Can the Democratic Party unify after e-mail scandal?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 25, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


ROBBY MOOK, CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: This was the chairwoman's decision to step down. She reached out to Secretary Clinton to notify her about that, and the secretary released a statement yesterday thanking her for her work.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Her resignation opens up the possibility of new leadership at the top of the Democratic Party that will stand with working people and that will open the door for the party to those people who want real change.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Bernie Sanders reacting to Debbie Wasserman Schultz stepping down. She couldn't gavel in this convention. They were worried about boos on the stage. And there you saw her talking to the Florida delegation, her home state.

In the meantime, the Republican nominee tweeting today, "How much bad judgment was on display by the people in DNC in writing those really dumb e-mails, using even religion against Bernie? Crooked Hillary knew everything that her servant was doing at the DNC, they just got caught. That's all. They laughed at Bernie. The state of Florida is so embarrassed by the antics of crooked Hillary Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz that they will vote for change."

With that, let's bring in our panel: syndicated columnist George Will; Mara Liasson, national political correspondent of National Public Radio; Julie Pace, White House correspondent for the Associated Press, and Monica Crowley, editor and columnist for The Washington Times.

George, the start of day one of the Democratic convention.

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, she protracted this, Debbie Wasserman Schultz did, more than she should have. She didn't go out like Nathan Hale, saying "I'm glad to give but one life for my party." That being said, not even Bernie Sanders or his supporters can possibly believe that he lost the nomination because of rude emails that got sent by the national committee. The question is whether her sacrifice will be enough to appease those people. I'm afraid enough is not in the vocabulary of those progressives. They want more at all time.

BAIER: Mara?

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Bernie told them, we complete want political transformation. They got Debbie Wasserman Schultz's head on a platter. They got a lot of changes in the platform. They got an apology from the DNC, and so far not only have they not stood down on the floor here, but Bernie Sanders sent a personal e-mail to delegations saying, "As a personal courtesy to me, please don't have any protests or demonstrations on the floor." So far, what we're hearing --

BAIER: We've seen a couple of dustups --

LIASSON: When Hillary Clinton's name was mentioned by Marcia Fudge, there were boos.

BAIER: Yes. Julie?

JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: I think viewers might not be aware of what's happening right now on the floor. You have real coordination going on between the Clinton campaign and Sanders' aides. Sanders' aides reached out to the Clinton campaign and said this evening and said they did not think Wasserman Schultz stepping down was going to be enough and they needed help trying to tamp down some of these protests. This really has the feel, though, of letting the Sanders people have their moment. He's going to speak, Elizabeth Warren is going to speak. I think what everyone is hoping is that after tonight this all moves forward in a much more orderly fashion.

BAIER: But, boy, I tell you what, if you were talking about anti- establishment, that atmosphere, fighting against the establishment, this e- mail scandal is establishment.

MONICA CROWLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Absolutely. And the civil war that's been brewing in the Democratic Party just exploded out into the open. This has been going on for a while, but now we're seeing the fruit of what's been bubbling underneath.

And Bret, to your point, we have long said that the real split in the country is less right-left, Republican-Democrat, than it is the bipartisan ruling class versus everybody else. The Bernie Sanders' people feel that they have been unheard the way on the right the great silent majority responds to Donald Trump.

The question is whether or not over the next couple of days these things actually will settle down and that they'll accept Hillary Clinton. I doubt that. I'm very skeptical. I think that these are true believers. I think they have bought into the leftist revolution and that they are willing to carry this revolution forward with or without Bernie Sanders.

BAIER: What does Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, in their speeches tonight, George, have to do to tip the hat to the progressives even as Tim Kaine, who clearly is not on that side of the party, is the vice presidential nominee?

WILL: I think they have to emphasize that the policy differences between Mrs. Clinton and Senator Sanders are small, partly because she started on the left and also because he moved her to the left. What they're really arguing about is about process. I think that holds minimal attention of the public but it's very important for four years from now.

BAIER: Mara?

LIASSON: And you know what's interesting is even though you saw the boos and you've seen all these eruptions on the floor, polls show that 90 percent of Sanders' supporters are willing to vote for her.

BAIER: That's a stat that Senator Murphy mentioned, but obviously that was before the e-mail scandal hit.

LIASSON: That might change something. But all along we've seen more Sanders' supporters than delegates are willing to fall in line.

BAIER: But if you were a Sanders' supporter and you saw what was in these e-mails and you heard your candidate from the very beginning say, hey, they're fighting against me, this whole thing is rigged, and then it turns out wait a second, it was, aren't you mad?

PACE: I think for both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, their strongest message to their supporters and to people that don't support them is that the system is rigged, is that there's something that's happening beneath the surface that real people, average voters don't have any control over.

BAIER: But that just proves it. Not to say that it moves the needle that he could have won, but it just proves that there was something else happening.

PACE: And I think it's incumbent on Bernie Sanders, if he really does want to see the tensions lowered, to come out and acknowledge he did lose this based on votes, he did lose this based on a fair system. I don't know if he's going to say that, but that would be something that he could do to try to lower the tensions.

BAIER: Monica?

CROWLEY: I think politically he would be wise to do that. The open question is, how are his supporters going to greet that? If he goes out there and makes this kind of speech tonight where he says, look, I told you the system was rigged. Now we have proof that it's rigged, but we should get beyond it and we should now go vote for the women who helped to rig it and lied to you, I think you're going to get the kind of revolt on left that we haven't seen since 1968.

BAIER: More importantly, George, quickly, they stay home. They're just mad and they stay home.

WILL: I think Mrs. Clinton is counting on Mr. Trump to get the voters to the polls. And the idea that these are activists, that's why they're in politics, they take sides. Staying home I don't think is on the list.

LIASSON: Or they vote for Jill Stein.

BAIER: Or Jill Stein, or the libertarian ticket. You never know. We're going to talk to them later this week, by the way.

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