Published July 25, 2018
This is a rush transcript from "The Ingraham Angle," July 24, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
INGRAHAM: All right. Good evening. I'm Laura Ingraham. This is "The Ingraham Angle." Ahead on a cannot-miss hour, if you haven't been watching television tonight, you haven't been watching "Hannity," you didn't know it was released an hour ago. Rudy Giuliani will be joining us shortly with breaking news, exclusive reaction about the release of a secret recording between then candidate Donald Trump and his attorney, Michael Cohen. Also, two simple questions. Why does John Brennan still have his security clearance and should be revoked? The answers are coming up later on inside tonight's angle and other conversations -- this like always happens before the show.
Newsbreak and I love it. It's like radio, it's like crazy. Everything happens at the last minute. Fine by us.
Plus, even outside the White House, he still has the president's ear. Whom am I talking about? Great night to have him on. Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus will join us for an exclusive and he'll offer insights into the president's thinking on Russia, the communication, what is going on with the chief of staff, and this current controversy about this tape being released.
And later, we'll dive into two explosive cases, one involving police and race in a caught-on camera moment in Georgia. So we'll get into that and a lot more coming up here on "The Ingraham Angle." And I gotta tell you something. When we got Giuliani on the phone and we got our next slate of guests, you're going to want to buckle up.
Tonight, some breaking news. CNN claims to have gotten their hands on recordings between then candidate Donald Trump and his then attorney Michael Cohen. Now the tapes were provided by Cohen's now current lawyer, Lanny Davis. Remember he used to be out there and Lanny's an old friend, but he was out there defending Bill Clinton not too long ago. And long known for his vituperative and steadfast defense of all things Clinton. Here's a piece that CNN played, and it must be stressed that we had Fox News have not confirmed the authenticity of these tapes.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David. You know, so I'm going to do that right away. I've actually come up and spoken -- and I've spoken to Alan twice about how to set it up with funding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And -- all the stuff, all the stuff. Because you never know where that company, you never know
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- where he's going to be -- correct. So I'm all over that. And I spoke to Alan about it when it comes time for the financing, which will be real soon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What financing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll have to --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) -- check --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, no. I got it. No, no, no.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: The tape is interestly cut off at that point. Joining us now for reaction, Alan Dershowitz, author of the book "The Case against Impeaching Trump", which is now a huge New York Times best seller. As well as Sol Wisenberg, former deputy, independent counsel for the Whitewater investigation. Gentlemen, thank you both for being with us.
This news breaking an hour ago. Professor Dershowitz let's start with you. We're all lawyers. There's something that sends a chill down my spine, up my spine, about hearing a conversation between an attorney and a client. I don't care what the government is threatening you with, with the prosecutors are threatening you with. But to hear a private conversation played between the two on national television, it's like I have no words. But I guess they waived the privilege, right, Alan? That was a decision that the Trump legal team made.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, AUTHOR, "THE CASE TO IMPEACH TRUMP": Yeah, I think you're going to have to ask Rudy. Rudy is a friend of mine, and he's a great lawyer and he rarely makes mistakes. But you have to ask him why he waived the privilege about that conversation.
The conversation is a natural one. I've had it with clients dozens of times. The clients suggest something. If the tape is accurate and if Lanny what says is on it is on it, the clients suggests maybe cash and the lawyer says no other client says fine, we'll do it by check.
That's what lawyer-client conversations are supposed to be about, a back and forth where the client suggests something, the lawyer says something else, and the client generally listens to the lawyer. But the big picture is a, there is nothing on the tape that suggests any crime. B, what is strongly suggested by the prior interview by Lanny Davis is that -- he has -- Cohen has made his decision.
He's going to cooperate with the prosecutors. He's going to flip. He's going to try to get immunity, and he's going to testify against Donald Trump. Whether he has anything to say that is incriminating, it's a real question. Even if he does, whether he's allowed to say it. Because remember, Giuliani didn't waive other privileges, just that day. And even if he has something that might be incriminating, no evidence that he does, he can't reveal it unless it's a violation of the lawyer-client privilege or waived if it's lawyer-client privilege material. So those I think are the big picture items
INGRAHAM: Sol, what is the potential jeopardy if any, that this tape poses the president of the United States? And again, so people understand it, it's hard to hear this tape. It's a little bit unintelligible. We're going to talk to Giuliani exclusively in just a few moments. But their impression is that what the president said is no cash. And Cohen says no, no, no, no. Then Trump then says -- you can hear him say a check? A check. So he could be again -- maybe we can you know, make this tape clearer. But right now it's unclear what he said. Could the president -- the then candidate -- saying we want a paper trail?
SOL WISENBERG, FORMER DEPUTY INDEPENDENT COUNSEL FOR WHITEWATER INVESTIGATION: I don't know, but it doesn't matter what he is saying, Laura, in terms of your question. I agree completely with Professor Dershowitz. There's no indication of a crime here. Now it may end up that it establishes that president lied, which is certainly a serious matter. I understand he said he didn't know anything about the payment by the parent company of National Enquirer, but that's very different as to whether or not there was a crime.
I see nothing resembling that. I do think it's shocking, irrespective of whether it was wise or prudent to waive the privilege, really shocking for a lawyer is taping a conversation with a client, whether it is privileged or not.
Certainly confidential client information. I'm not sure -- I'm not sure that Cohen has definitively made the decision to flip and the only reason I say that is because by doing -- by doing and taking the actions publicly that he has taking, it seems to me that he might be making a last-ditch effort for a pardon. I see no other reason for it, because if he wants to do a deal and flipped, typically the prosecutors don't want you going out and talking on national TV. It's a bit of a mystery to me.
INGRAHAM: Well and we keep hearing from Michael Avenatti, who seems to have you know, divinely discovered that there are more than one or two tapes. You hear him on TV. It's like there are many tapes and everyone will see. It's all horrible stuff about to come out. That's what you get from him.
But, Professor Dershowitz, there doesn't seem to be any transaction that actually took place here, correct? So whether the president misspoke or misrepresented things on Air Force One when he referenced not knowing about the transaction, there was no transaction here ultimately. Does that have any relevance?
DERSHOWITZ: Yeah, there is no crime, this couldn't be an attempt or a conspiracy because in the end he says pay by check. But the whole context of the conversation would seem to undercut the cash analysis. The context of the conversation is let's create a legal form, let's create a corporation. Let's not leave it up to one person.
When you create a corporation, you create records. Corporations don't pay by cash. Corporations almost always paid by check or by wire and leave a paper trail. So if, in fact, the president did say, and it's hard to hear, pay cash, that seems very much out of context to the conversation. The other thing is, the tape ends very abruptly which could suggest that there's more on the tape that's exculpatory, but that Cohen has either kept it as leverage or maybe erased it because maybe he doesn't look so good on it.
But ending the tape abruptly the way this one ends --
INGRAHAM: It's odd.
DERSHOWITZ: -- and when you get forensic experts coming in, they can tell you whether it was cut off, when the phone stopped, whether -- I think this was an in-person conversation, but we're not positive. But it will tell you a lot more.
I think this tape has to be subjected to forensic analysis. Look I had a case just like this 40 years ago where the issue was whether the police had said it's done on wiretaps or it's not on wiretaps and eventually the forensic proved we were right and we won the case.
INGRAHAM: Yes. Right. OK. I think all of us in the makeup room were listening to this 15 times and none of us could figure out what was said. I want you to stay right there because joining us now on the phone is Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney for President Trump speaking with us exclusively after the release of this recording. Mayor Giuliani, thank you so much for checking in with us tonight. First of all your reaction to this tapes release.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Well, I think it's -- first of all, the major point is it's outrageous that someone would tape this client surreptitiously. And number two, it's also foolhardy for them to try to yell and scream and make believe what's on the tape.
I agree with you the tape is a little bit hard to hear. But I assure you that we listened to it numerous, numerous times. The transcript makes it quite clear the end that President Trump says don't pay with cash.
Cohen then interrupts and says no, no, no. I got it. And then you hear distinctly, if you're careful and you slow it down, check. And then Cohen followed with no, no, no. And then quickly cuts off the tape which indicates exactly Professor Dershowitz is saying, that Cohen doesn't want the rest recorded because it was too exculpatory from the point of the view of the president (ph). Also --
INGRAHAM: Rudy -- oh go ahead.
GIULIANI: There's no way the president is going to be talking about setting up a corporation and then using cash unless you are complete idiot. And again, the president is not an idiot.
INGRAHAM: Rudy, there was a moment tonight on CNN where Lanny Davis -- he kept saying well we are showing you that what Giuliani claimed that Michael Cohen was the one who brought up the issue of cash, not his client Donald Trump. We're showing you with this tape that it was Trump who brought it out. So he seems to say the release of the tape, Rudy, was because of you and what you said.
GIULIANI: Well, the fact is the president does bring up cash but he said don't pay with cash, right? And then Cohen says no, no, no, and the president says check. And then Cohen says I got it. The point is the president wanted the transaction to be memorialized.
INGRAHAM: Rudy, there was some concern about the decision to waive privilege in this case, a lot of legal commentators. We just talked to Dershowitz and Sol Wisenberg --
GIULIANI: Well it's all well and good for them to say that, but the reality is, the tape was leaked not by us. Nobody believes that. Last week and we were treated to how we leaked it, which Jay and I were laughing about -- Jay Sekulow. This was leaked on us with a very, very scurrilous description of what was on the tape, probably by the same people who were lying on CNN. And we had to correct the record. So we have no problem making this limited release because it is corroborative of the president's statement.
INGRAHAM: Now, so are you still maintaining then tonight that the recording that was released this evening is 100 percent exculpatory towards the president and his previous statements about this?
GIULIANI: I think your two guests just said that. No indication of any crime being committed on this tape and that's absolutely right. So that's why we --
INGRAHAM: The -- go ahead.
GIULIANI: Go ahead.
INGRAHAM: No. You know what the left is going to say? You know what they do, they've been doing it for months. That the president gave the impression that he didn't know about any of these transactions, that this might've been happening, but he didn't know about them. The comment on Air Force One. Sol referenced it in the previous statement. He said I didn't know. Sounds like he knew something was being set up to perhaps buy the rights to this McDougal story. Correct?
GIULIANI: No. In fact, if you go back a little further on the transcript, I don't know if you have the whole thing -- Cohen says that we need financing. And the president said wait a second, what financing? Then he has to explain it.
The president did not know about this before this conversation. At least with regard to the transaction that we're talking about I mean, he may or may not have known about McDougal's claims, I don't know that. But he didn't know about this transaction. This is the conversation in which they talk about how they're going to buy the rights.
INGRAHAM: And the rights, people have to understand who are watching tonight, the rights to this story from "The National Enquirer", or the company that owns "The National Enquirer" were never purchased, so that transaction did not go through.
GIULIANI: That's another thing that's absurd about this. What it makes clearly is, this is at most an attempt to do something. I don't know of any attempt in this category of crime that they are looking at. So in any event, I don't think anyone can suggest that this represents anything where the president did anything wrong.
And that's the reason why we waived it. Would we have put it out if it had not been leaked? No, we would not have put it out if it had not been leaked, but it was being leaked through The New York Times under very, very false -- it was false statements being made about it, which even are worse (ph), for the ones you're hearing now.
INGRAHAM: Were you given a heads-up that this was coming out tonight at all or was this a surprise to you?
GIULIANI: Yes. We found out at 6 o'clock this afternoon. And look, we have been over the tape over the weekend about five times. What I urge people to do is go online and listen to your broadcast. You play the tape. Play it three times. The third time you play it, it will become clear. I have been listening to tapes even longer than Alan Dershowitz, how about 4000 hours of mafia people on tape. I know how to listen to them, I know how to transcribe them. This tape is crystal clear when you listen to it. I've dealt with much worse tapes than this.
INGRAHAM: Are you concerned that there are other recordings out there between Cohen and the president? As a lawyer, as someone who has dealt with people who have been in a lot of trouble before, just like you have, Rudy, the idea of a lawyer taping a client -- it takes your breath away. But are there other tapes you are aware of? Will you seek to release them yourself?
GIULIANI: Today -- well, today someone was leaking from I'm sure their side, it can't be ours. There are 12 tapes with Cohen with the president. May have been Avenatti, someone else, don't quote me on that.
He's leaked things like they are more tapes with the president. And Dershowitz asked him yesterday, how? Because it would be illegal for them to have that information. In any event, there are no other tapes with the president. We have all of the tapes in our possession. We have transcripts of all them. We are comfortable with them. And there are no others.
INGRAHAM: Now Rudy, you have known Lanny Davis a long time. I've known him going back 20 years during the Clinton saga. Do you have any thoughts about his decision to represent Michael Cohen, given his long ties to the Clintons?
GIULIANI: No. Not at all. I don't have any concerns about that. He is a lawyer and he has the right to represent who we wants and Michael has the right.
I question the strategy of doing it, trying to make a tape say what it doesn't say. Or putting out a tape in which are a kind of proud of the fact that you are a lawyer taping your client. And then, thinking you could cooperate with the government? You know, to cooperate with the government, you gotta have credibility.
The first thing that's going to happen, this guy is going to be disbarred. I mean it's ridiculous. H's a pariah in the legal profession.
INGRAHAM: There was a moment tonight on CNN, I'm going to play it for you Rudy, where Chris Cuomo actually asked about this recording and whether it might taint the entire substance of it. Let's watch -- listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: This recording could be argued to be fruit of the poisonous tree. As counsel, Michael Cohen shouldn't have been recording his client, then Donald J. Trump. Now President Trump. How do you get past that this whole thing doesn't look good for Cohen because he should have never done it?
LANNY DAVIS, MICHAEL COHEN'S ATTORNEY: Well, I'm not going to shift the topic. It's up to Mr. Cohen to explain why he was taping Mr. Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: So he didn't want to go into it.
GIULIANI: This is great. When have I ever said it's up to the president to explain? That's his lawyer being interviewed by Cuomo and he throws the ball to his clients? It's just crazy representation. Have you ever heard of anything like this?
You put out a tape of your client. You then may believe it says something it doesn't say. Believe me, there were three other versions of this before he got to this one that were even worse. And the transcript -- if you have the patience to analyze it, don't become like frenetic about it -- and now he is saying give the ball to my client.
INGRAHAM: So -- I don't mean to harp on the Clinton connection here, but it is interesting that Cohen chooses the longtime confidant, booster, defender of the Clintons. After everything that happened during the campaign, to represent him. You know how this deal goes, Rudy. It was Cohen trying to send some kind of message to the president? Look out, here we come? You better watch out? It's an odd choice of lawyer in my view. It's an odd choice.
GIULIANI: Well, I don't know. I can't comment on that, Laura. I don't know -- you know, some rule or standing (ph) saying I'm interfering with right to counsel if I do that. I don't want to do that. And I just question the whole tactic in Lanny's comment tonight, shifting the thing to Cohen and sort of throwing him under the bus.
INGRAHAM: And Rudy, finally here --
GIULIANI: You have to be able to answer --
INGRAHAM: Yeah --
GIULIANI: -- you gotta be able to answer for your client or not answer at all.
INGRAHAM: And finally Rudy, on the issue of talking to Mueller -- special counsel -- here, the reports came out that you all will talk about collusion and nothing else. Is there any developments on that you can tell us tonight?
GIULIANI: No, I think we have been distracted the last couple of days. They have been distracted with the -- they are getting ready for the Manafort case. So you know, we'll probably get an answer in the next -- hopefully in the next couple days or week.
INGRAHAM: All right, Rudy Giuliani, we really appreciate you joining us tonight exclusively.
GIULIANI: Thank you. Thank you Laura. Bye-bye.
INGRAHAM: Thank you so much All right. Let's bring back in Sol Wisenberg and Alan Dershowitz to react to what we just heard from Mayor Giuliani. Sol, let's start with you -- anything jump out at you that the mayor just said?
WISENBERG: Well, what jumps out at me and one way is what is not being said. And of course I haven't heard the whole tape, as the mayor points out. But in all this conversation about did he say cash or didn't he say cash, my question is why is he even discussing buying the former playmate's story if it is not true, which he has said it isn't true?
Why would you care? Why would you want to buy it? I mean let's look at the big picture. Professor's right, not a crime here, but I think that is something is an elephant in the room that needs to be mentioned.
INGRAHAM: Well, I would say, Sol, businesses settle things in different ways all the time because well-known people are targeted and sued because people know you'll settle. That goes right to the settlement. They probably just wanted -- I don't know. I am just guessing, and Professor Dershowitz, you deal with this all the time.
People want to get stuff off their plate. If we can put it that way, let's put it away. How do we do it? Come up with different strategies. That's what I am guessing, if I am presenting a client on this matter. Does that seem particularly odd to you?
DERSHOWITZ: No, it sounds very plausible, especially since they did seem to use word plural. That perhaps what that president and Cohen were discussing is in the run-up to the election, there were probably going to be lots of people who will come and demand cash in order to not embarrass the president just before the election.
They were discussing how to set up a corporation to make payments if necessary to keep it from influencing the election. That happens all the time and I don't think you can infer guilt from a payment of money. I think the tape is ambiguous. I think Rudy Giuliani today good job on your show explaining it.
I think we have a better sense now after hearing Lanny Davis on CNN and hearing Rudy Giuliani on this show. And I think there are a few conclusions that we can reach. Number one, there is no crime. I think everybody now acknowledges this doesn't provide evidence of a crime. Number two, it does show that Cohen and Trump are no longer joined at the hip and Cohen would no longer take a bullet for the president.
He may in fact fire a bullet at him. We don't know that. And number three, we have two extraordinary lawyers, Lanny Davis and Rudy Giuliani, both on different sides of this contentious issue as distinguished from Avenatti, who has no spirits and no background in any of these issues. These are two guys would look litigated these cases for years and years. They are worthy adversaries, and this is a very, very exciting confrontation with high, high stakes. This is an unfolding drama.
INGRAHAM: I mean Sol, if you are a lawyer, you want to represent one of these clients. I mean you are on television. Lanny loves to be on TV. I used to be on TV with him at another network years ago. We would debate all the time during the impeachment when you are working for Starr, Sol.
So we can't blame him for wanting to do the case. Of course he wants to do the case. But my question is, what is the "there" there? I mean campaign finance violation or a conspiracy to thwart campaign finance laws? I mean I heard that theory floated on another network tonight. And I'm thinking OK, how are you getting to a to b to c in that analysis? Maybe you two are a lot smarter than I am and I can't get there.
WISENBERG: I don't see -- based on everything I've seen so far, I don't see a campaign finance violation. Even if there was, as I said months ago, on your show I think, it's pretty small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. No president is going to be impeached for relatively minor campaign finance violation. At most, it's very embarrassing.
This is the least of the president's troubles, I think. I thought it was striking that Mr. Giuliani did not deny the report that you talked about that basically is not going to be -- the president is not going to be talking to Mr. Mueller at all about obstruction of justice. If he talks to him at all, it will be about collusion, which I think as a lawyer, it's a very good position to take.
INGRAHAM: Professor Dershowitz, before we let you go, I'm glad we got that question into Rudy because that report has been floating around. He's like, they're focused on Manafort now, haven't gotten back to him. But I get the sense that, you know -- what does Mueller do at that point? Then it's a game of chicken, right? Are you going to try to subpoena me? Are we going to fight the constitutionality of that? Where do we go?
DERSHOWITZ: Comey would be very -- sorry -- Mueller would be very, very wise to accept this offer. Why? He's not been able to question the president about obstruction of justice. The president will claim presidential authority to have fired Comey and he will won on that issue.
And so really if he is getting an opportunity to sit down with the president and discuss and ask questions about Russia and alleged collusion, he's probably getting all he would ever get after litigation. So my prediction here is that if Mueller, this is smart, and I think he is -- he will accept this offer and have an opportunity to put hard questions to him.
And perhaps expect to spring a couple of perjury traps on him. Which is why if I were Giuliani, I would be a little wary about having the president sit down unless the questions were scripted and the answers could be scripted in advance, and the president wouldn't go off script. All of those are unlikely events, knowing this president and knowing the situation.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIC)
INGRAHAM: All right, we're going to have you both back -- I said I'm going to have you both back later after the extensive voice analysis. They'll bring in the experts to analyze the tape. You know that's going to happen. It will be all over the place tomorrow, but what a great night to have you both on. We really, really appreciate it, so thanks so much for spending so much time with us.
And coming up, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus will be here, another great guest for a breaking news night. A -- of course a former White House chief of staff. He's going to discuss White House communications, the midterms, and this breaking news tonight.
INGRAHAM: All right, they all claim to know the motives behind President Trump's statements, the media, politicians, the intel community. Nobody knows what the president is thinking more than his closest aides, even some who are no longer inhabiting the White House and that includes an old friend, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; who was the first person the president called after the Helsinki summit.
Joining us now, Reince Priebus, great to have you on tonight. How are you man?
REINCE PRIEBUS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Great to see you too.
INGRAHAM: Hey stranger.
PRIEBUS: I was out for a couple weeks with the family --
INGRAHAM: Yeah? Nice, nice. A little rest, a little rest. No rest for the weary tonight.
PRIEBUS: -- enjoying something I haven't been able to do for many, many years. A little vacation.
INGRAHAM: A little rest, a little rest. What? You don't get any rest -- no rest for the wary tonight.
PRIEBUS: What a night I picked.
INGRAHAM: Yeah I know -- I'm thinking Reince is like trying to get out the back door. But come back, come back. So what was your reaction? You heard the segments with Rudy and Sol and Dershowitz. Why would --
PRIEBUS: I haven't heard the tape, but what I have done is I looked at the story from CNN on their website. And even in their own story, they are sort of equivocating back and forth as to what the president said or didn't say, and it's not really clear what he said or didn't say.
I think Sol at the end on your last segment had it sort of right. At the very worst, it might be embarrassing, but it's not illegal. One thing I have learned from being out of the spotlight on the daily grind is that when you go back to Wisconsin and Michigan and Ohio, it's not just a talking point. It is just the absolute truth. I have not found a single person who is swayed by any of these stories, which is a massive financial boon to, no offense, but the cable news, and especially a couple other networks.
So it's not moving America. The president was at 37 percent on Election Day when he won. He's at, if you believe the worst poll, he's at 45 today. And so what people really focusing on is where is the economy and isn't it great that we are projected potentially four percent growth of GDP under Donald Trump? That's really what matters.
INGRAHAM: How many well-known people do you know of dealt with people who make allegations -- I don't know what happened, but I do know when you are well known you're a target. And you were a target in other ways, but you are a target. And a lot of people are like, I don't want to deal with it, or maybe I made a mistake. Get this off the table. I imagine --
PRIEBUS: Just because someone settles a case doesn't mean they're guilty.
INGRAHAM: It happens all the time. Corporate America, the cost of doing business.
PRIEBUS: As you're a lawyer, I have been a lawyer for 20 years. I was a litigator for most of it. I've settled a lot of cases where clients said this is B.S. I can't believe you are settling it. And you'd say, OK, well, that's great, or we can spend a couple hundred thousand in legal fees.
INGRAHAM: You've got to litigate everything, a litigator. You sue me, I'm coming after you. I'll spend all the money I have to sue you back. Don't think about it. But most people don't do that. They're not going to do that.
So when you were with the president, things like this came up all the time. How does he handle it? What is his reaction? You were there when this kind of stuff, bubbled up in the last days of the campaign. People were freaking out. A lot of people were thinking he was dropping out of the race after this Billy Bush thing happened. Now this came out days before the election. How is he dealing with it?
PRIEBUS: Look, I was one of the people that would freak out over every one of these kinds of stories, and over time what I figured out with the president is that nothing sticks to him. None of this sticks. And what I found about his character is that he is a person who's able, which I am not one of these kinds of people, they can handle 50 total massive bullets coming at you and arrows, however you want to term it, at one time, remain the same kind of person on a pretty much daily basis in spite of the fact that may be today 10 arrows are coming at you. Next week it might be 50. The next week it might be a pleasant week where only two or three.
INGRAHAM: Things have to calm down, though, don't you think? Things have been chaotic.
PRIEBUS: Here's what I think about the president. I think if you look at the fundamentals of what he's accomplished, we won't go through them all, but we talk about them every day. It's unbelievable. If somehow or another some of these other issues could just go away by 50 percent, you'd be talking about the president on the $10 bill. So I do also believe that there's a huge benefit to the president in putting some of these things to bed.
INGRAHAM: You don't have to fight everyone at once. You don't swing have to at every pitch. I've said this before. There's a lot coming at you. You don't just swing at every adversary.
PRIEBUS: And he would be at 65 plus percent approval rating, my belief. But I also know that the president has, in spite of all of those types of advice that I've given, he has also defied it all. He was a guy that went down the escalator in January, or June of 2015 and thought --
INGRAHAM: And he said you were all wrong. You are all experts on TV, he's probably watching, we're wrong. I get it. I don't think everyone is always wrong, but I get the point. He has done well.
But Republicans are seven points down among independents. The Republican pool itself has shrunk a bit. His numbers have ticked up, which is fantastic, but you need the independents. You need those suburban, and they want things to calm down. And they're not.
PRIEBUS: In moderate House districts, that is true.
INGRAHAM: So what do you do? If you are advising the president, he calls you, what do you say? Mr. President --
PRIEBUS: Well, for one thing, I would not have advised him to say that he misspoke in Helsinki. I would've probably advised him to do what I think -- I'm just guessing what's in his head, which is, look, people, I am trying to get along with somebody here. You might not agree with every single approach I'm taking, but I am doing my best to get along with a person that has been difficult for us to get along with, and I am trying a different angle here. And that's what I'm doing. And just be straight about it and move forward, not to claim that he misspoke.
INGRAHAM: They are all in the Situation Room. They think it is Armageddon if he wanted to have a better relationship with Russia.
PRIEBUS: Because the rest of the country outside of here and outside of New York isn't really paying agent in that much. And so to compromise what you actually believed in order to get through it --
INGRAHAM: So you are saying he didn't misspeak?
PRIEBUS: I don't know if he did or not. I don't think he did. I think he genuinely wants to get along with the person, and he has the demeanor of, hey, we are going to get along. We're going to be friends through this. We are going to talk about things.
INGRAHAM: So did Bush, so did Clinton, so did Reagan.
PRIEBUS: I'm going to give you an air of dignity here for a while and we're going to see where this goes. That's where I think the president is at.
INGRAHAM: What frustrates him the most right now?
PRIEBUS: I think probably what frustrates him the most is that he has an economy that's booming. People are back to work. Black unemployment is under six percent. He is doing all the things he promised to do. And he's competing with a 24/7 media cycle that really doesn't profit on --
INGRAHAM: Good news.
PRIEBUS: Not even good news, but fairness and there is two sides of a story. We have 24/7 cable and there is no money in -- there's only money and division. There is no money and sort of --
INGRAHAM: That's the way it is. He knows it. That's the way it is. He thrives off it.
PRIEBUS: Unity is loser. Division is profit.
INGRAHAM: But he's great when he goes to the people, and not just rallies, but the factory floors, the VFW, that humanizes him.
PRIEBUS: I loved whenever -- I would always advise the president to go to every single, go to the VFW, the American Legion, Veterans with Disabilities, all those things, because, you are right, it humanizes him, and whatever can humanize him makes him stronger in middle America.
INGRAHAM: People don't know he's actually very charming, and he's really funny. And he can be. And you don't see that a lot.
PRIEBUS: Right, and that's all very true.
INGRAHAM: And he's top at sales, you know that.
PRIEBUS: He's at 45 percent by the worst poll. I think the Democrats are handling themselves, if they would find a way to be moderate but they can't.
INGRAHAM: Republicans are going to hit them on trade? They are going to keep hitting them on trade and tariffs?
PRIEBUS: Well, I believe Sonny Perdue is a pretty smart guy. So if he thinks that these subsidies need to help the farmers, I agree with him. But I also think that if you're handing out $12 billion in subsidies, it's probably saying something about the policy. So I think he needs to be careful.
INGRAHAM: Reince, good to see you. Thanks for coming in.
PRIEBUS: Thank you.
INGRAHAM: Another slow news night for us.
INGRAHAM: Stay with us. The debate continues over the release of that secret Trump-Cohen recording. Back in a moment.
INGRAHAM: We have lots of breaking developments around the release of this secret Trump-Cohen tape tonight. For further analysis, let's bring in Chris Hahn, a political commentator, Democratic Party activist, and with me in the studio, Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union.
Matt, you have heard the tape. You've heard the commentary. Lanny Davis was on CNN. He was just absolutely triumphant, saying, look, don't listen to me. Listen to the tape. Let your own ears be the judge. He said it about 15 times. He's like listen closely. Donald Trump saying cash. Now, I didn't hear that way. Maybe some expert analysis will show something different. Even if it is true, doesn't mean from Dershowitz and Sol Wisenberg, no criminal implication. But this is a pretty blockbuster night.
MATT SCHLAPP, CONTRIBUTOR, "THE HILL": I listen to the tape. I hear his assistant come in.
INGRAHAM: Diet coke.
SCHLAPP: And he's on a phone call. He needs some ice. Then he is talking to Cohen, so it's kind of not clear. But I would just say it seems like we are in the same spot we always were, which is Donald Trump lives a very extravagant life in many ways, and everybody knew it, because it was on the tabloid press in New York every night of the week. So the idea that this is a replay to some more detail about that life, I don't know how that's instructive on what's going on in the country today. Most voters, I think they would come to the same conclusion.
INGRAHAM: Chris Hahn, your reaction from the news tonight.
CHRIS HAHN, FORMER AIDE TO SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER: I think it's kind of like, remember when they have the sound effect, did you hear laurel or the other thing? I always heard laurel. I think if you believe Donald Trump is not telling the truth, you hear what you want to hear.
INGRAHAM: OK, that's pretty funny.
HAHN: Right? So look, what I heard was the president acknowledging on tape that he did something that he has said many times before he didn't do. So I don't know if that's a crime or anything like that, but I do know that it shows that he lied. And there was a time when the president lied about a sex scandal, it was a big story. Clearly it's a big story tonight, I think it will be a big story for a couple days. I think the Quinnipiac poll today is a bigger story. There was a significant drop there, and we will see what happens.
INGRAHAM: Chris Cuomo actually raised this issue that Chris mentioned just now. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: They say that the president said do not pay with cash. Check. And that he was advising Cohen to do it all on the up and up because the president wanted to make sure that this was paid for properly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: We don't get Lanny's reaction, but he basically laughed and went on to refute it. CNN's own website says it's unclear what is being said in the tape. Matt?
SCHLAPP: I agree with Rudy. You listen to it, your viewers can make up their own mind. But let's be clear about what this is. He is buying the rights to story that makes allegations, it's a salacious story. And I don't think it is very uncommon for people who are prominent people to want to not have a bunch of negative things written about them and they buy stories. Now, are all the parts of the story is true? I don't know. But what the tape shows potentially is that they wanted the story not to run. That's what we're talking about.
INGRAHAM: His comment on Air Force One was something like he didn't have any knowledge of the transaction or we don't have -- that was about Stormy Daniels. It wasn't about McDougal. So that was different.
HAHN: He denied knowing anything about McDougal as well. So here we are with him knowing something about McDougal. So I don't think we can believe anything he says about McDougal or Stormy Daniels or any of these other things that might pop up that are like this, because he has been proven a couple times now to not being truthful with the American people. If I was advising him, I would say put it all out there, all the dirty laundry on anybody who might have something.
INGRAHAM: Oh, really? Did you say that about Hillary? Wait a second, Chris. Hold on, hold on, hold on. Get out the dirty laundry? Have you ever said that about Hillary? Have you ever said that about the Clintons, get the dirty laundry? You would have so much dirty laundry there is not enough laundromats in Washington to clean it. Come on. What politician does that?
HAHN: I advise everybody who is any kind of scandal like this to just put it out there and let it all be out there and then deal with it all at once. The drip, drip, drip, drip gets to you eventually and it will eventually -- I don't think it has gotten to the president yet, but it will eventually get to him. It always does.
INGRAHAM: I think this is all baked in the cake before the election. This McDougal story dropped in The Wall Street Journal. He wins Ohio, Florida. I think nobody cares about this.
HAHN: Laura, it doesn't --
SCHLAPP: When you're a 69-year-old billionaire who has lived his life in the public, there are so many drips to all of that life that I think that that's actually a mistake. I think what he should say I'm trying to fix the economy, kill ISIS, and you knew what I was when you picked me. And you wanted a fighter, and I'm fighting like hell for you.
INGRAHAM: Interesting conversation. Chris --
HAHN: Yes, I don't think you would have been so forgiving if it was a Democrat.
INGRAHAM: Chris, I think you make some good points. Matt, you make better points. No, I'm just kidding. You're both great. I'm just teasing. Come on. Laugh.
Does providing permanent security clearance to someone like John Brennan, speaking of a topic I think is interesting, is the public good being served? Tonight's "Angle" coming up.
INGRAHAM: The clearance threat of John Brennan, that's the focus of tonight's "Angle."
The media have been in a fit of apoplexy after the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, announced yesterday that the president is considering revoking security clearances for certain Obama era intel officials along with one from the Bush of administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's political. It's entirely poetical.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is punishing your critics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are attempting to gaslight and distract from something else.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's very, very dangerous undermining of the intelligence community and almost the creation of an enemies list.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not a small thing to have a president suggesting retribution for political criticism in this way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It reminds me, David Ignatius, of what happened with Erdogan after he took control in Turkey. Who did he go after first? He went after the generals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: What a buffoon. I'm sorry, Erdogan. All right, Joe. Here is how "NBC Nightly News" let their broadcast last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's an unprecedented threat aimed at some critics of the commander in chief. The White House now considering stripping the security clearances of six former intelligence officials.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Unprecedented threat. They make it sound like Trump is threatening to bomb former CIA Director John Brennan's house.
Of course, it's hyperbolic reporting and it comes from Brennan current employer, NBC. But shouldn't it concern the media that former intel officials are using their credentials to lend themselves credibility as they go off to engage in political combat with the president of the United States?
The truth is former intel officials have retained their security clearances for decades, not as a bonus prize for service but to benefit the government, maybe consulting work and so forth. For instance, the CIA is working on a case involving something a former intel official had worked on. He can use his continued access to act as a reference, maybe give some insights.
But has it all gotten out of hand? Roughly 4.2 million Americans had security access or were eligible for access since 2015 according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The General Accountability Office calls this a high risk for national interest. It's perfectly legitimate, though, for the president to recall the clearances of retirees in the interest of national security, isn't it? So if the government needs retired officials to help on cases, the government can insist that they go through the normal clearance process again.
But when you're talking about individuals like Brennan, it's a wonder how he maintained clearance at all. Let's look at the Brennan record for just a moment. Before he became their favorite Trump basher, the Democrats in the Senate despised him. Some urged his resignation as CIA director about lying about spying, and not spying on the bad guys, but on the Senate. He has been caught lying multiple times during his government career.
Senator Dianne Feinstein in March, 2014, called out the CIA under Brennan's leadership for its effort to harass and thwart an ongoing Senate investigation into the Bush era enhanced interrogation program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-CALIFORNIA: Based on what Director Brennan has informed us, I have grave concerns that the CIA search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution. It may have undermined the Constitutional framework essential to effective Congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any other government function.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Of course, Brennan was incredulous that anyone would question his credibility and his integrity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn't do that. That's just beyond the scope of reason in terms of what we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Well, naturally, they did spy and they would spy. What you just heard was a lie. Ten CIA staffers were found to have breached Senate Intel Committee computers. Senator Mark Udall, no conservative, called on Brennan to resign. But Obama protected Brennan. Let's not forget that Brennan was caught lying last year on the Steele dossier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Director Brennan, do you know who commissioned the Steele dossier?
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: I don't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the CIA rely on it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not?
BRENNAN: Because we didn't. It was not in any way used as a basis for the intel community assessment that was done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Every time I hear that. In fact, two former intel chiefs, Jim Clapper and Mike Rogers, both disputed Brennan's claims that the dossier was not part of their assessment, Rogers in a letter to Congress and Clapper last October on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER UNITED STATES DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Some of the substantive content, not all of it, but some of the substantive content of the dossier, we were able to corroborate in our intelligence community assessment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Given Brennan's history of lying and obfuscation and his completely unhinged statements about President Trump, any sane person would question his objectivity and credibility. Trump is right 100 percent to be skeptical on Brennan and to call him out on his misinformation campaign.
As the Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel noted last week, Brennan has been bragging that it was he who started the ball rolling on this entire Russian collusion narrative.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that reveals contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about. I knew there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the Bureau to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Even if you are not wild about everything Trump has done, as David Harsanyi wrote in the Federalist back in March, "John Brennan shouldn't be lecturing Americans. He should be the focus of a congressional inquiry. He should be put under oath." And it looks like that may finally be coming.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB GOODLATTE, CHAIR OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY: Well, we have lots of questions for John Brennan, and he will definitely be sought by the committees for interview. This is an extremely disturbing thing to see both he and James Comey supposedly impartial government officials carrying out their jobs in very important areas in intelligence gathering and law enforcement express the kind of extreme bias that they have shown now, which I think reflects quite accurately on what they were doing back in 2016.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: The idea that we should continue to allow John Brennan and other deep state partisans to use their security clearances to validate their political attacks is sheer madness. To do so is to allow them to further disgrace the agencies they have already tarnished through their biased actions.
And that's the "Angle."
Joining us now with reaction is former CIA operative Mike Baker. Mike, your reaction. Brennan and his pals on the other networks are saying Trump has created an enemies list. Your reaction?
MIKE BAKER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: First of all, really interesting, you packed a lot of information into that "Angle."
Second of all, topline, what day is it of the week? It's Tuesday. We started out with Russia. We went to Iran. Then we went to the clearances issue. Then we went to tapes. The speed with which we move through things is incredible.
With this, you pointed out several important issues. First of all, people are stunned and amazed that John Brennan and others would have these clearances. They don't understand the world of clearances. Retaining your clearance once you leave the government is your currency in Washington. There's a cottage industry here. And I'm not going to make a lot of friends by talking about this, but there's a cottage industry of keeping your clearance and moving to the commercial sector.
Clearances are kept by senior officials typically up until now and in the past as a courtesy. And the idea being you can talk to the people that take your position and provide -- but what the left, with the resistance are talking about, they are suddenly the protectors of national security. I think we have reached a strange, surreal point. But they are saying, look, Trump is now threatening national security by talking about pulling Brennan's clearances, by talking about pulling Susan Rice's clearances because they won't be able to talk. In what world do you imagine the current administration would call Susan Rice or John Brennan and say we need to talk and get your insight on something?
INGRAHAM: Mike, stay there. We're going to keep you for final thoughts coming up.
INGRAHAM: Mike Baker, former CIA operative, it's bigger than Brennan.
BAKER: Yes, the question of the clearances, it is bigger than Brennan. If the administration was smart, and I think they are, they would point out the fact that there is 4.1, 4.2 million people out there with security clearances, 1.3 or so of those million and top-secret clearances. What they should be doing is looking at the situation that has run amok. Again, it's a cottage industry. Anybody who leaves a position of authority with responsibility for classified information should lose their clearances. If you want to get them back and you're going to the commercial sector, that company can sponsor you. And if you need to go in and talk to somebody in a position of leadership, fine.
INGRAHAM: Reform needed all the way around. Mike, thanks so much. Shannon Bream is next with a phenomenal show with all this breaking news. I can't wait to watch when I get home. Shannon Bream, you're on my DVR. Shannon.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Excellent. Laura, that's right where we like to be. Thank you so much.
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