Trump ticket talks ignite debate

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 11, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I will appoint a secretary of Veterans Affairs who will make it his or her personal mission to clean up the V.A. And this will be a person of great competence. This will not be a political hack.

Our debt to them is eternal and everlasting. We are going to fight for our military and our law enforcement personnel the same way they have fought for us.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Donald Trump in Virginia Beach today as he narrows in on his vice presidential choice. Some names that are on that list, we have Newt Gingrich, former House speaker, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former head of the DIA. Those three said to be on a narrow list. Then you have Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, and Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma.

This as the race, you can see the RCP average is now, the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Clinton by four-and-a-half in the average of recent polls. With that, let's bring in the panel: Here in New York, Jason Riley, columnist with the Wall Street Journal; Monica Crowley, editor and columnist for The Washington Times, and Philip Bump of the Washington Post.

OK, Monica, what do you think? It sounds like we're going to have a couple days here, and then there's going to be an announcement.

MONICA CROWLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Yes, Donald Trump is now considering those six, and I think -- I think that there's enough excitement with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket that he can afford to choose somebody who is perhaps a little less exciting in that term. I would say that Donald Trump is --

BAIER: So now you're pointing to like a Mike Pence?

CROWLEY: Yes, exactly, because, look, Donald Trump is a consummate showman. So he knows how to build suspense. And that's exactly what he's doing here by floating these names. It's possible that he could choose none of the above and surprise us all with a choice.

But I do think his choice matters this time with him more than probably any previous Republican candidate in recent memory simply because he's never done this before. And I would think he's going to accomplish two things. One is that he's already offered a lot of voters hope that if they elect him there will be true change, that the status quo will in fact be smashed. But he also now needs to offer voters reassurance in addition to that hope, reassurance that he will in fact govern responsibly.

The second point, which is directly related to that one, is that I think he needs to choose somebody who will in fact help him govern responsibly, somebody who has done this before who knows what they're doing.

BAIER: Something that he has pointed out in numerous interviews, Jason.

JASON RILEY, WALL STREET JOURNAL: I was going to say, a number of people on the list would make good vice presidents, including Pence and Gingrich. The question is whether they help him get elected in November. And there I'm not so sure. Both men have experience. They know the policies inside and out. They have credibility with conservatives, but are they going to help Donald Trump with the Democratic groups with which he's struggling right now -- young people, women, minorities, and so forth? And I think there's the problem.

BAIER: Philip, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, a lot of people don't know who he is. He was on the Sunday shows this weekend. He's a registered Democrat and he was asked about his feeling on abortion. Take a listen.


LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN: Abortion, I think it's a -- I think for women, and these are difficult issues, but I think women have to be able to choose what they -- you know, sort of the right of choice. But I think that's a difficult legal decision that -- and I think that women are so important in that decision making process.


BAIER: Well, today, he told our Jennifer Griffin on the phone this, that he's a pro-life Democrat. "The pro-choice issue is a legal issue that should be decided by the courts. I believe in law. If people want to change the law, they should vote so that we can appoint pro-life judges. I believe the law should be changed. If people are going to decide the election on just this election, then they should just stay home. This is a legal issue. We have bigger problems," saying national security trumps all. Your thoughts?

PHILIP BUMP, WASHINGTON POST: Our Robert Costa has done great work in tracking where Trump is, now thinks that Flynn, Flynn has sort of emerged in the wake of Dallas as being someone who could be strong in national strong, seen as a strong hand. He is now declined to some extent. I'm sure that didn't help. The immediately reaction from conservatives was quite understandably frustration with the idea that Trump might pick someone who is not as strong on choice as they would like.

To the point that we just made around appealing to Democrats, that is the only place where this seems like it might be helpful to Trump beyond national security is having someone who can be more moderate, more in the middle. I'm just not sure that's the issue that will keep Republicans in line with Trump and actually broaden his base.

BAIER: I want to turn Hillary Clinton. She was on CNN and said this about the e-mail investigation.


HILLARY CLINTON, PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I am certainly relieved and glad that the investigation has concluded. But I also know how important it is to make sure everybody understands that I would certainly not do that again. That is something that at the time, as even Director Comey said, seemed like a convenience, but it was the wrong choice.


BAIER: Well, wrong choice, but this is how the polls show this. ABC/Washington Post, FBI's decision not to charge Clinton, approve, 35 percent, disapprove, 56 percent. Does it make you worry what she would do if elected president as a result of that? Worried, 57 percent, not related, 39 percent. There's the next one, there you go. And outcome of this issue change the likelihood of supporting Clinton, and there you see the breakdown, more likely, 10 percent, less likely, 28 percent, no difference, 58 percent.

But the big one, I guess, there is the decision not to charge, Monica, 56 percent say it was the wrong decision.

CROWLEY: It was a mistake. Yes, I think the American people understand and know crime and corruption when they see it. And Director Comey laying out the entire case against her, which was pretty powerful and pretty devastating against Mrs. Clinton, only to turn around and say, but we are declining to recommend charges, I think the American people see an enormous disconnect between what they know she has done and the FBI's decision.

And there's a broader point here. There's a bigger disconnect, which is playing into the full election. And it's actually sweeping the western world, which is this fundamental disconnect between the global elites and here in the U.S., I mean the bipartisan ruling class, and everybody else. And what they're seeing, which is something the Clintons have ridden on for a very long time, is that they are somehow above the rules. They're too good for the rule of law, and this decision simply reinforces that.

CLINTON: The politics of this, I mean, she's obviously going to be tried in the court of public opinion, Jason, but Democrats will tell you, when is the investigation over? When they say no charges, when the Benghazi report comes out? They say this is it, right? They want it to be over. So is it over?

RILEY: I don't think it's up to them whether it's over. And based on the poll, a lot of Americans don't think it should be over.

Speaking of politics, though, I think Donald Trump has detected a big opening here. Playing off this poll, he's giving speeches about how he's the law and order candidate, which I think speaks not only to this issue but also to the shootings in Dallas and so forth. Sort of reminiscent of Richard Nixon back in 1968. People see chaos, out there they want sanity brought to bear, and I'm the guy who will do that. So I think Trump sees a big opening here, and wisely so.

BAIER: Philip?

BUMP: I would just note there's one key point here, which I think we're seeing Sanders underlying this. And 37 percent of Democrats agreed with the idea it was a mistake not to charge Hillary Clinton, which is a very large number for Democrats. I think part of that, a lot of Bernie Sanders fans and maybe Bernie Sanders himself saw that as being their gateway to getting the nomination at the convention. Once that door closed, I think there is still some resentment there.

I think we should also focus on that 60 percent, one of the things about Benghazi and the e-mail issue that we've seen is not a lot of partisans moving or switching sides based on this. A lot of this is baked in. I'm just not sure there's a lot of repercussion.

BAIER: And Bernie Sanders officially endorsing tomorrow.

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