'Special Report' All-Star panel on Biden's election law speech, gun reform


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There’s an unfolding assault taking place in America today, an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote in fair and free election, an assault on democracy, an assault on liberty, an assault on who we are, who we are as Americans.


BAIER: President Biden in Philadelphia laying out the case against different states’ efforts to change voting laws in those states, finishing that speech to applause, saying that democracy in America is facing its greatest test since the Civil War, claiming that was not hyperbole. It’s since the Civil War.

Let’s bring in our panel, Ben Domenech, publisher of “The Federalist,” Charles Lane, opinion writer for “The Washington Post,” and former Education Secretary Bill Bennett. What about that statement, Bill?

BILL BENNETT, FORMER EDUCATION SECRETARY: As former education secretary, OK. Saint Augustine called it invincible ignorance. This isn’t ignorance. This is invincible ignorance. To suggest that this is Jim Crow or, as he said earlier, Jim Crow on steroids, reveals that he and his staff, whoever rights this stuff for him, have no idea what they are talking about. This is the final argument against Critical Race Theory. The president of the United States and his staff don’t know any history. Under Jim Crow, you could not vote at all if you be were a black person. You could not get education. You could not apply for certain kinds of jobs. If you looked the wrong way, you would be lynched. Please, a little modesty here in your characterizations, and a little realism.

Plus, the real point here when it comes to it is he — I’m sorry, do you want me to stop?

BAIER: No, no, no. I just want to get Chuck to respond to that. I also want to play this other soundbite about the Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell talking about the Texas state lawmakers leaving Texas, coming to Washington, in response to kind of blocking this legislation on voting in Texas. Take a listen.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I first salute them. I respect them. They’re wonderful. I talked to a few of them on the phone over the last few days. And as I’ve said before, everything is on the table.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I think it’s quite interesting to see the Democratic majority in the Senate concerned about minority rights in a state Senate in Texas. I guess if you live long enough you will see almost anything around here.


BAIER: All right, Chuck, if you would weigh in on that and what Bill said at the top.

CHARLES LANE, OPINION WRITER, “WASHINGTON POST”: We’re in a very dangerous situation in this country where people in politics have decided to gain advantage by attacking the integrity of the process, and the recklessness began with the former president, Donald Trump, lying to the American people in a massive way about the results of the last election and refusing to concede his defeat. When you compare that kind of hyperbole and dishonesty with what we heard from President Biden today, I guess I think it’s no contest.

We are living a nightmare in this country that I have seen in my career in the past in Latin America when former presidents refuse to accept the verdict of people and go around creating mischief and subverting the system for years after their terms are over. That’s what’s going on here. That’s the big picture. And I really think that’s the big story.

BAIER: Ben, respond to that, and what about the kind of hypocrisy that we just played there of trying to get rid of the filibuster, but praising Democrats efforts to leave Texas and do everything they can to subvert talking about a law?

BEN DOMENECH, PUBLISHER, “THE FEDERALIST”: I have to disagree with Chuck on this. I don’t think that this is actually connected to what the president was saying, the former president was saying about the election process directly so much as it was how much the former president did well among black and Hispanic voters in the last election. There’s very much a need on the part of Democratic politicians to reassert a dominance within that demographic when it comes to the voting populous going forward.

If you talk to Democratic consultants, they are scared about what numbers they saw, the increases of support for Republicans among black males and among Hispanic females in particular. It really does put a lie to this whole concept of demography is destiny. And so they’re seizing on this as something to try to foment racial animosity in a, I think, very dangerous way. I agree with Chuck about the level of danger here, that I think is going to create all sorts of animosity in ways that is going to drive up the stakes in this upcoming midterm elections and is going to create all manner of distrust in the process going forward. But this is not just about anything that Donald Trump raised when it came to the 2020 election.

BAIER: You heard the House Minority Leader, Bill, say that Joe Biden is the legitimately elected president. There were concerns about the election, but he legitimately won the election. Wouldn’t really talk about whether there were problems for Republicans if the former president keeps talking about that, and wouldn’t really say — said it’s Donald Trump’s decision about 2024. Last word here?

BENNETT: Yes, well, I think we’ll have to wait and see on this. I think it’s very odd that the former president decided to take that biographer, or pseudo-biographer, who took him to task, trashed him the first time, and hired him this time.

But look, the real point is, Democrats can’t get this through the legislature. They can’t get it through the Supreme Court. So they are trying to end run by using the Justice Department. But the Supreme Court has already reviewed the Arizona case. In the Arizona case they upheld Arizona. The Constitution says states make these decisions, not the federal government. The case is pretty well settled.

BAIER: All right, panel, when we come back, we’ll tap you for tomorrow’s headlines.


BAIER: Finally tonight, a look at tomorrow’s headlines with the panel. Bill?

BENNETT: Yes, after reading a Navy report which suggests a split decision with China, they would defeat us in a naval battle. Think about that. But we are more woke than they are, at least our naval officers are. And the president and his crew are thinking about fact that maybe the purpose of a military is to fight and win wars. This is deadly serious.

BAIER: I don’t know what paper you are reading. All right, chuck?

LANE: My headline tomorrow, crackdown intensifies behind the scenes in Cuba. There aren’t many people in the streets since what happened there over the last weekend, but you can be sure brutal repression is taking place all over that country.

BAIER: All right, Ben?

DOMENECH: The “Free Britney” movement unites divided America. There is an entire protest going on tomorrow in Washington, D.C. on the behalf of Britney Spears. I encourage people to attend.

BAIER: Nice. All right, we’ll follow that one. Panel, thank you.

Tomorrow on SPECIAL REPORT, Michael Bender of “The Wall Street Journal” on his new book, “Frankly, We Did Win the Election.” We’ll have him on.

Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That’s it for the SPECIAL REPORT, fair, balanced, and still unafraid. “FOX NEWS PRIMETIME” hosted by Pete Hegseth this week starts right now. Hey, Pete.

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