Gingrich: Leading GOP candidates need to get back on message

Newt Gingrich reacts on 'Hannity' to latest Fox News polls and Trump's abortion remarks


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 31, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to "Hannity." The Wisconsin primaries are just five days away, and tonight, we have brand-new poll numbers out of the Badger State on the Republican side. A new Fox Business Network poll shows that Senator Ted Cruz is leading the way. He has 42 percent. Donald Trump is in second. He has 32 percent of the vote. And Governor John Kasich in third at 19 percent.

As for the Democrats, according to the same Fox Business Network poll, Bernie Sanders is on top in Wisconsin with 48 percent, Hillary Clinton second with 43 percent.

Also tonight, brand-new polls out of the state of New York. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that Donald Trump has a big lead in the Empire State. He's in first place with 56 percent. Then you have Senator Ted Cruz at 20 percent, Governor Kasich in third with 19 percent.

On the Democratic side, the poll shows that Clinton is leading with 54 percent in New York. Bernie Sanders comes in second at 42 percent.

Here with reaction, author of the New York Times bestseller "Duplicity," former speaker of the House and a Fox News contributor, Newt Gingrich is with us.

All right. A lot has happened. I would argue that in some ways, if you start with the super-PAC ad against Melania, the Trump Heidi tweets, The National Enquirer, it seems that the Republicans are off message as -- generally speaking, as a party. You agree with that?

NEWT GINGRICH, R-FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think the two leading candidates are off message. The party's not, but the two leading candidates are.

HANNITY: That's what I mean.

GINGRICH: They need to get back on message. They need to get back on message. I mean, it doesn't help Trump at all to be involved in some of this stuff. Cruz has actually had a better round of it than he has, and you see it in the Wisconsin results so far. And of course, Kasich continues to stay positive and stay out of the mud, and it's probably been to his net advantage.

HANNITY: Yes, but...

GINGRICH: On the other hand, the other stuff you had there, the people need to remember because we can get sucked into just Republican side -- Bernie Sanders is on a roll. And if he's 5 points ahead of Hillary now, my guess is that when they vote next week, he's going to beat her by 10 or more points because his turnout is so much more intense than hers. And I also think he has a shot at beating her in New York, which would be literally catastrophic from her standpoint.

HANNITY: Well, look at the Alaska numbers. He won 82 to 18 percent. In Washington state, 73 to 27. In Hawaii, 70 to 30. That's not a -- that is a mitigated (ph) massacre!

GINGRICH: Well, when I -- I watched that evening because I was fascinated, and I thought the one place she had a shot was Hawaii where Tulsi Gabbard, the congresswoman, has come out against her and obviously proved that her local popular appeal is pretty powerful. But that was the one state.

The other two states you could say, well, they tend to be whiter, et cetera. Hawaii is a very, very multi-ethnic state. And if Hillary had any chance at all that weekend -- but she only got 30 percent in Hawaii. And you're right, when you're down at 18 percent in Alaska, you're down at 27 percent in Washington state, that ain't a front-runner. That's a person who's hanging on the ropes, I think.

HANNITY: All right, let's go to the issue that made news -- town hall, Donald Trump with Chris Matthews, hypothetical question -- hypothetical, emphasis on that -- about abortion. Here's the exchange.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form.

MATTHEWS: Ten cents, ten years, what?

TRUMP: I don't think. That I don't know.

MATTHEWS: Why not?

FINEMAN: That I don't know. I don't know because I don't want to...

MATTHEWS: You take positions on everything else.

TRUMP: I frankly -- I do take positions on everything else. It's a very complicated position.


HANNITY: To me, that was the Hillary Clinton campaign-planted question.  But then they did a clarification. They put out a statement, "If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld the legislation or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman.  The woman is the victim in this case, as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed. Like Ronald Reagan, I'm pro-life with exceptions."

Hurt, not, not hurt?

GINGRICH: Well, look, of course it hurt him. It hurt him at two levels.  One is it gave all the people who want to build this Trump war on women theme one more round of ammunition, one more chance to go out and drive home this message.

But in addition, it was a rookie mistake. Chris Matthews is the mortal enemy of Donald Trump. Chris Matthews is a hard-line left-wing Democrat.  If you're going to go on his show, you better have been coached, you better be prepared, you better know how to say, I'm not answering that, and you better be prepared to say, Look, that's not what I'm talking about.

You know, the current governor of Maryland won a huge upset victory for a Republican because he talked about taxes. And they would ask him about everything else, he'd say, Glad you asked that, let me tell you about taxes. And he spent four months talking about taxes.

I think that Larry Hogan (ph), who's not a big fan of Trump -- but Hogan's campaign is a pretty good model for Trump to look at. He needs to get back to immigration, get back to jobs, get back to national security.

There's a report out this evening that up to 60 ISIS supporters are working at the Brussels airport. There are more than enough occasions for him to get on his themes and his issues. He needs to elevate the campaign.

And frankly, he needs to give a series of speeches like AIPAC, where there -- where he's got a teleprompter, it is a formal speech, starting with judges. What kind of judges would he pick? If he would simply convince the conservative movement that he's going to pick Scalia-like judges, he would do a great deal to, I think, stabilize his position as the front- runner.

HANNITY: Yes. As you look at the race and you look at the ups and downs and the ebb and flow, and you've been around this game for longer than you probably want to admit...


HANNITY: And it's hard to see into the future, all right? So if the polls are right in Wisconsin, still, Ted Cruz needs 86 percent of remaining delegates. You mentioned John Kasich. John Kasich needs 117 percent! For him to get the nomination, he has to have a convention floor fight, a contested convention where he's going to have to leapfrog over two candidates that have more votes, won more states and have more delegates.

Now, if that happens, don't you think the people that he leapfrogs over and their supporters are going to be pretty angry?

GINGRICH: Well, it depends. I mean, if the Trump delegates almost get there but fail, they may decide they like Kasich more than Cruz. If the Cruz delegates almost get there but fail, they may decide they like Kasich more than they like him.

I mean, you know, Abraham Lincoln was picked on the third ballot. So it's not necessarily that Kasich's crazy, but it is unlikely. And what you're watching right now is a fascinating moment. All of the strengths that brought Donald Trump to this amazing position, which none of us -- remember, all of us who criticize him and critique him, whether he like him or dislike him -- none of us a year ago would have imagined that he is where he is today.

All of those strengths now are weaknesses because they're not the characteristics of a potential president. They were the characteristics of an insurgent candidate. So he's got a big challenge.

Cruz has a similar challenge. Cruz has got to figure out -- because remember, he doesn't just have to get delegates himself. Can he get Marco Rubio's delegates? Could he get John Kasich's delegates? Is there a Cruz/Kasich ticket in the future?

I mean, so Cruz has got to play his own game. As you pointed out, for example, in New York state, Trump is still very, very formidable. He's more than 2 to 1 ahead of Cruz in New York state, and that is a lot of delegates.

So this game isn't over yet. It could have been over and it should have been over if Trump had moved to the next level. He didn't. And as a result...

HANNITY: Well, what do you mean by the next level? What do you mean by that?

GINGRICH: I mean, take a look at his AIPAC speech and take a look at the night that he was in Mar-a-Lago during the Florida primary and he did a press conference instead of a victory speech. And this, by the way, is where his wife, Melania .is exactly right. Trump himself has said that she says to him, You're not presidential.

Now, occasionally, you ought to listen to your wife. Callista reminds of this regularly.


GINGRICH: So I'm just saying, it wouldn't hurt for him to listen to Melania...


HANNITY: I'm laughing but a lot of people saying, yes, I know what you mean. Go ahead.


GINGRICH: Exactly. So I think if he'll take his wife's advice and just slow the campaign down a little bit, slow down his tweets a lot, and go to a series of setpiece speeches that communicate substance and communicate a presidential style, he would consolidate almost overnight.

He should have started doing this about three weeks ago. About the time that Marco Rubio fell out of the race was the moment for Trump to pivot and begin to behave like a front-runner. He's still behaving like he's the insurgent, and you're not going to win the nomination and the presidency as an insurgent. You've got to make the transition to being a presidential candidate.

HANNITY: Do you care who wins? Of the three remaining people -- I mean, are you invested? Do you think one has a better chance in the general or another or...

GINGRICH: You tried this on radio, and it didn't work, Sean. Look...


HANNITY: I figured if I asked it a little differently, I might catch you off guard.

GINGRICH: Well, no, no. No, no, no. Look, first of all, I love John Kasich. He's like a younger brother. We worked together for years starting in 1982. Without him, we would not have balanced the federal budget for four straight years. He is a terrific governor. There's a place in my heart for John that's real.

Callista and I have become very fond of Donald Trump. We belong to Trump National, where we golf and we see we him regularly. We were with him down at Mar-a-Lago when he hosted the Palm Beach Zoo fund-raising ball a couple years ago. And we like Donald and we're, frankly, very impressed with how far he has come.

We've also had dinner with Cruz, and we don't know him as well, but he's a very talented, very smart guy. I could enthusiastically campaign for any of these three guys, and I would. And I frankly have tried to offer three of them advice on occasion. As you point out, I've been at this a long, long time.


GINGRICH: And so...


GINGRICH: ... if I see something where I can help improve...


GINGRICH: Yes, but if I see something here I can help improve -- you know, I'm a little bit like John Madden when he was up there in the booth commenting rather than being down on the field coaching. So if I can help our three candidates be the best possible candidates -- I want to beat Hillary Clinton.

HANNITY: I was emceeing...

GINGRICH: I'm for any one of these guys.

HANNITY: I was emceeing your event at the Galleria in Georgia the night you became speaker, so I really -- I better be careful what I say about being at this a long time.

All right. Stay right there. We'll continue. More with Speaker Gingrich right after the break.

Also coming up tonight...


GOV. JOHN KASICH, R-OHIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, there's going to be a contested convention, first of all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You believe that is a fact?

KASICH: Absolutely.


HANNITY: Talk of a contested Republican convention in July is picking up steam. Donald Trump met earlier with the RNC today. Newt Gingrich will react to that.

But before we go, quick programming note. On Monday -- that's right, the night before the Wisconsin primaries -- we'll be in Milwaukee. We will be interviewing GOP front-runner Donald Trump. Now, if you live in and around the area, want to be a part of our show, just go to my Web site, Hannity.com, to find out all the details. Seats are going fast. It's an event you do not want to miss. Straight ahead.




KASICH: Well, there's going to be a contested convention, first of all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You believe that is a fact?

KASICH: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As of today, on the 31st of March.

KASICH: Well, look, Ted Cruz has to win almost 90 percent of the delegates. Isn't going to happen. Trump's got...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's about 86, 88 percent.

KASICH: OK, 88 percent, OK? Zero chance. Trump has to win about 60 percent. He's not going to do it. And as this moves east, Pennsylvania, I'm running even with Trump. In New York, now that people are beginning to hear me, we're rising. It is a matter of accumulating delegates.


HANNITY: And that was 2016 GOP presidential candidate, Ohio governor John Kasich -- that was earlier today -- saying there will be a contested convention come July. And earlier today, GOP front-runner Donald Trump met with the RNC in Washington behind closed doors. And this is what Trump had to say about the meeting.


TRUMP: It was a very good meeting. We met with Reince Priebus and the staffs, and they're very good people, very -- actually, a terrific meeting I think. And it's really a unity meeting.  You know, we're leading by a lot. We have far and away the most delegates, millions and millions of votes more than anybody else, than Ted has or than, you know, Kasich has. And we really -- I think they wanted to really discuss, you know, unity, and I like discussing unity, too.


HANNITY: All right. We continue with former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. All right, let me give you a hypothetical again because you keep kind of dodging and ducking. And I see your smile. But this is important, I think.

GINGRICH: How can you say I'm dodging and ducking? I give you honest, direct answers.

HANNITY: OK. Now, hypothetically, if Kasich is right and it's a contested convention, don't you think if he leapfrogs over Cruz and Trump, Cruz and Trump supporters, the people that voted and went to caucus -- don't you think they're going to be angry, and don't we run the risk that they stay home?

GINGRICH: Well, I mean, he's not going to leap over them unless they can't get there. The way a convention like this operates -- and we've had state conventions all over the country that do this on a regular basis. These two guys clearly have a shot at winning, and Kasich's talking about a 1 in 5 chance, in my judgment, that they can't win.

So you have the first ballot. Let's say, Trump doesn't quite get there.  On the second ballot, Trump erodes. But Cruz doesn't quite get there.  Now, what Kasich is hoping is as each guy loses energy, his delegates start to drift toward Kasich, which is a perfectly natural thing. And of course, what the establishment would love to do is now run in somebody who's never campaigned, never been in a primary, never gotten any delegates at all, and have them suddenly emerge.

I don't think that'll happen. I'm going to draw a distinction between a brokered convention...


GINGRICH: ... where some outsider comes in and a contested fight between Trump, Cruz and Kasich. You have to admit there is at least a mathematical possibility. You start with Trump. He is the most likely nominee. To do that, he has to be above 1,100, I think, after June 7th, at which point I think he can scrape together the rest. If he's below 1,100, it's Katy bar the door.

Then the next one is Cruz. How well does Cruz keep adding delegates? Can he close the gap with Trump? You know, and I think Wisconsin will be an example where he's probably going to get a few more delegates than Trump does, closes the gap a little bit. Trump's going to get a lot more delegates in New York, widens the gap.

So Cruz has the second shot. Only if the two of them can't get there does Kasich begin to be viable. But you can imagine a circumstance where each of them makes a run and can't quite get there, and now the delegates are sitting on the floor of the convention -- and by the way, they're starting to worry about their hotel rooms because nobody's taken the week after, which is when the Democrats are having their convention in Philadelphia.

So everybody is starting to think, you know, we need to get this thing done or I'm not going to -- I'm not going to be -- I'll be out in the street.  And that puts a very interesting emotional, psychological pressure on the convention.


GINGRICH: So that would be tremendous ratings. I mean, you would be so happy at a commercial level with the kind of ratings that...

HANNITY: Yes, but you know...

GINGRICH: I don't think we're going to get there.

HANNITY: What I really would be happy about, forget -- ratings are important. Yes, that's part of our business. But what I'd really be happy about is getting people in poverty out of poverty, getting people off of food stamps, getting people out of the labor force back to work, stop robbing our kids. I'd like to get our borders secure. I'd like our education to go back to the states. I'd like an energy independence policy. I'd like health care savings accounts. Had I'd like a president that recognizes the evil of our time, which is radical Islam, and not give the mullahs in Iran $150 billion. But you know, I have very little requests.

GINGRICH: Well, those things, of course, mean you want to beat Hillary and Bernie Sanders.

HANNITY: That's correct.

GINGRICH: So I mean, your list makes it impossible for Bernie or Hillary to ever be the person you could be happy with.

HANNITY: That's correct.

GINGRICH: But any one of our three guys would come close to your list in the direction they're moving in.

By the way, Reince Priebus has done an astonishing job at the Republican National Committee. It's a little in the shadow now because of the presidential campaign, but he has built the largest, most sophisticated Republican National Committee we've ever had.

I am delighted that Trump went by, and I know Priebus Is reaching out it to Cruz and to Kasich, which he should. He's the Republican national chairman for the whole party. His job in the end is to bring everybody together and make sure we're unified when we come out of Cleveland.

But this meeting today was very important at the RNC, and I'm delighted that Trump came out of it in such a positive way.

HANNITY: You want to make a prediction? Last question.

GINGRICH: Yes, I think Reince is going to do a great job, and we're going to win the general election.

HANNITY: OK. I'll take that prediction. Any idea who your candidate...


GINGRICH: I assume that's what you wanted.

HANNITY: That's not the question I wanted. You know that's not the question I wanted.

GINGRICH: It's either -- it's either -- my -- our candidate, our candidate, those of us who are Republican, is either going be Trump, Cruz or Kasich, in that order.

HANNITY: All right. Mr. Speaker, thank you.

GINGRICH: You're not getting any more than that.

HANNITY: I know. Believe me, I know. I've known you long enough.


HANNITY: Coming up, more reaction to Donald Trump's rivals pouncing on his comments about abortion. A.J. Delgado, Mercedes Schlapp, they weigh in.

Later tonight, Monica Crowley questions why Bill Clinton is publicly criticizing President Obama. Was there a deal struck between the Clintons and the president that is falling apart? And Monica will join us with Peter Johnson, Jr., and Ed Henry.

And also later tonight...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess my issue is that he just, like, talks a lot about, how, like, a lot of -- he just doesn't know what he talks about.


HANNITY: Our own David Webb in Wisconsin exposing what the left-wing anti- Trump agitators are so angry about, but they don't really know. Now, we couldn't show you all the video that we have, and we'll show you more of that coming up as "Hannity" continues tonight. Stay with us.



CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?

TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form.

MATTHEWS: Ten cents, ten years, what?

TRUMP: I don't think. That I don't know.

MATTHEWS: Why not?

FINEMAN: That I don't know. I don't know because I don't want to...

MATTHEWS: You take positions on everything else.

TRUMP: I frankly -- I do take positions on everything else. It's a very complicated position.


HANNITY: Donald Trump taking some heat for that answer to a hypothetical question about abortion. And for 24 hours, those rivals have been literally fuming with outrage. Earlier today, Donald Trump had this to say about his answer.


TRUMP: You really ought to hear the whole thing. I mean, this was a long, convoluted question. This was a long discussion, and they just cut it out.  And frankly it was extremely -- it was really convoluted.

And if, in fact, abortion was outlawed, the person performing the abortion, the doctor, whoever it may be that's really doing the act or is responsible for the act, not the woman is responsible. So that's the way I've always felt. I've had the same -- I've had the stance exactly as Ronald Reagan.  I mean, I've had it, and I've had it from the beginning.


HANNITY: Here with reaction, conservative columnist A.J. Delgado, FOX News contributor Mercedes Schlapp.

You know, I guess my first instinct, why is he on that idiot show, A.J.?  That's number one. Because you know, I got the impression watching, oh, Hillary planted that question. And it was a hypothetical. And I didn't like the answer because it was a hypothetical, and then it got off into this hypothetical, and then it started -- he started interviewing Matthews and -- I just think, you know, they -- to me, it was done on purpose.  Thoughts.

A.J. DELGADO, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Yes, this is typical liberal media trickery because when you think about it, it's a really bizarre question to ask. Who really discusses should the woman be punished for abortions, whether it's legal or not? It's not really something that's ever discussed.

So -- and when he went into this type of hypothetical with him, you could tell he's pushing him, but if it's illegal, if it's illegal, wouldn't there be a punishment? I think even I in that circumstance would shout out, Yes, there should be a punishment because he kept pushing him on it.

So it was just a completely understandable gaffe. Donald Trump clarified it within hours, what his position is. So I don't see why we're continuing to talk about this in the media, other than people have -- think they found some sort of Achilles heel to get him on.

But really, we should be sticking to the bigger issues at hand that a president actually has control over. Such a nuance on whether a woman would be punished for an abortion. It's something that really shouldn't even be discussed in a presidential candidacy.

HANNITY: Punished if it's illegal. I mean, so you got to add the proper context.

DELGADO: Right. Even more nuanced. Yes.

HANNITY: Mercedes, what's your take?

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, rule number one, you do not answer hypothetical questions. Donald Trump has gotten punked by Chris Matthews in this interview yesterday, and it's very unfortunate.

But here's the deal, Sean. As any person who's been involved in politics and involved with the social conservative movement, these questions about abortion, which, of course, the liberals will gladly bring up -- it's not only now but in the general election -- these candidates have to be more than prepared to answer those questions.

And that is the error that Donald Trump had. He needed to make sure that he was well briefed, prepared to ensure that he would give the response, like he had to do later on and backtrack on his answer, because of the fact that he was a little bit -- sounded like a political amateur.

On these social conservative issues, Sean, you got to get them right, and that is where I think Donald Trump did have a mistake yesterday in this interview with Chris Matthews.

HANNITY: What do you think about that, A.J.?

DELGADO: No, I mean, who would be briefed for such a bizarre hypothetical as that?


SCHLAPP: Oh, come on!

DELGADO: And the problem is that you have people -- no, no, the problem is you have Donald Trump out there talking, doing interviews, doing rallies 12, 15, 18 hours a day. Ted Cruz isn't doing them...


DELGADO: Hillary won't come out of her den...


DELGADO: ... except to go back into hiding for a week each time she does.  So yes, Donald Trump is going to have one gaffe once since June because he's out there on the stump and giving interviews...

SCHLAPP: Here's the deal...

DELGADO: ... and being candid with the American people way more than Ted Cruz is.

SCHLAPP: The mainstream media and the liberal media, what are they doing?  They're out to get our candidates. And if our candidates are not prepared to answer...

DELGADO: They're out to get Donald Trump!

SCHLAPP: Let me...

DELGADO: They're out to get Donald Trump!


HANNITY: Hang on. One at a time.

SCHLAPP: So here's the deal. Our candidates...


SCHLAPP: ... need to be more than prepared. They've got to be battle ready to answer these questions. And the mere fact that the pro-life movement has worked endlessly to talk about compassion for these women who have had abortions, talking about the protection of the unborn -- the pro- life movement wants to move forward, and these candidates need to be prepared to answer those questions.


DELGADO: ... a logical fallacy, and I'm pro-life myself, but when you're saying abortion is murder, the logical conclusion is then the woman is a murderer. This is a very tenuous, very complicated issue. And Donald Trump fell...


HANNITY: All right, guys, one at a time.

DELGADO: ... you would have a gaffe.

HANNITY: Mercedes?

SCHLAPP: So here's the deal. Donald Trump...

DELGADO: Go ahead, Sean.

SCHLAPP: ... fell right into the gaffe. And you cannot have this type -- and I -- Newt Gingrich said it was a rookie mistake. We cannot afford to have a political amateur. He's got to be briefed. This is what campaigns...


DELGADO: One mistake since June!

SCHLAPP: This is a big mistake when it comes to women.

DELGADO: That's an expert. That is a champion. I'm proud of him. One mistake since June? Come on!

SCHLAPP: Well, you could argue that...

HANNITY: All right...

SCHLAPP: ... the KKK situation was another mistake that he did take a little bit of time to resolve that issue. But here's the deal. It does impact the women voters. And this is where Hillary Clinton is just going to go forth and try to gain that enthusiasm among women voters. And we cannot afford, the Republicans cannot afford to make these basic mistakes.

HANNITY: All right, we got to...


HANNITY: Last word, A.J.

DELGADO: No. We're women voters and women voters care about other issues besides this. That is not true.

SCHLAPP: Absolutely.

DELGADO: It is not the main issue for women.

HANNITY: Thank you, both, for being with us. Appreciate it. Wish we had more time.

Coming up next tonight here on "Hannity."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's being unfair to all the Mexicans.

DAVID WEBB, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: How is he being unfair to all the Mexicans? What policies?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bunch, so many I can't even name.


HANNITY: David Webb invades enemy territory at an anti-Trump rally in Wisconsin. It's video you'll only see right here on "Hannity."

But first, with Bill Clinton publicly criticizing the president and Hillary Clinton facing an ongoing investigation of the FBI, Monica Crowley questions if the president's special relationship with the Clintons are now falling apart. She joins us along with Peter Johnson Jr. and Ed Henry and more as we continue.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." Fox News contributor and Washington Times columnist Monica Crowley in a new op-ed questions if there's a breakdown in the relationship between the Clintons and President Obama.  She writes, quote, "Do Bill and Hillary sense a breakdown in whatever deal they may have struck with President Obama to protect her presidential ambitions? Is whatever negotiation they may have conducted over her e-mail server problem and any inside information she may have on him now imploding?" Joining us now, Washington Times columnist, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley, FOX News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr., and FOX News White House correspondent, chief White House correspondent, don't take out the "chief" --


HANNITY: -- our friend, Ed Henry. Monica, let's go to your -- I know you and I know you research everything you write. It tells me that there's some background and sources that are leading you to believe this.

MONICA CROWLEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Sean, I've always said that what we are witnessing here over the last year, really, is an unspoken negotiation between President Obama and Hillary Clinton over the e-mail situation. And the question always was, what do they have on each other?  Is this sort of a death grip that the two of them have each other in?

Now, we don't know what the dynamics are or even the specifics of this negotiation, but we do have some clues. Over the last two weeks President Bill Clinton has slammed President Obama, calling the last eight years, quote, "awful." A couple of days after that, their daughter, Chelsea Clinton launched a broadside into the cost of ObamaCare. That is a classic Clintonian one-two punch.

So when you start to read the tea leaves and then start reading what is going on in terms of the dynamics of the FBI investigation, at least in terms of what we know publicly so far, it does seem that perhaps the Clintons sense a breakdown of those negotiations.

Now, the other way to look at it, Sean, is maybe the Clintons have won that negotiation and they're free to hit President Obama and really put some distance there in order to get her elected.

So, again, we don't know for sure, but it does seem that Mrs. Clinton is in increasing legal jeopardy which I think that both the Clintons wanted President Obama to try to intervene, maybe even try to stop this FBI investigation early on. He would not or could not do it, and this is where we are today.

Ed, you're on the campaign trail. Let's look at the latest developments.  James Comey, the FBI director, will personally interview Hillary Clinton and top aides over the e-mail scandal. Apparently they were able to recover the 30,000 deleted e-mails. Why would Comey do this personally if he wasn't at the end of the investigation?

HENRY: Well, he does seem to be at the end of the investigation, but just to dial back part of that, I mean, the FBI is saying, look, there's not 150 agents involved. There are dozens. So there are a lot. It's serious.

James Comey, as you know, is known as a straight shooter. He's somebody who served in Republican administrations and took on the Bush administration.

HANNITY: He threatened to resign.

HENRY: Threatened to resign. Went after, you know, John Ashcroft and the Bush White House, stood his ground. And so that should bode well in terms of somebody who is a straight shooter, which is hard to find in Washington.

So my point is just that if James Comey is getting -- and he's testified to this publicly, by the way, it's not a secret that he's getting daily updates on this and that he's talking directly to Loretta Lynch, the attorney general about it, you would expect someone of James Comey's stature to do a thorough job. He can't come in here with a half-baked suggestion of either an indictment or slap on the wrist because this is going to be the most scrutinized case of many, many years. She's the Democratic frontrunner.

HANNITY: Let's talk about the potential legal jeopardy that she is in.  Rudy Giuliani on this program has identified as many as 16 statutes that she might have broken, felonies in many cases. So you have these reports that Comey is meeting regularly with the Justice Department, Loretta Lynch, and, you know, you've got to wonder what's going on in those meetings. If he were to put forward evidence and a criminal referral to the Justice Department, and they don't indict her, what happens next?

PETER JOHNSON JR., FOX NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: Then that's a constitutional crisis in some ways. This is taking on a magnitude that they never anticipated it. I don't believe that Mr. Comey, who is a straight shooter, who has a reputation for integrity, will actually interview Secretary Clinton.

HANNITY: You don't believe that report today?

JOHNSON: I don't believe that report to be true. I don't have any evidence to that fact.


JOHNSON: I don't think he put himself in that position. Because if it turned out that she lied and was lying to federal agents, then he'd have to swear out an affidavit with regard to that for such an indictment.

HANNITY: Apparently as a young attorney, he was part of the Whitewater investigation that believed she was obstructing justice.

JOHNSON: He was. And in some ways that's a formidable question based upon his intimate and detailed knowledge of Hillary Clinton's past. There may be a death grip situation that Monica Crowley is talking about.


JOHNSON: We don't know the political dance that's going on in the back.  But in the end, James Comey has to be saddled with whatever decision the FBI makes.

HANNITY: Victoria Toensing and Joe DiGenova, two really smart, connected D.C. attorneys, both believe that a grand jury has already been convened in the case.

JOHNSON: Yes. But they also said there was going to be an indictment within 60 days in January and there hasn't been. So they're very smart lawyers and I'd hire them in a second.

HANNITY: My question is, do you think a grand jury might have been convened and nobody knows?

JOHNSON: There's a possibility of that.

HANNITY: Do you have any indication?

HENRY: I've haven't had an indication of that, and I would trust Peter's judgment on this. But I think this has been referred to as the Comey primary because James Comey as FBI director may be the last impediment to Hillary Clinton getting the nomination and ultimately maybe the presidency.

HANNITY: And how does Hillary treat you on the campaign trail?

HENRY: We get along. It's like sweetness and light.


HANNITY: Monica, we'll give you the last word.

CROWLEY: Yes, you know, I think ultimately despite the number of players involved, Director Comey, the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, the ultimate arbiter of this is the man who controls the Democratic Party and controls who he'd like to see as his successor. So the ultimate question, Sean, is what kind of problem does Barack Obama prefer? Does he prefer for a noncriminal referral or perhaps the DOJ not pursuing this case if there is one, in which case he's got big upheaval at the FBI, maybe a massive walkout, maybe the resignation of his FBI director. Or does he prefer having essentially a whitewash of Mrs. Clinton's activities as secretary of state and then he's got a weakened and very damaged Democratic nominee.  Which does he prefer?

HANNITY: I don't think Comey is going to go there. I think the evidence is incontrovertible and overwhelming, and Ed Henry is shaking his head telling me I'm wrong.

HENRY: No. I'm listening.

HANNITY: Tell Hillary I say hi.

HENRY: I will.

HANNITY: And coming up next tonight on "Hannity" --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess my issue is he just, like, talks a lot about, how, like -- he just doesn't know what he talks about.


HANNITY: David Webb doing interviews in Washington, trying to find out what these Donald Trump protesters are so angry about. Now there was so much footage that we got, we didn't show all of it to you last night. Some of it is hilarious. We'll get reaction with Sheriff David Clarke, Eric Guster, Mike Meyers. They're all coming up straight ahead.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." Angry liberal agitators have been protesting outside of many of Donald Trump's rallies. So yesterday we sent our own friend David Webb to Wisconsin to ask these anti-Trump protesters why are they so angry, why are they so upset? We got so much footage that we weren't able to show you even half of it last night. Here's part two.  Take a look.


WEBB: Is there a specific policy that you really don't like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Multiple. First of all, Donald Trump, he doesn't have a lot of sound policies in the first place. He's angry, and a lot of Americans are angry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's being unfair to all the Mexicans.

WEBB: How is he being unfair to all the Mexicans? What policies?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bunch. So many I can't even name.

WEBB: Name a couple.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you had an illegal immigrant build something for you then you're like, no, we need America to build this for us, like, why?

WEBB: What's your issue with Donald Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess my issue is that he just, like, talks a lot about, uh, like, how, like, a lot -- he doesn't know what he talks about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically everything is the matter with Donald Trump in my opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel anybody that is voting for him is just, I don't know, stupid, sorry. That's how I feel. Sorry.


HANNITY: One genius after another. Here with reaction, Milwaukee county sheriff David Clarke, executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition Mike Meyers, and trial attorney, political commentator, Eric Guster. Sheriff, first, I had the honor of being with you this week and you got the law enforcement man of the year award. Congratulations to you, my friend. As you hear this, I'm thinking, do they know anything? Do they have any clue why they're even there?

SHERIFF DAVID CLARKE, MILWAUKEE COUNTY: No, Sean. That's the idiocy of the left. But, look, here's the thing. The GOP process to select a candidate is in turmoil right now. And shame on the party insiders, the donor class and the party elites for letting it get to this. It's disintegrating into irrelevancy. And they're staring defeat, November electoral defeat right in the face. It's not too late. The time is running out.

And look, here's a mistake they're making on the GOP side within the party.  This is not about Donald Trump. If they think by just getting Trump out of the way they'll have clear sailing ahead, they are fooling themselves. The left would do this and will do this no matter who the winner is. This is frontrunner status of treatment that Trump is getting. If this were Cruz right now, if this were Rubio, if this were Jeb Bush, they would be getting the same treatment. So for party insiders to participate in this I find rather astounding.

HANNITY: You know, Michael I agree with the sheriff. I say this all the time. Any Republican nominee is going to be racist, sexist, homophobic, wants to poison air, water and throw granny over the cliff, same list every election.

MICHAEL MEYERS, NEW YORK CIVIL RIGHTS COALITION: Which is in my judgment an idiotic generalization.

HANNITY: But it works.

MEYERS: I also think it's a generalization, an idiotic generalization to say that everybody on the left or most people on the left --

HANNITY: I said those people.

MEYERS: I didn't say you. I heard what the sheriff said.

Now, let me tell you this about the left, because I'm a member of the left.  I'm a liberal Democrat.  

HANNITY: Sorry to hear that.

MEYERS: I believe in free speech. I believe in democracy.


MEYERS: And everybody who has an opinion is not a very informed opinion, but let me hear it.

And what I do reject is that heckler's veto. I reject people going into somebody else's rally and disrupting and heckling them and making it impossible to hear their point of view. I think I'm the only one in this panel I think who has been to a Nazi Party meeting. And I went to a Nazi Party meeting because it was held in a public pool. And I was able to watch it, to observe it, and to hear, and heard the Nazis on a stage because the public wasn't invited to it in the Germantown section of New York City. And the person if I had my way --


MEYERS: I was the only black there. But the person said if I had my way, I would hang every n-word and Jew from the highest tree.

HANNITY: That's sick.

MEYERS: We need to hear it.


CLARKE: Have you ever heard Louis Farrakhan talk? Have you ever heard Al Sharpton? Al Sharpton referred to Greeks at homos, OK? So people are going to talk stupid. We understand that. I don't know how we go from talking about Trump's candidacy to talking about Nazism. I'm a little baffled by that.

ERIC GUSTER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You said the word "agitators" and I hate that word. But Trump, if anyone is an agitator, it is Trump. Trump is an agitator in chief, he's a bully in chief. He's really running to be the bully in chief because that is what he does to get his way. If you look at the punish women who have abortions, he wants to --

HANNITY: He clarified that statement.

GUSTER: And he wants to punish female reporters. He's OK with a campaign manager grabbing a female reporter.


GUSTER: Will either one of you let me finish?

HANNITY: Nothing happened in that video.

GUSTER: Something happened in that video.

HANNITY: Nothing.

GUSTER: That is not true. See, that is part of the problem with the GOP.  They turn a blind to --

HANNITY: No blind eye.

GUSTER: Yes, you are. You are turning a blind eye on that, because that young lady was grabbed by his campaign manager.

HANNITY: Come on, come on. Do you think that happened?

GUSTER: I saw the video.

HANNITY: I watched it.

MEYERS: I also saw Dan Rather who was jostled.

HANNITY: Yes. I forgot about that.

MEYERS: This is part of the territory. And people -- I can't stand journalists that all of a sudden want to be victims.

HANNITY: I think that's admirable. She fought for that last question.  That is admirable, but that is what happens.

GUSTER: Somebody pushes you.


HANNITY: Sheriff?

CLARKE: Well, it's kind of interesting that the talking points come out, really, we shouldn't be talking about here in terms of a GOP nominee is.  You know, I want to hear about freedom and liberty. I want to hear about limited government. I want to hear about upholding the United States constitution, the rule of law, military superiority, a vision for America that really focuses on we the people and self-rule. Instead we are talking about even in this conversation here, you know, the Nazi party, and, the Democrats --

MEYERS: We're talking about free speech. That's part of democracy.

HANNITY: We're out of time for this segment. But we need your help when we come back, straight ahead.  


HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." It's time for our "Question of the Day." So in light of the new Fox Business Network polls released today, so who do you think is going to win the Wisconsin Republican primary that's next Tuesday? Go to Facebook.com/SeanHannity, @SeanHannity on Twitter, let us know what you think.

Quick programming note, be sure to tune in tomorrow night, 10:00 eastern, for Fox News Reporting "Rising Threats, Shrinking Military." It's anchored by our friend Bret Baier. And on Monday night before the Wisconsin primaries we'll be in Milwaukee. We'll have a town hall with Donald Trump.  If you live in and around the area and want to be part of the event and our audience just go to Hannity.com and find out the details.

That's all the time we have left this evening. As always, thanks for being with us. Have a great night.

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