Tucker Carlson called for consequences for those who pushed the Trump-Russian collusion narrative if the report by special counsel Robert Mueller shows none in a monologue delivered on the Thursday broadcast of his FOX News show.
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: Various news outlets are telling us the Mueller report is finally on its way. We have no inside information on that, though we should say the White House believes it, too. When Mueller’s report does arrive, it will go first to the attorney general. There isn’t much debate about what should happen next. Democrats have demanded the release of the entire document. The president agrees with them. He’s said he’d like to see the report go public, so that voters can assess for themselves. Of course we’ll bring you that when it happens.
For now, we’d like to take a second to put this entire, sprawling story in perspective. Our job on this show is to remember things, to create a record of what’s happened in this country over the past few years, and what’s happened to it. Our grandchildren will want to know. If the left has its way, they will never see the details. It will all be whitewashed, like so much else in our history. So let’s recall, for the record, what the Robert Mueller investigation is about, why we got a special counsel in the first place. The point wasn’t to discover whether the president fudged deductions on his tax returns thirty years ago. It wasn’t to find out whether he wanted to build another hotel in foreign country. From its first day, the Mueller investigation was justified by a single question: Did Donald Trump collude with the Russian government to steal the 2016 presidential election? Did the president betray his country? For close to three years, Democrats have told us that, yes, he did:
BETO: It’s beyond a shadow of a doubt that if there was not collusion, there was at least the effort to collude
ADAM SCHIFF: I think there’s plenty of evidence of collusion or conspiracy in plain sight
MAXINE WATERS: There’s more to be learned about it. I believe there has been collusion.
JOHN PODESTA: It's starting to smell more and more like collusion
NANCY PELOSI: We saw cold, hard evidence of the Trump campaign, the Trump family eagerly intending to collude possibly with Russia.
If you grew up in this country, it’s hard to shrug off charges like the ones you just heard. Maxine Waters is an irrelevant person, a living sideshow. But Nancy Pelosi is hardly that. She is the speaker of the House of Representatives. She’s third in line to the presidency. Adam Schiff is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He’s privy to the most highly-classified information our government possesses. John Podesta was the Chief of Staff in one White House and a senior advisor in another. Beto O’Rourke has raised more money than anyone else running for president in 2020. These are not peripheral figures. They are the most serious people in the modern Democratic Party. We took them seriously. We felt we had a duty to understand why they were calling the president of the United States a traitor. So we asked them. We interviewed a number of them on this show. One of the most persistent accusers was congressman Eric Swalwell of California, who is also a member of the House intelligence committee. If there was indeed evidence of collusion with Russia, Swalwell would have it. Yet he never produced any. We asked him repeatedly. Swalwell accused us of cutting him off, of not letting him make his case on the air. Finally, in frustration, we offered him a full half an hour, live on this show to do that:
CARLSON: If you have any evidence at all of collusion, any, and I don't care how small it is, I will give the floor to you and I mean that. I want to wrap this up. I'm sure you do too.
Months later, Swalwell accepted our invitation. He never produced a single piece of evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with anyone. Instead, he accused us of working for a foreign power. We asked Swalwell why the public couldn’t see a memo related to the Russia investigation. Here’s how he responded:
CARLSON: In the case of today's memo, what specifically have I espoused that empowers threats to our country?
SWALWELL: You are peddling the narrative that the Trump administration is putting out, which also is the Putin narrative because they are retweeting this with their Russian bots. If you're on the same side as WikiLeaks and Putin ---
CARLSON: I wonder, do you perceive the total collapse -
SWALWELL: If you're on the same side as WikiLeaks and Putin, you should take a step back and wonder whose bidding are you really doing?
For wanting to see a government document that he himself had seen, Congressman Swalwell suggested we were treasonous. There’s been a lot of talk like that over the past couple of years. It has completely changed Washington. People in this city are afraid. They watch what they say. They don’t send emails. They worry about being denounced. Demagogues like Swalwell have terrified them. From the beginning of this investigation, there has been virtually no honest public debate about what’s happening. Watch this exchange from the early days of the administration. Congressman Adam Schiff appeared on this show. We asked a simple, fact-based question about what we know and what we don’t know: Are we certain the Russian government hacked John Podesta’s email account? Here’s how Schiff responded:
CARLSON: Can you look right into the camera and say I know for a fact the government of Vladimir Putin was behind the hacks of John Podesta's email?
SCHIFF: Absolutely. The government of Vladimir Putin was behind the hacks of our institution and the dumping of information --
CARLSON: Of John Podesta's email?
SCHIFF: Not only in the United States, but also in Europe.
CARLSON: You know what? You are dodging.
SCHIFF: And, Tucker, you are --
CARLSON: Look and say I know they did John Podesta's email. They hacked those.
SCHIFF: And I think that Ronald Reagan would be rolling over in his grave and you are carrying water for the Kremlin.
CARLSON: I'm not carrying water. Look, you are sitting member of congress on the Intel committee and you can't say they hacked --
SCHIFF: You're going to have to move your show to RT, Russian Television.
To this day, even the most basic questions about the Russia story remained unanswered. Meanwhile we’ve upended our entire foreign policy, we’ve put Americans in prison, all on the basis of charges nobody was willing to prove. “How do we know that, Congressman?” “Shut up. You’re a Russian agent.” The conspiracy hawks seemed totally impervious to shame or reason. You couldn’t debate them, because they wouldn’t engage. They just threw slurs. They felt no need to demonstrate any of it was true:
MARGARET HOOVER: At what point do you draw the line and not accuse the president of the United States without any evidence of being an agent of Russia?
SWALWELL: Yeah. He’s betrayed our country, and I don’t say that lightly. I worked as a prosecutor for 7 years
HOOVER: But betraying the country — by the way, we want evidence before you say that, but you said an agent of Russia.
SWALWELL: Yeah. He works on their behalf
HOOVER: But as a prosecutor that wouldn’t be evidence in court. You know the difference between hard evidence and circumstantial evidence I’m still not hearing evidence that he’s an agent of Russia.
SWALWELL: I think it’s pretty clear. It’s almost hiding in plain sight.
It wasn’t just Swalwell and Schiff. Some of the most respected, supposedly sober figures in our society engaged in this behavior. They said things that were so reckless and damaging to our country, that it was almost hard to believe it was happening. Keep in mind as you watch this clip that not so long ago, John Brennan was the Director of the CIA, the most powerful intelligence agency in the world:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: McClatchy is reporting right now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has evidence that Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen took a secret summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign according to two sources familiar with the matter. Confirmation of the trip would confirm part of the Steele Dossier.
JOHN BRENNAN: The reports that Mr. Cohen was in Prague despite his repeated denials. There is more and more indications that there is something here that is far, far from being anything near a witch hunt.
Michael Cohen was in Prague, meeting with his Russian handlers. That’s Brennan’s claim. You’d think if anyone would know that, it would be the CIA director. The CIA knows all. Except, perhaps, on this one question, Michael Cohen himself might know more. Cohen was asked about it when he testified before congress. Cohen had no reason to protect Donald Trump, and many reasons to hurt him. Here’s what he said:
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC): Have you ever been to Prague?
Cohen: I’ve never been to Prague. I’ve never been to the Czech Republic.
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC): I yield the balance of my time.
At the same hearing, Cohen also told congress than in all his years as Donald Trump’s personal attorney, one of the most intimate relationships in Trump’s life, he’d never seen any evidence of collusion with Russia. Any fair person would consider that the end of this story. Case closed. But it was too late. By that point, the Russia investigation had become a ratings bonanza for the cable news channels. They had no incentive to admit defeat, or even acknowledge reality. So they continued as they had since the inauguration, as if the story was entirely real. Night after night, they brought us an endless parade of screamers, buffoons and halfwits, all claiming knowledge of the conspiracy. Here, to pick one among a thousand examples, is self-described intelligence expert Malcolm Nance delivering his analysis on MSNBC:
MALCOLM NANCE: When Benedict Arnold gave the plans to West Point, to Major André, and they captured Major André, they didn't have any real information linking those plans to Benedict Arnold other than the fact that he was in his presence at one point during that day, but everyone knew it was treason when they caught the man and they hung him. So, at some point there's going to be a bridge of data here that is going to be unassailable.
Thanks for the history lesson: they hung him. Let’s hang this guy. After a while, voters started to agree. Thanks to propaganda like this, 53 percent of registered voters now believe the Trump campaign quote “worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.” Among Democrats, fully 67 percent believe that Russia somehow rigged the vote tally. Nobody’s ever explained how the Russians might have done that, but of course they did. Russia rigged the election. CNN says so every night.
There need to be consequences for this. Once the Mueller report appears and it becomes incontrovertible that, whatever his faults, Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians, the many people who’ve persistently claimed on the basis of no evidence that he did collude with the Russians must be punished. Not indicted or imprisoned, but thoroughly shamed and forced to apologize. If Republicans spent three full years falsely claiming that Barack Obama colluded with the government of Iran, would those who claimed it, ever work in politics or media again? That’s a rhetorical question.
Lying and recklessness should never be ignored. In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq on the premise that Saddam Hussein possessed massive stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. Many of us believed it. But the claim was false. Thousands of Americans died. Trillions were wasted. Nobody was punished. To this day, Max Boot takes a paycheck from the Washington Post. Bill Kristol appears on MSNBC. John Bolton is this country’s National Security Advisor. There were no consequences to their foolishness and dishonesty. None. And so we started a series of eerily similar wars, all with entirely predictable results. Nobody learned anything.
Will we learn anything from the Russia collusion hoax? Or will the same cast of liars and buffoons simply move on to the next scam? “Climate Change! The Green New Deal! We can’t give you details. It’s too important. Obey or else!” That could easily happen. In fact it will happen, for certain, unless we remember exactly what we’ve just seen.