Inside the first Republican debate on 'Hannity'

How the line-up may handle the questions on 'Hannity' #GOPDebate


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 5, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to "Hannity." So we're less than 24 hours away from the very first 2016 Republican debate that'll air here on the Fox News Channel.

Here now to explain how the candidates are all prepping is "Campaign Carl" Cameron. Well, it is Super Bowl World Series Stanley Cup time for those of us that love this, Carl.

CARL CAMERON, FOX CORRESPONDENT: It is. And it is for an awful lot of voters in the early voting states and here in Ohio, the quintessential bellwether swing state in the nation. So all 17 candidates will be here.

And one of the things they've all been working on in a variety of different ways is brevity. They're used to talking as long as they want on your show and in their speeches and in their town halls and at their rallies. But tomorrow, the timer is on and they're limited to a minute apiece, and only 30 seconds to rebut if somebody answers -- calls them out on something.

For Donald Trump, it is a huge deal, as the front-runner. Front- runners are always the big target. They also have the most to lose since they're at the front of the pack. Trump tomorrow has to show that he can be credible and respect the office and have the kind of demeanor that's worthy of somebody who will literally have their finger on the button.

Of course, in second place is Jeb Bush, the father (sic) and son of the last two Republican presidents. He has to prove that he is his own man, something he's been saying over and over on the campaign trail. And he has to show that there's a fire going in that belly. A lot of Republicans see him as very tame compared to Trump, as well as the rest of the field.

Another guy to watch, obviously, is Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.  He has been -- he's been polling in third place, sometimes tied with Bush for second. and the Wisconsin governor is very popular in the lead-off caucus state of Iowa and will need to show here in Ohio and across the country that his appeal can extend past the heartland and get to some of those flinty Yankees in New Hampshire and folks in the South in South Carolina, the third state to vote in this process.

So a long way to go. And indeed, they're all practicing, some really hitting the books, others trying to relax. Walker, by the way, tomorrow will be opening the Wisconsin state fair and then coming here for the debate tomorrow night.

HANNITY: He'll just have a couple of fried Twinkies, couple of friend pickles and Oreos, perfect way to prepare for a debate.

CAMERON: Anything on a stick.

HANNITY: You know, we've been through this process together a lot, Carl. When you think about it, you know, there's very -- this is -- there's a lot at stake tomorrow. Somebody could stumble. Remember Rick Perry, go back to the last election cycle.


HANNITY: I mean, he was a front-runner, couldn't remember the three cabinet -- the three government agencies he wanted to get rid of. That was a big moment.


HANNITY: People are going to be looking to see if you're forceful, whether you have a sense of humor, if you can be forceful and not mean.


HANNITY: There's a balancing act out there for all of them.

CAMERON: Well, you know, the period up until the first debate is usually sort of referred to the invisible primary because most of the fund- raising, which is what they focus on, is really done behind closed doors.  And there's a little bit of campaigning out on the trail and a little bit of TV.

Everything changes now. And when that happens -- there's something different this year. The Iowa caucuses used to have what they called their Ames straw poll in this month, usually in this wee, right before their big state fair comes. And that always had the effect of taking the field, with Republicans sometimes as much as 10 or 15 candidates, and chopping it down to less than seven or eight.

There is no Ames straw poll anymore. Iowa Republicans have let that go. So in a lot of ways, not to raise the expectations too high on Megyn and Bret and Chris for tomorrow tonight, but in a lot of ways, many of the Republican campaigns are worried that a poor performance last (sic) night could have the same effect and winnow them out of the field, taking away a lot of their ability to raise money and perhaps being heard in a crowd that's this big.

HANNITY: All right, "Campaign Carl" Cameron, we'll see you there tomorrow night. Thank so much for being with us.

CAMERON: You bet.

HANNITY: Now, Donald Trump, who is dominating in the early polls -- he's going to be center stage for tomorrow's big debate. Now, Trump was on my radio program earlier today. Here's what he said and what he'll do if he's attacked by the other candidates. Listen.


HANNITY: What is your strategy going in?


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... answer to it, Sean.  Depends on how I'm treated. It shows -- you know, it depends. Maybe people will attack me, in which case I will absolutely attack back. You know, every one of them have problems, and I will certainly attack back.  And I respect some of the people up on the dais. I won't tell you who.  But I do respect some of the people up on the dais. Others I have less respect for.


HANNITY: All right, here with reaction, from The Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes, from The Washington Times, Charles Hurt, and associate editor, columnist at The Hill newspaper, A.B. Stoddard is with us.

Guys, good to see you all.



HANNITY: You know, Steve, I know you've been a Trump critic. But that seems fair. If they attack him, he's going to attack back. Fair?

HAYES: I think it does seem fair, yes. No, that was maybe one of the most reasonable things I've heard from Donald Trump over the past couple months. It's entirely...


HANNITY: You don't think building a wall is reasonable? You don't think balancing the budget and getting Washington...


HAYES: No, I think building a wall is perfectly reasonable. I think declaring that you're going to make Mexico pay for it without actually having much of a plan, less reasonable to me.

But look, I don't blame Donald Trump for that position, for that stance on his approach to the debate. And I think it's smart. I think if you look at his rhetoric over the past couple days, he seems to have toned it down a little bit. He seems to appreciate the fact that this is a serious moment, that he's going into this first debate, that he's going to be asked tough questions, that he's going to be asked for substance. And he seems to have a different tone, I think, than he has the sort of bombastic tone over the past couple of months.

HANNITY: What do you think? Charles, you've been a Trump fan -- 26, 26, 24 21 -- those are his four most recent polls. In a field of 17, that is just dominating across the board.

HAYES: It really is. And quite frankly, Sean, you know, the big argument that we have heard from all the experts around here has been that, Oh, but there's this tremendous ceiling. That's the highest he can get once it gets down to one or two candidates. And this still may bear out to be true. But their argument is that he'll never get above a certain threshold.

But what I think is most interesting out of that Wall Street Journal poll from last week was you had his basic, you know, poll number. But then the question -- the next question was, Who would be your second candidate?  And Trump wasn't number one in that, but he was number two. Eleven percent of GOP voters who supported other candidates said Trump was their second choice. That tells me that there's actually some movement in whatever ceiling there is.

HANNITY: You know, Charles, I would agree because, remember, the early polls showed that 57 percent of Republicans said they'd never vote for him under any circumstances. That number was pretty much cut in half.

HAYES: And I think it has to do with that he has some staying power.  And as Steve just pointed out, he has moderated his behavior a little bit and his sort of temperament a little bit to sort of match the serious of the situation.

And -- and -- and who knows, you know, if he continues to do that, it could be -- you know, we could be looking at a real sort of political juggernaut here.

HANNITY: That'd be pretty interesting. A.B., I got a very honest answer out of Trump today. I asked him (INAUDIBLE) why did you donate to Democrats? Why did you donate to Hillary Clinton? You know what his answer was? Because I know that in a couple of years, if I need help, they'd pick -- they would -- they would move heaven and earth to help me.

So I said, Basically, you were buying influence. He said, That's the way the business world and political world work today. We on this panel all know that's true. Nobody else would ever admit that, though. What do you think of that answer?

A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL: Well, everyone loves the fact that he's very blunt and honest and he'll tell it like it is. And he's very blunt about the fact that he was supporting people in any party to have an open door.

What he's promising is that he's not going to be tethered to any special interest, any big money donors or any lobbyists. And especially, that's the threat of a third party run, right? If the RNC doesn't play fair with him, he's still not ruling out a third party run.


STODDARD: ... does that and he can say -- well, has he promised that?  I don't know.

HANNITY: I am pretty confident in the answers that I've gotten from him, and I've asked him a few times...


HANNITY: I'm pretty confident he'll never run third party.

STODDARD: OK. Well, he's appealing in a Republican Party primary electorate by saying he's not beholden to those people, though the people that he gave to would have given him some access. And that's the power of Donald Trump. That's why the idea, though, Sean, of a third party run is so threatening to the Republicans because if he runs as an independent, even if he's not going to win...

HANNITY: Hillary gets elected.

STODDARD: ... it's a powerful message -- Hillary gets elected, but it's a powerful message to the electorate, which is, I'm just getting between another...

HANNITY: All right...

STODDARD: ... another Bush and Clinton run...

HANNITY: Let me...


HANNITY: Yes, I got it. Let me go back to -- let me go back to Stephen Hayes. Stephen, I -- I asked Trump -- and I know it's a basic question. It's one of the first questions you ask every candidate. But I went back to it today. Here's a billionaire who's losing money by making this run for the president. He's funding his own campaign. He's beholden to nobody. I said, Why? Why do you want to run and be president? Here's what he said.


HANNITY: What motivates Donald Trump to want to become president?  I'm very interested in that answer.

TRUMP: So I'll tell you what. It's a very basic, very simple answer.  My theme and the whole theme of my campaign is to make America great again.  And I love this country, and I'm seeing our country go into the ground.  It's going in such a horrible direction. We're not going to have a -- between no borders, between horrible trade deals, between weakened military, between no taking care of our great vets who have to be taken care of, and will be with me, so many things. I mean, you could just go on...


HANNITY: I would put out to you, Stephen, and suggest to you that if he gave an answer like that tomorrow, that's appealing because I think most Americans feel that way. And they feel Washington is broken. And they feel that it's not working right now. What's your reaction to it?

HAYES: Yes, I agree with you entirely. And I remember you and I talking back during the 2012 cycle about the fact that Mitt Romney didn't do enough to really make that case, to say that we're really losing America in an emphatic way. And I think, had he done that, he would have had a better result.

You know, certainly, Donald Trump -- this isn't the first time he's looked at running for president. He looked back in 1999 after years of Bill Clinton in the White House. He looked again in 2012, after Barack Obama in the White House for a few years. He certainly was critical of George W. Bush.

And to go back to your third party point -- I mean, you have pushed him on that question. He has given a more definitive answer over the past couple times he's been asked.

But I guess it's hard to put too much faith in one answer from Donald Trump because his answers on a whole variety of issues, whether they're political tactics, whether they're overall strategy or whether they're ideological, change sort of regularly. And so it's hard, I think, to put that much faith in what he's saying.

HANNITY: Charles, quick answer. We got to take a break.

HURT: Well, I think that that's exactly why so many people are attracted to Donald Trump is because, you know, they'll take him any day over the politicians. They're tired of the politicians. They're tired of the professional people around here who have done this to our country, and they want something different, anything different.

All right, guys, stay right there. We'll have more with our panel after the break.

When we come back, though, Bret Baier -- he is one of the debate moderators. He will join us. We'll get his take on the big debate.

And a quick programming note. Now, right after the debate tomorrow night, midnight Eastern, 9:00 on the West Coast, a post-debate recap show live from Cleveland. We'll have interviews with the likes of Donald Trump and Scott Walker and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. They're all confirmed for tomorrow.

But first, coming up tonight on "Hannity"...


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think all of us who are running owe voters an explanation about who we are and what we plan to do if we're elected. And that's what I plan to focus on. I hope that's what everyone will focus on.


HANNITY: A lot more on how the candidates are preparing for tomorrow's primetime debate.

And then later tonight...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody lets Trump get away with everything he wants to say. And the minute somebody brings up Jesus, says Jesus Christ without being angry, everybody gets in an uproar that it's too much religion in politics.


HANNITY: Frank Luntz is back to reveal what New Hampshire voters think of the GOP candidates like Marco Rubio and John Kasich and the advice they give to Donald Trump.

Also tonight, the FBI is investigating Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server. We've got all the details straight ahead.



HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So the first 2016 Republican presidential debate airs tomorrow night right here on the FOX News Channel.  So how are the top 10 candidates preparing for the big event? Watch this.


RUBIO: I think all of us who are running owe voters an explanation about who we are and what we plan to do if we're elected. And that's what I plan to focus on. I hope that's what everyone will focus on.

MIKE HUCKABEE, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I really think that works for me, and that is to be authentic, to know what I believe, you know, to spend some time in prayer, spend some time not thinking about the debate.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Once you get on the stage, it's not going to matter whether you're number one, number five or number ten. You're going to have the opportunity to make your pitch to the Republican primary voters across America. That's what I intend to do.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to talk about what I'm for. I think people -- voters are tired of politicians who tell you what they're against and who they're against. They want to know what you're for.

DR. BEN CARSON, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm very much looking forward to the debates because, you know, a lot of the information that has been disseminated about me is not true. And people will have an opportunity to say, Wow, you mean this guy actually does know something about foreign policy?


HANNITY: And joining me now, one of the moderators for tomorrow's big debate, "Special Report" anchor, our friend, Bret Baier.

All right, Bret, some are predicting this could be the most watched primary debate in history. I don't know if it's true or not, but we're certainly going to have a big audience here. Does that make you a little nervous?

BRET BAIER, HOST, "SPECIAL REPORT": You know, I'm actually excited.  I'm sure that when I get to tomorrow and get on the set and look at Megyn and Chris, we're going to be fired up. And there'll be some butterflies, definitely, because you want it to go off without a hitch. And there are a lot of variables, as we talked about the other night here on the show, that we're trying to, you know, game out.

But it's really exciting, I think. And there are so many things to talk about, we wish it was a four-hour debate.

HANNITY: You know what? I bet they probably don't, but...

BAIER: They probably don't, yes.

HANNITY: I know you. You're going to do great. I know -- but it's - - you have a challenge, though. You got 10 people. You have two hours.  That's not a lot of time to get deep into the substance of, I'm sure, the things you want to discuss. How do you manage that?

BAIER: Well, you take a lot of the preamble, the talking points, out of -- you try to, in the framing of the questions. So you kind of assume what they're going to say and you build the questions that way. So that kind of tightens them up a little bit, hopefully.

And you know, they have a minute, and then you have 30 seconds rebuttal time. If they mention another candidate, that person gets 30 seconds. It's going to move quickly. You're right, there's not a ton of time when you add in commercials. I guess it's about 110 minutes, 115 minutes. And we are going to be keeping real-time track of how much time each candidate talks, how many questions each candidate gets.

HANNITY: Oh, it's definitely challenging, but I know you'll do great.  I had Donald Trump on my radio show earlier today. We were talking about the debate. Here's what he said.


TRUMP: There are a million questions. You can take all the questions. Now, if they're going to ask, you know, tricky wiseguy questions, you know, it's -- that would be very unfair, in my opinion, because there's plenty of them you could ask, too, and that would be very unfair. And you know, I'm sure they'll be called out, whether it's me or somebody else. If they're going to ask -- you know, like, let's study history from 22 years ago. So we're going to find out what they're going to ask. We're going to see if they're well-intentioned or not.


HANNITY: All right, you're not planning any tricky wiseguy questions, right, Bret?

BAIER: I don't think the history from 22 years ago is a worry. I think there'll be some pointed questions that candidates, how they handle them, it'll be interesting.

You remember last cycle, where we had five primary debates. And we asked those kind of pointed, direct questions about somebody's record, something they've done or said. And hopefully, it illuminates from there their ability to deal with, you know, tough stuff.

It's not an easy ride to the White House, as you know, and if you're going to possibly face a Clinton machine, you're going to have to face some tough questions along the way.

HANNITY: Really well said. Bret, it's going to be a great debate.  Looking forward to it. You'll do a great job. Thanks for being with us.

BAIER: Thanks, Sean.

HANNITY: And back with more reaction, from The Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes, from The Washington Times, Charles Hurt, and associate editor, columnist for The Hill newspaper, A.B. Stoddard is with us.

A.B., let me go to the idea -- that was kind of funny, tricky wiseguy questions. I guess it's from the -- I remember back in one of the last debates, Newt Gingrich a couple of times went after moderators in debate, and it seemed to be effective. The crowd responded more in Newt's favor.

STODDARD: Right. Well, obviously, the tricky wiseguy-ness of the question is in the eye of the beholder, and there is a risk in jumping on the moderator. It can help you if the audience perceives the question to be unfair. For Newt Gingrich to turn around a question his multiple marriages or his divorces to his benefit was pretty shrewd.

And Donald Trump's going to have to really weigh that. I mean, if he's asked for substance and he doesn't give it and he says, When I'm president, things are going to be terrific, and then he's asked for details again, he can't get testy. He's got to cough up some substantive answers.  I don't think...


HANNITY: This is the challenge I know Bret has and the moderators have, but I'm sure they'll do a good job.

Stephen, let me go to you. We've talked a lot about Trump. Let's talk about the other candidates. Ted Cruz was a national debate champion.  I think his message will resonate with the conservative crowd probably more likely to show up. You've got governors like Walker and former governor Bush and you've got John Kasich and -- you know, Chris Christie is bold and outspoken, and all these guys on the stage -- maybe the most understated is Ben Carson because he's soft-spoken.

So what do you expect from these guys?

HAYES: Well, what's the old saying, quiet waters run deep? You know, I think Ben Carson has a chance to make an impression by being quiet and by being different, particularly if it gets heated between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush or Donald Trump and Chris Christie.

You know, I think the answer for most of these candidates is the answer that they've actually been giving. This is not something where they feel like they have to actually make a huge impression on this first night of this first debate. Most of them anticipate being in future debates down the road and want to, I think, basically avoid screwing something up in a significant way.

HANNITY: Yes. You know, and I would say, Charles, if I'm Marco Rubio or I'm Rand Paul, I'm going to want to be noticed in this debate.

HURT: Oh, and I think that's the number one question right now that each of these candidates has to determine right now. Do I go out -- you know, Do I try to go after Donald Trump, or do I try to make nice with him or do I try -- or do I just try to ignore him?

Because you know, what has happened so far is people have kind of -- nobody's really landed a good punch on him, and he's kind of run away with it. But I think that -- and I think that until they start landing punches on him, and as, you know, you have pointed out, you know, I think it's going to be through by, you know...

HANNITY: Here's my prediction.

HURT: Yes?

HANNITY: They are going to stay as far away from him as they can possibly get because they're -- I think there's a certain fear that that might come back and burn them, so...

HURT: Yes, there's a real dangerous -- it's a real dangerous thing to go in there and try to tangle with a guy like that, who is so good at turning any situation in his advantage.

HANNITY: That's true. All right, guys, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

HURT: You bet, Sean.

HANNITY: It's going to be fun.

Coming up next tonight right here on "Hannity"...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm old enough to remember when John F. Kennedy was a senator and then ran for president. And I -- he -- Marco Rubio reminds me of him.


HANNITY: All right, Frank Luntz's focus group has advice for Donald Trump. We'll also look at John Kasich and Marco Rubio. Those voters in New Hampshire -- we'll see how they feel about the candidates in lieu (ph) of tomorrow night's primetime debate.

Also tonight, the FBI is now officially investigating the security of Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server. Ed Henry will have a full report.  We'll check in with Judge Napolitano. Could she be in major legal trouble?  That's straight ahead.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So with the highly anticipated first GOP debate taking place tomorrow night, we sent our team of producers to New Hampshire to film a focus group of Republican voters. It was hosted by the one and only Frank Luntz. Take a look at what the group had to say about Florida senator Marco Rubio.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He can beat the pants suit off Hillary Clinton!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's someone who really resonates with the common folk. You know, he talks about the student loans. He talks about his own personal struggles with wealth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he's got blue collar parents who were -- are Cuban, Spanish?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I think he'll resonate with younger voters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's very, very popular in Florida. He has a really good record on knowledge about Cuba, which is a big issue right now.  And he's also very appealing to young people. He gets at the heart of the message. It's not just because he's young that he's appealing. He's appealing to our issues.

LUNTZ: (INAUDIBLE) your first vote, right?


LUNTZ: At this point, is he your first vote?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's tied with it, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He kind of lost me on immigration a couple years ago. But he also lost me that he's not very good with his own finances.  That troubles me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Also, he's very young. He's a senator, not a governor, hasn't really had much work with budgets and so forth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm old enough to remember when John F. Kennedy was a senator and then ran for president. And I -- he -- Marco Rubio reminds me of him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jack Kennedy, he was a pretty boy. Marco Rubio, he's a pretty boy, you know? And that -- the young people of today like, you know, a handsome guy in office. But he doesn't have what it takes.


HANNITY: All right, joining us now, Frank Luntz, our pollster out of Cleveland tonight. You've got to just love people because they're just brutally honest. But I thought that was favorable. Rubio seems well liked. The polls show that. And blue collar background, comes across well. That seems to bode well for him long term, right?

LUNTZ: And that's the point. He's not doing that great in the polls right now. He's at 6 percent. Most surveys have him somewhere around 7th or 8th. But what Rubio has that people don't realize, he's everybody's second choice. He's got the highest favorable to unfavorable of any of the presidential candidates and the highest "would consider" vote.

So what you saw right there are people who are not yet convinced, but they're absolutely giving him an open mind. And he's one of the candidates I'll be watching for tomorrow. Can he deliver the goods to people who like him and want to love him?

HANNITY: All right, let's look at the dials on Rubio talking about terrorism and see how the voters responded.


RUBIO: It's not radical Presbyterian terrorism, it's radical Islamic terrorism. And I want you to know why it's fair for us to call it that.  It isn't fair to the non-radical Muslims not to call it radical Islam.

The second point is, it has to be defeated both at home and abroad.  The first thing is, we have to defeat the ideology. We have to defeat it, for example, on line We have the capability in this country to go after them. Why do they have a Twitter account up? Why do we allow ISIS to have these on-line social media networks? We have the ability to take them down. Let's do it!


HANNITY: Both conservatives, moderates at the 80s, some of the highest marks we've seen.

LUNTZ: Sean, the Republican primary voters are looking for solution and they're looking for results, which is why any senator has a disadvantage. What helps Rubio get over that is that everything that he says is a solution-oriented answer. So he's focused on actually making a difference for people, and I think that that will overcome the concern that they have that, A, he's too young, and B, that he comes from the U.S. Senate.

HANNITY: All right, you asked the focus group about Governor John Kasich. I was surprised at some of these answers, that a lot of people weren't familiar with him. Let's go to the tape.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't really know much about him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know he's a great governor of Ohio and he got jobs. But he's a little religious to me, too much religion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's just running for the vice presidency, no -- no Republican has ever won the presidency without delivering Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You'll hear him speak. I've heard him speak live twice. "I's" keep creeping into everything. When I, when I -- you know what? No one cares about him. We want to hear what he's going to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I was listening to him -- and I've been anxious to hear him -- I just felt like he was a victim. I agree with you.  It was a lot of "I" and it was all the negatives that happened to him, But look, I picked myself up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's accomplished a lot as, you know, Ohio governor, but I hear him speak. I see him on TV. And it's just not inspiring. He does not inspire people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He may be a great governor and would be good at balancing a budget and whatnot, but foreign policy is obviously an issue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He definitely has foreign policy experience.  When he was in Congress, he sat on a foreign policy -- a foreign affairs board. He has a lot of support in New Hampshire.

LUNTZ: So he's your candidate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's definitely up there. He's in the top two.  He has a lot of support in New Hampshire the national media doesn't recognize.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sitting on a foreign policy board doesn't give you foreign policy. It just means you get the read all of the classified documents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think there's too many other candidates that are better than him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. He got in too late. He got in way too late.


HANNITY: It sounds like he needs to introduce himself more to people.

LUNTZ: They don't know him in New Hampshire. They may know him a little bit better in Iowa, but I don't think so. He did wait until July to announce. What he did in Washington seeking to balance the budget and what he's done in Ohio is significant. But if voters don't know it, Sean, it doesn't matter.

HANNITY: Well said. Just for a fun thing before we go to some of the other candidates. You actually asked your focus group to give advice -- not that he'll take it -- to Donald Trump. Let's watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put a plan forward so that -- and stop criticizing John McCain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Provide details on your policy platform.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't be insulting to whole races and ethnicities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't just use rhetoric.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Roll out all your issues and what's you're going to do about them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Learn to be a statesman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To lay it back out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Engage your brain before you shoot your mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop name calling.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go back to "The Apprentice."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep doing what you're doing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tone it down a little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Run as a Democrat because you're not a conservative.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Roll out your plans and be more respectful.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let us know what the plans are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not do third party.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He owes John McCain an apology.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be more factual and stay on track.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay the course.


HANNITY: What would your advice be listening to that focus group to Donald Trump tonight as he prepares for tomorrow's big debate?

LUNTZ: In a word, humility. And I would actually have him say, look, I'm going to be straightforward and I'm going to be tough, and you're not going to like all that you hear. But I'm going to tell you what I think.  I'm going to tell you the truth. And if I make mistake, I'm going to acknowledge it.

If he shows humility, which is tough for him, then he will take that 22 or 23 percent that he has, Sean, he can go to 30 percent, even 35 percent. But he's going to have to have humility, not just this bombast that he's presented himself up to this point.

HANNITY: All right, we'll look at Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee and some of the other candidates with Frank Luntz as he continues from Cleveland tonight. We'll be there tomorrow night. He'll explain what the New Hampshire focus group has to say about these other candidates.

And later, bad news for team Clinton. The FBI is now officially investigating her private e-mail server. We'll check in with Ed Henry. Is she in legal trouble? Judge Napolitano weighs in with a full report.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." We continue our coverage of the focus group that Frank Luntz conducted with New Hampshire voters. Here's what they thought of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Watch this.


LUNTZ: He doesn't connect to you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not a very effective communicator. I think he's very intelligent and I think he's got a decent point, but he's not effective in getting that message out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's an isolation, and we need to go over and stomp ISIS out. Put boots on the ground and take care of them once and for all.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Bush protected this country after 9/11.

LUNTZ: Rand Paul?


LUNTZ: Rand Paul?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to do the opposite.

LUNTZ: Really?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think his principals override his common sense.  When he espoused the anti Patriot Act thing, it was a big killer. I mean, the data is going down the crapper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know that I necessarily agree with the spy state mentality. You know, I feel that him standing up for our liberties is something that is refreshing to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the American people are having trouble with the constitution. If you look at foreign entanglements that George Washington warned us about, that's where he's coming from. That's his position. So he is not articulating it, apparently, because people aren't getting that. But I think that's where he's coming from.

LUNTZ: Who here would consider voting for Rand Paul at this point, raise your hands? And who would definitely not vote for him?


   HANNITY: Frank Luntz is back with us. They view him as intelligent. Communication issues, and foreign policy issues, they seem to stand out.

LUNTZ: They agree with him on economic policy. They want a smaller government. They want a Washington that's more accountable. But they absolutely reject his position on foreign policy at least as they see it being articulated. So if Rand Paul wants to be effective he's going to have to really explain at tomorrow's debate where he stands and it has to be muscular and it has to be tough because --

HANNITY: And this is a good you're making because you actually dialed him on economics and it went through the roof. Let's show our audience that.



SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that the 70,000 page tax code we have is chasing American jobs and chasing American companies overseas. You know, Burger King reincorporated in Canada. Canada's business tax is half ours. So I think what you do is get rid of all the favoritism, get rid of all the cronyism, and let's have one single rate, 14.5 for business, 14.5 percent for individuals. And the one thing we do that's different than any other flat tax, we get rid of the payroll tax.  So if you're a worker and you make $40,000 a year you're get $2,000 more in your paycheck with my flat tax.     


HANNITY: Like Rubio earlier, really high marks.

LUNTZ: Incredibly high. Rand Paul on economic policy connects with the anti-government, anti-Washington, pro-taxpayer philsophy.

HANNITY: All right --         

LUNTZ: Sean, all of that negativity is coming from foreign policy.  And the senator has to realize that if he wants to be successful.

HANNITY: All right, well, good advice.

All right, Mike Huckabee, they really went after him for being too religious. I was a little surprised by this. Let's roll this focus group.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His religious views may turn off half the country. I think he's a little bit too religious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree with that. I think there needs to be a separation of politics and religion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think at this stage you need someone with a strong moral campus in the White House, and we've haven't seen that in a while.

LUNTZ: And Huckabee has a strong moral compass?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe he does.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Moral compass is fine. That doesn't have to do with religious beliefs, professing his religion all the time. Moral is one thing. Religion is another.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that most of the Republicans on stage have a moral compass, but I don't think they have to be shoving it down our throats. I don't think that conveys a strong message to the American people. And he could be --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I don't get into it as --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just because he speaks his mind about faith, I don't think so. Everybody lets Trump gets away with everything he wants to say, and the minute somebody brings up Jesus, says Jesus Christ without be angry, everybody gets in an uproar that there's too much religion in politics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but it's not about that. I think we should be talking about the substance of the debate. And I don't even know where Huckabee stands on a lot of issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While I myself am a Christian, I do like Mike Huckabee as a person, I don't think he's electable and I don't think that he has the substance to become president.


HANNITY: Frank, did you ask that specific question or did that just come up?

LUNTZ: They brought it up themselves. I want -- let's be sophisticated here. Iowa voters want someone with strong moral values.  New Hampshire voters are much more economically based. So what allows you to win in Iowa hurts you in New Hampshire. Mike Huckabee is doing much better in Iowa, second or third in most of the polls. He's further behind in New Hampshire because of the moral issues.

HANNITY: We'll see you tomorrow night. Frank Luntz, good job.  Thank you.

LUNTZ: You got it.

   HANNITY: Coming up, the FBI is now looking into the security of Hillary Clinton's private server. So is there any chance she could be, well, investigated and put in jail? Ed Henry has a full report. We'll ask Judge Andrew Napolitano what he thinks next.          (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So the FBI is now looking into the security of the private e-mail server that Hillary Clinton used during her tenure as secretary of state. The investigation comes after government watchdogs raised red flags about classified material possibly being shared or stored on her server. Here with the very latest is Ed Henry.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Sean, when your team has to stress technically you're not under criminal allegation as Hillary Clinton's allies did today for the second time in three weeks, your campaign is in turbulence. FOX has confirmed the FBI has launched an investigation into the security of her personal server. "The Washington Post" reporting that includes contact with a tech company that helped managed it.

Advisers to Clinton stress she's not the target of a criminal probe, similar to last month when it was revealed two inspectors general had determined there may be hundreds of classified emails in her server. And while it's true this is starting as an investigation of the server, that server, of course, was set up by Clinton. At the least she will face political fallout from promises she made that turned out not to be true, such as saying there was no classified information in the server.

   That has impacted the poll numbers. You can see now in New Hampshire, there's a poll that suggests that Bernie Sanders is six points down from Clinton in negotiation, that key first in the nation primary state. The station's pollster declaring it's basically a statistical tie.  Clinton's advisers tell me they think the poll shows that actually Sanders is leveling off and in the end they're going to win this nomination. Sean?

HANNITY: Thanks, Ed. Joining me now with reaction, FOX News senior judicial analyst, our friend Judge Andrew Napolitano. All right, two inspectors generals, not one, recommend this investigation. Does the FBI do non-criminal investigation?

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: No. The FBI investigates potential federal crimes or potential exposure for national security, which may be just exactly what Mrs. Clinton did by transferring and moving classified information through a non-classified venue. That's a felony for each piece of information she passed through.

HANNITY: OK, if you look at how this entire server, e-mail system was set up, wasn't it designed purposely to avoid congressional investigations and subpoenas? Wasn't she thinking that far out ahead?

NAPOLITANO: I think she was not only -- you're exactly right. I think she was also thinking about history. I think she wanted to whitewash part of her tenure as secretary of state, something that the statutes were written to prevent her from doing, unless she broke the statues by sending all the emails through her server.

HANNITY: She denied that there were any classified documents on her email server.

NAPOLITANO: She cannot deny that any longer.

HANNITY: They only looked at the 40 and they saw four. So that in and of itself, is that not a violation of the law, or is it?

NAPOLITANO: It absolutely is, but it's worse than that. I saw emails, not the ones that the inspectors general saw, I saw emails that have been revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. And in them she's discussing the location of French fighter jets during the NATO bombardment of Libya, how big the no-fly zone is, why the no-fly zones are, and, are you ready for this, the location of Ambassador Stevens, who of course was murdered, in Libya. If that is not classified, if she didn't think that was classified, she has no business being in public office.

HANNITY: There are 30,000 emails that we're told she deleted, more than she actually saved. Then the server was destroyed. I've got to ask, does that now raise question of possible potential charges of obstruction of justice?

NAPOLITANO: It depends on when the server was destroyed, how it was destroyed, and who destroyed it. But, look, the timeline is very perilous for her because she doesn't even acknowledge that she has these things until after the "New York Times" report comes out. Then suddenly 33,000 emails are destroyed. They belong to the government. They didn't belong to her.

HANNITY: What about the thumb drive that David Kendall, her attorney, has?        

NAPOLITANO: He is not authorized to possess that. A, the documents belong to the federal government. B, we know there are documents in there that appear classified and he lacks classified security clearance. She lacks a classified security clearance. Whoever is running the Clinton server lacks a classified security clearance.

HANNITY: Do you read that the person that put that server up has little experience in terms of security, cyber security?


HANNITY: So what are the odds that Putin, the Chinese, or somebody else hacked into that server?

NAPOLITANO: Well, we already know that her most frequent e-mailer, her good friend nicknamed "The Prince of Darkness," Sid Blumenthal, had his emails hacked. And we already know that she emailed with Mr. Blumenthal more than anyone else. So the chances of bad guys having her confidential, classified emails are pretty high.

HANNITY: Judge, compare this to the David Petraeus case.

NAPOLITANO: General Petraeus was indicted for securing in an unlocked drawer in a desk in the study of his house confidential materials. Do you know what they consist of? His daily calendars for the year and a half --

HANNITY: And he nearly went to jail and paid a massive fine.

NAPOLITANO: Correct. And he was the victim of an FBI raid, pursuant to a search warrant, a lawful raid.

HANNITY: Then why aren't they raiding Hillary's Chappaqua home?        

NAPOLITANO: That is what FBI agents and members of the intelligence community have been asking for the past three weeks.        

HANNITY: Do you think we come on, FOX News alert, Hillary's home had been raided?

NAPOLITANO: Only if the president personally authorizes it.

HANNITY: That will never happen, not this president.        

NAPOLITANO: I agree with you. I agree with you. And I think --

HANNITY: If I did this, would you -- I need a cake with a file in it, right?

NAPOLITANO: Yes. Any judge --


   NAPOLITANO: Sean, any judge on the basis of the evidence we've discussed would have signed a search warrant if the FBI came to that judge with an application.          HANNITY: Do you think the odds are she's going to get caught?  There are too many moving pieces here.

NAPOLITANO: It's interesting. I know you interviewed the Donald on the show today, and of course we're all going to be watching tomorrow night. He predicted she's going to get caught. I think he's right.

HANNITY: I agree. I think so.

NAPOLITANO: It may not be the FBI. It might not be the president.  It may be public opinion.

HANNITY: I may go to Russia and have a discussion with Vladimir and offer him a lot of money for the copy of the server that he has because.

NAPOLITANO: He probably has it.         


HANNITY: Or the Chinese. All right, judge.        Coming up, we need your help. Tonight's big question of the day is next.        


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." Time for tonight's question of the day. So who do you think will win tomorrow night's big debate? Just go to Facebook.com/SeanHannity, @SeanHannity on Twitter, let us know what you think.

Before we go, quick programming note. Be sure to tune in tomorrow night right after the debate. We will be on a midnight broadcasting live from Cleveland. We have several candidates of the 2016 Republican presidential candidates. We're be doing it from the spin room. That includes Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Scott Walker and many others. They'll be joining us midnight, tomorrow. Don't go to sleep.  It's too important.        

Anyway, that's all the time we have left this evening. Don't forget, set your DVR so you never miss an episode because we miss you when you're not here. Thanks for being with us. See you from Cleveland tomorrow night.

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