This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 19, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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WATTERS: Thanks for staying with us for this special edition of The Factor. I'm Jesse Watters in for Bill O'Reilly. In the "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, more Clinton Foundation controversy. Charges are flying that donors to the Clinton Foundation gained undue influence at the State Department while Hillary was Secretary of State. Apparently to quell the attacks, the Clinton Foundation now says, it won't take foreign or corporate money if Hillary wins the presidency. The question is, why is this announcement coming now?
Joining us for analysis in Washington is Julian Epstein, an attorney and Democratic strategist. And here in studio Kristin Tate, a conservative columnist and author of the new book. "Government Gone Wild." We sure have a lot of that.
So, Julian, if Donald Trump had a foundation and it's August and he is running for president, and the Russians are funneling millions of dollars into the Donald Trump Foundation, would you have a problem with that?
JULIAN EPSTEIN, FORMER CHIEF COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, yes. And I think the difference with the Clinton Foundation --
WATTERS: So, what is the difference?
EPSTEIN: Well, the difference here with the Clinton Foundation, the donors are public. In the case of Donald Trump, he does not disclose his extensive ties with Russia in the same way Paul Manafort. His ties with Ukraine --
WATTERS: So, you would be okay as the Russians disclosed that they were donating millions of dollars?
EPSTEIN: Well, I think disclosure is first. And I think at least in the case of the Clinton Foundation you have extensive disclosure. In the case of Donald Trump, you have got even what his son has admitted. Extensive financial ties --
WATTERS: Julian, Julian, I'm not talking about --
EPSTEIN: -- and the changing of the Republican platform position in favor of the Russians.
WATTERS: Julian, I want to get you on the record. Can I get you on the record? You would be okay with Russian money, publicly disclosed pouring in to a Donald Trump Foundation on the eve of a presidential election?
EPSTEIN: Well, when you say Russian money, money from the Russian government probably not. Money from Russian nationals if it were properly disclosed would be much better than what we have right now.
WATTERS: Okay. So, Hillary Clinton -- Hillary Clinton can take --
EPSTEIN: The complaints about the Clinton administration is much different.
WATTERS: -- money from foreign interest on the eve of a presidential election, you are okay with that then?
EPSTEIN: Well, she just said, she just said that if elected she wouldn't take it from corporations.
WATTERS: But she is going to keep taking it for the next three months? Kristin, I mean, come on this is crazy.
KRISTIN TATE, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Absolutely. George Bush's foundation takes money.
WATTERS: Hold on, Julian.
TATE: To pretend that it's somehow honorable for Hillary Clinton to tell her foundation to stop taking donations from foreign entities and corporations is laughable. The damage has been done. The Clinton Foundation has taken tens of millions of dollars from foreign entities and guess what, Jesse, these entities expect something in return. We know that she took millions of dollars from a foreign entity and then the owner of this Russian company acquired 20 percent of the United States uranium mining capacity and now thanks to Judicial Watch, we know that a Clinton Foundation employee approached the State Department for special favors for a Lebanese donor.
I mean, what is it going to take to put this woman in jail? Liberals will make excuse after excuse for her. And I just want to ask the question to our fellow guest here. Would you be okay with a president who continuously breaks the law over and over with impunity and then lies about breaking the law and then lies about lying about it? What's it going to take for liberals to stop defending a candidate who is blatantly breaking the law?
WATTERS: Go ahead, Julian.
EPSTEIN: Well, the problem with all of that is Kristin, with all due respect, it doesn't really seem like you have a good command on what the law is. People made these allegations that she was breaking the law in the case of the email controversy, a Republican head of the FBI director came out and essentially exonerated her on the criminal statutes. In this case.
WATTERS: Well, they should also said she was a reckless liar and shouldn't be trusted with classified information.
EPSTEIN: Excuse me, Jesse. Jesse, Kristin, Kristin, you just made the case she broken the law. You had a Republican head of the FBI who said exactly the opposite. In this case if you are talking about donations from foreign governments or foreign entities to a philanthropic organization, most major philanthropic organizations do pick money, particularly organizations that do lots of important work, like AIDS, malaria and everything else the Clinton Foundation --
Well, you know, a lot of the money -- in order for you to find -- let me just respond to the legal issue because you made accusation. In order for you to have any semblance of a legal case, you must show that the State Department under Hillary Clinton took some kind of official action in exchange for foreign donation. You come on the program, so she violated the law and do you what everyone else does. You hide behind that general statement without giving specifics. There is no single example that anyone can show that the Clinton State Department did anything in exchange for.
WATTERS: Can I tell you why, Julian? Can I tell you why?
EPSTEIN: Yes, why?
WATTERS: Because the Obama Justice Department blocked the FBI probe into the Clinton Foundation.
TATE: Exactly right.
WATTERS: That's why they haven't found anything. Because they blocked the probe.
EPSTEIN: Because there wasn't any basis for a probe.
WATTERS: Because they decided there wasn't any basis.
EPSTEIN: Guys, I spent years with the Justice Department on these kinds of matters.
EPSTEIN: In order for the Justice Department to get them, you have to have a semblance. You have to have an appearance of some kind of legal violation. You aren't even close to an appearance of a legal or statutory violation. You are not even close to an appearance of an ethical violation. So, it's fine for you to say, foreign donors shouldn't be given to the Clinton Foundation and making some allegation about somebody getting access or not, that's a silly.
TATE: These are all excuses. If Donald Trump did the same thing that Hillary Clinton did, the press would be calling for him to be thrown in jail.
EPSTEIN: It's a cheap shot. It's a cheap shot.
WATTERS: We have got to run. We have got to run.
And great debate. And Julian, thank you very much.
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