Trump campaign presses for Hunter Biden probe ahead of Iowa rally

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Trump campaign presses for Hunter Biden probe ahead of Iowa rally  Fox News
This is a rush transcript from "Special Report" October 14, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, Dana, thank you. Good evening, welcome to Washington. I'm Bret Baier.

Breaking tonight, we are following two major stories. There are serious questions for Joe Biden this evening following the publication of e-mails allegedly belonging to his son Hunter that contradict or seem to the nominee's insistence the two never discussed business dealings with Ukraine. There are concerns about the authenticity and how this hard drive makes it to the FBI.

But as we look into that, two social media giants are hitting pause on the potential viral story until fact checkers weigh in and that's creating its own uproar. We'll look into that as well.

But we begin with the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. She took questions today concerning whether a president could legally pardon himself and whether her involvement in the disputed election of 2000 disqualifies her to rule on a similar matter should it occur this year. But much of the inquiry had harsh political overtones.

Fox News chief legal correspondent, anchor of "FOX NEWS @ NIGHT", Shannon Bream has highlights tonight from the confirmation hearing room. Good evening, Shannon.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Good evening, Bret. Well, day two of questioning was marked by some technical problems and some delays but we also got a look at Professor Barrett today. She was of course fielding a question time and time again from senators today which she also spent time breaking down some complex legal issues and asking some questions of her own.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): She's going to the court. Seat at the table is waiting on you.

BREAM: Republicans sounding confident, but for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, it might have felt like Groundhog Day.

In day two of questioning by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, she repeatedly faced the same accusations Democrats leveled on day one, that the president is fast tracking her nomination in order to see her on the Supreme Court in time to strike down the Affordable Care Act and hand him the 2020 election.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-WI): You, Justice Kavanaugh and Chief Justice Roberts who worked on behalf of the Republican Party in matters related to the Bush v. Gore case, do you think that that's a coincidence?

JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Are all these questions you're suggesting that I have animus or that I cut a deal with the president and I was very clear yesterday that that isn't what happened.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): The larger challenge here is not what you said about your views on cases, but what the president who has nominated you has said about his goals and his objectives for your service on the court.

BARRETT: I assure you I have my own mind.

BREAM: And today, she used it to explain the concept of severability which is the key to the Affordable Care Act case the Supreme Court will hear November 10th, can the individual mandate fall and the rest of the law survive?

BARRETT: A few pictures severability being like a Jenga game, it's kind of if you pull one out, can you pull it out while it all stands or if you pull two out, will it still stand?

BREAM: Barrett said today that the nomination process has been "excruciating", knowing that she would be mocked.

BARRETT: For me to say, you know, I'm not willing to undertake it even though I think this is something important would be, you know, a little cowardly. And, you know, I wouldn't be answering a call to serve my country in a way that I was asked.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BREAM: So, twice today the hearing was shut down when the audio went out.

Normally, that would just be an inconvenience in this room but today it's different in the age of the pandemic because some senators wanted to Skype in or do this remotely through Zoom including Senator Kamala Harris, so they had to continue.

There was worry that a delay here would actually delay the entire process.

This is on a tight time -- tight timeline and schedule, so Republicans say they're determined to get this nominee seated before the election.

All of the public questioning of her is now done. They're in a private session going over her FBI background check but they'll be back here at

9:00 a.m. tomorrow with witnesses both for and against Judge Barrett, Bret.

BAIER: Shannon Bream on the Hill. Shannon, thanks.

The election cycle tradition of an October surprise possibly being fulfilled tonight by the allegation that Joe Biden may have had a meeting he has vehemently denied. The Biden campaign still denies it tonight, but e-mails allegedly from his son Hunter Biden say the meeting was at least being set up this about Hunter Biden and a powerful Ukrainian businessman.

Looking into this story, but we have Fox team coverage tonight Howard Kurtz tells us how social media is dealing with what many are saying censoring this story. But first, senior political correspondent Mike Emanuel has the specifics. What do we know, Mike?

MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Well, Bret. Good evening. An explosive story at a critical stage in this presidential campaign newly released e- mails allegedly from Joe Biden's son Hunter's computer leading to Capitol Hill investigators starting a probe.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EMANUEL: The Senate Homeland Security Committee is now investigating a hard drive brought forward by a whistleblower.

An attorney for Rudy Giuliani tells Fox News a computer repairman came forward with a laptop and hard drive that he says belonged to Hunter Biden.

He claims that it was dropped off at a shop and never picked up.

Fox has told it had an estimated 40,000 e-mails, 1,000 text messages and salacious photos and videos of the former vice president's son.

Now, Senate investigators are working with the whistle blower to confirm the information. He is legally blind, uses a monocle to do his job and cannot confirm it was Hunter who dropped off the laptop.

SHOP OWNER: I saw stuff. And I was concerned. I was concerned that somebody might want to come looking for this stuff eventually. And I wanted it out of my shop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the stuff were images? Or the stuff were, was text?

E-mails?

SHOP OWNER: A little bit of both.

EMANUEL: Fox News has obtained in April 17th, 2015 e-mail, a source tells Fox it came from the computer in question is from Vadym Pozharskyi, a senior official from the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma.

He thanks Hunter Biden for inviting him to Washington and "giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together" when Joe Biden was vice president.

The Biden campaign says it has reviewed Joe Biden's official schedules from the time, and no meeting ever took place, but this has been a very sensitive subject.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think it was wrong for him to take that position knowing that it was really because that company wanted access to you?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, that's not true. You're saying things you do not know what you're talking about. No one said that. Who said that? Who said that?

EMANUEL: There's also a May 12, 2014 e-mail from Pozharskyi that mentions the Hunter Biden "We urgently need your advice on how you could use your influence to convey a message/signal etcetera to stop what we consider to be politically motivated actions.

At the time, Hunter Biden was reportedly being paid up to $50,000 per month by Burisma, while his father the vice president was the point man for the Obama administration on Ukraine.

BIDEN: I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.

EMANUEL: Less than a year after that alleged 2014 meeting where Hunter evidently introduced Pozharskyi to his father, a Ukrainian prosecutor was fired, something Joe Biden bragged about in 2018.

BIDEN: (INAUDIBLE) I said, we're leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

EMANUEL: The Trump campaign notes the Biden campaign does not dispute the authenticity of the e-mails. Fox has reached out to Pozharskyi to ask if these are his e-mails and we have not gotten a response, Bret.

BAIER: Mike, so we know the owner turns it over to the FBI. Do we know the providence of that, how it happened, when it happens?

EMANUEL: We understand that it's been in the FBI's possession since December 2019. It's not entirely clear how this ended up getting to an attorney with ties to Rudy Giuliani. The FBI is not talking about its possession of it. It turned us over to the U.S. attorney's office in Delaware which would not confirm or deny that an investigation was under way.

We understand that there's some concern about whether the FBI had kept it, whether they had fully scrub it or what and so. A guy kept a copy of it and then passed it on to Rudy Giuliani's camp and thus it is ended up in public domain at least part of it.

BAIER: 20 days from an election. Mike, thank you.

More to this, the social media reaction to the story really has been fascinating today and also highly controversial. Here's Fox News media analyst, host of Fox's "MEDIA BUZZ" Howard Kurtz. Howie, this is quite something.

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS CHANNEL MEDIA ANALYST: It is indeed, Bret. The details of today's New York Post story may be in dispute, but one thing is not, two social media giants don't want you to see it. After the tabloid disclosed e-mails indicating a meeting between Biden's father and that energy executive in Ukraine, Facebook said it would limit the stories distribution while an outside fact checker reviewed it, which is done "If we have signals that a piece of content is false."

Now, Twitter is resorting to outright censorship blocking its users from sharing the Post's piece, even through direct messages.

The Post saying late today, the Twitter is now locked its account by arguing that the paper has violated its rules against sharing hacked material, that's a quote.

Now, this will fuel criticism by President Trump and many others that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter -- excuse me, Twitter chief Jack Dorsey have acknowledged that their companies are accused of being biased against the right.

Some top reporters who challenged the document obtained by Rudy Giuliani as Mike mentioned, are taking heat from the left.

New York Times' Maggie Haberman said the sketchy story left unclear when Giuliani obtained the document.

Politico's Jake Sherman added, yes, and how did Rudy get it?

Liberal Times columnist Michelle Goldberg responded, you're really going to help Giuliani and Steve Bannon wonder this bull through the news cycle.

Senator Ted Cruz today accused Twitter of an obvious and transparent attempt to influence the election and of hypocrisy for allowing shoddy or stories about other politicians.

A top producer for MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell tweeted, no one should link to or share the New York Post report, but such efforts may be backfiring bringing even more attention to this story, Bret.

BAIER: OK, Howie, thank you.

Now, the reaction from the Biden campaign. Correspondent Peter Doocy has the latest tonight from Wilmington, Delaware.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT: Joe Biden brought a story about his son Hunter on the campaign trail this week.

BIDEN: The reason I went home is the same reason why all you do, or try to, and that is that to be there in the evening when my kids went to bed. In the morning, my son Beau, my son Hunter and my daughter Ashley.

DOOCY: He defended Hunter on the debate stage.

BIDEN: My son like a lot of people, like a lot of people you know at home had a drug problem. He's overtaken it, he's fixed it, he's worked on it and I'm proud of him.

DOOCY: And now his campaign claims they can't find any evidence to support reporting that Hunter introduced his dad then vice president to a Ukrainian business partner.

"We've reviewed Joe Biden's official schedules from the time and no meeting as alleged by the New York Post ever took place."

The campaign also insists previous investigations about wrongdoing cleared Biden whose focus at a fundraiser today was on a phone call, telling donors "Just got off the phone with Warren Buffett and talking about how we're in a position unlike we were 50, 70, 80 years ago to lead the whole damn world in a way that no one else can."

For months, Biden has favored virtual or small socially distanced events while calling out large Trump rallies.

BIDEN: So reckless.

DOOCY: COVID-19 cases have been linked to multiple Trump vents and now, a Biden event as well. At least, one COVID-19 case has reportedly been traced to a stop Biden made at the end of last month in Minnesota.

BIDEN: Hello Minnesota, it's good to be back.

DOOCY: As Biden's running mate Kamala Harris attends Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Biden says, Amy Coney Barrett shouldn't be confirmed but that she "Seems like a decent person." And despite Biden's big lead over Trump in the polls.

BIDEN: Well, you know, I'm one of those superstitious guys, it isn't over till it's over.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOOCY: It's a day closer to being over but Biden is not in a battleground state, instead he's here at home in Delaware. He is going to deliver pre- taped remarks to a Muslims Making Change event this evening and of course, he did attend that virtual fundraiser with 37 donors, Bret.

BAIER: Peter Doocy in Wilmington. Peter, thanks.

President Trump is once again spending the dinner hour on the road tonight making campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa. He's scheduled to be -- to speak as to as many as 10,000 people at the top of the hour. The Hunter Biden story I'm sure would come up.

Chief White House correspondent John Roberts joins us now. Good evening, John. We can bet that that's probably going to be in the repertoire tonight.

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I would think so. You know, Bret, you and I both been aboard Air Force One and we both know that they serve good food aboard that aircraft, so it's not the worst place to spend yet another dinner hour. But the president keeping up an intensive schedule in these last three weeks of the campaign and he's got something new to chew over with voters tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: As the president left for a rally in Iowa tonight, his campaign and White House officials pumping up reports in the New York Post about Hunter Biden's e-mails that suggest Hunter introduced his father Joe Biden to Ukrainian energy executive and colleague on the board of Burisma.

ALYSSA FARAH, WHITE HOUSE STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, listen, Vice President Biden's got some serious questions to answer and I hope that the media will actually press him on this.

ROBERTS: This afternoon, the report was partially censored by Facebook and Twitter. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, a member of the Homeland Security Committee, tweeting, "This is amazing. Now, Twitter joins Facebook in censoring the New York Post reporting on Biden. You almost get the idea, big tech wants to buy this election."

The president expected to talk more about it in Iowa though making attacks on Hunter Biden stick to his father Joe has proven difficult.

President Trump is also expected to praise his pick for the Supreme Court tonight. The president very happy with what he has seen so far in confirmation hearings.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And Amy is doing a fantastic job. Amy I think is doing an incredible job.

ROBERTS: President Trump hoping a swift confirmation will energize his base to come out and vote.

The RealClearPolitics polling average showing the race neck and neck in Iowa, a state the president won by nearly 10 points in 2016.

In Johnstown, Pennsylvania last night, President Trump looking to turn around his fortunes with suburban women, appealing to them with his message of law and order.

TRUMP: I ask you to do me a favor. Suburban women, will you please like me?

Remember? Please, please. I saved your damn neighborhood, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald J. Trump.

ROBERTS: The president today focusing on getting America back to work, speaking to a group of economic clubs, insisting that despite trials of two coronavirus vaccines temporarily being put on hold, the nation is still on track for mass inoculation.

TRUMP: We're on track to deliver at least 100 million doses of a vaccine before the end of the year with hundreds of millions more to quickly follow.

ROBERTS: The president warning of a dramatic decline in economic growth if he is defeated in November.

TRUMP: The choice facing America is simple. It's the choice between historic prosperity under my pro-American policies, or very crippling poverty and a steep depression under the radical left, and that's what you'll have, it's a depression.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Polls continue to show that voters trust President Trump more than they do Joe Biden to handle the economy. The president is going to need that trust if he hopes to win reelection.

In an interview that will air very soon on CBS News, Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying it will likely not be until April that a coronavirus vaccine is widely available. So, that means that the economy will probably not go into a full recovery until some months from now.

And Bret, just going through the experts of the president's speech that he will give in Des Moines, nothing specific about Hunter Biden in the excerpts, though expect the president probably will go there tonight.

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

First Lady Melania Trump, says her 14-year-old son, Barron, has tested positive for coronavirus but has no symptoms. Officials initially said he had tested negative after both of his parents tested positive earlier this month.

The first lady says subsequent testing showed Barron has also come down with COVID-19. She says her latest test came back negative. Late today, President Trump was asked about all of this, he said his son Barron is just fine.

Up next, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee on today's hearings and the other big news of the day. First, here is what some of our Fox affiliates around the country are covering tonight.

Fox 2 in Saint Louis as the husband-and-wife charged with felonies for waving guns at protesters marching on their private street, plead not guilty. Mark and Patricia McCloskey were indicted by a grand jury last week on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence.

Fox 29 in Philadelphia, city officials reach an agreement to close a homeless encampment that has occupied the Benjamin Franklin Parkway since June 10th. An estimated 150 people have agreed to leave their tents by the end of the week.

And this is a live look at San Francisco from our affiliate out there, Fox 2, the big story there tonight. Pacific Gas & Electric warns more than

54,000 customers in 24 countries that they may lose their electricity starting tonight -- that means counties.

The nation's largest utility is expected to make a decision on whether to implement preemptive electricity cuts to prevent fires during extremely high fire conditions featuring heat, bone-dry humidity, and high winds.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: Joining us now to talk about today's big stories, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, interviewing Judge Amy Coney Barrett today and yesterday, John Kennedy, Republican Senator from Louisiana. Senator, thanks for being here.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): You bet, Bret.

BAIER: First, I want to ask you about the judge, how you think it has gone, how she has kind of survived some of the tough questions on the Democratic side, and where you think this is right now?

KENNEDY: Well, after about 20 hours of testimony, I think any fair-minded person would have to conclude that Judge Barrett is eminently qualified.

She is a very impressive intellect. She has integrity, she has a wonderful judicial temperament, and she has a very studied, disciplined judicial philosophy.

Now, I happen to agree with it. But even if you don't agree with her judicial philosophy, it's not some frivolous belief she spent a lot of time thinking and writing about it, and she'll be a great addition to United States Supreme Court.

BAIER: This is the vice presidential nominee, Senator Kamala Harris, talking about this process. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sadly, my Senate Republican colleagues are doing, I believe, great harm with this illegitimate process. And if they are successful, it has the potential to do great damage. And I believe that damages to the people of…
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