Published January 23, 2017
This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," April 1, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Two big stories breaking tonight, just days ahead of the battle for Wisconsin. Donald Trump touching off a firestorm tonight, with some controversial new comments on abortion. Along with a threat to break ranks with the Republican Party.
Welcome to "The Kelly File" everyone. I'm Megyn Kelly. The news is coming fast tonight on both of these items. Each coming from comments the Republican frontrunner made on interviews he take on Sunday shows excerpt of which has just been released. Now, we'll get to the news about a possible third party run and whether that is even possible in a few moments. But first, to abortion. The issue that has dogged Mr. Trump all week. He was pressed about abortion again. Earlier this week, he told an interviewer that he believed women should be punished if they have an abortion, if abortion was made illegal. He almost immediately had to dial that back after getting hit by both sides.
Then today, he sat down with John Dickerson of CBS News and listen to what he told him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The laws are set now on abortion. And that's the way they're going to remain until they're changed.
JOHN DICKERSON, HOST, CBS NEWS: You had said, you told Bloomberg in January that you believe abortion should be banned at some point in pregnancy. Where would you?
TRUMP: Well, first of all I would've liked to have seen this be a states' rights. I would've preferred states' rights. It would be better if it were up to the states. But right now, the laws are set. And that's the way the laws are.
DICKERSON: But do you have a feeling how they should change? There are a lot of laws you want to change. You've talked about everything from libel to torture. Anything you want to change?
TRUMP: At this moment the laws are set and I think we have to leave it that way
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: Now they've walked that back in a statement that was just put out by the campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks, who has just released the following. "Mr. Trump gave an accurate account of the laws that is today, and made clear it must stay that way now until he's president. Then he will change the law through his judicial appointments and allow the states to protect the unborn. There is nothing new or different here."
We'll going to start the evening with Tucker Carlson, host of "Fox & Friends Weekend" and Ben Domenech, publisher of the Federalist to try to unpack this. So, the problem is, he told John Dickerson, who asked him, should the laws on abortion change? Trump is running for the Republican Party, which is like the first rule is you have to be pro-life. It's like, I think it's even before limited government. And he said the laws are set and we need to leave them that way. So, then they come out with a now -- now Hope Hicks has put out, "The law must stay that way now until he's president, and then he'll change it." Ben?
BEN DOMENECH, PUBLISHER, THE FEDERALIST: You know, this is an interesting moment for Donald Trump. You had him sort of going through all of these situations where he had the opportunity to give speech after victory speech to maintain this momentum, to be winning all the time when he was on television. But now he enters this period where from March 22nd to April 19, it looks like he's not going to come away with any opportunities to get victory speeches, which means he has to talk about policy.
And in this instance, he went from on Wednesday saying women needed to be punished, on Thursday saying, doctors need to be punished, to the day saying that the law needs to stay the way that it is, and then reversing that within moments. I think it's really displaying on a critical issue, the inability of Donald Trump to unify people. He's unified Planned Parenthood and the right to life, the community at the same time in rejecting his comments on this.
KELLY: Tucker, you know what, it certainly shows I guess a lack of consideration on a critical issue. I mean, he's sort of all over the board. I get he's not a competition but this is a big ole issue in Republican politics and in presidential politics.
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "FOX & FRIENDS WEEKEND": Well, he obviously hasn't thought about it. He doesn't have an answer that makes sense. You pointed out that the Republican Party rule one is you have to be pro-life. Rule one is actually you have to pretend to be pro-life. Almost the entire Republican establishment.
KELLY: And be good at it.
CARLSON: He is pro-choice. Well, they're not even good at it actually. In Washington, I know very few people who working party politics full time who actually are pro-life.
CARLSON: But you're right. Trump should have taken time to think through a reasonable facsimile of a Republican on this and he clearly hasn't and that's troubling. On the other hand, who's voting for him over abortion? I mean, if that's your top issue, you're probably not voting for Trump. Probably voting for Cruz. Probably voting for another candidate. You vote for Trump if you're mad at the establishment, if you're made about political correctness, if you care about border security and immigration.
KELLY: But isn't this more -- I ask you Tucker. Isn't this more -- not about the 33 percent who follow him no matter what.
KELLY: It's about building on that.
CARLSON: For sure. I mean, look, I'm not defending Trump here. I'm merely saying, there's a lot of fake outrage. About what's his position on abortion. If you looked at Donald Trump for five minutes, he doesn't have one, he doesn't care, obviously. And that's evident now. But you have to be disciplined. You have to study. You have to seem like you're not reckless. You have to give consistent answers. Like those kind of are the rules. And so, the problem is not his view on abortion, it's his comportment, that's the problem.
DOMENECH: But there's also a host of people who frankly have adopted this idea that Donald Trump could at least pretend to be with them on this issue. And I think comments like these reveal that he can't even do that for a significant amount of time. John Dickerson was pressing him on this,
Chris Matthews pressing him on this and I think that, you know, his return to sort of these pieties that he thinks that will get pro-lifers to like him, what he thinks they want to hear, has displayed the fact that he really hasn't to Tucker's point thought about this issue at all, which for some people I think is a revelation and prevents him from being able to build on that 30 percent though.
CARLSON: Yes. I would just produce a little context though. I don't think Trump has more contempt for evangelicals than your average Republican Party leader. I don't think it's possible to have more contempt for evangelicals in your average Republican Party leader. So I guess kind of compared to what? I mean, they're better talkers but they don't mean it at all.
KELLY: So, but the question is whether this is causing doubt in pockets of the Republican Party that were on the fence about Trump.
KELLY: I mean, because not everybody has made up their mind and obviously he's very well known. But the question is been, when we've seen these series of events, the 73 percent disapproval number with women and the tweeting out about Heidi Cruz being unattractive in his view and, you know, the thing about comparing her to Melania and so on. These things have happened and he hasn't had a win to talk about night after night. And may not if Wisconsin goes the ways the polls are suggesting. So where does that leave us?
DOMENECH: He's had a bunch of own goals. That's the thing. It's a lot of mistakes that he himself is making and that he can't blame on others. I think in this instance, you see a situation where he's got huge negatives with white women, who Mitt Romney won, he's got huge negatives with Independents who Mitt Romney won, he's got huge negatives with college graduates who also, you know, white college graduates went to Mitt Romney. These are all factions that have been part of the Republican coalition for a significant amount of time and anyone who wanted to win in a general election would need to build on them. I think the comments like this are only going to increase the calls for everyone to pull out every stop that they can to stop Donald Trump before he becomes the Republican nominee, because of the fear that he will put both the House and the Senate in jeopardy.
KELLY: Do you agree with that, Tucker? Because I was watching "Candidate Casino" tonight on "Special Report." And very smart people were also putting, I mean, all their money on some cases on Trump to win the nomination.
CARLSON: I don't know if I would. I think we're learning what we knew, which is, Trump is a very volatile guy who has the capacity for self-destruction. We're seeing that on display now. My concern is what I am seeing in Washington where Republican leaders are using Trump's self-emulation as an opportunity to ignore his voters, which is what they've wanted to do from the very beginning. To discredit anyone who is concerned about mass immigration is a racist for example or someone who, you know, speaks off the cuff, you know, attacking him on politics grounds. Those are ways of dismissing the concerns of a real group of American citizens that have something to say.
KELLY: And then they're irritated. You know, they're even angrier because they feel ignored and dismissed again.
CARLSON: Exactly. And by the way, as Americans, they have a right to be heard, they have a right to believe validly that their votes count. And these calls to install someone who has not received a single vote will be a Paul Ryan or any other sort of white knight figure are really an attack against the idea of democracy. And democracy once again is a pressure valve that keeps this country from blowing up. You know, in the end, I can vote and that might do something, might affect something. The Republican
Party has sort of pulled off the mask and said, we hate you, we're not listening to you, and we're going to put someone in there that never even ran and how do you like that and there's something you can do about it. Huh?
KELLY: Guys, great to see you both.
DOMENECH: Good to be with you.
CARLSON: Thanks, Megyn.
KELLY: Well, as you mentioned at the top of the hour, Mr. Trump took a lot of fire this week for abortion remarks and more. Campaign Carl Cameron just filed this report on what things look like headed into the battle for Wisconsin a little more than 72 hours from right now.
CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Megyn. Well, if the polls are right, Cruz is looking pretty strong. His campaign is certainly psyched about things are going. He's been jumping all over Trump for the flip-flop over punishing women for abortions and on foreign policy for saying to say, save money and stop in the world's policemen, he would be okay with Japan and South Korea and even Saudi Arabia getting nukes. He had also said that he would pull back from NATO and Europe and now walked that back. Cruz calls Trump pathological and the Kim Kardashian of the race for tweeting all the time instead of offering real solutions.
Trump knows that losing Wisconsin would make it real hard to reach the needed 1237 majority delegates for the nomination. But he actually left Wisconsin to visit Washington to meet with his new foreign policy team and start straightening his policy positions out. And he met with RNC officials yesterday as well and assured them that he's not going to break his pledge to support another nominee, despite what he said earlier this week. Trump is going to miss a big candidate forum tonight in Milwaukee that both Cruz and Kasich are attending. Kasich has been boasting about the positive tone of his campaign for months, but this week he definitely shifted gears. Today while in Pennsylvania, he suggested the problem with Cruz is a counterproductive record, because other than shutting down the government, he upsets the people he works with and has no other solutions --Megyn.
KELLY: Carl Cameron, thank you.
Joining me now, Frank Luntz, he's a pollster and CEO of Luntz Global. And Howard Kurtz, the host of "MediaBuzz." Good to see you both.
So Frank, it hasn't been a great week for Donald Trump. It was a decent week for Ted Cruz as he pointed out, and yet you know, Trump, despite his missteps, still has the momentum and even though it's not looking great for him in Wisconsin, is looking really good for him in New York, which has a whole lot of delegates and comes a couple of weeks later.
FRANK LUNTZ, LUNTZ GLOBAL CEO: Well, let's focus on Wisconsin first. They're very sophisticated voters. They went through three straight elections to protect Scott Walker. They're conservatives in policy and ideology, not just behavior and they care about what a candidate thinks and what they say. The key in Wisconsin is that you just can't offer platitudes. You have to offer specifics. These voters have been through this over the last four, six years and they expect candidates to say what they mean and mean what they say. These are bad days for Donald Trump over the last 96 hours because he's seen to be inconsistent. He's had to walk back several statements.
But what is key here, and Tucker's right, is that if either Cruz or Kasich are seen to disrespect Trump voters, they will hurt themselves. The key is to understand and reflect that anger, reflect that sense of betrayal, challenge Trump for not coming through on the issues, for not being specific and for flip-flopping. But do not and I emphasize this, do not criticize the people who have come to him, because they went to him for a reason. They wanted to say to Washington, I'm fed up, I'm angry, and I'm not going to take it anymore.
LUNTZ: Those two candidates, Kasich and Cruz, have to communicate that over the next 72 hours if they want to maximize their vote on Tuesday.
KELLY: And you see that, Howie, in the -- sort of the numbers there, because every election night, we see Trump wins in many states overwhelmingly, at least in terms of, you know, versus the other candidates, even though the voters voting for him do not think he can win in November. If only, if electability is your most important thing, you still might vote for Trump even if thinks he's unelectable. I mean, because they're looking to send a message.
HOWIE KURTZ, FOX NEWS HOST, "MEDIABUZZ": Looking to send a message and Trump energizes them. But look he is going through the worst stretch of his campaign, fueled by his own missteps, especially on abortion, because it feeds two narratives pushed by -- two narratives actually pushed by his -- the track is one, but he's hostile to him and two that he's shaky on policy. But I do have to say this, any seasoned politician wouldn't answer a hypothetical question from Chris Matthews. What if abortion where illegal? Would you then punish women? And if he did, he would have a carefully calibrated, precisely worded answer to avoid stepping on the land mine. Well, Trump, not being a professional politician, stepped on the land mine. And his fans loved the fact he doesn't sound like a politician, you step on the land mine and then you go to CBS with Dan Dickerson and you still have debris, and you're in a hole.
KELLY: Well, that's the thing. I mean, the reason people aren't giving him a pass on this, Frank, is because it's abortion. It's not some esoteric issue that people don't discuss in, you know, presidential politics. It's kind of high on the list. And you know, there have been some people advising Trump for months to study, to study and you would be a much stronger candidate.
LUNTZ: But it's not really an issue, it's a principle. It defines who you are, and what you're about, regardless of which side you're on. And so, it's very hard to study a principle. You either have it or you don't. The one thing that Republicans in these remaining states are going to communicate is that it's not just these specific issues, it's who you are as a person, what you're about, what's inside you. So when the chips are down, they know that you're going to come out the right way.
KELLY: Do you believe these suggestions, Howie, that this is not just a terrible week for Donald Trump, but as some of his detractors say, the beginning of the end for him?
KURTZ: Well, I would caution everybody that we've heard the beginning of the day at least five, six, seven, eight, nine times in this campaign and Trump has a way of bouncing back. But it does feel like he is at a point where, you know, he was riding so high a couple of weeks ago, where he needs to make a pivot to sharper focus and better answers on policy, on sounding more presidential and not spending to every person that ticks him off on cable news and the abortion misstep, I mean, even though, you know, he cleaned it up with a statement and that they've done that again tonight with CBS, shows that he's not there yet.
And I think some of his people would like him to get there. Now, if you know, if Ted Cruz beats him in Wisconsin, it's only 42 delegates with physiologically, I think it would be most important state that Ted Cruz has won because it blunts that momentum, and as you were saying, New York is then a couple of weeks later. It's been a long time before Donald Trump can make a comeback if indeed he was with Wisconsin.
KELLY: Uh-hm. And then what is the media narrative in those two weeks when there's not a contest? It's great to see you both. Thanks for being here.
KELLY: Well, we have a hot event the night before the Wisconsin vote. Yours truly will sit down with Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz for a one on one town hall in Madison, Wisconsin, less than 24 hours before the voters go to the polls. I'll ask him about all the recent controversies, his rise in the polls, and we'll take questions from the audience. Again, that is 9:00 p.m. Eastern Monday, April 4th.
We also have another big story involving Mr. Trump tonight as he tells our own Chris Wallace that he's giving new consideration to a third party run. This as he attempts to unite the Republican Party.
Up next, we'll speak with veteran pollster Ed Goeas and Trump supporter David Wohl about whether Trump can do that and about what the RNC is now doing ahead of what could be a wild convention. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We're going into potentially, we don't know for sure, but potentially an open convention. So the candidates I think are going to posture a little bit as far as what they're willing to do and who they're willing to support and who they're not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: That was the RNC Chair Reince Priebus warning that the weeks ahead could get wild in this Republican race. In fact, the Republican National Committee may be preparing for a contested convention. One where none of the incoming candidates has the required number of delegates to secure the nomination. While Priebus has said the odds of that happening are slim, the committee just announced a new website called convention facts that focuses specifically on this issue.
In moments, we'll be joined by pollster Ed Goeas of the Terrence Group and lawyer and Trump supporter David Wohl and we'll talk about this third party ran possibility. But first, we go to Trace Gallagher live in our West Coast Newsroom. Trace.
TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: In fact, Megyn when Donald Trump arrived at his surprise meeting yesterday with Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, the RNC had already unveiled its new convention facts website that lays out the party's rules for nominating a candidate, including the rules of a contested convention where a candidate does not reach the magic number of 1237. Sources tell the New York Times that during the meeting, Priebus explained that each campaign needs to be prepared to fight for delegates. Sources also reportedly say that Donald Trump was not happy with the way his team had performed on that front. The Trump camp denies that.
But many experts believe if Donald Trump does not get 1237 delegates and does not win on the first ballot at the convention, as many as 100 of his delegates will abandon ship. Remember, most delegates are only bound to a candidate on the first vote. After that, they become free agents and the Cruz and Kasich campaigns have apparently made in roads when it comes to stealing them. Then there are states like Louisiana. Trump won the popular vote in the primary, but because it was so close, both he and Cruz took 18 delegates. Rubio took five. Rubio's delegates and five at-large delegates are now up for grabs.
So, even though Trump won the state, Cruz could easily walk with more delegates. Those are the types of rules that have prompted the Trump campaign to threaten lawsuits. And then you consider all this that for months, the RNC has been knocking down the likelihood of a contested convention, and yet suddenly it puts out a what if guide in case nobody gets 1237 -- Megyn.
KELLY: Uh-hm. They're doing the math. I mean, the math suggests it could very well happen. Trace, thank you.
Making things even more complicated is the fact that Donald Trump after suggesting that earlier in the week that he might not support the eventual GOP nominee is tonight telling our own Chris Wallace that he may also be entertaining the possibility of a third party run for himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Are you ruling out running as an independent third party candidate? Are you ruling that out? A simple question.
TRUMP: No, it's not that simple. I'm by far the front-runner as a Republican. I want to run as a Republican. I will beat Hillary Clinton.
WALLACE: But if you don't get the nomination?
TRUMP: I'm going to have to see how I was treated. I'm going to have to see how I was treated. Very simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: Joining me now, Ed Goeas, pollster and president of the Tarrance Group. And David Wohl, a Trump supporter, California attorney and political analyst. Good to see you both.
ED GOEAS, POLLSTER: Good to see you.
DAVID WOHL, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Good to see you.
KELLY: So, this is fascinating, because the same 24 hours Trump called for unity in the Republican Party, he has said he wouldn't support -- he doesn't need Ted Cruz's support. And now he might run as an Independent. Ed, your thoughts on that?
GOEAS: Well, I mean, what we've seen out of Donald Trump over the last 72 hours is a candidate is kind of spiraling out of control. Both in terms of how he's answering certain questions and his back and forth on these issues. And the bottom-line is that, if he gets to July and he's not happy with the way he was treated and decide he's going to run as a third party candidate, he has a couple of barriers there. One is that 46 of the 50 states have sore loser laws. Not all those will hold in a presidential year, but some of them will, so we won't be able to get on the ballot. Second of all, it takes a lot of organization, a lot of money to get on those ballots. And he hasn't shown that organization in his campaign while all of a sudden --
KELLY: Uh-hm. So David, it is true, even in Ohio, Ohio's secretary of state has said, he means to uphold the law in this case, the Ohio secretary said he intends to hold Trump to his Republican affiliation. So if he tries to run as an Independent, it sounds like he won't get cooperation in Ohio which you need. But if he runs as an Independent, it would be as a spoiler. I mean, I don't know that he would be meeting to win so much as to spoil the Republican Party that he fails treated them unfairly.
WOHL: Well, Megyn, one of the hallmarks of a great leader and a great negotiator is you never take anything off the table. And that's the way Mr. Trump is. Look, let's remember something when we're talking about this doomsday scenario. He's up by 300 delegates. He has got California ahead, 172 delegates, he has New York ahead, 95 delegates. And he's leading huge in New York by 36 points. And California, the only credible poll I've seen has him up by ten points. He's got Maryland, he's got Connecticut, he's got Rhode Island, Pennsylvania.
KELLY: It's proportional sort of.
WOHL: You get 13 points of your win or 13 delegates, I'm sorry -- and then each different Congressional district you can get up to three, up to 172. And there's a lot of conservative, really conservative Republicans in California that would put him very close to, if not all the way up to 172 delegates. So this idea that somehow -- and he wants Wisconsin. Don't kid yourself, he wants that state but he's got conflicts with Governor Scott Walker. And that may be hurting him a little bit in that state. He still thinks he win it but I'm telling you right now, if he loses Wisconsin, he has got a huge states ahead but I think you're going to put him possibly up to 1400 delegates.
KELLY: Go ahead, Ed.
GOEAS: Nice fan. But that's not what the numbers are. And they show you how the Trump campaign doesn't even to understand the numbers. Today, they kind of backed away from they'll win Wisconsin so we'll at least going to walk out of Wisconsin winning half of the delegates. Now, they don't win Wisconsin, they lose a certain number of delegates. But to be able to walk out of Wisconsin with half of the delegates would mean they'd have to win a plurality of seven out of eight Congressional districts. She don't do that in not winning the states. So, they have a lot of spending in terms of spending --
KELLY: What about David's point Ed that, okay, let's say that Trump loses Wisconsin to Cruz. Then he's looking good in, he's looking great in New York as of now. And then California happens on June 7, that's the last day of the primaries.
It's, you know, it's a dogfight and Ted Cruz is fighting for it. That's actually one of the untold stories of those campaign. But New York is delegate rich and he could win -- Trump could win California, as well.
GOEAS: Well, first of all, in terms of Wisconsin, his problems in Wisconsin are not with Scott Walker. His problems with Wisconsin is with the voters of Wisconsin. He's upside down on his favorable/unfavorable. More people are unfavorable, towards them unfavorable. With women, there's a 21-point deficit in terms of -- and we're seeing this in other places across the country. And the fact of the matter is, if he doesn't win Wisconsin, he would have to win -- even if he won 100 percent of all the delegates between now and California, he wouldn't get to that margin and 40 percent of those are proportional. So, when you look at the numbers, he loses Wisconsin, he loses Wisconsin, the opportunity or the likelihood of a contested or open convention goes up exponentially.
KELLY: Uh-hm. And he's not the only one to say that, David. I've seen that in several pieces, that it doesn't mean he's lost, but it certainly significantly jeopardizes his chances of going into the convention with the 1237.
WOHL: Yes. Megyn, I see Wisconsin as a hyper local problem for Mr. Trump. And I do think that his conflict with Governor Scott Walker plays a large role, because otherwise it doesn't really make sense. But if he takes some delegates in Wisconsin, what does his lead change to? It goes from 300 to 275 with huge states ahead? I mean, again, Megyn, the momentum factor is not going to be boosted by losing Wisconsin if he does. New York is so huge, 95 delegates, and his lead is so big. That's the state that can get him a huge momentum boost and put him all over the top well in 1237. And I've got to say, Megyn, the idea that it's going to be contested, the problem with the contested convention, the risk you face with people revolting from the party, leaving the party, turning their backs in the party is so huge. I think the leaders really want to avoid that at all costs.
KELLY: Well, contested convention, the leaders cannot avoid, they cannot avoid or not avoid it. The numbers are what the number are.
(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)
Go ahead, Ed. Go ahead.
GOEAS: That is spin. The fact of the matter is, in terms of up until today, of all the votes that have been cast, Trump has only gotten 38 percent. There is a third of Republican voters that dislike Trump, a third that is for him.
KELLY: Let him finish.
GOEAS: So for all the talk, about we'll going to have one third of the party walk away, the fact of the matter is, we may just as likely have another third of the party walk away if he is the nominee. Because their dislike for him has been driven so deep, especially with Republican women, has been driven so deep that we run the risk of not only losing the White House in the fall, but losing the Senate.
KELLY: Okay. We've got to leave it there. Good debate. Both of you. Thank you so much.
WOHL: Thank you, Megyn.
KELLY: Coming up, the creator of the circus. Does dinner with key members of the Clinton campaign wait until you see what the cameras caught at this event? Next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today as we sit here, do you think most likely Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me a moment where you went from no to maybe?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: Well, in Showtime's popular series "The Circus," viewers gained behind the scenes' access to the 2016 Presidential Campaign. This week, cameras catch up with key members of Hillary Clinton's campaign staff, and our next guest, Mark McKinnon, sits down to dinner with them and asks them about Donald Trump. Let's watch Mark with them and then we'll speak with Mark. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK MCKINNON, CO-CREATOR AND CO-HOST OF "THE CIRCUS": Today, as we sit here. Do you think most likely Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
JENNIFER PALMIERI, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, 2016 HILLARY CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Yes.
MCKINNON: Tell me a moment where you went from no to maybe?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he attacked McCain, a mere mortal could not have survived.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I was going to say, was it the attack?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The attack, doubling down on it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And rising.
TRUMP: He's a war hero because he was captured? I like people that weren't captured. OK. I hate to tell you.
PALMIERI: A week later when it was not the beginning of the end, oh, like, oh, this is something different. Yeah.
MCKINNON: Maybe because it showed he had balls. It showed that he was not subject to the normal rules.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
PALMIERI: Not subject to the normal -- yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, to john's point, he just endured. He continued to get crowds. He continued to hold his lead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think on the Republican side, he has been vexing to them in being able to control the debate.
MCKINNON: Right. Do you think he could do that in a general election against you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our job will be to make sure that doesn't happen.
MCKINNON: What kind of things have you learned about him in asking people you know who know him? Do you had conversations like that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you think I would tell you that on March 24?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's see he if he's the nominee?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it would seem to pose some unique challenges to take a candidate to whom the normal laws of political physics have so far not a challenge (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the Republican didn't figure that out.
MCKINNON: Is he suitable to be commander in chief if?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think?
MCKINNON: Do you all -- do you guys .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think? You're an observer. You've watched what a president actually does.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I encourage (ph) American people to make decision on who's going to commander in chief.
MCKINNON: Do you think he might be more shrewd than you give him credit for -- for -- you used to give him credits.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what is dangerous in politics is when we focus on the process and not on the substance. You can call it shrewd. You can call it brilliance.
I don't care what she called it. I don't care how brilliant it is. He's really bad. And I think there's a point in which, you know, the race is going to come into relief. We're going to have two candidates and the voters are going to get serious. And it won't be a game anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: Fascinating. Mark McKinnon is co-creator and co-host of "The Circus" and chief media adviser one time to George W. Bush. Great to see you, Mark. This is--
MCKINNON: Hey, Megyn.
KELLY: --this is the wild card. Because all the polls show -- most of them, Trump losing to Hillary Clinton by 10 points, unlike Cruz and unlike Kasich. But there's a wild card factor with him that scares the Democrats, and we've heard that from David Plouffe himself, who got Barack Obama and elected twice to the presidency.
MCKINNON: No question. And these are a team of people who have, you know, looked at campaigns, and they plan for what they've seen before. They've never seen things like Trump before, and they have a healthy respect for him. I mean, they're -- they're not taking him lightly. They know that there's two ways to run a campaign, scared and unopposed. And they're going to be opposed and it's very likely could be Donald Trump and it's very difficult in a campaign.
When you can't look at a candidate, look at a track record and anticipate what they're going to do. It's like watching game films for a football game. You look at what the team has done in the past. There is no past for Donald Trump. So, it's totally unpredictable, makes it very difficult to plan ahead.
KELLY: Yes. They do have a couple of advantages versus the 17 Republicans who are running against Trump for most of the past year, which is they have the example of these months to look to, to see what -- what worked and what didn't work. And they're going to have a two-person race if it's Trump.
It's -- in other words, there won't be -- it's going to be a different race for Trump. He's not going to be able to sort of avoid deep policy debates when it's just him versus her, if that's how this winds up.
MCKINNON: Well, whatever you think about Hillary Clinton and her politics. It's hard to knock her deep, deep, you know, her deep understanding of policy. I mean, she's a policy wonk. She prides herself in that. And she's looking forward to debates.
I mean, she wants to have -- she wants this election to be about policy, and so she's looking forward to those debates. And you know, if this week is any forecast of what it's going to be, it could be, you know, it's going to be tough waters and the old saying in campaigns, "If you're explaining, you're losing." And Donald Trump has been explaining a lot this week.
So, he's got to be fixed and fixed fast on policies because he can't go into those debates with a week like this and -- and -- and uncertain on fundamental policy issues like abortion. I mean, your point earlier whenever I worked with Republican candidates, the very first thing that you talk about in the very first meeting is focus a clear, compelling, consistent position on abortion. You can't be midway through a campaign and still not know what you're talking about.
KELLY: Yes. And not really be like a part of the interview was, do you believe that abortion is murder? And Trump cannot hem and haw on it, and then kind of give an answer like, "Yeah. You know, it's longer." But any -- you know, that -- typically we're used to hearing Republicans talk about this in very clear terms.
I want to ask you they wouldn't answer it on camera about, have you spoken with people on, you know, how to deal with him? And, you know, what -- and they're like, "We're not going to tell you." But there are reports about how they're planning on handling it if it is Donald Trump. What -- what is your understanding of what the Democrat's plan is?
MCKINNON: Well, this is a very savvy team. These are, you know, a team of people that have been around, and I'll say, you know, the candidates and campaigns lose -- they've learned a lot more from losing than they do from winning. So, Hillary Clinton lost a big campaign in `08 that she was supposed to win. So, believe me, they are talking to everybody, and anybody who's ever had anything to do with Trump.
I mean, the Democratic opposition research teams are bragging that 80 percent of what they're finding hasn't even been discussed yet in the Republican primaries. So, they believe they've got a lot to talk about. Now, to the point on, I think that Tucker (ph) somebody made earlier about abortion, that's certainly not an issue that's animating a lot of Trump's voters and, you know, that a lot of them will put that aside and say, "You know, that's not what I care about."
But the key, I mean, the reason people like George W. Bush or for John Kerry is he was consistent. Even you don't agree with them, people like politicians and leaders who are at least have convictions, clear ones and stick with them.
KELLY: Yes. I remember Steven Colbert making that into a joke at the White House Correspondence Dinner against President George W. Bush at that time saying, "He's consistent. He believes on Wednesday what he believed on Monday, no matter what happened on Tuesday."
Anyway, great to see you, Mark. The show is fascinating. Thanks so much for being here.
MCKINNON: Thanks, Megyn.
KELLY: Coming up on Monday, you're truly will sit down with Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, for a one-hour town hall in Wisconsin. This is a critical state for him. His momentum looks good right now. He's 10 points ahead in the last two polls that have come out of Wisconsin. Many say this is a must-win for Ted Cruz. We'll speak less than 24 hours before the voters go to the polls. Don't miss it, Monday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, a town hall with Ted Cruz.
Just ahead, an angry campaign trail outburst. Allegations of lies in the Democratic presidential race and the Clinton campaign refusing to apologize to Senator Bernie Sanders. Nomiki Konst and Alan Colmes are next on this nasty turn in the Democratic contest just days away from their vote in Wisconsin.
KELLY: While the Clinton campaign is out with a new statement tonight following an angry outburst on the campaign trail and just days away from the Democratic Primary in Wisconsin on Tuesday. First, watch what happened yesterday when an environmental activist challenged Secretary Clinton over donations she has received from the oil and gas industry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you act on your words and reject fossil fuel money in the future in your campaign?
HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not have -- I have money from people who work for fossil fuel companies. I am so sick.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what .
CLINTON: I am so sick of the Sander's campaign lying about me. I'm sick .
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: Senator Sander's campaign took offense to her sickness. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE SANDERS, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Secretary Clinton owes us an apology. We were not lying. We were telling the truth.
These are not just workers in the fossil fuel industry. These are paid, registered lobbyists. Secretary Clinton, you owe our campaign an apology. We were telling the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: Hours ago, the Clinton campaign responded with this, "Hmp (ph)."
You're not getting one. Joining me now, Alan Colmes who hosted 'The Alan Colmes Show', and Nomiki Konst who's the founder and executive director of the Accountability Project.
All right. So, the truth is apparently, she's taken about $157.8 million, that's what she has raised overall, and $307,000 of that has come from individuals who work in the oil and gas industry. So, she wasn't right to say she has taken nothing, but he said, she's taken significant money .
NOMIKI KONST, ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Right.
KELLY: . from the industry.
ALAN COLMES, "ALAN COLMES SHOW" HOST: Two-tenths of 1 percent of her entire fundraising has been that kind (ph). If she's going to face the Republican like Ted Cruz who's had three times that amount from the same industry.
KELLY: Yes, but right now, he's battling for the deal (ph) right now .
COLMES: That's a -- yes, that's true.
KELLY: . nation and .
COLMES: That's true.
KELLY: And she's staying, "I haven't taken (ph) in."
COLMES: But it's discrepant (ph) to something to what she's totally raised. It's not a big deal.
KONST: Well, to be fair here. There's a bunch of funds. Like -- let's see here (ph), campaigns are -- are clever and tricky with how they raise money and how they organize on their behalf, and she has four Super PACs. She has 57 lobby -- lobbyists who've contributed to her campaign. They have 11 of those lobbyists have raised and bundled over $1 million each for her Super PACs which are out there doing the dirty work for her.
So, yeah, she only accepted $307,000 from -- from members of the oil and gas industry, as she likes to call them. But they're doing a whole lot of work in the shadowy side groups.
KELLY: Their money is being bundled and given to the Super PAC in other words.
COLMES: Apparently, they're individual donors that's what the Clinton campaign is saying. That's not part of the Super PAC. But, you know, this is not a big deal. She could have handled that a lot more calmly.
KELLY: Why she's so angry about it? Why does she ever let like all things to get there? All the things that like she's having coming .
KELLY: . that's the thing that really you're addictive (ph)?
COLMES: You know, that people here is they get very tired on the campaign trail. You don't get a lot .
KELLY: You know, is that .
COLMES: . of sleep.
KELLY: . don't -- don't do this.
KONST: When somebody speak, right.
KELLY: Then she is ..
KONST: And she's got .
COLMES: They have picture (ph) not good.
KONST: She's done that before telling .
KELLY: It's disrespectful.
KELLY: Have you ever been on the receiving end of that? It doesn't feel good.
COLMES: Yes. On this channel occasionally .
. I've got -- you know, yeah. I mean, she could have handled it in a calmer way, but ultimately, this is not going to make or break her or not a make or break the campaign, and it's not a big deal. She could have said what we just said, this is a small amount, $300,000 somewhat to attend (ph) some 1 percent of what they've raised (ph). Come on.
KELLY: All right. But what about Senator Sanders like, "We are owed an apology." Like a deep wound. Come on!
KONST: I mean .
KELLY: Toughen up, buttercup.
KONST: It was -- it was -- at -- you're right. She's running for president, She's possibly going to be running against Donald Trump is .
COLMES: I don't think so.
KONST: . if she's the nominee or if he is the nominee .
KELLY: If he is the nominee, he's going to be out to roll out an apology .
KONST: Oh, yeah.
KELLY: . if he's up (ph) against Donald Trump .
KONST: Oh, yeah.
KELLY: . a lot.
KONST: But to be fair here, environmental groups are big voting bloc of -- of the Democratic elector and his primaries. I mean, she's going into New York and fracking is one of those -- she issued in Upstate New York where upstate is torn apart by fracking and is going (ph) on that issue .
KONST: And she's accepted money from them .
KELLY: She's not going to lose New York. Do you think she's going to lose New York?
KONST: I think she's -- she's only 12 points away, and she was 30 points up two weeks ago. I think that's a big chance for her.
COLMES: 538 (ph) gives her 97 percent chance of winning .
KONST: Like that will never change.
COLMES: I don't think she's going win New York .
KELLY: That is her own state.
COLMES: . that she'll win New York, right.
No. She'll win her own state.
KELLY: Look at this .
COLMES: And it's Bernie Sanders' home state, too, you know, he's .
KONST: Right. Yeah, that's one.
KELLY: Look at the delegate count. Look at the delegate count between them.
KELLY: She's got 1,712. He's got 1,011 and, you know, the super delegates and so on, he's got to cut -- some of them out. He's got to convert them over in order to get this nomination from her which is what's irritating a lot of the Democrats saying, "It's fixed." The fix is in and he can't make up the difference.
KONST: Yes. I mean, they're saying that 40 percent of this pledged super delegates and don't forget super delegates aren't elected until after the primaries have voted, and so there's a process there of selecting those super delegates. But 40 percent of those who've said that if they are selected, they would possibly support Hillary are soft.
So, they are the people who can be influenced, and let me tell you, those are elected officials and they are voting against 89 percent of their districts. That's the problem. That's going to be taken all the way to the convention and if they are voting against the interest of the voters, expect protests in future (ph).
COLMES: Like she has gotten millions more votes. She's got more votes than anybody else so far. The math (ph) is still with her. Bernie is doing .
COLMES: . great (ph) and Bernie made her a better candidate. In fact, helped her to move for more populous progressive positions which is good.
KONST: Machine politics though that's why she got more votes.
KELLY: That's why she's there (ph). Great job.
COLMES: Thank you.
KELLY: Great to see you both.
Coming up, by now, it's a good chance of seeing the video. Don't go away.
KELLY: New developments tonight. In a fight that unfolded at a Trump rally earlier this week, investigators now say they could not find any evidence to support allegations made by a 15-year-old female protester who claimed that she was groped at the rally. Instead, she could be the one facing consequences.
Trace Gallagher reports from the West Coast Newsroom. Trace?
GALLAGHER: Megyn, after looking at several videos and interviewing 13 witnesses, including the man accused of assaulting the 15-year-old Trump protester, Janesville police decided there was no crime. Instead saying, "The pressure the girl felt on her breast was likely caused by a crowd of people pushing up against her." But she could be charged in the altercation that followed the alleged assault. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: You saw the 15-year-old punched the man she thought groped her. Well, he's decided not to press charges, but she might still be facing disorderly conduct, and police say the unknown man who fired the pepper-spray could be facing battery charges. There will be no charges for the Trump supporter heard on tape telling the 15-year-old girl quoting, "You GD (ph) communist, N-word lover. Get the hell out of here."
This rally happened hours after Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with battery for grabbing a Breitbart News reporter, Michelle Fields, at a rally three weeks ago. And it comes in the wake of several violent outbursts at Trump campaigns in recent months, including one in January where Trump told his supporters to knock the crap out of protesters. And then, when a 78-year-old Trump supporter punched a protester being escorted out of the arena, Donald Trump offered to pay his legal fees, but he later backtracked.
KELLY: Trace, thank you. Don't go away. We'll be right back.
KELLY: Don't forget, everybody, Monday night, a special Kelly File event. A one-hour town hall in Wisconsin just before the big vote there. With Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate, Ted Cruz. Monday at 9:00 p.m. Also, this Sunday, 9:00 a.m. Eastern time, check out Sunday Morning on CBS.
Charlie rose and yours truly talk Trump, 2016 and the journey here. Also, Doug Brunt, my husband, makes a special appearance. Check it out and let us know what you thought of tonight's show on Twitter. Thanks, everyone. I'm Megyn Kelly.
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