Clinton campaign controversies keep growing ahead of 2016

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," September 23, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, look, I did what was, as I said allowed. I said it wasn't the best choice, and it turned out to be a mistake in retrospect. But at the time and given the facts that most of them were in the government systems, you know, people are going to get a chance to see all kinds of behind the scenes conversations, most of which I am embarrassed to say, are kind of boring.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton talking about the e-mails, and there may be more of them now. Bloomberg is reporting this, quote, "The FBI has received and recovered personal and work related e-mails from the private computer server used by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state according to a person familiar with the investigation. The bureau's probe is expected to last at least several more months according to that person. The timeline would push any final determination closer to Democratic presidential primary calendar which kicks off February 1st with the Iowa caucuses."

This comes as Fox has some new polls out tonight. On the Democratic side, you can see Clinton at 44 percent, Bernie Sanders, 30 percent, and Joe Biden, who is not in this race, you will remember, at least not yet, at 18 percent.

We'll start there, then talk about the Republicans. Let's bring in our panel, Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard, Amy Walter, national editor for the Cook Political Report, and editor in chief of Lifezette, Laura Ingraham. OK, Steve, what about this development and the fact that the FBI may be populating new e-mails on this old server?

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, it is a development. There have been several developments in the Hillary email case. And I think this poll suggests that they're having a real effect on her. Joe Biden is up to 18 percent and he's not even in the race. He's actually getting numbers. Her numbers are coming down. They have been steadily coming down. We've known for a long time that people don't regard her as honest and trustworthy.

But what struck me today was a tweet from Mark Halperin at Bloomberg, driver of the conventional wisdom here in Washington, former political director at ABC News, and he tweeted this about Hillary Clinton, "Still don't understand how State was silent for months in the face of one of Brooklyn's," meaning Hillary's campaign headquarters, "most obvious lies re request for HRC e-mails."

It's an extraordinary tweet for a number of reasons. One, he is accusing the Clinton campaign of lying without really qualifying it. Secondly, he is saying it was just one of the most obvious lies, meaning there were many. Think about what that means for her campaign when you have people in Washington, D.C. people responsible for covering the campaign, who are accusing her without even qualifying it of lying repeatedly. I think that's a big moment.

BAIER: That was only 140 characters.

HAYES: It's 140 characters. He could have qualified in subsequent tweets, but he didn't.



AMY WALTER, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: This is the drip, drip, drip that is never going to stop dripping. And in fact I think there are a lot of Democrats who are now sort of resigned to the fact that they are going to live with this low to high level anxiety for the foreseeable future, maybe forever.

There is some hope that the Benghazi hearings is going to determine when she goes to testify in front of the Benghazi committee whether this is truly fatal and there is still time for somebody else to get in, namely Joe Biden, this happens at the end of October. But if it's not, then this anxiety just sits there and becomes a pervasive problem.

BAIER: Senator Chuck Grassley just put out this statement, judicial committee, "The Justice Department is giving us less information when they should give us more so that we can make an informed decision about whether to seek an immunity order. You know, it is getting a little absurd when someone at the Justice Department is apparently leaking details to the press about an investigation that the department officially refuses to admit to Congress that it is conducting.

In light of the details reported in the media the committee will seek more information about the State Department's attempts to regain possession about the e-mail records that should have remained at State Department in the first place. The FBI should also provide clarity on how it will handle the e-mails now that they have been recovered from the server. Allowing an independent authority to search for records that were requested by Congress, the inspector general, the press, the public, years ago and then providing the records to the appropriate requesters would be a welcome move in transparency." We don't usually read full statements, but that was quite an interesting one.

LAURA INGRAHAM, LIFEZETTE.COM: Grassley knows how these hearings work. And if they can grant immunity to a number of these witnesses, they're going to get a lot of information because they can't claim the Fifth. They can't say oh, no, I am not going to incriminate myself. That is what he is getting at here.

So right now I think the drip, drip, drip could look like a death by 1,000 cuts, because Biden looked pretty buoyant out there with the Pope today. He was at the White House of course, then he was at the mass front and center. If you're Joe Biden and you're watching this and you're watching these numbers, the credibility numbers have cratered. This is a really, really bad deal.

And I think what they may find from the e-mails when they start releasing them, there could be a combination of e-mails. A private e-mail, like it is about personal stuff, with a public implication, whether it's about the Clinton Foundation, or "I'll see you next month at the State Department, we gave a donation to the Clinton Foundation," something like that, or it could be a combination which led her to withhold the e-mails.

HAYES: And here is another -- just another briefly before we move to the Republicans, you wonder too what Hillary Clinton's lawyers are telling her right now. Look at where the investigation is going. I think it is entirely possible and maybe even likely that her lawyers say to her you can go testify on October 22nd about Benghazi but you can't talk about the e- mails and try to separate the two issues. I don't think that will be met with a positive response.


BAIER: And let me turn quickly, because we're running out of time on this panel. I want to turn to the Republicans and the new Fox poll coming out tonight. Donald Trump picking up one point, continuing to dominate in this poll, 26 percent. Ben Carson, still holding steady in second, and Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio seeing a bump from where they were before. There you see the rest.

Interesting other poll question, "Do you feel betrayed by politicians from your political party?" We put up that graphic, primary voters. And look at the GOP side, 62 percent. Laura, that is an indication perhaps why these outsiders are doing so well.

INGRAHAM: You want to know why Trump, Fiorina, and Carson are still doing well in these polls, that 62 percent number is devastating. We heard Marco Rubio last night I think with you, and he said we need 67 votes in the Senate, but then we need the presidency. I think a lot of Republicans are looking at that, going, look, we like Marco Rubio, but you're saying you can't do anything unless you have the House, the Senate, and the presidency? And they are very frustrated. And they want something, and they want some sense that there is a passion and a substantive plan by the Republicans that they are going to work morning, noon, and night to make the life of average Americans better, and they're not seeing it. That poll is devastating.

COOK: Yes, and I think that's been a big problem for Republicans, beyond the fact that they made the promises of all the things that we're going to do once we get control of the House and Senate, but that their agenda, the agenda from the 2010 election, the 2014 election, even the 2012 election, was all about what they weren't. We're not Obama. We're not going to do these things. We're going to roll these things back instead of being for something. So not only are people disappointed that they weren't able to stop as much or do as much, they don't necessarily have a governing agenda, which is making their job even tougher.

BAIER: I would be remiss if I didn't mention and cover the fact that Donald Trump has decided to not come on FOX News. In a tweet today right around noon, a little bit after noon, he says "Fox News has been treating me very unfairly and I have therefore decided that I won't be doing anymore Fox shows for the foreseeable future."

Now Fox put out a statement a little bit later, and I'll just read it: "At 11:45 today we cancelled Donald Trump's scheduled appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" on Thursday which resulted in Mr. Trump's subsequent tweet about his boycott at Fox News. The press predictably jumped to cover his tweet react, creating yet another distraction from many real issues that Trump might be questioned about." It goes on to talk about other things in this statement -- point being, this is quite something.

HAYES: It is. This is what you expect from Donald Trump. It is just childish the way that he is reacting as if tough questions are somehow inappropriate for somebody running for president of the United States. I think it's crazy. But what's interesting to me is if you look at the poll results, he is still leading. He is still leading by a good bit. But he is not acting like somebody who is leading. He seems to be increasingly nervous that he is going to lose the lead or flailing. I mean, calling Carly Fiorina a disaster, he called Marco Rubio a spoiled brat. Tonight just now he was making fun of Rubio for sweating. He is now boycotting Fox. You know I don't have high expectations for Donald Trump, but this seems to be another level of --

BAIER: Well, I will say he got very upset that we didn't put online polls out, and I explained why we don't do that on Fox. However, our poll, which we do trust, he went up one, Laura. So he's still --

INGRAHAM: And you report that. And haven't we all been cancelled from Fox shows?


INGRAHAM: I know I've been cancelled. I know you have, we all have. It would be fun to have him in the Center Seat tonight and we can talk about it.

But you are running for president of the United States. You're going to get tough questions. And I get that people feel like they're being treated unfairly. I mean, this is life, and we're big people. I imagine there will be another truce, and there will be a call and this will be put back together.

BAIER: We'll see.

INGRAHAM: But Brit Hume always said something to me that I'll never forget: You never shoot down. Candidates who are lower than you, don't criticize. Just elevate yourself with specific policy ideas and be positive. I think people want a lot more positive campaigns.

BAIER: Put policy ornaments on the tree.

INGRAHAM: Yes, decorate the tree a little bit.

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