TRANSCRIPT

Reince Priebus: Kelly is exactly the type of person Trump needs

Former White House chief of staff talks 'mixed feelings' over resignation, health care reform on 'Hannity'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 28, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a "Fox News Alert." Welcome to "Hannity." Change comes to the White House. DHS secretary John Kelly will now replace Reince Priebus as the president's chief of staff. Now, Reince Priebus will be here in just a few minutes with reaction to tonight's breaking news.

But first, the five forces that are working to destroy President Trump have created an unprecedented environment of difficulty for any White House. It amounts to what I call political warfare. And that is tonight's important "Opening Monologue."

All right, we've heard rumors about the potential of a chief of staff shakeup at the White House, so it wasn't a total surprise that there was a change earlier today. But here's the thing when it comes to the Trump White House. Now, the circumstance which everyone are (sic) working under there are beyond extraordinary and extraordinarily difficult. It is unlike anything the presidency has seen or faced before at least in my lifetime.

There are these five forces that are actively working to destroy, damage, delegitimize, and frankly, if they had their way, they want to run the president out of office and overturn the election that you voted in.

Now, there really is a swamp and a sewer in Washington, D.C. And of course, we start with the most dangerous. The most dangerous of all the actors against the president is the deep state. Look at this headline from Circa News's Sara Carter. Quote, "Exclusive, a top FBI lawyer, their chief counsel, allegedly under investigation." Why? Leaking classified information to the media. So you have the FBI general counsel, their top attorney now under investigation for leaking national security information to the media.

And then, of course, you have the former director, James Comey, writing memos on government computers, classified information, we're told, removing that information and then having a friend leak it to The New York Times for a specified purpose, to bring about a special counsel.

And from there, the Trump administration has to deal with an unprecedented number of leaks. Get this, at a greater -- more than seven times the previous two administrations the Trump administration has faced, 125 leaks, deep state leaks, in 126 days. And what we know right now about the deep state is only the beginning of it.

And look, the intelligence community is filled with really, really great, good people that put their lives on the line. They love and they protect our country. We give them these incredible tools of intelligence so they can fight ISIS and radical Islam and al Qaeda and North Korea and Iran and Russia and China and all these countries that want to bring us harm. These people -- they do an amazing job and they are truly patriots.

But there's one tenth of 1 percent in the intel community that have turned the tools of intelligence against you, the American people. They have unmasked Americans. We're learning more and more about that every day. They are leaking raw intelligence to the press. And had (ph) is (ph) taken now -- it's taken so much time and so much attention for all these people that are working so hard to serve the president, his agenda, and to serve the country. And they've being dealing with this from day one.

This needs to come to an end. Some people need to be indicted and put in jail for the crimes they're committing.

Now, on top of that, one of the big forces against the president we know the destroy Trump establishment media. People in this White House from day one have faced an abusively biased press that is obsessed with obscene conspiracy theories without evidence, Russia, Russia non-stop. And it's taking up an enormous amount of people's time that work in the White House trying to serve the American people and advance the agenda.

The media has only advanced that false narrative, and they have ignored -- let's see, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, her IT guy, smashing hard drives, that scandal, Hillary Clinton's numerous scandal (ph), of course, she was involved in putting e-mails, classified top-secret, special access program information, oh, on a private server that five foreign agencies picked up on.

And then, of course, she destroyed 33,000 e-mails, and then she destroyed BlackBerrys and iPhones with a hammer and then she hands over to the FBI devices without SIM cards. Then her Uranium One deal, which is the most corrupt of all, a real Russia conspiracy. You have Loretta Lynch interfering in that e-mail investigation, James Comey leaking to the press, the special counsel, Robert Mueller, his multitude of conflicts of interest.

Then there's the obstructionist Democrats. Item three (ph) they've got to fight. They don't want this president to succeed, not one of them. No matter how small the issue, even if it benefits you, the American people, their singular goal is to resist at every single turn, no matter what.

They're actually giddy. They were giddy yesterday that health care failed last night, the very health care system that they sold to you on false and broken promises that raised your premiums up to $8,000 on average. Remember the promise, keep your doctor, your plan, save $2,500 a year. Yes, put that in the bin heap scrap of history as one of the biggest lies ever told.

You throw in the establishment Republicans. What happened last night was a disgrace. They don't want the president to succeed, either! Look at the pathetic display from Senate Republicans this week. Seven years of promises and they couldn't even pass the skinny repeal, John McCain over and over and over again promising repeal and replace. All the others that voted to repeal in 2015, they couldn't do it now. And then you got the never-Trumpers. They never supported the president. Their only hope in life is that he fails, the country fails, so they can say, Oh, I told you so.

Ask yourself this. Has any administration, at least in our lifetime, had to deal with anything like this? I know I've never seen anything like it. This deck is stacked against the people that are working in the White House. And this onslaught of attacks from every part of the D.C. sewer and swamp -- well, it has made it incredibly difficult for them in the White House to get their job done.

And instead of focusing on the president's agenda, they spend 85 percent of their day fighting back against these five forces. Those are the conditions that Reince Priebus and everyone in this White House has to endure every day since day one. It's a political war zone.

Now, Reince Priebus can leave with his head held high tonight. He helped Republicans win the House, the Senate and the White House. He's not responsible that they broke their promises. He served the country with honor and distinction, as the president said, under very grueling and difficult circumstances.

Now, you critics out there -- you can say whatever you want, but I'm telling you what these people in this White House, what they are up against-- it's unparalleled.

And joining us now, former RNC chair and I guess now former chief of staff Reince Priebus. How are you doing at this moment? How are you feeling? Is this -- do you feel good about this, bad about this? Has this been building? Where are you with this?

REINCE PRIEBUS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, I mean, obviously, it's always mixed feelings, but generally good. Number one, it was an honor and a privilege to serve President Trump. I think he's doing an amazing job. I think he needs to get more credit for the great work he's doing. And I don't know, obviously, why he hasn't gotten more recognition around the country for the bills, the executive orders and this just constant obsession over distractions. And so, look, he's doing a great job.

But I'm feeling good about the fact that he's making a change that makes him comfortable with moving forward. You know, we had a good talk yesterday. I resigned. He accepted it. And then we were sort of working together and talking quite a few times about who would be a great pick to come in here and be the chief of staff. And I can't think of anyone better than a four-star generally, John Kelly, who is a good, decent, tough guy who's exactly the type of person the president needs.

So I'm happy for him. I think it's a -- I think, actually, going a different direction, hitting a reset button is a good thing.

And the president did that. And so I think he's happy. I got to tell you, although it's always a little mixed when things like this happen, I generally feel pretty good.

HANNITY: You know, I -- the weird thing is, I know recent events with Anthony Scaramucci, who I also know, and I've known you for many, many years -- I was on the campaign trail with you.

PRIEBUS: You were.

HANNITY: I saw you the days of debate. I probably had more midnight to 1:00 AM conversations with you during the campaign and now than I really care to admit and probably you care to acknowledge that you ever talk to me, but--

PRIEBUS: Yes, we do.

HANNITY: But you guys got along. I mean, you guys were friends. You guys were going to work together.

PRIEBUS: Yes, well, first of all, I would say -- and we'll always continue to talk, Sean. You're a great friend. We appreciate you very much. Look, another thing is with me is I'm not going to get into the -- into that subject. It's just -- it's getting in the mud, and I think the palace intrigue stuff is annoying and I think it's a distraction. It takes away from the president's agenda.

I think what everyone needs to do is just focus on the president, to focus on the things that he wants to get done for the American people. You know what's in his heart. I know his heart. He's a genuine, decent, incredibly hard-working president that deserves the credit that he has coming for the incredible accomplishments that he has taken part of.

And so, those other things, you know, some of that stuff this week, I just think it's an annoying distraction that -- it's just not -- it's not right for people to talk about, especially employees of the West Wing.

HANNITY: Why did you decide now -- and you're saying you helped the president in offering up names for your replacement, so that tells me that this has gone on for some period of time, and you also told me earlier that you're actually going to stay around for a while. You're going to help in the transition. Tell us a little bit more about that.

PRIEBUS: Sure. Well, we just started -- I mean, we started talking about this yesterday, you know, when I -- when we -- I told you we had a conversation when I resigned yesterday privately. The future is -- I talked to General Kelly tonight. Obviously, we talk often because he's a cabinet secretary. I've gotten to know him. He's a great man.

I'm going to be involved in about a two-week transition here to help the general kind of get around and meet all the different employees that are doing great work here. And I'll always be available. I'm going to be on team Trump all the time. I'll always be out there trying to help the president advance his goal, support him as a friend, too.

And that's the other part of the job that people don't realize. You actually become friends. You know, when you go through thick and thin together, you get to know people really well. And he's a good man and I was honored to be able to serve him.

HANNITY: Listen, Reince, I can attest to it because I saw it all through the campaign and I saw it when I was there in the times that I've interviewed the president or been to the White House. I saw how close you were. And I guess that's what the surprise.

But I did say in my opening monologue -- and I want to go through each challenge that I think is fairly unprecedented and the intensity of those that want to hurt this president, delegitimize his agenda, prevent him from being successful. And that would get to the deep state. That would get to Democrats from day one never accepted the results. That would get to a media that has been obsessed on one issue with no evidence. That has been even Republicans that have talked badly behind the president's back, that don't want him to succeed, and never-Trumpers.

Overall, it seems like since day one, there has been an unnatural, unprecedented, you know, never-ending attacks on this White House more than others. Is that an accurate description, or am I off?

PRIEBUS: No, I think you're right. I mean, just look at the numbers on Senate confirmations. They're debating people for 30 hours. That's an entire week in the Senate floor. And then they vote for that particular nominee 90 to 10. So in other words, all of this -- it's unprecedented. You can look at the percentages of cabinet secretaries appointed, when they were appointed.

The minuscule amount of cooperation that this president gets from the Democrats in the House and the Senate, the media feeding frenzy, the fact that people are trying to become famous in the press room.

I mean, I can go on and on and on. The point is, having -- hitting a reset bottom, now, it affects me. But put me aside, it doesn't matter. You got to look at this stuff objectively. The president hitting the reset button saying, OK, let's try something different -- I don't think that's a bad thing at all.

And I think General Kelly, given the tools, making sure that he is the chief of staff and he's in charge, he's in charge of hiring, firing, everyone reports to General Kelly -- I think it's a good formula. That's how he will be successful.

HANNITY: We go through these challenges that I think are unique more than the previous two administrations. The deep state has leaked intelligence on this president. We saw what happened with the general counsel of the White House (sic) in Sara Carter's article earlier, or yesterday that we broke on this program, and then we also had the issue of James Comey.

But I want to specifically get to -- there was one report of 125 leaks in 126 days, seven times the past two administrations. How much of your day was consumed with either that or Russia, Russia, Russia with no evidence? And did that hurt? Did that make your job 50 times harder?

PRIEBUS: Well, of course. I mean, we walked into the West Wing with these challenges, and they continue. The collusion story is a joke. I don't think -- I honestly don't believe there's a lot of people out there that actually believe that campaign people were sitting on telephones and having meetings and passing secret messages, trying to figure out how to mess around with the election. It's ridiculous.

There was -- and -- and -- but yet, if you look at headlines over the last six months, you would think that that's only thing happening in the world.

Here's the good thing for everyone out there that do love our president. The good thing is, is that when you go to rallies in Youngstown, Ohio, like we did two or three days ago, there is not a politician in America, maybe -- probably the world, but there's not a politician anywhere on the planet that can go to any arena in the United States, fill it up and have 10,000 people waiting outside, and by the way, go give a speech with everyone going bananas in the arena.

I mean, this is -- and so, you look at the numbers out in the Midwest, where I come from, the president's very popular. The problem with Washington is you live in a little. tiny bubble, and this bubble is very, very different than the rest of the country. And then you read The New York Times, The Washington Post, and you read all of this stuff and you start thinking--

HANNITY: (INAUDIBLE)

PRIEBUS: -- What in the world is going on? And so--

HANNITY: Well, I just--

(CROSSTALK)

PRIEBUS: -- focus on the real issues.

HANNITY: You know, I want to get to the media in just a second, but has that also played a part in this? And that's one of the five, I think, big institutions that don't want the president to succeed and trying to delegitimize him and preventing his agenda from being enacted.

You know, you mentioned the crowds, and I watched the speech that you referred to very, very closely, as I have all of his rallies, and I covered so many of them. And my question to you is, you had a very successful run as the chairman of the RNC. You helped elect a lot of the people in the House and the Senate. And in fairness to the House people, it wasn't a bill that I would have chosen, but they worked hard and long--

PRIEBUS: But they got it done. They got it done.

HANNITY: They got it done. All right, Mitch McConnell didn't get it done. John McCain comes back and did what he did, and we wish him well, but I did not like what he did last night, nor did any of them run on the skinny, you know, repeal bill to get it into conference, to hope that they can fix it there.

And my question is this. To the extent that the Republicans are, in my view, lacking the identity that the president has -- he's saying, I'll build the wall, I'll repeal and replace, tax cuts for the middle class, for corporations, repatriation, energy independence, define Islam as radical Islam -- very definitive stances. And you see the crowds.

I didn't see that with the Republicans this week. And you helped elect a lot of those guys. Were you as disappointed as I am?

PRIEBUS: I was very disappointed. I don't blame the leadership, though. I don't think they could have -- they've tried everything. In the end, you got to have 50 votes. And you can have a majority, but if you don't have a governing majority, then you really don't have a majority. And so working on that is important.

I mean, getting John McCain back on board with our health care reform bill, repeal and replace -- I think it's still possible. I think getting Lisa Murkowski on board with repealing and replacing "Obama care" is going to be important.

Here's the thing. I don't think it's over though, Sean. I just -- I wouldn't -- I would not say that repealing and replacing ObamaCare--

HANNITY: Can I gently--

PRIEBUS: -- before the end of September is off the table.

HANNITY: Can I gently say something, though?

PRIEBUS: Yes.

HANNITY: After seven years, you know -- you know what I didn't hear this week except for maybe Senator Ted Cruz, who deserves credit, or the Freedom Caucus guys -- and I know you worked so closely with them on the House bill. And even in this bill, I hear they were involved, too.

But I didn't hear about health care cooperatives, health care savings accounts. These are fundamental principles I've been talking about on air, and you've been discussing as the RNC chairman for 15, 20 years, and they weren't even in the bill.

PRIEBUS: Well, and they were in the original bill, but as they kept peeling things off of the bill, it became, as I say, skinnier and skinnier.

But again, I want to emphasize the fact looking forward positively, I think that the Republicans can still get this thing done. They only need one more vote. They can get Lisa Murkowski or Susan Collins or John McCain to come up with something that might work.

Now, Lindsey Graham and Cassidy and others are talking about a straight-up block grant and send the money back to the states. Maybe that's going to catch fire. I think it might.

The point of this, though, is that I believe, like you, that if President Trump's agenda that won the election in November -- it's the things, actually, that the president has been talking about for 30 years, so it's not like someone -- you know, we just came up with this. He's been talking about this stuff for decades, and that's the agenda that everyone needs to be rowing in the same direction on.

I gave the speech that the president gave in Youngstown to the senior staff the other day, and I said, this is the president's agenda. Everyone should read this speech, learn it and do everything you can to enact these promises that the president talks about and has crowds coming out of the woodwork for. This is where the focus needs to be.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: All right, stay right there. We'll have more Reince Priebus after the break straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." Now, before we get back to Reince Priebus, this was the president earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Reince is a good man. John Kelly will do a fantastic job. General Kelly has been a star, done an incredible job thus far, respected by everybody, a great, great American. Reince Priebus, a good man. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: As we continue with Reince Priebus, who resigned late last evening.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: I want to ask you this question because I think -- how many people -- when you compare and contrast, sir, past administrations and they were able to get their appointments through the Senate, and the slow process -- you're kind of kind to Mitch McConnell earlier, and I, for the life of me, don't understand why some of these people -- they haven't had their up-or-down vote. The president doesn't have his full team on board. There's still a lot of Obama holdovers.

There -- is -- do we need to just get rid of the filibuster, the 60-vote margin at this point, and cloture?

PRIEBUS: I heard a rumor last week that the Democrats may stop their blockade after "Obama care." We're hoping that that's going to be the case with Senator Schumer. I have heard that, that that might be happening now in August, that all of those nominees will go through.

What people don't realize is that we have hundreds of nominees, either sitting in clearance or in Senate committees right now. And Senate rules are very complicated, and they're mind-numbing. The filibuster rule is another one.

But I think that with the focus on the president's agenda, I think with the constant drumbeat, I think what you're doing every day is important. But I'm hoping that some of these folks in the Senate come to their senses and see that they're hurting the country by not just blocking the president but doing it in a way that is obnoxious and it injures the United States of America. They're injuring their country, the country that they're elected to serve.

I get you want to have a robust debate. Have the debate, but don't do it at the expense of the country. We actually need people appointed at the Department of Defense. We need people appointed at the Department of State. Get them out of committee and put them to work!

HANNITY: It's August!

PRIEBUS: Right.

HANNITY: It's almost eight months since the president -- and this goes to the heart. And I just -- I know you know this, but it's August, and I don't know the president, as you pointed out -- executive orders, everything that he could get rid of, Obama-era regulations, judges--

PRIEBUS: He did everything. You know, our regulation -- like 16 -- we're working on the calculation, but it's something like 15 or 16 to one. Meaning, for every one new regulation, we're kicking out 15 or 16. His executive order called it two for one.

Look at what's happening with jobs. Look at the GDP. Look at workforce productivity. He's doing a great job, but the media--

HANNITY: Well, that goes to my question--

(CROSSTALK)

PRIEBUS: -- something else.

HANNITY: The president's doing -- the president's doing everything he can do within his power. But we have separation of powers. We have co-equal branches of government. Republicans asked for the House in 2010. They asked for the Senate in 2014. They wanted the presidency. They've got it all. Now they're saying, well, now, we need 60 senators to get health care done.

And I can tell you -- and I know you hear it, but conservatives look at the lack of urgency and the lack of progress in the House and Senate, and they are ticked off beyond measure--

PRIEBUS: Oh, yes.

HANNITY: -- including me!

PRIEBUS: Yes, no question about it. But you go back -- and I think the proof is what we talked about earlier, which is the president's very popular out across the country. And he's popular because he's not getting blamed for what's happening in not passing this legislation.

People aren't waking up today and saying, President Trump is the guy to blame for the fact that the Senate didn't pass repeal and replace. No one's saying that. People understand what's going on.

We have a legislature that needs to come together quickly while we still can pass a bill through reconciliation with 50 votes and come up with another idea. And the good news for everyone is, I do believe that the leadership in the Senate and people that are working with the leadership in the Senate, the Republicans, they are working hard. And I'm hopeful--

HANNITY: All right.

PRIEBUS: Let's be hopeful that something's going to get done.

HANNITY: All right. I got -- I'm just going to say one word that I won't use--

PRIEBUS: I'm an optimist.

HANNITY: No, you are, and look, I've known you for all these years. And under the conditions I think that are unprecedented, I think everybody owes the president, the country owes a debt of gratitude, your hard work during the campaign, as I said in my opening monologue, your hard work as chief of staff under these conditions I think are unprecedented and the most difficult time that I've seen in my adult lifetime because the attacks are so intense.

Here's a question. I'm just going to give you one word, and you go anywhere you want to go. The media in this country.

PRIEBUS: Dishonest.

HANNITY: You're trying to be nice. I can read your eyes!

(LAUGHTER)

PRIEBUS: Well, I'm trying to be nice because -- look, here's my problem, I don't even -- there's a lot of words to describe it. What I find to be amazing is how narratives are set and a lot of it's not true and facts get placed into stories that then get repeated in a different setting.

And if people knew what the actual truth was, whether it be palace intrigue, whether it be Russia collusion, whether it be someone said something in the Oval Office, or whether it be anything -- the most breathtaking thing for me has been the difference between what the truth is and what often gets reported and then what actually becomes a full-blown narrative and set in stone and it's then reported as fact. I don't know how to--

HANNITY: Can you say--

PRIEBUS: -- how to explain any better than that, but it's very -- it's very incredible.

HANNITY: Is the media dishonest?

PRIEBUS: I don't think everyone in the media is dishonest, just like, you know, not everyone--

HANNITY: Overall--

PRIEBUS: -- in politics is dishonest, or all lawyers, you know--

HANNITY: All right, fair.

PRIEBUS: Right. I think that there's enough, though, that have such incredible competition on their hands for information and movement and clicks on line and profitability that there's just -- there's -- people are shaving the honest nature of where they know in their hearts they need to be to just barely--

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Can I put this way?

PRIEBUS: Yes.

HANNITY: Is it fair to say that there is a very high level of misinformation, fake news and dishonesty, and the American public need to be very discerning because you know a lot of what they read and hear on television is fake?

PRIEBUS: Yes. I think it's 100 -- what you're saying is 100 percent true. A lot of it is totally fake. The good news is I think the president's done a great job at pointing that out to everybody so that when we get articles written in all these newspapers, people call me, Is this true, or is this fake? No, fake, don't worry about it.

I mean, it has become an epidemic. But I also think it's such competition and such a drive for money that it becomes dishonest. And so, luckily, the president is pretty tough and he punches through it left and right and then fills up the arena and will be reelected in a few years. And that'll blow their minds away and it'll happen.

HANNITY: I do believe that the president is sending signals to the Republicans in the House and Senate. If they want that type of response, stand for the type of agenda he's standing for and keep your promises.

All right, my last question, and it's you've been through this process. You helped elect as the RNC chairman, you helped a lot of those guys in the Washington in the House and Senate get elected. You were there with the president. You were there helping him after the primary was over and almost with him every step of the way. You helped prepare him for the debates. You became the chief of staff. You've been there over six months. What is your best, fondest, most proud achievement or something you're most proud off or something you want to let people know?

PRIEBUS: Well, look, I don't know if it's most proud. There's so many things that I think the president accomplished. And, number one, it's not about me or my accomplishments or the president's accomplishments. But I just think maybe the day, the first day that we came into the West Wing together with the president and walking around, going into the Oval Office, signing that first executive order, and just the magnitude of that responsibility.

And even President Trump, who's larger than life and a proud guy and a tough guy, I remember the moment -- it sort of just took his breath away when he walked in. I would also tell you that when he has to make tough decisions, the deliberation that he takes, the issue in regard to the Syrian bombing, the cruise missiles onto the airfield. He deliberated on that and cared so much about making a decision and meeting again and meeting again, and thinking about it and talking to his generals and listening to them. If people knew the amount of care that this job takes in order to make those types of big decisions, they would be very much inspired. And our president does that.

HANNITY: Last, last question, because you're saying something that I think is very revealing. You and the president have become very close is what you're saying. And more importantly, what is there about this president that you would want Americans to know that maybe they don't know, a side of them that they will never see?

PRIEBUS: I think they're seeing it now because he's done an incredible job getting out there across the country and had a lot of touching events. I think people need to see more of the human side of President Trump, that he's a genuine, decent, caring person that engages people.

He's also extremely funny. I know you know that. He can just crack you up all the time. And he is a good friend. But this is about not friendship. This is about making sure that everything's being run at the direction of the president. And I think, honestly, General Kelly is a good man. We've gotten to know each other very well. We've talked tonight. I'm looking forward to working with him in the next couple of weeks on a good transition and making sure that everyone is focused on accomplishing the president's agenda moving forward.

HANNITY: All right, Reince Priebus, I know for a fact how hard you've worked, how you have served your country in the process, how difficult it has been with all of those forces against you and the president. And we owe you a debt of gratitude, sir. Thank you so much.

PRIEBUS: Thank you, God bless you. Thank you, Sean.

HANNITY: Up next, reaction to my interview with Reince Priebus straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So joining us now, Salem radio nationally syndicated host Larry Elder, FOX News correspondent at large Geraldo Rivera, Fox News anchor, attorney Gregg Jarrett. Geraldo, I thought, I just like people that are loyal and gracious. Reince Priebus, as I said, under extraordinary circumstances, this White House has been under unprecedented fire from day one which consumed, I would argue, 85 percent of everybody's time in there. Thoughts?

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that first of all, you are the person who was loyal and gracious in your interview with Reince Priebus. I would have been a lot crueler. I would have started this is not a fact, Mr. Priebus, that there has been one major leak a day during your entire 125 days of being in office.

HANNITY: Geraldo, I don't want to talk about that. The guy --

RIVERA: Then I would follow up -- no, I would follow up and say, do you deny that you had anything or nothing to do with -- do you deny you had anything to do?

HANNITY: He already answered that question tonight 10 times, and I saw it, and he said no, absolutely not. But --

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Wait, wait. You've got to give this guy credit, because he helped elect the Republicans in the House and Senate. It's not his fault these idiots broke their promise. He's not responsible. They made those promises. Number two, he helped this president every step of the way once the primary was over, he had to thread the needle with 17 people, and with honor and distinction. You cannot deny the unprecedented attacks that this White House has been under. That's what I was asking you.

RIVERA: Then I would say, what is it? You described this love affair you have with Donald Trump. What is it that turned the 45th president of the United States so hostile to you so suddenly? What was it?

HANNITY: He resigned.

RIVERA: What evidence was presented to Donald Trump that Donald Trump absorbed and said you've got to resign --

HANNITY: Geraldo, he resigned. Larry?

LARRY ELDER, SALEM RADIO NATIONAL SYNDICATED HOST: Regarding all of this palace intrigue stuff, can we just have a little bit of perspective and have people calm the hell down? I was alive during the Obama administration, Sean. He went through not one, not two, not three, but four secretaries of defense within his first five years, and they had severe policy differences. Not differences over turf, not personality disputes, not a dispute over who is going to be able to communicate the president's message the best. The first secretary of state, Gates, hammered him for the Iran deal, said it was unrealistic. The second one wrote a book that "Newsweek" called blasting Obama for pulling out the troops out of Iraq, for the use of political operative like David Plouffe and David Axelrod for political decisions. These were major policy differences. And Charles Hagel, his last one, gave an interview to "Foreign Policy" magazine and said that the Obama administration was trying to destroy him, that they were micromanaging, and he was very angry about their style and policy differences. Again, not personality differences.

HANNITY: But other administrations had a lot of big issues, Clinton, even President Reagan, later in their terms. This has been right out of the box to destroy him. Gregg Jarrett, my apologies. You get the floor, I promise, when we get back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: All right, as we continue with Larry Elder, Geraldo Rivera, Gregg Jarrett. Gregg, I apologize. I want to give you the floor here.

And Geraldo, if Geraldo, someone is getting fired, he wants to pounce on the guy, and the guy has done so much good. And I love Geraldo, but you've got to stop, Geraldo. Give the guy a five second break. He's just mean. I say that with you tongue-in-cheek.

GREGG JARRETT, FOX NEWS ANCHOR AND ATTORNEY: He is a smart and talented guy, but he was in the wrong job. He had the position but he didn't have the power, Sean. General Kelly will likely change all of that because he has something that Priebus didn't have. He has command experience. He's all about discipline and order. And I think the president came to realize that that's what he needed, especially after the Priebus-Scaramucci feud that began to resemble in a Cersei versus Khaleesi on "Game of Thrones." But the power of struggle near the seat of power is not unusual. Kennedy administration, Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush, they all tumult and turnover. Obama, for example, had --

HANNITY: They love chaos. Geraldo, but this is my point. A lot of these administrations had trouble -- look, you defended Clinton to death that it drove me nuts. But that was later in his administration, though those first two years were rough, too.

RIVERA: His popularity was very similar to President Trump's in the first year of his tenure. But my point is that there is a structural problem. There has been in the Trump administration, represented by Reince Priebus. Here's this unconventional candidate, this outsider, this absolutely unexpected triumphant president, and he's saddled with all of these establishment guys. And you know they were ratting him out. Let's call a spade a spade. What happened? Why did Scaramucci see what he saw so clearly so soon? And why did the president after being briefed by Mooch say, OK, we've got to clean our house? President Trump has been fighting everywhere. You laid it out perfectly.

HANNITY: We're running out of time. Larry.

RIVERA: Five different -- the media and the deep state and all the rest of it. But he's also been fighting an internal war against his own staffers who have been leaking every secret he has.

HANNITY: OK, but no president, Larry faced the things I'm talking about

ELDER: That's right. And regarding the use of Anthony Scaramucci's profanity, for crying out loud, when Ann Compton after she comfortably retired from ABC News said that Obama gave two off the record meetings with reporters. He was furious, launched into a, quote, profanity-laced tirade, quote, against reporters who he felt was not treating him properly. Now, nobody ratted him out. Nobody leaked. And we didn't know about it until Ann Compton retired. This is what goes on normally in administrations, and Donald Trump is no different. So just lighten up.

HANNITY: I like Larry's take. By the way, Gregg, good to hear you on an hour on my radio show today. That's twice that I didn't get to you. I feel bad. I'll make it up to you, my friend.

More reaction to our shakeup, Corey Lewandowski, Matt Schlapp, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: And as we continue on "Hannity," more reaction to today's shakeup chief of staff. American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Corey, we'll start with you.

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, Sean, let me say this. Obviously, I respect the president's decision and I think that bringing General Kelly is, he's going to make a great team, a great combination. It's time for a fresh start. That's what the president decided he wanted to do. It's time that his agenda moves forward. General Kelly has experience working Capitol Hill. He's a man who gets things done. He's a man who is going to make sure the president's agenda moves forward. And I would like to see a fresh start taking place.

HANNITY: What do you think about me when I was arguing with Matt and Geraldo? These are really unprecedented pressures that have been there from day one?

MATT SCHLAPP, CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION: Yes, no question. First of all, we've never had someone come into the presidency, maybe Ronald Reagan close, but not like this, who has taking on the media all at once, who has taken on the swamp all at once, taken on all the entrenched powers all at once.

Then the second piece of this is Donald Trump hasn't had government experience, which there's a little bit of a learning curve. And then all the team around him, he did exactly what the American people wanted him to. He pulled in a bunch of outsiders, of fresh faces. But he's a quick learner. And he realized after six months he doesn't want to stop having the fights. He is going to keep having the fights. He just is figuring out how to retool the team around him to operationalize for success. And I think sometimes you just recognize that as a business leader or a political leader that you've just got to get a different team. And I think Reince was classy as hell in your interview. He's got a great attitude about this, he's got a fantastic job, and I'm very excited about these changes.

HANNITY: I thought he was classy, too. Maybe because I just know his history a little bit more than others and I know the circumstances, I'm just a little more sympathetic, Corey. By the way, you've been through this yourself.

LEWANDOWSKI: Look, I've been through it and it's a very tough thing. And I can tell you this. I think the president said it best. Reince is a good man. He's been very good and he has done his very best job for the president. This is a president who works 20 hours a day, seven days a week. He demands the best results all of the time. And this healthcare bill that went down unfortunately was not a good thing for the American people. The president said he's going to get it done. Those Republicans need to come together and they need to get it done. We need to repeal ObamaCare, what the president pledge to do. And he demands results, and he's now moving forward with a new team to get new results.

HANNITY: You know, Matt, I don't know where the leaks come from. I don't ask. Don't look to me. But I will say this. None of us probably know where it's coming from. I have no idea. Maybe it's multiple people. But whoever they are, they all need to go, I don't care who they are.

SCHLAPP: I agree. I agree with this desire to clean it up. Sean, when I was made the political director for President Bush, Andy Card, the chief of staff, who had the respect of the president and had the respect of the team, he said, look, if you leak or if you step outside the trust of the president, there's going to be a cardboard box on your desk and you're going to fill it and you're going to leave. You have to have that kind of share of mentality on the West Wing. And you have to make examples of the bad actors, and I'm glad that they're going to do it.

HANNITY: Yes, it can't come soon enough. All right, guys, thank you both for being with us. We really appreciate it on this breaking, busy news Friday. We've got a lot more on "Hannity" coming up right after this break straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HANNITY: All right, welcome back to "Hannity." Unfortunately, this has been such a slow news week, that's all the time we have left. As always, thank you for being with us. Let not your heart be troubled. Listen, we want to remind you, this show will always be fair and balanced. Have a great weekend. Back to the battle on Monday. See you then.

END

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