TRANSCRIPT

Gingrich: Anybody willing to stand up for Trump is a target; Malkin blasts effort to stifle conservative speech

On 'Hannity,' the former House speaker says liberals are unhinged

 

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 24, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to "Hannity." Tonight, and we are gearing up for a very busy news week for President Trump as he now approaches his 100th day in office. Newt Gingrich, Michelle Malkin, Monica Crowley, Geraldo Rivera -- they'll all join us in a few minutes.

But first, I want to start with the war on freedom of expression today in America and the attempts by liberal fascists to silence conservative voices. That is tonight's very important "Opening Monologue."

I have to start by tonight addressing a well-orchestrated effort by the intolerant left in this country that is designed to silence every conservative voice and by any means necessary.

Now, I'm speaking out tonight so that you, our audience, will understand what is really happening here and what is really at stake when it comes to freedom of speech in this country. Now, these tactics are right out of Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" playbook.

Now, I've worked for radio for 30 years. I've been right here at the Fox News Channel for 21 and a half years -- I'm very proud of that. And during this time, there's always been efforts and attempts to smear and slander and besmirch me and other conservatives, but it has never been as intense and completely insane as it is right now.

Now, I want you to understand, every single minute, every single second I am on the air, radio, TV, there's somebody -- likely being paid -- recording and monitoring every single word that comes out of my mouth all in the hopes that I may say something they can twist and distort and use against me and try and destroy my reputation to get my conservative voice off the air.

Now, it's only gotten worse in the age of President Trump. Now, it's no secret I've been a supporter of the president, and of course, his policies. And quite simply, these liberal fascists -- they can't stand conservative voices. Now, for those of you who don't know me well, I have a pretty thick skin. I call out people, I say things, I give my point of view four hours a day, and for all these years, well, there has been endless, unrelenting attacks against me.

But now in light of recent events, I've come to the conclusion I can no longer remain silent and I can no longer let the left's slander against me slide. So from now on -- and I want you to be informed of what I'm doing and why I'm doing it -- if there's any person, any group, any organization, any media outlet that slanders, lies about me, besmirches me or my character, I'm going to be calling them out because at this point, enough is not. I have hired a team of some of the best attorneys in this country to work with me and on my behalf.

Now, the breaking point for me came this weekend when an individual who for over a decade has made the most outrageous, unfair, untrue allegations against me has now resurfaced by making ridiculous and completely untrue claims. Now, this person went on a radio show on Friday and made more unfounded accusations against me which this person is now, interestingly, recanting after I made my statement, but it was only after I responded to these baseless and false smears.

This is not the first time I've had to deal with this individual. Now, this person has repeatedly spread lies about me. I'll give you an example: Back in 2010, remember I was raising money for the Freedom Alliance, a charity that offers college scholarships to the children of killed veterans, severely injured veterans and their families. And in a blog post, the individual falsely accused me and members of the charity of skimming and stealing money that was donated. This, of course, was easily proven false. And in spite of the fact that we proved each and every single allegation to be untrue and inaccurate at the time, I was never given an apology. There is no correction that was issued.

Now this person has made yet another slanderous accusation. And in response, I released this statement, which now the press has picked up and I'll read it for you:

"Let me be clear: The comments about me on a radio show this week by this individual are 100 percent false and a complete fabrication. This individual is a serial harasser who has been lying about me for well over a decade. The individual has a history of making provably false statements against me in an effort to slander, smear, besmirch my reputation. The individual has not just slandered me over the years but also many people who this individual disagrees with. This individual desperately seeks attention by any means necessary, including making unfounded personal attacks and using indefensible and outrageous political rhetoric. My patience with this individual is over. I have retained a team of some of the finest and toughest lawyers in the country who are now in the process of laying out the legal course of action we will be taking against this individual. Now, in this fiercely divided and vindictive political climate, I will no longer allow slander and lies about me to go unchallenged, as I see this now to be a coordinated effort afoot to now silence those with conservative views. I will fight every single lie about me by any and all legal means available to me as an American."

Now, I want you to know, my audience, to understand the importance of what is happening here. This is not about Sean Hannity. This is not about one person. There is now a coordinated attempt to silence the voice of every outspoken conservative in this country. If we don't stop it right now, there won't be any conservative voices on radio and television left.

Now, I'm not the only one that these liberal fascists routinely target. Like me, conservatives are monitored on radio and TV, every word they say, and contrary to the alt-radical left stated position, they're so open-minded liberals. Not true. Liberal fascism is alive and well in America today. Their goal is simple: They want to shut up, shut down, completely silence all conservative voices by any means necessary.

Here's the difference: Unlike the left, I don't have any problem with what the other side says. If you want to listen to liberals on radio or TV, read their articles, follow them on social media, go for it. Now, I'll call them out for their bias. I'll explain why they're wrong. I'll debate them. But I'll never, ever say they should be silenced. And I won't support boycotts to attack their advertisers, a roundabout way of silencing them.

So let me be clear tonight: Everyone who has publicly supported President Trump is a target. This is very political. We have seen repeatedly that the left knows no limits in these efforts. They have gone after and attacked the first lady. They have attacked members of the president's family, every White House adviser. They've even attacked his daughter and his 10-year-old son. Now, ultimately, their goal is to cause as much collateral damage as they can to anybody that supports the president. They have tried to undermine the outcome of this election since November 9.

Please note, this isn't about me. This is about the left concocting boycotts all in an attempt to silence prominent conservative voices. If we don't take a stand now, if we allow this to happen now, I am telling you America as we know it -- freedom of speech as we know it -- is over. Let's stop the boycotts. Let's stop silencing opposition voices. Let all Americans make their own decisions.

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

You know, I first interviewed you I think it was in 1990. That's the first time -- in a Holiday Inn in Decatur, Alabama. And you were giving a speech and I was a local radio guy in Huntsville, Alabama.

I've had a target on my back since I've spoken out as a conservative. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this. And to me, there's a real threat for freedom of expression. Do you think I'm overstating this case, or maybe it's because it's affected me?

NEWT GINGRICH, R-FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: No, no. Look, I think, first of all, the left is in a rage. You saw that, by the way, in the Democratic national chairman's unbelievably vulgar comments over the weekend.

These people are crazed. They're unhinged. Look at Berkeley. Look what happened at the college in Connecticut. You go around the country, the level of hostility, the level of desire to shut us up -- they are so shocked that they lost in November and they can't believe it's because they are out of touch, because they're dangerous, because their ideas are fantasies. Therefore, it's out fault. We are cheating somehow.

And there's is a war against Fox News for a practical reason. Fox News is the one place where you get reasonably accurate coverage of Donald J. Trump. If you're the New York Times or CBS News or The Washington Post, you would love to live in a world with no Fox News.

And so there's a war -- literally, a war going on with money being raised to hire lawyers to set up fights, to do investigations. So you're a piece of that action, but you're also a piece of this much broader action that all across America, the fascist left has decided that they have to shut us up because we're winning the argument and we're beginning to -- we're winning elections. And things ain't gone the way they thought they would.

And I think this is a very dangerous time. I'm delighted that you counterattacked as directly as you did. I noticed that today that same individual withdrew the comments, said they weren't true, they were -- they were inaccurate. And I think we're going to see a lot more of this. Anybody who's willing to stand up for Trump is a target. Anybody who's willing to stand up for conservatism is a target. You're willing to do both.

HANNITY: You know, do you remember in 2010 when the IRS was used as a weapon against all these Tea Party and conservative groups? I remember I actually went to your old hometown in Atlanta. You know, we had 20,000- plus people show up at a rally outside. That was done by design. I actually sense the same strategy is being evoked. You're right, Fox News is the only place on television that I think President Trump gets fair coverage. Not -- and I'm one of his supporters.

But overall, the news division, he gets fair coverage. And talk radio -- Rush, Mark, Laura, Beck and all of us -- we've all been targeted at some point.

And my question is, do you think this is done by design to shut down Fox or at least take away...

GINGRICH: Absolutely.

HANNITY: ... the heart and soul of it before 20?

GINGRICH: Look, absolutely. I think that there's a -- the left thought they were going to win up until about 8:00 or 9:00 o'clock on election night. And they were sure that when Hillary replaced Obama, that they would then finish the job of wiping out conservatism in America and they would impose their radical values. They would impose their bureaucrats. They would impose the laws they wanted. And they have been in a state of shock ever since 9:00 or 10:00 o'clock election night.

And now they're almost like they're in a total rage, and they decided that conservative media, conservative talk show hosts, FOX News in particular, are the enemy, that if you're are allowed to continue to broadcast, if you're allowed to continue to reach out to millions of people, that they're never going to win again. And I think, frankly, they're right.

And so this is an all-out effort with Hollywood liberals putting up millions of dollars, with George Soros putting up tens of millions of dollars. You see it all across the country, this desperate effort to organize, to politicize. I was at a university recently giving a speech. I had college Republicans tell me that they were genuinely frightened right after the elections because if you smiled, people yelled at you because it was inappropriate to smile when Hillary Clinton lost. I mean, it's that kind of intimidation and it can get that bad.

HANNITY: All right, Mr. Speaker, stay right there. We are going to focus on the issues. We'll continue with Speaker Gingrich after the break.

And coming up, Democrats now in full force trying to distort President Trump's accomplishments ahead of his 100th day in office. We will lay out the facts for you. We'll set the record straight.

And also later tonight...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: And then you got their plan, which is let's have dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Yes, we want people to die -- dirty air, dirty water. Now, the nasty rhetoric from the left is nothing. We'll explain how it has been a part of their playbook for years. And Michelle Malkin will be here with reaction.

That and more on this very busy news night on this busy news week here on "Hannity."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." So Saturday will mark the 100 days that Donald Trump has been in office. And since being sworn in as commander-in-chief, the president has been moving at Trump lightning speed, checking off promise after promise, line by line, one by one.

Now, take a look at the side of your screen. We will report what the mainstream media will ignore, everything that Donald Trump has accomplished so far.

Now, as it appears, Donald Trump has no plans of slowing down. This week, we're expecting to learn a lot more about the president's plans on tax reform, another one of his key promises. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll that came out yesterday shows that if the election were held today, President Trump would still have defeated Hillary Clinton and he would have won the popular vote.

Still with us, speaker of the House -- former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. You know, they don't want to cover his accomplishments, which are numerous and money. Now, Congress has been a little slow. You and I have discussed the lack of urgency there. But they have made agreement on a health care bill. We will get this economic plan passed one way or the other.

How would you rate his first 100 days?

GINGRICH: Well, let me say I was on "Outnumbered" on Friday.

HANNITY: Yes?

GINGRICH: One of the pieces we talked about was...

HANNITY: By the way, that's a tough show.

GINGRICH: One of the pieces we talked about...

HANNITY: Yes

GINGRICH: It's -- it was a lively show, a lot of fun. And they talked about the fact that there was a study that 91 percent of the comments about Trump since he was sworn in have been negative in the elite media, 91 percent.

So you start with -- I mean, I look at things that are reality. Lowest level of illegal immigration in I think 17 years, total collapse at the border, people not trying to sneak in at anything like the numbers of the past, careful targeting of groups like MS-13, the gang which is in many American cities, focusing on criminals to get them out of the country.

I think he has signed 29 executive orders. He's signed 28 bills. This is -- people talk about the Congress not functioning. They've sent him 28 pieces of legislation already, which he has signed, including rolling back a whole series of Obama's red tape and regulations, taking an estimated $89 billion a year of regulatory red tape off the back of American businesses to let them focus on job creation.

You can just go down item after item after item. This has been a very successful opening round. He gets China to abstain in the United Nations, totally isolating Russia. He has the Chinese for the first time ever putting direct pressure on North Korea. Nobody else has ever been able to do that. He has a good relationship now with Saudi Arabia, with Egypt, with Jordan, all of whom approved of him using Tomahawk missiles against the Syrian dictatorship after he used poison gas.

You go down this list, and you think to yourself this is the guy they thought was unready. Today, I thought his conversation with the longest- serving American astronaut, a woman, something that's communicating to young girls that you, too, could grow up to have a career in science, a position that Ivanka Trump in particular is very deeply committed to.

I mean, every time I turn around, he's doing something interesting. I don't know of any president who brought the entire Security Council down to the White House. Nikki Haley led them today. She's one of his great appointments. She's turned out to be a remarkable U.N. ambassador.

So I would give him very, very high marks for this opening round.

HANNITY: You know, you -- I will tell you this. I think the bigger surprise in 100 days -- the China relationship. I think it's huge, especially helping with North Korea and even importing American coal, rather than North Korean coal, then meeting with the Saudis, meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan, meeting with President El-Sisi, General El-Sisi of Egypt, meeting with the Israeli prime minister, and acting in Syria, mother of all bombs. That's massive.

But I don't think you can also -- I think the other big accomplishment is energy independence is massive for both security and job creation, and getting rid of regulation.

Can you just agree with me, though, that Congress has been a little pathetically slow, that they need to...

GINGRICH: Well -- well...

HANNITY: ... unlike the health care bill...

GINGRICH: Congress behaves...

HANNITY: ... maybe build consensus before they release the stupid bill?

GINGRICH: Yes, they do. Look, Congress -- Congress is behaving like Congress. They're going to get there. They're going to pass all the major legislation this year.

But let me also point out, in the middle of all the things you and I just talked about, we didn't even get around to talking about a Supreme Court justice who's conservative. And you compare where Hillary would have been versus where Justice Gorsuch is? I mean, that alone justified all the effort to win the presidential election.

And I think, again -- and you saw there, by the way, you can have some legitimate gripes about Congress, but I'll tell you, I think that Mitch McConnell was a masterful leader in the Senate...

HANNITY: Neil Gorsuch.

GINGRICH: ... in getting Gorsuch through, did it very, very...

HANNITY: Yes, all those people...

GINGRICH: ... effectively.

HANNITY: ... that said he wasn't...

GINGRICH: And I fully expect he and Paul Ryan are going to get major legislation through this year.

HANNITY: OK, from your lips, I'm hoping. I'm hoping! I'll give you this -- by the way, and Neil Gorsuch, a huge promise, originalist on the court.

Mr. Speaker, thank you, as always, for being with us.

GINGRICH: Right.

HANNITY: Appreciate it.

And up next on this busy news night on this busy news week tonight here on "Hannity."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: He's going to let the big banks again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street!

(BOO)

BIDEN: They're going to put y'all back in chains.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: All right, a deeper dive when we get back. The left has tried to smear conservative, Republicans and silence them for years. It's not new. We'll get reaction from Michelle Malkin.

And also tonight...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable and the council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: President Trump continuing to show what leading from the front looks like. We'll check in with Monica Crowley, Rob O'Neil, the guy who killed bin Laden -- they're here with reaction.

Plus, I go one on one with my good friend, Geraldo Rivera, about the border wall straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." So for years, many on the alt left, well, hate Trump media, including some of America's top elected officials -- they've used very divisive rhetoric to smear conservative and anyone they disagree with, anyone that disagrees with their worldview. Watch this!

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republican leaders and President Trump don't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about the people they were trying to hurt!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a bunch of scumbags. That's what they are.

OBAMA: If you accept the support of Klan sympathizers before you are president, you will accept their support after you're president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He, along with people like Bachmann, are Tea Party. They are anarchists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: what we're not for is negotiating with people who have a bomb strapped to their chests. We're not going to do that.

BIDEN: He's going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street! They're going to put you all back in chains.

OBAMA: You got their plan, which is let's have dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are in favor of affirmative action if you can dunk the basketball or sink a 3-point shot! But they're not in favor of it if you merely have the potential to be a leader in your community!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now, liberals, they can try and silence, smear, slander their critics, but as I have reiterated many times, this show is not going to be intimidated by the language of the left. Joining us now, the host of "Michelle Malkin Investigates" CRTV, Michelle Malkin.

This is not new to us. We both have had pretty big bullseyes on our back for many, many years. But I don't think it's ever been this bad, and I'm just not going to take lies, slander and smear anymore. And that's why I'm fighting back I hope for all of us. This isn't about me, Michelle.

MICHELLE MALKIN, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Amen. I'm with you, brother. And I really think it's about time that we draw that big, bright red line because if we do not as a movement fight back and push back against this concerted effort to stifle conservative speech, to demonize and marginalize conservatives in this country, we're going to end up losing.

I mean, in one sense, it does seem so bizarre because, of course, the Republican Party has control of the White House and both chambers of commerce. (sic) How is it that this hateful movement on the left seems more dominant than ever? And of course, we've been paying attention and covering the modern political progressive movement since the Reagan era. Why is that? Well, it's because so many of the dominant cultural institutions in this country have an iron grip on them from the left. And so the attacks on us from Hollywood, in the courtroom, in deep state of government, the -- every crevice of the federal government that has been infested with people who hate our values, who hate our principles and policies, and of course college campuses as well, Sean. It is all of a piece. It's a historical movement. It's more relentless than it has ever been, for sure.

HANNITY: I would never in my lifetime -- if I don't like the speaker, I won't go. I would never -- let Bill Maher say anything he wants. I don't care. I would never support a boycott of Rachel Maddow or Don Lemon. Let the viewers decide. Let them decide who they want to watch or not watch. To me, this boycott now has become the weapon to intimidate phony boycotts -- 5,000 people actually are really 300 and they make advertisers nervous, but it's all to really silence, shutdown, intimidate people from saying what they want to say. This is dangerous. At the end of the day, this is dangerous for the country. And I don't know conservatives that support boycotts. I don't support boycotts.

MALKIN: In general my view as a practitioner of the First Amendment that the answer to bad speech and speech with which we disagree is more speech and better speech. But there is a certain part of me that feels in certain cases, you do have to do political jujitsu and organizational jujitsu on some of these groups.

I think that using some of the social media platforms, in many cases ironically created by leftists who hate us, is sometimes the most effective and powerful way to fight back against them. And you have shown that with your own Twitter feed and social media and using every platform you have to call these people out. The thing they love most is when they smell blood and weakness, Sean.

HANNITY: Do you think smell blood now? Because I think they do.

MALKIN: And you know what, they do. And this is why I think so many of us as Americans who have fought on the right for so long have been frustrated by people in Washington, the Republican establishment, who time and time again, year after year, fold in the face of these kinds of organizational tactics.

And so to the extent of those of us who work outside of the partisan sphere in Washington, D.C., can do demonstration projects and show that, yes, you can fight back. It's important, because, Sean, I think another very important point is it is not just the leftist partisan ideologues and the Alinskyites that are operating here, OK. There are a lot of tools who are supposedly our allies on the right who are willing to serve as saboteurs.

HANNITY: That's a good point, that hated our support, for example, of the president and don't want to admit that they were wrong and oh, Trump can't win. He'll never appoint a conservative Supreme Court justice. The more fascinating thing to me is there are people paid, and I know who they are. And they sit in their underwear. Can you imagine what a loser must be if your job is to monitor Sean Hannity's every word, four hours a day, and then try and catch him saying something you can use against him to get him off the air? But that is happening to every conservative on FOX, writers, bloggers, radio host. It's happening to everybody. This is now a well- funded, orchestrated campaign to destroy and to silence voices.

MALKIN: Yes, it's the politics of personal destruction in the 21st century. And yes, there are these social media trackers. This happens to political candidates in the Republican Party as well who now have trackers assigned to them, even if they are at a very local level. School board candidates have faced this. So it's everyone from local candidates all the way up to FOX News personalities.

And, you know, I think the best thing of course is not to give these people any more ammunition than they are already manufacturing against us. But I think the montage that you showed is especially important too, because this is not just a fringe. It's not just leftist loons at U.S. Berkeley or Fresno State or Middlebury or in some Hollywood salons that are doing this. It is the very core of the Democratic Party here that is undermining the free speech rights of conservatives in America.

HANNITY: Well said. A great admonition and warning. I hope people pay attention. We will fight back here on this program. Thank you, Michelle.

And coming up next, tonight, right here on "Hannity" --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The status quo with North Korea is also unacceptable. And the council must be prepared to impose additional and a stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

HANNITY: President Trump is not backing down in the face of North Korean aggression. Up next, we will get reaction from Monica Crowley, Rob O'Neill, who killed Usama bin Laden. And also tonight --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., MINORITY LEADER: The president I think talking about this wall is expressing a sign of weakness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: What? House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, she says President Trump is weak for wanting a border wall. What is this lunacy going to end? Geraldo and I shoot it out one-on-one, straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The status quo with North Korea is also unacceptable, and the council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs. This is a real threat to the world whether we want to talk about it or not. North Korea is a big world problem and it's a problem we have to finally solve. People have put blindfolds on for decades, and now it is time to solve the problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: That was President Trump earlier today during a working lunch with the U.N. Security Council ambassadors. This comes as North Korea is ramping up once again aggression towards the U.S. Over the weekend, a U.S. citizen was detained in North Korea at the airport, and Reuters is reporting that a North Korean newspaper is threatening, quote, "Our revolutionary forces are combat ready to sink a U.S. nuclear powered aircraft carrier with a single strike."

Here with reaction, author of the new book "The Operator," former Navy SEAL Rob O'Neill -- he of course killed bin Laden -- and Monica Crowley. By the way, "The Operator, Firing the Shot that Killed Usama Bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior," great book.

This is really serious. And this is why. This is why preventing Iran from getting nukes is so important. North Korea has them. Now we have a dilemma. They're threatening to use them. South Korea is in jeopardy and Japan is in jeopardy, China is in jeopardy. The good news is we have an alliance building with China which nobody anticipated with President Trump. The danger is how do we take out the sites and not kill millions of people?

MONICA CROWLEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It's inevitable that America's adversaries were going to probe and test the new president. They do with every new president. This is no exception. The difference is there is a new sheriff in town. And just as they are probing President Trump, President Trump is pushing back. So you have the strike on the Syrian sites because of the chemical attacks, the dropping of the MOAB bomb in Afghanistan.

HANNITY: Can you just say, the mother of all bombs.

ROB O'NEILL, FORMER NAVY SEAL: Someone has always got to come up with an acronym. That's a pretty good one whoever came up with that.

CROWLEY: You've got negotiations now going on with China which to this point are relatively unprecedented. China has talked a good game about wanting to rein in North Korea. They've never done anything. The president is a consummate negotiator. Here is where his skills are really coming into play to get China to bring the pressure to bear on North Korea that was long promised and never delivered down because China knows with this president, if they don't work to rein in North Korea's nuclear ballistic missile program, that there will be economic consequences for China which they don't want.

HANNITY: And the good news is President Trump got along with the president of China. And he did send back the North Korean coal and he did put troops on the border, and he is talking about more trade.

O'NEILL: This is the art of the deal. He's working with China which no one ever thought he'd be able to do. China now has interests because of what North Korea is doing with saber rattling. Japan, he talked to the prime minister of Japan and the president of China today. He's calling in the senator -- all 100 centers on Wednesday. So he is serious about this and he's realizing they're a big problem.

HANNITY: Would it be possible they were thinking out of the box here, that the president would align with China in a strike against North Korea?

O'NEILL: I think what they want to do is put some pressure on there and increase sanctions on them as opposed to a strike. I don't think a strike is in anyone interest, but the North Korean getting this wacky family out of power --

HANNITY: This chubby little despot dictator who is going to kill people in South Korea and Japan.

O'NEILL: The Navy has always been big in naval sea power deterrent. The deterrent they did right now is they sent a naval carrier strike group over there with the USS Carl Vinson. It's obviously gotten their attention because they said they were going to do their best to sink the carrier. I've been on a strike group before. We actually went through the ditch in the Suez Canal, took down some tankers in the Persian Gulf. I've seen a strike group. There are guided missile cruisers. Their destroyers -- like I've mentioned before, they don't call them destroyers because we ran out of names. They destroy things. I don't care who you are. If you try to sink a carrier when the U.S. Navy is involved, that thing is going to happen to you. A deterrent hopefully will work even with crazy people.

CROWLEY: And President Trump has made clear that while he would like to work with our allies, while he would like a new relationship with China to work on this serious North Korea problem, he is ready, willing, and able to strike unilaterally if the circumstances warrant.

HANNITY: This is so different than Syria and the mother of all bombs. These guys have nukes and this guy is nuts.

O'NEILL: The good news about it that I have seen before too, like the initial invasion in Iraq, is our military was designed to fight big militaries.

HANNITY: I'll throw this to Monica. What if he goes scorched earth and launches one of those short ranged nukes? Millions will die.

CROWLEY: Millions will die. We have American troops on the DMZ. We have our South Korean allies. We have our Japanese allies. We have allies in the Philippines. We have a lot of regional concerns here.

HANNITY: But this is the danger when a crazy person gets a nuke. Thank you, Bill Clinton.

CROWLEY: That's right, because he's incredibly unpredictable. There is benefits to being unpredictable in terms of our president because we want our allies not to know what are president is going to do. But we are dealing with a communist madman who is sitting atop a nuclear arsenal, that's a different ball game. We have to make sure that strike you just laid out, Sean, doesn't happen, whether it's a preemptive strike.

HANNITY: Let China do it. They got the military, and we can offer logistical support.

O'NEILL: We are getting China at the front of it here. Like the communist countries that actually helped North Korea and made South Korean in the beginning of this madness, we're going to need their help now.

HANNITY: Rob, I love your new book, "The Operator, Firing the Shot that Killed Usama Bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior." Congratulations.

O'NEILL: Thank you, Sean, appreciate it.

HANNITY: Up next, tonight, right here in "Hannity" --

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PELOSI: The president I think talking about this wall is expressing a sign of weakness.

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HANNITY: What? Did I just hear that? The most bizarre liberal excuses to obstruct President Trump's plan to build a border wall. Up next, Geraldo Rivera, my friend and I go one-on-one, straight ahead.

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HANNITY: Welcome back to "HANNITY." So obstructionist Democrats, they continue to come up with new reasons for blocking funding for the president's proposed border wall. Here is the latest bizarre excuse from the House minority leader, Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Take a look.

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PELOSI: The president, I think, talking about this wall is expressing a sign of weakness. He is saying I can't control our borders. I have to build a wall.

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HANNITY: That is so dumb. The president and his administration are not backing down. The president tweeted, quote, "The Democrats don't want money from the budget going to the border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS-13 gang members." The Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, he called out the Democrats stunning hypocrisy on the issue by saying, quote --

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MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE AND MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: They are holding hostage national security, again, something they have supported in the recent past when President Obama was in the Senate. So we don't understand why this is breaking down like this.

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HANNITY: Here with reaction, Fox News correspondent at large, our friend, Geraldo Rivera.

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Hi Sean.

HANNITY: Good to see you.

RIVERA: Did I miss anything this week?

HANNITY: You just got to start in, right.

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY: This I real friendship.

RIVERA: I love you. I love you. I think you have the strongest character. You're the most unimpeachable person I know. Look, I love you. You're a great friend. I'm going to soften you up.

HANNITY: You come around on the wall? But in 2006, Democrats supported the wall.

RIVERA: First of all, I think former Speaker Pelosi's comment, kind of insulting Trumps macho, his manhood, is really beyond silly. And the Democrats did support a much more limited and less expensive wall in 2006. They got 700 miles. But here is what I tweeted to our friend, the president of the United States, who we want very much to succeed as he approaches this 100 a marker on Saturday, "You through General Kelly have already announced that illegal border crossings are down 40 percent year to date, January to February when they usually increase" --

HANNITY: They're down 60 not.

RIVERA: Well, 50 or 60, a lot, for free. For absolutely no money, by talking tough and --

HANNITY: Enforcing the law.

RIVERA: And giving the esprit de corps back to the border control and telling them that they are valued people, they have done an amazing job for free. So do we really now still want to spend tens of billions of dollars on the wall?

HANNITY: Yes.

RIVERA: But that is an emotional rather than a practical decision, I think.

HANNITY: You were in the mountains of Tora Bora. You were one of the few that said -- I remember on my show, "He's right behind me," and you turned, history has proven you right. We want it because we don't want the drugs. We don't want gangs. We don't want terrorists crossing that border. That will ensure they can't get across. That's my biggest reason.

RIVERA: First of all, let me just say very quickly that, politically speaking, this will not happen. You will not get any Democrats to support funding for a border wall.

HANNITY: Will they shut the government down?

RIVERA: I doubt the president of the United States will allow the government to be shut down on his 100th day because they are the same day, Saturday.

But here is my pitch. The president can claim victory, illegal boarding border crossings down 40, 50, 60, 70 percent, because of my tough talk, take money for increased hiring of border patrol for the drones, for the electronics, leave the wall out of it this time. Get past this funding crisis this time.

HANNITY: Geraldo, if he does not build this wall, which was the foundation of his electoral success, it will be "read my lips, no new taxes."

RIVERA: While I agree it was central to his success. Remember also that the second half of that promise was, and who will pay for it? Mexico will pay for it. It is clear that Mexico will not initially pay for this wall.

HANNITY: In fairness, he would say, no, they're not going to write me a check, but this is how we are going to get them to pay.

RIVERA: But why not claim victory? This is a success. He has already had immeasurable impact.

HANNITY: No wall. It will destroy his chances of reelection, this one issue. I believe that.

RIVERA: But a reelection is not for three more years. You've got plenty of time to get to that. Right now you have an improved situation along the border. Donald Trump can point to his own action as the reason behind the reduced undocumented immigrant crossing. And --

HANNITY: I've got to run.

RIVERA: If you go with the North Korea standoff, the bombing in Syria, this will be -- the dropping of the MOAB, this can go with his successes.

HANNITY: He's got to build it or else it's political suicide.

All right, up next, we need your help, a very important "Question of the Day," and, yes, hit me with your best shot, the HANNITY hotline straight ahead. I won't sue you.

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HANNITY: Time for the "Question of the Day." So what would you grade President Trump first 100 days. I want your honest opinion. Go to Facebook.com/SeanHannity, @SeanHannity on Twitter, let us know what you think. Hit me with your best shot. I may sue you. No, I won't sue you over the hotline. Here is the "Hannity" hotline.

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KATHY: I love your show. I think you are very truthful. You tell it like it is and no one can doubt whose side you're on and where we stand. The other ones are sometimes on the fence, but we know where you are.

HARRY: I'm a liberal. You must agree with my philosophy. If you don't, I will bully, harass, and attempt to destroy you in any way possible until you change your mind. Sean, America needs your voice more than ever. Keep up the good work.

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HANNITY: Have something nice to say, mean to say, doesn't matter. Call the number on your screen, 877-225-8587. On a personal note, so many of you have written me, so many of you have made great supportive comments on social media. I know that this camera, this show, my radio show, is only because of you. I will never forget it. And also, it's time we stop liberal fascism.

We will see you back here tomorrow night. As always, thank you for being with us.

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