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Kelly File

Rep. McCaul: Europe overwhelmed by terror threats; Why terrorism can run in families

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," March 24, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SANDRA SMITH, GUEST HOST: Breaking tonight. Fear spreading across Europe as authorities continue to launch new raids. Arrests are made and another terror attack appears to have been thwarted in France.

Welcome to "The Kelly File." I'm Sandra Smith in for Megyn Kelly tonight.  We'll get to the situation in Brussels in just a moment. But first to France where authorities have arrested a man believed to have been in the advanced stages of plotting a terrorist attack. At this moment, security forces do not believe this plot is linked to events in Belgium. Meanwhile, we're getting late breaking reports out of Brussels that six people have been taken into custody in connection to Tuesday's attack.

Right now, it's unclear if any of them are the mystery men who were spotted at the murder scenes. Remember, authorities have been on the hunt for the so-called man in white who was seen at the airport and they're trying to find out more about a man seen in the sketch who was spotted on surveillance video carrying a large bag alongside the metro attacker.

Shepard Smith reports live from Brussels tonight. Shepard.

SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Sandra, the raids went down just as expected, but we certainly didn't expect for there to be six people taken into custody. Two different raids in two different neighborhoods here in Brussels, plus the arrest of three people in front of the federal prosecutor's office. And now the prosecutors do confirm that all six were arrested in connection with the terrorist attack in Brussels which happened on Tuesday. In France, that raid produced one suspect and an important one they tell us. They said that an attack was under way in its advanced stages, as you out it and that attack was thwarted.

French officials promise more information in the morning. The two brothers who carried out the suicide bombing attacks here in Brussels on Tuesday.  One at the airport and one at the train station, now we know both of those bothers were already on a terrorist watch list inside the United States.  Was it shared? According to authorities in the United States, they typically share all information like that with interested countries, but specifically whether this was shared is also most likely a matter for first light. Two people are still official at large here. One, the man who was the third suspect in that CCTV picture from the airport here during the bombing at the airport, he's the man on the right, as you mentioned the man in white. As far as we know, he's still at large.

And new information today from the terror attack that happened at the train station here in Brussels. We know there was one bomber, the younger of the two brothers. But now police inform that there are pictures from CCTV that show another man was with him, a man carrying a black bag. A man they haven't yet seen. It's possible that he died in the explosion. It's possible that he's on the run. Supposed, it's also possible that authorities are still sitting on it. But officially he's still at large.  And finally, word from the State Department tonight that at least a dozen Americans are in some way involved here. Three missionaries -- three religious missionaries who were here, service member and four of his family members injured. Four others listed as unaccounted for. And two others about whom they will not yet be specific, whether they're related to the military or security forces we don't yet know. The State Department though Sandra promises more information tomorrow.

SMITH: Shepard, thank you.

Now as we've been reporting, two of the Brussels attackers were brothers.  One believed to have died at the airport. The other in the attack on the subway system. But this is hardly the first time that we've seen family members carry out acts of terror. In fact, it appears to be a disturbing trend. Here to talk about it, a former Islamic extremist who spent four years in an Egyptian prison and has since reformed.

Maajid Nawaz is the co-founder and chairman of the Think Tank Quilliam and author of "Radical, My Journey Out of Islamist Extremism."

Good evening to you, Maajid.

MAAJID NAWAZ, FORMER ISLAMIC EXTREMIST: Good evening.

SMITH: You look at this trend of family members operating in these terrorist cells. Why are they recruiting siblings, particularly these case where is in this most recent case in Brussels where brothers were acting together?

NAWAZ: Yes, Sandra, I mean, I can speak of this with some experience.  When I joined the Islamist organization that I did at 16-years-old, I also joined alongside my older brother and my two cousins. All of us who grew up together, we went in the same direction and only later split. At the early stages of radicalization and the recruitment process, this is often the case, because groups of young men and often these days also young women, feel more affinity towards each other and their bonds of blood or friendship or kinship are closer to each other than they are in wider society. And that's because of the state of disintegration that exists across Europe with regards to European Muslims and the state visibly mainstream society.

SMITH: But -- so their upbringing has a lot to do with it, and the upbringing the things that they have in common. But your point is also that once they're acting together, that there's a trust involved, and the fear of infiltration is one of the biggest concerns of these terrorists.  That too is a reason why siblings and family members are getting together.

NAWAZ: Yes. I mean, you're incredibly unlikely to betray your own brother or your own cousin or your own childhood friend who you've grown up with.  That's one factor. I think it is important to mention that the first generation, the parents often subscribe to an incredibly different version of Islam to those who become radicalized in the second and third generations. But those younger -- the youth have grown up together have their own experiences with wider society and they don't feel part of European society, they don't feel part of the societies of their parent's countries of origin. And that identity crisis, they all go through it together.

So, it's a shared experience. I think it is also important to mention Howie, that's the beginning of the radicalization process. Once the indoctrination kicks in. You know, two, three years down the line, then the recruit could potentially betray anyone for the sake of the ideology.  We have examples of ISIS people killing their own mothers in Raqqa when they're ordered to by ISIS as an organization. So ones the ideologically indoctrination is there, loyalty is with the group above and beyond everything else.

SMITH: When you mentioned ISIS, there's a different trend there even than just brothers and siblings getting together. You mentioned women. ISIS, all are involved. We see parents and children and siblings and aunts and uncles, and as you mentioned, cousins, everyone is involved when it comes to ISIS. This is much different than what we've seen in the past.

NAWAZ: Yes. And one of the reasons for that is for decades in Europe, the Islamist ideology has reigned unchecked in some of these communities.  There have been no real efforts to challenge it and of course because they shout loud and threaten the mosques, they've come to dominate the discourse. And so families in those cases where they've joined ISIS, they've been for decades growing up on a diet, of romanticizing the notion of a return of a caliphate. So when ISIS audaciously declared that they had resurrected the so-called caliphate, by that time, these are families that have been for sometimes 10 to 15 years waiting for that glorious moment of moving to that Utopian state where God's law will be implemented.  And actually this points to the urgency of us beginning to gets to grips with challenging this lamest ideology on the grassroots which, you know, we can't even name the problem at the moment. Let alone challenge it.

SMITH: And that's the challenge. And you have spoken many times to this that prevention is the key, because it is so hard to come out of it as you did. You're an example of that.

Thank you so much for joining us tonight. Good to have you, Maajid.

NAWAZ: Thank you, Sandra.

SMITH: All right. We're also learning today that those brothers may have been planning something even bigger than the Brussels attacks that unfolded on Tuesday as ongoing investigations suggest a Belgian nuclear facility may have been the group's initial target.

Trace Gallagher is live in our West Coast Newsroom with the latest on that.  Trace, good evening.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, good evening. And the hours after this week's attack on Brussels, Belgium's three nuclear power sites were sealed off and all nonessential personnel had their security clearances revoked. At the time, Belgian authorities said the move was based on, quote, "New information and the events of today." Well, now we know Belgian Security Forces were concerned that nuclear facilities themselves could have been targets for terror and here's why. Three months ago during a raid in Brussels that was linked to finding information about the terror attacks in Paris, investigators found surveillance video of one of Belgium's senior nuclear scientists, the head of the country's nuclear research and development program.

Someone had secretly placed a video camera in a bush near the scientist's home to track his daily routine. The fear is that terrorists were planning to kidnap the nuclear expert to gain information on how to get inside a nuke facility. Experts say, they were likely trying to steal radioactive material to use in a dirty bomb. The covert videotape of the scientist also showed two men coming to grab the camera out of the bush. Belgian authorities didn't know who the men were until the Bakraoui brothers were identified as two of the suicide bombers in Brussels. Investigators believe the Bakraoui brothers were planning a much bigger attack, but had to move up their timeline and change their targets after last week's capture of Salah Abdeslam, the man wanted in connection to the attacks in Paris back in November -- Sandra.

SMITH: All right. Trace, thank you.

Well, as officials across the globe are warning that the ongoing rage may be forcing other ISIS cells into action, one high ranking U.S. Intel official is now warning that many of our European partners are overwhelmed when it comes to their ability to prevent future attacks.

Texas Republican Michael McCaul is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and author of "Failures of Imagination: The Deadliest Threats to Our Homeland--and How to Thwart Them."

Chairman, what do you make of the latest -- the latest threats? We see this report this week that ISIS has deployed 400 of its fighters throughout Europe. Does Europe have the ability to fight this?

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, R-TEXAS, CHAIRMAN, HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: I think Europe is overwhelmed. I think Belgium, particularly I was there after the -- or just before the Paris attacks. There are so many people on the radar screen that they cannot pay attention to all of them. And it's not only Belgium, it's France, Germany, and the UK. When you talk about the number of foreign fighters, and these are foreign fighters trained in Syria as military soldiers that came back into the region. We have 40,000 that have been trained. Five thousand have come back into Europe and hundreds into the United States. And I think that's the biggest concern with respect to Europe though, is that they're just overwhelmed with the number of foreign fighters and plots and cells. Remember the mastermind of the Paris attack claimed they brought in 90 people. Ninety foreign fighters with him to conduct terror attacks.

SMITH: Chairman, you said that you believe that this attack, these attacks in Brussels were accelerated because of the arrest of the terror suspect in Paris. Are you working under the assumption now that other plots had been rushed and moved forward?

MCCAUL: Well, I think so. I think the arrest in Paris today of the advanced terror plot was a major victory for France. However, I do think with the arrest of the tenth Paris attacker that was just four days before the Brussels attack, that when they saw that, and there was some information he was cooperating, that accelerated them into action and the cells became operational at that point. Now, I think that's why you saw it happen so quickly. As was reported, I think there was another plot where they were looking at breaking into a nuclear facility.

SMITH: Right. Something you know a lot about, you wrote about in your book.

MCCAUL: Well, in my book, I talk about the use of radioactive material being brought across in the western hemisphere, across the U.S.-Mexico border and a dirty bomb explosion going off in the Houston shipping channel. These are all very real scenarios that we need to be, you know, on top of as policy makers.

SMITH: Where are we, chairman, people listening to this and watch thing news unfold and those arrests made and of course, these deadly terrorist attacks that played out in Brussels. And Americans are wondering is it coming here? What is your best assessment at where we are in this fight?  And our vulnerability here on U.S. soil.

MCCAUL: Well, I think the threat is far greater in Europe than it is the United States, because of the number of foreign fighters is 5,000 as opposed to a couple of hundred. But you know, don't know what you don't know. What we do know is that there are individuals, ISIS members in Syria, talking to individuals in the United States and part of the problem, Sandra, is we can't see the communications. Because it's done in encryption. And if you can't see what they're saying, it's really hard to stop it. I think this is one of the greatest challenges to the Homeland and to FBI as they try to close in on the suspects in the United States.

SMITH: And this has been one of your big things, the encryption. We're operating in these dark spaces. You talk about this a lot. Did these terrorists work under those conditions?

MCCAUL: Well, we know that in the Paris attacks, they use an app called telegram, which was in encryption and we couldn't see that. People say, why didn't you see Paris coming? It's because we couldn't see the communications. And I would not be surprised, given the connectivity between the cells in Paris and the cells in Belgium, and in Brussels, I would assume that they were using the same dark space encrypted communications.

SMITH: Okay. Chairman McCaul, thank you for joining us tonight.

MCCAUL: Thank you, Sandra.

SMITH: More than 48 hours after terrorists pulled off the worst violence Belgium has seen since World War II, we're getting breaking information about the Americans reported missing after the attacks. We will take you back to Brussels with the latest on the ground from a country under siege.

Plus, a dance floor moment from President Obama's Argentina trip, drawing some ire. A lot of people are talking about this picture today. Marc Thiessen and Robert Zimmerman are hear for a fair and balanced debate on that.

And more shots being fired in the war of words over Ted Cruz and Donald Trump's wives. Comments from the Texas senator suggesting he's had enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald, you're a sniveling coward. Leave Heidi the hell alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMITH: Breaking tonight. For the past two days, loved ones have been waiting for word on the fate of four Americans who haven't been heard from since the Brussels attacks. Tonight, we are sad to report that FOX News has learned that one of the families' worst fears may have come true.

Mike Tobin is live in Brussels, Belgium. Mike?

MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Sandra, I don't have good information or good news for you tonight, particularly as it relates to Alex and Sascha Pinczowski. That is the brother and sister who lived in New York, they were from here and they were back visiting. The family members sent some representatives out here hoping against hope that they would be among these four people who were in the hospital badly injured and unidentified. Well, the family tells us tonight that they have been provided a list of those survivors, and Alex and Sascha were not on that list. Their hope is really dashed at this stage in the game. Alex and Sascha were both standing near the Delta ticket counter when the bombs went off. The family is now asking for support, prayers, and privacy.

Also among the missing are Justin and Stephanie Schultz. They moved to Brussels in 2014. They're both from Kentucky and Tennessee. They were dropping off Stephanie's mother at the airport when the bombs exploded.  Carolyn Moore, the mother survived. She said Stephanie was waving goodbye to her at the time that the bombs went off. Sadly or to make matters worse, that family had been informed at one point that both Stephanie and Justin survived, only to find later that that was bad information. Twenty two people are now missing following these blasts -- Sandra.

SMITH: All right. Mike, thank you.

Also breaking tonight, the issue of political optics. Dancing onto center stage with President Obama hit hard even by left of center media for doing the tango on his Argentina trip. This was just 24 hours after terrorists struck Brussels.

Joining me now is Marc Thiessen, he is a FOX News contributor and the former chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush. And Robert Zimmerman, democratic strategist and DNC Committee member.

All right. Good evening to you both.

MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Good evening.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good evening.

SMITH: Robert, I'll start with you first. The optics of this, they don't look good.

ZIMMERMAN: Well, obviously. By every standard, it's a bad photo-op without question and the individual who advanced that moment and orchestrated should get his resume out and look for a new job. But the bigger issue here, Sandra, when you hear specially Mike's heartbreaking report from the tragedy in Brussels, the bigger issue here is that a president of the United States cannot be forced to retreat home from these historic trips to Cuba and Argentina, because that exactly plays into what the terrorist agenda is, which is to control and dictate our President's conduct. And likewise, we can't allow ourselves out of fear and panic to embrace the Cruz and Trump strategy and rationale, which actually has been condemned by many of our leading generals who served in the Bush administration and our leading law enforcement officials.

SMITH: Okay. But Marc, I --

ZIMMERMAN: Because that compromises and threatens our security at home.

SMITH: Robert, I mean, you brought it to a whole new level and you addressed him not coming home. And Marc, I think you'll be the first to point out that many of the calls weren't for Obama to come home. They were simply saying it probably isn't a good time to dance the tango.

THIESSEN: No, that's exactly right. I mean, the optics of the president of the United States dancing a tango, and I think Robert and I agree on this, were terrible. He probably shouldn't have gone to the baseball game.  I personally think he should have been in Cuba to begin with. That is a policy dispute. But I mean, if you're going to be in Cuba, if you're not going to retreat, don't go to a baseball game and pal around with Raul Castro, don't dance the tango. But the bigger problem here is not the optics. I'm less concerned about the fact that Barack Obama was dancing in Argentina than I am about the fact that we're losing the war with Islamic radicalism, that ISIS is on the march across the world.

You know, it's not just Brussels and Paris where these attacks have happened. Since 2014, the Islamic State has carried out 75 attacks in 20 countries outside of Iraq and Syria that have killed 1,280 people and injured 1,770. This -- the President of the United States told us in November that ISIS was contained. They are not contained. They are carrying out, they're getting stronger, they are on the march across the world. They now have cells all throughout Europe and they are going to come here.

ZIMMERMAN: Marc, let's --

SMITH: Robert, go ahead.

THIESSEN: They are going to come here.

ZIMMERMAN: No one is underestimating the threat ISIS represents to the world and to our safety and it's clear that it's a top priority. Let's also remember Marc, this is important, that when the President was talking about the United States and our coalition's role combatting ISIS already in the Middle East, ISIS has already lost 40 percent of the territory that are originally claimed and it's oil profits are down 30 percent in the past year. Obviously more has to be done. But quite frankly Marc, it could begin with the Republican Congress finally stepping up and passing a resolution of war against ISIS which they refuse to do. Likewise, the Republican Senate could confirm a secretary of the army. Let's put the rhetoric aside and unite as a country and take it on ISIS. That's the challenge here.

SMITH: So, Marc, let's go back to you. Because the President in the short amount of time that he did address Brussels during his trip, he did say that fighting ISIS and fighting terror is his number one priority.

ZIMMERMAN: Yes.

SMITH: That, Robert, I would say is why there's so many questions tonight about why we've heard so little from him in the wake of this attack.

ZIMMERMAN: Well, actually -- actually I think -- I'm sorry, is this for Marc or is this for me, Sandra?

SMITH: Robert, go ahead and finish and then I'll have Marc have the last word.

ZIMMERMAN: Okay. By all means. Most importantly Sandra, obviously the President has addressed this. He has to continue to rally our country to this, and I believe most of all he has to rally the world and I think we've made important steps in the Middle East to doing that. Our intelligence work, our FBI and our CIA --

SMITH: Okay.

ZIMMERMAN: And our law enforcement around the country is a great source of pride for all of us. And I think likewise the Republican Congress has got to put aside the partisanship and join with him and declare a war resolution against ISIS.

SMITH: Marc?

THIESSEN: You know, Robert said that the President has an underestimated ISIS. This is a man who in 2014 said ISIS is the jayvee squad and said, this is a direct quote, they are not a direct threat or something that we have to wade into. ISIS came in, took over territory the size of Great Britain, took in billions of dollars and in November he said they're contained. Paris, Belgium, San Bernardino. Now another plot broken up in pairs. They are not contained. They are growing in strength. And that's the problem we face today.

SMITH: All right. Anger and fears are running high tonight. Thanks to you both for joining us.

THIESSEN: Thanks.

SMITH: All right. Breaking tonight, Trump comfortably leads the GOP field. But what about hypothetical polling against Hillary Clinton come November? Michael Johns and Rich Lowry break down the latest numbers and what it all means for the general.

And as Donald Trump revives the war of words over his wife Melania and Ted Cruz's wife Heidi, comments from the Texas Senator suggesting he's had enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: It's not easy to tick me off. I don't get angry often. But you mess with my wife, you mess with my kids, that will do it every time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMITH: All right. Donald Trump continuing his war of words with Ted Cruz today over their wives. It all began when an anti-Trump Super PAC used an image of Melania Trump in an ad, something the Cruz campaign has since disavowed. But when Trump retweeted the following post on Twitter today, seemingly comparing his wife Melania's look to Cruz's wife Heidi, the Texas senator took an even harsher tone. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: Why Donald Trump is launching insults and attacks at their mommy, I'm not looking forward to that conversation. Real men don't try to bully women. Donald, you're a snivelling coward and leave Heidi the hell alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So will you support him if he's the nominee?

CRUZ: I'm going to beat him for the nomination.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not answering the question.

CRUZ: I am answering the question. Donald Trump will not be the nominee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: Katie Pavlich is the TownHall.com news editor and "Fox News" contributor David Wallace, a Trump supporter and attorney.

Good evening to you both.

DAVID WALLACE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Sandra.

SMITH: So David, I'll start with you first, because did I read this right, that you said that Trump's a man's man and that's what his followers love about him? In defense of his attack on Ted Cruz's wife.

WALLACE: I mean, is there any doubt about that? I mean, you saw his wife attacked by the Super PAC that was anti-Trump and assumed that Cruz was behind --

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: But wait, wait, wait, but the Super PAC is not tied to Ted Cruz.  Let's be clear.

WALLACE: Right. Right. Right.

But Cruz denied the Iowa scandal, too, until he was confronted and had to admit that his operatives told voters not to vote for Ben Carson because he had drop out.

But Cathy --

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: But here's the thing -- Sandra, here's the thing.

SMITH: OK, go ahead.

WALLACE: Look, the reality is Donald Trump responded with satire. That was a satirical tweet of his wife next to Heidi Cruz.

(CROSSTALK)

KATIE PAVLICH, NEWS EDITOR, TOWNHALL.COM: No, he did not.

WALLACE: What if he had made the tweet, his beautiful wife and possible future first man of the United States Bill Clinton with a smirk on his face, would people have been outraged? No. They would have laughed and moved on. And that's what people need to do with this one.

SMITH: Well, if I were the wives, Katie, I don't think I would have laughed.

(CROSSTALK)

PAVLICH: It's not funny and I find it again amazing how Donald Trump supporters, like David, continue to condone behavior that is easily condemnable and when it's the right thing to do. Supporters like David here can't actually get on the right side of things. This is the facts here.

Ted Cruz had nothing to do with the ad that was put out with Melania Trump.  In fact, when Ted Cruz found out about it, he responded by saying Melania is a wonderful person and Heidi is the love of his life. Donald Trump then responded by again proving that he only cares about what women look like.  He again repeated his track record of going after the wives of candidates.  Let's not forget that Heidi Cruz is not one of Donald Trump's first targets here.

Jeb Bush's wife, of course, was another target of Donald Trump's inappropriate, immature and frivolous attacks that proves once again that Donald Trump is unpresidential, unfit for the presidency. And he should be making better decision.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: OK, David, go ahead.

WALLACE: You know what, you've got to sense the humor --

PAVLICH: And people like you should be condemning it. It's not funny.  It's not funny.

WALLACE: If you don't have, if you don't have a sense of humor, then you shouldn't be in this game. It was a satirical tweet, obviously.

PAVLICH: No, it wasn't.

WALLACE: We know Heidi Cruz is a beautiful, smart woman. And he had a tweet with her smirking next to his wife to sort of --

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: OK, but David, could Ted Cruz --

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: A horrible naked picture of his wife in an ad in Utah caucuses, just before the caucuses took place, and knowing full well that the Mormon people are very offended by that kind of thing. I think you guys are blowing it up to far more than this and Ted Cruz is outrage.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: Katie, do you think that this all could have been put to rest if Ted Cruz would have immediately condemned the use, the Super PAC's use of Donald Trump's wife in that ad?

PAVLICH: No. This could have immediately been avoided if Donald Trump didn't assume that Ted Cruz put the photo out in the first place, when it was a Super PAC that has nothing to do by federal law with the campaign.

WALLACE: Oh, please, come on.

PAVLICH: To say that this was a joke and it was satirical is straight propaganda, which is not surprising coming from a Donald Trump supporter like you.

WALLACE: Ted Cruz is outraged over this because he's trying to get political mileage that he can't get dealing with the issues because he's been losing across the board.

PAVLICH: No, he's defending his wife. He's defending his wife.

(CROSSTALK)

I just want to end on this, David. I want to say politically here, Ted Cruz defended his wife. He defended Melania Trump. And, politically, half of Republican women, according to new "NBC" poll out today refuse to vote for Donald Trump. And if Donald Trump can't get 50 percent of Republican women, he sure is not going to get 50 percent of independent and Democrat in the general election.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Every Republican woman -- every woman I know, Republican or Democrat, is voting for Donald Trump.

PAVLICH: That's not true.

WALLACE: That's the reality.

SMITH: All right, David, Katie, thank you.

WALLACE: That's the reality.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: I'll let the viewers decide how they feel about that statement.

All right, well, Mr. Trump continues to dominate his GOP competitors in polling and the delegate count. A series of polls released in the last 24 hours show the Republican frontrunner facing an uphill battle versus Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical November match-up.

Fox News' own polling released last night showing Trump down 11 points.  "Bloomberg" has Clinton winning by 18 points. And, finally, "Monmouth" today has the GOP frontrunner who, again, is leading the Republican field by an average 13 points down 10 against her.

Joining me now, Michael Johns is the co-founder of the National Tea Party Movement and a former speechwriter to President George H.W. Bush, and Rich Lowry, "Fox News" contributor and editor at "National Review."

Rich, I'll start with you first. Is this an uphill battle for Donald Trump? He's still top of the polls as far as the GOP field is concerned.

RICH LOWRY, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: Yes, I don't discount the possibility, Sandra, that Trump could do much better than these early polls are suggesting and surprise everyone the way he has in the Republican primary battle. But he is starting out with a real problem.

He has been sliding the wrong way in these head-to-head matches with Hillary Clinton as those numbers you flashed on the screen suggested. He is below 40 percent in some of these polls and losing by double digits in a lot of them.

And then you dig down and look at the subgroups. His numbers are toxic among Millennials, among women, among suburbanites, among college educated people, among blacks, among Hispanics.

And you look at individual states where he tells us he's going to do so well and change the map in New York and New Jersey and Pennsylvania, plays Michigan. He's losing by double digits to Hillary there, as well.

So based on every piece of objective evidence we have, the easiest way to make Hillary Clinton the next president of the United States is to nominate Donald Trump.

So, Michael, make some sense of this. How is he leading by so much on the GOP side? But then in polls, it shows he does so poorly against Hillary Clinton. How does that work?

MICHAEL JOHNS, CO-FOUNDER, NATIONAL TEA PARTY MOVEMENT: I'm not terribly concerned about the state of the polls at this juncture. I mean, if you were going to go back to 1980, for instance, and look at say where Reagan was with Carter, he was 25 points behind Carter at this juncture.

As Mr. Trump has pointed out, he's not really even begun to take off the gloves against Hillary Clinton. She's a very flawed candidate in many ways. And, frankly, it's really a very legitimate question as too whether she does or does not end up being indicted.

SMITH: So why not, though -- why doesn't he, Michael, why doesn't he take the gloves off with Hillary Clinton? Why doesn't he start this attack on Hillary Clinton that he keeps promising and saying that he has not yet begun?

JOHNS: Yes. And I think the issue there is simply that he is trying to unify and I think doing successfully so the conservative movement, the Tea Party Movement and the Republican Party behind his nomination, which I'm quite confident he's actually going to secure.

And really we're at a point in the evolution of this process, when the time has come to realize that this is a man of extraordinary promise. I mean, he's bringing issues to the surface, Mr. Trump is, that really need to be addressed by Republicans. He's offering great promise, I think, to identify with grassroots Republicans in ways that they haven't done.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: Rich, go ahead. Let me get, Rich, back in here.

(CROSSTALK)

LOWRY: Let me just quickly address the Reagan comparison, because that's kind of a cliche among Trump's supporters. And it really doesn't hold up to scrutiny. It's based mostly on an erroneous Gallup poll from early 1980. And the "Gallup" poll was just wrong all throughout 1980.

And also in that early period, first three months in 1980, Jimmy Carter was benefiting from a rally around the flag effect with the hostage crisis.  But polling early in 1979, had Reagan very competitive with Carter and thus the polling the rest of 1980 had Reagan ahead. And we're also doing a disservice to the memory of Ronald Reagan, who was a man who was serious in his purpose and fundamentally decent.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: Michael -- I got to get Michael here for one last word here.

Michael?

JOHNS: It was obviously untrue.

LOWRY: He would never do what Donald Trump has done to Heidi Cruz the last couple of days. Never in a million years.

JOHNS: Yes, I think the time has really come to -- I mean, certainly, if you're going to look back eight months ago, I don't -- you know, Rich is a great expert and I respect him. I don't think he would have predicted that Trump would be at the position he's at right now. So these polls are really not terribly meaningful.

The point is he is a transformational leader. I mean, the things that he's bringing, you know, really, to the surface are really unprecedented and very important to address.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH: All right. Well, we still have a long way to go, guys. Thanks for joining us tonight.

JOHNS: Yes, there is.

LOWRY: Thanks so much.

SMITH: All right. Raids in the city of Brussels continue at this very moment. Some 72 hours after Tuesday's attacks. For that reason, terror becoming a hot topic among presidential frontrunners.

And former Bush media strategist's Mark McKinnon, Showtime crew, was there to capture it all. He is here next on what we heard behind-the- scenes from the two frontrunners.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK MCKINNON, SHOWTIME: You got the call from your friends this morning.  You already were scheduled to do a bunch of morning show interviews by phone. Did you consult anybody about what to say? Did you talk to them?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: No. I don't have to consult anybody. I say it from my heart and my brain.

MCKINNON: Right.

TRUMP: It's not just heart, it's heart and brain. And that's what I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMITH: Breaking tonight, terror raids under way right now across Europe. You're looking at live pictures out of Brussels where six people had been arrested. Investigators are still on the scene. There's no word if they have any connection to Tuesday's deadly terror attacks.

We'll continue to monitor the situation and bring you any new developments as they happen.

Showtime's popular series "The Circus" takes the viewer up close and personal with Republican and Democratic candidates on the campaign trail.  This week, behind the scenes taking on a more serious tone when cameras capture the first reaction to the terrorist attacks in Brussels from Hillary Clinton's press secretary and Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCKINNON: We're talking about how that happen, when it happen, how you -- when you became aware of it and then what happened from there.

NICK MERRILL, TRAVELLING PRESS SECRETARY FOR HILLARY CLINTON: Sure. In the middle of the night, I must have rolled over and looked at my iPhone and this news had broken. And sort of half registered it. And you want to be carefully. You know, she's a political candidate, but she's a former secretary of state, so you have a balance of how you talking about it, but you know sort of waiting.

MCKINNON: And so this is an opportunity where people, where voters get an opportunity to see people under pressure when responding to real-time events.

MERRILL: Yes, and it's something, thankfully -- and one of the reasons why, you know, I work for her -- that she's good at it. We didn't have a lot of information at the time, and you have to be careful.

MCKINNON: When did you learn about this? About what happened in Brussels? How did you -- just what happened? Like what was that --

TRUMP: I received a call. I receive a call in the morning, and then I turned on the television.

MCKINNON: Like 5:00 a.m.

TRUMP: Pretty early.

MCKINNON: Friends used to call you that early, that's a good friend.

TRUMP: Yes. You know, I'm not a big sleeper.

And I saw what happened, and I turn on the television and saw what happens and here we go, here we go.

MCKINNON: You got the call from your friend this morning. You already were scheduled to do a bunch of morning show interviews by phone. Did you consult anybody about what to say? Did you talk to them?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: No. I don't have to consult anybody. I say it from my heart and my brain.

MCKINNON: Right.

TRUMP: It's not just heart, it's heart and brain. And that's what I do

MCKINNON: So you say what you want to say.

TRUMP: I say what I think is appropriate.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SMITH: All right, we saw him there.

Joining me now is Mark McKinnon, a top media adviser under President Bush and co-creator of "The Circus."

And you are seeing, by the way, a sneak peek of what is coming up this Sunday.

MCKINNON: Yes, this will be on Sunday. We are focusing this week on Trump and Clinton. And it just turn out that it was this week that this significant event happened. So we got to see the candidates, how they responded in real-time, behind-the-scenes.

We saw Nick Merrill and then we talked to Secretary Clinton. We were with Donald Trump. And so it was fascinating, because, you know, this is a good glimpse of how they would act as president under a crisis situation. And it couldn't have been more different, both in style and in substance.

SMITH: Meaning what?

(CROSSTALK)

MCKINNON: Well, stylistically, the Clinton campaign, you know, it was like a 3:00 a.m. phone call and they called Brooklyn. They got the coms team online, got the foreign policy advisers and of course a lot of these pieces are in place, but they had a very sort of methodical response with a lot of input.

Donald Trump was just complete, spontaneous, and intuitive response.

SMITH: So what did you make of that? I mean, you're seeing so much on the campaign trail. And this really is a different look than any of us get, because you kind of do wonder sometimes, how do they get the news? How do they see -- what is the initial look that they're getting at something like this?

MCKINNON: Well, I think that's what voters want. They want to get some contextual understanding about what's happening off the stage and behind the talking points.

You know, how are these people really responding? What kind of interaction do they have with staff, with advisers or is it just an instinct, an intuition like Donald Trump? It's a very different approach, but we got a good look at it. (INAUDIBLE)

SMITH: So you would be a good guy to ask, is what we see, what we get or do you see these candidates acting a different way behind closed doors or on the trail or in the buses or on the airplane?

MCKINNON: Well, we do see a really different side of them. And that's what is great about "The Circus" is that when the cameras are off, there's a different contextualized sense of them, because you see them not just talking to a camera, not just reading from talking points.

SMITH: So give us some examples.

MCKINNON: Well, there was a great example of Secretary Clinton the other day just saying, you know, some supporters had said, you know, we want you.  And she later said, you know, it's nice to be wanted. I want to be wanted which is different from the old Hillary Clinton. You know, it's kind of evolution of what she was before.

So, you know, we see sides of these candidates that are different than the big narrative. I mean, Secretary Clinton, you know, has a sense of humor and Donald Trump is really good with his family. And, you know, these are things that are not what you get from the sort of macro narrative that the media writes.

SMITH: And a lot of people talk about the energy level of these candidates. We're looking at Hillary Clinton right now. And you see them.  Every morning you wake up, they're somewhere. And when you go to bed, they're in another city, different state. What is the energy level like?

MCKINNON: That's what's amazing. And that's what the, you know, viewers get an appreciation by watching "The Circus," because you see it's a crushing experience that these candidates have to go through.

I mean, you know, these people are a lot older than I am. A lot of their viewers. And yet they maintain a schedule that's twice, three times what anybody else can debate through their staff, they have to their workers.  And they go morning to midnight for, you know, more than a year, and they're driven. They're well-driven.

SMITH: What about the number of people around them? Because Hillary Clinton, you always get the idea that she has got a big group of people.  You said she talked to advisers right away when she learned of the terrorist attack.

Donald Trump, you see him on his own a lot. You said he reacted from his heart rather than consulting advisers when the news broke.

Do they both have their teams around them all the time?

MCKINNON: Well, there are teams around Secretary Clinton. I mean, she's been in government most of her adult life. There's a huge network of people she has. Donald Trump hasn't. There's not a big team around Donald Trump. And it's astonishing that he is, you know, leading the -- the leading nominee for the Republican ticket and yet there's beyond a couple people, there's really no -- there's nothing behind him.

SMITH: All right. Mark McKinnon, "The Circus," Sunday.

MCKINNON: 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

SMITH: All right. We'll all be tuning in.

Thank you, sir.

Up next, the story of young men who were faced with an extraordinarily difficult situation and how they reacted. It will truly warm your heart. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMITH: Well, much of this week, we've been reporting on the worst of humanity, but tonight, we want to share the story of young men whose efforts to help a young widow have touched hearts around the globe.

Trace Gallagher reports from our West Coast newsroom.

Trace?

TRACE GALLAGER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, a picture used to be worth a thousand words. This one got 100,000 likes with good reason. It's a snapshot of strangers sharing a prayer, shedding tears, easing a bit of pain. When a woman pulled up to this Dutch Brothers drive-thru coffee shop in Vancouver, Washington, the employees could see she was visibly upset.  Her husband, just 37 years old, had passed away the night before. So 19- year-old Pierce Dunn offered a cup and a prayer and the woman accepted.

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PIERCE DUNN, DUTCH BROS EMPLOYER: Every single person was just, did, like, an act of kindness or just had a smile on their face, every single day, like, the world would be a completely different place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: The man you saw on the right, 21-year-old Evan Freeman, who was in the back of the prayer group says he's not religious, but at that moment the woman wanted religion and he was happy to join in.

Listen to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EVAN FREEMAN, DUTCH BROS EMPLOYER: As soon as she said that, I was like there's nothing more you need to say. We got this. We're going to do what we do every time. We get someone who's in pain or hurt, we're going to give them our love.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: And the now viral photo was snapped by a woman in the car behind. She posted it on Facebook, where the owner of the coffee shop saw it but didn't quite recognize it. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSICA CHUDEK, COFFEE SHOP OWNER: I started studying it a little more.  And I said, wait, that's Evan and Pierce, that's my stand. Those are my kids. I was just -- it brought me to tears right then.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: Her and a lot of others.

Sandra?

SMITH: We all needed a little act of kindness. Thank you, Trace.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMITH: And in wake of the terror attacks in Belgium, don't miss a new episode of "War Stories: Fighting ISIS," tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. hosted by Colonel Oliver North and former Navy SEAL Leif Babin.

Thanks for watching. I'm Sandra Smith. This is "The Kelly File."

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