New concerns over Huma Abedin's central role in Clinton web

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 27, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don't want to live in the modern world. But it's a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States.


BAIER: Hillary Clinton campaigning in Ohio. That prompted a quick response from the Republicans. The RNC statement saying "For Hillary Clinton to equate her political opponents to terrorists is a new low for her flailing campaign. She should apologize immediately for her inflammatory rhetoric."

Jeb Bush tweeted out "Hillary Clinton compares pro-life Americans to terrorists but defends despicable Planned Parenthood treatment of the unborn. Her priorities are totally wrong."

Meanwhile, Quinnipiac, along with its new national poll, came up with a new way to ask people what they think of all these candidates. They asked, what is the first word that comes to mind when you think of -- and let's put up these word clouds. First for Hillary Clinton, the first word that was most came to mind was "liar." And then you can see the other words there, "untrustworthy," "dishonest." Then you see "experienced" and "strong." Jeb Bush, his word cloud looks like this. The biggest word, "Bush." And you see the other words there, a different way to kind of poll people.

And Donald Trump -- we had to blur a couple of these words out. But "arrogant" is the biggest word in this word cloud, when asked about the first word on Donald Trump.

With that, let's bring in our panel, syndicated columnist George Will, Amy Walter, national editor for The Cook Political Report, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. All right, Charles, no word cloud here, but let's talk about Hillary Clinton and this campaign and this statement.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: You won't have to censor any of the words I'm going to use.

Look, I think Hillary's strategy is clear and I think it's a smart one tactically. She wants to make news probably just about every night, but in some way, no matter how extreme it is. And the content does not really matter. She wants to talk about -- she wants people to talk about her without using the word "e-mail." So yesterday was an attack on Trump. And today it's an absurd and really wild comparison of Republicans who are pro- life and who are appalled by the Planned Parenthood stuff to terrorists.

It's not going to hurt her with Democrats. Nobody -- I don't think it's going to hurt her even in the general election assuming she is the candidate. But it gets her the attention she wants, and it gets off the e- mail. The more she can do that, the more days the news about her is about something else, the better it is.

BAIER: The news about her is not about something else as you turn to this e-mail investigation and also her aide, Huma Abedin. Washington Post has a big story out tomorrow, posted today online, about Huma Abedin's email account and the fact that she had different jobs, Amy, with the Clinton Foundation, with a private company, and with the State Department, at the same time setting up all these dinners and interactions. And it's pretty detailed, and it seems like another shoe in this investigation.

AMY WALTER, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: The shoes that will continue to drop over and over again. I don't know how many shoes there are.

KRAUTHAMMER: A Kardashian --

WALTER: A Kardashian level, yes of shoes.

Look, this is the problem, we've said this before, of not having a serious primary opponent or at least a campaign in which it looks like she's worried about losing the nomination at this point. Her greatest primary opponent is Hillary Clinton. That is a problem.
The other issue with this latest batch of e-mails --

BAIER: The Sanders campaign would have something to say about that.
She's still seen as a frontrunner and not seen as having a chance of losing in the same way that some of the other Republican candidates do.

The second piece of this with the Huma story and server, it goes back to the bigger problem for Hillary Clinton, which is, is she doing and her husband doing stuff simply to ultimately help themselves? Yes, they're setting up a foundation. Yes, they're doing x, y, and z while they are trying to help other people. But ultimately does it come down what does it mean for them? How are they going to profit from this? That's going to be a challenging story I think going forward.

BAIER: George?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, Huma Abedin gives no meaning to the word "multitasking." I think she had four jobs, didn't she? And she could have them legally if people treated the law like a pretzel, that is infinitely elastic as the laws tend to be when they get in the Clinton orbit.

None of this helps Mrs. Clinton at all because people can't follow it.
I can't follow it. We all have better things to do with our lives than track the latest nuance of the Clintons' questionable legality. But a cloud hangs over them --

BAIER: Not a word cloud. A regular cloud.

WALTER: A puffer cloud dark and rainy, saying that wherever these people come they bring trouble.

BAIER: Let's turn to the GOP side now, and an endorsement tonight for Jeb Bush. Interesting in that it was out of Virginia, the former House majority leader Eric Cantor endorsing Jeb Bush. And quickly there was this tweet from Donald Trump who came out and said, "Who wants the endorsement of a guy, Eric Cantor, who lost in perhaps the greatest upset in the history of Congress?" Amy, if you're looking for endorsements at this stage --

WALTER: Is that the one that you want?

BAIER: This is clearly not one you want to tout, is it?

WALTER: No. Virginia is in that SEC primary. It's going to be a very important state when we get forward. I don't know that Eric Cantor is going to be delivering votes for even in his home state. Again, he lost his primary.

BAIER: To a relative unknown.

WALTER: Absolutely. And to the kind of person that Donald Trump is also portraying himself, which is an outsider, somebody who's going to shake up the system.

I think the best opponent right now to Donald Trump is somebody who's not actually an insider of any sort. It's somebody who is not establishment. It's somebody who, sorry, but doesn't sit on these panels.
It's people who will be believable in the minds of folks who say they don't trust establishment figures.

BAIER: Charles, just like Hillary Clinton saying Republicans are like terrorists, doesn't this say something about the Jeb Bush campaign, the fact they're touting this, perhaps that some establishment leakage to a John Kasich or a Marco Rubio, the fact that you have to put this out there now when it doesn't really help your battle against Donald Trump. In fact, it hurts it.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's not only the ideological statement and the fact that it's an insider. It's a demonstration of clumsiness of a cosmic proportion. I mean, the minute anybody heard about this, they would raise their eyebrows and say, why would you do this? This makes no sense. And this is supposed to be the most accomplished, highly staffed, strategized political campaign. I mean, it shows -- it's like sort of the mirror image of the Hillary campaign when it took off with the book tour, or at least began unofficially with the book tour, where every step was a misstep. And you have to ask yourself, these highly touted machines are supposed to be unbeatable, they make mistakes that an amateur wouldn't make.

BAIER: You have other outsiders doing well. Ben Carson doing well and Carly Fiorina, although she is now fighting to get on this next debate stage, George.

WILL: Trump, Carson, and Fiorina get 45 percent combined in this latest poll. That means 45 percent of those polled believe the president should be an entry level elective office. Now, we've had five presidents in American history who are elected to the presidency as their first elective office. Three of them generals, Zachary Taylor, Grant, and Eisenhower. Two others were Taft and Hoover, both vastly experienced at the upper reaches of American government. But people don't care about that anymore. It is now considered a positive virtue to be innocent of any exposure to actual governing.

BAIER: And as Howie laid out, Amy, CNN's criteria goes back to polls that are actually before our debate.

WALTER: Right.

BAIER: At least part of the polls.

WALTER: Right.

BAIER: So Carly Fiorina is making the case, hey, listen, I've done better since then.

WALTER: Right. She got a little bit of a bump since then. It's true, if you look at this week's averages, she would make it into the debate. But the fact of the matter is these were rules that had been out there for quite some time. Everybody knew what they were. They're still polling up until September 10th. If she sees a big bump between now and September 10th, that could get her over the line.

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, it's a dumb rule. It's going to have a dumb result. She should be on that stage. But it's not a conspiracy. I think it was done rather innocently. They were looking for an easy way to do this. And they stretched it, having no idea that the first debate was going to have the effect it did. And it did.

WILL: Where is the Republican Party in this? I mean, Reince Priebus has thrown his weight around properly and emphatically to produce a compressed schedule to try to produce certain results, and yet they allow the rules of a broadcast entity to, in a sense, hijack the purpose of what they're doing.

WALTER: Because they don't want to have to make those decisions themselves. They say we have to be hands off. We can't do that. This isn't our --

WILL: Why should the Republican National Committee take a hands-off approach to the Republican Party's internal workings? I don't get it.

KRAUTHAMMER: Paraphrase Stalin, how many divisions does Reince command? Zero.

WILL: Not true.

KRAUTHAMMER: He could order them off the stage?

WILL: He could say we're going to cancel that debate. We'll have eight others.

KRAUTHAMMER: And I'm not sure any of the Republican candidates would leave that.

BAIER: It wouldn't work August 6th. Let's put thought way, George.

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