Trump: Witch hunt drove a phony wedge between US, Russia

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 16, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And this is a Fox News alert.

It is 9:00 p.m. in New York City and our nation's capital, 6:00 p.m. on the West Coast. It is 4:00 a.m. in Helsinki, Finland. And earlier today, President Trump, he went face to face with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

Now, this is their third in person meeting, but their first official summit. All topics were on the table and appeared to be a no-holds-barred open, productive, adult discussion on many of the issues between our two countries.

I sat down for an interview with the president right after he met with Vladimir Putin. We're going to play that for you in just a moment.

But first, a lot to get to, so sit tight for our breaking news -- Helsinki addition -- opening monologue.


HANNITY: All right. President Trump is just not slowing down, and some people in the media, on the left, they are having a very hard time dealing with the fact that he moved so fast. As I like to call it, it's kind of moving at the speed of Trump. Now, this was the president's 21st visit to a foreign country in just 18 months. And after today's one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin, the two leaders held a joint press conference.

Let's take a look.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I'm here today to continue the proud tradition of bold American diplomacy. From the earliest days of our republic, American leaders have understood that diplomacy and engagement is preferable to conflict and hostility. Nothing would be easier politically than to refuse to meet, to refuse to engage, but that would not accomplish anything.

As president, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease artisan critics or the media or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct.


HANNITY: Now, big leaders, they also addressed the big elephant in the room, and that was election interference. Let's watch this.


TRUMP: The probe is a disaster for our country. I think it's kept us apart. It's kept us separated. There was no collusion at all. Everybody knows it. People are being brought out to the fore, so far that I know virtually none of it related to the campaign. And they are going to have to try really hard to find somebody that did relate to the campaign. It was a clean campaign.


HANNITY: Now, of course, this meeting comes just days after the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 12 Russian agents who were accused of hacking the DNC and the Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, even though the DNC, they have refused to turn over their hack server to the FBI.

When will they turn that over? Where is that server?

Now, President Trump weighed in on this very issue during this joint presser. Let's take a look at this.


TRUMP: Let me just say, we have two thoughts. We have groups that are wondering why the FBI never took the server. Why haven't they taken the server? Why would was the FBI told to lead the office of the Democratic National Committee?

I really believe that this will probably go on for a while, but I don't think it can go on without finding out what happened to the server. What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentlemen that worked on the DNC? Where are those servers? They are missing. Where are they?

What happened to Hillary Clinton's emails? Thirty-three thousand emails gone. Just gone to.


HANNITY: Exactly. What happened to all of those things?

And tonight, many on the left, they want you to believe this alleged interference is shocking, unprecedented turn of events, but we all know that Russian election meddling is not new at all. Now, remember, ahead of the 2016 presidential election cycle.

In 2014, the House Intel Committee chairman, Devin Nunes, he issued a very stern warning about Putin's belligerent actions and attempts to denigrate the United States and, by the way, yes, impact our 2016 election. And we also know, you can go way back to 2008, we know that Russia hacked into both the McCain campaign and even the presidential campaign of Barack Obama himself.

And despite this, in 2016, when Hillary Clinton appeared to have a firm lead in the polls -- oh, just before the election, it was President Obama who laughed off any notion that American elections could possibly be tampered with. How wrong he was. You may remember this.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: There is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America's elections. There's no evidence that that has happened in the past or that there are instances in which that will happen this time.


HANNITY: Interesting. That's when he thought Hillary was going to win.

Now that Trump is president, after nearly a decade of playing down Russian interference and its impact on our elections, the left is in total freak out mode, trying desperately to connect Russian hacking to the Trump presidency.

This is a total left-wing conspiracy, a fantasy. This is the witch hunt. Every single report, every investigation into our election shows absolutely no votes were changed, none were altered in the 2016 election. Not a single vote.

And by the way, it's important to point out every major country in the world engages in election interference. As Senator Rand Paul put it, we all do it, and this includes the Clinton campaign.

In fact, if you're looking for Russian interference, look no further than Hillary Clinton and the DNC in 2016. They actually paid, oh, yes, through a law firm that they funnel money, Fusion GPS. Yes, then they got a foreign entity, foreign spy by the name of Christopher Steele, he put together phony opposition research, and now the infamous dossier, which has been debunked, filled with lies, Russian lies, Russian propaganda, and all paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party to manipulate you, the American people in the lead up to the 2016 election.

Nobody in the media seems to care about Obama's attempt at interference in the last Israeli election against our number one ally in the Middle East, Israel, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

And by all accounts, today's meeting, always productive and very important. As we all know, there are a lot of serious issues between the U.S. and Russia, but predictably, even before this meeting took place, yes, the destroy Trump, hate Trump media, they were already, hoping and predicting failure. You see, success for Donald Trump is bad for their agenda, especially in the lead up to the 2018 midterm elections.

Take a look.


ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC: We have never had a summit with the KGB spy master, someone who has, you know, completely studied and examined Donald Trump, and a president who spends the weekend golfing and has not been preparing.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: What do you think is going through Putin's mind? And how is he likely to be interpreting President Trump's behavior?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's delighted. He's absolutely delighted. He wants to throw the United States off balance, and he wants to divide the United States with its allies. Mission almost accomplished.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, CBS: This does not seem like a president who is really going there to really hold Putin accountable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, NBC: I just don't see how we can expect anything to come out of this and why Donald Trump is forcing the issue so much.


HANNITY: And it gets even worse. Take a look at this despicable cartoon, yes, published by so-called paper of record, The New York Times Opinion Page on Twitter early this morning.

Take a look.


HOST: Do you have a relationship with a Vladimir Putin?

TRUMP: I do have a relationship with him. And I think that he's done a very brilliant and amazing job. Really, a lot of people would say, he has put himself at the forefront of the world as a leader.


HANNITY: Now, that's your corrupt mainstream media, pretty disgusting.

Now naturally, the anti-Trump hatred, the hysteria continued after today's meeting. Look at this. Former CIA director, you know the guy that was a former communist turned CNN paid hack, John Brennan, he actually tweeted out: Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki rises to and exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were his comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican patriots, where are you?

John, let's address you for a second here. What have you done on Obama's watch to prevent Russian meddling? What role did you play in all of this?

Now, you had just undermined this country, and frankly, you should be ashamed. Let's take a look at this corruption.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, MSNBC: We are under attack from Russia. If they were physical missiles, like during the Cuban missile crisis, Americans would be in the streets and protesting, and asking the president to protect us. These are invisible missiles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, MSNBC: It's time for Americans to be out on the streets and it to speak up about the democracy that we hold dear, and what we expect of the president of the United States.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: You have been watching the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader joint that I have ever seen.


HANNITY: As you can see, it was all a predetermined outcome. It didn't matter what happened at today's meeting. Your mainstream media just blind hatred for President Trump and they long predetermined that anything the president does is terrible. It's devastating, apocalyptic. And at this point, they are just a broken record.

Now, on this show, we are not afraid to report that what the mainstream media will not report and we have been proven right. We are not blinded by the same pathological hate of all things Donald Trump it.

Look at the economy. Look at the progress in North Korea. And while the left always acts like the sky is literally falling because Donald Trump actually wants to discuss safety and security with nuclear weapons, nuclear proliferation, Syria, Iran, a lot of other important issues, including interference. By the way, meeting with Putin is that bad, we all know the truth. U.S. diplomacy is in good hands, despite what they have told you.

The president has never been afraid to walk away from a bad deal, never been afraid to call out foreign leaders, and hold all of them accountable. As we saw, he was critical of the British government's execution of Brexit. And, by the way, he rightfully called out many of our allies in NATO. Why? They are not paying their fair share for their own national defense, even criticizing the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and her country's lucrative energy deals Vladimir Putin's Russia, which creates a dangerous dependency on Russia and energy, which is the lifeblood of their economy.

After all, if the West is so worried about Russia, well, why would they be willing to give him billions and billions of dollars to make Russia rich again? Instead, the president is now rightly pushing Germany to kill its oil and gas deals with Russia and get their energy from us in that the United States, which would also mean millions of high-paying career jobs for Americans. Now, this move would not only benefit the United States, it would also absolutely wreck Russia's economy.

Now, Putin should be very concerned about that possibility, as it would literally destroy Russia's economy and probably destroy him politically. We'll have more on that in a moment.

And now, the president has been even more forceful with our enemies. Look at North Korea, little rocket man, fire and fury. Our button works, yours doesn't, and it's bigger.

Now, despite what the media predicted, there is real progress on the Korean peninsula, because the president's peace through strength strategy is working. It always works. Appeasement doesn't work. Bribing dictators doesn't work.

Now, there hasn't been a single rocket fired in months, American hostages, thank God, they have come home. One nuclear site in fact has been dismantled and shuttered, and the process continues to this day. And this is something else that the mainstream media will never tell you. President Trump has been incredibly tough on Russia. This is something they won't report under his administration, the U.S. issued sanctions against roughly 200 individuals and entities related to Russia.

Other stinging economic sanctions against Russia have also increased, and U.S. forces on the ground in Syria inflicted heavy casualties on even Russian soldiers during a skirmish earlier this year, an enormous embarrassment for Vladimir Putin. And the United States has been busy arming Ukraine with lethal weapon systems, but the media, they are not going to focus on any of this. Instead, it's Russia, Russia, Russia, collusion, collusion, collusion. If they are not talking about Stormy, it's all the time. It's 24/7.

Now, with this is a backdrop, the president moves forward with his very important diplomacy and as a leader of the free world, President Trump, he must meet with the leaders of Russia, China, North Korea, and others, as long as he is not spending $150 billion of your cash and other currencies.

Now, our friends and foes, they know where we stand. They need to hear from the commander in chief. There is, as you say, a new sheriff in town. Let the president negotiate deals that Obama was not capable of.

And specifically, Russia must stop coordinating with the Iranian regime. They must stop supporting President Assad in Syria. And yes, they need to stop, yes, meddling in anybody's elections and be held accountable for their actions.

Now, the years of weak and feckless leadership under Obama are now over. No more cargo planes full of cash, and as President Trump frequently says, a good relationship with Putin and Russia, when you're not trying to bribe them, it is very positive thing for the country. However, under President Trump, any hostile or aggressive action by Putin's regime will be and should be met with strength, not appeasement, not bribery, not cash, not kissing the rings of dictators.

And while the mainstream media and left, as they peddle their conspiracy theories, well, the administration is now putting forth some truth and some precedent and some facts. And by the way, Reagan proved it to all of us. Peace through strength works.

Diplomacy is important. Trust but verify. And the American people, our safety and security, frankly, is dependent on all of this -- our kids, our grandkids. This matters.

Now, following his talks with Vladimir Putin, I had the opportunity to sit down with the president right after his press conference. Here is a part of that interview. Take a look.


HANNITY: Mr. President, great to see you.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Sean.

HANNITY: You literally just finished the press conference with President Putin moments ago. A lot came up. You were very strong at the end of that press conference.

You said, where are the servers? What about Peter Strzok said? Where are the 33,000 emails?

And there was this mystery answer that I think surprised a lot of people by the president of Russia, as it relates to the Mueller investigation.

TRUMP: Well, first of all, he said there was no collusion whatsoever. I guess he said he said as strongly as you can say it. They have no information on Trump. It was an interesting statement, too.

You know, many years ago, when I was there, it was '13, quite a long time ago, he said there were many, many business people there. In all fairness, I was a very successful businessman but I was one of a lot of people.

And one thing you know, if they had it, it would have been out.

HANNITY: He said it was nonsense.

TRUMP: He said it's nonsense, that's right. He also says there is absolutely no collusion, which you know, and everybody that watches your show knows, and I think most of the country knows, and Tucker standing over there definitely knows, because he gets it. He's one of the people that get it.

But I'll tell you that I thought it was a really amazing time -- not about that. I think it's a shame, we are talking about nuclear proliferation. We're talking about Syria and humanitarian aid, we're talking about all these different things, and we get questions on the witch hunt.

And I don't think the people out in the country buy it. But the reporters like to give it a shot. I thought that President Putin was very, very strong.

HANNITY: Let's talk about how the day went. You actually used the term four hours ago that changed.

TRUMP: Right.

HANNITY: Was it that quickly and that profound?

TRUMP: We had a very long meeting and it was a good meeting. We discussed so many different things, including nuclear, including war and peace, including economic, Syria, Ukraine, we discussed many, many things.

And at the end of a long period of time, I mean, it was really a long -- it was just the two of us, and interpreters. And at the end of this meeting, I think we really came to a lot of good conclusions, a really good conclusion for Israel. Something very strong.

He is a believer in Israel. He's a fan of Bibi. And really helping him a lot and will help him a lot, which is good for all of us.

HANNITY: Let's talk about specifics that you went over, as it relates to both Syria, which he has been a supporter of the Assad regime, and, of course, Iran, which is the number one state sponsor of terror, fomenting proxy wars.

TRUMP: Right. Well, in Syria, we are getting very close. I think it's becoming a humanitarian situation, and a lot of people are going to move back to Syria from Turkey and from Jordan and from different places, they're going to move back, less so from Europe. But they will be moving back from lots of different places.

So I really think we are not far apart on Syria. I do think that on Iran, he probably would have liked to keep the deal in place because that's good for Russia. You know, they do business with -- it's good for a lot of the countries that do business with Iran, but it's not good for this country and it's ultimately not good for the world.

And if you look at what is happening, is falling apart, they have rights in all their cities. The inflation is rampant and going through the roof, and not that you want to hurt anybody, but that regime, we will let the people know that we are behind them 100 percent. But they are having big protests all over the country, probably as big as they have ever had before. And that all happens since I terminated that deal. So, we'll see.

HANNITY: Can you partner with Russia to perhaps stop the fomenting of terror, stop the proxy wars? Was that discussed?

TRUMP: Well, it was. I think it would be a great thing if we could do it. You have some people saying, oh, you have to do -- you know, get involved with Russia, but if we could stop killing all over the place, or terrorism, we discussed radical Islamic terror at great length, because they have the problem, too.

We discussed ISIS and, as you know, we've pretty much eradicated ISIS in the Middle East. And we've done a very strong job, he acknowledged that. But we discussed ISIS and the threat of ISIS, and basically the threat of terrorism.

HANNITY: Let me go to the issue of nuclear proliferation. 2021, the START Treaty needs to be extended, and also the INF as it relates to -- and he did bring up the idea of missile defense.

TRUMP: Right.

HANNITY: Were those issues discussed, and did you make any progress?

TRUMP: Well, I think we're at the very beginning, they are very important issues.

To me, the most important issue is the nuclear issue, because I know President Obama said that global warming is our biggest problem, and I would say that nuclear warming is our biggest problem by the factor of about 5 million. The nuclear problem, we have to make sure, we have to be very careful.

And, you know, if you look at Russia and the United States, that's 90 percent of the nuclear weapons. And we have to do something and working on other countries. And he also said he wants to be very helpful with North Korea.

We are doing well with North Korea. We have time. There is no rush. You know, it's been going on for many years, but we are doing very well. As you know, we got our hostages back. There's been no testing. There's been no nuclear explosion, which we would have known about immediately.

There's been no rockets going over Japan. No missiles going over Japan. And that's now been nine months, and the relationship is very good. You saw the nice letter he wrote.

And so, I think a lot of good things are happening, but President Putin is very much into making that all happen.

HANNITY: A lot of people in the lead up to this -- obviously, you met with our NATO allies.


HANNITY: And America pays 70 cents of every dollar, and a lot of people have not lived up to their commitment as it relates to that.

And also, interestingly, because a big part of NATO's mission is to prevent any hostility from Russia. And yet, Angela Merkel wants to import billions of dollars' worth of their energy, up to 70 percent, which I would argue, that would make them vulnerable and --

TRUMP: She's paying Russia billions of dollars. Now that's her choice. I mean, she is going to do it, but it's a little tough when you are in NATO and you do that.

I will say that I was amazed at the media because honestly, I was there for a day and a half, and it started right when I got there, and I was very respectful. But I told people, it's unfair. The United States could be paying for 91 percent, OK? Could be. So, the minimum is 70 percent, but it's probably 91.

So, we are paying for 91 percent of the cost of keeping Europe safe. On top of that, the European Union takes total advantage of us with tariffs and with trade barriers. But they kill us on trade. We lost $151 billion last year. So they beat us on trade, and we defend them for essentially nothing.

And I said, it's not going to be that way anymore. You've got to pay up. You've got to pay up. You got to pay more --

HANNITY: The secretary general gave you the credit.

TRUMP: He gave me all of the credit.


TRUMP: Last year, they $44 billion more only because -- more, additional. And he said it was only because of President Trump. So, I figured I'd wake up the next day and read these wonderful stories, and by the way, I got along great --

HANNITY: Do you really believe the media would report that?

TRUMP: I actually thought finally, I'm going to have a great story. OK? Foreign relations, I'm going to have a great story.

And instead of saying that I raise $44 billion, not million, $44 billion last year for NATO, I raised -- it could be over $150 billion this year and into the future. They said that I treated the heads of other nations rough. And I didn't. I actually have great relationships with them.


HANNITY: When we come back, we'll continue from Helsinki with much more of my one-on-one interview with President Trump as "Hannity" continues.


HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity."

As we continue from Helsinki in Finland, and this is part two of my interview with President Trump, moments after his press conference with Vladimir Putin.


HANNITY: In the lead up to the summit, you actually tweeted out if you were given the greatest city of Moscow for retribution for all the sins, et cetera, Russia. The media would be asking, why you didn't get to St. Petersburg as well?

TRUMP: I said that. I said if I got Moscow as part of a deal, they'd say, here's Moscow, please pardon us, the soccer ball was really very nice. I have to say. It was very nice.

You know, they did a great job in running that. But it is true. You know, I said, if I got Moscow, they would want St. Petersburg with it.

So the media was very unfair. I never thought -- this was when I said, this is foolproof. I raised $44 billion and the secretary general said he raised $44 billion and it's only President Trump, because I said, otherwise, we are going to have to start thinking about our relationship to NATO.

I also said this. NATO is wonderful but it helps Europe a lot more than it helps us and yet we are paying for 90 percent of it. So, I was amazed that most of most of the media -- you didn't and some others didn't -- but most of the media said that I was tough, very tough, and nasty to foreign leaders.

And I really wasn't at all. But I did say, you have to pay up.

HANNITY: You talked about Europe as a foe. You talked about Vladimir Putin as a foe and you clarified that means a competitor. Similarly, the media's upset you say an enemy of the people.

Aren't you really saying they are doing their job? And --

TRUMP: Well, when I say enemy of the people, I'm not talking about all of the media. I'm talking about there is a big percentage of the media, when you look at CNN, how false their reports are. When you look at NBC and some of the others, when you read "The New York Times," it's just a story after story after story that's just a negative spin.

And we are doing great things. We have the greatest economy in the history of our country. We have the best on employment numbers in the history of our country, the best African-American unemployment numbers in history, Hispanic in history, women's numbers in history --

HANNITY: Fourteen states set records.

TRUMP: Fourteen states, I didn't know that.

HANNITY: Record low unemployment.

TRUMP: Surprise that's only 14 actually. That's a disappointing number.

HANNITY: Well, keep working hard, I think it will get there.

But the more amazing thing, too, is we have more jobs available than we actually have people on unemployment.

TRUMP: First time.

HANNITY: And the labor participation rate in this country has never been higher.

TRUMP: First time.

HANNITY: Let me go back, because everybody in the media is so focused on this. In 2014, in "The Washington times," Devin Nunes said with certainty that Russia would try to impact the 2016 elections. Barack Obama in the month before the 2016 elections, and I will read and I will quote , "No serious person out there would suggest that somehow you can even rig America's elections, no evidence that it has happened in the past, which is not true, and number two, or that it could happen in this election, and I invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and to go out there and try to get votes." He said that two weeks before the election.

TRUMP: Well, he thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win, he didn't want to do anything to disturb it, and you know, frankly, when I won, he said this is the biggest deal. But I won, he said this is nothing, and it can't happen.

It's a very dishonest deal. And you know, you have to find out who did Peter Strzok report to? Because it was Comey and it was McCabe, but it was also probably Obama. If you think that Obama didn't know what was going on, when you watch -- and I said it today, with President Putin, when you watch Peter Strzok's performance, the lover of Lisa Page, when you watch that performance, the FBI, I tell you, I know so many people in the FBI. These are incredible people.

What they have -- what they are going through, watching this guy, a total phony. I mean, how about we'll stop him? Or something to that affect.

HANNITY: They said we will stop you.

TRUMP: Yes. Well--

HANNITY: We'll stop him.

TRUMP: And then--

HANNITY: Insurance policy.

TRUMP: And he said originally, I guess it was the two of them. No. Then he said the next say, I meant the American people. And even the Democrats say that doesn't work


HANNITY: Of course Lisa Page contradicted him. And he gives a more honest assessment.

TRUMP: I heard that she did much better than he did, and took a lot of hard shots, but at least she was honest about it. He is a disgrace to our country, he's a disgrace to the great FBI. A disgrace. And how he is still being paid is beyond belief.

HANNITY: Did you like President Putin's idea that Robert Mueller should go talk to him because--


TRUMP: I was fascinated by it. So they have a treaty where they work together with the United States, because everyone says we don't have an extradition treaty, but they have a treaty where they were together, and his prosecutors were prosecuted, and he said that Robert Mueller's people could go with them, but they probably won't.

HANNITY: Yes, interesting. Let me ask you--


TRUMP: The 13 angry Democrats do you think they want to go, I don't think so.

HANNITY: And of course, this pit bull Andrew Weissmann who I think has a pretty atrocious record that we have found.

TRUMP: It's very sad what's happening to our country because of this. We have never done better in so many ways, including economically. But when you see this thing going on, and I will tell you, it's driven a wedge between us and Russia. Maybe we've just knock down that wedge but it has driven a wedge.

And President Putin said that, one of the early things that he said when we started, he said it's really a shame because we could do so much good, whether it's humanitarian aid throughout the Middle East whether it's not just Syria, so many different things.

The safety of nuclear power, which is ultimately, there is nothing bigger and nothing more important. And they drove a phony wedge, just a phony witch hunt. A rigged deal. With guys like Peter Strzok and Comey and McCabe.

HANNITY: McCabe, Strzok, Page.

TRUMP: The whole group. And you can imagine who else. It's a real, it's a real shame.

HANNITY: And if there was Russian interference, Hillary played through a law firm, a investigative group Fusion GPS, the hired a foreign national--


TRUMP: That's right.

HANNITY: -- that put together a Russian dossier that was used to lie about you. Which by the way, Putin confirmed today he didn't have such information on his peril.

TRUMP: He knew exactly about it because he's been saying it. It makes him angry when he sees it. And you know, it's very interesting, you look at what's happening, and you look at the whole thing. He understood it and he was -- I don't know if you could see, he was incensed even talking about it.

But he is willing to take those 12 people, there is no extradition. But he is willing to let Robert Mueller's people go over there and bring a big investigation of those people working together with the Russian investigators.

HANNITY: Last question for this. I know you've got a lot to do. And you just finished a busy day. You've now been to 21 countries since January of 2017. Like North Korea, you are very clear in saying that this is a process. Where would you like to be in a year both with North Korea and with Russia?

TRUMP: Well, I think we're doing very well with Russia as of today. I thought we're doing horribly before today. Really, I mean horribly, dangerously.

HANNITY: It has been that dramatic today.

TRUMP: I think it was great today, but I think it was really bad five hours ago. I think we really had a potential problem. I think with two nuclear nations. Ninety percent of the nuclear power in the world between these two nations, and we've had a phony witch hunt deal drive us apart.

HANNITY: This is the biggest wedge. This was the biggest wedge.

TRUMP: I think, well, it's the thing that he told me. When he went in he said what a shame. He felt it was very hard for me to make a deal because of, you know, all of this nonsense and much of the case.

HANNITY: You said before it's nonsense.

TRUMP: You have to understand, you take a look, you look at all these people, I mean, some were hackers, some of them. Then again, you know, these are 14 people and they have 12 people. These aren't 12 people involve in the campaign. Then you have many other people. Some told a lie.

You look at Flynn, it's a shame. But the FBI didn't think he was lying. With Paul Manafort, who clearly is a nice man. You look at what's going on with him. It's like Al Capone.

HANNITY: The 2005 tax case.

TRUMP: The case that I guess is very real.

HANNITY: Twenty three hours.

TRUMP: It's just a sad thing. It's a very sad thing for our country to say this.

HANNITY: Mr. President, thank you so much.

TRUMP: Thank you so much. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.


HANNITY: All right. When we come back from Helsinki, Finland, Sebastian Gorka, Sara Carter, and Daniel Hoffman all react to my interview with President Trump and today's summit between the president and Vladimir Putin as we continue, straight ahead.



VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Once again, President Trump mentioned the issue of the so-called interference of Russia in the American elections.

And I had to reiterate the things I said several times including during our personal contacts that the Russian state has never interfered and it's not going to interfere into internal American affairs including the election process.

Any specific material if such things are right, we are ready to analyze together.


HANNITY: All right. That was Vladimir Putin earlier today denying Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Here now with reaction on set, the author of the book "Why We Fight," well, he's actually in Washington, national security strategist, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Fox News chief national correspondent, Ed Henry, Fox News contributors, Sara Carter and Daniel Hoffman.

Sara, I want to start with you, because the media and the left in this country is in the middle of what it can only be described as a collective meltdown. Starting with John Brennan calling this summit treasonous, Nancy Pelosi and Jeff Flake.

And here's the reality. If Vladimir Putin had what they said it would have been out by now. There's no way but it doesn't stop the conspiracy theories. And the idea that somehow that President Trump whose dropping $150 billion in cash and other currency--


HANNITY: -- to talk to on a variety of issues the two biggest nuclear powers is a bad thing. Without the bribery I'm happy.

CARTER: What a terrorist nation like Iran, moving money to Iran when everybody knew that the Iranians were probably one of the most aided and abetted terrorists throughout the globe in the killing of Americans, it's extraordinary now they're going after him.

But let me go back to Brennan, Sean. It's extraordinary to me that the ex- CIA director calls the president of the United States actions treasonous when his actions border on sedition.

HANNITY: The guy that voted for a communist, a former communist is now became the CIA director under Obama. By the way, all of this happened on their watch. We need to remind everybody, all of it.

CARTER: Very dangerous.


ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brennan maybe embarrassed over the fact, you're right, that in the Obama administration he may have things to hide over the FISA warrants of Carter Page that was done, the intelligence, just wait, you seem to have something. The dossier how that was handled what people say under oath, I get all that.

And I heard your monologue very closely. And I think you're right that Peter Strzok has things to answer for. I think where is the DNC servers the president said. All of that can be true.

HANNITY: And the 33,000 e-mails.


HENRY: The 33, OK. They are also may be true that not a single action by Russia change a single vote. And so that there was no impact on the president winning fair and square. I give you all that. Nonetheless, Sean, the president missed a golden opportunity today. I've got to be direct in saying in having Vladimir Putin there and just to his face saying knock it off. Stay -- it doesn't mean it affected the election.


HANNITY: Well, I ask -- wait, wait. I just interviewed the president.


HANNITY: And the president said it did come up. Here is the problem. It happened in a way, it happened as this everybody in Congress has now said it happened before and it's probably going to happen again.

But Barack Obama said no serious person believes this can happen. That was two weeks before the election. And Devin Nunes--


HENRY: I'm telling you, I think John Brennan and Barack Obama have a lot to answer.

HANNITY: Devin Nunes--

HENRY: But Donald Trump today had a chance to say enough is enough.

HANNITY: Ed, you were in the room with him, and that's the point. And Vladimir Putin, listen, I'm all in favor. I did like the idea and I thought this was interesting that the president is saying, Putin had a good idea, let Mueller's people go interview them. All for it.

And by the way, the same Barack Obama that tried to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu through election interference as if this doesn't happen everywhere every day as Brennan and Paul has said.



HANNITY: It's like you're very thoughtful, Dan.

HOFFMAN: Yes, I'm sure am. I'll tell you my concern is this. The president's own DNI, Director Dan Coats has said the system is blinking red. He is really concerned about election meddling--


HANNITY: Everyone should be.

HOFFMAN: -- in 2018. And I agree with that. There was an opportunity to throttle Putin right in front of all of us today, and I just -- I wonder whether that was a missed president for the president.

HANNITY: The president, Dr. Gorka, was very clear in saying this has been the biggest, the biggest wedge between the two countries. Nobody knows what was said privately between them. Putin is denying it, you know, the idea that he has something.

But here's I think the most important part that we got to get into and that is, at some point, we need to have the specific evidence and the double standard is glaring in this particular case as it relates to the servers, as it relates to the e-mails that are missing. And at some point we got to say where are -- where is this evidence as well because we want to know who knew what when and where.

SEBASTIAN GORKA, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGIST: Look, Sean, let me -- let me address the question of how everybody is reacting to the press who were on the left. But first, a reminder with regards to what you mentioned earlier.

John Brennan who is accusing the president being a traitor voted for the communist party at the height of the Cold War in 1976 when the Soviet union actually wanted to destroy America. That's treasonous.

Vladimir Putin is a bad guy, he is a bad actor. But the Russian federation is not the Soviet Union. And as far as I know Donald Trump never voted for the communist party at the height of the Cold War, so let's just put that on the record.

With regard to the reaction to today's summit, it's a little bit like the Strzok testimony. You saw the unveiling of the deep state last week with Strzok's testimony, today you really saw the depth of the mainstream media. Nobody in that room behave like a journalist. They were like members of Move or the resistance.

The idea that we have a chance to talk about big issues, saving hundreds of thousands of lives in Syria, the question of Ukraine's national sovereignty. And instead they want to perpetuate this bogus collusion narrative. They came out of the closet there is no journalism on the mainstream media left and it was absolutely shambolic.

HANNITY: We'll take a break. More from Helsinki, Finland, as we continue.


HANNITY: As we continue from Helsinki, Finland, we continue with Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Ed Henry, Sara Carter, and Daniel Hoffman.

Let me go back to what the president was very strong in my interview with him. Where is the server? Where are the e-mails? Why did they get away with that? Why the double standard? And rightly tough on Peter Strzok, who frankly, every FBI I know feels that he has hurt the institution that they love and have served either in the past or presently. And look at where we are. Look at where this has taken us, 18 months, where's the evidence?

CARTER: Look at how far we've come.

HANNITY: Good point.

CARTER: Look at how far we've come. Because had President Trump not won the election, we would have no none of this, Sean. But it's a very important point. Why did the FBI refused to look at that server? Right? Why was this sent over to a private company? Where is the information that was contained on that server? The Awan brothers were directly connected to Pakistan. There is a lot of information that they were connected to Pakistani intelligence.

HANNITY: So there's a huge massive double standard.

CARTER: Which could be connected to the Russians, by the way. This is very important story that is not being paid attention to.

GORKA: Sean?

CARTER: Absolutely.

HANNITY: Dr. Gorka, yes?

GORKA: Yes. This is one thing that everybody needs to be aware of and how at home again and again and again. Donald Trump in the last year and a half has never hidden anything. I mean, think about it. Even in his private discussions with then FBI director Jim Comey, he said I want you to look into this. Look into this.

He hasn't hidden anything. And when it came to reductions--


HANNITY: And did everybody around him did anything.

GORKA: Yes, sure. And when it came to redactions he wanted all of the redactions to be removed. But look at how the Democrats reacted to Peter Strzok in Congress last week. They wanted to protect him desperately. They said -- they said to Louie Gohmert take your meds, right? If there were--


HANNITY: Well, there was collusion -- let's be honest. There was Russian interference.


GORKA: --collusion. No. All--

HANNITY: And by the way, probably on levels we don't even know. We knew it. It has happened in past elections, and we knew it that they are going to try. In 2014 Devin Nunes said you have devoted your life to the CIA. And this ought to be something that we get a handle on.

Here's my point. Julian Assange was 17 years old and hacked into NASA and the DOD. It's 30 years later. Where is our cybersecurity that prevents anybody from being able to do something like that? Where is it? At some point, we've got to say what are we doing that they can still do this?

HOFFMAN: I mean, I spent a good part of my life collecting intelligence on Vladimir Putin, so let me just take a look at it from his eyes, from the Kremlin. And that's why I believe that if the president had said look, Vladimir, we know you meddled in the election. I'm not asking if you did, but I know you did, and if you continue to do it I'm going to make--


HANNITY: Why do you think he didn't do that, what didn't -- well, although in frank discussion I think he did it.

HOFFFMAN: I think maybe he did i privately but I think it would have been good to hold him accountable publicly. And let me just finish real quick with my thought which is--


HANNITY: What does that do to our future relations? So I'm going to embarrass you in the world, we'll never talk again not about nuclear proliferation, Syria, with Iran.

HOFFFMAN: Let me just finish my thought real quick. We have a multifaceted relationship with the Russians. Going back in the Second World War we collaborated against Nazi Germany.

HANNITY: That's right.

HOFFFMAN: But at the same time, the Soviets were stealing our nuclear secrets. There's a lot of stuff that goes on where we collaborate and at the same time, they are targeting us aggressively. And we need to counter the stuff that they're doing to us--


HANNITY: I agree with you. I don't trust them. They are a hostile regime and he is hostile on the world stage.

HENRY: Right.

HANNITY: Everybody should be aware of that. Here's the thing that nobody really picked up on. Basically, he said to Angela Merkel, you're a fool for becoming energy dependence on Russia. Bring your -- we'll give you the energy.


HENRY: But Sean, you made my point.

HANNITY: By the way, that is the biggest threat.

HENRY: The president was bold on the world stage and was willing to call out an ally, Angela Merkel, and say you are in bed with the Russians on that. Hang on.


HANNITY: What was not bold--

HENRY: But then why would -- why was he not bold enough to also stand up to Vladimir Putin? That's my point.

CARTER: But he did. But he did, Ed.

HANNITY: All right, thank you guys. It's good to see you in Helsinki.

HENRY: Good to see.

HANNITY: You are buying drinks. You owe us. When we come back, more "Hannity" from Finland, straight ahead.


HANNITY: All right. Unfortunately, that's all the time we have left this evening from Helsinki. We'll be back in New York City tomorrow night.

Let not your heart be troubled. She's in our nation's capital. She's taking over. Laura Ingraham is next. We'll see you back in New York tomorrow. Thank you for being with us.

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