Will calls for unity among lawmakers hold up?

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This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," June 15, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Steve, in his own way, may have brought some unity to our long-divided country.

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: Throughout the whole game we will all be team Scalise.

REV. PATRICK CONROY, U.S. HOUSE CHAPLAIN: We seem to forget words matter and can become seeds that will bring a bitter harvest.

FORMER REP. BOB LIVINGSTON, R-LA.: Today it's the anti- Trump fervor that inspires people in social media, in Hollywood.

REP. MARK SANFORD, R-S.C.: I would argue that the president has unleashed and is partially, again, not in any way totally, but partially to blame for demons that have been unleashed.


JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS: Calls for a rhetorical ceasefire in the wake of yesterday's shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, and more calls for unity. But how long will it last? Let's bring in our panel: Judge Andrew Napolitano is with us, Fox News senior judicial analyst; Mara Liasson, national political correspondent of National Public Radio; editor in chief of Lifezette, Laura Ingraham, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

It's not even like the shooting coverage lasted a day before The Washington Post came out with the breaking news story, Laura, yesterday that now the president is being investigated for potential obstruction of justice. It's like we can't stand one thing very long without it coming back to the political divide.

LAURA INGRAHAM, LIFEZETTE.COM: Five anonymous sources in The Washington Post story indicating that the special counsel has interviewed members of the intelligence community. Five people unauthorized to speak, so they spoke on the condition of anonymity.

But I think what you saw today was nice. It was heartening. But I think some of the Kumbaya mentality that we have heard over the last 24 hours does also kind of gloss over just how low we've gone. I would say from the Ferguson riots to Baltimore, the total lack of respect for the police, to Berkeley, Middlebury where someone like a Charles Murray is treated abysmally where you justify burning cars, turning them over, writing the f- word on the American flag. This is the type of carnage which is going to get worse unless both parties speak out against how it incites the already deranged among us. And it's disturbing.

ROBERTS: Judge, we have seen calls for unity in the past, and they lasted maybe a couple weeks after 9/11. How long do you expect this is going to last?

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS: I agree with everything that Laura just said. And I don't like this call for unity will last much longer. I was just telling Mara that I really feel for and worry about Steve Scalise. And it just doesn't look good at this point. But whatever happens to him, I think they are going to be back in the pits, at each other's throats, fighting tooth and nail, using language which just sends the wrong signals to young people, who regurgitate it on social media. So this is self-fulfilling and self-producing and self-regenerating the concept of every hill is worth dying for and every battle is a battle to the death.

ROBERTS: Yesterday the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, was saying identify with the eloquent remarks of the speaker of the House. Listen to what she said today.


PELOSI: I think the comments made by my Republican colleagues are outrageous, beneath the dignity of the job that they hold, beneath the dignity to the extent that we would like Congress to mend. How dare they say such a thing? How dare they?


ROBERTS: She was reacting to some comments by some Republicans that the Democrats need to tone down some of the rhetoric that they're using. Mara, can these two stop warring with each other?

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: They should fight tooth and nail over policy. That's what we expect. But the blaming each other and using rhetoric that incites violence has to stop. And both parties have a lot to do with it. There's not one party that's guilty here. If Republicans are blaming Democrats for this incident, that's just as bad as the Democrats blaming Republicans for some other violent incidents.

I think it can change. It just takes political will. And everything we saw in the last 24 to 48 hours was pretty good. You had the president who was very quick often to be divisive because that's a political strategy that works for him, he didn't do that here. So let's see what happens as we go forward in the next couple of days.

ROBERTS: In the middle of all of this, Charles, an editorial in "The New York Times" which, again, repeated the much discredited meme that a Sarah Palin ad was responsible for the Gabby Giffords shooting. So even the media is in on this game, too, not just the political sides.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I agree. The editorial this morning repeating that was not only scandalous but unbelievable because it is a six-year-old story that's been debunked within three days when it turned out it had nothing to do with her and the man who did the shooting was a paranoid schizophrenic.

I think the problem here is twofold. It's not just a style but it's also the objectives. There's not a style in our politics where the ad hominem is the norm. People ought to fight over policy, but once you begin to question the motives, the patriotism of your opponents, you have gone too far.

But the worst thing, and I think this is overlooked, the two parties, the two ideologies, you might say, speak about the politics in apocalyptic terms. If the other guy wins, it's the end of the republic. If the other guy wins, it's the end of the world. The man who did the shooting yesterday is a man who bought into that quite literally. You can speak about it hyperbolically. But when those stakes, when you say unless we stop Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump the republic will not survive, then that justifies anything. That is the language, the ideology, the rationale of terrorists. The fate of the world hangs on this. And it's up to the leadership to say these are policies. This is not the fate of the republic.

ROBERTS: And it happened again today in Georgia, the race for the sixth congressional district. We know how rancorous that has been. Today some suspicious packages were delivered to Karen Handel's house and her neighbors. She had a statement saying, quote, "This afternoon we had suspicious packages delivered to our house and to our neighbors. The packages contained threatening letters and a suspicious substance. The police were quickly notified and the street is now being blocked off. We will continue to coordinate with law enforcement as necessary."

Laura, I read the letter. You certainly can't repeat it on television, but the vitriol was just violent.

INGRAHAM: That is echoed by other congressmen who say that at these town hall meetings, it's not just raising your hand and asking a tough question, which I think is great. That's what those town hall meetings should be. But it's a level of viciousness and vitriol that we see on social media, but usually that's an anonymous thing. But now people are emboldened and they are actually saying it in person. They are doing chalk drawings of people in their families on their driveway so they wake up in the morning and they see a chalk drawing.

But I think Charles is right. This apocalyptic language we hear on other cable networks where these are supposedly very respected hosts who get up and say will our republic survive Donald Trump? In other words the resistances is a physical resistance. If you believe your survival is at risk, you have the moral duty to physically resist that. And I think this freak yesterday took it to heart.

ROBERTS: Judge and Mara, can we dial back from this? How do we dial back?

NAPOLITANO: I don't know. Every time five or six or 10 members of Congress appear in public, do we have to have 50 cops with them? Are they going to start carrying weapons themselves? Many of them carry side arms at home and they are not allowed to carry them here in D.C.

LIASSON: There is a lot of things that can be done to dial back. First of all, how about members of Congress doing things together? This baseball game is incredibly rare.

ROBERTS: It doesn't fit the zero-sum game.

LIASSON: It doesn't fit the zero-sum game, but they can force themselves to do that because that's how things used to work a long time ago. The president can set the tone. I thought he set the tone yesterday. He can keep it up, doesn't have to demonize his enemies. And every single person in a position of leadership can conduct themselves with restraint, and they know -- every member of leadership privately will tell you they can't stand what's going on and how things have devolved. So OK, change it.

KRAUTHAMMER: What the president can do is to declare in advance that the outcome of the ballgame is a tie.


ROBERTS: I don't necessarily know he's going to do that, Charles. We'll leave it there.

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