated bots and trolls on social media to create a feedback loop of disinformation, and using American platforms banned in China to do it. U.S. officials point to a Chinese government spokesperson tweeting earlier this week that the Trump administration should investigate when COVID-19 originated in the U.S., suggesting the American government is hiding that information.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

EDSON: Officials here say while the approach evolves, the goal in Beijing is consistent -- portray China as a global leader while the United States and western allies fail to take care of their own citizens or help any other countries. Bret?

BAIER: Rich Edson at the State Department. Rich, thanks.

Some of the regions hardest hit by the coronavirus in the U.S. are also some of the country's most popular summer destinations. That has many business owners extremely worried. Correspondent Molly Line reports tonight on what is definitely no day at the beach.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MOLLY LINE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: On Cape Cod, Massachusetts, usually bustling businesses are closed, and the future is murky.

SAM BAXTER, BAXTER'S BOATHOUSE: Very concerned about the summer, because, as you can see, I'm sitting in an empty room right now with lots of tables and barstools. And it's never been done before this way.

LINE: Sam Baxter is taking to go orders but fears what will happen if COVID restrictions remain. And the Waterfront Restaurant, founded by his father and grandfather in 1957, can't open for dine-in service soon.

BAXTER: I really don't know if I'm going to make it. We'll see what happens. I know that people are just going to be practicing a different way to go out.

LINE: Even when businesses can reopen, the question remains, will tourists return? Further south, a Monmouth University found more than half of people who planned to go to Jersey Shore this summer expect they won't go, 38 percent say probably not, 13 percent say definitely not, troubling numbers for those who depend on a short season.

EVELYN MARS, JERSEY SHORE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: This is something I could have never, never imagined.

LINE: The interdependent web of restaurants, bars, hotels, and motels are already struggling, and a looming kickoff holiday is being eyed with trepidation.

MARS: Without Memorial Day weekend itself, it would be catastrophic. Businesses will close, unemployment will rise, the housing at the Jersey Shore is going to suffer tremendously.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LINE: The financial toll of long closures at beach towns on the east coast could be calculated in the billions. Bret?

BAIER: Molly, thank you.

Next up, to boldly go, again. It's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: We are just a matter of weeks away from seeing something that used to be commonplace but has not happened in almost a decade. Correspondent Kristin Fisher tells us tonight it is the first step in a long journey back for one of America's signature endeavors.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KRISTIN FISHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It's been nine years since NASA astronaut Doug Hurley launched into orbit on the last space shuttle flight. But that is finally set to change this month, and once again, Hurley will be in the cockpit.

DOUG HURLEY, NASA ASTRONAUT: It's exciting, it's a little surreal based on everything that's going on in the world right now, but also a long, long road.

FISHER: On May 27th, Hurley and fellow astronaut Robert Behnken will attempt to become the first people to launch into orbit on a spacecraft that's built, owned, and operated by a private company, SpaceX, whose COO and president knows just how much is on the line.

GWYNNE SHOTWELL, SPACEX CEO: My heart is sitting right here, and I think it's going to stay there until we get Bob and Doug safely back from the Internationals Space Station.

FISHER: It's unclear how long the astronauts will be there. NASA says it could be anywhere from one to four months. But what is clear is that a virus on earth is not going to keep NASA from reaching this milestone in space.

JIM BRIDENSTINE, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: We're going to do it here in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. And I'm going to tell you that this is a high- priority mission for the United States, and we are hopeful that SpaceX will be taking our astronauts all the way to the moon in the not-too-distant future.

FISHER: NASA just announced nearly $1 billion in contracts to three U.S. companies, SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics, to build the lunar lander that NASA hopes will return America astronauts to the moon in just four years. And Hurley could be one of them.

HURLEY: It's an extremely exciting time to be in the space business and at NASA.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FISHER: When Hurley launched on the last shuttle flight, hundreds of thousands of people converged on the Kennedy Space Center to watch. But not this time. It NASA is asking everyone to watch this lunch from home. Bret?

BAIER: Kristin, thank you.

Next up, the panel on President Trump's tough talk on China. Plus, Winners and Losers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm pleased to announce that Gilead now has an EUA from the FDA for Remdesivir. And you know what that is because that's been the hot thing also in the papers.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: I think this illustrates what can happen in such a short time. From the first case that was diagnosed in the United States to now, our first step forward with a therapeutic in less than 90 days. For those of us who have worked in viral diseases and pandemics for a long time, this is our first really positive step forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: It's not a vaccine, but it is a treatment, and it is approved by the FDA on an emergency basis, Remdesivir. We're back with the panel, Charles Lane, opinion writer for "The Washington Post," Susan Ferrechio, Chief Congressional Correspondent for the "Washington Examiner," and Bill McGurn, columnist for "The Wall Street Journal." charles, Bill, this is a step. Obviously, they are really trying to do this at warp speed to getting a vaccine, and millions and millions of vaccines out by the beginning of next year.

BILL MCGURN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely, and I think that's what we have to hope for. And it's a daunting challenge because they haven't ever been done before in this kind of time crunch.

BAIER: What about, Chuck, this development and what it means big picture?

CHARLES LANE, OPINION WRITER, "WASHINGTON POST": Big picture, I'd guess you'd have to say it's the first scientifically documented treatment, really of any kind to come forward, which is, of course, something that everybody has got to be happy about. One thing that would really affect the rate at which people reopen would be the confidence people would have that there would be something that would make them feel better if they did get infected, if they did go to the hospital. And so that could have an impact on the psychology regarding the reopening, too.

BAIER: Susan, we've been hearing more and more about China, what the U.S. may or may not do in retaliation for how China handled the beginning of this virus. The president speaking out about it again. Thoughts about the possibilities here, talking to lawmakers and the administration.

SUSAN FERRECHIO, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": As you said earlier, the stock market took a complete swan dive when the president talked about bringing tariffs into the picture again. Clearly China needs to be held accountable, and not just for some form of punishment for what this has brought upon the world and to the United States, but to make sure it doesn't happen again. And part of it is determining where this came from. I see the World Health Organization declaring it was a nationally occurring virus from animals. I don't know if we can fully trust WHO based on how they've behaved thus far in dealing with this pandemic.

But this is a really critical part of this, and it's going to be so tough for the United States. What do we do? This virus brought the country to its knees. It's caused terrible damage to our economy. Some of it will be irreparable. So many people hurt by this, so many people killed by this. How do we respond to China in a way that both holds them accountable and helps make sure we don't just sit back and let this happen again? And you see the president trying to navigate this here. I don't think anybody has an answer yet.

BAIER: Director of National Intelligence also putting out a comment that it was not genetically engineered, natural transmission, but it doesn't mean that it didn't come from that Wuhan lab.

Bill, we're going to start with winners and losers, you first. Winner, then loser.

MCGURN: Winner is Mitch McConnell forgetting the Senate back into office, and I think for asking the great question, what are we getting for all the money we are spending? So that's Mitch. You want the loser?

BAIER: Yes, loser, bring it.

MCGURN: And the loser, I think, is the press corps. People say there are some folks that wouldn't have any standard if they didn't have double standards. And less than Joe Biden, I think it was more egregious that the press various agencies let him appear on TV and not a single one asked him a question about Tara Reade. I think it's an embarrassment.

BAIER: All right, Chuck, quickly, winner and loser?

LANE: My winner, Gilead Pharmaceuticals for the reasons we just discussed, though my second prize is "The Washington Post" for during an aggressive story on the Tara Reade allegations early on.

And my loser is Mike Pence for showing up at the Mayo Clinic not wearing a mask while everyone else in that hardworking hospital is doing so. His explanation for that that he wanted to look people in the eyes was not convincing.

BAIER: Lightning winner and losers, Susan?

FERRECHIO: My winter is General Mike Flynn. After two-and-a-half years and $5 million of his own money, it looks like he may finally be exonerated for lying about his phone call with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. It now sounds like he was set up by the FBI with more potential information coming out on this.

My loser is the Me Too movement and the feminist movement who say believe all women, but this week we found out that that may be only applied to people who are politically affiliated with them.

BAIER: All right, panel, thank you very much. When we come back, "Notable Quotables."

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BAIER: Finally tonight, it's Friday. That means "Notable Quotables."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: There's tremendous energy in our country right now. There's energy like people haven't seen in a long time.

(MUSIC)

SEN. MITT ROMNEY, (R-UT): The collective goodness of our people and the volunteers really stand out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They came in here to the harbor, they represented comfort, they represented hope for New York City.

BIDEN: When we've been together, we have never, never, never, never, never failed to accomplish our goal.

CROWD: Happy birthday to you.

(APPLAUSE)

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Captain Tom, that is exactly what you are, a point of light in our lives.

TRUMP: We will prevail. We are coming back, and we're coming back strong.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me and all my amazing coworkers are not broken. And we have lots to offer. I know the great country of the United States isn't broken either.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: A lot of resilience to celebrate.

Before we leave tonight, please join Martha MacCallum and me for "America Together, Returning to Work," a virtual town hall with President Trump live this Sunday, 7:00 p.m. eastern time, answering your questions live from the Lincoln Memorial on the NATIONAL Mall.

Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That's it for this SPECIAL REPORT, fair, balanced and unafraid. Here's Martha.

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