This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday” January 3, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Bret Baier, in for Chris Wallace. We are
live in Atlanta as the battle for control of the Senate comes to a head in
BAIER (voice-over): It’s all comes down to Tuesday in these crucial runoff
elections that will determine whether Republicans maintain their majority.
JON OSSOFF (D), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Voters in Georgia can stand up
for health and jobs and justice for all the people.
SEN. KELLY LOEFFLER (R-GA): We are the firewall to stopping socialism in
RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: You need United States
senators who will focus on the people and not focus on themselves.
SEN. DAVID PERDUE (R-GA): We, with abundance of caution, we’ve decided to
go into quarantine these last few days.
BAIER: Complicating the races, the override of the president’s defense
spending veto and the battle over boosting COVID relief checks.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Socialism for rich
people is a terrible way to help the American families that are actually
BAIER: But the president’s actions putting the Republican candidates on
LOEFFLER: I’m going to continue to fight for this president because he’s
fought for us.
BAIER: We are joined by Senator Kelly Loeffler. It’s a “FOX News Sunday”
Plus, it’s opening day for the new Congress and one of the first orders of
business, electing the House speaker. How hard will it be for Nancy Pelosi
to keep her job?
We’ll talk with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York, only on “FOX News
Then, President Trump cut short his Florida vacation as his allies plot a
challenge to Joe Biden’s victory. We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the
last-ditch effort to overturn the results.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday.”
BAIER (on camera): And hello again and happy New Year from FOX News, today
in Atlanta. We are live from Georgia International Plaza for the battle for
Two runoff races two days from now that will determine the balance of power
in Washington. If both Democrats, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, win,
their party will control the House, the Senate, and the White House. If
either Republican Kelly Loeffler or David Perdue is reelected, Mitch
McConnell would retain control and be able to block much of the Biden
administration’s agenda. A record 3 million Georgians have already cast
their votes in these crucial races.
Meantime, President Trump continues to cast doubt on the legitimacy of
Georgia’s election system after losing the state to Joe Biden. In a moment,
we’ll speak with one of the Republican candidates, incumbent Senator Kelly
But first, to Peter Doocy in Savannah with the closing arguments on the
campaign trail — Peter.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Bret, early voting data shows
Republicans will need a strong showing north of Atlanta, so that’s where
President Trump is going tomorrow and Democrats are going to try to run up
the score in Atlanta, so that’s where Joe Biden is going, but first, a
visit by Kamala Harris here in Savannah.
OSSOFF: But see, now Georgia has the opportunity to define the next
chapter in American history.
DOOCY (voice-over): Republican candidates agree, but for different
LOEFFLER: We’re going to show America that Georgia is a red state, we’re
going to stop socialism and we’re going to save this country.
DOOCY: In one runoff, Republican Kelly Loeffler faces Democrat Raphael
LOEFFLER: Dangerous, radical Raphael Warnock has not answered for
investigations into child abuse, domestic abuse.
DOOCY: Warnock argues recent allegations are irrelevant.
WARNOCK: Kelly Loeffler doesn’t have a case to make for why she should be
sitting in that seat.
DOOCY: And the other runoff, the Republican David Perdue, is quarantining
after her close contact with a COVID-19-infected staffer but still accusing
Democrat Jon Ossoff of hiding transactions with a business linked to China.
PERDUE: This is a ripening scandal, as we now know. He — he is involved
with the communist Chinese party during his primary.
DOOCY: Ossoff claims David Perdue is the corrupt one.
OSSOFF: We have two United States senators who, when they learned about
the threat that COVID-19 posed to their own constituents, their first call
was to their broker.
DOOCY (on camera): Campaigns are trying hard to stick with people that
they come across. For example, yesterday at a campus launch, organizers
sent volunteers away with this chant. “Door knock for Warnock, vote your
Oss-off” — Bret.
BAIER: All right. Peter Doocy reporting from Savannah — Peter, thanks.
Joining me here now, Senator Kelly Loeffler.
Good morning, Senator. Welcome to “FOX News Sunday.”
SEN. KELLY LOEFFLER (R-GA): Good morning. Great to be with you, Bret.
BAIER: We should point out. We invited your opponent, Raphael Warnock, on
as well. He declined.
Thank you for being here.
It’s a little cold for Atlanta.
LOEFFLER: That’s okay, it’s going to warm up.
BAIER: Yeah, that’s right.
Senator, you’ve been all over the state since November 3rd. And, you — we
are now two days from this runoff. As we mentioned, more than 3 million
Georgians have already voted.
Where did you and your team see this race right now?
LOEFFLER: Well, look, Bret, Georgians are fired up. They are ready to get
out and vote on Tuesday because they know the future of the country is on
the ballot here in Georgia. It’s a choice. It’s a stark contrast between
the freedoms, our way of life here in Georgia, or socialism, government
We know the agenda of the left because Chuck Schumer told us he was going
to take Georgia and then change America. And we know that radical agenda is
not just high taxes, open borders, defunding the police, government-run
health care. But he has radical candidates in this race, his agents of
Radical liberal Raphael Warnock is my opponent. He is someone that would
fundamentally change this country. His values are out of step with Georgia.
BAIER: We are going to talk about that in a minute.
Are you worried about Republican turnout because of the current ongoing
challenge to the election?
LOEFFLER: Well, look, Republicans, Democrats, everyone, they need to know
that we can trust this process that we are working hard to make sure that
this is a fair, trusted election. We have 8,000 poll watchers.
But from what I’ve seen as I’ve crisscrossed the state nonstop over the
last nine weeks, Georgians are fired up to vote and we’ve seen that in
early voting. Three million votes shattering records for previous runoffs
and we know that on Tuesday, just two days away here, we are going to see a
record turnout for this runoff election and I’m confident that we will win
if our voters turnout.
BAIER: This weekend, Senator Ted Cruz campaigned for you. He and ten other
Republican senators and senators-elect say they will join Senator Josh
Hawley in a vote against certifying Electoral College votes if there isn’t
an audit of disputed states votes, including this one. Now, you are not on
LOEFFLER: Well, I’ve said from the start, everything is on the table here,
and I’m seriously looking at that. We have to make sure that Georgia and
all of Americans trust our voting process. But my number one objective
right now has to be winning on January 5th so that we can get to the bottom
of what happened in these elections.
We know that Democrats will never get to the bottom of it. That’s what
we’re fighting here for, and I’m continuing to fight for this president.
He’s fought for us and so we’re going to stay on top of that.
BAIER: So, the president says this election was stolen. In fact, he
tweeted this weekend that because of how the process was done here in
Georgia, the election, including the Senate run, was, quote, illegal and
Do you agree with that?
LOEFFLER: Well, look, the president has been very consistent. He came down
to Georgia in December and said you have to get out and vote for David
Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. You have to exercise your right to vote.
He’s coming back here tomorrow night, to Dalton, Georgia, and he’s going to
tell voters the same thing, you have to get out and vote, Georgia, because
this is too important. The country is on the line. They are counting on us.
We won’t get a second chance. If we lose this election, we could lose the
future of the country because we know Chuck Schumer wants to abolish the
filibuster, get rid of the Electoral College, have D.C. statehood, raise
our taxes, and the list goes on.
Georgians — that’s out of step with Georgia.
BAIER: But I guess — and I know you’re focused on January 5th, but
January 6th, you have to make that decision. And so, today, can you say
whether you will certify the Electoral College votes or not, maybe
specifically from Georgia?
LOEFFLER: Well, I’m looking very, very closely at it, and I’ve been one of
the first to say, everything is on the table. I’m fighting for this
president because he’s fought for us. He’s our president and we are going
to keep making sure that this is a fair election and I’m looking very
closely at it. But again, none of it matters if I can’t win on January 5th.
BAIER: Right. Well, some of your other Republican colleagues have called
these overturned election efforts bad for your party, bad for the country.
Senators Romney, Toomey have talked out about it. Senator Toomey releasing
a statement about the senator’s efforts, Senators Cruz and Hawley.
They failed to acknowledge that these allegations have been adjudicated in
courtrooms across America and were found to be unsupported by evidence. I
acknowledge that this past election, like all elections, had
irregularities, but the evidence is overwhelming that Joe Biden won this
Is he right?
LOEFFLER: Well, look, we have every right to take these votes in a way
that we believe reflects our constituency and our state, and that’s what
I’m going to do. I’m going to speak for the people of Georgia.
But the worst thing for a party is if David Perdue and I don’t win on
Tuesday. We have to win because we have to be able to get to that next
step, to be able to vote our conscience and what is right on January 6th,
and then we have to be able to pursue holding people accountable for how
these elections were handled.
BAIER: But have you seen evidence, enough evidence of fraud to overturn
any state’s election, as a senator and what you’ve seen so far?
LOEFFLER: Well, certainly, here in Georgia, we have upwards of 200 open
investigations. We’re in the courts right now. We have heard and seen too
much. We need to get to the bottom of it.
BAIER: And, Senator, you know there have been 60-plus court cases that
have been — gone before judges, some of them Trump-appointed judges, where
they haven’t found that evidence.
LOEFFLER: Well, these cases haven’t been heard. They deserve to be heard.
We need to make sure that we get to the bottom of this because the
integrity of voting is at the core of our democracy. We have to protect
that. We have to have people who are willing to fight for it and defend it,
and that’s what I’m looking at right now.
This is a big decision for the 6th, but I have to stay laser focused on the
5th because if we don’t win the 5fth, we will lose the country.
BAIER: Let’s talk about this race, specifically our opponent. On the
campaign trail when he’s pressed about anything that he’s — you know
you’re charging him with, he comes back with pretty much the same attack on
you. It’s very consistent. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAPHALE WARNOCK (D), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: When she heard about the
coronavirus pandemic, she got busy making sure that she protected her own
wealth. She is the wealthiest member of Congress. She dumped $3 million
worth of stock, meanwhile telling you there was nothing to worry about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: All right, so your response to that? The direct charge that he says
over and over again on the trail?
LOEFFLER: Well, this is a political attack that has been completely
debunked. It’s a left-wing media attack, totally debunked and it’s a lie.
The mainstream media continued to carry it and now they’ve been embarrassed
because it’s completely debunked.
BAIER: So it didn’t happen?
LOEFFLER: Absolutely not, and I’ve proven that over and over. And, look,
this is a distraction. This is — the Democrats don’t want to answer for
their radical policies to change America.
The radical agenda of Raphael Warnock and his own — his own facts are that
he’s been involved in a child abuse investigation that he obstructed. He
was arrested for obstructing it. He’s been involved in a domestic abuse. He
won’t answer those questions.
That’s what the mainstream media has refused to focus on. That’s why I’m
having to raise those types of questions and why has he refused to denounce
Marxism and socialism? He refused to do that in our debate. He’s attacked
our police officers, calling them gangsters, thugs, and bullies.
He said that you can’t serve God and the military. He’s praised Fidel
Castro, Karl Marx. And Georgians need to know who he is, because he is out
of step with Georgia’s values.
BAIER: A lot of people look at this race and think President Trump may
have put you in Senator Perdue in a box first when he threatened to not
sign the COVID stimulus and government funding and then he signed it. Then
by after that demanding or calling for additional direct payments, which he
then supported, and then by vetoing the national defense bill, which you
originally supported and voted for.
Why didn’t you vote on the veto override Friday in the Senate?
LOEFFLER: Well, look, I stood with the president 100 percent of the time.
He’s putting America first. He’s fought for our men and women in the
military. He restored our strength in our Department of Defense and our
But, look, I have to be out across the state campaigning to make sure that
Georgians turn out and vote on January 5th because none of this will matter
if we don’t win on the 5th.
Look, Chuck Schumer has said is going to defund our military by 25 percent.
Raphael Warnock, Jon Ossoff, they would be rubber-stamps for defunding the
military, the police, raising taxes, ushering in government-run health
care, weakening our Second Amendment rights, opposing or religious freedom.
That’s all on the ballot here in Georgia, January 5th. That’s what I’m
fighting for, is to preserve the future of our country.
BAIER: Understanding the campaigning is important, if you’re saying how
important this election is on January 5th, but obviously, Georgia is a big
defense state, current and former military here, defense business here.
How would you have voted had you voted on that veto override?
LOEFFLER: Well, look, I voted to support the NDAA. The bill that came out
of conference was very different from what we’ve been promised. So, I don’t
know. I was here in Georgia working across the state and I will continue to
stand with our men and women in the military.
Raphael Warnock will not stand for our military. He’s attacked them. He
said you can’t serve God and serve in the military.
BAIER: Right, but you would have sustained the veto, the president’s veto
on the NDAA?
LOEFFLER: Look, what’s at stake here is our military and our freedoms.
Those are what’s on the ballot right now.
I’m the daughter and granddaughter of veterans. We’re the fifth largest
state for veterans and active-duty military here in Georgia. I have fought
for our military and made sure that we get the funding we need and we are
going to continue to do that.
But if we don’t win on January 5th, our military will be defunded and
BAIER: I won’t belabor it but that’s not a “yes” or “no” whether you would
sustain the veto or not.
LOEFFLER: That’s right.
BAIER: OK, you’re not answering that.
Listen, Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat from West Virginia, has said voters
in this runoff should not be scared that Chuck Schumer will get unlimited
power because Manchin, according to him and maybe others, will not vote to
kill the filibuster.
What do you say to Senator Manchin and others who are saying that?
LOEFFLER: Well, we know what Chuck Schumer said. He’s going to take
Georgia and change America. He’s told us exactly what he’s going to do.
He’s going to make D.C. a state, would have to go Democrat senators, it
would be impossible for Republicans to win the majority again, he would
abolish the filibuster and the Electoral College. He’d structurally change
this country, pack the Supreme Court.
My opponent, radical liberal Raphael Warnock, refused to answer questions
about court packing because we know that he would pack the court with
liberal justices. So it would overturn the Constitution and the rule of
law. It would eliminate our religious freedom, free speech, everything
that’s under attack right now by the left.
So we know what’s at stake here in Georgia. If we lose this election, we
won’t get a second chance.
BAIER: Senator, as a senator, you deal with a lot of different things.
This is an issue that’s today. Today is the one-year anniversary of the
U.S. killing Iran’s most powerful general, the head of Iran’s militias
inside Iraq. It appears according to intelligence that Iran proxy forces
are preparing to carry out more attacks on Americans.
What should the response be if that happens?
LOEFFLER: Well, look, I have stood with this president, the decisions he’s
made to keep America safe, have done that. He’s led peace deals for the
first time in decades. He stood with Israel, stood against the dangerous
JCPOA, the Iran deal, that shipped pallets of cash to Iran.
So we have to continue to be tough, secure our national defense. That’s our
focus and Americans have seen that. We have been kept safe, thanks to this
president, and I’ll continue to support his actions there.
BAIER: And again, the president in North Georgia tomorrow.
Senator, you’ll be campaigning and we will be her covering it. Thank you
very much for your time.
LOEFFLER: Thank you, Bret.
BAIER: Well, we will have complete coverage Tuesday night.
Up next, we’ll bring in the Sunday panel to discuss what’s at stake in
Plus, as we mentioned, a growing number of Trump allies signing on to
contest the election results — as “FOX News Sunday” continues from the
Georgia International Plaza in downtown Atlanta.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): You’ve got 74 million people that feel that, A,
many of them feel they’ve been disenfranchised, they feel they’ve not been
heard, and January 6th is the only opportunity that I’ve got to speak up
for my constituents in this process.
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): This is just grossly responsible by Senator
Hawley, going and undermining even more about public confidence in our
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Republican Senator Josh Hawley on his plans to object to
certification of the Electoral College votes for Joe Biden on Wednesday and
then Democrat Senator Chris Van Hollen’s slamming those plans.
It’s time now for our Sunday group. Former Republican Congressman Jason
Chaffetz. Catherine Lucey, who covers the White House for “The Wall Street
Journal”, and FOX News political analyst Juan Williams.
Jason, let me start with you. This is the joint statement from these GOP
senators and senators-elect. It says Congress should immediately point and
electoral commission with full investigatory and fact-finding authority to
conduct an emergency ten-day audit of the election returns in the disputed
states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the commission
‘his findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a
change in their vote if needed.
Your thoughts on this move?
JASON CHAFFETZ, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Look, if they’re going to ask
Congress whether or not they’re going to certify the results, there’s no
reason why members can’t go out and express their own personal views on it.
That’s the way we do it in this country. We have these types of debates and
I think there are a lot of people in both the Senate and in the House who
are concerned about it.
Now, I think it’s a futile attempt. I don’t think it’s going to pass, but I
don’t think we should be afraid of the debate in the discussion, because
there are anomalies and there are things that need to be investigated and
looked at. And I have respect what these senators and members in the House
BAIER: Yeah, Juan, you know, you heard Senator Loeffler not really answer
what side she’ll be on as far as that vote comes down. But obviously,
Attorney General Bill Barr before he left his position said he did not see
enough widespread fraud to overturn any vote in any state. But the pressure
is still on Trump allies.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, let’s just take the
varnish off this, Bret. This is an effort to overturn an election and as
such, it is doing tremendous damage to democracy. Senator Pat Toomey, the
Republican of Pennsylvania, said the essence of democracy is the people
choosing their leaders and this is an effort to undermine the people’s
right to choose their leadership, and they elected Joe Biden.
This is, to me, and effort that really comes down — you know, it’s
shocking. You know, Jason Chaffetz says let’s put the evidence out there.
Why not let people express their opinions and investigate? Well, as you
pointed out in your interview with Senator Loeffler, 60 courts, more than
90 judges, many of them Trump-appointed judges, have looked at this and
found that there is no basis for, in fact, challenging any of these
election results no matter what small anomalies or irregularities might
Nothing that would change the results of the election, but it does
undermine the incoming Biden administration and it does do damage to the
credibility of our democracy. This is very serious business. If the
Democrats were doing this, the Republicans would yell treason.
BAIER: Catherine, thoughts on this and the politics of this?
CATHERINE LUCEY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes, Bret. I think you’re
absolutely right that for a lot of senators, this really has — and House
members — this has become a political moment as much as anything else.
What we are hearing from sources on the Hill is that a lot of these members
are feeling tremendous pressure from their districts, from their
constituents, from local elected officials that they need to be, you know,
taking a stand and defending the president and we know the president has
been very vocal about his frustration with the outcome, about wanting
people to challenge it publicly, his frustration with the outcomes in the
And so, they are feeling like they need to — and this is — this is sort
of turning into a litmus test for your defense for the president and you’re
seeing people make calculations around their midterm elections if they are
up then and well as people who are looking ahead to potential runs in 2024
and how this might play for them then.
BAIER: Jason, you said it’s going to be futile and, you know, the votes
eventually, they could have a long debate on the floor, but January 6th
eventually is going to lead to inauguration on January 20th. As it’s
written right now, the president doesn’t seem to be tweeting that.
CHAFFETZ: Well, again, I do believe it’s futile. I don’t think it will go
there, but I think the nation, having a debate — because there are
millions of people who do not believe that the process ultimately was fair
and honorable in the way it was discharged, and so why can’t they express
that? Why can’t we have that debate in this country?
I don’t like the idea that they want to just shut down the debate and say,
you know, just go exactly the way you’re supposed to go. It’s okay for us
as a nation for a few hours to have this debate. Ultimately I don’t think
it will pass.
BAIER: Well — here’s what Senators Romney and Toomey and others are
saying and you just heard it from Juan, is that the way to debate this is
in court and the Trump campaign tried in more than 60 courts to do this and
the substance of it even in front of Trump judges never lead to any one
judge saying there was enough evidence to overturn that state’s votes.
CHAFFETZ: But there is a reason why — this question goes before Congress
and that’s part of the — this is what’s amazing about the United States of
America. It’s what separates him from all the other nations on the Earth.
They actually posed this question to Congress.
And so, each member gets to vote how they want to vote and if they want to
object, they can object. That’s how we do things in this country. It’s not
just the courts that decide this. Congress has a role in this as well.
BAIER: All right. So, Juan, for Trump supporter’s who say, listen, we do
think that there is something fishy here, how politically are Republicans
going to keep all of them ahead of this Georgia runoff on the 5th and to
come out and vote and what they consider really a crucial moment for the
WILLIAMS: I guess it’s just got to be loyalty to President Trump at this
juncture and it’s ironic that the president over the weekend as you
mentioned earlier has said he considers this election illegal and invalid.
Well, if that’s the case, why bother to vote? Why support, you know, sort
of an extra-legal corrupt exercise? Why would anybody go out and vote? I
don’t get it.
But he’s going there tomorrow to campaign and I guess you just have to say
as we heard in your interview with Senator Loeffler, she is just loyal to
President Trump. She doesn’t have her own agenda. She didn’t lay out any
agenda with regard to any issue. Back and forth with regard to the stimulus
spending, not willing to answer with regard to supporting the president’s
veto of the defense appropriation, which was overridden by her fellow
So, it’s just about Trump at this juncture and I think that when we look at
the effort that’s going to take place in the Senate, again, it’s about
Republicans who are early entries into the 2024 GOP primary. I don’t think
those people are loyal to Trump, obviously, because they are preparing to
challenge him in 2024, but they are making a play for the base that you’re
talking about, Bret, and saying to that base I’ll buy into the conspiracy
theories, I’ll support your doubts and your cynicism about American
politics when it doesn’t go our way.
BAIER: Yeah, Senators Loeffler and Perdue are hoping the president can
take those supporters across the finish line for the 5th.
Panel, stand by if you would. We’ll see a little bit later in the show.
Coming up, we talked to Hakeem Jeffries with the Democratic caucus about
what the next Congress will look like and Speaker Pelosi’s chances.
BAIER: Coming up, debate over increased stimulus checks makes for strange
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Trump is right in saying that’s not enough. We
need to go to $2,000. I didn’t say he was visionary. He’s right on this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: We’ll ask Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries where the relief
checks stand next.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: We’re back now in Atlanta.
This afternoon in Washington, the 117th Congress gets sworn in and
lawmakers in the House will elect their new speaker. Nancy Pelosi, who has
served 17 years as the Democrat’s leader, is running unopposed, but her
path to victory is a narrow one.
Joining us now from D.C., one of the top Democrats in the house, Hakeem
Congressman, welcome back to FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY) Good morning. Happy New Year.
BAIER: Yes, Happy New Year to you.
What do you say to voters here in Georgia who say, listen, we think divided
government works better. And, frankly, they say they’re scared of a senator
— Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, your party controlling all the
House, Senate, and the White House, and progressives having control of the
legislative agenda? What do you say to those voters?
JEFFRIES: Well, those very same Georgia voters saw fit to elect Joe Biden
is the next president of the United States of America, believing that he
has the heart and the experience and the compassion and the empathy to
address the challenges that are facing everyday Americans.
Joe Biden will be the leader of the Democratic Party. More importantly, as
the next president of the United States, Joe Biden, as he has indicated, is
going to be the president for all Americans, both those who voted for him
and those who didn’t.
And here in the House, we look forward to working closely with him, as well
as Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans to get things done on behalf of
the American people.
BAIER: As I mentioned at the top, Speaker Pelosi is running unopposed for
that speakership, but how many votes in the House do you think Nancy Pelosi
JEFFRIES: Well, Nancy Pelosi will be the next speaker of the United States
House of Representatives and I look forward to placing her name into
nomination as part of my responsibilities as chair of the House Democratic
Caucus. There is incredible enthusiasm for Speaker Pelosi because she’s
done the work and she’s been an historic, legendary legislative leader
through incredibly turbulent times. We’ve been through a lot of trials and
tribulations as Americans. Nancy Pelosi, as speaker of the House, has
helped to guide us through that and we look forward to her continuing in
BAIER: You said Joe Biden is going to be the leader of the party, but how
does Nancy Pelosi control the left part of your caucus, the progressives,
and steer legislation through the House with a much more narrow path
because of the votes that you have?
JEFFRIES: Well, we are a very big family in terms of the House Democratic
Caucus. We are a diverse family. We’re an enthusiastic family. We believe
in the House that our charge is to reflect the hopes, the dreams, the
aspirations, the passions of the American people that’s consistent with the
United States Constitution. And Speaker Pelosi understands that a big tent
approach to getting things done on behalf of the American people is
We’ve taken that approach, not just internally, but externally over the
last several years. We’ve worked closely with President Trump on issues
like criminal justice reform, with the passage of the historic First Step
Act. We worked closely with President Trump with respect to the United
States Mexico Canada trade agreement, which was an historic trade agreement
that protected good paying American jobs. We worked closely with President
Trump to end the practice of surprise billing on behalf of the American
people and we continue to stand with President Trump, for instance, as he
pushes for $2,000 direct stimulus payments.
And so we’re always going to govern, not in a partisan way, but in a
practical way that gets things done on behalf of the American people. That
applies to the House Democratic Caucus. That applies to the House. That
applies to the Senate. That applies to the presidency, whether it’s a
Republican or a Democrat.
BAIER: It’s interesting that you point out all of the things that you —
the House worked with President Trump. There is also a new rules package
for the new Congress and in it Democrats widen their subpoena and
investigative powers, essentially forecasting that this is going to lead to
— there’s also a rules change about gender-neutral terms, “he” or “she”
would become “member” or “delegate” or “resident commissioner.” “Father”
and “mother” would become “parent,” while “brother” and “sister” would
Are these the things that are the priority going after the Trump
administration in investigations and changing the way people talk about
JEFFRIES: Well, the top priority of House Democrats is going to be to crush
the virus, continue to provide direct assistance to everyday Americans who
are struggling and ultimately supercharge our economy for the good of
everyone. I know that will be a priority of President Biden in his first
100 days. That will continue to be our focus.
This is a once in a century pandemic. It requires a once in a century
continuing, comprehensive and compassionate congressional response. And so
that’s going to be our focus as we move forward. That has been our focus
over the last year, and that continues until we can put this deadly
pandemic behind us.
BAIER: OK. Then why expand the subpoena investigative powers?
JEFFRIES: Well, the House is a separate and co-equal branch of government
at the end of the day. We don’t work for any president, whether that’s a
Democrat or a Republican, whether it’s Donald Trump or Joe Biden. And we
have a constitutional responsibility to serve as a check and balance on any
I wouldn’t interpret any change in rules as an effort to look backward with
respect to Donald Trump’s presidency.
When we felt it was the right thing to do, consistent with our
constitutional responsibilities to hold this president accountable, we took
that step. But as we move forward, I think our concern is going to be
focused on kitchen table, pocketbook issues, dealing with the health care
challenges of the American people, making sure that we can bring good
paying jobs, prosperity in every single zip code I think should be our
guiding principle. And, of course, working closely with Joe Biden and
Kamala Harris to build back better for the people.
BAIER: And then the rule about changing — imposing more gender-neutral
language, I guess critics would say that this is not the message from the
election. Democrats lost a number of seats that they were thinking they
were going to win. Traditionally, you know, there would be critics that say
they’re — Democrats are too focused on political correctness and that this
is an example of that. How would you respond to that?
JEFFRIES: This is just an example of making sure that we are as inclusive
as possible. You know, the framers of the Constitution envisioned the House
at the institution that was the closest to the people and, in their words,
that would reflect the passions of the American people. It’s the reason why
we have two-year terms as opposed to four years of the presidency, six
years in the Senate, life tenure for the Supreme Court. And so I think that
the rules should reflect our values as an institution that is the most
inclusive as possible, that reflects the gorgeous mosaic in every possible
way of the American people.
BAIER: Speaker Pelosi, you mentioned the stimulus checks and the direct
payment. She has characterized direct payments to Americans different ways,
beginning with the direct payments from the Trump tax cuts, then the
negotiated stimulus deal that she negotiated at first and then this new
effort to get more direct payments.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): In terms of the bonus that corporate America
received versus the crumbs that they are giving to workers to kind of put
the schmooze on is so pathetic.
I would like them to have been bigger, but they are significant and they
will be going out soon.
Who is holding up that distribution to the American people? Mitch McConnell
and the Senate Republicans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Congressman, there’s a lot to digest there. The $1,000 direct
payment was crumbs. $600 was significant. And then the $2,000 was being
held up by the Senate. But she negotiated with Secretary Mnuchin and
Senator McConnell for that original stimulus deal.
So people looking at that scratch their heads.
JEFFRIES: The most important thing that Speaker Pelosi indicated is that
Mitch McConnell is holding up direct payment checks that are more robust to
the American people. We agree with President Trump. Republicans in the
House of Representatives agree that we should increase those direct
payments to $2,000 per American because the American people are hurting in
a tremendous way.
Now, when it comes to the tax cuts from 2017, we all, on the Democratic
side, had a big problem with that because we went into $2 trillion worth of
debt for tax cuts were 83 percent of the benefits went to the wealthiest 1
percent, to the wealthy, the well-off and the well-connected. That was not
good public policy in my humble opinion.
I think, at the current moment, what we need to do is make sure that we’re
providing relief to middle-class Americans, to those who aspire to be part
of the middle class, to working families, to the poor and the sick and the
afflicted, those who have been impacted the most by this pandemic. That’s
what we’re trying to do. And we’re asking Mitch McConnell to join the
American people, join President Trump, join House Democrats and many House
Republicans in getting this done.
BAIER: Congressman, thank you for your time. Thanks for joining us on this
holiday weekend. Happy New Year.
JEFFRIES: Thank you. Happy New Year, again, to you and your viewers.
BAIER: Up next, we’ll discuss how the incoming Congress will work with the
Biden administration when the panel returns as we count down to the
critical Georgia runoffs from Atlanta.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JIM INHOFE (R-OK): People are talking about the Democrats and
Republicans don’t do things together. This has been an example of what can
happen in government.
SEN. JACK REED (D-RI): We provide for the support of our service men and
women and their families. Think about them and their families and you’ll
appreciate, I think, more of what they do every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: Senate Armed Services Chair James Inhofe and Ranking Member Jack
Reed on the New Year’s Day override of President Trump’s veto of the
defense spending bill.
And we’re back with our panel.
Catherine, that veto override was a moment of bipartisanship. We heard
Senator Loeffler not really answer that question, what she would do about
that vote. Neither Loeffler or Perdue voted for that veto override.
As you look to Georgia, how significant is that, or is it more about
control of the U.S. Senate and how that plays here?
CATHERINE LUCEY, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”: Yes, it was interesting, Bret,
how senator Loeffler was very careful to avoid that question. She,
obviously, is focused on the runoff and the fact that they need President
Trump to come and help them get voters out for Election Day. Republicans
know that they’re at a deficit in early voting and they really need a huge
turnout for Election Day.
I think a thing to think about also with that override is obviously it was
a notable moment in President Trump’s tenure. It’s the first time we’ve
seen that. And it does speak to the fact that even as, you know, a lot of
senators are lining up to support his efforts to, you know, contest the
election results and are, you know, a growing number are looking to do
that, that there are still moments in which his party is prepared to buck
him. And this — obviously, this is a long-standing, you know, bipartisan
piece of legislation. They take a lot of pride in. They’re very concerned
about support for the military and this was one of those moments.
BAIER: Jason, depending on how Tuesday comes out here and control of the
Senate, either way we’re going to see Washington operate differently after
JASON CHAFFETZ, FORMER CONGRESSMAN (R-UT) AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes,
the margins are so razor-thin, both in the Senate — you have one or two
senators going one direction or another. That changes the equation. And
even in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has the run of her life
to run the gauntlet today. I don’t know that she can actually get there,
but she probably will. History shows that she pulls that off. But every
single vote is going to come down to four or five people to sway that and
really be in a power position to try to negotiate something else.
I think Washington’s going to have a very difficult time moving legislation
if the Senate goes to the Republicans’ hands. That’s the best conservative
move we can have is to elect the two Republican senators in Georgia.
BAIER: Does that suggest, Jason, that if you were still in Congress, that
there would be — you would try to make an effort to work with moderates to
get legislation through if you’re dealing with the Biden administration? I
mean is — is that what we’re going to see, a kind of a rise of the
CHAFFETZ: If there were any moderates left. I think most of the moderates
actually lost. I think the progressive far radical left side of the party
has taken that over. I think the AOCs, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “the
squad,” and more left-leaning members have really got Nancy Pelosi over the
barrel. I think you’re going to see the House of Representatives, under
Nancy Pelosi, further to the left than we’ve ever seen.
BAIER: Juan, paint the picture of the two different results of Tuesday and
how Washington operates if the Republicans hold on and win one of the two
and McConnell stays Senate majority leader or if Democrats pick up two and
its Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that Mitch
McConnell is a shrewd tactician, Bret, and his goal will be to block much
of what Joe Biden and the Democrats, especially as they paint it, you know,
these radical Democrats want to do. So if — if McConnell maintains hold of
the gavel as the Senate majority leader, look for that. I think he may have
to make some concessions, as you were suggesting, dealing with moderates
because his margins are smaller.
On the House side, I think that’s also the case.
Now, you know, Nancy Pelosi, we were talking earlier about whether or not
she’ll be the next speaker. I think the only question today is whether or
not enough Democrats are able to come in a day early to vote for her. But
she has proven to be very tough, able to go toe-to-toe with McConnell, even
with Trump, and I think hold that caucus together, which also will be a
very slim Democratic majority, much as McConnell will have a slimmer
Republican majority in the Senate.
BAIER: Yes, Catherine, I mean that’s a key point. In the House it’s going
to be tight for any — really any piece of legislation. Four members
shifting could change the dynamic for the majority.
LUCEY: That’s right. It’s very tight. And I think a look to, as we move
forward is, you know, for the president-elect, Joe Biden really ran on the
idea that he’s someone who understands The Hill, he can work there, he has
relationships, you know, on both sides of the aisle. He and Pelosi go back
a very long way.
But he’s also laid out an ambitious agenda of things he would like to do,
you know, around climate change, around immigration, around tax cuts — you
know, taxes. So how he’s going to do that with these narrow majorities and
particularly if they do not win back the majority in the Senate, it remains
to be seen.
And, finally, Jason, what do you think Tuesday comes down to here?
CHAFFETZ: Turn out. I don’t think there’s anybody that’s undecided. I think
Republicans have given a mixed message. Hey, the system is corrupt, but get
out and vote. Donald Trump has got to deliver on Monday night. Republicans
have to show up. If Republicans show up, I think they will win and the —
the wildcard in all this are the libertarians. One hundred thousand
libertarians in the presidential election, which direction do they go? Do
they show up and vote? Voter turnout is everything.
BAIER: But does the disaffected election challenge voter not show up
because they’re angry?
CHAFFETZ: I think that’s the big threat. I think that’s the mixed message.
I think that’s been the unfortunate part of the message coming out. You’ve
even had key Trump supporter is going out there and saying don’t vote. But
that’s the exact opposite of what needs to happen. It’s one of the big
concerns. It has been a mixed message, but people need to get out and vote.
Every vote will count. It’s going to be a razor-thin margin one way or the
BAIER: All right, panel, thank you. We’ll cover it all. We’ll see you next
Up next, our “Power Player of the Week.” Alan Alda played a wise guy on the
TV series “M*A*S*H.” Now he’s sharing some wisdom in a fascinating second
BAIER: Well, he brought laughter to generations as Hawkeye Pierce on the TV
classic “M*A*S*H.” Now he’s bringing his lifelong passions for science and
communication to his hit podcast.
Here’s Chris Wallace with his “Power Player of the Week.”
ALAN ALDA, ACTOR AND PODCASTER: What we really need now, more effective
communication, not only about COVID, but we need to communicate with each
other better about the things we value.
I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m just a TV doctor.
I like to think of you as (ph) people.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR (voice over): Alan Alda has been
communicating brilliantly for 84 years now.
ALDA: Please, please, you’re too kind.
WALLACE: As Hawkeye Pierce on the legendary TV show “M*A*S*H,” he gave
voice to a generation questioning authority.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I’m not through here.
ALDA: Then we’ll disregard the rumor.
WALLACE: Now he’s teaching scientists how to share their discoveries with
the rest of us.
ALDA: I think to a great extent our lives depend on whether or not we
understand the science that’s being delivered to us and whether we trust
the people who are talking with us.
WALLACE: A decade ago he founded the Alda Center for Communicating Science
at Stony Brook University and he found his improv skills as an actor
translate to this very different stage.
ALDA: You’re not just reciting a lecture at somebody, you’re actually
talking to them. You’re — you’re — you’re speaking to them the way you
would to a — to a friend.
I hope you get a chance to listen to my new podcast.
WALLACE: This passion for communicating also led Alda to start a hit
podcast, now in its ninth season.
ALDA: I have conversations with people who are, many of them, icons in the
culture, but it’s all conversation.
WALLACE (on camera): What is the secret to communicating?
ALDA: You know, ironically, I think the secret to good communication is
WALLACE (voice over): Alda has embraced tech and social media and talks
openly about how he’s now dealing with Parkinson’s disease.
WALLACE (on camera): I understand that your staff has a nickname for you.
ALDA: They call me the world’s oldest millennial.
WALLACE (voice over): Of course for most of us, Alan Alda will always be
part of that unruly gang on “M*A*S*H.” One hundred and six million people
watched the 1983 finale, still a record for a scripted show.
ALDA: I look back with amazement, people who we way not born yet when we
went off the air, are writing to me and telling me that — how much it
means to them.
WALLACE: Almost 50 years later, the bonds among the cast remains strong.
ALDA: There’s a kind of funny video that I posted of me showing Mike
Farrell, who I acted with on “M*A*S*H,” how to download the podcast.
ALDA: There it is. There it is.
MIKE FARRELL, ACTOR: Alan Alda.
ALDA: And he slowly gets it.
ALDA: Now I’m subscribing to “Clear and Vivid.”
FARRELL: I’m subscribed.
ALDA: I’m so excited.
WALLACE: Last year, Alda posted an old video that went viral, of him tap
dancing with his granddaughter.
WALLACE (on camera): How do you feel about your life these days and what’s
your attitude going forward?
ALDA: I plan to keep figuring out what’s — what’s worth doing and having
fun and laughing right up until the last. This just occurred to me, you’ll
never be able to quote my last words because I hope it will be a laugh.
BAIER: I hope so.
In October, Alda launched a spin-off of his popular podcast called “Science
Clear and Vivid.”
Now a program note.
Be sure to tune into our coverage of the Georgia election runoffs. I’ll be
back tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, with Martha MacCallum on Fox News
Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia will be here. We’ll talk about the election
and the challenges to the election.
Chris will join us for special coverage starting tomorrow night.
That is it for today.
Happy New Year and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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