DANA PERINO (CO-ANCHOR): President Biden concluding his remarks on the anniversary of the January 6 attacks. We still have Bret Baier with us and Trace Gallagher. The president spoke for just a bit over 20 minutes that followed the vice president's remarks, in which she called for the passage of the voting rights bill that hangs in the Senate. The president, though, his remarks were more pointed and quite political, I would say, divisive in many ways. This is how he sees it, Bret. Everyone gets a choice as to how they want to communicate, especially a president of the United States. What do you think about the approach and tone the president took today?
BRET BAIER (FOX CHIEF POLITICAL ANCHOR): Well, listen, it was as forceful, aggressive, pointed, specifically at the former president, as we've seen in a speech from President Biden since taking office January 20 of last year, saying that former President Trump values power versus principle. Talking about his bruised ego, about the situation with the election and all that he said about it, that he refused to accept the results of the election and the will of the American people. After that pointed take, I find it hard to believe that we're not going to hear in some way, shape, or form from former President Trump. Now, his supporters, the Trump supporters will say that the president in that speech that day said you should march peacefully and patriotically to the Capitol to make your voices heard. He – they will say that he spoke out against political violence and they will point to Democrats who didn't step up to speak out about political violence around BLM protests that turned into riots and raids around the country during that time. However, that day was different, and I think you heard in the president's speech pointing to the time between the speech that President Trump gives and the time he comes out and makes a statement where he says he was watching TV and watching it all unfold. We've just heard from Stephanie Grisham, who testified to the January 6 committee that he was watching, Trump, former President Trump was watching the television that day and seemed, in her words, happy that people were fighting for him. I think there's hugely political speech, but it was as aggressive as we've seen President Biden since taking office.
TRACE GALLAGHER (CO-ANCHOR): You say aggressive, Bret, I'm wondering if you, if your sense was that he was trying to convey anger, was he trying to be resolute? He said the word “truth" many, many times, he said “lies" over and over again. And as you correctly said in the going into the speech that he would talk about President Trump, not only did he talk about the former president, it was the arc of his speech. And so I'm wondering if you think there will be some pushback by Republicans throughout the day against this, considering that Kamala Harris really equated this with the attack on Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Your thoughts on that?
BAIER: Yeah, I mean, some of the linkages will be attacked by Republicans, but to be honest, Trace, there are a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill who feel that day was horrific. And if you were in that Capitol and you saw what happened, it felt differently than if you were on the outside and how this has been talked about. I do think that the biggest image that everybody could take away from that day is the lawmakers, who then came back and finished the job of certifying the election and this whole thing about democracy hanging in the balance. I think that proved that the country was going to move forward. The question is whether this is going to be enough to change the dynamic for something like a voting rights bill or change the dynamic for Democrats. Clearly, they're going to use this and try to capitalize politically. But that was the strongest President Biden has been in a speech. Very pointed.
PERINO: He mostly has avoided talking about President Trump, rarely mentions his name since he was inaugurated as president. And this today was very different. Of course, doesn't mention him by name, but we all knew exactly who he was talking about. We can imagine that President Trump is watching and I'm sure is seething and would probably want to give a response. And we'll see if that happens, we'll bring that to you of course, if it does. The other thing is, is it, Bret, we're talking about choices and tones that you can make when you are a president of the United States. And if your instinct is to escalate rather than deescalate a tension and division, then that's one way to go about it. And in some ways, to me, what I thought today is the president just missed an opportunity to talk about what you just said, which is that our Founding Fathers were brilliant. They put together a Constitution that is not perfect, but it is held together. And you could have shown gratitude to those lawmakers who came back to the chamber after being quite shaken, I'm sure. And their staff shaken up. They come back. They do the right thing. And Joe Biden is inaugurated and he is president and we as a country have moved on. We've got a lot of challenges that we're dealing with, but you could have talked about the strength of our system. And right now, it's very interesting there is an opportunity for the president and the Democrats to take the Republicans up on an offer, Mitch McConnell brought this up, and that would be to clarify the language in the Electoral Count Act, which isn't perfect and leads to a little bit of speculation. If they were to allow that clarification that Republicans are suggesting, that actually would help prevent a future president from ever trying to do something like that again.
BAIER: Right, but it's not a half a loaf because they believe, just like they believed with just doing the infrastructure bill and not tying it to Build Back Better, that if you do the small change that you don't have the big push to federalize a lot of these voting rights issues around the country. And that's what's the battle inside the Democratic Party. Yes, they could take this negotiated thing from Mitch McConnell. You've heard John Thune talking about it and say, “Let's fix this law. Let's make it clear that the vice president can't overturn the will of states that have certified elections around the country. Let's say what Congress's role specifically is," although most experts say constitutionally the Founders were not planning on the overthrow in the certification process. But they're not going to do that because they believe there's a bigger fight here to have. I agree with you, Dana. I think that, you know, just like the political experts that say former President Trump should not focus on the 2020 election, I think that there are a number of people who say that there was a choice here to be made, whether President Biden was going to stir that emotion and stir that pot or talk about getting things done together moving forward. He tried to cross that bridge, but clearly is taking advantage of the situation, but making clear that we shouldn't forget what happened on January 6. And it can't be accepted, what happened on Capitol.
GALLAGHER: I'm curious, Bret, what happens next in your estimation? You've been covering this a long time. What is next? Do we go over this again and again? Or is this kind of the end of it and we move on? Or are you to think we're going to hear about this in the weeks and months ahead again and again?
BAIER: I think we're going to hear about it for a long time, and I think that the January 6 committee is going to continue to do a number of hearings. Again, I have Liz Cheney on tonight and we'll talk about that. But they're going to do prime-time hearings to try to get specifics out in the public. They're going to have an interim report in the summer. And frankly, Democrats know that come November, they're likely going to lose control of the House. And if that happens, the January 6 committee is going to come to an end. So that's their deadline.
PERINO: Bret, could you stay there for a moment? We have Chad Pergram as well. He's our, of course, our amazing Capitol Hill reporter. He was there that day. And Chad, one of the things you wrote about and I think we started the show talking about is there are so many questions about what happened in the lead up to January 6 and on that day that we still don't have answers to, which seems quite implausible at this point. For example, why didn't the intelligence get to the police Capitol Police officers? Why weren't there enough Capitol Hill police officers? Why didn't the National Guard come? Were they told to stay back? All of these questions are still not answered a year later, Chad.
PERINO: Chad, thank you. I want to just bring Bret back right before we take a quick break. Bret, you have Liz Cheney on tonight. She's a Republican congresswoman from Wyoming. She has taken on a huge amount of water after voting to impeach the president over this. She's on the committee. She's being primaried there in Wyoming. You have her tonight at 6 p.m. What can we expect to get out of that interview, which she's obviously got a lot of information she probably can't divulge yet. But maybe, does she have any answers to the questions that we've been asking?
BAIER: Yeah, we'll see. I mean, I'm going to ask them, definitely. And there's a lot of holes here, as we've been talking about, with the security and what we don't know. I just want to wrap up these speeches. I don't think we've hit on it hard enough that the fact that the vice president conveyed that January 6, 2021, was like December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001. Even for some people who are going to condemn the attacks and the riot, and they're going to find that, I think, pretty hyperbolic. And for 9/11 families, survivors, maybe insulting. We may see that backlash. And the other thing is the president going specifically numerous times to defeated, beaten, talking about failed, lost, it was almost that he was trying to stir up former President Trump into saying something today, and we'll see if that happens.
PERINO: It certainly felt like it. Well, good to have you with us, Bret, during this hour. We appreciate your time.