TRANSCRIPT

Dr. Gorka: Susan Rice controversy more than 'just smoke'

Deputy assistant to President Trump weighs in on 'Hannity'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 5, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to "Hannity." And tonight in just a few minutes, Jay Sekulow, Sara Carter, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Monica Crowley, Bill Bennett will all join us.

But first, from the very moment that President Trump put his hand on the bible and swore an oath to protect and defend this great country, the alt radical left destroy Trump media -- they have been working overtime to push their partisan agenda and destroy President Trump's presidency!

Now, the big question tonight, why did the Obama administration unmask members of the Trump transition team and maybe even the president-elect and candidate Trump himself? Why did they weaponize and politicize the use of raw intelligence? That is tonight's "Opening Monologue."

All right, this is now becoming a scandal of historic and monumental proportions. Now, the latest chapter of the partisan press unfolded on March the 4th following this tweet from President Trump. Quote, "Terrible. Just found out that Obama had (ph) 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!"

Now, that tweet sent the mainstream alt-left hate Trump media into an all- out frenzy. And for the next several days, instead of investigating the president's serious claim, well, they collectively mocked, they ridiculed, they bashed the president.

Watch them in all their, well, horrible coverage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

BRIAN STELTER, CNN, MARCH 4: Our conspiracy theory president is at it again. And whenever something like this happens, I wonder what are the president's sources of information? Where is he getting these ideas?

MARTHA RADDATZ, "THIS WEEK"/ABC, MARCH 5: The president of the United States is accusing the former president of wiretapping him.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECREATARY: I think that this is again something that if this happened, Martha --

RADDATZ: If, if, if, if!

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN, MARCH 16: We know the president of the United States has no facts, no facts to back up his startling allegation that the former president of the United States, President Obama, wiretapped him at Trump Tower during the campaign.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, AUTHOR, CNN, MARCH 6: Here's a man who's spent years of his life trying to convince America this guy is illegitimate, he is ill-informed, he's ill- conceived, and he tried to retroactively abort him from the womb of democracy.

DON LEMON, CNN: Why do his supporters make excuses for him?

DYSON: Well, because they're complicit in it, because he's not -- he's not the product of himself. If we're sticking to horror, Frankenstein is the name of the doctor, not the monster.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, MARCH 16: He's got virtually no support on Capitol Hill on this statement, Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: It's amazing to watch the White House continue to argue that the Earth is flat.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HANNITY: Well, it turns out the destroy Trump media -- they had no facts when the partisan press -- when they got bored scolding President Trump over his tweet, well, they went right back to the same old, tired conspiracy. Eight months now, "Trump colluded with the Russians to win the election," a baseless claim that the mainstream media has been out there with all these months without one single shred of evidence, not one! Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC, MARCH 22: I'll say it again. This Russian connection just keeps building, and every time it builds and expands, you have to wonder if Trump himself isn't worried about what's swirling around under the covers.

COOPER, MARCH 20: CNN has learned new details of the FBI investigation into potential links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

JEREMY BASH, FORMER DOD & CIA CHIEF OF STAFF, NBC NEWS, MARCH 5: Specifically, Willie, I think what it means is that a federal judge found that people in Trump's organization were colluding with the Russians.

DANIELLE PLETKA, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE, "MEET THE PRESS"/NBC, MARCH 5: Was there somebody inside the Trump campaign who was working with them, and did the president know about that, and were they successful?

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HANNITY: Eight months later, all innuendo, zero facts. Then on March 22nd, the House Intel Committee Chairman, Devin Nunes, he announced that he had credible evidence that President Trump and members of his transition team had been caught up in, quote, "incidental surveillance" where their names were, in fact, also unmasked. Now, Nunes also revealed this intel was shared among high-level Obama administration officials.

So do you think the media went out and investigated that serious claim? Do you think they fairly reported these shocking new revelations? Of course not. They didn't. And as you can probably guess, the media reacted by besmirching and smearing and character assassination against Congressman Nunes. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC, MARCH 28: Who decided that Devin Nunes was qualified to be the House Intel chair? Because from everybody that I've spoken to who have worked with him, Republicans, Democrats, they say he is not up to that task.

LEMON, CNN, MARCH 22: As someone who is trying to lead a non-partisan investigation, it made him look like a shill for the White House.

MATTHEWS, MSNBC, MARCH 28: The chairman of your committee sneaks down there in the evening -- he says weekly, he goes down there -- comes out and then goes back down there the next morning with a report that he got from the White House. Does that sound like a masquerade to you?

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HANNITY: Pretty unbelievable. And while the alt-left destroy Trump propaganda media was busy smearing anyone and everyone who didn't echo their biased agenda, well, we did have real journalists from the Fox News Channel right here, Circa News, Bloomberg who were actually doing their jobs. And they reported that Susan Rice called for the unmasking of members of the Trump transition team.

And yesterday, Susan Rice didn't even deny it. But watch out, Don Lemon, Van Jones, the "Clinton News Network," they want you to think these developments are all just a big distraction. They're back to the conspiracy. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

LEMON, CNN, APRIL 4: You think that this is a diversion from this Russia story because so far, we've seen no evidence that she's done anything improper, and it seems like an effort to tar and feather her to try to make a lie the truth, the original tweet by the president.

VAN JONES, CNN: This is much ado about nathan. I mean, not even nothin'. You've got to go hood and say much to do about absolutely nathan.

LEMON: Nothin'.

JONES: Listen, Susan Rice is being tarred, feathered and burned alive for doing her job in a good way.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HANNITY: Unmasking Americans, political opponents, a transition team -- that's not her job. And then over there at MSNBC, remember Chris "thrill up his own leg" Matthews and others? Well, they took the low road and once again accused Republicans of being racist and sexist for targeting Susan Rice. This is insanity we're watching! Look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MSNBC, APRIL 4)

SIMON MARKS, PRESIDENT, FEATURE STORY NEWS: By looking for a pinata, they found one in Susan Rice. I do think...

MATTHEWS: Notice this is always a female? Just a thought.

MARKS: That's also true.

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Basically, they're defaming her without any reason to do so because she's a woman, maybe because as a black woman, maybe because they didn't like her during Benghazi.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HANNITY: Oh, you don't like the facts, just claim racism and sexism. Now, President Trump, he's not letting the media define this narrative. And earlier today, he said, quote, "It's such an important story for our country and the world. It's one of the big stories of our time."

So here's the challenge. Will the partisan destroy press media treat the story with the importance it deserves? Will they continue to weaponize and politicize national intelligence, reveal the names of innocent Americans when there is no warrant to spy on them? Will they ever get to the bottom of who classed -- who released and classified (sic) information and intel about Michael Flynn? Will the media -- how's this? -- will they ever apologize for ridiculing President Trump over his surveillance claims now that he is proven right?

My message is clear. ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, all of the -- their friends at the national print media, The New York Times, Washington Post -- it's time to realize that your level of partisanship and hatred for the president has now gotten away and totally clouded your judgment in what is now one of the biggest scandals in American history!

Now, maybe you do something right for once. Maybe admit you're biased. Maybe apologize to the American people. Maybe apologize to the president because your veil of unbiased journalism is a sham!

Don't hold your breath. I'm not expecting the apologies. Joining -- or the corrections.

Joining us now from the American Center for Law and Justice, Jay Sekulow, from Circa News, Sara Carter. Sara, anything that I said wrong here?

SARA CARTER, CIRCANEWS.COM: No. I mean, I think it's devastating, Sean. As a journalist, I mean, my job is to be a watchdog and to investigate and to be a watchdog on the government and on agencies and on the -- you know, with regard to the military, with regard to the Justice Department. And it's also to be a voice for the voiceless. It's not to be partisan. And what we've seen here with our investigation should raise alarm and should continue -- we should continue these investigations.

It's not fair to the American people when they are not being served by the media. We're supposed to be the fourth estate. We're supposed to be part of those checks and balances. And when we don't do that, we fail our own system and we fail the American people!

HANNITY: Jay, two weeks ago, we know that Susan Rice -- I don't know anything about this. But then she admitted to the unmasking. Why -- can you think of any circumstances why Susan Rice, national security adviser, would need to unmask a Trump transition team member or a candidate or a part of the candidacy team of Donald Trump?

JAY SEKULOW, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE: Well, the reason is politics. I mean, and whatever she says -- you know, her denials fall flat, number one. I mean, who's going to believe Susan Rice? I said yesterday she's the liar chief here. I mean, so if you look at just the facts that we know and know about the -- she's acknowledged now the unmasking, that she was the principal that authorized and asked for the unmasking. You ask yourself the timing of this is not just bizarre, it's the real evidence!

So this was -- other than politics, what could this possibly be, because between then and now, nothing has happened. No information has gotten out or that any other intelligence agency has said that there's been any collusion between the Trump campaign, Trump campaign officials and the Russians. In fact, to the contrary.

So the president was right! He used the phrase -- and he undersold it. He said, you know, wiretaps, which is kind of the vernacular of surveillance. It was much more than wiretaps evidently, it was electronic surveillance.

And Sean, I just want to call it what it is. They were spying on him and his incoming administration. That's what it appears to be. And the media ignoring this as if it does not exist or dismissing it because there's nothing that Susan Rice could possibly have done that's wrong -- she would not pass the character witness test if you were putting her up in a trial.

HANNITY: Oh, and we got to remember...

SEKULOW: I mean, you bring out the parade of horribles for her.

HANNITY: She lied two weeks ago, and we've got it on tape, and she totally contradicted herself yesterday. By the way, just like she lied on five Sunday shows when she said a spontaneous demonstration where the demonstrators just happened to have mortars and RPGs in their back pocket at the time, so they decided to take them out just because they felt like it.

But she only admits to the unmasking, Sara. She doesn't admit to leaking the intelligence. That is directly related to your reporting because since 2011, they relaxed the rules as it relates to unmasking. So really, it made it easier to spy and look at the names of those people that were picked up through incidental intelligence that we don't have warrants on. Right or wrong?

CARTER: And this is -- right. And this is why it is so important as a journalist that I continue to investigate this. And this is why it's so important that other news agencies continue and begin to investigate this because one of the things we have to figure out, was our intelligence weaponized? Was this part of a political espionage?

And you know, Sean, she may not get charged with anything. And that's absolutely true because the rules were so relaxed -- and people have to understand this. The rules were so relaxed that all she had to do was make that request to the NSA and say, Due to national security matters, I need to see this information. And that was handed to her.

HANNITY: We'll pick it up with you, Jay, when we get back. More with Sara and Jay right after the break. We're going to continue this investigation. We'll do the job the mainstream media will not do, which is really sad.

And also later tonight...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF.: Well, you know, it certainly is a theory in search of a villain. And for whatever reason, the hard right has always chosen Susan Rice to be their villain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Wow. Pathetically, Congressman Adam Schiff defending Susan Rice, saying Republicans have already painted her as, quote, "a villain." Well, now, should Schiff recuse himself from the Russia investigation? Up next, we'll get reaction from Monica Crowley, Bill Bennett. And also later tonight, Dr. Sebastian Gorka. He'll weigh in on the bombshell report that Susan Rice, in fact, was behind the unmasking of Trump officials. We'll do their job right here on "Hannity."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity" as we continue to ask the questions the mainstream media will not ask. Did President Obama, members of his administration knowingly surveil President Trump and members of his transition team and incoming opposition party? We continue with Jay Sekulow and Sara Carter.

All right, Jay, we left off with you. The answer is obviously yes. Let's talk about the legal aspects from your perspective.

SEKULOW: You know, with regard to Susan Rice, Sean (INAUDIBLE) legal thing, I would look at the conspiracy statute under the Espionage Act, 793F, because it makes it a felony if you conspire with someone. So the fact that she did not, possibly, do the actual release, she did the unmasking, but she did not put in place, so to speak -- she didn't release the -- leaked the information to the press and elsewhere, that's not the end of the story.

The question is, number one, but for Susan Rice's actions, these leaks would not have happened. That's number one. Number two, did individuals she speak (ph) with or have contact with or dealt with -- did they put in place a series of events that led to the leaking and that Susan Rice was fully aware of?

I would start looking at the Espionage Act, the conspiracy, of course. You know, leaking confidential information is a felony, as well. But this is a -- this is the typical situation a prosecutor would look at and say, Is there a conspiracy of multiple people engaged in action which resulted in the crime? Each individual person could have had their share of it. They didn't have to do all...

HANNITY: But where is the...

SEKULOW: ... of it to be guilty of a conspiracy.

HANNITY: Where is the FBI director? Remember, he would -- he did confirm that they were looking into other issues. But when directly confronted about the leaking in this issue, he wouldn't confirm or deny anything. I mean, in my opinion, shouldn't a grand jury be convened by now? And certainly a lot of these people now need to be brought before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees put under oath?

SEKULOW: Well, I hope the grand jury is already empaneled, number one. I don't know that, but I would hope that's the case. So that's clear that a grand jury should be empaneled and the FBI should do a real investigation.

Look, James Comey engages in selective disclosure of his activities. I mean, that's clear. He has politicized the FBI. So I think it's great that the committees, the Intelligence Committees do their job, which is to investigate this. I suspect that Susan Rice...

HANNITY: All right...

SEKULOW: ... you could already hear it, she may take the privileges, the 5th Amendment, executive privilege. She's good to try to do that. She's not going to want to talk about this.

HANNITY: Well, Evelyn Farkas is another one. She's going to definitely be brought before those committees, in my opinion. I would be shocked if she wasn't.

All right, Sara, because you've been sort of leading the way nationally on the investigative side of all this, where do you see this going next? Is it deeper than just unmasking the Trump people? Like, for example, we had the Obama administration using the IRS to go after conservatives. Is there more to this story do you think's going to unfold here?

CARTER: I actually do, Sean. And I think this goes right down to the civil liberties of Americans. I think that's why this is such an important topic and a reason why the House and Senate need to investigate.

And remember, Director Comey is investigating the Russian hacking of the U.S. election, and that encompasses everything else. And a lot of those FISA intercepts with Michael Flynn came from that side.

But if we look at what happened with Susan Rice, I certainly think we need to know what she was looking at, why she was looking at it. And she's not in charge of any investigation, Sean. That is not her purview. That is not her job. She is more the managerial person, the national security adviser. So why was she looking at this? And why was she requesting all these unmaskings?

HANNITY: And, by the way, we'll know if she asked for unmasking in other situations because of the way they record that, right?

SEKULOW: Right, the logs.

CARTER: Absolutely. We will know exactly from that log how many times she requested unmasking. Is it common? From what I have been told from my sources...

HANNITY: It's not!

CARTER: ... it is very uncommon for the NSA, for the national security adviser, to request these enormous amounts of unmaskings.

HANNITY: This is becoming, I think, one of the biggest political scandals...

SEKULOW: Oh, yes.

HANNITY: ... in the history of this country. And the fact that the media is ignoring it is -- any credibility that maybe they had after being discovered having colluded with Hillary in the last campaign will be totally shot and gone here.

I thank both of you for being fair and keeping your -- your foot on the gas and unfolding, you know, one layer of an onion at a time here. But it seems to be a very clear picture, the weaponization and politicalization (sic) of our intelligence community, which is a danger for every single American. So thank you both for what you're doing.

SEKULOW: Thank you, Sean.

CARTER: Thank you.

All right, up next tonight right here on this busy "Hannity"...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHIFF: Well, you know, it certainly is a theory in search of a villain, and for whatever reason, the hard right has always chosen Susan Rice to be their villain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right, Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking member on the House Intel Committee -- he is openly defending Susan Rice! Pretty unbelievable. She lied again! Monica Crowley, Bill Bennett -- they'll join us next to weigh in on that lunacy.

Also, later tonight, President Trump said Susan Rice may have committed a crime. We'll ask Dr. Sebastian Gorka about that and reaction from (sic) much more straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." So the left went nuts after the House Intel Committee chairman, Devin Nunes, did his job by revealing that the Trump transition team was, in fact, surveilled. But we have explosive tape of the ranking Democrat on that committee, Congressman Adam Schiff, openly showing his bias. Now, tonight, we are asking, should Schiff recuse himself from the Russia investigation? And that's tonight's mini monologue.

All right, so as we explained earlier tonight, the alt left propaganda destroy Trump media -- they are doing their best to smear and slander and besmirch Congressman Devin Nunes. Now, it is Congressman Adam Schiff who is openly showing bias in this case. Listen to what he said last night defending Susan Rice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHIFF: Well, you know, it certainly is a theory in search of a villain, and for whatever reason, the hard right has always chosen Susan Rice to be their villain. I think you heard some snippets about that today.

I was dragooned into service on the Benghazi select committee for two years. That committee's purpose was to take down Hillary Clinton's numbers, but one of the central figures the Republicans went after and after and after was Susan Rice. And after two years, they could find nothing that Rice did wrong. In fact, the only thing that Susan Rice did was go on Sunday morning shows and repeat what the intelligence committee (sic) best assessment of the early hours of Benghazi was.

That was consistent with what we were hearing, what Susan Rice was hearing. And that's all they could find, which was perfectly appropriate on her part. So what it is they have about Susan Rice they like to go after her, I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Oh, Republicans made her into a villain. Excuse me. Susan Rice did lie about the unmasking two weeks ago on PBS. She said she knew nothing about it, and then yesterday, she admitted she knew everything about it. And she also lied back in 2012 on the five Sunday shows after the Benghazi terror attack.

There's no need for the Republicans to have to paint her as anything. She's a known liar! But instead of focusing on Rice's outright lies on the Trump surveillance, Schiff is now changing the subject.

Now, maybe it's time for him, Adam Schiff, to recuse himself from this Russia investigation. So tonight we asked Congressman Schiff to be a guest on this program. He hasn't responded yet. Shocking.

Here with reaction, conservative commentator Monica Crowley and FOX News contributor, the host of the Bill Bennett podcast, Bill Bennett.

Monica, it seems like he already made his conclusion.

MONICA CROWLEY, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Well, don't you think it's curious, Sean, that Chairman Nunes saw the documents on March 22nd. He then went to brief the Republican leadership, including Speaker Ryan, and so on. We didn't get any leaks from him on this. The first time we got a leak about Susan Rice or about any of this came this Monday in the initial Bloomberg report, right?

HANNITY: Right.

CROWLEY: What happened in the interim? Oh, that's right, Adam Schiff got briefed on the documents the Friday before. Then whammo! You know why? Because when he saw what was in those documents, and we don't know, but he obviously saw something serious...

HANNITY: Well, we know unmasking.

CROWLEY: ... enough to basically silence him. He went to Nancy Pelosi and said,, I saw something here. Now, again, we don't know what it was, but he ran to his leader in the House, and then, boom, you get the leak about Susan Rice! That is not a coincidence here.

HANNITY: Let me...

CROWLEY: Adam Schiff has some serious issues. He knows that the Democrats...

HANNITY: He needs to go.

CROWLEY: ... have some serious issues! He knows that the Democrats --

HANNITY: He needs to go. He is too partisan.

CROWLEY: And he's been calling for recusals, right, on the part of the Republicans.

HANNITY: It's time for him to go. Bill Bennett, thoughts?

BILL BENNETT, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I don't know if he goes. He's going to be replaced by Jim Himes or Jackie Speier or Castro. Not partisans? They'll be partisans. By the way, one person who may have to recuse himself, I don't know if you heard this afternoon, Dustin Johnson fell down a flight of stairs, number one seed for the masters. Anyway, that aside.

On a serious point, I know you follow this stuff.

HANNITY: I do. I do.

BENNETT: He started boiling this water, Schiff, and now the water is getting hot and he's in the pot. I see no reason to take them out of the pot.

HANNITY: So you want to keep him in.

BENNETT: Yes, you bet. He has gone dark and he's gotten silent. I want to see his evidence, because I think it will his embarrassment.

HANNITY: We know that she lied about Benghazi. What he said is just false. The initial narrative, they knew within minutes and hours that it was a terrorist attack, and she said that Sunday that this was a spontaneous demonstration. With all due respect, I don't know spontaneous demonstrators that just happen to carry in their back pocket mortars and RPGs. So that never made sense, Dr. Bennett.

BENNETT: It's lies, it's misrepresentation. But look at the total self- destruction of the media here during the Trump campaign and then now. I could not believe CNN, you played a lot of it, saying there is FOX over there. Don't look at FOX. No what looked cute do, don't look at FOX. It's unbelievable what's happening. But the next person up will do the same thing.

I think as the facts come forward, Sean, he should to be grilled, he should be interviewed. If he recuses himself, he disappears. Don't let him disappear. Keep him in the spotlight. I have confidence that we are right on this one.

CROWLEY: Yes, and I agree with Bill on this. And there's a reason why Congressman Schiff is out there trying to deflect from the real story. What I'm hearing is that this case is moving toward a special counsel on a Watergate level scale. And the reason is because the congressional investigators can't get to the actual intelligence documents. The intelligence community, the agencies have locked the door on the investigators in terms of getting to the bottom of all of this.

The FBI, which is also running a parallel investigation, also may in fact be compromised. They may be involved in this matter. Why? Because Director Comay came out and said that they had been investigated in the Trump campaign and the Trump folks since July. They can't be running an investigation without surveillance, right? So the FBI may in fact be caught up in this matter as well, meaning that the Republicans may in fact suggest the idea of a special counsel. Everybody hates the idea and it's a terrible solution, but it may be the only one.

HANNITY: Monica, listen to what you're saying, that our intelligence community has been weaponized and politicized, and the FBI too? I agree with you.

CROWLEY: We don't have the answers, and it's early days. But it seems as if the movement, and this will be a Republican decision or at least a Republican encouragement toward a special counsel because the two investigative bodies right now, Congress and the FBI, may not to be able to get to the story and to the truth of what's going on.

HANNITY: We have 15 seconds. Bill Bennett you have the last word, sir.

BENNETT: Justin Brandeis said sunlight is the best disinfectant. More sunlight. Thank God we have a Republican president, Senate, and House. Courage is Devin Nunes' strong suit. Let's see it in Senator Burr as well. We'll get to the bottom of this if we put the right light on this.

HANNITY: If we put the light on this, I say people will be going to jail. Thank you both for being with us.

And up next, Susan Rice blatantly lied to you, the American people, two weeks ago by saying that she had no knowledge, none, of the unmasking of the Trump transition team members. Up next, Dr. Sebastian Gorka debunks that lie. And then later, where's President Obama? Why isn't he going out there defending Susan Rice? Michelle Fields, Lisa Boothe, they weigh in as well tonight on "Hannity."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- asking about the allegations leveled today by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes that Trump transition officials including the president may have been swept up in surveillance of foreigners at the end of the Obama administration.

SUSAN RICE, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: That was Susan Rice only two weeks ago when she told PBS she knew nothing about the surveillance of the Trump transition team and members and the president-elect. In a shocking turn of events multiple sources now confirming that Susan Rice did know about the surveillance and was in fact responsible for the unmasking of Trump officials.

Earlier today when asked by The New York Times if he thought Susan Rice had committed a crime, the president responded, quote, "Do I think? Yes, I think."

Joining us now with reaction, deputy assistant to the president, Dr. Sebastian Gorka. All right, you know a thing or two about intelligence but you also know a thing or two about if somebody two weeks ago, "I don't know anything about this," and then it's revealed she is doing the unmasking, she's got herself a huge credibility problem. But beyond that, what is she saying here by admitting unmasking?

DR. SEBASTIAN GORKA, AUTHOR, "DEFEATING JIHAD": I think, Sean, you've accurately identified how the story is falling apart. If you compare what she said two weeks ago, if you compare just the difference in her statements in the last 36 hours, there's clearly something that is not being openly discussed or disclosed here. If you follow the discussions, the writing of people like Andy McCarthy and others, there's the whole issue of FISA without FISA. So the potential for politically motivated use of the intelligence community to spy on individuals without the adequate warrants being obtained or the adequate permissions being followed and simply using the authority she had as national security advisor to unmask individuals, and then add to it eight days before the inauguration saying we're going to just be able to share this incredibly sensitive signals intelligence intercepts with thousands of more people across government. You put all the pieces together, and you see it's not just smoke. There's actually flames behind the smoke.

HANNITY: What you are describing is the weaponizing, if you will, the politicizing of our intelligence agencies, and it would have to have been done by the top people. As you know, I have deep respect for those in intelligence. They put the lies on the line for us regularly. Their job is imperative in a world that has this much evil in it. But if you are going to use raw intelligence and unmask people that are political opponents, I mean, to me this sounds like the beginning of a police state. Am I overstating that?

GORKA: It's at least a banana republic. The weaponization of the security services is what you expect in a banana republic and a police state, or an authoritarian state.

And let's look at one more piece of evidence. These individuals are politically appointed. I am politically appointed. I serve as a commissioned officer of the president, so did she. So we understand that. But you're supposed to be a professional. I challenge your viewers right now to go to her Twitter feed and read her tweets after January the 20th and read her colleagues Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, K-a-h-l. You will see who these people really are. The mask was taken off.

Just three weekends ago Colin Kahl used the word "purge" with regards to people like myself and Steve Bannon and the other people in the White House who they think should not be there. "Purging" is the kind of word that Maoists use. That's the kind of word that was used to get rid of people that you politically disagree with perhaps even in violent ways. So these people have unmasked themselves, Sean.

HANNITY: But Dr. Gorka, it should be the type of thing, as I understand, to even have access to this information, this process of unmasking. That it is in a secure area, that you are escorted in, that every single bit of the raw intelligence that you are looking at should be recorded, all of this should be available to the American people. Why is it not being released in the sense that we know -- did she only asked for the unmasking of either candidate Trump, president-elect Trump, the transition team, members of his cabinet? Did they only act in this case, which would prove that it's all politicized and weaponized?

GORKA: Look, the president has been explicit here, Sean. We're going to allow the mandated authorities, the congressional committees to do their work. We're not going to do witch hunts. That's what the left radical, progressive political elite does with their enemies. So we're going to let the system deal with this as it should.

But again, your guests, I listen to your radio show as I was coming in to the show today. You had a former operative talk about how it's not rocket science to engineer a network analysis of telephone calls, who is calling who. If you want to attack me or Steve Bannon or Steve Miller or Kellyanne Conway, you say, oh, they regularly call their nephew in Canada. That's a foreigner. I don't need the same kind of intelligence or authorities to intercept a foreign call. And then you start to find a way to unmask all of these conversations so that you can make political profit.

That's a very, very tenable theory, and that's the kind of thing we have to find out if it was really happening, because if that's the case, that is weaponizing intelligence for political purposes against your other party.

HANNITY: And by its very definition, sir, you are describing something that is beyond Watergate on steroids and human growth hormone.

GORKA: Losing 14 minutes of audiotape in comparison to this is a little spat in the sandbox in the kindergarten.

HANNITY: Wow. Thank you, Dr. Gorka. And where is the mainstream media?

Coming up, where is President Obama? Why isn't he putting out a statement defending Susan Rice? This controversy is not going away. What did he know? When did he know what? Up next, we'll get reaction from Michelle Fields, Lisa Boothe, as "Hannity" continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So Susan Rice is once again in hot water. Nothing new for the former Obama national security advisor who became infamous in 2012 for blatantly lying about the Benghazi attacks on five Sunday morning shows. Now that one of his top officials is once again fending off claims of impropriety, where's President Obama? Why isn't he defending his former national security advisor?

We recently actually reached out to former president Obama to join us on this program, but, surprise, surprise, he declined the invitation. Joining us with reaction, FOX News contributor Lisa Boothe and conservative author, commentator, Michelle Fields. Michelle, I get that Obama is not good to comment on it, I understand. But from the perspective of what Susan Rice said two weeks ago, knowing she lied on those five Sunday shows, why would anyone take anything she says at this point seriously?

MICHELLE FIELDS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Look, it's very suspicious that she went on PBS and said that the unmasking never happened. And it's also suspicious the leaking of the Trump official names that were unmasked. However, there is no one that's suggesting other than the president that what she did was illegal. Is it not illegal as of yet. I think that right now we don't have all of the information that we need, and so I think that's why he's probably not coming out there. Obama is probably rejoining his time retiring. He's out on the beach, vacationing, he doesn't want to get involved in this.

HANNITY: Sara Carter did point out they did relax these rules as it relates to unmasking back in 2011. So I think it Susan Rice was actually fairly clever in what she said, Lisa, when she said I unmasked them but I didn't leak the information. Go ahead.

LISA BOOTHE, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Yes, and Sean, I think that context is really important, that President Obama and the Obama administration did change those rules so that information could be more widely and easily disseminated across the government. But Sean, it is a big problem if the Obama administration essentially weaponized U.S. intelligence to spy on a political opponent. That's what seems to be shaping up here. And if that's in fact what happened, we have big problems on our hands here.

This is an administration that has problems with the truth. It's not just suspicious. Susan Rice has already discredited herself in a matter of weeks just since March 22nd alone. This is an administration that also lied --

(CROSSTALK)

BOOTHE: No it's not. Hold on

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Hold on one second. I love you both. One at a time. Michelle, you want to respond. Go ahead.

FIELDS: I think that is a serious charge. She's suggesting that President Obama was spying on a political opponent. What was happening was lawful surveillance of foreign nationals, and unfortunately Americans were swept up into it. The idea that he is spying on political opponents -- those are the facts right now.

BOOTHE: That's actually not the facts. No, it's not. It's actually been reported that there was information that she was looking at that had nothing to do with Russia or at the FBI investigation.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Guys, nobody can hear you.

Here's what Sara Carter, who has been really on top of this. I've also interviewed a lot of people within the intelligence community and people with CIA backgrounds, and they all tell me the same thing. Raw intel is so sensitive and not corroborated. Remember, to surveill an American citizen you need a warrant. So if we incidentally in the process of the NSA doing their job they pick up an American, there's a process called minimization where you don't reveal who the American is and you minimize what information they are saying unless they are reporting a crime of some kind. And usually the standard operating procedure, Michelle, is that you write "an American," you don't reveal their information. Why is she seeking a reveal, unmask just on Trump people. That doesn't seem odd to you?

FIELDS: I do think it probably is odd at the national security advisor if you're getting a report that's talking about foreign officials talking about White House officials who are going to be coming into the White House. Therefore she may have needed to unmask more information to understand the report more clearly. But we don't know. Like I said, we don't have enough information to figure out whether this was political. It's possible that it was.

HANNITY: Let's play a word game here. What other reason would there be that she is looking for the unmasking only as it relates to the Trump transition and maybe candidate Trump? What other possible reason could there be --

FIELDS: If there is a report coming in of a foreign national talking about -- we don't know the context of these reports, that's what I'm saying.

BOOTHE: What's been reported, Sean, is the fact that a lot of this information had little to do with national security interests. That's the question here is the motivation behind this. If, in fact, she was doing this, this absolutely has problems. Sean, we already know for a fact that the Obama administration has abused this sort of spying intel already on James Rosen as well as the Associated Press. So there's already been instances of abuse by the Obama administration.

HANNITY: There's more than that, too, because we know that the IRS was used as a weapon against conservative groups leading up to the 2012 election to kind of suppress their effectiveness. But what's so serious about this is if we take this to its conclusion, and now that we know she unmasked these people and then we know she lied about it, what was she trying to hide two weeks ago, Michelle?

FIELDS: It absolutely is suspicious, and I absolute believe that there should be an independent commission that investigates this. But as of right now we don't know if she committed a crime. It's possible. It does look suspicious. Why would you deny it a few weeks ago? But as of right now, the facts don't say, yes, she indeed committed a crime.

BOOTHE: Nobody yet is really saying that she --

FIELDS: The president is saying that.

BOOTHE: The only crime that we know for fact that happened is the legal leak of classified information.

HANNITY: My fear is weaponizing and politicizing intelligence, that is a very scary scenario for anybody, and I think we all agree in the rights to privacy for individuals. All right, guys, good debate tonight, thank you.

When we come back, we need your help. A very important "Question of the Day." Plus those very kind messages you've all been leaving for me on the "Hannity" hotline, that's straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: Time for our "Question of the Day." Do you think Representative Adam Schiff should recuse himself from the Russian investigation? Obviously I believe he should. Go to Facebook.com/SeanHannity, @SeanHannity on Twitter. We always want to know what you think.

Now it is time to play the messages, love or hate, that you left for me on the "Hannity" hotline.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUDDY: I'm proud to be an American and I'm proud to say that Neil Gorsuch should be on the Supreme Court bench.

BARRY: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the Republicans won everything this last cycle, so why are we running around acting like we don't want to hurt nobody's feelings or step on toes? I expect -- no, I demand them to carry out everything on their agenda and without regard to anything a Democrat says or a liberal says. This is ridiculous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Obama used to say it all the time. "We won, you lost." OK, now the Democrats lost.

Anyway, have something you want to say to me, nice mean, doesn't matter? Call that number on the screen, 877-225-8587.

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

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