This is a rush transcript from "Tucker Carlson Tonight," January 2, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Good evening and welcome to “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” Happy New Year.

Newly elected Utah Senator, Mitt Romney, kicked off 2019 with an op-ed in The Washington Post that savaged Donald Trump's character and leadership. Romney's attack and Trump's response this morning on Twitter are the latest salvos in a long-standing personal feud between the two men.

It's even possible that Romney is planning to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020. We'll see. But, for now, Romney's piece is fascinating on its own terms and well worth reading. It's a window into how the people in charge in both parties see our country.

Romney's main complaint in the piece is that Donald Trump is a mercurial and divisive leader. And that's true, of course. But beneath the personal slights, Romney has a policy critique of Trump. He seems genuinely angry that Donald Trump might pull American troops out of the Syrian Civil War.

Romney doesn't explain how staying in Syria would benefit America. He doesn't appear to consider that a relevant question. More policing in the Middle East is always better. We know that. Virtually everyone in Washington agrees.

Corporate tax cuts are also popular in Washington, and Romney is strongly on board with those too. His piece throws a rare compliment to Trump for cutting the corporate rate a year ago. That's not surprising. Romney spent the bulk of his business career at a firm called Bain Capital.

Bain Capital all but invented what is now a familiar business strategy. Take over an existing company for a short period of time, cut costs by firing employees, run-up the debt, extract the wealth, and move on, sometimes leaving retirees without their earned pensions.

Romney became fantastically rich doing this. Meanwhile, a remarkable number of the companies are now bankrupt or extinct. This is the private equity model. A ruling class sees nothing wrong with it. It's how they run the country.

Mitt Romney refers to unwavering support for a financed-based economy and an internationalist foreign policy as the mainstream Republican view. And he's right about that. For generations, Republicans have considered it their duty to make the world safe for banking while simultaneously prosecuting evermore foreign wars.

Modern Democrats generally support those goals, enthusiastically. There are signs however that most people do not support this agenda, and not just here in America. In countries around the world, France, Brazil, Sweden, the Philippines, Germany, many others, voters suddenly are backing candidates and ideas that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago.

These are not isolated events. What you're watching is entire populations revolting against leaders who refuse to improve their lives. Something like this has been happening in our country for the past three years.

Donald Trump rode a surge of popular discontent all the way to the White House. Does he understand the political revolution that he harnessed? Can he reverse the economic and cultural trends that are destroying America? Those are open questions.

But they're less relevant than we think. At some point, Donald Trump will be gone. The rest of us will be gone too. The country will remain. What kind of country will it be then? How do we want our grandchildren to live? Those are the only questions that matter.

The answer to them used to be obvious. The overriding goal for America is more prosperity, meaning cheaper consumer goods. But is that still true? Does anyone still believe that cheaper iPhones or more Amazon deliveries of plastic garbage from China are going to make us happy? They haven't so far.

A lot of Americans are drowning in stuff. And yet, drug addiction and suicide are depopulating large parts of the country. Anyone who thinks the health of a nation can be summed up in GDP is an idiot. The goal for America is both simpler and more elusive than mere prosperity. It's happiness.

There are a lot of ingredients in being happy. Dignity, purpose, self- control, independence, above all, deep relationships with other people, those are the things that you want for your children. They're what our leaders should want for us and would want, if they cared.

But our leaders don't care. We are ruled by mercenaries who feel no long- term obligation to the people they rule. They're day traders, substitute teachers. They're just passing through. They have no skin in this game. And it shows they can't solve our problems. They don't even bother to understand our problems.

One of the biggest lies our leaders tell us is that you can separate economics from everything else that matters. Economics is a topic for public debate. Family, and faith, and culture, meanwhile, those are personal matters. Both parties believe this.

Members of our educated upper-middle classes, now the backbone of the Democratic Party, usually describe themselves as fiscally responsible and socially moderate. In other words, functionally libertarian. They don't care how you live as long as the bills are paid and the markets function.

Somehow they don't see a connection between people's personal lives and the health of our economy, or for that matter, the country's ability to pay its bills. As far as they're concerned, these are two totally separate categories.

Social conservatives, meanwhile, come to the debate from the opposite perspective. And yet, reach a strikingly similar conclusion. The real problem, you'll hear them say, is that the American family is collapsing. Nothing can be fixed before we fix that.

Yet, like the libertarians, they claim to oppose, many social conservatives also consider markets sacrosanct. The idea that families are being crushed by market forces never seems to occur to them. They refuse to consider it. Questioning markets feels like apostasy.

Both sides in this missed the obvious point. Culture and - and economics are irsep - inseparably intertwined. Certain economic systems allow families to thrive. Thriving families make market economies possible. You cannot separate the two.

It used to be possible to deny this, but it's not anymore. The evidence is now overwhelming. How do we know? Consider the inner cities. 30 years ago, Conservatives looked at Detroit and Newark and many other places, and they were horrified by what they saw.

Conventional families had all but disappeared in poor neighborhoods. The majority of children were born out of wedlock. Single mothers were the rule. Crime and drugs and disorder became universal. What caused this nightmare?

Liberals didn't even want to acknowledge the question. They were benefiting from the disaster in the form of reliable votes. Conservatives, though, had an explanation for inner-city dysfunction, and it made sense. Big government.

Decades of badly designed social programs had driven fathers from the home and created what Conservatives called a culture of poverty that trap people in generational decline. Well, there was truth in this. But it wasn't the whole story.

How do we know? Well because virtually the same thing has happened decades later to an entirely different population. In many ways, rural America now looks a lot like Detroit. This is striking because rural Americans wouldn't seem to have very much in common with anyone from the inner city.

The groups have different cultures, different traditions, different political beliefs. Usually they have different skin colors. Rural people are White Conservatives mostly.

Yet the pathologies of modern rural America are familiar to anyone who visited Downtown Baltimore in the 1980s. Stunning out-of-wedlock birth rates, high male unemployment, a terrifying drug epidemic. Two different worlds, similar outcomes, how did this happen?

But you'd think our ruling class would be deeply interested in knowing the answer. But mostly, they're not. They don't have to be interested. It's easier to import foreign labor to take the place of native-born Americans who are slipping behind.

But Republicans now represent rural voters. They ought to be interested, and here's a big part of the answer. Male wages declined. Manufacturing, a male-dominated industry all but disappeared over the course of a generation. All that remained in many places were the schools and the hospitals and both of them are traditional employers of women.

In many areas, women suddenly made more than men. Now, before you applaud that as a victory for feminism, consider some of the effects. Study after study has shown that when men make less than women, women generally don't want to marry them. Now maybe they should want to marry them but they don't.

Over big populations, this causes a drop in marriage, a spike in out-of- wedlock births and all the familiar disasters that inevitably follow. More drug and alcohol abuse, higher incarceration rates, fewer families formed to (ph) the next generation.

This is not speculation. It's not propaganda from the evangelicals. It's social science. We know it's true. Rich people know it best of all. That's why they get married before they have kids. That model works.

But increasingly, marriage is a luxury only the affluent in America can afford. And yet, and here's the bewildering and infuriating part, those very same affluent married people, the ones who make virtually all the decisions in our society, are doing pretty much nothing to help the people below them get and stay married.

Rich people are happy to fight malaria in Congo. But working to raise men's wages in Dayton or Detroit? That's crazy.

This is negligence on a massive scale. Both parties ignore the crisis in marriage. Our mindless cultural leaders act like it's still 1961. And the biggest problem American families face is that sexism is preventing millions of housewives from becoming investment bankers or Facebook executives.

For our ruling class, more investment banking is almost always the answer. They teach us it's more virtuous to devote your life to some soulless corporation than it is to raise your own kids.

Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook wrote an entire book about this. Sandberg explained that our first duty is to shareholders above our own children. No surprise there. Sandberg herself is one of America's biggest shareholders. Propaganda like this has made her rich.

What's remarkable is how the rest of us responded to it. We didn't question why Sandberg was saying this. We didn't laugh in her face at the pure absurdity of it. Our corporate media celebrated Sheryl Sandberg as the leader of a liberation movement. Her book became a best-seller.

Lean in, as if putting a corporation first is empowerment. It is not. It is bondage, and Republicans should say so. They should also speak out against the ugliest parts of our financial system. Not all commerce is good. Why is it defensible to loan people money they can't possibly repay or charge them interest that impoverishes them?

Payday loan outlets in poor neighborhoods collect 400 percent annual interest. Are we OK with that? We should not be. Libertarians tell us that's how markets work, consenting adults making voluntary decisions about how to live their lives. OK. But it's also disgusting.

If you care about America, you ought to oppose the exploitation of Americans, whether it's happening in the inner city or on Wall Street. And, by the way, if you really loved your fellow Americans, as our leaders should, it would break your heart to see them high all the time, which they are.

A huge number of our kids, especially our boys, are smoking weed constantly. You may not realize that because new technology has made it all but odorless. But it's everywhere. And that's not an accident.

Once our leaders understood they could get rich from marijuana, marijuana became ubiquitous. In many places, tax-hungry politicians have legalized or decriminalized it.

Former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, now lobbies for the marijuana industry. His fellow Republicans seem fine with that. "Oh, but it's better for you than alcohol," they tell us. Maybe. Who cares? Talk about missing the point.

Try having dinner with a 19-year old who's been smoking weed. The life is gone. Passive, flat, trapped in their own heads. Do you want that for your kids? Of course, not. Then why are our leaders pushing it on us? You know the reason. Because they don't care about us.

When you care about people, you do your best to treat them fairly. Our leaders don't even try. They hand out jobs and contracts and scholarships and slots at prestigious universities based purely on how we look. There's nothing less fair than that, though our tax code does come close.

Under our current system, an American who works for a salary pays about twice the tax rate as someone who's living off inherited money. It doesn't work at all. We tax capital at half the rate. We tax labor. It's a sweet deal if you work in finance, as many of our richest people do.

In 2010, for example, Mitt Romney made about $22 million in investment income. He paid an effective federal tax rate of 14 percent. For normal upper-middle-class wage earners, the federal tax rate is nearly 40 percent. No wonder Mitt Romney supports the status quo. But for everyone else, it's infuriating.

Our leaders rarely mention any of this. They tell us our multi-tiered tax code is based on the principles of the free market. Please. It's based on laws that the Congress passed, laws that companies lobbied for in order to increase their economic advantage.

And it worked well for those people. They did increase their economic advantage. But for everyone else, there was a big cost. Unfairness is profoundly divisive. When you favor one child over another, your kids don't hate you. They hate each other.

And that happens in countries too. It's happening in our country, probably by design. Divided countries are easier to rule. And nothing divides us like the perception that some people are getting special treatment. In our country, some people definitely are getting special treatment. Republicans should oppose that with everything they have.

So, the question is what kind of country do you want to live in? Well, a fair country, a decent country, a cohesive country.

A country whose leaders don't accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement, a country you might recognize when you're old, a country that listens to young people who don't live in Brooklyn, a country where you can make a solid living outside of the big cities, a country where Lewiston, Maine seems almost as important as the West side of Los Angeles, a country where environmentalism means getting outside and picking up the trash, a clean, orderly stable country that respects itself.

And above all, a country where normal people with an average education, who grew up no place special, can get married and have happy kids and repeat unto the generations, a country that actually cares about families, the building block of everything.

What would take to get a country like that? Leaders who want it. For now, those leaders will have to be Republicans. There's no option at this point. But first, Republican leaders will have to acknowledge that market capitalism is not a religion. Market capitalism is a tool like a staple gun or a toaster. You'd have to be a fool to worship it.

Our system was created by human beings for the benefit of human beings. We do not exist to serve markets. Just the opposite. Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society.  Internalizing all this will not be easy for Republican leaders. They'll have to unlearn decades of bumper sticker talking points and corporate propaganda. They'll likely lose donors in the process. They'll be criticized.

Libertarians are certain to call any deviation from market fundamentalism, a form of socialism. That's a lie. Socialism is a disaster. It does not work. In fact, it's what we should be working desperately to avoid.

But socialism is exactly what we're going to get, and very soon, unless a group of responsible people in our political system reforms the American economy in a way that protects normal people. If you want to put America first, you've got to put its families first.

Well the battle over the border continues tonight in Washington. Big tech is doing its part by suppressing any dissent at all. Our investigation into that is after the break.


CARLSON: The federal government remains shut down tonight as the White House and the newly Democratic Congress argue about whether to fund a Border wall. The border, as of right now, as you know, remains porous. And yet, instead of fighting illegal immigration or its effects in the labor market, the Corporate Left is trying to crush anyone who dares name the problem.


MARIA HINOJOSA, FOUNDER, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF FUTURO MEDIA GROUP, ANCHOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF LATINO USA ON NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: First of all, he calls them "Illegal immigrants." There's no such thing as an illegal immigrant, sir, no illegal human being in the planet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Signal with (ph) the camera Maria because--


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --you're talking (ph)--

HINOJOSA: Yes. I was talking directly (ph) - I'm talking--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --she's saying to somebody. Here we go.

HINOJOSA: --General Kelly, there's no such thing as an illegal human being. How many times do we have to say this? Get your grammar correct, OK?


CARLSON: Uh-huh. What you're watching is the Praetorian Guard for the ruling class. Meanwhile, Facebook, speaking of, has been warning users not to refer to suspected California cop killer, Gustavo Perez Arriaga - Arriaga, as "An illegal immigrant," though, of course, that's exactly what he is.

The company says using the term is a form of hate speech. Elvira Salazar is a former Florida Congressional candidate and she joins us tonight. Thanks so much for coming on.


CARLSON: Why do you think the debate almost immediately moves to what language we're allowed to use and away from the core question about what the border should look like?

SALAZAR: Well because I think what both parties, or specifically, the Democrats, are trying to do is just divert the attention. And I would like to tell you is that I don't care how they are called. All we (ph) care is how they're treated.


SALAZAR: I live in Miami, Florida. There are, I would say, half a million illegals. I know them very well. I can call them undocumented. I can call them illegal. They are people. Most of them are wonderful people. Not every illegal is a criminal.

But those who are criminals have nothing to do among this. They should be kicked out immediately. And that's my fear that sometimes the cleaning ladies, the good hombres, not the bad hombres, and the gang members like this guy, Gustavo Perez Arriaga, they're all bundled together, and that is where the problem comes.

CARLSON: Who gets to decide who gets to stay and who has to leave like who - who gets to decide which laws get to be ignored? Does the public have a role in that?

SALAZAR: Well I think the public and Hispanics. And that is - and I thank you very much for allowing me to come to your show and tell you what millions of Hispanics think. And we are - we're a diverse community.

But I assure you that what I'm telling you right now is that many millions of Hispanics think the way I am saying and or that I'm expressing myself. And reality is that Hispanics do not want to be illegals. Hispanics don't care if we have a wall or not.

We can have a wall, which is what we have the shutdown right now with very big gates because illegals do not want to be illegals. Who wants to have that stigma? Who wants to raise your kids in darkness?

What illegals want is to have a piece of paper, not citizenship, legality. Legality that would allow them to buy homes, pay taxes, raise their kids, be able to go back home, and then come back if they're needed. And that is what I think that--

CARLSON: Well it sounds like a pretty good deal. Why wouldn't they want that? But I mean I guess what I'm saying is what about everyone else?

What about the American citizens who already live here of all races? Shouldn't they have the determining decision in this like why isn't it up to them what happens? Why do people from other countries here illegally get a say at all? I'm confused.

SALAZAR: Well, you mean, I - I think that's why we have a government and that's why--

CARLSON: Right, exactly.

SALAZAR: --the - the country elected President Trump whom, I think, is not a racist, whom, I think, has dared to do what other presidents, Republicans and Democrats, did not dare in the last 30 years to say--


SALAZAR: --enough is enough. Let's do something whether it's a wall or still slats, right, that's the new word, or drones or satellites or more Border Patrol. And - and that is fine because, I repeat, we do not want to come in illegally. We want to come in legally and do the jobs that the marketplace requires, which is that's why I'm saying.

Those who are here and have been here for more than, let's say, 15 years, and that is 7.7 million people out of the 11, I believe, just because we are a very benevolent country should give them some type of legality, so they can continue doing the job that they have been doing for the last 14 years--

CARLSON: Can I ask you one quick question?

SALAZAR: --if they do not have a criminal record. Yes.

CARLSON: So, since we don't know if those numbers are real or not because we have no idea how many people are here illegally, why wouldn't we have a nationwide effort to figure out what at least the number is, like why not ask that on the census?

Why not dispatch some kind of federal record-keeping force, how to figure out like how many people are living here illegally? Why is that wrong to know that?

SALAZAR: Who says that it's wrong?

CARLSON: Democrats do.

SALAZAR: There's nothing wrong with that whether--


SALAZAR: --well, you know, the Democrats have played political football with Hispanics for 30 years.

CARLSON: I've noticed.

SALAZAR: And I, you know, I was a Congressional candidate. And - and there's empirical evidence, it's not that I am a Republican and I don't like them, is that there is empirical evidence that demonstrates to you and to your audience that Hispanics have, I mean, I'm sorry - that Democrats have played political football with my community.

CARLSON: Yes. I got it.

SALAZAR: And there are two very important examples--

CARLSON: All right.

SALAZAR: --that I need to point out so then you'll see--

CARLSON: OK. Super quick. Give them--

SALAZAR: --that I'm not being biased.

CARLSON: --no, no, no, I, look--

SALAZAR: In 2000--

CARLSON: --you don't need to sell me at all. But hit me with them fast.

SALAZAR: 2009, President Obama said to Spanish television, I worked there for 35 years, that in the first year of his presidency, he was going to give us an immigration reform law. He invested that political capital in Obamacare, first lie.

Second lie, 1996, President Clinton signed one of the strictest immigration laws on paper today.

CARLSON: Huh? All right. Interesting. Elvira, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

SALAZAR: Thanks.

CARLSON: Elizabeth Warren became the first Democrat to enter the 2020 race officially. Does anyone want her to be President of the United States? That's a real question. We'll ask it ahead.

Plus, new documents suggest the dossier, the Steele dossier, may have been synthetic from day one, part of a flytrap that apparently worked. That's next.


CARLSON: Well from the very first days of this President's term in office, the Steele dossier has loomed over this country and its politics. It justified a wave of investigations, criminal investigations. It's completely distracted Congress. It's hurt our relations with Russia. That's not a small thing, and a lot more.

The effects in American politics has been destructive, and really, if you think about it, wholly negative. So, what was the point? Well now new documents suggest that the Steele dossier may have been a set up from the very beginning meant to hobble and then sabotage the new administration.

Lee Smith is a writer at Tablet Magazine and he joins us tonight. Lee, thanks a lot for coming on and for the great piece you wrote on this.


CARLSON: So, just summarize for us, what do these new documents suggest?

SMITH: I mean I think it suggests what we've - what we've known for about the last two years. It just keeps solidifying the case. And I wanted to say, of course, we're nearing the two-year anniversary of when James Comey briefed the President, then CNN had that story, then BuzzFeed published it.


SMITH: So now, nearly two years of this has gone on, and it's - it's damaged the political system. It's damaged the public sphere. And it appears that we're not moving any closer to the kind of resolution that I think a lot of the public would like to see right now.

CARLSON: But the idea is that this was - this was intentional. This wasn't- -


CARLSON: --what it purports to be, which is an effort to gather--

SMITH: Right.

CARLSON: --facts about what or did - did or did not happen.

SMITH: Right.

CARLSON: But it was a trap.

SMITH: Yes. I think a very important thing to remember is I try to remind people and I - I do in this piece in The Federalist that the - the dossier itself was produced by an opposition research firm.


SMITH: Fusion GPS. So, even though they had a spy, they had a spy out there doing it, this was not the product of an intelligence bureaucracy. It was done by people who deal in documents.

It was done by people who download stuff off the internet, who use Google, and who typically in that - in the stuff they hand out to journalists do have links and footnotes to these different things. I think that's an important way to read the dossier.

CARLSON: Well, that's such a great point.


CARLSON: And how strange is it then that our Intel agencies would use this as a primary source for their investigation and FISA warrants and the rest?

SMITH: Right. I - I think the question - the question is very leading. I think why would they use this? Why did they do it? So, it bring - well (ph) it brings us back again to the idea, the entire thing was set up and cooked from the outset.

And if you look at how they're targeting - targeting Carter Page, this is what they appeared to have - this is a - how they appear to have weaponized the dossier, to target him to get him (ph).

CARLSON: It's - it's unbelievable. I would recommend to those of you who haven't read it, please don't miss piece (ph) in The Federalist. It's great piece. Thank you for joining us.

SMITH: Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON: Appreciate it.

Well Senator Elizabeth Warren has become the first big-name Democrat to join the 2020 presidential race officially. Warren's announcement comes despite the widespread ridicule she received for releasing a video touting her virtually non-existent American Indian heritage.


SEN. ELIZABETH ANN WARREN, D-MASS.: Now, the President likes to call my mom a liar. What do the facts say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The facts suggest that you absolutely have a Native American ancestor in your pedigree.

WARREN: I'm not enrolled in a tribe and only tribes determine tribal citizenship. I understand and respect that distinction. But my family history is my family history.


CARLSON: Really - really one of the great pieces of video ever up there with Dukakis and the tank.

That was, of course, Elizabeth Warren bragging about having less than 1 percent American Indian heritage, enough to get a tenure position at Harvard, but not enough to pass the smell test. She'll need more than that to become president. Who exactly would be voting for her? Who's her constituency?

Tammy Bruce is a radio host, President of Independent Women's Voice. She joins us tonight.


CARLSON: Tammy, thanks very much for coming on.

BRUCE: Thanks for having me (ph).

CARLSON: Who's she speaking to in her announcement? Is - does she have a sight picture of who Elizabeth Warren voters might be?

BRUCE: Well she seems to be trying to channel Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


BRUCE: So, I think she believes that certainly it's - she's running as a progressive. She's targeting young people, the individuals she imagines in 2020 and perhaps even 2024 deciding, but this is the problem with that.

The - the video, the Instagram post of her drinking the beer is been widely mocked because it's clearly seems like a person trying very hard to not look like they're trying very hard, who's - who's - who's pretending to not be a faker.

And, look, when - when - when Alexandria--

CARLSON: Nicely put.

BRUCE: --when - when Ocasio-Cortez, look, she's done videos of where she's talking to people--


BRUCE: --and she's making her dinner, that's really her, right?


BRUCE: The key for politics like Trump is really himself. This is a new concept for politicians. And they think it's like a construct but it's not. And - and - and the Americans--


BRUCE: --can tell when and, especially, young people can tell when somebody's trying to fool them. But it was also very much like the Hillary "I've got hot sauce in my purse" moment. Do you remember that? When she was trying--

CARLSON: Yes, very well.

BRUCE: --when she was doing a radio show and thinking like that was the thing in which you can connect with African-Americans in this country, obviously, patronizing and insulting to many people.

She then - her husband comes by and she thanks him for being there. Well, you know, it's his house and his kitchen too. So, it was a very strange event. But it shows you that she really doesn't quite know how to appeal to people as an individual, as herself.

But I would also assert, Tucker, that, all kidding aside, that I think she's actually running to split the Bernie Sanders vote.


BRUCE: I think she knows she's not going to be the nominee. But what she is doing for someone is splitting that progressive vote that is on the Left. And so, the question becomes, who is she helping?

And we might see this in the months to come. And, of course, she expects some favors to be done in the future. But that's what's happening here. So, all Bernie Sanders--

CARLSON: Interesting.

BRUCE: --supporters who would include someone like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, and her fans--


BRUCE: --should be doubly insulted that she's trying to co-opt that kind of style and message.

CARLSON: Interesting. I'm not clever enough to have thought of that. But that sounds right. Ocasio-Cortez, we should note, being too young to run for president constitutionally.


CARLSON: Who do you think it is that Elizabeth Warren might be helping secretly in this race?

BRUCE: Well - well, look, you have to think about, of course, Bernie Sanders appeal, very popular among - among Millennials.


BRUCE: The West Coast of - of the United States. I think Kamala Harris might think that that bloc might be a threat to - to - to her bloc of that Liberal West Coast framework. So, it'll - it should be interesting. I think it'll become apparent when it comes to who ends up getting chummy--


BRUCE: --in the new Senate. So - so, we'll watch for that.

And - and young people are smart enough to recognize when they're - when somebody's trying to take them to the cleaners, and - and negate their vote, because, of course, the Democrats and some Republicans have been trying to negate the last presidential election.

CARLSON: Exactly.

BRUCE: And I think Americans are tired of - of this--

CARLSON: Oh, it's--

BRUCE: --kind of nonsense.

CARLSON: Yes, falseness, it's like halitosis.

BRUCE: That's right.

CARLSON: You smell it instantly. Still worth it (ph).

BRUCE: Exactly.

CARLSON: Tammy Bruce, great to see you. Thank you for that.

BRUCE: Thank you dear. Thanks for having me.

CARLSON: Well both parties, the leadership of both parties, anyway, staying up late, trying to keep America involved in the Syrian Civil War. Why are they doing that? And are America's wars ever allowed to end? We'll speak to one of the wisest colonels we know about that, after the break.


CARLSON: Well the war on terror has been going on for more than 17 years now. And every year, America seems to intervene in another country. But for some reason, we're never allowed to declare victory and go home.

Take, for example, America's involvement in Syria. New documents from the Obama Administration show that the roots of America's involvement there were caused directly by our intervention in Libya, the one that destroyed the regime for no obvious reason of Muammar Gaddafi.

Tom Fitton is the President of Judicial Watch and he joins us tonight.

So, Tom, this is one puzzle piece that I've been waiting to locate for a long time, and it answers a question in part (ph), why were all those Americans in Benghazi in the first place? And it looks like they were part of, or witness to, arms movements from Gaddafi stockpiles to rebels in Syria. Am I misstating this?

TOM FITTON, PRESIDENT, JUDICIAL WATCH: No, you're not misstating it. We have DIA documents that we obtained in 2015 showing, in 2012 our defense establishment was telling everyone else in the Obama Administration that weapons were flowing from Benghazi into Syria that we were supporting the terrorists in Syria.

And they were also warning that between the border of Syria and Iraq, you had the major armies pulling back. And into that gap, they warned, ISIS might emerge and establish a Caliphate--

CARLSON: Sure (ph)--

FITTON: --and have dire consequences for the region. Everything was on the table. And it was all - and looks like started because of the collapse of the Gaddafi regime. The weapons--

CARLSON: That we precipitated.

FITTON: --October 2011 up until September 2012, which was the attack on Benghazi, our Special Mission compound, we knew arms were flowing out. We knew it down to the number of shells, sniper rifles, and such going out. So, we had enough information to know that level of detail. You can bet we had enough information to stop it.

CARLSON: Well, speaking for myself, I had no information as an American citizen, and that's what bothers me.

So, we killed, or helped, Gaddafi get overthrown, oversaw his death, and then helped move arms from his country to the next country, and fed this horrible Civil War and went up (ph) at the hands of lunatics.

Our money, in our name, and we had no idea this was going on, why?

FITTON: Well, exactly right. And this is why it was important to talk about these documents again as the President is making these decisions about Syria.

It shows that he had quite the mess that was left to him by the Obama Administration, an administration that evidently did not exist, according to the major media because they didn't want to report on any of its policy choices in the Middle East or in the Middle Eastern region.

And it looks like Benghazi, and the Libyan mess caused the Syria War and President Trump's being blamed--

CARLSON: You know, I remember asking--

FITTON: --for trying to play out (ph).

CARLSON: --Republican leaders of Congress about this at the time. Are we overseeing arms shipments from Libya to some nutcase group in Syria? And all of them kind of looked like, "Oh, I don't know anything about that." And they were lying like both parties knew this was happening--

FITTON: We were--

CARLSON: --and they lied.

FITTON: --we were watching them. Hillary Clinton was told about them. We were warned about the fact that you had the ISIS emerging in the Middle East.


FITTON: We were supporting the terrorists in Syria. And we're - we're not allowed to talk about it anymore because the President--


FITTON: --Trump is making decisions in Syria--

CARLSON: It's unbelievable.

FITTON: --trying to clip it (ph).

CARLSON: Thank you for - for tying that piece up and I hope we find out more--

FITTON: And quickly, you know who ran DIA at the time?


FITTON: General Mike Flynn.

CARLSON: Uh. That - we're going to learn more. Thank you.

FITTON: You're welcome.

CARLSON: Just before Christmas, the President made the decision to end America's troop presence in Syria. His rationale was simple. We're there to defeat ISIS. ISIS has been crushed, time to declare victory and go home.

Make sense? No, not in Washington. People here lost control. America is not allowed to withdraw from any place ever. Wherever American troops go, they must remain until the end, whatever that is.


REP. JOHN RAYMOND GARAMENDI, D-CALIF.: Well, there's so many foolish things this man has done, but this ranks pretty high.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF.: A decision that is dangerous. And a decision that is a Christmas present to Vladimir Putin.

SEN. MAZIE KEIKO HIRONO, D-HAWAII: Giving a huge Christmas present to Putin and to Iran.

SEN. CHRISTOPHER ANDREW COONS, D-DEL.: I couldn't disagree more with this decision. It's a terrible decision.

SEN. CYNTHIA JEANNE SHAHEEN, D-N.H.: I think this will be considered one of the worst foreign policy blunders of this century.


CARLSON: These people are too dumb to govern. But they're governing nonetheless. They will get their way potentially, despite the fact none of them is President. Only the President decides what our troops do. But they may win.

Recently, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina boasted that the President had been convinced to pause the withdrawal of American troops from Syria. No doubt, the next objective is making that pause permanent. What next?

Douglas Macgregor watches carefully. He's retired U.S. Army Colonel, Author of the terrific book, Margin of Victory. He joins us tonight. Colonel, thank you very much for coming on.


CARLSON: So, if you believe in civilian control of the military, it should be as simple as the President's saying, this is what we're going to do. But it doesn't seem to be that simple.

MACGREGOR: No. I think there's a problem. And we got to remember that most of your senior officers are products of the Clinton, Bush, Obama era.

So, they have a lot invested in this. And remember that the people who live in the seven zip codes in and around Washington D.C. have all become millionaires, as a result of their investment in these failed operations.

CARLSON: That's not a talking point. That's literally true.

MACGREGOR: Yes, of course.

So, you put the two together and you have a lot of resistance to ending something that's been profitable for them, it hasn't been profitable for the American people. It's been a disaster. Trillions of dollars in debt over the last 17 years, thousands of people killed and wounded, and for what? The answer is not much.

CARLSON: It just seems like if you're looking for a crisis, a constitutional crisis, or something that would undermine democracy, as we practice it for 240 years, it's the idea of unelected, the unelected subverting the power of the elected, right? I mean isn't that--

MACGREGOR: Well, you're--

CARLSON: --that isn't (ph) Democratic by definition.

MACGREGOR: The problem is though the unelected are being supported by many of the elected to obstruct this decision to leave, there's another reason for this, in addition to the problem with money.

Historically, when we leave, as we did when we left Vietnam--


MACGREGOR: --we're out permanently.


MACGREGOR: People know once we leave Syria, once we get completely out of Iraq, once we get completely out of Afghanistan, it's over. And President Trump is going to do that. That's very clear. This pause is just that. It is a pause.

We had to get out of Northern Syria quickly. And the reason for that is simply there were tens of thousands of Turkish troops poised to attack the Kurds, the terrorists who have been attacking Turkey and Northern Syria.

We got the Syrian government to go in there. We got out. Now, we have created an enormous problem for Mr. Putin because Mr. Putin has cultivated the Turks. Mr. Putin has also cultivated his Iranian and Syrian allies. He's got to make a choice.

Does he allow the Turks into Syria? Then, he loses his position with the Syrians and Iranians. So, the notion that Mr. Putin has somehow another (ph) won something is absurd. This has been a very clever move on the part of the President.

CARLSON: So, if you see like six or seven senators and talking heads in a row repeating the same talking point like robots, this is a Christmas present for Putin--


CARLSON: --that's like prima facie evidence that they're dumb, right?

MACGREGOR: Well, you can say stupid but, obviously, they're briefed by only one side, and that side has no interest in the truth.

The truth is that by getting out of the way, we have eliminated the consensus it was holding these various diverse partners together. There is no reason why the Turks, the Russians, the Iranians should cooperate at all, and that's a good thing.

CARLSON: It is a good thing. Colonel, thank you very much.

MACGREGOR: Sure, thank you.

CARLSON: Good to see you.

Well, great news. Washington D.C. just banned plastic straws. You can breathe easy. Unlock the back door. We're safe from straws. The question is how did this happen exactly? It came out of nowhere. We got to the bottom of it. And we'll bring that to you after the break.


CARLSON: For residents of the nation's capital, 2019 is the beginning of a brand new era. It's the straw-free era. As of today, plastic drinking straws are banned here in Washington D.C. From now on, the capital of the Western world will make you use straws made of paper or hay.

These straws are five or six times more expensive than conventional straws. And anyone who's used them can tell you they're not very effective. They don't work. But we're going to have to get used to them because across the country plastic straws are disappearing.

In addition to Washington D.C., Seattle has banned them as well. Starbucks plans to phase them out nationwide and then worldwide. Many other restaurants will, of course, follow suit. And so, as so often happens, life for ordinary people gets a little bit worse.

But this one time, let's pause and ask, how exactly did this happen? Well like countless other modern trends, this is a moral panic. Activists will tell you that Americans use about 500 million plastic straws every day. But is that number real?

Well it turns out, we checked, the figure is based on the uncorroborated work of a nine-year-old boy. No adult researcher has produced a number anywhere near that.

But let's just say it's true for the sake of argument. Let's say Americans use hundreds of billions of drinking straws every year. What does that mean? Well, not much. Even then, drinking straws are an irrelevant part of America's very real garbage epidemic.

A recent cleanup of the Anacostia River in Washington, for example, found 36 tons of trash. Now, within that 36 tons were 4,000 drinking straws. That's about four pounds of straws total or 118,000th (ph) of the total waste.

So, when it comes to plastic waste that is hurting the environment and there's an awful lot of it and, yes, it is hurting the environment, drinking straws from this country are irrelevant. So, what is relevant? Where's all this litter coming from, litter that's hurting the environment?

Well millions of tons of plastics enter the world's oceans every year and not from America. Instead, the vast majority of this garbage that's toxic garbage comes from Asia, in particular, China.

So, ask yourself, is anyone on the Left launching a boycott of China until they stop dumping their toxic garbage into the world's oceans? Well, don't hold your breath. Of course, they're not planning to boycott China. That would never even occur to them.

To America's environmentalists, America is the villain. China is not, ever.

So, the obsession over plastic straws, as you can see, is a microcosm of how our rulers view the world at large. For them, problems are always solved by making life a little worse for ordinary people while ignoring the actual problems that in many cases they caused.

Regular people have worse straws now. Business owners are paying more to buy those straws. But the Left doesn't care. Keep in mind the supposed purpose of this campaign was to prevent garbage from ruining America's parks, rivers, and wildlife. And that's a goal all of us share or should share.

And yet, this won't do it. And, in fact, even as they scold regular Americans, environmentalists in this country seem to care less and less about actual environmental degradation, littering.

The National Park Service, for example, recently removed trash cans from parks all over the country. The purpose supposedly was to beautify natural areas. The result was the opposite, of course. The result was more litter.

In San Francisco's iconic Dolores Park, massive amounts, mountains of litter have piled up. But city officials almost never issue fines for any of this litter. They don't enforce the law.

When lawmakers propose tougher penalties for littering, it was rejected. Why? Well partly on the grounds that banning littering would be discriminatory against the poor, the homeless, and many other groups.

A City Task Force on fines warned that "Financial penalties can make government a driver of inequality, not an equalizer." OK. But what about the environment you claim to care about? Well they don't care, it turns out.

For the Left, moral scolding and an abstract social justice agenda have completely replaced actual concerns about the physical world, about the communities we live in. They don't care. Meanwhile, they're taking your straws.

Well at the beginning of tonight's show, we issued a call to our nation's leaders to focus less on GDP and more on fixing our pressing social ills, creating a cohesive society here in America, a place where people don't hate each other, but are united in some common sense of citizenship.

How can you do that exactly? We want to talk to Dave Isay. He's a radio producer. He's the Founder of StoryCorps, which is one of the coolest things in this country, the largest oral history project ever attempted, and a man who might know the answer. He joins us tonight. Dave, thanks a lot for coming on.


CARLSON: And let me just say, I have no idea what your politics are, which is one of the reasons I like you so much because I don't think you are primarily political. You're really interested in bringing people together. How do you think we begin that - that mission in a country that's divided right now?

ISAY: Well, StoryCorps is a real simple idea. We started 15 years ago. We have a booth where you come with your grandmother, your grandfather, a friend, and you sit for 40 minutes with a facilitator, and ask him or her about his life.

And most people think of it as, if I had 40 minutes left to live, what would I say to this person who means so much to me? At the end of the interview, you get a copy, another one stays with us and goes to the Library of Congress, so your great, great, great grandkids can get to know your grandmother through her voice and story.

CARLSON: Huh (ph)?

ISAY: So, essentially what we're doing is collecting the wisdom of humanity. It started out as this kind of crazy idea. We've had half a million Americans participate to date. So, it's the largest collection of human voices by far ever gathered.

And to your question, you know, a year and a half, two years ago, seeing the fracturing of the country, we decided to try something new with StoryCorps, to test something new that we just launched. We're calling it One Small Step.

And basically, what we're doing is, you know, we - every - every one of these 500,000 participants have known and loved each other. And what we're doing now is putting people across the political divides, inside StoryCorps booth, strangers, just to get to know each other as human beings, and to realize that, actually, you don't want that person dead, you know. So we--


ISAY: --so--

CARLSON: That's a start.

ISAY: --yes. Well, you know, look, it's the hardest thing we've ever done. But, you know, we believe - obviously, what's happening, the fracturing of the country, it's an existential crisis.

And we have to remember, Mother Teresa used to say, we've forgotten that we belong to one another. And we hope to remember - to remind the country that indeed we do.

CARLSON: That's and - and we do. As Americans, we do. And what did people learn when they - when they do this?

ISAY: Well pretty much that everybody is basically the same. You know, that's what the facilitators who travel the booth for StoryCorps, collecting the wisdom of humanity, we've had hundreds of them.

They go out and they record thousands of stories and then - then come back to - to the - to - to New York where we're based. And if you ask them what they've learned, every one of them will give the same variation of an answer, and it's that Anne Frank quote that people are basically good.

And what you're going to find out is that the people across the divides are just people, and they love their families, and they love their country, and they want the best for their children, and they have stories that - that - that matter and are important.

You know, every - every - every story is - is - is equally important and should be honored and - and listened to. And, you know, I think, in this country, I hope, you know, people would feel like maybe we've had enough, enough of this.


ISAY: And it's time just to listen to each other.

CARLSON: So, two - two quick questions.

ISAY: Yes.

CARLSON: One, how do you participate in this? If you're watching at home and you don't know what StoryCorps is, how - how can you experience that?

ISAY: So we - we just - we just launched One Small Step, and we're going to be spreading it across the country. But come to our website. It's S-T-O-R-Y-C-O-R-P-S.O-R-G\onesmallstep, one word, and just sign up. And we'll get in touch with you.

We're going to set up video kiosks across the country. This is an audio project. But we're going to connect people remotely, which we've never done before, so a grandmother in Alabama can get to know a grandmother in - in Minnesota. We'll have booths that travel the country, and we'll just start talking to each other again.

CARLSON: You - you've heard maybe more human stories than anybody I've ever met in my life.

ISAY: Yes.

CARLSON: Has it made you darker or sunnier as a person?

ISAY: Oh, my God.

CARLSON: Has it given you a rosier--

ISAY: It's completely changed me.

CARLSON: --or a sadder view of human nature?

ISAY: You know, it's everything that - StoryCorps has made me so much more hopeful. You know, and that, you know, when--


ISAY: --when - when we started StoryCorps, the first couple thousand people, you could say maybe there was a selection bias about the basic goodness of people.

But after half a million people of every political stripe, every part of the country, small towns, big towns, you know, there - there's just - there's got to be some truth to this idea of the basic goodness of people. And - and the fact that we are so much more alike than we are different.

CARLSON: That's wow, that's I'm--

ISAY: It's just true.

CARLSON: --in one sentence, how many stories you think you've heard?

ISAY: Well I've heard many thou - I mean I'm not in the booth. But I've heard - we - we--


ISAY: --I've heard thousands and thousands and thousands.

CARLSON: Ah, it's such a cool thing. Dave Isay, thank you very much--

ISAY: Yes. We're just getting started. Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON: --for coming on tonight.

ISAY: Appreciate it.

CARLSON: Great to see you.

ISAY: Great to see you.

CARLSON: Well that's about it for us tonight. Glad to be back. We'll be back tomorrow night and every weeknight into the foreseeable future, 8:00 P.M.

It's the show that is the sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness, and groupthink, and as part of our mission, in a small way, maybe the show that tries to bridge that divide a little bit, anyway.

That's it for us tonight. Good night from Washington. Sean Hannity live from New York--

SEAN HANNITY- HOST: This is amazing.

CARLSON: --standing by.

HANNITY: You start the year with 14 extra seconds for Hannity. I love it, making up for last year.

CARLSON: That's my gift to you, Sean. I thought of you New Year's Eve, I thought--

HANNITY: That's my New Year's gift?

CARLSON: --I'm going to give that man some seconds. Yes, I did.

HANNITY: All right, Tucker. Happy New Year.

CARLSON: Happy New Year.


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