TRANSCRIPT

Gorka, Gingrich react to London terror attack; Freedom Caucus members talk changing health care bill

Assistant to President Trump speaks out on 'Hannity'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 22, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to "Hannity." And this is a Fox News alert. We are following three big breaking news stories tonight. Newt Gingrich, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Sara Carter from Circa News and House Freedom Caucus Members Chairman Mark Meadows and Congressman Dave Brat will all join us.

But first, just hours ago, London was rocked by a brutal act of terror. Also at this hour, there are not enough votes in the House to pass the Republican plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare but now tonight, White House sources are telling Fox News a deal is very close.

Plus, the House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes -- he makes a major announcement that he has now seen reports that U.S. intelligence did, in fact, conduct surveillance of then President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower, and of course, his transition team. Now, we're going to tackle that issue first in tonight's "Opening Monologue."

All right, earlier today, House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes shocked the anti-Trump establishment, the alt-left propaganda destroy Trump media with this announcement. Pay close attention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DEVIN NUNES, R-CALIF.: First, I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition. Details about U.S. persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value, were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting.

Third, I have confirmed that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked. And fourth and finally, I want to be clear, none of the surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right, this is incredibly explosive news. But very important questions remain tonight, including one I've been asking from the very beginning. What did the Obama administration know ? What did Obama know? When did they know it? Newt Gingrich and Circa News's Sara Carter will react in just a few minutes.

But now we also turn our attention tonight to a big developing story. As of this moment, the GOP's legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare scheduled for a vote tomorrow does not have the number of votes needed to pass on that crucial vote.

Now, with desperation now sitting in, what can the GOP do to salvage the bill? Well, tonight, White House sources are telling us and the Fox News Channel that the administration is now close to a deal, and Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows confirmed to me and said that they're not there yet, but he's extremely optimistic. He will join us later in the program. Also Freedom Caucus member Congressman Dave Brat.

And finally, we turn our attention to our top story tonight, once again terror, this time in London. Earlier today, the suspect, who police say was motivated by terrorism overseas, used a vehicle to mow down pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge in London. After he exited the car, the suspect fatally stabbed a police officer outside of Parliament before being shot dead by police.

Now, here's how this horrific terrorist attack unfolded earlier today. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

SHANNON BREAM, GUEST HOST, "AMERICA'S NEWSROOM": Apparently, there's been some type of incident outside Parliament there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw the vehicle mount the curb, and it was coming at us so quickly, I saw some people be hit in front of me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of people on the pavement and the car went straight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I could hear is, Bang, bang, bang (INAUDIBLE) loud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A full counterterrorism investigation is already under way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Islam-related terrorism is our assumption.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And we will all move forward together, never giving in to terror.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HANNITY: Now, in total, the suspect killed four and injured 40. Sadly, today's attack in London is all too familiar for the people of Europe. Now, in November of 2015, radical Islamists launched a series of attacks in Paris targeting a stadium, a cafe and a concert hall. There 130 people were slaughtered, hundreds of others wounded.

And one year ago this very day, Islamic extremists set off explosions at the airport and at a metro station in Brussels, killing 34 innocent travelers, including in that case four Americans.

In July, the city of Nice, France, was devastated by a truck attack. Now, that attack killed 84 people and injuring more than 200. And a few weeks later in Normandy, two men took hostages in a local church. They slit the throat of a priest all in the name of ISIS.

And just days before Christmas in Berlin, Germany, an Islamist plowed a truck into a crowded Christmas market, killing 12, injuring almost 50.

Now, this wave of attacks comes as Europe is now facing an ever-increasing problem of Islamization. For example, 2009 study showed that London alone was home to over 80 sharia courts operating independently and without authority from the English government.

Now, this has major implications here at home. Now, if we make Europe's mistake, well, what happens? This is coming to a city near you. And that raises the importance of President Trump's agenda in terms of the border wall and implementing extreme vetting.

This also comes down to a very simple choice for you, the American people. It's a slight inconvenience for those few travelers who like the privilege to come to our country versus gambling with the lives of American citizens.

Joining us now with reaction, the deputy assistant to the president, Dr. Sebastian Gorka.

Dr. Gorka, let's -- here we go again. It's Islamization. You and I have discussed it about Europe. You believe ISIS can be defeated. Your reaction to this attack, and you know, add the importance now of extreme vetting and border security.

SEBASTIAN GORKA, DEPUTY ASST. TO THE PRESIDENT: Unfortunately, Sean, this is just one more tragic piece of evidence of how very real the threat is to America and to her allies. You just went through the list. How many more of these do we need to see? How many people need to die before it is understood that what we are trying to do in the Trump administration is to stop events like this happening on U.S. soil?

This isn't -- this should be a surprise to nobody. ISIS in their publications, publications, Al Qaeda in English language jihadi texts have said this is what you do. You don't need some grand army. You don't need weapons of mass destruction. You steal a truck. You steal an SUV. And look at what happened afterwards.

You get a -- do you remember the decapitation of the British serviceman in Woolich (ph)? This is the same scenario. Back then, two jihadis got in a vehicle, ran down the Lee Rigby and then decapitated him on the streets of London. The knife intifada in Israel is from the same textbook. The war is real, and that's why executive orders like President Trump's travel moratorium are so important.

HANNITY: Dr. Gorka, I have been saying to people this is now a very simple choice, and the left in the country has made a decision. And their decision is they don't want to inconvenience those people that want the privilege of coming into this country and that they are willing to gamble with the lives of Americans.

I don't say this lightly. If we don't vet because of their opposition, if we don't build a wall because of their opposition and people cross that border, enter this country without any vetting and Americans are killed, I argue they have blood on their hands!

When will we protect the American people and make that our top priority?

GORKA: That's a priority for us. In the White House, we are unequivocal. Everybody needs to understand -- I don't care who you voted for. It's not about your party affiliation, whether you're a Democrat, Republican or whether you're independent. The fact is, evil exists. Sean, you know evil exists. Whether it's Nazis, communists, or now jihadis, it walks the earth. And we have to stop it from endangering American lives on U.S. soil.

That is our primary priority in this administration. And that's what we...

HANNITY: Last question...

GORKA: ... why we are doing what we are doing.

HANNITY: Dr. Gorka -- Dr. Gorka, I say there is a clash of civilizations. If you grow up under sharia and you believe as a man you have the right to tell women how to dress, you believe you have the right to tell women they can't travel abroad, that they can't drive a car, you say a woman can't leave the house without a male relative -- many of these countries that live under sharia, that is their law. Marital rape in some countries is not a crime. Gays and lesbians are killed as a matter of course. Christians and Jews are persecuted.

Is it even possible to vet what's in the minds, hearts and souls of people if they grow up in a culture that so contradicts our constitutional form of government, sir?

GORKA: That's a fabulous question, but you nailed it at the end. The bottom line is, what is your attitude to the U.S. Constitution? It is not a right of anybody to come and live in the United States. If you want to come here, the measure will be whether or not you respect the constitutional order of this nation and the founding documents.

If you don't, Sean, I don't care if you are a member of the KKK or a member of the Communist Party, you are a threat to the United States. And global jihadism is a threat, just like those prior ones.

HANNITY: All right, Dr. Gorka. As always, thank you for being with us. I wish it was always under better circumstances. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our friends in Great Britain.

Joining us now, the author of the New York Times best-seller, "Treason," former speaker of the House, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich.

You know, Dr. Gorka mentioned evil, Mr. Speaker. And I wrote a book once, "Deliver Us From Evil," and I looked at the last 100 years of human history. You are a great historian -- over 100 million human souls destroyed by evil. When you look at Nazism, fascism, totalitarianism, communism, the killing fields, Pol Pot -- this is a clear and present danger today. It is modern day evil, radical Islam, what do we do? What should we be learning from what's happened in Europe with migration and refugees?

NEWT GINGRICH, R-FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, let me say first of all, Dr. Gorka was, I thought, tremendous in his contribution just now and really nailed it.

I think you have to recognize that the reminder from London is that in addition to the decisive destruction of ISIS in Syria, we are faced with a worldwide threat and we need a worldwide strategy. I'm delighted that Secretary Tillerson has been meeting with our allies on the ISIS issue.

But there is this bigger question -- the last administration, of course, Obama wouldn't even admit it was a problem. I do think with President Trump and with his security team, you have people who are beginning to work on this. But this is a reminder that we face a movement which in some ways uses the internet, uses other kind of devices and is a threat all over the planet.

And I think we’re going to have to design a strategy. And Dr. Gorka began to hint at part of that, at the very end. We're going to have to be much clearer about how we're going to measure people and what we're going to require in terms of recognizing and being loyal to our constitutional documents.

HANNITY: We've had our own issues with refugees and migrants in this country, but nothing compared to what Europe has been experiencing, and dramatic increases in terror attacks and major crimes. We've seen it not only in France and Great Britain and Belgium and Germany, but all throughout the European Union.

And I think this is really a moment that America really needs to pause and ask itself, are we going to follow the same path they have followed? And are we prepared for the consequences that they have had in Europe? We have enough terror going on in Boston at the marathon and Chattanooga, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, at Fort Hood and San Bernardino. We have our own problems already. Do we really want to invite other problems without a proper vetting system?

GINGRICH: I think that's part of it. And the other part of it is when people come here, we need to go back to teaching people how to be American, to assimilating them into an American civilization. We absorb lots of people from lots of places. We can do it again.

But part of that requires that we defeat this left-wing mythology that you can be multicultural and still be a single country. I think we can have many peoples come to America, but they need to learn to be American if they're going to live here.

HANNITY: Then I ask you the question I asked Dr. Gorka. I mean, for example -- I'll give you one example. In Great Britain, of all countries, they have 83 specific sharia courts, separate and apart from the judicial system of Great Britain. And I don't care what every liberal says, I know for a fact from people I've interviewed and people who have been there, no- go zones exist throughout Europe in different places, including France.

GINGRICH: Right.

HANNITY: So you know, there's is no assimilation there, Mr. Speaker. Those are two separate...

GINGRICH: Right, and that's -- and that's...

HANNITY: ... distinct countries within -- or a country with a country.

GINGRICH: ... the European problem. Right, and that's the European problem, and we cannot tolerate any development of on alternative culture inside the United States. I think we have to say we're happy for everyone to be Americans. We’re happy for people who come here to learn to be American. But we are not going to allow sharia courts. We're not going to allow no-go zones, and we're not going to allow people to decide that they are in America but not part of America. That's a recipe for disaster.

HANNITY: And that raises -- and that raises the question that I was asking Dr. Gorka, and it goes to the heart of extreme vetting. And I would add a lot of other countries to it and make anybody that wants to be a guest in our country pay for their own vetting -- my own thoughts.

But how do you ascertain, knowing that ISIS -- they may be evil, but they're not stupid, and they probably would be well trained and coached on giving answers if they were being vetted.

So I guess the question is, how do you possibly vet the mind, the heart and the soul of somebody coming from a country whose culture, for example, is like Saudi Arabia?

GINGRICH: Well, I think part of it is you've got to have a lot more information than we have from anywhere in Syria about their background. What kind of a mosque do they go to? What kind of people do they hang out with? And I think you've got to be able to go back three, four or five years.

Not just -- just getting into the room to answer questions doesn't get you anywhere. But tracking down how they behaved, who they associated with does give you a dramatically better sense of who they are. And frankly, people who go to radical mosques shouldn't be allowed into the United States.

HANNITY: All right, Mr. Speaker, stay right there. Coming up, we have a lot more with Speaker Gingrich coming up right after this break.

And coming up next tonight right here on "Hannity"...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NUNES: What I've read bothers me, and I think it should bother the president himself and his team.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: House Intel Committee chairman Devin Nunes drops a major bombshell earlier today, announcing that he has now seen evidence that proves there was, in fact, surveillance of the president-elect, Donald Trump, and the Trump transition team. Newt Gingrich will react to that.

Plus, more on the terror attack in London. Brexit leader Nigel Farage will join us also coming up tonight.

And can Republican leadership strike a deal with members of the Freedom Caucus on the GOP health care legislation scheduled for a vote tomorrow? Chairman Mark Meadows and Congressman Dave Brat will join us on this very busy news night right here tonight on "Hannity."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: And this is a Fox News alert. We have more on today's terror attack in London coming up in just a few minutes.

But first, early today, House Intelligence chairman Devin Nunes made the bombshell announcement confirming what President Trump has now been saying for weeks, that, in fact, surveillance was collected on members of his team and himself. Now, Nunes briefed the president at the White House earlier today. And afterwards, he took questions from the, well, destroy press (ph) media. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you saying that it was political surveillance of political opponents, as the presidents has suggested in his tweets?

NUNES: What -- what I've -- what I've read bothers me, and I think it should bother the president himself and his team because I don't -- I think some of it seems to be inappropriate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now, President Trump was asked today about these revelations and here is what he said. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Do you feel vindicated by Chairman Nunes coming over here?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I somewhat do. I must tell you, I somewhat do. I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found, but I somewhat do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And still with us, former speaker of the House, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich. Mr. Speaker, I look at this and I say, Wow. Here it is. The media has been so wrong for so long -- you know, they're trying to make a big deal -- Well, was he actually wiretapped or were there surveillance? For two weeks on this program, we have been pointing out that, in fact, surveillance did take place. Now this is confirmed. And Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee chair, is very disturbed. I think every American should feel the same way. Your thoughts.

GINGRICH: Well, I think -- I hope that both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are going to dig into this and rip apart the bureaucracies and find out who did it, who authorized it, how did they make the changes that the Obama committee -- the Obama presidency made to make it easier to leak?

This is really very, very sobering about American civil liberties. Here apparently you have a president whose party is defeated who then uses the intelligence apparatus of the United States and then changes the rules, knowing it will make it easier to leak.

And this whole thing is sick. I also think that it is astonishing to have had everybody pile on President Trump, and now it turned out that President Trump was right. I look forward to The New York Times and The Washington Post issuing editorials of mea culpa, admitting that Trump was right and they were wrong. And I love the idea of CBS and NBC and ABC actually admitting that their coverage has been wrong (INAUDIBLE) wrong.

HANNITY: And CNN.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: They've been wrong.

GINGRICH: Yes.

HANNITY: They've all been wrong. But there's a real danger here to me, and that is -- look, I understand. I'm a big supporter of the intelligence community, as I know you are, Mr. Speaker. A lot of these people put their lives on the line. This is an evil, dangerous world. We need that intelligence.

And -- but there are very specific laws and rules regarding the wiretapping surveillance of Americans. We still have a 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th amendment here, OK? And if they -- there are rules, for example, if they, in fact -- if they're surveilling, say, a Russian ambassador, an Iranian ambassador, that's their job. But if they notice an American is on the line, they're supposed to practice what's called for minimization.

I've also talked to those people that have worked in intelligence. Normal practice is they don't identify who the American is. They will say an American. But in the case of General Flynn, they mentioned him.

Now we know that they had a surveillance of the president-elect and on members of the transition team. Well, did they have a warrant for those? Apparently not. It might be more felonies. That's the one thing that we seem to have clear here. Your thoughts on that.

GINGRICH: Well, I think we've got to go back to the rule of law. That's why I think the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have to have deep investigations, tear this thing apart, and figure out who did what, when did they do it, who authorized it, who broke the law, and then insist that the Justice Department prosecute the people who broke the law.

I mean, this is one of the most incredible breaches that I can think of since World War II where an American elected -- the new elected president is being, in effect, spied upon by his own government? That's really sobering.

HANNITY: Yes. Well, there's one other point that and that is James Clapper, national director of intelligence, the FBI director, Admiral Rogers have all not said not one vote -- not one was influenced as was asked by Chairman Nunes in the hearings.

All right, I've got to move on to one other question. And we have Mark Meadows and Congressman Dave Brat coming up. I spoke to Freedom Caucus members earlier today. They would know, at least 30, probably more, that they had that were not going to vote for this bill.

In the course of today, there have been meetings with the White House, and more specifically, the president and Mark Meadows himself. There's been a breakthrough tonight. Now, the only thing that I hear is remaining as the actual language, but an agreement in principle has been made.

How important is this that the president is the one that made that breakthrough?

GINGRICH: This is vitally important. It's Donald Trump at his best. He did write "The Art of the Deal." I think it was extremely important that they avoided defeat on this first big test of his presidency. I am delighted that he's intervened personally to break up what was apparently a logjam between the speaker and the Freedom Caucus, and I think it is very much to President Trump's credits.

And let me say also to Reince Priebus's credit, who has been very hard- working, trying to get this thing to come together just right. So I think that the president, Vice President Pence and Reince Priebus have all helped to unlock this thing. I hope that sometime this evening, that Speaker Ryan is going to accept language and they're going to have a deal done. If they do and if it passes tomorrow, this is a historic moment, and it is President Trump's moment. He will have earned it.

HANNITY: You know, it was interesting as I was talking to Freedom Caucus members today, their number one concern was defending the president on this because they felt if this doesn't work, it hurts him. And that was their main argument, very interesting behind the scenes. But Mr. Speaker, I hope they learn from this, too, and maybe they can build more consensus before they roll out bills. Hopefully, we learn a lesson. But I agree with you, a lot of people worked very hard and came together in the end.

We appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

GINGRICH: Great.

HANNITY: And as we continue tonight, we have three big breaking news stories we are following tonight. Scotland Yard says the suspect responsible for today's carnage on the streets of London was likely inspired by international terrorism. We'll have a live report from Benjamin Hall. He's in London. Plus, we'll get reaction from Brexit leader Nigel Farage.

And also later tonight...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MARK MEADOWS, R-N.C.: We're not there yet, but we're -- we're very optimistic that if we work around the clock between now and, you know, noon tomorrow that we're going to be able to, hopefully, find some -- some common ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: So will Republicans have enough votes to pass the GOP ObamaCare replacement plan? That's happening tomorrow night, scheduled for tomorrow night. The chairman of the House Freedom Caucus ,Mark Meadows, who made this deal with the president, said he's, quote, now "very optimistic" that a deal will be struck. The chairman will join us, along with Congressman Dave Brat, and much more on this busy news tonight on "Hannity."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAY: The location of this attack was no accident. The terrorist chose to strike at the heart of our capital city where people of all nationalities, religions, and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy, and freedom of speech. We will all move forward together, never giving into terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: That was British Prime Minister Theresa May speaking earlier tonight following a deadly terror attack in London. And just moments ago, President Donald Trump tweeted, quote, "Spoke to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May today to offer condolences on the terrorist attack in London. She is strong and doing very well."

Joining us now with the very latest on the ground in London is our own Benjamin Hall. Benjamin?

BENJAMIN HALL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Sean, the one thing that many people were expecting throughout today has been confirmed by Scotland Yard, that this was indeed the work of radical Islamic terrorists. And of course they say they now know who the attacker was, they're not releasing the name.

But we do know more about the victims today, the five people so far who have been killed, among them P.C. Palmer. He was 48-years-old, he had a young family. He was killed while protecting members of parliament at the Palace of Westminster. Also among them was a 30-year the woman. She was killed on a bridge, the assailant himself and two other people. We know at 2:45 or so the car was crossing Westminster Bridge. It sped onto the pavement of the sidewalk at about 35 miles an hour. And as it careened down it killed innocent people left and right.

And today we know also that parliament was sitting at the time. The prime minister herself was in parliament. She was rushed out soon after. As you heard there, she has said that this will not bring down the country. They will stand as strong as ever.

And of course those few connections still to ISIS. Remember this is a year to the day that the Brussels attacks were carried out, 32 people killed in those attacks directly inspired by ISIS. It's also the same day at 68 foreign ministers were meeting in D.C. to discuss the coalition against ISIS. And of course the terror group are on the back foot at the moment and have been reaching out, calling out to their followers to reach out and attack the west if they can, in particular using vehicles. And we've seen their propaganda pointing toward this. It's a method they've used time and time again. We've seen it in Berlin. We've seen it in Nice. We've seen it twice here today. Despite security around this heavily guarded the building, it worked again and they were able to take the lives of five people. So today this city very much in morning but going to pick itself up tomorrow and continue as best as it can on the way. Sean?

HANNITY: All right, Benjamin, I know you've had a long, difficult day, and I know it's very early in the morning. Thank you for staying up for us. We appreciate it.

Joining us now with reaction is Brexit leader, Fox News contributor, also a personal friend, Nigel Farage. Up late for you, too, Nigel. First, our thoughts and prayers go out to all our friends in Great Britain, especially the families of the victims and those that are in hospitals fighting for their lives.

You and I have had long discussions both on-air and off-air about the Islamization of Europe, about refugees, about migrants and how it impacted the Brexit vote, how it impacted the election of Donald Trump. Hey we are back at square one, once again, another attack. How important are these issues of vetting? How important are these issues of independence and certainly knowing something about people that come into our countries?

NIGEL FARAGE, BREXIT LEADER: We've made some terrible mistakes in this country, and it really started with the election of Tony Blair back in 1997 who said he wanted to build a multicultural Britain. He even, his government said later they sent out search parties to find immigrants from all over the world to come into Britain. And do you know what? I don't think we vetted a single one of them.

And the problem with multiculturalism is that it leads to divided communities. It's quite different from multi-racialism. That's fine. That can work very happily and extremely well. But we finished up with very divided communities. I'm sorry to say, but we now have a fifth column living inside these European countries. And surely, surely an American audience seeing this horrendous thing happening at Westminster today should start to say to itself that when Donald Trump tries to put in place vetting measures, he's doing it to protect your country. And frankly all those people out protesting on Fifth Avenue in New York and elsewhere, they need to have a good, long, hard think about they are doing. Frankly, if you open your door to uncontrolled immigration from Middle Eastern countries, your inviting in terrorism.

HANNITY: Nigel, I agree with you, but there are people that disagree with us. And they will say things like xenophobic, Islamophobic and throw these words out here. Is it really too much to ask that if you come from a country that practices Sharia whose values directly contradict those of the United States and our constitution or the values of western Europe and the United Kingdom, is it really too much to ask that we vet you and know that you're going to bring safety and security with you as you visit, have the honor of visiting our great countries?

FARAGE: No. It's just plain common sense. And what you didn't mention, Sean, of course is attitudes towards women because a lot of these countries that were talking about women, frankly, aren't even second-class citizens. And just look what we see happening in parts of Sweden and parts of Germany in terms of sexual crime statistics.

HANNITY: It's outrageous.

FARAGE: I'll tell you what's happening here. The idea that this whole country is united, which is what we are hearing from our leaders, I'm not sure is true. I think the British people want some answers from our leaders as to what they're now going to do.

HANNITY: Well said. Nigel Farage, thank you. Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends in Great Britain tonight.

Coming up tonight, the House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows says he is, quote, "very optimistic at this late hour" that Republican lawmakers can get the deal done on the GOP health care legislation. In other words he's been negotiating directly with the president tonight and he feels they have met in terms of principles. It's now a matter of writing the bill. He will join us next along with Congressman Dave Brat, straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: This is a Fox News Alert. Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows says he is, quote, "very optimistic that Republican lawmakers can find common ground on the GOP ObamaCare repeal replacement plan by tomorrow." Joining us now to explain exactly what he meant and where this negotiation lies is the chairman himself, Congressman Mark Meadows, North Carolina, along with Virginia Congressman, fellow Freedom Caucus member Dave Brat.

Congressman Meadows, earlier today I spoke to a number of you guys. You are adamant this not passing unless two specific things happen. So what has evolved that now the White House feels you're close to a deal. You told me earlier tonight that you are close as long as the language of a deal that you personally made with the president is written properly. You think it's done.

MEADOWS: I'm really optimistic that we can get there. There's still a lot of details to work out, Sean, and so to say that we got a deal, that wouldn't be accurate. But I can tell you that the president is engaged not only personally with the Freedom Caucus but with a real, unbelievable broad a spectrum of GOP conference. So when we look at that, it's all about --

HANNITY: Could I say you have an agreement in principle? You guys have a meeting of the minds and an agreement in principle?

MEADOWS: The president I came to an agreement in principle. I think what we're trying to do now is make sure that our agreement is actually something that can be executed in a way that passes the Senate, really gets to a point working with his staff. I can tell you we were on the phone with his staff just a few minutes ago before coming on. And so there's still work to be done, but I can tell you that the president is engaged. I've talked to leadership this evening. I know they were meeting with some of the moderates. We recognize --

HANNITY: How many weeks has it been since you talked to leadership?

MEADOWS: We've had some meaningful conversations here in the last 12 hours or so. And up to that --

HANNITY: And before that?

MEADOWS: Before that there hadn't been a whole lot of discussion in the last couple of weeks just because it was pretty much this is the bill and this is what we're going to have to do. So I'm seeing real progress and I'm excited about where were going tonight with this. And I want to give just a real shout out to the president.

HANNITY: And you're crediting the president himself for this breakthrough, if you will, because if you guys held firm like I was told by you this morning and by others this morning and your caucus, this was not going to pass tomorrow. Unless this was fixes this won't pass, you're saying.

MEADOWS: That's correct. We needed substantial changes and we still have a large group that's committed to no until they really can review the details and see where were going with all of this. So we're not there yet but I can tell you were working on it.

HANNITY: Congressman Brat, where are you on this?

REP. DAVE BRAT, R-VA.: Same place. And hats off to our chairman, Mark Meadows for just a phenomenal job negotiating. He's been on the phone with President Trump daily multiple times a day. And they're both doing a tremendous job.

And just for the folks out there, right, we started from a position that we are going to keep our promise and repeal this bill. The language that we are going to repeal and then replace. And so I just want to ensure the folks out there, when they hear about a deal, that deal has to at the very minimum now lower the cost curve for health insurance for the people out there. And so there's a heavy lift out there. We're negotiating that heavy lift. And it will be the real deal. And we're doing this because we want President Trump to be successful. If we don't get the cost curve down, then you're going to end up in death spirals again in a few years, and this time we'll own it. So it's a win-win. We're not trying to hold things up.

HANNITY: Both of you told me and you were very firm about this. Congressman Meadows specifically and Dave Brat specifically, both of you told me that the reason you're fighting for this is for the president's sake, because he can't have his name on a bill, you said, that's going to end up in a bad way. So your motivation was to get it right.

MEADOWS: It is. It's really about the American people, Sean, and when we really look at this, its commitment from the president to lower insurance premiums, to repeal this, to make sure that those preexisting conditions are taken care of. And so it's all about making sure that we get it right for the American people. And I can tell you he's got a board on all the campaign promises that he's made. And he's checking those off, and he's serious about that.

HANNITY: I know he is. Yes, so it's an issue of language, an agreement of principle. And we'll watch by tomorrow morning, I guess by this time tomorrow night we'll know where this vote ends up. And I wish you, seriously, this is an important piece. This is no room for failure in my mind here. This is way too important. And if you guys can come together, that's great for the country. Thank you both for being with us, appreciate it.

MEADOWS: Thank you, Sean.

HANNITY: Up next Sara Carter, Circa News, joins us live to react to Congressman Devin Nunes explosive report that in fact surveillance was done on the president-elect and his team during the transition. This information mirrors Sara's recent reporting. We've been telling about this for two weeks on this program. She'll explain next as we continue on this very busy news night straight ahead.

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HANNITY: This is a Fox News alert. Earlier today House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes made the bombshell announcement confirming what President Trump has been now saying for weeks, that in fact surveillance was collected on members of his team, including himself.

Joining us with reaction from Circa News is Sara Carter. With all the breaking news tonight, Sara, this would have been my lead on any other night. This is what you have been telling this audience for over two weeks straight now, and corroborates and confirms everything you and John Solomon reported. I want your full reaction to it anything you want to add to this.

SARA CARTER, CIRCA NEWS: I think it is hugely significant. My reaction to this is, look, these sources approached Chairman Nunes. They had information, classified information that revealed what we had been reporting all along. And obviously that's information that I as a reporter can't accept or take from sources.

We have been told this. That's why we were out here telling the audience every day for the last two weeks. This goes far beyond what the scope of what everybody is reporting out there. One of the things, unmasking of the names, going beyond Russia. So what Chairman Nunes was able to show was that it wasn't just about Russia. They were getting transcripts with unmasked names from people within the Trump team that were not about Russia at all. So we need to ask two questions, very important questions, Sean. Who were on those logs that viewed these reports, and who approved it? Those are the two most important questions.

HANNITY: I say to little differently maybe to be more a little more incendiary because that's my nature. Who knew what when, and what did they know, and when did they know it? These questions now must be answered. This is so unprecedented. You talk about unmasked. That revelation in the course of regular surveillance is supposed to be as regular order. It is supposed to be hidden, and then it delves into executive order 12333, why did Obama change it to allow 16 other agencies to have access to it. Was that designed to purposefully leak this information? There's so many unanswered questions. Where do you think this goes? That's my most important question.

CARTER: OK, I think this goes -- the next step, we need to know to some extent what were the other documents that were viewed by the personnel inside the intelligence community. And remember, Sean, this is a very narrow scope of people that can approve the unmasking of names, and that needs to be revealed as well. I think Chairman Nunes is on to something here. I know we're on to something here. This is something that we are looking into. We've been investigating diligently and hopefully we can break it on your show.

HANNITY: You'll be on the program tomorrow. He said he was bothered by one other thing, now we have James Clapper, Admiral Rogers, and a James Comey saying no votes were influenced at all. So this whole Russian narrative by a biased media has been wrong for all of these months. This is deep and profound and very problematic. We have 30 seconds.

CARTER: Yes, I think this goes far beyond what the American people actually realize. This is about right to privacy. This goes far beyond the scope of the FISA. And this wasn't what the government said it was intended for. And it's very, very dangerous. It's dangerous to the republic. It's dangerous to us as private citizens. And I think this investigation is going to continue and I actually believe someone is going to pay the price for this.

HANNITY: I believe somebody could be very high ranking within the intelligence community and it may go to Obama administrator officials. Am I onto something in your opinion based on what you know now, yes or no?

CARTER: Yes.

HANNITY: Wow. We'll have you back tomorrow night. Chairman Nunes tomorrow night.

When we come back, more "Hannity" right after this break.

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HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." Before we go tonight, quick programming note. Tomorrow night right here on this programming, House Intel Committee Chairman Congressman Devin Nunes will join us. Also Sara Carter will be with us again tomorrow night 10:00 eastern. Also tomorrow, we'll be keeping an eye on this health care vote. It still needs the language to meet. If that happens, it will pass. If not, I predict it doesn't.

That's all the time we have left this evening.

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