Transcript

Should President Obama have fired James Comey?

The debate continues on 'The Fox News Specialists'

 

This is a rush transcript from "The Fox News Specialists," May 10, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Eric Bolling, along with Eboni K. Williams and Kat Timpf, 5:00 will never be the same. We are "The Fox News Specialists." The firing of FBI director James Comey may be the most decisive act of the Trump young presidency so far. The move has set off a political firestorm across Washington and beyond, with Democrats in overdrive trying to gym up as much anger and outrage as they can, apparently forgetting their long running disdain for the ousted FBI chief. Today, President Trump gave his first on camera remarks about his decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you fire Director Comey?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Because he wasn't doing a good job, very simply. He was not doing a good job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLING: And the mainstream media is buzzing calling the firing, quote, a crisis and scandalous. Today, however, I spoke to several senior Trump administration officials and here's what can be reported as the real news, not the fake news, President Trump has been concerned about the effectiveness of James Comey for months, and when his attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended Comey's firing, he decided that was time to act and it's now, period. So let's bring in new guys and let's have a little discussion about that. A lot of partisan divide going on all day in the media today with the left saying this is scandalous. This is Watergate-type scandal. And the right saying, wait a minute, Trump has been talking about this for a long time.

EBONI K. WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: Yeah, sure, E, and I'm sure many on the right will confirm what you reported. There are 12 Republican senators now that you have concern. But first, let's bring it to yesterday. I mean, you live broke this story on the air as it was happening, and I don't know if you saw out of the corner of your eye, E, actually, was laughing a bit, and I thought you were joking. That's how astonish I was in that moment. I thought it was a joke. I thought it was a practical joke. And apparently, I wasn't the only one. Jim Comey, it's been reported, also thought it was so absurd he thought it was a prank. He was in Los Angeles, and then found out, no, indeed, it was very, very real.

BOLLING: And boy, Kat, did it really blow up. All night, and spent the whole day, both sides duking it out. Your thoughts on where we stand now.

KATHERINE TIMPF, CO-HOST: Absolutely. Well, I think that everyone should be able to agree that it's good that he's gone. Because like you said, Democrats have had issues with him for a while, Republicans have issues with him. But the timing is interesting. It really is. It kind of makes me think you got into a fight with your boyfriend and you did something that was really bad and you thought you were going to break up, but then you didn't, then three months later he breaks up with you and says that's the reason. I would be saying, oh, really? You know, especially if there was some girl that he was a little close to, but even though you didn't have any actually proof of them colluding, you still might have questions.

BOLLING: All right.

TIMPF: You've got to ask the question.

BOLLING: We're going to break that down and find out exactly what we're talking about with the boyfriend and girlfriend thing. But first, there's been many fast-moving developments today, so joining us now with more from Washington, Fox News chief White House correspondent, John Roberts, break it down to us, John. Where are we?

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Eric, good afternoon. You mentioned at the top, and that really is the headline of the day, that the narrative is to how all of this came to pass really has changed quite dramatically in the last 24 hours. We were led to believe yesterday, and even as recently as this morning when the vice president was up on Capitol Hill and appear before the cameras that this really was a bottom up recommendation and operation. That this had come from the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who had looked into James Comey and come to the conclusion that he had lost the confidence of the FBI director and that he needed to be replaced. But now we're learning, as you mentioned at the top here, that President Trump has been thinking about this for an awful long time. In fact, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy press secretary, principal deputy press secretary, who was filling in for Sean Spicer today, said that the president has been thinking about this going all the way at least until just after the election. Listen to what she told us just a short time ago in the daily briefing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: The president had lost -- again, like I said, he's lost confidence in Director Comey, and frankly, he's been considering letting Director Comey goes since the day he was elected. But he did have a conversation with the deputy attorney general on Monday, where they had come to him to express their concern. The president asked that they put their concerns and their recommendation in writing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: So clearly, they went through the appropriate procedure here. The deputy attorney general who is Jim Comey's boss gave a long -- it was a two and a half page long letter to the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, saying that he think that he had tried to usurp then attorney general Loretta Lynch's authority when he held that press conference back on July 5th of last year. The attorney general then sent that recommendation up to the president who then wrote that now famous letter of termination. But, Eric, what we're learning today was that this had a lot to do with the president as well. And if the president was thinking about firing Jim Comey on the ninth or the tenth of November, that means he must have been thinking about it a long time before that, potentially including when he's sang Jim Comey's praises after the October 28th decision to reopen the Hillary Clinton email investigation. So not sure if this goes all the way back to July 5 for the president or not, but it certainly seems to go back a lot further than we were initially led to believe.

And while the president has been thinking about this for months, we are told by Sarah Huckabee Sanders that the big catalyst, the big part of the reason why Comey is gone happen when he was giving that testimony before the judiciary committee in the senate a week ago when he all but acknowledged, according to Sarah Huckabee, that he had thrown a stick of dynamite into the works at the FBI when it decided that he was going out there without permission back in July, and give that press conference. We talked at length about Clinton's emails, what she had done wrong, what she should have done, and the fact that he didn't see any reason for the department of justice to press charges, Eric.

BOLLING: John Roberts in the White House, thank you very much, sir. Now let's meet today's specialist. He's known as America's leading populist conservative. He was a senior advisor to three American presidents, three, Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. He's the author of the new book, Nixon's White House Wars. But he specializes in collecting 19th century historic memorabilia. Pat Buchanan is here. And he's a veteran of the Kerry and Obama presidential campaigns. The author of the book, The Best Worst President, what the right gets wrong about Barack Obama, he's a media analyst, who teaches at New York University, and he specializes in defending independent journalism against politically powerful interests, Mark Hannah is here. We have a lot of set up. I want to get right to you, Pat, as I mentioned in the setup, I spoke to several, not one, not two, several senior White House officials and the feeling was the same. There's nothing to see here. This has been going on for a long time. And when attorney general Sessions and deputy attorney general said this is the time.

PAT BUCHANAN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL SENIOR ADVISER: Right.

BOLLING: President Trump took decisive and divisive action and said it's time to fire Comey.

BUCHANAN: He was advised to do something he wanted to do. That's right. My feeling on this, Eric, is that Trump has real exasperation with the fact that he's had a ten month investigation that alleges that his campaign was involved with Vladimir Putin to fix this election and that's why he won the election, and it's gone on for five or six months after the election was over. There's a cloud hanging over Trump's administration, White House unjustified, and I think he was telling, in effect, telling Comey, look, get this done. Get it over with. Exonerate me or indict somebody come. And I think Comey didn't do a thing and that's why he got rid of him.

BOLLING: Go ahead, Mark.

MARK HANNAH, AUTHOR: Yeah. Well, I'm happy to see that Pat Buchanan is not taking the White House's word for it. He's saying it's not about this Hillary Clinton email scandal, that, you know, the Trump administration saw the writing on the wall. The FBI was investigating the Russian scandal. This comes just days after Director Comey had asked the deputy attorney general for more resources to investigate.

BOLLING: That's been refuted by the DOJ, for the record.

HANNAH: Yeah. And they're going to, but on the same day. And this just smells bad. On the same day the grand jury started issuing subpoenas. The White House can say this has nothing to do with the Russia probe. You can believe them if you want. For me, it reeks of abuse of power. It seems downright Nixonian.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLLING: And Eboni, President Trump letter yesterday.

BUCHANAN: Is that a personal insult?

BOLLING: . once my attorney general and my deputy attorney general's said I don't have confidence anymore, he made the decision.

WILLIAMS: And I can accept that, E. I can actually accept that language from the White House. Here's my only issue, let's break down this timeline. When exactly was there a loss of confidence? That's the $40,000 question. Was it back in July, when Comey politicized, I think, the FBI in that, you know, ridiculous and unnecessary statement, perhaps in an effort to save Loretta Lynch, whatever. Was it in October, when he put the letter out? Reopening the Hillary Clinton investigation? Or was it when president -- then, candidate Trump said what Comey did took guts and he was praising him. I'm just not exactly sure, E. All I have to say, when was the lost of confidence?

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: You know, buildup of.

TIMPF: I personally want to ask Jeff Sessions that -- because on October 28, he said, and I quote, that Comey, quote, had an absolute duty, in my opinion, 11 days or not, to come forward with new information that he's -- and let the American people know that. So, on October 28th, he's defending it. And now, he's listing it as a reason that Comey has got to be fired. So where was the switch and why? I think that I would like to hear from Jeff Sessions because there's a huge difference between defending and then saying, yeah, actually it was so bad that he's got to be fired.

BOLLING: So let me ask you this, let me ask you.

BUCHANAN: Sure.

BOLLING: Patrick, the DOJ oversees the FBI. Therefore, Jeff Sessions is James Comey's boss.

BUCHANAN: Right.

BOLLING: If the boss loses confidence in his senior FBI.

BUCHANAN: Look, James Comey is appointed for ten years. He works for the government of the United States. The head of the government of the United States is Donald Trump. He's lost confidence in the guy. He watches the guy sit there and investigate and investigate, says why aren't you removing this cloud over my head? A third of the country things we're complicit with Putin, and you haven't done it, and I don't like it. Here are some other arguments, still.

HANNAH: Please.

BUCHANAN: . and you're gone. I mean, so what?

HANNAH: When was the last time a sitting president ousted somebody who was investigating -- a politically independent body investigating official corruption? Do you know when that was?

BUCHANAN: Sure, I was involved.

HANNAH: You were in the White House.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNAH: Firing Archibald Cox. When he was on his trail.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: I was in the oval office with Richard Nixon. We've cut a deal. We thought Richardson were going to turn over documents over to Archibald Cox. He subpoenaed the tapes. He wouldn't accept the documents. Richardson was with us. I was in the oval office, I told the president, you've got to fire Archibald Cox. You've got to fire Richardson. The reason being, Henry Kissinger was in Moscow. It was the time of the Yom Kippur War. The Russians and the Americans were eyeball to eyeball. Nixon told me flat out, I can't have -- see me have a Cabinet officer reject what I'm doing. I have to get rid of him.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNAH: That was Russian influence.

WILLIAMS: One second, Mark.

BUCHANAN: One final line on that, Nixon said if I have to, I'll go down to a GF-7 to file that down.

WILLIAMS: And the distinction on what Pat is saying here, that I hear, is that there was immediate and swift action on that basis. And I accept that. And that make complete sense to me. That's different though, and I think the competing narrative we're hearing out of the Trump White House, E, which is partly that Comey was fired for what he did back in July or the mishandling of the investigation, versus this investigation around Russia.

BOLLING: I'm about to tell you what the senior official said, Kat, they said it's been -- he's had questions about Comey since.

(CROSSTALK)

TIMPF: And that's fine.

HANNAH: Why did Sean Spicer, seven days ago say Donald Trump had full confidence in James Comey? Was he lying to us in the media?

TIMPF: OK, listen. The most specific issue I think is how could Jeff Sessions say that this was defensible, defended, then the next day listed as a reason for the firing?

BOLLING: Maybe deputy attorney general says.

TIMPF: But he just not say, oh, I don't know about this. He said he had a duty, an absolute duty to report it. Now he's saying he has to be fired because of it. And you have a lot of reasons. Just skip that reason then.

BOLLING: Can I agree with our lefty, Mark Hannah, on one thing.

HANNAH: Please do.

BOLLING: I think the White House communications department dropped the ball on this. I really do think that they could have framed this better, they could frame it throughout better, and certainly I would have liked to see a little bit more -- I don't know, gusto, Pat.

BUCHANAN: You know what you should have done -- you've got to know you're going to have a mini firestorm when you get rid of this fellow. What he should have done is lineup some really top-flight guy that you're going to appoint, and then the fellow goes one day and you've got the new nominee, and that's the big story. Trump goes out in the press room and announces a new guy, Ray Kelly or Bratton type folks, and everybody says isn't this wonderful, we've got another Gorsuch.

WILLIAMS: I don't know that everybody would say that, Pat.

HANNAH: He's used in firing people on TV as somebody said. But this is another time he's firing somebody.

BOLLING: Have somebody behind -- or, Kat, may -- help me out here, don't break up with your girlfriend unless you have another one?

(LAUGHTER) TIMPF: If you get into a fight with your boyfriend, he breaks up in three months later over that fight, there is something else going on. OK, it wasn't about that fight. He was looking for an excuse.

BOLLING: Guess what? The good news is we have a lot more on this. With Comey gone, the left is now demanding a special prosecutor in the Russia investigation, but the right is fighting back. Fireworks in the district of Columbia, so what else is new? Stay right here. Right there, right here, stay wherever, Eboni, Kat, and I will be right back with todays special.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TIMPF: FBI Director Comey's removal has the Democrats frantically demanding the appointment of a special prosecutor for the Russia investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I have said from the get-go that I think a special prosecutor is the way to go. But now with what's happened it is the only way to go, only way to go to restore the American people's faith. Are people going to suspect cover up? Absolutely. If an independent special prosecutor is appointed, there still can be some faith that we can get to the bottom of this. If not, everyone will suspect cover-up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TIMPF: Let's go now to Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge. She joins us from Washington.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you. Earlier today, we spoke with a former FBI agent who was directly involved in the Clinton email probe and we asked about the impact of the FBI director's termination on the Russia case, and he used this comparison. It's kind of like the train leaving the station, once it left the station, there's really nothing you can do to stop it, not even the termination of the FBI director, and that was the same attitude at the White House earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't think it's necessary. You've got a house committee, a senate committee, and the department of justice all working on this. I don't think that there's the necessary need at this point to add that. You've got the deputy attorney general who I would say is about as independent as it comes due to the fact that he has such bipartisan support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HERRIDGE: And the White House -- they're talking about the need for a special prosecutor. What we also learned today in that White House briefing is more about why the FBI director was fired in the first place. The White House said that when last year, he went around the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, and he made that very public statement in July against -- recommending against criminal charges for the apparent mishandling of classified information by Clinton and her team. They said it was like throwing a bomb into the justice department which is right across the street from where I'm standing right now.

And then, what amplified that is Comey's testimony last week before the senate where he said he stood by that decision, and he did not accept that it was in fact a fatal error in this case. We've also learned that one of the other factors was his misstatement to congress about the Clinton email probe where he said thousands of emails were found on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, in a separate criminal case. Weiner's connection to all of this is that he's the estranged husband of longtime Clinton aid, Huma Abedin. The FBI had to correct the record in a written statement saying that the number was far less, but all of that came together to create a lack of confidence in the director. Back to you.

TIMPF: Thank you. All right, we're going to bring our specialist in. I'm going to ask you, first, Mr. Buchanan, what do you think that Donald Trump's attitude should be toward this special prosecutor?

BUCHANAN: An independent console or special prosecutor, no. The FBI is investigating an intelligence failure, intelligence breach in the United States. If a crime is discovered by the FBI and it affects people high in the Trump administration or in their campaign, I think then you talk about who's going to prosecute it. But unless and until you get a crime, this is the point I've been trying to make, they've had ten months of this. Please give us somebody who colluded with Putin. And they can't come up with a single name.

TIMPF: I'm getting a sense you might disagree.

HANNAH: I know that the FBI was just decapitated, so it's going to be hard for them to produce evidence. But it does look like the FBI.

BOLLING: Why? Why do they have 150 agents working on this? A 150.

HANNAH: Come on.

BOLLING: . trying to prove collusion.

HANNAH: First of all, you and I don't know what the FBI knows.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: Mark, we do know. Clapper said there's no collusion.

HANNAH: Pat, I have a tremendous amount of respect for you.

BUCHANAN: . the CIA said.

HANNAH: You're a political legend. Do you buy, for a minute, that the White House let Comey go because all of a sudden there was a revelation that Comey bypassed Loretta Lynch a year ago, and this was a decisive act to protect the honor of Hillary Clinton? Where's Hillary Clinton -- the White House for this act of gallantry.

BUCHANAN: Let me agree with you. I don't think he's tipped off with what Comey did to Hillary Clinton at all. I think he was delighted and said so. But I'll tell you what he saw.

HANNAH: He said it was courageous, and now he's firing him for it.

BUCHANAN: Yesterday, and before, what he saw is, I've got a guy that's investigating ten months and has come up with nothing, and he's proven to be a loose cannon going up there and letting, you know, all about the emails and everything with Huma Abedin. I don't like him. I'm going to get this loose cannon out of there. And, OK, call the justice department.

TIMPF: OK, Eric.

BUCHANAN: . tell them to give me a couple of reason.

TIMPF: I want to get your reaction real quick on something else, something else, really quick. All the Democratic outrage over Comey's firing kind of seems like a massive flip from their nonstop Comey bashing almost a year ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUME, D-N.Y., OCT. 30, 2016: When I heard about it, I found it hard to believe that Comey, who I thought had some degree of integrity, would do this. What Comey did, I just respectfully disagree with my opponent. What he did was appalling. And prosecutors from one end of America to another know it.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF, NOV. 2, 2016: I think he made a mistake on this. And he clearly has a double standard when it comes to Donald Trump. And these jobs, if you're not in it for a while, you can't take the heat, and I think he just couldn't take the heat from the Republicans.

SEN. HARRY REID, D-NEV., DEC. 10, 2016: I'm so disappointed in Comey. He has let the country down for partisan purposes, and that's why I'm calling him J. Edgar Hoover because I believe that.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe Jim Comey should resign, Senator Reid?

REID: Of course, yes.

JOHN PODESTA, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIR, NOV. 6, 2016: I'm not challenging Mr. Comey's motivation, but I do think it was unwarranted, it was a mistake, and I think that Republican and Democratic former justice department officials have come out and questioned the move that he made.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

WILLIAMS: OK, I can't even hold it any longer. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have got to be the two worst examples to put up there and talk about consistency on the issue of Jim Comey. Let's just be very clear and let's all remember correctly that until yesterday about 5:00 something in the afternoon, nobody had anything particularly good, warm, or fuzzy to say about Jim Comey. I don't think anyone is particularly sad to see him go on merit alone. But I do want to point this out. I don't think it's just -- I think that's not fair or accurate to say that it's just the left that has these questions or concerns. Republican senator, Jeff Flake, from Arizona said, specifically, I've got a lot -- I took the last several hours trying to figure out an acceptable rationale for the timing of Comey's firing and I just can't do it. And I think when he says that -- and John McCain has said something similar, so 12 GOP senators.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: When you talk about who John McCain, and Flake, and Lindsey Graham, of course they are. They're the ones who are asking for a special prosecutor. They're anti-Trumpers. You can't.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLLING: Let me finish. It's not just Schumer. It's Pelosi. It's Harry Reid. It's Adam Schiff. It's Elijah Cummings, Steve Cohn -- Senator Tim Kaine, Dianne Feinstein.

HANNAH: Finally, Donald Trump taking their advised.

BOLLING: . on and on of people who are calling for Jim Comey to be fired or to step down. Now he gets fired and they say, hey, what's all this stuff with Trump? It's such liberal hypocrisy that they keep saying.

HANNAH: Does the timing not matter?

BOLLING: None, whatsoever.

HANNAH: By your account, Eric, the White House couldn't produce a rational, reasonable, coherent, cogent explanation for why they fired the guy.

(CROSSTALK) TIMPF: I don't buy that for a second.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: You know what? I think Pat Buchanan gave us a better explanation than we got from the White House.

BUCHANAN: Trump did a terrible thing by firing in May an individual that Schumer thought should be fired in October. Why is Schumer upset about the timing?

HANNAH: It lacks all credibility. The Trump White House has enough of a cloud hanging over.

BUCHANAN: They're going to get a new FBI director that Schumer can support far more than Comey.

HANNAH: It backfired, big time, politically.

TIMPF: All right, well.

HANNAH: . otherwise.

TIMPF: We have to move on. Will Americans faith in the FBI be restored after the firing of James Comey? How the agency can shed its politically toxic reputation, next. Also, make sure to follow us on social media @specialistsfnc on both Twitter and Facebook.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: The FBI's reputation with Americans has taken a huge beating over the last year. And James Comey's announcement last July of bringing no charges against Hillary Clinton over her email scandal, well, that could be a major cause of the blame.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: But with Comey now ousted from his job, what should be done to restore Americans' faith at such a critical institution?

E., I'm going to start with you on this.

BOLLING: Can I just jump in very quickly? I'll let the table take this. But what Comey said right there is very important and probably the reason why he got fired.

He went -- the FBI is an investigative body, not a prosecutorial body. What he said right there was a recommended course of action for a prosecutor. And he became political by using his prosecutorial hat when he should've just kept with the investigative hat. He would have been fine. He lost the confidence of his own agents, and I think when he therefore became ineffective as an investigator.

WILLIAMS: I think you're exactly right. I think in that exact moment, E., he politicized the FBI...

BOLLING: Yes. Yes.

WILLIAMS: ... in a way in which -- I hope they recover. I don't know that they will.

Now this is -- I'm going to come to you on this, Pat. This is what people are saying. They're saying that he did that as a way of protecting Loretta Lynch. That just a week prior to that, Loretta Lynch had that horrible meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac. We all heard about it. Her credibility was just in shambles. And so, as opposed to making her -- and she should have been the one to make that call; Eric's exactly right. Instead of putting her in that position, this is him taking that bullet for her. Does that make it any better? Do you even buy that?

BUCHANAN: I think, you know, Loretta Lynch should have dropped out of it, but the deputy attorney general, Eric, is correct. FBI director, he's got all the information. He turns it over to -- to the No. 2 guy at Justice. They make the call as to whether or not to prosecute.

The FBI does not make those decisions.

WILLIAMS: They don't.

BUCHANAN: It's an investigative body.

WILLIAMS: They don't.

BUCHANAN: And I think he went out there, and excuse me, he was a big hotdog out there. And of course, he laid all this garbage on Hillary at the same time says, "We're not going to prosecute."

HANNAH: Can I add -- can I add? Because I want to know: so is that where he went wrong? Yes, right there in that moment?

BUCHANAN: He went wrong there.

HANNAH: Do you think President Obama should have fired him?

BUCHANAN: At that point, I think President Obama would've killed Hillary's campaign if he fired him.

WILLIAMS: But should have.

HANNAH: Do you think you should have gotten fired? He would have gotten so much blowback from people like you, on the right, which...

BUCHANAN: Look, I was not enthusiastic about...

HANNAH: You would have been saying, "Why would you corrupt the independence of the director of the FBI?"

BUCHANAN: Look, I was...

HANNAH: Right now, when Trump does it, everybody's defending him.

BUCHANAN: I was stunned by what the -- you know, Director Comey did when he came out there and, in effect, laid out a case for her indictment and then said no prosecutor is going to indict.

HANNAH: Eric do you think President Obama should have fired -- should he have fired Comey right there?

BOLLING: Why would he? Why would President Obama fire Comey when he was laying right -- he was laying a gift at the altar of Hillary Clinton.

WILLIAMS: I will tell you why, Eric Bolling. He should have fired him, because it was the wrong thing to do; because in that moment Jim Comey did a job that is out of his bounds. It is out of bounds.

BOLLING: Well, I'll tell you what he would have done. If he did, if President Obama did fire Jim Comey, it would've saved the left a lot of heartache and Donald Trump a lot of headaches.

HANNAH: Look, yes. John -- James Comey has caused a lot of heartache for the left and the right, but that's because he doesn't look at the world through left and right, conservative, liberal. He looks through justice and injustice, legal and illegal.

TIMPF: OK, let me ask -- let me ask you. You think he did a good job, thought? Nobody can say he did a good job, even what he did last week, messing up and saying thousands of emails when it was...

HANNAH: I think -- I think he showboated. I think he showboated.

TIMPF: Ten.

WILLIAMS: As if Huma Abedin needed any more bad press.

TIMPF: Exactly. That's a huge difference.

HANNAH: As a Hillary Clinton supporter, he ticked me off to no end. He went out ahead of his skis; he did all these things. All the -- on both sides.

TIMPF: You don't have to be bad at your job with a partisan slant to be bad at your job. You can just be plain bad at your job. And I think that Comey is an example of that.

HANNAH: He didn't get fired -- he didn't get fired because he was bad for his job -- bad at his job.

TIMPF: I have the same concerns with you about the timing.

HANNAH: He got -- he got fired -- Kat, do you think he got fired because he was bad at his job or because he was onto something with this Russia probe, gathering evidence?

TIMPF: I'm all about investigating, and I have the same concerns as you about timing.

HANNAH: So do you think -- do you think Congress should appoint a special prosecutor?

TIMPF: I don't have answers. I have questions.

HANNAH: Do you think, yes or no?

TIMPF: I think that Trump should even want that.

HANNAH: Special prosecutor?

TIMPF: It's not going to leave. It's not going to leave him. I think that...

HANNAH: Do you think, Eric, that they should...

BOLLING: Absolutely not. We have a House investigation. We have a Senate investigation. We have a Department of Justice investigation. And we have some -- we have a group of FBI...

HANNAH: Those guys all report to the president of the United States.

BOLLING: ... who have worked on this case for ten months already.

HANNAH: They're all reporting to President Trump.

BUCHANAN: ... arrogated to himself a power and authority he did not have when he exonerated Hillary of an indictment.

BOLLING: Thank you.

BUCHANAN: ... and said, "Here's all the evidence."

HANNAH: Hey, you know what? Your guy, J. Edgar Hoover, when Nixon was president, he did the same exact thing. You know how he got let go? He died right before the Watergate investigation. You guys never fired him for doing the same exact thing.

BUCHANAN: Read my book. I've got a memo to Nixon recommending the retirement of J. Edgar Hoover a year before his death.

BOLLING: There you go.

BUCHANAN: There you go.

HANNAH: I'll buy your book. I'll buy your book, Pat.

WILLIAMS: At least Pat Buchanan was on it.

President Trump hosting Russia's foreign minister in the Oval today, amid the Comey uproar. Is a thaw in relations between both countries ahead? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLLING: Welcome back to "The Fox News Specialists." Our specialists today are Mark Hannah and Pat Buchanan.

If all this drama surrounding James Comey wasn't enough, President Trump hosted Russia's foreign minister at the White House today. The meeting was preplanned, but of course, that isn't stopping the conspiratorial chatter among the left.

Eboni, it was preplanned under the -- under the heading "you can't make this stuff up."

WILLIAMS: Russia, Russia, Russia.

BOLLING: Not only was Sergey Lavrov here, Sergey Kislyak, the very guy who was at the center of all the controversy around General Flynn. General Flynn met with him and caused all the problems. He was at the White House today, as well.

WILLIAMS: Yes, it's like a "Rocky" script or something. I mean, this is really insane. Pre-planned, so technically, President Trump and the administration can't help the optics of this; they cannot help the timing. But it doesn't help also that American journalists weren't allowed to get in there and get pictures. And the only picture we do have comes from our friends, the Russians.

BOLLING: Kat, on the crazy timing of this. As he -- let me ask you this: Do you think it had anything to do with Comey's firing yesterday?

TIMPF: No, there are so many people saying Trump meeting with this Russian leader amid these questions about collusion. We really should just say Trump meeting with this Russian leader amid being the president, because that's what you do when you're the president. It's good that he's working on relations with Russia. That's a good thing. The timing is bad, but what was he going to do? Cancel it? That makes it look like he has something to hide.

BOLLING: Yes, but Pat Buchanan, someone else showed up at the White House today. Henry Kissinger showed up and said hello and shook the hand of Sergey Lavrov.

BUCHANAN: I think Henry, on these issues, Henry would be giving him good advice.

But let me say, I'm delighted the president met with the Russians. Quite frankly, there's issues far more important than Comey. It's Syria, and it's whether we're going to send new troops into Afghanistan to fight. I think we've got to talk to the Russians. I know they're bad folks, but I was with old Richard Milhous and with Ronald Reagan when they met with Gorbachev and met with Brezhnev. You have to do it. That's the world, Eric.

BOLLING: Yes, I agree with you.

Mark, your thoughts on this new -- let's call it new opening the relationship with Russia.

HANNAH: Thawing. The reset, maybe, of...?

BOLLING: No.

HANNAH: The thing that ticked me off was Sergey Lavrov walking into the White House, talking to American reporters. And they said, "Oh, what do you think about the Comey firing?" And he kind of, like, winked and nodded and said, "Oh, he was fired?" like, in a sarcastic...

WILLIAMS: That was cute. That was cute.

HANNAH: ... dismissive way. So, you know, I don't think the Russians...

BOLLING: That's Trump's fault, too?

HANNAH: Let me guess: I bet it was Sergey Lavrov that asked him to fire Comey, right? No.

But I do think the optics -- the thing that really bothers me about this, though, is how did -- the heck did the Russian media get into the White House meeting with the Russian foreign minister? Why weren't the American press -- I know Donald Trump hates the press, much like Richard Nixon hated the press. I know he's thin-skinned; I know he's insecure when it comes to fake news and all this stuff. But why weren't American journalists in there again? Why is he so secretive?

BOLLING: Afterwards, Mark, there was a quick press conference.

TIMPF: I think that American journalists should have been in there.

HANNAH: Thank you, Kat.

TIMPF: I agree with that point.

HANNAH: Do you agree with that, Pat?

TIMPF: But I agree that I also think that the optics here were a bit...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: You've got a meeting with Lavrov. In due respect, we know what the American journalists are going to ask: "What about Comey, Mr. President?" This is a meeting with the Russian foreign minister.

HANNAH: Conducting important things (ph).

BUCHANAN: There are things more important that have every press opportunity. I think, as the director of communications for a president, I think he did the right thing.

TIMPF: I think the optics were bad, and that could have made them a little better.

BOLLING: All right.

TIMPF: American journalists.

BUCHANAN: Sometimes there are things more important than optics.

BOLLING: We have even more. Even more show coming up. Democrats are decrying James Comey's firing as the worst thing since Watergate. Fortunately, Pat Buchanan, who was actually in the Nixon White House during the scandal, the Watergate scandal, is one of our specialists today. And he'll set them straight, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: The firing of James Comey still drawing an onslaught of comparisons from the left to Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre during the Watergate scandal.

For example, a former speechwriter for Bill Clinton is quoted by saying to Politico, quote, "This has every appearance of a cover-up, a possible act of obstruction of justice, just as much as Nixon firing Archibald Cox. That's the only comparable historical precedent I can think of."

Well, we are so fortunate here today. We have one of our specialists, Pat Buchanan, who actually worked for the Nixon White House during Watergate. And you say these comparisons are just way off base.

BUCHANAN: I mean, the -- look, the Saturday Night Massacre occurred in a week after the vice president of the United States resigned during the Yom Kippur War, in which Israel was in desperate straits, and Nixon bailed them out and we had negotiations with the Soviets. And they were talking about moving nuclear weapons through the Bosporus.

And this occurred in the middle of it, and Nixon had to fire him, as I say. And I recommended Arch -- I mean, Elliot Richardson, because he refused an order to fire Cox when he had told us that he would do it. And that's why we went ahead. So he had no other choice. As I say, I was sitting in the Oval Office with him, and he was very calm about it and serious about it. And he did say about Archibald Cox -- it was a rough quote -- "We can't have that biker sleeping in the bed with us."

WILLIAMS: How -- how about that, Mark? I mean, Mr. Buchanan is laying out a very detailed timeline. Everything, to me, sounds very connected. Do we have that in the Trump case with the firing of Comey?

HANNAH: Well, what was Archibald Cox doing? He was investigating the White House. He was -- he was leading up the White House -- excuse me, the -- he was basically investigating the Nixon administration. And so yes. You can -- I don't know.

Look, I think that the whole thing just reeks of conspiracy. And I think there is absolutely a comparison to be made between Archibald Cox's firing and James Comey. It's the only other person who was investigating political corruption...

BUCHANAN: But look...

HANNAH: ... in the 20th Century to be fired by a sitting president.

TIMPF: It's so funny to hear...

HANNAH: And look how that -- look how that happened -- look how that turned out.

BUCHANAN: But I knew how it would turn -- we knew how it was going to turn out. I went out to dinner that night...

HANNAH: You knew that Richard Nixon would resign in disgrace?

BUCHANAN: I knew what was going to happen. I went out to dinner that very night, Saturday night, and told friends of mine there will be an impeachment resolution in the House on Tuesday, and there were 20 of them. We knew it.

TIMPF: I think comparisons between Nixon and Trump were hilarious, just because Nixon was such a skilled politician. Obviously, it didn't work out in the end. He was a skilled politician.

HANNAH: Pat, before the end, was he a little paranoid?

TIMPF: Trump has been a politician for, like, a couple of months. Just of all the people, just because this one incident. Comparisons all day long.

BUCHANAN: Back to your point -- about your point, Henry Kissinger said, you know, "Sometimes paranoids have real enemies."

BOLLING: Yes, and that was -- "X-Files." That was a great line in "The X- Files," as well.

First of all, I'd like to say how thrilled I am that Pat Buchanan is here, because he was in the White House, the Nixon White House when this was going on.

But Mark -- and Pat, weight in if you want. Archibald Cox was onto something. He knew -- he found a tie to Nixon. He found it; he knew it. He was asking them to be produced, and therefore, he was fired as he was on to something. Comey and the FBI have absolutely nothing.

WILLIAMS: We don't know.

HANNAH: What makes you say that?

BOLLING: We do know.

HANNAH: They just asked for more resources.

BOLLING: There is no proof.

HANNAH: He just wrote a memo to the guy who fired him.

BOLLING: Stop. We have to say this. We have to say this. There is no evidence of collusion. Period, full stop now.

WILLIAMS: The truth is, there is no evidence of collusion, E. But what we've heard Clapper say is that they don't have any proof.

BOLLING: The difference is Archibald Cox had proof.

BUCHANAN: Well, there's no doubt about it. Look, we decapitated the White House staff. Two attorney generals were under investigation. There were tapes. John Dean had testified, linking Nixon to Watergate. So you had allegations of a real crime. That's why you needed a special prosecutor.

But with Trump right now, there's no evidence of any crime. Please give us some.

HANNAH: He's creating -- he's creating an environment. Did you read the letter where Trump fired Comey? He basically said, "Even though you personally told me on three occasions that I'm not being investigated..." It was a complete non-sequitur.

TIMPF: That was bizarre. That was bizarre. Everyone has to admit that was bizarre.

HANNAH: Yes. It sounds so self-conscious.

WILLIAMS: Very intentional.

BOLLING: And guess what? It was statement of fact and probably the most relevant fact in this whole -- this whole ball of controversy.

HANNAH: No, you're not being investigated...

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: Mark -- let me -- Mark, let me get in here.

HANNAH: OK.

WILLIAMS: This is important. Because I would submit, clearly, we know that Archibald Cox was further along, at least, in his investigation than Jim Comey. Also, targets change. So just because we don't have a lot of evidence right now. But right? As investigations go, you have to follow the evidence. Right?

BUCHANAN: Right. But the very fact that Trump put in there "Three times you've told me I'm not under investigation..."

WILLIAMS: At this moment.

BUCHANAN: ... I will say that that is Trumpian. Isn't that out there?

HANNAH: Not Nixonian. Not Nixonian.

TIMPF: Remember that doctor's note? Remember that doctor's note when he was running about he was just in the best health ever? That was -- kind of reminded me of that.

WILLIAMS: Another Trumpism.

All right. Don't go away. When we come back, we circle back with our specialists, Mr. Pat Buchanan and Mark Hannah. More after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TIMPF: Time for our daily segment, "Circle Back," where we return to a point made by one of our specialists earlier in the show, or Eric, Eboni and I get answers to any questions we are dying to ask them.

All right, Mr. Buchanan, I know you're very, very big on the "no special prosecutor, nothing to see here." But you can't deny that this is not going to go away on its own, even in terms of optics. What would you -- how should Trump handle this?

BUCHANAN: He should appoint a really top-notch guy to be FBI director and get him confirmed and then give him a deadline to come up with an answer as to whether or not there was collusion in the main investigation. Did they collude with the Russians? If not, remove that cloud from the head of the president of the United States, because it looks to me like it's been put there totally unjustifiably.

HANNAH: I hear Sally Yates is available. Maybe she should be at the top of the FBI.

BOLLING: To get fired twice.

Can I -- can I do my "Circle Back"?

HANNAH: Please.

BOLLING: My "Circle Back" goes to Eboni. A lot of names of -- not the interim but the actual future director of the FBI. One name jumps out at me, and frankly he hasn't been a pro-Trump guy. So that -- you want to talk about...

WILLIAMS: Can't wait to hear this name.

BOLLING: ... nonpartisan. He's partisan, but it would be non-partisan in the Trump world. Trey Gowdy.

WILLIAMS: You know what?

BOLLING: What a great prosecutor he has been, and what a great investigator he will be.

WILLIAMS: So I actually like Trey Gowdy. I don't think he's perfect by any means, but generally speaking, he has a great prosecutorial spirit. I say that as an attorney.

But I think he's getting a lot of pushback, and a lot of people do consider him quite partisan.

But my "Circle Back" is to Mr. Buchanan. When we look at Donald Trump's success as a candidate, and we talk about how his candidacy really came about in this antiestablishment way...

BUCHANAN: Right.

WILLIAMS: ... do you think Donald Trump finished what you clearly and incredibly started many years ago?

BUCHANAN: Well, I think he's got a lot of issues that matured by the time he came here. But look, he won this on his own. He came to his views on economic nationalism at the same time I did, way back when. He did a tremendous job.

And look, whatever you say about the guy, he stood up to some of the worst -- worse beatings than Nixon ever had. I've never seen someone take a beating like that in the campaign, day in and day out, and smile and come through it. Really, I mean, you've got to credit the guy for that.

WILLIAMS: I thought you did a fantastic job standing up to some establishment types in your day. So thank you.

BUCHANAN: Well, thank you.

BOLLING: Some other names: Ray Kelly.

WILLIAMS: Um-unh. No.

BOLLING: Chris Christie.

WILLIAMS: No.

TIMPF: Chris Christie, no way.

BOLLING: And the one that -- David Clarke.

HANNAH: He'd have to be confirmed by Congress.

WILLIAMS: So more people can die in David Clarke's jails as he proceeds over them?

TIMPF: Yes.

WILLIAMS: Sorry.

BOLLING: Ooh.

WILLIAMS: Too much truth?

BOLLING: Come on, Eboni.

WILLIAMS: I mean, too much truth? Too much truth? You know, he could have given the guy a bottle of water or something.

TIMPF: Chris Christie, could you imagine? That's -- all right. Yes, that would be really...

HANNAH: Definitely good for the prestige and the credibility of the FBI. Right? That's exactly what...

TIMPF: He can't get invited anywhere to do anything anymore.

All right. Thank you to our "Fox News Specialists" today: Pat Buchanan, author of "Nixon's White House Wars," and Mark Hannah, author of "The Best Worst President."

We thank you all for watching and make sure to follow us on social media, @SpecialistsFNC on Twitter and Facebook. Remember, 5 o'clock will never be the same. "Special Report" is next.

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