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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Donald Trump On Today’s Benghazi Hearing and State of the 2016 Race

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Donald Trump joined me today top discuss the Benghazi hearing with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the state of the 2016 GOP race for the nomination to face her in the general election:




HH: On a day of huge headlines from Capitol Hill and from polling around the country, Donald Trump has surged to a commanding lead in the Washington Post/ABC poll. He’s ahead in the Bowling Green University poll in Ohio, and in fact, he leads every poll I’ve seen except one with Iowa. We’ll talk about that, but Donald Trump, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show, great to talk to you.

DT: Great to be with you, Hugh.

HH: Let me begin with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Have you had a chance to watch any of today’s hearings?

DT: No, I want to get your input, because I actually watched her first five minutes, and then I had to go, because I had a big meeting. And I thought her opening remarks really looked bad, but I don’t know. I have not been hearing positive things. How is she doing?

HH: Terribly. There are smoking guns all over the place. It’s an armory of smoking guns. Let me play for you one exchange. This is Congressman Mike Pompeo talking to her, Donald Trump, about security at the embassy.

MP: Do you know how many security requests there were in the 1st quarter of 2012?

HRC: For everyone or for Benghazi?

MP: For, I’m sorry, yes, ma’am, related to Benghazi and Libya. Do you know how many there were?

HRC: No, I do not know.

MP: Ma’am, there were just over a hundred-plus. In the 2nd quarter, do you know how many there were?

HRC: No, I do not.

MP: Ma’am, there were 172ish. Might have been 171 or 173. That’s…how many were there in July and August, and then that week and a few days before the attacks, do you know?

HRC: There were a number of them. I know that.

MP: Yes, ma’am, 83, by our count. That’s over 600 requests. You’ve testified here this morning that you had none of those reach your desk. Is that correct also?

HRC: That’s correct.

MP: Madame Secretary, Mr. Blumenthal wrote you 150 emails. It appears from the materials that we’ve read that all of those reached your desk.

HH: What do you make of that, Donald Trump?

DT: Wow, that’s unbelievable. That sounds pretty amazing. So these were requests for protection, essentially?

HH: Yes.

DT: Wow, that’s not good. So hundreds and hundreds of requests? I would say that doesn’t sound so good. I mean, I just saw, you know, it was very interesting, because I did have to leave, and I watched maybe five or six minutes, maybe ten minutes, her opening remarks, and the way she was reading them, it sounded terrible. The whole thing sounded terrible. And I thought, I was very, I was so looking forward, and I am looking forward, actually. You know, I’m going to Florida. I’m doing a big thing at Doral tomorrow, like thousands of people, and we’re going to have 15,000 people in Jacksonville, Florida. I said I have to go back upstairs. I don’t want to watch this hearing. But I can get, from you, I’ll get better than watching it. That’s the thing I like about you. So you think that, I mean, you think that she is not doing well?

HH: I think she’s doing terrible, and there’s one aspect I want to go to your Art of the Deal experience.

DT: Okay.

HH: She has listened to the [Congressmen] with her hand on her face, with her head, you know, cocked to one side contemptuously throughout hours and hours of testimony. When you see that at a negotiation, Donald Trump, what does that tell you?

DT: Well, I think she’s trying to feign boredom, but I think she probably wants to just get out of there. It really, you know, sort of indicates two things. But she’s trying to feign disdain and boredom. And it just sounded to me, I have other friends that have been watching it very studiously today, and they are really surprised. You know, when I watched Trey Gowdy on, I think it was Face The Nation this weekend, it sounded to me like he was not going to go after her that much, Hugh, because he was sort of saying well, we have other people, and she’s just a small part of it. It sounded to me like he was pulling back. But as I’m hearing it today, they’re not pulling back at all. They’re really going into it, and I’m just hearing she’s looking very bad. Maybe Biden did the wrong thing getting out yesterday.

HH: Maybe he did. Here is a second, the smoking gun exchange. This is Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan with the former Secretary of State.

JJ: In that email you sent to your family, here’s what you said at 11:00 that night, approximately one hour after you told the American people it was a video, you say to your family two officers were killed today in Benghazi by an al Qaeda-like group. So you tell the American people one thing, you tell your family an entirely different story. Also, on the night of the attack, you had a call with the president of Libya. Here’s what you said to him. Ansar al-Sharia is claiming responsibility. It’s interesting. Mr. Khattala, one of the guys arrested and charged, actually belonged to that group. And finally, and most significantly, the next day, within 24 hours, you had a conversation with the Egyptian prime minister. You told him this. We know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest. Let me read that one more time…

HH: Now Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham has called these the smoking gun emails.

DT: Yeah, well, it’s…

HH: What do you think?

DT: …certainly a part of it. It’s certainly a part of it, and it’s so different than what she’s been saying for so long. So that’s a problem for her. Wow. Very interesting.

HH: Do you think when you lose…

DT: You must be, you must find this very interesting, I would say, as a student. You must find this very interesting.

HH: Oh, I think her credibility is shattered, and I wonder, once you lose credibility, how do you get it back, Donald Trump?

DT: It’s very hard. It’s very hard, especially when you lose it in such a public forum. You know, a lot people are watching and want to watch it, and they’re going to be going home tonight, like me, and they want to devour it. And they want to see what’s going on. And I mean, just from the little bit that you’ve played for me. And plus, there’s a level of, you know, the questions are tough. They’re tough. The way they’re put is very tough. And…

HH: Let me ask you this. This is also occurred to me.

DT: I think it’s amazing.

HH: …as appropriate for Donald Trump. Lots of people want to get to you. Obviously, you’ve got hundreds of thousands of people want to get to you. They want you in their deals. They want your name, etc. If someone like Sidney Blumenthal gets through to you 130 times, and you respond to them, does that person have standing? Should we as an outsider say that person has standing with Donald Trump, or in this case, with Hillary?

DT: Yes, that person, that person has great standing, and Blumenthal obviously had great standing. Most people are not able to get through. I’d say 99.9, most people are not able to get through to somebody like Hillary. He gets through, and from what everybody tells me, this is not a good person. And this is not a person that she should be dealing with. And I think the President, as I remember from seeing it a long time ago, didn’t they even request that she not deal with him? They don’t like him.

HH: Yes.

DT: They don’t want him dealing with her? So she’s doing that behind the President’s back, and in theory, she’s working with the President and for the President. So I think that’s amazing, and I noticed how much he seemed, the access he seemed to have to her. And has that come up, yet, today?

HH: Oh, yeah, quite a lot. Sidney Blumenthal is in this hearing more than Ambassador Stevens is in this hearing.

DT: Wow.

HH: And it just goes to the fact that he basically owns a private channel. And does anyone have that to you, Donald Trump? If you’re the president of the United States, does anyone have a back channel to you that we should know about going in?

DT: I would say Ivanka, Ivanka Trump, okay?

HH: (laughing)

DT: Maybe nobody else. You know, it’s amazing, and what really amazed me is the level of hatred and I think distrust and everything else that the President had for Blumenthal. You know, it’s really surprising that she’d do that, because she actually, I thought somewhere along the line, sort of indicated like she wouldn’t be dealing with him much anymore.

HH: She did. Let me talk to you about secret servers, because the CIA director’s email’s been hacked. She had a secret server. These emails are now appearing. Are your emails at the Trump operation, and your servers’ protected? Does the private sector have an advantage here over government contracting?

DT: They’re in theory very secure, but you know, honestly, my emails are so boring, I would release them tomorrow. My emails are not exciting, and I’m not a big fan of the email stuff. You know, I’ve seen so many people have problems because of emails. I’ve watched it. And you know, going a step further, I’m not sure, I have a son who’s 9 years old. He’s so good with computers. And I’m not sure with computers that you know, as wonderful as they are in so many different ways, you know, we’re talking about technology. In the old days, when you wanted to attack, you’d have a courier with armed guards, and you’d have an envelope, and you’d give it to the general, right?

HH: Right.

DT: Now, you send it to the general, and you don’t have, you have no idea how many people are watching and reading, they’re, you know, they’re hacking your messages. It’s really pretty, I think MacArthur would not like the whole concept of computers. You understand what I mean. There are so many brilliant people out there that understand the innards of these machines, and when you look at heads of agencies that have been totally hacked, and I mean totally hacked, and I guess there was one yesterday or the day before where some young kid was hacking top people in different agencies.

HH: Yup.

DT: I mean, that’s pretty sad stuff. I’m not sure that you could stop it, to be honest with you.

HH: So are you going to, are you assuming that everything…

DT: I think computers are very, when you talk about lack of security, I think there’s a great lack of security with computers, I’ll tell you.

HH: Are you assuming that everything that you put on an email, or you put into a direct message, is public?

DT: I assume that.

HH: All right, that’s a good rule.

DT: And it’s totally illegal for people to do things about it, but I assume that when I send out emails, and when I sent, which are very seldom, frankly, I’m not a big believer. I like to do it as little as possible. But I assume that they’re being looked at by other people.

HH: All right, let’s move to the polls. As I said at the beginning, and I was on CNN this morning with Chris Cuomo, you’re ahead in the Washington Post poll by a lot.

DT: Right.

HH: Not insignificant, by a lot. You’re ahead in everything except this Iowa Quinnipiac poll. Why is that the outlier? What’s going on in Iowa?

DT: Well, I was very surprised to see it. You know, I was in Iowa last night. We had 4,000 people. It was packed. It was great. It was a lovefest. It was amazing. And I was actually surprised, I’m not saying that a thing like that can’t happen, but I was very, very surprised to see it, because I think we’re doing well in Iowa. I have a feeling we’re doing much better in Iowa than the polls are showing, if you want to know the truth. But we had an amazing crowd, I’m sure you saw it, because it was all over television.

HH: I did.

DT: I mean, I left there literally at 10:00 in the evening last night. I got home at 12:30, and I saw it on television, and everybody saw it. It was a big thing. It was really amazing. It was, the level of love in that room, and love for the country in that room, was absolutely beautiful to watch. And I was very surprised. I saw the poll. I was leading in Iowa, and not by a huge amount, but I was leading in Iowa, and I was very surprised to see that I wasn’t. That’s the only one I’ve had that I’m not leading. And you know, Massachusetts came out, I think it’s 48-12 or something like that.

HH: Yes, it’s huge.

DT: And so many have come out…

HH: The Emerson poll.

DT: But I was very surprised, I was really very surprised to see Iowa. It’s fine, but I was very surprised to see. I’m not sure I agree with it, and we’ll see what happens.

HH: Now polls are often wrong. They were wrong in Canada this week. They were wrong in Great Britain. They were wrong in Israel. They were wrong in the United States in the fall of 2014. Let’s talk about Canada. What do you think happened up there? Why did it go from a red with Stephen Harper to a deep blue with the young Trudeau boy?

DT: Well, Harper was there for a long time, and you know, when you’re there for a long time, a lot of times, people want to see change, not Obama change, you know, but they want to see change. They want to see something, somebody different. And he looks to me, I know very little about him, he’s on the liberal side, but he looks to me to be attractive. His father, I knew his father, actually, and his father was, you know, quite a character at the time. And he’s an attractive, young guy, and somehow he resonated. You know, it’s all about if you resonate. Let’s see, and he did resonate. There’s no question about it.

HH: Yeah, I shouldn’t have called him a boy. I meant son. I mean son, the Trudeau son, not the Trudeau boy. He’s 30-plus. He’s not a boy. He’s a man, but…

DT: Yeah.

HH: Have you spent much time in Canada? Do you know much about Canada?

DT: I do. I know something about some of the major cities in Toronto and other places.

HH: So what’s your opinion of that country? I mean, they’ve made a U-turn. It’s a big change.

DT: I love Canada. I think it’s an incredible country. It is heading in a different direction than you might love or I might love, but we’ll see what happens. He’s not overly liberal. You know, he’s, but he’s certainly a lot different than what you had in there before. There are many countries going that way. And there are a couple going the opposite way. I find, and have you watched this stuff just over the years, Hugh, you see the countries going, a lot of times they’ll go one direction and then boom, they swing back, and they usually go the opposite way. So it was very interesting to see that happen.

HH: They have a very open immigration policy there, and as you know, some of the 9/11 attackers came into this country from Canada.

DT: Right.

HH: Do we need more control of the Canadian border in the way that you’ve talked about controlling the Mexican border?

DT: Well, the Canadian border is a much, much longer border, and it just doesn’t seem that, and certainly you can have problems up there, and I know one of our brilliant candidates said let’s build a wall on the Canadian border. I actually thought he was joking when he said that, but I guess he wasn’t, and maybe that’s why he’s not in the race anymore. But we have to just, we need vigilance all over. Let’s face it, we need vigilance all over. We have to have people watching all over. On the Southern border, I think we have, I definitely feel we have to have a wall, and we can have, and walls do work, by the way. Walls do work. But on the Southern border, we need a wall.

HH: All right, now I ask you every time I see you in person at the debate or on the phone if your military/national security team is ready to be rolled out, yet. Have you gotten close to rolling it out, yet?

DT: Well, I’ve had meetings with people, and I felt very strongly about, you know, that whole subject for a long period of time, long before this, long before this run. I’ve felt very, very strongly about it. I think there’s nothing more important. And you know, another thing that people don’t ever bring up, and they literally never bring it up, I bring it up all the time, is the way our vets are being treated, because they are being treated horribly. I’m seeing more, and you know, I get to see, on the trail, I now go on the campaign trail. I would have never thought I would have said that, because I’ve been a politician for three months now. But on the trail, I meet so many vets, and they are being devastated by what’s going on at the Veterans Administration. It’s incredible, but I do have a great group of people, and at the right time, I’m going to roll them out. I think you’ll be impressed. I think even you will be impressed, Hugh.

HH: Is there a Kissinger among them? Is there a Zbieg among them? Someone who is going to stand out and really guide the Trump worldview?

DT: I think there are people that are highly-respected. I don’t want to use, you know, necessarily the names that you just used, but I think they’re people that are highly-respected, and people that when they hear the names, people will be impressed, people that know, like yourself, will be impressed.

HH: Now I’ve talked to you before about military spending, and you’ve assured this audience you are going to be very robust in spending money. The F-35 is the aircraft of the future. It’s already $160 billion dollars over budget. We were supposed to sell 3,100 of them to our allies and to ourselves, and Canada’s going to drop its order now. A program like this, are you down into the weeds, yet, on the F-35 or the Ohio-class replacement? Or are you going to let other people brief you up on that as you get closer to the White House?

DT: Well, I do what briefings, but I do hear that it’s not very good. I’m hearing that our existing planes are better. And one of the pilots came out of the plane, one of the test pilots, and said this isn’t as good as what we already have. And to spend billions and billions of dollars on something that maybe isn’t as good, but, and I don’t know if you’ve heard that. Have you been hearing that also?

HH: Well, there are big problems with the F-35, yes, absolutely.

DT: Yeah, well, I mean, big problems. They’re saying it doesn’t perform as well as our existing equipment, which is much less expensive. So when I hear that, immediately I say we have to do something, because you know, they’re spending billions. This is a plane. There’s never been anything like it in terms of cost. And how about, you know, we’re retooling with planes that aren’t as good as the ones we have, and the test pilots are amazing people. They know better than anybody, okay, and I think you would accept that.

HH: Yes.

DT: When they say that this cannot perform as well, as the planes we already have, what are doing, and spending so much more money?

HH: All right, now I’m close to the end of my time, and I always get hit by my audience for not asking you any fun questions, so here’s some fun questions. Do you watch college football?

DT: I do.

HH: Who do you cheer for other than The Ohio State University Buckeyes?

DT: Well, I do, I have a lot of respect, I have a lot of respect for that coach, wouldn’t you think? I mean, look what happens every place he goes. I used to think it was his great quarterback in Florida that caused all of this, but I mean, here he has three quarterbacks last year and he did so well. So I do have great respect for that team. I certainly have respect for the Notre Dame program, you look at it. I find it amazing to watch different programs. You look at what happened to Texas, how bad that’s gone, and I look at, you know, things like that, too. I like to see the good, the bad, ugly. I like to see what’s happening. But you have some very interesting, you have some very interesting teams. I think Alabama is looking stronger and stronger.

HH: So by the way, is there…

DT: But with all of that being said, I don’t get to watch too much, because I am doing pretty much what you and I talk 95% of the time about. But I do find it, I love all sports, actually.

HH: But you don’t, you don’t have, your heart is not sold to any club like mine is to the Buckeyes? You don’t have a number one affection?

DT: No, not to that extent. I like watching it. I watch it a little bit from afar. I don’t have a lot of time to watch it, but I certainly enjoy it.

HH: And if you’re president, will you fill out the NCAA brackets like President Obama has made a habit of doing every year? Or do you think that’s a silly exercise of time?

DT: I’d rather spend my time doing other things. I think it’s fine that he does it, but you know, honestly, I’d rather spend my time, we’ve got a lot of problems. We’ve got $19 trillion in debt. We have our horrible, that terrible deal, one of the most incompetent deals of any kind that I’ve seen with Iran. We have so many problems in this country, I’d really rather, I have no objection to him doing it. He wants to play games. But I’d really rather spend my time doing more important things.

HH: Now you do play a lot of golf, though, don’t you?

DT: I used to. I haven’t been very much. I used to play a lot of golf. I mean, a lot of golf, I’d play once a week or twice a week. I own some of the greatest clubs in the world. I own Doral, the Blue Monster. I own Turnberry in Scotland, home of the British Open.

HH: Oh, I know. I’ve got…

DT: One of the greatest places in the world, but I don’t get to use it.

HH: I’ve got a Donald Trump IOU for Turnberry. I get to play Turnberry. But what’s your handicap?

DT: Well, I’ve worn a lot of club championships, and I would say that now, it would be four, because I’m a good golfer.

HH: Oh, gosh.

DT: I would say four, but I’ve worn many club championships where you have to beat scratch golfers. So I’ve been a good golfer…

HH: You know, you’re not going to win a lot of votes if you go out and tell people you’re a four handicap. Everybody above four is not going to like you.

DT: I know. No, well, I haven’t been playing very much, but I think I’d be okay at four. But I haven’t been playing very much. I would say now, I’m averaging one round every two and a half weeks. Can you believe that? Two and a half, three weeks. That’s terrible.

HH: That’s terrible.

DT: But you know, I’m all over the place. And honestly, it’s so exciting what I’m going. I’m having such a good time doing it that I’m not thinking in terms of golf. Does that make sense to you?

HH: It does.

DT: It’s just like too exciting.

HH: My last question has to do with your access in the media. You let Mark Leibovich, who is one of the world’s great writers, come fly with you on Trump One back and forth across the country. And Mark is a friend of this program, he’s a friend of mine. He’s a great writer. Are you doing a lot of that? Are you saying come on in, people, and follow me around, you’ll get the real Trump?

DT: I don’t really, you know, mind. I did, I liked Mark. He’s a nice guy. I was disappointed in the cover. It’s a cover in the New York Times magazine, and they put, like, I don’t know, they had some artwork. And inside, they had one of the best pictures I’ve ever seen of myself. I loved the picture, but it wasn’t on the cover. So anyway, they didn’t put the kind of picture that you would normally, it was a cover story, actually, but they didn’t use the good picture. I think Mark’s a terrific guy, actually, and I do open it up to people. And I think you have to, I think you have an obligation. You’re running for office, you have to open it up. But I’m on the cover of so many magazines. I’m on the cover of the Forbes 400. I’m on the cover of Time Magazine. I’m on the cover of People Magazine. I’m just looking at my desk. I have covers all over the place. So…

HH: So these are the last two questions. Do you think Hillary will ever allow that kind of access to her that you gave to Leibovich? Or does she have too much to hide?

DT: I don’t think she will, unless it’s to a very friendly person.

HH: And then finally, a lot of people like you because your kids are all great.

DT: Right.

HH: And they opened up in People. And of your kids, have any of them caused you problems or angst? Or have you just hit the golden win streak here?

DT: No, I think, you know, there are certain problems, but nothing like, you know, I have friends that have tremendous problems with their children, and I see what they go through, and it’s a very sad thing with drugs and different things. And they haven’t caused me that kind of problems. They’ve been very good, and they’ve been good students. They’ve gone to good schools, and they’ve bene very good students, so I’m proud of them. And now the three older ones are in the business with me, Ivanka, Don and Eric, and we’re very proud of the job they’re doing. So I really think, certainly little chugs along the way, but overall, I’m very happy with them. I’m very proud of them.

HH: And they like the campaign life? They like being out there with dad on the…

DT: They enjoy it. They love seeing what’s happening. I mean, you know, in Jacksonville…

HH: Oh, interesting….

DT: I think we’re going to have 15,000 people on Saturday night, 15,000, and it could be much more than that. But I mean, when I say 15, I like to use the lower numbers so that we can always, but I think we’re probably talking about 15,000 people, and Doral, in Florida, which is tomorrow night, we’re going to have thousands of people.

HH: Have a great trip. I’ve overstayed my time. Tell Hope I’m sorry, and I’ll talk to you next time, Donald Trump.

DT: Don’t worry, I look forward to it. Thank you very much, Hugh.

HH: Thank you, be well.

DT: So long.

End of interview.


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