Tucker Carlson: The Russia investigation didn't destroy Trump, but damaged our country

So, after two long years, here we are. It's hard to believe that any of it actually happened. Looking back, it was two years of unremitting, never diminishing hysteria about Russia. It was a continuous wave of panic and superstition over unseen Slavic interference, all stoked by the very people we're told are the most rational in our society.

For two years, our capital city became a kind of massive CNN panel, a living monument to ignorance and dishonesty, where the loudest and the dumbest invariably got the most attention. We just lived through two full years of that -- screaming, threatening, surveillance, character assassination, loyalty tests, wild allegations of treason and spying and betrayal from officeholders. Innocent people found themselves afraid to go to dinner, scared to send text messages or talk on the phone.

For two years, we lived in an all-pervasive cult of personality. Our leaders worshipped a 74-year-old federal prosecutor who almost never spoke in public. He alone was good, they told us; only they could interpret his will. It was all thoroughly bizarre -- demented really -- though nobody said so at the time. They were too afraid.

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It seems like a dream now, which actually it was. None of it was real. Nobody colluded with Vladimir Putin. Nobody changed vote totals or met secretly in Prague or had a pee tape, whatever that is. There was never a Russia conspiracy.

Hillary Clinton wasn't robbed of her rightful position by Julian Assange or Roger Stone or anyone else. Hillary lost the election because she was an entitled boor who didn't run on anything. In the end, that's what Robert Mueller proved.

The news anchors couldn't handle that. They couldn't handle that conclusion. It was too far from what they promised their audiences for so long. They were too invested in the lies. When the Mueller report arrived in Congress Thursday morning, they found themselves reduced to huffing and sputtering. They couldn't admit what was in the report. Well, they told us, "Robert Mueller didn't exonerate President Trump." Okay, I mean, that may be true, but only theologically. Mueller doesn't have the power to absolve sin, only God can.

But in every other sense, Mueller's report was exculpatory. If dozens of federal prosecutors spent two years trying to charge you with a crime and then found they couldn't, it would mean there wasn't any real evidence that you did it. And that's what happened here.

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You may not like Donald Trump, but that's what we just learned from the Mueller report. You would have to be a mindless partisan to deny it. And a lot of news anchors turn out to be mindless partisans. When the facts contravene the interests of their party, they deny the facts, then they attack anyone who persists in stating the obvious out loud.

So suddenly the very same people who lied to you for two years about Russia are demanding that under no circumstances are you allowed to believe anything that the Attorney General Bill Barr might say. Sure, Barr may look like a conventional Republican. He was a Jeb Bush donor and everything, and he does appear to be a close personal friend of Robert Mueller's. But that's why he's so tricky. It's all a ruse. In fact, Barr is Putin's stooge, like all the rest, the people of cable television said.

So it was an inside job. That's the reigning assumption in Washington. Somehow, the attorney general is preventing Robert Mueller from concluding that Donald Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin and from telling the rest of us about it. How was Barr doing that? Well, it's not clear how he is doing that, but they are no less certain that he is doing that.

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Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times announced that Barr's press comments Thursday morning marked America's transformation into an "authoritarian junta." Her colleague at Time, Maggie Haberman, suggested that Trump might be a Nazi because the White House played a song from "The Sound of Music," which by the way is an anti-Nazi musical. But it's still Germanic sounding and therefore suspicious.

These are hysterical children. They should not be in journalism, but they are. In fact, they run journalism and they have no plans on giving up their power. The Mueller report is probably the single most humiliating thing that has ever happened to the White House press corps in the history of this country.

So how did reporters in Washington respond when it finally came out? Well, they did what they do best. They celebrated themselves. Over on CNN, former Obama official, now posing as a reporter, Jim Sciutto, bragged that the Mueller report had "debunked all of Donald Trump's unfair attacks on the media." At Jeff Bezos' newspaper, a guy called Philip Bump was telling us that "The vast amount of reporting on Russia was accurate."

Even they don't really believe that. They know they lied. BuzzFeed claimed its reporters had seen personally with their own eyes evidence that Michael Cohen had been instructed by Donald Trump himself to perjure himself. This was going to be grounds for impeachment. The editor of BuzzFeed defended that story even after the Mueller investigation took the unusual step of publicly saying it wasn't true. BuzzFeed went all-in and they defended it. They'd seen it with their own eyes. He told us that on this set, on this show "Tucker Carlson Tonight" and now there's no question about it. It's over. It's done. It was a lie. That and so much more -- all lies.

Mueller's investigation ended critical momentum from the 2016 election almost immediately. It's the momentum that every incoming president uses to get your program enacted, to make good on the promises you just made to voters. Trump didn't have that, thanks to Russia.

So what happens now that we know those were lies? What do we do with John Brennan and James Clapper? The two of them used to run our most powerful intelligence agencies. For the past couple of years, they've gotten a lot richer than they've ever been from yapping about Russia on television. The only problem -- all lies.

Do Clapper and Brennan get to keep their cable television contracts? Probably. In decadent societies, the guilty aren't punished, only the unpopular are punished. Over on the other channels, they're still talking about Trump, of course. They're not talking about themselves or their failures. The line they're quoting most is from today's report.

It was apparently Trump's response when he first learned there was going to be a special counsel investigation into Russia. "Oh God," he said, "This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm effed."

Well, as it turns out, Trump was wrong on the specifics. He didn't get indicted. Mueller didn't drive him from office. It wasn't the end of his presidency, strictly speaking. But as usual, Trump's instincts were clearer. In fact, they were dead-on. In the ways that matter most, the Russia hoax did end his presidency, in some sense. It's certainly sabotaged it.

Mueller's investigation ended critical momentum from the 2016 election almost immediately. It's the momentum that every incoming president uses to get your program enacted, to make good on the promises you just made to voters. Trump didn't have that, thanks to Russia.

Lawmakers, including a shamefully large number of Republicans who we really should name (but we're out of time but we will at some point) were all much happier to talk about Russia than about changing the status quo in Washington -- something they were benefiting from, but which Trump ran against.

And so they did talk about Russia endlessly. The result? An election that should have realigned our political process and changed this country had almost no effect. Two years later, virtually nothing has changed. Millions are still flooding over our border from the third world. They're encouraged by an army of nonprofits that instruct them to subvert and mock our laws.

The opioid epidemic rages on as horrifying and horrible and destructive as ever. Suicides are up. Our troops are still bogged down in Syria and Afghanistan and many other places. Goldman Sachs still controls our economy. Tech companies are still spying on you, crushing your freedom of speech. You can still have your life ruined for supporting the wrong candidate in public or for believing there are two genders.

Most ominous of all and most often ignored: Americans are dying younger and having fewer children. None of this was ever resolved, none of it was ever talked about. The Russia investigation didn't destroy Trump, but it did a lot to destroy this country.

Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on April 18, 2019.