Mike Huckabee: There's no evidence that Trump is racist; Chris Stirewalt on poll numbers: Clinton is 'falling apart'

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," September 16, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST, "THE KELLY FILE":  Breaking tonight, one of the most dramatic media moments in Donald Trump's run for the White House and that's saying something.  This morning ended with a 40-second sound bite and touched off a day full of political fallout that has not stopped yet.

Welcome to THE KELLY FILE everyone, I'm Megyn Kelly.  After roughly five years of raising questions about exactly where President Barack Obama may have been born, Donald Trump yesterday declared he would finally put the issue to rest.  First he announced a news conference, then his campaign followed up with a written statement, Trump hit the early news shows promising a major announcement.  And by 10:00 a.m. this morning, all of the nation's major media outlets were breathlessly gathered awaiting the candidate's comments.

At 11:03 a.m., an hour after this event was supposed to begin, out walked Trump, surrounded by a group of veterans who then proceeded to take the microphone in turns praising Mr. Trump's commitment to the military. Finally, some 90 minutes after the start of nonstop live coverage by all of the cable nets, we finally got to hear more about what is known now as the birther issue.  Watch.


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE:  Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy.  I finished it.  I finished it. You know what I mean.  President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.  Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.

Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you.



KELLY:  As short as that was, there's a lot to unpack from it.  Including reactions from Republicans, Democrats and the White House, along with Trump's history on this issue and that of Mrs. Clinton.  And we have a powerful lineup for you this evening, including Governor Mike Huckabee, former Reagan cabinet member Bill Bennett, former Bush media strategist Mark McKinnon and managing editor of Bloomberg Politics Mark Halperin.

But first we go to Trace Gallagher in our West Coast newsroom to walk us through how we got to this moment.  Trace?

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Megyn, from our research, it appears Donald Trump first dipped his toe in the birther issue in 2011 when he was considering running for president in 2012.  In February, 2011, Trump told the Conservative Political Action Conference or CPAC, quote, "Our current president came out of nowhere.  The people who went to school with him, they never saw him.  They don't know who he is.  It's crazy."

A month later he told Bill O'Reilly that President Obama, quote, "doesn't have a birth certificate" and later told NBC News that he was sending a team of investigators to Hawaii to investigate. In April of 2011, President Obama who had already released a short form birth certificate in
2008 decided to release the long form saying it was time to put the issue to rest.  And even though the Trump campaign is now taking credit for President Obama releasing his long form in 2011, Donald Trump continued for years to claim that Obama was not a U.S. citizen.

As late as the summer of 2015, Trump said he didn't know if Obama was born in the U.S.  The Trump campaign also blames Hillary Clinton for raising the birther issue in the first place during her 2008 campaign, referring to this interview on "60 Minutes" when asked if she thought Barack Obama was Muslim.  Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You said you take Senator Obama at his word that he's not a Muslim.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You don't believe that he's a Muslim?

CLINTON:  No.  There is nothing to base that on as far as I know.


GALLAGHER:  Even though fact check organizations say Clinton didn't start the birther issue, they acknowledge that her "60 Minutes" interview certainly fanned the flames.  And her supporters in 2008 did propagate it. Today Hillary Clinton said this.


CLINTON:  For five years, he has led the birther movement to delegitimize our first black president.  His campaign was founded on this outrageous lie.


GALLAGHER:  And some political analysts believe it's too late for Trump to talk his way out of birtherism, a Washington Post op-ed reads in part, quote, "While avoiding accountability for the act of feeding the conspiracy in the first place and while continuing to wink at the deplorables in his base by signaling that their birtherism is not just perfectly acceptable but admirable."  So despite saying President Obama was born in the U.S., period, the story continues -- Megyn.

KELLY:  Trace, thank you.  In the meantime, Mrs. Clinton today says, there is no erasing the birther issue for Donald Trump even if he says it's behind him.  Within a couple of hours of her remarks, the Congressional Black Caucus came out to support her argument.  Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is a disgusting day.  Donald Trump is a disgusting fraud.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We've had enough and we're not going to take it anymore.  We will not elect a cheap bigot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  One of the things that we all are used to in this business is dog whistles.  But the thing that we're not used to, and I'm finding it very difficult to get and used to, are the howls of wolves.


KELLY:  Joining me now to respond, Donald Trump supporter and Fox News contributor Governor Mike Huckabee.  Governor, great to see you.


KELLY:  So, it was fascinating to watch this unfold on various media outlets today because our folks, our friends on the other networks said, no way, did he put this to bed today and said every statement he said today was a lie.  Your thoughts.

HUCKABEE:  Well, first of all, I think the media got totally just bamboozled and they hate it.  I mean, what you're seeing is --

KELLY:  They got punked.

HUCKABEE:  They totally got punked and they can't stand it.  So, they're going to use all of the resources they have to do what they were going to do anyway.  Look, if Donald Trump would come out on and said, I love the media, they're great, I'm going to apologize to everybody starting with the New York phone book, do you think they're going to treat him differently?

KELLY:  Uh-hm.

HUCKABEE:  No.  So, why not go ahead and tweak him a little.

KELLY:  They're irritated because he played it up.  They said, it was going to be a presser, it wasn't a presser.  It was three lines, and he left and then he didn't take the media with him.  And people wanted him to answer questions which he hasn't done in two months.  Meanwhile she hasn't done it and it was like two years.  But they were irritated with him.  But then they also were questioning the accuracy of what he said.

HUCKABEE:  But they're always irritated at him.  Let's also keep in mind that it was just this week that the media had the lowest approval numbers in the history of polling.

KELLY:  Okay.  But what about the claims that he made, that she started it but he finished it.  Now, we happen to have some information about Hillary Clinton that you're not going to hear on some of the other networks and we're going to get to that in a moment.  It's not necessarily clear that she has nothing to do with it as her defenders are claiming but she didn't, quote, "start it."  And Donald Trump was very much the person holding the flag on this one, was he not?

HUCKABEE:  I don't know that he started it.  I mean, there were a lot of things out there.  And I remember Bill Clinton saying --

KELLY:  I'm not saying Trump started it but he held the flag on it.  And she accused him of founding his campaign on it.  He did make a huge issue out of this in 2011 and 2012.

HUCKABEE:  But let's keep in mind.  At that time, Donald Trump was not a politician, he was not a political candidate.  Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, they both were.

KELLY:  Okay.  But I have you here as a Trump surrogate.


KELLY:  So, I'm going to get to Richard Fowler next after you.


KELLY:  But Trump did make a huge issue out of this.  And even after he claims he put it to bed when he got Barack Obama to release the long form birth certificate proving as, he has been in the case, he was born in Hawaii, he kept it up.  And we have all of the tweets from 2012 where he keeps going on and on and on.  Talking about, this is from September 13th, 2012, wake up America, see this article.  Obama birth certificate is a fake.  And then again, August 2012, an extremely credible sources called my office and told me that, Barack Obama's birth certificate is a fraud.  And on and on.  It went all the way to January of this year.

HUCKABEE:  Look, I'm not going to deny that Donald Trump made a lot of questions about his birth certificate.  But, you know, here's a question. Maybe you can raise it to Richard, you know, because Richard is going to be foaming at the mouth.  I like Richard.  He's a friend.  But let me ask you something.  When you watch the Black Caucus as I did, not just a snippet but the whole thing, they repeatedly said Donald Trump is a bigot, he's a racist, he's been a racist all of his life.  Now, what evidence is there for that?  There isn't any.  There is none.

KELLY:  Well, they believe, what they say is the attempted delegitimize, the first black president is in itself bigoted and racist.

HUCKABEE:  If they can show that what he was saying was because he was black, then they've got a point.  But they can't do that because --

KELLY:  Well, it's the connection to Africa.  The suggestion is that he was born in Kenya, and not born in America.  And that's where they bring the race in?

HUCKABEE:  But once again, to say that he's a racist, that he is a bigot, that's nonsense.  There's an old rule all is fair in love and war and politics.  And so in a sense, this is not all that unusual.  When I find interesting, is that when I hear the people who are against Donald Trump, whether it's Hillary or the caucus or whoever it is, or the media, but then again I repeat myself, it sounds like they're all sucking from the same helium balloon because they all have that same shrill voice and say the exact same words, as if they're reading a script.

KELLY:  All right.  Got to go.  Great to see you.

HUCKABEE:  Good to see you.

KELLY:  While the Clinton camp has spent much of the less 24 hours attacking Trump on this issue, that strategy does have some risk.  You would not know it to watch some of the other channels today but we're going to get to this in a minute.  This morning Mrs. Clinton tweeted out, quote, "President Obama's successor cannot and will not be the one who led the racist birther movement, period."

And that got this response from the former Washington bureau chief of the McClatchy news service who wrote and I quote, "So why did your man Sid Blumenthal spread the Obama birther rumor to me in 2008 asking us to investigate?  Remember?"

Joining me now, nationally syndicated radio talk show host and senior fellow at the New Leaders Council, Richard Fowler.  How about that, Richard?  This is the former head of the McClatchy news service saying, her top guy, Sid Blumenthal came to him and said, he wasn't born here. Go investigate it.

RICHARD FOWLER, NEW LEADERS COUNCIL:  Megyn, to use your words, breaking tonight.  We've learned something new that we've already known for seven years.  President Barack Obama is an American.  It's astonishing.  It's eye popping.  It's shocking.

KELLY:  Right.  We know that.  We know that.

FOWLER:  Shocking.

KELLY:  Right.  So, Donald Trump has come to terms with that, which we'll talk about in a second.  But I'm starting with you on whether Hillary is as squeaky clean on this as she would have us believe.

FOWLER:  So, let's talk about that.  So, PolitiFact released a report about, in 2015 about this birther controversy --

KELLY:  They didn't cover Sid Blumenthal.  They did not cover what this McClatchy guy has said.

FOWLER:  You know what?  Wait a minute.  So, what we found in the PolitiFact report was that there was some folks -- the name of the group is called Puma.  Right?  So, they did not want the president, they were Democrats.  They were not going to get in line and they posted this picture of the President in Muslim garb.  And that is how this birther thing could have started but there is no connection to the Hillary Clinton campaign, no connection to the Hillary Clinton --

KELLY:  Sid Blumenthal is connected to Hillary Clinton.  That's her top aid.  That is her guy.  That is her right-hand man.

FOWLER:  Megyn, but this former reporter who I don't know, this has not been fact checked.  Nobody knows who this guy is.  Clearly they're former, so that says something about him, right?

KELLY:  No, it doesn't.

FOWLER:  I take this with a grain of salt.  At the end of the day, we know the President is born in America.  We've known for the past seven years that Donald Trump has pushed this crazy conspiracy theory --

KELLY:  That is true.

FOWLER: -- to only benefit himself and his gold plated new hotel down the street from the studio.

KELLY:  Well, let me ask you this.  Because you heard Governor Mike Huckabee saying, you cannot come out and say based on the --



Okay.  But he says, you cannot come out and just denounce the man as a bigot based on the birtherism we've seen.

FOWLER:  Well, I think, here's the thing.  If Donald Trump is trying to get the African-American vote, right?  Which right now he has five percent, recent poll has six, Mitt Romney has, he is going to have to --

KELLY:  He's at 25 percent in South Carolina for the record.

FOWLER:  Yes.  But South Carolina, Democrats are not going to win South Carolina regardless.  So, he can have that.  Right?  The truth of the matter here is this, for Donald Trump to get the African-American vote, what he should have done today was go out and apologize to the American people for perpetuating this fraud and he did not.  He made this one line. He pimped the media beyond belief, right?

KELLY:  Uh-hm.

FOWLER:  And he's not going to get black voters.  He's saying to black people I really don't care about you even though I want you to quote- unquote, "give me a chance."  I'm going to continue to push this rhetoric, not talking about any solutions for your community.  And so, African- Americans need to go out and not necessarily vote for Hillary Clinton but you should at least vote against Donald Trump.  And Hillary Clinton's campaign has got to be focused on turning out black voters.

KELLY:  Uh-hm.  And they're paying attention.

FOWLER:  Got to be.

KELLY:  That is becoming --

FOWLER:  Got to be.

KELLY:  More and more of an issue.  Richard, great to see you.  Thank you.

FOWLER:  It's always good to see you.  Happy Friday, Megyn.

KELLY:  You got to go now and have drinks with the Governor.

So, Donald Trump cuts into Clinton's lead in yet another key state and Chris Stirewalt is next on what we're see in these numbers before Bill Bennett joins us on what to expect next.

Plus, a rare glimpse at the media circus that unfolded when word got out that Mrs. Clinton had fallen ill.  Mark McKinnon of The Circus along with his partner in crime Mark Halperin, he is making a special appearance tonight on "The Kelly File." I have the behind the scenes scoop just ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is what they have to do.  They have to sit here all day just in case, you know, a doctor comes out with some news.  The press used to be able to get up pretty close to the house.  Now they've got barricades up so that traffic can't even drive down the street.



KELLY:  Well just 53 days to go until the 2016 election and new polls out this week suggest the race is growing tighter by the day.  Tonight, there is another state to add to the list of key territories where Donald Trump is gaining ground.  In Michigan, Trump trails Clinton by just three points. Thirty five percent to Clinton's 38 percent.  That is quite a shift from just last month when Trump faced an 11-point deficit.  That's on top of another poll out of Ohio.  This one from Suffolk University that has Trump up by three in that state.  The third Ohio poll in two days with Trump in the lead.

Joining me now, Chris Stirewalt, our Fox News digital politics editor. Chris, good to see you.


KELLY:  And now, here goes Michigan, a state that is expected to vote Democrat, that typically votes Democrat and it's down to three now.  I mean, something huge happened in the past seven days, that's the bottom- line.  Just one week ago she was in a great position, seven days later she's got to be crying in her soup.

STIREWALT:  Well, we have not an unprecedented -- I would say it would be an unprecedented collapse for Hillary Clinton's poll numbers except for the fact that she's done it before.  If you look at her trajectory line over the arc of this election which got started, really in general election, he got started in early May.  She goes along and then she goes, boom and then she hits these speed bumps and falls apart.

KELLY:  What did she do?  Was it basket full of deplorables?  Was it the collapse at the ceremony?

STIREWALT:  So, the deplorables parts relates more to the strengthening. We see a slight strengthening in Trump's numbers, he's up in Michigan and Ohio.  A couple of few points here and there.  But what you see that makes the way so much closer is that she's falling apart.  And I would say that this has to do with the health problems and the lying about the health problems and then before that, you had this nation of news about e-mails but also about funny business with the Clinton Foundation.  So she's had a drum beat of negative stories and things that really reinforce the things that people like least about her and her husband and their family.

KELLY:  Uh-hm.  And so now, Trump has rebounded in Ohio and how.  He's right there in Florida as well.  North Carolina has tightened significantly.  I mean, if he gets those three, does he need Pennsylvania? Does he need Virginia?  Colorado is tightening too.

STIREWALT:  Well, if he can't have Virginia and Colorado, then he will need Pennsylvania or something else big.  And that is where we would look at Nevada, Iowa, Minnesota.  There are states --

KELLY:  He's winning in Ohio by a lot now -- I mean, Iowa, by a lot right now.

STIREWALT:  Exactly.  Iowa looks very good for him.  This is the kind of states.  Massive white population and a lot of older white voters without college degrees.  This is the Trump demographic that works well for him. And there are a lot of those voters in Michigan.  And that's why the map could look different this year.  But I would also point you to this, councilor.  When we look at these numbers, probably the most striking thing is how few people, relatively speaking, are voting for -- are expressing a preference for these candidates.

Four years ago at this point when our Fox News poll was in the field, we founded about 10 percent of people either had no opinion or were voting for a minor party candidate.  It's doubled that this time around.  And now we're talking about, one in five voters does not express support for either of the two major party candidates.  That means there's still a lot of snap left in the line here and it's going to be exciting.

KELLY:  What makes you think before I let you go, that they're going to vote at all?

STIREWALT:  Well, that's -- this is -- you asked the perfect question.  We have no idea whether people who say they can't be bothered to choose between the chicken entree or the fish entree, whether or not they're really going to end up ordering at all or they're going to leave the banquet hall hungry.

KELLY:  I think they're just going to hit the martinis.  Chris, great to see you.

STIREWALT:  You bet.

KELLY:  That's what makes them happy.

Joining me now with more.  Bill Bennett, chairman of Conservative Leaders for Education and former secretary of education under President Reagan. Bill, great to see you.  So, you tell me, I think --

BILL BENNETT, AUTHOR, "TRIED BY FIRE":  Good to see you, Megyn.  Martinis my lead-in.

KELLY:  Don't you think?  I don't know.  It's like you don't like the chicken, you don't like the fish.  You're good with like the slightly dirty, the olives or the blue cheese.

Was it basket full of deplorables, was it the collapse at 9/11.  In seven days, we've had a complete reversal in the race.

BENNETT:  Yes.  I think the onion skin started to come off, the peeling started to come off, we started to see the real Hillary.  And it was, yes, it was the deplorables.  By the way, I am PH.D. plorable leading a group of PH.D.s for Trump, about six of us.  Anyway, that didn't help.  And then of course the e-mail stuff.  Everything Chris mentioned.  But another factor, Colin Powell, a long-time friend of the Clintons ripped into her, talked about her unbridled ambition, her greed, I won't mention the bimbos running around the house, but the fact that she is not a transformational figure. She then sounded very shrill and I used the word advisedly, very shrill and very angry talking about Trump and xenophobic, homophobic, racist and so on.  And this is the angry Mrs. Clinton that people find so unattractive. So that -- then the collapse.  Then the collapse.

KELLY:  Angry but also she was accused of sounding quite elitist in those comments.

BENNETT:  Yes, no question.

KELLY:  And I realize she tried to quantify it saying, not all Trump supporters but at least half of them.  But if you're a Trump supporter you assume she's putting you in that half and it's offensive.

BENNETT:  Yes.  That's right.  That's right.  And she was making mention of her Wellesley degree today and Yale Law School, not a good idea particularly when you're putting down other people.  People who maybe worked --

KELLY:  Well, Trump is constantly mentioning his Wharton degree.  And it's like, he can get away with certain things and has been from the beginning. But let me ask you this.  So if you're advising Trump and asked you this to vote candidate, if you're advising Trump right now, you got 53 days left, just do what, do you say?

BENNETT:  Just do what you have been doing, hitting the themes, going to the communities, talk about education.  I think you'll hear more about that.  Talk about the economy, talk about what her plan is, what is her plan, why do we want eight more years of Obama.  And here's the irony. People are saying, well, I wonder if she will get to him and that he will come apart.  She seems to be the one who is coming apart.

KELLY:  You don't think Trump needs to go big, just slow and steady at this point.  We'll get him where he needs to go.  But if you're advising her, what do you tell her to do?

BENNETT:  Become another person.  You know, it's not --

KELLY:  That's not helpful.

BENNETT:  That is not easy.  But, I mean, sooner or later that TV camera, those interviews are x-rays and they see into the soul and American people are seeing something they don't like very much -- Megyn.

KELLY:  Bill, you are officially not going to get hired by the Clinton camp.

BENNETT:  Let's have a martini.

KELLY:  Great to see you.


BENNETT:  Not their next secretary of education.

KELLY:  No, no, definitely not.

Well, after weeks of uncomfortable questions about the Clinton Foundation, former President Bill Clinton has tonight chosen to lead a big dollar bash collecting up to $250,000 a head in what we're told is a big fundraiser for the Clinton Foundation.  The last one, though, they say, the last one before the election.  I'm sure it will have no effect on the Clintons.

Plus, Howie Kurtz and Rich Lowry are here on how Mrs. Clinton might handle the first big debate now that she's used up some of her best attacks already.  They're next.


CLINTON:  A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.



PATRICIA STARK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Live from America's News Headquarters, I'm Patricia Stark.  The FBI and U.S. Capitol police charging a man from Tennessee with threatening to kill U.S. lawmakers from Hawaii.  The man allegedly sent e-mails and videos threatening to open up fire on a federal building in Honolulu.  Authorities say, he was targeting U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono and U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, both of whom are Democrats.

And a Florida man who finally got in George Zimmerman's truck during a road rage incident has been convicted of attempted second degree murder. Matthew Apperson argued he fired his gun in self-defense but prosecutors claimed Zimmerman's truck had tinted windows which were rolled up during the incident.  You may remember Zimmerman was acquitted three years ago in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager.

I'm Patricia Stark and now back to "The Kelly File." For all of your headlines, log on to FoxNews.com.

KELLY:  We are ten days out now from the very first presidential debate. It's exciting.  And with Trump closing the gap now in the polls, some political writers are starting to ask whether Mrs. Clinton has already used up all of her best attacks when it comes to Donald Trump.  Take a look.



He wants to divide us from the rest of the world and from each other.

Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters.

A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.

A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark, conspiracy theories...

He is temperamentally unfit to be president and commander-in-chief.


KELLY: Joining me now, two of the folks asking this question, Howie Kurtz, the host of "MediaBuzz" on FNC and Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review and a Fox News contributor. Good to see you both.


KELLY: So, that is a question. I mean it's a question going after Trump in general. There's so much and he just constantly is doing something controversial and so on, but is there anything left for her to say, Howie?

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEW MEDIA BUZZ SHOW HOST: Well, she's pretty much fired all of her nuclear war heads once you have called your opponent unfit for the presidency, dangerous, a bigot, a shady businessman, a fear monger, a conspiracy theorist. I think all she's got left in the arsenal is some pop guns and maybe some sling shots.

But look, this was always the danger of Hillary Clinton, a risk of building so much of her campaign around demonizing Donald Trump, I mean, he's done the same thing to crooked Hillary, but she doesn't have a signature issue or a shorthand for what she would for the country.

KELLY: And yet those audiences get -- that's going to get record numbers, Rich. I mean the presidential debate is going to have an audience that hasn't heard all of these attack, that hasn't really -- people live their lives, you know, they don't pay as close attention to it as we might think.

LOWRY: Well the audience is going to be enormous and this arguably is going to be the most momentous presidential debate since Carter-Reagan in 1980. And I'm with Howie, you know, there is sense to what Hillary has tried to do in this campaign, which is just disqualify Donald Trump as this dangerous madman.

The problem is, for her, that creates a really low bar for Donald Trump to get over and one of the reason that the polls have closed the last month is Donald Trump -- when he shows up and just uses a reasonable tone of voice and gives a serious speech and goes to a venue that's kind of different and interesting. It's not a rally. It shows he's not a dangerous madman and it falsifies that entire line of attack. Now, if he can carry that off in the debate, there is some chance this race flips and the advantage goes to Donald Trump.

KELLY: What about -- there was an article out today, Howie, talking about in "Politico" from Glenn Thrush talking about these are five factors that could still lead to Trump's downfall saying look, everything has gone his way recently, he's still not ahead, saying the cable and the TV networks are going to come after him like nobody's business.

KURTZ: Well, this race isn't over in Trump's favor any more than it was over in Hillary's favor a month ago when she had that 10 and 12 point lead and a lot of people were just speculating about who she would have in her cabinet. So, you know, Hillary Clinton still has the built-in Electoral College advantage that will help. But in terms of, I mean, Rich makes some really good point, which is Donald Trump now has a lower bar to clear so, in terms of debates.

A lot of people who might be expecting him to be formulating (ph) and attacking crooked Hillary might see a more sober figure if she chooses to go that way. I really think that Hillary Clinton has to fashion some kind of appeal to those white working class voters who are tempted by the Trump brand, who might ordinarily vote Democratic. She has to offer them something about improving their lives. But when she talks about policy, she's kind of boring and it's hard for her to break because she doesn't have the showmanship.

LOWRY: This is could bean irony about where this race is now. For months and months and months, we've heard about how Trump needs to pivot, can he pivot, will he pivot. Well he finally sort of pivoted. Now, Hillary Clinton needs to pivot. She needs to do things that are original, interesting and unexpected. I think it would have been great for her when she was feeling better after that New York collapse to stand up in front of the press, do an hour and a half press conference on my health. That's all I want. I'm going to answer every single question.

I'm going to release every record. That would have been completely unexpected. It would have created a sense of openness we've never seen from her or instead of having us, you know, big Clinton Foundation bash for Bill's birthday, why not come out and say immediately, you know, I get the doubts about the Foundation, no one with the name of Clinton is going to have anything to do with this Foundation beginning right now.

KELLY: Why would she fuel any of the fires? It's almost like she's walking around with two iPhones again. You know, like...

LOWRY: Right.

KELLY: Don't you understand?

LOWRY: And she is sort of -- she's banking on she can just continue to grind this out in a conventional way. And maybe she can, but it's a big risk now. And we don't know if she's hit bottom yet.

KURTZ: She's such a cautious candidate and it's hard for her to just, you know, be herself because she feels like she will be hammered.

KELLY: This was one of the things they worried about over in team Clinton, about going up against Donald Trump. The unpredictability of his message and how and whether she'd be able to respond, you know, definitely (ph), good to see you both.

LOWRY: Thanks Megyn.

KURTZ: Good to see you Megyn.

KELLY: Up next, as Rich just mentioned, after weeks of questions about quote "pay for play" involving the Clinton Foundation and Hillary, that Foundation is holding what it says will be its very last big bash before the election. Is this a good idea? We'll take a look at the possible fallout.

Plus, the "Circus" producers with, Mark McKinnon and Mark Halprin is here as well tonight, our next on what the cameras found at Chappaqua this week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just one week ago, Hillary Clinton was getting points for letting the press in, get closer and now we're going just back the other direction again.



KELLY: Developing tonight, in the week since a cell phone camera caught Hillary Clinton collapsing at a 9/11 ceremony, her campaign has been taking hits over transparency, honesty and how it tries to manage the media. Immediately after that incident, cameras from the Showtime series "The Circus" travelled to the Clinton compound in Chappaqua, New York. What they found there tonight gives you some behind the scenes insights on the media and the Clintons. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, this is the press pool. We're responsible for reporting any news that occurs here. This is what they have to do. They got to sit here all day just in case, you know, a doctor comes out with some news. The press used to be able to get up pretty close to the house. Now, they've got barricades up so that traffic can't even drive up the street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're on the street. We're not on her property.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to go into semantics with you folks. I'm trying to be civil about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you guys talk to your bosses? I mean, we got to do our job too, you know.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not the problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to send in the black top there in the ditch next to the trees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm fine with that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, if we have to, sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm fine with that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what you got to do to keep your boss happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not giving us the freedom of speech. You're not doing your job. This is ridiculous. That's America here. Not Russia. It's America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch yourself. There is a truck coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just one week ago Hillary Clinton was getting points for letting the press in, get closer. And now we're going just back the other direction again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at us. We're putting ourselves in danger just for freedom of speech.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The press united will never be defeated. The press united will never be defeated.


KELLY: Joining me now are "Circus" co-creators and executive producers, Mark McKinnon and Mark Halprin is here tonight as well, great to see you both.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to be here.

KELLY: So basically, she's arms length from the media and has been. Now, she did take a couple of questions yesterday so I shouldn't had said anything two years, but she didn't love to talk.

MARK MCKINNON, THE CIRCUS CO-PRODUCER: Well, it had been a year before two weeks ago on the plane. It had been 270 days. And the thing -- I was there and I was struck by the fact that when she did do it, she was fine. She got a lot of questions and a lot of them were tough, they weren't soft. She was the pro and that makes you wonder why she waited that long. But as I said in the piece, she was getting some credit and now this whole week is just like, oh well...

KELLY: This has been a terrible week. I mean, you could argue the worst of her campaign. Mark, you thoughts on what happened to her, I mean, I was seeing last night, looks like she suffered a campaign catastrophe when you see what happened with the polling and these various states where her lead has been cut in half or lost completely, in a week.

MARK HALPERIN, THE CIRCUS CO-PRODUCER: Yeah, I mean it's funny to think back, three weeks, four weeks ago the whole story line was is the Republican Party going to abandon Trump and want to run with him. Now if you look at the polling this week, national polls, he's tied or ahead. And in key states like Florida and Ohio he's ahead. The Clinton campaign does not dispute that. And in some states like Colorado and Virginia, that people are basically saying give those to Clinton, they're competitive again.

And so, what we look at Sunday night on "The Circus" is the flow of this week and the context of the polls tightening, Clinton under pressure because of what happened to her health but also because of basket of deplorable, but Trump under pressure too.

KELLY: What do you think is happening inside the Clinton camp? Are they in a panic?

MCKINNON: There's a lot of bed wetting going on in the Democratic Party right now.

KELLY: There has to be, right. I mean, they're frittering away a huge lead.

MCKINNON: They've clawed their way to the bottom.

HALPERIN: You take the candidate off for work for three days, right, that's a huge vacuum. But you saw President Obama step in and had one of the best events of the year for any politician.

MCKINNON: Great surrogate.

KELLY: Michelle Obama got big (ph).


HALPERIN: So there are other people out there, but the reality I think we learned this week is she's got to win this for herself. She's not going to coast to a win. She has to fight for it and she's never fought successfully, you know...

MCKINNON: ...in every presidential campaign where the candidate has to fight to win it, you know, this is a critical moment she's got to show that she's got the determination and fight and desire to win this.

KELLY: What did you make of what we found...

HALPERIN: She did fight to win Bernie Sanders. It's the one time she's fought to win.

KELLY: What did you make of what me saw from Trump today?

MCKINNON: I was completely astonished by this whole birther thing. I mean, just when I thought I sort of had things figured out, I'm like...

KELLY: Why would they be doing this?

MCKINNON: Yes. I mean, you know, we saw a kinder gentler version, the polls are tightening and now all of a sudden birther.

KELLY: Calling attention to one of the least favorite aspects of him.


HALPERIN: But if he hadn't changed his position, I think people are going to continue to ask him about it. And his aides had already put out that he had changed his position, but he hadn't said it himself so I think they thought they might be able to get away with that. Just having surrogates there...

KELLY: Why the drama? Why not just give an interview and mention it?

HALPERIN: Because I think he wanted to control the way it happened and you can't control things as well with an interview.

KELLY: Do you think that this puts a period at the end of the birther thing or no?

HALPERIN: I think it does for some people and for the media. You know, think about the beginning of the week. I thought we were going to be covering, all of us including on "The Circus" baskets of deplorables and Hillary Clinton's health. Those things have been washed away by their medical records not by what's happened with Donald Trump and the birther thing. So, I think by Monday we won't be talking about it. It still have a lot of resonance for a lot of people but I don't think it's going to be...

MCKINNON: That's one thing that's been amazing about this campaign is we have this epic sort of news events happen and two days later, something completely different.

KELLY: When we talk about for, you know, in many instances what Donald Trump wants us to talk about. I mean, that's how he drives the news cycle...

HALPERIN: And this is a classic example.

KELLY: ...and the media runs along like lemons.

HALPERIN: The Clintons have been worried about this for the entire time they realized they were going to face Donald Trump, which is he can control the news better than a former first lady of the United States can and that's a challenge because if Trump is controlling what gets talked about, more days than not it's what Trump wants to talk about.

KELLY: We'll be talking about "The Circus" and watching "The Circus" and love it. Thank you guys so much. Well the Clinton Foundation is tonight having its last big bash before the election with donors paying up to a quarter of a million bucks a head to be a friend of the Foundation. David Wohl and Krystal Ball are here next on whether this party tonight could lead to new problems for the Clintons. Don't go away.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I spent half my lifetime doing this work. I got tickled the other day when Mr. Trump called my foundation a criminal enterprise.



KELLY: Breaking tonight, new details on President Clinton's 70th birthday bash -- a party that will also double as the final Clinton Foundation fundraiser before the election. The event is under way right now in New York's swanky Rainbow Room with donors being asked to pony up as much as $250,000 a head to be part of the fun. Trace Gallagher live in our West Coast newsroom with the latest on that.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Megyn, even Hillary Clinton supporters say the lavish fundraiser smacks of excess and it comes at a time when her campaign is dealing with questions about the e-mail scandal, her health and falling poll numbers. And let's also point out the event calls more attention to the Clinton's relationship with foundation donors and allegations concerning conflicts of interest and whether donors got special access to the State Department while she was secretary of state.

The campaign reminds us that if Hillary Clinton wins the White House, the Clinton Foundation will spin-off into an independent organization. And we're told this fundraiser/Bill Clinton birthday bash will help many different causes. To be listed as a chair of the event you had to put down $250,000 -- $100,000 to be co-chair, $50,000 to be vice chair but you get to hear Jon Bon Jovi and Barbara Streisand. Clinton donors will convene again Monday for the Clinton Global Initiative three-day gathering, which also ends in an extravagant gala dinner.

One Hillary Clinton supporter said the Initiative does good work but the optics are not optimum. Trump on the other hand is once again promising to sever all of his business ties should he win saying this on "Fox & Friends" yesterday. Watch.


TRUMP: Well, I will sever connections and I'll have my children and my executives run the company and I won't discuss it with them. It's just so unimportant compared to what we're doing about making America great again. I just wouldn't care.


GALLAGHER: The Trump line of questioning comes after "NewsWeek" claimed that his foreign business dealings could hamper national security, Megyn.

KELLY: Trace, thanks. Joining me now with more, David Wohl, an attorney and Trump supporter, Krystal Ball as well is here. She's a Clinton supporter and senior fellow at the New Leaders Council, good to see you both.



KELLY: So, David, you know the Clinton team is going to say the Clinton Foundation is all good, helps a lot of, you know, sick kids and why shouldn't he raise money to help them?

WOHL: Yeah, right after it's exposed as corrupt, pay to play organization, Megyn, with direct ties to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state, Bill decides to throw this big birthday bash -- birthday bash with the cover charge being $250,000 or for the impoverished party goers, $100,000. The money going straight to the Clinton Foundation.

Now, Megyn, people already know, these aren't just benevolent souls. They know that if Hillary Clinton gets elected, they may just have that red carpet roll out the front door of the White House and they may get to talk to her about whatever problems they may be having. Even the Democrats want it shut down, Megyn. But what is she doing? What are Bill doing? They're ramping it up. Just unvelievable.

KELLY: Well, let me ask you about this Krystal. So, conceding that the Clinton Foundation does a lot of good through its, you know, charitable donations, the optics of this are terrible -- terrible. Does she need this right now in her campaign?

BALL: I don't understand how raising money, celebrating 70 years on this planet and raising money for an undisputable good cause. I don't see how that's a scandal.

KELLY: So let me just -- I'll explain that...

BALL: Megyn, $500,000 a plate.

BALL: So I'll explain that -- I'll explain that without David's somewhat partisan spin. It's that people believe that these donors to the foundation may want something more than just to do good, that they may want to please the future president of the United States with a big donation that could get them access to someone who would be very, very powerful. And that's why some even left leaning publications have said she needs to shut this thing down now.

BALL: But, Megyn, we've seen lots of Hillary Clinton's e-mails. We have not seen any evidence of any scandal other than maybe a donor getting a better seat at a dinner. Meanwhile on the other side, Trump Foundation actually had a real pay to play scandal and no one is calling for him to cut off his business interest right now.

So, it's a complete double standard. You know, I think Bill Clinton wants to do some good on this planet. He's clearly demonstrated that during his 70 years and I don't see any reason why he shouldn't celebrate his birthday in this fashion.

KELLY: Well, what about that David, because it's actually, just to correct myself, it's actually been mostly the left leaning press organizations have mostly said she needs to shut it down if she wins. Only one or two have said right now.

WOHL: Well, I mean, what's been going on Megyn, it should have been shut down when she was secretary of state. That's the whole point. The reality is that they're continuing with this. They're so brash in the way they just flaunt this Clinton Foundation and to bring people...

BALL: So David, should Trump...


KELLY: Hold on, talk over each other.

WOHL: Megyn, will UBS be a partygoer tonight because we know what Mrs. Clinton did for UBS when they had IRS problem. She directly intervened. This is not just an imaginary scandal. It's real. And somebody to give $250,000 to go to a birthday party, they want a lot more than Bill Clinton's autograph.

KELLY: All right.

BALL: This is a closely vetted list of long time personal friends that are already foundation donors. These are not new people. And David I just want to mention...


KELLY: Great to see you both and happy birthday, Bill. We'll be right back.


KELLY: So what do you think? Should the Clintons be holding this fundraiser for the foundation right now? Go to facebooook.com/thekellyfile. Follow me on Twitter and let me know, and would you pay $250,000 to see Barbara Streisand or Bon Jovi?


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