House Speaker defends her position and looks ahead after party loses seats; Chad Pergram reports.
Nov. 13, 2020 – This is a rush transcript from “Special Report” November 13, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Good evening. Welcome to Washington. I'm Bret Baier.
Breaking tonight, President Trump breaks his week-long silence, saying, "Time will tell who runs the next administration". But his administration will not lock down the U.S. economy. They were his first comments since the election was called for Joe Biden. And they come as he continues his efforts to challenge the results in multiple states.
The president picked up 15 more electoral votes today when North Carolina was called in his favor. The State of Georgia remains uncalled as a hand recount there begins.
All of this occurs as coronavirus numbers across the country surge. The President promising no new lockdown on his watch and a fast distribution of a vaccine once it's approved by the FDA. As concerns grow about what a Biden administration might do to an economy that still has not recovered from the first freeze.
The COVID Tracking Project says one in 378 U.S. residents tested positive for COVID-19 this week, one in 378.
We have Fox team coverage tonight. Casey Stegall is in Dallas with the big picture look at the numbers. Mike Emanuel on the politics of a possible second lockdown. Peter Doocy in Delaware with the Biden team and its coronavirus strategy upcoming. Shannon Bream on a stunning warning from a Supreme Court justice about the dangers to religious liberty and free speech.
But we begin with Kevin Corke from the White House and the president's remarks last hour. Good evening, Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Evening, Bret. Over 10 million COVID-
19 cases in the U.S. as you pointed out, more than 240,000 deaths.
However, an anti-COVID-19 vaccine could be in the offing and perhaps even available to the general American population by April, that much we do know tonight.
What we don't know and the president admitted as much today, is who will be in the White House when that happens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ideally, we won't go to a lockdown, I will not go, this administration will not be going to a lockdown. Hopefully the -- whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration will be, I guess time will tell. But I can tell you, this administration will not go to a lockdown
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORKE: That from the president in the Rose Garden a little bit ago. He also said today that this was a herculean effort, Bret, to get this vaccine this close to the American population.
And by the way, it's a strategy that is the envy of the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: No medical breakthrough of this scope and magnitude has ever been achieved this rapidly, this quickly. Operation Warp Speed is unequaled and unrivaled anywhere in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORKE: The President also in his remarks in the Rose Garden today took a jab at New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo who has said he didn't trust this administration to safely roll out a vaccine.
The President said all, states would get therapeutics except New York until the governor asks for it. That drew this response from Cuomo soon after.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): But none of what he said is true. Surprise, surprise. We're all excited about the possibilities about a vaccine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORKE: That was Andrew Cuomo this afternoon. All this is happening amid a national surge in testing and a spike in cases, which has also struck the U.S. Secret Service. Washington Post reporting today, 130 officers have either been infected or have had to self-quarantine, something the Secret Service told Fox is simply not true.
So, as for the 2020 race and a possible concession. Well, we certainly didn't hear that today from the president in his remarks in the Rose Garden as the legal battles continue by this White House, but that's a dangerous game, says former President Barack Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They appear to be motivated in part because the president doesn't like to lose and never admits loss. It is one more step in delegitimizing not just the incoming Biden administration but democracy generally, and that's a dangerous path.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORKE: And I just got this a moment ago, Bret, the Attorney General for the state of New York Letitia James says that she will sue the federal government if it withholds any possible vaccine from the state, Bret.
BAIER: Kevin Corke live in the North Lawn. Kevin, thank you.
Now to what is happening across the nation with COVID-19. Here's correspondent Casey Stegall in Dallas.
CASEY STEGALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: From Minnesota to Maine, Washington to Wisconsin, at least 17 states are now reporting all-time highs of patients hospitalized with coronavirus. Nationwide, a record-breaking
67,000 people are in the hospital.
ANDREA CORTEZ, COVID PATIENT: COVID was definitely one of my biggest fears and it came true.
STEGALL: Andrea Cortes has tested positive along with 15 other members of her family in El Paso.
CORTEZ: It was a domino effect. My uncle got my grandfather and my grandfather got my grandmother, my grandmother got my mom and my uncle.
STEGALL: Mortality rates are not as high as the number of new cases coming in. Doctors say that's largely because they've gotten better at treating the virus but warn, don't let that fool you.
DR. OGECHIKA ALOZIE, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, EL PASO DEL SOL MEDICAL CENTER:
People need to understand that it's cases hospitalizations and unfortunately, deaths eventually. And even though the mortality rate is better, the more people come in, the more this goes unabated, there's just going to be a lot of dark days.
STEGALL: In recent days, at least 30 states have already logged a record number of COVID related fatalities, with the U.S. death toll now pushing past 243,000.
On Thursday, California joined Texas becoming just the second state to surpass one million infections. While in Massachusetts, where more than
10,000 people have already died, the latest outlook is bleak.
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER (R-MA): Since Labor Day here in Massachusetts, cases have increased by seven times. And over the same period of time, hospitalizations have increased by two times.
STEGALL: Wisconsin is another hot zone, the number of new daily cases they're now surpassing New York City's spring caseload at the height of the pandemic.
STEGALL: Live from Dallas tonight, a warning to consumers, officials say there have been a growing number of black market COVID-19 tests popping up all across the globe.
Oftentimes, they're promoting rapid at-home testing. Although doctors warned, they're oftentimes bogus, and the test results are not accurate, Bret.
BAIER: Casey Stegall in Dallas. Casey, thanks.
Now to the prospects of another lockdown and the already growing resistance to that. Senior political correspondent Mike Emanuel has that part of the story tonight.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): This is a red alert, all hands-on deck
MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sounding the alarm about a COVID surge as governors from Connecticut to Illinois to Utah considering tightening restrictions further.
Today, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a two-week freeze restricting bars, restaurants, gyms, and recreational facilities. This week, by an advisor Dr. Michael Osterholm, floated a four to six-week national lockdown. Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield dodged questions about if Biden will lock things down.
KATE BEDINGFIELD, BIDEN DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I think he laid out very clearly across the course of the campaign the things that he wants to do to get the virus under control, including encouraging national masks mandates.
EMANUEL: Republican Governor Tate Reeves says count Mississippi out on shutting down.
GOV. TATE REEVES (R-MS): We're going to try to work with whomever the president is. But we're not going to participate in a nationwide lockdown.
EMANUEL: The Wall Street Journal editorial board taking aim at "Joe Biden's lockdown lobby" writing, the problem with Mr. Biden's advisory committee is that its members are part of the conformist COVID clerisy who think that lockdowns dictated from on high are good for the little people.
While the New York Post editorial page complains, Joe Biden's coronavirus advisors are worse than the disease. The co-chair of Biden's advisory board tried to clarify today.
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, BIDEN CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: So, we're not in a place where we're saying shut the whole country down. We got to be more targeted.
EMANUEL: Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who tested positive for COVID in March took aim at Dr. Anthony Fauci and says COVID survivors should feel liberated.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): We have 11 million people in our country who have already had COVID. We should tell them to celebrate. We should tell them to throw away their mask.
EMANUEL: Dr. Fauci says people should wear their masks in social distance, but insists he's not trying to shut down the country.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS
DISEASES: There is no appetite for locking down on the American public, but I believe that we can do it without a lockdown. I really do.
EMANUEL: Biden surrogate Congressman Tim Ryan says we can all do our part.
REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Following the science, following the mask mandate and hand washing and all of that. And if we do that, hopefully, there won't have to be a shutdown.
EMANUEL: Another Biden COVID advisor Dr. Zeke Emanuel argued early on the country would need to be locked down for 18 months. So, that leads to questions about which advice from his experts the president-elect will follow, Bret.
BAIER: Mike, thank you.
Stocks were up today as the market shrugged off the fears of a lockdown and embrace the news on the vaccines. The Dow surging 400, the S&P 500 gained 48, a new record close. The NASDAQ picked up 120.
For the week, the Dow gained about four percentage points, the S&P 500 was up two, the NASDAQ lost a half-point.
Now, to the Biden transition. The president-elect's chief of staff is giving new indications of what the new administration will be doing about the pandemic. But first, the Biden team wants access to classified information. Let's get the latest from correspondent Peter Doocy in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: For President-elect Biden, to effectively combat COVID-19, transition officials say they need the same classified briefings President Trump is getting now.
JEN PSAKI, BIDEN-HARRIS TRANSITION ADVISER: He would prefer and I think the American people would prefer if the incoming administration, the incoming president could have access to the real-time current information and plans.
DOOCY: Biden plans to use the power of the presidency to require Americans to wear masks, but that power is limited.
RON KLAIN, BIDEN CHIEF OF STAFF: The vice-president, president-elect on his first day in office, I will issue a nationwide masking mandate, requiring that people wear masks where the federal authority extends and then urging governors and other local officials to impose mask mandates in their states.
DOOCY: The president-elect is pledging to lead a unified effort next year.
Until then, he wants to see more from the Trump administration saying the crisis does not respect dates on the calendar, it is accelerating right now.
Biden's call is to surge supplies to hospitals to deal with race-based disparities and treatment and to encourage continued social distancing, saying, I understand it's not easy. I know people are tired, but this will not go on forever. As for another shutdown, that might not be the right word.
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, NYU LANGONE EPIDEMIOLOGY: I think the more appropriate way to frame this is instead of an on and off light switch, we're using a dimmer switch now.
DOOCY: Ultimately, Biden officials don't plan to press the Trump administration for transition resources that are being held up until the GSA ascertains Biden beat Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not interested in having a food fight with the GSA administrator.
DOOCY: And for the next few days, the president-elect is putting his feet up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's earned certainly a couple of days off, and he will be spending some time with family this weekend. And so, you can -- you can rest easy that there won't be public events.
DOOCY: The president-elect is going to meet with transition advisors tomorrow. He claims that since the election, he's also heard from multiple Republican senators. But after a campaign spent reassuring voters that he'd be able to reach across the aisle easily and work with the Republican Senator -- Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, those two still haven't talked, Bret.
BAIER: All right, Peter, thank you.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is refusing to take any of the blame for Democrats losing seats in last week's election. Instead, she's focusing on the future with a Democrat president. Congressional correspondent Chad Pergram is on Capitol Hill tonight with the latest. Good evening, Chad.
CHAD PERGRAM, FOX NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Bret.
Well, this is going to be the most narrow majority for any party in more than two decades. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi often uses the phrase, know your power. So, I asked Pelosi that very question today.
PERGRAM: But is there (INAUDIBLE) in any way by having a smaller majority and what that means for both the Caucus, control of the House, and for your speakership?
PELOSI: May I remind you that we have a president of the United States -- we have a president of the United States. That is so very important. And whether you're in the minority or majority, if the president is of your party, you have more power.
PERGRAM: Pelosi today accepted no responsibility for losing seats. In fact, the speaker said she saved the majority. But Pelosi's power is already diminished, not just by losing seats, but by President-elect Joe Biden.
She's no longer the center of the Democratic political universe.
Still, Pelosi must grapple with internal divisions. The House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says Democrats veered toward socialism. Conservative Democrats believe Liberal Democrats nearly cost their party the House and progressives are doubling down.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): This term defund when my constituents and my community is out in the street, heartbroken over far too many people who have been killed due to police violence. And when my community is coming out and saying and demanding this, it's my job to listen.
PERGRAM: There are risks in the Democratic Party right now, especially in the House Democratic Caucus. But that's not going to be up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to solve, it's up to Joe Biden, Bret.
BAIER: Chad, thank you.
The Minneapolis City Council has narrowly approved a resolution giving the Police Department a half-million dollars to bring in officers from other agencies to help fight a violent crime wave there. Roughly 500 people have been shot in that city this year.
At the same time, more than 100 officers have either left the force or are currently on leave following the death of George Floyd.
We'll go live "OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY" when we come back. Plus, one Supreme Court justice is sharing his fears over pandemic restrictions and your rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMUEL ALITO, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: The COVID crisis has served as a sort of constitutional stress test. And in doing so, it has highlighted disturbing trends that were already present before the virus struck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Let's go live "OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY" tonight. A live look at Miami from WSVN. The big story there, baseball's Miami Marlins hires Kim Ng as general manager. It's believe, she is the first female general manager of a major professional sports team in North America. Ng won three World Series rings while spending 21 years in the front offices of the Chicago White Sox, the New York Yankees, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Fox 61 in Hartford, Connecticut, as an apparent steam pipe explosion kills two workers at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Haven. A third person is missing.
Fox 2 in Detroit as Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer takes legal action to shut down a pipeline carrying oil beneath the that links two of the Great Lakes.
Environmental groups contend it is vulnerable to a rupture that would devastate portions of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The company says the underwater segment is in good condition and has never leaked.
Also "BREAKING TONIGHT", Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has an ominous warning about the freedoms, you hold dear, being under assault during the coronavirus pandemic. We get details tonight from Fox chief legal correspondent, anchor of "FOX NEWS @ NIGHT", Shannon Bream.
ALITO: It pains me to say this but in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's Thursday night speech to the federalist society hit on hot button topics from abortion to same-sex marriage, as he highlighted wide-ranging COVID-19 restrictions and attacks on religious freedom.
ALITO: For many today, religious liberty is not a cherished freedom. It's often just an excuse for bigotry and it can't be tolerated.
BREAM: Alito pointed to several prominent cases as examples. Jack Phillips, the baker in Colorado, who declined to make a custom cake for a gay couple's ceremony before same-sex marriage was legal in that state. In Washington State, a Christian pharmacist who was ordered to provide the morning after pill which he viewed as a violation of his deeply held pro- life beliefs.
And the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns that has for years been fighting the Obamacare mandate requiring employers to provide cost-free access to numerous forms of birth control, including those the nun's believe equate to an abortion.
ALITO: As far as I'm aware, not one employee of the Little Sisters has come forward and demanded contraceptives under the Little Sister's plan.
BREAM: Alito also warned about burdens in COVID-19 restrictions, keeping many of the faithful from attending their houses of worship, while casinos and large department stores remain open.
Legal experts note, in unprecedented situations like the pandemic, there will always be tension between individual rights and the public good.
LATA NOTT, DIRECTOR, FREEDOM FORUM FIRST AMENDMENT CENTER: The analysis that we go through every time this happens is that we don't want this to be an opportunity for government overreach and for infringement on civil liberties.
BREAM: Tonight, a number of groups on the left are expressing outrage over Alito's speech, calling it overtly political and inappropriate, especially given that an emergency appeal from the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn is now pending before the court, challenging Governor Cuomo's COVID-19 restrictions. Bret.
BAIER: All right, Shannon, thank you. See you tonight at 11:00.
Up next, the president has filed more than a dozen legal challenges to the vote in Pennsylvania. We'll tell you where things stand on all of that tonight.
And later, the multi-million-dollar ad wars already starting in Georgia ahead of two runoffs that will decide the balance of power in the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KELLY LOEFFLER (R-GA): We don't need high taxes. We don't need job- crushing regulations. What we need is the American Dream, that opportunity that can lift every single American up.
REV. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE OF GEORGIA: Kelly Loeffler is dangerous for Georgia, and she's a threat to the well-being of working families all across this state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: President Trump's legal team is keeping up the pressure on Pennsylvania tonight. His lawyers are trying to cut into Joe Biden's 53,000 vote lead in that state. But his own administration is casting doubt on the effort.
Senior correspondent Eric Shawn is on the story tonight from Philadelphia.
ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: The election in Pennsylvania is set to be certified in 10 days. But the Trump campaign is trying to prevent that. It wants Democratic Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar not to approve the results until there is a recount and the campaign lawsuits are resolved.
In court, Trump campaign lawyers sought to bounce more than 8,000 votes on technicalities. Saying there is no evidence of voter fraud, but the judge turned them down.
President Trump and his allies continue to throw fraud claims against the voting machines used in 28 states from Dominion Voting Systems. Accusing Dominion software of switching Trump votes.
The president tweeting, "Tens of thousands of votes were stolen from us and given to Biden. This election was rigged, from Dominion all the way up and down."
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said this about a Texas test of the machines.
LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R-TX): They were fragile, they were error-prone. They did not meet our standards, they changed ballots.
SHAWN: But election officials and others say no votes were touched. The Department of Homeland Security, says there is no evidence votes were changed, and Dominion quote, "Categorically denies any claims about vote switching."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I unlock the back door.
SHAWN: In 2016, I reported on Princeton professor Andrew Appel, who demonstrated how votes could potentially be changed on a Dominion machine if the computer chip was swapped out. But he says any problems in this election were detected and corrected.
ALEX HALDERMAN, PROFESSOR OF COMPUTER SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN:
There is absolutely no evidence, none, to support claims that Dominion or any other voting machine company has switched millions of votes.
University of Michigan professor J. Alex Haldeman is one of the nation's most prominent computer election scholars. He says, it never happened.
HALDERMAN: This kind of pure speculation is irresponsible. We have plenty of reason to be able to trust our election results. In fact, this year, all of the states that Joe Biden appears to have flipped will be voting with paper ballots.
SHAWN: And tonight, Dominion is defending itself even further. Without blaming the president directly, it says that social media claims are not true, and that, "assertions of voter fraud conspiracies are 100 percent false." Bret?
BAIER: Eric Shawn, live in Philadelphia. Eric, thank you.
A judge is refusing to stop certification of Detroit area election results.
The judge, saying allegations of absentee ballot fraud in Detroit are not credible. It's the third time that a judge has refused to intervene in steps that are necessary to certify the Michigan results.
Joe Biden defeated President Trump by 146,000 votes there. The lawyer who brought the action says he will appeal.
Meantime, moments ago, a judge in Arizona dismissed a Trump campaign lawsuit challenging election results in that state. Earlier in the day, the Trump team acknowledged its contention that some ballots were wrongly rejected was no longer relevant because the total could not change the outcome.
The hand recount of Georgia's presidential votes under way tonight. Initial results had Joe Biden leading president Trump by about 14,000 votes. The state's 159 counties must complete the recount by midnight next Wednesday.
The two Senate runoffs in Georgia have made that state ground zero now for the U.S. political universe. That means a deluge of campaign ads in the media costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Correspondent Jonathan Serrie has the latest tonight from Atlanta.
JONATHAN SERRIE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: With partisan control of the Senate at stake, spending could reach a record $500 million on campaigns for two Georgia runoffs that are increasingly contentious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Loeffler receives a confidential briefing on the threat of coronavirus and immediately starts dumping stocks. As Kelly Loeffler downplays the threat publicly, she makes a sale after sale.
SERRIE: Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff accuse Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of gutting health care during a pandemic, while Republicans tie their challengers into radical elements of the Democratic Party, including New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez, who is aggressively fundraising for Georgia Democrats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raphael Warnock will give the radicals total control.
Saving the Senate is about saving America from that.
SERRIE: Today Senator Loeffler tweeted "Reverend Warnock is a radical, and he's also refusing to answer questions about his 2002 arrest for obstructing an investigation into possible child abuse." According to media reports, the charge was dropped. A Warnock campaign spokesperson told FOX News, "The truth is he was protecting the rights of young people to make sure they have a lawyer or a parent when being questioned. Law enforcement officials later apologized and praised him for his help in this investigation."
THOMAS FRIEDMAN, "NEW YORK TIMES" COLUMNIST: I hope everybody moves to Georgia in next month or two, registers to vote, and votes for the Democratic senators.
SERRIE: Georgia Republicans are concerned liberal calls for Democrats to move to Georgia may inspire some to fake residency to vote illegally. That prompted the secretary of state's office to issue a strong warning to partisans on both sides.
GABRIEL STERLING, GEORGIA VOTING SYSTEM MANAGER: Come here, campaign, go door-to-door, that's your First Amendment right. But don't try to game our system.
SERRIE: Elections officials are also having to debunk rumors, most recently hammer and scorecard, a fictious scheme to alter vote tallies on computers.
State and federal investigators have determined it is nothing more than a hoax. Bret?
BAIER: Jonathan Serrie in Atlanta. Jonathan, thank you.
Up next, our "Whatever Happened To" segment on vaping.
BAIER: Let's look at some of the stories beyond our borders tonight.
Officials and residents in and around the Philippine capital of Manila are dealing with the aftermath of a typhoon that left at least 42 people dead, caused extensive damage there. Troops, police, Coast Guard, disaster response teams rescue tens of thousands of people over the past 24 hours.
A suicide car bomb explodes at the western entry gate of the Afghan capital, killing at least two government security troops, wounding four others. No one is immediately claiming responsibility. Those suspicions immediately fell on the Taliban.
The north Indian city of Ayodhya keeps its Guinness world record for a second year by lighting 584,572 oil lamps, keeping them burning for at least 45 minutes. The event is part of a celebration of the Hindu Festival of Lights.
Just some of the other stories beyond our borders tonight.
In tonight's "Whatever Happened To" segment we look at vaping. It was supposed to be a safer alternative to smoking, but it has led to all kinds of unintended consequences, some of them deadly. Senior correspondent Claudia Cowan reports tonight from San Francisco.
CLAUDIA COWAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Before COVID, vaping was the headline-grabbing health issue. Drawn to flavors like mango and bubblegum, the number of young people using smokeless tobacco products skyrocketed, with dozens of people dying from a mysterious lung disease called EVALI.
Parents became frantic, scientists scrambled for a cure, and the president took a hardline.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't allow people to get sick, and we can't have our youth be so affected.
COWAN: In January, the administration moved to ban the sale of some products.
ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Off flavored e-cigarettes other than tobacco flavor would have to be removed from the market.
COWAN: Restrictions were aimed at leading manufacturers like Juul, which agreed to stop selling its fruity and mint flavors, but still does brisk business selling tobacco and menthol pods. There are other loopholes.
Single-use vaping products are exempt despite their high nicotine content, and 11 months later, those who fought for the ban say it hasn't worked.
MATTHEW MYERS, CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO FREE KIDS: Unfortunately, the steps the Trump administration took were totally inadequate. And the new data shows that we have over 3.6 million kids still using these products with actually a higher percentage of them addicted.
COWAN: More than a dozen cities and states have taken steps to restrict vaping, with legislation pending in more jurisdictions. Vaping advocates argue the end result is a booming black market and a spike in cigarette sales.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Activist groups would rather have adult smokers who are risking their life believe that if they switch to a smoke free product, they are still putting their health at risk. That is nonsense, and we need the incoming Biden administration to actually support the science and look at the science, rather than just listening to these activist groups where their answer is always ban, ban, ban, and ask questions later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COWAN: Tobacco companies are now fighting California's ban on the sale of flavored product due to take effect in January, gathering signatures to hit the pause button until voters can weigh in two years from now. Bret?
BAIER: Claudia, thank you. When we come back, the panel on the politics of the pandemic, President Trump's first comments since the election call, plus, Winners and Losers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. GUSTAVE PERNA, OPERATION WARP SPEED: We have capitalized on the best contracting, logistics, and planning experts available to synchronize and integrate all phases of the operation from development of the vaccine, manufacturing of the vaccine, and, finally, distribution of the vaccine. We need states who are part of the planning to accept the vaccine.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population, with the exception of places like New York state. We won't be delivering it to New York until we have authorization to do so.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): None of what he said is true, surprise, surprise.
We're all excited about the possibilities about a vaccine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: The New York governor responding there to the president, Operation Warp Speed. This as the number of cases -- the hospitalizations, first of all, continue to go up. You can see this November 12th, 67,000 tied to the coronavirus, according to the COVID Tracking Project. And also the cases now about 10.7 million in the U.S., U.S. deaths over 243,000, and there you see the global cases and deaths. This as the president said his administration is not going to lock down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: According to some estimates, a national lockdown costs $50 billion a day and hundreds of thousands of jobs every single day. Ideally, we won't go to a lockdown. I will not go, this administration will not be going to a lockdown. Hopefully whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration it will be. I guess time will tell, but I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: With that, let's bring in our panel, Bill Bennett, former Education Secretary, host of "The Bill Bennett Show" podcast, and Leslie Marshall, Democratic strategist. We welcome you both. Bill, you heard the president say kind of catch himself and say we'll see what the next administration -- this administration is not going to lockdown. Your thoughts on where we are now is this fight continues around the country about the election results.
BILL BENNETT, FORMER EDUCATION SECRETARY: I thought he was pretty evenhanded, saying we don't know the final result, it hasn't been certified yet, and these challenges are right. But this is America. We are a 49-49 nation. That's a 49 percent versus 49 percent nation. Michael Barone's phrase from 20 years ago, still true today. So any important issue is going to get politicized. The problem is the consequences of politicizing it the way it has been.
The president was right about Cuomo. Cuomo said he wouldn't trust a decision coming down, an approval coming down from the Trump administration unless it was certified by others. Of course, it's going to be certified by others. It has to go through the FDA and a rigorous kind of testing. I'm a little concerned, too, about Pfizer not saying that it was the beneficiary of some of these funds. Are they that big that they can mislay or not count hundreds of millions of dollars, $1 billion maybe that might be coming in?
But the real concern is about lockdowns. That's the challenge. And we know that the sentiment on the part of many Democrat governors is for lockdown despite the fact -- and again, I think the president is right that the cure is worse than the disease. The cure is worse than the problem in many cases. And we can cite those at great length.
BAIER: Leslie, Operation Warp Speed, no matter your politics, your ideology, you have to be impressed with what has happened and what has transpired up until now. And obviously, this administration is going to hand the ball over the next administration. Your thoughts on where we are?
LESLIE MARSHALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: First of all, Pfizer says there were not part of Operation Warp Speed. But I do agree, just what we look at with scientists and with chemists and the speed at which this is common, we know how long, it can take years for vaccines, is truly amazing.
But you talk about passing from this administration to the next, and that is part of a problem with politicizing this virus, COVID-19, Bret. Joe Biden and his administration, vice president and now President-elect Biden, is not getting the administration his team needs to have the torch passed, not just for a peaceful transition of power, but for the people. The bottom line here is not just the economy. The bottom line here is health care workers, hospitals, ICUs that are overburdened. What is that going to be in the future?
Right now Italy, Italy is doing respiratory issues with patients that have COVID in their cars. Is that where the United States is headed? We need to come together not only as a nation, and I think one of the reasons that Joe Biden was elected is not just that message of unity, but trying to depoliticize this virus. The virus doesn't care who you voted for. It doesn't care what state you live in and what color that state is.
Again, the bottom line is wearing a mask doesn't mean that you are a Democrat or Republican. Not wearing one doesn't mean you are a Democrat or Republican. We the people have a responsibility in this as well, but also our government to work with the next incoming administration as well as to work with scientists and as well as to work with medical professionals.
One last thing quickly -- lockdown would have worked if we look at all the other countries had we done it at the onset. Now, it's probably too late.
BAIER: I don't know, you have the WHO and you have Fauci saying that they don't really recommend lockdowns for a number of other reasons. Bill, you're going to say?
BENNETT: Well, that's right, Anthony Fauci has said that. The president and Fauci have had some disagreements. Fauci has now we don't want to go to lockdown, lockdown is not the solution. That's clear. I don't know what information Leslie is talking about that wouldn't be transmitted and given to people who are in the health care industry, the nurses and so on. The president has made it plain, his people have made it plain, the people who will get this first, who will get the vaccine first. Again, Fauci says we are on the brink of that. That's going to happen soon, quite soon, will be the people in hospitals who are those health care workers, and the people who are most at risk, and everybody knows that. That will be distributed broadly to the population.
Credit has to be given here to the president for Operation Warp Speed. And Pfizer made a mistake in saying that it wasn't the beneficiary of it. They were the beneficiary of it.
BAIER: Here the incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON KLAIN, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The vice president, president-elect, on his first day in office will issue a nationwide masking mandate requiring people wear masks where the federal authority extends, and then urging governors and other local officials to impose mask mandates in their states.
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I would say that the consensus on the advisory board is that we really don't want to be talking about lockdowns and shutdowns. That's far too draconian, and nonspecific of a measure here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Leslie, do we think that January 21st there is to be a dramatic shift in the way this country deals with COVID-19?
MARSHALL: Absolutely. And, Bill, what I was talking about is not who was getting the vaccine. It is having one of administration sit down, the outgoing administration sit down with the incoming administration and say here's where we stand, here's what's going on. President-elect Joe Biden and his team shouldn't have to get information from Googling it or on Twitter.
As far as your question, absolutely. We are already hearing about a mask mandate. The CDC now says in addition to protecting others by us wearing masks, it could also protect ourselves. And they're finding out more and more, a lot of people keep saying Fauci said this four months ago. We are so fluid when it comes to this virus, and the medical profession is learning something nearly hourly about this virus. And we are going to see between now and the middle of January more information about the virus, and certainly a very different way of handling it. I think we are already seeing that with the way both spoke today, Donald Trump and Joe Biden. They spoke very differently about --
BAIER: Right, lockdowns are not winning on the solution front on either side, it seems.
Let's finish up with Winners and Losers. Bill, winter and then loser.
BENNETT: Winner is Elise Stefanik from the north country, from New York state, the Adirondacks where I used to tramp as a boy, organized and led a group of Republican women to get into the Congress. And despite some predictions on TV that night that Democrats would increase their margin, Republicans have increased their margin. The picture up on the screen shows, this is what you might call the R squad, the Republican squad, and they will be a very good match, more than a match, I think, for the others.
So they are the one has. Congratulations to them. You want losers too, now?
BAIER: Loser, sure, yes.
BENNETT: Losers -- kids in school, my gosh. The numbers of kids who have died from this virus is in the double digits. Not the double hundreds or thousands, the double digits, and they all had underlying conditions.
Nevertheless, it looks now they are going to lockdown New York, Detroit, other cities. Meanwhile, these kids are suffering from all sorts of problems -- academic deprivation, mental illness, child abuse, all sorts of things. But if there is a Biden administration, Mrs. Biden, a member of the National Education Association will take the side of the unions, I suppose, and not the kids. Shame, shame.
BAIER: All right, Leslie, quick winner and loser.
MARSHALL: OK, winner, Pfizer. Coming up with a vaccine so fast could be a major game changer in our lives with COVID-19. Loser, Office of the Director of National Intelligence who will not share national intelligence or security briefings with the president-elect, Joe Biden.
BAIER: Republicans increasingly calling for that to happen.
We were supposed to have Jason Miller. He didn't make, but we liked you, too.
Thanks a lot, have a great weekend.
MARSHALL: We like you, too.
BAIER: When we come back, "Notable Quotables."
BAIER: Finally tonight, while were talking some technical issues for Jason Riley from "The Wall Street Journal." But we'll have him next time.
Anyway, it's Friday, so that means "Notable Quotables."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.
JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The people of this nation have spoken.
They've delivered us a clear victory.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Will Smith's father has voted here twice since he died. I don't know how he votes because his vote is secret.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, HOST, "THE VIEW": All of you, suck it up. Sucked it up like we sucked it up.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The whole country understands that our Democratic friends are not charter members of the Donald Trump fan club.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It's like a house is burning down and they just refuse to throw water on it.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): We need to send a Big Bird to some of these states to teach them how to count.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.
TRUMP: Whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration it will be, I guess time will tell. But I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: We are optimistic that Thanksgiving 2021, will be the best ever.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAUCI: Help is really on the way. The cavalry is coming here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: One week. That's it for this Special Report, fair, balanced and unafraid. The Story, guest hosted by John Scott starts right now. Jon.
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