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Demands increase for investigation of Clinton Foundation

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 23, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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O'REILLY: Factor "Follow-Up" segment tonight, as we just told you anti- Hillary forces are demanding investigations into the Clinton Foundation and newly released emails. So how much will all this help Donald Trump?

Joining us now from Charlottesville, the director of the University Of Virginia Center for Politics, Dr. Larry Sabato. And from Washington Rick Klein, political editor for ABC News. So, your assessment of the foundation story tonight, Mr. Klein, does it help trump?

RICK KLEIN, ABC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: If this campaign is about Donald Trump, Donald Trump is on a path to losing. If the campaign is about Hillary Clinton, he has the potential path to winning and getting back in the conversation. So, this story touches on so many elements of Clinton's vulnerabilities. Transparency, conflicts of interest. Questions of honest and trustworthiness. All of those have tentacles that reached from the story. And it's a story that's going to develop over the next couple of months before the election. So, I think Trump is smart to focus on it and to pound it through as many different avenues as he can and as many different ways as he can before November 8th.

O'REILLY: All right. Just to reiterate, Doctor, the headline in the Associate Press is about half the people who have been granted interviews with Hillary Clinton one on ones donated significant money to the foundation. That doesn't look good, does it?

LARRY SABATO, PH.D., DIRECTOR OF UVA CENTER FOR POLITICS: No. And this is a legitimate issue. The emails are legitimate. The Clinton Foundation is legitimate. The question I have is how many people are even persuadable at this point.

O'REILLY: Eight percent.

SABATO: There are very few undecided voters. So, I don't know what Trump gains over the long run except whipping up his supporters and maybe increasing their turnout.

O'REILLY: Well, if you are Donald Trump though, you want to take the heat off you, do you not? I mean, you want the press to give her the baseball bat on the head instead of him. So I think by doing that Trump becomes, you know, the crusader for justice and you forget about the other foibles that he is engaged in, right? That's a strategy.

SABATO: But Bill, how can you get a lower score on honesty and trustworthiness than either one of these candidates has? I mean, you can reinforce.

O'REILLY: Well, no, no, but maybe Mr. Klein cedes my point here. Trump is under pressure almost daily from the press who hates him. Now this gives him a little bit of a reprieve because now they have to go over at least for a day or two although they won't on some networks and focus in on Hillary Clinton maybe was selling access to her office. So that gives Trump a breather, does it not?

KLEIN: And the people that are breathing even easier are the rank and file Republicans. Many of them want to support Donald Trump but need to find a message to get behind. And as long as he is stuck in controversies about what he is saying and who he is insulting and who he is fighting with and side issues and distractions even like some of the issues like immigration, those are divisive inside the Republican Party. Hitting Hillary Clinton is not divisive.

And Dr. Sabato is right. There is a lot of legitimate questions here that Hillary Clinton has not put herself out there to answer. I mean, even her dismissal last night on Jimmy Kimmel going ahead and saying, what's some more emails? Well, she has said publicly that she released all of the emails that had to do with actual work at the State Department. So even acknowledging that there are additional emails like that is damaging. And it adds up to a really bad perception.

O'REILLY: But it only adds up, Doctor, if you are paying attention because Hillary Clinton comes off relaxed and comes off, look, you know, I didn't do anything wrong. I always will fall back on the FBI failing to recommend an indictment. And say, look, you know, my emails were boring. I was just doing yoga or whatever she was going to tell you. Okay? I think that she is smart to do that because, again, people, they are not locked in. They don't really know. And I'm not being condescending here but you have got to pay attention to this and it's not easy to pay attention to, Doctor.

SABATO: Yes. It's complicated unless there are hidden bombshells that we're going to find out now that we didn't know about. I kind of doubt it because the FBI has already looked at all of these. And then recommended no prosecution to the Justice Department. But I agree with you when she is flippant about it, of course it enrages Republicans.

O'REILLY: Yes.

SABATO: But for Democrats it relaxes them. And she knows they don't care anyway.

O'REILLY: Is that a good thing, Mr. Klein, that you're so partisan that you don't care what your candidate does? I don't know if that's a good thing.

KLEIN: It's not very inspiring but that's the reality of this race. I mean, this is going to be a race against two very unpopular candidate. Drive up each other's negatives. Try to drive out their own bases. But this story just puts Hillary Clinton on the defensive. Because the best that she and her team can argue is that there is a lot of smoke but there is no fire. But as more smoke grows, it becomes more and more problematic to explain that. And Doctor is probably right, because the FBI looked at this, the idea of a bombshell, smoking gun very unlikely to be in the email.

O'REILLY: The email thing.

KLEIN: That's right.

O'REILLY: The Clinton Foundation thing you already have your little bomb. Half the people got access to it that gave money to the foundation.

KLEIN: You don't know about official actions that resulted in that. But, again, that's smoke.

O'REILLY: Do we really have to know though, I mean, if you are the President and you say, hey, I'm coming to the White House. But, first, you know, give money to whatever, I mean, you know, you can't do that. You just can't.

KLEIN: You are exactly right. And there were safeguards that James Rosen talked about that were supposed to have been in place to prevent that even the perceptions of conflict of interest. I think the fact that the foundation is now saying they won't foreign donations under a Clinton presidency --

O'REILLY: Yes.

KLEIN: That says, why did you do it while she was in secretary of state.

O'REILLY: All right. One more question for you, Doctor and the debate I expect Donald Trump to really go to town on all of this. The first debate and to put her on the defensive every second about these kinds of controversies.

SABATO: Yes. And he will be helped in one respect. A lot of people think the press is totally biased against him. You wait and see the quality and quantity of questions to Clinton about the emails and the Clinton Foundation and also about her resistance to having a press conference. It's been, what, seven months no press conference.

O'REILLY: Yes. Uh-hm. All right, gentlemen. Thank you very much for a good debate.

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