This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 27, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE SPEAKER: As you know, you never know where we are going next. I think we are getting involved in the cover-up of a cover-up.

HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: How in the world can it be a cover-up if the world has the document? We literally released the document.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a presidential extortion, essentially, and an ongoing cover-up.

HILLARY CLINTON, D-FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He has turned American diplomacy into a cheap extortion racket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they are claiming a cover-up, this is the world's worst cover-up ever.

REP. PETE KING, R-N.Y.: The fact is that he was not a witness to anything. So this all second and third hand. It's like a guy doing a term paper or a thesis.


BRET BAIER, HOST: Well, this is the talk of this town and the talk of this nation as the impeachment process moves forward. The president pushes back. It's about this Ukrainian phone call. It's about aid to Ukraine.

Here is a quick timeline about the aid timeline. The administration notifies Congress it intends to release aid money to Ukraine. July 18th, the president decides to withhold nearly $400 million in aid. They are told, Congress is, an interagency delay. July 25th, the president and the Ukrainian president have the phone call. August 12th, the whistleblower files the complaint. August 29th, at the request of the Ukrainian president, Ukraine's parliament begins legislative progress on amending anticorruption bill, and it was marked urgent by the Ukrainian president. September 11th, the president and the Trump administration releases withheld aid.

This is moving quickly. The newest thing from Congress, a subpoena from different committees of Secretary of State Pompeo asking for specific documents, an October 4th deadline issued by the Foreign Affairs Committee, documents part of impeachment inquiry, and it pertains to the Ukraine phone call. That's where everything is centered.

Let's bring in our panel, Matthew Continetti, editor in chief of the "Washington Free Beacon," Leslie Marshall, Democrat strategist, and Susan Ferrechio, Chief Congressional Correspondent for the "Washington Examiner."

OK, Matthew, where are we tonight, and where do we think this is going?

MATTHEW CONTINETTI, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "WASHINGTON FREE BEACON": Bret, I spent all week recalling General David Petraeus' words at the outset of the 2003 Iraq War, tell me how this ends. And I don't think anyone in Washington, including Speaker Pelosi, knows how this ends. I think the aid is key, and if there is evidence establishing a connection between the withholding of the aid and the promise, or the desired actions on the part of the Ukrainian president, that might shift Republican opinion. But we have no evidence at this point of that. So I think Republicans hold firm.

BAIER: Not in this timeline, but the Ukrainians, it's being reported, didn't know that the aid was withheld until one month after that. So how about the process the Democrats are going through here? They are now on a two-week recess. Where does this go from here?

LESLIE MARSHALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: They shouldn't be on a recess. You want to get the job done. And I'm hearing in my party that they want to get this wrapped up by the end of October, which is why not only are they having the subpoenas you just mentioned of Secretary Pompeo, but also they have individuals from Ukraine that they have specific dates for interviewing. So they shouldn't be going on break. And I would agree with you they don't know where this is going to end.

But look, even without, quid meet pro and quo here, at the end of the day you do have an alleged abuse of power without the issue of aid. You have somebody saying very clearly, I want you to look into this guy. He happens to be my political opponent. Even then when we have seen historically there has just not been any evidence to show anything negative with regard to Joe and Hunter Biden and what the president is alleging. And it's clear it's for his own personal and political gain. And that's an abuse of power.

BAIER: Susan?

SUSAN FERRECHIO, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": I think the way that they are rolling this out in the House is to allow maximum flexibility for the speaker. In other words, they didn't have a formal vote for an inquiry. That gives her the power to control the timeline, the power to control how this rolls out, and the power to control whether she ever wants to bring articles of impeachment to the floor.

And I think I agree with Matthew. She is not quite sure where this is going to go. You have got watch the polls. She jumped in to this, and we are getting more evidence that may conflict with what Democrats believe, and this is going to allow her to have the flexibility to move forward, and, also, to take matter away from the Judiciary Committee where it had devolved into theatrics with a lot criticism and blowback. Just a few minutes ago she sent out a dear colleague letter to every Democrat in the House saying this thing is being handed over to the intelligence committee and Adam Schiff.

BAIER: To your point, Leslie, obviously you have what the former vice president, vice president at the time, said on tape about how he dealt with the prosecutor, and that raised a lot of eyebrows. Peggy Noonan writes in the "Wall Street Journal" this about impeachment. "Nobody knows where this is going. The politically obsessed may think they do, but something wild and unpredictable has been let loose. The charges are serious and credible, but America is as divided as it was in 2016. America is still in play, and it's all up for grabs, everything. The entire outcome will depend on public opinion. In the end, in purely practical political terms, the one person who will be hurt by this story will be Joe Biden. Every telling of this story necessitates pointing out that Mr. Biden's son Hunter had cozy financial relationships with other countries including Ukraine. It's real swamp stuff. It looks bad, say the former vice president's friends. No, it is bad. Joe Biden probably thought it was old news, already dissected and dismissed, but it's back and will hit him like a kidney punch." Matthew?

CONTINETTI: I think she's right. And I think Democrats have calculated that they are willing to use Biden as almost a sacrificial lamb in order to put that asterisk next to the Trump presidency, the asterisk of impeachment, because, remember let's say that finally Pelosi does decide to call the vote, and we have an impeachment vote, and a majority of Democrats vote for impeachment. It then goes for the Senate, which for the first time in these impeachment cases is controlled by the president's party. What starts out as a trial of President Trump for impeachment may end up being a trial of Joe Biden and Hunter Biden.

BAIER: Let alone the trial of how we get here and the presentation of these facts and who -- the whole debate about whether the whistleblower testifies or doesn't.

"The Federalist" has an interesting article out tonight which says that the intelligence community secretly eliminated a requirement that whistleblowers provide direct firsthand knowledge of alleged wrongdoing. And the first time this was brought to the public was the phone call and the whistleblower's complaint. It previously had said you had to have firsthand knowledge. This is the first time that the document says it could be hearsay.

MARSHALL: Well, you have a handful, and we don't know exactly how many or who. And I think we really have to, at some point, the whistleblower has said and his attorney has said that, or this individual has said, that they are willing to testify. And I think in that testimony, especially if it's not public, they would be able to name those individuals that came to them.

This whistleblower is being found credible by the inspector general within the intelligence community, and also by the acting defense director Maguire as well. I mean even the people who talked about political things. And there are people out there who are alleging it's some kind of a former CIA individual because of the way this was written.

But I have got to tell you, when you look at public opinion, I love Peggy Noonan. And I know we don't have the same political side, but very bright woman. I love her writings. We have in 48 hours public opinion has increased at first seven percent in the first 24, in the second 24 12 percent more in favor of impeachment. Joe Biden halls tripled the amount of money that he has raised with this.

BAIER: Well, so has the Trump campaign in the response to this. If public opinion has shifted that much you would think the speaker would put it up for a vote for formal House inquiry. Here is Mark Shield on CNN. I just want to play this soundbite. He deals with this issue.


MIKE SHIELD, FORMER RNC CHIEF OF STAFF: Nancy Pelosi doesn't want to make all of the members of the Democratic caucus who are vulnerable to lose because they are in Trump seats vote on impeachment. So they have actually opened an investigation and they are issuing subpoenas without actually authorizing it.

In terms of Rudy Giuliani, I think the Democrats are in a very interesting position when it comes to hypocrisy because he is essentially the Sidney Blumenthal type of person here. When Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, he was known to be sort of an extracurricular Hillary's outside spy that was doing things and bringing information back to her.


BAIER: It opens up a whole bunch of things, Susan.

FERRECHIO: First of all, the poll numbers can change. Eventually these swing Democrats will have to vote on articles of impeachment if it comes to the floor. So there is not really any way they can ultimately avoid it, unless they let this thing fade away and do nothing, which I contend is still possible.

BAIER: But I'm saying, right now when these subpoenas are going out, it doesn't have the power of the House of Representatives, because they haven't voted on it.

FERRECHIO: It doesn't have the power in court where they're battling for all these other documents related to the Mueller investigation. All this stuff, there is no official impeachment inquiry. They didn't vote for it. It's not precedent. However, it's not required. Anybody can bring up articles of impeachment if you are a member of the House. You don't have to have that.

However, what it does is it takes away the power of the minority. Like during the Clinton impeachment they had the power to investigate on their side to have witnesses, to issue subpoenas, to even out the process. This gives Pelosi full control. And I contend that is why they didn't have this vote, not just to spare those swing state Democrats. That was a good move on her part. But it gives her control over something that I don't think she is really fully certain about.

MARSHALL: I'm going to quote Bret Baier. I'm going to quote Bret Baier, who said she doesn't put it to the vote because she doesn't have the 218.

BAIER: That's exactly right. And I think they're going to be pretty narrow on their focus on Ukraine and nothing else.

Next up, Friday lightning round. It's going to be lightning.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Biden promised Ukraine $1 billion if they fired the prosecutor investigating his son's company. They lost the election. Now they want to steal this one.

JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's pretty clear that he will stop at nothing to hold on to power. And after 70 straight polls have shown me beating him, it is not surprising that I have become the object of his attention. He wants to hijack this election so that we're not going to focus on your lives.


BAIER: Trump campaign ad and the former vice president on the stump. We are back with the panel, and we are heading to -- yes, Candidate Casino. Sometimes it takes a while for the ball to get going.


BAIER: But here we go. Candidate Casino, you have $100 in chips. You have to bet them all. Where is the bet? Matthew.

CONTINETTI: Biden was fading before the events of the past week, and now I think he is fading past. I have $60 on Elizabeth Warren, $30 on Biden, and then $10 on Mayor Pete just because there might be a chance for him to make a moment late in the game.

BAIER: Leslie?

MARSHALL: I'm giving Elizabeth warren $40 of my dollars and I'm giving Joe Biden $60. And if you are keeping track, Elizabeth is getting more money of mine this time around.

FERRECHIO: I'm not ready to give up on Biden. I'm going to split him evenly with warren $40, $40 at this point. It's a little too early to have hit drop down, I think. And I'm giving Buttigieg and Sanders each $10. I'm keeping Buttigieg in because Biden is becoming a little less certain.

BAIER: Charlie Hurt puts a Michelle Obama chip on there. So you guys are not adventurous.


CONTINETTI: Hillary is a making a comeback.

BAIER: Hillary, who knows? Winners and Losers, here we go.

CONTINETTI: My winner is Rabbi Alvin Kass, the Chief Chaplain of the New York Police Department who is the longest serving officer at 53 years. Congratulations. And my loser is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who told PBS's Margaret Hoover this week the Chinese leader Xi Jinping is not a dictator, and that the Chinese Communalist Party cares about its, quote, constituents. Mayor Bloomberg needs to talk to the Uighurs and the people of Hong Kong.

BAIER: Winner and loser, Leslie?

MARSHALL: My winners are all the people that got $1,000 from Andrew Yang because they are not going to have to vote for him because he's not going to be the nominee, and they still get to keep his money.

BAIER: He is going to make this next debate, though.

MARSHALL: I know. But he is not going to get the nomination.

FERRECHIO: Maybe he'll offer more money.

MARSHALL: He didn't even get casino money from any of us on the panel tonight.

And my loser is the OK sign, which I no longer can do because it's been added to the list of hate symbols for white supremacy, and I certainly don't want to offend anyone. Thank you for putting that up.

BAIER: I think bowl haircuts is in there, too.

FERRECHIO: And the moon with the sunglasses.

BAIER: Yes, it's also there. Winner and loser?

FERRECHIO: My winner is the labradoodle. It was maligned by Wally Conron, the creator, who says he regrets creating this dog. But if you look on social media, the labradoodle is definitely winning.

BAIER: Isn't it hypoallergenic?

FERRECHIO: Yes. It doesn't shed, and most of them are very friendly and cute, too.

So my loser is Jerry Nadler, who is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He's been slogging away all these months on investigating the president, and now he has been basically sidelined for the Intelligence Committee chairman who will run this things across the finish line.

BAIER: And quickly, does it get across the finish line before the end of the year?

FERRECHIO: Well, in the House I think it will.



BAIER: There you go, impeachment before the end of the year. We will have our hands full.

My winner, the crews up in New York who we were up there to cover the U.N. We did a lot more this week up in New York, so thank you for having us. Back now in D.C.

When we come back, "Notable Quotables."


BAIER: It is Friday, and that means "Notable Quotables."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a new force of nature at hand stirring all over the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Enough is enough. Our kids should not be the guinea pigs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was scared. I'm so sorry!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are absolutely gutted. We've looked forward to this for a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are out here for the long haul so that we can get what we deserve.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is better to be on TV than back home, I think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand, lots of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While the chairman was speaking, I actually have someone text me, is he just making this up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adam Schiff has one of the worst senses of humor of anyone I've ever met.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The horse has left the barn.

TRUMP: You know we used to do in the old days when we were smarter, right, with spies and treason?

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE SPEAKER: I think where they are going far is a cover-up of the cover-up.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY, R-UT: I think she's a bit ahead of her skis.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump is going to choke on this supposed nothing-burger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just impeach him then, because, quite frankly, I'm sick of hearing everybody [EXPLETIVE DELETED] about it.

TRUMP: It's the worst witch hunt in political history.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, D-IND., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to be in the stand. Each of the recent polls shows that we're not.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you look like you are wearing about $250 worth of J.C. Penney.


BIDEN: Rudy Giuliani is a great character witness the president has.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: I'm a legitimate whistleblower.

TRUMP: I used to be the king of getting good press.


BAIER: One week in D.C. We'll see what next week brings.

Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. This weekend on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace interviews House Judiciary Committee Member, Hakeem Jeffries. Check your local listings for air time.

That is it for the “Special Report,” fair, balanced, and unafraid. I thanked the New York crews earlier. The D.C. crews worked hard as well here in Washington. It's been a busy week of news, but we've got you covered on all sides.

"The Story" guest hosted by Ed Henry starts right now. Ed?

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