Biden places focus on COVID-19 during first full day in office

This is a rush transcript from “Special Report” January 21, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Hey, Jesse. Good evening. I’m Bret Baier.

Breaking tonight, we may be close to learning a starting date for the

second Trump impeachment trial in the Senate. Even though House Speaker

Nancy Pelosi would not discuss a timeline earlier today, there is some

indication tonight Senate leaders may be close to striking a deal.

Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel has the latest tonight. Good

evening, Mike.

MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bret, good

evening. Leader Mitch McConnell has told his Republican colleagues that

President Trump has hired an attorney for his trial, Butch Bowers from

South Carolina.

McConnell is proposing to Schumer giving the former president’s legal team

two weeks to prepare its defense. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has

confirmed these details to Fox.

Some Democrats sound open to it as long as the Senate keeps confirming

cabinet members that would bump the trial back to February. McConnell

noting, he is in no rush.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): These six fine folks have put us in the

majority.

EMANUEL (voice-over): Chuck Schumer is the new Senate majority leader but

the Senate minority leader notes just barely.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The American people chosen and evenly split

Senate, 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats.

EMANUEL: McConnell and Schumer have yet to work out a power sharing

agreement. McConnell wants a commitment to maintain the Senate filibuster,

but Schumer is under pressure from the left.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): We ought to end the filibuster.

Unquestionably, it is an obstacle to conquering the pandemic and reviving

the economy, getting stuff done.

EMANUEL: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also being questioned over how a

Senate impeachment trial of a now former president is going to help with

unity.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): You don’t say to a president do whatever you want

in the last months of your administration. You’re going to get a jet — get

a jail card free.

EMANUEL: Minnesota Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar says the Senate could

handle nominations and that trial with a simple agreement.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): You could literally have nomination hearings and

nomination votes in the morning. You could have the impeachment trial in

the afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.

EMANUEL: The Senate last night confirmed Avril Haines to be Director of

National Intelligence with an 84 to 10 vote.

SCHUMER: We can and should confirm the Secretaries of Defense, State,

Homeland Security and Treasury without much delay.

EMANUEL: Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg was on the hot

seat today confronted by Texas Senator Ted Cruz about President Biden

canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and an estimated 11,000 jobs.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): So, for those workers, the answer is somebody else

will get a job?

PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY NOMINEE: The answer is that we are

very eager to see those workers continue to be employed in good paying

union jobs, even if they might be different ones.

EMANUEL: House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy also took aim at the new

president’s executive actions.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The new administration was more interested in

helping illegal immigrants than helping our own citizens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EMANUEL: Retired General Lloyd Austin’s nomination to be Secretary of

Defense is making progress, receiving our critical waiver from both the

House and Senate today.

Treasury nominee Janet Yellen could be confirmed as soon as tomorrow and

Secretary of State nominee Tony Blinken could potentially be confirmed

early next week, Bret.

BAIER: Important information from the Senate. Mike, thanks.

EMANUEL: You bet.

BAIER: On his first full day in office, President Biden is prioritizing his

number one item on his agenda, the coronavirus pandemic. The president

signed a number of executive orders today aimed at ramping up testing and

vaccinations and workplace safety rules.

He’s also trying to show concrete differences between his approach and that

of his predecessor. We’re already getting a heat of that from Dr. Anthony

Fauci who calls working for the new president, liberating.

White House Correspondent Peter Doocy has the story tonight live from the

North Lawn. Good evening, Peter.

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Bret, good evening. President Biden

likes to talk a lot about how COVID-19 and mask wearing are not political

issues. But a key part of his response team will also lead President

Trump’s response, Dr. Anthony Fauci, just made some very political

observations about Biden versus Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS

DISEASES: One of the new things in this administration is if you don’t have

the answer, don’t guess. Just say you don’t know the answer.

The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know, what the

evidence, what the science is, and know that’s it. Let the science speak.

It is somewhat of a liberating feeling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOOCY: Fauci was standing by as President Biden signed 10 more executive

orders that makes 27 orders or actions in just a day and a half and more

are coming especially related to COVID relief.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our national strategies is

comprehensive, it’s based on science, not politics.

DOOCY: (Voice-over): Now that he’s President, Joe Biden is going to throw

the book at COVID-19.

BIDEN: Its 198 pages.

DOOCY: And getting FEMA involved in the response may sound familiar.

BIDEN: This is a model we use to respond to hurricanes Hurricane Sandy,

which I was deeply involved with.

DOOCY: Biden plans to use the Defense Production Act to spin up materials

to make vaccines but he admits he can’t stop the spread alone.

BIDEN: Asking the American people to mask up for the first 100 days, the

next 99 days.

DOOCY: Although Biden did not adhere to an executive order he signed

yesterday, mandating masks on federal lands when he spoke at the Lincoln

Memorial on federal land.

BIDEN: I will give my all to you.

 

DOOCY: Why weren’t President Biden and all members of the Biden family

masks at all times on federal lands last night if he signed an executive

order that mandates masks on federal lands at all?

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He was celebrating an evening of a

historic day in our country.

DOOCY: President Biden has long claimed Republicans will have an epiphany

and jump at the chance to work with him. The Republican leader of the

Senate has seen early moves on immigration and climate change. And now:

MCCONNELL: The president can and should refocus his administration on

creating good paying American jobs, not sacrificing our people’s

livelihoods to liberal symbolism.

DOOCY: President Biden isn’t changing everything, though, he plans to keep

Christopher Wray as FBI director.

PSAKI: There are some people. Christopher Wray as an example, I’ll just

bring him back up who will continue to serve in his role.

DOOCY: And he didn’t like the idea that he might not be thinking big

enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You’ve set the goal at a hundred million vaccines. Is

that high enough? Shouldn’t you set the bar higher? That’s basically where

the U.S. is right now.

BIDEN: When I announced, you all said it’s not possible. Come on, give me a

break, man. Good start. (INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOOCY: To get on that track, this country needs to vaccinate 1 million

people per day and in the State Dining Room, Dr. Anthony Fauci got there

before Biden, so I asked him how far away are we from the 1 million a day.

And he said, starting now, you’re going to see that, Bret.

BAIER: Peter Doocy live in the North Lawn. Peter, thank you.

Two Florida men are facing charges taking part in the Capitol riot earlier

this month. One of them, Joseph Biggs who’s a self-described organizer for

the group known as Proud Boys. A Pennsylvania woman facing charges that she

helped steal a laptop from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be

released from jail. A federal judge is putting Riley June Williams into

custody of her mother.

The former Senate Sergeant at Arms is firing back at accusations that some

members of Congress may have helped the Capitol rioters in advance.

Congressional correspondent Chad Pergram has specifics tonight. Good

evening, Chad.

CHAD PERGRAM, FOX NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Bret.

Well, Democratic Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen says he saw something

suspicious here at the Capitol around the first of the year. He saw Lauren

Boebert, the freshman Republican Congresswoman from Colorado leading a tour

after hours. He then wondered if that may have been connected to the

Capitol riot. This is a charge that Boebert denies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): It’s just absolutely disgusting and baseless.

It just shows their hypocrisy on full display.

PERGRAM (voice-over): Boebert says it was a tour for family members, her

kids, as well as aunts and uncles. It was just before she was sworn in as a

new member on January 3rd.

The former Senate Sergeant at Arms Drew Willison says the Capitol is lined

with cameras to track movements inside and if someone was up to no good,

authorities could tell.

DREW WILLISON, FORMER SENATE SERGEANT AT ARMS: It’s a fully loaded charge

to accuse a different member of an act of treachery of that sort, even if

it’s speculative. So, it is a day that most of them celebrate.

So, it wouldn’t be all of that unusual for people to be giving a relatively

informal tour of the — of the building on a day like that.

PERGRAM: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “There is no question that there

were members in this body who gave aid and comfort to those who disputed

the election result.”

But when pressed by Fox if she had info that lawmakers helped the rioters,

the speaker had none.

PELOSI: Everything has to be based on evidence and that remains to be seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERGRAM: Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi along with the House Minority

Leader Kevin McCarthy, they indicate that if it’s found that members were

involved in the riot, there should be consequences.

Also, tonight, we’ve learned that a coalition of seven Democratic senators

are referring Republican Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz of Texas

to the Ethics Committee. They contested the Pennsylvania and Arizona

electoral college results. Those Democratic senators want the Ethics

Committee to determine if their challenge to the electoral college may have

contributed to the riot, Bret.

 

BAIER: Chad, thank you. Well, the virus is definitely At the top of the

list on the Biden agenda, immigration reform is not far behind. And the new

president is already making major changes. Correspondent Gillian Turner

shows us tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GILLIAN TURNER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As fencing comes down

across the nation’s Capitol, a bigger fence at the southern border has

President Biden’s full attention.

The Biden team is charging ahead with an immigration overhaul with Senator

Menendez leading the Biden agenda in Congress.

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): While it may to some be a symbolic change, we

remove the word alien from the immigration code and replace it with non-

citizen. No longer will we dehumanize the undocumented.

TURNER: Some of President Biden’s first official acts at 1600 Pennsylvania

Avenue included signing multiple executive actions reversing the Trump

era’s key policies.

This includes orders to stop construction of the southern border wall,

reversal of the so-called Muslim travel ban and moves to protect the

children of undocumented immigrants.

BIDEN: We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again.

TURNER: The Department of Homeland Security also announcing a hundred day

pause on deportations for thousands of non-citizens beginning Friday.

PSAKI: This pause will allow the administration to review and reset

enforcement policies and ensure that resources are dedicated to the most

pressing challenges.

TURNER: But some Republicans are striking a completely different tone,

claiming the new Biden policies will add up to catastrophe for Americans.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): We’re going to have illegal aliens taking jobs from

Americans at a time when we still have 10 million Americans out of work.

That is a radical far left policy that the American people don’t want.

TURNER: Some Trump Homeland Security officials are panicking.

TOM HOMAN, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, ICE: (INAUDIBLE) if you’ve been in this

country since before November 1st of 2020, you are not to be removed, which

means you’re going to be in this country legally, convicted of child

molestation, convicted a rape, and you won’t be removed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TURNER: Now, the big-ticket item is a draft bill the Biden team dropped

yesterday that includes a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people

currently in the United States undocumented known as dreamers.

Now, under this legislation, each one of those people would be on a path to

full-fledged citizenship in less than eight years, Bret.

BAIER: Gillian, thank you.

TURNER: You bet.

BAIER: The main theme for President Biden’s inauguration speech Wednesday

was unity. But there are already major questions tonight about whether the

president and his supporters are ready to back up those words with actions.

Correspondent David Spunt takes a look tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature.

DAVID SPUNT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A direct call from the

new commander-in-chief of an intensely divided nation.

Just hours later, antigovernment protesters, some claiming to be tied to

Antifa trashed parts of Portland, Seattle and Denver despite the

president’s call for calm.

Some Republicans are dismayed President Biden has not publicly opposed

impeachment for his predecessor.

REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-AZ): It looks to me like it’s a continuation of the

personal animus. Maybe it’s a continuation of this idea that you want to

cancel President Trump’s presidency, remove him from the history books.

SPUNT: Big tech put a muzzle on the former president. His supporters say

it’s unfair and there’s a double standard.

More than 500 professionals in the publishing industry signed a letter with

the phrase: No book deals for traitors. Senator Josh Hawley lost a deal

with Simon & Schuster following the Capitol riots.

THOMAS SPENCE, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, REGNERY PUBLISHING: My company,

Regnery Publishing, picked the book up very quickly after Simon cancelled

it. And Simon & Schuster has given us a publicity campaign that, you know,

we couldn’t have paid for.

SPUNT: This as summer hinting Trump supporters need some serious changes.

KATIE COURIC, PUBLISHER, WAKE-UP CALL: How are we going to really almost

deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump.

RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIRWOMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Not only did

they win, they are determined to punish and degrade and call half of this

country racist while their candidate that they supported is out there with

this unity message ringing a bell, the actions are not matching.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SPUNT: But tonight, a Republican Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor

Greene, a freshman congresswoman is moving to impeach President Biden on

his first day on the job. The measure is likely to go nowhere, Bret.

President Biden’s team says that he doesn’t hold grudges and he will work

just as hard for those people that liked him as those who don’t, Bret.

BAIER: David, thank you.

Up next, why did Amazon wait until the Biden inauguration day to offer a

major hand in the vaccination effort? We’ll take a look.

First, here’s what some of our Fox affiliates around the country are

covering tonight. Fox 9 in the twin cities has George refuses to reconsider

his decision to hold a march trial for the former Minneapolis police

officer who held his knee to George Floyd’s neck as the man said he could

not breathe.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ruled this month that Derek Chauvin will

stand trial beginning March 8th, and we’ll be tried separately from the

other three officers who are charged in Floyd’s death.

Fox 45 in Baltimore as the Maryland Lottery announces the jackpot winning

Powerball ticket worth more than $730 million was sold at a market in

Lonaconing. The winner has not gone public. The store will receive a

$100,000 bonus for selling the ticket to the fifth largest lottery prize in

U.S. history. Could be you.

And this is a live look at Detroit from Fox 2. The big story there tonight,

online sports betting and casino games start in Michigan tomorrow. State

regulators have authorized licenses for all three Detroit casinos and seven

of the dozen Native American tribes with casinos. Michigan residents must

be at least 21 years old to legally gamble.

That is tonight’s live look outside the Beltway from SPECIAL REPORT. We’ll

be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: Stocks were mixed today. The Dow lost 12, the S&P 500 finished ahead

one for a record high close today, the NASDAQ gained 74, also, a record

finish.

Facebook says it is referring its decision to indefinitely suspend the

accounts of former President Trump to its independent content oversight

board. The social media company blocked Mr. Trump’s access to his Facebook

and Instagram accounts following the Capitol riot earlier this month.

Instead of the time, the suspension would last at least until the end of

his presidential term, and perhaps indefinitely.

A federal job — judge is rejecting a demand from social media side Parler

that Amazon restore web hosting services. Amazon dropped Parler January

10th, four days after the Capitol riot.

The judge says Parler failed to show it was likely to prevail on the merits

of its claims, or that the public interest supported a preliminary

injunction requiring the restoration of service.

Late this afternoon, Parler’s chief operating officer said the company

welcomes a call by a Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney to have

the FBI conduct a robust examination of its policies and actions.

We’re learning new details tonight about the offer from Amazon to help with

the vaccination effort, and in particular, the timing of the outreach. This

comes amid serious issues about the availability of the vaccine itself.

Correspondent David Lee Miller has our update tonight from New York.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LEE MILLER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As states expand

eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine, supplies in many states are

dwindling.

In West Virginia, nearly the entire allocation for the first of the

required two doses has been used up.

In Ohio where the death toll has surpassed 10,000, Governor Mike DeWine

says the problem isn’t the lack of infrastructure but lack of vaccine.

In New York City, vaccination centers are being temporarily shut down

because there isn’t enough to go around. 23,000 vaccination appointments

have been canceled.

DAVID HANSON, TEACHER: I got a call on Monday from Lincoln Hospital where I

was supposed to get the vaccination saying hey, we ran out of vaccines.

We’re sorry.

MILLER: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was seeking approval to use

vaccine that has been set aside for a second dose in order to inoculate as

many people now and then replenish supplies.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY): I think it makes a lot more sense, give people

the first dose, use that to supply or reserve to give people first dose and

then get back filled with future shipments.

MILLER: Contributing to the shortage, thousands of doses across the country

have been wasted. Either because they expired or were not properly

refrigerated.

Technology giant Amazon is offering to help the Biden administration reach

its goal of vaccinating 100 million people in 100 days.

A letter from CEO Dave Clark sent to President Biden reads in part “We are

prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, communication

capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination

efforts.”

Senator Lindsey Graham question why no such explicit offer of help was made

to the Trump administration.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I think what Amazon’s doing is pretty

disgusting if in fact they could have helped the Trump administration and

they chose not to because they don’t like him. That’s not a good moment for

the Amazon company.

MILLER: In a tweet this afternoon, Amazon said “Actually, we didn’t wait.

We offered the Trump administration assistance on vaccines, built new tools

for researchers and public health authorities, engaged Operation Warp Speed

on logistics and advised on testing and flew in PPE from China when America

needed it most.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MILLER: Amazon is not the only company in the fight against the virus. In

Washington State earlier this week, the governor said that Starbucks,

Costco as well as Microsoft would help with the vaccine rollout of the

states roughly 7-1/2 million people, only about 56,000 have been fully

vaccinated, Bret.

BAIER: David Lee Miller in New York City. David Lee, thanks.

Breaking tonight, Fox News has confirmed the Senate will hold a final

confirmation vote on General Lloyd Austin’s nomination to be Secretary of

Defense 10:30 a.m. tomorrow according to a senior Democratic aide. Again,

Senator Lloyd Austin’s confirmation vote in the Senate tomorrow. He is

expected to get confirmation for Defense Secretary.

Still to come, the new president swift moves to undo the Trump foreign

policy and up next, sanctuary states for gun owners.

REP. LEO BIASIUCCI (R-AZ): My constituents elected me to fight for our

constitution and fight for our right to bear arms.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is anti-American and deeply troubling.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: Many gun rights advocates fear a new attack on the Second Amendment

with the new government in Washington. Some are taking a page from their

liberal opponents and applying it to the gun issue.

National Correspondent William La Jeunesse tonight from Los Angeles on the

concept of Second Amendment sanctuaries.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BIDEN: We won’t stop until we beat the NRA.

WILLIAM LA JEUNESSE, FOX NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):

President Biden’s plan to rewrite America’s gun laws, makes gun owners

nervous.

BIDEN: I’ll do everything in my power in office or out of office to get

those assault weapons off the street which I’ve done once already. And to

get those clips that have multiple bullets in them not for sale.

BIASIUCCI: If the feds want to come in and start taking people down for

having a high capacity magazine, we’re not going to have any part in that.

LA JEUNESSE: State Rep. Leo Biasiucci wants to make Arizona a Second

Amendment sanctuary state. Banning the use of state money or manpower to

enforce any federal law or regulation that violates the right to bear arms.

BIASIUCCI: This bill is saying they can do what they want in D.C. but we’re

not going to have our law enforcement spend resources to help them arrest

law abiding citizens who are — who are gun owners.

LA JEUNESSE: Four states in more than 400 mostly red cities and towns

passed measures declaring themselves gun sanctuaries. Modeled after blue

state rules that protect illegal immigrants from federal law.

KRISTIN BROWN, PRESIDENT, BRADY CAMPAIGN AND CENTERTO PREVENT GUN

VIOLENCE:

There is no substance behind this. It’s theater, its spectacle.

LA JEUNESSE: While opponents called gun sanctuary laws symbolic, they do

fear their effect.

BROWN: It is anti-American and deeply troubling that anyone would run for

office and push something like this. They’re denying support for citizens

in their state who are impacted by gun violence.

LA JEUNESSE: Gun advocates fear local police will be enlisted to enforce a

national gun registry, confiscate guns, and limit the sale of ammunition.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

LA JEUNESSE: Opponents say courts, not states, define the Second Amendment,

but some fear Biden will issue rules and regs bypassing gun protections.

Last week Governor Abbott said he supports making Texas a Second Amendment

century state. Bret?

BAIER: William, thank you.

A New York state judge is rejecting a bid by the National Rifle Association

to dismiss, put on hold, or transfer a lawsuit by New York’s attorney

general seeking its dissolution. The decision comes just days after the NRA

filed for bankruptcy protection and said it planned to reincorporate in the

more gun friendly court in Texas after 150 years in New York.

President Biden is already making moves to reverse the Trump foreign

policy. One of the biggest changes is to rejoin the Paris Climate

Agreement, abandoned by his predecessor. Correspondent Benjamin Hall has

details tonight from London.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

BENJAMIN HALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: President Biden has been a regular

fixture on the world stage for decades. Allies and enemies alike know him

well, and each is now trying to predict his foreign policy agenda. He began

yesterday by making his globalist intentions very clear, signing an

executive action to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. This has delighted

international allies, but critics claim it will greatly burden America’s

energy producers with expensive regulations while giving subsidies to other

countries.

President Biden also rejoined the World Health Organization, which has been

accused of kowtowing to China, with a Trump administration holdover making

the announcement.

FAUCI: The United States also intends to fulfill its financial obligations

to the organization.

HALL: In another stroke of the pen, and despite pushback from Canada,

President Biden reversed another Trump policy and canceled the Keystone XL

pipeline, putting at risk 11,000 jobs. But when it comes to bigger

geopolitical threats, President Biden’s policies are less clear. He has

said he intends to rejoin the Iran deal to the disappointment of Middle

East allies. But it’s not clear whether he will renegotiate first. His

press secretary was somewhat vague.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The United States should seek to

lengthen and strengthen nuclear constraints on Iran.

HALL: In terms of China, President Biden has said he favors working with

allies to contain them, while his Director of National Intelligence the

U.S. should be tougher, without specifying.

AVRIL HAINES, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: China is a challenge to

our security, to our prosperity, to our values across a range of issues,

and I do support an aggressive stance.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

HALL: President Biden has effectively said he wants to be tougher on

adversaries, but at the same time he wants cooperation from them. Finding

that balance may, frankly, be a very difficult thing to do. Bret?

BAIER: Benjamin Hall in London. Benjamin, thanks.

Some other stories from beyond our borders tonight. The Biden

administration proposes a five-year extension of the new START Treaty,

limiting the number of U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons. The

treaty is set to expire in February. It’s the last remaining agreement

constraining the U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons.

Twin suicide bombings ripped through a busy market in Baghdad today,

killing at least 32 people, wounding dozens. The rare suicide bombing hit

the commercial area of the Iraqi capital amid heightened political tensions

over planned early elections and a severe economic crisis.

The Vatican’s criminal tribunal convicts the former head of the Vatican

bank and his lawyer of embezzling millions of dollars in proceeds from the

sales of Holy See owned real estate. The defendants were sentenced to

nearly nine years in prison.

Just some of the other stories beyond our borders tonight. Up next, the

panel on President Biden and his swift moves to undo many of the Trump

administration’s policies.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: It is very clear that there were things that were said, be it

regarding things like hydroxychloroquine and other things like that, that

really was uncomfortable because they were not based on scientific fact. I

can tell you, I take no pleasure at all in being in a situation of

contradicting the president, so it was really something that you didn’t

feel that you could actually say something and there wouldn’t be any

repercussions about it. The idea that you can get up here and talk about

want you know, what the evidence, what the science is, and know that’s it.

Let the science speak. It is somewhat of a liberating feeling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Dr. Anthony Fauci today talking at the White House, something they

say he will do frequently in the coming days about the situation. This as

the new president, President Joe Biden, continues to sign a series of

executive orders today, really doing most with COVID, but he will continue

to sign executive orders, really undoing a lot of the Trump administration

policies.

Let’s bring in our panel, Jason Riley, “Wall Street Journal” columnist,

senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Susan Page, Washington bureau

chief at “USA Today,” and Ben Domenech, publisher of “The Federalist.”

Susan, what about this? Surprised to hear Dr. Anthony Fauci open up like

that? Clearly, he is going to be back in the briefing room giving his

feelings on the situation.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, “USA TODAY”: He was a happy man here

today, wasn’t he? I was surprised he was willing to go so far in describing

how much more comfortable he is with this administration than with the last

administration. He did do the Trump administration one favor, though. He

disputed a story that was out there today that said that the Biden people

had to go back to scratch in terms of the vaccine distribution plan. He

said no, there are some elements of the Trump vaccine distribution plan

that are good, although there are other things that he thought didn’t work

so well.

But he clearly is someone who is more comfortable with this particular

administration and it’s an attitude toward science than he was with the

previous one.

BAIER: Ben, here’s Jen Psaki on the plan that they have on COVID and what

they’re looking towards.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The Trump administration was given

36 million doses when they were in office for 38 days. They administered a

total of about 17 million shots. That about less than 500,000 shots a day.

What we are proposing is to double that to about 1 million shots per day.

And we have outlined this goal and objective in coordination and

consultation with our health and medical experts. So it is ambitious. It’s

something that we feel is bold and was called that certainly at the time,

and we’re working overtime to help to achieve it, try to achieve it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: That is their priority right now, Ben.

BEN DOMENECH, “THE FEDERALIST”: First off, Jen Psaki is being a bit

disingenuous there when she talked about this rollout. Obviously, this is a

situation where we got the vaccine much earlier than a lot of commentators

thought we ever would. And it’s really incumbent upon these various state

leaders to take up the process of administering these doses, making sure

they get to the people in need. And we’ve seen that the rollout has been

very uneven. Compare West Virginia to the rest of America, and it’s not

even close in terms of the level of achievement that you’ve had.

And to circle back to Susan’s point, I’m surprised that you’re surprised

that Anthony Fauci is willing to wear his emotions on his sleeve like this.

I don’t think that he has been exactly a shrinking violet when it comes to

talking to the press. But I would rewind this a little bit to say I still

believe that Anthony Fauci has been one of the most inconsistent people in

terms of what he’s advocated for during this entire process. And when you

go back to what he was saying in the spring regarding keeping public

schools closed, I still believe that’s one of the signature moments in this

whole process that could have gone in a very different way if you had had

different people in the room. We see the rest of the western world keeping

schools open this entire time, and you see the ramifications of the fact

that private schools in America have been open as public schools have been

closed, an effect that is going to have ripples throughout American

experience over the next several years.

BAIER: One of the questions, Jason, is how the press is going to handle

President Biden, especially in the first 100 days when it comes to COVID or

anything else. Today there was an interchange with the A.P. where the

president didn’t particularly love the line of questioning. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You’ve set the goal at 100 million vaccines in the 100

days. Is that high enough? Shouldn’t you set the bar higher? That’s

basically where the U.S. is right now.

BIDEN: When I announced it, you all said it’s not possible. Come on, give

me a break, man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Give me a break. The interesting thing is that it is now the Biden

administration’s deal, and it’s no longer from the outside, you are not

doing enough, it is you. And we’ll see how this rollout continues.

JASON RILEY, “WALL STREET JOURNAL” COLUMNIST: Sure. I don’t think it’s any

surprise that people are going to see kinder coverage from the press for a

Democratic president. That will be one return to normalcy, a true return to

normalcy. I think if you are a conservative or Republican, you’re used to

seeing your guy in the White House get picked on by the press than

Democrats witness, so that’s not much of a surprise.

I do think, though, that Joe Biden has to be careful about misinterpreting

the lack of support, the low approval rating for Donald Trump going out the

door, misinterpreting that as support for a progressive mandate that he

thinks he might have. Joe Biden was not elected because Donald Trump pulled

out of the Paris Accords or because he banned travelers from states that

sponsor terrorists. That’s not why he was elected. He was elected to tackle

COVID, and because people had tired of Donald Trump’s personality, of his

behavior.

So, his only real mandate, I think, is to tackle COVID and not be Donald

Trump. And to the extent that he strays from that and adopts a very leftist

agenda going forward, I think he risks the same mistake that happened the

last time he entered the White House with the Obama administration,

overreaching on things like a very partisan reevaluation of our health care

system in this country, and the result was losing the House in one midterm

election, losing the Senate in another midterm election. So, I think Joe

Biden should be very careful about overreaching in terms of what he thinks

his mandate is.

BAIER: Susan, quickly, Amazon’s offer to help the Biden administration with

its sites on vaccination efforts, Senator Lindsey Graham among others

criticizing that because they didn’t offer it in the Trump administration.

What do you make of that?

PAGE: But of course, Amazon has now said that they did offer it in the

Trump administration. So, I think that would have been appropriate for them

to have offered in the past of administration. But that’s all I know is

that they say that they did.

DOMENECH: No letter was sent, Susan, just to clarify. They said that today.

BAIER: No letter was sent to the Trump administration?

PAGE: How did they extend the offer then? Did they call or tweet?

DOMENECH: That’s unclear to me.

BAIER: We’re going to follow that up. Obviously, they’re offering now, and

we’ll see if that materializes in the 100 million vaccines in 100 days.

Panel, stand by, if you would. Coming up, the disunity over unity with the

panel when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PSAKI: I think if you talk to Republicans on the Hill, which I know many of

you do, they will say they are not looking for something symbolic. They are

looking for engagement. They’re looking to have a conversation. They’re

looking to have a dialogue. And that’s exactly what he’s going to do.

MCCARTHY: President Joe Biden says let’s give 11 million illegal immigrants

citizenships while we have 10.7 million Americans out of work. Shouldn’t we

prioritize those Americans out of work first? And those are places that I

think you could find unity. He knows the agenda and those executive orders

he is signing are partisan, that’s dividing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Unity, policy differences, what is the difference and what can

happen in today’s Washington. We’re back with our panel. Susan, there’s a

lot of talk about unity, and clearly there’s all kinds of takes about

President Biden’s inauguration speech. But what can happen as far as

unifying over legislative policies considering the differences in the two

parties?

PAGE: Some things can happen. With the confirmation processes has started,

is going relatively smoothly. That’s an encouraging sign. The White House

says they’re going to start talks, at least, with members of Congress about

that $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. Will there be good faith

compromises on both sides? We’ll see. We’ve kind of stopped using that

muscle in Washington. We’ll see if Joe Biden and congressional Republicans

can start to use it again.

BAIER: Man, it really has not been used, you are exactly right. Ben?

DOMENECH: There’s no context for unity on Capitol Hill when you are about

to go through an impeachment. There’s no context when you have one side in

a 50/50 Senate which won’t take eliminating the filibuster off of the

table.

And I think that one of the big questions about unity isn’t really between

Joe Biden and Republicans, because there won’t be much of any. It’s within

the Republican coalition, which today on Capitol Hill and talking to half a

dozen different senators and senior people in their offices, they’re all

completely befuddled at Mitch McConnell’s approach to this impeachment

process, telegraphing that this is something that he plans to take up in

February. They really don’t understand it.

And it’s down the line, Tom Cotton, Tim Scott, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio,

Rick Scott, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, the list goes on, of all of these people

who potentially have futures nationally in this party who don’t understand

what Mitch McConnell is doing. They don’t believe the Republican Party has

a future in which they are putting their finger in their eye of Trump

voters. And that’s something that is really up in the air right now in

terms of the Republican coalition.

BAIER: That’s interesting that you mention the Senate minority leader now,

Mitch McConnell, who is somehow negotiating go forward with impeachment but

no filibuster busting. Here is Mitch McConnell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: The legislative filibuster is a crucial part of the Senate.

Leading Democrats like President Biden himself have long defended it. So if

the talk of unity and common ground is to have meaning, and certainly if

the rules from 20 years ago are to be our guide, then I cannot imagine the

Democratic leader would rather hold up the power-sharing agreement then

simply reaffirm that his side won’t be breaking this standing rule of the

Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: So just to give you a behind-the-scenes, Mitch McConnell is

essentially negotiating, OK, we’ll plan impeachment trial in the Senate,

but you can’t bust the filibuster. And Chuck Schumer is not agreeing with

that. So, there is no deal as of yet, and that means there’s no deal as far

as Democratic chairman of all these committees, et cetera. So, all of this

is being negotiating as we speak, Jason.

RILEY: Yes, it is. And I will take Joe Biden at his word that he is

interested in unity, but I think the left in general I don’t think is

interested in unity. I think they’re interested in revenge, Bret. And when

you want to set up a blacklist of former Trump administration officials and

make it harder for him to get hired going forward, that’s not about unity.

That’s about revenge. Or when you embrace an agenda of critical race theory

or diversity training or the 1619 Project about calling out white people

and publicly embarrassing them, that’s not about unity. That’s about

revenge. And I think that right now is what is animating the left more

broadly, regardless of what Joe Biden is saying.

BAIER: All right, panel, stand by. When we come back, we will talk to you

about a sneak peek at tomorrow’s headlines.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: A look at tomorrow’s headlines tonight with our panel. OK, Jason,

headline?

RILEY: Post Trump America continues to unite is a headline I expect to be

seeing, or some variation of that going forward, Bret. And I think the

measure of unification will be the extent to which Joe Biden is overturning

Donald Trump’s policies through whatever executive actions and orders he is

able to accomplish. And that’s because I don’t think the left is really

interested in unity. They are interested in payback right now.

BAIER: Susan, your headline? And you actually may know what the headline is

tomorrow, so just tell us about it.

(LAUGHTER)

PAGE: My headline is White House holds third news briefing in three days,

which you wouldn’t think would be newsworthy, except it hasn’t happened in

the past several years. The day will come when the Biden White House is

probably sorry they have a commitment for a Monday through Friday news

briefing, but I can tell you, as a reporter, as a journalist, I am glad we

are getting back to that.

BAIER: Here, here. Ben, headline?

DOMENECH: Joe Biden miraculously cures coronavirus. It’s going to be the

headline from here on out through the first 100 days, it’s just going to

get better and better. Just expect it, everything has turned the corner,

it’s all getting better now.

BAIER: Hey, you know what, let’s hope that’s true. Let’s hope it’s true.

(LAUGHTER)

BAIER: All right, panel, thank you very much.

Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That is it for this SPECIAL

REPORT, fair, balanced, and still unafraid. FOX NEWS PRIMETIME, have you

seen this show? Hosted by Brian Kilmeade this week. It starts right now.

END

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