Gingrich: Russia probe needs to be fair, out in the open

Former House speaker weighs in on 'Hannity'


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 30, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to this busy news night tonight here on "Hannity." And we are following two blockbuster reports. And tonight, in a few minutes, we'll check in with Newt Gingrich, Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs will all join us. This rift in the Republican Party needs to stop, and they need to get their act together and keep their promises!

But first, more on the developing story that we told you about last night surrounding former Obama official Dr. Evelyn Farkas and the Obama surveillance of the Trump transition team. Tonight, brand-new information on the shocking public acknowledgment that she made earlier this month on a TV show that (ph) former Obama officials now raising a lot of eyebrows all around the country. That's tonight's "Opening Monologue."

All right, last night on this program, we showed you a video of former Obama official Evelyn Farkas from earlier this month saying that she urged her former colleagues and people on the Hill to get as much information and intelligence as they could on the Trump team before President Obama left office.

Now, on March 2nd during an NBC interview, Dr. Farkas, who served in the Obama administration from 2012 through 2015 as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia -- listen to these comments very, very closely. Listen.


EVELYN FARKAS, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I was urging my former colleagues, and frankly, speaking to people on the Hill. It was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, "Get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves the administration" because I had a fear that somehow, that information would disappear with the senior people who left so it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy, that the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their staff, the Trump staff dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence.

So I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open, and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia. So then I had talked to some of my former colleagues, and I knew that they were trying to also help get information to the Hill.


HANNITY: "How we knew what we knew about their" -- Trump staff's -- "dealing with Russia."

All right, let's deal with what Evelyn Farkas is saying here. First, she's admitting what we've been saying, what Sara Carter, John Solomon, James Rosen have all been saying. Surveillance took place. Take a watch.


FARKAS: It was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, "Get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves the administration" because I had a fear that somehow, that information would disappear with the senior people.


HANNITY: Oh, that's the intelligence she wants her friends on Capitol Hill to get. Is that the information she's talking about?

Now, next, she admits there was unmasking. That shouldn't happen. Watch.


FARKAS: ... that the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their -- the staff, the Trump staff's dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence.


HANNITY: Oh, intelligence, unmasking, surveillance! Now, she also admitted that intelligence leaking was taking place. And by the way, in case some of you people don't know, that could very well be a felony. Take a look.


FARKAS: I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open, and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia. So then I had talked to some of my former colleagues, and I knew that they were trying to also help get information to the Hill.


HANNITY: How did you know there was intelligence? You were out of the administration. How did Evelyn Farkas, a former Obama administration official, a private citizen working for the Hillary Clinton campaign, know about the surveillance and intelligence?

Well, during an interview on CNBC earlier today, Farkas, well, she seemed to be walking back and changing her tune. Watch her contradict her own self straight ahead.


JOE KERNEN, CO-HOST: People are accusing you, Evelyn, of admitting that there was surveillance, admitting that there was unmasking and urging people or at least saying that intelligence leaking, which could be a felony, is the way that it should get out. And you weren't even part of the government at that point.

FARKAS: No. So I was referring to the motivation because there had been a lot of discussion in the media about, Why are people leaking? And so I was trying to, but in a very shorthand fashion, explain at the very end of that quote that people were leaking because they were afraid of a cover-up. I do not -- absolutely do not condone leaking. You know, it's against the law.


HANNITY: Wait a minute. She said earlier, "Get as much intelligence as you can. Get it up to the Hill to our friends." So now opposing leaking, even though earlier this month, she was obviously claiming to encourage it.

Now, Farkas also played dumb on what information she was referring to. Watch this walk-back. This is interesting.


ANDREW ROSS SORKIN, CO-HOST: Sean Hannity and others have made big issue of this. And I wanted you just to explain what you meant by that, and in particular, when you talked about if they found out "how we knew." What did you mean by "how we knew"?

FARKAS: Well, what I was getting at was the fact that we were having now a transition of power from the Obama administration to the Trump administration. And if, indeed, there was an investigation ongoing, if, indeed, there was information that the Obama administration had about Russian interference and possible American involvement, I wanted to make sure that Congress knew about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was there a specific piece of information that you were concerned...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... would disappear?

FARKAS: No. No, I did not know what the information was or what -- or -- I suspected that they had information, again, knowing what I know about our intelligence community. They're very professional. They have a very good eye on Russia.


HANNITY: If indeed now she says (INAUDIBLE) suspected -- but wait a minute. This is the same woman that said "if," meaning the Trump folks, "found out how we knew what we knew," not if it happened, "if they knew what we knew about their," the Trump staff, dealing with Russians.

Now, try as she might, Dr. Farkas cannot walk back her original comments. And today, we have also uncovered an interview that Dr. Farkas did back in February with VOX before that appearance on NBC. She was asked by Ezra Klein what her, quote, "level of alarm" was after Flynn's resignation.

Here's Farkas's response. Quote, "Well, (ph) it's lower than it's been since the summer when I was first made aware of all this stuff. I'm, like, 'Finally, everybody else sees it!' Seriously. The reason I was so upset last summer was that I was getting winks and hints from inside that there was something really wrong here. I was agitated because I knew the Clinton campaign and the world didn't know. But I didn't think it would happen this fast. I didn't think Flynn would survive a year, but I thought it would be most of the year."

Well, did she know about Flynn, the intelligence that eventually got leaked that took him out? What is she talking about here? Anyway, who was giving her the winks and the hints over the summer? I'm just asking questions based on her own words.

Here's where it gets interesting. Today, during another interview on MSNBC, Farkas said she's now the victim of fake news because we played her entire comment in context. I'm not kidding. Watch this.


FARKAS: And on the dark campaign of fake news, you know, that's still ongoing. We see even someone like myself get sweeped up in all of this. You know, when people like me are speaking on behalf of process, people spin it to suit their needs. And I think it may be that the Russians are behind even such fake news today.


HANNITY: Maybe the Russians put these words in my mouth, asking about surveillance, unmasking and leaking intelligence. I'm simply asking questions based on what she said, as other members of the mainstream media, by the way, continue to ignore the facts in this case. The media doesn't want to focus on this today. Oh no, they want to focus on the New York Times headline that came out late this afternoon, "Two White House officials helped give Nunes intelligence reports."

Now, the headline is deceptive, obscure, and I would argue purposely dishonest. If you read further into the report, it isn't really a story. It just says the official, quote, "played a role."

Now, tonight, I'm calling on the intel community, stop being distracted by the hate Trump media, destroy Trump media. The attorney general, General Sessions, needs to convene a grand jury. And the only thing we know for sure is that the intel was leaked about retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. That is a felony. That is a crime.

And as for Dr. Farkas, well, we need to know what she knew about the unmasking, about the surveillance, and when she knew it and who she was communicating with and who was giving her the information. And what did she know also about leaking or getting the information to her friends on the Hill?

Here with reaction, the author of the best-seller "Treason," former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. You can't write a novel like this, Mr. Speaker. And you write really good novels. I've read them.

NEWT GINGRICH, R- FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: I keep trying. And I've got to say, reality is outstripping my fiction.



GINGRICH: This is so convoluted now, so many different angles, such weird behavior. I mean, one of the things I mentioned to you the other day -- why would you have a Republican chairman of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees define the question in a narrow way that only involves Trump, not bring in Bill Clinton's half a million dollars from a Russian bank, not bring in Hillary Clinton's approval of sending 20 percent of uranium to Russia.

I mean, I am from looking at foreign influence in the American political governmental system. I think there's a grave danger that destroyed the Roman republic of money just pouring in to a corrupt the system.

But I want to see it done fairly, out in the open. And I think it's very important that when people in either party are suspected that we have a fair and a transparent and an open system. Right now, this is a one-sided witch hunt filled with allegations. And as you just pointed out...

HANNITY: And no evidence.

GINGRICH: ... when somebody blurts out the truth a few days later, they're so scared, they try to walk the truth back and they reject a recording of their own words. I mean, that tells you something about the level of fear on the left.

HANNITY: Well, you know, when she's saying get as much intelligence to people on the Hill as you possibly can, and if they found out, meaning the Trump folks -- if the Trump folks find out how we knew what we knew about their Trump staff dealing with Russians -- there's no ambiguity there. We're not parsing her words. We're not slicing and dicing like Ted Koppel here. We're playing it in its entirety!

GINGRICH: Well, wait a second. Remember this, too. The changes in the rules by the Obama team in January weren't about hard intelligence. The changes were about gossip, rumor, slander, facts that could not be checked out. And they said just distribute it to all the different agencies. And oh, by the way, if that means it leaks, what the heck.

So they weren't just trying to get hard information up to the Hill. And we have processes for that. We have two intelligence committees that you can brief. We have the House and Senate majority and minority leaders you can brief. I mean, there are a lot of ways for the intelligence community to get information to the Congress and keep it secret.

This has been a blatant effort, I think, in the case of General Flynn, to smear him.

HANNITY: Well, that's a felony.

GINGRICH: I think there are other things coming down the road. And so much of this is based on people who are committing felonies, breaking the law in order to pursue a political agenda.

HANNITY: That's the only law that we actually can confirm has been violated here. That's a felony, the leaking of intelligence.

But when you get to the issues, if we just used Evelyn Farkas's own words and what she said, she talks -- my interpretation is very clear. She talks about surveillance of the Trump campaign, and if they knew what we knew what we know and how we knew it, and then when she talks about unmasking about the Trump folks, that would be unmasking, and then the next thing is, Well, you know, gather as much intelligence and get it to our friends on the Hill here -- it seems to me that this has gone much deeper than anybody else in the media is willing to talk about.

What should happen? What should -- what should happen with the intelligence community? Shouldn't they bring her in? Should a grand jury be convened?

GINGRICH: Yes. You know, that's why I don't understand what the two intelligence committees are doing. I mean, I get the sense at least that Chairman Nunes is aware of the fact you have this entire wave of felonies that are occurring in the executive branch under the Obama administration, but I don't have a sense yet that Chairman Burr has the same understanding or is designing his hearings the same way.

I mean, you clearly had here -- first of all, the way she's describing it, this is a large organized effort. I mean, this is not one or two random people going rogue. She talks about the we have to collectively get it up there. We have to get it to who? Presumably the Democrats on the Hill.

HANNITY: I can't believe she hasn't...

GINGRICH: And what's it about? It's not about a Russians. It's not about hacking. It's efforts to understand the Trump team as they go through the transition plan.

HANNITY: All right, stay right there...

GINGRICH: That clearly has to involve felonies.

HANNITY: It seems like it.

All right, we'll have more with Newt Gingrich coming up right after this break, and he'll have reaction to the GOP infighting on Capitol Hill. What do Republicans need to do to get their act together and get on the same page?

Also, Laura Ingraham is here to weigh in on the surveillance of the Trump campaign and the unmasking, and of course, the leaks and also Republican infighting. All of that, plus Lou Dobbs, Ari Fleischer, Austan Goolsbee all join us on this very busy edition tonight on "Hannity."


HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." So the Republican Party continues feuding, and now the alt left propaganda destroy Trump media -- they have a new favorite talking point. President Trump is ineffective. He can't get things done. Now, it's time to put that narrative to rest. And that's tonight's mini-monologue.

All right, so after the House Republican leadership's plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare stalled in Congress, well, the mainstream media, they want you to think the Trump presidency's dead in the water.

Well, since taking office, the president has been checking off -- look at that -- all the items on his list, all his campaign promises one by one. Take a look. They're right there on your screen.

Now, it's very obvious that the president has been moving very fast and effectively at what I call the speed of Trump. And now after the Republican health care plan did stall in the House with infighting in the Republican Party, there is a danger that could undermine the president's agenda.

Now, earlier today, the president tweeted, quote, "The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda. If they don't get on the team and fast, we must fight them and Dems in 2018."

Now, the president's clearly frustrated with this division in the Republican Party. On this show, we promised we're holding everyone in Washington accountable.

For seven long years, the GOP ran on repealing, replacing ObamaCare. They said, "Give us the House." They got that in 2010. "Give us the House and Senate." They got it in 2014. "Give us the House, Senate and the presidency." They got that on November 8th. They got their wish.

Now, in my opinion, it's not the Freedom Caucus that's responsible for the GOP failure in this case to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Now, this legislation was flawed from the beginning. It was created behind closed doors. Not one single member saw the bill until it was rolled out, and that made it a disaster.

Now, I don't know who's telling the White House to focus their anger on the Freedom Caucus, but I do think it's misplaced, because the Freedom Caucus -- I've talked to them. They want to make a deal and they want the win for the president and the country.

So my advice tonight to Speaker Ryan, the rest of Congress is simple: House leadership, you need to get all the differing factions in your caucus together. Get them together with senators like Rand Paul and Mike Lee and Mitch McConnell and Secretary Price.

I've said this before. Get all the factions, the moderates, the Tuesday Group, the Study Group, the Freedom Caucus. Get everybody in a room, lock the door, order pizza, get beer, get ice cream. I don't care if you include coloring books. Get a consensus bill like you've been promising the country for eight years, and get it done and get it on the president's desk.

That is your mission. Follow your mission and your promise. It's not ideology. It's what's good for the American people and the promise you made to everybody.

We continue with former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Mr. Speaker, how do you roll out a bill and not show one member of the House what's in the bill? How do you not appeal to moderates...

GINGRICH: Look, as...

HANNITY: Go ahead.

GINGRICH: Well, I was going to say, as you know, my newsletter that came out yesterday was posted on FOX News (INAUDIBLE) .com and came out of Gingrich Productions. I outlined exactly the mistakes that were made. This was an astonishing failure to follow what Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher taught us, to follow what we did so successfully during the Contract With America Congress.

First, you have to win the argument in the country. These guys were talking process. The Democrats were talking health care. Process never wins in a debate with the American people because they don't care. That's not their job.

Second, you have to have something that people can believe in and understand, and it cannot be so complicated that nobody understands it except technical wonks.

Third, you cannot write a bill -- and I'm very worried that they have learned nothing and that they're going to go right back and try to do this again. You cannot write a bill designed around the very arcane Senate reconciliation rules and around the Congressional Budget Office's totally fake scoring and get anything that you can explain to the American people.

So I outlined a road ahead. I think there is a way to get this done. But it starts with something that's a major argument. And that is, I believe if you designed the right bill, if it did the right things for rural America, you'd get a lot of Democrats to vote for it because people back home would want it. And there seems to be this automatic belief that Republicans can't write a bill that's popular and communicate it enough to win the argument, so they got to find some gimmick.

Friday, the Freedom Caucus actually blocked the Republicans from throwing away their majority. If they had voted for a bill that was at 17 percent approval, they would have given every Democratic consultant in the country 10 or 12 ads to run.

"Hillary care" broke 40 years of Democratic control. ObamaCare led to the Democratic Party defeat in 2010. A vote on Friday might well have been the end of the Republican majority in the House. I am very concerned about where they're at right now.

HANNITY: I'm very concerned that they didn't have the sense to work on a bill knowing that it's a coalition party. The Democratic Party's a coalition party.

Look, you're right about process. The average American has no idea what reconciliation is, or cloture or the Byrd rule, and they don't care. This is what they want to know. Am I going to have better care at a lower cost for me and my family? And that's it. And if this bill doesn't get that done, and you can't communicate it and you don't have consensus to pass it, why did they unveil it and why did they keep it secret?

GINGRICH: Well, and to make it even worse, in the age of Donald J. Trump, who was elected as an outsider because people don't trust Washington, their answer for a lot of questions was, Well, there's going to be a part two and a part three. Trust us. Well, nobody in this country elected the current president to trust people. His job is to make sure that it's accountable to the American people, that it's verifiable.

But I do think the establishment is working overtime to try to drive a wedge between President Trump and the Freedom Caucus in order to move President Trump towards the center. I think it'll backfire. I think you'll figure it out.

HANNITY: All right, last question.

GINGRICH: But I was very concerned today.

HANNITY: Yes. Do you believe that the president wasn't served well by his own party? Because I think he did a lot of heavy lifting, A, he shouldn't have to do, and B, that he was put in the position to do. And I'm, like, they didn't -- they didn't do their job on the legislative side. I don't understand it.

GINGRICH: Right. But you know, this was a congressional failure, not a presidential failure. They reassured him up to the last couple days it was all fine, it was all going to be terrific. And remember, this is part one.


GINGRICH: Then it was going to go to the Senate and write a totally different bill. Then they're going to come to a conference and try to figure out how do you write a bill that can pass both the House and the Senate? I mean, if you haven't thought through all three steps, don't take the first step.

HANNITY: After eight years...

GINGRICH: And I'm very, very concerned about what they do next.

HANNITY: After eight years, how could you not be ready for this moment? I don't know. All right, Mr. Speaker, good to see you. Thank you.

When we come back, a new report suggesting that during the 2016 election, the FBI director, James Comey, wanted to expose that Russia was trying to meddle in the election, but it was the Obama administration that stopped him. So why would they do that? Laura Ingraham weighs in on this.

Also, the latest on our blockbuster in terms of surveillance, unmasking and the leaking of intelligence.

And the speaker of the House admitted earlier today that he's worried President Trump will reach out to Democrats to get a deal on health care if Republicans don't work out a solution. Laura Ingraham next. And Lou Dobbs.

ANITA VOGEL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: -- roll back the states bathroom bill, that log required folks to use the bathroom matching their birth certificate. Critics say it discriminates against transgender people while sports leagues and companies boycotted the state, costing North Carolina billions in lost revenue.

I'm Anita Vogel. Now let's take you straight back to "Hannity."

HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So a new report by Newsweek claims that, quote, "FBI Director James Comey attempted to go public as early as the summer of 2016 with information on Russia's campaign to influence the U.S. presidential collection, but it was the Obama administration officials that blocked him from doing so two sources with knowledge on the matter tell "Newsweek."

Plus earlier today on a CNBC hosted panel, Russian President Vladimir Putin himself said accusations of Russian interference in the election are, quote, "lies." Take a look.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: These are fictional, illusory, provocations, lies. All these are used for domestic American political agendas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You and the Russian government never tried to influence the outcome of the U.S. presidential election and that there will be no evidence found?

PUTIN: Ronald Reagan was debating about taxes and addressing the Americans said "Watch my lips." I said no. Watch my lips. No.


HANNITY: No, I don't take Putin at his word and nobody should, and his history was a little bit mixed up. It was actually president George H.W. Bush, not Reagan, who said read my lips. But the sentiment stands that Russia was not involved in the election as was discussed by James Comey and Clapper and Admiral Rogers.

We continue now with reaction. Joining us is editor in chief of Lifezette, Fox News contributor and nationally syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham. I don't really care what Putin says in that sense, but here is the problem. When you look at the narrative that has gone on all this time without any evidence, and then we learn as I was talking about in the first segment about surveillance of Trump at a very deep level, unmasking of Trump, and the president-elect, and those around him in his transition team, and then leaking intelligence which is a felony -- now we've got a really deep issue here that we do know happened, but the media ignores that part. Your reaction?

LAURA INGRAHAM, EDITOR IN CHIEF, LIFEZETTE.COM: Sean, I think the truth about this Comey revelation -- the big story, oh, Comey wanted to reveal this. I always like to think about the motive. We have to be our journalistic detective here. Who has a motive to release that information now? A lot of Democrats just want to keep the story going so they have to feed the media beast every so often on the Russia story which goes nowhere.

But who has motive here? I would argue that Comey could have motive, or someone close to Comey could have motive to release this, saying, look, I was a crusader for the truth. I wanted to get this information out before the voters went to the polls. Or, Sean, it could be someone high up in the Obama administration who was out at that meeting, Kerry or Loretta Lynch, who wants to burnish their reputation as someone who, look, we didn't want to influence the election with this. Look we were being very judicious in not putting out this information until October. We wanted to be very clear that everyone in the intelligence agencies were on board that Russia was actually trying to tamper with the election.

But what we know is that they are still leaking. The leaking never stops with these people. They are now releasing information about what happened with a Comey meeting with top Obama administration officials? This is helping no one except perhaps the Obama people.

HANNITY: What is your take on Evelyn Farkas? Remember, she is out now and she is with Hillary. And her original comment, which she walked back today in a major way, but my interpretation, it's very clear what she was talking about, surveillance, unmasking, and potentially leaking to our friends upon the Hill intelligence. What to make of those comments? And why is she still on TV? Where is her lawyer?


INGRAHAM: I think her initial comments are probably more accurate. It blew up in the last 24 hours. But to me it is becoming increasingly clear, and I think you agree, that there are a number of Trump transition people whose names were unmasked and released to various friends in the press. These individuals had nothing to do with the Russian investigation, zero. But they wanted to demonize these people and they wanted to, most of all, Sean, delegitimize the Trump conservative populist agenda. So they were going to delegitimize him on immigration, on tax reform, on health care by keeping this perpetual cloud over him, by his staff looking for information, that I think had nothing to do with Russia, to try to besmirch the reputation perhaps of staffers in the transition.

And I think when Devin Nunes and the Democrats cop up this information finally, I think we are going to have a very different view about all of this. And we're going to realize why the Democrats, frankly, are trying to demonize Devin Nunes.

HANNITY: Laura, great analysis as always, thank you.


HANNITY: We will have more with Laura, by the way, right after the break. And she will be joined by our own Lou Dobbs.

Also coming up, Speaker Ryan says he is worried the president will reach out to Democrats to get the deal done on health care if they don't come up with a solution in the Republican Party. We will get to that. And later Ari Fleischer and Austan Goolsbee will weigh in on the surveillance of the Trump campaign. Our top story, new developments, we have the very latest tonight on "Hannity."


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So earlier today the speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he is afraid that if the GOP doesn't come together, President Trump will reach out to Democrats to work on health care. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think it would have helped at the president were more involved in the policy itself?

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: He was deeply involved. That is the thing I was so pleased and impressed with. He really rolled up his sleeves. He is up to speed on the issue. He knows the circumstances.

What I worry about, Nora, is that if we don't do this, then he will just go work with Democrats to try and change Obamacare. And that is hardly a conservative thing. This is a can-do president. He's a business guy who wants to get things done. And I know that he wants to get things done with the Republican Congress, but if this Republican Congress allows the perfect to be the enemy of the good, I worry it will push the president into working with Democrats. He has been suggesting that as much.


HANNITY: Here with reaction, from the Fox Business Network, Lou Dobbs. We continue also with our friend Laura Ingraham is with us. Lou, I'll bring you in here. OK, the Democrats are going to lead him down the primrose path and finally stick a shiv in his back.

LOU DOBBS, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: The problem is it's getting crowded back there on his back. There are too many shivs in it.

You just heard the speaker. I mean, he is talking about President Trump being a businessman. He knows when his butt is being kissed, and I don't think Ryan could've been more transparent and obvious in doing so. The question becomes what has Ryan been telling this president? This was a bad bill. This was not the perfect being the enemy of the good. This was a disastrous piece of legislation from jump street.

HANNITY: Not one single House member saw the bill before it was rolled out.

DOBBS: And not one single amendment even though they were in regular order, not one -- this is a calamity, a legislative calamity, and it was led by Speaker Ryan. He's the same guy who apparently President Trump is going to have lead a tax form. Let me tell you, exponentially, passing legislation becomes far more difficult when you have a speaker who thinks he some sort of tin pot dictator.

HANNITY: Laura, what is your reaction to that?


HANNITY: If nobody sees the bill and you roll out the bill and no consensus is built, and then you say to the president, here, you go sell it. And everybody is trying their best to help. Wasn't a mistake made by not building the consensus before the release and having everyone agree before the release and bringing the moderates, Tuesday, Sunday, study group caucuses together?

INGRAHAM: Right. This was botched. This process was botched.


INGRAHAM: The communication -- I think by all parties. I think the White House was not as involved as it should have been. I think they allowed Paul Ryan to quarterback most of it. They came in kind of toward the end to try to repair things with the Freedom Caucus and then with the more moderate Republicans.

And I think it's ridiculous at this point to start pointing fingers at the Freedom Caucus. I don't understand Donald Trump's tweets at all about that at all today.

HANNITY: Where do you think that came from?

INGRAHAM: Let me just get this straight. I don't know, but just let me say this. Mark Meadows in October of 2016 when Paul Ryan was disinviting Donald Trump to his big fall fest event in Wisconsin, Mark Meadows stood by Donald Trump as did Dave Brat and all these other members of the Freedom Caucus. So I would be very careful if I were President Trump in alienating kind of the only people who were with you in October in the Republican hierarchy.

DOBBS: I think you're exactly right, but let's say it straightforwardly. Somebody has told the president of the United States something that is not true. There is no way in the world that this president should think based on fact, the empirical straightforward reality, that Mark Meadows, who is the chair of the Freedom Caucus -- that Jim Jordan, Congressman Jim Jordan, founder of the Freedom Caucus, is doing anything but serving the nation, their constituents, and their principles and the president's.

INGRAHAM: That is their job. That is their job.

DOBBS: And these are two, and Raul Labrador, these are three of the finest congressmen on the Hill.

INGRAHAM: They are good people.


INGRAHAM: Lou is right. And I think for Paul Ryan to come out and say, gee, we are afraid the president is going to work with Democrats. Well, whose fault is that? If you are quarterbacking all of this, then you have to be straight with the president about who is in your caucus. There are some more moderate folks. There are some more conservative folks. And Paul Ryan knew --

HANNITY: Everybody should have agreed before --

INGRAHAM: Yes, you have to lay the groundwork. You had seven years to do this, and you come in and you rush this thing and then, oh, it all fell apart and it is Mark Meadows fault? That just is ridiculous.

HANNITY: All right, guys, there is a fix. Start from the beginning. Build the coalition and get the job done for the American people and move on to the next legislative item.

DOBBS: Can I just add one thing very important, and that is there is going to be a train wreck, and it's not going to be at the White House. It's going to be when the president of the United States finds out he was misled and the facts were misrepresented. This president will not put up with it, and the boys and girls who play cute on this one are going to pay a hell of a price, and they should.

HANNITY: Thank you.

Coming up, Ari Fleischer and Austan Goolsbee will be here next as we continue a very busy night tonight here on HANNITY.



RYAN: He had told me that like a whistleblower type person had given him some information that was new, that spoke to the last administration and part of this investigation. They briefed me about it. I didn't know the content of it, only knew the nature of it and that he was going to brief others.


HANNITY: That was Speaker Paul Ryan earlier today talking about a possible source of Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and his report showing that the president and his team were in fact surveilled. Joining us now with reaction, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer and former Obama economic guru, adviser, Austan Goolsbee is with us. Austan, I assume you believe Americans should not be surveilled with a without a proper warrant.

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER OBAMA ECONOMIC ADVISER: Yes, I believe that we should follow the law.

HANNITY: And that if in the act of intelligence gathering, legitimate intelligence gatherings, that Americans are picked up, we should use the process known as minimization and we certainly shouldn't unmask their identity and we certainly shouldn't leak the intelligence which is a violation of the Espionage Act and a felony, do you agree with that?

GOOLSBEE: I sense that there is some trick question coming. I do not think that we should be committing felonies, no.

HANNITY: OK, so, Ari Fleischer, what are we learning here from John Solomon and James Rosen and Sara Carter and even Evelyn Farkas that in fact surveillance took place, unveiling took place, a felony was committed in the case of General Flynn, and they're talking about releasing intelligence for political purposes on NBC. What is your reaction to that?

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Sean, I will tell you what I am learning. Any factor, any development on this issue that has the remote possibility of supporting Donald Trump's point of view is illegitimately gathered, illegitimately disseminated, and it should never be shared. On the other side, any fact or development that opposes what Donald Trump is saying is properly gathered, ought to be disseminated by everybody, and the Democrats who do it should be praised.

This is the coverage of this issue. There are two sides to it, but the only side that gets hammered is anything supports what Donald Trump possibly has said, and I say that, Sean, as somebody who opposes President Trump's first tweets because he went too far when he blamed this on Barack Obama. But the process ever since then has been a lopsided, one-sided, unfair process.

HANNITY: But Donald Trump was surveilled. We believe a FISA warrant, there was surveillance before the election, and certainly Devin Nunes was saying in November, December, and January, surveillance took place, that leaks took place, unmasking took place, and we are talking about now there is no privacy for the American people. So my question I guess --

GOOLSBEE: I don't think that we know that.

HANNITY: Oh, we do.

GOOLSBEE: I think we should be more circumspect talking about what we know from classified information that has not been released.

HANNITY: For eight months, your liberal friends of the media have been talking about Russia and the Trump campaign collusion. Do you have any evidence at all? One piece of evidence --

GOOLSBEE: As I have said all along, Sean, I've been totally consistent on both the WikiLeaks side and on this side. I do not think that we should be encouraging people to leak anything illegally. And I don't think that we should --

HANNITY: But here's what we do know. The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, we also know that Sara Carter and John Solomon and Fox's own James Rosen have all said surveillance occurred.

GOOLSBEE: Wait a second --


HANNITY: And in the case of General Flynn, that intelligence was leaked which resulted in him losing his career, which is a felony.

GOOLSBEE: As I said, I have all along -- I think that if people are leaking information illegally, we should investigate that. That doesn't mean we should ignore if the Russians were involved in trying to --

HANNITY: I never said that.

GOOLSBEE: -- influence the U.S. election. We should also investigate that.

HANNITY: Air, James Clapper, James Comey, Admiral Rogers, and others have all said they've had no impact on our election results. That seems to never get covered by the media.

FLEISCHER: No, that is exactly right. And it's just such a leap of faith to say that the Trump people colluded with the Russians to do this, but that's what everybody wants to believe at least in the media and among the Democrats, where it's totally legitimate for them to say these anti-Trump things.

Look, Sean, at the news conference yesterday with the two Senate leaders of the intelligence committee, the Republican senator was asked because of his relationship to Donald Trump can he be a fair investigator since he was for Donald Trump? Nobody said to the lead Democrat from the press, nobody asked because you are against Donald Trump, can you be fair?

This whole media approach to this is so lopsided, suggesting only one side could be wrong, and that is Donald Trump's side. I want to have an investigation, but I have so little faith that the press is going to be the one who has any sense of fairness as they cover this issue.

HANNITY: Is there any evidence you've seen, Ari, at all whatsoever that shows any collusion after eight months of allegations?

FLEISCHER: No. Nobody has seen any evidence. In fact The New York Times who broke some of the stories about this has reported itself no evidence of collusion. But that's what an investigation is, and I do think with the Russians did in getting involved in that election was nefarious in and of itself. And that ought to be investigated.

HANNITY: We know that Obama tried to influence the elections in Israel and unseat Prime Minister Netanyahu. But I guess it only matters if it is against us, not our president doing it. I've got to roll. T., guys.

Coming up, we need your help, a very important "Question of the Day." Plus some of your voicemails you left for me on the hate -- in some cases -- "Hannity" hotline, straight ahead.


HANNITY: Welcome back to HANNITY. All right, time for our "Question of the Day." How do you think Republicans can come together finally and unify and get the job done and fulfill their promises. We want your comments. Go to, @SeanHannity on Twitter, let us know what you think

Time now, your messages, mean or nice, it doesn't matter, on the "Hannity" hotline. Watch.


WAYNE: Sean, as a retired Secret Service uniformed division member, I've noticed you wear our Secret Service flag pin. I just want to say that we appreciate it. Thank you for your support and keep up the good work.

MIKE: Hannity, the only way you can be a bigger idiot is if you gained 50 pounds.


HANNITY: I just lost 16 pounds. I'm very honored to wear the pin, by the way. We've had some very brave, courageous people serving the country in the Secret Service and all levels of law enforcement. I enjoy meeting these guys.

Have something to say, mean, nice, it doesn't matter, call the number on your screen, 877-225-8587.

But that's how the time we have left this evening. Thank you as always for being with us. We'll see you back here tomorrow night.

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