Trump pardons former Army Lieutenant Behenna

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 7, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HANNITY: That was a good laugh.

All right. Welcome to “Hannity.” Buckle up.

Subpoenas, threats of contempt, calls for impeachment of pretty much everyone, and, oh, yes, obsessive hysteria over decades-old tax documents that reveal nothing new and absolutely nothing illegal. And the media's going nuts again. Oh, that's right, because Mueller didn't come out the way they want. Let's move onto the next conspiracy theories.

And speaking of which, maybe Hillary Clinton colluded with China to release them, because she said, China, I hope you're listening, release the tax returns. And there they are in the "New York Times."

I know facts are hard things for some people on the left and the media mob to understand. Donald Trump's still a billionaire. Yes, he's still president. We all knew that what happened in New Jersey in the casino business, yes, it kind of went south. Businesses fail every day. The Trump Organization is still an overwhelming American success story.

But this kind of vitriol just represents what the Democratic Party has become. Tax -- you know, we're going to get that for the next two years. We need the special counsel. Mueller, we need tax experts. You know, this is a political cabal filled with sore losers that are now bordering on rage psychosis that couldn't accept the results of the 2016 election, now refusing to accept the results of Mueller's investigation, and now more unhinge than ever.

So, tonight, after more than being cooperative in a broad 22-month witch hunt, the president is rightly saying enough is enough and he's putting his foot down. Remember, he didn't say or use executive privilege one time. He allowed everybody in the White House to talk to the special counsel, 1.5 million documents.

This week, the White House did order, finally fighting back, former counsel Don McGahn with a not to comply order as it relates to the congressional subpoena. After all, it was already interviewed by Robert Mueller for a whopping 30 hours. The guy is talked out. He has nothing left to say.

And meanwhile, under threat of contempt to Congress, the Attorney General Barr is refusing to release the full, unredacted version of the Mueller report to congressional Democrats because he's actually following the law and because the law was passed by Democrats. Barr, by the way, was not required to release one single letter, no word, no phrase, nothing of the Mueller report.

And the only redactions to the full report include, oh, grand jury information, language pertaining to ongoing cases, investigatory sources and methods. Can't let that out anyway.

And according to Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, the White House might order the DOJ to block Robert Mueller from testifying on the Hill. It's kind of disappointing -- I got a lot of questions for Mueller. Why did he appoint Andrew Weissmann and a band of Democrats, and let's see, people that withheld exculpatory evidence in the past, the people that represented Hillary Clinton, nobody that donated to the Republicans? I'd like a few of those questions.

Why did Robert Mueller not touch Hillary Clinton's bought and paid for dirty Russian dossier? I know he was busy. He was looking into FARA violations, the bad loan applications, incomplete tax returns, taxi medallions.

So, he's too busy to investigate Hillary's bought and paid for Russian lies and propaganda to impact the 2016 election which was part of the mandate of what he was supposed to be doing, not taxi medallions or FARA violations. Watch this.


INTERVIEWER: Should we take the president's tweet from this past weekend as an order to Bill Barr to not allow Robert Mueller to testify?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that's a determination to be made at this point. I think --

INTERVIEWER: To his credit, though, I mean --

SANDERS: That's the president's feelings on the matter. And the reason is because we consider this as a case closed, as a finished process. And, again, I think that most Americans think that this is finished.

(END AUDIO CLIP) HANNITY: Well, most Americans do. Sanders is right. It's over. It's done.

From now on, it's only noise. Two and a half years, Democrats, media mob, the self-obsessed super patriots like James Comey and the deep state trying to rip this country apart over a hoax, a conspiracy theory with no evidence and only anonymous sources.

Even Senate Majority Leader McConnell put it this way, they were hoping for a national crisis for political gain. That's so patriotic of them, isn't it? Take a look.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY: It's been two weeks since Attorney General William Barr made the 450-page report public. This investigation went on for two years. It's finally over.

They told everyone there had been a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign. Yet on this central question, the special counsel's finding is clear. Case closed. Case closed.


HANNITY: Now, the senator is laying out facts. Democrats could not be more detached from truth, reality.

Well, let's look at Speaker Pelosi. She's not really speaker. She's speaker in name only. It's Speaker Ocasio-Cortez and then speaker in name only Pelosi. Take a look.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: On the floor of the Senate, Senator McConnell is reported to be saying doesn't matter hear from Mueller, case closed. Case closed.

No, I don't think so. I don't think so.

Just as a matter of observation, that's just not a fact. The case is not closed.


HANNITY: She may want to check in with Speaker Ocasio-Cortez because the case is closed.

Pelosi went onto declare that President Trump is goading her into impeachment. That's what he's doing. You figured it out, another conspiracy theory.

Just when you think they're done with conspiracy theories and lying, just pull out of thin air. These people are amazing. They should write movies. Take a look.


PELOSI: Trump is goading us to impeach him. That's what he's doing. Every single day he's just like taunting, taunting, taunting because he knows that it would be very divisive in the country but he doesn't really care. Just wants to solidify his base.


HANNITY: Now, for Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues and the media mob, oh, it's not about in any way talking about or legislating or improving the lives of you, we, the American people, bettering the economy, making the world a better place, more safe, more secure, more prosperous. It's always about scoring cheap political points with their radical base.

Well, let's look at a new poll. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats believe President Trump is guilty of treason. They've been lied to every second, every minute, every hour of every day on every news channel except prime time here. So, what do you expect? Of course they're going to believe that lie.

According to multiple surveys, vast majority of these Democrats are -- Americans, though, they're against impeachment. Without a doubt, the far left, socialist, extreme, Democratic socialist party, they are out of touch with truth and reality and can no longer accept basic fundamental truths.

Same reason why so many Trump haters are refusing to admit a simple disturbing truth as well -- the Trump campaign was spied on. It happened. And tonight, as Byron York pointed out, it's not a question of whether spying took place. Question is, how much spying and by how many people?

Now, even former national intel director turn fake news CNN hack, James Clapper, begrudgingly admits this simple truth, looks like spying to me. Well, it was spying. Take a look.


JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DNI: There are protocols and standards for using an agent, and I'm sure that's the case here.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: So, you're saying this was not done lightly.

CLAPPER: No, it's never done lightly.

BLITZER: Was it spying?

CLAPPER: Well, yes, I guess it meets the dictionary definition of spying - - of surveillance or spying.


HANNITY: Uh-huh. Yeah. When our federal government sends in undercover agents, oh, like a hot blonde bombshell that's really flirtatious and makes herself available to George Papadopoulos for the purpose of extracting information out of him, yes, that's called spying. When our own FBI uses a series of secret informants to set up meetings and then surveilled Trump campaign aides and trapped them into saying things that they can't say because they don't know, that would be spying.

And when Carter Page -- he's going to join us in a moment -- had his calls and e-mails tapped by our own federal government after they committed a massive FISA fraud with the bulk of the application and information being Hillary's Russian dossier, that would be spying, too. What's worse, the basis for that spying was Hillary and her dirty Russian dossier, a document Comey and others signed off on.

You know, at the top of a FISA warrant -- I just learned this today -- it says verified. Hmm, it was never verified. It's unverifiable. This document totally unverified.

"New York Times" even suggesting all of it, paid for by Hillary, may have been Russian disinformation from the get-go.

And thanks to a brand new breaking report from "The Hill's" John Solomon, we now have one more piece of damning evidence that the Obama administration knew that the dossier was a fraudulent political hack job well before Comey used it, and they used it for the basis of the FISA application.

And according to John Solomon, ten days before that first FISA request, in October 2016, the author of that dossier, Christopher Steele, confessed to Obama's deputy assistant secretary of state, quote: His research was political and facing an election day deadline.

State Department memorialized this conversation in a written statement which was subsequently hidden from Congressman Devin Nunes during the course of his entire House Intel investigation.

The shocking revelation shining light on a series of texts between FBI officials Page and Strzok that referenced in an effort to speed up the completion of the FISA request likely used against Carter Page. We're going to get back to my monologue on this and hear from Carter Page in a minute.

But first, to break down all this new information, investigative reporter, he's from "The Hill". He's been here from the get-go on exposing a lot of this, John Solomon.

Wow. Let's see, Steele stunning pre-FISA confession. Informant needed Trump dirt before the election. It was a deadline to Hillary's lies.

JOHN SOLOMON, THE HILL EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT: It was. And to date, this is the most direct evidence that the U.S. government knew before it submitted to FISA, before it used the Steele dossier as a primary evidence supporting that FISA warrant, that the man they were dealing with was on a political mission. Not an intelligence mission, a political mission.

He told the Kathleen Kavalec, the deputy assistant secretary of state, on October 11th, 2016, that his client who he identified as someone recurrently hacked -- the Democratic National Committee -- needed to get this information, was keen on getting this information out before election day. That's the clearest sign that this was a political dirty trick, political opposition research. Not the sort of things that a counterintelligence agent working for the FBI should be dealing with or trusting, for that matter.

And so, very big revelation and here's a big concern: several of the committees I've talked to -- Senate Judiciary, House Judiciary, House Intelligence -- say they were never shown this document, never told of this contact, and that deeply concerns them about the transparency that's been shown in this investigation. And I can tell you, Sean, there are more documents forthcoming later this week. There are additional documents that get into the political nature of Steele's work and how much the government knew about it before it went to the FISA court.

HANNITY: John, great investigative reporting. As you said, the first time this is direct evidence, more coming this week. But we did have closed door testimony, Bruce Ohr, who told everybody in August of 2016, it's unverified, Hillary paid for it, and Steele hates Donald Trump, correct?

SOLOMON: That's absolutely right. Now there's a written memo going further saying he had to get this information out before election day. What more obvious evidence do you need for the FBI to figure out that this was a political dirty trick, not a regular counterintelligence operation?

HANNITY: John Solomon, an investigative reporter with "The Hill" -- we'll have you back as these developments warrant this week.

SOLOMON: Thank you.

HANNITY: But joining us now, the person at the very center of Solomon's reporting, the American that was targeted, his constitutional rights trampled on by the infamous FISA warrant, author of a new summary of "The Mueller Report", former Trump campaign associate, Carter Page.

Well, now, we have the Bruce Ohr instance. He testified behind closed doors. He told everybody it was unverified. It was the basis to take away your constitutional rights and then spy on the Trump campaign simultaneously.

CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ASSOCIATE: Sean, I mean, it's exactly in John's article. He talks about the quote from Congressman Nunes, you know, about these -- all these redactions and the fact that things are basically being covered up. That has been exactly my experience as well.

And, you know, I'm so thankful for, you know, what Chairman Graham, what Congressman Nunes, Congressman Collins have been doing for so long. As well as a small handful of journalists such as yourself and John --

HANNITY: We have our ensemble team here. And we've been right, 99.9 percent. In other words, basically every newsroom in America, every news division in America failed on the job, didn't they?

PAGE: Look, it's, you know, the big issue of spying. To me, big deal, in terms of that, the word, the definition of spying.

HANNITY: Well, spying, they spy on us, we spy on them. I like our spies to be bigger than theirs.

PAGE: The bigger issue in my view is really meets -- I believe all the elements of the term "terrorism", 18 USC 2331. The attempt to overthrow the government, what they did to President Trump, you know, it was an attack on me, but it was really trying to overthrow --

HANNITY: You were just the person they used to get into the Trump campaign, all things Trump campaign.

PAGE: Yes, I think they've -- you know, it's really been a big push --

HANNITY: You need to sue. When we get those applications, you need to sue every single person. It's supposed to be verified. It's unverifiable because the author doesn't stand behind it.

PAGE: I actually -- I have a lawsuit. That is one -- one part of it. Unfortunately, Kathleen Ruemmler, who is the counsel for the DNC --


PAGE: She said that we should sanction him for not following the rules.

Now, she represents the DNC, which basically broke every rule in the book and all the constitutional rights. So, I'm calling on Director Wray to, you know, I sent him a letter --

HANNITY: He's been too timid. He has been too timid protecting the bureaucracy. This is the premier law enforcement agency in the world. He needs to clean out the .1 percent bad actors and do it vigorously.

PAGE: Well, he used the term today "by the book", which is the exact same words that then --


PAGE: Well, actually, no. The chairman -- Chairman Grassley and Chairman Graham, they sent a letter asking Susan Rice, who again my -- the lawyer that I'm up against was -- had the words "by the book, Susan Rice." And, you know, it's, again --


HANNITY: We're going to get to the bottom of it.

PAGE: Yes.

HANNITY: Thank you for being with us.

PAGE: Thank you so much, Sean.

HANNITY: It shouldn't have happened to any American. Can't happen again. It shouldn't happen to any presidential candidate.

PAGE: Absolutely.

HANNITY: All right. Thank you.

Let's not forget the first FISA request in the Carter Page, James Comey signed that. He had mountains of evidence the dossier was biased, unverifiable, piece of garbage, paid for by Hillary -- never verified. And he says on the top of that, verified.

Even told President-elect Trump the dossier, this is months later. He signed it on October 2016, January 2017, he said, oh, it's salacious, but unverified. Well, he lied then or lied in October or he lied both times.

Now, remember, as Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein said, an official who signs off on a FISA request, must swear the information used in that is true and correct or there are severe consequences.

And Kevin Brock, the former assistant director of intelligence at the FBI, put it this way: James Comey is in trouble, he knows it. The 25-year FBI vet believes that Comey's flurry of public activity shows that he is desperately trying to shake the narrative. But at the end of the day, truth is more important than any spin of Jim Comey.

Comey did not want Trump to become president, hated him. As a self- aggrandized super patriot that knows better than we smelly Walmart people, irredeemable deplorables, he was clearly willing to do anything to stop Trump, spying, leaking and worse, and signing off on the biggest Russian lies ever put together by the opposition party, using the tools of intelligence, weaponizing them against the American people. And an opposition party campaign.

It can't happen again. It is this program's mission to hold all of these people accountable. James Comey, tick-tock.

Here now, Fox News contributor, Sara Carter. Former Clinton pollster Mark Penn is with us.

You know, you're one of the few Democrats that have been out there saying something to your party that this is not going to end well for you. That this is really bad, what you've engaged in here. But they keep doubling down.


MARK PENN, FORMER CLINTON POLLSTER: Well, I've been trying to say, hey, talk about health care. The Mueller report's out. There was no Trump- Russia collusion.

If you went back and read the dossier, you would laugh. If you knew that it was paid for by the DNC, you would laugh. If you read --

HANNITY: It is funny when you read it.

PENN: It is. It's absolutely incredible.

You read the Page-Strzok texts, one, two, three, you knew that this was never going anywhere --

HANNITY: How did 99 percent of America's media -- the mob, I call them -- and Democrats, they put all their faith and hope -- they didn't think Trump would win and they didn't think Mueller report would come back this way.

PENN: Yes, they never thought Mueller would come back this way, and it's unbelievable. How did we spend two years, two years? And you were right - - once you uncovered the information that said, you know what, these folks were biased, this thing was paid for by a political campaign, they created a massive echo chamber inside our government with false information. This should never happen.

HANNITY: And also, they rigged the investigation into Hillary.

The attorney general stated it very clearly, Sara Carter, this is now all - - we're going back to square one. This is where we'll get the FISA applications, Gang of Eight, 302s, we'll examine how they rigged -- even Page and Strzok were laughing and making fun of the fact that it was a rigged investigation.


HANNITY: They pointed it right in -- put it right in the attorney general's office at the time, Loretta Lynch. She's got problems.

CARTER: That's right, Sean. And now, they need to get all of the documents -- look, John's recent story actually revealed is that they knew prior to getting the FISA, right, that they were -- that they were -- that they were going after -- this was a political opportunity for Christopher Steele. Those in the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

So, what it's actually saying is that the FBI was utilizing disinformation from the Russians, lying to the FISA courts so that they could spy on Carter Page. And now we have to ask ourselves this: how many more people within the Trump sphere were also -- were also spied on or also utilized to spy on members of the Trump campaign.

I think this is what Devin Nunes wants to find out. This is what Senator Grassley as well as Senator Graham are looking into. How many people within that sphere were actually utilized, because every day we find more and more information that points in that direction? That our intelligence community, the law enforcement was weaponized?

HANNITY: Knowing just what we know -- knowing just what we know does exist, and that is coming out, to what extent will the conscience of the American people in your view be shocked?

CARTER: They will be extraordinarily shocked. This is going to be an avalanche of information. People will be indicted because of this. I think that, you know, we could see the intensity with Attorney General William Barr during his testimony. And he would not be that intense, he would not be that adamant if he didn't know something more.

HANNITY: Agreed.

CARTER: I believe there are ongoing investigations now and the first one we've got to see is Michael Horowitz. We've got -- once that comes out, everything else follows.

HANNITY: That's coming. Tick-tock.

Last question for you, Mark Penn. So every day between now and election day 2020, your party -- I say that respectfully -- you're not your party, they focus on this, they stay on this, they obsess on impeachment. Let's get those tax returns. OK, we all knew Atlantic City was a dump, and everybody lost money, Trump's still a billionaire.

How bad does it hurt them?

PENN: Well, look, if they focus on this, it's not a winning issue. Then Trump will win on the economy. They have to focus on health care, education --

HANNITY: Is it the economy, stupid?

PENN: Hey, it's the economy if he can make it the economy and keep it going. We'll see if he gets through this China tariff thing. But I say to Democrats, get off impeachment, get on the issues.

HANNITY: Good luck with that. I don't think they're listening. Good to see you. Thanks.

PENN: Not so far.

HANNITY: All right. A busy news night. Lindsey Graham is here next.

What will he and his committee be up to? And breaking news on the abuses in the Russia investigation, we will chronicle that new news straight ahead.


HANNITY: All right. It's already been a really bad week for the deep state. Here to talk about the very latest developments and help break it all down, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham.

You know, I had you on -- although when you don't avoid the show by traveling all over the world and you make yourself available. This is your first job, I don't understand why you say no.


HANNITY: Very bad, exactly, I agree.

Steele's stunning pre-FISA confessions, this new report, and the closed door testimony where we know Bruce Ohr under oath said, well, I told everybody in August of 2016, it's an unverified document -- the dossier -- and Steele hates Trump and Hillary paid for it.

You know, as I do, that it's unverified, but does it not say at the top of a FISA warrant, I just learned this today, verified?

GRAHAM: Well, it's supposed to be. You're supposed to say under oath to the court that the document I'm presenting to you is accurate. That's the whole point of getting a warrant. You got to have reliable information.

But why is this so important? We know in August of 2016, Ohr tells the FBI senior leadership, you got to watch this Steele guy, he's out to get Trump. Now, what do we know? That Christopher Steele went to the Department of State on October the 11th to try to get the Department of State to release the dossier to the public for political reasons.

They tell the FBI, this is ten days before they get the first warrant application verified. So, ten days before they applied for the FISA warrant, they were told in August that Steele's out to get Trump. In October, Steele goes to the State Department trying to get them to release it to the public for a political reason.

HANNITY: You know, you can't even make this up.


HANNITY: I understand there is a Florida case and we might get information from Steele, but we do know in the interrogatory where he was under the threat of perjury, he actually said, I have no idea if any of this is true, 50/50 at best. So, doesn't that then render the dossier, the dirty Russian dossier unverifiable?

GRAHAM: Well, why is this important? We should all be concerned if our government is getting a warrant against an American citizen under FISA Surveillance Act without accurate information.

What do we know? We know that without the dossier, the warrant would not have been issued. People in charge tell us that. We now know that the author of the dossier, Christopher Steele, was on the payroll of the Democratic Party. He was not a reliable informant for the FBI. He was trying to destroy Trump because he was paid by the Democrats to take Trump down. They knew all of this. They should have known all of this before they applied for the warrant. So, here's what needs to happen. Somebody needs to go to the FISA court and tell them that the FBI had plenty of notice that this guy was on the payroll of the Democratic Party and he was out to get Trump and the dossier was not verified the day they signed it (ph).

HANNITY: Senator, I'm not that smart. Would that be a conspiracy to commit fraud on a FISA court? And where I grew up in New York--


HANNITY: --And I know of down in South Carolina where you grew up--

GRAHAM: Yes. You were--

HANNITY: --You were living in a bar, I was working in a bar until 4:30. We have similar backgrounds. Where I grew up, you say, "yes ma'am, no ma'am, yes sir, no sir, yes your honor, no your honor," and if you lie to the judge, it's not going to work out really well in the end.

GRAHAM: Well, here is the question, how could you not know that Steele should be looked at really hard given what Ohr said and given his actions on October 11th? You got to remember, the guy who started this, Steele, went to the State Department and I don't know why he went to the State Department, for the express purpose of having the State Department release the dossier before the election.

HANNITY: And that was memorialized we now know. That's the interesting part and we have more e-mails coming.

GRAHAM: 10 days before the warrant.

HANNITY: Let me ask you -- before the warrant. Just like Ohr said. He told everything.


HANNITY: Let me go to Robert Mueller for a second. You said you don't care whether or not he testifies, that's up to him.


HANNITY: Trump may stop it. But I don't know if I want that. Because Mueller, I want to know when did he know there was no conspiracy with the Trump Campaign and Russia as it relates to collusion of any kind.

When did he know that or why did he hire only Democrats and even Hillary's attorney and one attorney known for withholding exculpatory evidence and having a really bad track record and failing? And why was he not concerned about Hillary's dirty Russian dossier when he had plenty of time to look into the medallions and pharaoh laws and loan applications and taxes? I would think the Russian dossier would have been important to Robert Mueller, but what do I know?

GRAHAM: Well, I need - somebody needs to look at this like Mueller looked at Trump. And here's the question. Why would the FBI classify this exchange between Steele and the State Department and the FBI April of this year?

HANNITY: Wow. Now, this is pretty interesting.

GRAHAM: They classified--

HANNITY: Will you pledge to the American people tonight, Senator? As the Attorney General told you, I thought you had the best line of questioning last week. That it's important if Hillary's investigation into criminal activity was rigged, whether or not they tried to rig a presidential election--

GRAHAM: Yes, right.

HANNITY: --whether a fraud was committed against the FISA court.


HANNITY: --whether there was leaking of intel, whether the intel community was weaponized against the American people, and whether or not they tried to bludgeon the President of the United States, whether the opposition party candidate lies to unseat a duly elected president, are all those issues on the table?

GRAHAM: You better believe it for Attorney General Barr and myself. We got to get to the bottom of it and make sure it never happens again.

HANNITY: Is the Mueller issue dead now?

GRAHAM: Case closed.

HANNITY: Thank you, Senator. You're dismissed.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

HANNITY: Thank you for being with us. All right. Coming up, 2020 candidate, yes, Uncle Pete, Mayor Pete, he says he doesn't think God is a Republican. Wow, how insightful. Dan Bongino, Geraldo are next, and you are going to meet the American serviceman that was pardoned by the President yesterday in an exclusive interview.


HANNITY: And so, now with the collusion narrative dead, buried, and no vision for America's future at all. Yes, the 2020 extreme radical socialist Democrats are already resorting to baseless predictable smears of President Trump and the GOP. He had it every two and four years, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, islamophobic, all they want, dirty air, water, kill children and throw granny over the cliff. Get used to that.

Just yesterday, we showed you crazy Uncle Joe claiming conservatives want to bring back Jim Crow laws using some of the same lines from the old Clinton playbook. Even The New York Times, they're taking notice, writing a new piece. So, 2020 Biden has given Democrats a little 2016 Clinton flashbacks, especially as Biden is already running scared like having to walk back his comments on China, among a host of other issues, including his treatment of Anita Hill.

And now, all of this could create a huge pathway for new crop of even more radical Democrats like media darling Mayor Pete who is ramping up his attacks on Christian values and conservatives. Sounds a little bit like irredeemable, deplorable, smelly Walmart people clinging to their God, guns, bibles and religion. I think I've heard this, seen this movie and I've heard this movie before.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've also spent a fair amount of time talking about your faith.



MAYOR PETE: It's important to me. And I think it's also important that we stop seeing religion used as kind of cajole, as if God belonged to a political party. And if He did, I can't imagine He would be the one that sent the current President to the White House.


HANNITY: Now Mayor Pete Buttigieg, oh, he's not stopping there. Yesterday, telling supporters that America was never all that great to begin with. Let's see, my father who fought four years in the pacific in World War II, the America that beat back fascism and communism, Nazism, and imperial Japan and has taken the brunt on the fight, radical Islamists that wanted to destroy us on 9/11/2001 -- nah, nothing great about any of that? Really? Take a look.


BUTTIGIEG: The solutions I believe are going to come from our communities. Communities like the one where I grew up, which is an industrial mid- western city. That is exactly the kind of place that our current President targeted with a message saying that we could find greatness by just stopping the clock and turning it back, and making America great again. When that past that he is promising to return us to was never as great as advertised, especially for marginalized Americans, and there's no going back anyway.


HANNITY: Here with reaction, Fox News Contributor Dan Bongino, Fox News Correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera. Geraldo, I'll take that guy (ph), I'll take the bait. Biden-Obama, 13 million more Americans food stamps, 8 million more on poverty, lowest labor participation rates since the ‘70s, worst recovery since the '40s, lowest home ownership rate in 51 years, and they took on more debt than every president before them combined. Now, we have record-low unemployment for everybody. I think I'll take Trump's record. I'm just betting.

GERALDO RIVERA, CORRESPONDENT-AT-LARGE: First of all, I think Mayor Pete is totally off the mark, Sean. I believe that God is a reflection of each of us, of all of us. So I tend to think of God as a progressive Republican, probably part Jewish, part Puerto Rican catholic, kind of cute, mustache. I think that he is - it was a joke.


RIVERA: Thank you for your belayed laugh. In terms of Make America Great Again, I think Pete is guilty of being very, very gloomy there. To me, Make America Great Again harkens to the time when we were growing up, when we -- America didn't have social media and divisive cable news shows, and everybody was in it together, and we all thought anybody could be anything we wanted.

It was a feeling of togetherness, America as a unit, all of us pulling together in the same direction. That I think is what Donald Trump meant when he coined the phrase Make America Great Again. He didn't mean harkening back to slavery or wiping out Native Americans, or Jim Crow. He meant the America where we - the America of great possibilities.

HANNITY: Hey, we have--

RIVERA: The America of inclusion.

HANNITY: Dan, we have record-low unemployment. We've got a booming economy. Europe is 0.3 GDP growth in the last two quarters combined. 0.3 percent. We're 3.2 with a government shutdown. 1.7 million more jobs than we have Americans on right now, unemployment. That's a lot of jobs. They're begging people in prison, when are you getting out, we need you.

DAN BONGINO, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Yes, Sean. And the latest economic numbers show that the poorest Americans, the bottom tenth percentile, their wages grew at double the rate of the richest Americans. So, the Democrats being in it for the little guy is a scam, like it has always been. But, aren't you embarrassed by your party if you're a Democrat right now?

No, I mean it. I mean think about, Sean, what we've seen just in the last year from the hapless Democrats decent into ideological madness. We've seen infanticide in some cases, late-term abortion in many cases. We've seen Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders advocate for a terrorist voting from prison. We've seen Julian Castro support a 90% tax rate. Elizabeth Warren suggesting a takeover of corporate boardrooms and Bernie Sanders suggesting your private insurance plan you get from your employer should be thrown in the garbage can, so people like Bernie can manage your healthcare. Ladies and gentlemen, their words, not mine. That's your party, Democrats. I hope you're proud.

HANNITY: Well, said. Geraldo, look, does this get any traction? New Green Deal, impeachment, impeach Barr, hate Trump, does it get them anywhere?

RIVERA: First of all, I hope that Mueller testifies because I would love to cross-examine him.

HANNITY: Me too.

RIVERA: --about when he suspected to the depth of his experience that President Trump did not conspire with the Russians to overthrow the United States--

HANNITY: Oh, John Dowd said a year prior.

RIVERA: I want to know and then why he didn't tell the President of the United States. One more thing about Mayor Pete. There is - he was very attractive, very - he is an articulate guy and he deserves a second look. But he is desperate to get the African-American vote.

He has zero African-American support. He knows South Carolina is up after Iowa and New Hampshire. He knows he needs the African-American vote to get the Democratic primary. He's desperate; he is flailing around. He's trying to redefine himself as the guy who didn't fire in 2007 the black Police Chief of South Bend, Indiana, which he did. And that's the deficit he's trying to overcome, Sean.

HANNITY: All right, thank you both as always. President Trump, he just pardoned an Iraqi veteran convicted of killing a suspected Al-Qaeda terrorist, former army first lieutenant Michael Behenna. He will join us exclusively, share that story. You won't see this anywhere else. You want to see this next.


HANNITY: Yesterday, President Trump, he pardoned ex-army first lieutenant Michael Behenna who was convicted in 2009 of killing a suspected Al-Qaeda terrorist in Iraq. Behenna originally received a sentence of 25 years in prison for unpremeditated murder on a combat zone. But they were concerns about how the trial court addressed his self-defense claim and in announcing the pardon, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders mentioned broad support from Behenna saying, "from the military, Oklahoma elected officials, the public."

He is now here to tell his story in his own words and react to today's news along with his parents, Vicki and Scott. Good to see you all. Let me start, if you don't mind, you were - Michael, you wanted to serve your country, correct?


HANNITY: Okay. And you found yourself in a situation where you were managing a 17-man platoon and an IED went off and killed four people, two of them yours.

BEHENNA: That's correct.

HANNITY: And how many were injured?

BEHENNA: There was five injured.

HANNITY: Five people injured, two lost their lives -- two others lost their lives. You've read the intelligence, which was your job, and you heard about an Al-Qaeda operative named Ali Mansur, correct?

BEHENNA: That's correct.

HANNITY: And you worked for the local sheik and you brought him into custody, correct?


HANNITY: And Mansur was then ordered released by the army. And your commander told you to transport the guy home, right?


HANNITY: And you did a field interrogation of Mr. Mansur, right?


HANNITY: And in the process of that, even with an interpreter with you during the interrogation, Mansur tried to get your weapon.

BEHENNA: That's right.

HANNITY: And you, fearing for your life, killed him.

BEHENNA: That's right.

HANNITY: Okay. The odds were pretty high that he was the Al-Qaeda explosive deliverer?


HANNITY: And so now prosecutors, as I understand it during your court martial, they had exculpatory evidence that they built -- they were told your defense lawyers that they hired a forensic expert, and tell us what the forensic expert found and why did he not testify.

BEHENNA: That forensic expert was actually sitting in trial during my testimony and he heard -- he heard my side of the story for the first time. After he heard my story, he went back to the prosecutors and did a demonstration to them in the room and told them -- or he -- I'm sorry. Let me back up. Once I told my story, he had -- he had told the prosecutors, that's exactly what I told you yesterday. Because he had did a demonstration for the prosecution team the day before, the day before he heard my testimony.

HANNITY: So he, the prosecution hires a forensic expert who confirms your story.


HANNITY: And then they don't tell your defense attorney. And this is how we treat American heroes? And then they send him home and he doesn't testify. Why would -- why would we send brave men and women - and I got to believe, Vicki and Scott, you sent your son and he's willing to risk his life for his country, and he has to defend himself. Now, we're going to second guess his decision. We have exculpatory evidence and they withheld it? How does that make a mother and father feel?

VICKI BEHENNA, MOTHER OF MICHAEL BEHENNA: Well, I can just tell you from my perspective, being a federal prosecutor for over 25 years, it was something I'd never witnessed before. It was a trial where the forensic evidence was not introduced by the prosecution, but by the defense.

HANNITY: It was withheld on purpose, ma'am. With all due respect, I'm going to be a little more blunt. They knew it. They didn't bring it up.

VICKI BEHENNA: Well, they definitely should have told, they have an ethical and constitutional responsibility to turn that evidence over once a forensic expert says that he doesn't believe their theory of an execution is accurate.

HANNITY: And Scott, as the father of Michael, an American hero, I got to imagine your son in eleven or (ph) for five years for something he was unjustly convicted of, I bet you have real anger issues with the people that did that because I know as a father, I would.

SCOTT BEHENNA, FATHER OF MICHAEL BEHENNA: It's hard, Sean. You know, five years passes very slowly in a prison. And we were fortunate to visit him very often which helped quite extensively, but you're right. I mean we were initially very angry. But you focus your attention on helping him and that's what we've tried to do for all these years, with all the support. You mentioned AG Hunter and President Trump, finally coming through. This is amazing day, exciting day.

HANNITY: Michael, you lost five years of your life. You defended your country honorably. President did this at the request of 37 generals, admirals, and politicians in Oklahoma where you're from. President called you yesterday. How did this all feel?

BEHENNA: It was -- it was totally unexpected. And I want to -- I want to personally thank President Trump and this is something he didn't have to do. I'm just grateful that he even considered my pardon petition. And it was one of the happiest moments of my life.

HANNITY: I agree. And I hope that every single case that we had, these rules of engagement, these guys -- I want every case reviewed, every single case. Welcome home, soldier. Thank you for serving your country.

BEHENNA: Thank you.

HANNITY: And to mom and dad, you guys have an unbelievable son and what loving parents you are. I'm glad it worked out right. Sorry you went through all that. We owe you better as a country, straight ahead.


HANNITY: We can ever do that to American soldiers ever again. We need a top to bottom review. All of these guys that served this country, rules of engagement and we second-guess them from the comforts of our living room or some office in DC? That has got to stop.

Anyway, we will never be the destroy-Trump media mob. Always fair and balanced. Let not your heart be troubled. Laura Ingraham is in Houston tonight.


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