House Intelligence Committee unmasks the unmaskers

The 'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," May 31, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.



I never said I was a perfect candidate and I certainly never said I ran perfect campaigns, but I don't know who is or did. And at some point it sort of bleeds over into misogyny.

I take responsibility for every decision I made, but that's not why I lost. So I think it's important that we learn the real lessons from this last campaign because the forces that we are up against are not just interested in influencing our elections and our politics. They are going after our economy, and they are going after our unity as a nation.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, Hillary Clinton unplugged at a tech conference out in California. The nothing-burger was the emails, how she handled her emails and the coverage of that. She went into great detail about linkage and Russian bots and down into the weeds of the Mercers and the funding of Republican data efforts, and then turned the guns on the DNC and Democrats.


CLINTON: So I'm now the nominee of the Democratic Party, I inherited nothing from the Democratic Party.

WALT MOSSBERG: What do you mean nothing?

CLINTON: I mean it was bankrupt. It was on the verge of insolvency. Its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it.

MOSSBERG: This is the DNC?

CLINTON: This is the DNC, to keep it going.


BAIER: Now, remember this is President Obama's DNC. So in essence she is pointing the blame at President Obama there in the election. This is quite something. If you look at the last three Democratic nominees running for president, all three of them believe they were cheated out of an election. Hillary Clinton is talking about it much more than Al Gore or John Kerry at this point.

Let's start there, let's bring in our in the panel: Jonah Goldberg, senior editor at National Review; Susan Page, Washington bureau chief at USA Today; editor in chief of Lifezette, Laura Ingraham, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Jonah?

JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, there's a lot to focus on here. I think short of getting 5 o'clock shadow and wearing wingtips on the beach, her transformation into full Nixonian bitterness is complete. The idea that literally every single possible variable is to blame except for her and her actions was really kind of remarkable. It was kind of mesmerizing watching this thing.

And we forget that this is a side of Hillary that's always been there. In her memoirs she writes about this vast conspiracy that Chief Justice Rehnquist was leading against her and her husband. This was a woman who has kept her personal Beria (ph), Sidney Blumenthal, employed for decades, who was a conspiracy monger. And it is this sort of Manichean worldview that she is a force for truth and justice and all of these evil forces are to blame for anything bad that ever happens to her.

BAIER: Susan?

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: You have to wonder who this does any good for, because it doesn't do any good for Hillary Clinton and her reputation and her standing. She doesn't look big in this interview. She looks small. And it can't help the Democrats. There are a lot of people looking backwards at this election at the Democrats with the Congressional inquiries into Russian meddling, but Democrats also need to look forward to what they stand for. And we know from these special elections it's not enough to just run against Trump. You need to have a positive message, and it's not clear what direction Democrats are going in, what they stand for. But we know that Hillary Clinton finding fault with everybody except herself for losing the last election does not help her.

BAIER: And to the credit of some of the interviewers, they pressed her on a couple issues. For example here's one of the questions about the Goldman Sachs speeches she gave for a lot of money.


MOSSBERG: Why did you do those?

CLINTON: Why do you have Goldman Sachs here? Because they pay us. They paid me.

When you are the secretary of state, people want to hear what you talk about. The most common thing I talked about in all those speeches was the hunt for bin Laden. Men got paid for the speeches they made. I got paid for the speeches I made. And it was used, and I thought it was unfairly used and all of that, but it was part of the background music.


BAIER: Laura?

LAURA INGRAHAM, LIFEZETTE.COM: I think that was a behind closed doors speech where it was like open markets, open borders. That was one of the lines, I'm paraphrasing it.

But my gosh, Hillary, she does not to me look well. She doesn't look like her -- moments on the campaign, she was having fun, laughing, vibrant. I know she lost and it's unpleasant to lose. Losing is not fun. But the inability to see the lack of a campaign that connected with blue-collar Americans who had been left behind by both Republicans and Democrats after all this time with all of her education and all the help she got from CNN and the DNC, who colluded together to help her. I don't know why she's complaining about the DNC. They were hurting Bernie. They weren't hurting her. So that was odd.

Her idea that the election I guess was rigged. They made fun of Donald Trump for saying the election was rigged, remember, after that Colorado caucus vote, they were all ridiculing him. But the Democrats and the left and Hillary Clinton, combine them all together, throw in Elizabeth Warren, she's next maybe, they are like the new tinfoil hat conspiracy contingent. It's all a conspiracy. It's all Russia, it's all misogyny, it's all Black Lives Matter. Whatever it is, it's never about the substance that America has fallen behind in the middle class and they need real solutions.

BAIER: Listen, there were people, Debbie Dingell from Michigan, others who were sending up red flares saying Bernie Sanders is connecting in a place like Michigan more than you are during the election, and that was not discussed today.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I don't think she's capable of discussing anything about the election in a way that makes anything other than sympathy for her. She has made herself pathetic. It was said of the Bourbons they never learned anything, they never forgot anything. She was saying the same stuff about the vast right wing conspiracy, which is essentially what she's talking about here, naming all the elements, including as a kind of novelty the Russians this time. This is the vast right wing conspiracy she spoke about at the beginning of the Lewinsky scandal when in fact she and her husband lied for months about an event that really happened and they denied it.

She has never changed, and she seems incapable of understanding that she lost a humiliating election that was almost un-losable, and that was because she never knew why she was running. The pathos of her actually sending emails to her staff in the middle of a campaign after essentially being on the road for eight years and begging them to come up with a theme -- if you don't know why you are running for president, you shouldn't be running for president.

BAIER: I want to turn to the investigation, the two tracks, as we talked about earlier in the show. You have the Russian investigation and with the Trump campaign did or did not do, and you also have the leak and also surveillance investigation. Susan, today Fox News confirmed that the FBI, CIA, and NSA served with subpoenas, and sources say the subpoenas referenced unmasking, and specifically the names of figures of interest, three Obama-era officials. You have national security adviser Susan Rice as well as John Brennan, former CIA director, and the new one is Samantha Power, former U.N. ambassador, had not previously been mentioned in this, and it's raising a lot of eyebrows in this unmasking investigation.

PAGE: So it's very appropriate to look into whether there was improper action in trying to unmask the Americans who were picked up by surveillance of foreigners. That's certainly going forward. I do think that is a secondary investigation in seriousness to the investigation into what Russia did in meddling in a U.S. election. But I think both tracks are going to proceed, proceed not only with the FBI investigation but also with the inquiries on the Hill. I think we're going to be hearing a lot about both.

BAIER: And we are days away, we are told, Jonah, from Jim Comey testifying up on Capitol Hill.

GOLDBERG: It should be fascinating. Comey had said in testimony to Congress that he was not -- he had never been told to stop an investigation, and that's never happened in his experience, and a lot of people are expecting him to say something a little different, at least that's what those original leaks from Comey sounded like he was going to be saying.

And I think it's a good thing. He should speak before Congress. And the same thing with these subpoenas. There is so much conjecture, I think sometimes the White House doesn't help itself out by breaking out the smoke machines when there may not be any fire but get people to talk to Congress under oath before the American people and let's move on past this stuff. But you have to go through the steps first.

BAIER: And it was interesting that Carter Page was called up there. Democrats really wanted to hear from him, and then suddenly he wasn't.

INGRAHAM: Well, he is not going to deliver what they apparently want. Carter Page has made himself available to testify, and to Jonah's point, Comey himself along with John Brennan and others have said there's no evidence of collusion. And we do have to find out if our government was essentially turned into a political weapon against individuals for their political associations, whether to Trump or to associates of Trump, and tracked and perhaps ultimately an attempt to intimidate or harass.

Susan Rice is not testifying. She refuses to testify before Congress. She has been asked to do. Jared Kushner has said he would make himself available to anyone who wants to talk to him. That's interesting. Why won't Susan Rice talk?

BAIER: Hillary Clinton is obviously convinced of the linkage, the collusion, even though there's not evidence that we've seen. She talked about it at length today about the linkage, and she believes the Trump campaign is there.

Here are former Clinton CIA director and former Obama CIA director James Woolsey, "There are a lot of things I've seen I think have been disclosed too much. And I think that the real scandal here, so much disclosed it makes it hard for the secrecy that's essential for the operation of the U.S. government in these areas to continue. I think people who have broken these tacit informal agreements and taken classified information and turned it loose are basically traitors to the country." He worked for the Clinton administration.

Then you have Michael Morell in the Obama administration was the acting CIA director about the Kushner story on The Washington Post. That is not a sourcing chain in which I would put a great deal of confidence. I spent a career watching the media get a significant portion of intelligence related stories wrong. So the bottom line, we should all be very careful in saying what is a fact on which to base analysis here. The real facts may be different." Just a perspective of two former Democratic CIA directors.

KRAUTHAMMER: "Democratic," that is the keyword. These are not partisans. They are not Trump-ites by any means, and what they are speaking for is the institutions, and they are basically saying you might have a romantic notion being a Deep Throat and uncovering some terrible scandal as in Watergate, but if you treat the oath to maintain the secrets that cavalierly, you are undermining the national security of the United States. You better be sure this is a great crime that you are leaking about. Anything less than that, you are really betraying your country. So I would take what they say rather seriously and not romanticize people who are leaking this information.

BAIER: We will cover all elements of all tracks, and if there is "there" there, you will hear it here.

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