Ingraham, Sekulow on Democrats' outrage against Sessions; George W. Bush and veteran discuss helping heroes find work

Reaction on 'Hannity' after attorney general recuses himself from campaign investigation


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 2, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to "Hannity."  And tonight, Laura Ingraham, Jay Sekulow, Newt Gingrich will join us in just a few minutes.

But first, the alt left propaganda media and the Democratic Party -- they're going all in on their massive Russian conspiracy theory and are once again launching a massive smear campaign to try and damage a key Trump
administration official.  And that is tonight's "Opening Monologue."

Now a response to a political hit piece from The Washington Post and the onslaught of attacks that followed from Democrats, well, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is now recusing himself from all Russia election investigations. Let's take a look.


JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Let me be clear. I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign.  And the idea that I was part of a, quote, "continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government" is totally false.

SESSIONS: I asked for their candid and honest opinion about what I should do about investigations, certain investigations. And my staff recommended recusal.  They said that since I had involvement with the campaign, I should not be involved in any campaign investigations. I have studied the rules and considered their comments and evaluations. I believe those recommendations are right and just.

Therefore, I have recused myself in the matters that deal with the Trump campaign.


HANNITY: Now, Attorney General Sessions said the decision was reached over a matter of weeks and not a reaction to a Washington Post story that was published late last night with the headline, "Sessions met with Russian envoy twice last year, encounters he (ph) did not disclose."

Now, The Washington Post is claiming that last year, while serving as a U.S. senator, that Jeff Sessions met with the Russian ambassador twice and then lied to Congress about this during his confirmation hearings.

Now, in his capacity as a senator, Jeff Sessions was a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. So it was not out of the ordinary that he talked to foreign ambassadors because, as a matter of fact, he spoke to dozens and dozens of them last year alone. He was doing his job.

And that's not at all. Then there's this ridiculous notion that the alt-radical left is pushing that Attorney General Sessions committed perjury, he lied under oath during his confirmation hearing.

Now, watch and listen very closely to this exchange that they're referring to between liberal Democratic Senator Al "Frankenstein" and then-Senator Sessions.


SEN. AL FRANKEN, D-MINN.: CNN has just published a story -- and I'm telling you this about a new story that's just been published, so I'm not expecting you to know whether or not it's true or not.

But CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week that included information that, quote, "Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump." These documents also allegedly stated, quote, "There was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government."

Now, again, I'm telling you this as it's coming out, so -- you know. But if it's true, it's obviously extremely serious. And if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will do you?

SESSIONS: Senator Franken, I'm not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I did not have communications with the Russians. And I'm unable to comment on it.


HANNITY: He was responding to that question, that, quote, "breaking news," which, by the way, turned out to not be true.

Now, that's what the Democrats are hyperventilating about, losing their minds over? Yes, Jeff Sessions as a senator met with the Russian ambassador, but he did so in that capacity, not on behalf of the Trump campaign, which is why when he was asked specifically about the election, he said, "No, that wasn't me.  The charge, that wasn't me."

And by the way, where was the hysteria from Democrats back during the campaign -- remember Bill Clinton met with the former attorney general, Loretta Lynch, in a plane on a tarmac for over 30 minutes while Hillary Clinton was under investigation by the FBI, by the Justice Department?  Lynch never recused herself.

But unlike Loretta Lynch, Jeff Sessions, well, clearly wanted to reassure you, the American people, that all Russia investigations will be free of any political interference.

And now the latest thing is, well, Jared Kushner and Lieutenant General Mike Flynn, they met with the Russian ambassador in December after the president won.

So this whole smear campaign is really just part of the Democrats' larger fake news conspiracy theory that Russian hacking -- hacking's all the reason why Hillary Clinton lost the election, and that somehow, members of the Trump campaign secretly coordinated the whole thing.

Now, they've been pushing this ever since Donald Trump won the presidency. But back in January, James Clapper, President Obama's own director of national intelligence, said Russian interference did not impact vote tallies, period. And earlier today, the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said there's zero evidence the Trump campaign ever coordinated with Russia.


REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The House Intelligence Committee just finished coming up with its oversight plan to continue investigations. We will always make sure that we are making -- that we are protecting our sources and methods and getting to the bottom of any of these things. But we have seen no evidence, been presented with no evidence that anybody on the Trump campaign or an American was involved in colluding with the Russians.


HANNITY: Ah. Need more proof? The House Intelligence Committee -- that's chairman is Devin Nunes -- he said the same thing, and he said it earlier today, and also added this.


REP. DEVIN NUNES, R-CALIF.: We've got to be very careful here. It's a slippery slope. All the countries in the world, basically, have embassies here. A lot of these countries are adversaries, but we all meet with those. Many senators and congressmen meet with those ambassadors on a regular basis.


HANNITY: Look, if there's anything that shows that Russia and the people from the Trump campaign somehow conspired and impacted votes in the election, then we'll be all over that story -- kind of like what Obama did to try to defeat Benjamin Netanyahu -- and we'll give you the details. But the alt-left propaganda media and the Democrats for months have been going ballistic over the Russian election influence, without any evidence. They never told you the truth, by the way, about President Obama and his own foreign election interference.

Now, when I talk about Israel, a congressional investigation found back in 2014, an Israeli political group used $300,000 of Obama State Department grant money -- your tax dollars -- to create a political apparatus to defeat the Israeli prime minister. Where was the outrage about influencing elections then? Where was the wall-to-wall news coverage? Where was the hyperventilating and mass hysteria?

Well, they didn't care because it was their guy, their ideological soulmate, that was doing it from the White House.

Here with reaction, the editor-in-chief of Lifezette, Fox News contributor, nationally syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham and form the American Center for Law and Justice Jay Sekulow.

Laura, I -- I -- there's never been a shred of evidence. He's clearly responding to Al Frankenstein saying that there was also a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries from the Russian government. He said, That wasn't me. He answered truthfully, a specific question!


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: First of all, you call him Frankenstein, I call him Franken-fraud, so...


HANNITY: ... close.

INGRAHAM: ... competing monikers there, Sean!


INGRAHAM: It's so obvious when you listen to them question, the rambling question in its entirely. I think when you hear it, it's obvious that Sessions is actually going a step farther than even the question posed.

The question was about, you know, this idea of (INAUDIBLE) having personal information to blackmail the Trump administration, and he -- and he actually offers more of an answer then was even requested by Franken.

So if he was trying to hide some nefarious contacts, which by the way, included a meeting at a Heritage Foundation, you know, some type of -- you know, event reception at the RNC where 25 other ambassadors were -- I'm sure they (INAUDIBLE) maybe they shared a quiche at the buffet table or something.


INGRAHAM: It's just ridiculous!

HANNITY: It gets funnier!

INGRAHAM: What you're witnessing, Sean, are the feigned, you know -- you know, the paroxysms of feigned fury from the Democrats. They don't -- they don't think Jeff Sessions was colluding with the Russians on the campaign!  They don't -- they don't believe that. This is their only way to exert what they think is relevance and perhaps power.

They want to delegitimize Trump. This is right out of the Alinsky playbook. They have nothing else going on. They have no policy ideas.  They have no substantive solutions for America. All they have is a bunch of dirt to throw, and it's childish.

I don't think it's going to work, either, in the midterm elections. That's what you go to the voters with, that Jeff Sessions is colluding with the Russians?

HANNITY: Good luck with that.

INGRAHAM: This economy...


INGRAHAM: I don't think it's going to help.

HANNITY: It gets even a little more humorous -- and I'll throw this to Jay -- because not only is it selective moral outrage, as Laura is pointing out here, but this is a debunked fake CNN news story that also included hookers in Donald Trump's room at the Ritz-Carlton, I believe in Moscow, apparently urinating on his bed. That was debunked, was it not? Sorry, Laura.


JAY SEKULOW, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE: Well, look, I mean, the reality is that these stories and this whole narrative that's been created is a false narrative.

HANNITY: But isn't that what...


HANNITY: -that news report was referring to?

SEKULOW: ... is being perpetrated...

HANNITY: The hookers.

SEKULOW: Look, I mean, yes. But here's the problem, Sean. None of this is fact. And none of this is true. And what Jeff Sessions went through today, quite frankly, should make all of us outraged. Here's a guy that answered the question he was asked, which, as a lawyer, what I always tell my client to do. Answer the question asked. Don't speculate. Don't go into hypotheticals. Answer the question asked.

And instead, what happens? He answers the question that was asked, and they create this outrage, where Chuck Schumer's, you know, just outraged and Nancy Pelosi is calling for him to resign his office.

The fact is -- and this is what's really happening here. You've got a shadow government that is leaking this information, people that were in step with the previous administration. They are leaking this information, and that is what people should be investigating. Why is information like this being leaked? That's what we really need to know, not whether Jeff Sessions met with an ambassador when he was a United States senator! Guess what? Senators meet with ambassadors. I suspect that would include Senator Franken.

HANNITY: Yes. You know, when you really look at this, Laura, I think -- I think Jay's hit on the real issue here. And that is there are some 500 confirmations that they need to go through for the -- Donald Trump's government to be in place, and only today did we get Dr. Ben Carson and Governor Rick Perry in their positions.

So you have a lot of holdovers now from the Obama administration...


HANNITY: ... that are sabotaging this administration. And then you got career bureaucrats that clearly don't support President Trump. What do they need to do to get rid of these people?

INGRAHAM: Well, I think this is where Mitch McConnell has got to really start playing hardball in this confirmation process. For instance, the U.S. trade representative, Bob Leitheiser (ph), is being held up on spurious grounds. The guy's devoted 25 years of his life to standing up for these trade issues and doing a fabulous job of it. He's one of the most talented people out there. Why don't we have a U.S. trade rep?

And by the way, on the holdovers, right now -- and people have to realize the deputy attorney general, the acting deputy attorney general was an Obama appointee federal judge. And I'm not trying to cast aspersions at al, but people have to understand that that acting deputy attorney general could at some point in the future appoint a special prosecutor. Now, wouldn't that be rich to have a...


INGRAHAM: ... to have an Obama appointee making a decision about a special prosecutor, special investigation?

HANNITY: Last word, Jay.

SEKULOW: Well, I think that the -- here's what we have. Jeff Sessions did the thing he did not have to do. He recused himself voluntarily, something his predecessor refused to do. So he took the highest of high ground. He needs to now be the attorney general that he is and put this nonsense away.

I suspect the political reality is going to be different, though, Sean, and we need to be prepared. The fact that you have those inside government, deeply entrenched inside this government, that are going to do everything they can to stop any progress going forward because they disagree with it.  It's not their role. They are the ones creating the constitutional crisis, not Jeff Sessions!

HANNITY: All right, guys, thank you both. Appreciate it.

And coming up, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will join us to weigh in on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his recusal and his presser.

And then later tonight, former Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee is here, along with Fox Business host Lou Dobbs to talk about the big impact that Donald Trump has had on the economy.

That and more on this busy "Hannity" tonight.


HANNITY: As we continue tonight on "Hannity," joining us now with more reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions's recusal and his presser from earlier today, the author of The New York Times best-seller "Treason," former speaker of the House, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich.

You know, I keep going back to the statement. He's answering Al Frankenstein's question. You know, I mean, it's -- it couldn't be any more clear what he's saying here, and you see the hysteria, the breathlessness.  And I want your reaction. What do you think is going on here? Because it's deeper. Any person with common sense could see that what this is. Go ahead.

NEWT GINGRICH, R-FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: No, no, no, no, no. First of all, Donald Trump yesterday had a great day in the media.  His speech was a home run. Everything was going well. And surprise, surprise, The Washington Post and The New York Times coming up with another fake news story that has no meaning. And they are shocked to discover, for example, that the Russian ambassador was one of 30 people -- to their credit, even The Post downplayed this and recognized that it was so stupid, it was embarrassing. There were apparently, like, 30 ambassadors who come up to congratulate Sessions at the Republican national convention, at a Heritage Foundation reception. They were all just standing around, talking. And this is supposed to be the big meeting?

The other thing was, he was very clear. Franken asked him about campaign activities. He said, I never discussed them with the Russians. It turned out the Russian ambassador came by to the U.S. Senate office in his role as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and is one of, I think, 46 ambassadors that he's met with.

But here's what I'm intrigued with, Sean. I watched the press conference.  He said, I asked my team to advise me. They told me I should recuse myself. I am following their advice. I'm going to make sure this is all clear. It was pointed out to him that the president had said maybe he shouldn't, and he proved his independence. He did what he thought was right, not what he thought the White House wanted.

Now, I want to see how The New York Times and The Washington Post spin this. I mean, here's a guy who's done exactly what they said he should do and he's done it for the right reasons. He's done it in a way that proves he's independent. And it'd be kind of tomorrow, In my fantasy life, to imagine an editorial in The Post, and editorial in The Times congratulating the attorney general for doing the right thing.

HANNITY: But they're the modern-day...

GINGRICH: No, I realize it may not happen...

HANNITY: They're the modern-day Pravda. I mean, let's be honest here.  They're not real news anymore, they're advocacy news.

Here's -- all of this is predicated on this Clinton conspiracy (INAUDIBLE) conspiracy that, in fact, the leaked e-mails of John Podesta and Hillary Clinton's emails all were -- there was a collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

Now, last week, as we pointed out, Devin Nunes said, No, there's no evidence whatsoever. How do they keep pushing something that we don't have any evidence for?

GINGRICH: Well, but see, the great virtue of fake news is it's fake. You keep trying to apply a standard as though these were real newspapers or as though NBC and CBS were real news agencies. They're not! This is all fake. And we're going to get it for eight years under Trump, and if he's succeeded by a Republican who's in the Trump tradition, we're going to get it more. They just make it up!


GINGRICH: They don't -- they don't have to have any kind of...

HANNITY: Well, let's go back...

GINGRICH: I want to go back to what I said. I want to put you on the spot.

HANNITY: All right. Put me on the spot.

GINGRICH: I'm going to -- I'm going to volunteer to come on the show tomorrow, your radio show...


GINGRICH: ... and let's discuss the editorials in The New York Times and the Washington Post...


GINGRICH: ... and let's see if they have the guts to say Jeff Sessions did the right thing.

HANNITY: They really wanted him to resign. I think it's a larger conspiracy here. And as much as -- they want as much collateral damage -- that's why they go after Reince and Kellyanne, Jared, Ivanka, Melania, even their 10-year-old son, the president's 10-year-old son.


HANNITY: And then General Flynn. In the case of General Flynn, though, just two weeks before the president leaves office, he allows intelligence conversations -- remember, when Americans are identified in a conversation that is being recorded of a foreign entity, they're supposed to minimize what they're recording in terms of the American speaking. But that information gets leaked.

But just before he left office, President Obama allowed the information to be shared with 16 other intelligence agencies. Do you suspect, as I do, that he did it for the very purpose that information would be leaked and leaked and leaked to damage...

GINGRICH: Of course.

HANNITY: No doubt?

GINGRICH: Of course!

HANNITY: I agree.

GINGRICH: Look -- look, we're not -- everybody who cares about this has to understand we're not playing in a game that's fair. This is a cultural civil war. There are no holds barred. The other side is losing, and they understand that if they continue losing that their entire power structure, their entire value system is going to end up being crushed. And so every day that Donald J. Trump does something terrific, they get madder and they get more frightened and they become weirder. This is going to go on.

Also remember, in the Federal Election Commission reports, 95 percent of all the bureaucracy donations in Washington went to Hillary. 97 percent of the donations at Justice went to Hillary, and 99 percent of donations of the State Department went to Hillary.

Now, what do you think the probable bias is of an organization in which more than 9 (INAUDIBLE) 10 people who are giving money gave it to the other team?

HANNITY: I think that question answers itself.

All right, we'll continue. More with Newt Gingrich right after this break.

And coming up next tonight...


TRUMP: Tonight, I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace ObamaCare.



HANNITY: President Trump says ObamaCare's days are now numbered. So will Republican lawmakers help repeal and replace it? Is there a problem?  And by the way, in this show, we are holding Washington and Republicans accountable.

Plus, the economy is already seeing significant gains thanks to the new administration. Austan Goolsbee, Lou Dobbs are here tonight with reaction as we continue. Stay with us.



TRUMP: Tonight, I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Action is not a choice, it is a necessity. So I am calling on all Democrats and Republicans in Congress to work with us to save Americans from this imploding "Obamacare" disaster.


HANNITY: All right, during his joint address to Congress earlier this week, President Trump promised to repeal, replace ObamaCare. Today, Speaker Paul Ryan promised it will happen. Watch this.


RYAN: We told America here's our vision for how we replace ObamaCare after we repeal ObamaCare. That is the bill we are working on right now, and I am perfectly confident then when it is all said and done, we're going to unify because we all, every Republican ran on repealing and replacing, and we are going to keep our promises.


HANNITY: On this program we have promised you that we will hold Washington and the Republicans accountable to their promises. And tonight that is exactly what we are going to do.

And we continue with former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. So Senator Rand Paul today says that the bill that the speaker is talking about is locked up. Nobody has an opportunity to read it. I talked to him earlier today and he said it is locked up because there are things in there like the Cadillac tax that is being renamed, and a mandate that remains, and that he and other conservatives and the House, the freedom caucus in the House, are against. What is your reaction?

GINGRICH: I don't think we will know until we see it. But the legislative process takes a long time. Even if you're fast it takes a pretty long time. So they may have staff working on the bill right now. It may be in seclusion in effect for right now.  But it's going to become public. And the minute it becomes public, it's going to be on the internet and you are going to have thousands of experts and lobbyists and others analyzing it within minutes.

If they are really dumb things in the bill, they will be obvious in the first 24 hours. Then they will have to go through an amending process. I have great respect for Speaker Ryan. He and I have both held that job, and it's a tough job. But in the end, he serves his conference, and I think if there are some things in there that are unacceptable, my guess is they will be taking out.

HANNITY: It seems like there is a communication, when I talk to the Freedom Caucus members or Senator Paul, they are assuming that these things are in there or they believed that they are in there, and nobody is talking to each other. Why not let us see the bill now? Why if it's being scored?

GINGRICH: I think frankly the bill is probably not complete. I think they're looking at it, fixing it, looking at things to that don't fit, don't quite work. But the fact is sooner or later it's going to go to I think primarily the Ways and Means Committee in the House but also potentially to Energy and Commerce depending on how they have shaped the bill. Ultimately it's going to go to the Senate. None of this stuff is going to happen overnight. And I certainly don't believe that the Republican leadership is going to do what Nancy Pelosi tried to do and Harry Reid tried to do with ObamaCare. It would be a disaster to try to ram through something without having it out in the open, without making it amendable, without any chance to talk it through.

Nobody is smart enough to fix 20 percent of the American economy, a matter of life and death for every American, in secret. So sooner or later it's going to become public. But I also think what Speaker Paul Ryan said is absolutely true. Tom Price, the new secretary of Health and Human Services, a medical doctor, spent years as a member of Congress working on this variation as chairman of the budget committee. Well, so they have got a guy in Health and Human Services who understands how to work with House Republicans. He is very acceptable to the Senate Republicans. They're going to have to talk all the stuff through.

And, frankly, there will be a lot of tension. I have no doubt that there will be amendments offered and that some of those amendments will pass.  But that is the legislative process. That is how America is supposed to operate.

HANNITY: You make me feel better when you say -- you said the other night, you put it in a box. What do you need to get the bill passed, what do you need? I understand it's like making sausage, it's complicated. It's also important, though, I think one of the things that Americans like the most about the president and why his popularity is soaring and why people are coalescing around his agenda is because he is keeping his promises. And I think it's so important on every one of these issues they don't really have a lot of time, even though they have both houses of Congress, do they?  There is a period of time next year when we begin on the election cycle again. Am I wrong?

GINGRICH: Yes, you're wrong.

HANNITY: OK, tell me where I'm wrong. Thanks a lot. I thought we were friends.


GINGRICH: You're a good enough friend, I thought I'd just be straight.

HANNITY: It's fine.

GINGRICH: We passed welfare reform in the summer of an election year. And it got vetoed twice. We passed it three times. It got signed the third time.

Here is a very simple question. When people thoroughly understand this bill, do they think it is better for them? If the bill is better for them, I don't care whether it is the month before the election. It's going to be hard to stop it. If they think the bill is worse for them, you're going to create a new Tea Party movement. So I don't have an artificial deadline.  I think Speaker Ryan has said with great sincerity that he hopes to get everything done in 200 days.

HANNITY: OK, fair enough. I am not saying any of this is easy. Go ahead.

GINGRICH: If you take taxes, infrastructure, and ObamaCare, if they can pull those three off in 200 days they will have done more than Reagan did in '81 and more than we did in '95.

HANNITY: All right, well said. You made me feel better tonight. Amazing for somebody who is just beating me down on my own show. Unbelievable.


HANNITY: Good to see you. And up next tonight right here on "Hannity."


TRUMP: To accomplish our goals at home and abroad we must restart the engine of the American economy.


HANNITY: President Trump vowing to jumpstart the economy, and he is doing just that. Austan Goolsbee, Lou Dobbs, they battle it out coming up next.

And later, meet another American hero featured in President Bush's book, "Portraits of Courage," as we continue.  



TRUMP: To accomplish our goals at home and abroad we must restart the engine of the American economy. American companies are taxed at one of the highest rates anywhere in the world. My economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone.


HANNITY: President Trump talking about his efforts to bolster the economy during his joint address to Congress earlier this week. Earlier today the president issued a tweet regarding the recent gains in America stock market, writing, quote, "Since November the 8th, election day, the stock market has posted $3.2 trillion in gains. Consumer confidence is at a 15 year high. Jobs."

Here with reaction is former Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee as well as the host of the ever successful "Lou Dobbs Tonight" show on our sister network, the Fox Business Network. Consumer confidence is high. But I am a big believer in the tax plan. Energy independence, getting rid of ObamaCare, 15 percent corporate rate, 10 percent repatriation rate. To me, factories, manufacturing centers go up by leaps and bounds.

LOU DOBBS, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: When that happens, everything that you laid out, there is no ceiling for what this economy can do. Economic growth, we are already -- we have seen this struggling recovery from extraordinarily difficult, historical lows in this economy, and the worst recession since the great depression. But what we are looking at now is consumer confidence is rising, a 15 year high. We're watching investor confidence. We don't have to go out and do a poll. We've got $3.2 trillion additional market cap that has been added to our equities market since one Donald J. Trump was elected.

HANNITY: That still doesn't help the people in poverty, on food stamps --

DOBBS: Sure it does.

HANNITY: Not yet. It's going to take time.

DOBBS: You would ask anybody out there listening to us, Sean, look at their 401(K)s.

HANNITY: I agree with that, but what about the people in poverty, on food stamps, the ones that need those jobs when the manufacturing centers and factories are rebuilt?

DOBBS: One of the many things I love about you, Sean, is you are not a patient fellow.

HANNITY: No, I'm not.

DOBBS: It's not even 40 days yet. So I think we're going to need a little time here.

HANNITY: I agree, but I need Congress to do their job.

What's your reaction to all of this? Your buddy Obama was the only president in history never to have a single year of three percent GDP growth. Not one year. Not one.

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER OBAMA ECONOMIC ADVISER: And every president before had a shorter recovery, this is the longest string of private sector job growth in the history of the United States.

HANNITY: Let's break out the demographics, 18-22. OK, go ahead.

GOOLSBEE: It's truly amazing to me -- I thought that Donald Trump gave a good speech. I thought if he had given that as his inaugural address, I think there would have been a lot more Democrats who were saying, well, let us give him a chance. Maybe he wants to meet us halfway or you try to do things built on consensus.

But the stock market is up 228 percent in the last seven years. About 1- 18th of that has taken place under Donald Trump. And this is like your mom made you a holiday feast and your little brother brought the plate over, put it on your plate, and said look at the meal I gave you, Sean.


HANNITY: What do you think, Lou?

DOBBS: I think Austan is avoiding the main point, and that is that there is a newfound confidence in leadership in this country in the person of President Trump and his team that he is bringing forward, that are pro- growth, as Sean went through the list of all that's going to be done by this administration. Think of what he is doing, working the CEOs by the dozens ever since he was elected, not waiting until he took the oath of office. He is talking to shipyard workers. He is talking to coal miners.  He is not telling them we are going to kill your industry. He's talking about building their industry, creating more jobs. And he's also talking about a horizon of possibility about which we have not heard a leader speak for eight years.

HANNITY: Quick response, Austan?

GOOLSBEE: We have added 15 million jobs in the last seven years. I hope that Donald Trump adds them at a faster rate than that, but so far all he has is vague talk. He doesn't actually have a tax plan yet.

HANNITY: Why did we add 13 million to the food stamp rolls and 8 million more in poverty under Obama?

GOOLSBEE: Poverty is down in the last four years, as you know. Food stamps, we changed the rules of the program. That's not an indicator that the economy is worse.

HANNITY: OK, good to see you both.

DOOBS: It's great to be with you and it's great to have new leadership.

HANNITY: We're going to air another interview when we come back with George W. Bush. Tonight you'll meet another American hero featured in his brand new book, straight ahead.  


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So while we were down in Texas interviewing President George W. Bush for his brand new book, "Portraits of Courage, A Commander-in-Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors," we had the chance to sit down and interview some of the brave American heroes that were featured in the book, including Purple Heart recipient, retired United States Army Staff Sergeant Spencer Milo. Take a look at this.


HANNITY: He calls you Milo?

STAFF SERGEANT SPENCER MILO, (RET) UNITED STATES ARMY: He can call me whatever he wants.


HANNITY: He can call you whatever he wants.

You had a pretty severe brain trauma. Tell us what happened.

MILO: Well, I had two separate traumatic brain injuries. My first in Iraq and then my second, which was probably more prevalent, moving forward in Afghanistan. There was a young teenage boy right on the Afghanistan- Pakistan border, about 10 feet from me. He detonated himself and gave my entire platoon quite a memory.

HANNITY: How far away, eight feet?

MILO: About eight to ten feet probably, yes.

HANNITY: Wow. How are you doing now?

MILO: I'm doing a lot better, to be honest with you. Long road, a lot of hard work, but I would say that I'm definitely on the right path and I'm grateful for it.

HANNITY: You see that the president of the United States drew a portrait of you. What was that like?

MILO: Well, he made me look much better and I appreciate that, sir.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I thought you said I took some liberties with you?

MILO: Yes, I like it. I appreciated them. It's incredibly humbling to think someone I chose to follow and have the utmost respect and would continue to follow anywhere would take the time out of his life to do something like that for me. It's humbling, it's surreal, and it's a true honor.

HANNITY: How long did it take for you to get to the point where you are now, where you're now helping a lot of other vets? How long was that process of healing?

MILO: Well, I really feel like it get started probably back in 2009 after Iraq. And it has been an ongoing adventure ever since, and it's going to continue for the rest of my life.

BUSH: And one way to look at it -- sorry to butt in, but one way to look at it is by helping other vets he's still healing. There is a healing process oftentimes, and this is what you will find in this book. The healing process is accelerated when somebody helps somebody else. And that's what Spencer is doing, helping people find work.

HANNITY: You are helping vets find work?

BUSH: Yes, that's what we're doing at the Bush Center as well. You can get on BushCenter.org, and we have a roadmap, a veterans employment roadmap.

HANNITY: You said to me there is a divide with the public sector, and you actually said well, maybe sniper on your resume -- a company is not looking for a sniper, but aren't you looking for people that are disciplined, hard- working, willing to serve, go above and beyond?

BUSH: Ask Milo, he is the one helping people find work. There is a language differential, and we are trying to bridge that gap so the employer understands the vet and the vet understands the employer. That's what they're doing.

HANNITY: Explain how that is working out.

MILO: I work for Hire Heroes USA. And what we focus on is transforming military service into civilian success. And a term that we kind of toss around I guess in the industry is civilianizing that lingo, that jargon.  And like the president said, if you want to go work and you want to be a general manager at, let's say, an auto sales place, you're not going in and say I was a sniper. They are going to say, well, that's great. How are you going to sell cars?

Well, snipers, some of the skills they have, the operational planning, they are so meticulous with what they do. And you talk to any sniper in the world, they will say they are better at math than half the people I know and probably more so. And so we focus on highlighting the skills that they may not realize they have or just don't think about on that everyday basis.  But really they are the future leaders.

HANNITY: So you are translating military skills into everyday skills, but they also have that added discipline, dedication.

MILO: Correct.

BUSH: Teamwork, personal responsibility.

MILO: Loyal, hard-working. The most selfless people you're ever going to meet. And if we may not know how to do something right now, if you put the task in front of us, I promise you we are going to get it done.

HANNITY: How has that project worked out? How well are you doing?

MILO: We're doing really well. Last year we placed over 6,000 veterans in new careers. And I mean careers, not just jobs. And we're going to continue to do so. I think we're going to continue to knock it out of the park and we're going to continue to educate all the employers as to what they're going to get when they hire these men and women. And we are a group of men and women that are not willing to quit. And we're never going to quit when it comes to this.

HANNITY: This is now your life's vocation, your passion. This is what you love.

MILO: I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help my brothers and sisters in any way.

HANNITY: And this is your like passion now. I know you have spent a lot of time painting, but you also have golf tournaments you do --

BUSH: Mountain bike riding. That's where I met Milo. He's a good athlete. I love it. I love riding bikes with him.

HANNITY: How many miles do you do on a trip?

BUSH: We do what's called a W-100, so we do 62, 100 K, 62 miles over three days. And it's fun.

HANNITY: Milo, I do not know if I can call you Milo.

MILO: You can call me Milo.

HANNITY: Thank you so much for being with us, appreciate it.


HANNITY: And coming up, we need your help with a very important question of the day, and apparently this is like the worst voicemails I've ever gotten on the "Hannity" hotline. Apparently a lot of hate out there. We'll play that next, straight ahead.  


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So as you know we started a new segment on this program, and we want to make sure that we hold Washington, especially Republicans in power, accountable. And that leads us to tonight's "Question of the Day." What do you want us to hold Washington Republicans accountable for? We want your answer. Go to Facebook.com/SeanHannity, @SeanHannity on Twitter, let us know what you think.

Now it is time to play some of the messages you have left for us on the "Hannity" hotline. I hear it might be a little hot tonight. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get off the airways, Hannity. All you do is cry and whine. All you do is try to save Trump's job. It's not going to happen.  He's done. You complained about Obama for years. If this was Obama doing what Trump's doing, what would you be saying you hypocrite? Go away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sean, it's time to color your hair. You'll look 10 years younger. You're welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sean, love the show, love you. You've got great hair.  I don't know why people keep making fun of it.


HANNITY: Color my hair? Get off the airwaves? Wow. Got something to say to me? It can be nice, it can be mean, we'll play it. Call the number there on your screen there, 877-225-8587.

That's all the time we have left this evening. As always, thank you for being with us. We'll see you back here tomorrow night.

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