Controversy erupts over Carson pick as HUD secretary; Leah Remini opens up about exposing Scientology

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," December 5, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Breaking tonight, Democrats on the attack targeting Dr. Ben Carson, the president-Elect's newest pick to join his cabinet.

Welcome to "The Kelly File," everyone. I'm Megyn Kelly, reporting tonight from Washington, D.C. wherein less than six weeks we'll see the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump. Earlier today, Mr. Trump announced that he had selected one-time rival turned surrogate Dr. Ben Carson to head up the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Dr. Carson has been widely praised for pulling himself out of poverty to become one of the nation's most successful neurosurgeons. But those on the Left mounted a fast and furious attack on Dr. Carson going so far as to label him disturbingly and woefully unqualified.

In moments, we'll get reaction from Governor Mike Huckabee and Mo Elleithee but we begin tonight with Peter Doocy reporting from Trump Tower in New York City. Peter?

PETER DOOCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Megyn, the President-Elect has an urban renewal agenda that he wants Dr. Ben Carson to help them make happen even though the famous brain surgeon has not yet worked in Housing or Urban Development. Because Mr. Trump says, Dr. Carson is a tough competitor who never gives up. The one-time Republican presidential candidate did say recently, he picked up a lot living in the inner city as a child and then he really doesn't think any job is going to be as complex as neurosurgery so he thinks he should be able to learn the finer points of any position if confirmed as he goes.

But the top Democrat in the Senate is not convinced. Senator Chuck Schumer said today, quote, "I have serious concerns about Dr. Carson's lack of expertise and experience in dealing with housing issues. Someone who is anti-government as him is a strange fit for Housing secretary to say the least." In the House of Representatives, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said now that quote, "There is no evidence that Dr. Carson brings the necessary credentials to hold a position with such immense responsibilities and impact on families and communities across America."

And then there's the Council on American Islamic Relations going in a different direction with their statement today, CAIR said, quote, "Dr. Carson's views on Islam, American Muslims and the world are dangerously ill-informed and could negatively impact any government agency he heads.  Dr. Carson has been quiet about all of this is so far today expect but to say that he is proud to have to opportunity to serve his country -- Megyn.  

KELLY: All right. Peter, thank you.

Joining us now, Mo Elleithee, the founding executive director of Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service. And former Arkansas Governor and Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee. Good to see you both.

So the question is whether Ben Carson can withstand these attacks. I mean, you know what's funny to me most that isn't he exactly what we typically point to as like the smartest person in any room, like brain surgeon.  Right? Isn't that what he was like -- other than rocket scientist, that's what you say, like he's no brain surgeon but he can't run HUD?

MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY'S INSTITUTE OF POLITICS: Well, you know, look. I have respect for Ben Carson's skill in an operating room.  But, look, I think it is a curious choice and I do think that there are some legitimate concerns that he's going to have to answer in his confirmation hearings and lucky for him he'll have that opportunity. But, you know, he's never really done anything with Housing Policy, with Urban Development Policy and he's never run a major organization or bureaucracy.  

KELLY: Okay. But you don't think he's smart enough to learn?

ELLEITHEE: I'm not saying that maybe he's not. But I do think it's a curious choice. Typically president-elects, and they're entitled to pick whomever they want. And the Senate has --  

KELLY: Donald Trump has never been in office before, he's never been in office before.


KELLY: He's never run a government before or held any public office.  

ELLEITHEE: Right. And the jury is still out.  

KELLY: And then he can be the president.  

ELLEITHEE: And the jury is still out on how he'll do. But what he said when he was pressed during the campaign on how he'll handle all of this complex issues was that he was going to surround himself by experts in the field. I'm not sure that Ben Carson is an expert in this field. In HHS maybe, surgeon general, maybe.  

KELLY: All right. I'm going to Governor But why can't Ben Carson surround himself at HUD with people who understand Housing and Urban Development and bring the decisions to him and Ben Carson as a very smart man will then process the information and say, you're doing it all wrong, here's the new way of looking at it or here's how I see it and that's the advantage of bringing in, you know, this citizen administrator.  

ELLEITHEE: And he's going to have the opportunity to make that case in his confirmation hearings. But typically you put people in with at least a passing knowledge, basic knowledge of the issue area of the major federal agency --

KELLY: All right. One more question. One more question -- but how has that been working for us? Right? Because all of these people who backed Donald Trump, they want him to bust up the system. They don't like to look to the past as the example of how the future needs to be and I venture to say, they love to see somebody like Ben Carson go in and take an agency, be it HUD, be a veterans, whatever it is, and just bring new perspectives to it so that we don't keep getting the same results.  

ELLEITHEE: Yes. This is the million dollar question of the Trump presidency. I'd say, the voters that put him in the office wanted to just roll a grenade into the room, right? And to just blow up the system. But we don't know what it's going to look like on the back end. Putting people in who know something about the subject matter with Donald Trump's perspective might give the people that they want. But when you're putting people in who have no knowledge at all of the policies that they're about to implement and the amount of money that the federal government spends on these policies, then I think the questions need to be asked.  

KELLY: Governor Huckabee, Nancy Pelosi says, Carson is a disconcerting and disturbingly unqualified choice. Your thoughts.  

MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Why didn't she say that about Barack Obama when he was elected president? He had zero executive experience. He had never done anything in foreign policy. He had never owned anything significant, run a small business, he had a very lackluster career and a very limited career as a legislator. All of these things would have applied. But let me ask you this. What is a brain surgeon?  He's a person who goes into one of the most complex systems on the planet and he solves a problem by taking a look at incredibly complex situations and figuring out how to make them work.  

KELLY: Under enormous pressure.  

HUCKABEE: Well under enormous pressure and somebody can live or die depending on the slightest move of his hand. The thought that Ben Carson is somehow not capable, that he is not qualified is an insult to the intellect of every neurosurgeon on God's green earth.  

KELLY: Were we told when Barack Obama was elected and people called him unqualified. Some people who said that's a racist statement, that that is racist to say that our first black president is unqualified to hold the office nearly because he's only been a senator for two years. Now Dr. Carson, one of the most renowned surgeons, pediatric neurosurgeons in the world, he's too stupid to learn how to run an organization that has 8,000 employees? I don't know, Gov. You tell me what are those same people are going to say that's a racist statement now?

HUCKABEE: Well, for eight years, every time a person commented on something Barack Obama did and disagreed with him on a policy question, they were called a racist. We've all been called racists because we raised questions about Obama's judgment, about his policies. Now, what is different and why wouldn't that same standard be applied when people like Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer or CAIR go and attack Ben Carson who, by the way, spoke very eloquently during the campaign, somebody must not have been listening. But he spoke very eloquently about how to make an urban America a very different and safe place.

KELLY: Uh-hm.

HUCKABEE: This is not a man who is failed to think about these issues.  And he grew up with a mother who worked three jobs to keep him off government assistance. I think we ought to say that not only has he been smart enough to become a neurosurgeon, but his own personal experience of growing up in dire poverty is a great platform to go to HUD and to say, what is the problem we're trying to solve.

Not just do I know something about what the government has been doing for 40 years because frankly what the government has been doing for 40 years hasn't worked. So maybe it's time to bring somebody on with a fresh set of eyes, a fresh set of hand and in this case, somebody who has been given almost every accolade and award, including major awards from the NAACP --


HUCKABEE: -- and he's been a hero to the whole country until he decided to run for president as a conservative Republican.  

KELLY: He came out and said, you know, a while ago, look, I'm not interested in getting rid of any safety net, I'm interested in getting rid of dependency. And that's an attitude he presumably will bring with him to any government post to which he may or may not be confirmed. You know, if he gets it. Anyway, great to see you both. Thank you guys for being here.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, Megyn.


KELLY: Breaking tonight, big news in the case of an officer involved shooting in South Carolina. And this was a big one that got a lot of attention. A mistrial has now been declared in the prosecution of former Charleston, South Carolina police Officer Michael Pfleger. Pfleger was charged with murder, murder, following the caught on camera shooting death of Walter Scott in April of last year. This was a bad one where even people who normally defend the cops had come out and condemned this officer's behavior on camera. But now there's been a mistrial. The judge announcing the outcome earlier today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see the note that says, we the jury regrets to inform the court that despite the best efforts of all members we are unable to come to a unanimous decision in the case of the state versus Michael Pfleger. Is that correct, Mr. Foreman?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. Well, the court therefore must declare a mistrial in this case.  


KELLY: Trace Gallagher has more from Oahu, Hawaii where he's on assignment tonight. Trace?

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Megyn, the jury was made up of seven men and five women, only one of whom was black. They deliberated for some 22 hours over four days. And on Friday, they sent the judge a note saying that all but one of them was in favor of convicting. Today they sent another note saying that most of them were still undecided. It was in April of 2015 when Walter Scott was pulled over for a broken taillight. He fled the scene and Officer Michael Pfleger says that he chased him, they wrestled and that Scott grabbed hold of his taser and tried to point it at him.

And that's when he says he feared for his life and did what his training taught him to do which was open fire. But then cell phone video surfaced just seconds before the shooting showing that in fact it looked like that Walter Scott was several feet away was turning and running away from the officer when he fired eight shots hitting him four times in the back and one time in the air. Experts say at the time it looked like Scott was at least 17 feet away. And prosecutors allege that Pfleger tried to stage the scene by placing that stun gun next to Scott's body to make it look justified.

He was fired shortly after the cell phone video went viral. He was then charged with murder. He was asked on the stand if he thought that Walter Scott was running away and unarmed at the time. He said no at the time, I would say no but after looking at the video, I would say, yes. The Scott family says, this is far from over. Listen.  


CHRIS STEWART, SCOTT FAMILY ATTORNEY: The fight isn't over. That was round one. We've got two more rounds to go. The solicitor is trying the case again as soon as she can. The DOJ is trying this case as soon as they can. He may have delayed justice but he did not escape it.


GALLAGHER: Governor Nikki Haley confirmed that saying this would be tried again. And the chair of the South Carolina Republican Party called this a travesty of justice -- Megyn.  

KELLY: Trace, thank you. While the jurors were unable to reach a verdict, this case is far from over. Here to explain what comes next is Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst.

Judge, this is one of those cases where, you know, and we've had plenty of police defenders on "The Kelly File."


KELLY: But even the most vocal ones looked at this and said that I cannot defend. It looked terrible on that tape. But I think a lot of people were shocked today to see a mistrial. Originally are saying, there is at least one juror --


KELLY: -- who just could not vote guilty and he needed to be unanimous.  But there are conflicting reports on that. They said, as of Friday there were several who were undecided on guilt or innocence. What does it tell us?

NAPOLITANO: Well, it tells us that the Judge might not have done his job as fairly as he should. I have been critical of this judge. Because having been in that situation, I can tell you, you don't accept a note or you don't accept just a verbal statement from the foreperson. You interrogate personally and directly each juror to find out what the confusion is. How could jurors reject the obvious? Is there a defect in thinking? Is there an ulterior motive? Is there fear? Is there bias? Is there prejudice? Is there favor?

Is there something going on here with one juror who would indicate, which would indicate if so, that that juror should be replaced and the 11 that remain and the new juror taking place of the one whose thinking is defective would deliberate in a new. Especially in a case very high profile, the government's use of excessive force is very obvious, the evidence of guilt is truly, truly overwhelming. Because you and I have both interviewed traditionally, typically police defenders who's saying, we can't defend this one. So something went wrong --  

KELLY: I know. But we weren't in the courtroom.


KELLY: You know how it goes. We weren't in the courtroom. We didn't listen to all of the testimony. Question for you. It sounds like they're going to retry him. How will it affect his chances second time around, the fact that he's already been tried and achieved a mistrial?

NAPOLITANO: I think it will be very difficult for him the second time around. Because if he does take the witness stand in his own defense, they only have to read to the jury what he said in the first trial where he changed his mind on the witness stand. And after actually watching the tape that we all saw, it's very difficult to watch, he admitted this guy was running away from the unarmed when I shot him four times in the back.  So, the government, both the state government which will try him again and the Feds who are waiting to try him when all of the state proceedings are over have a road map to his lies and exaggerations.  

KELLY: Hmm. Both sides learn a lot first time around and will adjust accordingly the second time around. Judge, good to see you.  

NAPOLITANO: Good to see you, Megyn.

KELLY: Also tonight, Mr. Trump went after the Chinese on Twitter this weekend and now some are asking if President-Elect Trump is putting America on course for a new showdown with the communists.

Pete Hoekstra and Krystal Ball are next on that question.  

Plus, breaking news from the West Coast. Is California makes a move that may put the entire states at odds with federal immigration officials?

And then, actress Leah Remini now says that she's been targeted by the church of scientology after she went public with some dramatic accusations and she is here live in a "Kelly File" exclusive.  


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're allowed to install cameras and take pictures of private houses?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not illegal.  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not illegal. I could come here in the middle of the night --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could say the camera was to watch the front of the house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're talking about a church. That's the (bleep) part of it.


KELLY: Developing tonight, the world is watching China to see how the communists will react after President-Elect Trump took to Twitter over the weekend attacking China for its latest military moves and manipulating its currency in a way that hurts the United States. Mr. Trump campaigned on the promise to get tough on the Chinese and tonight we're hearing suggestions that Mr. Trump is starting to do just that, beginning with the call he had last week with the leader of Taiwan.

Ed Henry joins us live from Washington with a story that could get very big. Ed?  

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Megyn. Critics initially tried to play this as a clumsy break in diplomatic courtesy that could bungle America into a hot war with China instead it could be another case of Mr. Trump's critics underestimating him. Since "The Washington Post" is now reporting the phone call was along planned. A deliberate move to stand up for democracy in Asia while also getting tough on China which was already rattling the saber against Taiwan before this phone call. FOX News learning that back on November 26th, about a week before the phone call, China sent two -- nuclear capable bombers to circle Taiwan for the first time leading Japan to scramble eight fighter jets to deal with it.

The President-Elect as you noted took to Twitter to expose the hypocrisy of critics demanding he showed diplomatic niceties, tweeting, quote, "Did China ask us if it was okay to devalue their currency making it hard for our companies to compete, heavily tax out products going into their country? The U.S. doesn't tax them. Or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don't think so." In fact the U.S. does impose attacks of just over two percent on goods from China.

And White House Spokesman Josh Earnest warned these publications could stunt progress they've made with China. The Wall Street Journal editorial page now push back on the idea that the Obama White House has made any such progress and declare that after Mr. Trump broke all the rules of presidential campaigning, he is now upending diplomatic convention saying, quote, "One early lesson is to not overreact to every break with State Department protocol as if it's the start of World War III." The journal adding this was just the mainstream media having its 19th nervous breakdown which have nothing else is a terrific reference to a great song by the road stones -- Megyn.

KELLY: Absolutely. Ed, good to see you.

HENRY: Thank you.

KELLY: Joining us now with more, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, former congressman. He was the former nationally security adviser to the Trump campaign and shared the House Intelligence Committee from 2007 to 2011.

Also Krystal Ball is here. She's a senior fellow at the New Leaders Council. Great to see you both.


KELLY: So, what's all of the kerfuffle? Right? It's like he had a call with the leader of Taiwan, it ticked off China. To all of the Americans who are at home sitting there thinking, who cares?  

BALL: What's the big deal?  

KELLY: Who cares? What's the answer?

BALL: Well, there's a couple of things. First of all, this is a pretty dramatic change in policy from what we have been doing since the '70s. So, he's coming in, he's shaking things up which of course he promised to do.  But I think what's more troubling here is that it seemed very reckless. It came out of the blue. His initial tweets were not to say, well, we intended to do this all along. His initial tweets were to try to downplay this. We know he hasn't been getting intelligence briefings.

We know he hasn't consulted with the State Department to get those background briefings. And so I think for a lot of Americans, the majority of whom by the way didn't vote for Donald Trump, this plays into their fears that he's uninformed and that he is reckless and he is ultimately putting Americans in danger by these sort of provocative moves without thinking it through?

KELLY: What about that Congressman Hoekstra? Because do we call you congressman after you leave office? You're not one of the ones who maintains the title, right?

PETE HOEKSTRA, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: You can if you want but Pete is fine. Pete is fine.  

KELLY: I don't like it. Congressman. He did initially tweet out the president of Taiwan called me in sort of trying to -- he didn't say, hey, we arranged it, I'm poking the bear, I'm good with it. And they are saying -- John Kerry actually came out and said the Trump transition team has yet to contact the state for any information recommendations ahead of calls with foreign leaders.  

HOEKSTRA: He's doing exactly what the Republican platform said at the convention, what he has said in speeches throughout the campaign, you know, what he's now twittering, what he's talked about. But you know, it's very consistent, we've had a failed policy for eight years with China. Their cyber-attacks against us. Millions of Americans personal, that is compromised. They're building these islands in the South China Sea and then claiming territorial rights. Their unfair trade practices. In the one place that we really need their help is North Korea.  

KELLY: Yes. So, why poke them over Taiwan. Why not safe the poke for something that we really care about?

HOEKSTRA: Well, this is something that they really care about. They care about Taiwan and this just says things are going to be different. There is a new sheriff in town and we're going to stand up to China, we're going to stand up and we're going to demand a change. This is the exact same thing that our allies in the region are looking for. I've talked to the Japanese, I've talked to the South Koreans, they recognize that our policy has failed and that we need to come together for a new policy to confront China.  

BALL: I think these are actually legitimate points. And if we're going to have a debate about, let's go in a different direction, I would feel differently about that. But when you put this in the context of the other breezy and seemingly uninformed calls that he's had with the world leaders, including with the leader of the Philippines who is a brutal murdering dictator at this point, it doesn't give us a lot of confidence that he knows what he's doing or does his actions are intentional and not just throwing step under to see what happens which is incredibly dangerous.  This is the world super power, this is not just a game of checkers. You have to actually think through what you're doing and have a plan.

HOEKSTRA: I think it's very clear, he does have a plan. This is been very consistent with everything that he is said since he's been campaigning.  We're going to --

BALL: When did he talk about the China policy?

HOEKSTRA: We're going to be --


He's talking about we're going to be tough with China, and we're going to confront these issues and we're going to move forward on this and we are going to have a new foreign policy. And that's exactly what he's talked about. And he is thinking through these steps. It is not reckless at all.

KELLY: Marc Thiessen had a column out today and --


KELLY: -- he actually made the distinction, he said that the Left -- they fawned over President Obama's decision to ignore our diplomatic president with Cuba yet slammed Trump for doing the same thing with Taiwan. I won't make you respond to that because I've got to go.


KELLY: It's good to see you both.

HOEKSTRA: Okay. Great. Thank you.

BALL: Nice to see you, Megyn.

KELLY: So we also have breaking news from the West Coast tonight on a move that could establish California as America's first sanctuary state forbidden by state law from cooperating with any federal immigration officials? Is that where they're going? Both sides of that debate are here when Juan Fernandez and Richard Fowler joins us next.

Plus, with Congressman Keith Ellison positioned to take over the DNC and the Democrats about to move further left than anytime in party history, one of the key people from Hillary Clinton's team, Neera Tanden. Neera, of the WikiLeaks emails, she doesn't want to talk about that but she's the one who said, this is insane what Hillary is doing. Anyway, she joins us on all of this and Ellison.  


KELLY: Breaking tonight, big news out of the West Coast where state lawmakers in California have introduced a bill that could effectively make California the first sanctuary state. The bill is expected to pass.  Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign it and the backers had a news conference today to make it crystal clear why they're doing this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: California wants no expedited removal without due process, no mass deportations and no more bigoted rhetoric.

When President-Elect lays out a mass deportation strategy on national television, vastly over setting the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States, who have committed violent crimes, he is confirming our worse fears.

California celebrates diversity and we won't deport it.


KELLY: Joining me now, Juan Hernandez, he is a Latino supporter of President-elect Donald Trump, along with Richard Fowler, he is the New Leaders Counsel Senior Fellow and a Fox News Contributor and is not a supporter of President-elect Donald Trump. It is great to see you both.  So, Richard, let's start with you on this one, on whether, let's just start with this, the politics of it. California is going to go reliably Democrat in virtually every presidential election. Reminisced it is like it would be extraordinary id they didn't. And you tell me whether this is a good time to be going further to the left on something like immigration policy when they're trying to bring -- they're trying to appeal to some of these white working class voters who rejected the Democrats but have typically voted Democrat in past elections.

RICHARD FOWLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND SENIOR FELLOW FOR THE NEW LEADERS COUNSEL: The policy this makes sense for California and here's why, Megyn.  If you go back just a couple of years ago to the affordable care act, when that was passed, a lot of states, a lot of very, very, very solid red state like Mississippi rejected the affordable care act, because in the state's ability to do that. The federal government does control immigration laws, but when you use state resources to implement the laws, whether be law enforcement, state troopers, state courts, state jails, the governor and the state legislature is responsible for that. So they are playing their politics.

KELLY: You weren't saying that when Jan Brewer passed that immigration bill out in Arizona.

FOWLER: I agree, I'm not saying it was good or bad. I am saying on the politics it makes sense for this state. When Jan Brewer did it, it didn't make sense for her.

KELLY: Oh come on Juan, you tell me whether there is hypocrisy now over the left, or saying it's a state's rights matter and California can do what it wants, if it wants to be a Sanctuary state, but Jan Brewer in Arizona that passed that testify immigration law, that is a different matter. It is up to the Feds to control immigration.

JUAN HERNANDEZ, LATINO TRUMP SUPPORTER: they are going to lose, California is going to be losing a lot of the funding, although the sanctuary state, if they don't participate. So, if they don't participate, if I was a homeless person, if I was an elderly person living over there, like I would be resentful at what's going to be happening, because if they're going to be getting a lot of funding lost, a lot of federal funding, hundreds of millions of dollars, the cities are going to lose that. I don't think it's right. I think we need, you know to go in there and deport the people that need to be deported.

KELLY: You know Juan, you know that some people watching this are thinking, wait a minute, Latino Trump supporter. First of all, I can't get past that. How does that work. How are you both a Latino and the Trump supporter who is not in favor of Sanctuary cities in a Sanctuary State? Do you want to answer that?

HERNANDEZ: Yeah, it's not because -- he is not against Mexicans. He is against illegal immigration. And I think we need to keep -- I believe in the border security. I think we need to take care of the United States first. And you know that they can come back the right way. I can't be bias. It's going to be going, if it was the same thing in Canada, you know I'd have to support it over there. And so it doesn't have anything to do with just because I am Mexican.

KELLY: Richard, Donald Trump says he wants to immediately deport 2 to 3 million immigrants. He wants to focus on the criminals who reportedly make up about 820,000 of the undocumented immigrants in this country. Is that not a good idea?

FOWLER: I think we could deal with the criminals in one situation. I think criminals should be deported. I would agree there with the due process and their rights are repelled. Now additionally this ideal of deporting 3 million people is a very, very, very not only impossible, but it's not popular in its own party. Paul Ryan said he wouldn't fund it.  Jeff Flake and Gelindsy Graham are supporting a bill to keep the dreamers here and I think that you got to go...

KELLY: But Donald Trump got 52.8 million votes and where are the people (inaudible) 52.8.

FOWLER: I hear that, Megyn, but I think we're putting the cart before the horse here. What we've seen from the Trump campaign is like double talk.  Ii it one thing on the campaign trail and now that he is President-Elect.  First he wanted to build a wall, now he wants some fencing in certain places, ok with him. So, to say that states will lose millions of dollars of federal funding that has not a law that is not been created yet, that does not have congress yet, though we had completed yet.

KELLY: You make Sanctuary City that we do not understand. He made that clear. I got to go, great to see you both.

FOWLER: But he could flip on it, Megyn. He could flip.

KELLY: He could still flip, but so far, not happening.

OK. Coming up, actress Leah Remini now says that she is been targeted by the church of scientology, because of her tell-all documentary on the church. She is here live with us tonight to tell us what's happening.

Plus, Congressman Keith Ellison potentially poised to take over the DNC.  Critics say the Democrats are doubling down on policy that caused them the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Neera Tanden was a top Clinton Adviser and she is here, next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democratic Party is in a moment of questioning about its identity. You were reelected to lead the Democrats in the house.  What do you tell Democrats who want a new direction?

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., MINORITY LEADER: Well, I don't think people want to a new direction. What we want is a better connection of our message to working families in our country.


KELLY: Oh, boy. That was house minority member Nancy Pelosi insisting that the Democrats do not need to change course, after losing the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives to the Republicans last month. They're failing to capture any other cases. Once more critics are now questioning why the Democrats are considering far left favorite Congressman Keith Ellison to take their party further in what they call the wrong direction. Neera Tanden is the president of the Progressive Center for American progress and a former adviser to Hillary Clinton. Neera thank you so much for being here.


KELLY: So, what about that Nancy Pelosi, I don't think the people want a new direction. That is a strange statement to hear giving the fact that the Democrats just got blown out on November 8th.

TANDEN: Well let's just remember again that we do have President-Elect Trump. I totally see that there were tough states that we lost that have been behind a blue wall in the past. The Democrats did win 2.6 million voters. Having said that, 2.6 million more voters than Donald Trump, having said that, I don't think the point is that we don't need any new ideas or any new direction. I think Nancy Pelosi might have been responding to whether we need a new leader in the house for Democrats. He just got reelected. It was a good discussion about that, but I think the Democrats do recognize that one of the reasons why Donald Trump won is because people want a change in Washington. And now as Democrats are outside of (inaudible) you know, they're not running congress or running the administration, we have to really speak to that. We have to talk about (inaudible).

KELLY: Where is that soul searching? You know, because Nancy Pelosi was challenged by a guy from Ohio, somebody who says I can speak to these voting class voters. The Mayor like, forget you, we want the one that is been here for 30 years. Chuck Schumer is now going to be the Democratic leader in the senate. And now, I mean Keith Ellison, do you think that is going to happen? This guy is so controversial. I mean Alan Dershowitz is a lifelong Democrat. He came out and said you can't do it. I mean he came out and say it is hard to imagine a worse candidate to take over the DNC.

TANDEN: You know I worked with Keith Ellison in the Democratic platform.  And you know I think he was very constructive force. A lot of people respect Keith and even on some of the issues that are being raised about Israel, people like Chuck Schumer who have been a very strong friend of Israel are vouching for him. And I have to say, you know what, I find weird about this debate about anti-Semitism at this moment, very unusual thing. Keith Ellison is not goings to be, you know steps away from the oval office. Steve Bannon is going to be steps away from the oval office.

KELLY: He is controversial. But that is done. We talked about that.

TANDEN: Just to be fair, if you were concerned about statements that people are making, the fact that Steve Bannon who is going to be in the White House was behind a website that trafficked an Anti-Semitic here.

KELLY: You're pointing to one controversial thing to defend another controversial thing. This guy Keith Ellison defended Louis Farrakhan as not anti-Semitic, Louis Farrakhan, duly a gutter religion.

TANDEN: Just to be crystal clear about that statement, it is about Louis Farrakhan, which you knew. I am more Louis Farrakhan that happened 20 years ago. If you want to...

KELLY: The same guy that was calling for blacks to have their own country.  Keith Ellison.

TANDEN: That was sarcastic. If you want to take comments that people have made, I think suggest we look at people who are going to have governing responsibility and if you are going to the outrage.

KELLY: He is in your party. You like him to have in your party?

TANDEN: He is head of the Democratic National Committee, which is it is important post, that it isn't a governing from sales. I like Keith Ellison.  They are a lot of people running. We don't have a say on it. But I would say...

KELLY: So you defend him. I am short on time, but I have got to tell the audience, Neera has emerged as the MVP in the WikiLeaks issue. I want to talk about, but I have to tell you, this woman, she is a person who spoke sense within the Clinton campaign over and over. She described David Brock as a kind of a nut bulb.

TANDEN: Oh my word. I'm going to talk over you.

KELLY: She is saying, whoever did this email server should be drawn and quarters, she describes Clinton suboptimal.

TANDEN: I talked a lot about the unfair press Hillary received and WikiLeaks is one of them.

KELLY: You also said, Criticized for Hillary for using the phrase all lives matter. You said, F this aide, and I would just say and behind the scenes when you didn't think anybody was watching or reading in a private email exchange, you sound kind a like a badass, I am just going to leave it that. You don't have to comments.

TANDEN: My Fox News plan.

KELLY: Do you actually, you probably do have a lot of them. They may not like what you said, about Keith Ellison by that they like that stuff, Neera, thank you for being here.

TANDEN: Great to be with you.

Coming up, Leah Remini decided not only to split with the church of scientology which she was raised in, but then to talk all about it in a tell all documentary about her time in the church and she is here next on what happened to her since then. Stay tuned.


KELLY: Well after more than three decades with the church of scientology, Leah Remini made headlines when she publicly walked away back in 2013. Now she is going a step further in a tell-all-document series on A&E, entitled Leah Remini Scientology and the Aftermath, watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got an anonymous letter in our mailbox saying you shouldn't be associating with your neighbor. And I go wait a minute, where are they watching from. So I walked up around the street and I went huh, right there, there's this stupid birdhouse that I've seen a hundred times, never given a second thought to, so I went and got a ladder, and I walked over there and I opened the lid and there's a camera inside the birdhouse pointing at our house. And here is the camera.

LEAH REMINI, SCIENTOLOGY AND THE AFTERMATH: They're allowed to install cameras and take pictures of private houses?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not illegal.

REMINI: It is not illegal? I could come here in the middle of the night...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they could say that the camera was the watch the front of the house.

REMINI: We're talking about a church. That is the (BEEP) part of it.


KELLY: A statement from the church of scientology reads in part, quote, Leah Remini needs to move on with her life and career and stop blaming the church and others for all of her personal and professional setbacks. Leah Remini, Aftermath is really Leah Remini, After Money.

Joining me now, in a Kelly File exclusive, Leah Remini, was also the author of Trouble Maker, Surviving Hollywood, and Scientology. Leah, thank you so much for being here. So, we've seen the church come after anybody who comes after them, including Mike Render, who has been in this program and has featured in that episode we just showed there. They are pretty brutal about it and pretty relentless about it. My question for you is, is it scary at all for you now, to be doing this show and having written a book and so on?

REMINI: It's not really scary for me. I'm lucky enough to be in this business and have the support of all of you in the media that I can speak about it. What is scary is that systematically this is an organization, a place supposedly of worship calling itself a church that systematically goes after people who speak out about it. And that is why I wanted to do the show. Not so much for myself, because I'm not really talking about myself. But I'm finding out more and more things as the show progresses.

And it's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking how this organization continues to attempt to bully its victims and people who are speaking out. They go after your job, they go after your family, they picket in front of your house and they continue to do it and their history has shown that unless it's stopped it's going to continue to go on.

KELLY: They deny all of that and they also tend to sue people who say (inaudible).

REMINI: They don't need to deny anything, Megyn. You just simply need to Google it and you'll find out that it's true, if you do fair game and (inaudible).

KELLY: You're not allowed to do that in scientology, right? It's a rule that you stay off of the internet when it comes to scientology in particular?

REMINI: Correct. And as someone who is in the church I understand it. I mean you don't actively go after things that you're involved in. You don't go actively looking for people attacking your religious beliefs, but that is not really the case here. Your religious beliefs dictate and mandate that you hurt people. That is a problem. And so I didn't find these things out unfortunately until I left and it simply, just looking for yourself and I implore people to do that. This is a church that doesn't get penalized for asking questions and for looking.

KELLY: You talk about how you were at Tom Cruise's wedding to Katie Holmes and you had an incident there, an experience there that really first started to help you to see the light, as you say about scientology. What was it about your experience there that did that?

REMINI: Well the top clergy was there at the wedding. So a lot of scientologists don't really get to meet top executives of the church very often. I was there and the leader of the church was there, of course, being best friends with Tom Cruise. And the leader's wife wasn't there who I was friendly with. And I asked innocently Tom Davis, who is the former spokesperson of the church of scientology who was later kicked out, but still a scientologist, I asked where Shelly was and I was told that I didn't have the F.N. rank to ask or a human being was and that really did start ball rolling, because as a Parishioner, somebody who was promoting this church, defending his church, I have a right to ask where a human being is regardless of my rank in the church.

KELLY: Do you think that this organization should have, should be tax exempt as it is now as a church?

REMINI: I don't believe anybody believes that. Even when I was in the church I was hoping that something would be done about it. But I felt at the time I couldn't leave. I couldn't leave at that time if. If this is truly a bad organization, the IRS will step in, the government will step in, the FBI will do something about it and I actually wasn't happy when we received tax exempt status, because I was like, so this is just going to continue. And still I didn't feel like I could leave. If I was to leave in that moment of time, I would have lost my mother, my stepfather, my sister, my brother-in-law who was really immersed into it at the time.

KELLY: Yeah, that is the punishment you get. I've got to run we're short on time, but Tuesday, 10:00 p.m. Eastern time, on A&E, authority setting record ratings, Leah thank you for being here. We're grateful.

REMINI: Thank you for having me. Thank you.

KELLY: We'll be right back.


KELLY: Well tonight we are in D.C. As part of our "Settle for More" tour, discussing my new memoir "Settle for More" with the good folks in the nation's capital. We went to the famous bookstore Politics and Pro's, what a lovely reception. There I am with BBC world anchor Catty Kay who is amazing, lovely reception from Democrats and Republicans alike who are there, young, old, men, women, and so many lovely messages that we are getting from readers so far. Alan wrote to me on twitter, I want my daughters to read this book before college. Allan it can't hurt. Rob wrote in magnificent. It is something for everyone. I do believe that is true. It is not gender specific, it is not age specific and it is not politics specific. It is good if you're looking for a dose of inspiration and that all stand by. So hope you'll check it out. "Settle for More."  Go to search for "The Kelly File," thanks for watching.

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