Exclusive: Megyn Kelly goes one-on-one with Bill Ayers

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," June 30, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Breaking tonight, new fallout from two Supreme Court rulings, the latest in a series of setbacks described by one liberal scholar as quote, "The worst ten days of any modern presidency."

But first a world exclusive. Good evening everyone and welcome to "The Kelly File." I'm Megyn Kelly. We have full coverage of the Supreme Court's way to brash back of the Obama administration later with Judge Napolitano.

But first, a special report tonight. Professor Bill Ayers admits to terrorizing this country, bombing buildings and committing other crimes during the 1970s. And he got away scot-free. Because this is America, he wound up as a college professor, who even helped a president launch his political career.

Over the years, Mr. Ayers managed to redefine himself, not as a terrorist but as a revolutionary, a kid who merely vandalized, not one who inspired murder. He is a man who took chances with other people's lives and took every chance to dodge the tough questions until tonight.


MCCAIN CAMPAIGN AD, 2008: Barack Obama and domestic terrorists Bill Ayers, friends. They've worked together for years. But Obama tries to hide it. Why?

KELLY (voice-over): He was one of the most controversial figures of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

SARAH PALIN, R-FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.

THEN-SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: The notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was eight years old somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense.

KELLY: A man everyone wanted to talk to but whose silence was deafening.

JESSE WATERS, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": What's your relationship with Barack Obama? Mr. Ayers?

KELLY: Bill Ayers, friend of the man who would be president and an unrepentant terrorist whose group bombed America over and over again.

BILL AYERS, "WEATHER UNDERGROUND": We figured out how to use guns and how to use bombs. Some people felt literally that the bigger mess we could make, the better. That is, that whatever it cost, whatever, you know, destructive kinds of activity we could do against the U.S. government, the better.

KELLY: The son of a prominent Illinois businessman, Ayers came of age in the 1960s, drawn to the civil disobedience of the day and deeply offended by the Vietnam War.

AYERS: We will build a revolutionary youth movement capable of actively engaging in a war against the imperialists. We will escalate our attacks until imperialism is defeated in Vietnam.

KELLY: In 1965 at age 20, he joined the left-wing Students for a Democratic Society or SDS. In late '69 they held protests in Chicago, full of rage about the war, race relations and the wealthy.

"WEATHER UNDERGROUND": Last night they armed themselves were sticks and chains and rocks and surged through the streets on Chicago's north side to carry the fight to the enemy, the rich.

KELLY: The ravaged the city's business district. Six people were shot, and dozens more arrested. Later that year, a seminal moment. Black Panther leader Fred Hampton was shot and killed by Chicago police. Out of that moment the group The Weathermen was born, a radical spinoff from SDS. Its mission -- the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.

"WEATHER UNDERGROUND": Hello. I'm going to read a declaration of a state of war.

KELLY: Shortly thereafter, a San Francisco police station is bombed and an officer killed. Police later say The Weathermen did it. Next comes the bombing of a New York judge's home. The group then plots to bomb a military dance, but their explosives go off too soon, destroying a New York City townhouse. Found buried in the ruble, 66 of dynamite. The FBI concludes, had the explosives detonated, they would have leveled everything on both sides of the street. Three members of The Weathermen are killed in that blast, including Ayers' girlfriend, identified by a single remaining finger. The Weathermen go into hiding and change their name to the Weather Underground. Still, the attacks continue.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Now we are everywhere and next week families and tribes will attack the enemy around the country. We are not just attacking targets, we are bringing a pitiful, helpless giant to its knees.

KELLY: Soon the group takes credit for more bombings, Ayers believed to be personally involved in at least three of them -- New York City police headquarters in 1970, the bombing of the U.S. capitol in '71, the bombing of the Pentagon in 1972. Around this time Ayers falls in love with fellow Weatherman leader Bernardine Dohrn. By 1973, the U.S. involvement in Vietnam is ending. But Ayers and Dohrn don't surrender until 1980.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Bernardine Dohrn, the former anti-war leader and student radical surrendered today in Chicago.

KELLY: They only resurfaced because they had learned the most serious charges had been dropped due to government misconduct in the investigation, an incredible stroke of luck for the pair.

Within a year their former Weathermen comrades were at it again, this time robbing a Brinks truck in a crime that left three people dead. Ayers and Dohrn settle in Chicago, enter academia and later go on to befriend Barack Obama, posting a fundraiser for the then Illinois Senate candidate. When their friend becomes a presidential candidate, Ayers stays mostly quiet but emerges soon after the election sounding far from remorseful.

AYERS, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA"/ABC, NOV. 2008: I've been quoted again and again in saying I don't regret it and frankly -- and saying, I don't think we did enough and I don't think we did enough.

KELLY: And now for the first time ever, Bill Ayers walks into the Fox News Headquarters to face tough questions about his past and his future.

KELLY, (on camera): So we have to talk about you and your domestic terrorist past. Let's start with this, let's start with this. How many bombings are you responsible for?

AYERS: The Weather Underground I think took credit for just slightly over 20 in a period when there were 20,000 bombings in the United States against the war.

KELLY: And how about you personally.

AYERS: Me personally, I've never talked about it, never will.


You could have hurt some people.

AYERS: Absolutely.

KELLY: You acknowledge that.

AYERS: Absolutely.

KELLY: You claim you never did but you acknowledge the risks.

AYERS: Oh, there was a terrible risk and we actually did hurt three of our own people died in the townhouse in New York City in 1970, and that was an incalculable, horrible, devastating loss and yet what they apparently planning to do would have been more devastating. And so it's a tragedy personally to us and to me but, yes --

KELLY: We'll get to that in a minute. That was a nail bomb they were putting together. But the Weather Underground began in 1969 with protests --

AYERS: 1970.

KELLY: OK. Over the Vietnam War. But it became more and more militant as the years passed, the early 70s. In 1970 you declared a state of war against the U.S. government and urged your comrades, as you called them, to be more violent.

Here is fellow Weatherman Mark Rudd and your now-wife Bernardine Dohrn.


MARK RUDD, WEATHERMAN: We challenge each other to be more violent.

BERNARDINE DOHRN, WEATHER UNDERGROUND: There's no way to be committed to nonviolence in the middle of the most violent society that history's ever created. I'm not committed to nonviolence in any way.


KELLY: Why was more violence the answer?

AYERS: I wouldn't argue that more violence was the answer but do I think --

KELLY: But those are your people.

AYERS: You know, what she said is "I'm not committed to nonviolence."

KELLY: Mark Rudd was part of your group.

AYERS: He was part of the Weatherman faction of SDS. He actually was never in the Weather Underground but he was part of the --

KELLY: But you were upping the violent rhetoric as well.

AYERS: No question, our rhetoric was, you know, outstripped, a lot of what was going on. There's no question. But here's the reality. I was arrested opposing the war in Vietnam in 1965. Over the next five years -- over the next three years, five years, I was arrested many times in demonstrations, in militant actions, sitting in a draft boards, all of it non-violent, all of it an attempt to bring a screaming warning that we were killing 6,000 people a week. And when the war dragged on after 1968 when a majority of people had come to oppose the war largely through the efforts of people like Martin Luther King, the Black Freedom Movement, vets coming home and telling the truth, and the anti-war movement, those things came together and a majority opposed the war.

Then the question was how do we stop it if it won't stop? And this was a crisis for democracy and a crisis for the anti-war movement. In my own family, one of my brothers went to Canada, deserted the Army and I think he's a war hero for doing that. One my brothers went to the communes went to join the Democratic Party, tried to build the peace wing, and I did what I did.

KELLY: You think Bowe Bergdahl is a war hero, too.

AYERS: I think Bowe Bergdahl, if he deserted, that was a heroic thing to do, absolutely, nobody knows if he did or he didn't. But I did blog about that because I think throughout history, we should build monuments to the unknown deserters, the people who look at the craziness they're asked to participate in and say, I'm not part of this.

KELLY: OK. So, I hear you now, explaining, you know, those sound bites we heard from Bernardine Dohrn, your now wife, she wasn't at the time, she is now, and Mark Rudd and so on. But to put it in context, as they and you and your group were calling for more violence, what we saw in February of 1970, February 16, was San Francisco police officer Brian McDonald, a 44-year-old father of two and husband, was killed when a bomb went off at his police station and eight other police officers were injured in that blast. Now, your wife, Bernadine Dohrn, has been accused of that crime. Do you deny it?

AYERS: Absolutely deny it. Absolutely nothing to do with it. So, this is one of the things that keeps recycling.

KELLY: And let me just tell them how it does. I'll give you the floor. Larry Grathwohl is somebody who infiltrated the Weather Underground. He claimed that you visited him in Buffalo in 1970 and complained that Bernardine Dohrn had to do it herself, that bombing, because others, quote, "weren't active enough in committing violence." And the San Francisco police union recently accused the Weather Underground of this murder.

AYERS: Complete lies. And Larry Grathwohl was in SDS but he was never in the Weather Underground and --

KELLY: SDS was the precursor to the Weather Underground.

AYERS: Yes, it was the student movement, exactly. And no, Larry Grathwohl was lying and the police union doesn't know what they're talking about.

KELLY: Bernadine Dohrn was not a fan of the police and referred to them typically as pigs.


DOHRN: Sisters and brother, a year ago we blew away the Haymarket pig statue at the start of the youth riot in Chicago. The head of the Police Sergeant Association called emotionally for all-out war between the pigs and us. We accepted it. Last night we destroyed the pig again.

It's two and a half weeks since Fred Hampton was murdered by the pigs who own this city.


AYERS: Well, that was again the inflated rhetoric at the time. Yes, the Black Panthers did that, we did that. Yes.

KELLY: I mean, that sort of rhetoric is what sort of catches people's attention when she is calling them pigs and celebrating bad things happening to the police, at the same time one gets murdered and then you allegedly went and told Larry Grathwohl she did it.

AYERS: It never happened.

But look, it's true that the rhetoric was inflated. It's also true. It's also, you take the situation like Chicago today, the police are a violent, out of control enterprise in Chicago today. The shooting of unarmed people again and again, the stopping of people on the street, the endless arrests.

KELLY: Do you refer to them as pigs today?

AYERS: No, I don't.

KELLY: Does Bernadine?

AYERS: No, not really. We hang out with them at the coffee shop and talked to them. But we disagree.

When you look at the Chicago Police Department, which has been involved in torture -- and this is documented -- involved in torture which has freed people off death row in the last five years because of a systematic, you know, practice of torture and forced confessions and so on, and these police officers are -- every one of them isn't guilty but every one of them is part of the conspiracy of silence, absolutely.

KELLY: Five days after that San Francisco bombing that took the life of Officer Brian McDonald, the Weather Underground bombed John Murtaugh's home. John Murtaugh is --

AYERS: That's also not true.

KELLY: It's not true?

AYERS: No, it's not true.

KELLY: Judge Murtaugh was a judge -- a trial court judge in New York State who was hearing a case involving the Panther 21 and your group objected to the way he was handling that case and you came out --

AYERS: Well, we were supporting the Panther 21, there's no question.

KELLY: That's right. And then his home got firebombed in the middle of the night. He had a nine-year-old boy there named John, who has been very public about this bombing.

AYERS: Right.

KELLY: In your book with Bernardine, you quote, the Weather Underground communicate and you say as follows and I'm quoting now, "Two weeks before the townhouse explosion," which is a different bomb, "four members of this group had firebombed Judge Murtaugh's house in New York as an action to support the Panther 21, whose trial was just beginning. To many people, this was a very good action, within that group, however, the feeling developed that because this action had not done anything to hurt the pigs materially, it wasn't very important."

AYERS: I didn't write that.

KELLY: It's in your book.

AYERS: Which book?

KELLY: It's your book with Bernadine. That's on the board right there, it's from one of your communiques.

AYERS: It's not my communique --

KELLY: It's your wife's.

AYERS: No, I think it's an autonomous group. I'm quite sure.

KELLY: No, it's your wife. And not only that. But a former Weather Ground member --

AYERS: Weather Underground.

KELLY: Kathy Wilkinson -- Weather Underground -- Kathy Wilkinson further offered her own recitation on what happened and she claims that the Weather Underground when she was in it perpetrated that crime.

AYERS: She may have claimed it but that's not true to my knowledge.

KELLY: She wasn't telling the truth either?

AYERS: I don't think so.

KELLY: John Murtaugh also believes that you, the Weather Underground, perpetrated that crime and he's been on Fox News a few times. When I was hosting an afternoon show, he came on and he said the following. I want to give you a chance to respond.


KELLY: You're a 9-year-old little boy asleep in your bed and what happens?

JOHN MURTAUGH: Early in the morning on Washington's birthday, four bombs went off, two in the front of the house. There were two in the front that went off. They were bombs they placed under the gas tank of our car and the back of the house.

The first two went off.

The notion that Bill Ayers and Weather Underground were about property damage, to make it sound like they were egging cars on Halloween night is absurd.

As far as I'm concerned, Kathy Boudin, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and every one of them have blood dripping from their hands.


AYERS: Not true. It was always property damage in our activities, always. And so, it's not just true.

KELLY: Do you deny Terry Robbins was responsible for that bombing? Because he was part of --


AYERS: I Have no idea if he was.

KELLY: You two were very close.

AYERS: We were very close, but he was in New York. I have no idea if he was but I don't think he was but he's gone and so we don't know --

KELLY: He's one of the guys who blew himself up.

AYERS: That's exactly right. But, you know, one of the things I think that's interesting about these activities of 40 years ago, I don't think it's bad to kind of steer through them and try to understand them.

KELLY: Have you written about them extensively --

AYERS: Have I've written about them myself. Absolutely. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. But I think it would be fair and balanced to also look at the violence that was and is going on perpetrated by the government, by the official agencies and organs of the government.

KELLY: Let me just tell you what I hear when I hear that. I hear you saying, you sound like with respect Usama bin Laden.

AYERS: What?

KELLY: In order to evaluate my actions which have hurt a lot of people, right? I know you deny, it but there's evidence --

AYERS: I deny it.

KELLY: -- that the Weather Underground was involved in these situations.

AYERS: But when John Murtaugh says for example, there's blood on your hands, what blood is he talking about? He's talking about his father?


KELLY: He's talking about the San Francisco police officer.

AYERS: We had nothing to do with that.

KELLY: He's talking about the three Weather Underground individuals who are killed.

AYERS: Right. But we had nothing to do with the San Francisco --

KELLY: That's what you claim.

AYERS: That's exactly what I claim.

KELLY: But there is of course evidence to the contrary. He's talking about --

AYERS: If there's evidence to the contrary, why wasn't somebody put on trial?

KELLY: He's talking about the Brinks armored car incident, where two police --

AYERS: Which again, we had nothing to -- we were already above ground.


KELLY: All right. We'll get to that in a minute. There's evidence of it. And there was a former member of the Weather Underground who came out and said this is murder. You guys got to the point where you considered murder. And you acknowledged that yourself. It got to the point where this property damage wasn't good enough for you.


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