Are GOP rivals copying Trump's immigration plan?

Political panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 23, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to "Hannity." And this is a Fox News Alert. We're live in Las Vegas where the Nevada Republican caucuses are now under way. GOP front-runner Donald Trump is hoping for another big night after winning in South Carolina.

And live at Trump campaign headquarters right here on the Strip in Vegas is campaign Carl Cameron. Carl, what's going on?

CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Sean. We actually got into the Trump room, although they're going to throw us out in just a few minutes so the Secret Service can do the sweep in preparation for what Donald Trump's hoped will be a big victory celebration tonight.

He's been cautious about caucuses. You know, obviously, he didn't win in Iowa, and throughout the last couple of days, particularly after his big South Carolina win, he's been occasionally suggesting that, you know, I don't know about caucuses. They're a different kind of thing. We got to get everybody out there. I'm a little worried. I don't know what's going to happen because he's won -- he's won the two primaries, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and so to finish up the first-in-the-nation stakes -- this is the first primary in the West -- excuse me, caucus in the West, a victory tonight for Trump would be a moral victory and one that continues his momentum. It would be three in a row.

He has spent the last several days since his South Carolina victory pounding Ted Cruz as a liar and a trickster. He's also been going after Marco Rubio pretty aggressively, recognizing that the battle between those two eventually will be resolved, and one of the two, either Cruz or Rubio, could be the, quote, "conservative alternative" to Donald Trump.

Trump has some momentum in Nevada. He's also beginning to expand his campaign into the super-Tuesday states a week from now, and even the March 15th states. That's when the winner-take-all voting starts.

So tonight, there's 30 delegates at stake. Trump already has a big lead over the two others, Rubio and Cruz, in terms of delegates. He's got about 60 to their being around 10 and 17.

So the 30 delegates here will be awarded proportionally. And Donald Trump is expected go out of Las Vegas back onto the campaign trail almost immediately and go across the country, campaigning every single day between now and super-Tuesday, hoping with a win from Las Vegas.

It would be three in a row and hard to argue that he's not the front-runner with a big head of steam, Sean.

HANNITY: All right, campaign Carl, thank you. And with the Cruz campaign tonight right here in Vegas is our own Mike Emanuel. Mike, what's happening there?

MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Sean, good evening. Senator Ted Cruz has been working it to the very end here in Nevada, leaving a caucus site in Sparks, Nevada, a short time ago. That is a suburb of Reno. So the senator, after pressing the flesh, kissing babies and doing what politicians do on a caucus night, Senator Cruz is going to need to fly down here to Las Vegas to mingle with his supporters and await the results and then ultimately address the folks here in Las Vegas.

Bottom line, it's been a nasty fight in the final days here in the Nevada caucuses between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Cruz suggests that Trump has been lashing out at him because he feels threatened by Senator Cruz, and that, basically, he fires back and makes nasty comments when he feels threatened by them, so that's the Cruz perspective.

But obviously, the Cruz campaign has been on the defensive in recent days, accused of lying by Donald Trump many times, also accused of dirty tricks by the Rubio and Trump campaigns, and of course, fired his communications director just yesterday. And so Ted Cruz is hoping for a big night tonight, hoping it does not have an impact on the results at the caucuses.

But bottom line, we await the results, and the polling is so sketchy in Nevada and the turnout can be so tricky to measure, it's not entirely clear. We're not hearing any bold predictions in terms of results tonight.  We await the results like the people of Nevada do, Sean.

HANNITY: All right, Mike Emanuel. By the way, I'm getting reports from people that have been writing me all day that they're waiting much longer than they have in past years.

Now, with the Rubio campaign in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is our friend, John Roberts. John, what's happening there?

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Sean, good evening to you. A busy day for Marco Rubio, started off in Las Vegas early this morning. Then we went to Minneapolis, Minnesota, of course, part of the big super-Tuesday 11 states, and then on to Grand Rapids, Michigan. People go to the polls here on March the 8th.

At every stop, Rubio making the point that, I am the candidate for the Republican Party to coalesce around. I am the one who can unify the party, suggesting that because 65 percent of Republicans don't want Donald Trump to be the nominee, why would you waste your vote on him?

But here's the problem for Marco Rubio. He finished well in Iowa with third. He came fifth in New Hampshire, which was not very good, and then second place finish in South Carolina. But he hasn't won a state yet. And as of March 15th, the delegate allocation becomes winner-take-all, though just a few minutes ago, Rubio told me he believes as the field gets smaller, he's going to do better.

Listen to this.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One person got out in Governor Bush. We had all that support kind of build behind us. We're only going to continue that momentum going forward.

ROBERTS: These contests up until Florida, you can chug along, picking up delegates here on a proportional basis and still stay in the game. But as of March 15th, you got to start winning some contests.

RUBIO: And we will because by March 15th, I'm pretty confident that the race will be down to two, maybe three people. And when we get into a contest like that, we're going to do very well. We're going to win a lot of places.


ROBERTS: Now, certainly, Marco Rubio's got no shortage of endorsements.  Almost a couple of dozen people, Sean, have endorsed him since the South Carolina second place finish. But the problem for Rubio -- he's certainly got a lot of them -- is that in order to challenge Donald Trump, he needs to have John Kasich's support, and John Kasich has said he's not getting out any time soon. Don't forget, Ohio votes the same time that Florida does, March 15th, a winner-take-all state -- Sean.

HANNITY: All right, John Roberts, thank you tonight.

Joining us now with reaction, from The Washington Times, Charles Hurt, FOX News legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr., and the co-host of "The Five," Juan Williams, is with us.

Peter, let me start with you. Articles out there today saying that the establishment is pressuring John Kasich to get out of the race. The establishment is, quote, you know, now rallying and supporting Marco Rubio in this race. They predicted Saturday night that all the support from Jeb Bush would go to Marco Rubio.

I talked to two pollsters today, John McLaughlin (ph) and Scott Rasmussen in his report, both said, No, it's going to probably be distributed equally among all the remaining candidates.

What do you make of this push basically to stop Trump and Cruz at any cost?

PETER JOHNSON, JR., FOX NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there's a full-on panic in the Washington establishment to stop Donald Trump at this point. The odds are that it's probably too late. At the same time, a lot of the heavy, heavy money people are saying, We're not going to get involved with PACs to oppose Donald Trump's candidacy. So the Republican establishment is in a tough position at this point.

Can they get John Kasich to link up with Marco Rubio in a ticket perhaps?  What do they do with Ben Carson going forward? Is there any way to wrangle Ted Cruz? He's in this to the very end.

So for a long time, this is going to look like a circular firing squad, and probably Donald Trump emerges out of the next few races victorious.

HANNITY: You know, Peter, as you're saying that, I keep reading that all these big money people that were supporting Jeb Bush are now going to support Marco Rubio. But I don't think all that money helped Jeb Bush all that much in this insurgent year.

JOHNSON: Money...

HANNITY: Do you think it will help now?

JOHNSON: Money means litter -- little. Anger trumps literally money, outrage (ph) Trump's media buy time. There is a new paradigm in America.  This is a new America for good and for bad, and it's changing the landscape big, big-time.

HANNITY: Charles, you've been a very strong supporter of Mr. Trump from the very beginning. Do you think the money will matter? Do you think the pressure that is being brought to bear by the establishment on these other candidates -- is that going to have an impact, in your view?

CHARLES HURT, WASHINGTON TIMES: No. I mean, I think you made an excellent point. I mean, it didn't help Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush had a massive war chest, and he had it very early, at the very beginning of this. And they -- you know, they very much wanted to run right down the middle of the establishment lane. They put everything on that.

And it -- I mean, not only -- it was not only a bad strategy, it turned out to be a suicidal strategy. And so you know, it ended -- I mean, it's just kind of hard to believe that six months into this, you know, you have Jeb Bush getting out and you have Donald Trump basically where everyone thought Jeb Bush would be.

But I think in Nevada tonight, I don't think you can overstate the importance of this race for both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. They both have to perform here because this is where we're going to start defining who's going to be the un-Trump candidate.

And if Trump walks away with this thing, I think it's very, very bad for both of them and it's going to be bad for the establishment, who are just desperate for anybody to finally stand up and take some votes away from Donald Trump.

HANNITY: All right, Juan, I want to switch gears and ask you about Hillary Clinton. Now, Hillary Clinton was speaking yesterday and she referenced, let's see, Jim Crow and she thought we were done with that and she made a long list of people that Republicans are going to try to stop from voting this year.

Can you name those people that are trying to stop anybody from voting this election season, or will you condemn that as a race-baiting lie by Hillary Clinton?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: How is it a race-baiting lie? Are you kidding? Voter ID efforts by Republicans around the country, Sean?  You must have missed this?

HANNITY: Hey, Juan, so when I go to the DNC convention this year, like I went four years ago, and I have to present a photo ID., are they being racist towards me?

WILLIAMS: Oh, is there a constitutional right for Sean Hannity to attend the Democratic convention? I don't think so. And I think there are security issue...


WILLIAMS: ... the right to vote in America...


WILLIAMS: ... we have a constitutional...

HANNITY: You're getting booed, Juan.

WILLIAMS: Well, that's fine, but I'm telling you the truth.

HANNITY: Yes. All right, but the truth is -- wait a minute. So if we want a free and fair election in America, and we ask people to show that they're a citizen and they show some identification, you agree with Hillary that that's going back to the Jim Crow era.

WILLIAMS: But Sean...

HANNITY: But if Sean Hannity and every other person...


HANNITY: Wait a minute! Whoa! And every other person in America goes to the DNC convention, and I've got to have a photo ID, that's not racist?

WILLIAMS: You know...

HANNITY: That's hypocrisy, Juan!

WILLIAMS: You are too smart because you understand that there's an interest on the part of the Republican Party in depressing the vote of people who do not vote Republican. It's not a mystery, Sean.

HANNITY: Nobody's depressing votes, Juan!

WILLIAMS: Oh, I see.

HANNITY: Name one person who's doing it.


HANNITY: Name one!

WILLIAMS: Let me just tell you something.

HANNITY: Name one!

WILLIAMS: When you look at these higher (ph) efforts to put...

HANNITY: Who? Who?

WILLIAMS: ... voter ID on people -- look at what happened in Texas. Look at what's happened throughout the South. You can see who's impacted...


WILLIAMS: ... young people minorities...

HANNITY: All right, we're going to play this. Let me get Peter Johnson's reaction to this because Peter, I think is the voice of reason here.  Peter, I don't see anybody trying to stop anybody from voting in this country.

JOHNSON: I'm trying to be restrained here, and I have too much respect for Juan Williams's intelligence. He knows what he's saying is not accurate, and I don't believe it to be true. And deep in his heart, this is the kind of tactics that he's condemned Donald Trump for, kind of this overblown rhetoric.

To say somehow that the Republican Party in 2016 is part of a Jim Crow effort in the United States, part of some racist, horrible, disgusting effort to suppress votes, to depress votes, to rob people of their franchise -- that's just plainly wrong.

And so a voter identification bill, or voter identification law, which many states have, is to protect every vote in this country and to make sure that every voter has an opportunity to vote and that no one...

HANNITY: Absolutely!

JOHNSON: ... is kept away from the polls who should be there. It's that simple. And Juan, you know better than that.

HANNITY: And I agree with you.

WILLIAMS: No. I can't agree with you guys.


WILLIAMS: I have tremendous respect for you, but I got to tell you, I think you are literally whistling past the graveyard. You're closing the eyes because the reality is, everybody who looks at the voter ID effort says it impacts disproportionately...


HANNITY: Name one person that's trying to suppress votes!

WILLIAMS: ... get this, the elderly...

HANNITY: Name one person!

WILLIAMS: ... who don't have state-issued photo IDs.

JOHNSON: But when you say literally past the graveyard, is that some Civil Rights reference?

WILLIAMS: No. I'm saying you're in denial.

JOHNSON: I don't understand what you're talking about.

WILLIAMS: You know, you're in denial.

JOHNSON: But what state up because you don't want...


WILLIAMS: ... with the racial impact of depressing the vote.

JOHNSON: Say one state where Republicans are being racist and name one Republican...

WILLIAMS: Name one?

JOHNSON: ... governor...

WILLIAMS: Why don't I name a dozen?


HANNITY: All right...


JOHNSON: Oh, come on! Come on!

WILLIAMS: Look what happened when the Voting Rights Act of '65...

HANNITY: All right, hang on, Juan. Let me get...


JOHNSON: Juan, you're wrong.

HURT: Well, I think the one thing...

HANNITY: All right, let me go -- Charles...


HANNITY: Charles, here's my question. In a general election, you know and I know that this is going to be the playbook of the Democrats, Republicans are racist. The Republicans are homophobic, Republican want to throw granny over the cliff, Republicans hate women, Republicans want to poison the air and water. How should they deal with these lies? Because that's what we get every four years.

HURT: Well, quite frankly, I think that that's a big reason -- that's a big explanation for Donald Trump's success so far is that he hasn't put up with any of this stuff. If people go after him and level these kinds of accusations against him, he comes back guns ablazing. He does not flinch about going after anybody.

He's gone after Bill Clinton. He's gone after about the women stuff. He's gone after Hillary. He is not afraid to go after -- directly go after anybody. And what we have learned is that, actually, a Republican politician or someone running for president in the Republican Party...

HANNITY: All right, I got to break.

HURT: ... can actually win those fights.

HANNITY: I got to break. I want to thank you all. Juan, I don't know why you're laughing. Playing the race card is not funny.


HANNITY: I got to break.

WILLIAMS: ... to Latinos and Muslims and blacks about, you know, equal rights in America...

HANNITY: That's a shame.

All right, coming up, Republican...


HANNITY: All right, Republicans here in Nevada are caucusing at this very hour as they decide who they want to be the Republican nominee.

And then later tonight...


HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Across our country, Republican governors and legislatures are erecting one barrier after another that make it harder for black people to vote. It's a blast from the Jim Crow past.


HANNITY: All right, that was Hillary Clinton during her speech on race last week, playing the race card against Republicans. And according to a new report, liberal groups -- they want illegal immigrants to be able to vote in this election cycle.

But first, the 2016 Republican candidates duke it out over who has the best plan to combat illegal immigration. Monica Crowley, Rich Lowry -- they weigh in as "Hannity" continues live. We're in beautiful Las Vegas outside of Caesar's Palace, and we will continue.


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I backed Mitt Romney, and he failed. I backed John McCain, and he failed. This time, I said, I'm going to do it myself, OK?


TRUMP Believe me.




TRUMP: When I say the wall, everybody loves a wall, even the crazy candidates. The other day, I was listening to one of the candidates, and he said, We will build a wall. My wife said, Where does that come from?


TRUMP And we played it back. But now they're saying, We will build a wall. Now everybody likes the idea of the wall.


HANNITY: All right, welcome back to "Hannity" live in Vegas on the Strip right outside of beautiful Caesar's Palace. That was Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump during our interview last night accusing his Republican rivals of stealing his immigration strategy.

Now, the issue of immigration is a major topic in the 2016 race. Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio had this to say about their plans last night. Let's take a look.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The ones that are dangerous criminals, the ones that are violent, the ones that pose a threat would be immediately deported, and many others will have to leave or be deported because they don't qualify. They haven't been her long enough.

But I can just tell you that what we do with the rest of them is not even something we're going to have a debate about until we first secure our border. And only after we've secured our border, then we'll see what the American people are willing to support when it comes to someone who's been here for a long time, is not otherwise a criminal, has passed a background check, learns English, pays a fine, starts paying taxes.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We should enforce the law.  How do we enforce the law? Yes, we should deport them. We should build a wall. We should triple the border patrol. And federal law requires that anyone here illegally that's apprehended should be deported.

Both Donald Trump and Marco Rubio would allow those 12 million people to become U.S. citizens. Donald said once he deports them, he'd let them back in as citizens. I will not.


HANNITY: All right, joining us now with reaction, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley and from The National Review, Rich Lowry is with us.

All right, Monica, I don't think you really doubt that it was Trump that put this in the forefront in terms of the country's debate now on the issue of immigration. But with that said, the other candidates, especially Senator Ted Cruz, has also supported, you know, strong illegal immigration laws in the country. Thoughts.

MONICA CROWLEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, of course, that's right. I mean, look, illegal immigration was the issue that launched Donald Trump as a serious contender for the presidential nomination, and in many ways, it's the issue that has sustained him as the front-runner.

So it's no surprise that Donald Trump would want to protect his position on this and point out that other candidates, seeing the traction he's got on the issue, have tried to bulk up their positions. So now you see Senator Cruz, who has always been very strong on this issue.

But Marco Rubio, who had some problems with the "gang of eight" and spent a good deal of time trying to make it up to the conservative base and tried to reassure them that he learned his lesson from being duped by the likes of President Obama and Senator Chuck Schumer -- but now they're bulking up their positions. They are talking about building a wall. They're talking about augmenting the border patrol and ICE. They are talking about mass deportations.

I'm not so sure that those conversations would be happening to the extent that they are unless Donald Trump had really forced this to the forefront.

HANNITY: Rich, let me -- let me bring you in here. All the headlines today about the pressure of the establishment to push John Kasich out of this race, the support, the financial support going to Marco Rubio -- does that help Marco or does that hurt Marco in terms of they're going to, quote, make him the establishment candidate? What are your thoughts?

RICH LOWRY, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think to some extent, it's a double- edged sword. Look, the resources are good and necessary. The endorsements he got in South Carolina clearly helped him because Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy and Nikki Haley are young, fresh conservatives who are really popular on the right.

But Bob Dole, Tim Pawlenty -- those aren't endorsements that particularly help him. So I don't think this race is over, but clearly...


HANNITY: All right, so let me ask the question another way.

LOWRY: ... major head of steam.

HANNITY: So why is there -- I don't know who the establishment hates more, Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, but they clearly hate them. Why do they hate these two men, and why are they so out of sync with the base of their party?

LOWRY: Well, I think with Ted Cruz, it's very personal, and I don't think that's a worthy sentiment. You have Bob Dole saying he would support Donald Trump over Ted Cruz. And if you're Bob Dole, that makes zero sense.

But there are a lot of Washington lobbyists and others who are afraid that Ted Cruz actually believes things. He's actually a rock-ribbed Reagan Republican who believes deeply in principle. And they sense about Donald Trump...

HANNITY: So they hate him for that.

LOWRY: Well, they hate him for that...

HANNITY: So they hate him for that!

LOWRY: ... and for the way that he -- they feel as though he treated them, you know, inside the Senate lunches and all this petty stuff.

But they sense about Donald Trump -- and Trump actually says this about himself at times, or suggests it, that, I'm a deal maker. I can get along with the establishment. So some of these types...

HANNITY: They hate him, too.


HANNITY: Let's be honest here.

LOWRY: No, some of them...

HANNITY: The money -- the money -- the money that is now going to Marco Rubio from the establishment and the pressure to push John Kasich out and not let Kasich make up his own mind, is coming from people that feel this is a last-ditch effort to stop Donald Trump from getting the nomination.  Let's be honest about it.

LOWRY: Well, Sean, there's...

HANNITY: They're trying to kill Trump!

LOWRY: There was a Washington Post -- sorry, a New York Times article a couple weeks ago when it looked more like this was going to be a Trump-Cruz race, and it quoted lobbyists and insider after lobbyist and insider saying, We prefer Donald Trump. We feel as though we can work with Donald Trump. Trump said it a couple of weeks ago himself -- I can be a little bit establishment...

HANNITY: All right, I'm not...

LOWRY: ... when I need to be establishment.

HANNITY: I'm not buying it!

LOWRY: Ted Cruz is genuinely a rock-ribbed Reaganite.

HANNITY: The article -- I got it. But -- and I agree with half your analysis but not the other half.

Let me throw it to Monica. Monica, if they're pressuring John Kasich to get out and they're throwing all their money to Marco Rubio and the reason they're saying and stating in the Politico and everywhere else is they want to stop Trump and take Trump out -- isn't that what the Republican establishment is doing here?

CROWLEY: Well, I think that's exactly right because to Rich's point, they hate Ted Cruz for all the reasons that Rich laid out, but they fear Donald Trump. And they want neither one to win the nomination because the truth is, the establishment cannot control them.

If Donald Trump wins the presidency or Ted Cruz wins the presidency, the establishment is done. It's over. The control over the Republican National Committee, the control over everything will revert to the sitting president, over whom the establishment has no control.

HANNITY: All right, last question, Monica.

CROWLEY: So they are in an absolutely desperate mode to try to stop both of them.

HANNITY: Rich called it a double-edged sword. Does the establishment now rallying behind one person, Marco Rubio -- does that help him or hurt him?  He said it's a double-edged sword. What do you say?

CROWLEY: Well, I think in this environment, it actually hurts the candidate getting the bulk of the establishment support and money and endorsements because look, we're at a point of diminishing returns. In any other year, these kinds of endorsements and big money would be helpful to a candidate. The more establishment support any one of these candidates gets, the more their numbers are driven down. And we'll see tonight and going forward whether that holds true. But it's certainly held true to this point.

HANNITY: All right, thank you both for being with us. We appreciate it.  Thanks, Monica.

LOWRY: Thanks, Sean.

HANNITY: Thanks, Rich.

CROWLEY: You bet.

HANNITY: And coming up next from the Vegas Strip right outside of Caesar's Palace, this is next on "Hannity."



TRUMP: Certainly, it has to be looked.  At if a Republican wins, if I'm winning, certainly, you will look at that as being fair to everyone else. So unfair to the people that have been prosecuted over the years for doing much less than she did.


HANNITY: Wow. Prosecuting Hillary Clinton -- Donald Trump made a lot of news on this program last night after he vowed to prosecute Hillary Clinton if elected because of the server scandal. Ed Henry standing by live with reaction tonight from the Clinton campaign.

And later tonight, we're going to take you live to a caucus site right here in Vegas as Republicans right here in Nevada are deciding who they want to win the GOP nomination. That and more from Caesar's Palace. It's "Hannity" live on the Vegas Strip, and we'll continue.


SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every one of you is speaking not just for you, but for hundreds and thousands across this country who are saying, Enough is Enough. Stop cutting deals with the Democrats! Stop giving in! Stop burying us in debt! Stop handing away the Constitution!  Start fighting for the American people!



HANNITY: All right, welcome back to "Hannity." We're live in Vegas.  We're outside beautiful Caesar's Palace. Last night right here on this program, Donald Trump told us that if he wins the general election in November, he'd have no choice but to prosecute Hillary Clinton over the e- mail scandal. Watch this.


TRUMP: Well, look, you have no choice.  I mean, we have to solve all sorts of problems, and fairness is you have to look into that. Now, maybe she can prove her innocence, but it just seems to me that -- I think the public knows everything that they're going to know. You know, the e-mails have come out, and it's -- she seems to be guilty.

But you know what? I wouldn't even say that, but certainly, it has to be looked at if a Republican wins. If I'm winning, certainly, you will look at that as being fair to everyone else. So unfair to the people that have been prosecuted over the years for doing much less than she did.


HANNITY: All right, joining us now from South Carolina with reaction from the Clinton campaign is our own Ed Henry. Ed, what's going on there?

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Sean, good to see you. I asked the Clinton campaign to react directly to what Donald Trump told you. They would not respond.

I'm not surprised for a number of reasons. Number one, Hillary Clinton feels like she's turning the corner now after her win last weekend in Nevada. They were looking at potentially a big win here in South Carolina this coming Saturday. And then a week from tonight, super-Tuesday, she's poised to maybe start racking up a lot more delegates and put Bernie Sanders in a very defensive position.

But the other big development today is that a federal judge ruled and decided that it may go forward now, subpoenas of both Hillary Clinton, some of her aides like Huma Abedin, to go through the discovery process on personal e-mails they did not turn over to the State Department.

The Clinton campaign tonight is dismissing this as right wing politics, but it's interesting that the judge that issued the ruling today was actually appointed by then president Bill Clinton in the early '90s. So, you know, it is going to be hard to dismiss this.

Hillary Clinton just wrapped up a Democratic forum here behind me, by the way, at the University of South Carolina and was asked about the e-mail issue. She acknowledged that there is a drip-drip nature of this, but insisted there would no lasting impact from the e-mail controversy on her candidacy. Obviously, that's something that's simply not determined yet, Sean.

HANNITY: All right, Ed Henry, thank you. Joining us now with reaction, we have Democratic strategist Penny Lee, FOX News senior correspondent Geraldo Rivera. Geraldo, you and I battled over this a little bit, but everything I hear is that you got 150 FBI agents, and there's a likelihood according to all my sources that there will be a criminal referral at the end of this process at some point during this election cycle. If that happens, what does that do to this election?

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: That's a big if there, Sean. Let me go through the --

HANNITY: I don't think it's that big.

RIVERA: Let me go through the ifs and you and I can debate that last one.  Donald Trump says if I am elected. He is definitely going to be nominated.  He is going to route everybody in tonight's caucus. My vibe is Trump's going all the way. And I also think that as Ed Henry suggests, on Saturday Hillary Clinton riding the wave of African-American support in the palmetto state will cruise to an easy victory. And I think the Bern certainly taken hold, Bernie Sanders is burning out now.

Now going to the action by Judge Sullivan today in Washington. What the judge found was that there is reasonable suspicion that the private e-mail server was created to evade the Open Records Act. And he is allowing the Judicial Watch, the conservative activist group, to question some of Hillary Clinton's aides, to subpoena them and put them under deposition and ask what their motive to create a private e-mail server. We know what the motive was. The motive was to keep her private business private and out of prying eyes. I think like a slam dunk. I have reasonable suspicion. But to bring a criminal action you need probable cause that a crime has been committed. That's a far more stringent test --

HANNITY: But Geraldo, we both have respect for former New York City Mayor and former prosecutor Rudy Giuliani. He has pointed out 16 separate statutes that he believes they are investigating at this moment. He also says his sources have said they're done with the FBI in terms of e-mail scandal and they now have moved on to the issue of whether or not there's a conflict of interest and influence peddling as it relates to the Clinton Foundation.

Now, all of these people that when they're under oath and with Judicial Watch, all of those videotapes are going to be released to the public. And I guarantee you, Geraldo, it looks horrible for Hillary Clinton. And the likelihood of a criminal referral I hear is very high.

RIVERA: Well, you know, I think that when you analyze, just look at who are the people who are predicting that Hillary Clinton is going to be indicted. It is invariably, I love America's mayor almost as much as I love you, Sean, but I can only say that when partisans look at this judicial legal question and put a partisan political conclusion on it, that will not stand the legal test. In my view, there's no crime here, there's no intent to evade the intelligence laws and disseminate the secrets of the nation to enemy combatants.

HANNITY: Let me go to Penny Lee.

RIVERA: Come on. What are we talking about here?

HANNITY: We're talking about, in the case of General Petraeus, he was lucky to get away, and we're only talking about his schedule with somebody, who by the way, had clearance. This was an effort, Penny Lee. We know we have not only top secret information that was on their private server in a mom and pop shop bathroom, but we have thousands of e-mails that are labeled either special access programs, which is the highest security clearance, even above top secret. Each e-mail would then represent a felony count against Hillary. This is not a game when the FBI has 150 people investigating one person and one issue. If they didn't think there was reasonable cause and reasonable suspicion, I don't think they would be doing this.

PENNY LEE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: And Mrs. Clinton isn't treating it like a game. But there is a clear difference. Even Casey said, who was prosecuting on the Petraeus case, said there is a clear difference, and that was he knowingly intended to provide confidential information or classified information to somebody else without that clearance. He pled guilty. He knowingly gave it. That is not the case with Mrs. Clinton. It is far different.

Was there -- what they're debating over right now is, you know, a classification between some of the intelligence officers and a fight of the State Department. When was certain items deemed classified or not classified. But to her point, nothing that she received was classified at the time. And I think to Geraldo's point, that goes to --

HANNITY: That's the talking point.

LEE: And will not be prosecuted.

HANNITY: But, Penny Lee, as everybody in the security arena knows that there are e-mails, that there's information that is born classified. And we know special access programs and top secret and apparently satellite images of North Korea's nuclear site, any intelligent person would recognize that as something that needs to be protected and should not on a private serve.

Now, I'm not the judge and jury here. What's interesting is you have the Obama appointed inspector general of the intelligence community saying they found dozens and dozens of these e-mails that reached the highest level of security. If that's not a felony, and others have been prosecuted for far less, I don't know what is. We'll give you the last word.

LEE: And what we see is that we do not the full evidence. We do not everything that's on there. We don't know the backstory. We don't know the context. What we are getting are drips and drabs from people leaking it when they should wait for the full investigation to get done. We even have Colin Powell who said there's a lot of conversation that occurs in diplomats, and if some of the things I now have said are now deemed classified we cannot have a diplomacy.

HANNITY: Geraldo, let me give you the last word. I know you're chomping at the bit.

RIVERA: If we have 150 agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on this, for what, to go through Huma Abedin's e-mails? It's 150 FBI -- if that's true, who's watching for the terrorists if they're looking for this lady's e-mails?

HANNITY: Why it's important.

RIVERA: My washing machine broke down.

HANNITY: Let me tell you -- no, no, let me tell you why it's important, because Hillary said that this was about yoga and a wedding and a funeral.

RIVERA: I bet a bunch of them are.

HANNITY: As Catherine Herridge has reported, we're talking about top secret operatives, top secret methods, top secret investigations, in other words, people's lives are put in jeopardy.

RIVERA: Why aren't we investigating has she made -- Middle East. There's plenty to investigate. There's plenty to beat her on fair and square.  This is a distraction. Maybe that's why Judicial Watch is engaged because they like creating distractions.

HANNITY: I have to roll. No. Well, then why would the FBI director who were told has incredible, impeccable integrity be looking into this with such force? I think there's something there.

RIVERA: They have no right to have 150 agents, man. That's really a scandal.

HANNITY: Well, talk to Catherine Herridge. Her reporting has been amazing.

RIVERA: Coming up, Republican voters in Nevada decide tonight which candidate they want to become the GOP nominee. We'll check in with Alicia Acuna. She's standing by at a caucus site right here in Vegas. That's next. That and more as we continue right outside beautiful Caesar's Palace on the strip in Las Vegas. It's "Hannity" on the road.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." We're outside of Caesar's Palace in beautiful Las Vegas. Now the Nevada Republican caucuses are currently under way. And by the way, Alicia Acuna is standing at one of the caucus sites tonight. Alicia, what's going on there?

ALICIA ACUNA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Sean. Well, the Nevada GOP just tweeted that they have had no official reports of irregularities or violations, but, Sean, as you know, we have crews at caucus sites all over the state. They have reported some glitches. First and foremost, long lines. But one Republican party official did tell Fox News that's a good problem to have. Other sites have run out of some ballots. They've had do get more in there. So those are a couple of the glitch that we have heard of.

Let me give you a quick tour of where we are here at this high school. You take a look back at that wall and you see those numbers. Those are the precinct numbers. That's where folks are picking up their ballots. Now, they can either vote right away, drop off the ballot, or they can head out or come over to these tables and they can participate in the caucus, which I'll explain in just a second. But right now, let's hear from some voters.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my first caucus so I'm going to vote, and I just want to learn the process and see when it's all about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I enjoy the process, I really do. Gives people a chance to hear other points of views.

ACUNA: Convert, what does that mean?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That means, yes, dear. I'm for Trump. But, you know, I was for some other candidates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe he comes across as harsh to some people, but that's kind of president we need right now.


ACUNA: OK, so here's what's going on at the caucus tables. Some folks who haven't voted yet are listening to others who are attempting to sway them to their candidate. They're also picking the delegates who will eventually move on to the national convention. And, Sean, I can give you an example of some of the organizational problems that we have been having here. As our crew has been sitting here prepping to be live all evening, we have had a lot of people coming up to us trying to give us their ballots. They were confused, not exactly sure where to go, asking us questions about the process. The GOP here had had some problems getting volunteers and staffing these sites up. So they have had some issues with that regard.  Other than that, those are the only problems we have seen here. Sean?

HANNITY: All right, Alicia Acuna, thanks so much. Now, we're going to be getting reaction from our busy panel coming up, that and more as we continue live from the Vegas trip outside of beautiful Caesars Palace.  It's "Hannity" on the road. Glad you're with us.  


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity" as continue outside of Caesars Palace in Nevada. The Republican caucuses are underway. Here now with reaction, Fox News contributor Jedediah Bila, former Clinton pollster, Fox News contributor Doug Schoen, and Republican strategist Mercedes Schlapp. If the polls are correct, I have no reason to believe that they're wrong here in Nevada, Mercedes, it should be a big night for Donald Trump. I would expect a one-two punch following with Rubio and Cruz or Cruz and Rubio, but a repeat of South Carolina is what I'd expect. Your thoughts?

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, it should be. Nevada is a critical state for Trump because it would be his first win in a caucus state. Remember, Iowa, it sort of fell apart for Donald Trump coming in second place. For Nevada this means if he comes out with a strong win in Nevada, and people are always very critical as to how is his ground game?  We have to realize Rubio and Cruz have been down in Nevada organizing a strong ground game in that state. And so I think for Donald Trump, if he's able to pull off the significant win here, it will mean he's again in a very strong position moving ahead into super Tuesday.

HANNITY: Jedediah, that would be three in a row, and that would be heading into super Tuesday where he leads in a vast majority of states. Does that mean at that point he's unstoppable in spite of the Republicans trying to kick out Kasich and fund Rubio's campaign?

JEDEDIAH BILA, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, the establishment is having a nervous breakdown right now. It's incredible.

Yes, I think he is unstoppable. We've talked about this a lot. I think the momentum is on his side. I think people are dissatisfied with the status quo. I think, look, you have Cruz not being able to pick up steam.  If Cruz can't do it in South Carolina with evangelicals, people are trying to make this argument to me that he's so electable. And I'd like to see him try to do that given the stats.

Donald Trump, whether you like it or not, is a guy who has been able to succeed in areas where people did not think he was going to be able to without the backing of the establishment and, honestly, without the backing of a lot of conservatives in large part who have distrusted him. He's galvanizing people who are dissatisfied with things as they are.

HANNITY: Let me go to Doug Schoen. Doug, you've been a very honest Democrat and a broker in this thing, and you pointed out many time, hey, 20 percent of Democrats may cross over and vote for Trump because they want to shake up Washington. Now, as you watch what's happening here, and I watch these analysts on TV and listen to them on radio. I'm like, well, if this person gets out, all of the votes will go to this person. And every poll shows that that is not true, but they keep saying the same thing. How wrong are they?

DOUG SCHOEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: They're very wrong, Sean, because as Trump gets stronger, his numbers, particularly with Republicans, get better and I think we will probably see that as he goes his constituency will expand in the Republican Party. And frankly because the establishment plots against Donald Trump, he does better and better. They would do better to leave well enough alone, but it's helping Donald Trump. He appeals to anti-Washington sentiment, anger, and a desire for complete change.

HANNITY: All right, and coming up, we'll have more "Hannity" live. We're on the Vegas strip right outside of Caesar Palace as we continue. When we come back, you're going to meet a couple that just got married and a famous caller on my radio show named Velma, straight ahead.  


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." We're outside of Caesars Palace. We're live on the Vegas strip. We have a cute couple right over here, and introduce yourselves. Say hi.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm David Newsome and this is my wife, Jenna.



HANNITY: And you recently got married?


HANNITY: Do you like having a second honeymoon?


HANNITY: My only question is why did you marry him? You're way out of his league.


HANNITY: Does everybody agree? In all seriousness, I know you're getting on the red eye. Congratulations. Did you have a good time?


HANNITY: Thank you for coming.

Now, for those of you that listen to my radio show, this is the famous Velma. She's a big, liberal Democrat, and these are my adopted nephews Marcel and Anthony. Guys, say goodbye.


HANNITY: All right, we're out of time. Our continuing coverage here on the Fox News Channel, and we'll see you back here, soon. Thanks for being with us.

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