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Kelly File

Brit Hume breaks down Trump's NY victory; Sabato: Outlook for Trump nomination 'still murky'

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," April 19, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Breaking tonight, a big night for the Republican frontrunner Donald Trump as we await Mr. Trump's victory speech live from Trump Tower in New York City on 5th Avenue tonight. We'll keep our eyes posted there and bring you there just as soon as he begins.  

This is Fox News projects that Trump has won his home state of New York.  We are still meantime awaiting results over on the Democratic side.  Welcome back to "The Kelly File."

And we just projected that John Kasich will come in second, here in New York, Ted Cruz will come in third. Now, Fox News was able to projected Trump victory just moments after the polls closed but the big question remains how much will he win by? And it is an important question for him.  Mr. Trump needs a strong showing tonight as he looks to secure this nomination outright and prevent a contested convention in July. In recent weeks he has been engaged in the delegate by delegate battle with Texas Senator Ted Cruz who has largely outmaneuvered the businessman to secure delegates in the race to shore up delegate support on a hypothetical second ballot at the convention.

See these delegates need to be wooed because if nobody gets to 1237 outright, then it goes to a second vote and then a lot of these delegates free up. And if they've been wooed properly, they can abandon their candidate that the voters have told them to vote for and just vote their conscience. As a result, Mr. Trump has significantly shaken up his campaign staff and he's brought in campaign veterans who know this delegate process inside and out.

Joining me now with his thoughts Brit Hume, our Fox News senior political analyst. Brit, good to see you. Your thoughts on what we've seen so far?

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Megyn. Well, big night for Trump obviously. And this does ease his path toward winning this nomination outright but it certainly doesn't guarantee it. The Trump win was expected so I don't know how much effect it will have on his momentum.  Certainly he will claim momentum from this. A couple of noteworthy things.  One is that Trump seems according to the exit polls to be doing the least well in the place where he's known the best, that is to say New York City and doing much better everywhere else.

You might expect that urban areas are less friendly to Republicans generally and to conservatives than outlying areas. But nonetheless, that might tell us something about his ability where he is the nominee to cut into the Democratic Party's expected margins in urban areas all over the country. Obviously it would be very meaningful if he was doing really well in New York City, but apparently not. But it's an expected win and a big win for him and guess what, Megyn? We might have news tonight. John Kasich might get a delegate or two. That's the first time that would have happened since, when, Ohio? He might even close the gap between him and Marco Rubio who quit after Florida but is still ahead of him.  

KELLY: Right. I mean, there's a real question about whether that could matter because every delegate counts at this point. And the question is whether even if Trump can't secure this thing outright by June 7th when the voting stops, whether he will be close enough and every delegate matters whether he will be close enough to, A, make the case to the American people that it would be grossly unfair to give it to somebody else or B, make the case to somebody like John Kasich that he should come over to Trump side, release his delegates and help him put over the top or at least make that case to unbound delegates that it's time to get on the Trump train.  

HUME: Well, one presumes Megyn that by the time we get to the convention if Donald Trump does not have the requisite 1,237 he and his delegate hunting operation, which I guess is really just getting started now under Paul Manafort who seems to have taken charge of much of the campaign. One would be presume that they would be working the other candidates who are still in the race or still holding delegates which could include Marco Rubio to try to get them to do what you just described, go ahead and endorse him, back him and so on.

That maybe what Kasich is waiting for or Kasich may be waiting for some kind of bizarre or almost unheard of lightning to strike that hasn't really happened in nearly a half century or more. So -- and Kasich is, you know, he is kind of mysterious about it when you ask him, what are you still doing here, buddy? You don't seem to be gaining much ground. But he keeps talking about how, people are going to want me because I'm doing better in the polls.  

KELLY: And how fun a contested convention would be which may be true for members of the media, I don't know how fun it's going to be for the Republican Party.

HUME: Well, if something happened, Megyn at the Republican convention this summer that is like what happened to the Democrats in 1924, I can guarantee you it wouldn't be any fun for anybody, least of all us who had to cover it. That you may recall that convention went to 103 ballots but Ford nominated a man from West Virginia who ended up losing to Calvin Coolidge.  So, we may on a hope as a story for a contested convention but let's hope it's not something like that.  

KELLY: I've got to ask your thoughts on what's happening on the Democratic side. Hillary Clinton was ahead by double digits in all the polls, virtually all the polls leading up to today. And now it is too close to call. The numbers are putting it within about four points. Now, it's still, you know, it's 9:26 here. They're still counting. But your thoughts on how tight that race is.  

HUME: Well, if this turned out to kind of be a squeaker for her after the polling suggested otherwise for so long, I think that would be harmful to her in this sense. I mean, she's still by virtue the fact that she has a pledge delegate lead and a super delegate lead that it seems prohibitive at this stage. But what would happen if the super delegates thought, you know, this candidate is really weak, we've got to go in another direction?  Would they be willing at that point to think about Bernie Sanders who is an unusual candidate to say the least, being kind of an out-and-out, you know, socialist and a man well up in years who, you know, I think would be -- is looked at as nowhere near a mainstream candidate. But it would certainly I would think raise doubts about Secretary Clinton and her staying power.  

KELLY: Uh-hm. And if they -- if we hear more about Brooklyn and disenfranchised voters whose registration was purged and were forced to fill out provisional ballots which no one wants to do, I mean, just the New Yorkers have no patience for this kind of thing, maybe they're doing it.  The story is not likely to leave us if this vote winds up tight. Brit, thank you.  

HUME: Okay Megyn, thank you.  

KELLY: So, again, we expect to hear from Donald Trump in just moments we're told 9:30. So, now a couple of minutes away from that.

Plus, we were just mentioning the war over Republican delegates which is now so fierce that both the Trump campaign and the RNC chair were in the capitol today talking to GOP leaders. Ben Domenech and Monica Crowley are next on what happened there. Don't go away. We'll bring you to Trump speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: So, what Reince was doing was basically walking the members through how a convention is organized, what are the convention standing committees, how those committees are selected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Breaking tonight, we are awaiting remarks from Donald Trump as Fox News project Trump has won his home State of New York in the republican primary here, and may have a very good night picking up lots of delegates.

We're waiting to see what the victory margin is. There's also new fallout regarding two competing meetings in New York today. Hold on a second. It appears Mr. Trump is coming out. We were told it would be 9:30, and here it is, 9.30.

He'll be coming out to give his victory speech and what appears to be -- this will be the first state by which he's won more than 50 percent, it looks. And now the question is by how many delegates.

Trump himself saying he would like to get about 80 tonight. Karl rove suggesting 85 or more would make this a very good night for the Trump campaign. And, as you heard moments ago, every single delegate now counts in this race.

We could -- we could actually end this thing on June 7th with perhaps Donald Trump with 1,237 outright, perhaps Donald Trump just short of that number at 50, maybe 100, maybe more. But the closer he is to that number, the better his case is that he should go into that convention as the presumptive nominee and the better his case that on the second ballot he should be considered.

I want to bring in quickly as we await Mr. Trump. Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist, Monica Crowley, Fox News contributor. And let me ask you, Ben, what you think the stakes are now that Donald Trump has won New York?

BEN DOMENECH, THE FEDERALIST PUBLISHER: You know, I think a lot of people expected Donald Trump to do well in his home state. I certainly expected him to do well myself. And I think this night is going to be very good for him. But this sets up a situation where we're going to have to see how much momentum he can actually take out of this.

You see the future of this map where you go into states like Indiana, States like California where you essentially have 53 elections, and it's going to be very challenging for him.

KELLY: OK. Stand by. I'm going to get back to both of you as soon as he's finished. Stand by. Let's listen to Mr. Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The people of New York when they give us this kind of a vote, and it's just incredible. And I guess we're close to 70 percent and we're going to end at a very high level and get a lot more delegates than anybody projected, even in their wildest imagination. So, I just want to thank everybody here. I want to thank my family. I want to thank...

(APPLAUSE)

(CROWD CHANTING)

I really want to thank my team. My team has been amazing. You know, it's actually a team of unity. It's evolving, but people don't understand that. The press does understand it, they just don't want to talk about it. That's OK. Just keep talking. It's very important. Keep talking.

But this has been an incredible evening. It's been an incredible day and week. We went all over New York State. New York State has problems like virtually every other state in the union. Our jobs are being sucked out of our states. They're being taken out of our country. And we're not going to let it happen anymore. We're going to stop it.

Very importantly -- and I have -- behind me, I have to say we have some of our great businessmen of the world. Carl Icahn is here someplace, where is Carl?

(APPLAUSE)

Howard Global, Ben LeBow, the great Steve Roth. Steve is building a big building on Central Park south. It's a tremendous success. I said, Steve, congratulation on the building. He said, "Donald, it's nothing compared to what's happening with you." Is that right, my man. So, anyway, we're proud of him.

But we have our great leaders. It has been really something. It has been really something amazing. And believe me, we are going to use our great business people to negotiate unbelievable trade deals so we bring our jobs back and we don't let our companies go to Mexico and all of these other countries anymore.

We're going to keep the jobs here. You're going to be very proud of this country very soon. We're going to build our military bigger, better, stronger than ever before.

(APPLAUSE)

Nobody is going to mess with us. That I can tell you. We're going to take care of our vets. We're going -- our vets are great people, and we have forgotten our vets. Illegal immigrants are taken care of in many cases better than our vets. That's not going to happen anymore. That is not going to happen.

We're getting rid of ObamaCare. It's going to be repealed and replaced. It is a total disaster with premiums going up 35 percent, 45 percent, 55 percent. It's going to probably end of his own volition. We're getting rid of it. We're bringing common core. We're knocking it out. We're cutting it. It's going to be over. And we're bringing education locally.

Local communities are going to take care of their educational needs and people have been waiting for that for a long time. So, with all of the things that have happened today, tonight, and over the week, I tell you what, this has been an amazing week.

All over New York State we went to Syracuse, we went to Albany, 20,000 people -- you know, on average, we have 15 to 20,000 people. We went to Rochester. We went to Bethpage. We went all over. And you know what? The people of this country and the people of this state truly are great and amazing people.

We are going to be so strong again. We are going -- really. I mean, legitimately so great again. And I just can't wait. We don't have much of a race anymore based on what I'm seeing on television. Senator Cruz is just about mathematically eliminated.

(APPLAUSE)

And we've won another state, as you know. We have won millions of more votes than Senator Cruz, millions and millions of more votes than Governor Kasich. We've won and now especially after tonight close to 300 delegates more than Senator Cruz.

(APPLAUSE)

We're really, really rocking. We expect we're going to have an amazing number of weeks because these are places, and they're in trouble. They're in big trouble. When you look at Pennsylvania, when you look at Indiana, when you look at Maryland and Rhode Island and so many places, we have problems everywhere you look.

We are going to solve those problems. And one of the big problems...

(APPLAUSE)

... one of the big problem is the economy and jobs, and that is my wheelhouse. So, again, I want to thank everybody. It's really nice to win the delegates with the votes, you know? It's really nice.

(CROWD CHANTING)

Nobody should be given delegates which is a ticket to victory, and it's not a fair ticket. And even though we're leading by a lot and we can't be caught, it's impossible to catch us, nobody should take delegates and claim victory unless they get those delegates with voters and voting. And that's what's going to happen. And you watch.

(APPLAUSE)

Because the people aren't going to stand for it. It's a crooked system. It's a system that's rigged. We're going to go back to the old way. It's called, you vote and you win. So, we'll be going into the convention no matter what happens and I think we're going to go in so strong.

And over the next number of weeks, we just saw a poll come out of California which is an unbelievable poll, but we're going to go into the convention I think as the winner. But nobody can take an election away with the way they're doing it in the Republican Party.

And by the way, I am no fan of Bernie. But I've seen Bernie win, win, win and then I watch and they say he has no change chance of winning. So, they have this, the republican system is worse.

So, I want to just thank everybody. I have great, great admiration and praise for the City of New York and the State of New York. I can think of nowhere that I would rather have this victory. So, we love you all. Have a great evening.

(APPLAUSE)

We celebrate. And tomorrow morning we go back to work. I'm flying tomorrow morning -- I'm flying tomorrow to Indiana. I'm going to Pennsylvania. I will be all over. So, we're going to celebrate for about two hours. Then early in the morning I get up and we begin working again.

Thank you, everybody. And thank you, New York! We love New York! We love New York! Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Donald Trump speaking at Trump Tower. And just want to bring you this update which happened during his remarks.

Fox News is now ready to project that Hillary Clinton will beat Bernie Sanders in New York's democratic presidential primary based on the Fox News exit polls and early vote tallies. So, she has pulled out a victory here tonight, Bret.

BAIER: She has. And it was nip and tuck there for a little while as you looked at the exit polls, but we're told by the decision desk as the raw vote totals started to come in it's starting to separate.

And they're confident they can make a call. We'll see what the final number is tonight, but Bernie Sanders can make a case that he has made it a race here in New York where she served as U.S. Senator for eight years.

KELLY: The problem for the democrats is it's not necessarily in their party's best interest for their race to go on longer. Even though they have more unity than republicans do, you know, these debates have gotten vicious between Bernie and Hillary. And he's taken the gloves off. I think it finally dawned on him that he needs to go after her if he wants to seize this nomination.

And so, he's forcing her positioning to move in a way that might not advantage her in a general, and he's really going after her on the Wall Street stuff, which is he's trying to hang that albatross around her neck before she gets out of this race.

BAIER: And it's had an effect. However, if you look at those exit polls tonight, Megyn, one thing on the democratic side is that 7 in 10 said they would vote for the other candidate if they won in the Democratic Party. That's not the same on the republican side according to the exit polls. So, unity eventually will come it seems like a little bit easier for the democrats.

KELLY: All right. Stand by because we have Ed Henry, he's our chief White House correspondent, and he is live at Clinton campaign headquarters tonight. Ed?

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Megyn, you got to see this, obviously a big call by Fox News. I can tell you I've been at almost every one of the Clinton victory parties over the many primaries and caucuses or at least primary nights. She's lost some of them.

Obviously this is the most raucous one. This is her adopted home State of New York. As media results have been put on TV screens, they've been cheering, chanting "I'm with her." There's a band here. Much more festive than some of the other scenes I've seen.

As Bret said, the key question is going to be, what is the margin of victory? Some exit polls suggesting Clinton was only leading by about four points. Bernie Sanders even in defeat is going to try to spin this as beating expectations, that she just barely won.

We'll see what the final number one -- number is. But the very bottom line for Sanders is, he's fallen behind enough on delegates that if he is losing tonight, as we project, he simply is mathematically getting closer and closer to being eliminated, Megyn.

KELLY: Ed Henry, thank you very much. Back to Clinton headquarters in a moment. I also want to tell you that right after the break we'll bring back Monica Crowley and Ben Domenech. We're going to talk about what we just heard from Donald Trump. Very different sounding tonight.

And Ted Cruz gave a speech earlier also very different sounding in the messaging. These two men are starting to position themselves in a totally different way than we have seen before. What does it mean? And what will it do between now and June 7th when the last votes will be count -- cast in advance of that July convention? Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: We heard from Senator Ted Cruz earlier tonight, and we also just heard from Donald Trump. And the messages from each candidate sounded very different than we've heard from them in the past. If you missed Senator Cruz, here's a bit of him now. Do we have it?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This generation needs to answer a new set of questions. Can we? Should we? Will we? Are we still those people? Those dreamers and doers. Are America's greatest generations in our past? Or are our best days yet ahead? We must unite the Republican Party because doing so is the first step toward uniting all Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Unity and speaking about how America is at a point of choosing. And you heard Donald Trump tonight sounding, you tell me, more presidential? Senator Cruz, not lyin' Ted. Did you notice that?

Back with us, Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist, and Monica Crowley, Fox News contributor and host to the Monica Crowley show on radio. Monica, what do you think? I don't know if I've ever heard Donald Trump call Ted Cruz Senator Cruz.

MONICA CROWLEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. There was definitely a change in his tone and in his rhetoric tonight. I mean, this is classic Donald Trump in the sense that he's really in his element when he's the victor as he was tonight.

He also hit all the themes that got him to this point, Megyn. He hit illegal immigration, the economy, jobs, repealing ObamaCare, strengthening the military. These are the things that got him to be the republican front- runner.

KELLY: Discipline.

CROWLEY: Discipline. Right. And now he realizes that this campaign is in a new phase. And there is a natural maturation of both the candidates and his campaign that's going on here with this hiring a very seasoned experienced political operative that know the process, delegate hunters like Paul Manafort who know how to rankle delegates and then protect them once they're in their camp.

He's got a tough plight republican election attorney now on board who is going to be able to maneuver and manage the process should it go to a contested convention in July.

So, he understands now that, you know, this campaign just got really real. And if he wants to win, he has got to go along with, I think a much more substantive and responsible tone because now he understands -- he is not just speaking for himself.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Yes. He's already giving few interviews. We've seen fewer tweets from him.

CROWLEY: Exactly.

KELLY: He seems to be, you know, it just more disciplined. I want to ask you, Ben, whether all of that will be enough to get him to 1,237 by June 7th because, you know, some of these analysts are saying you need a running start in these states.

DOMENECH: That's the real problem for him because he is so far behind the eight ball. You know, you talk about adding these people, you know, Paul Manafort now there's coming on to the team, but they're coming on very late in the game. In part because Trump was not expecting to have to fight this battle this way.

He thought that he was going to be able to rack up victories as he was doing a month ago. Instead he has had this past month where he has been struggling and been losing a lot of the delegate level fight. He didn't really think we're going to matter.

That's one of the reasons why just last week he was hiring a new state director for the State of California. It's going to be a challenge for him to get to that point. He said something in those remarks though, as well. I think that it is maybe a little say charitable inaccurate, which is Ted Cruz is mathematically eliminated.

Something which I think I would just call a lie.

KELLY: Why? Why do you have issue on that?

DOMENECH: The fact of the matter is -- the fact of the matter is as Donald Trump knows the way for him to become the nominee of the Republican Party is simple. He has to win 1237. If he doesn't, that dramatically increases the likelihood that Ted Cruz could prevail on the second ballot.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: But he is just talking about getting 1237, right? I mean, that is real what he said. Ted Cruz is odds of actually achieving 1237 before we get to a convention is slim and none.

DOMENECH: Sure. But that is a big difference between that and being mathematically eliminated from being the nominee of the Republican Party, which I think is what Ted Cruz is really fighting for and slogging for in that speech in Pennsylvania.

KELLY: Well, that was another message we heard, Monica. And Donald Trump saying nobody should claim delegates unless they got those delegates through voting.

CROWLEY: Yes.

KELLY: That you shouldn't be able to claim delegates unless you got them through voting because right now the system is set up such that you can get delegates even if it wasn't through voting.

CROWLEY: Well, that's right. And this has been the process for the Republican Party for many, many years, Megyn. This isn't something new that was just sprung this year on Donald Trump. But, look, this has been his theme.

His theme all along has been the American people you are victims, right? You are victims of illegal immigration. You're victims of a bad economy. You're victims of poor leadership in the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. You are victims of bad trade deals.

And that was very powerful for him. And whether there is validity to his argument or not, it is resonating that now he is saying, look, now I am one of you. Because I'm being victimized by this process. That's resonating with a lot of people.

And so, you saw it repeated again tonight. I believe he is going to carry this forward. But I also think he is understanding that. He is not just going to be the spokesman for the Republican Party. But as he goes forward and as he continues to win he's going to get serious about speaking for the country. And that's why you are seeing also the change in tone.

KELLY: And also Mr. Trump speaking to what's happening on his team. Corey Lewandowski was reportedly demoted and Paul Manafort stepping in as the campaign manager. According to some reports Trump is saying that this is a team of unity but it is evolving. Thank you both so much.

CROWLEY: Thank you, Megyn.

KELLY: Well, let's now take a look at the states ahead with Larry Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. So, Larry, if Trump pulls out, what, 85 delegates possibly in New York tonight, how does it make his path look realistically, what are the odds of getting to 1237 up by June 7th?

LARRY SABATO, VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR POLITICS DIRECTOR: This was expected, Megyn, and I don't think it changes the outlook and the outlook is still murky. That is Donald Trump is by no means assured of 1237. And it's going to come down, I think, to two big states that really matter, Indiana in early May and then California on June 7th.

And we can talk about the particulars, if you want, but, you know, every time there is a big victory, whether it's for Ted Cruz in Wisconsin or it's for Donald Trump tonight in New York, the candidate says we've got big mo. We have got the big momentum.

Well, really, it's not big mo and it's not little mo either. Every state matters and every delegate matters.

KELLY: It's like slo-mo. Look at that, you're missing out. Good to see you, Larry. Stand by. Sorry. Tight segment tonight.

SABATO: Thanks.

KELLY: Stuart Stevens here as well. Steve, I want to get your thoughts on what we are seeing tonight.

STUART STEVENS, FORMER MITT ROMNEY CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Listen, I think it's a big night for Donald Trump because, if he hadn't won, it would be a bad night for Donald Trump. But, Larry is exactly right. This is all about not getting to 1237.

I think that it would be a better shot for those who don't want Donald Trump, if John Kasich would not compete in California, if John Kasich would not compete in Indiana. If he would let Cruz take those delegates.

This is all about not getting to 1237 for Donald Trump. But, you know, Trump is benefiting from that -- both of them staying in like that.

KELLY: Yes.

STEVENS: But listen, I think the big winner tonight is Hillary Clinton because Hillary Clinton...

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: I got to leave with that.

STEVENS: ... crushes Donald Trump in the general.

KELLY: So, she has won her home state tonight and Bernie Sanders is feeling that. We'll be right back.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: So, Sean Hannity is up next. And then at 11 o'clock, Bret and I return for a special hour of coverage. Hope you join us then. Go to facebook.com/thekellyfile. In the meantime, add me on Twitter @megynkelly. Tell me what you think of tonight's results being announced.

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