This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 17, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS HOST: I don't think we should celebrate prohibition. I don't think we should have anniversaries commemorating it. That's like Nancy, handing out (INAUDIBLE) of impeachment.
LISA KENNEDY MONTGOMERY, FOX NEWS HOST: You know what, Jesse?
WATTERS: All right. That's all for us. Have a great weekend, everybody. See you back here on Monday.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: President Trump names his legal team for his impeachment trial, and it includes some veteran attorneys from cases you'll remember. Former FBI Director James Comey maybe in some legal trouble over reported leak of classified information. Plus, the Supreme Court agrees to take on some big cases. And whatever happened to celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti? This is SPECIAL REPORT. Good evening. Welcome to Washington, I'm Bret Baier. Tonight, we know who will be defending President Trump when his impeachment trial begins in earnest Tuesday. And you will recognize, at least some of the names as having connections to two of the more infamous legal cases of the 1990s. The Clinton Whitewater investigation and the O.J. Simpson trial. Chief White House correspondent John Roberts goes down the roster for us tonight. Good evening, John.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Bret, good evening to you. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the coming Senate trial in terms of will there be witnesses and will new evidence be allowed in? That will be up to the Senate to decide when the time comes. But tonight, we are getting a glimpse into the president's opening defense strategy.
ROBERTS: Celebrating the LSU Tigers championship victory today, President Trump couldn't help but unload on the looming impeachment trial.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, we'll take pictures behind the resolute desk. It's been there for a long time. A lot of presidents, some good, some not so good. But you got a good one now. Even though they're trying to impeach the son of a b****. Can you believe me?
ROBERTS: President Trump's legal team is now in place. Seven members to mirror the seven House impeachment managers. The team led by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. He'll be joined by the president's outside counsel, Jay Sekulow. Former Clinton Independent counsel Ken Starr, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, former White Water prosecutor Robert Ray, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, and Jane Raskin, who handled much of the Mueller investigation for the president. Sources working with the legal team tell Fox News, "They are all going to have specific and distinct roles and they will fulfill those roles and it will all be harmonized with the overall presentation." In a statement about why he is participating, Dershowitz tweeted, "The issues at stake go to the heart of our enduring Constitution. He is participating in this impeachment trial to defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent." Dershowitz voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and opposed Bill Clinton's impeachment. But he has also been a fierce critic of how the House handled President Trump's impeachment.
TREY GOWDY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Dershowitz, I'm sure he's a great con law professor. There are other good con law professors. They're going to have to -- I'm sure they weighed and balances, the pluses, and minus of adding him to the team.
ROBERTS: One of the open questions in the coming trial, will there be new witnesses? Earlier this week? Ken Starr, said the answer to that question may be yes.
KEN STARR, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I predict they're going to be witnesses. I think the top one is John Bolton for the Democrats. And then the Republicans really do want Hunter Biden.
ROBERTS: But hauling Hunter Biden before the Senate would no doubt evoke howls of protest from Democrats.
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): The charges are against president and taking funds and use them for political -- his own political purposes. This case is not about the former vice president or his son.
ROBERTS: Tomorrow, the president's legal team will file a response to the articles of impeachment with the House. Sunday or Monday, they will file a brief with the Senate, outlining the president's case. Jordan Sekulow, who will be helping his father Jay, gave a glimpse on "FOX & FRIENDS" this morning.
JORDAN SEKULOW, CHIEF COUNSEL, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE: -- is a very substantive defense of President Trump and of the Office of the President and his Article II powers for future presidents in the future.
ROBERTS: Sources working with the president's legal team tell Fox News tonight, "If you believe in the separation of powers, and believe in Article II when the president is operating on foreign policy, he is operating at the zenith of his constitutional power. They also contend that the articles of impeachment that were filed against the president by the House are both unconstitutional and "dangerous." Bret.
BAIER: One this at the panel, John Roberts, live in the North Lawn. John, thanks. Markets rose slightly today to new record highs across the board helped by Commerce Department numbers, showing the highest level of new home construction in 13 years. The Dow gaining 50, the S&P 500 jump 13, the NASDAQ finished ahead 32. For the week, the Dow and the S&P gained almost two percentage points. The NASDAQ rose more than 2-1/4. The man who was one of nation's -- the nation's top law enforcement officials may be facing new legal problems of his own tonight. Former FBI director James Comey is said to be under investigation for possibly leaking classified information to the media. Correspondent David Spunt has details tonight.
DAVID SPUNT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Federal prosecutors are investigating whether former FBI Director James Comey illegally leaked classified Russian intelligence documents to the media. This, in a report from the New York Times. The Intelligence document in question appeared in two news articles in 2017. One in the Washington Post, the other in the New York Times. The document reportedly played an important role in Comey's decision not to charge Hillary Clinton with a crime for using a private e-mail server.
JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.
SPUNT: The document reportedly came to the attention of U.S. intelligence officials from Dutch intelligence. It reportedly included an e-mail exchange between former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Leonard Bernardo and official with the Open Society Foundations run by George Soros. According to the times, Wasserman Schultz told Bernardo, that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch would not charge Clinton with a crime for the email server. Wasserman Schultz and Bernardo have denied ever being in contact, suggesting that the document was fake, produced by the Russians. A spokeswoman for Bernardo told Fox News today, "Mr. Bernardo has never met, spoken with, or corresponded with Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz in any fashion. The e-mail mentioned is fictitious disinformation." This comes as President Trump continues to hang his hopes on the Durham investigation, examining the origins of the Russia probe.
TRUMP: I feel one of the most important investigations in the history of our country.
SPUNT: Meanwhile, Comey admitted internal mistakes at the FBI following the Department of Justice inspector general's report released last month. It pointed out more than a dozen mistakes with the FISA process.
COMEY: I was wrong. I was overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and justice had built over 20 years.
SPUNT: No comment from Comey's attorney. The Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney's Office. Also not coming today. The former FBI director, Bret has not been charged with any crimes.
BAIER: OK, David. Thank you. White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow, says the administration is considering a change in the 1977 law, making it illegal for U.S. companies to bribe foreign officials. Kudlow, says the administration has heard complaints about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Bloomberg is reporting a forthcoming book asserts, the president also has complained about the existing rules. Iran supreme leader is blaming his country's considerable woes on the U.S. and other western powers. But he says the Iranian people still support the Islamic Revolution. The rare Friday sermon in Tehran from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei comes at a crucial time for the embattled regime. Senior foreign affairs correspondent Greg Palkot has the story from Amman, Jordan.
GREG PALKOT, FOX NEWS SENIOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: The Iranian supreme leader blasting the United States before thousands in Tehran. It's the first time, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has led Friday prayers in nearly eight years. He had a lot to get off his mind.
AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, SUPREME LEADER OF IRAN (through translator): American clowns who say we are standing with the Iranian people are lying. You want to stick your poison dagger into the chest of the Iranian nation.
PALKOT: He branded the U.S. killing of top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, a cowardly terrorist act. The Iranian missile counter attack against U.S. targets in Iraq was seen as a slap in the face of an arrogant power. He called sad the Iranian shootdown of the Ukrainian passenger plane, killing 176, but claimed the U.S. was overjoyed. And he labeled those who protested the downing and cover-up by the regime stooges of the U.S. The U.S. fire back with new sanctions against an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps general.
BRIAN HOOK, SENIOR POLICY ADVISER TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE: As long as the regime threatens the world, it will become further isolated.
PALKOT: The prime minister of Canada, which lost 57 citizens in the strike against the plane, demanded its recovered voice and data black boxes be sent to top-level analysts in France.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: We have been assured by Iran, but we are also ensuring through the international community that there be a full international rigorous investigation on all aspects of this tragedy.
PALKOT: As U.S. officials confirmed, 11 American service members were injured at a site targeted by Iran, the al-Assad base north of Baghdad. They're now being treated for concussion symptoms at U.S. military hospitals outside of Iraq. Officials had initially said, there were no American injuries in the attack.
REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): I think it really shows that the -- that Iran intended in this action and this response to hurt and harm Americans.
PALKOT: The Pentagon also confirming that for now, U.S. forces in Iraq would stay put. In his comments Friday, the Ayatollah noting that their departure from Iraq and the region could be Iran's final revenge. Bret.
BAIER: Greg Palkot in Amman, Jordan. Greg, thanks. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, also saying his government will give financial aid to families of those killed when Iran shut down the Ukrainian jetliner in last week, 57 Canadian citizens and 29 permanent residents were among the dead. Trudeau, says families will receive $25,000 from the government. He says he still expects Iran to compensate the families but says they need to help for funerals and travel and bills now. The Pentagon is changing some of the rules concerning foreign military students training in the U.S. This comes in the wake of the three killings of three American sailors at a Saudi -- by a Saudi student at a Florida naval base just last month. The changes include no possession or use of firearms, limiting access to military and government installations, more education on detecting and reporting insider threats, and new vetting procedures. Including continuous monitoring of foreign students in U.S. based programs. In tonight's "DEMOCRACY 2020" segment with the Iowa caucuses just 2-1/2 weeks away, a new poll finds 40 percent of prospective caucus-goers have not yet made up their minds about who they'll support. We have two reports tonight. First, correspondent Peter Doocy just across the Iowa border in Sioux City, Nebraska.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER: Biden is snowed in with just three Fridays left until caucus day, he canceled two Iowa events for winter weather. Elizabeth Warren managed to squeeze one rally in
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Boy, I know I'm here with the brave, the tough, the ones who take on the snow. So, it is great to be here with you today.
DOOCY: Warren's new feud with Bernie Sanders isn't a surprise to the former governor of his home state. Vermont Democrat Peter Shumlin tells POLITICO, "What I've seen in Bernie's politics is he and his team feel they're holier than the rest. In the end, they will play dirty because they think that they've passed a purity test that Republicans and most Democrats don't pass. What you're seeing now is, in the end, even if he considers you a friend, like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie will come first." That's not how President Trump sees things checking out. He tweeted today, "They are rigging the election again against Bernie Sanders, just like last time only even more obviously. They are bringing him out of so important Iowa in order that, as a senator, he sits through the impeachment hoax trial. Crazy Nancy, thereby gives the strong edge to sleepy Joe Biden and Bernie is shut out again. Very unfair, but that's the way the Democrats play the game. Anyway, It's a lot of fun to watch." Barack Obama is trying to stay out of the primary fight, but he is the star of a new Biden campaign ad, set the day Obama surprised him with the Medal of Freedom.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We all know that on its own his work does not capture the full measure of Joe Biden.
DOOCY: And Biden believes nothing will kill his chances at the nomination.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Be fair, OK? I've been consistently leading in the polls after taking all the hits. I go down and everybody who's hit me is out. You all declare me not you, editorially in a broad sense, declare me dead, and guess what, I ain't dead.
DOOCY: But some other campaigns may soon come back to life because the DNC just announced a brand new way to qualify for the next debate. Anyone who wins a pledged delegate in the Iowa caucuses will qualify. And that could change some candidate's pitches, but not until after the campaign trail has been plowed. Bret.
BAIER: The heavily campaign in Nebraska. You're there because it's too snowy?
DOOCY: Right. Iowa is just right over there but the road is really slick. So, there you go. Nebraska.
BAIER: There you go. Excellent. Another place. Peter Doocy, thanks. There are several changes to the Iowa caucuses this time around. Correspond Ellison Barber tells us about those and what impact they may have from Iowa City.
ELLISON BARBER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The Hamburg Inn No.2 is home to the coffee bean caucus.
SETH DUDLEY, MANAGER, HAMBURG INN NO.2: It's just some fun. We usually pretty accurate for Johnson County. Outside of that, not so much.
BARBER: The real caucus is take place on February 3rd. And this year, Iowa Democrats announced the biggest procedural changes in its history. In 2016, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton virtually tied. A handful of precincts use coin tosses to determine county delegates, but things got confusing. In an effort to make the caucuses more transparent, the Iowa Democratic Party opened up the caucuses to Iowans who are out of state or country, so they can participate. They decided to release raw vote counts and also limit the amount of times caucus-goers are allowed to move to other candidate groups.
RACHEL CAULFIELD, ASSOCIATE LAW PROFESSOR, DRAKE UNIVERSITY: You need 15 percent to be considered, "viable". For the first time in 2020, if your candidate is viable, you will remain with that candidate group. If you're not part of a viable preference group, then you have a chance to move.
BARBER: The state party will get the first vote tally and release those numbers to the public after people realigned, they release those. Eventually, the state party calculates the state delegate equivalents, and the candidate with the most wins the Iowa caucuses. With all of those numbers, multiple candidates may end up claiming they really won. And right now, the poll shows it is a tight race. Many Iowans are still undecided, but most maintain candidate to vote or face time is the only way to win in Iowa. This cycle seven Democratic candidates have visited the Hamburg Inn No.2.
DUDLEY: That's the original lease with the city --
BARBER: Became a popular stop for politicians to come to eat and campaign after former President Ronald Reagan randomly popped in for a meal. This restaurant has been around longer than the Iowa caucuses. Over the years, some things have changed. They have new owners now, but they've made this burger, the exact same way for 85 years.
DUDLEY: There he is, just meeting with some customers.
BARBER: So, he sat like on this bench.
DUDLEY: Yes, yes.
BARBER: They say Bill Clinton had a cheeseburger. In Iowa City, I'm Ellison Barber, Fox News.
BAIER: Up next, how the media are handling impeachment versus the rest of the week's big news. First, here is what some of our Fox affiliates around the country are covering tonight. Fox Richmond as Virginia's attorney general urges the state Supreme Court to reject an effort to overturn a ban on guns at a rally expected to draw tens of thousands of activists Monday. Mark Herring, argues the ban is necessary to prevent chaos and violence. The Virginia Citizens Defense League and gun owners of America said the band violates their first and second amendment rights. Fox 40 in Sacramento as at least one person is dead, and at least two other seriously injured in an avalanche at a northern California ski resort. A storm dumped 25 inches of snow in the area. And the Sierra Avalanche Center has warned of dangerous conditions. Several people tonight remain missing. And this is a live look at Kansas City Missouri from Fox Four. The big story there tonight. A plane slides off the taxiway at the Kansas City International Airport due to the icy conditions there. It happened as a sprawling winter storm hits large sections of the Midwest and beyond. No injuries known on that flight. Many schools, government offices in that region closed today. That's tonight's live look "OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY" from SPECIAL REPORT. We'll be right back.
BAIER: The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up two more major cases involving divisive issues. Fox News chief legal correspondent, anchor of "FOX NEWS NIGHT", Shannon Bream is here with details. The first one actually could have a huge impact on the election.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Yes, this is big and it's actually a pair of cases involving the so-called faithless electors. These people who are chosen by their state to represent them in the Electoral College, and they're supposed to vote based on how their states popular votes went. Well back in 2016, a few electors decided to go rogue. They argued it was unconstitutional for their states to force them to match the popular vote. One in Colorado, three were in Washington State. Well, Colorado, you can see it there, removing their faithless elector and replacing him. Washington State did allow them to do it but fined them. So, both those cases ended up in court and there was a split in the decision. So, now the Supreme Court is going to weigh in. In a close election, it's possible to imagine a scenario in which flipping for electoral votes could change the presidency. Critics to the effort to allow electors to vote as they wish would have a situation which they're going to face incredible pressure and coercion, while the country then, is sitting around anxiously awaiting four weeks to find out who the president is actually going to be. We should have a decision in that case by June.
BAIER: Yes. Electoral College hanging the balance there, I guess. One of the other cases, the justices' analysis, they'll take up the Little Sisters of the Poor. These are the nuns who said they didn't want to have to pay for birth control, obviously. What's at stake in this case?
BREAM: Yes, and you know, this case has been going on since way back when we passed the Affordable Care Act, and there have been numerous court battles, including two that involved the Little Sisters. Now, this one centers on a roll from the Trump administration, which expands the class of employers who can opt-out of paying for certain kinds of birth control based on religious or moral objections. The ACLU reacting tonight, saying, "Allowing employers and universities to use their religious beliefs to block employees' and students' birth control coverage isn't religious liberty -- it's discrimination." Well, the legal group representing the nun, saying tonight, "There are plenty of ways to provide people with contraceptives without forcing Catholic nuns to participate." So, all these cases probably argued in March, maybe more likely in April. But again, all these decisions are due by June, early July, right in the middle of the heated presidential election.
BAIER: Meantime, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts has two hats now.
BREAM: Really busy. Yes, he's not afraid to add another Biggie or two today to the dockage, because he doesn't have enough to do.
BAIER: Right. Shannon, thank you. See you tonight at 11:00 a.m.
BREAM: See you then.
BAIER: The agriculture -- I'm sorry. Former New York Republican Congressman Chris Collins has been sentenced to two years and two months in federal prison. He has admitted helping his son and others dodge $800,000 in stock market losses by tipping them off that a drug trial by a small pharmaceutical company had failed. Collins broke down in the courtroom and apologized to his family and former constituents and colleagues. Now, the Agriculture Department proposing new rules for student meals at public schools. The changes include new flexibility in what are called vegetable subgroups, adjusting fruit servings to reduce waste, and expanding a la carte options. There is plenty for the media to cover this week for the election, sports, the economy, but one story rose above it all, of course, impeachment. Fox News media analyst and host of Fox's "MEDIA BUZZ" Howard Kurtz, looks at this week's coverage.
HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS MEDIA ANALYST: It was a split-screen morning, President Trump announcing a trade deal with China, bumping Nancy Pelosi from the screen, then getting bumped himself as House Democrats voted to send to Senate the impeachment articles. And as the trial began, the pundits were rehashing their familiar arguments about the charges being urgent or relevant, and the calling of witnesses when someone who wants to testify seize the spotlight. Suddenly, the pundits were debating Lev Parnas, the indicted Rudy Giuliani associate who says he was part of an illicit scheme to pressure Ukraine.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: All this incredible information coming out, confirming all the worst aspects this press was involved with a deal around the U.S. government like Nixon, like the plumbers. He was working around to get to as a political -- his proposed political enemy.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Because Democrats know these articles are so laughably weak, they have now decided to include brand new -- a trove of documents that were not presented during their Schiff sham impeachment proceeding.
KURTZ: Parnas launched a media blitz, boosting MSNBC's Rachel Maddow to her highest ratings ever.
LEV PARNAS, INDICTED ASSOCIATE OF RUDY GIULIANI: President Trump know exactly what was going on. He was aware of all of my movements.
KURTZ: With Parnas describing his documents, reporters asked the president to respond.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Get Zelensky to announce that the Biden case will be investigated. That's Mr. Giuliani tasking you that you should get that commitment from Zelensky?
PARNAS: Yes, that was always the main objective. Correct.
TRUMP: I don't even know who this man is.
KURTZ: The media arguments over whether Parnas is credibly accusing the president or lying and hopes of a lenient sentence are a microcosm of the debate over the Senate trial. And as cable news braces for wall to wall coverage of next week's trial, one thing is clear. From the Iowa caucuses to the Houston Astros cheating scandal, every other story is being drowned out. Bret.
BAIER: Howie, thanks. We'll tune in to "MEDIA BUZZ" this weekend. Up next, the president names his legal team for impeachment. We'll get reaction from the panel. First, "BEYOND OUR BORDERS" tonight. Ukraine's prime minister has submitted his resignation. That move comes just days after he was caught on tape, saying Ukraine's president, a former sitcom star with no previous political experience knows nothing about the economy. Cuba's president says he does not believe the Trump administration would drop sanctions on the island in exchange for concessions from his government. The U.S. says it has been tightening sanctions on Cuba in recent months in order to starve the islands communist government of cash and energy supplies, and force it to end support for disputed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The Louvre Museum in Paris was closed today as dozens of protesters blocked the entrance to denounce the French government's plans to overhaul the pension system. Several dozen protesters including some of the museum's employees staged the demonstration after an appeal from several hard-left trade unions against President Emmanuel Macron's plan changes to the retirement system. Just some of the other stories "BEYOND OUR BORDERS" tonight. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, (D-MD): There are a couple very strange choices here. Ken Starr especially, this was the chief attack dog against President Bill Clinton for lying about sex.
REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC): All good lawyers. What's more important than having good lawyers is having good facts. But those are all really good lawyers.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): I see Kenneth Starr, a man who pushed the weakest impeachment case, certainly, in my lifetime, and now he's up here to defend the strongest impeachment case in my lifetime.
TRUMP: A lot of presidents, some good, some not so good.
TRUMP: But you have a good one now, even though they are trying to impeach the son of a b****.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: That raised some eyebrows today. LSU standing behind the president there at the White House. This is his legal team which will essentially have the president's argument in front of the Senate, for the Senate trial. Here's how the "Washington Post" looks at this, "The biggest issue, some senators say, could come when Trump's legal team takes its allotted time to rebut the case from the House impeachment managers. Senator McConnell, knowing that he currently has the votes to acquit Trump, does not want the Senate trial to come off looking anything like the partisan brawl in the House or a typical Trumpian event. With a handful of GOP incumbents facing difficult reelections in November, McConnell wants a quick, clean, dignified trial to protect their political fortunes as well as his own." OK, what about all of this? Let's bring in our panel, "Washington Post" columnist Marc Thiessen, Susan Ferrechio, Chief Congressional Correspondent for the "Washington Examiner," and Jeff Mason, White House correspondent for "Reuters." We don't know all of the rules, it's going to start Tuesday, Susan, where it's battled about this resolution that McConnell will bring forward about how this is structured. Anything striking about this list on the legal team?
SUSAN FERRECHIO, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": I think Trump was looking for some firebreathers like Jim Jordan from the House side or Mark Meadows, people who have been his staunch allies and very vocally defending him against these impeachment charges. But this looks to represent more of a compromise. As you said, the Senate Republicans do not want this thing to devolve into anything circus-like or Trumpian. This is more of a compromise. We have media friendly faces like Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz, who can argue on constitutional grounds. They've been out talking to him, about him and the impeachment process, and defending him on television. It's a little bit of star power that I think the president was looking for, but not quite the kind of raw that might result if you had, say, Jim Jordan on the floor of the Senate defending the president.
BAIER: Speaking of star power, Ken Starr is on that list talking about witnesses here on FOX.
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KEN STARR, FORMER WHITEWATER INDEPENDENT COUNSEL: There is a huge question, will there be witnesses, and the House impeachment managers during the Clinton impeachment desperately wanted to call witnesses. They were never able to do that. I predict they are going to be witnesses. We've had too many indications from too many different senators that they want this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: And we will see how that plays out. Senator McConnell's plan is supposed to be the Clinton model of the impeachment, which is 24 hours for the prosecution, the House managers, 24 hours for the defense the legal team just announced, 16 hours then for written questions from the senators that the chief justice then asks the different sides, and then possible witnesses at that point, which will be debated at that point by the senators. Marc, I've been told by several people that they are trying to plow through this, and they may have big chunks at one time of this Senate trial that could go into the evening.
MARC THIESSEN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Absolutely. And keep in mind, in 1999 when they got to that point about voting on witnesses, Chuck Schumer voted no. Chuck Schumer voted against witnesses. So he was against witnesses before he was for them. But I think Ken Starr is absolutely right. They are going to have witnesses in all likelihood, and his legal team is going to take advantage of that, because one of the key parts of the president's defense is that if Hunter Biden, if his contract with Burisma was corrupt, then his phone call with the Ukrainian president had a public purpose. It wasn't self-dealing. So they're going to put Joe Biden and Hunter Biden on trial. And it's not just Hunter Biden that will probably testify. You're probably going to have Amos Hochstein, who was the Obama Energy Czar, who, he was the one who went to Biden and told him that there's a problem here. You have a conflict of interest with your son's business dealings. What did he say? What did he say to Joe Biden? They're going to bring in legal experts to prove the case that Hunter Biden's deal was corrupt. They're going to investigate his deals in China and Romania because it shows a pattern of corruption on the part of Hunter Biden. And then finally, they will bring the vice president himself, and the vice president will not be under legal cross-examination, will not be able to get away with saying, focus on Donald Trump, and nobody says my son did anything wrong because there will be many witnesses who said that his son in fact did something wrong.
BAIER: Yes, it is going to be a big battle if it plays out like that, or it stops short of that, either way. Jeff, the big question, really, is the witnesses vote, which requires 51, but then let's say the White House says it's executive privilege for John Bolton or for Mick Mulvaney. That's another vote essentially. John Roberts could rule as a presiding officer, but then he could get overruled by 51 votes in the Senate. It's a different argument on executive privilege.
JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: Yes, and that could lead to a lot of complications. Certainly, the scenario that you just sketched out is not the one Democrats are looking for, but if it gets anywhere near that, they are certainly going to want to have John Bolton. That says something that even some Republicans have indicated that they would like to hear from him. And I think the other wild card in terms of witnesses is the president himself. He has indicated, sort of gone back and forth as to whether or not he would like to have a quick trial or a longer trial. The most important thing that White House officials have told me is he just wants to be vindicated. And if the way to do that is to have witnesses, then maybe they will. And if the way to do that is to do more of a streamlined, quick get this done, maybe they will stick with that as well.
BAIER: As of now, though, the White House is sticking to the State of Union, February 4th?
MASON: Correct. Yes, still sticking with that, and at this point he's still planning on traveling to Davos with someone next week.
BAIER: One of the questions is this Lev Parnas. He's done a lot of media a lot of different places, former associate of Rudy Giuliani, been indicted, multiple indictments. Here is Trey Gowdy on this issue of whether he becomes a witness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TREY GOWDY, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: If you are going to make Lev Parnas the center of your impeachment prosecution, then you are also opening yourself to having to call the hundreds of witnesses who have an opinion on his veracity and credibility. So it's not just Lev Parnas who is witness. It's anyone who has an opinion on his credibility. So now this six week trial is a six month trial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: I think we should be fastening our seatbelts. I really think that, as of Tuesday, remember in the Clinton impeachment it was decided, 100 senators said here's what we are going to do, behind the scenes, in front of the scenes. Now you don't have that, and you could have every step of the way contested with a vote.
FERRECHIO: You are exactly right. The question about witnesses is really a cliffhanger because, as Marc was just saying, witnesses for the Democrats mean witnesses for the Republicans that the Democrats don't want. That may be one reason why there aren't witnesses. Both sides know what this is going to bring. And there's an overarching feeling in the Senate that they don't want this to be a circus. That's why one option, I'd say there's a 50 percent change they're just going to say forget it, this could be too ugly.
MASON: And keep in mind, John Bolton may not be the witness that the Democrats are expecting. He may be exculpatory to the president. He'd say, look, I didn't want have anything to do with this, but the president didn't do anything impeachable, and then they've opened up the pandora's box of all these other witnesses for the Republicans to walk down this Hunter Biden path by forcing a witness that doesn't even help the case.
BAIER: I don't think Bolton wants to testify. I think he wants to sell books. But we'll see.
BAIER: Next up, the Friday lightning round, Iran, Candidate Casino, Winners and Losers, we will we see what we get to.
BAIER: Iran's Supreme Leader leading Friday prayers for the first time in eight years, calling out the U.S. specifically and saying that his country needs to stick together. "What is our duty?" he tweeted. "The dear Iranian nation must become stronger. Power isn't just military power. The country's economy must be strengthened. Reliance on oil should stop. Scientific and technological growth should continue. The backing for all of these is the people's presence," ripping, as you can imagine, on the U.S. numerous times. Back with the panel. Marc, significant today that he comes out and makes this message?
THIESSEN: Enormously significant. It's first time he's come to Friday prayers in eight years. As you pointed out, he's under a lot of pressure at home and abroad. Think about what the last couple of weeks in the Ayatollah Khamenei's life. He lost his closest strategic adviser, Qasem Soleimani, who has been with him side-by-side, making every decision for 20 years. He has lost a major military standoff with the United States. He has crushing sanctions. They're going to have a $200 billion deficit in their budget next year. The Europeans have now triggered the mechanism that could snap back the U.N. sanctions, so the sanctions could get worse. He shot down a Ukrainian airliner which sparked mass protests against his regime. And he put out an American flag for people to trample on, and they walked around it. He's under pressure at home and abroad, and that's because the Trump strategy is working.
BAIER: Yes, that's a bad week.
BAIER: OK, we're going to take it back to domestic policy, domestic politics now. We're going to take you to a place we call Candidate Casino. And we're going to have $100 in chips. You have to make bets, Democratic primary. Susan you're first.
FERRECHIO: It's $70 on Sanders -- excuse me, Biden.
BAIER: Wait a second. We're going to take those chips back, ma'am.
FERRECHIO: I'm been saying, Biden, Biden, Biden all along. And I still think Biden is the candidate, he's going to win in. And then $20 for Sanders because, boy, he has survived all kinds of ways that we think he could be dropping out. He's not. He's still doing great in all these early state primaries. And then $10 for Warren who has really slipped in the polls lately. I don't see her having much of a chance. But she and Sanders still kind of competing with each other.
BAIER: All right, Jeff, $100.
MASON: I'm a little safer, but $35 on Biden, $30 on Sanders, $20 on Warren, and $15 on Bloomberg. Everywhere I go I keep seeing Bloomberg ads, and he is just a little bit creeping up in those polls.
BAIER: Yes, it's interesting. Super Bowl as well. Marc?
THIESSEN: It's $70 on Bernie Sanders. I think that Bernie Sanders is going to be the Democratic nominee. I think at some point Elizabeth Warren is going to come in fourth and fifth in some of these states, she's going to run out of money, she's going to get out, and then the progressive far left vote is going to consolidate around Sanders. And Sanders, if you put the two of their votes together, he beats Biden, clearly. Still give Biden $20 just in case, and $10 on Buttigieg.
BAIER: OK, Winners and Losers for the week. We'll start with winner, Marc?
THIESSEN: My winner is Steve Biegun, who is our new deputy secretary of state. I just came back from his swearing in today. I've known this guy for 20 years. He is an outstanding foreign policy hand, smart, thoughtful, and I just think he completes the Trump foreign policy team makeover in an amazing way.
BAIER: And loser?
THIESSEN: My loser is Nancy Pelosi. She rushed the process of impeachment, let it get away from her. She didn't think it should happen in the first place, then she set an artificial deadline to have it before Christmas, then she held the impeachment articles for a month, and she got nothing for it. And when they look back at the end of 2020 in the November elections, they are going to look back at impeachment as the biggest stumble of the Democratic leadership.
BAIER: Winner and loser?
FERRECHIO: My winner is the president from one of the biggest bipartisan achievements of any president with this major trade deal with Canada and Mexico, as well as somewhat of a deal with China on trade. Great economic news this week. He manages to do all of that while being impeached by the House.
BAIER: And loser?
FERRECHIO: My loser is the public because the impeachment trial, there will be some very serious restrictions on the press on Capitol Hill that's going to really limit the way we cover this thing. So you can watch it on TV.
BAIER: Just explain that really quickly. There are some pretty strict rules.
FERRECHIO: Very strict rules. We are not allowed to walk around and talk to senators and get the story behind the story, which is a lot of the reporting that you see coming out of Capitol Hill these days. We're penned off to the point where we can't really get anything that you can't get from watching it on C-Span.
BAIER: Winner and loser?
MASON: Ken Starr and Dershowitz and the other parts, members of the president's legal team coming back for a second act.
BAIER: That's the winner?
MASON: The winner, yes.
BAIER: Just checking. I didn't know if you were going to turn it around.
MASON: And for loser, Cory Booker had a rough week having to drop out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
BAIER: All right, panel, thank you. You're winners. We got around the horn. Next up, whatever happened to celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti?
BAIER: In tonight's "Whatever Happened To" report, celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti, remember how many cables he appeared on, how many times he appeared on them? Avenatti has gone from media darling to the subject of much media and legal scrutiny. Correspondent Robert Gray tells us what Avenatti is doing now.
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY: Let's talk about justice in the United States of America as I stand here today.
ROBERT GRAY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Tonight Michael Avenatti is standing in a jail cell, arrested by the feds for the fourth time in less than a year, his freedom bond revoked.
GEOFFREY BERMAN, U.S. ATTORNEY: Today we announce criminal extortion charges against Michael Avenatti.
GRAY: The embattled lawyer soon faces trial in New York, charged with trying to extort $25 million from Nike.
BERMAN: Avenatti was not acting an attorney. A suit and tie does not mask the fact that, at its core, this was an old-fashioned shakedown.
GRAY: Avenatti is also accused of stealing money from his most famous client, Stormy Daniels.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any comment?
AVENATTI: I'm looking forward to trying this case very much, very much.
GRAY: Meanwhile in California --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 36 count indictment against attorney Michael Avenatti.
GRAY: Accused of bilking millions of dollars from clients and defrauding the IRS.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a lawyer 101, you do not steal your clients' money.
GRAY: And now Avenatti is accused but not yet charged with trying to defraud creditors. The feds say the silver-tongued lawyer, who was once a media darling --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael Avenatti.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Avenatti.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Avenatti.
GRAY: -- is now millions in debt and tried to conceal his remaining assets to avoid paying up.
AVENATTI: I am highly confident that when this process plays out, that justice will be done.
GRAY: Avenatti pleaded not guilty in each case. If convicted in all of the trials, he could spend many years behind bars. Bret?
BAIER: Robert, thank you. When we come back, "Notable Quotables."
BAIER: Finally tonight, it is Friday, and you know what that means -- "Notable Quotables."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D-CA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A woman can be president, of that I'm sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That is correct.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think you called me a liar on national TV?
SANDERS: Let's not do it right now. You want to have that discussion, we'll have that discussion.
TOM STEYER, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't want to get in the middle. I just want to say hi, Bernie.
SANDERS: Yes, good.
CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The past few weeks have highlighted the president's impulsive, erratic, egotistical, and often reckless foreign policy.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: There was active plotting underway by Qasem Soleimani himself, and we took the leader of that plan off the battlefield.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It just doesn't get any bigger than this, not only in terms of a deal, but really in terms of what it represents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, ladies and gentlemen, let me get boring.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: So this is a very serious matter and we take it to heart in a really solemn way.
MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I'm glad the speaker realized she never had any leverage in the first place to dictate Senate procedure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So help you God?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do.
TRUMP: College football national champions, the Louisiana State University Tigers. A lot of presidents, some good, some not so good.
TRUMP: But you got a good one now, even though they are trying to impeach the son of a b****. Can you believe it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: A wild and historic week here in Washington and in the news. This weekend, on "FOX News Sunday," Chris Wallace will speak to one of the seven House impeachment managers, New York Democrat Hakeem Jeffries, from the Republican side, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham. Check your local listings for air time for "FOX News Sunday" Sunday. Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That's it for this SPECIAL REPORT, fair, balanced, and unafraid. Make it a great weekend. "The Story" hosted by Martha MacCallum starts right now. And next week you will be down here for the start of the trial.
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