Tucker Carlson and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a junior member of the House Intel Committee, battle over the Trump-Russia probe and gun control in a heated debate on Monday's broadcast of Tucker Carlson Tonight.
Transcript, via FOX News:
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: Congressman Eric Swalwell says he can show real evidence that the president colluded with the Russian government, but first we'd like to hear his thoughts on the FBI's spying operation against the Trump campaign. The congressman joins us tonight. Congressman, thanks a lot for coming on.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Of course, Tucker. Thanks for having me back.
CARLSON: So, if you found that the - you're up for reelection, of course. All members are. If you find out that the Trump FBI had begun spying on you and was reading your emails and listening to the phone calls of your staff and, in fact, had an advisor of yours calling back to FBI HQ reporting what's going on in your campaign and they said it's just for your protection, would you feel OK about that?
SWALWELL: If they didn't have probable cause, I would be pissed.
CARLSON: What would constitute probable cause?
SWALWELL: Well, the evidence that you put forward to a judge and a judge has to sign off on it. And that's happened mostly through this investigation.
CARLSON: But we know, in this case, no judge - you just heard fresh reporting that apparently this person, this advisor, fake advisor of the Trump campaign, was doing this long before July and maybe as early as March. I don't think there's any indication of a judge signed off on that, does that bother you?
SWALWELL: Well, I've seen the evidence. I don't accept the premise of your question. There's a multiplicity of different individuals who saw concerning things, judges who signed off on FISA applications.
CARLSON: Did a judge sign off on this? I'm quoting "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" and they are saying that a long time CIA asset was spying on the Trump campaign on behalf of the Obama administration. Did a judge sign off on that?
SWALWELL: I can't go into classified information.
CARLSON: It's not classified whether a judge signed off on it. As an American, I have a right - you brought it up. You said that a judge signed off on it. And I'm saying, is that true? Do you know that?
SWALWELL: I haven't seen anything improper. I've seen a lot of evidence that was concerning. But what I do see that's improper is a president who is a subject of an investigation using his DOJ to look into the evidence locker.
CARLSON: Let's not make it general. Let's make it really specific. I said we know from reporting "The New York Times" -
SWALWELL: Wait, so now you're trusting "The New York Times" because you don't trust them most of the times. You don't trust them most of the times.
CARLSON: I'm just saying. If I'm wrong, tell me. You are on the intel committee. They are reporting that a guy who was claiming to advise the Trump campaign was reporting back to the Obama agencies. You just said a judge signed off on that, or suggested one had.
SWALWELL: No, a lot of the evidence in this case, judges have signed off.
CARLSON: No, but on that spying operation, did a judge -
SWALWELL: I can't say on what is being alleged. I'm just telling you all the evidence I've seen -
CARLSON: Do you believe a judge signed off that?
SWALWELL: I believe a judge has signed off on a lot of good evidence that exists in the case.
CARLSON: Does that not bother you if you want a judge to sign off on it? If he were spying on your campaign, Trump was spying on your campaign, would you - and we clearly know a judge signed off on it, would that be good enough for you?
SWALWELL: It's a great question, Tucker.
CARLSON: Yes, it's a great question.
SWALWELL: Considering all the evidence I've seen in this investigation, of all the contacts that Trump has had with the Russians, I'd want judges to sign off on anything that would make sure that a foreign adversary wasn't meddling in our election.
CARLSON: Do you care if a judge signs off on spying operations that are waged against political campaigns? Is that of interest to you?
SWALWELL: I think you'd have to be a little more careful and understand the political consequences.
CARLSON: What about the moral and legal consequences? Should a judge have to sign off on a spy within a presidential campaign, especially when the agency is controlled by the opposing party? Should a judge have to sign off on that?
SWALWELL: We should trust judges to be independent, investigators to be independent. I haven't seen any evidence of impropriety yet.
CARLSON: So, you don't know if a judge signed off on it and you don't care. I don't want to put words in your mouth.
SWALWELL: I know, but I'm not going to give you classified information. I'm going to tell you -
CARLSON: Why would that be classified whether a judge signed off on it? Why can't I know that?
SWALWELL: Because I'm not going to comment on "New York Times" reporting of classified information.
CARLSON: Do believe that happened?
SWALWELL: The evidence I've seen, Tucker, there were very good reasons to be concerned about the contacts that the Trump campaign had. And I can go into that.
CARLSON: Look, we're going to spend the whole next segment going into the evidence and I can't wait to hear it. And if you can convince me, I'll call for indictments. And I mean that with total sincerity.
SWALWELL: But aren't you concerned about the leaking that is taking place on this story?
CARLSON: Were you concerned that the dossier was leaked? Did that bother you?
SWALWELL: I thought the dossier was the beginning of this investigation. Now, you're moving it to -
CARLSON: Look, I'm just saying - you're very upset.
SWALWELL: You keep moving and shifting.
CARLSON: It's really simple. I'm an American. If it turned out that Trump FBI was spying on your campaign, even though I don't agree with you on the issues, I would say you better have a pretty good freaking reason.
SWALWELL: A damn good reason.
CARLSON: Exactly. And you better have legal pretext and you better have a judge's order, but they didn't have a judge's order. You know that. But it doesn't bother you. And I'm asking you why.
SWALWELL: No, no, no. I'm telling you that I've seen a lot of evidence, a lot of contacts that the Trump team had with Russians that judges -
CARLSON: But we've seen no evidence that this mole was approved by a judge.
SWALWELL: You are trying to acknowledge something that we have not acknowledged yet.
CARLSON: You're hiding behind -
SWALWELL: No, no. There's plenty of evidence. You don't have to be a lawyer, you don't have to have access that I have to be concerned.
CARLSON: OK. OK. Let me just say, I'm obviously not going to move you into the factual realm.
SWALWELL: Or into the break a law realm.
CARLSON: If it turns out that they spy on your campaign, as God watches, I will call them out for that because I think it's immoral.
SWALWELL: If they didn't have probable cause -
CARLSON: Probable cause means nothing. They need a judge's order, as you just said.
SWALWELL: Rule of law is based on probable cause.
CARLSON: We're going to take a quick break. In just a minute, the congressman will present his evidence that the collusion investigation is real and that the Trump campaign worked with the Putin government in order to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Stay where you are.
CARLSON: Welcome back. We are still joined by Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, a member of the House Intel Committee.
If you've been watching cable news for the past year, no doubt you have seen the congressman talking a lot about Russia. Here's part.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SWALWELL: Russia attacked our democracy this past election.
And then, they showed up to his Trump Tower, offered the evidence to his family. They received it, they didn't turn it down.
Donald Trump for years had been working with the Russians. He brought people on his campaign who had ties to the Russians.
We have seen a candidate and a president who has spoken in very flattering ways about Vladimir Putin.
All the arrows continue to point to a personal, political and financial relationship that Donald Trump had with the Russians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: The Congressman has come on tonight. We've given him a lot of time to present to us evidence, actual evidence, of collusion.
Congressman, thanks a lot for coming back.
SWALWELL: Yes. Of course, Tucker.
CARLSON: Trump said in the campaign I want to bring us closer to Russia. Lot of people - I certainly agreed with that. A lot of people on his campaign -
SWALWELL: Why? Why did you agree with that?
CARLSON: Because it's a geopolitical matter. I think the enemy is China. And I think we have -
SWALWELL: We have more than one enemy.
CARLSON: Absolutely. I don't agree with your posture - I don't agree with the Trump administration's posture toward Russia right now actually. It's too bellicose. Whatever. But that's a legitimate point. That's all I'm saying. It doesn't make you a traitor.
But is there actual evidence? I have followed this pretty carefully. Where is the actual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Putin?
SWALWELL: 2014, '15, '16, Russians hack into our DNC. They weaponize social media. 2015, they make what I think is the first approach that we know. So, Felix Sater, Russian-American, former business partner with Donald Trump, approaches Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen and says let's get Donald Trump to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
SWALWELL: We can engineer this, get Trump and Putin together and make our boy president. So, that's the first known approach.
So, the hacking is going on. And you start to see these different approaches. And there's two different types of approaches.
There is the approaches to get Trump and Putin together, which is unusual because he's a candidate, and then there's the approaches to preview the hacked emails that the Russians have against Hillary Clinton.
So, you see that offer made to George Papadopoulos while he's over in London by a Russian. He lied about that. He pled guilty to lying. Admitted that had occurred.
You see the approach with the June 9th meeting, the Agalarov family, Russian developers close to Putin trying to get Trump and Putin together. They offer dirt on Hillary Clinton.
That June 9th meeting, they move heaven and earth, Donald Trump, Jr. and Paul Manafort and Kushner to take the meeting, right?
Donald trump, days before the meeting occurred, once his son knows the meeting is happening tells the world new information is coming out about Hillary Clinton.
Days after the meeting, Julian Assange tells the world that Hillary Clinton emails are coming out. Then you start to see the hacked emails released. What does candidate Trump do? He doesn't disavow them. No one in the family says we have taken these meetings.
Instead, he invites the Russians on a public stage to hack more. He asked them to do it. He made an invitation.
CARLSON: He did. So, I think we have that. This is July 27th, 2016 at the Doral National, which he owns in Doral, Florida. Here's the clip you are talking about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So, two questions.
SWALWELL: He was rewarded.
CARLSON: One, do we have the 30,000 emails? Did Russia ever come up with
SWALWELL: We're still -
CARLSON: Oh, no. They didn't actually.
SWALWELL: Do you know that for a fact?
CARLSON: We haven't seen them.
SWALWELL: Let the Mueller investigation continue.
CARLSON: OK. Maybe Mueller is in contact with the Russians, but Trump didn't come up with those from the Russians. So, it hasn't happened.
But let me ask you this.
SWALWELL: There's still an attempt there, right? You can attempt to do something and fail and it can still be a crime.
CARLSON: I mean, I hate to inject common sense into this.
SWALWELL: Would you do it in broad daylight?
CARLSON: If you're trying to make secret contact with Russia, your handlers back in Moscow, wouldn't you dial them up in the short wave in the basement? Would you really sent a coded message in the middle of a joke at a press conference?
SWALWELL: I'm not saying he's the smartest guy in the world, Tucker. Never accused him of that.
CARLSON: That's the smoking gun right there?
SWALWELL: Yes, it's part of the evidence. An invitation made by the candidate.
CARLSON: At a press conference.
SWALWELL: Telling them it's OK. He's not the smartest guy in the world.
CARLSON: OK. So, he's both a secret agent for Putin, but he's so dumb that he spills the secrets at a press conference on TV.
SWALWELL: The latter.
SWALWELL: So, he makes an invitation. He doesn't disavow what they are doing. What do they do? They start to do more.
CARLSON: But they don't actually give him the 30,000 emails.
SWALWELL: They start to do more. They start to have more.
CARLSON: You heard the people laughing at the end of what he said, right?
SWALWELL: He's committing the offer in broad daylight.
CARLSON: But (INAUDIBLE) Russia, why wouldn't he just act through all the many Russian agents?
SWALWELL: Let me continue.
CARLSON: But those are fair questions, right? It's a little confusing.
SWALWELL: Completely fair questions.
CARLSON: So, what's the answer? Why would he do it in public?
SWALWELL: Why did he admit to Lester Holt obstruction of justice in public. There's no who could be so stupid, they commit the crime and public accept it. He did it.
CARLSON: Has any secret agent ever broadcast a message at a press conference to his handlers ever?
SWALWELL: Has any businessman ever been elected president? Sometimes you're the first person to do it.
So, Tucker, again, he made the invitation -
CARLSON: OK, OK.
SWALWELL: Makes the invitation in public, right? Then you start to see during the summer of 2016 - we have an email that is titled Kremlin Connection, an offer made to Paul Erickson of the campaign to connect Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin again. Kremlin connection, right? So, again, more and more offers -
CARLSON: Did they connect? Do we have evidence that he talked to Putin?
SWALWELL: I don't believe that they connected.
CARLSON: I mean, all this stuff. Where's the evidence?
SWALWELL: First, Tucker, don't confuse evidence with a conclusion. Evidence gives the FBI and the Department of Justice -
CARLSON: Where's the smoking gun? Look, I watch Rachel Maddow. I get it. I know there are a lot of Russians and Russian people and emails, but, like, where is the actual proof that something happened after more than a year of this?
SWALWELL: Well, I'm not the prosecutor. I don't have subpoena power. Bob Mueller does.
CARLSON: You have a high security clearance and you're on the intel committee. So, presumably, you have more than like a clip of him at a press conference.
SWALWELL: I'm only giving you the evidence that I've seen in an unclassified manner. So, I'm telling you all of that warrants looking at whether we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt conspiracy to defraud the United States.
CARLSON: But aren't we working on that? We've been working at that for a long time.
SWALWELL: Not with the obstruction that we continue to see. The continued undermining, the trying to -
CARLSON: So, that's it. That's all you've got?
SWALWELL: No, no.
CARLSON: OK. So, what's the part I haven't heard? Tell me. I'm waiting.
SWALWELL: It's right in front of your nose.
CARLSON: Tell me what it is.
SWALWELL: It's right in front of your nose.
CARLSON: Another press conference he gave with more secret messages? Tell me.
SWALWELL: When we look back on this in 25 years, we're going to be amazed at how much of it was right in front of us. So, they are hacking.
CARLSON: We are all speaking Chinese at that point. And we're like people thought Russia was the threat. Isn't that weird?
SWALWELL: There's approaches. They never turned down any of the approaches. The candidate makes an invitation in broad daylight, as you've said. They continue to try and arrange meetings through the summer. And then you start to have what I call - if there's a quid pro quo, there has to be a quo, right?
If there's a transaction that has taken place, you start to - of course, there's the candidate's positive favorable statements about Putin. Even if those are just, as you said, so we have a better relationship of Russia, how do you explain the incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who had been over to Russia just a year before, telling the Russians don't worry about the Barack Obama imposed sanctions. How do you explain that? How do you explain bringing the Russians into the Oval Office, giving them
national security -
CARLSON: Here's what I would hope that we would stop with the sanctions on Russia. I think they are counterproductive, but the Trump administration has done just the opposite.
So, we sent Javelin missiles to the Ukrainian rebels. We've opened up domestic oil production here, which hurts them in gas production. We have killed over 200 Russians in Syria. We have bombed the government of Bashar al-Assad, which is their closest ally outside their borders.
In what sense has he been pro-Russia as president? And I say this with sadness because I don't think he should be doing any of that.
SWALWELL: All the favorable things that he says. Bringing Russians into the Oval Office, kicking out Americans. Allowing Russian press -
CARLSON: Can we just be reality based really quick.
SWALWELL: And failure to impose the congressionally passed sanctions. You know how hard we had to work?
CARLSON: What about killing the 200 Russians?
SWALWELL: Did he kill them?
CARLSON: He sent the US military.
SWALWELL: I think you give him too much credit.
CARLSON: Look, I'm not flacking for Trump. I don't think he should've done it. I criticized him on this show.
I'm just telling you he's killed 200 Russians. Obama did not do that. He sent missiles to Ukrainian rebels. Obama did not do that. He is competing in energy with them in a way Obama never tried. Why is he more pro-Russian than Obama was?
SWALWELL: Don't confuse what he has to do because the public sentiment is so high in Washington.
SWALWELL: Again, you give him too much credit. You're giving him too much credit.
CARLSON: I'm not giving him credit. I'm criticizing him. I don't think he should be doing any of it. I'm just saying this whole thing is insane. That's what I'm saying.
SWALWELL: And then, you have all the consciousness of guilt evidence, right? All of the lies that have been told, whether it's the June 9th meeting, the Russian adoption excuse and then moving it - what it was really about. That's conscience of guilt.
A lot of times, the way someone acts after an investigation is launched can tell you what they were doing.
CARLSON: I guess. You know what, I'm so buoyant. Maybe that's why I'm not in Congress.
SWALWELL: Don't confuse evidence with a conclusion. There's more than enough evidence to continue and find out how close are these ties?
CARLSON: I was hoping for something. We are going to take a break right now. We will continue our conversation with Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. We'll be right back.
CARLSON: We are continuing our extended conversation with Congressman Eric Swalwell, Democrat of California.
So, you've talked a lot about Russia, but you've also become known for your position on guns. And you are one of the very few Democrats, I think, who has been honest about that.
You say that the US government ought to ban a certain species of rifle. You wrote a piece about this. This is not a secret view you have. You wrote it in "USA Today". And you say this, "We should ban possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons. We should buy back such weapons from all who choose to abide by the law and we should criminally prosecute any who choose to defy it by keeping their weapons."
So, we should confiscate this entire class of firearms. What do you think would happen if the federal government tried to do that?
SWALWELL: Well, Tucker, did you read the op-ed?
CARLSON: I did. I just quoted from it extensively.
SWALWELL: I'm not calling for confiscation. What I'm saying is we should invest in a buyback, that we should restrict any weapons that aren't brought back to gun clubs, hunting clubs, shooting ranges. Keep them there where it's safe, not on our streets.
And if you are caught, just like if you were caught with drugs or anything else, they have probable cause to go into your home and you had one of these weapons, yes, you'd be prosecuted.
I've never suggested sending troops out.
CARLSON: OK. I'm going to quote from an old friend of mine called Eric Swalwell. He's a congressman from California on the intel committee. Can you put this back on the screen please? I'm just going to quote once again.
"And we should buy back those weapons," and I'm quoting, "criminally prosecute any who would choose to defy it by keeping their weapons."
So, you're going to prosecute people who don't give up their weapons. That's gun confiscation.
SWALWELL: If they are caught with them, yes. We're not sending troops door-to-door, Tucker.
CARLSON: What do you think would happen? Because, of course, the overwhelming majority of those people are law-abiding, have committed no crime, have no plans to commit a crime.
You would instantly turn them into felons. Do you think that you would have a civil war? Are you worried about that?
SWALWELL: What do you think will happen if we do nothing? You think more kids would be killed. Do you think more concerts will be shot at? More churches would lose parishioners?
CARLSON: I'm not arguing about absolutely nothing. I'm critiquing your very specific suggestion. And you are a lawmaker, so this is meaningful, what you said.
SWALWELL: And I trust the American people are law-abiding, that their weapons could be bought back or keep them at a gun club. You don't have to give it up. Keep them at a gun club.
CARLSON: But what if you want to keep them in your home? And you've done nothing wrong. You haven't hurt anybody. And now, you just made them into felons.
SWALWELL: There's no troop round up here.
CARLSON: No, you just made them into felons. You just said that in the piece. Look, I'm not making this up, but you wrote that. If I'm a gun owner and I have one of the weapons that you say should be banned, and I don't feel like bringing it to a gun club, I feel like keeping it in my bedroom closet.
SWALWELL: I don't think you are giving the American people enough credit that they'd be law-abiding and that they would -
CARLSON: That they would obey you or else they'd be criminally prosecuted.
SWALWELL: No, I'm suggesting we have a conversation in Congress and pass a ban like this, they'd be obeying the law.
CARLSON: Would you apply as written by you -
SWALWELL: It has to be passed by a majority -
CARLSON: Would you apply these standards to yourself and your fellow members of Congress.
SWALWELL: Absolutely. Not cops though.
CARLSON: So, your bodyguards could have any kind of guns.
SWALWELL: I don't have bodyguards, Tucker.
CARLSON: Yes, you do. I was there today. You have many bodyguards.
SWALWELL: I don't personally have bodyguards.
CARLSON: But you're surrounded by them. You're surrounded by bodyguards that I pay for.
CARLSON: They are police officers. They are sworn. They are trained.
CARLSON: They are there to protect you.
SWALWELL: And they shouldn't be outgunned. And that's the problem. I have two brothers who are cops. My dad was a cop. They're outgunned right now.
CARLSON: But your bodyguards would get to have any kind of gun they want to protect you. But I wouldn't have -
SWALWELL: I don't want them to protect me. I want them to protect the people who are getting shot up in the schools.
CARLSON: Capitol Police exist to protect you.
SWALWELL: This isn't about Capitol Police.
CARLSON: No, but it is, though.
SWALWELL: This is about the kids who are dying, Tucker, in their schools. They are afraid to go to school tomorrow. They hear a book dropped, they think a shooter is walking into the classroom. Don't they deserve to be protected?
CARLSON: They do.
SWALWELL: So, let's protect them.
SWALWELL: Why do you need an AR-15 inside your house?
CARLSON: I don't know why you need one. You have them in your building where you work.
SWALWELL: Police officers do.
CARLSON: No, your bodyguards.
SWALWELL: Don't denigrate the cops.
CARLSON: I'm not denigrating them. I'm glad they're there.
SWALWELL: They shouldn't be outgunned and they're outgunned right now.
CARLSON: No. But wait a second -
SWALWELL: I went to the funeral for police officers who were killed by an assault weapon.
CARLSON: You don't actually care more than I do. We care the same. So, it's not a question of who cares.
SWALWELL: Do you think cops should have guns?
CARLSON: I think that your bodyguards should have the same guns I have to protect my family.
SWALWELL: They're America's bodyguards, Tucker. Don't denigrate them like that.
CARLSON: I'm not denigrating them.
SWALWELL: They work too hard.
CARLSON: (INAUDIBLE) come to my house and protect my wife while I'm at work.
SWALWELL: If you call the police, yes.
CARLSON: But can I have a Capitol Hill - when you go to work, they hang out and protect you.
SWALWELL: They're protecting the constituents who come in with -
CARLSON: We know they're protecting you actually. Why shouldn't my wife have the same firearm at home that your bodyguards use to protect you? Is that fair? Is that unfair?
SWALWELL: That's a ridiculous argument.
CARLSON: Oh, why?
SWALWELL: It's absolutely ridiculous.
CARLSON: Because you are more important than me? I'm asking a sincere question. Why should you get to protect your -
SWALWELL: Our cops should not be outgunned. Period.
CARLSON: No, not our cops -
SWALWELL: Our military shouldn't be outgunned.
CARLSON: They're your cops. Capitol Hill Police have - why don't we just limit them to the same guns I can have at home?
SWALWELL: Why can't we have a real conversation about this?
CARLSON: This is a real conversation. Why is it nonsense? You're putting your life -
SWALWELL: You're calling cops bodyguards, and that's disrespectful to them.
CARLSON: I'm not calling all cops -
SWALWELL: Police Week was last week. They were all here in town honoring the fallen and you are calling them bodyguards. My dad was a cop. He's not a bodyguard. He protects people. That's ridiculous.
CARLSON: Do members of Congress have bodyguards? I notice -
SWALWELL: You're calling cop a bodyguard, man? That is so disrespectful.
CARLSON: They are. And the government pays for them. I was in the Capitol today -
SWALWELL: They protect you and your kids and our families.
CARLSON: Can I get the same in my office and taxpayers can pay for it?
SWALWELL: They shouldn't be outgunned. They're outgunned today.
CARLSON: Can I ask a question?
SWALWELL: Yes, go ahead.
CARLSON: If I walked down the hallway in front of your office, you have officers there, paid for by taxpayers - great guys, I'm not attacking them, obviously, and I think they watch this (INAUDIBLE). They're not at all.
I'm merely saying that you have better protection than I do. And you are saying that my family doesn't deserve to have a certain species of weapon. You get to decide what we can protect ourselves with, but you are not going to in any way take the ability to protect you away from the Capitol Hill Police.
SWALWELL: I'm saying that every police officer in America today is outgunned. For their safety and for the safety of people they protect, we shouldn't have assault weapons.
CARLSON: Right. You just don't want to apply the rules to yourself. I get it. I wouldn't either. You know what I mean? I care about protecting my family.
SWALWELL: Let's protect the kids first. That seems like the first place to start.
CARLSON: Yes. My kids in my house. I'd agree. Thank you very much.
SWALWELL: Yes, my pleasure.