​L​​aura Ingraham announces new segment 'Defending the First'

This is a rush transcript from 'The Ingraham Angle,' April 12, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

LAURA INGRAHAM, 'THE INGRAHAM ANGLE' HOST: Good evening from Washington. I am Laura Ingraham, and this is 'The Ingraham Angle.' We have so much happening tonight. So much ground to cover. Let's get right to it.

Leaks, of course, coming from James Comey's book. What we see now is if this is that if this is all they have, they've got nothing. It's like petty and insignificant issues and it's more like mean girls gossip than blockbusters.

Plus, will the next House speaker be a Trump conservative or another D.C. insider swamp monster? Reince Priebus gives his analysis in an exquisite of interview. Plus, we are going to get his first reactions to the big Comey did.

Also, Congress holds an emergency hearing on illegal immigrant caravan that's heading to the United States and it's coming here from Mexico after shocking reports emerge.

And the man who called the hearing, Congressman Ron Desantis, has stunning details.

By the way, Michelle Malkin is going to stop by. She's going to expose the dark forces trying to suppress free speech in our latest installment of 'Defending the First.' You do not want to miss this. We are going to name names.

But first, was the raid on Trump's personal attorney just a proxy move by Mueller in his fishing expedition? That's the focus of tonight's 'Angle'.

Do you hear that drip, drip, drip sound? Those are the nonstop leaks coming from the offices of the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York which on Monday as we know executed that raid on the home, the work, and the temporary residence of Trump lawyer, Michael Cohen.

From unnamed sources with knowledge of the investigation, we learned that the search focused on documents related to porn star, Stormy Daniels, and that potential crimes may include bank and wire fraud along with campaign finance violations.

Now, yesterday, there were more leaks that investigators were scouring for information related to, and I kid you not, the 'Access Hollywood' tape. And a new report today in the 'New Yorker' alleging possible payments to a Trump Tower doorman and others during the campaign.

Bottom line, right now, as things are, Russian collusion seems to be a faint memory. After all the hype about that Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr. and the Russian attorney, all after all of the 'hide the ball' tactics that the DOJ used applying for that FISA warrant. And you think about it, after all the speculation about Trump's relationship with Russia, Mueller has come up with goose eggs. Now, Team Trump is properly worried that Mueller is just using the southern district of New York as a proxy to do their dirty work.

In other words, have the New York agents vacuum up a whole bunch of stuff in Cohen's files on the president's personal business deals, again, arguably outside the scope of the special counsel's jurisdiction, and then shoot it back over to us if it's helpful to our cause and going after the president.

That way, Mueller gets credit for initially going to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, with the information in the first place. What do you think we should do with this, Rod? But he gets none of the downside by being the guy who executes the search warrant against the president's personal attorney.

Never happened in the history of the country before. Now, remember, last summer, President Trump said that the effort, any effort by the feds to look into his personal finances is mm-mm.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SCHMIDT: If Mueller was looking at your finances and your family's finances unrelated to Russia -- is that are red line?

HABERMAN: Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would say yes. I would say yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

INGRAHAM: Now, the whole process is totally out of control. This is why the special counsel statute in my mind is unconstitutional. Think about it this way. Mueller's office resides within the executive branch.

And that means if he wants to and if it's politically appropriate for him to do so, as they headed the executive branch, the president should be able to fire him. But if Mueller did get fired by Trump for whatever reason, hell would break loose.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Firing Rod Rosenstein or Robert Mueller would provoke a constitutional firestorm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no question that if President Trump fired Mueller, Rosenstein, or even Sessions, he would set in motion a constitutional crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a new level of crazy for Trump. A new level of being out of control. They, I think for the first time, are really petrified he is going to take that step and they will be in the midst of a constitutional crisis.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

INGRAHAM: Aren't you tired of the ponded echo chamber? They keep repeating themselves day after day. No original thought. Do you know what a constitutional crisis is? When an unelected and largely unaccountable band of hyper-partisan attorneys loyal to the previous president and maybe even Hillary Clinton, they are able to spend millions of your tax dollars in search of a crime merely to undo the results of a presidential election. That's the thing that should worry us, and that's 'The Angle.'

Joining me now for reaction, in Raleigh, North Carolina, is Sol Wisenberg, who is the deputy independent counsel in the Bill Clinton investigation. With me in studio, Joe diGenova, former U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C.

Joe, the more you look into what happened with the execution of that warrant against Cohen and the thinking now and it took me a while to get there, that this was all just a big pretext to vacuum up more personal information from the president that they couldn't otherwise get.

JOE DIGENOVA, PARTNER, DIGENOVA & TOENSING: Definitely pretextual search warrant designed to gather up information, as you said, Mueller ponded off on the Southern District of New York because he didn't want to appear to be touching it, but this is his dirty work.

This is about gathering information for impeachment. It's not about information for criminal cases, but here's the problem. The problem is from the beginning, this investigation has been illegitimate, and that's because Rod Rosenstein had no authority to appoint Bob Mueller.

Rod Rosenstein had multiple conflicts of interest. He wrote the letter and the memorandum firing James Comey. He was party to conversations with the president and others about the firing of James Comey. He is a witness in this case. He cannot be supervising Mueller.

Guess what? He isn't. He is letting Mueller do whatever Mueller wants to do. That's a disgrace. It's an embarrassment. Jeff Sessions should fire Mueller -- should fire Rosenstein tomorrow, tomorrow. Tomorrow he should fire Rosenstein.

INGRAHAM: Sol, your reaction.

SOL WISENBERG, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF COUNSEL, WHITEWATER: I couldn't disagree more with Joe. I think Rod Rosenstein clearly has the authority to appoint a special counsel. He did there in the regulation.

DIGENOVA: There's no underlying crime.

WISENBERG: Do I get to talk? I listened to you, Joe. I couldn't disagree more with joe. If there is a conflict of interest, I have no doubt that Mueller and Rosenstein would have discussed that, and Rod would have recused himself.

I'm going to tell you something, Laura. You have been nice enough to have me on your show several times. I think your viewers now know I call it like I see it. I will admit to you I'm a little biased here because I have known Rod for 21 years.

I know of nobody in the Department of Justice with more integrity than Rod Rosenstein. It doesn't mean that he or anyone else in the department, including Bob Mueller, is immune from criticism. If they have done something that's wrong, go ahead and criticize them.

I'm just telling you what I'm telling your viewers, I know nobody with more integrity, and I will tell you something else. There are three things about Rod that I keep hearing, not on your show come about by anchors and other shows and none of them are accurate.

One is that Rod is a liberal Democrat. He is a lifelong mainstream Republican. Two is that Rod and Comey were good friends. As far as I know, they weren't friends at all, much less close friends. And three that he is a protégé or was a protégé of Bob Mueller or a good friend. That's completely wrong.

INGRAHAM: Look, I don't care what other people are saying on others shows because I haven't said that.

WISENBERG: You haven't.

INGRAHAM: And point well taken. This is what Newt Gingrich said on Fox yesterday. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The fact is that Rod Rosenstein has not done his job. He has not supervised Mueller. This whole thing is an absurdity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

INGRAHAM: Not supervised Mueller.

DIGENOVA: There's no question he hasn't done that. He's allowed them to do whatever he wanted to do. Let me disagree with Sol. Number one, the regulations require a crime. Criminal activity be investigated. No crime or criminal activity was stated in the memorandum appointing Mueller that's
because there was no crime.

Rod Rosenstein pointed Mueller to get rid of a hot potato. It had nothing to do whatsoever with criminal activity. He didn't want the responsibility, like Jeff Sessions had done, by appointing Mr. Hubert to investigate crimes inside the Justice Department about FISA. Rod should have done that. He didn't do that.

He appointed a special counsel where none is justified under those regulations. As far as I am concerned, this isn't about integrity or anything else. It's about doing your job. It's about being able to carry out the duties of the deputy attorney general. And I've known Rod a long time.

I don't know him as well as you do, and I don't know anything about the things you were talking about, these various relationships. I do know this. He did not have the authority to make the appointment the way he did it.

INGRAHAM: Here's what I think --

WISENBERG: Laura, may I respond? That point, Joe's first point. First of all, there doesn't already have to be a crime. You've got to have an investigation before there is a crime. There does have to be a criminal investigation. It's now clear.

Remember the charter says that Mueller could look into anything in the investigation that James Comey announced when he testified before Congress. It's now been made explicitly clear that Comey, if you want to criticize somebody, I am all for criticizing Comey.

Comey had already launched a criminal investigation of several matters, including two very important matters relating to Paul Manafort, whether he had colluded and taken money from the Ukrainian ex-president. There was clearly already a criminal investigation.

INGRAHAM: But not of the president. Not focusing on the president. The import of this investigation, what we know happens with special counsels, Sol, I think what Joe is saying, what you are looking at better have been going right to the president.

And it looks to me like you guys are a lot more experience than I am on this. I haven't practiced law in a long time, but it looks like an investigation in search of a crime that they hoped was committed by the
president of the United States or the candidate himself.

That's why going to vote we started with, they ran out of steam on this Mueller collusion argument. They ran out of steam so then they had to go to the Southern District. What can you get in the offices of the attorney? I don't like that.

WISENBERG: I will agree with Joe on one thing. First of all, we don't know. We don't have all the facts yet. So, we don't know the full facts about this search. But it certainly has the suggestion of a pretextual search.

The Supreme Court has said pretextual searches are OK if you -- you can have probable cause to look for something even if you are really looking for something else. But that doesn't make it right and I will tell you this.

For them to have searched that office instead of issuing a subpoena, they're better have been very strong evidence.

DIGENOVA: Well, Rod Rosenstein authorized it.

WISENBERG: Actually destroying, was actually destroying documents, and we don't know that.

INGRAHAM: I am with Dershowitz on this. They don't do that with the mob.

WISENBERG: Joe, can I ask you a question?

INGRAHAM: Let him finish and then you can speak --

DIGENOVA: The president of the United States was told that he was not a target in order to induce his interview. He was told he was not a target and totally was the subject. That means they didn't have a case against him. So, what are they doing? They're doing a pretextual investigation in New York to create an investigation --

INGRAHAM: That is interesting. Now, it's an interesting point.

WISENBERG: It doesn't mean that. Joe, you are a U.S. attorney.

DIGENOVA: Thank you, Sol.

WISENBERG: Yes, it doesn't mean they don't have a case against you. Not at all. A subject is between a witness and a target. It means they very well may have a case against you.

DIGENOVA: So, he was totally was not a target.

INGRAHAM: We are dealing with --

DIGENOVA: Being told you are a witness.

INGRAHAM: We've got to move to something else.

WISENBERG: I don't get to ask him a question, Laura?

DIGENOVA: I am not your witness, Sol.

WISENBERG: No, I am curious about something.

DIGENOVA: I'm sure you are.

INGRAHAM: Sol, go ahead. We got to move to other topics. If you want to host the show, go ahead.

WISENBERG: Joe, you never searched an attorney's office, Joe, when you were U.S. attorney?

DIGENOVA: Not once. Not once. Thank you for the question, Sol. I would never volunteer.

INGRAHAM: I don't know who would want --

DIGENOVA: That search in New York was a disgrace to the Department of Justice.

WISENBERG: You don't know that. You don't know the facts.

DIGENOVA: Yes, I do. I'm sure they are riveting. Riveting about women. I'm sure Mueller is thrilled of what he did.

INGRAHAM: We started with Russian collusion. We are now at the Billy Bush tape. That's where we are right now. Let's be very clear. That's probably where we are. They are going to Billy Bush tape, going to the doorman, whether the doorman got money. It's all an impeachment set up from the beginning. I guess Trump could be meeting with Russian oligarchs in Central Park. We don't know about that. I mean, I guess but I don't think so.

WISENBERG: I agree in terms of what it looks like, the Southern District is looking at --

INGRAHAM: They are leaking. You know they are leaking.

WISENBERG: (Inaudible) bank fraud.

INGRAHAM: They are leaking information on a daily basis. That office leaks, it always has.

WISENBERG: They shouldn't be leaking. Even the stuff they are leaking, it's not a big deal. You're talking about garden-variety crimes. In the case of campaign finance, we don't know even if it is a crime.

INGRAHAM: OK, let's talk about the fact that it looks like Cohen actually may have, again, according to sources, did record the various meetings with associates but again, reportedly some of them were actually replayed for the president.

I don't know if they were worried about what people were saying. This was over the years. Now, presumably the Southern District of New York has seized recordings, if those exist, they took hard drives, they took his phone, took his phone out of his hand.

This is what I'm saying. We don't know where this is going to go. There is a lot of questions marks here. I don't know why anybody would be -- I think the recording conversations.

DIGENOVA: It's not a good practice.

INGRAHAM: Why would the client, Donald Trump, want that? Another thing I have to ask, there's a piece that came out in 'The Atlantic' today that expanded on the criticism or the analysis, I would say, that Cohen really wasn't acting as an attorney.

That Cohen was more of a mediator, troubleshooter and that many stages in his association with Trump, it seems he is drooling work not legal in nature makes light of his own poor performance in the courtroom.

Is it possible to use an attorney as a shield to protect information? Do people do that? I imagine they do. I'm not saying that was done here. That's what the left is clearly trying to put out there, that he really wasn't an attorney. He was like a fixer guy. So, he doesn't get the benefit of the attorney-client privilege, Sol.

WISENBERG: Well, I think that's ridiculous. As you know, Laura, I think he was clearly his attorney, but it doesn't mean everything he did was privileged. You can have an attorney who also functions as a business official in an organization. And then you have to determine, is he acting as a business advisor or as a legal advisor? I don't think there's any question that there are many privileged communications between Cohen and Trump. It doesn't mean everything in the office --

INGRAHAM: Joe, we will do Comey next segment. We have a barn burner of a segment coming up on Comey. Your reaction to the excerpts you've seen thus far.

DIGENOVA: I find it to be gossipy and juvenile, but that is Comey. He's a very, very sick man.

INGRAHAM: Why do you think sick?

DIGENOVA: I believe that he's so self-possessed and a moralist beyond the pale. I think he suffers from an ego the size of Mount Rushmore. It's
been his undoing.

INGRAHAM: Trump has a big ego. Come on.

DIGENOVA: When you're the head of the FBI, you're supposed to be different than a businessman.

WISENBERG: Joe, for once, I agree with Joe diGenova for once. I agree with everything he said.

DIGENOVA: Only for once.

INGRAHAM: You know how some people, he comes off as kind of priggish, Comey, imperious, sanctimonious. Literally and figuratively looking down on you.

DIGENOVA: Cardinal Comey as we used to call him.

INGRAHAM: Yes, Sol, close it out.

WISENBERG: St. Jim, I think you've got him pegged. He went Hollywood with the Ashcroft testimony and has really never gotten over it.

INGRAHAM: Then like he's been able to do a book tour, but we can't get them back to the committee to give testimony. Basically, he gave the stiff arm to the committee, doesn't want to come back. If it was 'Good Morning America,' he should be doing r6 good interviews on Capitol Hill. Guys,
thanks so much.

WISENBERG: The committee is not important enough, Laura.

INGRAHAM: Good point. I like it when you guys don't agree. We need this bias, we need the disagreement. Washington is abuzz over the leaks from the Comey suppose a tell-all book. You may laugh when you hear what he's got. It's also hot and bothered or you might feel, well, this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is terrible. It makes me mildly nauseous to think we might've had some impact on the election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

INGRAHAM: Leaks from the upcoming tell-all book from Jim Comey seemed kind of more tabloid than telling. The former FBI director reportedly revealed such nuggets as President Trump's hands are smaller than his. Trump's ties are too long. He looks like he's using tanning goggles.

For good measure, Comey also reportedly called Trump unethical and a liar. Democrats may swoon over the book, just as they cheered Comey's role in the Russian investigation, but many are still livid, let's face it, over Comey's reopening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation late in the
campaign.

Believing it could've cost the election. Our next guest, former Clinton adviser, Philippe Reines, has some choice thoughts on Comey. Also joining us former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer. Gentlemen, great to see you.

This book, usually you put out your hot stuff to get people to buy it. If this is all they have, I think it's a big snore. I don't see why this book is going to sell copies. Let's start with the personal stuff because it
seems very petty, Ari?

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, he called him a congenital liar, actually, and an unethical man. My point here is if that's what the FBI thought of the commander in chief, the president to whom he does report even though he is tenured and independently appointment appointed, the honorable thing would have been for him to resign.

How can he work for somebody he considers unethical? He does work for the president. He's the FBI director, one of the more powerful positions in government that answers to the present. The honorable thing, if that's what he thought, would be to resign. The James Comey I know has always been a grand standard. It has always been in this book shows that even more.

INGRAHAM: An interesting tweet by former FBI agent, James Gagliano, 'James Comey book Section 2.4 of FBI's prepublication review manual covers prohibited disclosures. FBI employee shall not discuss information that relates to the substantive merits of any ongoing or open investigation or
case.' The implication being he shouldn't be talking about this investigation or anything close to it.

PHILIPPE REINES, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON SENIOR ADVISOR: I have more reason, then you are I or anyone watching, to disparage Jim Comey. He in no way helped Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump, I can make the argument, wouldn't be in the White House than without him. I think Donald Trump would be in Trump Tower, towering inferno.

INGRAHAM: Come on. That's bad. Liberals are really salivating the fact that someone in Trump Tower? I get criticized. No repercussions for those comments.

REINES: No repercussions -- moving on.

INGRAHAM: I want to see Paul Begala. He said Mr. Comey needs to put his big boy pants on, admit that his unethical actions swung the election to Trump and beg for forgiveness.' My Aunt Fanny's bean dip makes me mildly nauseous. Call me swinging the election took Trump makes me sick.

REINES: Every time I see them, I burp a little bit in my mouth. He is a sanctimonious, selfish, self-involved person, but a word I've not used with him and I don't believe he's a liar. If you don't like him, and you don't like the book, don't buy the book. He's trying to sell book, but this is not (inaudible).

We are where we are. This is about Bob Mueller. Bob Mueller is in the middle of doing something we don't know what he's doing. We know what the Republican Party is doing, and we know what the president is doing. They are doing everything they can to stop this man.

INGRAHAM: Democrats tried to go after Ken Starr in the '90s.

REINES: But I don't it's a good example because KenSstarr started in '94 and went on beyond Bill Clinton being in office. So, I don't know why, what is everyone afraid of to just let this man do his job?

FLEISCHER: There is another issue. James Comey's judgment, it gets to the core of whether he did a good job as head of the FBI. Take the investigation of Hillary. Whether you agree with what he found or didn't, James Comey had no role or responsibility to usurp the duties of the attorney general and the Department of Justice and decide no reasonable prosecutor would settle this case.

The proper thing to do would have been to silently make his defiance known known to the Department of Justice. Comey couldn't do that because he couldn't resist the camera. He had to go out and hold a news conference where he concluded basically that Hillary broke the law and then he said but no reasonable prosecutor would prosecute her.

INGRAHAM: He allowed Peter Strzok and a couple others to edit the remarks. To make them not comport -- how do you do that? Can I read an excerpt?

FLEISCHER: But again, we are where we are.

INGRAHAM: That's true.

(CROSSTALK)

REINES: So what? Just don't buy his book.

INGRAHAM: Let me read. Hold the thought. I want to read this one thing. This is a full screen, another excerpt from the book that came out today, 'It is entirely possible that because I was making decision in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all the polls but I don't know.

REINES: Jim Comey did everything wrong prior to election day and I really don't care whether he said sorry. Apology not accepted.

INGRAHAM: Is this Comey standard justice, justice by polling?

REINES: He is enjoying being the hero and the victim in the spotlight and the author and the guest. We have to endure it for 15 minutes, but he started something that was based on legitimacy that's been handed over to Bob Mueller.

INGRAHAM: Based on legitimacy? We can do an hour on that, whether it was a legitimate opening of investigation?

REINES: You have five people who are --

INGRAHAM: We could go through a floor of any building. If you want to indict someone, you can indict --

REINES: Mueller was, quote, 'a person of high ideals, clear sense of purpose --

INGRAHAM: We are not going to do this.

REINES: It is Ari from 2001.

FLEISCHER: I still believe that about Bob Mueller. Bob Mueller is not James Comey. Where James Comey shows is that prosecutors who have bad judgment will make mistakes, not everybody is perfect at the Department of Justice or the FBI. It's an interesting and important reminder for Bob Mueller as he goes forward.

What we know about James Comey, and you said it, the things he did before the election were wrong and it goes back to the Bush administration when he grand standard on one of the intelligence programs we had and created this whole drama about himself when there was a program the FBI had previously
approved that the Justice Department previously approved, and then James Comey had this dramatic moment at a hospital to reverse everything the Department of Justice previously did. The man in a town of grandstanders is one of the biggest.

INGRAHAM: Yes. He's one of the tope. I've got her read another. It's like pillow talk.

REINES: I'd like to read the whole thing.

(LAUGHTER)

INGRAHAM: This is Comey on Loretta Lynch and whether she was impartial. 'The source and content of that material remains classified as I write this. Had it become public, the unverified material,' this is material he has on Loretta Lynch, 'would undoubtedly have been used by political opponents to cast serious doubt on the attorney general's independence in connection with the Clinton investigation.' So we find out in this book that there is information that may call into question the attorney general's independence in overseeing this investigation?

REINES: We already know.

INGRAHAM: No, we don't.

REINES: We do. He left it out because he's embarrassed. 'The Washington Post' reported months ago that he fell for a fake email that someone in the Clinton campaign sent to a woman named Loretta lynch was an energy lobbyist in California. The guy is naive. The guy is a rube. But again, Bob Mueller is the man we should be talking about. Bob Mueller was appointed by Bush.

INGRAHAM: When he writes his book we'll talk about him.

FLEISCHER: We are talking about Comey because he's writing a book. That's exactly right.

REINES: But he is writing a book that led to the investigation.

FLEISCHER: Here is the other thing. Comey has been deified by the press corps. The press corps loved him when he took on Bush. They loved him when he let Hillary go. And now they love because he's saying bad things
about Trump.

INGRAHAM: He loves being in the spotlight.

REINES: He does.

INGRAHAM: He loves his moment in the sun.

REINES: He does.

FLEISCHER: And the press loves putting him there. And I bet you on his tour nobody is going to ask hard questions. The press is not going to pin him back, such as you said that you leaked that memo to the Columbia University professor. Who else did you routinely leak things to when you were the FBI director?

INGRAHAM: We are out of time, guys. We forgot to mention that.

REINES: I'd love --

INGRAHAM: Anyone who gets in the car and writes a memo to the file is not someone I trust. Sorry. That's a CYA type of move. I don't like that.

REINES: I'm doing that.

INGRAHAM: Hi, go ahead, have fun in the car. All right, guys, fantastic.

And next, a man who attended some of the Comey-Trump meetings, former chief of staff of the White House Reince Priebus, weighs in exclusively, and also on Paul Ryan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

INGRAHAM: House Speaker Paul Ryan's announcement he's not going to seek reelection has ignited a contest to replace him between the establishment wing of the GOP and the more conservative populist wing. Now in last night's 'Angle' I said the speaker's departure is a clear sign that Trump's vision, not Ryan's, is the future of the party, and that the establishment may finally be ceding the party to the man who took it from them in the first place.

However, Ryan claimed today that the more populist Steve Scalise has conceded the speakership to the establishment favorite, Kevin McCarthy. But that's not exactly what Steve Scalise said on FOX News this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are standing there in the room next to your colleague Kevin McCarthy. You two are seen as the front runners for this role. Would you run up against him?

REP. STEVE SCALISE—R, LA: No, and I've said that before. I've never run against Kevin and wouldn't run against Kevin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

INGRAHAM: Why not? Is Kevin McCarthy untouchable? Come on, Steve. That leaves a lot of wiggle room.

Let's discuss all of this with someone who once chaired the GOP party in Ryan's home state of Wisconsin, a good friend of Ryan's as well, former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus joins us for an exclusive on 'The Angle.' I thought you were going to be in studio. I am so bummed. Where are you? Why are you not you here? Come one.

REINCE PRIEBUS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I have an early flight in the morning. So thank you for having me. I appreciate you letting me do it remote.

INGRAHAM: No problem. It's great to see you.

We are going to get into the Comey nonsense in a second, the Comey book. We're now just howling because it's like people, his tie is to long. We are going to get into that in a second.

But tell me about the Ryan departure. There's some conversation today I heard that there's a push to have Ryan leave sooner. Don't spend the next six months with this intrigue about who's going to replace him. But if you're going to leave, why not leave now instead of the end of the year? Is there any wisdom to that?

PRIEBUS: I don't think so, Laura. I think if you look at what Mark Meadows said today, he didn't think so either. I think that's a really important tell. When people like Mark Walker from the Study Group and Mark Meadows from the Freedom Caucus and people in the middle are not saying that, I think that tells you what you need to know. I don't think that's going to happen.

And I do think that this is -- I know it's hard to believe in politics. I think Ryan leaving and all of the other intrigue is more coincidental with his timing, how long he wants to serve. It's been talked about, he's been talking about this actually for years, of hanging it up and spending more time at home. And it was a tough call because --

INGRAHAM: So it's not, so it's not -- I'm sorry to interrupt. Reince, it's not because he's frustrated they are going to go in the minority. They are going to push the remove Trump from office, it's going to be a
nightmare for the next year and a half. You don't think that played into it at all?

PRIEBUS: Well, no, I don't, because I think if you run and you win and you have, say you only have a two-vote majority, he can't leave then either because then what are you going to do? You are going to be the speaker of the House with a two-vote majority and then put a congressional seat in play? You really had no other option. He could have run again, gotten to the minority, and then resigned, but it wouldn't of been honest to the people that were there.

So I don't see any other way. When you go to pancake breakfasts, Laura, and I know you know politics and you do all these things too. But when you go to pancake breakfasts for 20 years in these little towns that you represent, it's very difficult to ask people to put up four-by-eight yard signs all over the district knowing that coming January you're only going to say I'm out of here, and then you have to go home and live with the people that you just lied to, there's just no way around it.

The other thing I would say privately in talking to Paul, and I know him well and we talk a lot. Actually, he was having a lot of fun in getting a lot of the work done, and he had a lot of fun and he had a lot of enjoyment out of working with President Trump.

INGRAHAM: People don't think that.

PRIEBUS: This idea he didn't like President Trump, it's just not true. Certainly they had their times in the beginning that were come and go and hit or miss. But once they got to know each other and once they started spending time together, he actually was having a good time with him.

INGRAHAM: That's nice. That's nice. I'm glad to hear it. It's very hallmark. But they do have different views, on trade, on immigration, way different views. Is it the Trump party now, Reince, or is it more establishment?

PRIEBUS: Wait a second. On immigration, I don't -- on immigration, I don't think they had a different view. The president and Paul Ryan were pretty much lockstep.

INGRAHAM: What?

PRIEBUS: Exactly. On DACA, the president went from 800,000 to 1.6.

INGRAHAM: The initial amnesty.

PRIEBUS: That was something the president did.

INGRAHAM: We don't have time to discuss Paul Ryan on immigration.

PRIEBUS: You used to say that DACA was amnesty, too. You have come a long way too, Laura, apparently.

INGRAHAM: Trump on the campaign trail, Paul Ryan was uncomfortable every minute of the day. He was just like, even after Trump wins the nomination come he didn't give a full-throated endorsement. It was like pulling teeth. But that's crying over spilled milk. I'm going to ask about the Comey book.

PRIEBUS: I'm not denying that. I'm just saying as they got to know each
other they actually worked well together.

INGRAHAM: Absolutely. Do you think Kevin McCarthy gets it?

PRIEBUS: I know the president likes him a whole lot, but he also really respects Steve. So I think it's a tough call for the president. I think it's a tough choice for the people in the House. But, look, I think there is plenty of time for this. And the good news is that the $40 million has already been put in the bank so everything now that the party is bringing in is icing on the cake. And the RNC is also on top of that crushing the DNC. So money is not going to be the issue.

INGRAHAM: Chances we keep the House? Chances we keep the House? One to 10, chances we keep the House?

PRIEBUS: I think it's 4.5? I think it's right around a coin flip. I think the wind is at the Republicans' face. I think some of the recent elections are pretty scary. I think the Wisconsin outcome is a wake-up call for the party that they have to triple down on voter identification turnout. And I think it's time to make sure that we've got the right candidates on the ballot. And if it's possible to get rid of some bad candidates, we should. And we should put better candidates in their place because candidate is where it's going to come down to.

INGRAHAM: All right, Comey book, we are almost out of time, but Comey book, give me your thumbnail read. I know you had a few interactions with Comey when you were at the White House. But what's your take?

PRIEBUS: I did. Listen, I've heard all the conversation you had. It was great in the segment before, and I don't disagree with a lot that was said. But the one thing I would say that I haven't heard is how just generally improper it is for the highest appointed law enforcement officer in the country to then turn around a half year later and write a kiss and tell about the president.

Everyone has their gripes. And I'm sure I could tell you privately a few gripes of my own. But it's just not a proper thing to do today, especially given he was the director of the FBI. It's one of those things you take your lumps.

INGRAHAM: Did you like him? Did you like him when you dealt with him?

PRIEBUS: I actually didn't deal with him all that much, Laura. It's sort of a dubious type of thing where it's just someone who comes in and out very carefully, very quietly. Some interactions in the Situation Room. Some initial interactions, as you know, early in Trump Tower. And other than that, there just really wasn't a whole lot better. A lot more is analyzed and made up of it than it actually was.

INGRAHAM: Reince Priebus, great to see you. And thanks so much for coming on tonight.

PRIEBUS: All right, Laura.

INGRAHAM: All right, and also today, Congress held an emergency meeting on the caravan of illegal immigrants heading up through Mexico to the U.S. border. We are going to tell you why there are serious new concerns next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

INGRAHAM: A House oversight subcommittee held an emergency hearing this afternoon titled 'A caravan of illegal immigrants, a test of U.S. borders.' Why was that necessary? Why, because there are new reports that MS-13 members are posing as minors traveling with the migrant caravan. Lovely.

As if that weren't enough, this week in the Jacksonville, Florida, area, a twice deported illegal immigrant from El Salvador was charged with manslaughter over the 2016 death of the officer trying to track him down. Deputy Eric Oliver was a Navy veteran and described as a hero in his community. He was 32-years-old and his daughter was six when he died.

Joining me now is Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis, who chaired today's hearing. He is also running for governor of Florida. I endorsed you so long ago it's not even funny. And let's talk about the caravan crime and our open border. Congress, good to see you.

REP. RON DESANTIS, GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE OF FLORIDA: Hey, how are you?

INGRAHAM: Great. This was wild because we see reports of large numbers of people, forget the caravan, crossing the border all together at one time. Then they are taken into custody, and they are like, who are you, who are you. One guy is like, well, I'm being recorded for MS-13 in Los Angeles. It's wild. We need this wall. Not funded in the omnibus. We need the wall.

DESANTIS: And I think the consensus amongst most of the witnesses today was one Trump ordered the catch and release to be done, but yet they are still --

INGRAHAM: That's what I'm saying. They are still doing it.

DESANTIS: They are still doing it. And the other thing is when you have the massive border searches, that really is a Godsend to the drug cartels and the amount of fentanyl and all this junk that they've been able to bring into our country that has caused a lot of people to lose their lives. And so we have got to get this under control.

INGRAHAM: And what does it mean without a wall? I keep going back to the wall. It's not everything, but it's a big deterrent.

DESANTIS: And walls do not have prosecutorial discretion. So if a bureaucrat doesn't want to enforce the law, if they want to do the old Obama policies, or if you have an administration like Obama where they basically just give up on enforcement, then you don't have your laws being enforced. But the wall is a wall, and the places where they have it like San Diego, it works.

INGRAHAM: I want to read this to people so they understand the numbers we are talking about again. Agents assigned to the Yuma station in Arizona came upon a large group of 61 illegal immigrants who crossed the border Monday afternoon, this is from Breitbart, near the San Luis Port of Entry in southern Arizona. The illegal border crossers consisted of a single Mexican national and 59 Guatemalans and one Salvadoran who claimed to be an unaccompanied minor according to the information that they received. Then they questioned them, and it turned out, as I said, that the one supposed unaccompanied minor was an adult who was an MS-13 recruit from the L.A. MS-13.

Do you know, when they come in, then what happens to them? Because we have gotten a lot of the detention centers, didn't we, along the border? So then what happens.

DESANTIS: It depends on what they say. We have asylum laws that people know what to say to claim asylum. In almost every instance it's pretty obvious when they are coming from Guatemala that they are not necessarily qualified. Asylum is like you are being persecuted because of race, religion, political opinion.

INGRAHAM: you could say that life in Guatemala is persecution.

DESANTIS: Those countries have problems but that's not enough. But what happens is once they do that, they get a trial in like two years. Guess what, they get released into our country.

INGRAHAM: So what you are saying tonight is despite with the administration has said, catch and release is still happening.

DESANTIS: It is still happening against the wishes of the elected president. And that's the problem. You have caravans coming, they should be stopped at the border and turned away.

INGRAHAM: They should not be allowed to cross the border. People watching the show now are why is this happening? It is infuriating. They know they can do it. And by the way, the Yuma sector in Arizona is reporting that they are seeing a surge in larger groups. So now they are not doing the trickle through. They are doing large groups moving en masse across the border. You use the word invasion, people say that is so mean. What else do you call this?

DESANTIS: And the large groups, you have human trafficking, drugs. It really is a boon for the cartels.

INGRAHAM: There is an ad that is being run about you that makes you look like a combination of Dr. Jekyll, Frankenstein, and a terrorist. You'll see it in the background. Oh, we can play it. Let's watch it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the same Ron DeSantis who voted --

Ron DeSantis says he wants to help President Trump drain the swamp. But when a reporter asked DeSantis if President Trump was mentally stable, he refused to answer or defend the president. This is the same Ron DeSantis who voted to give food stamps to illegal immigrants, hardly part of the president's make America great again agenda.

Ron DeSantis, can we trust the swamp creature to lead Florida?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

INGRAHAM: Hardly part of the president's plan. It's so ridiculous. Adam Putnam did that add?

DESANTIS: I think his supporters. It's the Florida swamp.

INGRAHAM: So this is -- you have been one of the most stalwart supporters of this president on almost every issue that I can think of, which is why months ago I endorsed you. And how do people even get away with saying that?

DESANTIS: Actually they are running on radio. Some of the radio stations have had to take it out already because it's false. When they say voting for food stamps, and then they cite a bill where I voted against the farm bill that had Obama's food stamp policies in there. So I voted against all the food stamps, certainly wouldn't do it for people here illegally. So It's 100 percent false. Radio stations have taken it down. We're working with the TV stations. It's just absurd.

INGRAHAM: How is the race looking in Florida? Rick Scott, he was a force in Florida. Now Rick Scott is moving on.

DESANTIS: The fact that they are running ads against me, dogs don't bark at parked cars. So I am on the move. They see that. That rattles a lot of people, so I'd say we're doing what we need to be doing.

INGRAHAM: I want you to continue to educate the people on what's happening at the border, because I think Americans, when they hear catch and release is still happening, are infuriating and shocked, and the president needs to step up and take members of Congress for allowing this to happen to task. Ron DeSantis, thank you so much.

DESANTIS: Thank you.

INGRAHAM: And Michelle Malkin with us up next. Inside scoop on the sinister forces trying to suppress the free speech of conservatives. We are going to name names, expose their tactics. Latest installment, 'Defending the First.'

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

INGRAHAM: Time now for another installment of our new series 'Defending the First' where we expose the enemies of the First Amendment, free expression, and free thought.

You all know Michelle Malkin is a fierce champion of free speech, particularly online where she is a pioneering entrepreneur. Tonight she is going to shed light on the dark forces behind organized efforts to silence conservatives. Michelle Malkin, welcome back to 'The Angle.' Great to see you. I think it's so important, Michelle for the people watching FOX tonight to see and understand what this all is really all about. And I want to start with George Soros. George Soros has funded leftwing groups, as you've pointed out, the Center for American Progress. I think we have a graphic. Can we see it please? The Color of Change. People for the American Way, Media Matters Action Network connected with Media Matters. There we have all those organizations.

Tell us, Michelle, which are the worst offenders and enemies of free thought and free expression?

MICHELLE MALKIN, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Media Matters has been at the forefront of the speech squelcher's who are highly organized, incredibly disciplined, and obviously deeply funded not only by George Soros but a number of leftwing foundations. And I think it's really important to note that so many of these outfits are tax-exempt, that they enjoy so much largess as a result of IRS laws, and that under Democratic administrations, the definitions of 501C3s and C4s have been stretched so that these blatantly partisan political organizations have cast themselves as somehow educational or social welfare groups.

So you have Media Matters that has gone after every prominent conservative effective voice in the public square, and they will use any pretext. These people do this for a full-time living. And as a result, it is undeniable, Laura, and you and I fought in this arena for so many years now in talk radio, on broadcast, and, yes, on social media where it has been so important for independent conservative voices to get their messages out. And we know that the encroachment of these censors and these bullies in the public square has left an undeniable cloud over the First Amendment and free expression.

INGRAHAM: Michelle, people say, well, this is all the free marketplace of ideas. Everyone else, they want to complain about someone who says something, they do that, and that's part of the democratic process too. And so each side has their own opinions and one side wants to -- whatever they are doing. You have these corporations that just wilt, though. They just wilt. They get 100 emails from some leftwing activists and they wilt. Meanwhile millions of conservatives are like, are you kidding me? It makes no sense.

MALKIN: Yes, and in some cases these supposedly back lash that elicits this feckless response from corporations that just don't want any bad publicity sometimes constitutes a couple tweets, right? And so then you have the Media Matters and Color of Changes of the world that exploit their social justice status. They have an absolute immunity shield to go after conservatives for expressing mainstream thought and opinion. And that's what people need to know about the agenda. The agenda of these leftwing character assassins is to marginalize mainstream thought.

INGRAHAM: Awesome. We are going to be right back. Michelle Malkin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

INGRAHAM: What did you think of that Joe diGenova, Sol Wisenberg debate about Mueller, Comey, the investigation? I think it would make a great weekly segment, don't you? Tweet me, what do you think about it, @IngrahamAngle. See you on radio tomorrow morning. We'll be back here tomorrow night. That's all the time we have right now, so sad. But now we have Shannon Bream and the 'FOX News at Night' team to take it from here. And they have a fantastic show on tap as always.

END

Content and Programming Copyright 2018 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.