Gingrich on Comey's firing: Trump had no choice
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 9, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to "Hannity." And this is a Fox News Alert. President Trump fires the FBI Director James Comey. We will have a full and complete reaction to tonight's big breaking news. It is what the mainstream media will never tell you tonight. Newt Gingrich, Laura Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, Sara Carter, Jay Sekulow.
But first, kicking Comey to the curb! This is the first step in President Trump draining the deep state swamp. And that is tonight's and perhaps my most important "Opening Monologue" ever.
And welcome back to "Hannity."
All right, we're going to cut through all of the noise, all of the nonsense on this program tonight and tell you exactly what the left and destroy Trump media will not tell you.
James Comey, the former now FBI director, is a national embarrassment. It's that plain, it's that simple. And frankly, he's very lucky that President Trump kept him around this long because of his now unhinged and very erratic behavior.
Now, firing James Comey was absolutely the single right thing for this president to do. It's good for the country, and let me tell you why.
Comey has failed you, the American people, on a spectacular level! And at every single turn, the FBI director disrespected the Constitution, he showed he does not care about the equal application of the rule of law being applied equally American. He has now stood by while our 4th Amendment rights have been trampled upon. And worst of all, he has created in this country how a two-tiered justice system, one for Hillary and Bill Clinton, and one for the rest of America. It's become a travesty. Comey tonight should be ashamed of himself.
Now, let's start with facts, and Hillary Clinton and the private email server that she used purposely to circumvent what is known as congressional oversight. Here are the facts, plain and simple. Hillary Clinton's server contained top-secret special access programs -- in other words, the highest level of classified information on her computer. She deleted over 30,000 emails on that computer, claiming they were personal. They were about yoga, weddings, grandchildren and emailing Bill Clinton, who never had an email account. This was a lie from the get-go.
And what's so despicable about this is back in July, when Comey made his big announcement on Hillary Clinton and the investigation, he acknowledged all of these facts, which, by the way, is an acknowledgment that crimes were committed!
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, JULY 5, 2016)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: From the group of 30,000 emails returned to the State Department in 2014, 110 emails in 52 email chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received.
Eight of those chains contained information that was top-secret at the time they were sent. Thirty-six of those chains contained secret information at the time, and eight contained confidential information at the time.
Separate from those, about 2,000 additional emails were up-classified to make them confidential. None of these emails should have been on any kind of unclassified system. But their presence is especially concerning because all of these emails were housed on unclassified personal servers, not even supported by full- time security staff, like those found at agencies and departments of the United States government or even with a commercial email service like Gmail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: What you saw right there was James Comey laying out the legal case against Hillary Clinton, and then, inexcusably, after 13 minutes of a stinging indictment, he let her off the hook! And Comey completely ignored all the laws that Hillary Clinton broke, which you can see on the side of your screen. Nobody in the mainstream media, the destroy Trump media, is telling you this tonight.
Now, if you or I, anybody in this audience, did anything close to what Hillary Clinton did, you would be put in jail. You would be perp walked, fingerprinted, you would be mugshotted and put in jail.
But James Comey proved himself to be, in the end, nothing more, sadly, than a political hack. And he didn't deliver equal justice under the law.
Now, was this because Comey thought Hillary was going to win and become the president? I don't know, I won't speculate. But what I do know is that Comey was only three years into his 10-year term. So tonight, we will connect the dots for you.
For example, let's talk about the Clinton Foundation and the alleged pay- to-play scheme. Now, the Clintons, they lined their pockets -- millions and millions of dollars -- while Hillary was serving as secretary of state. Now, the evidence of wrongdoing is incontrovertible, overwhelming, yet Comey sat on the sidelines. And Clinton even give up 20 percent of this nation's uranium to Vladimir Putin in this corrupt Uranium One deal. She personally, as secretary of state, had to sign off on that 20 percent going to Putin!
The evidence of wrongdoing is overwhelming. And by the way, James Comey, the destroy Trump media, the radical left, they sat on the sidelines! They ignored the rule of law. And I want to add one thing to this. Twenty percent -- meanwhile, the Clinton Foundation lined their pockets with millions, Bill Clinton doubled his speaking fees when he spoke in Moscow?
Let me give you another example. More recently, there's the egregious violation of our 4th Amendment rights with Americans like General Flynn who were incidentally caught up in foreign surveillance, they were unmasked. That intelligence, a felony, leaked to the press by any measure -- the one crime that we know was definitely committed in the case of General Flynn didn't bother Comey one bit.
Sally Yates even said yesterday she was never asked about this by Comey. He did nothing to get to the truth, to get answers about who leaked information about General Mike Flynn, a felony under the Espionage Act.
And the incompetent Comey? He did nothing to stop this false lie that has been advanced for so many months that Russia was colluding with then-candidate Trump and then-transition team Trump. He should've, for the sake of this country, out this to rest once and for all.
Now, in his letter firing Comey, the president revealed Comey told him on three separate occasions he's not being investigated. Why didn't the FBI director come forward and tell that to you, the American people? Especially since he was so quick to divulge information exonerating Hillary Clinton, who he laid out the case violated the law?
Even James Clapper yesterday said that the Russian collusion talking point was not based on fact at all! It's all predicated on one big lie, on innuendo, on bizarre conspiracies.
So you know what? To James Comey, good riddance. He deserves everything he got tonight. He has earned this. Although the media, which loves Hillary, didn't want Trump to win, didn't think Trump would win, they'll never tell you this.
Also, speaking of the mainstream media, they're losing their minds tonight over this. They have gone completely insane. They're not giving you the truth or the facts that we just gave you, and they're trying to turn this into a scandal that it is not because they've been trying to destroy this president, delegitimize him from day one.
Here's some evidence. Remember WikiLeaks, what they revealed? The alt-left propaganda destroy Trump media was proven again and again to have colluded with the Clinton campaign. They were her biggest donor, they were in her corner. They wanted Hillary elected, just like they never vetted -- remember back in the day, we were talking about Reverend Wright, ACORN, Alinsky, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn? They never told you the truth about Obama. They never told you after eight years how he failed spectacularly. They've been gunning for President Trump since day one. Is it any surprise they're trying to destroy this president tonight?
And then of course, there's the Democrats. There's Chucky Schumer, crocodile tears himself, foaming at the mouth earlier tonight over this news. Listen to the feigned outrage of Chuck Schumer, the selective moral outrage of Chuck Schumer after Comey was fired tonight. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., MINORITY LEADER: They fired Sally Yates. They fired Preet Bharara. And now they've fired Director Comey, the very man leading the investigation. This does not seem to be a coincidence.
This investigation must be run as far away as possible from this White House and as far away as possible from anyone that President Trump has appointed. Given the way the president fired Director Comey, any person who he appoints to lead the Russia investigation will be concerned that he or she will meet the same fate as Director Comey if they run afoul of the administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Keep in mind, this is the same hypocrite, the same phony, Chuck Schumer, back in November, right before the election, said this about James Comey after he reopened the investigation in the Hillary Clinton server scandal. Quote, "I do not have confidence in James Comey any longer. To restore my faith, I'm going to have to sit down and talk to him and get an explanation for why he did this."
And if that's not enough, take a look at all these liberals -- you won't see this on any other network tonight, I promise you -- that hated Comey before he got fired. Now tonight, they love him. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
JOHN PODESTA, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIR, "THIS WEEK"/ABC, NOV. 6, 2016: We're all disturbed, first of all, by the letter, which really broke precedent, was over the advice of the leaders of the leaders in the Justice Department. You know, I'm not challenging Mr. Comey's motivation, but I do think it was unwarranted, it was a mistake.
SCHUMER, OCT. 31, 2016: She's got a big burden of proof, so to speak, on him for why he did what seems to be such an appalling act that goes against the tradition of prosecutors at every level of government. It was -- when I heard about it, I found it hard to believe that Comey, who I thought had some degree of integrity, would do this.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., NOV. 2, 2016: I think he made a mistake on this, and he clearly has a double standard. In these jobs, if you're not in it for a while, you can't take the heat. And I think he just couldn't take the heat from the Republicans.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HANNITY: Ah. What you're seeing there is a bunch of liberal hypocrites playing nothing but pure politics.
Joining us now on this very serious news night, former speaker of the House, FOX News contributor Newt Gingrich. Mr. Speaker, I'm trying to lay out the case here. James Comey I think earned this. I'd love your thoughts.
NEWT GINGRICH, R-FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, I think the key fact is that the brand-new deputy attorney general, who's a 30-year career professional in the Justice Department, who was President Barack Obama's U.S. attorney for Maryland, who was just two weeks ago endorsed by the Senate 94 to 6 -- this is the person who wrote the letter, which is devastating, and said that it's clear that Comey cannot lead the FBI, that he has made such a significant series of mistakes that has crippled the morale of the FBI. And in that letter, he goes through citing attorney general after attorney general after attorney general all of them saying what Comey has done violates totally the FBI.
So you're President Trump, you have the deputy attorney general, who everybody agrees is a nonpartisan, widely approved career professional, sends a letter to the attorney general and says, If we're going to rebuild the FBI, Comey has to go. The attorney general says, All right, I agree with you. He puts a cover letter on, it shows up on President Trump's desk.
What I would say to the Democrats is, if the president of the United States gets a letter like that from a career professional who you just voted for, how could he do anything else except accept the letter and fire the director of the FBI because you'd be looking at this career professional and deciding that he didn't know what he was talking about.
And that's why I think the Democrats and the elite media tonight have this very, very difficult job of trying to convince the rest of us that somehow, magically, this Barack Obama U.S. attorney, 30-year professional somehow was turned by the Trump team and is now an agent of Donald Trump. I don't believe that.
I think what he did -- and he has -- people should read the actual letter. He cites attorney general after attorney general from both parties saying that this was exactly wrong and that Comey, in fact, violated the rules of the Justice Department, the principles of the FBI, and is not capable of rebuilding the FBI. Now, I think at that point, President Trump, frankly, had no choice.
HANNITY: Well, let me read from this letter because I think this is very important, and it's not a case that the media is focusing in on. "I cannot defend the director's handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's e-mails." He admitted up until he said he's not doing anything that she violated the laws.
And he goes on to say, "And I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees the director made serious mistakes. It is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspective" -- which we saw the comments of some of the left from when they didn't like what Comey was doing.
And then it goes on to say, the director was wrong to usurp (ph) the attorney general's authority, announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution -- it is not the function of the director to make such an announcement!
At most, a director shouldn't -- it goes on -- completed the investigation, presented its findings to federal prosecutors. Now he defends his decision by asserting that he believed the attorney general at the time was in conflict.
But the FBI director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department. There is a well-established process for other officials to step in when a conflict requires the recusal of the attorney general.
Wow! That is a powerful indictment against James Comey.
GINGRICH: Look, what everybody has to understand is that letter was not written by a Trump campaign person. It's not written particularly by a Trump supporter. It's written by a 30-year career professional, President Obama's choice to be the U.S. attorney for Maryland and a man who the U.S. Senate voted 94 to 6 just two weeks ago saying this is a man of great integrity.
And when you read the letter -- and of course, it goes on at great length. When you read the letter, you realize that Comey -- who by the way, as you know, in the last two weeks, we've had Hillary Clinton on television saying that Comey was a major reason she lost. And it's kind of weird. You'd think the Democrats would be saying, yes, I always thought what he did was wrong. Now they're saying, Oh, no, no, you shouldn't get rid of him, even though they were all for getting rid of him. Hillary Clinton, I suspect, thinks he should have been gone.
But this also fits another pattern. If Donald Trump walks out in the morning and says the American flag is red, white and blue, a significant number of the elite media will say No, no, it's fuschia. Don't you understand that it's fuschia? Because they're not going to accept Donald Trump saying anything. And in this case, Trump was the executor who of the judgment of the attorney general and the deputy attorney general who decisively said to him, You must fire Comey.
And I think it's important to put in context what Trump is doing here. It's not about the campaign. It's not about Trump's personal view. It's the commander-in-chief, president of the United States, getting a document from his attorney general that says we cannot rebuild the FBI as long as this guy is in charge.
HANNITY: OK, we need to go through some facts and laws. And I go back to that July press conference when he did this 13-minute -- I was sitting there with my mouth open thinking, Oh, my goodness, she is about to be indicted. It was that strong a case he was laying out -- never forget the moment.
And then at the last minute, But never mind. That's kind of what it was.
Let's look at, for example, the list of potential crimes here -- and honestly, you know, disclosure of classified information -- it happened, Mr. Speaker! That's a fact. You know, records management -- he even said you cannot put on a private server top-secret special access program information, unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents -- fact! It happened!
We're talking about a mom and pop shop bathroom where the e-mail server was kept. Concealment, removal, mutilation -- I think that would count for 30,000 e-mails, sir -- statements of entries generally.
Is there anything here that we don't know is proven in terms of a violation of law? And why in my heart of hearts tonight, sir, believe (sic) that we have a two-tiered justice system that if Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, had done the things that the Clintons did, you would be in jail tonight, and I'd be visiting you with a cake and a file?
GINGRICH: Well, I would hope that wouldn't be the case, but...
HANNITY: You know, I'd do it for you. I'm a friend.
GINGRICH: I'd rather you'd reverse and said, If you were in jail, I'd bring you...
HANNITY: Thanks a lot!
GINGRICH: ... the cake (INAUDIBLE) That's not here or there. Look...
GINGRICH: Here -- here -- here's the things to think about. The next big test -- and this'll be a real test for the Democrats in the Senate. You're now going to have the attorney general and the deputy attorney general reach out and look for somebody of such integrity that they can rebuild faith in and belief in the FBI.
And I think if they send to -- if the president nominates somebody who's clearly not a Republican, not a conservative, not a partisan but a dedicated law enforcement person of considerable background, then I think the test for the Democrats is, Are you really going to politicize the Federal Bureau of Investigation, even when the guy you just endorsed and got 94 senators to vote for him and who's a career professional, is the guy helping defend this and helping put it together?
I think that's the next big test. Comey's now gone. He will become part of a lot of history books. But the turning the corner, getting a first- rate leader who can rebuild the morale and the integrity and the public trust in the FBI, that's the big test now for the Trump administration.
HANNITY: You know, you point out I think it was 94 to 6 or 96 to 4 -- I'm lost (INAUDIBLE)
GINGRICH: Ninety-four to six.
HANNITY: OK. That this is an Obama appointee here that wrote this letter tonight. This is not a Trump appointee. You know, if you look at all the differing people that have served at the highest level as attorney generals, for example, and a deputy attorney general -- you know, look at Judge Lawrence Silverman (ph) served as the deputy attorney general under Ford -- it's not the bureau's responsibility to opine on whether a matter should be prosecuted. And he believes that the director's performance was so inappropriate that the FBI director and the bureau will ever completely recover! That is a stinging indictment.
Jamie Gorelick, by the way, attorney general -- deputy attorney general under President Clinton joined with Larry Thompson (ph), deputy attorney general under President Bush, to opine the director had chosen to personally re-strike the balance between transparency and fairness from the department's traditions, and concluded the director violated his obligation to preserve, to protect and defend the traditions of the department of the FBI!
One more second. Mike Mukasey -- he said the same thing and that disclosing the recommendation -- said it was out of fashion. Alberto Gonzales -- and if you want to look at somebody I never thought would agree with us, Eric Holder, who served as the deputy attorney general under President Clinton and attorney general under Obama, said that the director's decision was incorrect and that it violated long-standing Justice Department policies and traditions and it ran counter to the guidance that I put in place four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season!
And he concluded the director, quote, "broke with these fundamental principles and negatively affected public trust in both the Justice Department and the FBI." We're talking about a broad spectrum of political views here, but in the arena of law and the Department of Justice and the Justice Department.
I'd like you to react to those very prominent, respected figures.
GINGRICH: Well, and of course, all of this is captured in the letter by the deputy attorney general, who makes this unbelievably strong case that there's no defense for how Comey behaved, that it is a very dangerous violation. I mean, you can't have the nation's leading law enforcement agency, with its thousands and thousands of agents, with its capacity to get court-ordered wiretaps, with all the things they can do to gather information -- you can't have the top of that behaving capriciously and deciding whether or not he or she will release things. That's why they serve under the Justice Department. They don't serve equal to or above it.
And this is really one of the more extraordinary, maybe the most extraordinary case in the history of the FBI. But again, notice. Even though, as you just did, you can quote Eric Holder, the attorney general under Obama and deputy attorney general under Clinton, you can quote Gorelick, who was the deputy attorney general under Clinton, the fact is the elite media is going to go crazy. They are going to totally distort this, and they're going to refuse to recognize and refuse to acknowledge that this was, in fact, the legitimate decision of the deputy attorney general, who is a career professional and was an Obama appointee as the U.S. attorney.
And by the way, The Wall Street Journal has a superb editorial which came out this evening which lays out this case calmly and just says, Look, for the good of the country and for the good of our system of justice, for the good or the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an institution, this was the right decision. The president reacted appropriately to the recommendation of his attorney general and his deputy attorney general.
He (ph) could be in a lot more trouble if he got a letter that was that strong and didn't take any action. I think we need to remember that, took -- it took courage on President Trump's part to do this. But it would have been a disaster for the country if he had rejected this letter and not done it.
HANNITY: That's so well said. You know, on all of the issues that we talk about, I believe it is such a travesty of justice that we know Hillary broke laws that would put the rest of us in jail, sir. You know, that's not equal justice under the law. You're not allowed to do what she did with an e-mail server, what she did with the Clinton Foundation, the qui pro quos she signed off as secretary of state, the foundation's taking in millions, 20 percent of our country's uranium goes to Vladimir Putin! And these -- these investigations died.
The 4th Amendment protections we have, sir, and General Flynn is surveilled -- OK, incidentally, but then he's unmasked and then the intelligence is leaked to the press. And on top of that, on three separate occasions, the president in his letter tonight says that Comey said he's not under investigation.
And he has allowed this to hang out there so that the entire country has been sold a bill of goods and a narrative and a lie and a false conspiracy by a media that from day one has wanted to delegitimize and destroy this president! It is beyond him contributing to a crisis, incompetence and division in this country! Am I right or wrong here?
GINGRICH: No, you're right. And you'll notice yesterday that the former director of national intelligence, Clapper, and the former acting attorney general who was inherited from Obama both said in testimony that there is no evidence that Trump was in any way involved, period.
And so, you know, you promptly (ph) have various news media people saying, Well, they may not have found the smoking gun. That's not what they said. They said there's no evidence. So people need to understand the elite media and the hard left are desperate to avoid the reality that Donald Trump won, that Hillary Clinton lost.
They are desperate to find a way to undermine and delegitimize President Clinton. (sic) But in this case -- and it's going to be really interesting to watch it play out over three or four or five days, as the average American comes to realize this was the recommendation of President Obama's U.S. attorney from Maryland. This is the recommendation of a career professional.
And what the president did is he took the professional advice of somebody who has spent their lifetime serving the country -- not a Republican, not a partisan, not a campaign worker, but a genuine and deeply committed Justice Department employee. I think the country's going to conclude this is one further example of the elite media being dishonest and being frankly hysterical and one more example of us trying to move to restore the rule of law and to restore integrity back to the government.
HANNITY: Mr. Speaker, I know you moved heaven and earth to be with us on this very important breaking news night. Thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
GINGRICH: Very important, very important evening.
HANNITY: I agree. Very much sobering, actually. Thank you for being with us.
Joining us now with reaction, from the American Center for Law and Justice, Jay Sekulow, from Circa News, Sara Carter, and from our sister network, the Fox Business Network, our friend Lou Dobbs.
Jay, legal standpoint? Let's just examine this from that point of view and that perspective.
JAY SEKULOW, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE: Sure. Well, first, what happened here was that James Comey, who's had selective disclosure disease -- it caught up with him. And that's because he himself put his job at risk. He's the one that, leading the FBI, failed to move on issues that were so clear. Why was there not an investigation that came to a conclusion other than him acting as the attorney general, which is not his job, regarding the e-mail servers?
We go back to that. I go back even further than that, Sean. What about the fake investigation that the FBI engaged in with those IRS cases? I litigated those cases and I had some of our clients participating in those -- that so-called FBI investigation. It was put-up (ph).
And this is -- you know, James Comey -- and this is without disrespect to the FBI because the FBI does do great work. But this director of the FBI should have been fired, has been fired, and asked for it himself. I've been saying it for a year. The problem here is he decided he was going to become the judge and jury in these matters, and that was not the role of the FBI director.
I can give you the litany of cases that should have been investigated, everything from the unmasking to the disclosures to the leaks to the media to the Clinton e-mail server issue, which we've talked about at length. But at the end of the day,
this director of the FBI was not a leader. And what he did was politicize a branch of government, a portion of government that should not be. And look, he serves at the pleasure of the president. Yes, he had a 10-year term. Guess what? That term ended today. And it was his own undoing. He had to go back to the Congress today to clarify again testimony he gave.
HANNITY: Oh, it's horrible.
SEKULOW: He was an absent director, and that's his problem.
HANNITY: And we're not even talking about very important failures under his time...
HANNITY: ... including the Tsarnaev brothers. They interviewed them at...
HANNITY: ... the FBI, they let him go. Then they were warned again by Russia. They still didn't do anything. We could talk about -- in the case of...
HANNITY: ... of e-mails of Nidal Hasan before Fort Hood...
HANNITY: ... saying he wanted to kill his fellow soldiers to protect the Taliban.
HANNITY: Let me bring in Lou, and then we'll get Sara in here -- Lou.
LOU DOBBS, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: Well, the issue here is that Comey had it wrong from the very beginning. It's all based on an investigation that took 11 months to actually just drop everything. As you pointed out, the conclusion was to not prosecute when every charge against Hillary Clinton was staring Americans who are not lawyers in the face!
They know that she acted irresponsibly. She acted against the law.
DOBBS: And there were -- and there were absolutely no consequences. It is disturbing that this -- this recommendation that came out today, that the president fire the FBI director, does not lead clearly the pointer toward re-beginning, restarting the investigation of Hillary Clinton...
DOBBS: ... because I think that is the effect here. This whole judgment today on the part of the president was based on the deputy attorney general and the attorney general saying, Based on his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton, he ought to be fired. That being the case, the questions, the investigation, the consequences, and that should be reopened, in my opinion.
HANNITY: Sara Carter, you've been breaking a lot of news about the issue of our 4th Amendment protection, unreasonable search and seizure. I thought of you today because remember shortly after the NSA scandal exploded in 2013, Sara, the FBI was exposed having conducted its own data mining on innocent Americans, "Bloomberg" reported retained the material for decades even when no wrongdoing was found. Now we know the one crime that was committed was against General Flynn, surveilled, unmasked, the intelligence leaked. And yesterday Sally Yates said she never was questioned once by James Comey, the one crime we knew was committed here?
SARA CARTER, CIRCA NEWS: Yes. There's never been an official investigation into the leak. And this is what is so concerning. And I'm hoping that Attorney General Sessions and the deputy attorney general now call on the FBI, whoever this new FBI director will be, and even if the interim FBI director is Andrew McCabe, call on them to open an investigation into the leaks. That's what needs to be done.
And you know Sean, I was thinking about this going back to July. It looks like Director Comey wanted to have his cake and eat it too. He kept playing both sides. And it didn't work him. I remember when he came out and said there was a lack of intent -- because they didn't want to prosecute Hillary Clinton because of this lack of intent to prove that she was going to do anything wrong with the classified material. You don't need to prove anything. The fact that she mishandled classified materials through gross negligence is enough to prosecute. And that should have been left up -- even if Loretta Lynch wouldn't have prosecuted her, that should've been left up to her to make that decision and not Director Comey. And I think this is why the deputy attorney general right now is making this decision and asked the president to fire Director Comey.
HANNITY: Jay Sekulow, is there any doubt in your mind -- based on the law as you know it and the fact that we know about Hillary Clinton, that she committed felonies, is there any doubt in your mind?
JAY SEKULOW, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE: Here's the thing where there's no doubt in my mind. There should have been a grand jury empaneled to investigate this. And that did not happen. So if I look at the evidence that we know of, just go back, Sean, to the server itself that was in an unsecured location --
HANNITY: Isn't that illegal, Jay, a top secret special access --
SEKULOW: Of course. Of course. So just start right from the beginning if you make it the simplest case that you would take to a grand jury.
You know, look, James Comey, I will say it again, intervened in an election. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, or independent, everybody was upset about the fact that James Comey exonerated, then he reopened, then he closed it again. And look at the false statements he made, he made when he made the statement that the FBI had to work tirelessly to close the case that quickly after it was reopened, and now we come out to find there may not have been that many emails in the Huma Abedin situation. This is absurd, Sean. And again, that's the crime. Clearly the unsecured server was the crime.
HANNITY: Why shouldn't that grand jury be convened now about Hillary Clinton, and I would argue about the server and I would argue all the hard work that John Solomon and our friend Sara Carter had been doing. And our friend Lou Dobbs is one of the few that covers it in the media with me. All of this now, that we now fix the problem of equal justice under the law that apparently doesn't exist. Shouldn't that all be done now?
SEKULOW: Maybe there is a grand jury empaneled now. There's a grand jury always in Washington, D.C. But I think you now have to go back, and now we have the deputy attorney general that can do this, who was an Obama appointee, so it takes it of the politics, and you now have to look at these cases fresh.
And by the way, that would include the unmasking of General Flynn, because regardless what the president decided to do, I understood exactly why the president had to let General Flynn go. There's no question the misstatement to the vice president. But that wasn't the crime. The crime was, what, the unmasking was leaked to the press. That was the crime, and it appears that it was never investigated. And that is just not the way it works in a constitutional republic. That's not the way it's supposed to work.
HANNITY: Lou, Let's go to Lou.
LOU DOBBS, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: I think we have to remember something, that this Justice Department was the most politicized in history, I mean in history, the Obama Justice Department. James Comey was a part of that, an integral part. And his conclusion, and we should not forget his highly conscious, purposeful alteration of language. Instead of gross negligence, which is the basis --
HANNITY: By the way, that's the standard.
DOBBS: Extreme carelessness is the expression that he conjured up to avoid the use --
HANNITY: Gross negligence of the legal standard.
HANNITY: OK, when he gave that long press conference he used the term -- DOBBS: Extreme carelessness. HANNITY: What's the difference? That is what you are telling people. There's no difference.
DOBB: Exactly. And then to suggest --
SEKULOW: It's a legal term.
DOBBS: I'm sorry, Jay.
HANNITY: Go ahead.
SEKULOW: You're exactly right, Lou, extreme carelessness is gross negligence. That's the legal definitely. You are absolutely right.
DOBBS: Except if you don't use "gross negligence" you're not aligning with the statute and therefore you don't have to proceed.
HANNITY: He played word games.
DOBBS: Exactly. And a semanticist, a man how has adopted suddenly the mantle of attorney general from the role of director of the FBI, that's a far reach. And as Rosenstein said, it cannot stand. To see that indictment of him is just truly remarkable.
CARTER: But there was enormous frustration, Sean, there was enormous frustration within the FBI too when he came out with the this.
HANNITY: Sara, go ahead.
CARTER: Yes, I was saying there was enormous frustration within the FBI as well when they came out with this, when the director chose not to go further with the investigation into Hillary Clinton. And I think that was really the issue here. There was a lot of discontent within the FBI and there was a lot of discontent of course within the administration. And I think they wanted to rectify this.
DOBBS: The idea here is very straightforward to me and obvious. The documents that were produced for the attorney general and the president that led to his decision to remove the FBI director mean that the path has cleared here to resume the investigation of Hillary Clinton and to proceed with a grand jury to reach a decision that is objective, impartial, and speedy.
HANNITY: You've all made great observations and a whole variety of fronts here. Jay, let's go back now to the beginning because I don't believe justice was served here on a whole variety of issues that we laid out here tonight.
Let's start with Hillary Clinton. Let's start with the email server. I still believe that when she signed off on giving away 20 percent of America's uranium and millions of dollars are flowing back to the foundation, and that goes to the Clintons. Let's go to that, Sara Carter's investigation into what she had been talking about. The law we know was broken. Surveillance, incidental, unmasking -- wrong, at an unprecedented level. We'll get back to that in a second. And then the leaking of intelligent, felony, violation, Espionage Act. So I ask you, where should we begin tonight even though the mainstream media is out there spinning and lying and protecting and focusing the country on what is exactly the wrong issue here?
SEKULOW: So you have had a flawed investigation from the outset, and that's because the FBI director did not direct. So you have to start it from scratch. And what that means is you have to get new FBI agents in a new division involved in this. You have to point within the agency, lawyers within the agency as well as investigators that are going to review all of the evidence, Sean, on all of these issues, as if it did not happen before. So you have to start this from the beginning. Now, ultimately that's a call for the attorney general and the FBI director.
HANNITY: The president, by the way, the president doesn't have a say in this. He should not have a say at all.
DOBBS: He's gone to some length to not say --
HANNITY: Actually he said she should be in jail but I want to move on.
HANNITY: Sara, I'm going to five you last word and then we're going to go back to you. We've got Laura Ingraham is standing by.
CARTER: I think, look, they need to look at not only just what has happened here with Huma Abedin in the fact that former Director Comey now wouldn't investigate Hillary Clinton and didn't find intent with Huma Abedin. But like Sean said, our investigation into the unmasking is revealing that this was highly politicized. And not beyond Flynn, there were hundreds of people unmasked as well as Congress as well as other members. So I think we need to look at the full scope of what was happening during the Obama administration and during the election. We are going to get answers.
HANNITY: Sara, is this potentially the biggest scandal in the history of this republic when all is said and done? And then I've got to go Laura.
CARTER: Yes. I absolutely do believe, Sean, that this is probably one of the biggest scandals in the republic. If everything that we know comes to true and light is shed on this, I really truly believe it is going to open everybody's eyes to something, and hopefully it will stop, hopefully it will stop.
HANNITY: By the way, White House officials I'm just being told announcing a new FBI director coming in days. We will get back to -- Lou, stay right there. Jay, Sara, stay right there. OK, yes. We continue now with the editor in chief of Lifezette, of course nationally syndicated radio host and FOX News contributor Laura Ingraham. A very strong move I have thought and I know you have though this is been necessary for a long time.
LAURA INGRAHAM, EDITOR IN CHIEF, LIFEZETTE.COM: Yes, I think a lot of us expected that Donald Trump would fire Jim Comey in November. Presidents routinely would replace a sitting FBI director and bring in his own team.
For whatever reason, Donald Trump didn't do that. I don't know if at the time he thought, well, that would look bad because there are rumors of these investigations and so forth. But it does I think remind us -- his instinct I bet, I'm just betting, his instinct was to fire Comey. And my instinct is that he didn't follow his instinct.
No one had confidence in Comey. The Democrats didn't have confidence in him after he sent the letter to Congress 11 days before the election, only a few days later to say, oh, sorry, there's no problem in the emails sent to Anthony Weiner. He also did the non-indictment indictment of Hillary Clinton with the handling of the classified information, the private server. That was that bizarre press conference he did where he seemed to kind of convict her or charge her only to say, no, we couldn't find the requisite intent that many say isn't really required under that statute.
So I think he really damaged his own reputation. He came in as kind of a straight shooter, but by the end no one trusted him. So it was about time that the Justice Department recommended his removal.
HANNITY: One thing that really stood beyond the whole Anthony Weiner issue, it's almost bizarre behavior on his part. We know the email server, to circumvent Congress, in a mom and pop shop, bathroom closet with top- secret information and special access -- we know that's a crime. The one crime we know is Michael Flynn unmasked and the leaking of intelligence. Sally Yates testifying yesterday saying the FBI hasn't even questioned her about the one known crime in this case. How is that even possible?
INGRAHAM: It seemed like during the campaign, especially the latter part of the campaign, Sean, Jim Comey turned himself into a pretzel not to raise any possible criminal wrongdoing by the administration, by Hillary Clinton. He didn't want to be responsible for throwing the election to the evil Donald Trump. That's how it came off to me as a former practicing attorney, I did white-collar crime. That was just a bizarre press conference.
And then of course the example you stated, which is equally bizarre. You have a crime that was committed and the FBI director seems woefully uninterested, incurious about finding out what really went on. So again, the left was not happy with him. The right was not happy with him. And I think most people think his investigation -- if you look at this fairly, the Russian collusion, there was nothing there. He found nothing, but he did manage to put a lot of doubt in a lot of people's minds about the outcome of this election. He did manage to do that.
HANNITY: And Clapper said yesterday, and Comey has said it and we're almost at a crisis point in terms of -- a good friend of mine actually said cuckoo for cocoa puffs. That was you, by the way. Because they have run with this in the media, this conspiracy theory. Clapper says no evidence of collusion. Comey has said no evidence of collusion. And the media since before the election keeps on a story with no evidence and they seem to be getting away with it. I did like the cuckoo for cocoa puffs line.
INGRAHAM: Comey also came across in his recent testimony, to me, just examining the body language, it was odd. He didn't look well to me. He looked extremely defensive. He looked very petulant. He used odd phrases like, it made me mildly nauseous to think this investigation could have affected the outcome of the election, Russia could have affected the outcome of the election. And I guess tonight he is extremely nauseous.
During his testimony this week, he also got two key facts wrong which the Justice Department had to come back and correct after the testimony both about the number of emails that were sent to Anthony Weiner's computer and how Huma Abedin actually transmitted them. Most of them are automatically downloaded when she was updating her computer. She didn't send thousands and thousands of emails. So those were two key facts that at this point, with how important this investigation is, and was right before the election -- he gets those two major facts wrong? That is not someone who is on his game. I think that probably entered into Sessions mind as well.
HANNITY: Laura, thank you.
And we continue still with Lou Dobbs, Jay Sekulow, and Sara Carter. You were motioning to me at a point, and I think I read your mind. You're saying this opens a door to so much more.
DOBBS: The responsibility on part of a Justice Department that now wants to regain the confidence of the American people has to investigate Hillary Clinton, has to investigate the Internal Revenue Service and its targeting of conservatives, has to investigate Fast and Furious, which under Attorney General Eric Holder was one of the great shames of a great department. It has to deal with these issues. Even Benghazi, the FBI investigated it. People forget that. And there's no report from the FBI and there has been no action.
HANNITY: It is an amazing thing. Let me go to Sara first, then we'll go to Jay. It is an amazing thing, all of these horrible things happening. Lou brings up a great point. Using the IRS to intimidate conservative groups, that goes back, started in 2010. The Benghazi lies, spontaneous demonstration where they just happen to have RPGs and mortars in their back pocket and decided to pull them out, a total, complete lie and fabrication. Then it's uranium one. Then it's the server scandal. Then we know so many crimes are committed.
DOBBS: And what about the unmasking of American citizens? Why in the world?
HANNITY: Hang on, we've got some news. President Trump just tweeted this, "Crying Chuck Schumer stated recently," we probably had the sounds at the beginning of the program, "I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer." Then ask so indignant, #draintheswamp." Sara?
CARTER: Well, I mean it's true. When you think about this, now they're crying foul that everybody, even included Harry Reid, said the same thing. He should resign, you know, Comey should resign. So, look, we've gone past that. He's out. He's been fired. He's out. Someone new apparently is going to be coming in the next few days.
And Sean, Lou, Jay, you guy have brought up some great points. There are some issues that still need to be looked at, that still need to be investigated. I know that there are families with Benghazi who I'm very close to who would love to see this reopened again, at least looked at. There are a lot of cases out there, Fast and Furious. And there's so much more.
And so particularly with the unmasking right, and, Sean, like you pointed out with the leaks -- we need to know if someone in the DOJ or if the inspector general found anything yet, or if the DOJ has actually asked the FBI to open an investigation, that the FBI should be able to tell us. So there are a lot of issues right now that I think need to be investigated, and I think you are right about this.
HANNITY: Jay, let's go through the most interesting -- a friend of mine Mark Simone sent me, I guess it was a tweet from Tom Brokaw, "Director Comey has had a lot of self-inflicted wounds. He's made a lot of mistakes." Wow, has NBC changed since he left, just as a side note. Where do we begin? With all that Lou has brought up and all that Sara has brought up, they're such criminality here. There seems to be a crisis as it relates to equal justice under the law in this country now as a result of James Comey. How do you fix that? How do you recover from that and a media that wants to cover it all up, the same people that colluded with Hillary as exposed by WikiLeaks?
SEKULOW: The media is the easier side because you just play what Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer said, which the president tweeted out, and then you have Harry Reid who called for his resignation over a year ago. So the media side is easy.
But here's what I do within the Department of Justice. I was a government lawyer when I began my career and I had the honor of serving on the faculty the Department of Justice during when John Ashcroft was the attorney general.
Here is what you do. Within the Department of Justice itself, within the FBI itself, you create a unit that looks at all of this new. New agents, new review, and every one of these issues, Sean, that Sara and that Lou have laid out, including that IRS case that I litigated, need to be looked at from the beginning. And I think it has to have new eyes. That's number one.
Number two, you have got to restore the public integrity of the department itself. And that is going to be coming from the attorney general Jeff Sessions who is both an attorney and a general in that sense. You have got to be able to take command. And then the new FBI director is going to have to establish within the FBI this sense of pride in their work.
Look, there are a number of failures here. You talk about some of the ones on the terrorism issues, the Tsarnaev brothers, what happened with Omar Mateen in Orlando where they were on the radar screen, all of that needs to be looked at. Nidal Hasan, all of this has to be looked at. But we don't have the luxury of letting these things happen again in our country. We just don't have it. The president has taken decisive action here. He said he was going to drain the swamp. This was the beginning of that drain or certainly a continuation of that drain.
But let me just say this, Director Comey, with due respect to the office of the director of the FBI, dropped this on himself. It is going to take a new director to fix this. It's going to take agents committed, and I think it has to be a team within the FBI and the Department of Justice that takes control.
HANNITY: Do you remember the investigation of Hillary and the unauthorized handling of classified material and the FBI made a deal with Clinton aides were given immunity, and allowed to destroy their laptops? That's just another thing that needs to be cleaned up.
SEKULOW: Cheryl Mills was able to serve as their lawyer.
CARTER: That's right.
DOBBS: Exactly right, Jay, and Hillary Clinton not being put under oath and no one bothering to record her remarks on a nice casual discussion between her and the FBI. It's outrageous what was done here.
But there is another failure in this, and that is with the complicit leftwing media in this country, they accepted every bit of this all along the way. No Fast and Furious. No IRS targeting.
HANNITY: Journalism is dead, Lou.
DOBBS: It certainly is in most quarters.
CARTER: Not completely, Sean.
CARTER: I was going to say, not completely, Sean.
HANNITY: OK, except Circa, except reporters at Fox News, my buddy Lou.
CARTER: Thank you.
HANNITY: That's about it. I think we've pretty much hit the limit.
Here is the question I want to ask all of you and I think the most important question of the night, and we will start with Sara. Sara, if you are Hillary Clinton tonight, what are you thinking?
CARTER: Boy, I would be a little bit concerned right now because even though Director Comey is now gone, I would be really concerned about who is coming in and what they're going to be looking at. I still don't think, Sean, anything is going to happen when it comes to Hillary Clinton.
HANNITY: Why? Don't we know she broke the law with her server scandal?
CARTER: We do. We do.
HANNITY: Why if Sean Hannity breaks the law do I go to jail? I have to pay more in taxes because I knew Obama had a bull's-eye on my back. Lou paid three times because he had a bigger one on his, and everyone here. Why do we have to obey the laws and she gets off scot-free? Why? That's not fair.
CARTER: We have to ask the Justice Department that. We need to ask prosecutors that question. And why they are not bringing that case forward again, and if they will, even if they will, even if they can find something that can reopen this investigation into Hillary Clinton.
But you know what? I'm not going to hold my breath on it. I'm going to hope that maybe somebody will have the courage to do that. But this is how this game is played. And we saw it, Sean, even with the uranium deal and the fact that Bill Clinton got paid $500,000 for a speech.
DOBBS: There's still a lot to be investigated.
CARTER: That's right. We have to wait and see. It's definitely a wait and see.
HANNITY: If you are Hillary Clinton tonight, Jay, based on your legal background, based on the knowledge of facts as we know them today, if you are Hillary Clinton and she calls you and you are her lawyer tonight, what are going to say to her?
SEKULOW: Take the Fifth Amendment. Don't say anything.
SEKULOW: That's exactly what I would tell her. Take the Fifth Amendment. That's exactly what I would tell her.
HANNITY: If you're Hillary Clinton tonight, how are you feeling after talking to you, her lawyer?
SEKULOW: Concerned that, first of all, she was the one who just a couple days ago was blaming the former director of the FBI about intervening in the election, which I think he was absolutely wrong in doing. But, look, I think she has to be concerned. But I tend to agree with the Sara that it's not likely there will is going to an indictment against Hillary Clinton.
CARTER: Thanks, Jay.
HANNITY: We all agree, we know it's overwhelming, incontrovertible evidence that she committed felonies and broke laws. Does anybody disagree with that statement?
SEKULOW: I go right back, she put a server in a place it wasn't supposed to be. Answer question, yes.
HANNITY: She broke laws and committed felonies. Sara?
CARTER: I mean, yes. If you look at the law and it states you don't need to have intent.
HANNITY: Then I go back to Jay. Why does she get a pass? I am sorry. That is wrong. That is not equal justice.
DOBBS: Because they're Republicans, and Republicans are sitting here and wanting to keep their hands on top of the table and sort of fold them quietly because that's the way Republicans react.
HANNITY: You know something, Lou, I would be in jail for not paying my taxes. They would put me in jail and love it and the media would love it. They would love you in jail.
DOBBS: And that's exactly what they are trying to do.
HANNITY: They've already tried to get us fired 100 times.
SEKULOW: Sean, here is what you've got. I think here is what you've got. The reality for equal justice under the law that you talked about, if that is what the concern is, then it's looked at, as I said, with a new division within the FBI, and it's looked at fresh. And you would empanel a grand jury. And you have to empanel a grand jury?
DOBBS: You don't think they should go after the secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation and the rampant public corruption that it represents?
SEKULOW: No. I've been the one who has been saying this thing should have been handled by a grand jury since the beginning because I go back to the easy case. The easy case -- the server was in a place it wasn't supposed to be. That's the easy case. Make that one. That's simple. That's a give-me.
CARTER: You brought up great points. And I absolutely agree with you that a grand jury should be called. But now who do we hold accountable for that, right? The new administration, this administration. So there has to be somebody who has the courage enough to do this and to bring this forward. And unless somebody does this, it's not going to happen.
HANNITY: Sara, all three of you are telling this audience tonight that you all agree that the evidence is overwhelming and incontrovertible that Hillary Clinton committed felonies and all three of you think she is going to get a pass. All three of you think --
DOBBS: I didn't say that she is going to get a pass at all.
HANNITY: Sara is laughing. Sara thinks so. You think she gets off the hook.
CARTER: Look, we have seen this happen time and time again. We have seen it over and over and over again.
HANNITY: Lou, I agree with Sara.
DOBBS: Attorney General Sessions has been in office for three months for crying out loud. It took more than three months to fill up that swamp. It is going to take more than three months to drain it.
DOBBS: There's no attorney general we have had in recent years who possesses the integrity and the talent of Jeff Sessions.
CARTER: I agree.
HANNITY: I second that motion. That is why I think America needs to make a decision. This is a tipping point. This is a moment, a crossroads moment for this country because if she can get away with obvious felonies and nothing happens then we don't have a legal system that is -- seriously, Jay -- or a constitution that protects every American. Go ahead. I'm sorry. I'm on my high horse.
SEKULOW: You are absolutely right. So let's follow the law. Let's do with the law says, the rule of law says. Empanel a grand jury. New investigation, new prosecutors, they relook all of these cases that we have outlined, start fresh. That is how you get justice in these kind of situations. You know that the previous director do not do that. Now you have to.
HANNITY: I am with Lou and I am with Sara. Sara, I say let the law, let the evidence and the facts be investigated, and as every other American would be treated, so shall the Clintons be treated or we have no constitution and no equal justice under the law in this country any longer. And that is the tipping point.
CARTER: Absolutely, Sean.
DOBBS: Everybody gets to follow the law. That's a terrific idea in this country.
HANNITY: Lou speeds every day and he gets tickets.
SEKULOW: I said call me. I don't handle ticket cases anymore but whatever I can do to help. HANNITY: By the way, that is going to cost you $1,000 in hour if you call Jay.
DOBBS: I may just pay that fine, Jay.
HANNITY: It's going to be cheaper to pay the fine.
Let's assume we begin this process of a grand jury, Jay. How long, where does that lead us, and how will they try to blame President Trump, who has no say in what happens to Hillary Clinton?
SEKULOW: They can't blame the president because the president exercised his constitutional authority today by removing the director. That doesn't change the investigation. A grand jury, if they return an indictment, that is how our system works. Then Hillary Clinton or anybody else would be entitled to defense and defense counsel and the case would be proven in a court of law. And that's how you handle something when there has been a violation. You don't have two sets of rules. You don't have one for them and one for everybody else. You don't have my clients being targeted and threatened by the IRS and the FBI with a, quote, let's make up a, they said piece together a criminal case against one of my clients in the conservative targeting scandal, that is not justice. So that's how you get justice. Empanel a grand jury.
HANNITY: I'm going to say this nicely -- today is one of the most important days in the history of the Trump presidency. And we now have a chance that we get our legal system back under control where every American is subject to the same laws and the rules as everybody else.
Guys, you've been great for the hour. Thank you all for being with us.
That's all the time we have left this evening. Please stay with the Fox News Channel for all night continuing coverage of this breaking news, the president firing the FBI director James Comey. My friend Bret Baier is next. We will see you back here, an important show tomorrow.
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