Trump visits flood-ravaged Louisiana; Clinton charity to stop taking foreign money if Hillary wins

Reaction on 'The Kelly File' after president chooses not to leave Martha's Vineyard


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

SANDRA SMITH, FOX NEWS HOST:  Breaking tonight, Donald Trump wrapping up what may be the most disciplined week of his presidential campaign. Delivering his fourth major speech in just five days.  A move suggesting to some that we may finally be seeing the presidential version of himself that he has been promising for so long.  

Welcome to "The Kelly File," everyone, I'm Sandra Smith in for Megyn Kelly tonight.  Trump's speech in Michigan just a short time ago is the fourth time he used a teleprompter this week.  An unusual move for a candidate beloved for his shoot from the hip politics.  But this was no usual week for the GOP nominee.  Not only did we learn today that campaign guru Paul Manafort was resigning it, came just days after Trump rocked the political world by appointing a Breitbart Chairman Stephen Bannon and strategist Kellyanne Conway to fill some major holes in his campaign.  

But despite all the distractions, many are suggesting that the Donald Trump we have been hearing from this week, although different and perhaps a little dry, may be the version his party has been waiting to hear from for months.  


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  Families strapped in welfare will be provided with jobs and opportunity.  Children stuck in failing government schools will be able to attend the school of their choice.  


Government will become lean, effective, responsible, and honest.  No one will be above the law.  In a Trump administration, the State Department will work for the country, not for Hillary Clinton's donors.  


And I will work for you and I will work for no one else.  I will work for you.  I will never lie to you.  I will never put any other interests before you, and I will never ever stop fighting for you.  Never.    


SMITH:  Chief political correspondent Carl Cameron is live in Dimondale, Michigan where it was all happening earlier today with more on that.  Hey, Carl.  

CARL CAMERON, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:  Hi, Sandra.  Quiet here now but it was raucous just a couple of hours ago.  Donald Trump had a big rally here.  Used the teleprompter.  Made a number of statements, political statements about African-Americans.  Took on Hillary Clinton and took on President Obama and none of the crowd seemed to mind at all that he was using a teleprompter.  In fact, he has gotten very good reviews for having done so even for some folks who used to think as Trump said you could never use a teleprompter at a rally.  

But it's gone pretty well for him this week.  Earlier today he was in Louisiana.  And when he got here tonight, one of the things that he did was point out while he got down to Louisiana and looked at the floods, President Obama has been in Martha's Vineyard on vacation.  And suggested that it was almost a dereliction of the President's duty to have not gotten there sooner.  Watch.  


TRUMP:  I just got back from a tour of the suffering and devastation in Louisiana.  The spirit of the people is incredible.  The devastation likewise they have never seen anything like it.  But the spirit of the people is incredible.  And honestly, Obama ought to get off the golf course and get down there.  


CAMERON:  The President has been doing a lot of that golfing, yesterday he was out on the golf course with the comedian Larry David.  But the White House has said that the President when he gets back from vacation will go to Louisiana this coming Tuesday.  That said, the morning and the tour was somewhat overshadowed by yet another shakeup in the Trump campaign.  Paul Manafort offered his resignation and Donald Trump said that he accepted it. Although it was fairly evident last week when both Kellyanne Conway as well as Steve Bannon were added to the campaign roster of executive manager that Manafort had been layered.  

And for all intents and purposes in the Trump campaign when you get pushed aside by other people who were brought in above you, it's time to leave and that's what Manafort decided to do.  He ran into some problems there too. There was tremendous amount of press coverage and a lot of Democratic criticism.  News reports that he had gotten very close to a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine and might have gotten involved with some organized crime figures and not properly disclosed it on American lobbyist disclosure forms.  That was the kind of distraction that even Eric Trump said his father couldn't really have and didn't want around the campaign anymore.  

So, Manafort is out.  Kellyanne Conway, the campaign manager clearly has been calling the shots this week doing a lot of interviews and talking about how Trump would be more substantive, dealing with policy, less name- calling and we have heard a considerable decrease in the name calling. Instead of calling Clinton crooked Hillary at every single utterance, he has taken to occasionally calling him his opponent.  

So he is trying to act more presidential.  There is still some skepticism. Even amongst some of his supporters in the audience who says we will see how long it lasts.  But the Trump campaign clearly has gotten a little bit more of a bounce in its stride this week and I think we can expect to see more of it -- Sandra.

SMITH:  So much, Carl, happening in a day, happening this week on the Trump campaign.  You're on it for us.  Thanks, Carl Cameron.  

All right.  As we mentioned, tonight's remarks were the fourth major speech Trump delivered in just the last five days.  While touching on issues from ISIS to immigration and from law and order to the minority vote.  The GOP nominee seemed to keep the script.  


TRUMP:  My administration will aggressively pursue joint and military operations to crush and destroy ISIS.  A Trump administration will establish a clear principle that will govern all decisions pertaining to immigration.  And we will be tough.  And we will be even extreme.  Extreme.  
We should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people.  

I will be your champion, I will be your voice in the White House.  We will bring it back.  We will once again be a country of law and order.  To every parent who dreams for their children and to every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight.  I'm with you.  I will fight for you.  And I will win for you.  Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing.  I have done that and believe it or not, I regret it.  And I do regret it.  Particularly where it may have caused personal pain.  


SMITH:  All right.  Guy Benson is political editor at  Tezlyn Figaro is a former Bernie Sanders campaign staffer.  Ric Grenell is a former spokesman to four U.S. ambassadors to the U.N.  I'll start with you first.  

Ric, was this a big week for Donald Trump?  A good week for Donald Trump?

RIC GRENELL, FORMER SPOKESMAN, U.S. AMBASSADORS TO THE U.N.:  Yes, I think it was a fantastic week.  He made some necessary changes and he started talking about specific policies.  Look, I know a lot of East Coast reporters want to talk about process here in the teleprompter but a teleprompter only allows you to get more detailed.  And that's exactly what Trump is doing.  All of these policies are Donald Trump policies.  

They are policies of change.  They are policies against the last eight years of President Obama.  And they distinguish themselves against what Hillary Clinton is going to do.  He is out there and Hillary Clinton is following him.  Hillary has had to catch up there in New York and call in some police chiefs to her.  She didn't go out there.  She didn't go to the flood zone.  So I think Donald Trump has owned the week.  

SMITH:  Yes.  And Tezlyn, you covered a lot of ground.  Four major speeches in five days.  I want to talk to you about his, as Carl Cameron pointed out his appeal to the black voters in that speech in Michigan today.  He's made a very specific call asking for the vote of every single African-American voter.  Listen.  


TRUMP:  Tonight, I'm asking for the vote of every single African-American citizen in this country who wants to see a better future.  And at the end of four years, I guarantee you that I will get over 95 percent of the African-American vote.  I promise you.  


SMITH:  That's a big guarantee, considering where he is right now, Tezlyn. Clinton leading Trump among black voters in a big way.  Clinton and Kaine getting 87 percent of that vote.  Trump and Pence just getting four percent of the black vote.  Where do you think -- where is he coming from on that?

TEZLYN FIGARO, FORMER BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN STAFFER:  Well, you know, I think it's important for him to at least, you know, ask.  You know, a lot of times I say that it's great to even at least ask for the vote.  Now, you know, just being honest as a campaign staffer, when you have 90 percent of African-Americans who consistently vote Democrat time and time again, you know, it may not be worth.  I mean, just being honest begging for votes that you may not ever get.  So, I mean, at least he did, you know, ask the question on this week.  

But, more importantly, it's important that African-Americans ask themselves the questions, are we better off than where we were eight years ago?  And the bottom-line is African-American poverty has risen.  The bottom-line is four out of 10 children are hungry and still in poverty.  So, those are the questions that we still need to, you know, ask ourselves.  So, I think it goes away from more or less not just asking what politicians are asking us, but what we should be asking ourselves and asking of those politicians. So, I think it was a good move to make.  Whether he is successful or not, or we will just have to wait and see.  

SMITH:  Yes.  We will see if there is any change that does come out of that and Donald Trump tweeting out just a few moments ago after he delivered this speech, Guy.  Thank you, Michigan.  This is a movement.  He had a lively crowd there today, Guy.  He had people excited.  As we just heard from Ric.  It's been a great week for Donald Trump.  Is this a turning point?  Dare I ask that question?  

GUY BENSON, POLITICAL EDITOR, TOWNHALL.COM:  Well, we have heard it so many times.  And people say oh, this is finally that presidential pivot.  And then the rug gets snatched out from under us.  So color me skeptical.  But I will agree with what Rick said in the premise of your question which is, despite the fact that his campaign chairman resigned under a major ethical cloud, even in spite of that, this was probably the most successful week in memory from the Trump campaign because he has gotten a little bit more serious.  

His speech in North Carolina was probably the best one I have seen of his entire presidential bid.  And so I -- and I also think the jujitsu politically going down to Louisiana that was smart move as well.  
Politically savvy.  Softening Donald Trump's image.  So, my hat is off to Kellyanne Conway.  She has made a very clear difference very, very quickly.  

SMITH:  So, let's talk about that Ric.  Because we know Paul Manafort is out.  That was the big news today.  And who is in, Stephen Bannon, the Breitbart chairman is now there and Kellyanne Conway as Guy just mentioned. What impact are they going to have?  How are they going to change or will they seek to change Donald Trump?

GRENELL:  Well, first of all, let's say congratulations to Donald Trump for appointing the first female campaign manager for a GOP Nominee.  That message is not getting out there.  He is not getting the credit for that appointment.  Kellyanne is a fantastic pick as campaign manager.  Look, I think that the two of them together, Bannon and Kellyanne, are a good force.  Because Trump has had a problem with convincing people like my friend Guy here, that they should join the Trump campaign.  We need more Republicans.  That's where he is going to do better.  And by having Bannon and Kellyanne, two well-known hard core conservatives, I think it's going to send a powerful message.  

SMITH:  Ric, was that sarcasm on a Friday night?  

GRENELL:  No, no, no.  Guy and I are very good friends and we are on different sides of this issue.  

SMITH:  All right.  We will get Guy back in here in a second.  

GRENELL:  But it sounded to me like he is coming along.  

BENSON:  We are on the same side against Hillary Clinton.  That's for sure.  

GRENELL:  That's true.  

SMITH:  Okay.  So you have made that point clear.  But, Tezlyn, none of this does very good if we don't start to see a change in the polls.  Rather or not the polls are accurate and they really matter.  We will going to talk about that later in the show.  But that is what we have to work off of right now.  And the momentum has been in favor of Hillary Clinton, has it not?  

FIGARO:  It has.  But, you know, I think -- I guess I disagree with most people about it being, you know, great to talk from the teleprompters. Donald Trump is 70 years old.  Let's just be honest about it.  You get what you get.  You know it is what it is.  You either like it, love it or want more of it or you go support somebody else.  He certainly didn't hire the founder of Sesame Street this week with Mr. Bannon.  

So, I think the gloves are going to come off.  He is going to go right back to being Trump and play to his base.  Not those who would never vote for him.  Just in all honesty the same thing with the Bernie Sanders campaign, it is a numbers game.  It is a matrix game.  He wants to play to the people who already support him.  Bring out the Trump, take off the gloves and let Mr. Bannon do exactly what he wants to do.  

SMITH:  All right.  Ric, I know you're trying to jump in but I am going to give your friend Guy the last word here.  


BENSON:  There is so much to respond to.  I think let's reconvene.  Let's reconvene on this program two weeks from now, three weeks from now and see how we look back on the pivot.  I think there are a lot of Republicans in Washington, D.C. down ticket from Donald Trump in the Senate and House who are praying on their knees every night that this truly is a new Trump.  

SMITH:  Guy, did you just invite yourself back onto the show?

BENSON:  I wouldn't want to be presumptuous, but it can be discussed by someone on the show.  How about that?

SMITH:  You are a friend of the show I'm sure.  So, all right.  Thanks to all three of you for joining us tonight.  

BENSON:  Thank you.  

SMITH:  Good to have you.  All right.  Coming up, victims of deadly flooding in Louisiana get an unexpected visit from Donald Trump.  As we now learn the President will soon follow suit.  Did the GOP nominee pressure President Obama in to action?  

Marc Thiessen and Richard Fowler join us with their reaction on that. Plus, Hillary Clinton reportedly blaming one of America's most respected men in her ongoing email scandal.  Today, Colin Powell responding, suggesting that she leave him out of it.  


HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email.  There is no classified material.  



SMITH:  Breaking tonight, after days of mounting criticism, the White House says, President Obama will visit flood ravage in Louisiana next week.  The news comes on the same day as Donald Trump and running mate Mike Pence as they tour the battered Baton Rouge region and met with flood victims.  

FOX News Casey Stegall is live in Louisiana tonight with more.  Hey, Casey.  

CASEY STEGALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Sandra, good evening.  Mr. Trump and Governor Pence spent about four hours on the ground here today.  They covered an awful lot of turf and they met with a large amount of people. Everyone from church leaders to volunteers to those who have lost everything they own and must start over.  The residents we talk to say they were happy to see the GOP presidential nominee, mostly because of all the attention and the cameras that followed.  Cameras finally aimed at a state that's hurting so much tonight.  

Where many have been angry over President Obama's lack of visibility in a time of need.  Nearly 4,000 people are still sleeping in shelters again this evening.  Thirteen people have lost their lives.  Tens of thousands have been left homeless.  Special canine units with the group Louisiana Task Force One continue to search for those unaccounted for.  And rescue workers who have been at it reporting for duty and still showing up for work despite being victims themselves.  


CHIEF BRANT THOMPSON, LOUISIANA OFFICE OF STATE FIRE MARSHAL:  As they try to cope with their own personal losses, many of those first responders are here with us, sitting in this command center today out in the field today trying to assist others in the community.  But that's our job.  That's why we are in public safety and that's part of the mission.  


STEGALL:  FEMA says, it has more than 1100 agents working on the ground to assist in getting temporary housing established and people signed up for federal disaster dollars.  But politics aside, Republican or Democrat, this is a tragedy affecting human beings in our own country who have a very long and tough road ahead of them -- Sandra.

SMITH:  All right, Casey.  Thank you.  

Donald Trump's tour of flood damaged Louisiana included a stop at a Baptist Church with Evangelical Leader Tony Perkins.  And the GOP nominee was caught on a hot mic knocking President Obama for playing golf during the disaster.  


TRUMP:  The President said, he doesn't want to go.  He is trying to get out of a golf game.  

TONY PERKINS, EVANGELICAL LEADER:  Well, I heard he was trying to stay under par while we are under water.  

TRUMP:  He will never be under par.  


SMITH:  Uh-hm.  Marc Thiessen, former chief speech writer for President George W. Bush and Fox News contributor and Richard Fowler is a nationally syndicated talk show host.  

Marc, I will start with you first.  Here, Donald Trump is, he is running for president.  He is on the ground in Baton Rouge before not only his opponent Hillary Clinton who is taking some rest, he is on the ground before the President himself.  What does that look like?

MARC THIESSEN, FELLOW, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE:  Well, it's remarkable, because if you remember, Donald Trump promised us that he wasn't going to start acting presidential.  Well, today, he was more presidential than the president of the United States.  While Barack Obama was on his eighth round of golf in 12 days, Donald Trump was on the ground, hugging victims, touring the devastation and most importantly, using his bully pulpit to shine a spotlight on this tragedy.  This is the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy.  Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton not only have they not gone, they haven't even gone to a microphone to say a word to the people of Louisiana.  

There has been almost no press coverage of this.  And Donald Trump single- handedly changed that and he got bipartisan praise for it.  Senator Mary Landrieu who is a former Democratic senator from Louisiana.  Hillary Clinton supporter thanked Donald Trump and said that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama should follow suit.  And Barack Obama is only going after Donald Trump when he didn't.  

SMITH:  And it's hard, based on what we are seeing, Richard, not to throw to this sound then Senator Obama back in 2008 criticizing George Bush for doing a flyover of Hurricane Katrina damage.  Listen.  


BARACK OBAMA, D-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We can talk about what happened for a few days in 2005 and we should.  We can talk about levees that couldn't hold.  About a FEMA that seemed not just incompetent but paralyzed and powerless.  About a president who only saw the people from the window of an airplane instead of down here on the ground.  


SMITH:  He was criticizing him for not getting on the ground when he was trying to avoid a distraction in a similar way that Hillary Clinton said she doesn't want to go there yet because she doesn't want to be a distraction.  Does a different standard apply here, Richard?

RICHARD FOWLER, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO HOST:  No, there is not a different standard at all.  I think that was candidate Obama.  And this is not eight years after President Obama and there is a distinction between those two times.  Here is what we know and Mark has worked in the White House and he knows that.  If any time the President moves and almost an entire city moves behind him.  Beyond that when he moves into a region, to like Baton Rouge, right, where the expresses are all shut down, only for rescue vehicles, when the President gets there, those rescue vehicles can no longer move.  Right?  So the President going -- actually hampering the recovery.  

SMITH:  Richard, how about what the people want?  I mean the Baton Rouge newspaper, the advocate, they are calling for the President to come down there.  Okay, he has announced since then he is going to be down there next Tuesday.  

FOWLER:  He sent his Homeland Security Secretary and the FEMA director down there as well.  

SMITH:  This is what Hillary Clinton says as to why she is not going down there.  She actually put out a Facebook posting saying just that.  She doesn't want to be a distraction.  She says my heart breaks for Louisiana and right now the real -- the relief effort can't afford any distractions. Okay.  So based on Richard's point, is that fair?

THIESSEN:  Of course not.  Look, I want to ask Richard, were you saying that in 2005 when George W. Bush was getting hammered for doing the flyover?  Were you taking on Barack Obama for saying that you can't see people from the sky?  I'm not finished, hold on.  When Barack Obama said that, you know, you can't see the people of Louisiana from a golf course in Martha's Vineyard.  At least George W. Bush was on his way home from Crawford from his vacation to manage --   

FOWLER:  His ranch, right.

THIESSEN:  Barack Obama, yes -- no, they were both on vacation when the disasters happened.  The difference is Bush ended vacation.  


SMITH:  All right.  Richard, go ahead and respond.  

FOWLER:  Well, one, the President has been over and over again every day with his Homeland Security secretary which has been to the region as well as his own FEMA director.  Wait a minute, that has always been to the region.  What the news tells us from the Bush case is that the FEMA director was an utter failure during Katrina which is a complete difference than this FEMA director.  

SMITH:  All right.

FOWLER:  Number three and most importantly and I think the most important thing that folks needs to understand is, well, even though Donald Trump went there, because his plane was there, what safety plane couldn't land? What plane of resources couldn't land?  What police officers were taken off the street helping the survivors?  That's the question.  

SMITH:  We know that there are 13 deaths related.  

FOWLER:  Not at all, Marc, not at all.  

SMITH:  Hold on.  Hold on.  We have had our final political thoughts there. It's absolutely devastation down there.  And these people have a long road to recovery.  

FOWLER:  Absolutely.  

SMITH:  So, we hope everybody does their part and chips in.  

All right.  Thanks to both of you.  

THIESSEN:  Thank you.

SMITH:  Richard and Marc.  

All right.  Hillary Clinton reportedly dragging former Secretary of State Colin Powell into her ongoing email scandal.  And he wants no part of it.

Plus, under mounting criticism, a surprise confession from the Clinton Family Charity.  But only if Hillary becomes president.  Peter Schweizer has studied the Clinton Foundation for years.  He says this is too little, too late.  


BILL CLINTON, D-42ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I don't think there is anything sinister in trying to get wealthy people and countries that are seriously involved in development to spend their money wisely in a way that helps poor people and lifts them up.  I don't think there's anything bad
with that.    



SMITH: Developing tonight, one of America's most respected men dragged into the ongoing scandal over Hillary Clinton's private email server.

Mrs. Clinton reportedly telling FBI investigators that former Secretary of State, Colin Powell encouraged her to use a private email account.

Secretary Powell suggests that's news to him. Fox News, Jennifer Griffin has the story from Washington. Hey, Jennifer.

JENNIFER GRIFFIN, AMERICAN JOURNALIST, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Sandra leaks from Hillary Clinton's FBI interview in which she says former Secretary of State, Colin Powell told her during a party at Madeleine Albright's to use a private email account at the State Department forced the spokesman for Powell to respond today.

"General Powell has no recollection of the dinner conversation. He did write Former Secretary Clinton an email memo describing his use of his personal AOL email account for unclassified messages and how it vastly improves communications within the state department."

Powell went on to say, "At the time there was not an unclassified email system in the state department that had changed by the time Clinton was secretary of state." All of this coming one day after the Clinton Foundation announced that if Secretary Clinton is elected president, Bill Clinton will no longer give paid speeches and the foundation will stop accepting donations from foreign governments and corporations.

Tonight, in an unexpected move, Federal Judge, Emmet Sullivan ruled lawyers for judicial watch can question Hillary Clinton under oath about her private email server and that Clinton must answer written questions from the group in the coming weeks.

A spokesman for the group responded, "We would have preferred live testimony in a deposition. But we have questions composed and that will create a sworn record." Clinton campaign spokesman, Brian Fallon responded in kind, "Judicial Watch is a Right Wing Organization that has been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s. This is just another lawsuit intended to try to hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign and so we are glad that the judge has accepted our offer to answer these questions in writing rather than grant judicial watch's request. Clinton will not have to answer follow-up questions." Sandra?

SMITH: All right. Jennifer, thank you. Joining me is now Peter Schweizer who quite literally wrote the book on the Clinton Foundation. He is also President of the Government Accountability Institute and author of "Clinton Cash" the "Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich".

All right, good of you to be here this evening, so...


SMITH:, first of all, what do you make of all the latest here as far as her blaming Colin Powell for the things that are happening around with her email?


SCHWIEZER: Well, you know, it's remarkable. I mean it fits the Clinton pattern about oftentimes blaming other people or not wanting to take responsibility.

It's the same thing with the Clinton Foundation, you know, they've been taking, kicking and dragging over the last 18 months that it's inappropriate, was inappropriate for her as Secretary of State to take foreign money and only now are they admitting that maybe it doesn't look good if she becomes president.

The problem if it's not appropriate to do while you are president why was it appropriate to do while she was Secretary of State?

SMITH: All right, so she's making some changes here and there are stuff still a lot of questions surrounding all of this. But, this now that if she wins, the Clinton Foundation will stop these foreign donations is this too little too late?

SCHWIEZER: Yes. I think it is too little too late for a couple reasons. First of all, back in 2008, they actually signed certain ethics agreements and completely violated those. So, I don't think it's enough for them to make this pledge if they can't take the money. I don't think we would have confidence that they would honor it.

The second thing I would say is, you know, the way that the Clinton Foundation is structured they actually have foreign foundations in India, in Singapore, in Sweden they could quite literally circumvent this requirement by simply having the donations go to those foundations rather than the main Clinton Foundation itself.

So, I'm very skeptical that they are sincere about this or that it really reflects any kind of change in their thinking. I think they just basically got caught. They got a lot of criticism for it and now they're trying to avoid the issue.

SMITH: And by the way, when I say there are still a lot of unanswered questions, what about Bill Clinton he is accepting a lot of money for these paid speeches will that come to an end if she is elected president?

SCHWIEZER: Yes. I mean, it's up in the air. You know, Bill Clinton has said repeatedly he was not going to change he is saying that it was still appropriate for him to take this money. You know, they may make a statement that he is not going to take foreign money.

But again, remember back in 2008, they literally signed an agreement with Barack Obama that they will disclose all donations and that there will be no intermingle between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department.

They completely shredded that agreement, so any commitment they make now I don't think we should have any confidence that they're actually going to honor.

SMITH: All right, Peter Schweizer thanks for joining us tonight. Good to have you.

SCHWIEZER: Thanks for having me.

SMITH: Here now are different take is Bud Jackson. He is a Democratic Strategist and Chairman of American Working Families Pact but there is a very natural question that comes up.

After that conversation that we just had with Peter Schweizer and that is if they're conceding that it's not OK to receive these donations if she is elected president, why was it OK for her family's charity to be accepting these donations as Secretary of State?

BUD JACKSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST AND CHAIRMAN OF AMERICAN WORKING FAMILIES PACT: Well, why don't we start off with you are talking about your previous guest who presents himself as an independent arbiter.

The fact is that the book he published and then the movie he did after that, the documentary, was supported by Breitbart, a Right Wing Organization. So, he's not exactly independent.

SMITH: All right. So, you've made your case...


JACKSON: So, now I would add -- let me make one more point...

SMITH: ...understand, but let's answer the question.

JACKSON: more point. His film, so-called documentary, was also partially funded by Steve Bannon...


JACKSON: ...who is now Trump's Top Advisor and nobody has disclosed that...


JACKSON: let's not -- let's not look at him as an independent arbiter.

SMITH: All right.

JACKSON: Now, to answer your question. Look, she has now decided that the time she made mistakes before with her doing the server, she did not blame Colin Powell for what she did. She asked Colin Powell for guidance which would indicate an intent to do the right thing and to play by the rule...

SMITH: No, she essentially said, he did it and he suggested it was OK if she did it. But there are -- people are suggesting there is parallel. She is suggesting there is parallel to the way that they operated as Secretary of State.

But the Washington point -- very eloquently points out today that there's very clear differences between Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell in the way they operated with their emails.

Clinton exclusively had a private email account to conduct state department business. Powell did not. Clinton had a private email server located at her house. Powell did not. This is the beginning of the list of how these are not -- these are not the same.


JACKSON: Just because Powell did it one way doesn't mean that Hillary did it wrong another way; although, I will say this using the private server was wrong. Nobody is going to debate that anymore. Hillary Clinton has even said that she is sorry for doing it.

So, voters have already had this beaten into them for months. They already understand this. It's already reflecting in their hard move...

SMITH: Well, there are many who argue...


JACKSON: they feel about her...

SMITH: just don't exchange classified information on a private home server and then say you're sorry and move on...

JACKSON: Yes, we've talking about this for the last several months...

SMITH: So, then we should stop.

JACKSON: ...that's not a new revelation.

SMITH: Is that what you are suggesting, we shouldn't talk about it anymore.

JACKSON: No. I'm saying that people can keep talking about it but most voters are already aware of this. They've already reached their conclusion whether or not they trust Hillary Clinton.

And as of right now, I'll add, more voters trust Hillary Clinton than they do his -- her opponent, Donald Trump.

SMITH: All right, good of you to be on tonight. Bud Jackson, thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you.

SMITH: Up next, Donald Trump continues to trail Hillary Clinton in several nationwide polls. But his campaign insists that rallies are a better predictor of his support than public polling. Chris Stirewalt, Jason Osborne, and Richard Lowry join us for a Kelly File Power Panel on this Friday night. That's next.


SMITH: Donald Trump's campaign dismissing recent polls showing the GOP Nominee lagging behind Democrat rival Hillary Clinton in a general election matchup. The real clear politics average puts Clinton's lead over Trump at six points but in an interview earlier this week campaign aide, Michael Cohen pled ignorance.

BRIENNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: But you guys are down. And it makes sense that there were...


KEILAR: Polls.

COHEN: Says who?

KEILAR: Most of them, all of them?

COHEN: Says who?

SMITH: All right. Joining me now Chris Stirewalt, Fox News Digital Politics Editor; Jason Osborne, Former Senior Communications Strategist for Dr. Ben Carson's Presidential Campaign;  and Rich Lowry, Editor of National Review and Fox News Contributor. Chris that was such an odd uncomfortable exchange, why deny? I mean, I don't know, why deny the polls?

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS DIGITAL POLITICS EDITOR: Some days, you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you.


STIREWALT: Mr. Cohen had a bad outing and I think he probably expected it. He was going to be able to do it with the Trump campaign has generally done and also losing campaigns have done throughout history which has refute specific polls though that poll had too many Democrats.

That poll smelled like old skunks, I don't like this poll or this, that or the other thing but the reality is there hasn't been a poll in a long time that has shown Donald Trump doing anything but trailing Hillary Clinton.

And as long as his campaign doesn't confront that fact with their supporters, it's going to be hard to make the changes and do the things that they need to do.

SMITH: Yes, I mean Jason, I kind of remember on Trump's way up, every shocking poll after another that showed him, you know, in the lead he cited those polls. So why now -- why is his campaign choosing to say that the polls are wrong?

JASON OSBORNE, FORMER SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIST FOR DR. BEN CARSON'S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, you know, I would take a different look at it from my perspective in a sense that I don't necessarily think that they are wrong. I think it's a much tighter race in many places than the polls are showing.

But primarily because, you know, this is August and August is a time where families are trying to finish their summer and get ready for school. So, there really not, you know, a snapshot of what it's going to be like in November.

So, I don't think that Trump and his campaign are necessarily looking at these polls and saying, all right, you know, we're going to -- we're going to lose this badly and we need to tell our supporters.

I think what they're doing is they're going to these rallies, they are energizing people at these rallies and ensuring that they are the ones that get out after Labor Day to try and turn out the vote.

And then we'll see, as you have seen over the last week, the poll numbers have sort of -- have gotten a little bit closer. The "LA Times" has one that has Trump within two but, again, I don't think that the overall number...

SMITH: I think Chris Stirewalt has a problem with that statement? Chris, jump in.

STIREWALT: Well, that's not a poll. That's a group of...


STIREWALT: ...I think 3,000 people. That's not -- well, I'll put it this way. That's not a survey that we would use or be reliable. He is doing better. Pew Research had a poll out. He is within four in that poll...

SMITH: All right.

STIREWALT: ...which is an improvement for him, so he is doing somewhat better.

SMITH: All right. So, Rich, let me get you in here because Mike Pence, his running mate, has said multiple times in the past week or two that it's still early. Is it still early in that campaign? Is there still time for a major turnaround considering where the polls are today?

RICHARD LOWRY, EDITOR OF NATIONAL REVIEW AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's still August, so there is still time. And I think if you actually look at what the campaign is doing, as opposed to what some of the surrogates and supporters out there are saying, the campaign knows and believes that it's behind.

This is a campaign clearly this week that was not acting like it's ahead. It had a major shakeup. It had some new messaging, and Kellyanne Conway was on TV this week and I think had exactly the right attitude.

She said, we're behind in the polls and that's a good thing because it's going to make us work harder. So, that's the attitude. Don't pretend the polls are wrong. Go out and try to change the polls.

SMITH: All right, so Jason if the polls hold where they are today, what does this election look like?

OSBORNE: Well, I think if the polls hold where they are today, then it's a very -- it's going to be a very rough night for the Trump campaign. But -- and that's my contention. And Rich, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the polls are wrong. I just think that they're a lot closer than they appear to be.

I mean, I think you have to go in and you have to look at the cross tabs. You have to figure out where it is that, you know, why is it that Hillary is still less than 50% in the majority of the polls?

If she is spending millions and millions of dollars, I've seen estimates over $100 million to zero dollars and still can't break in the double digits ahead of Trump then I think they need to be worried as well.

LOWRY: Well, the findings have been pretty robust across all polling as Chris referenced earlier. In the battle grounds states actually have shown 8, 9, double digit point leads which suggest maybe that advertising is having an effect.

So, again, I don't think there is any percentage for the Trump campaign to deny what's going on. They need to go out and fight better and if he has weeks like he has had this week where he hasn't had any unnecessary controversies besides the campaign shakeup and he stop shooting himself in the foot every week...


LOWRY: ...he has unnecessary controversies, he can find the bottom and maybe begin to gain some ground.

SMITH: All right, Chris to a guy who is keeping track there is now just over 11 weeks to go to Election Day, I would ask you can Trump close the gap but I'm sure you will tell me as Rich just did that yes, he can. Will he? What is his strategy? What does he have to do to close the gap?

STIREWALT: Well, what he has to do is create a coalition the likes of which we have not seen in American politics but one that many people have tried to put together.

He needs Ross Perot's Coalition. He needs a lot of Blue Collar White Voters who are Democrats and who are independents. He needs to build this coalition. It can be done but he's got to get cracking.

SMITH: All right, thanks to all three of you for joining us, live on this Friday night.

OSBORNE: Thank you.

SMITH: Thank you.

LOWRY: Thanks very much.

SMITH: All right, Donald Trump's campaign releasing its first political ad of the 2016 general election. And it doesn't pull any punches. But is it effective? The ad men are here to break it down.


SMITH: Donald Trump's presidential campaign running its first political ad for the 2016 General Election. His team spending nearly $4 million purchasing airtime in four battleground states where the spot will run for the next 10 days, watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Hillary Clinton's America, the system stays rigged against Americans. Syrian refugees flood in. Illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay collecting social security benefits skipping the line. Our border open, it's more of the same, but worse.

Donald Trump's America is secure. Terrorist and dangerous criminals kept out. The border is secured. Our family is safe. Change that makes America safe again, Donald Trump for President.


SMITH: All right, Michael Maslansky is the pollster and Republican Communications Expert and Bernard Whitman is a former Clinton pollster and Democratic Strategist.  Michael, I'll start with you first with this ad, is it effective?

MICHAEL MASLANSKY, THE POLLSTER AND REPUBLICAN COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT: Well, for a campaign that's had a lot of trouble over the last couple of weeks with discipline and with message, what this ad shows is that he is getting back to the kind of core message that gave him a campaign to begin with.

He knows that there's a -- there's a significant percentage of the population that believes were headed in the wrong direction as a country. They're afraid of immigration. They're afraid about terrorism.

In true Trump style, he's got a very simple message. It's very clear. You know, if you're on the fence and you want change in this country, it's a message that's going to resonate.

SMITH: OK and what do you make of that Bernard? Will it resonate with voters?

BERNARD WHITMAN, FORMER CLINTON POLLSTER AND DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I beg to differ. Trump's kinder general apology tour lasted for about half a second. This is classic Trump. It's divisive. It's negative. It's pure mongering. It's race fading. It's hypocrite hating. It's full of half-truth and some lies. It has absolute -- no substance...

SMITH: Can you just be specific...


WHITMAN: Yes, I absolutely can. The idea that immigrants are getting social security benefits not true they are paying, they don't get benefits. Deportations under Obama are actually up. He had deported almost 500,000 people last year...

MASLANSKY: You know what, Bernard -- Bernard, you can argue...


SMITH: Hold on. Bernard finish and then Michael.

WHITMAN: ...deportations are more than the last 19 presidents before George W. Bush combined.

SMITH: All right, Michael?

MASLANSKY: Look, you can argue the facts all that you want the question was not whether it's technically factually accurate, it's whether it's going to resonate. And the reality is...

SMITH: Fair enough.

MASLANSKY: that they're -- if you got out and you talk to Trump voters and you talk a lot of voters out there who are unsure of who they want to vote for, they know they don't like Hillary Clinton and when they go out there and they say...


MASLANSKY: ...they say that they are afraid. They say that they are afraid for their future and this message is going to work...

SMITH: All right, but Michael let me ask you though specifically about the ad spending. We know that Trump Campaign is spending 4 million bucks on this, let's compare that to what Clinton is spending.

And, by the way, those are going to be airing in four key state -- battleground states Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio but contrast that to Clinton's ad vice, you're looking at her campaign has purchased more than $54 million in battleground states going back to May 17th.

MASLANSKY: Well, no one would say that Donald Trump has run a smart campaign from a purely political perspective so far. This is, you know, if you're -- if you're on his campaign team, you're saying look, this is the -- this is the beginning.

It's a good -- it's a smart move for them to start spending money. They've got a long way to go. I mean, they may have turned so many voters off in the last couple of weeks that they can't get pull them back, but if you -- if you want to pull them back...

SMITH: All right.

MASLANSKY: ...would you have to do it in order to win?

SMITH: But, we got to leave it there.


SMITH: But, Bernard, it's a pretty week -- pretty good week for this week?

WHITMAN: The truth does matter.

SMITH: We got it.

WHITMAN: When you start to spin...

SMITH: Who is?

WHITMAN: ...lies into truths that is absolutely ridiculous and I think that, you know, it's going to resonate to the average shrinking days...

SMITH: All right, Michael Bernard, thank you. We'll be right back.

WHITMAN: ...complete free fall.


SMITH: All right. Well, it's been a busy week around here -- a busy week for politics and our hearts to everyone as you recover in the State of Louisiana. I'm an LSU Tigers. Thanks for watching. That's it for "The Kelly File." I'm Sandra Smith, good night.


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