Kellyanne Conway on how Trump will address Russia and Israel; Dr. Gorka 'very glad' Trump vowed to keep Gitmo open

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 29, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, GUEST HOST: Welcome to "Hannity." President Obama is imposing sanctions on Russia over allegations of election hacking.

I'm Kimberly Guilfoyle, in for Sean tonight. Kellyanne Conway and former U.S. ambassador John Bolton will be here tonight with reaction.

But first, earlier today, the Obama administration punishing Russians with sanctions, including expelling 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S. and closing Russian-owned compounds in New York and Maryland. Russia's responding by threatening to retaliate, and is also saying the move was done to hurt the incoming administration.

And President-elect Trump is reacting by putting out a statement that reads, quote, "It's time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. Nevertheless, in the interests of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of the situation."

Joining us now is incoming counselor to President-elect Trump, Kellyanne Conway. Kelly, (sic) thank you for joining us on the show tonight. Always a pleasure to have you. So lots of news on the international front, and certainly these developments as it relates to Russia are concerning. Have you spoken to President-elect Donald Trump about this?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP: I have, yes. I've been with him most of the day in meetings, including on this topic.

GUILFOYLE: OK. And what are his thoughts?

CONWAY: Well, you see them clearly reflected in his official statement, Kimberly. He does believe it's time to move on and look forward to the next administration. Also, in the interests of the country, he's agreed to receive an intelligence briefing next week, probably in New York, by a number of intelligence officials to learn more about the current situation.

And I think those who are trying to bait him into a bigger response, I would say two things to them. Number one, you can't have it both ways.  You can't on the one had say, Hey, just one president at a time, and we have one right now for the next 22 days or so named President Barack Obama.  But at the same time, you want the president-elect to make new policy.

I was really disappointed to read in David Sanger's New York Times piece this evening the allegation or the supposition that perhaps one reason that these sanctions are taking place is to, quote, "box in" President-elect Trump, forcing him to take a position or otherwise when he takes office. I hope that this isn't motivated by politics even a little bit.

But I would also note to folks, Kimberly, that this is great political fanfare and largely symbolic, but will it have impact? Will these sanctions have impact? It is unprecedented for us to expel as a nation that many operatives over such a short period of time. I don't think at the height of the cold war we even did that.

But at the same time, you know, the GRU with these operatives, are -- they don't really travel here. They don't keep their assets here. So one wonders, you know, what the teeth of the sanctions really are.

I see Russia has already retaliated against our alleged retaliation. I think (INAUDIBLE) calling on closing the Anglo-American school in Moscow.  They also put out a scathing statement that this is just "lame ducks and political corpses," quote, unquote -- those are their words -- in the Obama administration doing a flurry of activity in the final weeks. So it's -- it's concerning and it's all new.

But the president-elect was brief and very firm and very consistent in his statement tonight.

GUILFOYLE: All right, what do you expect and foresee for President-elect Donald Trump in terms of his relations with Russia? What do you think will be one of the first steps that he will take?

CONWAY: Well, that's a larger question apart from these sanctions and certainly apart from the current issue at hand. We have complicated relations with Russia. We have for decades as the United States. But at the same time, the president-elect has made clear that he is willing to work with countries who want to work on big solutions together.

For example, if there are countries that want to come together with the United States and help eradicate -- not just contain and not just pretend they've gone away -- but eradicate ISIS, then we would entertain that assistance depending on the terms.

I mean, I would say it's just remarkable to me that we're talking about sanctions against Russia just days after I would call sanctions against Israel, with that horrible U.N. vote where, really, I think, Secretary Kerry before his speech and certainly after his speech has lost a tremendous amount of credibility in just upending U.S. policy with respect to Israel.

You will see President Trump having much stronger relationship with Israel.  We will -- you can't put daylight between the U.S. and Israel diplomatically, militarily, technically when you're talking about President Trump's administration.

So I think within the last couple days, you see this flurry of activity by a tough President Obama as he exits the office, and I guess he's burnishing his last couple of moments, you know, semicolons' (ph) worth of his legacy.  But at the same time, the new president will have an opportunity to reexamine our relationships geopolitically across the globe and make a decision that is always America first in the best interests of America, Americans, our allies and their interests around the world.

GUILFOYLE: Well, it seems already that -- you know, Benjamin Netanyahu already has a confidence in developing a very good relationship with President-elect Donald Trump. I think he's very much looking forward to January 20th and trying to really restore and rebuild relations with Israel, which is a very important democracy and ally for us in that region.

CONWAY: It's our greatest friend, our best friend in that region. And you know, stabilization of the Middle East is a goal for President-elect Trump overall. But we want our friends in Israel to know that they -- that help is on the way.

And President-elect Trump tweeted that out yesterday, and we heard so much positive response from all across this country, including people who may have voted a different way in these elections, Kimberly. Thank you for saying that, they say to President-elect Trump, that -- thank you for even saying, Hang on there, Israel. January 20th is fast approaching or will be here soon, something to that effect, because it's so important that Israel and the Middle East and the rest of the world know that we will have an incredibly strong relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

And Mr. Netanyahu knows that. Ambassador Dermer knows that. And we just want the world to know that.


CONWAY: I thought this vote over the weekend was clearly (ph) just remarkable, and there's such a break with U.S. policy and it was just so weak.

GUILFOYLE: Yes, it certainly is not helping in terms of our relations and really just a departure from U.S. foreign policy as it relates to Israel.

Let's talk a little bit about the relationship between President-elect Trump and current president Barack Obama. Did they actually speak yesterday late in the evening? And what was the nature of the call?

CONWAY: So President Obama and President-elect Trump spoke yesterday afternoon. Some of us on the senior staff were there when the call was being received. So I know it was in the afternoon.

Then President-elect Trump went out and told the media that they had a very productive conversation that was broadly reaching (ph) on a number of issues. They spoke at length. They speak fairly regularly, which I think is very healthy for our democracy and very auspicious for a peaceful transition and probably our administration to administration.

President-elect said something else last night here at Mar-a-Lago to the press, Kimberly, that I would like to emphasize, which is he our staffs are working really well together. That is true. You have the current chief of staff and our incoming chief of staff in touch, the two press secretaries in touch, Sean Spicer and Josh Earnest, from what I understand and certainly Valerie Jarrett and other senior staff members have reached out to me personally and often.

So we feel that our cabinet nominees, others who are involved in senior levels in the incoming government have had good contact with, very positive contact with and good relations so far with the outgoing Obama administration officials, and we hope that continues because that really is the only way to make this work for the American people in the next couple of weeks. January 20th will be here quickly, and it's very important to all of us, I think it's very important to America that you see that peaceful transition of power from administration to administration.

GUILFOYLE: Well, that's good news then also that President-elect Trump feels, you know, personally supported and has this open communicative relationship with the current president, certainly.

What would you like to see happen over the course of the next three weeks to feel very well prepared in a good position for the start on January 20th?

CONWAY: Kimberly, one thing is something -- just to modify our previous conversation, is something that the president-elect tweeted yesterday, too, which is he sees some roadblocks sometimes from President Obama. And we do wonder about the rush to do all of these things in the next couple of weeks by the Obama administration, how that may upend long-standing U.S. policy, as it seems to be, or how it may be and as The New York Times put it, quote, trying to "box in" the president-elect. We hope that's not true.  Evidence has been to the contrary, so that would be good.

What we would like to do is know as much as we can to prepare for those first 10 days, 100 days. We're very excited about the president's agenda.  He's put it -- president-elect's agenda. He put it forth. Anybody can see. He talked about his 100-day plan on the campaign trail. And you know this guy. He's very consistent. So that hasn't changed.

What I will tell you is that I think what I want people to know is that the president-elect is not just -- not only is he not a politician, but he's a successful businessman. And what that means as president is the way he has run as a chief executive, successful, brilliant, change-making- things move very quickly when you employ tens of thousands of people, when you generate billions of dollars in revenue, when you are accountable for results and you want to deliver on a regular basis, not just when Congress is ready, not just when you've studied or the commission is done with its work.

But he wants to do things very quickly, and I believe he will because he's very focused, and he's been working, you know, around the clock here at Mar-a-Lago meeting with different people. I think he and Vice President- elect Pence have spoken with over 85 or so leaders on the telephone in preparation. So we want to be as ready as possible to get to work and not just say, Hey, we need a couple of months to figure it all out, find our way around the West Wing.

This is a man who has always been able to deliver and produce very quickly and deliver and produce the way he has promised to and the way that makes an impact on people's lives. That's what I want to do. I want to make an impact on people's lives very quickly, a positive one.

GUILFOYLE: Well, and you're certainly doing that at, you know, personal sacrifice and moving with your family. And we want to wish you all the best to you and your husband, your children on your move to D.C.

CONWAY: Thank you, Kimberly. Come and see us.


CONWAY: Take care.

GUILFOYLE: Take care.

And coming up, more reaction to President Obama punishing Russia over hacking allegations. Former U.S. ambassador John Bolton is here next to weigh in.



TRUMP: I'm very, very strong on Israel. I think Israel has been treated very, very unfairly by a lot of different people.


GUILFOYLE: President-elect Donald Trump is standing firm with Israel after the latest incident with the Obama administration. Israelis' ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, joins us with reaction. All that, plus Anthony Scaramucci from the Trump transition team will be here.

That and much more straight ahead on "Hannity."



GUILFOYLE: Welcome back to "Hannity." Newly imposed U.S. sanctions against Russia are elevating tensions between Washington, D.C., and Moscow.  So what could this mean for the incoming Trump administration?

Joining me now is former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and FOX News contributor John Bolton. Thank you for joining us on the program tonight.  Obviously, very disturbing news and developments on the tail end of an administration. What do you think this means for President-elect Donald Trump?

JOHN BOLTON, FMR. U.S. AMB. TO U.N., FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I don't think it binds him at all. I don't think it locks him in. If doesn't like this executive order, he can simply reverse it. I think the harder issue is determining whether we really understand the full extent of what the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the North Koreans and others have been doing in the cyber world for eight years and beyond that we have not responded to effectively.

I think what President Obama announced today is incoherent. And if the reports about what Russia did are, in fact, correct, utterly inadequate. I think we need a much stronger response because we want to get into a position where Russia and everybody else who has been doing this kind of interference in the United States knows that we can cause a lot more pain to them than they can cause to us and we create structures of deterrence to make them stop it.

GUILFOYLE: Well, if President Obama had knowledge that there was interference, or at least the intention to cause interference going on, why now is he doing this at this stage of the game with very impotent sanctions, in my opinion, levied against Russia? To what end?

BOLTON: Well, I don't think we can really say. But I think once January the 20th comes, obviously, Trump administration appointees will be able to talk to people in the intelligence community and find out why it was, if they were so sure back in September and October that this was going on, they didn't announce it then. Some have speculated it's because that Obama thought that Hillary Clinton would win the election anyway, so why risk messing that up.


BOLTON: And so now they're upset about it. I can't say. But I tell you, it's not just Russia, it's not just the hack of the DNC or John Podesta's e-mail, it's eight years going back of persistent efforts by foreign governments and others to get into our government and private sector computer systems.

Look at the Chinese hack of OPM personnel records, millions of records of Americans working for the federal government basically stolen by Beijing.  What did we do about that? I don't know. Apparently nothing.

GUILFOYLE: Nothing. Yes, nothing. And you're right. This is a far greater and far sweeping problem that needs to be addressed. Just the abysmal lack of any kind of cybersecurity in this country is really woefully inadequate, and you see people and countries, rather, like China, like Russia, like the North Koreans, you know, making a mockery of the U.S. security systems, and it does have a deleterious impact on U.S. national security.

BOLTON: No, absolutely. I mean, I think we've got a kind of missile gap here. I have no doubt America is capable of much stronger action both offensively and defensively. But I don't think that the Obama administration has put a priority on it until today.

And so when the president announces a bunch of weak and ineffective sanctions but says other steps will be taken, we can't talk about it, he just has no credibility in that regard.

I understand why you don't make public actions in cyberspace or elsewhere until they've happened. But I do think in order to not simply impose pain on the Russians but to shame them publicly, as well, to let the whole world know, including other potential hackers like Beijing, that if you act against the United States, we will impose such costs that you will not want to do it again.

GUILFOYLE: And I imagine that would be your advice to President-elect Donald Trump, and he will have a markedly different approach as it relates to these actions against the United States. Ambassador Bolton, always a pleasure to have you. Thank you so much.

BOLTON: Glad to be with you.

GUILFOYLE: And while tensions are escalating between Washington and Moscow, the Obama administration's relationship with one of our closest and most important allies, Israel, continues to deteriorate. Today, the Associated Press reported that, quote, "Relations between Obama, Netanyahu camps hit rock bottom."

Meanwhile, the incoming Democratic Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, released a statement that reads in part, quote, "While he may not have intended it, I fear Secretary Kerry in his speech and action at the U.N. has emboldened extremists on both sides."

Last night, President-elect Donald Trump had this to say about Israel and the actions of the U.N. Security Council.


TRUMP: I'm very, very strong with Israel. I think Israel has been treated very, very unfairly by a lot of different people. You look at resolutions in the United Nations, take a look at what's happened, they're up for 20 reprimands, and other nations that are horrible places, horrible places that treat people horribly, haven't even been reprimanded. So there's something going on. And I think it's very unfair to Israel.


GUILFOYLE: And joining me now with reaction is Israel's ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon. Thank you so much for being here, Ambassador.

DANNY DANON, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Good evening, Kimberly.  Thank you for having me.

GUILFOYLE: Yes, absolutely. This is so important, what's going on now, and the relationship between the United States and Israel is crucial. It is integral to world stability. And Israel already has enough countries after them, surrounded by people that would like to see the end and the demise of Israel. Yet the U.S. doing this, issuing essentially a very crippling, inappropriate blow to Israel. Your thoughts.

DANON: We have a very strong relationship with the U.S. and we appreciate that. We have the same values, we share the same principle. But what happen last Friday at the Security Council was shameful. (INAUDIBLE) disappointed to see the U.S. teamed up with Venezuela, Senegal, Malaysia passing a one-sided resolution, a ridiculous resolution.

And when you read the resolution, it say that the Jews cannot be in Jerusalem in the Jewish quarter, in the Western Wall, in the holy sites.  That's (INAUDIBLE) ridiculous. And we are very disappointed to see that the administration decided in the last minute to allow such a shameful resolution to pass in the Security Council.

But we are hopeful. We listen to President-elect Trump, and we hope to have some changes at the U.N. We need to reform the U.N. We need to make sure that the billions of dollars that the U.S. has given to the U.N. is going do the right places and not to promote incitement and ever anti- Semitism against Israel.

GUILFOYLE: All right, well, let's talk about how this came to be because is this something that, you know, your country was given any kind of advance warning to in the forms of some kind of courtesy to relay it to Israel that the U.S. would take this position?

DANON: We knew that the Palestinians will try to pass a resolution in the transition period. We spoke with our colleagues. We were aware of that.  But we were not expecting that the U.S. will join it and will support it and will encourage it.

In 2011, there was a similar resolution that the U.S. vetoed. Ambassador Susan Rice was then at the U.N. She vetoed the same resolution. In 2014, there was a similar resolution that the U.S. blocked.

So why now? What happened now that the U.S. decided to join our enemies and to allow such shameful resolution to pass? And when you read the resolution, you know, the people of the U.S. will not support such a resolution.

President Obama himself spoke at the U.N. and he said, If you want to promote peace in the Middle East, don't come to the U.N. to the Security Council. Urge both parties to sit together and to negotiate.

But passing a resolution that actually gives the Palestinians everything is not encouraging peace. It's encourage the Palestinians to continue to come to the Security Council.

Right, who has also encouraged acts of terrorism and paid people to commit acts of terrorism against Israel. So let's talk about this, though. How is it that there are some allegations that were made that, in fact, the United States was complicit in this, putting forward this resolution during this time. Do you believe that to be the case as we sit here this evening?

DANON: In the Security Council of the U.N., every resolution that is connected to Israel, the U.S. is the pen (ph) holder (ph). So you cannot pass a resolution about Israel without the support of the U.S. That was the case on Friday. And we expected more from our closest friend. We expected them to stop this resolution. It's legitimate to disagree about some of the issues, to criticize Israel, but it's not legitimate to choose the venue of the U.N. when it is so biased and to allow such a resolution to pass.

GUILFOYLE: All right, well, President-elect Donald Trump saying to Israel that they are a friend, they are a strong ally with the United States and will be treated as such, saying, Hold on until January 20th. So...

DANON: We are looking forward to work with Governor Haley, the new ambassador to the U.N., with a new administration. And we are hopeful.  We're celebrating Hanukkah, so we are used to such resolutions, but we will prevail.

GUILFOYLE: All right. All right. Thank you so much for your time tonight.

DANON: Thank you very much.

GUILFOYLE: Appreciate it.

And coming up next right here on "Hannity" --


TRUMP: We're going to create a prosperous country. We're going to have jobs again, great jobs, not bad jobs, real jobs. And it's going to be something special.


GUILFOYLE: President-elect Trump promised voters he'd get Americans back to work. Anthony Scaramucci will weigh in next.

And later...


TRUMP: This morning, I watched President Obama talking about Gitmo, right, Guantanamo Bay, which by the way -- which by the way we are keeping open, which we are keeping open.



GUILFOYLE: That was President-elect Trump back in February telling voters he'll keep Guantanamo Bay open. Now President Obama is reportedly racing to release detainees before he leaves office. Dr. Sebastian Gorka will join us with reaction.

That and much more straight ahead on "Hannity."



TRUMP: My plan begins with a bold structural reform to create millions of new jobs and rapidly expand our economic growth.

We're going to create a prosperous country. We're going to have jobs again, great jobs, not bad jobs, real jobs. And it's going to be something special.

As part of our plan to bring back jobs, we are going to lower taxes on American business, and we are going to massively cut taxes for the middle class, who I call -- who I call the forgotten people. I will never, ever let you down. We will become a rich nation once again.


GUILFOYLE: And that was President-elect Donald Trump vowing to bring back jobs to America, and it looks like the president-elect is already making good on that promise. Watch this.


TRUMP: Because of what's happening and the spirit and the hope, I was just called by the head people at Sprint, and they're going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States. And also OneWeb, a new company, is going to be hiring 3,000 people. So that's very exciting.

So we have a combination of Sprint for 5,000 jobs, and that's coming from all over the world and they're coming back into the United States, which is a nice change. And also, OneWeb 3,000 jobs. It's a new company.


GUILFOYLE: And joining me now, the author of "Hopping Over the Rabbit Hole," Trump transitional transition team executive committee member Anthony Scaramucci, a man with a lot of titles.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM: Kimberly, thanks for having me back.

GUILFOYLE: I know! Well, it's wonderful to have you back. So this is something that people are very excited about in this country because they feel that they have been left behind. This was an integral part of his campaign ad this movement across the country. He spoke to people, rallies that (INAUDIBLE) thousands and thousands of people, said, Forgotten men and women, you will not be left behind anymore. We are going to put America first. We are going the hire American. We're going to bring back jobs here. And this has been part of the whole framework of his plan for this country.

SCARAMUCCI: And listen, he's a great marketer and he's got so many great skills. But one of the great things is the symbolism of the whole thing.  So standing there at Mar-a-Lago and allowancing the 5,000 and then the 3,000, he's sending this symbolic message to everybody.

You know, Teddy Roosevelt once said about the presidency that there's a bully pulpit there. Nobody's going to use the bully pulpit better than Donald J. Trump. He's going to get out there and express his hopes and dreams for the American people. He's going to inspire them at the inaugural. And he's sending a message to businesses all over the world that the United States is open for business, Kimberly.

So lower taxes, more simple. Regulation that would be fair and propitious but it won't be overly regulated. And a message to the working class families is that we're going to set you back up again where you can be aspirational.

Sean talks a lot about on this show 8 million people dropping below the poverty. Mr. Trump wants to lift those people above the poverty line again, but also get them thinking like we were when we grow up, like when my dad was a laborer, started with a lunch pail, and he told us we've got to do our hardest to work hard and go to school and then we can become successful. That's the message of President Donald J. Trump. So I'm hugely excited about the whole --

GUILFOYLE: Yes. And you've been a big part of that in terms of a member of the transition team, executive member of it, and talking about some of these jobs, ideas, the principles, because people really feel in this country that they can't even dream, have these aspirations to open a company or do something, and so much of that contribute to the job force, the working force.

SCARAMUCCI: No question we've been stuck. Because of the low growth you had a declining wage cycle. Over the last 10 years wages are down about 9.4 percent for middle class and working class families. And so his focus in addition to bringing jobs back is bringing real wages back to the United States.

We've talked in the Obama administration about $15 an hour wages. That's not going to be the President Trump plan. The President Trump plan is high living standards, high living wages. And Kimberly, let's start the consumption cycle again where we get people back to work and get the growth that we need. That will also life the rest of the world.

GUILFOYLE: Hire Americans, buy American goods, put America first, these sound like simple statements but they have profound results and impacts on the market.

SCARAMUCCI: You can feel it in the psychology. Look at the consumer confidence numbers, the best they've been in 10 --

GUILFOYLE: Yes, 15 years.

SCARAMUCCI: I think it was 15 years. And that's coming from him. Even the pundits that don't like him have to admit that he's inspiring people and he's changing the game. We went from Jimmy Carter where people were in a malaise to Ronald Reagan where we were carrying flags and the torch of America, and we're returning back to the American dream, which is something very inspiring for a lot of people.

GUILFOYLE: And you bring up such a good point because during that time when Reagan was president, you saw people, households had more confidence.  There was consumer purchasing was up more, every family to have two TVs, two VCRs, to be able to do that, that's really something that can move the numbers forward. We've seen already the markets buoyed by the fact that president-elect Donald Trump is coming in. In Wall Street you've seen that reflected in the index. That's been very favorable.

SCARAMUCCI: I'm hoping that in two or three years, Kimberly, we get a new hat that says "Making America greater" and we drop the whole make America great again because we're already great.

GUILFOYLE: I love it. I think we're on to something. That's a Fox News alert right here. Anthony Scaramucci, always a pleasure to have you.

SCARAMUCCI: Happy New Year.

GUILFOYLE: You as well.

And coming up next right here on "Hannity."


PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP: This morning I watched President Obama talking about Gitmo, right, Guantanamo Bay -- which, by the way, which, by the way, we are keeping open, which we are keeping open.


GUILFOYLE: Fill it up. President-elect Trump promised voters he'll keep Gitmo open, but President Obama is now reportedly rushing to free detainees before he leaves office. Dr. Sebastian Gorka is here next with reaction.

And later, legendary columnist Thomas Sowell is retiring after a fascinating decade long career writing about politics. We'll ask him about president-elect Donald Trump and much more. Stay with us as HANNITY continues.



TRUMP: We have incompetent leadership. We have incompetent people. This morning I watched President Obama talking about Gitmo, right, Guantanamo Bay, which by the way, which by the way, we are keeping open, which we are keeping open. And we're going to load it up with some bad dudes. Believe me, we're going to load it up.


GUILFOYLE: That was president-elect Donald Trump out on the campaign trail promising to keep open the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  But according to reports President Obama is rushing to transfer detainees from the prison before he leaves office on January 20th. And according to the latest report from the director of national intelligence, an alarming 30 percent of transferred Gitmo detainees are confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorist activities.

Here now with reaction is the author of "Defeating Jihad, The Winnable War," Dr. Sebastian Gorka. Dr. Gorka, this is very serious. It could have tremendous consequences if these individuals are allowed to reengage in terrorists activities.

DR. SEBASTIAN GORKA, AUTHOR, "DEFEATING JIHAD": Absolutely, Kimberly.  Let's be very clear here. These aren't bank robbers. And just because the facility is called the joint detention facility, it's not a prison. It is in fact an intelligence facility. These are individuals who were picked up in warzones, people who cannot be prosecuted and should not be prosecuted in a court of law, but who have very, very high intelligence value, or simply should be kept away from other people because they are a threat to national security.

The figure you quote is an official figure. If you listen to the amazing individuals like Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio at "The Long War" journal, the recidivism rate is actually upwards of 40 percent. These are people who as soon as we release them go back to the lifestyle of Jihadism. As a result I am very, very glad to hear what president-elect Trump said, that we are keeping the facility and we're going to fill it with bad people.

GUILFOYLE: Well, that seems to be the suggestion from intelligence individuals that know the difference about smart national security, keeping America safe. And these are individuals that have information that we need to get, and we don't want them to go back out, as you said. It's an alarming recidivism rate that they engage in. They want to be let out to go and reoffend.

Given the fact that President Obama is aware of the numbers that we even think might be lower than actuality here, why would he do this? Is it just to honor the legacy and please his constituents because it was one of his campaign promises?

GORKA: I cannot explain it. It is simply spite. It is ideology. As my friend Chris Plante, the radio host, says, on the left reality is optional.  And this is exactly the same case. These are bad people. They are guilty of crimes. They shouldn't be prosecuted in a regular court of law because they are picked up on a battlefield. They are not prisoners of war because they are in breach of the Geneva and Hague conventions.

As a result, by international law, not by some crazy Bush era judgment, by international law we can keep them in custody for as long as we are fighting Jihadis. That's the law. Why we want to release them, the Lord only knows, Kimberly, why Obama wants to release them. I think he is desperate once again to fulfill the promises -- remember, do you remember the photo opportunity where he was signing the degree to close Gitmo the day after the inauguration. What does it look like if eight years later he can't do it? So he's embarrassed, maybe it's just as simple as that.

GUILFOYLE: That's the problem. So it's his own ego and worried about being embarrassed and putting that ahead of American national security.  And what troubles me is, who is making these decisions about who should be released and who should be transferred and where they're ultimately put?

GORKA: Probably people like Ben Rhodes, an individual whose qualifications are a master's degree in fictional writing. You can't make this stuff up.  If you read in in a Tom Clancy novel you would say he lost it. This is just completely unbelievable. But this is what's happening. It is an incredibly dangerous cocktail of arrogance mixed with ignorance. That is the explanation for the last eight year of disastrous Obama foreign and national security policy.

GUILFOYLE: You heard Ben Rhodes making comments about this in addition to making comments about Israel and the U.N. council, and it's unbelievable because somebody who is basically writing Harry Potter type of stuff is deciding national security. That ought to alarm everyone.

GORKA: Remember, Kimberly. It's not about the truth. It's not about national security. It's about the narrative. It's about spin. The White House for the last eight years has prioritized spin and false narrative over the truth. It's time America gets back to protecting Americans and to the principles of the founding.

GUILFOYLE: You're absolutely right. And Dr. Gorka, I think about the many terrorists that were released, dangerous terrorists -- like you said, these aren't the run-of-the-mill stealing bubblegum from the Walgreen's. These are people who want to commit acts of jihad internationally and bring the downfall of the United States, western civilization, and anyone else that they can get.

And it's unfortunate to me when I think about it as we sit here and talk tonight that they are out there, so many of them that this administration has released, planning and plotting and recruiting on our U.S. dime.

GORKA: Just think about the fact of the matter. You're so true, you're so right. In the last two and a half years since Abu Bakr al Baghdadi declared the caliphate from the grand mosque at Mosul, a city that we used to own, our marines, our privates bled to actually hold and capture that city, since he declared the caliphate we have killed or arrested 125 ISIS terrorists in the United States alone. Not 25 or, not 35 -- 125. The threat is real. The threat is here from Christmas parties in San Bernardino to marathons in Boston to Marine Corps fun runs in New Jersey.  This is what the reality what a leaderless world creates. It is time for America to find its place again, and I truly expect that having met Mr. Trump, having worked with General Flynn, that all of this is going to change on the afternoon of January 20th, 2017.

GUILFOYLE: Dr. Sebastian Gorka, the author of "Defeating Jihad," thank you so much.

GORKA: Thank you, Kim.

GUILFOYLE: And coming up, legendary conservative columnist Thomas Sowell is retiring and he joins us next to reflect on his truly remarkable decades-long career. Plus we'll ask him about the incoming Trump administration.

And later, after terror attacks in Europe, New York City is increasing security for the massive Times Square New Year's celebration. Rick Leventhal will have a full report later tonight. Stay with us as HANNITY continues.


GUILFOYLE: Welcome back to "Hannity." Conservative columnist Thomas Sowell is retiring. He wrote his farewell column three days ago. And in it he noted just how much has changed in politics, especially citizens' trust in the government.

Joining us now is the author of "Wealth, Poverty, and Politics," and a scholar and resident at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, Thomas Sowell. What a pleasure and an honor to be able to interview you, sir, and thank you so much for all the incredible work you have done and your incredible writing for this country.


GUILFOYLE: I really enjoy your work and so do millions of Americans and people across the world. And what do you think has really changed in terms of American politics as we see it today?

SOWELL: I think the government has lost a great deal of trust on the part of the public. I still remember when John F. Kennedy took this country to the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, and he'd just been elected narrowly, been in office two years. And, you know, we trusted what he said. He said that they had to get those missiles out of Cuba and so on.  And we knew he was the president and he knew more than we did and that was it.

I think what's happened since then was that first Lyndon Johnson and then Richard Nixon lied to the public so outrageously that they destroyed not only their credibility, but more important they destroyed the credibility of the office of the president. And we haven't recovered from that yet.

GUILFOYLE: It's unbelievable. Now, in your column you also wrote "We cannot return to the past even if we wanted to. But let us hope that we can learn something from the past." What is the biggest lesson that you believe, professor, the past has taught as Americans.

SOWELL: Wow. I guess one of the biggest is that both the government and the people have to be guided by facts rather than by rhetoric. It's painful to me that there are people out there who judge, for example, the schools according to what they say rather than what they do. One of the most encouraging things I've seen in recent years is the proliferation of top notch charter schools in ghettos across the country who are turning out kids who are able to meet the highest standards on tests, whatnot. And they do so in the very same buildings where other students are unable to get even close to that because charter schools, the ones that are successful, have a totally different outcome using the same students from the very same neighborhoods in the very same buildings.

And yet I'm appalled to find out that this administration, the Obama administration, has lined up with the teacher's unions to try to stop the expansion of those charter schools when they're one of the most encouraging things that happened in education for low income people in my lifetime.

GUILFOYLE: Really, the importance of education and the success that you have been able to achieve in your lifetime really are truly remarkable.  And what message do you want to say to the young people out there that have dreams and aspirations?

SOWELL: Try to get into one of these schools that actually teach rather than the usual kinds of public schools where they just while away the time and are concerned only with maintaining the jobs of the teachers.

GUILFOYLE: It's very important I think to be able to get education. You, yourself, have multiple degrees. And it didn't come easy because you came from a family background that didn't even have running water, electricity.  You fought hard to get that education to educate yourself to be able to reach millions of people. So we want to tell you just on behalf, really, of a grateful nation, we thank you for all that you have done for this country to really open up our eyes and our minds to what's going on in the world. Thank you so much.

SOWELL: Thank you

GUILFOYLE: And coming up, New York City is beefing up security to protect the more than 1 million people who are expected to ring in the New Year in Times Square. Rick Leventhal joins us next with a full report. Stay with us.


GUILFOYLE: Welcome back to "Hannity." The NYPD is beefing up security ahead of Saturday's New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square. So what is being done to ensure that partygoers are safe as the ring in the New Year?  Joining us now from Times Square in the heart of New York City is Rick Leventhal. Hello, Rick.

RICK LEVENTHAL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kimblery. You know, New York City's police department is used to securing large scale events, and there is none larger than New Year's Eve and Times Square with at least a million people expected here. And they're telling us, the NYPD is, that this year will be stricter than ever because of the threat, environment, and the environment around the world when it comes to attacks. And one of the things that we're going to see this year that we have not seen in the past is the deployment of large sand trucks and heavy sanitation truck around this area, blocking avenues and blocking cross streets, to create a secure perimeter so that anyone who is coming into the area will see those trucks and they will prevent anyone from potentially driving a vehicle into the crowd like we saw in Nice and Berlin.

The NYPD will also have some 7,000 uniformed officers deployed across the city to secure Times Square and other events, as well as plain clothes officers and the usual contingent of canine dogs, explosive detectors, radiation detectors, snipers on rooftops, helicopters in the air, boats on the water, Kimberly. They are going to be out in force like we've never seen before.

And one of the things I wanted to ask the NYPD commissioner earlier today was whether or not he was worried that officers might let their guard down because things have become so routine and ever New Year's Eve has gone off without a hitch. Here is what he told us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you guard against complacency?

JAMES O'NEILL, NYPD COMMISSIONER: It's New York City police officers.  This is something that we do every day. And they know a few times during the year, Fourth of July, New Year's Eve, the tree lighting, this is where everybody has got to be on their toes. I know complacency can set in at times, but certainly not at an event like this.


LEVENTHAL: So very confident, Kimberly, which should make you confident, but also locked in, he told me. These guys will be ready.

GUILFOYLE: They do an incredible time. This is my eighth New Year's Eve.  I think you have me beat. I think you have got the most New Year's Even of anybody. But I'm so impressed with the incredible that they do, the men in women in blue, god bless them, because it is really well contained and very safe sound there. But I'm hearing what you're saying, that they are increasing the security. A quick question, is that based on any specific credible threats or is it based mainly on what you have seen with Berlin, like we said, and Nice, before.

LEVENTHAL: They tell us that there are no specific credible threats that they're aware of. But of course they're paying attention to world events.  And that is why they're moving in these sand and sanitation trucks.  They're blocked cross streets and avenues. They're going to have 100 plus more blocker vehicles on these streets as well in addition to those big, heavy trucks. And they've formed a lot of counterterrorism teams in the NYPD just over the past year or so because of the threat environment, because they need more people out here, and they know they need more heavy weapons and that sort of thing. So they're responding to the world events and they're going to be out here in force.

GUILFOYLE: How about dos and don'ts for party revelers that are planning on going to Times Square? Tell them how they need to behave and what they need to do.

LEVENTHAL: Behaving is one thing. What you can carry in is another. No large bags, no backpacks. No umbrellas. We don't think you'll need those.  And no alcohol. And Kimberly, they're going to have tents set up from 42nd Street all the way to 59th street. You know that they have layered security, checkpoints as you go through. They're going to look at your stuff. If you're carrying a big bag they're going to take it from you or you won't get in. Once you get into one of these pens up and down Sixth and Seventh Avenue or Broadway, you can't leave. So some people get here at 8:00 in the morning, they're stuck here until the ball drops at midnight.

GUILFOYLE: It's so true. They seem to still let through a lot of engagement rings in that security check because every year somebody is proposing. Anyway, very interesting. All right, Rick, we'll see you there. We'll be there together. Thank you so much.

LEVENTHAL: Looking forward to it. Thank you.

GUILFOYLE: Before we go, a little quick reminder, programming note.  Please be sure to tune in to the Fox News Channel this Saturday night for our "All-American New Year" coverage. I'll be co-hosting along with Eric Bolling from 11:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. And then also Jesse Waters and Kennedy kick off the pregame coverage at 8:00 p.m.

And that is all the time we have left this evening. We're going to see you right back here tomorrow night on "Hannity."

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