This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 15, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, it was pretty obvious, like the senator was saying. All right, so, that was a lot of fun.
GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS HOST: Was it?
PERINO: And it's -- it really was. That's it for us. You're going to set your DVRs because you're never going to miss an episode of THE FIVE. Special --
GUTFELD: Are you? Unless they cut in again.
PERINO: Always set your DVRs.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS HOST: Hey, you don't hold the Bret Baier.
PERINO: OK, "SPECIAL REPORT" is up next.
GUTFELD: (INAUDIBLE) positioned.
WILLIAMS: Mr. Greg.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Good evening, welcome to Washington. I'm Bret Baier. Breaking tonight, the House Democrats have delivered their impeachment message, the trial will get underway in the U.S. Senate. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has named her management, House management team for that trial. President Trump, again lashing out, calling impeachment a con job by the do-nothing Democrats as they walked from the House to the Senate and pomp and circumstance moments ago. We have "FOX TEAM COVERAGE". John Roberts at the White House with what else the president saying about impeachment and a big China trade deal today. We begin though with Chief Congressional Correspondent, Mike Emanuel, on Capitol Hill. Good evening, Mike.
MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bret, good evening. A pretty intense day here on Capitol Hill as the hyper-partisan House finishes up its part of impeachment. Next up, attorneys for President Trump and House Democrats will battle it out in a trial.
EMANUEL: With a stroke of a pen, impeachment is now on to the United States' Senate. The vote in the House to send the articles of impeachment and the managers who will prosecute the case to the Senate was along party lines 228 to 193. With the leading impeachment manager, intelligence chairman Adam Schiff, making his final pitch to his House colleagues.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): President Trump put his own personal interests above the national interests, above our national security. And if not stopped, he will do it again.
EMANUEL: Ahead of the vote, GOP leader Kevin McCarthy hammered Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats for arguing impeachment was an emergency and then holding the articles for four weeks.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Over the last month, we saw the justification for running the fastest, thinnest and weakest impeachment in American history crumble.
EMANUEL: Before the vote, Speaker Pelosi named seven members with prior legal experience as managers. Schiff, a former federal prosecutor will lead the prosecution. Also, joining the team, judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler of New York, who was a visible figure during the House impeachment probe. Zoe Lofgren of California was a Judiciary Committee staffer during President Nixon's investigation and was a member of the Judiciary Committee during the Clinton impeachment. Hakeem Jeffries of New York is a former corporate lawyer and also the Democratic caucus chairman, the party's number five leadership spot. Val Demings of Florida previously served as the Orlando police chief. And in an add to the 2018 class that put the Democrats in the majority, Pelosi picked two freshmen, Jason Crow of Colorado, a former private attorney, and U.S. Army Ranger. And Sylvia Garcia of Texas, a municipal court judge in Houston. Together, the managers are tasked with presenting the case for impeachment.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA): The emphasis is on litigators. The emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom. The emphasis is making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Impeachment trial of Donald John Trump.
EMANUEL: With the scene shift into the Senate, majority leader Mitch McConnell rip the Speaker in her team, accusing them of killing a 230-year tradition of rejecting purely political impeachments.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Speaker Pelosi and the House have taken our nation down a dangerous road. House Democrats may have descended into pure factionalism, but the United States Senate must not.
EMANUEL: Tomorrow, the House managers will be invited to return to the Senate to exhibit the articles. The Senate will formally receive the articles of impeachment and Chief Justice John Roberts will be sworn in, to his presiding role, and all 100 senators will be sworn in as well. Bret.
BAIER: Mike Emanuel, live on the Hill. Big day there. Mike, thanks. The impeachment drama did not stop President Trump from celebrating what he hopes will be regarded as a major achievement of his first term. The first phase of a new trade deal with China. We'll talk about what all of this means with treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, in just a minute, live from the White House. But first, chief White House correspondent John Roberts on what was a historic day in two very different ways.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In the East Room, to sign the historic first trade deal with China, President Trump today took a detour toward impeachment, joking that many of the Republican House members in attendance needed to leave to go vote.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'd rather have you voting than sitting here, listening to me introduce you. OK? They have a hoax going on over there, let's take care of it.
ROBERTS: The president, insisted the process in the Senate is "going very well." But, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this morning said, President Trump, has been forever branded with a scarlet eye.
PELOSI: Good morning, everyone. On December 18th, House of Representatives impeached the president of the United States. An impeachment that will last forever.
ROBERTS: The White House press secretary took a blowtorch to Pelosi. In a statement, Stephanie Grisham, saying, "The only thing Speaker Pelosi has achieved with this sham, illegitimate impeachment process, is to prove she is focused on politics instead of the American people." President Trump ripped the Democrats continued demands for documents and witnesses. And last night's dump of material from Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas. The President tweeting, "Here we go again, another con job by the do-nothing Democrats. All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate."
TRUMP: It just doesn't get any bigger than this.
ROBERTS: The new trade deal, the president signed with China today, wasn't the comprehensive agreement he initially wanted. But he says it will take the U.S.-China trade relationship in a different direction. Among the provisions of the agreement, China will buy $200 billion more in U.S. goods over two years, including an additional $32 billion in U.S. agricultural goods. China will implement some protections for U.S. intellectual property, address force technology transfer, and end currency manipulation.
TRUMP: This is something that far beyond even this deal. It's going to lead to even stronger world peace. We now have -- we now have a big investment in each other and in getting along with each other.
ROBERTS: What the deal doesn't do is address China's vast system of government subsidies and government ownership of Chinese companies, which creates unfair competition. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who had supported the president's hard- line on China, now says the president caved.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): China agrees to something and they don't do it. President Trump complained about President Obama and President Bush and others. When they sign these deals and nothing happened, and he's doing the same darn thing.
ROBERTS: The White House, says those issues will be addressed in phase two of the trade deal. And that President Trump will leave tariffs on some $370 billion in Chinese goods as leverage.
TRUMP: I'm leaving them on because otherwise, we have no cards to negotiate with.
ROBERTS: Whether the U.S. and China proceed to a phase two deal, we'll depend on how implementation of phase one goes. As of current, President Trump, today said to China that he will drop all U.S. tariffs against China if they can reach a final agreement. But it will not be easy, there is still some very difficult issues to deal with. Bret.
BAIER: John Roberts, live in the North Lawn. John, thank you. The official signing of phase one of that China trade deal sent the markets higher across the board today. The Dow gaining 91, finishing at a new record close the third of the year. The S&P 500 rose six, also finishing at a record mark. The NASDAQ was up seven, while it did not finish at a record high today, it leads the other two indices so far this year of more than three percent in 2020. This afternoon, the U.S. Senate began debate on the new North American trade agreement. And just minutes ago, you heard the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the floor say that the Senate will vote on USMCA trade deal tomorrow. Mexico has already ratified the deal. Canada has not yet passed it. The agreement does not take effect until all three countries approve it. Joining us now from the White House, treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin. Mr. Secretary, thanks for the time.
STEVEN MNUCHIN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: Of course, Bret, it's great to be here with you.
BAIER: You know, I listened to the statements from the Chinese today, including the letter from President Xi, and it did not have the traditional Chinese nationalistic wording -- language as the -- as they often do. The language of this agreement, they said, we'll have a determination on global trade and global peace. Those are big words, but in your estimation, does this deal deliver real change to the U.S.-China relationship?
MNUCHIN: Absolutely, Bret. This was a historic day for the president and the economic team. I think, of we always said, the economic plan was about tax cuts, regulatory relief, and trade. And the president is delivering on those promises. And for the first time, we have a real enforceable agreement with China. That is very substantive and covers everything from force technology issues, to structural agriculture issues, to purchases, to currency, and real enforcement.
BAIER: Can you quantify what this means for the U.S. GDP? Is it a half a point, three-quarters of the point, do you think?
MNUCHIN: Well, I think -- I think when we look at this and we look at the USMCA together, I think you're going to see a good 50 to 75 basis points combined. So, these will be a terrific offset for what's been the slow down due to Boeing and the 737 MAX.
BAIER: You know, Senator Chuck Schumer has been a big supporter of the president's hard-line against China on trade. But today, he basically said that President Trump and the administration caved. To take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUMER: The United States concedes our leverage, and in exchange, China makes vague, unenforceable promises it never intends to fulfill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: He says it doesn't address the fundamental issue of China subsidizing Chinese companies and the practice of ownership entities that really is unfair. Does this agreement fall short on really that most important aspect? And even if it -- is it achievable in a phase two?
MNUCHIN: Well, I completely disagree with Senator Schumer's conclusion. And I think you heard the president talk about that today. This is the first president that has taken on these issues. So, Senator Schumer has been around with previous presidents who haven't done anything on this. The president got very significant wins for U.S. business, U.S. workers, and U.S. farmers. And we still have significant tariffs still in place as an incentive to get phase two done.
BAIER: Do we know how many Chinese companies are being subsidized by the government?
MNUCHIN: We do know that we do understand the issues. And again, we'll address these issues as part of phase two.
BAIER: Without fundamentally changing those subsidies, are you confident you can get to phase two if it's not in this deal?
MNUCHIN: But there's, there's a lot of issues that will be in phase two. Let me just say, I think, Ambassador Lighthizer did an incredible job leading what was a very large interagency process. You've seen this agreement. It's very detailed. It's very complete. It has an extensive process for dispute resolution and enforcement. And we know what needs to be in phase two. And as I've said before, it may be phase two A, B, and C. So, well, we'll roll these things out as we complete them.
BAIER: To the extent that U.S. companies pulled out of China, and found other third-party countries to outsource manufacturing. Because of all of this, largely in result of the tariffs, do you consider that to be a good thing? Or what if this deal changes that dynamic and they go back into China? What do you think about that?
MNUCHIN: Well, the president always has been very clear. It -- one, it's about rebalancing the trade deficit, and the $200 billion committed does a lot for that. And two, allowing our companies to compete fairly in China. China has 1,350,000,000 people. If they have 400 million people in a middle class, if our companies can compete fairly and sell things into China, this is an enormous opportunity for U.S. companies and U.S. workers, and that's what this trade agreement is delivering.
BAIER: You mentioned the farmers, soybean farmers seem to want to know this. What does it mean, for their trades? What kind of delivery period are we talking? Is it immediate or is it for years to come?
MNUCHIN: No, they've already started going in the market, they're going to go on the market, there's $40 to $50 billion of agricultural purchases a year. That's almost double what it was historically and up significantly more from what the run rate was more recently.
BAIER: OK, I want to turn to other topics, if you could. Is there any room left in sanctioning Iran? That obviously, you've see -- you've seen it have an effect, but where do you stand today on that?
MNUCHIN: Well, I think there's no question that the president's plan on Iran. The economic plan is working. It's cut off literally tens of billions of dollars of revenues that they would be using for terrorist activities and ballistic missiles. And the last round of sanctions we announced and the enforcement that will go on that will, you know, cut off several billions -- dollars. So, this is just continued rollout. And while we have almost all the sectors now, this is now moving towards enforcement and specific targets.
BAIER: You saw Europe step up in this mechanism as part of that deal that they're still in. The Washington Post has this story and it says this, "A week before Germany, France, and Britain formally accused Iran of breaching the 2015 nuclear deal, the Trump administration issued a private threat to the Europeans that shocked officials in all three countries. If they refuse to call out Tehran and initiate an arcane dispute mechanism in the deal, the United States would impose a 25 percent tariff on European automobiles," according to European officials familiar with the conversations. Is that true?
MNUCHIN: I'm not going to comment on specific conversations that Secretary Pompeo and I have had directly with our counterparts. But I -- what I will tell you is, we made it absolutely clear to them that Iran has violated the agreement, it's our expectation that they will enforce that. And that involves first part is the dispute mechanism. And ultimately -- and hopefully, in a short period of time, going to the U.N. and having the U.N. sanctions snap back on. And there is no question that the E-three fully supports our view that Iran should never have nuclear weapons, it needs to stop terrorist activities in the region.
BAIER: I want to play a sound bite from candidate-Trump back in 2015, talking about the debt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We owe $18 trillion. We'll go into $21 trillion and ultimately 24, which is a magic word. You know, 24 trillion, that's the magic number. That's like the point of no return. And with a very quickly -- we're going to end up being another Greece and maybe we're going to end up being another Detroit because that's where our country is going. We need proper leadership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: The current debt clock is now a $23 trillion, and climbing every second here. The debt to GDP back in 2018 was 108 percent, Greece was 171. Is there a concern about this? And how is the administration going to deal about? Deal with it?
MNUCHIN: Well, Bret, I'm glad you asked that. I think it's a very good question. First, let me say, I stand by my previous comments that the tax cuts will pay for themselves. We have the first two years of actuals. And we're actually right on what our expectation was over the two year period. Now, when the president came into office, he put forth a budget that increased military spending and cut non-military spending to pay for it. And I think, you know, the president felt very strongly that we had underinvested in the military. We needed bipartisan support for that spending. So, ultimately, we've agreed to -- as part of increasing military, we have to agree with the Democrats debt increase non-military. And there's no question that over time, we're going to be looking at the deficit. And we're going to be looking at the rates of increase in government spending.
BAIER: You're -- this is booming. This is robust economic growth. Are you concerned that, that the plan -- that really this dealing with debt and deficits is not part of the initial agenda heading into this election?
MNUCHIN: No, I'm not concerned at all. I think that -- I think that the debt levels are very manageable at these levels. And particularly with interest rates were where they are. And we're doing different things to take advantage of low-interest rates and managing our risk with treasury auctions. But I think -- I think the real issue is the president delivered on his promise for economic growth and tax cuts and regulatory reform, and now trade. And he also delivered on his promise to rebuild the military. And we see how it's more important than ever right now.
BAIER: Mr. Secretary, one to 10. 10 being extremely concerned. What's the concern inside the White House about this impeachment trial in the Senate, and the possibility that there might be witnesses?
MNUCHIN: I'm indirectly involved in this. But I would just tell you from my walking around and listen to the president, I don't think anybody is particularly concerned about this. I think that this is something that, you know, it's a good thing that the Speaker didn't hold this up any longer. We want to see the Senate get back to regular business. So, I expect this will be dealt with rather quickly.
BAIER: And what about these new documents from Lev Parnas, indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, suggesting that perhaps, the ambassador was being followed or tracked. Any -- what's your level of concern about that?
MNUCHIN: Bret, I'm not particularly concerned. But let me just say, I haven't seen any of these issues. I think they're -- I don't think they're anything that's new information or significant. But, well, obviously, the idea here is that Senate's got a lot of work. We're looking forward to the USMCA being passed. We want to get them back to other working, get this impeachment thing over with quickly.
BAIER: Mr. Secretary, we appreciate your time. We'll follow all elements. Thank you.
MNUCHIN: Thank you.
BAIER: Up next, how the Senate impeachment trial impacts the Democratic presidential race. First, here is with some of our Fox affiliates around the country covering tonight. Fox 23 in Hattiesburg, as authorities in Mississippi, are urging residents to evacuate in the northern part of that state after heavy rains spawned a flash flood emergency, and put a dam at imminent risk of failing. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for the Jackson metro area and urged residents to seek higher ground after heavy rains created what was calling -- they called a life-threatening situation there. Fox Richmond, as Virginia Democrat Governor Ralph Northam, plans to declare a temporary emergency banning all weapons, including guns from Capitol Square ahead of a massive rally plan next week over gun rights. Last week, Democratic leaders used a special rules committee to ban guns inside the Capitol and the legislative office building. That ban did not include Capitol grounds which are under the governor's control and are -- where a huge number of gun rights advocates are expected to rally Monday. This is a live look at Miami from WSVN, our affiliate there. The big story there tonight, firefighters battle a massive blaze that erupted in northwest Miami-Dade after several oil tankers caught fire. At least 30 Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units responded to the scene. Smoke coming from the fire could be seen from miles away. Cause of that fire, under investigation. That's tonight's live look "OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY", from SPECIAL REPORT. We'll be right back.
BAIER: In tonight's "DEMOCRACY 2020" report, the reality of a pending impeachment trial in the Senate will have a significant impact on the Democratic presidential campaign, as the first voting begins in less than three weeks in Iowa. Correspondent Peter Doocy has that story tonight from Des Moines.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER: When all eyes are on impeachment, presidential candidates stuck at the trial --
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, everyone.
DOOCY: -- will still need to reach Iowa Democrats.
KLOBUCHAR: I'm coming up with the innovative ideas which I included the Skyping in, sending my husband, he's a good campaigner, my daughter.
DOOCY: Is this something where you're going to be flying at night after the trials to get to Iowa or --
KLOBUCHAR: Yes, you can imagine that, that might happen. Because I've just got to get back here in New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina. I'm a mom, I can do two things at once.
DOOCY: Other hopefuls don't have to head to D.C. Does that affect your strategy at all? Because you might have the trail to yourself some days.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our strategy really doesn't change.
DOOCY: Joe Biden's strategy continues to focus less on other Democrats, but more on Trump. Including the president's outreach to North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absent preconditions, I would not meet with the "supreme leader" who said, Joe Biden is a rabid dog, he should be beaten to death with a stick. I can't --
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Other than that, you like him?
BIDEN: Other than that, I like him and he --
DOOCY: Sanders also stuck to his story about something that happened behind closed doors.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Senator Warren confirmed in a statement that in 2018, you told her that you did not believe that a woman could win the election. Why didn't you say that?
SANDERS: Well, as a matter of fact, I didn't say it.
DOOCY: Despite that denial, Warren doubled down.
PHILLIP: What did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I disagreed. Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie.
DOOCY: She wasn't there to shake his hand, either. Warren left Sanders hanging during a tense talk that only Tom Steyer could hear.
TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They were having a conversation. And you know, I really wasn't listening. I really was just there to say, wow, great to see you. I'm out of here.
DOOCY: Warren and Sanders left Des Moines for D.C., where Sanders was just asked by a group of reporters for the first time what exactly he and Warren were talking about once the microphones were turned off. And he said they were talking about the weather. Bret.
BAIER: Well, Peter Doocy in the Chili Des Moines. Peter, thanks. An advisor on the FISA court is calling the FBI's proposed action to correct shortcomings in its use of the court insufficient. David Chris is a former Justice Department official during the Obama administration. He says the FBI's corrective measures must be expanded and improved in order to provide the required assurance to the FISA court. Reform was mandated after the inspector general's report detailed numerous transgressions by the FBI and obtaining a FISA warrant on former Trump campaign official Carter Page. As of now, the government proposes 12 individual corrective actions that fall into three broad categories: FISA standards and procedures, training, and audits, and reviews. A federal judge is blocking the Trump administration from enforcing an executive order, allowing state and local government officials to reject refugees from resettling in their jurisdictions. The preliminary injunction was requested by three national refugee resettlement agencies that sued to challenge the executive order. Agency leaders say the order effectively gives governors and county leaders of veto in the resettlement process. Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti is facing new legal trouble tonight. Federal Judge revoked bail today for Avenatti after prosecutors say he violated it by committing multiple state and federal crimes while awaiting trial. Court documents supporting the arrest layout several schemes orchestrated, they say, by Avenatti to hide his assets from creditors and continue to live a lavish lifestyle. He denies that amid debt surpassing $10 million. When we come back, shockwaves in Moscow as Vladimir Putin proposes huge changes to the -- to the Russian constitution, and what may be likely is another power graph.
BAIER: State Department officials are not saying why they abruptly canceled two classified congressional briefings today that were supposed to focus on embassy security and the American relationship with Iran. Officials tell lawmakers the meetings will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Meantime, Iran's president is warning European soldiers in the Mideast could be in danger after three nations challenged Tehran over breaking its limits of its nuclear deal. Mentioned it earlier, Britain, France, and Germany have launched the so-called dispute mechanism pertaining to that nuclear agreement. After the killing of Iran's top military leader and an American strike by a drone, Iran said it would no longer abide by any of the deal's restrictions. Some big changes could be coming to Russian politics. President Vladimir Putin is proposing a restructuring of the country's constitution in what some analysts believe is an attempt to hold onto power following his departure from office in 2024. Here's senior foreign affairs correspondent Amy Kellogg.
AMY KELLOGG, FOX NEWS SENIOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Addressing the Federation Assembly today, Russian President Vladimir Putin let it be known that he wants to amend the constitution.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, (through translator): The Russian constitution was adopted over a quarter of a century ago already during a serious domestic political crisis. The state of affairs since then has changed drastically.
KELLOGG: It was a prelude to a shake-up. Longtime prime minister Dmitry Medvedev is out, recast in a job made just for him, deputy head of the Security Council. Putin said he wants to reapportion powers between various powers of government, including taking some power from the presidency, weakening the courts, and strengthening the Parliament and the State Council. A lot of detail, much of it opaque, but the message was clear to some.
MIKHAIL FISHMAN, RUSSIAN POLITICAL JOURNALIST: Vladimir Putin quite shamelessly reshapes, announced reshaping the constitution to his personal needs to stay as Russian leader forever.
KELLOGG: Putin's term ends in 2024, and as things stand he can't run for another. But he can do something else and appears to be rearranging the playing field so we could still wield power after he leaves the Kremlin. Part of that seems to be keeping the loyal Medvedev close, now wearing the hat of security services, Putin's favorite sector. He wasted no time in naming the new prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, head of the Tax Service, a relative unknown to the wider public.
KELLOGG: What lots of observers are saying is that today's announcements are all part of a succession plan, but exactly what that is still remain something of a state secret. Bret?
BAIER: Amy, thank you. Up next, the panel on the historic day for impeachment. First, beyond our borders tonight. China is blasting a report from Human Rights Watch accusing the Beijing government of constructing a surveillance state at home while seeking to silence critics abroad. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang says he has not read the report but that such documents routinely, quote, turn a blind eye on facts and confuse right and wrong with no objectivity at all. Italian authorities say crime clans of the Sicilian mafia working in tandem with public officials defrauded the European Union of more than $11 million in agricultural aid. Paramilitary forces spanned out across Sicily at dawn, arresting 94 people today. Armed security forces and civilian motorcycle cops, groups rather, loyal to Venezuela's disputed president blocked opposition lawmakers from entering the National Assembly building today. The caravan of cars carrying the deputies dodged through downtown streets attempting to reach the legislative chamber, but ultimately failed. Just some of the other stories beyond our borders tonight. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: The senators will take an oath of office. They will take a special oath of office to do impartial judges and do in impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws. Let's hope that they uphold that oath that they take tomorrow.
MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: This is a difficult time for our country, but this is precisely the kind of time for which the framers created the Senate. I'm confident this body can rise above short-termism and factional fever, and serve the long-term best interests of our nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Well, it all begins tomorrow. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signing the Articles of Impeachment. They made the trek across the capital to the Senate, the message of the Articles of Impeachment. They will be open tomorrow as this all starts. The House impeachment managers have been named, seven of them. There were 13 of them in the Clinton impeachment in 98. Seven of them, there you see, and the chairmen Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler who do a lot of the face time during the committee hearings, the first two. Let's bring in our panel, Charles Hurt, opinion editor for "The Washington Times," Johanna Maska, former aide to President Barack Obama, and Byron York, chief political correspondent for the "Washington Examiner." A lot that we don't know, Johanna, about the process and where it goes from here, but obviously Nancy Pelosi making a moment today, a historic moment that happens today.
JOHANNA MASKA, FORMER PRESIDENT OBAMA AIDE: Absolutely. And we sat here in the shadow of the capital and we recognize the historic nature, but for me, it's interesting during the Clinton impeachment, I was coming-of-age. So I'm coming to this with the perspective of saying, when I was in Galesburg, Illinois, how was I learning about this? And I remember the division. So I was seeing everyone saying did the Democrats start this, are they the ones responsible for the partisan nature of this, or is it the Republicans who are responsible for the nature of it, and it strikes me that it's both. And here we are with a case to be made, but the question is, is anyone listening?
BAIER: Senator Roy Blunt about the motion to dismiss, which the speaker mentioned several times today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROY BLUNT, (R-MO) CHAIRMAN, SENATE RULES COMMITTEE: Anybody, including any of the president's lawyers, can make a motion to dismiss anytime they want to. But I think there is a significant desire on our side for the president to be heard, for the other side to necessarily be heard with an equal amount of attention, and then ask all the questions senators want to ask, and then see where we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: And Charlie, that seems like what's going to go forward. This is all going to be launched, the opening arguments will be made, and then they'll make a decision whether they are going to allow witnesses or not.
CHARLES HURT, OPINION EDITOR, "WASHINGTON TIMES": Yes, but we are sitting here in an unusual situation that we don't know who is hurt or helped by having a long process. That's how muddled the cases against the president. It very well could be that the longer this goes on in the Senate, a trial like this, the more political -- the greater political advantage goes to the president and goes to Republicans. Obviously, it's a historic day for a lot of reasons, none of them really particularly good. But I think even for, this is, without a doubt, a partisan process, as people have pointed out, and I think that the problem with it is that, and Nancy Pelosi mentioned this, the speaker mentioned this when she was talking about making progress for people. I think that was her tell, that was her acknowledging that doing all of this, and all the pomp and circumstance of moving the papers in blue folders across the capital to the Senate --
BAIER: Which you chuckled numerous times about.
HURT: Makes them look kind of ridiculous. And I think regardless of whether you like the president or dislike the president, yes, it is historic. He will always have that asterisk besides his name that he has now been impeached. But the other thing is he might make further history and be the first president who got impeached and then gets reelected.
BAIER: We don't know about the witnesses. We also don't know about this new evidence, Byron, and what the House Intelligence Committee has transferred over of Lev Parnas and the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, this one note where he says to get Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, to announce that the Biden case will be investigated. The whole issue about the ambassador being followed or tracked by these shady characters. What do you make of all of this?
BRYON YORK, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Very shady characters. I don't think there's a lot to make of it right now. It may be, there's one possibility is Democrats want to use this evidence in the actual trial, and the other possibility is they think it's kind of interesting and they're going to let their media surrogates talk about it a lot, but it's not going to be a big thing. What is interesting here is that from a storytelling point of view, we are about to go back to square one because a lot of these senators have been doing other stuff the last few months, and they have not been following the developments in this impeachment case on a minute-by-minute basis like people in the House or people in the press have been doing. The House managers and the president's defenders are going to have to go back to square one and explain this whole thing, and it will actually be good to hear it fresh from the start.
BAIER: Johanna, to your point, how much of the American public is following the minutia and the back-and-forth?
MASKA: Yes. And I don't think that they have the time. They want to be productive. So as much as we can give the factual information, I think that's a really important job, because I remember it getting pretty ugly and muddy and me learning things I shouldn't have learned about everything from the Clinton impeachment trial.
BAIER: Yes. Different animal this time, but we'll follow every element. Next up, the China trade deal, a big deal, the president says the biggest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, we take a momentous step, one that has never taken before with China. Together we are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security. This is an unbelievable deal for the United States, and ultimately, it's a great deal for both countries.
LIU HE, CHINESE VICE PREMIER (through translator): This is a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement. It will bring about economic growth.
CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: President Trump's phase one trade deal with China is a historic blunder. President Trump, the great negotiator, has been totally out-negotiated by President Xi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Phase one signed today, the Chinese happy about it, the president happy about it, Chuck Schumer not happy about it. But the bullet points here, China agrees to ramp up purchases, $200 billion over the next two years, agricultural goods, manufacturing goods, energy products. The U.S. will cut the tariff rate on $120 billion. But not all the tariffs are off, 25 percent on $250 billion still in place to try to get to that phase two. Intellectual property concerns are addressed in here, but some other elements of technology and about company subsidies not in this deal. The Dow seemed to like what they saw today, the markets hitting another high as all of this has been baked in, but the official deal going through today. We are back with the panel. Byron, the president is touting this. There's more to do, but you heard the treasury secretary. They're happy.
BRYON YORK, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": It's a good thing. It's not the final deal, it's not the perfect deal, but it is a good thing. The $200 billion is big concession, and it's verifiable. You can know whether China is actually doing this or not. The protections as far as an intelligence property is concerned, as far as forced technology transfers, are apparently stronger than we've had in the past, but they are not written in stone. They don't require China to change its domestic law which we had earlier wanted them to do. So that's not as strong as it should be. But you put this together with the USMCA, the North American trade deal that's about to get to the Senate and will be signed into law by the president, those are two big trade victories for Trump.
BAIER: Johanna, they are estimating, they're just guessing, but it could be three quarters of a point to the GDP heading towards what they are projecting on three percent. If you look at the economic changes since the president took office, the GDP is not as high as they wanted it, but the unemployment rate is way down, consumer confidence is up, average hourly earnings up. And then, importantly, on the president's job approval on the economy, this is where he does the best, 53.8 percent, 12.8 spread in the average polls.
MASKA: Yes. I think this is definitely a win for the administration, but I fear it's short term. And this is why. China, when they were negotiating, they sit down and they're looking at 2049. They're looking at the Belt and Road Initiative, regional alliances that will change whether they are relying on American-made goods. And there is actually an appetite for American-made goods in China. For example, with the baby formula incident, which a lot of babies in China were given poisonous baby formula, there is a desire for U.S. agricultural products, for U.S. baby formula, organics. We aren't always selling to them. And we don't have the fair trade platform that we need. But the question is what are we doing with all the allies? Because it's not just China, which is 1.4 billion people, almost. It's the whole region, which is the most populous region in the world. And if we want billionaires in the U.S., we want to solve problems for billions of people, that's where they are.
BAIER: Charlie, what strikes me is that at the beginning of this trade, as the president was laying out what he was thinking not only on China but around the world on trade, there were Republicans and Democrats saying this is crazy, this is nuts. There' no way he can do this. It'll kill the economy. And here we are today.
HURT: It's extraordinary. And it's also extraordinary because you had leaders who have been ignoring this issue, the issue of China, for a very long time. And not only did Donald Trump make it a cornerstone issue in his campaign, he made it really interesting to the point where you would go to these rallies, and people would be like China, they wanted him to talk about China, beat up on China, and people in the crowds loved it. He makes it very easy to understand what is happening there, makes it a sexy political thing which -- and that's why it's sort of amusing to sit there and listen to Chuck Schumer lecture President Trump about this. Where have you been for the past 25 years if you think you could've done something so much better? But the real thing here is the last thing the Senate is going to do before they turn to get bogged down for a couple in this impeachment is to pass USMCA, and then you have this deal with China, and you have the economy rolling like never before, all of this, just the juxtaposition of Trump and the things that he can talk about versus this show trial, this animal house food fight going on in the Senate, it kind of makes him look pretty good.
BAIER: On the economy, it's a tougher message for the Democrats. You saw him in the debate last night, there's not a lot of answers to some of these wins.
YORK: This is why you see Joe Biden saying things like a job is about more than just a paycheck. It's about having some sense of dignity or something like that? There is some higher truth in that, but a paycheck is a really big part of it. And when you have wages going up the way they've been doing, for the first time in more than a decade, that's a really serious thing. So not only unemployment, not only GDP, but especially wages are a way a candidate comes and says I have made things better for you.
BAIER: And now farmers, and whenever these deals go through for soybeans and other things, it'll make a difference in some of these states. Panel, thank you. When we come back, late-night comics on last night's debate.
BAIER: Did you see last night's debate? A few late-night laughs from the comics who saw it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: This is the group on stage tonight. You can they photo, it's so white it just got nominated for best picture.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW": Who wrote these questions, Andy Cohen?
JIMMY FALLON, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: It was freezing in Iowa with temperatures reaching 14 degrees. Democrats said they hadn't seen numbers that low since Bill de Blasio was in the race. It was so cold, all the candidates shrunk to the size of Pete Buttigieg. It was so cold Joe Biden's teeth were chattering on his night stand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That's it for the SPECIAL REPORT, fair, balanced, and unafraid. "THE STORY" hosted by Martha MacCallum starts right now. Big day here in Washington.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Big day, and lots of big days to come. Bret, good to see you, as always. We'll see you tomorrow.
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