Campaign Finance Violation?; Imitation Game; Chief of Staff Search; Macron Addresses Nation; Brexit Strategy; Huawei Top Executive Arrest and
<Show: FOX SPECIAL REPORT WITH BRET BAIER>
<Date: December 10, 2018>
<Head: Campaign Finance Violation?; Imitation Game; Chief of Staff Search;
Macron Addresses Nation; Brexit Strategy; Huawei Top Executive Arrest and
the Stock Market; Missing Mother; Migrant Adversity to Enter U.S.; Much of
Migrant Caravan Continues to Wait in Tijuana for Chance to Make Asylum
Claims in U.S.; President Trump Tweets about Filings on Possible Trump
Campaign Finance Violations; Rep. Mark Meadows Floated as Possible Next
White House Chief of Staff?; Protests Continue in France - Part 1>
<Sect: News; Domestic>
<Byline: Bret Baier, Catherine Herridge, Peter Doocy, Kevin Corke, Mollie
Hemingway, Greg Palkot, Kitty Logan, Susan Li, Alicia Acuna, Steve
<Guest: Chris Stirewalt, Sahil Kapur>
<Spec: Government; Politics; Law Enforcement; Espionage; France; Protests;
Brexit; Prison; Technology; Kelsey Berreth; Immigration; Crime; World
MORGAN ORTAGUS, FOX NEWS HOST: There is the Army Secretary and the Navy Secretary there. And of course, the President was there which is always great for the members of service, in attendance.
And very cool. I also got to interview Roger Staubach and he gave me the coin, the challenge coin that the President flipped. So that’s awesome and -- yes.
JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS HOST: Brian -- can I be your correspondent?
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: Absolutely.
WATTERS: The people’s game.
KILMEADE: Heisman trophy winner played for the Navy.
WATTERS: All right.
Set your DVRs. Never miss an episode of THE FIVE.
“SPECIAL REPORT” is up next with Bret Baier.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Can I be Brian’s correspondent?
WATTERS: Yes, absolutely -- Bret.
WATTERS: You got it.
BAIER: Thanks, Jesse.
President Trump calls hush money payments a private transaction while Democrats talk impeachment and prison after he leaves office.
The President’s search for a new chief of staff is getting complicated. We will explain.
Overseas, Brexit chaos in Britain and where protests bring more concessions in France.
This is SPECIAL REPORT.
Good evening. Welcome to Washington. I’m Bret Baier.
President Trump is coming out swinging today after a weekend to absorb admissions by his former lawyer of campaign finance law violations in the form of payments to women alleging affairs.
The President is calling those payments a simple, private transaction. But the situation is anything but simple for President Trump as Democrats renew calls for impeachment and even begin mulling over the possibility of prison time for the President after he leaves office.
Chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge tells us where things stand tonight. Good evening -- Catherine.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you - - Bret. And good evening.
This week the President former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will challenge the special counsel tactics as the President’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen faces time behind bars.
HERRIDGE: According to the Cohen sentencing memos, federal investigators allege, campaign finance violations over admitted payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy playmate Karen McDougal. While President Trump denies having any affairs and is not been accused of any crimes related to the payments, the filing identified him as Individual One. Quote, “As Cohen himself has now admitted with respect to both payments he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual One.
The incoming House Democrat chairman did not miss mince their words.
REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Well, they would be impeachable offenses. Whether they are important enough to justifying an impeachment is a different question.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: There is a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.
HERRIDGE: In a tweet the President’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani declared “Candidate Trump did not break any laws. No collusion,” he tweeted, no obstruction. Now, campaign finance but payments to settle lawsuits are not clearly a proper campaign contribution or expenditure.”
Over the weekend, gaps in the Russia investigation came into sharper focus with a transcript released from former FBI lawyer James Comey’s closed-door testimony Friday. Republicans castigated Comey for failing to answer their questions 245 times because he claimed not to know or could not remember.
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: It is hard to believe that Jim Comey would have forgotten all of those different details. Jim Comey testified before us any number of times, I never recall him not being able to answer a question.
HERRIDGE: The transcript reveals that during the campaign, the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into four Americans connected to Trump over their Russia contacts. Ten months into the investigation with intelligence from a surveillance warrant, two senior FBI officials, former lawyer Lisa Page and now director Comey said collusion was unproven when special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed in May 2017.
Comey said of the FBI Russia investigations quote, “We open them in late July. Didn’t know whether we had anything. In fact, when I was fired as director I still didn’t know whether there was anything to it.”
Comey could not remember key details of the Page surveillance warrant but conceded the DNC Clinton campaign funded dossier used to secure the warrant was not verified. An incoming Senate Republican Chairman pledged to pursue.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: That a warrant was issued based on the document paid for by a political party, prepared by a foreign agent that’s unverified to basically surveil a member of a presidential campaign. I want to know how that happened and the role he played.
HERRIDGE: Comey is scheduled for his second round of questioning on Capitol Hill on the 17th on Wednesday.
Paul Manafort, the President’s former campaign chairman will square off in court with special counsel prosecutors over allegations he violated his plea agreement.
Today Jerome Corsi, an associate of political operative Roger Stone also accused the special counsel of strong arm tactics -- Bret.
BAIER: Scheduling shifting -- Manafort, at least, a conference tomorrow afternoon.
HERRIDGE: That’s right.
BAIER: Cohen, we’re going to learn some more on Wednesday.
BAIER: And then more questions for Comey.
HERRIDGE: That’s right. So what we anticipate for Comey a week today is that he will get a lot of questions about his decision to leak memos, documenting his conversations with the President, at least one of those memos contain classified information and those memos are what kick started the special counsel investigation.
And also a decision he made along with senior FBI officials to withhold the contents of those meetings, especially one about the former national security advisor, Mike Flynn from the Justice Department.
Remember the criticism of Comey is for this kind of close hold on the e- mails and then we see the same thing here with the close hold on these memos about the President.
BAIER: Ok. We’ll follow it. Catherine -- thanks.
HERRIDGE: You’re welcome.
BAIER: New development tonight in the case of a Russian gun rights activist accused of trying to push the Kremlin’s agenda by cozying up to the NRA and other conservative groups.
Correspondent Peter Doocy tells us Maria Butina is changing her plea.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. alleges she came from Russia with orders. And now Maria Butina appears poised to admit it. A notice about a plea agreement reads, “The parties have resolved this matter and the defendant Maria Butina remains in custody.”
JOHN YOO, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: It looks like she really was not relevant in any way to the Mueller investigation that’s why it’s out in public. And they are doing the plea agreement.
DOOCY: Prosecutors claim Butina was instructed by a Russian officials to make inroads with Republicans including a consultant who became her boyfriend by first appearing at events promoting gun rights as part of an attempt to eventually arrange a meeting between Russian president Vladimir Putin and candidate Donald Trump.
She later attended his swearing in; one court filing reads, “On January 20th 2017 in response to a photo Butina sent to the Russian official of her near the U.S. capital on Inauguration Day, the Russian official responded, ‘You are a daredevil girl, what can I say.’ Butina responded, ‘Good teachers’.”
But the only known direct contact between Butina and Trump came at a public event in 2015.
MARIA BUTINA: Do you want to continue the politics of the sanctions that are damaging both economies? Or you have any other ideas?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don’t think you’d need the sanctions.
DOOCY: The 30-year-old’s lawyer has argued she’s being treated unfairly because of where she is from.
ROBERT DRISCOLL, BUTINA ATTORNEY: If you asked me if Maria was from another country would this be happening, I’d say absolutely not.
DOOCY: A source familiar with Butina’s plea agreement tells Fox, she’ll admit she acted as a foreign agent without registering.
YOO: These are relatively small charges. If she were a serious target, a serious buy we’re talking about major espionage, for example, the (INAUDIBLE) from China. You would not just be charging her with, you know, failure to register as a foreign lobbyist. You would charge her with trying to steal classified information.
DOOCY: While Butina was changing her mind about her plea, she has been in solitary confinement in the same Virginia jail the Fed keep international terrorist sin. The next milestone after this week’s hearing will be sentencing. And after serving a sentence, she will likely be forced to return to Russia -- Bret.
BAIER: Peter -- thanks.
The “Help Wanted” sign is out at the White House tonight.
Correspondent Kevin Corke is there with the latest on the President’s search for a new White House chief of staff. Good evening -- Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Evening -- Bret.
While the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and the OMB director Mick Mulvaney have made it clear that they are content in their current roles, we learn today that the White House will certainly be searching both inside and outside the administration to replace their chief of staff.
CORKE: It is a veritable who’s who -- an ever spinning list of names of possible replacements for outgoing chief of staff John Kelly whose departure from the Trump White House is expected to be the first of many to begin the New Year.
Among those no longer under consideration for the post is Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers who thanked the President over Twitter this weekend declaring that he, like Kelly, would be departing at the end of the year.
The President who called Ayers a spectacular person on Twitter said he would be making a decision soon. A choice that could point him in the direction of Freedom Caucus Chairman, North Carolina Republican Congressman Mark Meadows, who in a statement said “Serving as chief of staff would be an incredible honor.”
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is also said to be under consideration.
ROBERT LIGHTHIZER, TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: We need to replace General Kelly.
I love John Kelly. You know, in your whole life you will meet 50 people with his qualities of character and grit and determination and devotion. And so I really think -- he’s done a great job for the President. I haven’t spoken to anyone. I’m entirely focused on what I’m trying to do and it’s difficult enough.
CORKE: Others said to be under consideration include acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker and former Trump campaign operative David Bossie and David Irvin (ph), as well as current Yankees president, Randy Levine who said today he has not been contacted about the job and frankly is happy with the one he has.
The move to replace him come just ahead of the 2020 reelection campaign. And amid building clouds of possible impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill.
JOHN SUNUNU, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The last two years of this Trump administration is going to be much more political than the first two years just because the Democrats have control of the House. So we need somebody that can handle that. And that is what I would be thinking about if I were making recommendations to the President.
CORKE: Another name we have heard bandied about just a bit tonight Bret -- is that of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and though -- while we have not heard from him we have heard from Mark Meadows this evening. He says he hasn’t had any conversation about the Chief of Staff job. In fact, he says he has not spoken with the President for at least the last 48 hours -- Bret.
BAIER: Martha will speak to Congressman Meadows next hour.
Kevin Corke, live on the north lawn. Kevin -- thanks.
CORKE: You bet.
BAIER: The U.S. Supreme Court is rejecting appeals from Kansas and Louisiana in their effort to strip Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood. The vote was six to three in the court. Chief Justice John Roberts and new Justice Brett Kavanaugh sided with the court’s liberal wing on this boat.
Lower courts in both states had blocked laws withholding money for health services other than abortion for low income women. Pro-lifers say Planned Parenthood should not receive any government money because of videos that claimed to show it was profiting from the sale of fetal tissue for medical research. Investigations sparked by those videos in several states did not result in criminal charges, at least not yet.
French President Emmanuel Macron continues his political about-face tonight, this time on national television in France after another weekend of violent protests.
Senior foreign affairs correspondent Greg Palkot shows us the French leader is giving in to the demonstrators once again.
GREG PALKOT, FOX NEWS SENIOR FOREIGN AFFIARS CORRESPONDENT: It was billed as French President Emmanuel Macron’s moment of truth. After weeks of antigovernment protests during which he was mostly silent, Macron faced his nation on television at what he calls an historic moment.
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): I have given to the government the most rigorous instructions in the beginning of all of this.
PALKOT: Macron did deliver on some of the specifics the so-called Yellow Vest protesters had been demanding, including a suspension of a gas tax hike aimed at dealing with global warming which was how the protest began plus an increase in the minimum wage, a cut in taxes on overtime and an easing of the financial burden on retirees.
MACRON: I won’t forget there is anger and real indignation.
PALKOT: He did criticize the violence stemming from the protests that’s seen hundreds injured and arrested, well over a billion dollars’ worth of damage.
MACRON: There were legitimate claims however, there was a chain of inadmissible violence.
PALKOT: And there was a mea culpa from a political figure many see as distant and out of touch with his people.
MACRON: Maybe in the beginning I gave you the impression that I didn’t care. But that is not true.
PALKOT: The question is, will this be enough to satisfy the protesters and put it and end to the violence.
FRANCOIS HOMMERIL, FRENCH UNION LEADER (through translator): The problem is easy to talk about but difficult to solve. Today, you can’t make a living out of the wages. This is affecting the vast majority of the middle classes.
PALKOT: More protests were planned for next weekend. In the days ahead the French government will try to head them off.
PALKOT: One thing is certain, France wants the Trump administration to mind its own business. After some derogatory tweets from the President about Macron in recent days, the French foreign minister over the weekend said, “leave our nation be” -- Bret.
BAIER: More on this with the panel. Greg -- thank you.
The U.S. is imposing new sanctions on three senior North Korean officials tonight. The Trump administration says the sanctions are intended to call attention to brutal censorship and human rights abuses as well as the death of American captive Otto Warmbier last year.
British Prime Minister Theresa May says her Brexit divorce agreement with The European Union is still the best deal negotiable. But May had to postpone the scheduled parliament vote tomorrow, conceding she could not win.
Reporter Kitty Logan tells us what this all means tonight from London.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We will therefore defer the vote.
KITTY LOGAN, FOX NEWS REPORTER: Prime Minister Theresa May’s delay of a crucial Brexit deal vote was met by jeers in parliaments. She had faced an overwhelming defeat, there was strong objections from all sides over the deal but Mrs. May says she stands by it.
MAY: It is the right deal for Britain. I am determined to do all I can to secure the reassurances this House requires to get this deal over the line.
LOGAN: The Prime Minister says she will raise concerns about the controversial deal with E.U. officials later this week. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn says the government has lost control.
JEREMY CORBYN, BRITISH LABOR PARTY Leader: Bringing paint back the same botched deal, either next week or in January will not change its fundamental flaws and deeply held objections.
LOGAN: It has taken a difficult two years to negotiate Britain’s Brexit deal. The President of the European Council Donald Tusk says it can’t be renegotiated.
Some feel Britain would be better off leaving the E.U. without a deal. On Sunday thousands of Brexit supporters protested against the government’s proposals. But those opposed to Brexit are equally passionate and crucially today, the European Court of Justice ruled the decision to leave the E.U. could be reversed if the British government wants to.
But what happens next is unclear. If Theresa May fails to convince parliament to back her, the other options are no deal, a second referendum or even a new election. There is no new date for the vote, and Britain is due to leave the E.U. next March -- Bret.
BAIER: Kitty Logan in London. Kitty -- thanks.
Up next, another wild ride on Wall Street and one story that is causing at least some of it.
First, here’s what some of our Fox affiliates around the country are covering tonight.
Fox 8 in Cleveland as FBI officials make two national security arrests. A Toledo woman has been charged after purchasing materials to make a bomb she believed would be -- that she would use that bomb in a domestic terrorist attack.
In the second case, a Holland man has been charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic state, ISIS, by planning an attack on a synagogue in Toledo.
Fox 46 in Charlotte as authorities in North Carolina report a third snowstorm-related death after a truck driver died while working to free his rig stuck on an interstate. Some areas of that state and Virginia received more than a foot of snow. More than 300,000 power outages reported across the region.
And this is a live look at San Francisco from our affiliate, Fox 2, the Golden State Bridge there. The big story there tonight, thousands of mental health care workers from Kaiser Permanente walked off the job this morning. They are demanding increased staffing and timely access to patients. The strike is planned for the next five days at offices across California.
That is tonight’s live look outside the Beltway from SPECIAL REPORT. We’ll be right back.
BAIER: The same jury that convicted a man up of first degree murder for driving his car into counter protesters at a 2017 white nationalist rally is now deciding his punishment. James Alex Fields faces 20 years to life. The sentencing phase of that trial began today.
Another crazy day on Wall Street. The Dow was down 500 points early but rebounded to finish in positive territory gaining 34 today. The S&P 500 was up 5, the Nasdaq finished ahead 51.
Susan Li of the Fox Business Network joins us from New York with the latest on one story that seems to have had quite a hold on the markets. Good evening -- Susan.
SUSAN LI, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK CORRESPONDENT: Good evening -- Bret.
Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou spent another day in a Vancouver courtroom on Monday. The judge deciding whether Meng should be released on bail, while she awaits extradition to the U.S. Meng and Huawei are accused of using a shell company to mislead multinational banks to evade Iran sanctions.
U.S. Officials argue that Meng is a flight risk and should not be granted bail. Meng contends that she suffers from hypertension, among other health concerns and should be released but Beijing wants answers summoning the U.S. Ambassador and this after the Canadian ambassador had been threatened with grave consequences if the Huawei executive is not released.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LU KANG, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY: As for what will be the severe consequences that the vice foreign minister warned when meeting with the Canadian ambassador, I can tell you that it totally depends on the Canadian side itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LI: Investors have not reacted well to the Huawei arrest with many concerned that the news complicates U.S.-China trade talks. However U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer says that the Huawei case and the China trade pact are two entirely different issues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIGHTHIZER: This is a criminal justice matter. It is totally separate from anything that I work on or anything that the trade policy people and the administration work on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LI: Huawei also was facing resistance from another country, the Japanese media reporting that Japan will ban all government purchases of Huawei and ZTE equipment with the nation’s three largest phone companies following suit. If true, Japan will be the latest to join the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand to block Huawei’s access on national security concerns -- Bret.
BAIER: Big story. Susan -- thank you.
Up next, the latest on the search for a missing mother out west.
First, beyond our borders tonight.
Prosecutors in Japan have charged Nissan Motor Company’s former chairman, another executive and the company for allegedly underreporting in come. Industry icon Carlos Ghosn is accused of underreporting his income by $44 million. The new allegations involve another $36 million on top of that.
A short-term strike by trained workers led to commuter chaos in Germany today. There were hundreds of delays and cancellations. The four hour strike affected more than 1,400 trains nationwide. The Labor Union called the so-called warning strike to put pressure on the operator after wage negotiations broke off Saturday in Germany.
Iraq has begun removing cement walls from areas surrounding the capital’s most fortified enclave. It’s opening parts of the so-called green zone -- in a symbolic move coinciding with nationwide celebrations marking the one- year anniversary of the country’s victory over the Islamic state group, ISIS.
Just some of the other stories beyond our borders tonight.
We’ll be right back.
BAIER: Police in Colorado are still unable to find a mother of one missing for two and a half weeks. Now officials are asking for any help they can get.
Correspondent Alicia Acuna has details tonight from Denver.
CHERYL BERRETH, MOTHER OF KELSEY BERRETH: UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kelsey -- we just want you home. Tell us if you can and we won’t quit looking.
ALICIA ACUNA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Kelsey Berreth’s mother joined Woodland Park police today asking for the public’s help to locate her daughter who has not been seen since Thanksgiving.
According to the police timeline the 29-year-old pilot instructor went to a neighborhood grocery store with her 1-year-old daughter then later exchanged the little girl with the child’s father, her fiance, Patrick Frasee in her home.
Three days later on December 2nd, police say Frasee told them received a text from her as did her employer.
MILES DE YOUNG, POLICE CHIEF, WOODLAND PARK, COLORADO: We were advised that they had received a text from Kelsey’s phone on the 2Tth of November stating that she would not be able to work the following week.
ACUNA: Also on December 2nd, Cheryl Berreth contacted police in Woodland Park requesting a welfare check. Police searched her car and home where recently baked cinnamon buns were found on the counter. The FBI is now assisting as are law enforcement in Idaho.
Two weeks ago Kelsey’s cell phone pinged on a tower near Gooding, a small rural town in the southern part of the state.
BERRETH: She is not the kind that runs off. It is completely out of character. Kelsey loves her daughter, she loves her family and friends and she loves her job.
ACUNA: Police say Frasee was invited to today’s news conference but declined. When asked if he is a suspect, Chief De Young would only say this.
DE YOUNG: At this point he is the father of Kelsey’s daughter. And we will leave it at that.
ACUNA: Woodland Park police also say there is no indication if there is any sort of threat or danger to the surrounding community -- Bret.
BAIER: Alicia -- thank you.
Breaking news tonight, the Associate Press reports the border patrol has made 32 arrests at the demonstration at the border separating San Diego from Tijuana, Mexico. Tonight we have new evidence of the lengths some migrants will go to enter the U.S. This comes as thousands of other travelers are postponing or abandoning their quest.
Correspondent Steve Harrigan shows us tonight from Tijuana.
STEVE HARRIGAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The desperation of some can only be guessed at. What would drive parents to drop small children from an 18- foot border wall, injuring one? Or, to push an eight-month-old baby through a hole dug under the same wall.
They have come 2,000 miles north by foot or bus, carrying everything they own, stalled now in squalid Tijuana shelters with a months’ long wait for a chance at asylum in the U.S. Record numbers have crossed illegally. Border Patrol says 51,000 were arrested in the month of November alone, an increase over the same period last year of 78 percent. Thousands, disgusted by the filth and the wait, have given up and gone back home. But for some, home is no longer an option.
JORGE GOMEZ, GUATEMALAN IMMIGRANT: No, I don’t want to go back. There is too much threat, and they try to recruit me in the gangs.
HARRIGAN: The frustration boiled over for a few hours two weeks ago when migrants try to storm the border. The temporary border shutdown proved so costly to both sides, a new camp was set up 11 miles further south. Concrete has replaced mud, and donations have somewhat improved conditions.
ESTEFANIA REBELLON, BARRETAL SHELTER VOLUNTEERS: There is a big need for underwear because there are no washing machines here. So we were giving away underwear and socks.
HARRIGAN: Many of the migrants are finding a middle ground, staying in Tijuana where there is a strong labor market and trying to move out of the shelters. But patience has worn thin, the violence, though limited to one day, has hurt local business and been a drag on tourism.