Sign in to comment!

Sunday Morning Futures

Paul Manafort: Trump campaign to focus on growing economy

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," August 7, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Regroup.

Good morning, everyone.  I'm Maria Bartiromo.  Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures."

Today, we are exclusive with Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's campaign manager, about the unveiling of his economic plan tomorrow in Detroit, and the Trump's strategy for the weeks to come.

Plus, new poll numbers revealing Hillary Clinton is still struggling with trust issues, with less than three months to go until the general election. Our panel today, discusses whether this will ultimately doom here in November.

Also, what is next?  Following the report that the U.S. allegedly paid $400 million to Iran for the release of four hostages?  Was it ransom?  We will talk with the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee live right now as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures".

(MUSIC)

BARTIROMO:  Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump set to unveil his economic plan tomorrow in one of the city's struggling the most when it comes to creating jobs.  Trump will lay out his policies in Detroit as he continues to whether several controversies looming over his campaign.

Joining me right now is Paul Manafort, Trump's national campaign manager.

Mr. Manafort, good to see you.  Thanks so much for joining us.

PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP NATIONAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER:  Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO:  Look, it's no secret that it has been a tough week for the campaign, from the back and forth with the Khan family, to discussion about Donald Trump being unable to stick to message.  Are you can be able to turn this around?

MANAFORT:  Look, the campaign is just beginning and we came out of the Democratic convention where the media for the most part was trying to push the Democratic narrative which is not reflective of what's going on in this country and is not reflective of the solutions that the country needs to turn it around.

We will -- with the campaign is a three-month campaign, we're at the beginning.  Starting Monday, we're going to be announcing our economic plan.  When we do that, we're comfortable that we can get the agenda in the narrative of the campaign back on where it belongs, which is comparing the tepid economy under Obama and Clinton versus the kind of growth economy that's Mr. Trump wants to build.

BARTIROMO:  Yes, and we know that Mr. Trump has said that he wants to have a 15-percent business tax for example which obviously is way down from what we're seeing the corporate tax right now.  Hillary Clinton says she wants to raise taxes.

Can he deliver this message and actually make it resonate with voters?

MANAFORT:  Well, we're very confident that we can.  First of all, his speech at the convention laid out a vision.  You know, some people called it dark because they didn't like the fact that he was telling the truth about the state of the economy in the state of America today.  But that true -- that speech was also very positive speech because he said we can turn this around and he laid out the areas in which he said he could turn around.  One of those areas was his economic plan.  

Monday, we'll start to talk about that.  And at the Democratic Convention, what you saw was Hillary Clinton making the same promises over and over again, talking about all the things she's going to do.  One of the things she didn't say, which is implicit in however, is she's going to raise taxes, lots of taxes, on everyone.  And that's not going to grow the economy.  That's going to make the recovery which is already the weakest since 1949, even worse.

Mr. Trump on Monday will lay out a vision that's a growth economy -- growth economic plan that will focus on not just lowering taxes but will focus on cutting deregulation and unleashing America's energy capabilities, focusing on things that will help the middle class be able to afford their lifestyle, try and get wages to be real -- have real growth as opposed to stagnancy like we see today.

So, it's a plan that touches all economic spheres of our economy -- you know, all demographics.

BARTIROMO:  Yes.

MANAFORT:  And we think is going to contrast very nicely with Clinton's hidden tax increase plan.

BARTIROMO:  What is Donald Trump saying right now in terms of the messaging?  You know, people -- I'll tell you, there are a lot of people who initially were not on the Trump train and then they got on the train, They're disappointed, they're not sure that he can pull this off.  They want to support him but they're disappointed that he seems to be scattered in terms of messaging.

How do you deal with that?

MANAFORT:  I would tell them to just pay attention.  It's a three-month campaign.  The issues are very clear.  He laid him out into speech.  The speech was very well-received.  

This is a change election.  There's only one candidate who was a change candidate.  That's Donald Trump.  

Hillary Clinton is the epitome of the establishment.  She's been a part of it for 25 years.  All of the things people are fed up with, she was a part of.  She and she can't get away from that in the course of this campaign. That contrast will be made very clear.

BARTIROMO:  Give me the path to victory as you see it.  I mean, we know that Donald Trump does well with white men, not so well with Hispanics, not as well with the black community.  Hillary Clinton has that.

So what is the path to victory and how are you going to resonate with those important groups that you need to actually take the White House.

MANAFORT:  Well, look, those important groups as you call them I have all the same concerns that that those people supporting us do -- jobs, you know, the record levels of unemployment in the black community are the highest ever.  Poverty is grown in the black community, in the inner cities.  The problems haven't been solved in the last seven and a half years, they've gotten worse.  Yet, the promises are still the same.  

The Hispanic community, they care about jobs and national security. Hillary Clinton has a part was one of the architects that led to the growth of ISIS, that destabilized the Middle East.  And when you talk about soft on Russia, she's the one who established the reset Russia policy that not only brought Russia into the Middle East, something that American foreign policy under both Democrat and Republican presidents four years trying to keep from happening, she invited them in.  And look at the Middle East today.

She's the one who encouraged Russia to be more involved in part be no in dealing with Europe, and we've got a weakened NATO as a result.  She's the one who was you know before you push Russia in such a direction that they started to put alliances together with China.

Her Russia reset policy has been a disaster for the United States, and if anybody is weak on Putin who Putin should be, you know, anxious to see as president, it's Hillary Clinton.

BARTIROMO:  And then there's Iran.  The administration sent four hundred million dollars in cash, cold cash, in an unmarked plane jet to Iran.  They would not release the hostages until they saw that money on the jet.

The president says it's absolutely was not a ransom payment but it sure looks like it.

MANAFORT:  That's generally is that your look like it.  I was amazed when he said well we couldn't get the money to them any other way that this give them cash.  What's the easiest thing for -- what's the easiest monetary of that currency to disappear into terrorist camps and --  

BARTIROMO:  And in America we can -- because it is America, we can get them at the money in any other way.

MANAFORT:  It's just -- I mean, again, they just are blatant in their ability to lie to try to push their position and think they can get away with it.

BARTIROMO:  Right.

MANAFORT:  The American people are smarter than that.

BARTIROMO:  But how should we have confidence?  Give us the reason to have confidence that Donald Trump will be better and stronger leader against these countries who are perhaps trying to hurt us like in Iran like a Russia, why should we have confidence he can do it?

MANAFORT:  Well, first of all, he's a strong leader.  Clinton can say she's a leader but she was a part of the architecture of the foreign policy that failed.  Secondly, he's made it very clear that he's putting America's interest first, not -- you know, multilateral, that international organizations.  He said, we will work with those international organizations but we work with them on our terms.  We're not going to compromise ourselves.

Hillary Clinton spent their whole terms for -- as secretary of state, traveling the world kowtowing to those international organizations and multilateral groups.  You know, that's not leadership and she's -- you know, during that whole four years, there's not one concrete the accomplishment that she had other than to say she's traveled more miles in any secretary of state.

BARTIROMO:  Was there an emergency meeting on the part of Trumps advisors, you included, that is trying to appeal to him to not speak about things that are not relevant to the election and Hillary Clinton?

MANAFORT:  No, there was no emergency meeting.

BARTIROMO:  Somebody called it an intervention.  Rudy Giuliani said that's the wrong word.  But how are you going to focus Donald Trump?

MANAFORT:  We work, we meet every day, and then we deal with what's in the news, and what we want to be talking about a week or two from now as well.

Donald Trump is focused he understands and he has been talking about the last couple of days.  He understands the need to establish change versus the establishment and then that that -- that's -- those stakes of the election.  He understands the importance of putting out his economic plan, so it can be contrasted with Hillary's increased tax plan and you're going to see that now as we move from the conventions and through the Olympics into the general election.  

He is very focused.  He knows what he needs to do.  I am confident that he's going to start doing it and eventually the media will start having to cover it.

BARTIROMO:  Do you do you feel like you have the ground game in place, the money that's required, the organization and structure that's required to actually get this done?

MANAFORT:  In the last two months, we've raised over $132 million.  Of that, we've got it over 1.2 million donors, in the last two months.  The average contribution is $70.  So, the base of support is broad and deep. We're very confident we have the financial base to take the campaign.  

We're not starting to spend that money.  We have an organization in all 50 states.  We have in the battleground states, we are very deep in the in the ground game that we have.  We have our voter identification program, voter registration program, these are all being employed right now -- they're deployed right now.

So, yes, we are very comfortable.  We don't need to have thousands of people working to cover up the -- because our campaign and our candidate has a clear message.  

The Clinton campaign has got -- needs people because they're trying to hide from the record.  It's and obfuscate the reality.  We're not.  We're trying to expose the reality.

BARTIROMO:  So why do you think the polls have shown Hillary taking a lead just in the last couple of weeks, or week?

MANAFORT:  Well, I mean, part of it is the bounce for her convention and the incredible fawning the national media under convention.  I mean I found it ironic that we had four people in our -- one of our -- in our rules committee who are disagreeing with the direction of our convention and our convention was in chaos.  

The Democratic National Committee had over half of the up for almost forty percent of their delegates in open rebellion and that wasn't chaotic. That's just absurd.

BARTIROMO:  Yes.  Well, that's true.  I was at both conventions and it -- and it was incredible to see the Bernie Sanders supporters outside really vocalizing their upset.

Paul Manafort, good to see you.

MANAFORT:  Good to see you, Maria.

BARTIROMO:  Thank you so much.  We will be watching.

MANAFORT:  Thank you.

BARTIROMO:  Paul Manafort, Trump's national campaign manager.

And Donald Trump finally endorsing some big-name Republicans over the weekend in a play for party unity.  What's the impact here?

Plus, more fallout from allegations that the U.S. paid Iran $400 million in ransom money for the release of American hostages.  What is next?  Are there more payments to come?  We'll be talking with the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee next, live with that.

You can follow me on Twitter @MariaBartiromo, @SundayFutures.  Let us know what you'd like to hear from Representatives Ed Royce, coming up.  Stay with us.  We're looking ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  My support and endorse our speaker of the house, Paul Ryan.  I hold in the highest esteem Senator John McCain. I also fully support and endorse Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARTIROMO:  Well, there you go.  You heard it.  After weeks of holding out, Donald Trump finally endorses those leading Republicans for reelection. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senators John McCain and Kelly Ayotte.

But was that enough to right the ship and actually unify the GOP.

Let's talk about it right now with Byron York, chief political correspondent for "The Washington Examiner" and a FOX News contributor.

Byron, good to see you.  Thanks so much for being here.

BYRON YORK, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER:  Good morning, Maria.

BARTIROMO:  Your takeaway on what we just saw and heard.  And then I want to get your take on these new polls this morning.

YORK:  OK, well, on this whole Ryan stuff.  It's hard to see the strategy here.  On the one hand, it might make sense for Trump to distance himself from Paul Ryan.  Paul Ryan is very popular among some Republicans.  He's very popular in his own district in Wisconsin.  He's going to win his primary on Tuesday.  

But there are a lot of people in the Republican base, especially Trump supporters, who is not very popular with.  So, it might make sense for Trump to distance himself from Ryan.  Plus, Ryan's plans the so-called Ryan roadmap not particularly popular with general election voters.

So it would make sense for Trump to distance himself, and then after doing that endorses Ryan.  So what's the sense in that?  And, you know, the bigger sense is, Trump didn't have to go to Wisconsin on Friday.  There was no law saying he had to do that before Ryan's primary on Tuesday, he might well have just stayed out of it and caused himself a lot less trouble.

BARTIROMO:  Right, he's probably just trying to show unity.  You know, it's interesting, when you look at the Republicans that they must voice what they're feeling.  And on the Democratic side, they all get in line.  You know half of them don't like each other at all.  I mean, there's an article today that Clinton is upset with Andrew Cuomo for taking too long on his speech during the convention and he said, "Look, we're done with your boy", one of the one of the campaign people said two Cuomo's camp.

But they get in line, even if they're upset with each other, they don't like one another.  They get -- but the Republicans can't do that.

YORK:  And especially Trump really doesn't do that.  I've been to speeches in which Trump makes fun of Republicans he knows can't stand each other but they act like big buddies in public.

BARTIROMO:  Yes.

YORK:  That's the point Trump has made over and over again.  But then after saying that "I'm just not there yet".  Remember, he used Paul Ryan's exact word to pointedly not endorse him, after saying that, he then reads an endorsement -- you just played that video.  He was clearly reading from notes, which is not a Trump sort of thing to do.

BARTIROMO:  Sure.

YORK:  So, the question is, where is he on all this?  I'm afraid he was on both sides in the course of a few days.

BARTIROMO:  Well, you just heard Paul Manafort talking about the campaign, and he firmly believes that they can get that messaging back on track.  We see polls today -- of course, last week was a tough week for Donald Trump. What do you think?  What -- how do you read these new polls which will continue to show Hillary in the lead?

YORK:  They do.  We have a new "Washington Post" poll this morning, national poll shows Hillary Clinton up by eight.  The Fox News poll had her up by 10, and "The Wall Street Journal" had her up by nine.

So I think we have to conclude that that's pretty much where the race is right now.  But if you look back over a graph of the Real Clear Politics average of polls over the last year, you see this recurring cycle -- Clinton goes up, Trump goes down, she's ahead by a lot, then Trump pulls even, and they're tied.  And then it happens again, then it happens again. It's happened four times in the past year.  

And I think what that suggests, no guarantees, but I think what it suggests is we're going to see more of these cycles of them coming closer together and it being much more competitive in the next few months.

BARTIROMO:  So, what do you think will resonate with voters?  You know, I like to ask guests on both sides of the aisle the same question that is you've got a loyal support group for Hillary.  You've got loyalists for Donald Trump, and then you've got this enormous group of people in the middle who are independent.

How do you get those people?

YORK:  The economy and national security.  You just focus on these issues and Trump is actually is pretty actually pretty strong in the polls, if you look at the polls that say, you know, which candidate would be better handling health care or that our taxes, when you get to national security and when you get to the economy, those are Trump strongest areas.

So I think any Republican or independent analyst would tell Trump, focus on the economy and national security.

BARTIROMO:  Yes, so that will be a catalyst tomorrow when Donald Trump unveils his economic plan.  He wants to keep the conversation around that.

What about Hillary?  You know, these new polls even though she's in the lead, continue to show that people do not trust her.  This e-mail scandal keeps dogging her, three months away from the general.

YORK:  It does, and the fact that she misrepresented shall we say her -- what the FBI director had said didn't help her either.

But you know, I've been watching some of Hillary Clinton speeches in the last few days, she gave speech in Colorado, in Las Vegas, in Nebraska.  
They were very heavily economically-oriented.  She focuses very strongly on the economy, promising people a lot of things.  And she has mostly avoided the kind of press contact that would bring attention to the email scandal or her record as secretary of state or the Clinton Foundation.  

So, she's really pursuing a strategy of focus on the basic issues, don't make news and stay away from questions that might raise her negative.

BARTIROMO:  Right.  Which is why she hasn't given a press conference in, I don't know --  

YORK:  You got it.

BARTIROMO:  How many days is it now?

YORK:  It's like 240-something like that.

BARTIROMO:  Two hundred days no press conference.

YORK:  We're getting close to a year now.

BARTIROMO:  Byron, good to see you, sir.  Thanks so much.

YORK:  Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO:  We'll see you soon, Byron York there.  

The United States getting $400 million in cash to Iran on the day that the regime releases four American hostages, not until they got the money.  Was it ransom and where is that money going?  

My next guest says it will go right in the hands of terrorists. Congressman Ed Royce is on deck, next.

We're looking ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Some of you may recall, we announce these payments in January, many months ago.  There wasn't a secret.  We announced them to all of you.  Josh did a briefing on them that this wasn't some nefarious deal.

We do not pay ransom.  We didn't here, and we don't -- we won't in the future.  Precisely because if we did, then we would start encouraging Americans to be targeted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARTIROMO:  That was President Obama denying that four hundred million dollars in cash payments went to Iran and was ransom for the release of for American hostages.

Now, the payment is raising eyebrows with critics who say the timing is suspicious and it sends the wrong message.  Some lawmakers like my next guests are also concerned that the money may be used to fund terrorist groups like Hezbollah.  We know that Iran is the number one state supporter of terrorists.

Joining us right now from California, California Congressman Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Sir, good to see you, Mr. Chairman.  Thanks for being here.

REP. ED ROYCE (R), CALIFORNIA:  Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO:  So, do you believe that four hundred million dollars was ransom?

ROYCE:  Yes, the $400 million was ransom.  Not only do I believe that, but the senior officials in the Department of Justice warned the administration that it would appear as it as exactly that and warned the administration that it might lead to other Americans being taken hostage.  And that is exactly what has now happened.

BARTIROMO:  You know, it's pretty extraordinary because it was it was cash, it was in unmarked -- it was in all different currencies, euros, Swiss francs, not in dollars.  It was in an unmarked jet that the hostages would not even be allowed to get on a plane to leave until they saw that that money was there.

And then the Iranians went ahead with their propaganda machine and told their country -- well, we just got ransom money.  So, it certainly feels like ransom.  What are the implications of this, sir?

ROYCE:  Well, one of the implications and, by the way, the reason you know it was ransom is because we had an American pastor being held there in Evin prison.  His wife told me how he was being tortured and I'm going to have him come and testify about this.

But he has already said to Fox News, he's already explained that he was held there and they were told on the plane, "You'll be on the plane as soon as the other plane arrives".  All night -- all night long, he waited there for that next plane to arrive before they allowed them to leave.  Of course, this was what was negotiated.  

But here's the point, Maria, that four hundred million dollars when the announcement was made by the head of the Basij militia.  That's a terrorist organization.  When that general said that this was ransom, what he means is that he now has his hands on money that can be used for their efforts to fund Hezbollah or German intelligence just recently reported a month ago that they were repeatedly approached by Iranian agents trying to purchase nuclear weapons capability.

This is why we did not want them to have their hands on hard currency over there.  They're the number-one money laundering concern, the number one state sponsor of terror and now, they've got $400 million in cash untraceable.

BARTIROMO:  Let me ask you this, Mr. Chairman, what are you going to do about it?  Are you going to launch an investigation here?

ROYCE:  Yes.

BARTIROMO:  How will you offset this?  What are you planning?

ROYCE:  Well, I'm angry because originally, we weren't briefed on this is, as part of the negotiation.  And second, in February, I asked about cash transactions and didn't get any answer from the administration.  And now, I see that more Americans are being picked up, as well as Europeans.  Their families are saying, well, maybe if we paid an additional stipend to ransom, we could -- we could get them home.

This is what the Department of Justice senior officials warned of.  Once you start paying that kind of ransom, expect more of that kind of activity to happen.  And that's what happened.

BARTIROMO:  And that's exactly what we saw.  Yes.

Let me ask you this -- two very important questions here.  Are you saying Congress was not notified before that money left?  Number one.  And number two is, what is the schedule in terms of more payments to Iran?  Do we know when the next payment is due?

ROYCE:  And do we know if the next payment is cash, right?  

BARTIROMO:  Right.

ROYCE:  Do we know if the next payment is going to be a transfer done in Swiss francs and unmarked bills so that again rather than it being used for infrastructure, it can be used for the very purposes that Iran is conducting Hezbollah operations right now, helping to fund Hezbollah against our ally Israel, helping to fund their Quds forces, you know, against Syria, helping to overthrow the government, a friendly government to the United States and Yemen.

BARTIROMO:  Right.

ROYCE:  That their Quds forces help to overthrow.  That's our concern.  

In terms of what we were notified on originally in the negotiation, this was not given to us in advance.  Once it was broke to us, it certainly -- we were not told that this was going to be cash, that this was going to be flown in on unmarked plane in the dead of night for the exchange of four American hostages.  So, yes, we've got we've got questions and lastly, I've got legislation that I've passed into the Senate, specifically to try to brought block access to the U.S. dollar and not allow Iran to manipulate and use our currency.

So, yes, there's a number of issues we want to take here in order to make sure that this primary money laundering concern, as the international community calls Iran, can't use hard currency for terror.

BARTIROMO:  OK.  So you are launching an investigation.  You were not notified before the cash left and went to Iran.  Again, it was like an executive order, which we've seen so much out of this administration.

Let me ask you quickly, sir, before you go, the State Department is now identifying their 2,340 refugees that have resettled in America in July, just in the month of July, 2,340.  We know the president wants to take 10,000 refugees.  Do we know where they have settled in the country and whether or not the vetting process was affected?  We know that ISIS is trying to infiltrate the refugee flow.

ROYCE:  That's right.  Let me speak to this vetting process for a minute because the FBI has told us there's no way that he can ascertain for sure that -- you know, because there are no records right in Syria?  Damascus isn't going to release records.

So, here's what we know, and I know this also from talking to the European intelligence services.  We know that ISIS is making a very real effort in order to put their agents into that flow of refugees out of Syria.  So, if we don't have the ability to vet this, how do we know?  

And this is -- this is our issue.  This is our concern.  This is why Congress thinks that the administration has been enormous and naive and especially after the attacks in Europe, where we see ISIS agents who have been embedded or who've been involved in document forgery.

BARTIROMO:  Sure.

ROYCE:  Yes, this is a big concern.

BARTIROMO:  All right.  We will leave it.  Mr. Chairman, thanks very much. We will be watching your investigation of the money that went to Iran. We'll see you soon, sir.

ROYCE:  Thank you, Maria.

BARTIROMO:  Up next, President Obama says the strategy to defeat ISIS is working.  We will talk about it next.  The Ambassador Nick Burns will join me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO:  Welcome back.

Growing outcry over that $400 million dollar payment to Iran.  Critics suggesting the timing of the payment was tied to the release of four American hostages.  President Obama insists it was not ransom.

I want to bring in Ambassador Nick Burns right now.  He was the lead negotiator on Iran's nuclear program.  He is also a former U.S. ambassador undersecretary of state.

Good to see you, sir.  Thank you so much for joining us.

AMBASSADOR NICK BURNS, FORMER LEAD U.S. NEGOTIATOR:  Thank you very much.  
Thank you.

BARTIROMO:  Talk to us.  You just heard the conversation I had with Chairman ED Royce, and he is saying clearly that was a $400 million payment to Iran.  Can you explain to us the payment system and why the money was all in cash, why this payment was made on the very day that the four American hostages were released?

BURNS:  Well, this was -- as I understand it, this was a settlement of a thirty-seven-year-old legal claim and it was quite separate in the minds of the Obama administration from the fate of the American hostages.  It had to be paid as I understand it in cash because of American sanctions against Iran, which prohibited payment in dollars and prohibited payment by wire transfer or through a banking system.  So, that was the reason for it.

I will say this, Maria, I accept President Obama's explanation that in his mind, of the minds of the U.S. government, these were two very separate events.  This is a long-standing legal claim on one side and, of course, the fate of our American hostages on another.

But the appearance is bad and in the conspiratorially-minded Middle East, it would certainly -- it could look very different to people, it could look like the payment of ransom and I don't think that's what President Obama intended to do.  

But with the benefit of hindsight, I think they should have separated these two events and probably told the Iranians, we're not going to settle this legal claim.  We want our hostages back first.

BARTIROMO:  Why do you think that if all of that is true, then it was done on the very day that the four hostages were being released, and they won't even let these guys get on a plane until they saw the plane with the money in Iran?  And number two, why he didn't -- the administration did not alert Congress beforehand?

BURNS:  Well, the administration is as I understand, I read all the press reports, I'm outside the government obviously.  The administration made an announcement, the White House made an announcement that it had settled this long-standing claim, this dispute between the United States and Iran of frozen payments going all the way back to the 1970s.

So, the administration was aboveboard about that, but I do think you have to be careful, especially in the Middle East of appearances.  And obviously, the greater -- the greater objective the United States was the release of those hostages.

BARTIROMO:  While you --  

BURNS:  It makes sense, Maria, that we don't pay ransom for hostages.  That just encourages further hostage-taking, but I don't believe the President Obama intended that.

BARTIROMO:  What do you think about the overall Iran deal?  I mean, obviously, much debate about this?  You were critical in terms of dealing with the Iranians.  We know that they're the number one sponsor of terrorism.  Why was that deal necessary in the first place, the nuclear deal?

BURNS:  I supported President Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran, not because it's good for Iran, because it was good for us.  I thought it was a close call.  There are upsides to it and downsides.  But what we he was able to do is stop Iran's growth towards a nuclear weapon, freeze the program, shined a very bright international light on it through international inspections and do that with the rest of the world on our side, and not have to fight a war --  

BARTIROMO:  Yes.

BURNS:  -- to obtain that.

There is a downside however, and I testified before Congress and Senate at the time, and that is that when the agreement lapses in 15 years, the Iranians could conceivably go back to a nuclear program.  But I think that the upside outweigh the downside, I think the president should be commended for the Iran deal.

BARTIROMO:  Real quick on ISIS, Ambassador.  I mean, we had another attack over the weekend, a machete attack.  ISIS claiming responsibility in Belgium.

How would you characterize the state of ISIS today?

BURNS:  Well, it's a malevolent organization.  I think the U.S., this coalition have done a lot of damage to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The control of territory is shrinking.

However, ISIS is now metastasizing.  They're in Libya.  They have a lot of control over Boko Haram in Nigeria.  They're in other countries.

So I think this is going to be a long, long struggle that our government is going to have to wage with a lot of other countries on our side against the Islamic State.  But the administration has done well, but the battle is --

BARTIROMO:  Well, the battle is far from over.  We apologize for that satellite issue.

Ambassador Nick Burns, great to have you on the program this morning and we appreciate your time very much, sir.

Let's get a look at what's coming up on "MediaBuzz" top of the hour. Let's check in with Howie Kurtz right now.  

Howie, good morning to you.

HOWARD KURTZ, "MEDIABUZZ":  Good morning, Maria.  We're going to look at Donald Trump getting what I think is the worst week of media coverage any presidential candidate in my lifetime has ever received, was some of that self-inflicted or is it media bias or some combination.  Some pundits even calling Trump crazy or cursing him out on the air is a lot to go through here, and Hillary Clinton as you know holding her first news conference this year.  The questions weren't soft, they were wiffle ball.

So a lot to talk about on "MediaBuzz".

BARTIROMO:  Yes, a lot to talk about and I guess on the Trump side, he's calling it what?  She was short-circuited, because that's the phrase she used.

Howie, we'll see you in about 20 minutes.

KURTZ:  Crazy, short-circuited, yes.

BARTIROMO:  Yes, exactly.  Thank you so much.  New polling shows Hillary Clinton increasing her lead over Donald Trump.  How this Trump get back on track after a tough week or is Hillary going to win.  The panel is next we will take a look.

We're looking ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  She short-circuited.  She took a little bit short-circuit in the brain and she's got problems.  I think that the people of this country don't want somebody that's going to short-circuit up here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARTIROMO:  Donald Trump questioning Hillary Clinton's mental health during a rally yesterday in New Hampshire.

It follows Clinton's claims that she, quote, "short-circuited" during a recent interview on "Fox News Sunday" while talking about her email controversy.  This coming as a new Washington Post poll shows Clinton has opened up an eight point lead over Donald Trump.

I want to bring in our panel right now.  Judith Miller is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.  She is a Pulitzer Prize- winning author and journalist. Tony Sayegh is with us today.  He is a Republican political strategist and executive vice president of Jamestown Associates.  And Senator Scott Brown with this, former Republican senator from Massachusetts.  All three are Fox News contributors.

Good to see everybody.  Thanks very much for joining us.

Let's talk first about these poles big opening up, Judy Miller, after these conventions for Hillary Clinton.

JUDY MILLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, it doesn't surprise me given the fact that every time Hillary Clinton made a mistake or misstated something Donald Trump would do something that focused all of the attention on him and not in a good way.

So even though a majority of the country thinks that the country is moving in the wrong direction, they still see her as a more stable and less unpredictable figure the Donald Trump.  

Donald Trump is frightening people.  You see that in the ads, and that's what the Democrats are going to play out.

BARTIROMO:  It's really is self-inflicted, Tony Sayegh, and you know, Paul Manafort at the top of the show basically said, look, we're at the beginning of this final three months up to the election, and we are getting the messaging back on track.  Can he do it?

TONY SAYEGH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  Of course, he can.  Look, the premature claims that Donald Trump's candidacy now in some sort of free fall I think failed to really look at history. Post-convention polls do not necessarily last very long, the bumps are short-lived, and really what you're going to see is how does Hillary or Donald Trump sustain these numbers come labor day and then the next event after that is the first presidential debate, which is in 50 days.

Hillary Clinton still has, despite these reasonably good poll numbers, certainly a larger bounce than Donald Trump after his conventions, three fundamental problems in these polls.  She's still losing independents, by the way, in The Washington Post poll and the Fox poll.  Her negative ratings are still over fifty-five percent and more than sixty percent of the country still think she's honest and not trustworthy.

So, these are problems are going to continue to dog or even in what are looked at as recently favorable calls for her.  The other thing I would mention, Maria, is if you look at the Reuters/IPSOS daily tracking poll, she started eight points ahead of Donald Trump this week, she ends the week only three points ahead.  Similar trend in "The L.A. Times" daily trackball polls.

Why are these important?  These tests likely voters not just registered voters.  That's an important difference.

BARTIROMO:  Yes, there are there are debates when you look at these polls, Scott Brown, because when you look at these regional polls that that Tony brings up, it's actually a lot tighter than then you would expect.

SCOTT BROWN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:   Well, of course, and you're going to see them go up and down.  You saw the bounce that Donald had.  You see the bounds now that Hillary has.  The election is not tomorrow.  There's plenty of time obviously to right the ship.

And just with respect to Judy commenting on mistakes, the big difference between Donald Trump's mistakes and Hillary Clinton's mistakes, when Donald Trump makes a mistake, the media really jumps on it, some obviously rightly so.  Other times I think it's a little biased.

But Hillary Clinton's mistakes have cost people lives.  They've also cost national security potential problems in our in our country as well.  So, there's a very, very big difference.

And when you talk about the so-called short-circuiting, Maria --  

BARTIROMO:  Yes, ye.

BROWN:  -- it's not short-circuiting, she's lying, and she's getting caught up in what I call the political boogy-woogy, trying to recreate a narrative and redirect the narrative away from the truth, and that's her big problem. People don't trust her and they don't like her.

BARTIROMO:  It's funny she said she said circuit.  What does that meant?  
Oh, I guess I lied.

MILLER:  Exactly, and she has a kind of Trumpian tick when it comes to that issue.  She's got to get around it.  She can't have a press conference until she does.

But if we're going to talk about short circuits to the brain, come on, Scott.  Really, Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton?  Hillary Clinton had the sanity not to attack a Gold Star family.  Donald Trump's mistakes go to character and being a bully and a simply horrible person in the eyes of many people, whereas Hillary's are the kind of mistakes that politicians make when they're covering various parts of their anatomy.

BROWN:  Well, first of all, Judy, thank you, if I could just respond to that.

BARTIROMO:  Yes, sure.  Go ahead.

BROWN:  I actually I actually was one of the only people to actually speak up and criticize Donald Trump for instead of saying, listen,  God bless you and your son and your family for their sacrifice and service.  So I don't disagree with you.

But once again to reiterate, the difference between covering your anatomy has cost people lives in Benghazi, has cost us national security problems obviously when it comes to the server and other things.  And then when you look at the reset, Assad is a reformer, those are real choices, not that the stupid political mistakes that Donald can sometimes makes.  But there's a huge difference.

BARTIROMO:  Real quick.

SAYEGH:  I think Pat Smith who is a Gold Star mother from Benghazi would dispute Judy's characterization.  She told the story of how essentially Hillary Clinton lied to her over her son's coffin at the Dover Air Force Base on what caused Benghazi, and then when Pat Smith went out on that up to tell the world, Hillary Clinton her campaign attacked her as a liar. So, that was unfair as well.

BARTIROMO:  They're definitely Mrs. Smith.  Good point.

We'll take a short break.

Hillary Clinton is still struggling to give clear answers about her email controversy.  We're going to get into that next as we head into the general election final three months.

Back in a minute

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARTIROMO:  Welcome back.

Hillary Clinton facing reporters and once again answering questions about her email scandal.  It just won't go away.  Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  Director Comey had said that my answers in my FBI interview were truthful.  That's really the bottom line here.

What I told the FBI, which he said was truthful, is consistent with what I have said publicly.  So I may have short-circuited and for that I -- you know, will try to clarify, because I think you know Chris Wallace and I were probably talking past each other.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARTIROMO:  Back with our panel -- Judy Miller, Tony Sayegh, Senator Scott Brown.

So, she says she's shirt short circuited to Chris Wallace, Judy.

MILLER:  Look, she's just got to get over this.  She's got to get a better answer, something like I'm sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER:  That's right, here's the truth, because on other things she is such a superior candidate in the eyes of not only Democrats who are in national security but even in the Republican Party when you have John Kasich this morning saying, I can endorse Donald Trump he didn't endorse Hillary.  But other Republicans have, Michael Hayden has called Donald Trump --  

BARTIROMO:  I don't know if she's a superior candidate.  I mean, if you're not trustworthy, how can you be a superior candidate when it comes to any issue?

MILLER:  Both of them are not trustworthy.  We are choosing between two very unpopular candidates.  We're going to hold out clothes pins on Election Day, but the all of this you know this, this poll this instant measuring of the body popular, we have to wait and see.

And, by the way, I don't think Donald Trump has the guts to debate Hillary Clinton.  I want to see whether or not --  

(CROSSTALK)

BARTIROMO:  September 26.

MILLER:  Let's see.

SAYEGH:  He wants a larger audience.  That's the issue currently with the debate schedule.  

Look, her answer is inexplicable.  She says that "I didn't lie to the FBI", which by the way if she did would be punishable by federal prison sentence, OK?  But it's consistent with what I've said in public.  That we know is false.

The Washington Post gave her four Pinocchios for that, and this is the chronic issue with Hillary Clinton and Judy alluded to it.  She can't get out of her own way on this issue here is a huge opening for Donald Trump to say, look, whatever I may say has been you want to say may sound -- to Judy's word is crazy, she's done things to disqualify herself.  Just look how she's conducted the server, and compromise national security and that connect the Clinton Foundation and the millions and donations she took from overseas governments with business in front of the U.S. government at the time.

Her conduct is disqualifying, not what she says necessarily.

BARTIROMO:  And that keeps coming up to the bite her, Senator.  I mean, what does this look like in the next three months going into the election? Do you think it resonates with folks, voters?

BROWN:  Yes, of course, it does.  And here she is, she's blaming Chris Wallace who's got the most integrity of anyone that I know and he does an amazing job. So, now, it's -- she's going to try to say, oh, we were talking over each other.  No, he was very clear, very direct, and once again she tried to mislead the American public by taking half truths, and kind of more fitting and into this new -- you know, this new story about what happened.

Listen, people don't -- people get it, OK?  But let's talk about the next three months, Maria.  Yes, listen, Donald Trump has some work to do no doubt.  I've been critical, others have been critical, but when you're looking at the two choices -- Judy, once again, I love you but with respect once again, she's got the political -- Washington insider that conversation and double-talk down pat.  That's a big difference.

She's smooth and she can talk about this, and name drop and all this other stuff.

BARTIROMO:  Thank you, Scott.

BROWN: Donald Trump -- Donald Trump -- people like Donald Trump because he's not like the others.

BARTIROMO:  We've got to jump.

Scott Brown, thank you.  Tony Sayegh, Judy Miller.

I'll see you next week, Fox Business Network.

Content and Programming Copyright 2016 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2016 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.