Al Sharpton talks 2016 politics, race in America; Megyn Kelly addresses Trump meeting

'Kelly File' exclusive: Civil rights leader weighs in on presidential campaigns and controversial cases involving police


This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," April 13, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Breaking tonight, a new look at the 2016 campaign and race in America as we get a remarkable chance to speak with one of the most controversial political figures in the country, the Reverend Al Sharpton.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to "The Kelly File." I'm Megyn Kelly. A number of our viewers may be tuning in tonight for news about a meeting I had today with New York businessman and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. And we'll get to that in just a few moments. First, however, to another New Yorker. A man who has found himself at the center of a number of recent controversies over race, politics, and the police. Sometimes at the request of the White House.

Al Sharpton has a group known as the National Action Network. And this week they are holding a national convention in New York discussing issues that affect the African-American community and pressuring the candidates to hear their concerns. Hillary Clinton addressed the group today, Bernie Sanders will do so tomorrow. But in between the two, "The Kelly File" dropped in on the event to pin down Mr. Sharpton both on his role and in a series of controversies and his influence on the 2016 race for president.  Watch.


KELLY: Now Hillary Clinton was here today. She spoke to the group. Are you getting close to making an endorsement? Bernie is coming tomorrow.

REV. AL SHARPTON, FOUNDER, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Bernie is coming tomorrow and I'm not close but I'm not far. I mean, obviously we're getting down the track. But I think that them coming shows that they understand that the Black vote is going to be crucial so they have to speak to all aspects of the Black community.

KELLY: Do you feel like Hillary Clinton talked today about the Democrats taking the Black vote for granted. That they better not do that. A, do you think they do that and, B, do you think the Black vote is up for grabs in this election? In particular with Donald Trump running who says, he is going to win the Black vote?

SHARPTON: Well, I think that the Black vote cannot be taken for granted and how we define not taking it for granted is the issue. Because what we're saying is you must come with some clear concrete proposals, not sound bites, not just show up at our church and wave at us. Lay out a plan.  Hillary Clinton did that today.

KELLY: To do what?

SHARPTON: What are you going to do about closing the unemployment gap?  With two to one unemployed. What are you going to do about the education gap? Many people agree even on the conservative side that the education inequality this country has to be dealt with. What are you going to do in terms of dealing with the environment mental conditions in our community like in Flint, Michigan? Specifically, what kind of -- you're going to have?

KELLY: Do you feel like Barack Obama let you down in that department?

SHARPTON: Oh, no. I think Barack Obama did a lot more than people gave him credit. He cut black unemployment in half.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

SHARPTON: He was able to begin the process of letting people out of jail that started becoming in my opinion wrongly incarcerated under the crime bill.

KELLY: What do you think of Donald Trump? Do you think there's a chance he might actually get a fair portion of the Black vote?

SHARPTON: You know, we had Omarosa here today to represent --  

KELLY: Oh, yes! From "Apprentice" ?

SHARPTON: Right. And she is on his campaign or one of the people.  Williams was here. I think they are making an appeal. I think what Donald Trump has said about the President with the birther movement, I think, the calling Mexican rapists, I think the whole thing as being coy as Hillary Clinton said today about KKK will cost him in the Black community not just because he is Republican but because of the things Trump has done.

KELLY: One thing we know is, we are not likely to see another Black president in 2016. You know, there is no Black candidate running for office right now to replace Barack Obama. We might see a Black vice president potentially. But what kind of impact do you think that has on the country?

SHARPTON: Well, you know, it's something that I said this morning at the early session. We are the place we have never been in American history.  We have never seen a White president succeed a Black president. And what will that mean in Black America and White America? We don't know.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

SHARPTON: When we see that Black family walk out across the lawn to get in the marine helicopter for then last time. Marine One for the last time and a white family move in, psychologically, what is that going to do? What does that mean? What will it mean about race in America? Where will would he be? And I think that we need to be concerned about it, which is why during the campaign we need to be very clear on what we're dealing with and what we're not dealing with on both sides. I remember the Republicans had an autopsy they were going to reach out. I don't know what happened to that. I haven't felt.

KELLY: No one called you?

SHARPTON: Well, you know Dr. Ben Carson spoke here last year but I haven't heard from anybody this year.

KELLY: What do you make of that though because race relations in the country are very poor according to polls? Most people believe that they have gotten worse, actually under the last eight years which many folks did not expect with our first Black president. Why is that?

SHARPTON: I think that because our first black President stood up and did so many things that was more in the judgment of many of fair. People couldn't adjust.


SHARPTON: Well, dealing with Black unemployment. Dealing with the educational inequality.

KELLY: What do you mean like White people didn't like that? I don't know what you mean.

SHARPTON: I am thinking that some of them felt that he was just taking care of his own community by some magic at the expense of others when clearly every month for 37 months he increased jobs.

KELLY: What do you make of what's happening in this country right now with the Black Lives Matter movement? How big a factor do you think that is in the 2016 race?

SHARPTON: I think it's going to be a very big factor.

KELLY: There are some advocates of the movement that obviously object to certain Black Lives being shut down illegally and we have seen that in cases including I think in South Carolina. But then there are other, more controversial aspects of the movement, for example. You know, the chants in the street that we have seen pigs in a blanket fry them like bacon.  What do you make of that?

SHARPTON: I mean, if you study the civil rights movement when I was a little boy, you had Martin Luther king, the tradition that we believe in and you had people that were saying things like that back in those days that we did not believe in. And I don't think that -- you are not as responsible for people on FOX that say things you don't agree that we don't agree with. There was a time we use a lot of language. When I was younger I would use the "n" word and call people the C word because I come up in the rap generation that's the way you talked. I never believed in violence. I do not believe in denigrating anyone with N word. Calling people the C word. Calling police pigs or anybody else.

KELLY: So, you don't condone that kind of talk.

SHARPTON: I do not condone any of that and we don't do that National Action Network. But there are other parts of the movements that do things and they don't condone what we do.

KELLY: What about the Freddie Gray case? That's been controversial down in Baltimore. That's being prosecuted under Marilyn Mosby and she got in a bit of trouble when she came out and said, we need justice for Freddie Gray. We need justice for Freddie Gray. We need justice for Freddie Gray and many attorneys said or just justice because if justice takes us to the exoneration of the police then that's where this case should go. Did you think she misstep there?

SHARPTON: She said, we need justice for Freddie Gray because justice for Freddie Gray was -- Freddie Gray was the one that died. And justice could be whatever that leads to be. Whether it ends up with criminal convictions or not.

KELLY: Even an acquittal of the officers? That could be justice?

SHARPTON: If that is, in fact, if the officers deserve acquittal, if a jury finds them deserving acquittal, then there would be justice. But he is the only one dead. The one that you are looking for justice for, was the one who was victimized. The victim here was clearly Freddie Gray. The question is whether -- what caused his death was criminal or not.

KELLY: Let me take you back to Ferguson, Missouri, and the case there against Officer Darren Wilson. He shot and killed Michael Brown. He said it was in self-defense. And you came out publicly and said, it wasn't in self-defense. That there was no deadly threat to Officer Darren Wilson.  The DOJ found that was not correct, they could find no evidence that he was not in fear of his life. And exonerated him. Do you feel bad about what you said?

SHARPTON: No. Don't distort what the DOJ said. The DOJ said, they did not find evidence to prosecute him on civil rights.

KELLY: They said there was no reason to disbelieve. No evidence to disbelieve his story he was in fear of his life.

SHARPTON: They said that he was not in violation of civil rights and that they found no evidence that he was in fear or that he was not.

KELLY: No, no. They said there was no evidence to disprove his statement that he was in fear of his life.


KELLY: So we're stopping here for a moment because this is a key point.  And one a lot of people missed or glossed over in the hot debate after a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson after the DOJ came out and said, they didn't have the case against him. The report from the Department of Justice specifically says the following. On page 11, quote, "The evidence does not support finding that Wilson was unreasonable in his fear that Michael Brown, once again, attempt to harm him and gain control of his gun." And again on page 12, quote, "There is no reliable evidence to disprove Officer Wilson's belief that he feared for his safety." That's from the Department of Justice. Let's pick it up again with Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, if the DOJ said that, then that is contrary to what eyewitnesses and others who called us into Ferguson, mind you, Megyn.

KELLY: But they investigated that.

SHARPTON: Answering your question. I thought you asked one. When we talked to the witnesses, and put them on my television show, they told us what they saw. So, if I say what I believe to be the case based on talking to several witnesses, I should apologize for what?

KELLY: My question is, now it's been disproven.

SHARPTON: No, what has been -- first of all, if you supposing the GOP gets new evidence and it's not disproven. I stated what I believe. You get on TV every night and state what you believe.

KELLY: No, I don't.

SHARPTON: You don't?


SHARPTON: Well, I do. I state what I --

KELLY: I know because you are an opinion guy. I'm a journalist.

SHARPTON: Well, I'm an opinion -- you just answered your own question.  I'm an opinion guy.

KELLY: But when your opinion is proven to be wrong by the Department of Justice, Barack Obama's Department of Justice and a man's life is ruined, I mean Darren Wilson has no job. He has no life. He hasn't been rehired.  Do you bear some responsibility?

SHARPTON: If you and I talk to the same witnesses and the DOJ talks to the same witnesses, and they don't believe him and you and I do, it doesn't make us wrong. It means --

KELLY: But you don't talk to all the witnesses. The DOJ does. They get people in there. And it can be a crime to lie to an FBI agent. Is that a crime to lie Reverend Al?

SHARPTON: Megyn, calm down.

KELLY: Now, watch it with calm down. Ask Bill O'Reilly about that. I had to lecture him on that one himself.

SHARPTON: Go by what he said. If I talked to witnesses and believe them.  DOJ may talk to more witnesses. But then you can't come and ask me to apologize for believing something that I was not privy to.

KELLY: Okay. So you are just going back to the moment.

SHARPTON: But anyway --

KELLY: I'm talking about after the fact. After the fact -- when the DOJ comes back to you and says, you are wrong, why don't you apologize at that point?

SHARPTON: Apologize for believing it?

KELLY: For what you said, for telling the world that there was no deadly threat when there was.

SHARPTON: I said what I believed.

KELLY: Did you correct the record?

SHARPTON: Did I correct what record?

KELLY: Did you go on your television program and report to the world what the DOJ had actually found?

SHARPTON: I reported what the DOJ said.

KELLY: About the death of Michael Brown?

SHARPTON: I don't know that I stated the line you want. But you didn't see me out there protesting afterward, did you? Did you?


KELLY: I think that's a good place to wrap.


KELLY: How about that? And now to that other story. You may have heard the news today that yours truly took a trip over to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City. There I had a meeting with Donald Trump. The meeting was at my request. And Mr. Trump was gracious enough to agree to it. We met for about an hour, just the two of us. And had a chance to clear the air. Mr. Trump and I discussed the possibility of an interview.  And I hope we will have news to announce on that soon.

By the way, in case you were wondering, yes, the door man appeared a bit stunned when I walked in.


And they, too, were incredibly gracious. Stay tuned.

Breaking tonight, the politico website is reporting that prosecutors in Florida have decided not to pursue simple battery charges against Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski after he was shown grabbing a reporter, Michelle Fields in what became a very controversial incident for the Trump campaign. "The Kelly File" just spoke with Fields a short time ago and we have breaking news on her reaction.

Plus, Mr. Trump today appears to now be at war with the head of the Republican National Committee. We'll show you how this may play out in the nominating process. But, first, you just saw my exchange with Al Sharpton.

Up next, we'll hear from Kevin Jackson, the radio host we first met in Ferguson, Missouri. And he will tell us what he thinks Sharpton is really up to when it comes to 2016 and the Race for the White House.


SHARPTON: The issue is how a young man with no deadly threat, no life extenuating circumstances was shot multiple times.




SHARPTON: We have had enough.


The issue is how a young man with no deadly threat, no life extenuating circumstances was shot multiple times.


KELLY: That was Al Sharpton telling the people of Ferguson, Missouri, what he thought about Officer Darren Wilson's guilt in the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Sharpton tonight suggesting there is no need for him to apologize for those comments which have been refuted clearly by the Department of Justice.


KELLY: Joining me now, Kevin Jackson, he is a FOX News contributor and executive director of

Kevin, good to see you.


KELLY: I mean, what he said was just totally wrong -- which was totally wrong and the DOJ that went in there. You know, if anything, you know, the messaging they've been getting from Eric Holder at the time was not exactly, you know, let's not go exonerate the cop. But nonetheless with all the FBI agents on that case, they reached all the conclusions and that cop did nothing wrong.

JACKSON: Well, first of all great interview with him.

KELLY: Thank you.

JACKSON: You really went into the snake pit. That's for sure. Look, you spun the guy around. You asked him a very simple question. All the evidence pointed to exactly what Darren Wilson said and what Al Sharpton did is exactly what he does in the Black community. He sides with the Black community no matter what. It's not about right and wrong with him.  It's about the narrative that gets him paid. And he knows it that what Darren Wilson did was justified. He knows what's in the report. But the idea that I talk to two or three people and they said this. And Megyn, you know, if I talked to those people and they tell me that and I believe them and then yes verily that's correct. That's nonsense.

KELLY: Right. Right. Just to tee that up. Watch, if he won't, of course, you know, if there is a car accident and ten witnesses and I talk to three of them and three of them say, you know, the red car ran the red light but all the other seven are going to say, the red car didn't run the red light. I am only going to have one -- I finally talk to the three.  That is the point. Watch, here is what I was trying to say.


SHARPTON: Barack Obama's DOJ operates outside of his opinion of mine. If you and I talk to the same witnesses and the DOJ talks to the same witnesses and they don't believe him and you and I do, it doesn't make us wrong, it means --

KELLY: But you don't talk to all of the witnesses. The DOJ does. They get people in there and it can be a crime to lie to an FBI agent. It's not a crime to lie to Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Megyn, calm down.

KELLY: Now watch it with calm down.


KELLY: Go ahead, Kevin.

JACKSON: Well, look, Megyn, at the end of the day what Sharpton doesn't want to admit and what a lot of Black Liberals in America don't want to admit is that those people flatly lied on Darren Wilson. And it's a condemnation to say that because everybody is afraid to say it.

KELLY: But Dorian Johnson who was the key witness --

JACKSON: Absolutely.

KELLY: Hands up don't shoot which didn't happen.

JACKSON: Right. Exactly. Many of them in the offshoots of Black Lives Matter and all these other things that came from it are absolutely built on lies. Many times when the cops go into these -- into the Black communities, they are lied about. And that's why in many cases they are talking about the cops cams. The cop cams are not going to exonerate cops.  I mean, they are not going to exonerate the cops. They are going to be there for the cops to make sure that they understand that this is what I confronted when I was there.

KELLY: The thing is though, he was kind of say, look, I talk to do these witnesses and so I had a belief about what happened and I'm entitled to my opinion. But, you know, the point is, A, does he have a greater responsibility given his platform to be careful about going out there and just pronouncing it as fact because he heard it from a couple of witnesses who we now know were completely unreliable. The DOJ found that too.

JACKSON: All right.

KELLY: And B, why is he so reluctant to just say, I got it. I was wrong.  I am sorry. Officer Wilson was the victim.

JACKSON: Right. It's -- all over again. You know, he causes a stir.  Ruins people's lives. And he is not going to apologize. Because to apologize he loses credibility in the Black community. Darren Wilson's life is ruined. And now he looks at Michael Brown died and he is the victim. And it's the same thing he said about the gentleman that died in Baltimore. And, he is right, they are victims. But they there are also innocent victims that come because of a lot of the things that Al Sharpton does.

And one other quick point on, this Megyn. He is not making it safe for the Black community. Al Sharpton, he will race bait and go where the money is when he least, Ferguson is less safe. Baltimore is less safe. All of these Black communities are less safe and he is not held accountable.

KELLY: In his defense I will say this, he gives a lot of people voice who don't have voice. Right? He can get the cameras there. He can get the microphones there and he can shine a light on cases that might not otherwise get attention.


KELLY: So, I mean, it's not that he does nothing but bad things, he does a lot of good but he is very controversial. And there is a real question about whether he uses that microphone for good or for evil.

JACKSON: Do it for the right reasons. That's the key. If every time Al Sharpton is going to show up, it's to stir up nonsense where, and, again, the offshoot of it being the Black Lives Matter movement which by the way, I find it interesting that the Democrats are meeting with groups like this.  And I don't know of any Democrats that's met with the Tea Party, Tea Party community, any of the Tea Party groups that are out there. But they will meet with these guys knowing that these issues. By the way, Megyn, are not Black issues, they are American issues.

KELLY: Kevin, it's great to see you.

JACKSON: You, too.

KELLY: We are going to post all that online just in case you want to see the mic grab. I don't think that's ever happened to me before. I don't know, this is exciting. Anyway. He didn't have to do that interview. So I appreciated it. A standup move. Actually literally a standup move given the way we did the interview. But I appreciate it. So, we also have new developments tonight in a dramatic confrontation between a Russian jet and U.S. Navy ship.

And just ahead we will show you how the military is responding to a serious provocation.

Plus, the Republican frontrunner in the race for president is now accusing his own political party of working against him. The war between Donald Trump and the RNC heats up, next.


TRUMP: It's a rigged system, folks. The Republican system is a rigged system.


KELLY: Breaking tonight, we are just getting video of an ugly confrontation between protesters and some Trump supporters outside of a Trump rally in Pittsburgh.



A couple of hundred protesters have been out there for a couple hours. The Pittsburgh police have a significant presence and have manage to keep things mostly calm. Inside that hall, Donald Trump talked to a crowd of thousands and continued to hammer the Republican National Committee over the nominating process. Here is part of what he had to say to our own Sean Hannity in a show Sean was taping at this event.


TRUMP: Here's what's happening here. So, we vote, and whoever wins gets 17 delegates. But, whoever doesn't win can get like 35 or whatever the difference is between the -- so, think of it. You beat somebody badly with the people because it's a rigged system, folks. The Republican system is a rigged system.


KELLY: All right. So that was at the rally. His interview with Sean is coming up in half an hour. You see the whole thing then. But the head of the RNC is responding today to Trump's repeated accusations saying, this system is not rigid.


REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIR: It's clearly not.  You know, look, all the candidates have the rules of the game. I have to respond though if the party of which I'm the chairman of is getting attacked, especially when it's not true. This is going to blow over. This is a -- this is -- I believe this is some frustration that has bubbled up.


KELLY: Joining me now Josh Putnam, Political Science lecturer at the University of Georgia who runs the website frontloading HQ. Josh, thanks for being here. So, is it rigged? I mean, what is your view?

JOSH PUTNAM, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, POLITICAL SCIENCE LECTURER: You know, I think Chairman Priebus has a pretty good point about, you know, the rules being in place. I mean, the RNC set its rules. They had a deadline of August 2014 to get their national party rules in place and then we spent the better part of 2015 having the states respond to those rules.

KELLY: Okay. But --

PUTNAM: And I had a deadline of October 1 of last year.

KELLY: The question I guess -- it was a bad question because it's really - - I mean, he -- I don't think Trump is saying that they are manipulating the rules right now so much as the way it is set up, it is rigged to help the one who is the favorite of the party. And I think a lot of people never knew that a candidate could get elected who did not win sort of the popular vote in the Republican primary process.

PUTNAM: Sure. I mean, you know. Is it rigged to help a particular candidate? Yes. In most cases the system is set up. The rules are set up in a way that tends to advantage frontrunners.

It's just in 2016, we have a different type of frontrunner than the Republican Party has tend to do be used to, which is to say that usually we've got George W. Bush or John McCain or Mitt Romney.

KELLY: The party is already coalescing around that person.

PUTNAM: Right. By the time on the calendar.

KELLY: So, what do you see in happening now, do you see with Trump's huge advantage in New York -- there was a poll a couple of days ago that put him up at 60 percent in New York and Ted Cruz in in third place in the state. John Kasich is hovering around 21, 20 points.

Do you see Trump sweeping New York and then what do you see happening over the next couple of weeks that would affect his final tally?

PUTNAM: Right. So, I mean, the way New York's rules are set up, you have to win 50 percent of the votes statewide to get all of those 14 delegates. You have to win 50 percent in each of the 27 congressional districts.

So, sweeping that even with 50 percent or polling above 50 percent in some of the recent surveys that we've seen doesn't necessarily guarantee Trump a sweep of those 95 delegates.

Now, you know, again, translating those -- or that level of support through the delegate allocation process, a bad day for Trump next week in New York is probably somewhere around 60 delegates. So, still a pretty significant chunk of the delegates that he needs moving forward.

But, again, we're running out of time. We're running out of contests. We're running out of delegates to be allocated at this point. And he would still need roughly two thirds of the remaining delegates to get to 1237 by June 7th.

KELLY: And can he do that given his advantage in Pennsylvania and Cruz is running better in California and he's putting a lot of time in there. But Trump is also doing well in California.

PUTNAM: Sure. We have still got two months until California. A long way to go there. Pennsylvania, I think the lead in piece indicated is a little quirky. Right? The winner statewide gets 17 delegates and then the remaining 54 delegates are directly elected. And voters don't have a cue like they did in say, a similar contest like Illinois. But they don't have the name of the candidate that the delegates affiliated with to go on.

KELLY: It's so crazy.

PUTNAM: So, they are voting kind of blindly.

KELLY: That's so crazy. So, you just show up and it's like OK, James Willem (ph) or that you see with O'Reilly or Kelly? That's our stage manager. Josh, very interesting. Thank you.

PUTNAM: Sure. Thank you.

KELLY: Well, we also have breaking news from the political web site tonight which is reporting that prosecutors will not charge Donald Trump's campaign manager with simple battery for his altercation with former Breitbart reporter, Michelle Fields.

The prosecutor has not yet confirmed that. Fields told police that Corey Lewandowski forcefully grabbed her and left bruises on her arm while she was covering a Trump event in March.

Tonight, Michelle Fields tells the Kelly File that she has not heard from the prosecutor yet, but that she does plan to pursue a defamation case against Mr. Lewandowski.

Joining me now, Katie Pavlich, news editor and Fox News contributor and David Wohl who's an attorney and Trump supporter. Good to see you both.

So, David, your reaction as a lawyer if this is true that the prosecution is not going to bring charges.

DAVID WOHL, ATTORNEY & TRUMP SUPPORTER: Yes, absolutely, Megyn. I mean, we saw the video, you know. That was the Donald Trump provided the surveillance video which clearly showed Corey Lewandowski gently grabbing Michelle Fields on the upper arm moving her side to clear a path.


KELLY: It did not clearly show gently. Let's not overstate the case.

WOHL: My thought it was. My thought it was. And cleared a path for Donald Trump to exit the venue. Then we compare that to the police report, which Michelle Fields made to the Jupiter police in Florida, which said that he grabbed her arm, jerked her back. She almost fell down. She stopped herself from falling down.

And, Megyn, when the prosecutor assesses whether he can make the case beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury, he looks at both of those things that are -- you know, basically, Megyn, at best it's an embellishment. At worst is a total fabrication. She has no credibility at this point but she can't make the case, so it's not going to happen.


KELLY: But, Katie, is that necessarily true.


KELLY: Because one of the things that could enter your mind as a prosecutor when you use your discretion on whether to actually pursue the charges is does he have a defense that I can overcome?

One of the defenses available to Corey Lewandowski was defense of others. I know at first he said he never touched her and all that. But when you're in the game you can say look, I didn't know it was her that I touched but I was trying to protect Mr. Trump. That is a legal defense available in a situation like this. We don't know whether that's what went through the prosecutor's mind.

PAVLICH: Well, this is a case of prosecutorial discretion. If you look at the new news that's also come out on top of this breaking news tonight, you'll see the prosecutors specifically asked Michelle if she would be willing to take an apology from Corey Lewandowski and this was about a week ago.

This is what she asked for all along. She didn't want to press charges but the Trump campaign demanded that she file a police report. She did. The police then issued charges against Lewandowski. And now they are using prosecutorial discretion because Michelle was asked if a, apology would be sufficient and she said yes.

But it doesn't discount from the fact, Megyn, that the history of this case still stands. Corey Lewandowski denied ever touching her. He publicly lied about it. Video evidence showed that he only touched her but she had a picture showing there was a bruise.

And then he went publicly into a public forum and called her delusional tried to say she was a liar and Donald Trump, excuse me, let me finish. Donald Trump then on top of Corey Lewandowski in a public forum in front of hundreds of reporters said repeatedly that she simply made it up and it didn't happen.

And then later came out and said, well, it happened and you tonight, David, have admitted that look, it was only a gentle tap on the arm. That's what you just said.


WOHL: No, no, no. What she said -- what she said...

KELLY: Just so we are clear, if she brought the defamation case it would have to be against Lewandowski. I mean, Trump is saying I think she made it up. That's not actionable. I think, your opinion, that's not actionable. But are any of the statements that Corey Lewandowski made actionable in a defamation case, David?

WOHL: No, not at all, Megyn. And by the way, what she said was not true. I mean, what she described happened did not happen. That's what he -- that's what he denied all the way through.

PAVLICH: Corey said he never touched her and he did.

WOHL: He said that -- he said -- no. What she said was he grabbed me, jerked me back, I almost fell down. He said that's a lie. That never happened and he denied it. And he said for correction of denial.

PAVLICH: He said I never touched you. He said I never touched you.

WOHL: That basically saying -- no, no, no. That's not what he said.

KELLY: David, make your point then I'll give Katie the floor.

WOHL: What he said was I never did what Michelle Fields described me doing.

PAVLICH: That's not true.

WOHL: That's not -- because he had no idea based on her description that ever happened because it didn't.


WOHL: We saw the tape and no defamation suit will ever lie. I guarantee that.

KELLY: Let her respond. Go ahead, Katie.

PAVLICH: Let me -- let me quote the tweet. "I never touched you. You are delusional. In fact, I've never even met you."

WOHL: Correct. Correct. See, that was in response...


PAVLICH: So, he said he never touched her when in fact he did.

WOHL: No, no. That was in response...

KELLY: Hold on, let her make her point.

PAVLICH: Let me finish, David. I did not interrupt you.

KELLY: Let her make her point.

PAVLICH: Let me make the point.

WOHL: Totally deflecting.

PAVLICH: I'm not deflecting at all. I'm quoting what Corey Lewandowski said.

WOHL: Right.

PAVLICH: He called her delusional. He was trying to smear her character and to defame her when, in fact.


PAVLICH: Video evidence from Donald Trump's organization showed clearly he did, in fact, touch her and you admitted it at the beginning of this segment that he did, in fact, touch her.

WOHL: He was reacting -- no. He was reacting to Michelle Fields saying...

KELLY: OK. Go ahead, David.

WOHL: ... he's reacting to Michelle Field's description of what happened saying, wait a second.


WOHL: He didn't know Michelle at the time. He's saying, what she is describing never happened. So, this girl is delusional. She must be making it up. And if anybody has this case for defamation I got to say, Megyn, it's going to be Donald Trump's Corey Lewandowski. Because what she said was he battered her. Prosecutors have now thrown it out or declined to prosecute. I mean, who's got the better case for defamation at this point?

KELLY: Well, the prosecutors are not saying that he didn't touch her or cause those bruises if they're not pursuing this case.

WOHL: There is no battery.

KELLY: They're saying there is no point in pursuing a legal case. They may not have a legal case against him or they may and they've just decided not to do it for reasons we will learn later. Great debate.

WOHL: Well, and also, Megyn, I got to say it too.

KELLY: I got to go. But I appreciate having both of you here.

WOHL: OK. All right.

PAVLICH: Thanks, Megyn.

WOHL: Thanks, Megyn.

KELLY: So, let's review a political -- let's review, review. Shall we review?

A political reporter may sue a campaign manager for defamation. The republican frontrunner is accusing his party of rigging the system. And some republican leaders are talking about giving the nomination to someone who is not even running right now.

How exactly did we get here? Up next, we will compress 10 weeks of campaign trail crazy into an amazing four minutes when Mark McKinnon, creator of the aptly named "The Circus" joins us on a primary race like no other.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next president of the united states Donald J. Trump.



Just sit down, everybody. Please. I mean, this is Mar-A-Largo, we give you seats. You don't have to stand.



KELLY: Well, it has been a wild ride since the State of Iowa held its caucuses just 10 weeks ago. And the show time documentary "The Circus" has been there every step of the way. Along with the series co-creator Mark McKinnon.

Tonight, we're going to hear from him about the future holds for this election. But, first, a look at the trip from Iowa to here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a story about John Kennedy thinking about going into politics and his father said OK, here's the situation. You've got the flu, snowing heavily, it's your daughter's birthday the next morning, and you're supposed to be at a soup kitchen at 6 o'clock in the morning. The question is not would you go, it's would you want to go?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, Ted Cruz, coming in here with a lot of momentum, right? What's he got to do here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, people are expecting the Evangelical conservative Texas candidate to do particularly well here. Even if he finishes fifth I don't think it will hurt him well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I mean, he is really planning and flying flag in South Carolina.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, the other republican that come out of Iowa, Marco Rubio. His argument is now I was such a strong third if you don't want Trump, if you don't want Cruz, I'm the guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody knows that big move out of Iowa can propel you in New Hampshire, the more often than they're not somebody from the week to Iowa and New Hampshire takes the (Inaudible).

TRUMP: We have such momentum with what happened in South Carolina last week. I won the Evangelicals by a lot.

They were supposed to go with Cruz, but they don't like liars. They are really smart people. They don't want to vote for a liar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Super Tuesday. It is a make or break day for republicans.

Candidates can win. More delegates on Super Tuesday. Than any other day on the campaign calendar year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The republicans, they will fight over nearly half of the delegates required to secure the nomination.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: While it is not God's plan that I be president in 2016 or maybe ever, and while today my campaign is suspended.

The fact that I have even come this far is evidence of how special America truly is. And all the reason more why we must do all we can to ensure that this nation remains a special place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next president of the United States Donald J. Trump.


TRUMP: Just sit down, everybody, please. I mean, this is Mar-a-Lago, we give you seats. You don't have to stand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I talk to people all the time because I'm sure they're on the table and they say why don't you republicans do something about this guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, this is not the Soviet Union. We can't call a meeting and decide Trump is out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hate that. It's not a dictatorship. Who is for it.

RON KAUFMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR: Trump is doing well for one reason. He understands that the climate and the culture of America today better than any business in the table.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you feel about the republican nominee may be someone that none of you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shell shocked. Bewildered. Republicans are hierarch call, respectful of authority. We fall in line. And Trump has interrupted that cycle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today as we sit here, do you think most likely Donald Trump will be the republican nominee?




JOHN PODESTA, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: I think on the republican side he has been vexing to them in being able to control the debate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. Do you think he could do that in a general election against you?

PODESTA: Our job will be to make sure that doesn't happen.


KELLY: Wow. Great job putting that together team. Joining me now, Mark McKinnon, co-creator of "The Circus" and former chief media advisor to George W. Bush. Mark, great to see you. What a season it's been for you guys. It's fun to look back at it.

What is the -- what's your main take away from what we've seen in those 10 weeks?

MARK MCKINNON, THE CURCUS CO-CREATOR AND CO-HOST: Well, so much has happened and what's really compelling about any drama whether it's movies, television, books or politics is the element of surprise. And so much has happened in this election.

I mean, those clips just show us, you know, just time after time after time what we thought was going to happen, something else happened. And then, you know, over time, we have an election where what we thought a year ago might be the case is completely different than what's actually unfolding before our eyes.

So, you know, a year ago, we thought there would be an establishment candidate in the mix and there is not even an establishment candidate anymore.

KELLY: Because they -- all these candidates look so good to so many people but they were playing under an old playbook.

MCKINNON: They were playing under an old playbook. I mean, great campaigns don't look to the past. They look to the future and reinvent the rules. And that's really what Donald Trump has done. He has just rewritten the playbook. Not looking at the way past campaigns have run but just reinvented how he runs campaigns and has dominated the media cycle.

And so, we have an interesting wholesale candidate in Donald Trump and a retail candidate in Ted Cruz who understands the rules, understands the way the retail organizational campaigns are won.

So, it's a very interesting dynamic now between two candidates with very different approaches and very different vision for the Republican Party. You know, neither of which are a lot of republicans thought would be either option at this point in the campaign.

KELLY: John Kasich is also doing it differently in that he is winning no states. So, that would be different if he -- he has Ohio. You know, as Ted Cruz -- the guy who lost 49 states is probably not going to be the nominee or will he? I want to ask you this.


KELLY: Yes, go ahead.

MCKINNON: The thing that matters right now is not necessarily winning but just having delegates because it looks so likely now there is going to be some bartering, some trading and he who has some delegates in his hand at the convention is going to have some power.

KELLY: They're going to be the king. Now what do you -- what do you think happens now to the Republican Party? I mean, given that they're looking at, you know, likely open convention but not necessarily but likely?

MCKINNON: I think it's very likely that it will be an open convention now. I mean, there is really a fight and a struggle now for the future of the Republican Party. And the interesting thing, again, is that there is not -- at this point it doesn't look like -- Paul Ryan has bowed out.

An establishment option is unlikely. And there would certainly be a revolt from either the Trump voters or the Cruz voters. So, it looks like there is a high probability that there will be a very new future direction for the Republican Party either under Cruz or under Trump, which is completely different than what the traditional Republican Party has been.

So, you know, I have said for years we may burn down the republican house to rebuild the foundation in a whole new direction for the Republican Party. And that's may be what's unfolding before our eyes.

KELLY: Mark, you've brought us a lot of interesting insight. That one meeting with those Republican Party leaders. We are hierarchal, we are respectful of authority. We fall in line. We lose as it's happening but we'll see. We'll see. It's great to see you. Don't go away. We'll be right back.

MCKINNON: Thanks. Thanks.

KELLY: Don't go away.


KELLY: Developing tonight, the country of Russia playing with fire. The video you see here, Russian jets coming dangerously close to a U.S. warship in the Baltic Sea. Buzzing it repeatedly in what one defense official called a simulated attack profile.

Trace Gallagher reports on that from our West Coast newsroom tonight. Trace?  

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Megyn, at one point on the video, you can hear a U.S. sailor shouting below the bridge wing, meaning the Russian fighter jet had flown below the navigation bridge of the USS Donald Cook. That puts the jet about 30 feet away from the destroyer, less than 80 feet off the water.

This all happened in the Baltic Sea, somewhere off the coast of Poland. The captain in the USS Cook believes the jet was unarmed, but as you say, was using a simulated attack profile that he called unsafe and unprofessional.

In all, the jet buzzed the ship 11 times. The SU-24 Fencer which can fly at mock 1 is the Russian's answer to the F-15 Tomcat, though it's not as fast or nimble. The European command issue a statement which reads in part quoting here, "These actions have potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries and could result in miscalculation or accident."

And those speeds, the littlest miscalculation could lead to a collision. As for an escalating tensions between the situations in Ukraine and Syria, U.S./Russian relation aren't exactly chummy. Here's the White House.


JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Obviously we have a variety of channels through which we can communicate with the Russians. But I don't have any updates right now about any conversations that have occurred about this particular incident.


GALLAGHER: And during at least one of the fly-byes, a Polish helicopter was refueling on the deck of the destroyer. Russian jets also buzzed the USS Cook last year in the Black Sea.

KELLY: Trace, thank you. We'll be right back.


KELLY: Tomorrow night, dozens of republicans join us live right here. Trump, Cruz, and Kasich supporters, to hash out, you know, things, over their favorite candidate and why the other guy should leave this race.

Also, RNC chair Reince Priebus is here. Our voters will have a message for him, too. We're excited about this. Set your DVR. We'll see you tomorrow. Thanks for watching.

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