How does talk about a 'rigged' election impact the race?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," October 17, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It's a rigged system. And they take these lies and they put them on front pages. This is a rigged system, folks.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How concerned are you about this?

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Not at all. Neither is Mike Pence who is the second highest ranking official in the Trump campaign. Neither is Paul Ryan, if you believe his spokesperson, who indicated he had confidence this election would be conducted fairly.

MIKE PENCE, REPUBLICAN VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I have a news flash for you, the president's press secretary doesn't speak for me.


PENCE: You know, they're not worried about it, because they deny it's happening. I'm not worried about it because I know the American people are not going to let it happen.

TIM KAINE, DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It's an insult to American voters and it's an insult to county registrars to state they don't know how to run an election.


BAIER: Talk about a rigged election today, that's where the focus has been. What does that mean? How does it impact this race? Let's bring in our panel out here in Vegas: syndicated columnist George Will, Leslie Marshall, syndicated talk radio host, and Charles Hurt, political columnist for The Washington Times. OK, George, thoughts?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: When Mr. Trump talks about it being rigged, he sweeps all his grievances into one big puddle. He talks about the media. He talked about the primaries. He talked about the polls, talked about the Republican national committee.

I think when most persons hear that an election is rigged, they think of government action to rig the election. And there Mr. Trump has a point if he would make it more clearly. It is hard to think of an innocent reason why Democrats spend so much time, energy, and money, scarce resources, resisting attempts to purge the voter rolls, that is to remove people who are dead or have otherwise left the jurisdiction. It's hard to think of an innocent reason why they fight so tremendously against voter I.D. laws. They say, well, that burdens the, exercise of a fundamental right. The Supreme Court said that travel is a fundamental right. No one thinks that showing an I.D. at the airport burdens that fundamental right.

We know -- we don't surmise. We know that the 2010, '12, and '14 elections were rigged by the most intrusive and potentially punitive institution of the federal government, the IRS. You can read all about it in Kim Strassel's book "The Intimidation Game." She's familiar to all "Wall Street Journal" readers and FOX viewers.

So this is not a surmise. And I have talked to lawyers in a position to know, they say it's still going on, that the IRS is still intolerably delaying the granting of tax exempt status to conservative advocacy groups to skew the persuasion of this campaign.

BAIER: All right, Leslie, you look at the average. We have an average of poll called the SPECIAL REPORT average. Hillary Clinton is up 8.4. These are the last recent five polls that we trust. There were some state polls today that suggest that it's very tight in Ohio, here in Nevada, North Carolina. Your thoughts on the state of the race and this effort by the Trump campaign and Mr. Trump to say that the election is rigged?

LESLIE MARSHALL, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The facts don't bear that out. I think in the 14 years in approximate a billion votes you have, what, 35 instances of fraud. I think on a bigger scale, two things here. I think some voters, some of his supporters, look at that as almost throwing in the towel and setting the groundwork for what he is going to say after he loses.

BAIER: In other words, if you are talking about rigged, you are losing?

MARSHALL: Exactly. Why else would you be talking about that? You would have confidence in the system.

And I have to say, I'm not surprised that these battleground states are very close. If you look historically over the past election cycle, presidential election cycles, the country has been almost split 50/50. And that's the way it is right now, especially in a state like Ohio. I expect Trump to win Ohio, quite frankly, where you have such a strong blue collar worker presence.

But the different here is that Hillary doesn't need four of the strong battleground states to win and Trump does. I have to say that some of the states are very encouraging for Democrats for the first time since her husband was president, Arizona as an example. But when you are talking about rigged and you are talking about we can't let people out there rig an election and some people are concerned what that means when they go to vote, are people going to intimidate them when they get out there, is somebody going to stop somebody's vote, we have recently seen violence, which is just terrible, whatever side it comes from, at the end of the day, no. The stats just don't bear these elections are rigged. I think it makes you look like you are hurting and you know you are going to lose the rate. I'm not surprised they are tight. But she doesn't need, for example, Ohio. He needs it to win. She does not.

BAIER: He needs to run the table. Charlie, he is firing up his supporters, trying to tamp down hers, I guess, strategically.

CHARLES HURT, WASHINGTON TIMES: Yes, and trying to make sure that every single one of his supporters does show up and that they don't give up, because the media has done a very good job of making it seem like Hillary Clinton has already won and it's all over and everybody go home.

Going back to something George said that I think is so true is that Donald Trump has always -- he rolls all of his grievances into one thing. And I think when he talks about the system is rigged, the election is rigged, I think he's talking about a much broader sort of scattershot charge against Washington, against politicians, against --

BAIER: Media?

HURT: Against the media. And what I think is striking about that is the fact that, my gosh, there are millions of people out there who feel like, you know what, actually what he is saying is true. It is rigged, and it's rigged against me. And he is speaking for those people in a way that nobody else has. And all of this is happening with the backdrop of the whole WikiLeaks stuff that is revealing the most horrible things about the Clintons and the Clinton campaign. It really does sort of underscore the notion that, gee, it is kind of rigged.

BAIER: I will say the part about Russia, George, is concerning, that Russia is believed to be behind this hack. You talk to any U.S. intelligence official, they'll say that that's what they see. But it's also the substance that's inside. And the FBI documents today, it's separate from the e-mails themselves. Those are actual FBI interviews about this quid pro quo allegation and other things.

WILL: Yes. That was described by the State Department spokesman as interagency -- what did they call it -- exchange. I'm sorry, that's Orwellian. I'm a big boy. I know that the bureaucracies deal with one another. This was one bureaucracy trying to influence a criminal -- potentially criminally investigation by another. My question is, was the FBI agent who was offered this proposition, did he report it to the FBI?

BAIER: Does this breakthrough, do you think, are Democrats worried about this, Leslie?

MARSHALL: I think they would be lying if they said that they weren't. But then again, I think it depends which interview summary you believe. Did the FBI say, hey, by the way, we want to have guys over in Iraq after the fact? Was this, hey, this is what we want? Remember, the classification was not changed. This is what we like and we can do this for you. That's obviously very unsettling if in fact that's true. At the end of the day, I think those that support Trump are going to believe the first narrative. Those that support Hillary Clinton are going to believe the second.

BAIER: We will follow all of it.

Content and Programming Copyright 2016 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2016 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.