‘Special Report’ All-Star panel on Biden’s foreign policy ahead of summit with Putin

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This is a rush transcript from “Special Report” June 14, 2021. 

This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I’m going to make clear to
President Putin that there are areas where we can cooperate if he chooses.
And if he chooses not to cooperate, and acts in a way that he has in the
past relative to cybersecurity and some other activities, then we will

I have met with him. He’s bright. He’s tough. And I have found that he is
a, as they say when I used to play ball, a worthy adversary.


BAIER: President Biden at the NATO summit in Brussels talking about
Vladimir Putin ahead of that meeting in Geneva. Obviously, it’s
overshadowing, really, the entire trip. Wednesday is that meeting. And
after that answer, the president was asked if he still thought, as he had
said before, that Vladimir Putin was a killer. Putin answered that to NBC
as well.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): In terms of who
calls somebody whom, what kind of labels, this is not something I worry
about in the least.

BIDEN: I believe he has in the past essentially acknowledged that he was –
– there are certain things that he would do or did do.

I don’t think it matters a whole lot in terms of this next meeting we are
about to have.


BAIER: The big pause before he answered all of that question as he was
carefully choosing his words.

Let’s bring in our panel, Ben Domenech, publisher of “The Federalist,”
Harold Ford Jr., former Tennessee Congressman, CEO of Empowerment and
Inclusion Capital, and Trey Gowdy, former Congressman from South Carolina.
Trey, you heard the president’s news conference today and those specifics.
What about this ahead of that meeting on Wednesday?

if Russia continues its harmful activities, and I’m sitting here thinking,
I thought they tried to interfere with our 2016 election? What can you do
worse than interfering with a democracy’s elections, unless you want to say
cyberattacking food supplies and gasoline and other critical
infrastructure? Bret, it was Obama that said he would be more flexible. It
was Clinton that gave that awkward plastic reset button. It was Obama that
gave them nothing more than a stern lecture after they tried to interfere
with our elections. And it was Obama that laughed at Mitt Romney when he
cited Russia as the biggest threat we have. So, get tough on Russia, but
you haven’t done it in the past, Mr. President.

BAIER: Yes, I think it’s actions versus words, Harold, that critics are
saying they haven’t seen the actions yet from the Biden administration, and
they are, frankly, very open and vocal about concerns about this one-on-one

think a couple things. President Biden has done an incredible job, I think,
in the last few days of framing the real class of challenge we face, which
is democracy versus autocracy. Number two, I think his meeting with Putin,
he shared earlier, President Biden, when asked were there any world leaders
at the G-7 or NATO who expressed objection to you meeting with President
Putin. He said no, all of them thanked me for sitting down and sharing
face-to-face with him, with Putin, what we expect, what we know, and what
we will do if you behave differently.

I think Trey raises a great point. Trey also raised a great point Sunday
night on his show, saying we should always root for even those who may be
against us in a game or contest, but certainly President Biden is on the
same team that we are. We have to be rooting for him that he is able to
convey strongly, convincingly to President Putin that if you do this again,
you interrupt our pipeline, you interrupt any other system we have in this
nation, we will respond. President Biden had said that on the public stage.

So, I expect him to be candid. I expect him to be frank. I expect him to be
tough. And I expect him to be able to deliver a message back to our ally
that he did, indeed, just that.

BAIER: President Putin, Ben, when asked about Alexei Navalny, whether he
will be out of jail, Navalny obviously the opposition leader in Russia,
whether he will get out of jail alive, Putin wouldn’t answer that question,
didn’t answer that question. But today President Biden was asked about the
possibility of Navalny dying in prison. Take a listen.


BIDEN: Navalny’s death would be another indication that Russia has little
or no intention of abiding by basic, fundamental human rights. It would be
a tragedy. It would do nothing but hurt his relationships with the rest of
the world, in my view.



BEN DOMENECH, PUBLISHER, “THE FEDERALIST”: That sounds like a forgone
conclusion. It sounds like he is already spinning something that he expects
to happen.

I went back and looked at a column by 1987 by Richard Cohen in the “The
Washington Post” about Joe Biden’s first foreign major policy address as a
candidate for president back then to Harvard. And he had a line in it about
a generation renowned for not doing its homework may have met its next
leader. To me, that’s a real problem that we see with this approach. It
really fails to learn from even recent history in terms of dealing with

And unfortunately, I really believe that this foreign policy seems to have
all the hallmarks of being about pleasing everybody but America. Does it
care more about Brussels than it does about Chicago? Is the situation right
now where Joe Biden is going over to Russia, having allowed the pipeline to
continue over there, having completely ignored the Belorussian air piracy
incident, and having floated this ludicrous idea that we are going to
engage in some kind of trade of cyber criminals as if there is some moral
equivalency or criminal equivalency between those that are participating on
the Russian side and those that are active on American soil? It’s
absolutely ludicrous.

I think that the Europeans, our allies, over there may be happy with a lot
of it because it sounds rhetorical note that will receive a lot of praise,
but in terms of the practical results, it does not do anything to actually
confront Russia where it matters, to hold them to account for what they
have done and for what they will continue to do.

BAIER: Trey, having covered a lot of these G-7s, NATO summits, you usually
end up with one story line. This one, the G-7 at least, the communique, 25-
pages long, was pretty watered down even when it came to China and Russia.
A few sentences in there maybe expressed concerns, but not really pointed.
The one thing, though, out of NATO today that raised my eyebrows and perked
my ears was that they are considering adding Ukraine as a NATO member. And
if that is, in fact, the case, that is a huge deal for that region. Here’s
the president answering a question about that.


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fact is they still have
to clean up corruption. The fact is they have to meet other criteria to get
into the action plan. And so it’s — school is out on that question. It
remains to be seen.

In the meantime, we will do all that we can to put Ukraine in a position to
be able to continue to resist Russian physical aggression.


BAIER: In other words, he’s saying there is corruption on the ground in
Ukraine. They’ve got to clean that up before they are a member of NATO. But
the fact that they are considering it is significant.

GOWDY: And Bret, that would be exactly the kind of bold action that gets
Russia’s attention, that and stopping the pipeline with Germany. But that
would be a phenomenal move, to say, you know what, Ukraine is with us now.
So don’t mess with them anymore. That’s what I’m talking about. Don’t give
a sermon. Show me a sermon. Don’t give a stern lecture like Obama did and
kick out a bunch of nameless diplomats after Russia tried to interfere with
our election. That’s all he did is kicked out a bunch of diplomats and not
a single one of us can name one he kicked out. Not one.

BAIER: That’s true. I don’t think any of you can name one, and I know I

Up next, the latest on the Democrat infighting over Congresswoman Ilhan



NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: Congresswoman Omar is a valued member
of our caucus. She asked her questions of the secretary of state. Nobody
criticized those. Member did become concern when the tweet was put out
equated the United States with the Taliban and Hamas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rashida Tlaib is accusing you of policing —

PELOSI: And, and — then she clarified it. And we thanked her for

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So do you want people to just let it go with Omar?

PELOSI: They can say whatever they want. But what I’m saying is end of
subject. She clarified, we thanked her, end of subject.


BAIER: Speaker Pelosi talking about concerns about Ilhan Omar,
congresswoman from Minnesota’s comments, equating the U.S. with the Taliban
and Hamas. Obviously, Republicans don’t think that it’s over, end of
subject. We are back with our panel. Harold, this is getting quite a stir
even in Democratic circles.

FORD: Look, without question. But I don’t fully understand why we — why
it continues to be an issue. I disagree with the congresswoman. She is
entitled to her views and her speech. She clarified the moral equivalency
comment which was asinine and completely wrong. She has said other things
in the past that I don’t agree with. There are some Democrats I don’t agree
with, and there are many Republicans I don’t agree with. I think
substantive debate we should welcome, but when it’s hateful and it’s,
frankly, it lacks a factual basis, it has to be challenged.

BAIER: So you don’t think there is a difference — let me just interrupt –
– you don’t think there’s a difference between going after Marjorie Taylor
Greene’s committees or Steve King’s or the uproar over some of the things
that happened on the right or this as far as she is on the House Foreign
Relations Committee?

FORD: Well, she — to my understanding, she clarified those comments. I
don’t know where Marjorie Taylor G,reene her clarification, I think, was
very, very different. Bret, here’s my point. We are going to disagree with
people. We should have these substantive conversations. I would say that
the congresswoman and some of her supporters who thought that the criticism
she received, Congresswoman Omar, the criticism she received was unfair,
maybe racist or Islamophobic, you’re entitled to free speech, but you’re
not entitled to people’s analysis and critical judgment of your speech. We
should welcome that and want that.

DOMENECH: I just think that there is significant difference here,
especially in the context of what is going on in the country. We see an
absolutely virulent and disturbing rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes across
this country that should concern all of us. And the fact that the
congresswoman continues to engage in this kind of behavior and this kind of
speech is very disturbing.

And the fact that she continues to get support from fellow members of the
squad, fellow members of the Democratic Party, in a way is indicative to me
of a very dangerous effect that’s going on where we might see the issue of
Israel and our alliance with it and our alliance with the Jewish people
historically here in America becoming a more mono-partisan issue. That’s
always a dangerous thing. It’s not good for the country. It’s not good for
our alliances. And it’s something that I would hope would receive much
stronger condemnation from the leadership of the Democratic Party along the
line of what we saw from Bill Clinton in his Sister Souljah moment and that
historically has been an element of leadership within that party.

BAIER: Trey?

GOWDY: Yes, Bret, I see it a little bit differently. I think she is an
answer to prayer, because when Republicans do and say stupid things, we can
always count on her saying something dumber and taking us off the front

What I fear are the smart, reasonable Democrats like Harold Ford Jr., Jim
Himes, Kyrsten Sinema, that’s what I fear. The anti-Jewish, anti-American,
anti-cop Democrats like Representative Omar, I hope she lives and serves
forever because she is the best hope we have at retaking the House.

BAIER: Well, there is a different look at it.

All right, stand by. When we come back, tomorrow’s headlines tonight with
the panel.


BAIER: Finally tonight, a look at tomorrow’s headlines with the panel.
Ben, you first.

DOMENECH: M mine is actually from the past. Foreign policy expert Joe
Biden warns reckless Ronald Reagan over tear down this wall speech, the
anniversary of which was over the weekend. That was his reaction to the
speech at the time. And it’s proof, once again, that because you’ve been
around for a long time doesn’t make you an expert at things.

BAIER: Harold?

FORD: Mine is a little lighter. Lefty Phil Mickelson arrived at Torrey
Pines with victory on his mind. With a win here he will complete the career
grand slam. Go Phil.

BAIER: Man, that would be fun to see. Trey?

GOWDY: Joe Biden puts Kamala Harris in charge of Europe and all the other
places she has never been.


BAIER: OK, bringing it home. All right, guys.

Tomorrow on SPECIAL REPORT, House Intelligence Committee member Chris
Stewart talks about President Biden’s upcoming trip and his meeting with
Putin, also cybersecurity.

Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That’s it for this SPECIAL
REPORT, fair, balanced, and unafraid. This week FOX NEWS PRIMETIME hosted
by Brian Kilmeade, it starts in a few seconds, but I think Brian wants to
do the headline game. Headline for tomorrow?

BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: Right, so I’m not invited on your panel,
but I’ll be the audible. I’ll be the alternate. So I’m in. This was just
handed to me for tomorrow, my Nostradamus pick. Ratings are in. PRIMETIME
gets more viewers than SPECIAL REPORT, causing tension between longtime
friends. Bret, I hope this doesn’t come true for your sake.


BAIER: I save this time for you, and that’s what you bring me? All right,
have a good show.

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