How will Trump, Clinton attacks affect the electorate?

Reaction from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," August 25, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He is taking hate groups mainstream
and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party.

It's a tired, disgusting argument.

Hillary Clinton isn't just attacking me, she's attacking all of the decent
people of all backgrounds, doesn't matter, of all backgrounds who support
this incredible once-in-a-lifetime movement.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Dueling speeches today from the two major candidates, one in New
Hampshire, one in Nevada, dealing with race and temperament. Hillary
Clinton in an interview last night said she would do more interaction with
reporters. Today after the speech she delivered, and reporters tried to
ask her whether Donald Trump was a racist. Here's what she said.


CLINTON: I want you to offer it to the press there. So cooperative, so
hardworking, they all deserve a piece of chocolate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secretary Clinton, any comment, any comment on --

CLINTON: You'll love this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secretary Clinton, any comment on your husband
leaving --

CLINTON: Everybody try one.


BAIER: So the chocolate is good. Let's bridge in our panel: Steve Hayes,
senior writer for The Weekly Standard; we welcome Heidi Przybyla, senior
political reporter for USA Today; Lisa Boothe, columnist with the
Washington Examiner, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. OK,
Heidi, what about these speeches? Obviously both of them pretty pointed
and Clinton kind of laying it out there about the alt-right and how she
says Donald Trump has led to fringe groups taking over the party.

HEIDI PRZYBYLA, USA TODAY: You can certainly put Trump's speech in the
category of preemptive, right, because he knew she was about to come with a
speech blasting him as basically being the leader of a new racist movement.

In terms of the timing, Clinton's had a very tough week in terms of the
foundation news that's been coming out and the poll numbers tightening. We
all know there's no official Trump connection to these groups. At the same
time, he's leaving her this opening. He's leaving here this opening
because he's not doing what John McCain did in 2008, which is when an issue
comes up about accusing Obama of being Muslim or whatever, he's not
specifically disavowing that like McCain did. And whether he knew that the
tweets were coming from white supremacist groups or not, he's not drawing
that line and repudiating them.

I think that the political -- the reason why is that there's also political
risk in that. He'd inoculate himself from what she's accusing him of, but
at the same time it's real that there are these groups out there supporting
him. There were some of them running around at the convention. And
there's an opportunity cost to also slapping them in the face.

BAIER: The Clinton camp is out with a web ad, a video that connects KKK
members who say they support him and kind of goes on and cites David Duke
and others. What about this from the Trump perspective?

LISA BOOTHE, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, yes, look, I think those are
pretty weighted attacks and obviously is not something that he wants to
face. But I think using the word "bigot" I think is a little bit of a
bridge too far. But when he says Clinton sees people of color only as
votes and not as human beings worthy of a better life, I think that line of
attack is smart because if you equate that with the fact that black
Americans living below the poverty line has increased, real household
income for black Americans has decreased, workforce participation has
dropped for African-Americans, that's a stronger line of attack.

But political what I think is interesting is the fact, typically the
conversations regarding minority voters stems with Hispanics. So I think
it's interesting to look at African-American voters and the focus of both
Hillary Clinton and the Trump campaign. And 538 did a really interesting
analysis about a year ago regarding the African-American vote, saying that
if it returned to pre-Obama levels of turnout and partisanship, Democrats
would lose Florida and the overall margin of victory would be cut in half
in Ohio and Virginia.

BAIER: Charles, I mean, will this day, these speeches have an effect on an
electorate that seems like it's getting to a decision?

a big effect. This is the old Democratic playbook where you accuse your
opponent of being racist. You use ad homonyms. It is slightly over the
top. Especially there was a point where she said the rise in bullying in
schools, alleged, is a result of his rhetoric. I think that's rather sort
of National Enquirer type stuff.

And I do think there's also a problem. There is a guilt by association,
yes. But that is always true. Politicians are always appearing on stages
and welcoming people who have unsavory histories. And I would say that for
Hillary should be a little careful since her support for Black Lives
Matter, does she really want to be associated with a group that chants
about killing cops, and nobody would accuse her of supporting that, but
that's always a risk. So it's a cheap kind of political warfare.

There are, of course, incidents, the Mexican judge story and all that, that
even Paul Ryan had to admit was a form of classical racist speech. But I
think this is the old story. I'm not sure it's going to have an effect.
And surely his calling her a bigot is not going to have a lot of effect
either. I think we're at the bottom of the barrel of a race that we knew
would be low and dirty, and that's exactly where we are now.

BAIER: In the meantime, a judge has ruled in favor of Judicial Watch,
saying that the State Department has to come forward with these additional
e-mails by September 13th in this Clinton e-mail investigation. Over the
past few weeks, we've heard Clinton campaign spokespeople say there is no
smoking gun of any quid pro quo from the Clinton Foundation or the State
Department. Last night Secretary Clinton said "I know there's a lot of
smoke and there's no fire." Here's what Trey Gowdy said today about the
investigation and the FBI and what exactly Clinton's lawyers did about the
deleted e-mails.


REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: Remember James Comey said she was not
indicted because he didn't have sufficient evidence on the issue of intent.
I didn't see any questions on the issue of intent. He said he didn't go
forward with charges because she didn't have specific criminal intent. I
didn't see any questions on that. She said she did it for convenience, but
I didn't see the follow up questions in the interview I read.

Why did you delete e-mails that you kept for a year and a half? And they
didn't just push the delete button. They had them deleted to where even
God can't read them. They were using something called bleach bit. You
don't use bleach bit for yoga e-mails or for bridesmaids' emails. When
you're using bleach bit, it is something you really do not want the world
to see.


BAIER: By the way, bleach bit is this technology that essentially shreds
files, hides their content, prevents data recovery, overwrites the free
disk space to hide any previously deleted files, and, they claim, maintains
privacy. Obviously, it keeps the FBI out of those spots, too.

important point that Trey Gowdy just made. There are apparently other
details of just what lengths the Clinton team, Clinton lawyers and others,
went to do make sure that nobody would ever see these e-mails that they had
control of that they had decided to delete.

And I think that's a significant point in part because of the context in
which this whole discussion takes place. You have Hillary Clinton who
didn't secure her e-mails during the time she was secretary of state or
for, as Gowdy points out, the year and a half after she left office.
Suddenly when she learns that Congress and other government agencies are
interested in seeing them, decides to go to these extreme measures, I would
say extraordinary measures, to make sure that nobody will ever read them
again, I think it suggests that it goes back to the press conference that
James Comey gave on July 5th where he made two statements within moments of
one another that were basically in tension, where he says, on the one hand
there's no -- we have no evidence that they did any of this on purpose and
they were trying to hide anything. And then just moments later he said,
but the lawyers took these pretty extraordinary steps to make sure that we
couldn't do any forensic recovery. And I think we're likely to see that
tension between those two statements and the intent question that Trey
Gowdy raised get a lot more attention here in the coming days.

BAIER: All right, Quinnipiac is out with this poll, Heidi, and if you look
at question six, which is the honest and trustworthy question, would you
say that Hillary Clinton is honest, Quinnipiac has yes, 20 percent, that's
independent votes, 20 percent, 29 percent all likely voters, 66 not honest.
This falls into that category. Donald Trump, obviously, his numbers are
upside down, as well.

PRZYBYLA: It does, although I think her numbers had been hovering around
60, his numbers had been hovering around 60, so I think this is evidence
that this latest controversy over the foundation is hurting her numbers.
We never thought that she would necessarily recover in the span of this
election, but what we're seeing is that this is going backwards for her, as

And I think that it just -- it's an example of just how the Clintons,
throughout all of these controversies, like with the creation of the
server, the Wall Street speeches, had these completely self-inflicted
ethics-related wounds that they just don't have an ability to perceive
beforehand how it's going to be perceived by the public. They think in the
case of the foundation, we're doing something that is for a good cause.
We're doing this for charitable reasons, and therefore it's OK to skate on
the edges of what is normally permissible or acceptable in terms of the
conflict of interest.

BAIER: The campaign, I think, believes that this speech today puts her
back on track. But we'll see if it has that influence in the polls.

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