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What Does Email Probe Mean For Clinton?; Time For a Third Party?; A New Look at Video of Sandra Bland Arrest; Why Isn't FOX News Criticizing Trump?; Obama Press Conference with Kenyan President. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired July 25, 2015 - 09:00   ET



[09:00:11] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: This hour, we'll hear from President Obama as he makes a historic trip to his father's homeland of Kenya - the first since he took office and the first for a sitting president.

And this week, Donald Trump threatened to run as a third-party candidate regardless of his decision. Might a third person make it onto the presidential debate stage?

Plus, I'm going to take a fresh look at Sandra Bland's troubling arrest video through the eyes of a former cop, trial attorney, and criminal court judge.

I'm Michael Smerconish. Welcome to the program. Those stories in just a moment.

But first, today's New York Times headline: "Hillary Clinton Emails Said to Contain Classified Data." The story says that government investigators "discovered classified information" on the private email account that Clinton used while Secretary of State, and stating unequivocally that "those secrets never should have been stored outside of secure government computer systems."

The Times also cites Clinton's long-held defense that she kept no classified information on the private server that she'd set up in her house and her campaign added that any government secrets found on the server had been classified after the fact.

Joining me now, two people I suspect with strong differing opinions. The first is former federal prosecutor Joseph DiGenova who's worked on everything from the Jonathan Pollard spy case to prosecution of would- be assassin John Hinckley to the Clintons' 1992 passport controversy. He joins me from the DC bureau. And Lanny Davis, a lawyer and crisis manager who served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton and whose most recent book is "Crisis Tales: Five Rules for Handling Scandal in Business, Politics, and Life."

Lanny, it's easy to get lost in the weeds here. But here is what I think the fundamental question - did Secretary Clinton compromise national security by storing classified material outside a secure system?

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL COUNSEL, CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: No. I wish I could address the headline that you read and we'll get to that but the answer to your question is "No." The server that she stored her emails on protected by both Secret Service because it also resided in the home of a former president was absolutely secure and those who think that the federal government has the more secure system ought to read the newspapers about the breach of security by Chinese and other hackers into the most sensitive federal government national security information. So to suggest that because she had it protected on a home server, that it was less secure than the federal government open apparently data system to the Chinese is not proven as far as I'm concerned.

SMERCONISH: Joseph DiGenova, Kurt Eichenwald for "Newsweek", formerly of the New York Times himself, says, "This is no Clinton scandal. This is a big snoozefest and in fact this is all about FOIA officials not the Secretary of State." Does he have it right?

JOSEPH DIGENOVA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: No, he doesn't. First of all, there was a compromise of national security information. When Mrs. Clinton made the decision to store all of her official government property on a private server in her private residence, that proved conclusively that she had violated her nondisclosure agreement which she signed when she became Secretary of State and agreed to receive classified information pursuant to certain government rules. Those emails were compromised because she never gave anybody a chance in the classification system to review them before they were sent. That is what is wrong with her having a personal server. The problem was from the beginning, Mrs. Clinton decided she was not going to use government servers, she was going to use her personal server for one reason - to prevent disclosure to Congress, the courts, the press, and the public. It was designed to prevent disclosure. But in so doing, she insured that classified information would be compromised and in fact, it was.

SMERCONISH: Joe, what - to Lanny's point - that these materials were never marked as classified until after the fact?

DIGENOVA: And you know what? It - that's the reason she should have never had a personal server because if it had been a government server, she would not have been able to click "Send" without that information having been previously reviewed by a government person who is responsible for classification. The Secretary made a decision that she was going to be able to do whatever she wanted and she chose a server that was not secure. By the way, it doesn't matter that the Secret Service is standing outside of a door to protect the physical server. Anyone can get into a server and Lanny's point that the Chinese got into the most sophisticated servers in the federal government almost ensures categorically that they got into her server at her residence.

SMERCONISH: Lanny Davis, respond.

DAVIS: Well, first of all, I don't attack motives. Joe's doing that and it's up to him. I respect Joe. I've often written nice things about...


DIGENOVA: Whose motive?

DAVIS: Let me finish my point, Joe. I want to mention four facts that are not included in the New York Times story or in your opening presentation. Fact number one, you've already mentioned that the Inspector General said not deliberate, "inadvertent" is the word he used about Hillary Clinton's treatment of the emails if there happened to be classified information. Secondly, this is a post facto judgment. At the time, they were not labeled by the individuals and you'd made that point - it was also omitted from the New York Times in its first story and then cleverly tried to be corrected even though it was in the Inspector General's report. "Not labeled", the first story didn't say that. Number three - most importantly, the state department and many other people disagree with the judgment on classification. These are four emails about a FOIA argument and this disagreement whether they were classified - that too was omitted in the entire Times' story, never mentioned that the state department is on record saying, "No, these were not classified", disagreeing with my friend, Joe DiGenova. And finally, the notion of a criminal referral that went all over the internet yesterday, published by the New York Times, now retreating by the New York Times saying, "Well, a justice department official told us that", without naming the justice department official who got it wrong when they referred to a criminal referral about Hillary Clinton. So how can the New York Times get that expression - criminal referral - wrong?

SMERCONISH: Joe, but, Joe, wait, wait, Joe. I want to ask a follow- up of Lanny before you get back into this.

Lanny, the Times says this was an unforeseen consequence of her unusual computer set-up. Wasn't it an entirely foreseeable consequence of the way in which she decided to handle her email?

DAVIS: Well, I'm not sure if it was foreseeable that non-labeled email would two years after she left office and maybe six years since she became Secretary would be in some sector of the government, two IGs determining it to be classified four emails. How could she foresee when her own state department in a FOIA argument about the freedom of information act also omitted from the Times story. This is a FOIA argument about the state department versus these two IGs' judgment and both of them may have respectful opinions. How do you foresee that? But one other thing, Michael, Hillary Clinton did say in retrospect, she should have done it differently, she should have had two devices rather one. Colin Powell - who I respect greatly - had one device just like she. He's omitted from the discussion. It's always good to have wisdom by hindsight. My friend, Joe DiGenova is great at that.

SMERCONISH: Joe, go ahead.

DIGENOVA: By the way - by the way, Colin Powell did not have a private server in his home from which he conducted all government business. I mean, this is a ludicrous comparison. Number one, Hillary Clinton chose to have a private server thus making it impossible for people with the responsibility to that classified information to review her material before it was sent. She clearly knew that was going to be the case, that's why she did it. She knew that went - and by the way, Lanny said in March of this year that he thought that her server should be turned over to a third party for analysis...

DAVIS: Actually, that's not accurate.

DIGENOVA: --so that all the emails could be looked in...

DAVIS: I did not say that, Joe.

DIGENOVA: --Lanny, let me finish. Please.

DAVIS: You just quoted me.

DIGENOVA: Lanny, I direct you to the March 8, 2015 transcript of Fox Sunday News where you said you thought it would be a good idea for some third party to review the emails.

DAVIS: No, I did not.

DIGENOVA: Well, sorry, Lanny. I just read it.

DAVIS: Go to the (inaudible) I said, "If there was a subpoena", so don't omit the "if there was a subpoena" then the rest of the sentence.

DIGENOVA: Apparently, there were several subpoenas.

SMERCONISH: Gentlemen, I have another question. I've got a question for Lanny. Lanny...

DAVIS: I said, "If there was a subpoena" and that is what I said so don't (inaudible) and stick to your own talking points (inaudible) misquote me.

DIGENOVA: I don't have any talking points. I just have the facts. SMERCONISH: Hang on. Lanny Davis, what should - what should the - what should the Attorney General - Lanny - what should Loretta Lynch do with this hot potato now?

DIGENOVA: Run for cover.

DAVIS: Well, the justice department is saying and everyone is saying including the Inspector General that this is a civil dispute between two agencies - the intelligence agencies and the IGs versus the state department over the Freedom of Information Act and that is not a criminal referral. The Times has misled and still won't withdraw its mistake and explain why it relied on an anonymous source (inaudible).

SMERCONISH: Lanny, Lanny, I have to note - it's not - it's not Fox News, it's not National Review, it's the New York Times - not exactly a conservative bastion that's raising this issue.

DAVIS: Look, I consider the New York Times one of the great newspapers in the history of our country. And when the New York Times gets something wrong and it's possible it's an inadvertent error, they omit deliberately in today's story - that's an intentional omission that number one, they got wrong that there was no labeling on these emails. They said it in today's paper, yesterday, they did said it wasn't clear. There's a direct statement by the IG these emails weren't labeled. That goes to Mrs. Clinton's intent. She sees an email, she forwards it to somebody. It goes to a state department person that's part of the state department system. To suggest that that's a deliberate, intentional mishandling of classified information which the Times did - they can get things wrong but they've got to make the correction and (inaudible) they got it wrong and they did that.


SMERCONISH: Gentlemen, I wish - I wish we had more time.

Joseph DiGenova, Lanny Davis, thank you so much for being here.

DAVIS: Thank you.

DIGENOVA: Thank you, Michael.

SMERCONISH: When we come back, who's the most powerful person at Fox News? Is it Roger Ailes or Rupert Murdoch? Will they control who gets the Republican nod for president?

President Obama goes back to Kenya. We'll take his news conference live this hour.


SMERCONISH: This week, Donald Trump struck fear in the Republican Party when he threatened to run as a third-party candidate. Trump's contemplation of such a move comes at a time when there's already talk of expanding the general election debate stage to include a third candidate.

Bearing no connection to Trump, there's a very well-organized, well- funded movement afoot called which seeks to expand the debate state to a third-candidate with the goal of making a left- leaning Democrat and a right-leaning Republican defend their views against the center. A request has been made of the Commission on Presidential Debates to change its requirement that debate participants attain 15 percent in the national polls just before the debates are held.


You'll remember that in 1992, Ross Perot was the last third-party candidate to join a Republican and Democrat on the debate stage but Perot was accepted by acquiescence of the parties not because he met the 15 percent threshold. How this issue was resolved could determine the outcome of the presidential election.

Now, full disclosure, as a registered independent, I like the idea of giving voice to a growing group of Americans especially where polling suggests the I's - the Independents - now outnumber the Rs and the Ds. Joining me from Washington, former chair of the RNC and former co-

chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, Frank Fahrenkopf.

Mr. Fahrenkopf, thank you so much for being here. If Gallup is correct that 43 percent of Americans now regard themselves as Independent, don't those folks deserve representation in the general election debates?

FRANK FAHRENKOPF, CO-CHAIR, COMMISSION ON PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES: Everyone deserves representation. The argument, Michael, is over what are the - what's the criteria for people to qualify to be in the debates? As you and I have discussed previously, you must meet constitutional requirements, be 35-years-of-age and native-born. You must be on enough ballots and enough states to achieve possibly 270 electoral votes. And it's the third criteria - the one that we've been using since 2000, saying that you have to be at 15 percent in an average of the five biggest polls before the debates begin. That's where the argument is. The third - the 15 percent rule that we use was also used by the League of Women Voters when they ran the debates.

Now, the argument has been put forth by this group that you mentioned, ChangeTheRule, was originally that there was going to be a contest to see who could gather the most petition signatures to get on those ballots in enough states to get 270. They apparently have moved away from that. They now have a new plan which we just got from them and (inaudible) to be candid and fair to them, that hasn't really been flushed out yet. They've apparently going to hire the producer of the show, "Survivor" on television and they will run a separate set of debates and another primary and the winner of that will be determined by votes of - by people voting online. Now, that hasn't been all (inaudible) up but it's a new position for that group.


FAHRENKOPF: What we also have, Michael, it's important. The Libertarians and the Greens who believe that whoever gets on enough ballots to conceivably get 270 electoral votes, all of those people should be on the stage. And then we have a proposal that came from the Annenberg study. I know of some of the people that you've interviewed before from ChangeTheRule have talked about the Annenberg study. They left out, however - they weren't candid - the Annenberg study says that whoever gets 10 percent - you have to be at 10 percent to get in the first debate, 15 percent to get in the second debate, and 25 to get in the final debate. So these are all plans that have been proposed. We asked for them. We're looking at them and the Commission will - in due time - at least a year before the election - will come out with what we believe the proper criteria to be.

SMERCONISH: Doesn't the fact that there hasn't been a third candidate on the debate stage since Ross Perot in '92 and so much disgruntlement in the country as reflected by Gallup among many other pollsters and I know you folks at the CPD rely on Gallup. Doesn't that in and of itself suggest that there do need to be changes because there are people whose voices aren't being heard when all of a sudden, the country is paying attention post-Labor Day in the general election?

FAHRENKOPF: But I'm not sure that that (inaudible) which I agree with and I think most people agree with - the American people are upset not only at Washington, the two political parties, politics in general. They've lost a lot of confidence in some religions. They've lost confidence in the corporate world. I mean, there's a very, very bad situation out there with the attitude of the American people toward institutions. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the Commission should change any rules. We're going to look at it and apply our best judgment in dealing with that. But if there is in fact a 43 percent and I tend to agree with that number that you've quoted, Michael, then that would be reflected in the polls (inaudible) people will take a look.

SMERCONISH: Mr. Fahrenkopf, you know that the folks who want to change this say it's a catch-22 because to get to 15 percent, one really needs to be a participant in the debates. Nothing so shapes the candidacies of individuals as when the nation is paying attention to the debates themselves.

FAHRENKOPF: But, Michael, we're starting a year-long campaign. Now, we've already seen what's going on in the Republican and Democrat primaries right now. If an independent or a third-party person wants to get involved and their plan to have this show - television show by the Survivor producer which would - in effect - result in someone being on television, debating, I mean, I don't know whether it's 10 percent, 15 percent. We haven't made that decision. But we're also living in a world of social media and it's a heck of a lot easier today - I would submit - to get your name out there and to get coverage.


So these are factors that we are going to consider. We have not made a decision yet. We're going to make a decision prior to one year before the election but we welcome - we ask for these suggestions. We want them. We do this every four years to make sure. We also are now dealing with where the debates are going to be and when the debates are going to be. We're also dealing with questions of what we do with format and moderators. So there's a lot of things on our plate. We always do it every four years and we're doing it again.

SMERCONISH: Final question for Frank Fahrenkopf and again, thank you for being here. If there were an Independent primary process in which your commission had confidence, is it conceivable that you could leave a podium available for that Independent candidate?

FAHRENKOPF: Well, we have to have a rule - we're governed by the rules of the Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service and in order to invite anyone, they must meet a standard, an objective standard that has to be out there. We put that out a year before. Now, that's going to include the constitutional requirements, the 270 electoral vote ballot access and some other objective standards. And so we don't automatically reserve a seat for a Republican. We don't automatically reserve a seat for the Democrat. This is now a request that make an automatic seat for someone else. We're going to consider it but, Michael, no decisions have been made yet.

SMERCONISH: All right. I'm putting you down as "Undecided". Frank Fahrenkopf, thank you, sir.

FAHRENKOPF: Thank you, Michael.

SMERCONISH: Coming up, President Obama in Kenya. We'll go live to his father's homeland.

And the Sandra Bland arrest video - was it legal? I'll ask Judge Alex Ferrer, who's also a former police officer, what he thinks.



SMERCONISH: Welcome back.

Now, for a fresh look at a troubling video that many of us have seen - the dash-cam footage of the traffic stop arrest of Sandra Bland, the Texas woman who ended up dying in police custody three days later, according to the coroner, by suicide.

This footage has been scrutinized this week as closely as the Zapruder film of the Kennedy Assassination.

But I want to look at the footage one more time relying on the trained eye of Alex Ferrer. Alex is the triple threat. He's a former cop, trial lawyer, and criminal court judge and he joins me from Miami, Florida.

Judge, nice to have you back. It all begins with the traffic stop. Let me show you the footage and then I want to ask you a question or two.

You see that she's in the left lane and then without a turn signal, she moves to the right lane and this is what begins the whole process. Was that a proper traffic stop for the police officer to make?

JUDGE ALEX FERRER, FMR. FLORAL GABLES POLICE OFFICER: It depends on the state. In Texas, it is. In other states, they require that it interfered with traffic in some way. But in Texas, if you fail to signal a lane change and it's proper for a police officer to pull you over and either write you a citation or give you a warning.

SMERCONISH: If there had been no further incident, would the stop itself have been grounds for her arrest?

FERRER: No. No. There wouldn't have been any grounds for her arrest at that point.

SMERCONISH: OK. Step number two is when there's a request made by the officer for Sandra Bland to put out her cigarette. Let's watch.


POLICE OFFICER: You mind putting out your cigarette, please, if you don't mind?

SANDRA BLAND: I'm in my car. Why do I have to put out my cigarette?


SMERCONISH: Judge, what of the propriety of him saying to her, "Put out the cigarette"?

FERRER: If she had been outside the vehicle, it would certainly be appropriate because the cigarette has been used often and can be used as a weapon to burn the police officer in some way, shape, or form. So they have a lot of discretion to tell you to put your cellphone down, put your - put a cigarette out or anything like that. Inside the vehicle, it's a lot harder to say that it was in any way a problem to him. So I think it was just a polite request that she refused.

SMERCONISH: When you were a cop, did you ever ask someone to put out a cigarette in similar circumstances?

FERRER: I don't remember ever asking anyone to put out a cigarette when they were sitting in their car.

SMERCONISH: OK. Step number three - he orders her out of the car. Let's watch.


POLICE OFFICER: I'm going to yank you out of here.

BLAND: OK. You want to yank me out of my car? POLICE OFFICER: Get out.

BLAND: OK. All right.

POLICE OFFICER: Get out of the car. Get out of the car now!

BLAND: Why am I being apprehended? You're trying to give me a ticket for your failure?

POLICE OFFICER: I said get out of the car.

BLAND: Why am I being apprehended? You (inaudible) open my car door. You just open my car door...

POLICE OFFICER: I'm doing (inaudible). I'm going to drag you out of here.


SMERCONISH: Two-fold question. Does he have grounds to order her out of the car? Can he physically remove her from the car based on what has already transpired?

FERRER: The answer to both of those is "Yes." The Supreme Court has decided the police officers have the authority to ask anybody to - that they pulled over - passenger included - to step out of the vehicle for officer' safety. Now, the motivation for why he did it - only the officer knows that. It could be that he was just offended that she wouldn't put out the cigarette when he asked her to and maybe it was an ego thing or something. Maybe he decided he was not going to give her the warning that apparently he was going to give her and he was going to go back and write her a ticket and because now, they've had a bit of an argument, he didn't want her sitting in the vehicle when he's writing the ticket. For officer's safety, sometimes, officers do that. So he was justified if he wanted her out of the car to ask her to get out of the car. Now, once she refuses to get out of the car, he's going through the continuum of force that officers have to follow and part of that is give a verbal command and raise your voice in order to encourage the person to comply. I've done that on occasions, not some situations like this but I've done it when I've had somebody at gunpoint to make sure that I don't end up having to shoot them.

SMERCONISH: I'm glad that you referenced safety because I'm wondering if this had been a man, would he have awaited backup to arrive before doing anything?

FERRER: Perhaps. And that's certainly one of the options. I'm not saying that what the officer did is what I would have done. I probably would've handled this situation differently. I'm saying that under the broad authority that police officers have, this falls within that broad authority.


SMERCONISH: One more step. He then uses the taser, pulls out the taser and - well, you'll hear what he says to her. Roll that.


POLICE OFFICER: I'm going to drag you out of here.

SANDRA BLAND: So, you're going to drag me out of my own car.

POLICE OFFICER: Get out of the car! I will light you up. Get out!




SMERCONISH: I will light you up. Judge Alex, react to that.

FERRER: First of all, he has made a -- he has now made a decision that he's going to arrest her for failing to follow a lawful order. Use of force like reaching into the car together is certainly one of the permitted steps before using a taser. But it's dangerous situation, because when reaching into the car, you expose your gun to the person in the car.

I'm not -- you know, I'm certainly not condoning his argument of I'm going to light you up. That was very unprofessional. I would have handled that situation completely differently. But within the continuum of force, he had another option after trying to reach in to get her, and that was to threaten her with pepper spray or use pepper spray. But that's not a better situation. If you spray pepper spray in the

car, and she comes out. She's blinded. You're not going to want to grab her because then you're going to be blinded, and she can stumble into the traffic and get hit by a car.

I think he was using the taser to threaten her to get out. I don't think he was actually going to taser her in the car, because that doesn't really simplify the situation for him. This was a situation that should not have escalated to the point it did. Frankly, I would have handed her the warning and walk back to my car, or worse, gone back to the car and written her a ticket, instead of giving her the break I intended to give her.

SMERCONISH: I think we all wish that would have happened. Judge Alex Ferrer, thank you for being here.

FERRER: Always a pleasure, Michael.

SMERCONISH: Coming up, we're awaiting for a live report from an historic trip to Africa as President Obama visits the land of his father's birth.


[09:35:40] SMERCONISH: Welcome back.

Why did Rupert Murdoch, who has a whole media empire at his beck and call, resort to tweeting his unhappiness about Donald Trump last week? Here's what he said. "When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends let alone the whole country?"

Why did this happen? According to the piece in "New York Magazine", quote, "Murdoch has tried and failed to rein in FOX chair and CEO Roger Ailes, who, insiders say, is pushing FOX to defend Trump's most outlandish comments."

Wait, doesn't Ailes work for Murdoch not the other way around?

Joining me now is the author of "The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch", as well as the new book, "Television is the New Television".

Michael Wolff, welcome.

You said previously that Roger Ailes' vision is to give the audience what they want. Here that would appear at odds with what his boss wants. How will this resolve?

MICHAEL WOLFF, INSIDE THE SECRET WORLD OF RUPERT MURDOCH: It will resolve the way Roger wants it to resolve.

SMERCONISH: Roger, not Rupert?

WOLFF: Rupert has not -- since the beginning of FOX television, Rupert has not interfered, will not interfere, doesn't want to interfere. And matter of fact, I can go further. Rupert is a very happy man when it comes to FOX News and let's even

push on, believes Roger Ailes has magical powers when it comes to knowing what should be on FOX News, and I think, actually, probably, Roger Ailes does have magical powers. He knows what works. He knows how to make FOX a center of attention, not only in the political conversation but the center of its audience.

SMERCONISH: Fair to say, you really are the person that's the biographer of Rupert Murdoch? You know the man, you've had the access?

WOLFF: I am the biographer of Rupert Murdoch. Not only have I had access, but much of that access took place when Rupert lived in a Trump building?

SMERCONISH: At Trump Tower?

WOLFF: It was 59th and Park Trump building, where many of the members of the Trump family lived, who Rupert was very friendly with.

SMERCONISH: What is the history between the two of them? These two media moguls?

WOLFF: I don't think they have much of a history at all. I think, temperamentally, they are probably at odds. Trump is obviously more enormously flamboyant, and enormously inconsistent and Rupert is very, very buttoned down.

But, I have been -- I have seen him with Ivanka Trump. He's -- he's actually quite close to the Trump family. And I suspect he -- you know, he's probably been, as I say, Donald Trump would not be his favorite person, but to say that there's great enmity there is not true.

SMERCONISH: You saw the embarrassment tweet, as I call it. When Rupert Murdoch sends out a tweet of that kind, who is the intended audience?

WOLFF: I'm not sure he has an intended audience. Rupert is a promiscuous tweeter. So, it depends on his mood. It depends how many glasses of wine he's had.

SMERCONISH: There's a lot of that going around.

WOLFF: Yes. So, I don't -- clearly, Trump, from a political standpoint, Rupert is very orthodox. And I think Trump probably offends his straight and narrow sensibilities, and certainly "The Wall Street Journal" has not been kind to Trump, nor has "The New York Post".

SMERCONISH: Well, that's why I'm fascinated about your comments pertaining to FOX News. The headline from "The Post" that stands out was "Don Voyage", I think is what it said.

Is it that "The Post" and "The Journal", they try to give Rupert what he wants, but at FOX, they feel no such obligation? WOLFF: I think, at "The Post," they certainly give Rupert what he

wants. At "The Wall Street Journal," sometimes they give him what he wants. At FOX News, it is just Roger's business.

SMERCONISH: Is there someone on the air at FOX who you think is transparent of what Roger Ailes -- who is it that most reflects Ailes' particular perspective?

[09:40:00] WOLFF: I think everyone. I think if you work at FOX New, you reflect the FOX News vision. It is a very, very consistent piece of programming, which is one reason why it makes people so mad, but another reason why it works so well.

SMERCONISH: Of course, FOX is the sponsor of the very first presidential debate, which will take place on the 6th of August in Cleveland. Some regard this as the FOX primary season because of the strangle hold that have of the GOP base. If Trump is getting this kind of attention from Ailes, is it fair to say that he is the choice of FOX, or is it too early to tell?

WOLFF: No. The choice of the FOX is to win in every time slot. That's what it wants to do.

SMERCONISH: Give the public what they want and move on to the next --

WOLFF: And it's to tell a story in the most compelling way, and I think you can probably -- you might be able to make the argument that this is a very difficult political field for FOX. And nobody has a national reputation, other than Jeb Bush. It's too fractured. Many of these people are fighting very, very parochial campaigns, I mean, still fighting the same-sex marriage battle in a world that has largely resolved that issue.

So, suddenly, you have Donald Trump who is a national name, who can transcend all of these, dare I say, smaller fish.

SMERCONISH: "Television is the New Television", an intriguing title. Look forward to chatting with you about that on a separate occasion.

WOLFF: Thanks.

SMERCONISH: Best of luck. Thank you.

Coming up: will Donald Trump survive scrutiny from evangelical voters?

And live coverage of Obama's first presidential visit to Kenya, when we come back.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

SMERCONISH: Breaking news: a historic visit today: President Obama is in Kenya, where his father was born, his first visit since taking office, and the first ever by a sitting U.S. president. He's about to start a joint news conference with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. For coverage, we go to Michelle Kosinski live from Nairobi.

Michelle, one of the questions is whether President Obama is going to confront the president about his less than generous stance on gay rights. Anything new on that score?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's been the big question. I don't know if confront is the word. That's exactly what the White House does not want to do.

When they talk about it coming up, they defend themselves in a way, they do bring it up frequently, they say -- clearly and directly, they bring up these topics of human rights in public and in private. It seems there's no doubt it will come up but they also say, when appropriate.

[09:45:00] They don't want to confront Kenya or offend anyone here. I mean, the goal here is to find common ground, ways to cooperate moving forward. But at the same time, they don't want to ignore that.

So, I think it is doubtful that that topic in particular is going to come up during this press conference. President Obama may touch on it, but both presidents are likely to be asked about it, especially since in the past couple of days --


SMERCONISH: I see the president --

KOSINSKI: -- we heard the deputy president here -- yes?

SMERCONISH: I was going to say, Michelle, I see the presidents approaching the stage and getting ready for their remarks.


SMERCONISH: We'll take it live.

KOSINSKI: We'll wait and see. Go for it.

UHURU KENYATTA, KENYAN PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

Let me begin by saying that we have had an excellent afternoon where we've had very frank, and indeed very fruitful discussions with President Obama, on a variety of issues of mutual interest both to Kenya and the United States.

This follows the signing of agreements covering areas of mutual interest, such as security, vis-a-vis reciprocity, and development and cooperation amongst other things. Our discussions affirm that Kenya and the United States share deep values, in many areas of critical interest. And naturally, therefore, people and governments speak the same language on many issues.

Kenya is an open democratic society under pinned by embrace of democracy. We are deepening that democracy, while fighting global terrorists who seek to destroy our way of life. Left undefeated, they will redraw the international system, and make room for violent extremism and tyranny.

We agree together that we can build a future in which our people of all faiths, cultures, live peacefully together, with the rights of individuals and minorities protected, and those in power hold -- held to account by strong and inclusive institutions. I also expressed to President Obama that without building shared prosperity, our vision of a secure Africa, and indeed a stable world, will remain a fragile dream.

For this reason, that Kenya, an increasingly dynamic country, is continuously opening new trade and investment frontiers across the world. I convey the hope that during his tenure in office, the United States would look to develop a strong strategic partnership with Africa, build on shared values and interests. I also express the hope that his visit will allow him and the people of the United States, to gain an even deeper insight on Africa's challenges. And this will enable them to see these challenges as an expression of great opportunities that are available here.

The United States is a country of entrepreneurs, with the unique capacity to build transformative businesses, and I hope these entrepreneurs and investors will recognize and act on the immense opportunities Kenya and Africa present. And in this regard, I also express my appreciation of his leadership in shepherding the renewal of AGOA.

Beyond shared values, we are proper brothers and sisters, fellow travelers in a struggle for a better world for all, and we, therefore, need to upscale our partnerships in agriculture, infrastructure, and affordable energy. I also expressed my own commitment to ensuring that on our part, we will continue to take the steps that provide the proper conditions for a vibrant ecosystem for investors and entrepreneurs.

We agree to continue to engage one another, so that we can strengthen what is already a robust relationship and indeed I look forward to hosting President Obama later this evening and, indeed, also seeing him at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September.

President Obama, once again, on my own behalf, on behalf of my government and the people of Kenya, let me thank you for your support as evidenced by the various agreements signed between our two governments and, indeed, your willingness to engage Kenya in the true spirit of partnership.

It's now my pleasure to introduce the president to make some brief remarks as well.

[09:50:02] Thank you.

(APPLAUSE) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Kenyatta, let me just reiterate what I said at the summit earlier to you and to people of Kenya, thank you for the extraordinary welcome you have given me and for the same kindness you have shown me since my first visit to Kenya nearly 30 years ago. I'm proud to return as the first U.S. president to ever visit Kenya while still in office. I need to give a special acknowledgment to everybody in Alago (ph) and Kogelo and Kisumu.


I'm well aware that the enthusiasm we are seeing today from my visit is a reflection of something bigger. That's the desire among the Kenyan people for a deeper partnership with America. That's why I'm here.

My work with President Kenyatta today has been rooted in our shared recognition that the interests of both our nations and the lives of both our peoples can be advanced if our countries deepen and expand our cooperation. That's what we have agreed to today.

First, I want to salute the Kenyan people for their hard won progress in strengthening their democracy. Millions voted for the new Constitution, one of the most progressive in Africa, with its strong protections for freedom of expression, assembly, and the press, and its emphasis on equality and against discrimination.

The election two years ago was competitive and largely peaceful. Kenya has a determined, active, feisty press as we see here today. And as I have said elsewhere, a free press helps make a nation stronger and more successful. It makes us leaders more effective because it demands greater accountability.

Kenya has a vibrant civil society which is essential for any democracy. I look forward to meeting tomorrow with representatives from civil society who stand up for the dignity and rights of all Kenyans.

Dignity begins, of course, with the ability to provide a decent life for our families and we want to expand the economic partnerships between our peoples that can provide broad based prosperity.

We will extend student and business visas for up to five years for Kenyans traveling to the United States and Americans traveling to Kenya, to make it easier for university students to complete their studies and businesses to make long-term plans. Our governments are also working to launch direct flights between Kenya and the United States as soon as possible. As part of our young African leaders initiative, we'll also continue to support promising Kenyan youth as they work to become future leaders in business, civil society, and government.

Now that we've renewed the African Growth and Opportunity Act or AGOA for another ten years, I discussed with President Kenyatta how to expand economic cooperation. We are especially focused on infrastructure and energy, two keys to economic growth. Our Power Africa Initiative is supporting the goal of achieving its

national energy needs, electricity for Kenyans, by 2030. This includes bringing pour to rural Kenyans who are off the grid as I saw earlier today at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

I also want to commend Kenya, a leader in clean energy, for announcing its post 20 target to limit carbon emissions as part of our fight against climate change.

Together, we are confronting insidious threats to Kenya's prosperity.

President Kenyatta, I want to commend you on your announced commitment to rooting out corruption. With the joint commitment we have agreed to today the United States will offer advice and technical assistance to support Kenya as it takes steps to increase transparency, and accountability and to strengthen institutions that fight corruption. So, we are making important commitments and now we need to work together to fulfill them, because if Kenya can put in place the habits and institutions of good governance, it can help unleash even greater growth and investment and prosperity for the Kenyan people. And that will be good for everybody.

Our countries are also close partners in the fight against poachers and traffickers that threaten Kenya's world famous wildlife. The United States has a ban already on the commercial import of elephant ivory.

[09:55:04] I can announce that we are proposing a new rule that bans the sale of virtually all ivory across our state lines which will eliminate the market for illegal ivory in the United States. On security, the United States and Kenya are already strong partners. And today, we reaffirm that we stand united in the face of terrorism.

Earlier, I had the opportunity to meet with survivors and families of victims of the bombing of our U.S. embassy in 1998. In the face of despicable violence such as the attack on Garissa University College, and the Westgate Mall, the Kenyan people have shown incredible resolve and remarkable resilience.

I also want to pay tribute to the sacrifices of Kenyan forces who serve in the African Union-led mission against al Shabaab in Somalia and to thank Kenya for hosting so many Somali refugees who are victims of al Shabaab.

Today, we discussed deepening our security cooperation as part of the security governance initiative. Our governments signed an action plan to support Kenya's efforts to strengthen its judiciary, police and border security. We also discussed broader efforts to counter extremism here and around the world, efforts that are advanced when there is rule of law, respect for human rights, a space for civil society and peaceful dissent and when we welcome all communities as our partners. All our nations are going to have to work together in order for us to be successful.

We also had the opportunity to discuss regional security issues. We focused in particular on the terrible conflict in South Sudan which has taken so many lives that cause unbearable suffering for the South Sudanese people.

The situation is dire. We agree that the best way to stop the fighting is for South Sudanese leaders to put their country first with a peace agreement that ends the fighting. We also discussed Burundi where the recent elections were not credible. We are calling on the government and opposition to come together in a dialogue that leads to a political solution to the crisis and avoids the loss of more innocent life.

And finally, we are going to keep investing in the health and well- being of our people. Our feed the future initiative is focused on reducing hunger, malnutrition and poverty. We are working together to ensure that girls have access to education and that women are protected from violence. Today, I can announce that Kenya will be part of our Dreams Initiative to help keep adolescent girls safe and AIDS-free. And across Africa, Kenya and the United States will keep working to strengthen public health systems and deal with outbreaks and diseases before they become epidemics.

Together, we can save lives.

So, President Kenyatta, thank you for the progress and new commitments that we have made today. I know that Kenya faces persistent challenges as does the United States.

But I will tell you that every time I come here, I'm struck by the determination and talent of the Kenyan people. I look forward to the opportunity to speak to the people of Kenya tomorrow about the future we can build together.



You want me start? OK.

Mr. Jeff Mason (ph)?

REPORTER: Thank you very much.

Mr. President, I would like to ask about two topics.

First of all, what more specifically can the U.S. do to help Kenya in the fight against al Shabaab? Do you see still Somalia as a counterterrorism model? And are you concerned about authorities using counterterrorism as an excuse to commit human rights violations?

Secondly, can you comment on the state of gay and lesbian -- the treatment of gay and lesbians in Kenya which rights groups called dismal, and President Kenyatta has called a nonissue?

For you, sir, President Kenyatta, on the same themes -- what more do you need from the United States to help al Shabaab and are you getting it? And can you please also respond to the criticism about the state of gay rights in your country? OBAMA: Well, this was an extensive topic of conversation, and

concrete action that we're now taking. There has been extensive and effective counterterrorism cooperation between the United States and Kenya, dealing with primarily threats from al Shabaab. In part because of the actions we have taken not just with Kenya but with Africa.