Donald Trump tackles immigration problem at the border

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 23, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Welcome to "Hannity." Now, just hours ago, 2016 Republican presidential contender Donald Trump -- he landed in Laredo, Texas, to begin his highly anticipated border tour. Now, naturally, the visit is not without controversy. A local Border Patrol group that invited Trump for a guided border tour pulled out of the event after, quote, "communicating with members of the National Border Patrol Council."

Now, listen to how Donald Trump responded just after landing in Laredo earlier today.


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They're petrified, and they're afraid of saying what's happening. And the -- you know, they're the ones that invited me. They wanted to give me an award.

And the Border Patrol -- they're petrified of saying what's happening because they have a real problem here. And I'm talking about on the whole border. And they invited me, and then, all of a sudden, they were told, Silencio. They want silence.

So it is a problem that we will get straightened out. If I win, believe me, we'll get things straightened out.


HANNITY: Joining us now with reaction, Trump Organization executive vice president, special counsel to Donald Trump. Michael Cohen is with us.

Michael, good to see you again. How are you?


HANNITY: Appreciate you being here. OK, he was invited. He was going to get an award. I read the statement -- I got it right here -- from the campaign. Who made the decision in Washington? Was it the union? Or was it -- do you think it went deeper? Was it...

COHEN: So it's my understanding that it came from the national and that they basically told them...

HANNITY: The union.

COHEN: The union -- that, You got to step aside from this one. If you step aside, everything will be fine. If you don't step aside, we're going to have problems.

HANNITY: OK. He said today, at which -- earlier this week, he was on with Dana Loesch, friend of mine, and he said he wasn't going to run third party. That was two days ago.

COHEN: You know, let's just go back to the border.


COHEN: You know, whether or not...

HANNITY: OK, you ask the questions.

COHEN: ... the union -- so whether or not the union ends up touring the Mexico, Laredo, you know, area, it doesn't really matter for Mr. Trump.  It doesn't change the simple fact we have a real immigration problem in this country and that reform is necessary.

HANNITY: Listen, I have put these numbers up on that screen daily. I said -- I've been down to the border 10 times, all the way from the Rio Grande all the way to San Diego. I've seen tunnels. I've been in drug warehouses. I went and I sat through a Border Patrol -- the crime wave, what's happened in Texas. 642,000 Texans have been victim of a crime by illegal immigrants since Barack Obama's been president. That includes 2,993 murders. That's a lot of people!

COHEN: So I heard...

HANNITY: It's including thousands of sexual assaults!

COHEN: So I heard today while the press was setting up in anticipation of Mr. Trump's arrival that there were actually people coming over the border while they were there. And there was an alarm that went off, and you know, people started scrambling to try to round them up.

HANNITY: Michael, in 2013, the last year we have numbers, ICE released 36,007 convicted criminals. They went back on the street, 193 homicide convictions because we didn't deport them, 428 sexual assaults because we didn't deport them, 303 kidnappings because we didn't deport them! We have 1,075 aggravated assaults. And it goes on!

COHEN: So why is it, then, that the liberal media is going wild on Donald Trump for doing basically one of two things? There are two topics right now that are being discussed, right, the VA, that's a big topic, and of course, immigration. They're two topics Mr. Trump happened to bring to the forefront.

HANNITY: Listen, I think Trump is right on immigration. I think he's right on the VA. I liked what he did with Lindsey Graham. I think he's able to capture the attention of the American people. I told you, the only -- what made me cringe -- and you even said he doesn't care -- was when -- when he said, I like people who weren't captured. Your reaction. Was that...

COHEN: So my reaction to that was -- and he pulled back. It was said. He was talking about everybody. Anybody that puts the fatigues on for this country is a hero. You don't have to be...


COHEN: You know what? Mr. Trump doesn't come in with stump speeches.  He's not reading off of a teleprompter. He speaks from the heart. And when you speak from the heart, you say things the way you say it.

Now, this isn't standard politics. So you know, it's not scripted.  And when it's scripted, it's perfect. It's done by -- you know, by real great writers and -- look at the president the other day talking about the VA. What a great speech. It was eloquent. He's a great orator. But it's no substance. It's all fluff, and everybody knows it!

HANNITY: Let me go back to what he said to The Hill today, and about he would open the door, third party, if the Republican National Committee didn't treat him well. New York Times has a piece out claiming Republicans are plotting to ban Trump from the debate.

OK. I wrote Reince Priebus. I said, Is there any truth to this? He said 1,050 (sic) percent absolutely positively not. Has there been any indication you have received from the RNC that that's...

COHEN: Zero. Zero.

HANNITY: So it's not true.

COHEN: And as I -- it is not true. And again, what the media is looking to do is they're looking to divide. They're looking to make Mr. Trump into the outsider, which, by the way, he is. He's not a politico.  He's a mega-billionaire real estate developer, celebrity, author, movie star, et cetera. That's what he is.


COHEN: All right? He's not a politico. And they're afraid. And they have the right to be afraid because you know what he does, Sean? He speaks to the...

HANNITY: It's resonating.

COHEN: ... core.

HANNITY: it's resonating.

COHEN: He speaks to what everybody's talking about at the water cooler at work. I'm afraid of illegal immigration.

HANNITY: Let me go -- let me go back to the third party issue. This is important. So if they treat him well and he doesn't win, he wouldn't go third party. You can assure us of that?

COHEN: Well, I can't assure you of anything. Only Mr. Trump can assure you of what's relevant...

HANNITY: Well, you've talked about it with him.

COHEN: ... to Mr. Trump. We have spoken to him. He wants to be treated -- he deserves to be treated right. Donald Trump is a Republican.

HANNITY: And he hasn't been mistreated by the Republican Party.

COHEN: Well, that's not true. There was a statement that was put out by the RNC a couple of days ago which I thought was disrespectful.

HANNITY: Which one?

COHEN: It was by Spicer. And I thought it was improper. They're supposed to be a neutral party, and they're supposed to not bring up issues that they think are between the different candidates.

HANNITY: Listen...

COHEN: And instead, what did he do? He did exactly that. He's jumping on the band wagon.

HANNITY: John McCain started the fight with Trump.

COHEN: He sure did.

HANNITY: Lindsey Graham called him a jackass.

COHEN: And they both lost the fight.

HANNITY: By the way, that was funny -- that was funny when he gave out the phone number. Rick Perry is a big boy. He said Trump's a cancer on conservatism. I...

COHEN: By the way, talk about a nasty statement.


COHEN: Did anybody say, Oh, Donald, you have to be nice? You have to speak nice. And you got to watch your tone.

HANNITY: You may think I have a twisted way of thinking. I actually this process is healthy because the Democrats aren't going to be nice to the eventual nominee!

COHEN: Were the Republicans nominees, candidates nice to each other the last time around?


COHEN: They beat up Mitt Romney so bad that all that Obama had to do was flick him in the forehead and he was out for the count.

HANNITY: All right...

COHEN: He was so beaten up between the commercials and the stories that were going on -- it's disgraceful! And who did they pick on? Of course, the front-runner. And let me tell you something. Donald Trump's going to be the Republican candidate.


COHEN: He's -- and if not...

HANNITY: We'll see.


HANNITY: All right. If not, what?


HANNITY: If not, what?

COHEN: That you're going to have to speak to Mr. Trump about.

HANNITY: All right. He's on next week.


HANNITY: All right. Thank you, Michael.

And joining us now for more reaction to Trump's border tour is the editor-in-chief, Terry Jeffrey is back with us. And pollster Frank Luntz -- of course, he moderated the panel where the comments about John McCain were made.

You hear Michael Cohen, a little conflicting message this week from the campaign, Frank, as it relates to third party. My personal -- my interpretation, I think he was -- a little shot across the bow, you know, saying, You know what? This has got to be a fair process. I think that's all he's asking for.

FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: And he has every right to ask for a fair process, and it should be. And Donald Trump should be invited in these debates.

But make no mistake. I think you're hearing the beginnings of a third party candidacy. And the other voters have the right, as do the voters, to ask him. There isn't another Republican candidate who will not say that they won't back the Republican nominee. So that's legitimate.

And second is also that think you're hearing the beginnings of President Hillary Clinton because if this is -- and I know, Sean, you and I disagree. But if they get down into the gutter this early, and if they start using that kind of language that has gone back and forth in the last week, then you can be assured that the Democrats are going to win. That is the consequence of Republicans tearing themselves apart.

HANNITY: Listen, I will say this. If they don't pivot, meaning in the end -- I'm not a -- look, I was born a fighter. I played ice hockey.  I fought every day of my life growing up. So fights don't bother me that much. I train MMA, so...

LUNTZ: But they bother voters, Sean. Sean, they bother the voters, and they're going to lose that center. They're going to lose the moderates, they're going to lose the floating voters to the Democrats if this is how the Republicans behave.

HANNITY: But if -- they can have the fights, but if they offer solutions to solve America's problems, which is the pivot I'm talking about, I think all of that will be negated.

Terry Jeffrey.

TERRY JEFFREY, CNSNEWS.COM: Well, you know, Frank was talking about the swing voters. Let's look at that for a minute. The Republicans need to win Florida. They need to win Ohio. If they don't win those two states, they're gone. If they lose a state like Iowa, where the first Republican caucus is, like they did to Obama, that would be harmful.

I believe, Sean, the swing voters in those states are as angry about illegal immigration as Donald Trump is. And if the Republicans don't nominate a candidate who's willing to address that issue and is credible on that issue, they're going to have a very hard time winning the election next year.

HANNITY: All right, now, Michael Cohen has been listening to this.  You want to respond?

COHEN: Yes, so Frank, you know, it's -- first of all, it's my understanding that you were actually tweeting during the time that you were also acting as the moderator for, you know, that -- that...

HANNITY: The forum.

COHEN: ... that forum. And I thought that was somewhat, you know, improper. And I think as improper goes, so are the comments that you're making.

Number one, the Republicans right now are no worse and no better off than the Democrats are. I'm not even sure Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee. Somebody may end up stepping up to the plate and taking her down. She certainly has her problems.

Second of all, they've been attacking Donald Trump since the day that he entered this race. Donald's not going to enter the race. Why? He does this all the time. Then he enters the race, and all of a sudden, it's a big hoopla. Then he's not going to file his necessary papers. And all of a sudden, he does. He files his necessary papers.

HANNITY: All right, Frank, you want to respond quick?

FRANK: He's right. I agree with all of that. I was tweeting because I was trying to involve voters across the country in the conversation, not just the 1,500 people there.

But every point -- Michael, every point that you make is correct. But even in the tone of your voice, it's all confrontational. You're looking for a fight. You just want someone to fight with.

Donald Trump has -- not only does he have every right to be in it, he's got a lot to contribute to this, and he is correct on many of the issues. But there's a difference between engaging people in a civil, respectful way, and deliberately looking to punch them down and take them out.


COHEN: We're definitely not looking for a fight. But you bring a fight to Donald Trump, he's going to take that fight and he's going to finish it!

HANNITY: All right. Let me get Terry, last word.

LUNTZ: There you go.

HANNITY: Terry Jeffrey.

JEFFREY: Sean, people should watch out for this. If conservatives remain divided in the primaries and allow an establishment candidate -- an establishment candidate will be nominated by the Republican Party. If there's a third party candidate that drains conservative votes or those swing voters in swing states away from the Republican Party, they won't win the election. Those are two facts people need to pay attention to.

HANNITY: I would agree. If Donald ran third party, it's over.  Hillary is president.

LUNTZ: It's over.

HANNITY: No doubt about it.


HANNITY: All right. Michael, Frank, Terry, thank you.

Coming up, 2016 Republican president candidate Governor Chris Christie -- he'll weigh in on the Donald Trump phenomenon and the trip to the border, also the Iranian nuclear deal. He's in studio.

And the later tonight...


RICK PERRY, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let no one be mistaken. Donald Trump's candidacy is a cancer on conservatism.


HANNITY: Tonight, we'll examine the different reactions Republican presidential candidates are having to Donald Trump, as we continue. We're glad you're with us.



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