This is a rush transcript from “Special Report with Bret Baier,” August 2, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS HOST:With that, let’s bring in our panel. Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen. Mara Liasson, national political correspondent of National Public Radio. And Trey Gowdy, former congressman from South Carolina.So, a lot to get through there. Let’s start with Rich Edson’s exclusive at the State Department. Here his former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the China cover-up angle.(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)MIKE POMPEO, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR (on camera): They know that they have lied to the world, they know that they have lied to their own people, and they know that they foisted this virus upon the world costing millions of lives, and now billions and billions of dollars worth of wealth.The last thing the Chinese Communist Party is be stuck with the state of having operated a lab, covered it up, disappeared journalists, disappeared doctors, only to have the WHO come in and find that, in fact, it did come to that laboratory. That’s my sense of why they want to cover it up.(END VIDEO CLIP)EMANUEL: Mark, your thoughts on this Wuhan lab controversy?MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR (on camera): You know, it used to be that they’d say it was a conspiracy theory. But now, if you’re pushing anything else, you’re basically pushing a conspiracy theory. All the circumstantial evidence leads to the Wuhan lab.We already knew from Josh Rogin’s reporting that in 2018, U.S. diplomats reported safety problems at the lab. We now know from this report that the — that the lab itself was trying to address those safety concerns.We know that lab workers from that — were hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms in November. We know that in September 12th of 2019, the same day that they tried to address those safety issues, they were — they took down the page on the web site that had all the — all the virus — viruses on it, all the — all the coding and all the information.So, if — you know if China didn’t — if this didn’t leak from the lab, China can prove it. They have exculpatory evidence. Put — let’s have the blood samples of the — of the lab workers, you know, share those with us and show us that they’re not COVID-19.Put the viral sequencing that they took down on September 12th, put it back up, and let us see it.They can — they can prove that it didn’t come from the lab, but they don’t want to because they know that that’s where it came from.EMANUEL: Mara, does this Republican-led House report put the White House in an awkward spot?MARA LIASSON, FOX NEWS CHANEL CONTRIBUTOR (on camera): I don’t think so. I think the White House is doing its own research. It’s very possible that, that research is going to end up corroborating what the Republican report says.I don’t think that this has become a super partisan issue the way everything else about COVID has. I mean, Joe Biden has been critical of China. He’s continued a lot of President Trump’s get-tough policies on China.I think the sad thing is that because China isn’t cooperating with this investigation, we’ll probably never know for sure exactly what happened with that lab. But, as Mark said, you know, the circumstantial evidence keeps on piling up. I think it is important to figure out how it started. But it doesn’t change the fact that the only way to stop it is to get everyone vaccinated.EMANUEL: All right, to our panelist who’s done his share of congressional reports, Trey Gowdy. Trey, your assessment of this one.TREY GOWDY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You know, Mike, I just can’t get over how nonreceptive the mainstream media was when Tommy Cotton and Pompeo and John Ratcliffe, all mentioned this as a viable theory, they were laughed at.Here is what I can promise you, our intelligence community already knows where that virus originated. Now, the Biden Administration may not want to share that. But after a year and a half, if a member of the minority party has access to information, then you know, our intelligence community has it, or else they should rename their community.EMANUEL: All right, to the other hot topic of the day, Peter Doocy is reporting at the White House, a lot of concern about the Delta variant. Here is Dr. Anthony Fauci.(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: What we are seeing right now that there are reinfections. The protection you get from the original infection still exists somewhat, but reinfections occur at a much greater rate among individuals now than we did against the original Alpha.So, bottom line is: when you’re dealing with a variant, you don’t get the kind of protection that you would have hoped to have gotten from a previous infection.(END VIDEO CLIP)EMANUEL: All right. So, Marc, your thoughts on the Delta variant and where we are in the fight against COVID.THIESSEN: What he’s saying is so damaging, because it’s undermining confidence in the vaccines. Here’s the reality. We now have 165 million Americans who’ve been fully vaccinated and 70 percent of the population has at least — had at least one shot.So, you got 192 million people who have vaccinated immunity. How many people have died? Less than 1,000, according to the CDC’s data as of July 26th.So, that is — you are more likely to die from a lightning strike or a dog attack than you are to die from COVID if you have it. So, that’s good news for Lindsey Graham.And the rally — and that’s — that understates it into even more because there’s also immunity from prior infection. The Johns Hopkins’ professor, Johns Hopkins, Marty Makary, estimates about half the population has been infected with COVID. So, that means that they have some immunity from prior infection.There 93 million people who haven’t been vaccinated who are eligible. If you take about half of those having prior infection, that’s about 46 million people. We’re talking about a very small subset of the population that is at risk.The rest of us — for the rest of us the pandemic is over. You might get — we’ve turned this mortal threat into something that’s no more dangerous than common cold, and we’ve got to stop fear-mongering about it.EMANUEL: Marc bringing the numbers.All right, Mara, your thoughts. It is producing a surge of people getting vaccinated, your thoughts on where we are with this pandemic?LIASSON: Yes, I think that what I thought I heard Dr. Fauci said was even if you’ve had COVID, you should get a vaccine because you’re — the immunity that having had COVID gives you is not that long-lasting. That’s what I thought he was saying. Not that the vaccine — you can still get reinfected.Look, the bottom line is the vaccines work. They prevent serious illness and deaths. The number of people who’ve been hospitalized with a breakthrough infection is infinitesimal. And the good news is that vaccination rates are ticking up. People who’ve been resistant are now coming forward and getting it.MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: All right, Trey, the initial pitch was get vaccinated, get rid of the masks, the masks are back. Your thoughts on where we are in this pandemic?TREY GOWDY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, I’m vaccinated, and I’m happy to wear a mask. Here’s what I need. I need someone I trust to tell me why. Why now? What changed? When it changed?And you know, Mike, I mean, science has — is a casualty of this pandemic. I mean, a year and a half ago, we believe doctors but when doctors intentionally misrepresent facts, because they think they have a higher good when they tell us science changes, but it’s not. It’s their understanding of science.And then when you have elected officials who say I’ve got a great set of rules for you, but I’m not going to follow them. I mean, that’s what I worry about, it’s the lack of confidence, and medicine and science.EMANUEL: And Trey, we’re up against the clock. But is there hypocrisy here? President Obama having a big party up on Martha’s Vineyard and the D.C. Mayor going out and socializing all weekend without a mask?GOWDY: I think the D.C. Mayor, yes. I’ve got a birthday coming up and I have five people coming to it. Actually, two said they couldn’t make it. So, now down to three. So, I don’t want to criticize President Obama. I got a big birthday coming up too.EMANUEL: All right, panel, we’ll catch up with you later.Up next, how a violent gang member with more than two dozen arrest killed one police officer in the hospital as America’s bloody summer continues.(COMMERCIAL BREAK)EMANUEL: The New York Times is being criticized tonight for a story about then-President Trump alleging instruct –allegedly instructing top officials at the Justice Department to call the 2020 general election corrupt in support of his efforts to overturn the election.The critics say the Times took Mr. Trump’s comment out of context. The instructions reportedly were given during a December 27 phone conversation with an acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and his Deputy Richard Donoghue. Handwritten notes taken by Donoghue and released by the House Oversight Committee show that Mr. Trump told the DOJ officials to “Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the R Congressman.”However, the Federalist points out that comment was directed toward one specific allegation of fraud in Pennsylvania and not the entire election.Now at the crisis at the border, Fox News has learned COVID positive migrants are being sent to a second hotel without notification to the workers there, staggering numbers of people are trying to get into the country.Correspondent Bill Melugin reports tonight from Mission, Texas.(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)BILL MELUGIN, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Stunning footage from our Fox drone team in Mission, Texas Sunday afternoon shows a massive group of migrants, the largest we have ever seen being held by Border Patrol under Anzalduas Bridge right near a popular Rio Grande crossing area.The group at least a thousand strong waiting in the brutal Texas heat to be processed as a Border Patrol source tells Fox News more than 8,000 migrants were apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley alone over the weekend.Sunday night in La Joya, we witnessed a group of more than 200 migrants giving themselves up to border agents. Many of the young children in that group we’re coughing as COVID-19 cases have surged 900 percent amongst migrants in the Rio Grande Valley in July.Monday morning, our drone was right back over Anzalduas Bridge where that massive group was still waiting.As DHS sources tell us, Border Patrol stations have been 585 percent over capacity in the McAllen area, and that mass releases are now underway.We witnessed some of those mass releases in downtown McAllen on Monday. All day long, we watched Border Patrol buses arrive every 30 minutes to drop off hundreds of migrants at Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. The Charity then walked migrants across the street to McAllen central station where they are given bus tickets to travel elsewhere in the United States.And Fox News has now learned of a second local hotel where the Charity is housing COVID positive migrants, this time in Weslaco. City officials there say they recently found out the Charity has been quietly housing infected migrants at this Texas in Weslaco without ever being told by the Charity. The White House says they are taking precautions.JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Migrants are required to keep masks on at all times. If anyone exhibits signs of illness in CBP custody, they’re referred to local health systems for appropriate testing, diagnosis, isolation and treatment.(END VIDEO CLIP)MELUGIN (on camera): And Mike, some breaking news this evening, just a few moments ago, the Biden administration announced that they are officially extending Title 42 indefinitely. That is the Trump era COVID-19 policy that essentially allows Border Patrol to immediately return migrants back to Mexico on the basis of public health.I also want to point out, I reached out to the executive director of that local Catholic Charity and I asked her, how many COVID-19 positive migrants are you guys placing in local hotels here in the Rio Grande Valley? She told me “I have been advised not to comment.” We’ll send it back to you.EMANUEL: Bill Melugin live Mission, Texas. Bill, thanks very much.A new law in Illinois effectively ends immigrant detention and further restricts local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Democrat Governor J. B. Pritzker signed the bill into law today. It targets local government agreements with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, allowing jails to house immigrant detainees awaiting court hearings. Current contracts must end by next January. And new agreements are prohibited.It was another bloody weekend on the streets of America’s major cities as the nation’s crime crisis intensifies. Police in Queens, New York are looking for two gunmen who escaped on mopeds after shooting at least 10 people outside a laundromat. That was just one of the harrowing incidents. Correspondent Bryan Llenas is in New York tonight.(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop reaching for it (INAUDIBLE)BRYAN LLENAS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is a body camera footage capturing the moment an NYPD Lieutenant was shot in the ankle during a violent struggle between four NYPD officers and an armed gang member in the Bronx Friday night. The gang member was arrested 25 times prior but was free on bail after November gun arrest.Meanwhile, a manhunt is underway after two men dressed in hoodies and wearing face masks open fire on a sidewalk in Queens, New York Saturday night. 10 people were shot before two accomplices on mopeds help the shooters flee the scene.UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The neighborhood is getting worse.LLENAS: And on Sunday morning, a man was shot and wounded during an armed robbery in downtown Manhattan. It was yet another violent weekend in New York City where there have been 867 shootings this year. That’s up 18 percent compared to last year, up 102 percent compared to 2019.Mayoral candidates Republican Curtis Sliwa and Democratic frontrunner Eric Adams addressed the violence today.ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: we have to tell gangs that they are not controlling our city.CURTIS SLIWA (R), NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Other cities would come to the NYPD gang unit to share information, that no longer occurs.LLENAS: Surging gun violence is affecting major cities nationwide. A panicked crowd ran for their lives after five people were shot on Bourbon Street Sunday. And in Chicago, at least five people were killed and 50 shot over the weekend.DAVID BROWN, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: Too many violent repeat offenders are being released back into these communities creating a sense of lawlessness and no consequences for their behavior.(END VIDEO CLIP)LLENAS (on camera): Back here in New York City, 33 people were shot and six were killed over the weekend. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo today said crime in the city is out of control, but he offered no specific new proposals on how to crack down on it, Mike.EMANUEL: Brutal summer. Bryan Llenas, thanks very much.The number of homicides here in Washington surpassed coronavirus deaths by a nearly three to one ratio in July. Our affiliate D.C., Fox 5 reports there were 21 homicides throughout the month compared to eight coronavirus fatalities.For the year, the district had reported 100 homicides by July 10th. The earliest it has hit that number since 2003. No comment from either the Police Department or the mayor’s office.Up next, the resurgence of the coronavirus Congress considers new relief spending.First, here’s what some of our Fox affiliates around the country are covering tonight Q13 FOX in Seattle where Bill and Melinda Gates have finalized their divorce. Court documents show a judge signed off on the split today. The former couple announced they would divorce in May after 27 years of marriage.And this is a live look at San Diego from Fox 5, one of the big stories there tonight, the USS Carl Vinson leaves for deployment. It is the first carrier strike group to deploy with the F-35C Lightning II fighter jet and the CMV-22B Osprey.The Navy says the nuclear-powered supercarrier in crew will support global maritime security operations.That’s tonight’s live look outside the Beltway from SPECIAL REPORT. We’ll be right back.(COMMERCIAL BREAK)EMANUEL: The Senate is working on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending bill this week. Here are some of the highlights — $110 billion of new funds for roads, bridges, and major project, $73 billion for power infrastructure, $66 billion for railways, $65 billion for broadband, $55 billion for water infrastructure. Senate negotiators announced Sunday they have finished drafting a 2,700-page bill. If it passes it will be the largest infrastructure investment in decades.The resurgence of the coronavirus could inspire congressional Democrats to ask for another major cash infusion to deal with the repercussions. Here is congressional correspondent Chad Pergram.(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)CHAD PERGRAM, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: There is anxiety over where the U.S. is headed with COVID.ADM. BRETT GIROIR, FORMER COVID-19 TESTING COORDINATOR: An additional 75,000 people will die by November. We’ll top 1,000 deaths per week by mid- September.PERGRAM: More masks and maybe more money. Congress exhausted nearly $6 trillion to combat the pandemic. But the Delta variant means progressives pushing for more assistance.REP. MONDAIRE JONES, (D-NY): This is about public health. We are in the midst of a once in a century pandemic that is far from over.PERGRAM: The Senate is now working on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. There is a push to latch to that bill a restoration of the COVID eviction freeze. The White House today asking state and local governments to prevent evictions and requesting landlords to hold evictions.REP. CORI BUSH, (D-MO): We know that when we put people out on the street that we are — we are putting them in a position that could cause them death.PERGRAM: Republicans believe progressives will use a COVID wave to justify another spending spree.REP. BYRON DONALDS, (R-FL): Whether it’s AOC, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, they’ve been very clear they want to have all of their cake. They don’t just want a slice of cake.PERGRAM: Restaurants and bars say they still haven’t recovered. Owners fret about the future.UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we move backwards, it’s going to further negatively impact this year. And we’re already vulnerable as an industry.PERGRAM: The government has yet to allocate billions of dollars from previous bills. Still, conservatives believe liberals spend carte blanche.NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: There is no amount of money that the leftwing anti-Americans wouldn’t spend.PERGRAM: Another COVID wave could prompt Democrats to push for more aid to schools, especially for more testing and remote learning. Democrats could try to stash additional COVID cash into infrastructure bills or a government funding bill this fall.(END VIDEO TAPE)PERGRAM (on camera): Any new spending made deepen concerns on both sides of the aisle about inflation. Mike?EMANUEL: Chad Pergram live on Capitol Hill. Chad, thanks very much.Stocks mixed today, the Dow lost 97, the S&P 500 fill eight, Nasdaq gained eight.We have an unusual story to tell you tonight in our media focus. It seems that mainstream outlets are actually giving credit to a top Republican who is often a target of fierce criticism. FOX News media analyst and host of FOX “Media Buzz” Howard Kurtz tells us who it is and what has changed.(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: One-hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS HOST: Mitch McConnell has endured years of bad press as the Democrats dastardly demon, and famously vowed to make Barack Obama a one-term president.BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Really?(LAUGHTER)OBAMA: Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?(LAUGHTER)KURTZ: The Senate Republican leader who denied even a hearing to Obama’s Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland, has embraced a negative nickname.MCCONNELL: I am indeed the grim reaper when it comes to the socialist agenda.KURTZ: But that has abruptly changed since the hardnosed tactician agreed to work with the White House on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, despite plenty of media skepticism.UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is McConnell really going to give Biden a win?KURTZ: But the popular compromise is moving forward, prompting “Politico” to declare pigs fly. McConnell is also drawing credit from CNN and others for spending campaign funds to promote COVID vaccines on 100 Kentucky radio stations.MCCONNELL: Is anybody out there willing to listen? Get vaccinated.UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I’m going to use a sentence here that is not uttered very often on MSNBC airways — good for Mitch McConnell.KURTZ: And President Biden gave his adversary a shoutout.JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have to compliment Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He hasn’t made it political.KURTZ: A McConnell spokesman says of the negative narrative, the media always lean left and don’t like the fact that he worked with Donald Trump. But the journalistic reassessment of McConnell is rooted in the way he broke with the former president after January 6th and said Trump bears moral responsibility for the Capitol riot. When McConnell said he’d vote for the infrastructure bill, Trump attacked him for, quote, “weak leadership.”(END VIDEO TAPE)KURTZ (on camera): McConnell, who stays off the Sunday shows, has never much cared about being roasted and ridiculed by elite commentators and op- ed warriors. When I asked if the senator is enjoying his brief burst of applause, he spokesman told me, I don’t think it affects him one way or another. Mike?EMANUEL: Howie Kurtz, thanks a lot.Up next, why one Olympic sprinter is on the run after refusing to return home.(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)MARK ADAMS, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: We’ve assured ourselves that she had a safe place to stay last night and was under protection.(END VIDEO CLIP)EMANUEL: A second planeload of Afghan interpreters and family members has arrived here in the Washington area. Defense officials say about 200 people flew in yesterday and were transported by bus to Fort Lee outside of Richmond, Virginia. The Biden administration is expanding efforts to evacuate Afghan citizens from Afghanistan as Taliban violence increases ahead of the U.S. military pullout at the end of the month. The State Department says it is widening the scope of Afghans eligible for refugee status to include current and former employees of U.S.-based news organizations and U.S. funded aid and development agencies. Current and former employees of the U.S. government who do not meet strict criteria for a special immigrant visa are also covered by the expansion.However, applicants must leave Afghanistan to begin the process that may take 12 to 14 months in a third country.There is a major controversy tonight over an Olympic athlete who is requesting asylum after criticizing her home government. Correspondent Benjamin Hall reports tonight from London.(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)BENJAMIN HALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Safely in the hands of Japanese police, this Belarusian sprinter has just defected. Moments earlier Krystsina Tsimanouskaya claims she was being forced onto a plane on route to Belarus by several men for criticizing her coaches. Fearing for her safety, she alerted airport police, then released this dramatic video.KRYSTSINA TSIMANOUSKAYA (through translator): I am asking the international committee for help. There is pressure against me and they are trying to get me out of the country without my permission.HALL: Today Tsimanouskaya was taken to the Polish embassy in Tokyo where she received a humanitarian visa, allowing her to travel to Poland and seek asylum. The International Olympic Committee also says it’s assisting her.MARK ADAMS, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: We have assured ourselves that she had a safe place to stay last night and was under protection.HALL: The drama took place after Tsimanouskaya posted a video alleging she had been entered into the 400 meter relay event at short notice after some teammates were found ineligible, having missed their doping test. Supporters of the Alexander Lukashenko then started targeting her online, and she feared for her life.ALEXANDER OPEIKEN, BELARUSIAN SPORT SOLIDARITY FOUNDATION (through translator): A person can be jailed, tortured, beaten. There are no laws in the country, so they can do anything to you.HALL: Belarusian authorities relentlessly target anyone expressing decent. In May they sent a fighter jet to divert a passenger plane in our to capture an opposition figure on board. This weekend they again showed their total disdain for international law.(END VIDEO TAPE)HALL (on camera): Athletes seeking asylum at sporting events is certainly nothing new. It happened a lot during the cold war. But it is certainly a far rarer form of political intrigue in this day and age. Mike?EMANUEL: Benjamin Hall, thank you.Simone Biles returns to the Olympics and so do the political displays. The panel is next.First, Beyond our Borders tonight. European wildfires fueled by extreme heat are forcing evacuations in beach towns throughout Mediterranean countries. At least eight people have died in western Turkey and around 10,000 people have been evacuated as firefighters battle flames for a sixth straight day.In neighboring Greece, fires destroyed homes as the country’s prime minister warned the high temperatures could lead to blackouts. On the Italian island of Sicily, wildfires trapped around 150 people, forcing evacuations by sea.And a zoo in France welcomes two new residents. A giant panda on loan from China gave birth to twin cubs early today. The two females will spend a few years in France before being sent to China. The zoo says the duo is lively, pink, and plump, I might add cute.Just some of the other stories Beyond our Borders tonight. We’ll be right back.(COMMERCIAL BREAK)MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, (D) NEW YORK CITY: This is someone who is one of the most admired people in the United States, and she has done extraordinary things. But she a human being like the rest of us. And mental health challenges are part of being human.CLAY TRAVIS, OUTKICK.COM FOUNDER: How would we respond if Tom Brady didn’t come out for the second half of a Super Bowl because he felt overwhelmed by the experience emotionally.NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: I have been staying up all night watching the Olympics, the reruns, the this, the that. I just love watching it, and the drama of it all.ALY RAISMAN, FORMER OLYMPIC GYMNAST: I think it’s a great example for all the gymnasts and everyone that’s watching her is that life happens, sometimes you make mistakes. Sometimes you have good days, sometimes you have bad days, but you get yourself back up and you keep going.(END VIDEO CLIP)EMANUEL: The news is Simone Biles is back from after having to withdraw from several events during the gymnastics portion of the Olympics. She is going to be back for the balance beam.And we’re back with our panel, “Washington Post” columnist Marc Thiessen, Mara Liasson, national political correspondent of National Public Radio, and Trey Gowdy, former Congressman from South Carolina. Marc, your thoughts on the discussions about Simone Biles, her mental health, et cetera?MARC THIESSEN, COLUMNIST, “WASHINGTON POST”: I’m glad that Simone Biles is back. She is a superstar and I’m glad to see that she is going to compete. But what I love about the Olympics is watching all these sports that I would never be caught dead watching at any other time. I find myself watching water polo, and I even caught myself watching badmitten the other day.What’s so great about the Olympics is that so many Americans are so good at these sports, and they get very little attention except once every four years during the Olympic games. And it’s so great to see them put their talents on display.And then you have these athletes like Gwen Berry and Raven Saunders, who know that this is the only time anyone is going to pay any attention to them. And so they use their moment not to lift us up, not to lift our spirits, but to tear their country down. I find that very sad. And I wish if they really want to learn about systemic oppression, they should go across town and talk to that Belarusian sprinter who criticized her country’s athletic program and is now afraid to go back because if she does she’d be thrown into the gulag. They could learn something about what systemic oppression is. No one going to arrest them when they come back. They’re just going to be forgotten.EMANUEL: Marc mentioned Raven Sanders, who is known for her green and purple hair. She won a silver medal in the shotput, was there making an X shaped symbol, crossing her wrist. The IOC is not too amused by that. Mara, your thoughts on politics at the Olympics.MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Look, politics have always been at the Olympic. Look at what happened to that Belarusian athlete. That’s pretty political. She might get to go home ever again. And people have defected at the Olympics, certainly during the cold war.The Olympic Committee has rules about displays of political messaging on the podium. They apparently did not decide that this broke their rules. I don’t know if what she — the making an X symbol tears the country down. But I do think, we played a clip earlier of someone saying that Simone Biles dropped out because she was overwhelmed by the emotions. I don’t think that’s what I understood happened. She had something called the twisties. It’s kind of gyroscopic problem that athletes have when you are twisting around in the air, and she lost her equilibrium. It wasn’t because she was overly emotional.EMANUEL: Yes, in fact, here is famous Olympian Dominique Dawes on the twisties problem.(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)DOMINIQUE DAWES, FORMER OLYMPIC GYMNAST: The “twisties” are when you get lost in midair, when you’re flipping and also trying to twist. Back in the day we used to call it “balking,” where you would start doing a particular gymnastics move, and you would stop in midair, and then obviously just drop down to the ground. And that’s what so challenging about this. Simone Biles has a number of twists in all of her different events.(END VIDEO CLIP)EMANUEL: That’s pretty scary, drawing a blank, being lost when you are in midair. Trey, your thoughts on Simone Biles and some of the politics at the games?TREY GOWDY, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA REPRESENTATIVE: Well, mike, Dominique Dawes and Simone Biles are in a sport where a fraction of a second is the difference between landing on your head and landing on your feet. So I’m going to let them decide whether or not they want to compete and not a bunch of people who can’t see or touch their toes that are sitting on the couch watching athletes. I could care less what they think.If Simone Biles thinks that she is not mentally at her best, she could land on her neck literally in her sport. It’s not like a golfer with the yips. She can land on her neck.As for the other athletes, I didn’t know hammer throwing was a sport. Now that I know, I’m going to enter my wife in the next Olympics. Here’s what I do know. There has been a lot of sportsmanship, a lot of things that we ought to be talking about instead of two athletes we never heard of before. How about the folks that shared a gold medal? That’s a happy story. That’s what I’m going to draw from the Olympics. Not somebody crossing their arms to get rid of oppression in the world because I don’t think it’s going to work.EMANUEL: And I think it’s fascinating that you see all these young people who are no-names who have their moments on the world stage, and here they are achieving their dreams, living their dreams during COVID. Also it will be interesting as a former mediocre soccer player wearing red, white, and blue, just to root for Simone Biles tomorrow. Hopefully she can make a comeback because the American people certainly love a great comeback story.When we come back, we will take a look at tomorrow’s headlines tonight.(COMMERCIAL BREAK)EMANUEL: Finally tonight, a look at tomorrow’s headlines. Mara, lead us off.LIASSON: My headline is New York City mayor worries mask mandate will undermine vaccine push. Bill de Blasio has decided to encourage mask wearing indoors but not to mandate it because what he’s worried about is the people who don’t have the vaccine will say, oh, I still have to wear a mask if I’m vaccinated. Why should I bother? And I think this just shows how difficult it is to message during this new Delta breakout.EMANUEL: All right, Marc, your turn.THIESSEN: The vast majority of U.S. Olympics athletes love America, so ignore the troublemakers.EMANUEL: Nice and tight. Trey, take us home.GOWDY: CDC announces mask mandate for everyone, except Democrat elected officials.(LAUGHTER)EMANUEL: All right. Yes, there is that controversy between the House and Senate. The House has one set of rules. The Senate has a different set of rules. We’ll see how they sort it all out. Panelists, thanks very much.Tomorrow on SPECIAL REPORT, President Biden delivers remarks on the administration’s progress in fighting COVID. Thank you for watching SPECIAL REPORT. I’m Mike Emanuel. It’s been a pleasure.
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