Kurtz: Clinton has 'rare week' of difficult scrutiny; Carson: Nominees' name-calling distracts from serious issues

'Kelly File' panel weighs in after Democratic candidate faces multiple troubling headlines


This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," August 26, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SANDRA SMITH, FOX NEWS HOST:  Breaking tonight, Hillary Clinton taking a break from the campaign trail to focus on fund-raising as a week's worth of troubling headlines for her campaign pile up.  

Welcome to "The Kelly File Special: Election Countdown." I'm Sandra Smith in for Megyn Kelly tonight.  Well, it all started with the damaging report from the Associated Press concerning Mr. Clinton's time as secretary of state.  The AP found she met with dozens of Clinton Foundation donors who gave some $156 million to her family's charity, raising big questions about whether access to her was being sold to the highest bidder.  Something the Clintons deny.  Then just a day later, in a "Kelly File" exclusive, Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange hinted to Megyn Kelly that he's sitting on some significant information about the Democratic nominee.  


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS HOST, "THE KELLY FILE":  Can you tell us how significant you believe it is?  I mean compare its significance to what we saw released by Wikileaks in July.

JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS CO-FOUNDER:  Well, I don't want us to skip ourselves.  We have a lot of pages of materials, thousands of pages of materials.  It's a variety of different types of documents from different types of institutions that are associated with the election campaign.  


SMITH:  What's more, there are new issues involving her private e-mail server.  A judge now ordering the State Department to release e-mails uncovered by the FBI's investigation by next month.  This all comes as we are learning just how far her team went to prevent her deleted e-mails from ever being recovered.  

We begin with chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reporting from Washington.  

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT:  Two sources who have read the FBI's investigative file say Clinton's team used a technology called bleach fit to delete records.  And cyber security experts say this can permanently scramble the data.  


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I believe the FBI will give it their best shot and look for a lucky break and look for a mistake being made somewhere.  But it's much, much harder for them.  It really is hard to recover information that has been scrambled this way.


HERRIDGE:  The last year in Las Vegas said, at one of her rare news conferences, Hillary Clinton seemed to      claim ignorance.  


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did you try to wipe the whole server?  You didn't answer my question.

HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  I'm -- you know, I have no idea.  That's why we turned it over --  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You said you were in charge of it.  You were the official in charge.  Did you wipe the server?

CLINTON:  Well, like with a cloth or something?


HERRIDGE:  The timeline is important.  And on this 2014, the Benghazi Select Committee got e-mails that showed former Secretary Clinton used a personal account.  In November 2014, the committee requested more records as Judicial Watch and other groups went to court for access.  One month later, in December, Clinton's team gave the State Department 55,000 pages of e-mails and wipe the rest.  One of the tools was --  


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It raises the question, as to whether these emails were deleted just in the ordinary course of business because they are consuming space on the server.  Or whether there was really a focus effort to put these emails beyond the reach of any recovery process.  


HERRIDGE:  The Clinton campaign did not respond to FOX News' question on the timeline or why Clinton's team used the technology to destroy the records, so they would be out of reach -- Sandra.

SMITH:  All right.  Catherine, thank you.  There is also some breaking news as Hillary Clinton's tenure at the State Department is concerned.  The AP report tonight that Mrs. Clinton's schedule from her tenure as Secretary of State will not be released by the government until after the November election.  

Joining us now to react to all of this, Chris Stirewalt, he is here on a Friday night, our Fox News digital politics editor.  Alan Colmes, host of the "Alan Colmes Show" on Fox News Radio.  And Howie Kurtz, host of "Media Buzz."  Howie is not exactly right here with the party, but I don't know.  
I'm going to turn to Chris Stirewalt.  

First, Chris, where do we begin?  This has been an unbelievable week.

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS DIGITAL POLITICS EDITOR:  There's one thing that we've been clear about from the beginning, is that Hillary Clinton is very bad at running for president.  She was bad at running for president in 2008.  She's bad at running for president in 2016.  We don't expect her to get better.  That's not a thing that's going to happen.  She is, however, this time lucky.  And if you have a choice Alan between the good and being lucky, as you and I both do professionally, we can say that --  

ALAN COLMES, HOST, "ALAN COLMES SHOW":  We're both lucky guys.

STIREWALT:  Right.  Exactly.  We're both lucky because we're here.  Being good and being lucky.  She is finally lucky after an unlucky career.  She is finally lucky and she is ahead in this race.  Though not by her own race.  

SMITH:  And in the middle of all of this, the emails, the AP report, Alan, she's on vacation.  And she's not even accepted the --  

COLMES:  She's not on vacation.  I looked at her schedule.  She's got an event everyday --  


SMITH:  Events to be clear.  

COLMES:  Okay.  But those events, she is not on vacation.  She is working -

SMITH:  All right.  A political piece, this piece titled Hillary Clinton is Running Out The Clock.  Is this her strategy according to people within her team to ride out all the negative reaction to this --  

COLMES:  You know what?  It's a great strategy.  You can argue whether or not she should be more OUTFRONT or news conferences or what she should be doing.  But given the fact that the Trump campaign is imploding day by day, her, if it's doing the rope-a-dope in riding out the clock, is just from the pure political strategy standpoint that makes a lot of sense.  Let Trump keep talking.  The more he talks, the worse it gets.  The more he does, the worst it is for him.  So, if she's going to ride out the clock, that could be an excellent strategy for her.  

SMITH:  All right.

STIREWALT:  You just underline something that's there.  That looked bad for you.  It looked bad for you.  It looked bad for you.  


SMITH:  Howie, I want to get to you because let's talk about this Bleach Bit that we have learned about this week.  Trey Gowdy saying that they had them deleted where even God couldn't read them.  Bleach Bit being described as an electronic shredder.  It permanently scrambles data so that you can never retrieve these emails again.  For somebody who said she didn't know much about technology.  These are the significant piece of technology that was used to read those emails.

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS HOST, "MEDIABUZZ":  I think we can all agree this was a very good week for Bleach Bit.  Whoever makes him but as Googling it


SMITH:  They're having their success because of this.

KURTZ:  But not a good week for Hillary Clinton.  In fact, a rare week where I would say that the scrutiny of her and all the questions, raised but not just all the e-mails but about the interrelationships with the Clinton Foundation donors nearly matched the usual relentless negativity toward Donald Trump.  Now, why is this a problem for her, it's not because everybody is restlessly following in the weeds, each donor and who got a meeting and all of that.  It's because it goes to her basic trustworthiness problems which we see in the polls, it reminds people that she sort of hangs out with the wealthy elite.  And then finally because there is this drip, drip, drip of study disclosures.  As you're just saying this latest involvement in the past hour or so, that the State Department obviously dragging its feet on cuffing up more emails.  

SMITH:  And still no press conference.  I mean, Alan, it's 266 --  

COLMES:  No one cares about that press conference --  

SMITH:  No one cares --  


COLMES:  She was on "Morning Joe" today, she was on Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday," she's taken tough questions.  Wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  

STIREWALT:  But wait.  This is true.  As we were saying, West Virginia. This is actually true.  Okay.  

COLMES:  Okay.

STIREWALT:  Which is that if she were three points down, she'd be having press conference.  

COLMES:  But look --  

STIREWALT:  She's not.  She's nine points ahead.  So, as a result, she is saying to the press corp --  

COLMES:  From a purely political strategic standpoint, doing what she's doing is working.  Yes, of course.

STIREWALT:  So why be accountable?  Why would you be accountable?

COLMES:  No, no, no.  This is a woman who has been investigated for decades.  You're talking about Judicial Watch, which has gone after the Clintons for how many decades to reveal FBI, the emails that the FBI is already seeing and the FBI is already said --  

SMITH:  All right.  So --  

STIREWALT:  No, no, no, wait a minute.  I ain't saying, it isn't smart. I'm not saying it isn't smart.  I'm not saying it isn't smart.  I'm just saying, it's not accountable.  

COLMES:  But the e-mails you're talking about.  They're FBI emails, the State Department gave the FBI, the FBI saw the emails --   

SMITH:  All right.

COLMES:  There was a problem --  

SMITH:  All right.  Let's get Howie back in here.  Because Howie, we haven't seen the end of the emails if you ask Julian Assange as Megyn Kelly did last night.  He said that we have a lot of material and that we will absolutely see something from him in Wikileaks before the election.  Will that be a game changer as he is suggesting?  



Look, I'm very wary.  I'm very wary of relying on Julian Assange, a guy who is holed up in an Ecuadorian embassy because he's hiding from criminal charges to influence the outcome of an American election.  Sure.  He may have something.  He may be bluffing.  He may love the media attention but the whole thing makes me uncomfortable because he traffics in illegally hacked e-mails and documents.  

STIREWALT:  Stolen.  

KURTZ:  Stolen is another way to put it.  Another quick point, though, the foundation story which really dominated this week, fading a little bit at the end of the week because whether she intended it or not, Hillary Clinton by accusing Donald Trump of playing to prejudice and he quote, alt-right and Trump firing back calling Hillary Clinton a bigot, that kind of ugliness always plays with the press.  

SMITH:  So, let's get back, Chris Stirewalt, I'll go to you on this. Because he has doubled down on her -- her calling him a bigot.  I mean, this back and forth that we have seen, where has that taken the race this week?

STIREWALT:  So this is a gross race.  This is a disgusting presidential race.  We have both major party candidates referring to each other as racists and bigots.  So, that is where we are.  And this is why we see the numbers in the polls of the deep dissatisfaction across the broad electorate with what they've got.  They're not happy, and the two-party system is failing these people, and they're not happy.  All I can say is this.  Donald Trump has successfully, to a degree, muddied the water over allegations of bigotry.  And she says, he's a bigot.  He says, she's a bigot.  She is going to make it stick.  Where it goes from here, we'll see.   

SMITH:  And we'll have more on that coming up.  But we are getting pretty darn close to the big Election Day.  So, time is running out.  Ten weeks. You look too excited about that.  

STIREWALT:  That's where they put us in weeks.  I know, it's going to be good.  

SMITH:  All right.  Thank you to all of you for joining us today, Howie, Alan and Chris.  

COLMES:  Thank you.

KURTZ:  Thanks, Sandra.  

SMITH:  All right.  As we just mentioned, new fallout after "The Kelly File's" exclusive interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.  Assange telling Megyn, he has thousands of documents on Clinton he's set to release before Election Day.  Bud Jackson and David Wohl debate whether an explosive leak could truly hurt the Democratic nominee ahead of November 8th.  


KELLY:  Do you believe the information in your possession could be a game- changer in the U.S. election?



SMITH:  New reaction tonight to "The Kelly File's" exclusive interview with Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange.  On Wednesday, our viewers heard Assange promise a 2016 game-changer.  Thousands more Clinton documents released by his group before voters hit the polls.  Watch.


KELLY:  Are we going to see it before the November 8th election?  

ASSANGE:  Yes.  Obviously it's like, I mean, you know, in the case of the DNC weeks for example, we pushed this process, we could to try and get them in before the Democratic nomination conference, because obviously people has arrived to understand who is nominating it and what sort of process is involved.  And the same is true here, U.S. electoral process.  People involved in that election have the right to understand.  

KELLY:  Do you believe the information in your possession could be a game- changer in the U.S. election?  

ASSANGE:  I think it's significant.


SMITH:  Joining me now, Bud Jackson is a Democratic strategist and chairman of the American Working Families Pac.  And David Wohl is a Trump supporter and attorney.  

All right.  So, let's start out with you, David.  You just heard him. Julian Assange promising another big e-mail dump.  Will this be a game changer?  What does it take for this to be a game changer?  

DAVID WOHL, TRUMP SUPPORTER:  Yes.  Sandra, well, the mainstream media so far in the tank for Hillary Clinton.  They were only investigating anything negative about her.  They won't report anything negative about her. They're engaging in a de facto cover-up for her.  So, enter Julian Assange who frankly may end up being 2016's Woodward and Bernstein.  He's that big at this point.  Now, what could his October surprise be?  He says it's significant, and he's a very understated guy, so I think you can countdown the net on being huge.  Will it relate to e-mails?  My guess is yes.  And we just heard about Hillary Clinton's e-mail server being scrubbed with a Bleach Bit.  

I've represented many people charged with tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice, and what she did puts them to shame.  So my guess is it's going to have something to do with that.  She trusts the people who deleted those 30,000 e-mails, but should she?  Could one of those people, one of those lawyers, one of the people who deleted the e-mails end up being the huge Wikileaks source, the deep throat of this campaign?  I would not be surprised, but it's going to be big.  

SMITH:  Bud, that being said, what do you think Julian Assange's -- what do you think his intentions are here?

BUD JACKSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, I don't want to ascribe a motivation to him, but he says basically not going to investigate Donald Trump.  And what you heard him also say was that it wasn't a game-changer. He said it was significant.  And frankly, if it's more of the same, it's not going to be very much.  

SMITH:  I heard you say he didn't reference Trump.  He has talked about Trump.  He says he has information about the GOP nominee as well, but he indicated it may not be as revelatory as critics might hope.  Something related to his health or something, but he did say the Trump campaign has a lot of things wrong with it.  But as far as we can see, being Russian agents is not one of them.  So it's not that he's not talking about Donald Trump, but this does seem squarely focused on Hillary Clinton.  

JACKSON:  Sure, it does.  And I should say that, you know, Donald Trump has obviously latched onto this and he's trying to expose Hillary Clinton for covering something up.  But, you know, he's unbelievably hypocritical.  I mean if he were watching tonight, I'd like to ask him, what are you hiding, Donald Trump?  Why won't you release your tax returns? What ties to special interests and foreign governments do you have?  You're somebody who hired someone who is essentially working for Ukrainian --  

SMITH:  All right.  So, let's get back to what Julian Assange says that he has, and that's significant material on Hillary Clinton.  David, should Hillary Clinton be worried so close to the election?

WOHL:  Of course she should be.  I mean she turned -- initially, she said those 33,000 e-mails were about her daughter's wedding and her yoga classes, but they were scrubbed with a particular device, the Bleach Bit, which apparently destroys them completely or, or did it?  We don't know at this point.  My guess is --  


JACKSON:  When you get rid of personal e-mails, you get rid of them.  

WOHL:  What Hillary Clinton did -- hold on.  When you compare what she did

JACKSON:  Are you wearing a tin foil hat right now.  

WOHL:  Whoa, whoa, whoa.  When you compare the Clinton Foundation scandal, when you compare these 33,000 e-mails which she deleted and we know now had nothing to do with weddings or yoga classes to Donald Trump's tax returns, seriously --  

JACKSON:  Yes, because what is Donald Trump hiding?

WOHL:  Hang on.  


Whoa, whoa, whoa.  

SMITH:  Final thoughts.  We have to move on.  

JACKSON:  I think Donald Trump has a lot to hide and to be accountable for. Let me finish.  Just this week we found out even though he's been railing against China for the whole campaign, he's actually doing business with Bank of China.  So what else do we not know about that we need to find out about Donald Trump?

SMITH:  All right.  

JACKSON:  Release your tax returns, Donald Trump.

WOHL:  He is focusing -- Assange is focusing on Clinton because the entire body of the mainstream media is going against Donald Trump.  

JACKSON:  There's more information out there about Hillary Clinton than there is about Donald Trump.  

SMITH:  David, you ended up getting last word.  

JACKSON:  We need more disclosure from Donald Trump.

SMITH:  I'm going to leave it there.  

All right.  Happy Friday night to both of you.  Thanks for joining us.  

Up next, the always lively Dinesh D'Souza is here to give us his take on Hillary Clinton's racially fuel the tax against Donald Trump.  And then a fair and balanced debate with Matthew Continetti and Nomiki Konst.  


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  What do you have to lose?  You're living in poverty.  Your schools are no good.  You have no jobs.  Look at my African-American over here.  



SMITH:  Accusations of racism and bigotry continue to fly between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  Earlier today the GOP nominee delivered a direct response to recent attacks tying him to white supremacists by posting a new ad accusing Mrs. Clinton of being, quote, "the real predator."  


CLINTON:  They are often the kinds of kids that are called super predators.  
No conscience.  No empathy.  We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You called out President Clinton for defending Secretary Clinton's use of the term "super predator" back in the '90s when she supported the crime bill.  Why did you call him out?

BERNIE SANDERS, D-FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Because it was a racist term, and everybody knew it was a racist term.  

CLINTON:  No conscience.  

It's a very well thought out crime bill that is both smart and tough.  

No empathy.  

SANDERS:  Because it was a racist term, and everybody knew it was a racist term.  


SMITH:  Clinton herself isn't backing down on the issue.  This time mocking her opponent's outreach to the African-American community in yet another ad.  


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  What do you have to loss?  You're living in poverty.  Your schools are no good.  You have no jobs.  Look at my African-American over here.  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Trump management was charged with discriminating against African-Americans and breaking federal law.  

TRUMP:  I have a great relationship with the blacks.  I've always had a great relationship with the blacks.  

What the hell do you have to lose?


SMITH:  Joining me now is Dinesh D'Souza, documentary filmmaker and author of "Hillary's America: The Secret History of The Democratic Party."  What do you make of Hillary Clinton's claim, Dinesh, that Donald Trump is racist?  This week she said he has a long history of racial discrimination, and he built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia.  

DINESH D'SOUZA, PRODUCER, "HILLARY'S AMERICA":  Yes, I think that this is -- all these accusations against Trump are complete foolishness.  Now, Trump has made some insensitive remarks, but insensitivity is not the same thing as bigotry.  

SMITH:  Like what for example, as you said?

D'SOUZA:  Well, I mean, his remarks for example, about calling that fellow a Mexican.  That would be, you know, he's an American of Mexican descent. It would be like calling me an Indian.  I'm an American of Asian-Indian descent.  That may be crude or foolish, but it's certainly not bigoted.  

SMITH:  Okay.  So Trump is fighting right back.  He's called her a bigot. He's been asked about that.  He's doubled down on it and called her a bigot a couple times this week.  He said she is not doing anything to help these communities.  She's not doing anything or her party, he said, to help African-American minority communities.  

D'SOUZA:  Well, he's right about that.  But I think there's a deeper history here.  Hillary Clinton is essentially accusing Trump of being a sort of white supremacist, and she's trotted out two or three rag tag guy who's have endorsed Trump.  Now, he hasn't endorsed them.  They've endorsed him.  But the Democratic Party has a deep and ugly history of not only being involved with the Ku Klux Klan but starting the Ku Klux Klan.  

It was the progressive democrat Woodrow Wilson who revived the clan in the early part of the 20th Century.  The FDR nominated Hugo black, a long-time member of the Ku Klux Klan to the Supreme Court.  Harry Truman was re-free in Ku Klux Klan.  So, the Democratic Party started the Klan.  It sustained the Klan.  The tens of thousands of people killed by the Chan were mostly killed by Democrats.  Now, Donald Trump has nothing to do with any of this, and yet the Democrats are trying to taint him with association to an organization that belongs to them.  

SMITH:  And you do talk about that a lot and your film certainly sheds light on Democrats, the party of corruption that is associated with slavery, lynchings, the KKK.  Your film highlights a lot of this.  Where do you see this going?  The rhetoric on racism by both candidates heating up this week.  How is that changing this race?

D'SOUZA:  Well, I think Trump has a great opportunity.  First of all, he has an opportunity to turn the tables on Hillary.  Hillary's case against him relies on pretty much one guy, David Duke.  Now, when David Duke claimed to be a Republican, the whole Republican Party repudiated him. Contrast this with Harry Byrd, a long-time member of the Klan, and yet Byrd was called the conscience of the Senate by the Democrats.  Hillary called him her mentor.  When he died in 2010, Bill Clinton went to the funeral and actually said you can't be too hard on Byrd because you had to be in the Klan in order to advance in the Democratic Party.  

SMITH:  And you're referencing Robert Byrd there.  All right.  We want to get reaction to everything you just said and more.  Dinesh D'Souza, thank you for joining us tonight.  

D'SOUZA:  My pleasure.

SMITH:  Matthew Continetti, editor-in-chief for the Washington Free Beacon and Nomiki Konst, host of "The Filter" on Sirius XM Progress.  I'll start with you first, Nomiki, what did you make of Dinesh's comments just now?

NOMIKI KONST, HOST OF "THE FILTER" ON SIRIUS XM:  I mean, that's some curious logic that he's using about Hillary Clinton.  I think there's several cases over 35, 40-year history of Donald Trump, all the way going back to when he was trying to open up a casino in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and he called, he said that the Indians don't look like Indians, so they shouldn't be justified with their native American exemptions from taxes. All the way back to when he was being sued for his -- for not renting to African-Americans.  He's had racial discrimination lawsuits against him. This is a man with 40 years of history against minority groups.  It's not just about David Duke.  

SMITH:  All right.  Matthew, is Nomiki's argument fair?

MATTHEW CONTINETTI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, WASHINGTON FREE BEACON:  Well, I think it is fair when you look at Donald Trump's history and some of the rhetoric he's used on the campaign.  But I don't think that's really what's going on here.  I think both candidates are trying to kind of solidify their bases. And Donald Trump's minority outreach is actually about trying to maintain hold of the Republican Party, which is made up of a lot of white voters.  

And what we're seeing in the polls right now is white voters with college degrees are really running away from Donald Trump precisely because of this issue of race and prejudice.  And so I think a lot of Trump's minority outreach is to get those voters back in the fold.  That's why Clinton is doubling down.  

SMITH:  But, Matthew, what do you make this week of this very direct appeal that he has made to African-American voters saying, what do you have to lose?  Essentially painting a picture of, are you happy now?  Are you better off now than you were eight years ago?  Do you want more of the same?


MATTHEW CONTINETTI, THE WASHINGTON FREE BEACON EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: That's why Clinton is doubling down on her attacks.

SANDRA SMITH, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK ANCHOR: But Matthew, what do you make this week of this very direct appeal that he has made to African-American voters, saying what do you have to lose? Essentially painting a picture of are you happy now? Are you better off now than you were eight years ago? Do you want more of the same?

CONTINETTI: Well, saying what do you have to lose is a little bit different from saying are you better off now than you were eight years ago. And I think many African-Americans when you look at the reporting, you look at the reactions, found the comment patronizing. I mean it's one thing to say, well, my policies are going to help minorities more than, say, the Democratic policies are. That's not exactly how Donald Trump puts it.

So in this sense, he's kind of shooting himself in the foot. His larger problem though is he's not running at the head of a unified party, and this is a problem that he's been struggling with continually. And so before he can even begin to think about actually attracting the votes of minorities, he's going to have to try to put together that Republican coalition, which right now is fracturing.

SMITH: Nomiki, is there anything that Donald Trump can do to extend his reach with minorities at this point?

NOMIKI KONST, ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: No, absolutely not. And I think this is not about him extending his reach to minorities. I think it's about him thinking about what happens after this election. He's solidifying this alt-right community, bringing in media executives to solidify them, and that is not a base of voters that's going to win him the election. If he wanted to win this election, he'd be reaching out to women. He'd be reaching out to independents. He'd be talking about the economy.

SMITH: I think he is. I think he is, and the message with women that resonates. He's talking about the economy, and he's talking about jobs. He's talking about the economy. And Matthew, as far as they're being a new conservatism -- this is something that you talk a lot about. What are you seeing on that front?

CONTINETTI: Well, I think that Trump's move putting Mr. Bannon, the Ceo of Breitbart, in charge of his campaign as a chairman position, and I think he's definitely getting the support of a lot of these online critics that are called the alt-right. They see this as their moment. And however, this association, Trump's not really for them, but they're for Trump.

But it's given Hillary Clinton a great way to kind of drive a wedge between Trump and those college-educated white voters that he needs to bring back into the Republican coalition if he has any hope of winning this election.

SMITH: All right, and those ads are out there. Nomiki, you saw the new Clinton ad -- everything that Trump online ad the real predators -- do you see those as effective?

KONST: I think it is effective because it reinforces the message that the stakes are high in this election. And while there's massive voter registration and outreach and organization between the African-American community and Latino community, expanding the states like Georgia, and Arizona, which were never on the map for Democrats, it's important that they remember the stakes are high. The choice is between a unified big tent Democratic Party and Donald Trump, who represents a very extreme right-wing of the Republican Party.

SMITH: All right. We'll leave it there. Thank you, both of you, Matthew and Nomiki. All right, perhaps the second biggest issue aside from the racial attacks we saw this week was Donald Trump's apparent flip-flop when it comes to his immigration plan.

And after hearing Trump suggest he could, quote, "soften his stance," just before doubling down on his plan to deport 11 million people. Dr. Ben Carson is here, and he has a special piece of advice for Mr. Trump. Plus, Julie Roginsky on which Trump folks are supposed to believe.


TRUMP: I call it extreme vetting. I call it extreme, extreme vetting. Our country has enough problems.



SMITH: Donald Trump expected to speak soon at an event that was just closed to the press. And the big question is whether he will address what many have called his major flip-flop on immigration over the course of the past week. Trump largely built his campaign on the promise that he would not compromise on the issue of deporting some 11 million people in the U.S. illegally. But on Tuesday, he was telling Fox News he might be willing to, quote, "Soften his plan."


HANNITY: Is there any part of the law that you might be able to change that would accommodate those people that contribute to society, have been law-abiding, have kids here?

TRUMP: There certainly can be a softening because we're not looking to hurt people. We want people. We have some great people in this country. We have some great, great people in this country. So, but we're going to follow the laws of this country.


SMITH: The so-called shift, however, only lasting 48 hours as last night he was once again saying those illegal immigrants have to go.


TRUMP: There is no path to legalization.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You talked about paying back taxes on "Hannity."

TRUMP: Unless people leave the country and let go. When they come back in, if they come back in, then they can start paying taxes.

COOPER: So they still have to leave the country.

TRUMP: But there is no path to legalization unless they leave the country and come back.


SMITH: Chief political correspondent Carl Cameron is live in Las Vegas with more tonight. Hey, Carl.

CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Sandra. Well, Mr. Trump has left the strip and his Trump Hotel here in Vegas, and he's headed up to Lake Tahoe for an event with the Nevada Republican Party. It was originally supposed to be closed. There was talk this morning that they might open it up and allow him to make some remarks that we could have a press pool camera go and shoot it and see whatever news there was, but they decided at the last minute they were going to keep the doors closed as was their original plan.

As to Mr. Trump's immigration plan and what some have called this flip- flop, there may be some distinctions and some differences that haven't really been delved into deeply enough. Trump said for the better part of a year and a half, really from the very beginning of his campaign, that illegal aliens, undocumented immigrants, all had to go back out of the country, that they simply could not be here.

And then he said softening that for folks who are law abiding and have been here for a while, have roots in the community and are contributing to society as you played. So, last night when Trump appeared to reverse himself, it's a little bit different. What he said was anybody who wants legalization, in other words to be in the country and be a documented immigrant, would have to go back to their home nation and then apply for citizenship, come to the U.S. and go through the process.

Those two things are not actually mutually exclusive. In fact, there could very well be undocumented immigrants who decide that they don't believe it, and they're not going to go back to their home country and just remain in the country as illegal immigrants. That has -- that creates sort of another gap and another question as to what Mr. Trump's ultimate immigration proposal will be. What about those folks who won't self-deport? What about those folks who won't go home and try to come back? How will they be dealt with?

Now, Trump said today that on day one, very quickly they would get all the criminals, all of the folks who are wreaking havoc that he talks about -- criminals who are killers and drug dealers and gang cartel members, et cetera, et cetera. He says he'll round them up and get them out very, very quickly. For those who don't self-deport, there is still very much an open question, and he did answer one question today.

In an interview for Greta Van Susteren's show, he said that he will have a comprehensive immigration policy speech sometime in the next couple weeks. So, we'll get the details. In the past when people said comprehensive immigration, it usually meant amnesty. Trump says there will be no amnesty, Sandra.

SMITH: All right, Carl Cameron, thank you. Joining me now, former GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson is here. Good evening to you, sir.


SMITH: All right. So a big part of the news this week was Donald Trump doubling down on his claim that Hillary Clinton is a bigot. You have some advice for Donald Trump on that front. You have suggested that he do what about that discussion?

CARSON: Well, you know, I have advice for everybody in the political arena, and that is the issues that are facing us as a nation are extremely serious. And let's not get diverted into a name-calling contest and who can call the other one the worst name. Whether, you know, it's legitimate or not, the title doesn't matter.

What does matter is the fact that we're approaching $20 trillion in debt. That's going to destroy the lives of people who are coming after us. What does matter is the fact that we have all of these terrorists who want to destroy us that our school systems are being, you know, jeopardized. There are so many things.

SMITH: So, basically what you're saying there are the obvious serious issues that need to be discussed by both candidates. But it seems that the real issues get muddied with this back and forth, particularly this week over racism. What would you say to Donald Trump? I know that you've got his ear, about that?

CARSON: Yeah. Well, the key thing is I can fully understand why Hillary would do it, because she doesn't want to discuss the issues. She doesn't have any reasonable policies, no way to deal with the deficits and with terrorism and with the prison system, with education, all of these things. She has no good answers. Trump has a lot of good answers.

So I would say let's deal with the things that have almost 70 percent of the American people dissatisfied with the direction of the country. Talk about those things in some detail. When he does that, he does very well. His poll numbers start going up, and I think that's really where you should stay.

SMITH: His poll numbers with African-Americans and minority communities, obviously Hispanics as well, they still just don't look good and they favor Hillary Clinton. And he has made a direct appeal, and he has made a big outreach this week to the African-American and minority communities, saying what do you have to lose? What did you make of that, and do you think that that helped at all, his strategy there?

CARSON: Well, what he was really saying is that, you know, the policies of the Democratic Party over the last 40 or 50 years have not resulted in a very good situation particularly in a lot of our inner cities. And if you want to make America great again, the entire foundation of America has to be great, including our inner cities.

So in order to do that, we've got to spiff up the educational system, get people school choice and vouchers. You know, we need to look at the penal system and how we're going to deal with that. You know, jobs, bringing back jobs again. All of those are the kinds of things that will strengthen the inner city. And we have not seen that over the last few decades.

SMITH: All right, Dr. Ben Carson, always good to speak to you, sir. Thank you for being here.

CARSON: You too. Thank you.

SMITH: All right. Well, joining me now to react is Democratic analyst and Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky. So Julie, here we are, state of the race, 73 days to go. Where are we?

JULIE ROGINSKY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Good question. Well, we are empirically speaking at a point where Donald Trump has a lot of room to make up. Hillary Clinton in the national poll is about ten points up according to today's Quinnipiac poll. She's leading according to polling averages in all the swing states that Trump must win in order to win. And so empirically speaking, he's got a big row to hoe which is why his immigration policy specifically was so puzzling to me.

He's essentially taking focus groups. You saw Sean Hannity's forum the other night, asking his viewers what he should do on immigration. We're a little far away from the beginning of this campaign to be able to do that kind of thing. He laid out a plan. He went back on that plan. Then he doubled down on the original plan. I don't really know where he is at this point. That's a good question on your point.

SMITH: Let's talk Hillary Clinton because we know she's taking a bit of a breather this week. She's sitting this week out.


SMITH: And most of next week as well. She's on a little vacation time. Tim Kaine is out there. Yes, she is and it's interesting because it's at a time when we know more e-mail stuff is coming out. Has this been her, as Politico wrote this week, trying to let the clock run out? She's got a five and a half point lead in the latest RealClear Politics average. Is that a strategy?

ROGINSKY: Well, I don't think she was sitting out that speech yesterday. I thought that speech was incredibly effective, not just in doubling down for her base, but more importantly trying to appeal to those Republicans that have questions about Trump and about his temperament.

She laid out a very coherent, I thought, specific outline as to why those people should not necessarily look at Trump as a potential savior for the Republican Party. But she is, you know, to some extent, you have a good point. She is ahead. It's hers to lose. First do no harm is basically where she is in this campaign right now.

SMITH: Well, I don't know about that. RNC chairman Reince Priebus, we're going to talk about this in a second, he's made a prediction that things could still turn around by Labor Day.

ROGINSKY: That's his job. He's got to spin for his candidate. I get it.

SMITH: OK, Julie Roginsky, good to see you.

ROGINSKY: Great to see you Sandra.

SMITH: Thanks for being here tonight. Also, just days after RNC chairman Reince Priebus predicted Donald Trump would overtake Hillary Clinton in the polls by Labor Day, new numbers from one poll show an uphill climb for Mr. Trump. So, can the GOP nominee begin a dramatic turnaround in just the next ten days? A fair and balanced debate about that next.



REINCE PREIBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: I think that if he continues to be measured, continues to be prepared, consistent like he has been. He's had a great week. I think those polls are going to narrow, and I do think that Donald Trump can do that, and I do think the polls are going to narrow by Labor Day...


PREIBUS: ...the poll is tight and even potentially him getting back ahead like he was after the convention.


SMITH: That was RNC chair Reince Priebus earlier this week on "The Kelly File," saying Donald Trump's slide in the polls behind Hillary Clinton will reverse within the next two weeks. So far, we've seen the opposite. A new Quinnipiac poll putting Mrs. Clinton above 50 percent for the first time and sees her lead increase to ten points. That poll stretching Clinton's lead to six points in the average of all recent national polls.

So, can Mr. Trump turn the tide? Boris Epshteyn is a Trump campaign senior advisor. Anita McBride is a former assistant to President George W. Bush, and Anita, you've worked in four presidential administrations. What do you make of Reince Priebus saying there's still time? We're going to turn things around as soon as Labor Day. That's a big promise.

ANITA MCBRIDE, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY EXECUTIVE-IN-RESIDENCE: Well, Labor Day is next week, and that's a pretty high bar to set in such a short period of time, particularly when you're up against such a vast network that the Clintons have. And they've been running -- she's been running for this position for years and years and years, and the fund-raising -- just look at the fund-raising that she did this past week in Hollywood and then in Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

It's a rough -- a tough bar to meet. But, you know, the chairman is saying what he has to say and putting confidence in Republican voters that there's a path here.

SMITH: Yeah, and I keep saying that Hillary Clinton, Boris, is taking some time off this week and a little bit the next. But she is still fund- raising, and she still is attending those finance meetings to make sure their strategy is sound there. But we've got 73 days to go. What is it going to take for Reince Priebus and his party to turn things around and let that Trump campaign shine? What is it going to take?

BORIS EPSHTEYN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: First of all, as far as the polls go, the Quinnipiac poll is an outlier. They're tied in the UPI (ph). The Reuters poll we were down by 12 just about a week ago, now only down by five. YouGov Polls about five, Gravis is about five so, the Quinnipiac is an outlier.

SMITH: So, right now the RealClear Politics average, you're looking at a six-point lead for Hillary Clinton. Let's talk battleground states.

EPSHTEYN: Let us just full note that that average is over 24 days.

SMITH: All right. OK, but that being said, that's what we have to work off of. Let's talk battle ground states


SMITH: How is he doing there?

EPSHTEYN: Absolutely fine. Florida is about tied. Ohio is extremely close, and North Carolina is now from being down about five or six points, we're ether up by two in one poll and tied in the CNN poll. So, doing absolutely fine in North Carolina, and you go beyond that, you go to Pennsylvania, and we will be competitive in Pennsylvania. That poll will tighten.

Listen, it's a binary choice. It's a binary choice fo the voters between Hillary Clinton, who is a lifelong failure, who has to take two weeks off the campaign trail with 73 days to go, and Donald Trump, who is bringing fresh ideas on the economy, on defense, on national security, on immigration. Something Hillary Clinton is simply not doing. And the voters will make the right choice and will elect Donald Trump on November 8th.

SMITH: All right, Anita, final word to you. Trump -- can seize on this moment right now?

MCBRIDE: I think there is certainly an opportunity to do that. I think you know, there used to be in the old days, there was an October surprise. With this race, there's a surprise every day. And this trove of e-mails -- and this trove of e-mails that may come out now that Mrs. Clinton boxed herself in today on the "Morning Joe Show" and said that there's, you know, probably -- there is no connection to the Clinton Foundation. The Clinton Foundation connection is a problem.

SMITH: And that big A.P. report out this week. It was a tough one.

MCBRIDE: Absolutely.

SMITH: All right, Boris and Anita, good to have you both tonight, thank you.

EPSHTEYN: Thanks so much.

MCBRIDE: Thank you.

SMITH: All right. We'll be right back.


SMITH: This has been a fun Friday night. Thanks for joining us. It's good to have you. And by the way, wake up early with me tomorrow. I'll be hosting "Fox & Friends." I'll be on the "curvy couch" at 6:00 a.m. And every weekday at noon I'm "Outnumbered" on Fox News. That's it for "The Kelly File." I'm Sandra Smith. Megyn Kelly will be back next week and Sean Hannity is here live tonight. He's up next. Thank you.


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