Various news outlets are telling us that the Mueller report is finally on its way. We have no inside information about that, but we should say, apparently, the White House believes it, too.
When Mueller's report does arrive, it will go first to the attorney general and the deputy attorney general, and there's not much debate about what should happen after that. Democrats have demanded the release of the entire document. President Trump agrees with them. He said he'd like to see that report go public so that voters can assess it for themselves.
But for now, we'd like to take just a second to put this entire sprawling story into some perspective. Our job is to remember things, to create a record of what has happened in this country over the past few years and what has 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 has been. So let's recall, for the record. what the Robert Mueller investigation is all about - why we've got a special counsel in the first place.
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The point was not to discover whether the president fudged deductions on his tax returns 30 years ago. It was not to find out whether he wanted to build another hotel in a 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, the Democrats have told us that yes, he did do that:
Beto O'Rourke, Democratic presidential candidate: "It's beyond a shadow of a doubt to me that if there was not collusion, there was at least the effort to collude."
Rep. Adam Schiff, D- Calif, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee : "I think there is plenty of evidence of collusion or conspiracy in plain sight."
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Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif: "There is more to be learned about it. I believe there has been collusion."
John Podesta, former White House chief of staff: "It's starting to smell more and more like collusion."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, Speaker of the House: "We saw cold, hard evidence of the Trump campaign, and indeed, the Trump family eagerly intending to collude possibly with Russia."
These are not minor charges. And if you grew up in this country, it is hard to shrug them off. Now, Maxine Waters is irrelevant -- she's a living sideshow. But Nancy Pelosi is not; he is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. She is third in line to the presidency.
Adam Schiff is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He is privy to the most highly classified information our government has. John Podesta was the chief of staff in one White House. He was a senior advisor in another White House. Beto O'Rourke has raised more money than anyone running for president in 2020.
These are not peripheral figures making these charges. They are the most serious people in the modern Democratic Party, and 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 here on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" interviewed a number of those people on this show.
One of the most persistent accusers was Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He is also a member of the House Intelligence Committee. If there was indeed evidence of collusion with Russia, Eric Swalwell would have seen it. Yet, he never produced any, and we asked him repeatedly.
Swalwell responded by accusing us of cutting him off on the air, of not letting him make his case. So finally, in frustration, we offered him a full half hour live on this show to tell us what the evidence was. So months later, Swalwell accepted our invitation. He came on the show, but 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 had asked Swalwell why the public couldn't see a memo related to the Russia investigation. He responded by accusing us of "peddling the narrative that the Trump administration is putting out" and of "being on the same side as WikiLeaks and Putin."
So, for asking to see a government document that he himself had seen, Swalwell suggested that we were treasonous. There's been an awful lot of talk like that the past couple of years. It has completely changed Washington. People in this city are now 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's been virtually no honest, public debate about what is happening or has happened. Congressman Adam Schiff came on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" in the early days of the Trump administration, and we asked a simple fact-based question about what we know and what we don't know about the Russian collusion allegations. We asked him this: Are we certain the Russian government hacked John Podesta's Gmail account? For that, Schiff accused us of "carrying water for the Kremlin."
So to this day, even the most basic, the most elemental questions about the claims in this Russia story remain unanswered. Meanwhile, we've upended our entire foreign policy. We put Americans in prison all on the basis of charges nobody has been willing to prove. How do we know that, congressman? "Shut up, you're a Russian agent."
The conspiracy hawks seem 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 that any of it was true.
And it wasn't just Swalwell and Schiff. Some of the most respected, supposedly sober, figures in our society engaged in this behavior for years. They said things that were so reckless and so damaging to this country that it's almost hard to believe it was happening.
John Brennan was the director of the CIA, the most powerful intelligence agency in the world. But then he became a TV pundit and said the following on MSNBC: "Reports that Mr. Cohen was in Prague despite his denials - 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 what Brennan just told us on cable television. Now, you'd think if anyone would know that fact, it would be the director of the CIA. The CIA knows all. Except perhaps on this one question, Michael Cohen himself might know more.
Cohen was asked directly about it when he testified before Congress. He had no reason to protect Donald Trump. He had many reasons to hurt him. He testified that he had never been to Prague, had never even been to the Czech Republic. At the same hearing, Cohen also told Congress that in all his years working as Donald Trump's personal attorney, one of the most intimate relationships in Donald Trump's life, he had never seen any evidence of collusion with Russia.
Any fair person would consider that the beginning of the end of this story. Case closed. But it was too late. By that point, the Russia investigation had become such a ratings bonanza for the cable news channels that they couldn't slow down. They had no incentive to admit defeat. They had no incentive to 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.
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 have persistently claimed on the basis of no evidence that he did collude with the Russians, ought to be punished. Not indicted or imprisoned, obviously, but thoroughly shamed and forced to apologize.
One among a thousand examples is self-described intelligence expert, Malcolm Nance delivering his analysis on MSNBC: "When Benedict Arnold gave the plans to West Point to Major Andre and they captured Major Andre, they did not have any real information linking those plans to Benedict Arnold other than the fact 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, Mr. Nance. They hung him. Let's hang this guy.
After a while, after years of this, voters started to agree. Thanks to this propaganda, 53 percent of registered voters now believe the Trump campaign "worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election." Among Democratic voters, 67 percent believe that Russia somehow rigged the vote tally. Nobody's ever explained how exactly the Russians might have done that. But of course, they did it. Russia rigged the elections. 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 have persistently claimed on the basis of no evidence that he did collude with the Russians, ought to be punished. Not indicted or imprisoned, obviously, 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 claim that ever work in media or politics 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 Adviser. There were no consequences to their foolishness and their dishonesty -- none.
And so we started a series of eerily similar wars, all with entirely predictable results. Nobody learned anything. Did we learn anything from the Russia collusion hoax? Will the same cast of liars and buffoons simply move on to the next game -- 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.
Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on March 21, 2019.