'Special Report' All-Star Panel on opposition Putin is facing from invading Ukraine

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This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 21, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The idea that they don't have enough sophisticated equipment is just simply not accurate. They have every, every equipment -- every piece of equipment that makes rational sense based on our military and NATO's military for them to be able to do what they are doing. They are wreaking havoc on the -- on the Russian military.


BAIER: That's President Biden just a few minutes ago talking to the Business Roundtable here in Washington, D.C., saying Ukraine essentially has the sophisticated weaponry it needs as there is a stalemate on the ground.

Let's bring in our panel, FOX News senior political analyst Brit Hume, Katie Pavlich, news editor at Townhall.com, and Leslie Marshall, Democratic strategist. Brit, what about what the president is saying there, as there are calls for more help into the Ukrainians?

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think most people in the west would hope that that's true, but I think it would also seem to a lot of people that the people who know best what they need are the Ukrainians who are actually fighting the war instead of the heads of other states who are not. So I think it raises a question of whether what we are doing is sufficient. I think a lot of people give Biden credit for what he has done. NATO has rallied, and I think he has played a big part in that, and NATO rallying has an important role to play in the world, we see, after the Ukraine fight is over as well as now.

But I think it ought to be up to Ukrainians, probably, to figure out what they need. And this technicality they are using about sending, for example, the MiGs, they are an offensive weapon whereas other things are defensive. Well, look, if you are fighting over your own skies to protect your country, you're fighting on defense. And I think the distinction doesn't really make any sense. So we'll see how this plays out.

BAIER: Meantime, President Biden heads to Europe, is heading to Poland, he's heading to NATO headquarters. "Wall Street Journal" has this, "Russia's failing to achieve early victory in Ukraine is seen as shifting to Plan B. Senior U.S. officials see signs the Kremlin is shifting to a new strategy to secure key territorial objectives while seeking leverage to compel the Ukrainian government to accept neutrality between Russia and the west." Leslie, what do you think the goal is for President Biden as he heads to NATO and to Poland?

LESLIE MARSHALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think in addition to further unification, to be clear, not just in what Ukraine needs, but what the western world needs to do, because military experts say even though President Zelenskyy has in a sense begged for a no-fly zone, we are not alone, our allies do agree that that would be entering possibly World War III.

Vladimir Putin, we see, is losing, and he is desperate. And there is a concern if he would use nuclear weapons. There is no no-fly zone light. We would have to shoot down Russian aircraft, military experts say. There is also no nuclear war light or nuclear arsenal weapon that's going to be used from Russia that could be light. So this is a very dangerous territory we could see ourselves in with Vladimir Putin, and I think that's what the president is going to talk about.

And additionally, prior to March 17th. I think people could question what the president said that you would ask Brit about, but 800 million, when you look at these drones that can up to 50 miles away take out Russian tanks, you have non-tank ability, you have Striker and Javelin missiles, I am trusting what the president says along with our allies as to what we are providing for the president and the military and the people of Ukraine.

BAIER: The question now, Katie, is what is Putin's goal? Has it shifted? Is there a settlement in the works here? President Zelenskyy, Ukrainian president, said that there will be referendum on any deal with Russia. Not sure how that works. If you can't get to the store, how do you get to the voting booth. But that's what he said today. What do you think, Katie?

KATIE PAVLICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, President Zelenskyy has repeatedly asked for a one-on-one meeting with President Putin. There has been back and forth on whether that will happen. President Zelenskyy has said repeatedly that Ukraine will not give up, that they will not -- they will not surrender to the assault that has been inflicted on their country.

And I think the question for the United States as President Biden goes to Poland is, first, how they handle this refugee crisis which does impact the NATO countries. Of course, Poland has taken millions of refugees with more on the way. But the other is what the mission is in Ukraine with arming the Ukrainians. The Russians have been in Syria for six years. It is the goal of the United States and NATO of arming Ukrainians with what they say is less than they actually need to beat Russia. Is our goal to beat Russia or is it to simply manage this back-and-forth fight? You mentioned the Russians setting up minefields. I don't think that Vladimir Putin is interested in a short war here. He is a very patient man, and this is just the beginning of what we have gotten into.

The other question that we have now is what the White House said today, is that the president warned that the United States could come under a cyberattack from Russia. And if you look at what NATO has said recently about what that would mean for Article Five, they say a cyberattack significant enough could trigger Article Five. And so we're not just in the situation of just Ukraine, we're also in the situation of how NATO would handle an attack the president warned about today.

BAIER: And that likely is going to be a conversation at NATO headquarters.

Brit, the Associated Press about China, saying, a U.S. admiral saying it's fully militarized the South China Sea, "China has fully militarized at least three of several islands it built in the disputed South China Sea, arming them with antiship, anti-aircraft missile systems, laser and jamming equipment, and fighter jets." As we try to determine what exactly China's role is going to be with Russia, it's doing its own militarization in a very open area.

HUME: Yes, it is. And I think a lot of strategists, I think, correctly believe that China is the greater long-term threat to the security of the United States, particularly as regards Taiwan, which is the source of great deal of the chips and other technological equipment that is needed for our high tech sector which is vital to our economy, much more vital than anything, for example, that Ukraine would offer. So I think that is the big, larger question.

And one can only hope that Xi Jinping looks at what's happening to Putin with the bloody nose that Putin has got in Ukraine and thinks, my God, is this the kind of thing that could happen to us if we attack Taiwan and tried to simply absorb it, if Taiwan would fight? And Taiwan has a lot of fighting equipment and the will to fight. So, let's hope that Xi Jinping takes that lesson from what's happening with Putin in Russia and not some other lesson.

BAIER: There is also the lesson of Iran, Leslie. The Iran supreme leader is still on Twitter. Our former president is not on Twitter, but the Iran supreme leader is on Twitter and tweeted out "One of the sweetest events in 1400 AHS was the Americans admitting they suffered a humiliating defeat in their maximum pressure policy against Iran. Other events took place in the world, too, all of which showed the correctness of the path of the Iranian people against arrogance." This comes, this tweet, as the U.S. gets ready to sign a deal that many experts are saying, Leslie, could be less than the deal in 2015, the Iran nuclear deal.

MARSHALL: And that's why, I think, you see pushback from both sides of the aisle on this, Democrats and Republicans, their concerns not only will they get less than 2015 during the Obama administration. They are also concerned of the timing. Is now the time to do this, especially because any kind of a deal that would be struck now, and I'm in agreement with those people who are critical of this on the left, on my fellow Democrats' side, because you could in a sense facilitate millions or even billions of dollars that Vladimir Putin would have access to, doing business with Iran, nuclear business with Iran with this new deal. So I don't think this is the time to be revisiting this, and I know some of my fellow Democrats agree with me on that.

BAIER: All right, panel, thank you so much. We have all week to talk about the confirmation hearings. Went off well today according to both sides of the aisle, for Ketanji Brown Jackson. Thank you very much.

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