Trump honors America's veterans at first event since election called

This is a rush transcript from “Special Report" November 11, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Good evening. Welcome to Washington. I'm Bret Baier.

Breaking tonight, as his legal challenges continue in several states contesting election results, President Trump attended a Veterans Day ceremony today. The president didn't talk to reporters but continued his Twitter offensive against the media and politicians who are not supporting his challenge to the election results. 

That effort includes a new voter fraud lawsuit in Michigan tonight. Chief White House correspondent John Robert starts us off live from the North Lawn. Good evening, John.

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Bret, good evening. More than a week after the election, President Trump still has not found a path to turnaround the vote count, but sources tell Fox News he is unbowed in his determination to do that.


ROBERTS: President Trump on a rainy Veterans Day paying tribute to those who fought and died in service to their nation, placing the traditional wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown.

The President's visit to Arlington National Cemetery, his first public appearance since Joe Biden was declared president-elect. Behind the scenes, President Trump working the phones, meeting with his campaign staff about the potential path forward according to one advisor driving action. The president's campaign urging the nation to take a breath while the challenge process unfolds. 

TIM MURTAUGH, TRUMP COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: People want to eat the whole apple in one bite. That's not how this process is going to work. This process is going to take patience. It is going to be methodical and it may be somewhat lengthy, but we have the time to get there. 

ROBERTS: The latest action, a lawsuit in Michigan. The Trump campaign insisting it has evidence to support allegations of unequal treatment of Republican voters, harassment of certified vote challengers, irregular ballots including backdating, counting of illegal votes and possible widespread software problems the campaign says could change the current vote count.

In Nevada and election worker claiming in a sworn declaration to obscene what she believes were campaign workers filling out ballots in the parking lot of an early voting site. Fearing for her safety, she anonymously appeared on "THE INGRAHAM ANGLE".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was walking, and I could see these people hand over what appeared to be white envelopes, just hand over onto this table. And as I got closer the envelope were being torn open, there were two men or two people dropping the envelopes and two people ripping them open and turning and facing the van and drawing on them or marking them. I thought those are ballots. 

ROBERTS: In Georgia, the Trump campaign now turning its sights on a hand recount of every ballot. Georgia Congressman Doug Collins heading up the effort there. 

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): This is about really the first step. This is making sure that every legal vote is counted, and every illegal vote is not counted. It allows us to see the integrity of the process. 

ROBERTS: But some Democrats say this is not about ensuring the integrity of the process. To them, it is about destroying Democratic institutions.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Again, to see what happened in Germany back in the 1930s. I never thought that could happen in this country. How do you elect a person that then all of a sudden gave him the authority to be dictator? That's what we are teetering on here. 


ROBERTS: The Georgia recount will give the Trump campaign its first opportunity to put hands on every ballot that was cast if they discover in that process, significant voting irregularities that may fuel challenges in other states. But if they do not discover significant irregularities, that could erode the claims that the election was won by illegal voting, Bret. 

BAIER: John Roberts live in the North Lawn. John, thanks. 

President-elect Joe Biden has an ambitious plan to name some of his cabinet by Thanksgiving and may actually start by choosing a chief of staff as soon as tomorrow. He is certainly getting plenty of help from interested observers.

Correspondent Peter Doocy has the latest tonight, from Wilmington, Delaware. Good evening, Peter.

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Bret. The president-elect has only been meeting the last few days with his own advisers. But now the founder of Black Lives Matter Patrisse Cullors wants him to pencil her in so that she can share her thoughts about what should be in the agenda because she wrote to him in a letter that black people won the election for him.


DOOCY: The only thing on the president-elect's Veterans Day schedule, an unannounced visit to a Korean War Memorial in Philadelphia.

The vice president-elect posted that she visited a D.C. bakery that helps disabled veterans with jobs.

And his plans for a Biden administration take shape, progressives are already pressuring the president-elect. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Biden has a choice to make. Will he be the leader of the American majority? Or will he be Mitch McConnell's vice president? 

DOOCY: That ad comes from the climate change minded Sunrise Movement whose leaders are also giving the transition team a list of people they prefer for cabinet posts.

Elizabeth Warren at Treasury. Bernie Sanders at labor. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib at HUD, as Biden promises nominations soon.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT: I hope we're able to be in a position to let people know at least a couple. And we want before Thanksgiving. 

DOOCY: The transition team already has 300 pages worth of recommendations called Climate 21 to reduce carbon footprints at a variety of government agencies. According to a report in the Washington Post that lines up with promises to have an emissions-free federal fleet.

BIDEN: We're going to convert these government fleets to electric vehicles. 
Made and sourced right here in the United States of America. 

DOOCY: But the push on climate change has at least one foreign leader refusing to recognize him as the winner. Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro who is revisiting this from September.

BIDEN: Stop, stop tearing down the forest. And if you don't, then you're going to have significant economic consequences. 

DOOCY: Bolsonaro doesn't like the sound of that, and he's promising the threats of economic harm could escalate into something else. 

JAIR BOLSONARO, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (through translator): When the yelling is over, gunpowder might be needed. Otherwise, it doesn't work. We don't even need to use the powder, but they need to know we have it.


DOOCY: We've spoken to some transition team officials this evening who see a parallel and the GSA refusing to ascertain that Biden one right away. And the days after the 2000 election, that is when a contested result led to slowdowns in appointing certain key national security officials. And that is a story that is told in the pages of the 9/11 Commission Report, Bret.

BAIER: Peter Doocy in a rainy Wilmington, Delaware. Peter, thanks. 

Republicans have picked up another seat in the U.S. Senate. The Associated Press today projected Alaska Republican Senator Dan Sullivan will hold on to his job and that puts the balance of power at 50 to 48. 

The balance of power in the U.S. Senate will be decided by two Senate runoffs in Georgia, January 5th. And all four of those candidates you see on the screen will be getting a lot of help from the outside. Correspondent Jonathan Serrie has that story tonight from Atlanta.


JONATHAN SERRIE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT: Florida Senator Marco Rubio campaign today in the Atlanta suburbs for Georgia's two Republican senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue face runoff elections in January. 

SEN. DAVID PERDUE (R-FL): This is Georgia's decision to make. But it's America that will live with the consequences of the decision that they make here.

SERRIE: With Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan's projected reelection victory, Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff must win both Georgia Senate races if their party has to match Republican voting power in the Senate with a new vice president to break the tie. 

JON OSSOFF (D), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE OF GEORGIA: We are going to be doing everything in our power to register voters, to organize our communities, to inspire people to get back out to the polls.

SERRIE: With stakes so high for both parties, advertising spending leading up to last week's general election is estimated at $200 million. 

TAMAR HALLERMAN, CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: We're expecting those records to be shattered because these are the only two real outstanding races going on in the country right now. 

SERRIE: A new Loeffler ad links Raphael Warnock to radical elements of the far left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Origins care that Raphael Warnock was a proud defender of anti-American, anti-Semitic pastor Jeremiah Wright, who suggested America deserved the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

SERRIE: A Warnock spokesman calls the accusations a distraction from Senator Loeffler's efforts to deny health insurance to Georgians with pre- existing conditions. 

Georgia Democrats are emboldened by Joe Biden's narrow lead over President Trump in this one solidly red state, while Republicans echo the President's demands to investigate still unproven allegations of widespread voter fraud.


SERRIE: And Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says his office will investigate any complaint, but he says, so far, there is no evidence of any widespread voter fraud. 

Now, as for that manual recount of every single ballot in Georgia that he ordered today, it focuses only on the presidential race. It does not affect these two Senate races heading to runoffs on January 5th, Bret.

BAIER: That's interesting. Jonathan Serrie in Atlanta. Jonathan, thank you. 

Democrats have clinched a majority in the House by reaching 218 seats. 
There are still a handful of races undecided.

On election night, the Fox News Decision Desk correctly predicted soon after 9:00 Eastern that Democrats would retain control of the House, but they also estimated Democrats would add about five seats to their majority, that did not occur. Republicans have gained six seats with multiple races yet to be decided.

Four Pennsylvania residents have filed a lawsuit against Democratic Governor Tom Wolf asking a federal judge to invalidate the results of the presidential election in certain counties. The complaint argues the four will produce evidence of illegal ballots were included in the vote totals to change replacing doubt the result of the presidential election in Pennsylvania. We have not seen those filings yet. The plaintiffs want their action to be consolidated with the Trump campaigns larger lawsuit. 

Senior correspondent Eric Shawn reports tonight from Philadelphia on similar efforts in many locations. 


ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS CHANNEL SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: As the vote counting continues, the Trump campaign presses forward with lawsuits seeking to challenge the election results. 

In Philadelphia, election officials push back against claims of voter fraud, saying there is no evidence of it, that they have checked each claim of a dead person voting and debunked it. And they say, no illegal votes are being counted. 

That prompted President Trump to target one of the city's top election officials. He tweeted "A guy named Al Schmidt, a Philadelphia commissioner and so-called Republican RINO is being used big time by the fake news media to explain how honest things were with respect to the election in Philadelphia. He refuses to look at a mountain of corruption and dishonesty. We win.

But Schmidt has told me that vote counting is being done in a legal, transparent and appropriate manner and is being tallied by the book. 

In Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, officials did count just over 2,000 votes, even though they arrived without a date, but did not count the same number of ballots missing their secrecy envelope, the so-called naked ballots.

that was ruled by the -- by the Supreme Court that we cannot count
(INAUDIBLE) set aside and not count.

SHAWN: In a Trump campaign lawsuit challenging votes in Montgomery County, the judge asked a Trump campaign lawyer this, "Are you claiming that there is any fraud in connection with these 592 disputed ballots?" The reply, to my knowledge at present, no. 

In Texas, a bounty announced for voter fraud cases. Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick says he will pay $25,000 for voter fraud tips that lead to the arrest and conviction of fraudsters. He says he has put aside
$1 million for the rewards. His campaign coffers covering the cost that could spawn up to 40 cases.


SHAWN: Well, tonight, Patrick's office tell us that they don't have any voter fraud cases yet because the allegations are first sent to local law enforcement. 

As you know, there have been recent voter fraud cases in the Lone Star State. In September, a Democratic county commissioner was charged in a mail fraud voter fraud case. And just last week, a woman who works at a group home was charged with 134 felony voter fraud counts for allegedly submitting the votes of people who have been deemed mentally incompetent. 
Thus, they are ineligible to vote, Bret.

BAIER: Eric, thank you. Judge hearing a voter fraud lawsuit in Wayne County, Michigan says he will have a ruling by Friday. The plaintiffs there say they have several sworn affidavits alleging misconduct in Detroit, including backdating and ballot tampering. They contend voting challengers were denied the ability to see ballots because of questionable COVID rules. 

Plaintiffs are requesting that certification of Detroit's vote be stopped, an audit of the vote be ordered and all evidence be preserved again ruling Friday. 

Up next, we talked with retired Army Lieutenant General and former National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster about Veterans Day and the presidential election. 

First, here's what some of our Fox affiliates around the country are covering tonight. Fox 13 in Tampa, as Florida races for a second hit from what is once again Hurricane Eta. The storm has been in the Gulf of Mexico since crossing over Southern Florida -- South Florida Sunday causing major flooding in some areas. 

Fox 19 in Cincinnati as a truck crashes and fires shut down both sides of interstates 71 and 75 and the Brent Spence Bridge which connects Cincinnati and Covington, Kentucky and carries approximately 180,000 vehicles a day over the Ohio River. Police say the roads will be closed for an extended period of time. No timing yet on what that means. 

And this is a live look at Detroit from our affiliate Fox 2 there. One of the big stories there tonight, a coalition of public education groups urges the Michigan Supreme Court to bar the state from reimbursing private schools for complying with Health and Safety orders. The case involves more than $5 million set aside for private schools by the Republican controlled legislature when Rick Snyder was governor. 

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


BAIER: The U.N.'s atomic watchdog agency says Iran continues to increase its stockpile of low enriched uranium far beyond the limits set in a landmark nuclear deal with world powers.

The agency says Iran is also enriching that uranium to a higher purity than permitted. President Trump withdrew, you may remember, from the U.S. -- the U.S. from that agreement. The Biden transition team has indicated the new administration will consider rejoining it.

Let's spend some time on this Veterans Day to talk about what this day means, and to get some perspective on where the country is on the election, the transition. Joining us tonight, retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. He's the author of the book
Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World.

General, thanks for being here, and happy Veterans Day.

Thanks so much. It's a pleasure to be with you.

BAIER: I want to start -- I want to talk about Veterans Day, but I want to start about where we are as a country, and where you see things from your seat having been in this administration, knowing this president, and where we are right now, especially when it comes to national security.

MCMASTER: Right. Well, I'll tell you, Bret. I'm concerned, right? Any kind of period of transition is a -- is a dangerous time, our -- you know, our enemies, adversaries, rivals, I think it might be a time to act out against us.

So, I think it's really important for us to show a high degree of competence and a degree of stability, and a recognition that, hey, our democracy works, our institutions are strong, and I think that if we show weakness and division, of course, there are a lot of malign actors who want to -- want to take advantage of that, from the Chinese Communist Party to Vladimir Putin, to Jihadist terrorists, to North Korea.

And you mentioned at the outset here, Iran, which is -- which is enriching uranium and also continuing its four-decade-long proxy war against us, and Israel, and the Arab monarchies, and the world, really.

BAIER: Do you think, Israel wants to do something before the end of the Trump administration when it comes to Iran?

MCMASTER: Well, you know, Israel follows the Begin Doctrine, right? Which means that they will not accept a hostile state having the most destructive weapons on earth. And we've seen this in the past with Israeli defense force strikes in Syria.

Remember, 2007, when North Korea was helping construct a nuclear weapons facility in the Syrian Desert, and the Israeli defense force struck that, and also similar strikes in Iraq as well, earlier than that.

So, I, I think that it's a possibility where, in some ways, Bret, we're back to the kind of the 2006 period, when we knew that Iran was -- what was, was pursuing this threshold nuclear weapons capability, and tensions were higher, and the IDF was about to act at that point.

This is -- I think, one of the reasons because of the increasing tension that Iran said, oh, yes, I'd like to negotiate now, because the sanctions against Iran were starting to bite against them, and the Israeli defense force, I think was considering action.

BAIER: So, you're concerned about a Biden presidency in Iran policy from that perspective.

MCMASTER: Yes, it would be a really big mistake, Bret, to try to turn the clock back to the 2016 and resurrect Iran Nuclear Deal. The Iran Nuclear Deal was a political disaster masquerading as a diplomatic triumph. It was a fundamentally flawed agreement

But what it didn't do, and it, it didn't -- it didn't consider really two fundamental issues that we have to take into consideration when you're dealing with Iran.

First of all, the hostile ideology of the regime, the ideology of the revolution. And secondly, this four-decade-long proxy war against us. And these big payoffs to Iran when the deal was signed, as well as the relief of sanctions.

What did they do with that money? They applied that money to intensifying these -- the sectarian violence across the region, in an effort really to put a proxy army on the border of Israel.

BAIER: And the president, the administration talked about that. But there is some concern, and you know, I covered the Pentagon for years. When the brass is concerned about something, they obviously don't say it publicly, they don't get in front of microphones, but they make their feelings clear.

Our Pentagon team had this. "The changes at the top of the Pentagon have sent shock waves through the U.S. military, according to multiple current and former defense intelligence officials. The White House is essentially removing anyone who has disagreed with them in the past on issues such as U.S. troop withdrawals and military operations against Iran."

He has the right to make those changes. He fired the Defense Secretary Mark Esper, but there are other big positions that are being kind of replaced. 
Have you -- I know you talked to people inside that building. What are you hearing?

MCMASTER: Well, I think there's concern, right? There's concern that in this period of what is already going to be a transition between administrations that adding more turbulence, as I mentioned, that's not really a beneficial thing to the United States and to our interests.

And I think it's worth pointing out that if it is really 70 days left in a
-- in a Trump administration, it's tough to put together a positive agenda in 70 days, you can tear some things down, you know. But it -- it's -- I just don't know what the -- what the purposes of this.

If it's just general vindictiveness, right? OK, that's one thing, we can live with that. But I -- but I hope that there's not like another reason behind this. And I, I think it's unfortunate, Bret. I wish that, that there was more of a bias toward a -- towards stability at this point, and ensuring a smooth transition for the benefit of all Americans. And to make sure that, that our adversaries don't see some kind of vulnerabilities that they can take advantage of.

BAIER: You know, Secretary Pompeo was on last night, and said, he didn't think that even as the president rightfully has his day in court to challenge the election results, and has not conceded, he does not think that that's going to have a negative impact on transition. Even though Joe Biden is not getting a presidential daily brief.

Are you concerned about that transition, that right seat, left seat handoff?

MCMASTER: No, I'm not. I think, you know, I think people will realize, right? Across the administration, hey, not a -- no individual, nobody's ego is bigger than your responsibility as a civil servant, from the president to the secretary of state, to defense, right?

And we want America to succeed, and so, we want the next administration to succeed. We might have big, big differences in policy with them, but that's the opportunity to voice those differences, and to say, hey, you might consider pursuing a policy of continuity, because we think we have it right on China, for example.

So, I think that -- 



MCMASTER: Actually, Secretary Pompeo, you know, most networks only showed that one clip where he made kind of the quip about, hey, it's going to be a Trump administration. He went on, I think to deliver a very positive message about his desire to have -- to have a smooth transition, and we ought to, I think, have confidence in that. And I hope the president rises to the occasion too.

And you -- you're right, Bret. I mean, hey, it is fine to challenge the -- you know, these outcomes. I mean, we have a judicial process, let that process work.

What bothers me though, Bret, is, is a kind of this discussion about, you know, fraud, and problems in the sanctity -- protecting the sanctity of our election.

Gosh, I wish that President Trump would take credit for the tremendous advances his administration made to secure our election process.


I've got to run, General, but one quick word about Veterans Day. You wrote an op-ed about the importance of this day, and really what it means for the service.

MCMASTER: Right. Well, Bret, I think Americans often see the hardships associated with service. But they, they don't really fully understand sometimes the tremendous rewards of service.

Being part of a team that is bound together by a common purpose and mutual respect, being part of a team where the man or woman next to you is willing to give everything including their own lives for you. Our veterans are extraordinary human beings, our servicemen and women are.

And you know, Bret, we are engaged today with the enemies of all civilized people. So, our veterans are warriors, but they're also humanitarians. And so, it's a great day to celebrate service and to celebrate the rewards of service. And we need -- we need our best young men and women to volunteer for military service, and I can guarantee them, if they do join, they'll have -- 



MCMASTER: They'll have a tremendous experience and they'll be successful in life after the military. And so, it's a great day to celebrate the service of our veterans.

BAIER: Well, we thank you for your service, General. And the book, again, is a great read. If you haven't gotten it, check it out, Battlegrounds, H.R. McMaster. Thank you, sir.

MCMASTER: Bret, thank you.

ABIER: Up next, why one major American city may have to bring in police officers from other jurisdictions to deal with a wave of violent crime. 
Plus, one of President-elect Biden's COVID advisor, says Americans should not get sole access to a vaccine. We'll take a look at that.


BAIER:  The fallout from this summer's death of an African-American man at the hands of police in Minneapolis may force officials there to bring in help from the outside. Correspondent Garrett Tenney tells us tonight the twin cities are now dealing with the twin problems of massive defections and increasing violence. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I'm saying we need more resources today and right now. 

GARRETT TENNEY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Minneapolis is struggling to deal with a wave of violent crime and a shortage of officers on the streets to fight it. Roughly 500 people have been shot in the city this year, a 15- year high, and homicides are up 89 percent compared to this point last year. At the same time, more than 100 of the city's officers have either left the force or are currently on leave, many claiming they have PTSD after responding to the unrest following the death of George Floyd. 

Now five months after a majority of the city council vowed to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department, councilmembers are considering a proposal to bring in as many as 40 officers from other jurisdictions to help target violent crime. 

STEVE FLETCHER, (D) MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL:  How have we not been successful in apprehending a small group of people who are committing crime after crime after crime when we see these car-jackings and when we see this happening? 

TENNEY:  Moderate Democrats argue that progressive calls to defund the police are why Democrats failed to expand their majority in the House on Election Day, but progressive lawmakers such as Rashida Tlaib aren't apologizing. In an interview with "Politico," she gave this morning, "We are not interested in unity that asks people to sacrifice their freedoms and their rights any longer." 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Nine-one-one, what's your emergency? 

TENNEY:  A Portland city commissioner who is pushing to cut $18 million from the police department's budget and has suggested that many 911 calls aren't necessary, is now under fire for calling the cops on her Lyft driver earlier this month over an argument about the windows being open. When the driver canceled the ride and pulled over to a gas station, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty refused to get out. 

JO ANN HARDESTY, PORTLAND CITY COMMISSIONER:  And I'm not getting out of the car in the dark at a filling station. Not happening. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  OK. I mean, technically it's his property and you have a civil agreement. There's no crimes involved. 


TENNEY:  With many police departments across the country overwhelmed during recent protests and riots, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has drafted new anti-mob legislation that would expand the state's stand your ground law and could allow armed citizens to shoot anyone they believe of looting during a riot. Bret? 

BAIER:  Garrett, thank you. 

Stocks were mixed today as technology companies bounced back. The DOW lost 23, the S&P 500 gained 27, the NASDAQ jumped 233. 

On the heels of this week's positive news about a coronavirus vaccine candidate, there are growing concerns about possible hoarding of the drug when it comes. In fact, one advisor to the president-elect thinks some Americans should have to wait until people in other countries have access to the vaccine first. All this comes as the infection numbers here in the U.S. continued to surge, and one state, Texas, has become the first to top the 1 million mark. Correspondent Casey Stegall takes a look tonight from Dallas. 


CASEY STEGALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Inside a growing number of U.S. 
hospitals, the prognosis isn't good. Nearly 62,000 Americans now hospitalized with coronavirus, doubling September's numbers, according to the COVID Tracking Project. 

NICK ROSE, CORONAVIRUS UNIT NURSE:  I've done compressions on more people in the last three weeks then I have in a year. 

STEGALL:  This week at least 12 states has reported their highest number of COVID hospitalizations since the pandemic began. In El Paso, some patients are being airlifted out to make room for the sickest. At least one hospital has erected pop-up tents in the parking lot to create extra bed space while the city's convention center has also been transformed into a field hospital. 

JUDGE RICARDO SAMANIEGO, EL PASO COUNTY, TEXAS:  The hard truth is that the people who are dying are El Pasoans. 

STEGALL:  So quickly, six additional temporary morgue trucks are being brought in after the first four filled up. Now they'll have 10 coolers. 

Meantime, in a global race for a vaccine, there are concerns about countries hoarding their supplies. One of president-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus advisors, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, suggests government should not give its own citizens absolute priority, adding the U.S. should distribute vaccines globally before it's available to all Americans. The same with scarce therapeutics like Eli Lilly's newly approved antibody treatment. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  One-fifth as many people wind up at the hospital with severe disease. 


STEGALL:  Some Los Angeles City Council members have proposed turning part of the city's convention center into a homeless shelter to help get them off the streets during the pandemic since so many nonprofits have closed.

BAIER:  Casey, thank you. 

Up next, the panel with reaction to the latest of developments in the aftermath of the presidential election. 



JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  We are going to be going and moving along in a consistent manner, putting together our administration, the White House, and reviewing who we are going to pick for the cabinet positions. And nothing is going to stop that. And so I'm confident that the fact that they're not willing to acknowledge we won at this point is not of much consequence in our planning. 

TIM MURTAUGH, TRUMP 2020 COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR:  It remains the view of the Trump campaign that this election is not over. Every time we take a step along this process, we believe we are getting closer to our goal, and that is the president winning these states and ultimately being reelected. 


BAIER:  Well, the Trump team is continuing the lawsuits, challenging the election in various states to get enough votes to overturn the outcome that was projected, while the Biden team is looking at cabinet appointments and possibly a chief of staff this week. 

Let's bring in our panel, Amy Walter, national editor for the "Cook Political Report," and Matthew Continetti, founding editor of the "Washington Free Beacon." We are waiting on Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary, but we'll start without him. Amy, this is important that we do the process, because the projections the media makes are based on getting over 270 electoral votes. The states then certify those votes at some point over the next three weeks or so, and then the electors are seated on December 14th this year. So this process is continuing. Why do you think two years of analyzing this election to be, the polls were so wrong again? 

AMY WALTER, NATIONAL EDITOR, "COOK POLITICAL REPORT":  Well, you know what, Bret, first, I think it's important to recognize that, yes, there is a process, and we need to make sure that the process is completed fairly. At the same time, it needs to be done without undermining our faith in the electoral system. And every single secretary of state, election official, Democrat, Republican, has come forward to say that they believe the system is safe and the election was conducted fairly, and they have done incredible work in making it do so under incredible duress. And obviously -

BAIER:  Let me just interrupt you there before you go to the polling answer. The attorney general of Arizona was just on FOX Business, Mark Brnovich, and he said "We need to deal in facts and evidence. We don't want anarchy. We want the rule of law." He went on to say that he believes Biden will win Arizona as these last votes are counted. This is a Republican A.G. 
Go ahead on the polling question. 

WALTER:  So on the polling, there are more questions than answers right now, Bret, and I think the fundamental reality is the polling that works in the pre-Trump era doesn't seem to be working with Trump as president and Trump as a candidate. 

And I think there are a couple of reasons for that. I think the first is that the assumptions about the electorate, while they were altered after 2016, pollsters dug in and they said, boy, we have the wrong assumptions about the makeup of the electorate. We are going to adjust that. It still isn't capturing, I think, the kinds of people who do vote for Donald Trump. 
I don't think they're shy. I don't think they're embarrassed. I think they are not included in, whether they're panels that you take over the Internet, or whether they are through phone surveys. It's a very difficult group of people to contact and to get in the samples, in part because I think so many of them believe, as the president does, that the polls are rigged, that the process is not fair, and they aren't part of it. 

BAIER:  Yes, but Matthew, I guess it wasn't just Donald Trump. I know this election was Donald Trump, but you have Senate candidates in Maine, Susan Collins, you had Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, you had John Cornyn in Texas, all were supposedly facing this really strong challenge from Democrats who were really well-funded and got a lot of money from outside the states because of the polls that had them neck and neck. It turns out that all of them won by eight, 10, 11. It was just wrong. 

MATTHEW CONTINETTI, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "WASHINGTON FREE BEACON":  Right, and we saw something similar just two years ago in 2018, Bret, and we saw it, of course in 2016. There is something happening with the polling. 
Republicans, or Republican leaning voters aren't being picked up. Is it because they aren't answering their phones? Is it because they don't want to talk to pollsters? Is it because they don't have the time? All of these could be reasons. 

But there is something clearly wrong with the polling, and it suggests that conservatives and Republicans in particular need to be very skeptical when they look at polling in the future, and not think that races are lost just because the polling says so. Look at the result in Wisconsin where "The Washington Post" had Biden leading Trump by 17. Look at all of the polling in Maine, all of which showed that Susan Collins didn't have a chance. She walloped her challenger there. 

So I think there's good reason not to let the polls get in the way of the traditional forms of campaigning, persuasion, and mobilization that determine election outcomes. 

BAIER:  Last thing, Amy. We said, and we say, we have not seen evidence of widespread voter fraud, and that's what we hear from all these states as well. When we say that, we don't say that we haven't seen irregularities, we haven't seen any fraud, we haven't seen things that raise questions. We just haven't seen the cases, the specifics that overturn the difference in the vote in the states that the president needs to turn as of yet. 

WALTER:  Every single election you're going to find ballots and you're going to find evidence of things that are, either they are incorrect or they shouldn't have been allowed, or whatever the case may be. In this case, we are talking about sometimes over 150,000 the difference in a place like Michigan, or 20,000 in the case of Arizona. It may be lower now, I can't remember where that sets. So you're right. 

But I think if we learned anything, especially after the 2000 election, it's that these are still human beings that are processing the ballots, and even they make mistakes. Some of them may be, quote-unquote, done illegally or fraudulently, but some of it is just honest-to-goodness human error. 

BAIER:  Yes. We are going to follow it either way. And we are going to follow the transition of the Biden team if they continue to move forward. 
Arizona is at a little over 13,000. Trust me, I watch it every day. Nevada is a little bit over 20,000 difference. 

When we come back, the balance of power in Congress, and Ari Fleischer joins us. 



SEN. JOHN KENNEDY, (R-LA):  You've got nothing to worry about unless you are a taxpayer, a business owner, a parent, a cop, a gun owner, a person of faith, or an unborn baby.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D-WV):  That won't happen because I will not be the 50th Democrat voting to end that filibuster or to basically stack the court. 


BAIER:  Senator Kennedy talking about what he says is the socialist agenda should Democrats take control, and Senator Manchin from our show earlier this week. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, however, pushing back, saying "Yes, everyone should trust Joe Manchin, who voted against Judge Barrett, voted for impeachment, voted to block COVID relief several times, and voted against tax cuts. Nobody should trust Joe Manchin." That's the positioning for the runoffs in Georgia, the two of them, that will decide the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. 

We're back with our paneled, adding Ari Fleischer this time. Ari, your thoughts on this? Welcome, by the way. We're glad the switch worked. What about this set up to the Georgia races? 

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  Well, all the marbles now rest in Georgia, don't they? That's why everything is on the line there, Senate control. And as for Joe Manchin and what he said, the problem with that, Bret, is even if you take him at his word, it means Republicans are always just one vacancy away from losing control, that it's not just Joe Manchin. A Republican senator dies and all of a sudden, the Democrats don't need Joe Manchin, they can run everything with the filibuster. It's too close to take, and that's why these two seats are absolutely vital if you want to have a check and a balance on Joe Biden getting overwhelmed by liberal Democrat, pack the Senate, pack the Supreme Court agenda. 

BAIER:  And obviously, Joe Manchin, Amy, would vote for Chuck Schumer as the Senate majority leader, which he wouldn't do these other things he talked about. But as you look at Georgia now with this different balance that we saw in this presidential race, how does it shape up for two runoffs? 

WALTER:  Yes, well, we've never seen anything like this before, to have two races for the Senate on the same day, two runoffs in Georgia. The other thing we know is that historically Democrats when they've won the White House 92, 2008, and there was a runoff in Georgia, Democrats didn't do too well. But this is a different Georgia, and this is a different kind of election. Still, I think I'd rather be Republicans who can run on the let's not hand Joe Biden a blank check, let's make sure to keep a check and balance. And they both obviously are hoping to harness the energy of President Trump, who I'm sure will make his place in the state and do some rallies. 

BAIER:  Yes. That will be interesting to see whether how big a factor he is, whether he chooses to really roll up his sleeves and go down there, Matthew. Today we had Marco Rubio in the state. You're going to have a bunch of names, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, possible names for 2024, all going to the state in coming days. 

CONTINETTI:  That's right, every Republican of national profile will be heading down to Georgia, as will some prominent Democrats. I think it's interesting, Bret, the scuttlebutt is that Democrats would rather Biden stay away and Obama go. But I think from a conservative perspective, there is every likelihood that in January President Biden will be facing pressure from a frustrated left with the diminished House majority and Mitch McConnell in control of the Senate. And if you're a conservative, break out the popcorn. 

BAIER:  Yes, and 10 seconds here, Ari. The House now Democrats will control, but Republicans will narrow that margin, and that's a different deal too. 

FLEISCHER:  Yes. For a Democrat speaker it will be the smallest majority they've had in two generations. You have to go back to the New Deal. This, Bret, is what an insurance policy really looks like. It's a check and a balance on President Biden. 

BAIER:  And we'll see what 2022 looks like. That's the next election, by the way. 

Thanks, everybody. When we come back, recognizing the remarkable. 


BAIER:  Finally tonight, a special recognition. With the first round of the Masters beginning tomorrow. Did I tell you the first round of the Masters starts tomorrow? Augusta National is honoring a historic figure in the game of golf, Lee Elder. He was the first man of color to compete in the Masters
45 years ago. Elder, who is also an Army veteran, will be an honorary starter 2021 and have college scholarships awarded in his name. 
Congratulations, Mr. Elder. 

Meantime, first responders in Newport, Oregon, surprised World War II veteran Jim Winebrenner on his 98th birthday. Winebrenner served as a waist gunner in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Police cruisers, fire trucks blaring their horns, flashing their lights to honor him. Thank you, sir, for your service to the country. Thank you all, the veterans who've served and are serving our country. And thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. 
That's it for SPECIAL REPORT. Fair, balanced, and unafraid. Here's Martha.

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