Lewandowski firing reportedly a Trump family affair

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 20, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: With Corey, I'm really proud of him. He did a great job. But we are going to go a little bit of a different route.

BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS: So it's a different style, it's a different style and you're bring in some --

TRUMP: It is a little different style, yes, a little different style.

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I have no regrets when it comes to this campaign. I have been given such an opportunity and a privilege. If somebody would have said to me 18 months ago, you'll be managing the candidate through 37 state victories, 14 million votes, more votes than anyone in the history of the Republican Party, I would say, is that possible? Look what he's been able to achieve, and I've been a small part of that.


SHANNON BREAM, GUEST ANCHOR: All right, there is a shakeup in the Trump campaign today. Let's bring in our panel to talk about that and more: Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard; Lisa Booth, columnist for The Washington Examiner; Ed O'Keefe, reporter with The Washington Post, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Welcome to you all. Steve, I will start with you. What does it say to you? Is this a plus, a shakeup, a reset? What does it say?

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I think it's an attempt at reset. Look, anybody who's been covering this campaign has heard stories about Corey Lewandowski chewing out staffers or having conflict with Paul Manafort who has been the de facto campaign manager for a while. So I think that some kind of shakeup was likely. He had a high profile skirmish, of course with Michelle Fields. His name has been in the news. So I think that is what this is an attempt to do, to reset the campaign.

This is also a campaign that's had several bad weeks. I think you can make an argument that bad weeks back since Indiana with one controversy after another. And unlike the primary season where these controversies didn't really seem to affect him, didn't affect his poll rating, didn't affect his ability to win primaries, they are affecting him I the polls right now. And you are certainly seeing them reflected in other comments that you are getting from other Republicans about the party's nominee, more skepticism about him as the nominee. So I think this is an attempt to try to put all of that behind them to say we are about to get serious and here is the reset.

BREAM: All right, speaking of polls, we have a new one out from Monmouth today putting Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton head-to-head. Among registered voters he is down by seven points, likely voters, he is down eight points. If you look at the overall Real Clear Politics average, and we like to keep track of that, Clinton there is at six percentage points in the positive against Trump. Lisa, with Paul Manafort now firmly at the helm of this campaign, how does the tone change, how do they tackle these numbers?

LISA BOOTHE, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I agree with Steve. I think this is a really positive step for the Donald Trump campaign. And look, Corey Lewandowski inarguable failed Donald Trump in my opinion. He failed to set him up for a primary campaign that would take him to the general election. He had no fundraising base, he had no grassroots, no infrastructure, no data and analytics team, no political team, no communications team. He was not prepared for a general election. He was inadequately prepared for a general election. So I think this is a positive step.

I mean, look, if Donald Trump had any semblance of a ground game in Iowa, he could have put this thing away a lot sooner than getting to Indiana because he would have swept Iowa and New Hampshire. He would have swept South Carolina and he would have swept Nevada, and by that time this thing would essentially be over. You would never have Mitt Romney come out against him. He would not have had tens of millions of dollars in negative ad buys spent against him. So I think Corey Lewandowski inarguably failed him. It was time to let him go and move forward toward a more serious campaign.

BREAM: One of the other things in polling today have to do with favorability. Both Trump and Clinton are upside down on this one but Trump more so than Clinton. His unfavorable is at 57 percent, Clinton at 52 percent. What do they do to turn that around? Is it possible?

ED O'KEEFE, WASHINGTON POST: You know, I spent a lot of time in the last few weeks talking primarily to the folks who will formalize this whole thing at the convention in Cleveland, the delegates themselves. And I was struck. You go back, Steve, to May with the Indiana primaries and the troubles brewing then. I first caught wind of them I think it was in early June when there was a fight going on in North Carolina regarding the bathroom bills, the so called bathroom bills. In talking to some delegates around that time, they said, you know, we are hearing crickets from Trump on this. Any other Republican nominee, whether it was Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, would have been in North Carolina standing with Governor McCrory and the Republican legislators, saying I'm with you on this. There's no doubt that the Republican Party stands for these kinds of social conservative principals. But we heard nothing from them.

And then this past week, they are concerned about the fact that he's calling for new gun laws that are failing tonight on Capitol Hill. They say that's a settled issue in the party. Why is he discussing these things? He is not cultivating conservatives in the party.

BREAM: But some of what people love about him, Charles, is that he isn't a party guy, that he's not controlled by the party. That's one of his big appealing principles to folks who really do like him.

James Rosen reported tonight on this big move, the never-Trump, turn the delegates to turn against him to change the rules or do something. Does that go anywhere?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It will depend on how Trump behaves. If he continues on the trajectory he's been since he wrapped it up in Indiana, I'm not sure I could see the revolution succeeding. But I can see a revolution, and I can see a pretty raucous convention.

Look, I think all of this hinges on how Trump behaves himself. When a baseball team is losing, as you know, they fire the manager. That, of course, is just a way of pretending to do something because it's the players, not the manager. This has nothing to do with the campaign manager. He was trying to accommodate himself to the candidate. It's Trump who doesn't believe in analytics, doesn't believe in infrastructure. He believes he lands in a plane, he makes a speech, he has a crowd that is absolutely delirious, and that's how he's won all the way here. That's not going to win a general election but he's insistent on that.

I think it will all depend on whether Manafort can, as nobody else has yet, constrain and control him or to have him exercise self-control where he does what you are supposed to do. And I think if he does he has a better chance in the general election. Being eccentric, anti-establishment and all that might work with the small universe of a primary. It's not going to work in the general election.

HAYES: But what is the likelihood of that happening, honestly? Why would anybody think at this point that Donald Trump, a, could change, and, b, would change? We have seen the same Donald Trump since before he announced. The people who love it love that Donald Trump. But he's been encouraged by Reince Priebus, by Paul Ryan, by Mitch McConnell, by other Washington Republicans, but Republicans outside Washington. He's been begged by conservatives to speak about their issues. He simply refuses to do it because he's Donald Trump. It has some appeal. Obviously, it got him as far as it got him. But there's no reason whatsoever to think that Donald Trump is going to change right now.

BREAM: But he has had to clarify a number of these issues. Ed Mentioned the bathroom bill and gun control. And there many times that he does speak. And then the party conservative and others speak up, Lisa, and then he is modifying or backtracking or explaining.

BOOTHE: There's no doubt he's had a series of missteps. Anyone can point that out. Just watch the news to figure that out.

But the one thing that Donald Trump hates is losing. Look at the general election polls right now. Granted he's more competitive in the swing state polls. If you look at the battleground states, he's actually more where Mitt Romney was in 2012 at this point. Granted, Sanders supporters haven't come to Hillary Clinton so that could change. But there's nothing more he hates than losing. And so I think looking at the polls, realizing the fact that he could actually lose this thing is a little bit of a wake-up call for him. I think we have seen the fact of his usage of a teleprompter, which he really hasn't done throughout the duration of this election, and also the firing of Corey Lewandowski are potential steps toward that realization that he needs to sort of realign his campaign and get a little bit more serious.

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