This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," May 6, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SANDRA SMITH, FOX NEWS HOST: Breaking tonight, new evidence of a deep divide within the Republican Party. It comes just days after Donald Trump became the presumptive nominee. Raising serious questions about the party's ability to unify before the November election.
Welcome to "The Kelly File." I'm Sandra Smith in for Megyn Kelly tonight. Over the past 24 hours, we've witnesses series of endorsements and calls to reject Donald Trump, perhaps most notably from those associated with the last Republican to hold the White House, George W. Bush. His former Vice President Dick Cheney suggests he will support Donald Trump for President, but Bush's brother and Trump rival Jeb Bush is -- they're not on board the Trump train writing, quote, "In November I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. But I will support principled conservatives at the state and federal levels." This comes a day after Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he's just not ready to support Trump either. To that, Donald Trump had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Paul Ryan, I don't know what happened. I don't know.
He called me two or three weeks ago, it was a very nice conversation. He was congratulating me. This was before we had the ultimate victory. But he was congratulating me on doing so well. I figured routinely he'd be behind it. And he the other day just in a big surprise --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: We begin with senior national correspondent John Roberts reporting tonight from Omaha, Nebraska, where Donald Trump just wrapped up a rally a short time ago.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, in Omaha, Nebraska today, Donald Trump held his second rally since becoming the presumptive nominee. He's on to Washington State for a couple tomorrow. And while Donald Trump is the Republican standard bearer there is still a lot of questions as to whether or not he can actually achieve the type of party unity that he needs to before the convention and certainly before the November election. But some of those concerns were put to rest today when Nebraska's Governor Pete Ricketts came out in support of Donald Trump today, it's especially important because Ricketts' family had spent millions of dollars bank rolling an anti-Trump Super PAC.
There was also the endorsement from former Vice President Dick Cheney today, and then there was the former Texas Governor Rick Perry who said he would go so far as to be Donald Trump's running mate. At the rally at Omaha today, Donald Trump had kind words for Rick Perry even though Perry's words last summer for Donald Trump weren't exactly kind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Rick Perry is an example. He came in, and I've always liked him. But he's a tough competitor. He fought hard, and he was rough on me. Right? He said, I'm a cancer on the Republican Party. Now, that's the bad news. Let me tell you the good news. So yesterday he endorsed me.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: But certainly Donald Trump hasn't won everyone over. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse has reiterated that he will not vote for Donald Trump, no way no how, and he is encouraging the Republican Party to look for a third option. And Lindsey Graham today said not only would he not support Trump but that he's not going to the convention at all. Donald Trump was quick to reply to that in a statement saying, quote, "Well, I will unify the party. Lindsey Graham has shown himself to be beyond rehabilitation. And like the voters who rejected him, so will I." The big question, though, will Speaker Paul Ryan support Donald Trump or not? We may find out after a meeting Thursday morning on Capitol Hill. That's when Donald Trump will go to visit Speaker Ryan and several other members of the Republican leadership -- Sandra.
SMITH: All right. John Roberts, thank you. Just days before Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, voters were asked about the issue of party unity and whether Republicans will come together in time for November. The result? About half said no. For their part, Trump supporters say, GOP critics need to get behind him or risk losing it all this November. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE, R-FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that these guys ought to step up and support the nominee. And if they're not going to support the people that the Republicans nominated, then they need to get out of the Republican Party and admit they're no longer Republican. You're
either on the team or you're not on the team.
NEWT GINGRICH, R-FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: In the case of Paul Ryan, he is the Speaker of the House. He has an obligation to unify the party.
He has an obligation to reach out.
DR. BEN CARSON, R-FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You don't have another choice. So you get behind the choice that you have, whether you personally like them or not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But should Donald Trump do anything to make that happen?
CARSON: If in fact you're a believer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Marc Thiessen is a Fox News contributor and former speech writer for George W. Bush. David Wohl is an attorney and Trump supporter. Ben Domenech is the publisher of The Federalist.
Marc, I want to start with you, first. To Newt Gingrich's point, does Paul Ryan have an obligation to unite and support the nominee of his own party?
MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's not Paul Ryan's responsibility to unite the party behind Donald Trump. It's Donald Trump's responsibility. And if he doesn't do it, he's going to lose in November.
Let me give you two facts. Donald Trump won 40 percent of the Republican primary votes in all the primaries and caucuses around the country. That is the lowest percentage that any Republican nominee has had since 1968. So a majority, 60 percent of Republicans, voted for somebody else. Unprecedented. Second fact, 40 percent according to a Suffolk University/USA Today poll, 40 percent of Republicans aren't sure whether they're going to vote for Donald Trump or not.
They're thinking about third parties. Some are thinking about supporting about Hillary Clinton. Some might stay home. If Donald Trump doesn't win those people over, change their minds, he is not going to win in November. So Donald Trump needs to stop attacking Paul Ryan and start focusing on winning those folks over.
SMITH: David, in the case of former Vice President Dick Cheney, it wasn't that he had to be won over, he just simply said that historically I've always supported the nominee for my party, and this time will be no different.
DAVID WOHL, DONAD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Right. Voila, he's doing the right thing. And I mean, Paul Ryan, the interesting thing Thursday is going to be a Paul Ryan expects Donald Trump to come to this meeting with hat in hand down on one knee asking how he's going to amend and change and adapt his policies to those of the establishment GOP, then he's got another thing coming. The voters put -- they put Donald Trump over the top by the largest margin ever. He's going to have something like 11 million votes.
THIESSEN: Not true.
WOHL: The largest of any Republican nominee ever in the history of the GOP. And he's got the vote. He's got the people behind him. He's got the gravitas. I got to say that if Ryan is going to do the right thing, that he better not expect Donald Trump to come there asking how he can change to what Ryan wants.
SMITH: All right. So let's talk about that meeting because, Ben, this is what Ryan has said will take place at that meeting. He says, there's going to be a discussion about the kind of Republican principles and idea that can win the support of the American people this November. What will that discussion really be like between Paul Ryan and Donald Trump?
BEN DOMENECH, THE FEDERALIST PUBLISHER: Well, I think that the truth is here that Paul Ryan is whatever the Republican Congress wants him to be. And in this case he has stepped forward and given cover to a lot of Republicans who are members of the House right now who under his leadership have either ideological or electoral reasons not to support Donald Trump right now. And that's frankly something that is working. The focus is on him. The focus is not on all these other individuals who are worried that Donald Trump will be running on an agenda that undermines their ability to hold the House Republican majority. That's the concern that is front and center for Paul Ryan. And that's why he said what he said. So, you can hunt him, you can condemn him, you can set the dogs on him, but he's going
to be with the Republican majority needs him to be.
SMITH: All right. Marc, let's talk about what we're looking at here. Because in addition to former Vice President Dick Cheney saying basically suggesting that he has, Donald Trump has his support. We also heard from former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who also by the way with a one-time rival of Donald Trump. He says, he's not a perfect man, but what I do believe is that he loves this country. So, how many more GOP big wigs will we see come out in coming days and weeks?
THIESSEN: You know, Rick Perry apparently wants a job. So, that has something to do with it. And of course Donald Trump loves this country. Nobody questions that. But it's not about the GOP big wigs again. It's about those voters. What Paul Ryan actually didn't say, I'm not going to support Donald Trump. He actually say, I want to support Donald Trump but I'm not there yet. That's where 60 percent of Republicans are. He did not win it's factually incorrect to say he won by the larges largest margin ever. He actually won by the smallest margin since 1968.
So, he has a large number of Republicans who are not sure as Paul Ryan asks whether he supports Republican principles, whether he believes in limited government. For example, he just came out, flip-flopped within days of winning, flip-flopped on the minimum wage. Before, he said during the debates he was against raising the minimum wage. Now he said he's for it.
WOHL: Oh, boy.
THIESSEN: So, what else is he going to do?
SMITH: All right. So, David. Go ahead.
WOHL: Sandra, I've got to say, you know, the reality is Paul Ryan has to ask himself, did his constituents put him in power to help Hillary Clinton win the White House this year? I think the answer to that would be a resounding no. And I think the reality is if Paul Ryan continues on this track of not knowing what he's going to do, not helping Donald Trump get this nomination, then I think that's what he's doing. He's helping Hillary Clinton get to the White House. And I think ultimately he knows that he either supports Trump or he helps Hillary. And I think if that's going to make the choice easier for him. But that goes for all the establishment guys who right now are resisting supporting Donald Trump because he's the nominee. Get used to it. Get counseling if you have that much trouble with it. But that's the reality. That's where we are.
SMITH: All right. So Ben, how much does this anti-Trump within the party-- how much does this end up helping Hillary Clinton?
DOMENECH: I don't think that it's going to ultimately matter that much because I do think that Donald Trump is going to do what it takes to unite the party. It's just that he hasn't started doing it yet. You saw the reaction to what Paul Ryan said, which was basically go out and say that he's unqualified, that he shouldn't be the speaker of the House anymore. I don't think that that's the reaction that one needs to have if they truly want to lead and unite the Republican Party.
Instead you have to basically convince these members of Congress and the other people out there who are currently skeptical about the Trump campaign that they can unite around an agenda that will not undermine the current majorities that they have in the House and the Senate. That's something that's going to take some work. It needs doing. Ultimately I think Donald Trump has a path to victory over Hillary Clinton but it requires him to take those steps.
SMITH: All right. David, will the party unite?
WOHL: Absolutely. You know, it's going to take a while. I mean, they're thunder struck right now, let's face it. Nobody thought Trump would win by this majority. Nobody thought he would win this quickly, we were planning for California. So, they're shocked right now. They're still shocked. But I think ultimately they'll going to get together. People are going to contribute. Everybody who is on board now is going to have a contribution to making this an outstanding, powerful administration and an administration that's going to beat Hillary Clinton. And that's what's key.
SMITH: All right. Marc, David and Ben, thanks to all of you for joining us tonight.
DOMENECH: Thank you, Sandra.
THIESSEN: Thank you.
SMITH: Also tonight, Donald Trump faced a reported $75 million in negative advertising during his nomination, but none were effective enough to stop him from becoming the Republican Party standard bearer this fall. Media guru Frank Luntz is here to tell us why those ads didn't work and whether
Hillary will fare any better.
Plus, growing outrage tonight as Obama's foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes admits Americans were deceived on the Iran deal with a little help from the White House's favorite media members. You do not want to miss this discussion.
Plus, three college students claim to be victims of a hate crime. Until this video uncovers a much different story about what really went down. Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Eiglarsh joins us with the twist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHA BURWELL, UNIVERSITY OF ALBANY STUDENT: Uh-hm, hi, yes, my name is Asha Burwell and I'm a student at the University of Albany.
BURWELL: And me and my friends were jumped on a bus because we're black.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: All right. Breaking tonight, new reports of Republicans gearing up for hard battles in 2016's down ballot races. Especially in contests for the House or the Senate. Majorities did GOP has worked hard to gain over the past six years. A Bloomberg headline declaring, "Down-ballot Republicans brace for chance of sharing Trump's ticket." The Washington Examiner says, "Trump's effect on fund-raising threatens down-ballot Republicans." And finally The Washington Post reporting Democrats in frenzy to take advantage of Trump's Republican ascension."
And joining me is CEO of Luntz Global and author of "What Americans Really Want. Really," Frank Luntz, thanks for joining us tonight. What do you make of these down-ballot concerns?
FRANK LUNTZ, CEO, LUNTZ GLOBAL: Well, it's real. And the focus groups that we have been doing over the last couple of months demonstrate the challenge. Now, there are two sets of voters here. There are Trump loyalists who resent and you heard some of that in the previous conversation, Trump loyalists who resent Republicans who don't jump on board and embrace him right now. And those people are threatening not to support the Republican candidates for the Senate and the House. And there are also Independents who haven't yet decided whether or not they're going to vote for Trump.
They may have some concerns about him. You have to as a Republican to keep this majority, you have got to win both, the Independents and the conservatives. And that's the only way that you capture a majority. And so it's like threading a needle. And my recommendation to them is, you better empathize with them, you better recognize how much these voters hate both Washington and Wall Street, and you need to communicate that you are not part of the problem, that you're part of the solution. That's how you thread that needle.
SMITH: All right. I want to get to these ads you ran on these focus groups that you conducted. Where do we begin?
LUNTZ: Well, the first thing is I want you to hear from the focus group themselves. This one was conducted in Indianapolis. And I want viewers at home to hear the resentment that may happen if these candidates say, I'm not supporting Donald Trump. Let's roll the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me, it's very simple. If the Republican Party cared about what the people want, they'd be behind Trump at this point. They're not behind Trump. We are. So you know what? Screw them.
LUNTZ: Screw them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, that's my thing. You know, it's like, if they change the rules or they do something when we go into this convention that somehow -- like I don't know what the possibilities are, I don't know all the areas and the rules, but if they do something, I will vote for anybody but the Republican nominee.
LUNTZ: Who agrees with that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree.
LUNTZ: Raise your hands high if you agree with that. Did you see how many people raised their hands there? I mean, this is significant. And we've been hearing it now for about six weeks. Now, you cannot just go after Trump loyalists. You have to be able to add those Independents. But when you combine the two, you do get to more than a majority. And there's an ad I want you to see because this is typical of the attack ads. Tens of millions of dollars were spent all across the country to destroy the Trump candidacy, and virtually every dollar of that was wasted.
And I say that to the donors who were involved in it because they should have known better. They should have understood that attacks like the one I'm about to show you simply do not resonate with angry, frustrated, betrayed voters who are really anxious and demanding of change. Let's take a look at the ad.
TRUMP: I went to an Ivy League school. I'm very highly educated. I know words. I have the best words.
He gets the nomination, they're going to sue his (bleep). She said he's a (bleep). I don't give a (bleep). We'll beat the (bleep) out of them. They're ripping the (bleep). What the hell are we doing? You're not going to raise the ((bleep) price. I have the best words. And you can tell them to go (bleep) themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LUNTZ: Now, it is true I've never heard a candidate ever use language like that. And it isn't as civil as it could be. But make no mistake, hell hath no fury like a voter scorned and voters are ticked off. And they want someone who says what they mean, means what they say and that's why Trump won the nomination.
SMITH: All right. Frank, we led in to you with this unbelievable sum of money that was spent going against Donald Trump, targeting Donald Trump, and the GOP primary. His opponents were not successful there. Will Hillary Clinton be any more successful targeting him with all the money she's got and any other ads?
LUNTZ: Well, we've tested their ads as well because Clinton's been running ads. They're afraid of Donald Trump. They're afraid of this head-to-head matchup because Trump is so candid. You never know what he's going to say. He's unpredictable. And that's what make it's so tough. Hillary Clinton is the most inauthentic, the most scripted candidate of any that I've seen in the last 30 years. She does not know how to debate Donald Trump. And if she runs the same traditional campaign that she did against Bernie Sanders, talking from teleprompters, using the same lines speech after speech, having no sense of where she really is, her heart and her soul, she will get defeated.
SMITH: Wow. All right, Frank Luntz. Thank you.
LUNTZ: Thank you.
SMITH: Still ahead, the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server intensifies as Federal investigators begin questioning those closest to the former Secretary of State. And new reports tonight suggest her date with the FBI could be right around the corner.
Plus, the general election matchup is all but decided. But with concerns over lack of unity in both parties, what can we expect over the next six months? Our political panel is here to debate that.
And 24 hours after Obama adviser Ben Rhodes admits the White House effectively deceived the American people on the Iran deal, the President is peppered with questions about taco bowls? Seriously?
SMITH: Breaking tonight, new Details in Hillary Clinton's private e-mail scandal that has been haunting her campaign now for months. The former Secretary of State is expected to appear before Federal investigators in just weeks to answer questions about the ongoing investigation.
Chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge is here with the very latest on this.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, Clinton aide Huma Abedin and other have now been interviewed by the FBI as part of its ongoing criminal investigation. The source would not speak on the record but said Abedin was questioned about Clinton's use of a private server and whether classified information was willfully transmitted on an unsecure network. No wonder the espionage act and the gross negligent status, intent is not required for a criminal violation. This week, Mrs. Clinton addressed some of these issues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Have you been contacted or your representatives have been contacted by the FBI to set up an interview?
HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No.
MITCHELL: No contact there?
MITCHELL: Any indication that your private server was hacked by foreign hackers?
CLINTON: No, not at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERRIDGE: The Romanian hacker who says, he easily breached Mrs. Clinton's e-mail server in 2013 also claimed in a series of jailhouse phone interviews with FOX News that he spoke with the FBI on the plane for 80 minutes. When he was extradited from Romania to Virginia last month to face separate cyber-charges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have talked to the FBI on the plane, you said?
LAZAR LEHEL MARCEL, ROMANIAN HACKER: Yes, right of because they came after me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Uh-hm.
MARCEL: A guy from the FBI from the State Department. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did have any visits from the FBI when you were in Romania?
MARCEL: I had 2014 in March.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERRIDGE: A government source confirmed that the hacker had a lot to say on the plane but provided no other details. Fox News understand that's a meeting between the FBI, the hacker, the U.S. Attorney and his public defender was expected as early as this week -- Sandra.
SMITH: All right. Catherine, thank you.
Joining me now with a look ahead to the general election are political power panel that we have tonight, Nomiki Konst, a Bernie Sanders supporter and founder and executive director of The Accountability Project. Boris Epstein is a Republican strategist and former communications aide to the McCain/Palin presidential campaign. And Alan Colmes is host of "The Alan Colmes Show."
Good evening to all of you.
NOMIKI KONST, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: Good evening.
ALAN COLMES, HOST, "THE ALAN COLMES SHOW": Hi, good evening.
SMITH: Thanks for being here tonight. All right. Alan, I feel like I want to start with you, first. We've had this open FBI investigation. Now we learn that her very close aide Huma Abedin is going to be questioned by the FBI. The feeling is that it just doesn't look good for Hillary Clinton.
COLMES: I don't know what that means -- Hillary Clinton. In fact, in the statement, the FBI said, the statement the U.S. official said, that there's no evidence that she will fully compromised anything or had any wrongdoing. Of course there's going to be an investigation. They'll going to talk to her aides. They may even talk to her. But that doesn't mean she's indictable.
SMITH: Well, Alan, by saying that -- and Boris, I'll toss this to you -- that you'll have to assume that intent needs to be a key focus here. But Boris, there's a lot more at work.
BORIS EPSHTEYN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, under the key statutes here, Catherine was just talking about, they actually don't necessarily need intent. All you need to prove is in fact there was a server out there and you have to find out why. Now, to Alan's point, of course it's bad. You have the presumptive nominee, I'm sure Nomiki will have something to say about that, for the Democrats who is under investigation. Her number one aid Huma Abedin has been questioned.
Now Huma has got other issues as well in terms of working for the State Department and outsourcing at the same time. There's a ton here that is a huge problem. We as Republicans and as Trump supporters are happy to sit back and watch this go on and on and watch Hillary Clinton get questioned at some point. If she's not questioned it will be because of undue influences by Democrats.
SMITH: And I want to get Nomiki in here. Nomiki, I'm sure you're going to tell me that Democrats still just believe this is a Republican witch-hunt.
KONST: Uh-hm. I think that the majority of Democrats when you poll them think that anytime you say the words Benghazi or e-mail server, it's a Republican witch hunt, it's a conspiracy theory. But there is some truth in this. I mean, obviously the FBI is investigating her.
KONST: You know, Donald Trump, if he were smart, if he is running against Hillary Clinton, he would talk about the tactics, he would talk about the details of the legal matter, rather than painting it in one broad stroke. But it doesn't do well with Democrats and it doesn't do well with Independents. Which are those swing voters that he needs to get and she needs to get.
SMITH: Okay. So, let's talk about that strategy, Alan. In a general election matchup, what does Clinton need to focus on to beat Donald Trump?
COLMES: Well, she might want to focus on the fact that he's going to be standing trial on November 28, they postponed it, it was announced today until after the election, for fraud for Trump University. Here you have a guy --
EPSHTEYN: Come on, Alan!
COLMES: It's true. What do you mean come on? It's true. He's going to be defending himself. He's going on defense, taking the witness stand in a trial where he's been accused of defrauding people...
KONST: First of all, Allan, that's great. You're going to bring up a business dispute. Hillary Clinton's issue is that while Secretary of State, she exposed national secrets.
COLMES: There's no evidence of that.
KONST: No evidence of that.
EPSHTEYN: There's no evidence but obviously she's being investigated.
COLMES: No. You've decided that. It's not true.
EPSHTEYN: And the hacker from -- she said there's no evidence of hacking? Well, the hacker said there was evidence of hacking.
COLMES: We should believe the hacker, right?
KONST: Do you believe a random guy in a plane.
SMITH: If we talk over each other, nobody will hear anybody. So Nomiki, get in here because you're a Bernie Sanders supporter.
KONST: I am.
SMITH: He's still in the race. What is he doing to Hillary Clinton's campaign at this point?
KONST: Well, I think that, you know, it's very clear that neither candidate if going to reach the 2,383 pledge delegate mark. So what Hillary's campaign is doing right now is trying to get him out of the race so she can focus on the general, she can save resources, she can change her message, go back towards, you know, to becoming a moderate, get some of those blue collar voters that Bernie Sanders has a lockdown on right now.
But the reality is neither candidate is going to hit that magic number and we're going to a contested convention. Nobody wants to report it in other news publications but that's the truth. And so, it's going to be a very tense moment on the floor when debating on DNC rules and the platform...
SMITH: Morris is giving you a thumb up.
EPSHTEYN: That's great for us.
KONST: We went through the same thing. You don't even have your Republican Party. Come on.
EPSHTEYN: What are you talking about?
KONST: It's going to be a low turnout year.
EPSHTEYN: Hold on. We have a nominee -- we have a nominee that the party is coalescing around...
COLMES: Not exactly.
EPSHTEYN: Let me finish. We've already had Rick Perry come out. We've already have the governor of Nebraska come out. The party is coalescing around Trump.
EPSHTEYN: And the Democrats are going to keep fighting at this great place (ph).
SMITH: All right, Boris, let me stay with you because I want to talk about what Donald Trump needs to do here because a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows 47 percent of female Republican primary voters said they would not vote for Trump, 70 percent of women voters in general have a negative view of him. What does he need to do to win over women?
EPSHTEYN: He needs to talk about the main message, and that's the economy, national security, and foreign policy. And those are issues that really attract voters across gender, across race, across backgrounds. He does need to stay away from some of the attacks that you've seen in the past and he will continue and turn toward the general.
Now, he's going to be going up against, again Nomiki may say it and I'm wrong, most likely Hillary Clinton and she is a woman, but he needs to attack her on her background, on her failures in Benghazi, failures as Secretary of State.
SMITH: All right.
KONST: That doesn't hold...
SMITH: Last word to Alan on how she responds to that.
COLMES: They've tried Benghazi eight years -- four years ago. It didn't work. I kept saying I'm going to change my name to Benghazi so conservatives never stop talking about me and they did. They're beating the same drum over and over again.
SMITH: It doesn't work.
COLMES: What about coming up with a solution for health care, (inaudible) replace with what? How about focus on the economy the first choice. Talk about real issues.
SMITH: All right Nomiki, last word.
KONST: Forty-four percent of Democratic women have low approval ratings for Hillary Clinton as well. So 44 to 47 is not great. I think women are going to be the turnout factor.
SMITH: All right, we got to leave it there. Nomiki, Alan, Boris, thank you.
A stunning admission from the White House as Ben Rhodes who has helped co- write all of the president's foreign policy speeches admits the American people were deceived in the run-up to the Iran deal. Howie Kurtz is next on the silence that we're hearing from the Press Corps before foreign policy experts Michael Pregent, Ric Grenell and David Tafuri react.
SMITH: Pouring outrage tonight as the White House Press Corps ignores a report in which one of the president's top staffers seems to admit the Obama and White House deceived the American people on one of the president's proudest accomplishment. Ben Rhodes, the deputy and national security advisor who helped co-write all of the president's foreign policy speeches told the "New York Times" magazine that the narrative sold to the American public on the heavily debated Iran nuclear deal was done so with the help of so-called experts who simply echoed White House talking points. What's more, less than 24 hours after the article was published, president Obama was posed these questions from the D.C. Press Corps. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, what's your reaction to Donald Trump becoming the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party this week?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do speaker Ryan's comments tell you about the state of the Republican Party?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm wondering what that say that the nation's capital
(inaudible) was closed for 24 hours and is having a number of safety related problems?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see Donald Trump's taco bowl tweet? And your thoughts on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Howard Kurtz is the host of Fox News Media Buzz and I'm quite certain he has something to say about those questions we heard today during the noon hour.
HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS MEDIA BUZZ SHOW HOST: Well, we had to find out about Trump's taco tweet.
SMITH: Well, there was no comment, by the way, on that.
KURTZ: Yes. And reporters did ask Josh Ernest about it afterward. The story started to get some traction today as journalists go through 10,000 word piece (ph) which has been posted online so far. But what's really irritating about this incredibly puffy profile of Ben Rhodes is how smug he sounds in bragging about bamboozling the press. He talks about using the media as an echo chamber.
He and his deputies say that reporters know nothing about policy, these young reporters they deal with and so they feed them color and talking points which are then kind of repeated online and on Twitter.
And you know, it's not that this doesn't go on to some degree in every administration, but usually you don't have a deputy national security adviser bragging about it on the record.
SMITH: You say how smug he was and that in a way he was taking a victory lap in all of this. But at the same time Howie, you're saying that he's on target with some of his points here.
KURTZ: Yeah, I just think Ben Rhodes make's a couple of good points which I want to grab. One is he says that increasingly -- because I hear this from other politicians and other candidates -- they deal with a lot of twenty- something reporters who've only covered campaigns and don't know anything about policy, therefore, obviously a little easier to spin.
And also he makes the point that when it comes to foreign policy, as newsrooms have slashed their staffs and closed foreign bureaus, a lot of them more experienced veterans have been sidelined so, there is that. But as you noted in the setup, you know, what really has people agog is that Ben Rhodes would deny that he engage in deception, but a lot of people have looked at it including our own James Rosen say, that's pretty much what it is particularly when it came to the selling of the Iran nuclear deal.
SMITH: I mean, you're the media guy. Does any of this surprise you Howie?
KURTZ: I can't say that I'm shocked because I've covered this in one administration after another, going back to JFK, you know, leaking the good stuff to Ben Bradley. I wrote a book about the Clinton White House called "Spin Cycle" because they used all the available tools in the pre-digital, pre-Twitter age. And certainly the Bush White House had an orchestrated press campaign to sell the Iraq war, they just didn't boast about how it turned out.
But when you have in this detailed piece the acknowledgement or at least the reporting of that Ben Rhodes and his team set out to fudge the narrative of how the Iran nuclear negotiations started, claiming that it was when a bunch of moderates were elected in Iran, when actually the negotiations, although denied at the time, had started much earlier. That seems to me to go just beyond spin, talking points, color, leaks to kind of not being straight about the facts.
SMITH: All right, Howie Kurtz, thank you for joining us tonight.
KURTZ: Good to see you.
SMITH: Let's get to our panel of foreign policy experts Michael Pregent, former adviser to General David Petraeus and the executive director of Veterans Against the Deal, Ric Grenell, a Fox News contributor and former spokesman to four U.S. Ambassadors to the U.N. and David Tafuri, a former state department official and former Obama campaign foreign policy adviser. Michael, I want to get to you first. Is it fair to say that the White House lied to the American people about this deal?
MICHAEL PREGENT, VETERANS AGAINS THE DEAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well, thanks for having me. Well, we know the White House politicized intelligence when it comes to Isis. We know the White House has downplayed threats to America and now we have an admission from Ben Rhodes that the White House along with the National Security Council shaped the narrative that misled Americans and legislators and got them to support the Iran deal.
What I would disagree with Ben Rhodes is that he didn't sell this to the American people. Sixty percent of the American population was against the Iran deal and 60 percent of Congress was against the Iran deal. So, he didn't sell it. He actually lied to put these talking points out there, you know, it's this or war and he bragged about it.
He acts like he's a character in the "House of Cards" being interviewed after a controversial episode and he's bragging about his character's role. This is real life. Isis, Iran and national security are a little too big for this aspiring novelist.
SMITH: So David, taking in everything that we just heard from Michael, you have a completely different take on this and you think the criticism of David Rhodes over this piece is unwarranted?
DAVID TAFURI, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, this is a very interesting piece and everybody should read it, but there's nothing earth shattering in this piece. What it discloses is that Ben Rhodes is an adviser to President Obama, helped get President Obama's agenda pushed forward by working with journalists, working with think tanks and working with other supporters. This is the same thing that every president has done since President Kennedy.
They have aides and advisers who help them get their message out. To suggest, however, that Ben Rhodes or the president somehow pulled the wool over the people's eye with respect to the Iran deal is not true. There are many reasons why the Iran deal maybe should not have gone forward, but they were hotly debated and they were out there in the open. Republicans had many chances to fight the Iran deal. There were many members of Congress who were against the Iran deal, both Republicans and Democrats.
The prime minister of Israel came to the U.S. and directly addressed Congress and told them why they shouldn't support the Iran deal. And there were many pundits and commentators who wrote op-eds against the Iran deal. All of the information was out there. It was hotly debated with both sides and with President Obama and his avid and effective adviser pushing forward on his behalf his agenda, which was to pass the deal and they were successful.
SMITH: All right, Ric, and I know you've got a completely different take here. You're saying that this simply highlights the power and ego of somebody who's obviously very influential. I also just -- I'm curious about the timing of this. Why would he say this to the "New York Times" now in the last year of President Obama's term in office?
RIC GRENELL, MEDIA COMMENTATOR AND FORMER DIPLOMAT: Yeah, look, he's gloating. He's taking a victory lap. I think David is right in that. Every press office does this type of spin, right? Except what happened with Ben Rhodes is he should have been the National Security Council spokesman. When he entered the White House, he changed his title for the first time in history to Deputy National Security Adviser for Communications.
The guy has an incredible ego, and he immediately came in to say that he was going to be deputy national security adviser. President Obama needs to be held account here is because he's allowing us to have foreign policy conducted solely from a guy who is a fiction writer and this isn't just from the critics of Ben Rhodes. This is from secretaries of defense who have worked for president Obama. They have said that this guy is highly political.
He's inexperienced and he doesn't know what he's doing. This is why the Iran deal we don't have any time anywhere inspections. It's because the chief strategist for the deal is a fiction writer. So you can't really blame Ben totally for grabbing this power and running with it and spinning journalists. President Obama who was disinterested in foreign policy, he's the one who gave him the power.
SMITH: It's a fair point, Michael. It does tell us a lot about who the president has surrounded himself with.
PREGENT: Yeah. I mean, apparently in the article Ben Rhodes has a poker face. So, if he disagrees with something, apparently you can tell. But if Ben Rhodes knew anything about the Middle East or Iran, he would know that giving sanctions relief to Qassem Soleimani, another nefarious actor got nothing to do with the Iran deal would be bad.
He would know that working with Shia militias in Iraq is bad and he would know the Iran deal has actually put Assad in a better place in Syria. These narratives that he's selling cost lives. They may not be American lives but they cost a lot of lives in the Middle East and North Africa. Ben Rhodes is a domestic audience strategic communicator. That's why everyone in a foreign country looks at the White House and wonders what the hell we're doing in regards to national security.
SMITH: David, perhaps one concession that you are making about Ben Rhodes here is that it was a bold endeavor and that he did have to sell this and perhaps it was in a way that wasn't altogether informing the public of what this deal entailed.
TAFURI: It was a very bold endeavor and we were right to challenge it as many people did and it was hotly debated. There are reasons not to have supported it, including that it did not punish Iran for some of the terrorist activities that it supports, for supporting Hezbollah, for the damage it did to the U.S. military and the lives that it is responsible for in the U.S. military in Iraq. Those are all reasons to have not supported it, but all of that information was out there. Ben Rhodes didn't hide that. Ben Rhodes didn't lie about the basic terms of the deal. Everybody knew that.
SMITH: Okay, so you're just saying he wasn't challenged on it. Got it.
PREGENT: Ben Rhodes didn't know who Qassem Soleimani was.
SMITH: All right, thanks to all of you for being here tonight. Good discussion. Ric, Michael and David.
SMITH: Up next, explosive allegations of a hate crime fly when a fight among college students breaks out on a public bus. And tonight the girls once thought to be victims in all of this are the ones under fire. Criminal defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh joins us with the details on this, and you will not want to miss it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ASHA BURWELL, UNIVERSITY OF ALBANY STUDENT: Hi, yes. My name is Asha Burwell. I'm a student at the University of Albany and me and my friends were jumped on a bus because we're black.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What?
BURWELL: These girls jumped on us on the bus and they were calling us the "N" word and hitting us and so were guys. And the bus driver didn't do anything about it until we got to campus. And he stopped the bus and still the guys continuously hit us in the face.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SMITH: That was a 911 call made earlier this year by a state university of New York -- Albany student -- claiming she and two friends were the victims of a racial attack aboard a bus. The attack prompting protests on campus. The case was so explosive at the time, Hillary Clinton even weighed in tweeting "There's no excuse for racism and violence on a college campus."
Now, some three months later an investigation revealing the three women once thought to be victims were actually the aggressors and their accusations of a hate crime fabricated. The university is taking action expelling two of the students and handing a two-year suspension to the other. Joining me now to break it all down is criminal defense attorney Mike Eiglarsh. It's a difficult story to hear, but it happened on a city bus and so the university acting -- are they acting within their limits here?
MIKE EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely. First of all, Sandra, I don't just do research for Megyn, I do it for you, and I actually looked up the University of Albany student code. And right there on page 1 out of 20, even though I read all 20 pages, section 1 -- yes, section 1, subsection 2, makes it very clear that the students' conduct pertains not just to on-campus, but off-campus. I defend a lot of people who get knocked up in school and get thrown off campus.
SMITH: All right. And you believe that their punishments here should be severe for faking a hate crime.
EIGLARSH: Oh, my goodness. It's not just the impact it has to their lives but future alleged victims. It's total boy who cried wolf. It's like Duke Lacrosse, what that alleged victim did for future rape victims. What they're doing to future minorities who claim that they've been abused, now we're going to pause. Now we'll stand in disbelief. It's outrageous what they did.
SMITH: Is there a trend of this happening of people throwing around fake hate crimes? I mean, this happened on a college campus or on a city bus -- three college students, females. What are we seeing as far as this happening across the country?
EIGLARSH: I certainly hope not. I mean, I haven't heard about this. These are random acts. I think that these are a couple of students with defects in character who chose to panic, I suppose. But I'll tell you this, I don't think a slap on the wrist is appropriate. This is coming from a defense lawyer. I think these are major crimes. They shouldn't get lumped into people who make false claims of their car being stolen for insurance purposes. This has huge impact on the community and I wouldn't mind seeing them get severely punished.
SMITH: I mean, are you talking about a felony?
EIGLARSH: If they could file a felony. Unfortunately, the laws in Florida don't dictate that so, no. But yes, I think it's severe, but it should warrant a significant penalty.
SMITH: All right, you say the school is acting within their own rules to expel these students, and we have yet to see where the law will stand on it. A dramatic story. Mark, thank you and thanks for doing the research for me as well, by the way.
EIGLARSH: My pleasure.
SMITH: All right. We'll be right back.
SMITH: All right. There is nothing shy about viewers of this show. The tweets are flowing in @sandrasmithfox. Write me your thoughts on show tonight. Happy Mother's Day by the way. Also, go to facebook.com/thekellyfile. Tell us what you think about tonight. And thanks for watching. I'm Sandra Smith.
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