Congressional Freedom Caucus reacts to Boehner's resignation; Ann Romney discusses new book

Congressmen fire back at the former speaker  on 'Hannity'


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," September 28, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to "Hannity." Tonight, big developments in the race for 2016. With just four months to go until the Iowa caucus, polls on both sides of the aisle appear to be tightening. Joining us now with a full report, "Fox & Friends First" co-host, our own Ainsley Earhardt -- Ainsley.

AINSLEY EARHARDT, CO-HOST, "FOX & FRIENDS FIRST": Hello, Sean. Yes, tonight, we have some brand-new polls, and they're revealing outsider candidates continue to surge in the 2016 presidential race.

Former neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson is now within just 1 point of Republican front-runner Donald Trump. This is according to a brand-new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Then Senator Marco Rubio, as you can see, and Carly Fiorina -- they are tied in third place with 11 percent each.

But according to another recent national poll, Donald Trump is maintaining a 5-point lead over Dr. Carson. But when you look at the all- important primary state of New Hampshire, Donald Trump has a commanding double-digit lead there over his closest opponent, which is Carly Fiorina.

Then on the other side of the aisle, we got more bad news for Hillary Clinton as Vermont senator Bernie Sanders continues to surge, with 35 percent of the vote nationally. He is only trailing Hillary by 7 points.

But the polls aren't the only thing that we have to report tonight.  Republican front-runner Donald Trump just rolled out his brand-new tax plan earlier today.


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a plan that's simple, that's a major reduction. I think people are going to be very happy. We've already had some very good reviews. I did the plan with some of the leading scholars and economists and tax experts that there are in this country. They love it. They say, Why hasn't this been done before?  And this is my wheelhouse. That's what I do well.


EARHARDT: All right, so what are the highlights of this ambitious tax reform? They include no more federal income tax for individuals if you make less than $25,000 a year or for couples that earn less than $50,000 a year.

Initially -- or additionally, I should say, this plan aims to reduce the number of federal tax brackets. Right now, we have seven tax brackets.  He wants to reduce it down to four. And it would seek to dramatically lower the corporate tax rate, as well. It would also completely eliminate the so-called death tax. Many people are happy about that.

So how does Mr. Trump plan to pay for all these cuts? According to his proposal, tax loopholes and deductions would almost all be eliminated - - Sean.

HANNITY: All right, this is a great -- Ainsley, stay with us right there. Also with reaction, from The Washington Times, Charles Hurt, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr.

Peter, I got to tell you, I like this plan for a lot -- he's telling half of America, 75 million Americans, You will pay nothing in federal income taxes! And while they -- many of them haven't been paying anyway, he's highlighting it. Smart move politically.

PETER JOHNSON, JR., FOX LEGAL ANALYST: Devil's in the details, but he's also hijacking Democrat and independent voters! He's going straight into the heart of Democratic America and saying, Listen, look at what Trump is doing. The billionaire wants to cut average Americans' taxes.

I don't know whether he can do it or not. Maybe the numbers are there, maybe they're not. But it is a dramatic proposal that's going to change the emphasis of this election big-time.

HANNITY: Charles, I agree with you. I think this is a serious plan for all the people that were critical saying there's no substance. Charles Hurt -- he is also saying there's a couple of other things need to happen.  He's going to get rid of waste, fraud, waste and abuse. He also said he would cut new deals with other entities, other countries.

And I think what is the most underreported part of this is a one-time repatriation of corporate cash held overseas, a 10 percent one-time rate.  We have trillions of dollars that corporations will not bring back to this country. Now, with a lower corporate tax rate of 15 percent, that means businesses -- America's open for business! We will be the tax safe haven that corporations and businessmen will go to if this becomes law. I like it a lot.

CHARLES HURT, WASHINGTON TIMES: As Donald Trump said, this is his wheelhouse, and he does understand what smart businesspeople are doing all over the world, and that is moving abroad because they're trying to escape, you know, the highest tax -- corporate tax rate in the civil -- in the industrialized world.

What I think the second thing that is so important about this proposal today is that it signifies that Donald Trump has outlasted his harshest critics. Remember, when he announced, everyone laughed at him, everyone mocked him, then he took off in the polls and he continues to remain at the top of the heap.

And -- but now you have people coming back around, reporters, all the experts in politics coming back around, and they're having to deal with substantive issues with Donald Trump. And he's setting the agenda. It's truly amazing, and an enormous accomplishment!

HANNITY: And my guess, Ainsley, is you look at the details of this plan -- every other candidate now is going to be responding to this. He hit a couple of hot button issues when he talked about that -- when we hear government unemployment numbers, they're fraudulent. They're fake.  They're phony.


HANNITY: If you're chronically unemployed, we don't count you. And I think the funniest moment in the campaign -- in the presser today was when he said, Why do we pay a million dollars for a soccer field for Gitmo detainees? Why are they playing soccer? Give them a ball. And then he said, Why are we giving them a ball? Why are they playing soccer?


EARHARDT: It's government waste, and that's what we're all sick of.  We want some change, and that's why I think some of these front-runners are the anti-Washington establishment because we're sick of the waste!

It's our hard-earned dollars. We all wake up early in the morning.  We put our kid on the bus. We try to go out and make money so that we can put food on the table, and we don't want that money wasted. When I give taxes, I want it to be spent wisely!

HANNITY: When you point out that 75 million Americans under this plan, Peter, will not pay a penny in federal income taxes, that is a huge plus! How does Hillary grab the narrative back that Republicans hate the poor?

JOHNSON: It's very, very hard. And this goes to the heart of what we said weeks ago, that Donald Trump needs a policy. He needs a plan. He's coming up with a policy and a plan.

The hard left likes to say that he's the George Wallace candidate of the 21st century. Now, with this plan that has meat on the bones, he's saying, This is all about economic inequality, economic inaction in this country. It's about take-home pay. How much are you taking home out of your check every week or every two weeks?

And he says, I want to restore the American dream. I don't know if it can be done, but it's igniting a new paradigm of thought in this country.

HANNITY: I think it's going to advance a narrative. Now, short of maybe a flat tax, a fair tax, which other conservatives want, this is a conservative plan.

Charles, if I were to give one critique or criticism -- and it's minor and he might bring it up in a separate policy position -- is I'd like to see energy independence. I think there's a lot of jobs, a lot of finances, a lot of money for the government sitting underneath the ground. And I would assume that that'll be added later.

HURT: Yes, and I think he's probably going to address a few other things. But if you look at what he has looked at -- what he has addressed so far with very specific, concrete policy position papers -- taxes, guns and immigration. Those are three of the most vitally important issues that concern conservatives...

HANNITY: I also think...


HURT: ... across the party line.

HANNITY: ... in the next debate because now he's going to refer to what he has written down, what he has put down on paper. All right, guys, great reporting. Good to see you, Peter. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to see you.

HANNITY: All right, coming up, after announcing that he is stepping down as the House speaker, John Boehner -- he's now attacking conservative Republicans. Now, members of the House Freedom Caucus -- they are here tonight to respond.

Later, according to a new book, the server scandal could be the least of Hillary Clinton's problems. We'll check in with author Ed Klein. He's up next with shocking new information that may derail the Clinton campaign, also questions about Hillary's health.

Plus, reaction to President Obama and Vladimir Putin's meeting at the U.N. today, as we continue.



HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So big changes are coming to the Republican Party. Late last week, John Boehner shook up the political world by announcing he is stepping down as the speaker of the House.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This morning, I informed my colleagues that I would resign from the speakership and resign from Congress at the end of October. Now, as you've often heard me say, this isn't about me. It's about the people. It's about the institution.


HANNITY: Now, the speaker has had his fair share of battles with conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill over issues like spending and challenging the president's liberal agenda. And now he's wasting little time attacking conservatives. Watch this.


BOEHNER: Absolutely, they're unrealistic! But you know, the Bible says beware of false prophets. And there are people out there, you know, spreading noise about how much can get done. I mean, this whole idea that we're going to shut down the government to get rid of "Obama care" in 2013 -- this plan never had a chance.

But over the course of the August recession in 2013 and the course of September, you know, a lot of my Republican colleagues who knew it was a fool's errand, really, they were getting all this pressure from home to do this. And so we got groups here in town, members of the House and Senate here in town who whip people into a frenzy believing they can accomplish things that they know -- they know -- are never going to happen.


HANNITY: All right, joining us tonight are some members of the House Freedom Caucus. Those members are Representatives Raul Labrador, Mick Mulvaney, Mark Meadows, Cynthia Lummis is with us, and Dave Brat and Scott Perry. Welcome to all of you.

Congressman Meadows, you really got the ball rolling. There are many of your colleagues that questioned when you brought up the issue of a no- confidence vote with John Boehner back in July, if that was the right strategy. Do you believe that that pushed it over the top?

REP. MARK MEADOWS R-N.C.: Well, obviously, it was a factor, Sean. I don't know that we can say that that was the determining factor. But really, the determining factor in my opinion was the American people. You know, it's an approval rating that's abysmal among those of our own party saying we're not delivering on what we should be doing here in Washington, D.C., and that it doesn't work for them. So you know, If you can't change that, then you need to look at leadership, and that was what my resolution was all about.

HANNITY: Sixty percent of Republicans in a Post poll this weekend, Washington Post, said they feel betrayed by the Republican Party! Let me ask you this. Do you think I am unrealistic? Am I a false prophet? Was there never a chance to defund "Obama care"? Am I spreading noise and advancing a fool's errand by thinking you can defund "Obama care," use your constitutional authority, stop illegal, unconstitutional -- the executive order of the president on immigration and defund Planned Parenthood? Am I unrealistic? Am I a false prophet?

MEADOWS: Well, certainly not. And I think most of that narrative -- many of the things that you're talking about were actually messages that came from our leadership team that says, We're going to fight tooth and nail. We're going to represent the will of the American people. And so that's what the Constitution is all about. It gives us the power of the purse. That's what we need to exercise here in the House, and I know a number of us are committed to do that.

HANNITY: Congressman Labrador, we kept hearing, Well, Sean, we just disagree with tactics. We agree on the same thing. But ultimately, wasn't the tactic -- didn't it evolve into surrender? You say you're not going to shut down the government, you're not going to use your constitutional authority in the purse. Didn't it mean Obama wins every time?

REP. RAUL LABRADOR, R-IDAHO: Well, that's the problem that we have.  They keep saying that we disagree on tactics. And we actually disagree on strategy and we disagree on the bottom line.

Our leadership right now has been trying to fund "Obama care." They want to fund Planned Parenthood. They want to -- at the end of this year, their goal was actually to undo the caps. They have a totally different strategy than we have here as conservatives.

And what they have done is they make certain promises as candidates, and they go to the American people and they say, If you give me the House and Senate, these are the things that we're willing to do for you. They're giving false hope to the American people.

And then when we, as members of Congress, say, Hey, we want to do those things that we promised the American people that we were going to do, then they get mad at us and they call us false prophets.

I think that's -- that's really the fundamental problem that we have here in Washington, D.C....

HANNITY: Congressman Mulvaney...

LABRADOR: ... is that they're willing to say...

HANNITY: I'm sorry. Go ahead.

LABRADOR: ... whatever they want to get elected.

HANNITY: Congressman Mulvaney, was it possible to defund "Obama care"? Did you have the power? I read the Constitution that the power of the purse lies with Congress. Do I read it correctly? Did you have the ability to not fund that program that a vast majority of the American people dislike?

REP. MICK MULVANEY, R-S.C.: Absolutely. It's very straightforward that we have the ability to fund or defund whatever we don't want to fund.

The difficulty was our leadership paid lip service to the efforts two years ago, but then clearly didn't believe it. Every single day, we were told the message in our conference -- remember, we voted to fund the government. It's the Senate that shut us down. The Senate shut us down.  And then a week after everything ended, John Boehner went on television late night and blamed it on us.

Our leadership never believed that from the very beginning. Under those circumstances, no, we couldn't shut it down, but there's nothing constitutional that says we can't.

HANNITY: Congresswoman, where do you want to go from here as a caucus, the House Freedom Caucus? You have enough members to prevent any one Republican from getting the majority to win that seat. What are you looking for in the next speaker? And will your caucus stay together, stand together in picking a conservative leader?

REP. CYNTHIA LUMMIS, R-WYO.: We're looking for someone who will restore regular order, which means the committees will do their work.  They'll bring out a work product and bring to it the floor. It will have had a lot of advance discussion. It will be adequately vetted. And then it will be brought to a vote on the floor, not come directly from the speaker's office, drafted by non-members of Congress and go straight to the floor for a vote without amendment.

That is what we objected to when Nancy Pelosi was speaker, and unfortunately, that has not gone away since the Republicans took over.

We also want to have a strategy for at least debating our better ideas for "Obama care," for border security, for spending and how we manage this unsustainable debt and deficit. Even if we just had a debate, we could show the American people that we have better ideas. We don't even debate those things!

HANNITY: Congressman Brat, let's talk about strategy for helping to choose the next speaker. You still have time. John Boehner will be holding that gavel for a period of time. But do you want to slow-walk this? Do you want to interview every candidate? And do you believe it would be smart for the House Freedom Caucus to stand together and choose a candidate together?

REP. DAVE BRAT, R-VA.: Yes, I think it's very important. In Virginia, I ran on the Republican creed, which has six principles. And so we want to interview all the candidates and ask them to put their ideas down on paper ahead of time. That's what the country's all about. The Constitution is kind of the first draft and first pledge on that.

We had the "Contract for America" a long time ago, very popular. Our leadership, Speaker Boehner, Eric Cantor had the "Pledge to America," the pledge to keep sanctions on Iran, to make progress on the budget.

Eric Cantor, interestingly, and kind of ironically, had a document called "Keeping our commitments" on ObamaCare and said that even if we can't get rid of it in all one swoop, we want to defund it piece by piece by piece by piece. That was a promise he made.

And so now, when some folks in leadership are saying that, Well, we really can't keep those promises, our constituents differ with them. When we run on those things, it matters. And now that we're in office -- and we expect our leaders to hold true on those, as well.

And so when it comes to picking horses, I don't think any of us are going to commit right here, but I think all of us are very attached to the idea that we want our leaders to put their ideas down on paper. We want to share those with the American people...

HANNITY: All right, let me...

BRAD: ... and that's what this country's about.

HANNITY: Congressman Perry, let me ask you, on the four issues that I think they have really failed the conservative base and broken promises -- that is defunding "Obama care," stopping executive amnesty, defunding Planned Parenthood and stopping Iran from getting $150 billion -- do you have any hope as this debate moves forward with the CR and further spending and the debt limit -- do you have any hope that any of those things will be accomplished?

REP. SCOTT PERRY, R-PA.: Well, listen, clearly, the system is broken, which is what's led us to this point today. I think the great news is that while all those things are on the table, or at least some are still are in some fashion, that this is a conversation about the leadership of this august body and this operation where the American people can get engaged.

The longer it goes, the more that the American people will know who the candidates are, what they stand for, and they can speak to their representatives and say, Look, this person doesn't represent what I believe in or the way we want to go. We want you to stand firm on this, and this person doesn't show that he or she is willing to do that.

It's about getting the system fixed so that the American people have the voice so that they see -- they elected us to make tough decisions on intractable problems, and what they see is a bunch of messaging. There have been some -- look, there have been some victories along the way.  They're fairly small...


PERRY: The problem is, is that they don't really echo what most people think about, what they lose sleep about every day.

HANNITY: All right, let me...

PERRY: That's where we fail.

HANNITY: Let me pan and look at the whole group here. Seems that the leading candidate is the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy. How do you all feel, in a word, about Kevin McCarthy? Congressman Meadows, we'll start with you. One word. We've got to move fast.

MEADOWS: You know, inclusive.

HANNITY: OK. And Congressman Labrador?

LABRADOR: He's not ready yet, but he could be.

HANNITY: OK, Congressman Mulvaney?

MULVANEY: That was more than one word.

LABRADOR: There was more than one word, yes.

HANNITY: Well, that's like -- that's like Joe Biden saying a three- letter word, jobs, J-O-B-S, but that's OK.


HANNITY: We'll forgive you.

MULVANEY: (INAUDIBLE) count on Kevin to be fair, at the very least.

HANNITY: Congresswoman?

LUMMIS: Good listener.

HANNITY: OK. Dave Brat?

BRAT: Just want to see the principles on paper ahead of time.

HANNITY: And Congressman Perry?

PERRY: I think he would be engaged.

HANNITY: All right. Thank you all for being with us. We're going to watch this process very, very closely. Thank you all for being with us.

When we come back, a brand-new book makes some shocking allegations that could cause some serious damage to Hillary's already struggling campaign. Author Ed Klein debuts his new book right here in studio.

Then later, President Obama, Russian president Putin -- they met face to face earlier today. So was the meeting productive? After all, the president has more flexibility now.

Ann Romney also here to talk politics, her ongoing battle with MS, and much, much more straight ahead.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." As Hillary Clinton's campaign continues to unravel, a brand-new book out today makes some very shocking allegations about the Democratic front-runner that could, in fact, derail her entire campaign. Joining us now, the author of the brand-new book "Unlikeable: The Problem With Hillary," Ed Klein.

Now, by the way, we reached out to the Clinton campaign for a comment earlier today, and they were comparing it to a comic book ad. So they're not exactly fans of yours. I want to...

ED KLEIN, "UNLIKEABLE" AUTHOR: Who's -- who's -- who's making funny remarks? Is it Nick Merrill, who lies on a day-to-day basis...

HANNITY: Listen, you know what? Why don't -- Hillary -- Hillary -- I'll give you five hours, an entire week, "Hannity" and Hillary for a week.  We'll give her all the air time she wants.

Here's what I want to ask. You were the New York Times Magazine editor for 10 years.

KLEIN: When The New York Times was still a straight publication.

HANNITY: All right. So you have credentials, but you have the group of people that will attack you.

KLEIN: Right.

HANNITY: That's fine. Let's talk about this meeting that Hillary in the Oval Office with Obama, and literally, I want you to call off your f- ing dogs, Hillary says, Barack, and he says no.

KLEIN: Right. Bill Clinton and Hillary had heard for months that Valerie Jarrett was leaking negative stories about her, e-mails about her taking foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, about her being in touch with Sidney Blumenthal. They were absolutely, you know, livid about all these leaks that were coming out of the White House.

So Hillary asked for a private meeting with Barack Obama. She goes to the White House and finds Valerie Jarrett in the room, the Oval Office, with Obama. She starts to try to ask him to, Would you please look into this, and he behaves like he doesn't know what she's talking about.  Finally, she loses it and says, What I want you to do is call off your f- ing dogs, Barack.


KLEIN: And he looks shocked...

HANNITY: You don't talk like that to a president in the Oval Office.

KLEIN: No, not -- you certainly don't.

HANNITY: But -- but you reveal in this book that Obama personally approved the FBI investigation of Hillary's e-mails and that Valerie Jarrett initiated six investigations into her tenure as secretary of state, and she leaked to the press the information about the Clinton Foundation.

KLEIN: That's right.

HANNITY: So when you put two and two together, they're trying to take her down.

KLEIN: And the Clintons know it. That's why these two families -- they're almost like mafia families -- are at each other's throats. You know, you have a scene of kind of intrigue, backstabbing and deception at the highest levels of the Democratic Party.

HANNITY: And Obama, you describe in the book, will not support her run for the presidency. But you're saying behind the scenes, he wants Biden in...

KLEIN: Right.

HANNITY: ... and he will give Biden all the support behind the scenes he can give.

KLEIN: Valerie Jarrett has been meeting with Biden on a regular basis, urging him to go in. Biden does not get on Air Force Two, the vice president's plane, without the president's approval, and now he's got approval to fly all over the United States and make non-campaign speeches.

HANNITY: You talk in the book about Hillary's health. Bill Clinton made a comment that it took her six months to recover. So he kind of revealed in that comment that it was far worse than what was publicly disclosed at the time. How bad is her health? What are people telling you?

KLEIN: I've interviewed a number of people who are close to the doctors who have actually investigated this and have looked at her X-rays and gotten her medical records, and they tell me that she has an intrinsic attitude (sic) toward forming blood clots, especially in her brain, between her brain and her skull, and that this can be very dangerous. On the campaign trail, she's had dizzy spells. She has...

HANNITY: When she was sick heading into that Christmas holiday, if I remember correctly, I was told by people that were reading the public reports, published reports, that their interpretation -- medical professionals that I know -- that they interpreted it that she had a TIA or what is known as a mini-stroke.

KLEIN: Right.

HANNITY: Very dangerous condition. Usually, you would end up on blood thinners, maybe even for the rest of your life, something like coumadin or something like that.

KLEIN: That's what she's on right now.

HANNITY: You know for a fact?

KLEIN: For a fact that she's on coumadin and that Bill Clinton has urged her to travel with her personal physician so that he can keep an eye on her.

HANNITY: What is he afraid of? Is he...

KLEIN: He's afraid that she's going to literally either faint, stumble, fall down, show a tremendous amount of weakness in front of the cameras. He wants the doctor to be there to make sure that she's OK to go out in public.

HANNITY: All right, what is the deal? And you go into this to some extent. We hear that the Secret Service nicknamed one of Bill's girlfriends "Energizer," one in Chappaqua, and that there are others, and that when she found out about orgy island and his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted pedophile, and that Bill was traveling on the plane.

KLEIN: IT was 11 separate times with Jeffrey Epstein.

HANNITY: OK, who is a convicted pedophile.


HANNITY: OK. Then she hit the roof. What happened?

KLEIN: She came barreling into his office, which is in a red barn next to their Chappaqua home, started shouting and screaming at him in front of friends. This is how I found out about it, because I spoke to the friends. She yelled at him that "This is the worst thing that you've done to me since Monica Lewinsky." And he kind of just sort of collapsed -- you know, melted in front of her assault. But it wasn't a really surprise to her that she was fooling around with a woman. It was a surprise to her that he would be so indiscreet.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this. There's a complicated relationship with the Clintons and Obamas. Bill Clinton said they played the race card on me and they planned to do it. But then Bill Clinton in 2012 comes to the rescue. I mean, he was the rock star at the 2012 convention, not Barack Obama.

KLEIN: Right.

HANNITY: And you're saying now that the Obama -- and including Michelle who you say is actively involved in all this, they are trying to undermine her campaign and take her out.

KLEIN: There's no question about it. They want control of the Democratic Party and all that that means and the patronage that will come to whoever controls the party when they leave the White House. They don't want to turn the party over to the Clintons, which, if they do, means that the Clintons will actually keep the Obamas on the sidelines.

HANNITY: So you named it "Unlikable" because she's unlikable?

KLEIN: I named it "Unlikable" because 58 percent of the American public doesn't trust her and think she's a liar.

HANNITY: Unprompted, the number one word, adjective people use, "liar," "untrustworthy." Can you win the presidency with those adjectives?

KLEIN: I don't think so. Are people going to vote for somebody --

HANNITY: I don't think she gets the nomination at this point. She better lawyer up pretty quick because she's got in legal issues.

KLEIN: Bill has been urging her to do so and she's refused so far to lawyer up.

HANNITY: All right, get ready for your attacks. They'll probably be up in an hour. Ed Klein, thank you. It's called "Unlikable" in bookstores now.

Coming up, President Obama met face-to-face with Vladimir Putin earlier today. This comes after the Russian president told "60 Minutes" last not that Obama is not weak. Does he really believe that?

Also tonight, Ann Romney here to talk about not only her struggle with MS but what she thinks of the current GOP field running for president. And would Mitt have been a better president than Obama? Straight ahead.   


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So President Obama met with Russian president Vladimir Putin earlier today at the U.N. Prior to today's sit-down meeting Putin was asked by "60 Minutes" if he thought President Obama was week on foreign policy. My answer would have been yes, but here's his.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, (via translator): I don't think so at all. You see, here's the thing, in any country, and in the United States, I believe this happens even more often than in any other country, foreign political factors are used for domestic political battles. There's a presidential campaign coming up, so they're playing either the Russian card or some other.


HANNITY: All right, here now with reaction, FOX News military analyst Colonel David Hunt and the author of "Warrior Diplomat," retired Special Forces officer Michael Waltz. Guys, good to see you. And Colonel Hunt, let me start with you. Of course he thinks Obama's weak. That's why he's doing everything he can do to take over his sphere of influence in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, add to that Jordan if he can get in there, the Saudis.  He's trying to replace the United States because we have basically stepped back, right?

COL. DAVID HUNT, FOX NEWS MILITARY ANALYST: No one's pushed back on Russia since World War II. Right now the big problem we've got with Russia in the middle of Syria and its coalition aircraft flying in there, and we've got a real potential of a Russian coalition meeting and Russian soldiers dying or French dying. Also we've got the Russians making a deal, which everyone knows they're doing anyways, but officially sharing intelligence with Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Putin right now owns anything he wants to touch. No one is pushing back, certainly not the United States.  And for the next 17 months, I don't see anybody doing it.

HANNITY: You know, Michael, Marco Rubio in the last debate I thought nailed it. He called him a gangster who is trying to reconfigure world alliances because of America's absence on the world stage under Obama. Is that about right?

LT. COL. MICHAEL WALTZ (RET), "WARRIOR DIPLOMAT" AUTHOR: I do think that's about right, Sean. For me, this all goes back to the Iran deal.  President Obama has essentially backed away from the Middle East and sold out the region to Russian and Iranian influence because he wanted the nuclear deal. So we've essentially backed off Assad who Iran supports because that's what the Iranians wanted for the deal, and now we're essentially aligned with the Russians and the Iranians and Assad against ISIS. The irony there is anyone who has worked in the region knows that the Sunnis on the ground and throughout the Middle East hate Shia Assad more than they hate ISIS. So we're essentially driving the region towards ISIS and the entire policy is backfiring.

HANNITY: So Colonel, let's go back to Dmitry Medvedev, and when they were caught on a hot mic and Obama said, tell Vladimir I'll have more flexibility after the election. In retrospect, what was the flexibility for?

WALTZ: Well, Sean --

HANNITY: Colonel Hunt?

HUNT: Yes, I thought -- first of all, nothing's changed. There's been no pushback. Flexibility could be I want a deal made. But there hasn't been pushback for generations, 10, 30 years, 20 years on Russia.  They have done exactly what they wanted to do wherever they wanted to do it.

WALTZ: The other piece there, Sean, is that Russia is playing a very weak hand. That's the irony here, because of low oil prices. They're burning through their foreign reserves. But Putin knows with the Iran deal that billions of dollars are about to flow to Iran. Iran in turn is going to go on a shopping spree of Russian weapons, nuclear reactors, and other equipment that's going to be essentially refill Putin's coffers.

HANNITY: So we're basically looking at world alliances now dramatically shifting because the president betrayed Israel, has abandoned in a sense Egypt, Jordan, and now the Saudis, and so now he's going to fill that void. That's basically it. And he loves the idea of being all powerful, omnipotent.

HUNT: Sean, I get the Obama-Netanyahu conflict. But the U.S. has never nor will never abandon Israel. Those two aren't getting along --

HANNITY: This president sold them out.

HUNT: I don't buy the --

HANNITY: He gave Iran nukes and $150 billion.

HUNT: I don't thing the U.S. will ever abandon Israel. They're too close to us. The Iran deal is awful, I get it. The issue with Russia is there's no pushback anywhere -- no pushback.

HANNITY: We stabbed them in the back. I don't know. We'll see.  Guys, thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.

When we come back, Ann Romney talks about the 2016 presidential campaign, also talks about her brand-new book, being diagnosed with MS, and does she wish Mitt Romney got in this election cycle, straight ahead.


HANNITY: Welcome back to HANNITY. She was at the forefront of her husband's 2012 presidential campaign. And now Ann Romney is opening up about her brave battle with MS and how she and her husband cope with the diagnosis. She joins us now in studio. She's the author of the brand-new book "In This Together, My Story." Ann Romney, by the way, all of Ann's proceeds for the book will be going to the Neurologic Disease and Research Group, with your name on it, right?

ANN ROMNEY, "IN THIS TOGETHER" AUTHOR: Yes, the Ann Romney Center.

HANNITY: Which is really awesome. As you watch this campaign, do you think I'm so glad I'm not part of this?

ROMNEY: Yes, Mitt and I are high-fiving each other every day.


ROMNEY: It's like, oh, my gosh. It's entertaining, I have to say that.

HANNITY: Donald Trump brings the entertainment factor, and a lot of viewers, obviously, in debates. I'm looking at this picture. Pan in on this. You've been married what, 48 years?

ROMNEY: A long time.

HANNITY: You look like a college student. I mean, this is amazing.

ROMNEY: And 23 grandkids.

HANNITY: You have 23 grandkids?

ROMNEY: Yes. Our oldest granddaughter is 20 years old. She's studying in Paris this year, so yes.

HANNITY: That's inspiring. I know a lot about this and Neil has been very public about it. Neil Cavuto is one of the nicest guys in this building. And he has struggled with this.

ROMNEY: Right.

HANNITY: You two have that and you both survived cancer.

ROMNEY: Right.

HANNITY: That's hard.

ROMNEY: It's tough. And my book is about not really just my struggle, but I want people to know that life is tough for everybody at some point where you're going to have to go through a really difficult trial, a real hardship. And how do we get through that? How do we get through that?

HANNITY: You know, we forget that. The people that I have met in my life that seem the most -- have the most empathy, that are the nicest people, they seem to have had to go through that cancer, that accident, that heart attack, and it seems to awaken in them a sense of compassion and understanding the rest of us don't have.

ROMNEY: Well, it's like you have to be wounded in some ways. You have to be brought down. I say I was crushed to death by this. And what it did was it cracked my heart open, too. It really did. It made me compassionate for those that are really, really going through it.

HANNITY: And then you go to a presidential campaign, and the one therapy that actually worked for you, which was horses, here is a great of the horse, by the way.

ROMNEY: Go in on that one. That is a picture. That is my, that horse is my --

HANNITY: I like this one, too.

ROMNEY: That one is great. That is my horse, Darling.

HANNITY: And people were attacking you, oh, she's rich, oh, she has a horse. I'm like, really? You attack somebody --

ROMNEY: It was my therapy. And it was an accidental discovery. I thought as I was getting really sick I will go back doing this before I won't be able to do anything anymore. They'll have to Velcro me in the saddle. I got back on, and I forgot I was sick when I was on. I got more energy. The horses are so generous. The balance, everything you have you to do when you're on the back of a horse it helps you.

HANNITY: Do you think people are sick will take out of this what?

ROMNEY: Hope. I want hope, because, and I'm pretty honest in this book and I pretty much tell how low I got.

HANNITY: Were you depressed?

ROMNEY: Depressed. I wished -- and I'm not proud of this, I wish I had cancer and I would die.

HANNITY: It was that bad? The suffering was that bad?

ROMNEY: It was eating me away by little tiny bites. And I'm like, can't I just finish this? I was really in despair, really depressed.

HANNITY: But then you went into remission.

ROMNEY: Well, it took time. It was years of struggle. It wasn't like, OK, one day I'm better and I'm fine and everything is rosy. It was years and years of struggle, and this book is about that.

HANNITY: Did you almost get in this race this year?

ROMNEY: We did. We thought about it for about 20 seconds.


HANNITY: Is that it? Didn't take longer than that?

How hard -- I was depressed. I think Mitt would have been a great president.

ROMNEY: No doubt about it. No doubt about it. The guy has leadership qualities. He has the characteristics, the temperament, everything.

HANNITY: My wife says she couldn't watch the show after the election for like four months.

ROMNEY: Everyone -- I know.

HANNITY: Meanwhile, I have to keep doing my job. And I'm like sitting here alone, depressed.

ROMNEY: Nobody is watching you.

HANNITY: Everyone else is depressed. They're watching football and baseball.  

ROMNEY: It was. It was just a tough election. This country is important where we're going. Where we're headed right now is critical.  These are critical things that we're talking about.

HANNITY: Anybody you like in particular?

ROMNEY: I like a lot.

HANNITY: You're not going there, are you?

ROMNEY: I'm not going to go with favorites.

HANNITY: You learned how to shut us reporters down pretty good, too.

ROMNEY: But there is a lot of good candidates, and you know it's a long race, a lot of up and downs, important discussions happening. I would say that Trump is bringing more people to the table.

HANNITY: That is a good thing.

ROMNEY: Than would have ever thought.

HANNITY: I think it's great.

ROMNEY: We've got to open up to more discussion. You've got to talk about issues that are very important.

HANNITY: I've said that. Everyone is -- I'm like, he brought 26 million people to a debate. That is a good thing.

ROMNEY: It's a good thing.

HANNITY: Well, it's good to see you. It's called "In This Together," Ann Romney, "My Story." Thanks for being with us.

ROMNEY: Thank you so much

HANNITY: All our best to Mitt.  And coming up, all right, you get to ask me a question. We need your help with tonight's "Question of the Day." And maybe we chose your video for the question, straight ahead.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." Time for tonight's "Question of the Day." So who do you think should be the next speaker of the House?  Simple question. Go to Facebook.com/SeanHannity, @SeanHannity on Twitter, let us know what you think.

   Now, by the way, it's time for our "Ask Sean" segment. By the way, you can be a TV star. All you have to do is send in your questions on Facebook and Twitter, and we might air yours. For example, here's tonight's question.


   UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Sean, it's Nicki (ph). And I was just wondering, with John Boehner's resignation, what qualities are you looking for in our next speaker of the House? And what should be their first order of business when they take over?


   HANNITY: Nicki (ph) great question. First thing, I'm looking for a strong conservative with principles that has the ability to lay out an inspiring agenda, get the American people behind it, and fight. If you say that you're going to defund Obamacare, use the power of the purse. That is your constitutional authority. If you say you're going to stop executive amnesty, stop it. If you say you're going to defund Planned Parenthood, don't fund Planned Parenthood. And I would like to see them lead on the issue of not giving $150 billion to Iran. But, I hope that answers your question. Thank you for sending it in.        If you have a question for me, go to Twitter, #AskSean. And even better send in a video. You could be a TV star.         

By the way, quick programming note. Secretary of State John Kerry will be on with our friend, Greta. We hope you'll tune in.        

That's all the time we have left this evening. We hope you'll set your DVR so you never miss an episode. We take attendance. It hurts our feelings if you're not here.         

Thanks for being with us. See you back here tomorrow night.

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