Fallout from Comey's firing escalates; Sessions issues tougher criminal charging policy
This is a rush transcript from "The Fox News Specialists," May 12, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
EBONI K. WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: Hey, everybody. I'm Eboni K. Williams, along with Eric Bolling and Kat Timpf. And we're The Fox News Specialist. President Trump escalating his battle with ousted FBI director James Comey and critics, the president tweeting the tapes may exist from his private conversations with Comey, and the implication is setting off a frenzy today in Washington. Joining us now with more is Fox News chief White House correspondent John Roberts.
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon. You know, I've covered White Houses for a long time going all the way back to President Clinton in 1999, and I've never seen the sort of thing come from a president that came from President Trump today when he tweeted what many people are taking as a not so veiled threat against James Comey saying quote, James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversation before he starts leaking to the press. The genesis of this appeared to be an article in the New York Times today suggesting that James Comey had been asked by the president during one of their conversations, might have been dinner here at the White House earlier in the year, to pledge loyalty to the president. Now, the president denied to our Judge Jeanine Pirro today that he ever asked that question. But it seems that the president maybe got an idea that James Comey was leaking the contents of some of their conversation. And then, that would go to the idea that the president had said that the FBI director told him on three occasions that he was not under investigation in connection with the Russia investigation at the FBI. Of course, this is all a very big topic of conversation, and the questioning at the daily briefing today. Let's watch this exchange between my colleague from Reuters and Sean Spicer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I assume you're referring to the tweet, and I've talked to the president. The president has nothing further to add on that.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Why did he say? Why did he tweet that? What should we interpret from that?
SPICER: Like I mention, the president has nothing further to add on that.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Are there recording devices in the oval office or in the residence.
SPICER: As I said for the third time, there's nothing further to add on that.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Does he think it's appropriate to threaten someone like Mr. Comey not to speak.
SPICER: I think that's -- that's not a threat. He simply stated a fact. The tweet speaks for itself. I'm moving on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Sean Spicer answering questions from Jeff Mason who also happens to be the president of the White House correspondence association. And Sean Spicer there saying he doesn't believe what the president tweeted out this morning amounts to a threat. But it certainly gotten the attention of a lot of people up on congress. Among them Mark Warner the senator from Virginia, who's also the ranking member of the senate intelligence committee who said if there's a White House taping system and if there are tapes of conversations between the president and the now fired FBI director, those should be handed over to the appropriate committee. And I should point out, as well, that we just learned this afternoon that the former FBI director has declined an invitation to appear in a closed session of the senate intelligence committee on Tuesday. No reason given as to why he's not going to appear. Back to you.
WILLIAMS: Thank you so much, John. President Trump has sat down for an interview with Justice -- Judge Jeanine set to air tomorrow night. Judge Pirro did ask the president about the reports that he requested James Comey's loyalty shortly after inauguration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Loyalty to the country, loyalty to the United States is important. You know, I mean, it depends on how you define loyalty, number one. Number two, I don't know how that got there because I didn't ask that question.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about the idea that in a tweet you said that there might be tape recordings.
TRUMP: That I can't talk about. I won't talk about that. All I want is for Comey to be honest and I hope he will be. And I'm sure he will be, I hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Eric, so much here. So much -- was it a threat? Was it a statement of fact? I mean, what's your take?
ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: So, immediately when he tweeted that this morning, I put it up, I retweeted it and said, look at this. This is very interesting. I think what Trump is basically saying is he's very confident in what he said and what his people have said about what went on with James Comey. That James Comey said in fact to him, no, we're not investigating you. So let's move on. Yet the media wants to continue to harp on this, continue to play this up. Again, show me one shred of evidence that ties Donald Trump to any collusion. You can't do it. And if the president has lost trust and faith in his FBI director, that FBI director serves at the pleasure of the president. It's time for him to go. It is time for him to go. I think he did everything constitutionally and ethically right.
KATHERINE TIMPF, CO-HOST: Just to tweet that and then to say I don't want to talk about it, always a good rule that if you don't want to talk about it, don't broadcast it out to millions upon millions of people.
WILLIAMS: So don't talk about it if you don't want to talk about it.
TIMPF: Yeah, don't tweet it if you don't want to talk about it, especially to millions and millions of followers. That's kind of what I feel, why would you tweet it if you didn't want to talk about it.
BOLLING: Maybe he wanted someone to subpoena some tapes if there are any, and that would he exonerate everything that he said.
TIMPF: Actually, that could have been said in a text message though.
WILLIAMS: You know, I think we're going to have a lot more to come on this for sure. And speaking of it, let's meet today's specialist. He is a former political editor of the Washington Examiner. He's also the co-host of the Fox News podcast, Perino and Stirewalt, I'll tell you what, and he's the politics editor Fox News channel, but he specializes in making the best chicken wings this side of Triadelphia, West Virginia. Chris Stirewalt is here. And she's the host of the Laura Ingraham radio show, the editor and co-founder of Lifezette.com, a cultural and political website, and her upcoming book is titled, Billionaire at the Barricade, the populist versus establishment from Reagan to Trump. But she specializes in everything cultural and political. Laura Ingraham is here.
All right, so I want to go back to this, Laura, this issue of whether or not it was a threat, whether or not it was simply a statement of fact. And I'm going to leave that for other people to debate. I'm going to take it at face value as a statement of fact. But is it presidential? Is it appropriate for the president to be even talking about it at all?
LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think it's long since passed, you know, the conversation of whether Donald Trump is going to conform to some old notion of this is what presidents do. He's going to do what he's going to do. That's what he has always done. He's 70 years old. That's not going to change. I do think it's interesting that he put the word tapes in quotes. Not a lot of people have talked about that today. Donald Trump has had a way throughout the campaign and even into this presidency of getting people to talk about what he wants them to talk about. And everybody has been obsessed with this idea of the tapes. They're asking -- Neil Cavuto was asking Alan Dershowitz last hour about, well, this even illegal? Dershowitz was like, no, it's actually totally legal in D.C. It's only a one party consent. So everyone is focused on that. Meanwhile, the concern about what's happening in Washington with the issues that people care about, of course, healthcare, tax reform, the deregulatory moves that Trump has made. All of those are very positive. But Trump has gotten everybody talking about this tape thing. I would doubt there are tapes in the oval office or the -- wherever he met with Comey at a dinner, wherever he had dinner with him. Who knows? But I don't think he put the word tapes in quotes by accident. I actually think he did that for a reason.
TIMPF: Was it iPhone recording or what?
INGRAHAM: I don't think so.
CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS POLITICS EDITOR: I had the same thought. He did exactly the same thing when he was talking about Obama tapped him.
STIREWALT: He put tapped in quotes. And that mean it didn't happen. And I assume that it didn't happen in this case or the president better hope that he didn't make a mistake this morning and announce that there was a recording system in the White House, or the subpoenas will be stacking up outside the White House door, so I'm sure. And by the way, they're also not talking about the Russia stuff, and they're not talking about what he said to Lester Holt yesterday. So this, I'm perfectly willing to believe it's a canard.
WILLIAMS: It's a clear controlling of the narrative, Eric. Call me crazy, but if I call a customer service hotline they're recording. So, actually, I didn't think it was that far out of bounds.
WILLIAMS: I would presume, Laura, that they're recording in the White House.
BOLLING: I also found it interesting that James Comey who is called to testify on Tuesday just said no, not going to do it. I think this is very interesting. I think this is Donald Trump saying, hey, stay on this. There's more to it. It will exonerate all the things he's saying about what went back and forth between Comey and Donald Trump.
INGRAHAM: Sticking to the Comey thing for just a minute. Comey has rushed to the cameras back in July. He sent a big memo in October, and then a follow-up memo. Oh, it wasn't really anything about the Weiner thing. Then he testifies before congress, and suddenly the cat got his tongue? Does anyone find that interesting? A closed door session of congress, former FBI director, all this news out there that apparently he can correct all of this because Donald Trump according to his sources or his people he's told this too contemporaneously that Trump is all wrong about this. So suddenly he's reticent to speak. That's very interesting.
WILLIAMS: Are you surprised that Comey is declining to testify? Because I was surprise that he's declining to testify.
TIMPF: I'm a little surprised by it, honestly. Why wouldn't he? It makes everything so much more confusing. I want to know what he knows so badly. I really want to hear from him. I want to hear from Susan Rice. There're so many people that I want to hear from that apparently we're just never get to hear from. But the investigation is going to continue with or without him. And maybe we will hear from him if Trump keeps -- I think it was a threat. It was a veiled threat. I don't believe it was serious threat. But the way the sentence was structured.
INGRAHAM: This is New York bravado. This is the bravado of Donald Trump. We saw this during the campaign. I'm stunned that everybody is surprised by that.
BOLLING: Even in a New York bravado.
BOLLING: . you don't go there unless you're pretty darn sure you're going to win if anyone does call.
INGRAHAM: I think he's confident there's no collusion with Russia. I think he's confident he's not under investigation. I think, pretty much everybody I've talked to, my sources in law enforcement, he's not under investigation, personal investigation. I'm sure the associates of Trump aren't under investigation.
(CROSSTALK) TIMPF: Think how many retweets and likes his tweets gets.
WILLIAMS: I'm sure that he probably interested in it. In an interview airing this weekend with Justice of Judge Jeanine Pirro, President Trump responds for call for a special prosecutor to oversee the Russia investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't want to be in a position where it's not done correctly. So let them do it correctly. Let them take their time.
JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO, HOST, "JUSTICE WITH JUDGE JEANINE": You're talking about the House, the Senate, and the FBI?
TRUMP: I'm talking about the house, the senate, the FBI.
PIRRO: So no independent commission?
TRUMP: I don't think you need it. I mean, honestly, whatever is going to do the best, but I don't think you need it.
PIRRO: But they're playing politics. Can't you see that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Stirewalt, I want to get your take on this. We're going to go that clip in a second, but in general. So Eric Bolling said many times and he's right, we don't have any evidence of collusion at this point. So let's take that in face value. Let's take collusion off the table. But what we do know and everybody seems to agree on is there was at least an attempt by Russia to influence our election.
WILLIAMS: Would you like to see or do you expect to see more concern from President Trump on that issue.
STIREWALT: Well, I think perhaps the events of this week have sealed in his mind, based on what he said to Judge Jeanine, that no one in Washington needs a successful resolution to one of these investigations more than Donald J. Trump. No one more than him needs one of these three to come to a fruitful conclusion. If somebody who worked for him did something wrong, he needs to know that. He needs to move on. But there will never be closure. There will never be any advancement to the things that Laura was talking about, the priorities that he cares about as long as Democrats have this football. And he's got to take it out of their hands and an investigation has to be completed for that to happen.
WILLIAMS: Is this the new email scandal for Donald Trump the same way it hung over Hillary Clinton's -- she was never able to get out political message?
INGRAHAM: One thing we've all have to realize there is no federal statute governing the independent council now, it lapsed. So there is no federal - - there's really no federal set of rules to even help us figure out how to appoint a special prosecutor. But I will go back to my point which I think gets lost in a lot of this. A lot of these folks obsessed about this on every cable channel are really out of touch with how most Americans are living their lives. I'm not saying it's not important. I think this should be investigated. Donald Trump said this multiple times. And it will be investigated. But most people are trying to figure out, oh, my gosh, I've got rising healthcare premiums. I don't know if I can send my kids to college.
TIMPF: I mean.
INGRAHAM: I'm worried about my wages. And I know a lot of the never Trumpers, and Katherine you're one of them, none of the never Trumpers like, see, we're going to have our see I told you so moment. We're going to get it. We're going to show that he was working with Putin to get the Michigan vote turned out. I think that is so embarrassing for people to hang their hat on this. If Democrats want to go to the voters in 2018 and try to make the case that they're fit to govern because Donald Trump colluded with the Russians, I think they're going to be sorry.
TIMPF: First of all, I've just want to point out, I'm not a never Trumper -- I've never ever said that. I'm a libertarian -- politically independent. There are things that he said that I liked, things that I don't like.
INGRAHAM: You don't like Trump. It's OK. A lot of people don't like Trump.
TIMPF: Hey, I take things on issue by issue basis which is great by being a small all libertarian not having -- I think with Russia thing, I think we all should want to know. I think we should wait and see until the people who know things about conducting these investigations and how long they take.
INGRAHAM: We wait and we see, Katherine, that's exactly what the Democrats want. They want to wait and see all the way to 2020.
TIMPF: That's what Americans want.
INGRAHAM: No, they don't.
WILLIAMS: Maybe you're right.
BOLLING: What's your deadline? Are you going to continue?
INGRAHAM: There's no deadline.
WILLIAMS: There's no deadline with the federal government.
BOLLING: Let me use a line from Barack Obama, not one smidgen of evidence has tied Donald Trump in any sort of collusion with the Russians.
WILLIAMS: Politically speaking.
STIREWALT: One of these investigations has to come to its point of conclusion. One of them has to finish. The FBI is the most likely suspect because the house and the senate, as Laura points out, have partisan influence. There are partisan interests at work that will slow down their work. I think that we've seen good efforts on the part of the senate for them to try to do a better job and rise above a bit. But it's going to be up to the FBI to finish this work and that's what Donald Trump said. That's what the president just said.
INGRAHAM: As far as I can tell the only people who won't testify are Susan Rice and now Jim Comey.
INGRAHAM: You've got Carter Page is doing interviews on pretty much every cable network. I mean, Paul Manafort, I mean, he was giving quotes to the New York Times just a couple months ago. Pretty much all these people, I think, are willing to tell their story.
WILLIAMS: We also know General Mike Flynn has been subpoenaed, at least, for documents around -- you know, what he knows. I think politically that you make a really good point, Laura, which is that if this continues to be the prevailing conversation, right, ultimately that probably will not bode well for the Dems. And I've been saying that. In order for them -- yes, or the country, but just strictly from the political sphere they have to come up with a compelling message that connects economically with people. And so, just that he's really, really bad, and we should be really, really scared of him, it didn't work in November.
TIMPF: That's how they lost.
INGRAHAM: Look at what happened with the impeachment and the Republicans in 1998. I was around then and I was covering all of this. Republicans -- we're going to get -- it's like Lucy and the football, we're going to get Clinton now. And guess what, it didn't help Republicans at all.
WILLIAMS: You've got to come up with a real message. It has to have economic tie in. Well, President Trump is looking to pull the plug on press briefing after this week brutal treatment from our mainstream media. But should he follow through on that threat? Please make sure to follow us on social media @SpecialistFNC on both Twitter and Facebook. Stay with us.
BOLLING: President Trump is frustrated with the fake news media. This morning he mused on twitter about possibly canceling the daily press briefing. On cue, the mainstream media went apoplectic. After all, the liberal journalists, they're loving all the face time they're getting on TV, asking Spicer gotcha questions. In an interview airing this weekend on Justice with Jeanine Pirro, President Trump expands on his thinking. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIRRO: Are you moving so quickly that your communications department cannot keep up with you?
TRUMP: Yes. That's true.
PIRRO: So what do we do about that?
TRUMP: We don't have press conferences. And we do.
PIRRO: You don't mean that.
TRUMP: Just don't have them. Unless I have them every two weeks and I do it myself. We don't have them. I think it's a good idea. First of all, you have a level of hostility that's incredible. And it's very unfair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLLING: Laura, you and I know, Mr. Trump, President Trump, Donald Trump for 15 years.
BOLLING: You don't think he's really going to cancel the press briefing do you.
INGRAHAM: I think it's part of this cat and mouse game. That, again, if you've known him for as long as we have you're used to this. This is what he does with people. It's a bit of a challenge. The media gets back on their heels. And then most regular Americans who are watching us are going that's sounds like a great idea. We'd love to see the president out there every other week. They wouldn't be able to probably, you know, push back as much as they maybe do against Huckabee or Sean Spicer. I think of (INAUDIBLE) a very good job, especially under the circumstances. But the press should be celebrating about this. If I'm in the press, you're going to get the president himself every other week? Remember back during Obama, we would go several months without a press conference with the president. I think there was one point like 11 months or 10 months if my memory serves me correct.
INGRAHAM: Getting Donald Trump out there every two weeks that would be a dream. The press shouldn't be pushing back.
BOLLING: They're becoming rock stars themselves, the press briefing room, it's Jonathan Karl.
INGRAHAM: Thrush is like a cult hero.
BOLLING: Can you believe Glenn Thrush took his hat off at briefings?
STIREWALT: No comment. I will say though that -- I think that the press should not take the bait on this. I think it's hard for them to do it. One of the most exhausting narratives, one of the most exhausting story lines of the Trump era has been the endless, boundless, self-regard of the Washington press corps. Democracy dies in darkness, ta da ta da ta da ta da, give me a break. You know what they should say to the president? Cancel him, fine. You cancel him, and we will crack your walnuts worse than we were cracking them before.
BOLLING: Is that possible?
STIREWALT: Of course.
BOLLING: Eboni, is it possible? The mainstream media is so against Donald Trump, I can't believe that they could crack his walnuts any worse than they already are cracking his walnuts.
WILLIAMS: I think that they can. I will tell you this, Eric. Do they not like him? Absolutely. Does that show in their coverage? Absolutely. But I got to tell you, Eric. I can't cry any tears for President Trump over this issue of delegitimizing his presidency. Not when he was the chief enforcer of birtherism, come on. Like, this is the type of thing -- I think to Laura's point, the bravado, it kinds of invites it. I think he kinds of wins with it. I think it creates a narrative of us versus them that always tends to play to his base.
TIMPF: There's no way that he's being serious.
BOLLING: He announced the trip, a major foreign policy trip today. He's going to Israel. He's going to the Vatican. He's going to Mecca. The home sites of the three major religions on the planet, and no one picked that up. All they want to know is what did Donald Trump tweet about tapes.
TIMPF: Well, he did -- maybe could have avoided that by not having tweeting about tapes.
TIMPF: That's what I'm saying. He's more responsible for this narrative in some ways than the media. If he wanted them to talk about that maybe he would have tweeted about that. Everybody is looking at Donald Trump's twitter. In terms of not having press conferences, it's never going to happen. Like when you're a kid and you behave bad and your mom is like, you're not going to get any Christmas stuff. She doesn't really mean that.
BOLLING: Unless the kid is being bad and the kid goes, maybe I am being bad.
TIMPF: Well, it's a manipulation tactic more than a serious threat.
BOLLING: When he tweets in Facebook and comments, a hundred million now.
INGRAHAM: I think what he said is brilliant. If I were he, I would probably start cutting back the briefings. Make them a little shorter. Some briefings where Spicer will go back to the same person twice, like why do we need briefings that are an hour long. You can do a gaggle in the morning as needed. I think a lot of Americans are kind of just like let's get on with this.
WILLIAMS: I think they're too long.
INGRAHAM: Too long. And, guys, the press is less popular than the president.
WILLIAMS: Less popular than congress. I'll tell you this, too, Eric.
STIREWALT: Let's not get carried away.
WILLIAMS: I will say that, you know, sometimes delegating, which is essentially what you have to do, it's not the best. So, if it were me, I like the idea of a press corps and briefing situation. But I wouldn't be mad if I'm President Trump. No one can articulate it better than he can. Nobody can advocate or his position.
TIMPF: He changes his mind a lot, also.
STIREWALT: There's truth in all that you say. However, at a certain point, this president will have to start delegating responsibility to trusted individuals inside of his administration and saying, I've got your back. You've have my back. I've got your back. This two-way street loyalty is something that he has not figured out yet about being president. And you can't have Sean Spicer out there every day twisting. Maybe this is your last day. Maybe I'm.
INGRAHAM: That's not right. I didn't like that. I mean, these people get in that White House at 7:00 AM, and they don't leave until 11:00 PM.
INGRAHAM: And don't hang them out to dry. I didn't like that.
BOLLING: Well, OK, fair enough. But, look, Laura, I've been fairly critical of the communications staff, the department. The message that Donald Trump is trying to deliver sometimes gets a little murky.
INGRAHAM: He steps on his own message sometimes. And I think Katherine is right about that. He steps on his own message.
BOLLING: So let me ask you this, Laura. I'm being very serious. Before Sean Spicer's name as press secretary, your name was floated because.
BOLLING: . you've known the guy a long time. You understand his policies. I've known him a long time. Did he make a mistake by picking somebody who came from the establishment wing of the party?
INGRAHAM: I don't think so. I think his instinct, his political instincts, contrary to what a lot of people are saying today because of the tape thing. I wouldn't have tweeted that out either. But his instincts have been really strong. I've only seen a couple other people with the instincts that he's had politically for the time. One was Reagan for whom I worked and the other was Barack Obama. He's political instinct. He has had good instincts. I think he's gotten in trouble, frankly, when he hasn't followed his instincts. And I think on this issue with the press, I think he's doing the right thing. He needs to go to the Middle East next week and he'll be the first president ever to hit the locals of the three major religions in the world. No one has ever done that before. I think you're going to see this narrative change. If the press wants to stay on the Russian ambassador, collusion, I think they're going to look really silly next week. Next week is going to be a big, big one.
BOLLING: I predict the press looks really silly next week. I will leave it right there. With James Comey out now, has the door blown wide open for reinvestigating Hillary Clinton and her email scandal? When we come back.
TIMPF: Now that FBI director James Comey has been canned, will Hillary Clinton get reinvestigated or indicted? The memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that helped lead to Comey's firing made a compelling point: quote, "The FBI director was wrong to usurp the attorney general's authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the Clinton e- mail case be closed without prosecution. It is not the function of the director to make such an announcement."
Meanwhile Andrew McCabe shared his concerns with the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW MCCABE, ACTING FBI DIRECTOR: I think morale has always been good. However, we had -- there were folks within our agency who were frustrated with the outcome of the Hillary Clinton case, and some of those folks were very vocal about that -- those concerns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TIMPF: All right. I'm certainly among those who are frustrated by the outcome of the Hillary Clinton case. But, Eboni, what do you think about the fact that, you know, we're talking about it now?
WILLIAMS: Yes. For me, I think she probably should have been indicted. I think if it had been anybody else but Hillary Rodham Clinton, she would have been indicted. But quite frankly I'm tired of spending money on the Clintons. I'm serious.
BOLLING: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Big time-out, you two. I'm calling both of you out.
WILLIAMS: What's up?
BOLLING: The last two days you were saying we should continue this Trump investigation, even though for 10 months...
TIMPF: But you're saying...
BOLLING: ... they've been investigating Trump we should end the Trump investigation and try to continue the Hillary investigation. Try to be fair and balanced.
BOLLING: I'm saying you guys both said we should continue Trump's investigation going forward ad nauseam, I think I even said, but now you're saying you're tired of the Hillary Clinton investigation.
WILLIAMS: Let me get -- OK. Here's the distinguishing factor.
WILLIAMS: President Trump is our current commander-in-chief.
INGRAHAM: Thank you.
WILLIAMS: He's relevant. Hillary Clinton, I argue she's irrelevant. And I think by continuing to investigate her as putting them back in the spotlight, making her still relevant. Just make her go away, Eric.
BOLLING: Well, listen, I'm all for putting the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal to rest. And if you found nothing or James Comey says you're not going to find anything, any -- you know what? They also found nothing with Trump, too. Let's put that one to rest and move on to make the country great again.
INGRAHAM: I think that what we really need is an American public that believes the rule of law matters again in the United States.
INGRAHAM: And I think everything has become so polarized, Democrats are going to think investigation into Hillary Clinton, if that happens, which I don't think it will, is going to be Trump getting revenge, making good on his promise during that October debate.
WILLIAMS: "Lock her up."
INGRAHAM: "I'm going to put you in jail."
WILLIAMS: "Lock her up, lock her up."
INGRAHAM: "I'm going to put you in jail." So he's going to make good on that promise.
So the Democrats would say it's illegitimate. No matter what they found, no matter what was uncovered, it would be determined to be illegitimate.
WILLIAMS: Especially with all this going on now with the Russian investigation. Right, Chris? Do you agree?
INGRAHAM: I'm not saying there's not grounds, by the way. I'm saying it just -- it probably isn't where we're going to go.
STIREWALT: When you talk to people in the intelligence and law enforcement communities, as you all have, it was heart-breaking for them, regardless of their partisan leanings, that no one paid a price in this case.
I think -- I agree with you. I think it's unlikely that this will be reopened or that there will be reconsideration. But if they were to say Huma Abedin or somebody in this universe, who so grossly or blatantly mishandled these things, it would be a huge shot in the arm, because these people want consequences for the mishandling of state secrets.
TIMPF: It bothers me that there were no consequences for any of these people. But just in terms of optics, handling it now, I feel like that's a problem for Trump.
INGRAHAM: The Clintons always get away with it.
STIREWALT: They always do.
INGRAHAM: They always slide through.
TIMPF: They're like that kid in school who can do whatever they want, because their mom is a lunch lady.
WILLIAMS: Is there Illuminati (ph), Laura?
BOLLING: There is one more thing. We do have evidence, factual evidence that Hillary Clinton mishandled her e-mail server.
TIMPF: All right.
BOLLING: There is absolutely no evidence that Donald Trump did anything -- any collusion with the Russians.
WILLIAMS: That we know yet.
TIMPF: All right. We've got another move by the Trump administration that will, for sure, infuriate liberals. Jeff Sessions ordering a major escalation: the targeting of drug criminals. Don't go away.
WILLIAMS: Welcome back to "The Fox News Specialists." Our specialists today are Laura Ingraham and Chris Stirewalt. So let's continue our conversation. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcing a massive overhaul in sentencing criminals, reversing Obama-era policies that some critics said were too lenient, especially on drug crimes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We know that drugs and crime go hand in hand. They just do; the facts prove that's so. Drug trafficking is an inherently dangerous and violent business. If you want to collect a drug debt, you can't file a lawsuit in court. You collect it with the barrel of a gun. If you are a drug trafficker, we will not look the other way. We will not be willfully blind to your misconduct. You drug dealers are going to prison.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: All right. The new policy orders federal prosecutors to seek the most severe charges possible against criminal suspects.
OK, Stirewalt, I'm going to start with you on this. Now, I'm going to put on my former defense lawyer hat around this.
WILLIAMS: I think the problem here is that, with the Eric Holder and Obama era things, they really were making -- I think they put a Band-Aid on this issue. What they were really trying to address were the mandatory minimums.
STIREWALT: Sentencing reform.
WILLIAMS: The sentencing reform, which is, by the way, a bipartisan effort. And instead of doing that, going to the heart of reforming that issue, they say, "Well, let's just turn the other way around some of the most severe crimes to avoid the most severe penalties."
WILLIAMS: And now we have what we have now coming out of Sessions.
STIREWALT: And this relates to things like charging crack cocaine, cocaine base differently than actual cocaine, da ta da ta da. We should remember in this discussion the purpose of the institution of these laws under the Clinton administration. The purpose of the institution of these laws was not about drugs. It was about street crime and murder. It was about places like...
WILLIAMS: Violent offenses.
STIREWALT: ... Baltimore, Detroit, Washington, D.C.
WILLIAMS: New Orleans.
STIREWALT: When Washington, D.C., had almost 1,000 murders in the late 1980s and the early 1990s each year. These laws were designed to take people off the street, who were gang bangers who were involved in this stuff.
So, these are not laws about -- these were not primarily laws about drug interdiction primarily. They were about cleaning up bad neighborhoods, Cabrini Green, cleaning up the street. And people like Jeff Sessions would argue that increases in violent crime in communities might have something to do with the roll-back of these sentences.
TIMPF: Yes, the war on drugs has been so successful. That's why overdose deaths have gone up constantly.
This is so ridiculous. He withdrew part of Eric Holder's Smart on Crime initiative, which encouraged people to focus on serious crimes and reduce the amount of people that are going to prison for nonviolent crimes. Why was that a bad thing? Who's thinking that it's a bad thing that we don't have tons and tons of people incarcerated for ridiculous amounts of time because of a nonviolent crime?
WILLIAMS: A nonviolent crime.
TIMPF: People -- it's more expensive. And it doesn't do anybody any good. I don't -- I don't see the justification for it, other than some sort of ideological thing of bad people do drugs, which, by the way, Jeff Sessions has said. He said, "Good people don't smoke marijuana." Oftentimes annoying people smoke marijuana. But saying that good people don't smoke marijuana, that -- that said everything that needs to be said about his position on this issue.
INGRAHAM: Brought to you by -- no.
TIMPF: No, I'm serious.
INGRAHAM: Look, I think what Jeff Sessions is doing is what Donald Trump campaigned on. A return to law and order in the United States. The drug crimes in the country disproportionately affect the poor and the minorities. And it's devastating.
TIMPF: OK, being imprisoned disproportionately affected the poor and minorities, particularly in terms of drug offenses.
INGRAHAM: Right, Katherine, what I'm trying to get to is that the drug pushers in this country, especially those connected with the criminal gang element, Florencia 13, the Latin Kings, MS-13, which are marauding the streets of Chicago, Detroit, here in New York City. Even with crime down, this has been devastating. It's been devastating to the poorest communities.
If -- again, if Democrats or Libertarians want to go across the country making this big case that we need to be more compassionate to the drug pushers, then I think we should have that debate morning, noon and night.
TIMPF: We're talking about nonviolent criminals.
INGRAHAM: Well, that's not what he was focusing on today. He wasn't focusing on the nonviolent criminals.
BOLLING: Listen, I understand. I agree with Laura that this is something that Donald Trump and his base are very, very strong and adamant about. Personally, I've been on record saying, look, I think we over -- we over...
BOLLING: Over-fought the war on drugs, when it's -- in my opinion. I don't think it's a winnable war. I think that the smarter avenue is to get tougher on immigration. Get tougher on MS-13 coming across the border. Get tougher on people, mules bringing drugs across.
TIMPF: End the war on drugs, and they won't want to come over anyway.
BOLLING: Well, I mean, listen, look, if you're tied to a drug crime and a violent crime, then did you go away.
INGRAHAM: More kids are smoking pot in Colorado today. By the way, do we all think that's a good thing?
BOLLING: My son is in Colorado right now, Laura. Don't remind me.
INGRAHAM: Yay, more kids are smoking pot. Yay.
STIREWALT: But we should -- we should...
INGRAHAM: No, I don't think we should give it imprimatur of legitimacy. Once you do that, kids -- it's not a big deal. Mom and Dad are smoking on the weekend. No big deal. Why can't I? If that's what we think is going to get our country going down the right road, then we should all just say it. Forget about the schizophrenia it increases the chances of getting. Forget about all the psychological...
STIREWALT: What's America's No. 1 drug problem today?
STIREWALT: Opioid, prescription drugs. They're not coming over the border. They're coming...
BOLLING: They are, too.
INGRAHAM: No, no. That's not true.
BOLLING: They are. They're coming over the border, Chris.
INGRAHAM: A lot of the heroin is coming from Mexico now, not poppy fields...
BOLLING: Korea. Korea is a major supplier of opioids.
STIREWALT: I'm talking about opioid prescription drugs that are ravaging this country. This addiction. This is the problem.
BOLLING: You can't say they're not coming across the border, Chris. Of course they are.
INGRAHAM: Synthetic. They're synthetic manufactured.
STIREWALT: I understand. What I'm saying is we have a problem in broken communities, broken cultures, broken spaces, where people are not binding together to take care of each other. There is no governmental solution...
STIREWALT: ... that is going to deal with this in the same way that strong communities, strong families and strong neighborhoods will.
INGRAHAM: You can also put those guys in jail. The drug pushers. Put them in jail.
WILLIAMS: But Laura, I didn't think anybody...
TIMPF: Who is a drug pusher?
INGRAHAM: Someone who sells illegal narcotics.
WILLIAMS: In this moment, though, Laura, I don't think most people think that drug offenders need to just be celebrated, right? But what I'm talking about is when we talk about specifically what Jeff Sessions was talking about today, this is a mandatory minimum issue.
Now, as an attorney, my issue is this. I have a problem with mandatory minimums, though, E., because it takes discretion out of our trusted judges and prosecutors. Why do we have a system...
BOLLING: You may be right about mandatory minimums. Listen, I think there's -- we need reform in that area, absolutely. But you know, you can draw a distinction between a dealer, a distributer and a user.
TIMPF: And a judge can do that. And a judge can do that themselves. Why a mandatory minimum? You have someone with no priors...
BOLLING: But that -- that is somewhere in between Baltimore (ph), though.
TIMPF: ... you have a great life, but they just had a certain number of pills. They had this number and they had, like, one over the sentence.
INGRAHAM: That's not what Sessions was addressing today.
TIMPF: I don't think -- he was addressing a change in culture...
INGRAHAM: The culture, yes.
TIMPF: ... focusing on incarceration of people for doing drugs.
INGRAHAM: I think the culture...
TIMPF: Which is very negative and ineffective, statistically.
INGRAHAM: I think the culture that was encouraged under the Obama administration was one of more placidity towards drug culture. There's no doubt about it. And it's a new game now. And I guess we're going to see how that works for Trump. Maybe it will be an ultimate failure. It will be a complete failure, in which case, you'll be proven right. But I think most people think it's a little out of hand.
TIMPF: Most people Americans want legal marijuana.
WILLIAMS: What we know is that we need a lot of criminal justice reform in this country.
Now, not even liberals are safe from their fellow liberals any more. Why comedian Amy Schumer is facing huge backlash from the left over her new comedy. Right after this.
TIMPF: Politically correct insanity now has liberals attacking liberals. Comedian Amy Schumer is facing serious backlash for her new movie, "Snatched." Schumer and co-star Goldie Hawn go on an exotic vacation to South America, get held captive and need to escape the bad guys.
The New York Times is going after the film, saying that it's racist, because there are, quote, "dark-skinned thugs with funny accents who are" -- spoiler alert -- "eventually killed by Schumer and Hawn to bring comedy to the audience."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMY SCHUMER, COMEDIAN: I will get us out of here. I need you to believe in me.
Do you think maybe that guy's OK?
GOLDIE HAWN, ACTRESS: I saw his brains.
SCHUMER: Why didn't it make me feel better?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TIMPF: I think The New York Times is right on point. People are clearly going to get all of their social and political views from this movie. Definitely going to take it seriously.
BOLLING: You think? Do you think?
TIMPF: No, obviously, I'm kidding. It's a comedy.
BOLLING: On the right, we say this all the time. Come on, give us a break. There's no racism. There's no xenophobia involved whatsoever.
INGRAHAM: Couldn't that have happened -- couldn't have happened to a better person than Amy Schumer. I actually read today that her brother screened it with her and her mom, I guess, this film which I haven't seen. And I guess there's a nip slip or something.
STIREWALT: Oh, boy.
INGRAHAM: She shows her breast.
STIREWALT: Oh, boy.
INGRAHAM: And her brother said he couldn't, like, eat for a week or something. It's like totally...
STIREWALT: With your mom. Show that to your mom.
INGRAHAM: Yes, I think that's more -- I think it's more offensive that it's aggressively unfunny. And Goldie Hawn, whom I adore, somehow got linked up with Schumer.
WILLIAMS: Speaking of Goldie, well, I'd like to say optically, I think she looks incredible. She's of a particular age. I like her, I always have.
STIREWALT: Very good, very good. Focus -- focus on the positive.
WILLIAMS: That's what I'm focused on, what's important in life. And that's how good Goldie Hawn looks.
STIREWALT: Has he anybody ever seen -- has anybody ever seen "The Party" with Peter Sellers?
STIREWALT: One of the funniest movies ever...
STIREWALT: ... made in history, in which Peter Sellers wears dark -- what do we call, black face to play an Indian guy.
INGRAHAM: You couldn't do that today.
STIREWALT: No, you couldn't do that.
WILLIAMS: Let's hope not.
STIREWALT: And the whole funniest -- the whole funniest scene in the movie is when he -- his dialect is un-understandable, and it's this huge riotous laughter.
If you think about how far, in 50 years, you go from a point where that is a box office movie to this, which is probably thought of PC as it's being made to now it's like -- in the end we found that you were insensitive. In the end, your sensitivity score is only a four.
INGRAHAM: That's why the only comedy that now we seem to have is political comedy, which by its very definition is very -- it doesn't bring the country together. Humor, most people can laugh at all humor. Humor that's really good, it doesn't matter if you're Democrat or Republican. Situational. Observational.
BOLLING: Did you see what Colbert did last night? Did you see his little monologue at the end? He said, you know, "We got Trump to weigh in on me and the show," and he did this little thing, "Yay." I mean, how -- how cheap and sleazy and gross is that?
INGRAHAM: It's not funny. I'm still watching old YouTube Carson, Johnny Carson, because he was so funny. And he really -- he wasn't mean-spirited. He wasn't really political. Maybe it was Leno.
TIMPF: Well, Amy -- Amy Schumer, she was supposed to have some sort of gun scene in this movie. And she cut that, because she also has fancied herself some sort of gun control hero now. So she got rid of that and now she's still being called a racist.
WILLIAMS: But to Laura's point, there is some really good political comedy. I mean, look at Richard Pryor. Look at -- you know, back in the day. Redd Foxx. I mean, they would infuse politics in there.
BOLLING: Sure, sure, sure.
WILLIAMS: And race and culture. It wasn't divisive. It wasn't divisive at all. It was great.
STIREWALT: Dave Chappelle.
WILLIAMS: Dave Chappelle.
BOLLING: Dave Chappelle is a great example where he does. He puts a lot of -- obviously, lately on "Saturday Night Live..."
BOLLING: ... he's bringing in and it's not...
WILLIAMS: It's funny.
BOLLING: It's bipartisan.
INGRAHAM: But why doesn't -- why doesn't "Saturday Night Live"? There's a wealth of comedy. If you want to do real political comedy, where were they during the Obama years?
INGRAHAM: Where were they with the Loretta Lynch, Bill Clinton meeting in the plane? I mean, there was a lot of humor that happened. How about Lois Lerner refusing to testify?
BOLLING: By the way, this weekend -- this weekend, you saw what was running around on the streets of Manhattan this weekend?
INGRAHAM: Again, focused on Trump, because they're all Democrats.
BOLLING: Sean Spicer with a podium, up and down Sixth Avenue.
It's good stuff though.
TIMPF: Definitely. All right. Don't go away. We circle back with our specialists, Laura Ingraham and Chris Stirewalt, right after this.
BOLLING: All right. Time to "Circle Back." I'll kick it off.
Laura, you if I'm not mistaken, you used to work at the Supreme Court? Yes, no?
INGRAHAM: I was a law clerk for Justice Thomas.
BOLLING: OK, now there's rumors that there -- I think Grassley said there's going to be a vacancy coming up soon. Thoughts?
INGRAHAM: I -- if I had to bet, I would bet that there would be a vacancy this summer. Usually at the end of the term, which ends June 21, something like that. And most likely, if I had to guess, it would be Justice Anthony M. Kennedy...
BOLLING: Yes, that's...
INGRAHAM: ... and his law clerk, former law clerk Neil Gorsuch, is now a justice. It's kind of -- it's weird to think of former clerks as justices on the court together. He's been there a long, long time. And I don't know. I have a sense he's ready to move on. But who knows? Everyone speculates and oftentimes they're wrong.
BOLLING: All right, Eb.
WILLIAMS: All right. I've got a question for Stirewalt. We were talking about this in the green room. These cuff links. I wish I could give you some cuff link cam. These are jade, you guys. They are family heirloom, and apparently, they have a lot more where they came from. Tell us about your favorite most ornate pair.
STIREWALT: These were Newman Claude Stirewalt's, born in Timothy, Illinois...
WILLIAMS: I love you.
STIREWALT: ... a long -- a long time ago. And back in the '30s, ornate gaudy jewelry was in. And I'm not much of an ornate or gaudy guy.
WILLIAMS: Yes, right. Just kidding.
STIREWALT: But after my father -- after my father died we were going through all of his stuff. And there was this cache of these tremendous cufflinks, these big honking things that no one would have worn in the pared-down '80s and '90s. But I really like these suckers. And N.C. Stirewalt deserves a little something extra.
WILLIAMS: You're slaying them.
BOLLING: Get Kat in here.
TIMPF: What should I have for dinner tonight, Chris?
STIREWALT: What should you have?
TIMPF: What should I have for dinner?
STIREWALT: Chicken wings.
TIMPF: Chicken wings? What do you think?
INGRAHAM: You're skinny. Get some carbs in you, girl.
TIMPF: All right.
BOLLING: Why do you say you're the best chicken wings outside of where?
STIREWALT: Triadelphia, West Virginia. Because it's the truth. Because I didn't come here to lie. I came here to tell you the truth. And they are the best chicken wings.
BOLLING: So West Virginia is, it's just a little bit south of here, I think, on the -- on the...
INGRAHAM: Homemade pasta always good on a Friday night. Cold in New York. Cold and rainy. Homemade pasta.
BOLLING: We'll leave it right there.
Thank you to our "Fox News Specialists" today, Laura Ingraham and Chris Stirewalt.
And we thank all of you for watching. It's been a great week. Make sure to follow us on social media. That's @SpecialistsFNC on both Twitter and Facebook. Remember, 5 o'clock will never be the same. "Special Report" coming up now.
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