This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," December 28, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SANDRA SMITH, GUEST HOST: Breaking tonight, America's top diplomat delivering some harsh words to our most critical ally in the Middle East. And setting up a diplomatic showdown of historic proportions, less than four weeks until the current administration heads for the exits.
Welcome to "The Kelly File," everyone. I'm Sandra Smith in for Megyn Kelly. The freeze war of words probably doesn't do a justice. As Secretary of State John Kerry today launched into a blistering speech following the recent U.N. vote on Israeli settlements. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not taking the comments lying down. Launching into his own pointed rebuke, a little over an hour after Mr. Kerry wrapped up his speech. And with both men using phrases like hard truths and lip service. Observers note tensions that long simmered beneath the surface are now boiling over into the public forum.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Friends need to tell each other the hard truths and friendships require mutual respect. They fail to recognize that this friend, the United States of America, that has done more to support Israel than any other country.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: In a speech ostensibly about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Secretary Kerry paid lip service to the unremitting campaign of terrorism that has been wage by the Palestinians against the Jewish state for nearly a century.
KERRY: There are a similar number of Jews and Palestinians living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. They have a choice. They can choose to live together in one state or they can separate into two states. But here is a fundamental reality, if the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or Democratic, it cannot be both.
NETANYAHU: What he did was to spend most of his speech blaming Israel for the lack of peace. By passionately condemning a policy of enabling Jews to live in their historic homeland and in their eternal capital Jerusalem.
KERRY: The Israeli Prime Minister publicly supports a two-state solution. But his current coalition is the most right wing in Israeli history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements.
NETANYAHU: I don't seek applause, I seek the security and peace and prosperity and the future of the Jewish state. Israelis do not need to be lectured about the important of peace by foreign leaders.
KERRY: Ultimately it will be up to the Israeli people to decide whether the unusually heated attacks that Israeli officials have directed towards this administration best served Israel's national interests and it's relationship with an ally that has been steadfast in its support.
NETANYAHU: Palestinian rejection of Israel in support for terror are what the nations of the world should focus on if they truly want to advance peace. And I can only express my regret and say that it's a shame that Secretary Kerry does not see this simple truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. joins us in moments. And later famed Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz weighs in on the idea that the administration set this whole U.N. vote up.
But first, we go to John Huddy in Jerusalem with more on the fallout.
JOHN HUDDY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, tonight's speech is perhaps the climax of several days of fierce political battle and fiery political rhetoric over Friday's U.N. resolution vote and there's been no love lost between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State John Kerry. Now along with Prime Minister Netanyahu, other Israeli leaders are also firing back against Secretary of State Kerry, one Israeli official told me that while the Middle East burns, Secretary of State Kerry talks about home construction and another senior Israeli official said that he questioned whether the Obama administration truly understands what's happening on the ground here.
Well, Palestinian leaders are also sounding off about the speech and the future of peace talks, Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that Palestinian leadership is ready to resume talks if Israel is willing to freeze all settlement activities in the West Bank including those in East Jerusalem as well. The Palestinians also say, they want the negotiations to be based on Friday's resolution and that alone may be a nonstarter for Israeli leaders. That said a Palestinian delegation plans to attend a Middle East peace conference next month in Paris aimed at restarting talks between the Israelis and Palestinians a conference that Israeli officials, one senior official told me is a sham just to hurt Israel's credibility and that Israel will not be attending -- Sandra.
SMITH: John Huddy, thank you.
Joining me now to react, Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States. Ambassador, thank you for being here tonight.
RON DERMER, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Good to be with you, Sandra.
SMITH: We're hearing from you, one of the first reactions from you to the Secretary of State's speech today, it was a long speech, he was clearly showing his frustrations. We have heard Benjamin Netanyahu respond, John Kerry lashing out at these so-called settler agenda. Your response?
DERMER: Well, look, first of all, this is not new. I have been in this capacity as ambassador for over three years, before that I was the senior advisor to the Prime Minister. And so, we have been working with this administration for the last eight years and in 2009, we had a crisis over the whole question of settlements. So, this is not, has nothing to do with this or that Israeli coalition or what is happened over the last eight years, or even Netanyahu himself. This administration, President Barack Obama came into office thinking that the whole reason why we don't have peace with the Palestinians is because of the question of settlements.
I remember we had just finished this war in Gaza where we had thousands of rockets that landed on our heads and that was a few years after we had withdrawn from Gaza and uprooted, not frozen, uprooted 21 settlements. And all of a sudden, in the early days of the administration, as the Prime Minister came to Washington -- this is the be all and end all. You have to do something on the issue of the settlements. And guess what the Prime Minister did, he did a freeze. And what happened, the Palestinian stayed out of negotiations.
So this is not a new story, this is not the building up of all sorts of years in some new policy. It was deeply disappointing that this administration in its waning days laid the blank to the failure to achieve peace at Israel. Just one other point. This was a 72-minute speech and yet they did not discuss that Israel made a sweeping peace offer in 2000 that was met by Palestinian rejection and a wave to terrorism that claimed 1,000 Israeli lives. They did not mention that in 2008, another Israeli Prime Minister made a sweeping peace offer that was also rejected by the Palestinians.
The reason why we don't have peace is because the Palestinians have rejected the state of the Jewish people in any boundary. And until we deal with the root of the conflict, we're never going to be able to advance peace. And I hope this is the closing chapter of the wrong approach to peace and that soon we'll open a new chapter where we can finally take the right road to peace. Because we in Israel want it more than anyone even the American secretary of state.
SMITH: When you talked about that new chapter. Clearly you are already developing and have developed a relationship with the incoming Trump administration. What does the Israeli-United States relationship look like under the Trump administration?
DERMER: Well, first of all, I don't think that this is a battle between Israel and the United States. We were very heartened that President-elect Trump was against this move at the U.N. Security Council, that he wants to work closely with Israel moving forward to strengthen this alliance. And we were also heartened by the fact that leading senators from both parties, Republicans and Democrats alike oppose this resolution. So, I don't think that this is an issue that we have with the United States of America.
Our most important ally in the world that we share values and interests and a common destiny. We're fighting the same enemies and we have the same goals. And I believe with a new administration, with bipartisan support in Congress, we will work to advance peace and security. I do not think there will be daylight between the U.S. and Israel and we look forward to having that conversation, and see what we can do to reverse this resolution (INAUDIBLE) and get about the business of actually advancing peace, which hasn't happened in the last eight years. Not because of Israel, because we haven't had a Palestinian leadership that wants to make peace and unfortunately a U.S. administration that has blamed the wrong party for the failure to advance peace.
SMITH: And I want to get to the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reaction to the speech. Because he really wrecked into it by saying, quote, "It was skewed against Israel." He said it obsessively dealt with settlements. Barely touched upon the root of the conflict which he described as Palestinian opposition to a Jewish State in any boundaries. And we actually had our brain room dig into the speech, Ambassador, finding that Iran was mentioned once. Hezbollah was mentioned once. Hamas was mentioned four times. Terrorism seven times. Occupations 13 times. Settlements 26 times to the point of your prime minister.
DERMER: Well, obviously that was just a continuation of the policy for many years in this obsessive focus on the settlements. I'll tell you the one thing that bothered me more than anything else in the speech. I heard the Secretary of State go after this coalition as being the most right wing coalition in Israel's history and this is the reason why we don't have peace. There's another coalition and it's a coalition of the Palestinian authority with Hamas which is a terror organization that is openly committed to Israel's distraction and whose charter calls for the murder of Jews worldwide.
You would think in a 72-minute speech, the Secretary of State might have mentioned that as being one of the reasons why we don't have peace, or the fact that you have a Palestinian authority that glorifies violence and terrorism. He touched on that with a couple of sentences in a 72-minute. But did raises children from a very young age to hate Israel, to hate Jews, glorifies mass murderers, names public squares after them. This is the reason why we don't have peace, the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to have a state in our ancestral homeland and the failure to educate the new generation for peace.
SMITH: I want to get to a couple of more reactions here because U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, a leading Democrat in this country has responded just recently, a few moments ago, putting out, "While Secretary Kerry mentioned Gaza in his speech, he seems to have forgotten the history of the settlements in Gaza where the Israeli government forced settlers to withdraw from all settlements and the Palestinians responded by sending rockets from Gaza into Israel. While he may not have intended it, I fear Secretary Kerry in his speech and action at the U.N. has emboldened extremists on both sides." Ambassador?
DERMER: Well, listen, the extremists on the Palestinian side are terrorists and they're in the government. When we have any acts of terror in Israel, all our political, religious leaders, national leaders, we condemn it. We turn those terrorists into pariahs. We don't name public squares after mass murderers. So, I won't try anymore -- but I want to thank Senator Schumer, I want to thank him for his strong stance in coming out against this and basically calling on President Obama to veto this resolution, and he's exactly right in terms of what happened in Gaza.
We did exactly what the world says that we should do now. We withdrew to the '67 borders, we didn't freeze settlements, we uprooted all of those settlements.
DERMER: And we were hoping to achieve peace, and instead we got thousands of rockets on our cities. Now, that is just not -- some chapter in a book that takes place in some foreign country. This is the reality that Israelis live day after day. We are responsible for the consequences of decisions that are made elsewhere. And that shouldn't be the case.
SMITH: And Ambassador --
DERMER: As a Prime Minister -- just one last word I can have.
SMITH: Go ahead.
DERMER: The Prime Minister said it today, and it's important. Because I think it's one thing that most infuriates the Israeli people. We are a sovereign nation, we have to make the tough choices that affect our own security and our own lives. We want peace more than anyone else in the world because it's our children who go into battle to defend our country, and we would like to see that day come where we can have peace with all our neighbors. So, it's not going to happen from a speech in Washington. It's not going to happen from a vote in New York.
It's not going to happen between a conference in Paris. Let the Israeli people decide their own future. We are a sovereign nation. We respect the Democratic will of the Israeli voters to make the choices necessarily for our future and our children's future. We're the ones who have the most skin in the game, we're the ones who most want peace.
SMITH: That being said. Ambassador, you as well as the Prime Minister have charged the Obama administration as being behind the push for this resolution. By the way, do you still support that idea?
SMITH: And right now a top Obama aide is suggesting that you're putting that out there, and that the Prime Minister is putting that out there as merely a distraction, that is the Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes is now saying, that if you have the evidence, which we are told you have ironclad evidence, why not turn it over right now, reveal this to your people, reveal this to the American people.
DERMER: Well, I'm not the master of fiction, Ben Rhodes is. I can tell you. We will present that evidence to the new administration through the appropriate channels, it's sensitive information, I think a new administration will take a look at it. And there's just no question about it. When a Prime Minister of Israel goes on international television and says he has clear evidence, believe me, he's got clear evidence, I have never even heard him make such a claim. I know 100 percent that the Prime Minister is right. We will give it to the new administration and they can decide whether or not they want a show it or choose to share it with the American people.
SMITH: Ambassador Dermer, thank you for coming on tonight.
DERMER: Thank you.
SMITH: Breaking tonight, we received word a short time ago that Oscar nominated actress Debbie Reynolds has died at the age of 84. Tragically her death comes just one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher passed away after suffering from heart failure at the age of 60. Reynolds was a legendary entertainer best known for her role in "Singing In The Rain" was rushed to the hospital earlier today after suffering a medical emergency. She's also known for the 1964's, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" for which she received an Oscar nomination. TMZ reporting Debbie Reynolds final words as I want to be with Carrie.
Coming up, more on what the final weeks of the Obama administration could have in store for Israel. With Prime Minister Netanyahu now slamming an apparent about face from the White House, as he accuses them of secretly engineering the terms of what's now being called an anti-Israel resolution.
Famed Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz says, Obama's actions are akin to stabbing Israel in the back. He joins after the break.
Plus, are the Obama administration's actions just pushing Israel closer to President-elect Trump? That debate ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP: I'm very, very strong with Israel. I think Israel has been treated very, very unfairly by a lot of different people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: Breaking tonight, new information coming to light on the Obama administration's alleged backing of last week's fuelling condemnation of Israeli settlements. Those reports now raising questions over a meeting Secretary Kerry had scheduled weeks ago with the Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat. Just moments ago, you heard Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer vowing to reveal their evidence to the incoming Trump administration calling the proof of Kerry's collusion ironclad, a point Prime Minister Netanyahu seconded today. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NETANYAHU: We have on absolute incontestable evidence that the United States organized, advanced and blocked this resolution to the United Nations Security Council. We'll share that information with the incoming administration. Some of it is sensitive, it's all true, you saw some of it in the protocol released in Egyptian paper, there's plenty more, it's the tip of the iceberg.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: With more on how this story continues to develop, we go to Trace Gallagher from our LA Newsroom. Hey, Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Sandra. The White House says it abstained from the U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements because it undermines the peace process, but the administration vehemently denies reports in both Egyptian and Israeli media claiming Secretary State John Kerry discussed the U.N. resolution during a meeting with top Palestinian officials, including the Palestinian Secretary General Saeb Erekat. A U.S. National Security Council spokesman called the report a fabrication, saying the meeting never occurred, though even the State Department website says that Kerry and Erekat were set to meet on December 12 which is around the time of the report.
And now that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has upped the ante saying, he has ironclad proof, the U.S. was behind the resolution. The White House appears to be adjusting its denial saying, it did not draft or introduce the resolution, but today Secretary Kerry appeared to indicate the U.S. was involved in negotiations about the resolutions. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY: We made clear to others including those on the security council that it was possible that if the resolution were to be balanced and if it were to include references to incitement and to terrorism, that it was possible the United States would then not block it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: After Kerry's speech, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas released a statement that reads in part, quoting, "The minute the Israeli government agrees to cease all settlement activities, the Palestinian leadership stands ready to resume permanent status negotiations." Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called Kerry speech unbalanced. And through all of this back and forth, President-elect Trump is gaining Israeli support. Today Trump tweeted, quote, "Stay strong, Israel, January 20th is fast approaching." In return, Netanyahu wrote, "President-elect Trump, thank you for your warm friendship and your clear-cut support for Israel." You'll recall throughout the GOP primary Donald Trump was heavily criticized by his opponents as being anti-Israel -- Sandra.
SMITH: All right. Trace, thank you.
Joining me now with more, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. Alan, good to see you. Thank you for being here.
PROF. ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Thank you.
SMITH: Well, can you tell us? I mean, do you believe that there was collusion here?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, I think it's obvious. First of all, if the United States did not have any role in helping this go through, it would show that we've advocated responsibility.
DERSHOWITZ: But of course they had a role and there will be Congressional hearings and Ben Rhodes will have to raise his hand and swear under oath and when he is cross-examined, he is going to acknowledge exactly what role he played, what role Vice President Biden played, what role the President of the United States played. This could not have happened without the complete support and encouragement of the United States and this sets back the peace process enormously.
Secretary Kerry who I know well and who means well has now discouraged the Palestinians from coming forward and negotiating. Because what basically he said to them is, it's not your fault, it's the Israelis' fault and now the Palestinians say they have a clever answer, oh, we'll sit down and negotiate, but only under the Security Council Resolution which means they start the negotiation with the western wall in their possession, the access road to Hebrew University and the Hadassah Hospital. It becomes an unfair bargaining position. And the end result is peace is going to be set back years as the result of this ill begotten resolution and this very bad speech today by Secretary Kerry.
SMITH: But Netanyahu seems to already have developed a relationship with the incoming President Donald Trump. Are you saying from your perspective that so much damaged has been done, there's not much that Donald Trump can do come January 20th because he is promising a lot.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, President Obama deliberately and undemocratically tied the hands of his successor by having a resolution of the Security Council that cannot now be undone because of the veto power. And it is so undemocratic for a lame duck president when Congress in not in session, to take out his anger and pick at another country by tying the hands of the incoming president. It's going to make peace much, much more difficult to achieve. And this speech today, the idea that Secretary Kerry would talk about Israel not wanting to make peace, not mentioning that if offered a two state solution, 1937, 1948, 1967, 2000, 2005, 2008, every time the Palestinians have rejected it. You wouldn't know that with John Kerry's re-writing of history. This speech should win an academy award for best fictional presentation.
SMITH: Wow! And you have already gone on the record calling it meaningless and a tragic missed opportunity.
DERSHOWITZ: It's much worse than that. It's dangerous. Because it tells the Palestinians, you don't have to negotiate, you don't have to make painful compromises, we'll give you a state in Paris, we'll give you a state at the U.N. You don't have to negotiate with the Israelis. Now, they've said, they will negotiate with the Israelis but the Israelis have offered them open ended negotiations for the last several years, they have never taken them up on that.
SMITH: With just a few weeks to go now with the Obama administration, rewind four years ago, you sat down and you said that President Obama invited you --
DERSHOWITZ: That is right.
SMITH: -- to meet with him, before Inauguration Day.
DERSHOWITZ: That's right.
SMITH: What was that meeting all about?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, he called me into the Oval Office for a half an hour and he sat down and he assured me that he would always have Israel's back, that he would never been -- and Israeli obviously wanted my support, wanted me to express my support to voters, which I did.
SMITH: But ultimately, what was his plan?
DERSHOWITZ: His plan was who knows whether he was deceiving me at the time or whether he changed his mind. I don't know what basis he would have for changing his mind. But I can tell you he deceived me.
SMITH: And what's the future of the United Nations -- the Ambassador has been calling it a cesspool of anti-Israel actions, what should happen there?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, first of all the United States should defund the United Nations. Any effort to try to implement this proposal -- and it works, let me tell you what the Saudis did a couple of years ago. The United Nations said they were going to put them on a blacklist about how they treat child soldiers and the Saudis went to Ban Ki-moon and said, unless you take us off the blacklist, we'll going to stop funding the U.N. And Ban Ki-moon said, all right, we'll take you off the blacklist.
So, the United States has to use its economic leverage now to turn the United Nations into a fair forum. Today, if Algeria introduced the resolution that the earth was flat and that Israel flattened it, it would win a 164 to 22 or 13. There are automatic votes against Israel on every issue. Israel is condemned more than all the other countries in the world combined. Syria is murdering people, the Russians are taking over the Ukraine and all U.N. cares about is condemning Israel for settlements.
And settlements are not the barrier to peace. You can build the continuous state as was done when Gaza left. But the issue is, will the Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and stop incentivizing people to engage in terrorism. Until that happens, there won't be a state.
SMITH: Alan Dershowitz, good to have you here. Thank you for being here.
DERSHOWITZ: Thank you so much.
SMITH: It's good to see you.
All right. Well, the latest controversy out of the Obama White House has policy experts touting a new found closeness between President-elect Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu. Mr. Trump tweeting earlier today, quote, "We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, now this, U.N. Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching."
Here to debate whether a Trump presidency will produce a thaw in the newly chilled relations. Senior adviser to the presidential transition team, Katrina Pierson is here. Good to see you. And national security and foreign policy analyst Arash Aramesh. Good to have both of you.
KATRINA PIERSON, SENIOR ADVISER, PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION TEAM: Thank you, Sandra.
SMITH: Arash, it does appear that things continue, the relationship here, it has worsened. And Donald Trump is making big promises, come January 20 when he gets there, but as you just heard Allan Dershowitz say, a lot of damage has already been done.
ARASH ARAMESH, NATIONAL SECURITY AND FOREIGN POLICY ANALYST: America has no better friend in the region and in the world than the great state of Israel. And Israel has no better friend in the world than the United States of America. The American people and the Israeli share many, many, many mutual interests and mutual values and Israel is the only true democracy in the Mid-East. But Sandra, I take very little comfort in the words of President-elect Donald Trump when he tries to sound quote Israelis while he has outright borderline anti-Semitic crowds surrounding him in the White House.
Let me give you just one example. Mr. Alan Dershowitz was just on right before the election, and I have a lot of respect for Professor Dershowitz. He said that the reason that he would not want to see Trump won the election is because a Trump victory would hand victory to the alt-right movement. Steve Bannon, senior advisor to President Trump, at the White House, quote, "Took his kids out of school because there were too many Jews in school." And then he apologized.
SMITH: All right. Katrina, I want to get you in here.
ARAMESH: I take very little comfort in that.
PIERSON: I'm sorry, Sandra, really? We're talking about Steve Bannon now.
ARAMESH: Yes. Really.
PIERSON: When we have a serious conflict in the Middle East. Look, it's pretty obvious by now that President-elect Trump supports Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East. And, you know, Professor Dershowitz just said he felt Obama was probably misleading him on this very topic. When the Obama administration has issued a one-two punch and betrayal from the Iran deal which is funding terrorism right now, to this resolution, it's unconscionable to see this outgoing administration take these kinds of actions, or inactions for that matter in abstaining from vetoing this ridiculous resolution, this is an insult to Americans.
SMITH: But Katrina, let me press you on something here because he was challenged, Donald Trump was challenged on the campaign trail, I take you back to February 2016. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz hit him on this hard. He was asked to pick sides in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian, he said, quote, "Let me be sort of a neutral guy, I have friends of mine that are tremendous business people that are really good negotiators and they say it's not doable." That stuck with him for a while.
PIERSON: Well as a businessman, the art of the deal, he does want to be in a position to help facilitate these things, but what we see now is this administration -- the outgoing administration has moved the United States from being that facilitator to actually being an arbitrator for the Palestinians. That is not where we should be right now. The fact that this is occurring less than a month before this transition of power is occurring, that is exactly why you see these exchanges on twitter between President-elect Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu. I think it's quite clear where the President-elect stands.
SMITH: All right last word with you.
ARAMESH: I can sit here and listen to Allan Dershowitz with whom I disagree, but I take no lectures from Katrina Pierson. Katrina you should not speak about foreign policy.
PIERSON: Now it's about me? Can you stick to the topic? We are talking about the Palestinians and Israel. This is about Israel.
ARAMESH: I will volunteer for Trump if you name five Israeli Prime Ministers.
PIERSON: You're off the topic.
ARAMESH: You don't know what you're talking about. You name five Israeli Prime Ministers and I will volunteer for Trump.
SMITH: I got to let both of you go, thanks for being here tonight.
Still ahead, I couldn't hear you guys, a Muslim, a woman and an immigrant publicly explains why she voted for Donald Trump and now she says she is coming under verbal assault from a former colleague and Georgetown University professor because of it. Asra Nomani is here to share her story.
Plus the Obama administration is preparing to announce retaliation against Russia over cyber interference in U.S. Elections, but is this move just to intend to box President-Elect Trump in?
SMITH: Breaking tonight, Fox News now confirming reports that the Obama administration is goings to formally retaliate against Russia for cyber interfering in the U.S. election at some point tomorrow, critics raising concerns about the timing and purpose of Mr. Obama's actions, wondering if he is attempting to box in President-Elect Trump. White House Correspondent Kevin Corke reports from Hawaii, Kevin?
KEVIN CORKE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sandra, good evening, in simple terms, it's a parting shot at Putin. The source of Fox News the latest round of sanctions against the Russians could come as soon as Thursday. As you all have heard on a number of occasions, President Obama pace the blame for the so-called cyber hacking and meddling during the run up to the U.S. election squarely on the shoulders of Russian president Vladimir Putin. As you hear in press conference Mr. Obama called on law makers from both sides of the political spectrum to take up the fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: That should be a bipartisan issue. That shouldn't be a partisan issue. And my hope is that the President-Elect is going to similarly be concerned with making sure that we don't have potential foreign influence in our election process. I don't think any American wants that. And that shouldn't be a source of an argument.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORKE: While there's little argument on Capitol Hill about whether or not the Russians should face some sort of consequence for interference during the run up to the election, there is however, Sandra strong disagreement over whether or not this administration should be the one to mete out justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: The bottom line is you need to hit Russia in a sustained fashion, so if Obama tries to do something going out the door that is not sustained, then you send the wrong signal. Here's what I would prefer, let the new congress and the new president deal with Russia, past new sanctions, much tougher than the ones we already have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORKE: Experts add, Sandra that by slapping Moscow with sanctions on its way out the door, what President Obama has really done is paint President- Elect Donald Trump into a little bit of a corner, forcing him to either uphold the new penalties or be seen as a Putin puppet for backing away from them, a so called political poison pill is how one expert describe it. Another said it's sort of like Sherman burning down Atlanta on his way out of town. By any description, it should be a very tough start for Mr. Trump, thanks in part by what's left behind by Mr. Obama, Sandra.
SMITH: All right Kevin, thank you.
Joining us now, Representative Sean Duffy who was one of the first members of congress to support Donald Trump and Matt Bennett is the co-founder of Third way and former deputy assistant to President Clinton. Now I will start with you first, do you agree with President Obama's decision here to retaliate against Russia?
MATT BENNETT, THIRD WAY: I absolutely do agree with it. As he points out, you simply cannot stand by while a hostile foreign power tries to meddle in our election, we have got to retaliate, because the only thing that Vladimir Putin and strong men like him, understand his force. And we have plenty of force to use, when it comes to cyber warfare and I think, if they're going to use it against us, we need to retaliate, he is right to do it.
SMITH: Do you think we should respond, congressman?
REP. SEAN DUFFY, R-WIS.: Well, first off, I think we should respond, it does happen to (inaudible) and Republicans think if it's foul play we should engage with Russia, this is not about putting Barack Obama in a box or actually responding to Russia. Barack Obama has been weak with Russia. Look at the Russian reset, Crimea, Syria, Ukraine this is about Barack Obama trying to find a scapegoat for his election losses. He is blamed Fox News, now he wants to blame Russia and so eight years, he is been weak on Russia so the last 24 days of his presidency, he is now going to get a backbone and try to push back with sanctions that he can't even implement, he is going to be out of office, this is foolish, it doesn't make any sense. Let the congress come in, let Donald Trump come in and let's put together and deal with Russia as a new government.
SMITH: What do you think about that? Matt, I mean, why do this now? Why not wait for the incoming administration to deal with this, we still don't know what the actual details are against, something's supposed to come out tomorrow, we don't even know in what capacity or format, but until we see those details, you do wonder about the timing of this, there's only three weeks of to this administration.
BENNETT: I don't wonder, there's three weeks left of this administration, I think it's taken too long as it is. I mean we had several weeks ago. All seventeen American Intelligence Agency come out together and say it was clearly the Russian's that were involved in hacking our election and try to impact the outcome of our election. So, this is clearly the correct move for the president to take. And he is still president. We have one at a time in this country. If you listen to the President-Elect comments today, they were totally incoherent, he said, I don't know, there's computers and he issued a statement that made no sense at all. I have no faith that Donald Trump will do anything and I think it's appropriate for the president to take action while he is still in office.
SMITH: And is it fair to say congressman that we do need to look at this, we need to find out and learn from it so that this doesn't become a habitual problem and it doesn't happen again in the near future.
DUFFY: Absolutely and that is why Republicans myself included have stepped forward and said we have to engage in an investigation and hold Russia accountable. I think the misconception here though is, from the left wing media and from Barack Obama is to say that this involvement from Russia s whether it was with the DNC or Podesta's emails had any real impact on the election results last November.
You saw the American people come out and vote on jobs, economy, the southern border, and foreign policy. That is what drove them to the ballot box to make America great again. This was not anything that came out from the silly and foolish e-mails from the DNC, we didn't really care that the DNC was supporting Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders or that there is internal turmoil in the Clinton campaign that we saw from the Podesta emails. So we're going to drive a story that makes the American voter think that Russia actually influenced our election is, I think is a misdirection. And again let get all the facts, let the new congress actually come up with sanctions that are appropriate for the actions that Russia took. I think what Obama's doing here the last three weeks, as you mentioned, to impose sanctions is that he actually can enforce because he is going to be out of office, it's foolish. And again, he is been a weak president on Russia and now to get a backbone and be strong in the last 21 days, it doesn't make any sense.
SMITH: It make you look at the transition process as a whole and President Obama sat there with Donald Trump that day after the election and said he promised a smooth transition, it's hard to look at the timing of this and say that that is falling into the category of smooth. We have to leave it there. Thanks for joining us tonight, congressman.
DUFFY: Thanks Sandra.
BENNETT: Thank you.
SMITH: Timing is everything. Live TV. Coming up, inviting more heat from the Scientology community after the latest episode of her Docuseries turns it focus to the FBI and report of force abortion, those details ahead.
Plus, after Muslim American Asra Nomani opinioned a piece in "The Washington Post" about her support for Donald Trump, she claims she was the subject of unrelenting abuse from a former colleague. Asra joins us next.
SMITH: Developing tonight, a political feud between once cordial former colleagues is now playing out in a bitter public showdown. Last month, Asra Nomani publicly proclaimed to support for Donald Trump in a Washington Post op-ed, titled I'm a Muslim, a woman and an immigrant, I voted for Trump. Since then Nomani says she is been verbally harassed by Georgetown University Associate Professor C. Christine Fair who's expressed outrage and disgrace through a series of private twitter exchanges. Saying things like, quote, I have written you off as a human being, your vote helped normalize Nazis in D.C. What you don't understands you (inaudible). Another read quote, you're a fame mongering clown show, you voted for a hateful bigot. You now want stability and respect, you are responsible for that. The Kelly File offered Christine Fair an opportunity to appear on this program to respond, but she politely declined deciding threats from some of Mr. Trump supporters and concerns for her safety. Sarah disputes Nomani claims saying in part, quote, I made it clear that I did not want to engage her. I have a right to disagree with a public figure. Who has defended as bravery what others like myself find indefensible. Joining me now Asra Nomani, author of Standing Alone, in an American Women struggles for the soul of Islam. Asra thanks for being here tonight.
ASRA NOMANI, AUTHOR: Thank you.
SMITH: Do you mind telling us a little bit about what happened here, this is somebody you used to know, you used to work with. You put out this piece, speaking publicly, showing your public support for Donald Trump, and then she did what?
NOMANI: Well, you know, this feud as you call it, you know, is something that I think is playing out in so many homes and so many families. So I chose to speak out, because what happened is that Christine Fair wrote to me on Facebook, that wonderful medium and said we're done, after I had published my piece. I said ok, that is fine. You know, I have lost a friend, but that is how it goes. But subsequently, she continued to start this barrage of messages on Twitter, not private messages, but public messages, calling me all sorts of name. And I know as a parent, as an educator, that there are principles that we need to live by, one of them is service to humanity and the other is humility. In our country today, we are so divided on so many funds and what we need to do is to appeal to each other with decency, when I tried to do that, she told me to f-off. And I think what we need to do is ultimately look into each other's heart and try to understand each other and speak to each other with civility.
SMITH: As we told you we invited her on the program tonight to get her side of the story as well. She was originally going to come on, but she said she is now facing threats from Trump supporters, because of what she has done here and because of what you have said that she has done. She did kind of give us an idea of where she would have gone. And she said this has been a mob of unending crazed violent notary based on upon an inaccurate telling of events. Is it possible that you see this as two completely different ways and it's being interpreted differently by both of you?
NOMANI: Well I think, you know, this is the dynamics of bullying. A bully will always try to turn the facts so that they become the victim. And unfortunately that is what we have going on here. I appealed to Georgetown University to intervene, because this is not just a private citizen, this is an educator, and this is a place that I care about as an institution. This is a principle that we have to stand up for in all of our families, in our communities and our workplaces that bullies cannot demean others.
SMITH: Do you think she should be fired?
NOMANI: I would never go that far with anybody, because I ultimately have hope for salvation and I ultimately have forgiveness in my heart and compassion. I know that the anger that many people feel over the election of Donald Trump comes from a place of pain. And I know that what we have to do as a country is find healing, but there's no excuse for demeaning others and that is what I wanted to stand up for. What I hope is that we can all be safe.
SMITH: I want to know what your life has been like. This is obviously part of it, the story you're telling us tonight, since you openly showed your support for Trump, as a woman, as a Muslim.
NOMANI: Well Sandra, you know, I'm speaking to you. My breath sometimes stops at my task, because this is not a difficult conversation to be had. I have had many people who have told me that I'm a traitor to my Muslim community to America. As a young girl, I came to this country at 4 not knowing any English. I have never felt unwelcome in this country. But after this election, my fellow liberal's, unfortunately have turned me into an enemy as if I had horns on my head.
And that is not a comfortable feeling. But ultimately I do believe that we all have our civic duty to vote as we wish. And whatever struggle there is, I know that it makes my soul stronger and that is what I hope for everybody that withstands this kind of assault with grace, because that is what we must ultimately do.
SMITH: All right, clearly it's been a struggle for you to tell your story, thank you for coming on tonight and telling it our audience.
NOMANI: Thank you so much and I wish well to everyone.
SMITH: All right, well coming up, actress Leah Remini and outspoken, critic of the church of Scientology, turned her focus to the FBI in the latest explosive episode of her Docuseries "Scientology and the after math." We have a report on this, next.
SMITH: Breaking tonight. Earlier in the show we told you about the loss of a Hollywood icon. Legendary actress and singer Debbie Reynolds has died at the age of 84. Reynolds is known for the 1952 classic singing in the rain and an Oscar nominated best actress performance in 1964 is the Unthinkable Molly Brown. She was rushed to the hospital this afternoon after suffering a medical emergency. And passed hours later, tragically her death comes just one day after the loss of her daughter, Carrie Fisher. The actress, author, and mental health advocate suffered from heart failure on-board a flight and died yesterday at the age of 60.
Developing tonight, actress Leah Remini broke with the church of Scientology in 2013 and has become an outspoken critic of the organization. Now she is making waves with her A&E Docuseries, Leah Remini, Scientology and the aftermath. As the latest episodes turns the focus to the FBI, allege forced abortions and the potential for a lawsuit. But she says she welcomed. Trace Gallagher reports from our West Coast Newsroom, hey Trace.
GALLAGHER: Hey Sandra, yes, the Docuseries, Scientology and the aftermath Leah Remini is taking on the FBI asking why they haven't done anything to investigate the allegations of abuse by leaders of the church of Scientology. To make her point, Remini recounts a story of Mark and Clara Hedley. Former high rankings members of C organization, C.org is a religious order for the most dedicated scientologist. After 30 years in the church. The Hedley's claimed they escaped in 2005, because of repeated physical and mental abuse. Including coerced abortions, watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If a woman got pregnant, she would instantly be scheduled to go to get an abortion. If she refused in any manner, she would be segregated, not allowed to speak with her husband, put under security watch, put on heavy manual labor, and interrogated for her crimes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: The couple claims they re-laid their allegations to the FBI, even filed lawsuits against the church but because of religious freedom and because they chose to practice Scientology, there's little the law can do. We have called the FBI for comment and have not yet gotten a response. But the church of Scientology has certainly responded saying the Hedley's are liars and quote part of a small group of obsessed individuals who make a living attacking their former religion. The church says the lawsuits were tossed out because they're bogus and the judge even ordered the couple to pay court costs. Leah Remini's eight-part docuseries airs Tuesday on A&E, Sandra.
SMITH: A lot of people watching it, Trace, thank you. All right, we'll be right back.
SMITH: It appears from the tweets we're getting is that Megyn's new book "Settle for More" was on the Christmas list as rave reviews are pouring in online. So if you're looking to spread the inspired heading into 2017 which many of us are, take a look at some what the folks are saying.
Stormy writes on Twitter, quote, "Is reading more one of your new year's resolutions? Check out Megyn Kelly's new book called 'Settle for More.' It is the number one best seller."
Scott says, "Megyn Kelly, I just read your book, first time I've read a book in year, it made me cry, laugh, and I'm going to bed inspired. Thank you."
And this from Messy Season blogger, "Megyn Kelly, just finished your book. It was a perfect encouragement to kick more booty, for lack of a better word, in 2017."
So don't miss out. Be sure to pick of your copy, "Settle for More" today. Go to Facebook.com/thekellyfile. Tell us what you thought of the show @sandrasmithfox you can tweet me, thanks for watching tonight, I'm Sandra Smith and this is "The Kelly File."
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