This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 11, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS HOST: Good for you. All right, well, that was quite a show. Set your DVRs, never miss an episode of THE FIVE. "SPECIAL REPORT" is up next.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: That was quite a show. Thanks, Greg.
GUTFELD: It was.
BAIER: Good evening. Welcome to Washington. I'm Bret Baier. Breaking tonight, President Trump, says he has made some decisions about dealing with the coronavirus and we will apparently all find out together during an address to the American public, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. You'll see it here on Fox.
One of the president's top medical advisors saying today things are going to get worse before they get better. The question is how much worse?
The World Health Organization says the coronavirus outbreak is now a global pandemic. After days of historic losses, a roller coaster on the markets down big today, all three major U.S. stock indices have officially descended into a bear market.
As the death toll in this country hits 30 and the infection count goes over 1,100 cases in the U.S. The NCAA Basketball Tournament March Madness announcing today that will take place without fans. And congressional Democrats are working on their own version of an economic stimulus bill, rejecting President Trump's call for a payroll tax cut.
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: Bret, good evening to you. In his address tonight to the nation at 9:00 Eastern Time, President Trump will talk about decisions he has made today to respond to the coronavirus both from a health standpoint and from a financial standpoint.
The president insists that his number one priority is the health of the nation, but that the economy needs to remain healthy as well.
ROBERTS: President Trump, hosting CEOs of the world's biggest banks at the White House today. The goal, to reinforce confidence in the American economy even as the stock market takes another dive off the high board.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think there'll be a pent-up demand when this has gone. I think that everything that maybe was tamped down now people are leaving their homes.
GORDON SMITH, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, JPMORGAN CHASE: Yes. Yes.
TRUMP: I think you're going to see a tremendous pent-up demand, which hopefully won't be in the too-distant future.
ROBERTS: The CEOs insist, this is not a financial crisis, and that while there is turbulence in the economy, it will be short term and the banks are fully prepared to address it. The White House also putting together a fiscal stimulus package to mitigate the damage.
On Capitol Hill today, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, saying he favors pushing back the April 15 tax filing deadline for small and medium-sized companies and individuals.
STEVEN MNUCHIN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: We allow the delay, and that they don't have to pay an interest or penalty on that. That will have the impact of putting over $200 billion back into the economy.
ROBERTS: Mnuchin, also saying this morning that there will likely be targeted assistance for certain businesses that are hard hit.
MNUCHIN: Now, I want to be clear this is not bailouts. We are not looking for bailouts. Like after September 11th, the government authorized certain loan guarantees, we may consider that.
ROBERTS: Senate Democrats today unveiled their stimulus plan, including six months relief on federal student loans and mortgages. Disaster grants to help local economies. Small business association grants. Assistance for local transit systems. Rental and mortgage payment assistance. And grants for affected schools.
House Democrats, say they will vote on a similar measure tomorrow.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): We've got to find common ground with the White House and the Senate to provide necessary relief, given the economic trauma that will result from the manner in which the coronavirus has been mishandled by the White House.
ROBERTS: Also on Capitol Hill today, the president's point person on infectious disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warning Americans it will be a while before things get better.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now.
ROBERTS: Fauci, who likes to avoid predictions without hard data today said how this plays out is totally dependent on how the U.S. responds.
FAUCI: If we are complacent and don't do really aggressive containment and mitigation, the number could go way up and be involved in many, many millions. If we taught to contain, we could flatten it.
ROBERTS: It is planned for a payroll tax holiday is likely dead before he even gets it off the ground. House Democrats say they have absolutely no appetite for a payroll tax cut. Even his Republican colleagues in the Senate are lukewarm to the idea, Bret. BAIER: John Roberts, live in the North Lawn. John, thank you.
As mentioned, another savage hit for Wall Street today. The markets officially entering that bear market territory the Dow hemorrhaged 1,465 points, almost six percent today. The S&P 500 lost 141, almost five percent. The NASDAQ tumbled 392, 4-3/4 percent.
Let's get some analysis from Jackie DeAngelis of Fox Business, she joins us from New York. Good evening, Jackie.
JACKIE DEANGELIS, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening. Epic seesaw swings for the financial markets continue, Bret. A major contributor to the Dow's losses today, Boeing.
Several factors at play here. The first, hopes fell for effective stimulus out of Washington to help combat the economic fallout of the coronavirus. That was what helped the markets recover a little bit yesterday.
Now, it's not clear what this package could look like if both sides can come to a comprehensive agreement and when it might be passed. Then, the World Health Organization, saying in a tweet that it has made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. And that did not sit well on Wall Street.
Traders on the floor walking by me earlier as I reported there, somberly repeating the words it's a pandemic, it's a pandemic. Now, general sentiment from market participants is that they're becoming numb in a sense to these dramatic swings and they say they don't expect them to end until the virus peaks in this country and then starts to drop off. But it's anyone's guess when that will be.
Now, some stocks have gotten hammered and may continue to declining further. Anything travel related: airlines, cruise lines, hotels, travel booking sites. Then, of course, technology: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, they can continue to bleed.
And Amazon announcing paid leave for hourly workers who are ill or quarantined because of the virus, as well as a $25 million relief fund for its delivery partners, drivers, and others affected by the outbreak. Bret.
BAIER: See what tomorrow brings. Jackie, thanks.
We told you a moment ago, numbers are rising for infections and deaths in the U.S. Schools are closing, events canceling. The CDC warning anyone over 60 to avoid large gatherings. WHO, World Health officials increasing their warnings as well.
And a short time ago, but really seemed to hit home for a lot of people, a huge sports event for this nation. And specifically, Atlanta has made a major change.
Correspondent Jonathan Serrie has that part of the story from Atlanta tonight. Good evening, Jonathan.
JONATHAN SERRIE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Bret. Late this afternoon, the NCAA announced that its upcoming championship events will take place without fans. Only essential staff and a limited number of family members will be allowed to attend the games this unprecedented announcement comes as the World Health Organization increases its warnings about the dangers associated with this outbreak.
TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.
SERRIE: For the first time, international health officials describe COVID- 19 as a pandemic. Saying the spread and severity of cases outside China are alarming.
GHEBREYESUS: In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of days, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.
SERRIE: Italy has confirmed more than 10,000 cases and more than 630 deaths. The government has imposed a nationwide ban on non-essential travel until April. Here in the U.S., schools, and houses of worship have closed within a one-mile radius of a cluster of COVID-19 infections in New Rochelle, New York.
NOAM BRAMSON, MAYOR OF NEW ROCHELLE, NEW YORK: This does not affect individual homeowners or families or businesses. It is purely a prohibition on large gatherings in order to make sure that the spread of the virus is mitigated to the greatest degree possible.
SERRIE: Today, Washington State announced a ban on gatherings of 250 people or more in three counties. Including King County, where 19 coronavirus deaths are linked to a nursing home.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has adopted a no visitor policy for its nursing home residents and spinal cord injury patients.
In Colorado, people with a doctor's order can get tested for coronavirus at a drive-thru facility. The TSA confirms three airport screeners in San Jose, California have tested positive, requiring fellow employees to quarantine at home.
And in Oakland, more than 1,400 passengers have disembarked from the cruise ship Grand Princess to quarantine at U.S. military bases.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): I don't think people should be on cruise ships that are elderly. I don't think anyone, regardless of their age with an underlying health conditions should be on a cruise ship.
SERRIE: Many colleges and universities are moving from classrooms to online instruction. The president of MIT told students, "Please pack your belongings and make plans to travel home or to another location off-campus as if you do not expect to return here until the fall semester."
SERRIE: And today, Chicago announced the city is canceling St. Patrick's Day parade, originally scheduled for this weekend. And FEMA is requiring about 300 Atlanta based employees to telework for the next 14 days, after learning. One of those employees had direct contact with someone testing positive for COVID-19. Bret.
BAIER: Jonathan, thank you. It seems the tournament news struck everyone. Just put it into perspective.
Meantime, Dr. Anthony Fauci was up on Capitol Hill, briefing lawmakers about the big picture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): Is the worst yet to come. Dr. Fauci?
FAUCI: Yes, it is. Bottom line, it's going to get worse.
REP. GLENN GROTHMAN (R-WI): How many people do you think will get this new virus, and how many people would you think will die?
FAUCI: I cannot predict. This is a really serious problem that we have to take seriously. I mean, people always say, well, the flu -- you know, the flu does this, the flu does that. The flu has a mortality of 0.1 percent. This has a mortality of 10 times that.
If we don't do very serious mitigation now, that what's going to happen is that we're going to be weeks behind, and the horse is going to be out of the barn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Bottom line is America is going to have to change, according to Dr. Fauci. And administration officials advising the president. We'll likely hear about that tonight at 9:00 p.m.
Let's bring in our panel. Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen. Amy Walter, national editor of The Cook Political Report. And Guy Benson, political editor of Townhall.com and host of the "GUY BENSON SHOW" on Fox News Radio.
Guy, I just say that the NCAA, when they put out this statement, the NCAA president Mark Emmert, saying, "I've made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including Division 1 men's and women's basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family in attendance."
I guess you could hear all of this stuff about stats, and then you hear that --
GUY BENSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
BAIER: -- for sports fans, at least, you know, like, wait a second.
BENSON: And if you're not -- if you're not a sports fan, you might shrug and say, why is that the thing? But I think the NCAA tournament, especially that first weekend of March Madness is such a cultural phenomenon in this country.
And just now imagining, listening to the squeaking of the sneakers on the court, reverberating around empty arenas, that does have I think, have a sort of a personal, visceral impact on a lot of people imagining what that looks like, what that sounds like, and therefore what it means.
So, the disruption that we've known was coming, and politicians and experts have been warning it's coming. This is something that I think hits home for a lot of people.
BAIER: Amy, I don't think people -- they understand it was serious and increasingly listening to medical officials saying, here's who needs to be really concerned about it. Not sure they get their head all the way around what America is going to have to do in the short term, at least, for a few months.
AMY WALTER, NATIONAL EDITOR, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: Well, and a lot of folks who are in any of this industry knows how serious this is. Washington DC, we get a lot of tourists, we get a lot of conventions that start to leave.
The Cherry Blossom Festival is going to happen. People here who depend on that level of tourism for their livelihood. And it's not just people who are booking tours. It's everybody from people who are getting tips at restaurants, to folks who are doing the audiovisual work at big conferences. They're all missing their paychecks, and you might not feel it today.
But now you start thinking, well, I'm -- I planned my life out maybe in six months. I'm not getting those, you know, work. I'm not getting the work that I expected to get. That is now compound that over so many places. This is going to have a tremendously disruptive impact on the economy, and on the just the personal finances of regular people.
BAIER: I want to talk about the economic stimulus and the potential up on Capitol Hill. And that really is Washington sausage-making about trying to get to a finished product. But more about -- less about the politics, and how this plays and more about how the president speaks about it tonight. You know, he's obviously evolved over days, but he's been criticized for downplaying it, at least at the beginning.
MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Sure, but on the other hand, you had Gavin Newsom the other day saying that he's given the administration is doing everything we can. And that's the -- that's what we need more of the -- you know, with this is a city that has been at each other's throats part in a partisan manner for a months.
This is -- in a crisis like this one, you need bipartisanship. A crisis like this one, we have to -- people have to grow up and put aside their differences and work together for the common good. And that's why I'm glad the president is speaking tonight. It's super important because when the countries panicking, we need to see common leadership coming from the -- from the White House.
And the president. You know, social distancing has socio-economic effect. It's not just -- it's not just those workers, but also, you know, schools are closing. And so, what does that mean? That means millions of parents don't have anyone to take care of their kids if you got an hourly job. And you got nowhere -- no one to watch your kids. That's a huge -- these are huge, huge problems that are unraveling.
The president needs to speak to those people tonight. He needs to present - - tell them that he hears, he understands what they're going through, and that he has a plan to help them get through this period of time. And also to contain the virus.
BAIER: Yes, the reason I mentioned the criticism is because it is the politics aside. Let's take away that this is an election year. There is a sense on Capitol Hill, you got to figure out how to get through this, like, as a country.
BENSON: Yes. And that's why it's such a big moment, I think tonight for President Trump, politically, of course, for the reason that you just mentioned, but just for the sense of well-being and togetherness in this country.
If he is saying let's not panic, which is, of course, the correct message. You have to put some meat on the bones. It has to be accurate. I hope that this is maybe the most vetted speech that he ever has given in his life tonight.
I hope that Dr. Fauci is heavily involved in the process, because he, Fauci is an extremely credible messenger, in my view, on this subject. President Trump needs to distill this information and get us accurate, good information.
And, as you say, put together a plan, both on the medical side, the pandemic side, and also the economic side.
BAIER: But getting to that agreement, especially on the economic side is going to be really tough.
WALTER: Well, it will be because it's Washington. But I think as we get closer to this, you're going to see something that comes together. That the previous wrangling that we had on Capitol Hill about this topic, increasing funds for the CDC, et cetera, went through pretty quickly.
I mean, there is a little bit around the edges, but mostly went through almost universally on Capitol Hill to get more money to fight this epidemic. So, I think, right now you're seeing some friction, but that is likely to be least of the -- least of the problems.
I think that Marc has it right. It's really the reassurance piece. There is going to be a lot of people panicking going on when people can't find toilet paper is one thing when they realized that there's --
BAIER: When -- please, could just everybody just get one roll? We'll be OK. We'll be -- right?
WALTER: I know. It would help. But if you were -- if you are looking at, oh my gosh, I'm missing out on money and jobs, and now my kids are at home and I have no one to watch them. That's when it really, really becomes about somebody coming out and saying, this is time for leadership. This is time not to panic.
BAIER: I got to run. Thank you very much panel. Standby. We'll be back later on the show.
Also "BREAKING TONIGHT", two Americans are dead following a rocket attack at a military base in Iraq. Many others injured there. National security correspondent Jennifer Griffin, developing -- has this developing story from the Pentagon. Good evening, Jennifer.
JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Bret. A senior U.S. military source tells me that two Americans and one British service member were killed when 15 rockets struck Camp Taji military base, 30 miles north of Baghdad.
At least, 11 more troops housed at the Taji base were injured in today's rocket attack, according to a well-placed military source. And as of two hours ago, medics were still treating the wounded, I'm told.
This represents the largest attack targeting Americans in Iraq since Iran fired 16 ballistic missiles at bases housing U.S. troops in early January days after a U.S. drone killed the head of the Iranian Kurds Force Qasem Soleimani.
The U.S. military would not say who it believes launched the rockets at Taji, not wanting at this time to blame Iran. ISIS doesn't have this capability, I'm told by an American military source.
U.S. military officials have worried that Iran would target Americans in the Middle East to deflect from their own failed ability to contain the coronavirus pandemic at home, which has already killed hundreds of Iranians, the highest death toll outside China. Bret.
BAIER: Jennifer, thank you.
In tonight's "DEMOCRACY 2020" report, a clearer picture of the Democratic presidential race following another decisive Tuesday for the Joe Biden campaign. Won at least four of the six contests, including delegate-rich Michigan.
Bernie Sanders, says he's staying in and is already putting a major emphasis on Sunday's one-on-one debate in Arizona. Correspondent Peter Doocy has the latest tonight from Cleveland.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm very proud of the campaign.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER: Today, Bernie Sanders, the Democratic socialist was Bernie Sanders, the Democratic realist.
SANDERS: Last night, obviously, was not a good night for our campaign from a delegate point of view.
DOOCY: But, it's not all bad.
SANDERS: While our campaign has won the ideological debate, we are losing the debate over electability.
DOOCY: Now, his argument goes like this. Biden is doing better with older Democrats, but Bernie is doing better with younger ones, and they're the key to winning office and keeping it.
SANDERS: Today, I say to the Democratic establishment, in order to win in the future, you need to win the voters who represent the future of our country.
DOOCY: As Sanders appeals to party leaders, Joe Biden is appealing to Sanders' voters.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to thank Bernie Sanders and his supporters for their tireless energy and their passion.
DOOCY: Now that sounded like Biden was urging Sanders to drop out, the campaign insists he wasn't.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not going to tell Senator Sanders what to do. That's his decision.
DOOCY: But a critical Biden backer, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, watched Biden win, and win, and win, and win as Tuesday's returns rolled in, and declared Bernie down and out.
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): I think it is time for us to shut this primary down, it is time for us to cancel the rest of these debates.
DOOCY: The next debate is on, though, it will be audience free amid DNC concerns about coronavirus. And for the first time, there will only be two candidates on stage.
SANDERS: On Sunday, I very much look forward to the debate in Arizona with my friend, Joe Biden.
DOOCY: Campaigning during the coronavirus outbreak will soon feature Joe Biden, hosting virtual events in place of canceled rallies. And the Biden campaign is also now forming an advisory board of experts who will work to minimize health risks to supporters, staff, and their 77-year-old candidate. Bret.
BAIER: Peter Doocy, live in Cleveland. Peter, thanks.
Up next, we'll tell you about the sentencing for movie producer Harvey Weinstein. We'll be right back.
ANNOUNCER: This program is brought to you Otezla. Learn more at Otesla.com.
BAIER: The U.S. Supreme Court will allow the Trump administration to continue enforcing a policy, making asylum seekers wait in Mexico for U.S. court hearings. The justices' order overturns a lower court decision that would have blocked the policy, at least for people arriving at the border crossings in Arizona and California.
Movie producer Harvey Weinstein is facing 23 years in prison tonight. Weinstein was sentenced today following two convictions in New York on rape and sexual assault charges. Correspondent Alex Hogan has details.
ALEX HOGAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Prosecutors call this a new day of justice and a new era for victims. Harvey Weinstein learned his fate in a New York criminal court. The judge slapped the 67-year-old with 23 years in prison and five years' probation.
A jury convicted Weinstein of raping a woman in 2013 and assaulting another in 2006. But his defense, says the former Hollywood producers fame overshadowed his shot at a fair trial.
ARTHUR AIDALA, ATTORNEY FOR HARVEY WEINSTEIN: The judge absolutely came into this courtroom prejudiced against Mr. Weinstein. He felt the pressure of the movement quote-unquote.
HOGAN: The MeToo movement propelled by this case encouraged victims everywhere to come forward. More than 90 women accusing Weinstein of sexual assault spoke out. Weinstein himself spoke up for the first time in court today agreeing about his role in MeToo, saying, "The movement started basically with me." And, "Now there are thousands of men who are being accused and a regeneration of things that I think none of us understood."
Weinstein, says he's worried about the direction this country's headed because of the movement. A direction victim's advocates say was a long time coming.
GLORIA ALLRED, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: For all those who are still preying on women, who want to engage in high-risk taking of harming women, and thinking you'll get away with it, that gamble is likely not to pay off.
HOGAN: A group of accusers calling themselves the silence breakers, say Weinstein's legacy will live on now not as a producer, but as a rapist. "No amount of jail time will repair the lives he ruined, the careers he destroyed, or the damage he has caused."
HOGAN: Weinstein's defense team already says it will appeal this decision, and this is not the last time that Weinstein will be in court. The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, already filing to extradite him to California where he faces a separate sexual assault case. Bret.
BAIER: Alex, thank you.
Up next, Congress is working on new rules to keep the government out of your business. First, "BEYOND OUR BORDERS" tonight, the Russian Parliament approves a sweeping constitutional reform, allowing President Vladimir Putin to stay in power for another 12 years after his current term ends in 2024.
A nationwide vote on the proposed amendments is set for next month. Guessing that will go through. Kremlin critics condemned the move as a cynical manipulation and are calling for protests.
U.S. lawmakers are pushing for a ban on imports from a vast area of Northwest China, where the government has detained more than a million ethnic Uyghurs. This comes after a report found widespread use of forced labor and on farms and factories in that region. The Chinese foreign ministry rejects those findings and denies the problem exists.
Residents along the Japanese northern coast stood on roadsides overlooking the sea today, offering silent prayers for those loved ones lost in a massive earthquake and tsunami nine years ago.
In Tokyo and many other places around Japan, the day was remembered without a main government ceremony due to the coronavirus outbreak. Just some of the other stories "BEYOND OUR BORDERS" tonight. We'll be right back.
BAIER: The House is moving forward on new rules for surveillance on Americans, its response to a highly critical Inspector General's report on FBI applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, better known as FISA. Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel joins us to tell us tonight what it all means. Good evening, Mike.
MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bret, good evening. This reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act passed the House easily to 278 to 136 late today. It would require the attorney general to sign off on surveillance of federal elected officials or candidates, increase internal reviews and data reporting requirements, increase potential prison sentence for unauthorized FISA disclosures, and end the controversial phone records collection program. The bill has created an unusual political alliance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERROLD NADLER, (D-NY) HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It is by no means a perfect bill. There are many other changes to FISA that I would have liked to have seen here. But this bill includes very important reforms.
REP. JIM JORDAN, (R-OH) HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: This bill is not perfect, as the chairman said, does not contain every reform that I would like to see or the reforms that I advocated for and many others advocate for. But it's a start. And most importantly, this bill is an improvement over what currently exists, over the status quo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: A big concern for President Trump and his Republican allies is fixing what allowed the use of a wiretap on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page during the 2016 campaign, but some note someone must be held accountable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY BIGGS, (R-AZ) HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: When you don't prosecute them, if you want to deter somebody, you must see prosecutions. So that way you get a specific deterrence of that individual or general deterrence to the rest of the people who are inclined to commit bad acts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: Next stop is the Senate, where it's expected Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul will oppose this package. Paul has called it, quote, weak sauce. Lee has proposed a three-month extension of the current program instead. There is time pressure. Three key provisions are set to expire on Sunday with lawmakers due to leave town on recess. Bret?
BAIER: Mike Emanuel live on the Hill. Mike, thanks.
Talk about the elections, President Trump is also on the primary season ballots. Here's how he did Tuesday in the states we have, compared to all the Democratic candidates. The president ended up with 1,800,000 votes. He is obviously running for the most part unopposed on these ballots. People don't have to come out and vote for him. As you can see, the Democrats total 3.7 million.
When we come back, assessing America's cyber deterrence and the congressional perspective on the coronavirus.
BAIER: Tonight we get some inside information from two members of Congress about the government's response to a couple of very important issues, first the coronavirus, and second, the country's cyber-defense posture. Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher from Wisconsin, and Independent Maine Senator Angus King. Thank you, both, for joining us.
First, before we talk about your proposal on cyber-defense, I just want to get your thoughts on where we are not only on Capitol Hill but as a country dealing with COVID-19. Senator, first to you.
SEN. ANGUS KING, (I-ME): I think it's coming into focus as a really serious problem, and people are starting to cancel events all over the country, and that is probably prudent. This is one of those cases where you probably want to be more protective than perhaps may end up being necessary, but it's going to work to our advantage, I think. For a politician to stop shaking hands is really hard, but I'm doing it.
BAIER: Congressman, your thoughts on where we are and whether this is proportional or we're going one way or another. Not enough or too much?
REP. MIKE GALLAGHER, (R-WI): I still think we need to exponentially increase our testing capability across the United States. If you look at the countries that have been successful in their mitigation efforts, whether it's South Korea or Taiwan, rapid testing has been a key part of that. Combine that with transparency and individual resilience measures, whether it's social distancing or basic hygiene, I think we can buy ourselves some time so we don't overload the health care system. But no doubt we need to continue to increase our ability to test as soon as possible.
BAIER: But you are convinced that some package will be agreed upon, Democrats and Republicans, to help the economy in the wake of this?
KING: We have already agreed on a package on the health care side. That was $8 billion a couple of weeks ago.
BAIER: Sure. On the economic side, I mean.
KING: On the economic side, I don't know what's -- there's some debate about whether we do something very general like a payroll tax holiday or something that is more targeted at the people who, for example, don't have paid family leave and they have to be out of work for a couple of weeks. Or childcare -- New Rochelle, the schools are all close, people need to work, what you do with the kids? So I think that is going to be the debate that we are going to see over the next couple of weeks.
BAIER: Bottom line, something is coming.
GALLAGHER: And I think a necessary step prior to that is, at least in the House, we shouldn't be going on vacation starting tomorrow. We should stay here with our staffs. It's hard for us, I think, for us to close down the capital to visitors. There are steps we can take right now to start debating this issue so we don't come back a week-and-a-half from now and pass something at the last second.
BAIER: Let's talk about the reason you both are here, and that is this effort, cyber-defense. Where are we as a country? The intro to this proposal is scary. It paints a picture of some dire things that happened.
KING: Where we are as a country is in trouble. We are being attacked every day. I talked to a utility official just recently. His electric company is being attacked 3 million times a day.
BAIER: Three million?
KING: Three million times a day people are pinging their system trying to get in and cause trouble. I talked to a small bank in Maine, a community bank -- 100,000 times a week. This is happening every day, all the time, and it's the financial sector, it's the energy sector, it's telecommunications. We are worried about hospitals now, of course, election security. So it is a really serious problem. And the problem is, Bret, this is cheap. Our adversaries can lay us low with a relatively small expenditure, and we've got to put a stop to it.
BAIER: What are you proposing to do that, Congressman?
GALLAGHER: We are proposing a variety of steps. We have over 75 recommendations. And in those cases where we have said Congress should do x, y, or z, we've actually taken the trouble to write the legislation. So we are really hoping to inject this into the legislative bloodstream immediately. But ultimately, though we are at a strategic inflection point similar to where we were in the early cold war, what's different about this as Senator King alludes to, the private sector really is the main effort, and the private sector is going to have to step up and work in partnership with the federal government in order to enhance our robust deterrent in cyberspace.
BAIER: It has this layered cyber deterrence, shape behavior, deny benefits, impose costs. First of all, does Capitol Hill understand the threat fully? And second of all, obviously you're an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats and a Republican congressman. Is there bipartisan support to get this done?
KING: I think there is. This commission came out of the National Defense Act that was passed by Congress two years ago, signed by the president, that's what put us in business to form this commission. We've been working for a year on this. Four members of Congress, my colleague from the Senate, Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, Mike Gallagher, and Jim Langevin, a Democrat from Rhode Island, plus we had four members from the executive branch, DNI, FBI, Homeland Security, and Department of Defense. And then we had six people from the private sector on the commission. So very broad- based.
Are we ready? I think so. I'm on Armed Services and Intelligence. I can't tell you, Bret, how many hearings I've been to where this is being raised. Bret, the likelihood is that the next Pearl Harbor will be cyber. That's how serious it is.
BAIER: So obviously there will be some dealing with COVID-19, bipartisan. Do you think that this, for all the people who look at Washington and say nothing can get done in a bipartisan way, does this seem like that?
GALLAGHER: I really do. And I think the commission's work is evidence of that. This was not a partisan discussion. Everyone came together to really figure out what are the best ideas where we can improve our deterrent in cyberspace, but secondly, nest us within the broader reorientation of U.S. foreign policy that has happened in the last three years. The Trump administration has said our foremost competitor is China and we have to reorient accordingly. Our foremost competitor in cyber, I would suggest, is China, and there's a lot of bipartisan agreement on that very issue. And Senator King and I, it's been a privilege to work with him. We are really hoping that this is not just a report that collects dust on a shelf somewhere, it's a blueprint for action.
BAIER: And sometimes that's the thing, the blue ribbon commission doesn't get to the action point. You're going to push it.
KING: We are going to push it. We've already talked to committee chairs and leadership. We are expecting to move. We've put too much work into this, Bret, to let it sit on the shelf. But I think the key is to your question, does Congress realize we are facing a serious threat? And I think the answer is yes, and we are poised to do something. We've got to do it. We want to be the 9/11 Commission without 9/11. We want to prevent a catastrophic attack rather than react to it after it happens.
BAIER: Senator, Congressman, appreciate the time.
GALLAGHER: Thank you.
KING: Thank you, Bret.
BAIER: Next up, the panel returns to talk about the state of the Democratic presidential race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To all those who have been knocked down, all those who have been counted out, left behind, this is your campaign.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump must be defeated. On Sunday night, in the first one-on-one debate of this campaign, the American people will have the opportunity to see which candidate is best positioned to accomplish that goal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: If you thought Bernie Sanders was getting out, you were wrong. He's not, and he wants to go to the debate even though it's one-on-one without fans, anybody in the audience. But it will be Sunday in Arizona, or at least we think so. The delegate count as it stands tonight, Joe Biden 854, Bernie Sanders 686. If you look at the results from the Super Tuesday 2.0, a big night for Biden. Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota going to Bernie Sanders, and even at this hour, Washington state too close to call, which is a big win really for Biden in the long haul because Washington state sets up for Bernie Sanders usually.
Let's bring in our panel, "Washington Post" columnist Marc Thiessen, Amy Walter, national editor for the "Cook Political Report," and Guy Benson, political editor at Townhall.com, host of "The Guy Benson Show" on FOX News Radio.
Amy, interesting to hear Bernie Sanders make his case basically that he's going to fight the fight. And he's already won in essence by pulling the party to the left on a number of issues, but he's continuing this fight.
AMY WALTER, NATIONAL EDITOR, "COOK POLITICAL REPORT": That's right. He's continuing this fight, although notice that he said we are going to this debate, I'm going to ask Joe Biden some questions, here are my questions I'm going to ask him about health care, about minimum wage, all the things that he's been talking about on the campaign trail. And he made it sound like, and assuming I get the right answers, I will make my decision. Or if I get the wrong answers, I will make my decision going forward.
There is not a pathway for Bernie Sanders right now and unless the Biden campaign absolutely collapses. He's going to need to win a huge majority of the remaining delegates. It's not just pick up some states. The way that the Democratic system works, it's very hard to get a very big leader, but it is even harder to catch up once you're behind.
BAIER: This is the campaign's response to Sanders' announcement. "Last night Joe Biden expanded his coalition, continues to demonstrate he is the candidate who can unify the Democratic Party. Our campaign is focused on the task at hand, defeating Donald Trump, so we can make real, lasting progressive change in this country and in people's lives." "Progressive" the key word there, with a hat tip to the Bernie Sanders supporters.
MARC THIESSEN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Absolutely. What does Bernie Sanders have to lose by staying in the race another week and seeing what happens at the debate?
BAIER: He has to lose may be really roughing up Joe Biden at the debate to the detriment of the Democratic Party.
THIESSEN: Unless it roughs up Biden so much that people say, oh, my gosh, we can't nominate this man, which is entirely possible. Bernie Sanders obviously can stand two hours of grilling. He stood an hour of your grilling on Monday and didn't have any senior moments, didn't have any flubs, did a pretty good job explaining his policies. This is going to be the first time Joe Biden has been mano-a-mano in a presidential style debate as opposed to this cattle call kind of debate where he can sit there and drink his water while eight other people spoke. Now he's going to have to sustain an hour or two hours of vigorous debate with Bernie Sanders, who is a very skilled debater, he knows his fact, knows what he wants. We don't know. There is no downside for Bernie. There's a lot of downside for Biden. He's basically won the race going into that debate. There's not upside for him.
BAIER: I just remember the 2008 race where Hillary Clinton was in it until June, so she kept on fighting all the way through those primary and caucuses.
GUY BENSON, POLITICAL EDITOR, TOWNHALL.COM: Yes, but she kept winning, right, so it was neck and neck and it was close, whereas this is turning into a blowout. This is now Joe Biden's race to lose and he's not going to. I've been calling him the presumptive nominee in waiting. He's almost there at this point.
I think Marc has a good point, which is all the debates we've seen so far among these Democrats, they have a minute, maybe, to speak, and sometimes Biden cuts himself short or kind of stops awkwardly mid-thought and says, well, I'm out of time. If it's just two people on the stage and there's no audience, there's no cheering, and it's a completely different feel and dynamic, that will be fascinated to watch.
THIESSEN: There was a "Saturday Night Live" skit about that, wasn't there, with George H. W. Bush. You have more time Mr. President. Mr. President, oh, no, I'm good.
BAIER: I'm good. I've got the yellow light. I've got to move on.
WALTER: Also, unlike previous debates, there aren't other candidates there either who have something that they need to do. They were going really on a mission to either go after Joe Biden or whoever the frontrunner is. Bernie Sanders isn't interested in tearing down Joe Biden. He's certainly interested in having an ideological clash with him.
BAIER: And what about Jim Clyburn saying let's cut this thing off? The train is --
WALTER: I think the train is out of the station on that, too. When the DNC changed the rules, which the Bernie Sanders wing of the party had advocated, they basically admitted we're not really in charge of this anymore.
BAIER: The states coming up do not favor Bernie Sanders. Florida, Georgia, others that Biden is position to do well in.
THIESSEN: In Ohio he's got the same problems that he had in Michigan. The big problem for Bernie Sanders is that the reason why his campaign is now failing is because his message isn't registering with the constituency that he claims to represent, which is the working class. He claims to be the vanguard of the proletariat, and the proletariat disagrees. So in Michigan he said Joe Biden is responsible for all these trade deals like NAFTA, which isn't a big issue because Trump just renegotiated NAFTA to their benefit. But he wants to take away their union health care. And so he lost the working-class voters by 18 points in Michigan. If your fundamental thesis of your campaign is I'm fighting for working Americans and working Americans aren't voting for you, you're pretty finished unless Biden really stumbles.
BAIER: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and then Georgia follows up that.
BENSON: And if the secondary thesis is the way I win a general election is by turning out a brand-new electorate fueled by young people and excitement, and the young people are turning out, also a big problem, and a lot of voters noticed.
BAIER: Panel, thank you.
When we come back, an act of patriotism in the freezing cold.
BAIER: Finally tonight, an act of patriotism to leave you with. In frigid Augusta, Maine, a propane delivery man seen fixing a fallen American flag. He dug it out of the snow. The homeowner, David Price, a Gulf War Marine Corps veteran, Price was moved by the gesture, especially since it occurred on the 75th anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima. So that's a good deal. Congratulations.
Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That's it for the SPECIAL REPORT, fair, balanced, and unafraid, still unafraid. "THE STORY" hosted by Martha MacCallum, who knows a thing or two about the battle of Iwo Jima, starts right now.
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