This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 21, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: All right. Welcome to “Hannity.”
Well, buckle up for another full night of breaking news all over the place.
Coming up, caught on tape. Is this a Trump supporter actually being punched in the face? What could be a politically motivated hate crime? The person involved will tell their story in a few minutes.
First, we begin in Chicago once again and today after posting $100,000 bond, Jussie Smollett sprinted away from the media. The "Empire" actor spent the entire day in jail, a Cook County circuit court after he was arrested on felony charges for filing a false police report.
Now, according to prosecutors, Smollett organized an elaborate, poorly executed hate crime hoax, leaving a massive trail of evidence. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RISA LANIER, ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTORNEY: Smollett stated that he wanted to appear to attack him on the evening of January 28th, 2019, near his apartment building. Defendant Smollett further detailed that he wanted able to attack him, but not hurt him too badly, and to give him a chance to appear to fight back.
Defendant Smollett also included that he wanted Ola to place a rope around his neck, pour gasoline on him and yell, "This is MAGA country." Smollett provided Abel with a $100 bill to purchase the rope, gasoline, ski mask, gloves, and the red baseball caps that resemble the ones that say, "Make America Great Again".
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. The same prosecutor saying that Smollett paid two brothers to stage this attack. They even rehearsed it, with a check -- paid with a check. Kind of like Jerry Springer. Pretty brilliant.
Now, phone records show the actor called them before and immediately after the incident. Another brilliant move. And texts show the trio coordinating the alleged hoax. Other texts revealing that one of the brothers even sold designer drugs to Smollett. And police are now saying Smollett likely scratched his own face to make the attack more believable.
By the way, that kind of takes hating Trump psychosis to a whole new level. All occurring, of course, after Smollett allegedly sent himself a threatening racist letter containing a white powdery substance. Another genius move. We have forensics.
Now, if this is all true, if this turns out to be true, nothing funny about it. Smollett wasted precious law enforcement resources in a city that has been wracked with real violent crimes for many, many years now. A city where young people and even women and children are shot. People are murdered every single week in Chicago, lots of them.
It also appears that he used his celebrity status and race to smear and slander the people of Chicago, Trump supporters everywhere. And according to police, he did it for attention, sympathy, and because he was unhappy with his seven-figure salary?
The judge called these alleged actions despicable. The Chicago police superintendent, Eddie Johnson is his name, rightly outraged. This was one of the single most powerful press conferences I have ever watched. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDDIE JOHNSON, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: This announcement today recognizes that "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career. Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile?
Bogus police reports cause real harm. They do harm to every legitimate victim who is in need of support by police and investigators as well as the citizens of this city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: That was a powerful press conference by the police superintendent.
Now, it was just one week ago that Smollett went on "Good Morning America" for an interview with Robin Roberts. This is what he said to her. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSSIE SMOLLETT, ACTOR: How can you doubt that? Like, how do you not believe that? It's the truth.
And then it became a thing of, like, oh, it's not necessarily that you don't believe that this is the truth, you don't even want to see the truth.
It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim or a Mexican or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot much more, a lot more. And that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now.
I respect too much the people who I am now one of those people who have been attacked in any way. You do such a disservice when you lie about things like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Jussie Smollett is no longer speaking with the media, although there are reports tonight that he is back on the set of "Empire." His lawyers stated they are planning a, quote, "aggressive defense" and they ask that their client be given the presumptions of innocence. Even Smollett didn't afford the same noble principle to Justice Kavanaugh a few a months ago. He tweeted out, #ibelievedrChristineford and much worse.
Still on this show, in spite of these unfolding events, we recognize that being innocent, presumed innocent until proven guilty and is inalienable right even afforded to those with no principles. And in this particular case, the evidence is beginning to look overwhelming and incontrovertible. None of it good for Mr. Smollett.
Now, remember back a while ago, I said the same thing about Michael Avenatti. I'm sure he doesn't agree with much of what I have to say. Remember his case? That was a he said-she said. In the end, I kept saying, I will give him the due process and presumption of innocence that he never gave Judge Kavanaugh. There were three separate investigations, and he got cleared. In other words, they cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Now, despite the massive amount of evidence against the "Empire" actor, you have to assume he's an innocent man until convicted in a court of law. So that is standard for anybody. But tonight, this is about so much more than an overpaid, attention seeking, wanting a raise, Trump-hating actor. The Smollett case represents another example of what I have been saying since '07 and '08.
Journalism in this country is dead. In case after case after case, the mainstream media, they devour, you know, any story that just fits their radical, extreme extension of the Democratic socialist party agenda. If it advances the narrative that Donald Trump is evil and his supporters are bad and America is scary and racist and sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, the media mob will shift into full gear without performing any due diligence, without even picking up the telephone, without any kind of investigation, not even 5 minutes worth.
Look at what they did to the 16-year-old Covington high school student. And off a 15-second blurb, they accused him of being a racist, they went out, they harassed him, he accused of assaulting a 65-year-old activist and getting in his face. They tried to ruin this kid's life -- slander, smearing, besmirching, character assassination.
They accused Justice Kavanaugh of gang rape, every other weekend, he and his friends were drugging teenage girls and literally, you know, lining up in the hall for gang rapes that nobody ever reported and, of course, they tried to ruin his life, tried to call him an alcoholic. We know how that ended. He is now a Supreme Court justice.
Remember, they falsely accused UVA students of rape. Remember the Duke Lacrosse players? They accused them of rape. Eighty-some-odd professors at Duke bought the story hook, line, and sinker without any evidence. And it turns out -- I actually went to meet some of the family members, some of the kids, doing my own due diligence.
Now, they falsely accused Darren Wilson. Remember, he used to be a police officer. His career is over.
George Zimmerman, everybody saying he was guilty but there was an eyewitness that showed up. Several police in Baltimore, everybody was assured they were going to get guilty pleas. None of them dead.
And guess what? As we speak, they're falsely accusing President Trump of Russia collusion. That, too, is a hoax, while simultaneously ignoring what is now a mountain of evidence of the single biggest abuse of power, corruption scandal in history where they tried to rig an election, and then undo an election of duly elected president of the United States. In the era of Trump, far left hoaxes, way too common. The media, way too complicit.
But they buy these stories again and again, hook, line, sinker, vilifying innocent people in the process over and over again. When the stories are exposed, when the lies are revealed, so-called journalists and so-called news organizations, they move on. They just pretend like it never happened.
Well, like NBC News, they were talking all about this until this started happening. They were all over the Jussie Smollett story. With "The Hill's" Joe Concha, monitored all of MSNBC conspiracy TV's prime time shows. They totally ignore the charges against Smollett now, after they were pushing the hate crime narrative for weeks and weeks, they just backed down like it never happened.
NBC News, prominent Democrats, they employ the same tactic. Far left presidential front-runner Kamala Harris, just like Cory Booker, called the Smollett incident a modern lynching. Today after a meeting with the Reverend Al Sharpton, she totally ignored any questions about Smollett. Take a listen.
(BEGN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Senator, could you comment on the Smollett case?
REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) defense of Jussie Smollett too early?
REPORTER: Reverend --
REPORTER: Kamala, what do you think about Jussie Smollett? Did you jump to the smoking gun defense too early?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Now, Senator Harris has since put out a statement saying s that she's sad, all while taking a veiled shot, of course, at President Trump. That never stops.
Meanwhile, fake news CNN has just discovered something called the due process. They are now urging us not to rush to judgment, which is a joke, this after running wild with speculation about the so-called Smollett attack. Interesting timing. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP))
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is a Jackie Robinson against homophobia in the black community. An icon. A beloved icon. And now, you have the fall of an icon at a time when we need icons, when we need heroes, when we need people to stand up.
So, the level of betrayal, if this is true, is so deep. You can see it in your voice, you can see it in your face, it's almost hard to get the words out because of how beloved he has been. We still don't know everything.
I don't want to see us rush to judgment on this side, rush to judgment on that side, condemn this, condemn that. That's the part of thing we've been talking about. Now we're in this cycle with everyone having an instant opinion every 15 seconds. I don't want to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Isn't that the same guy that said on election night, this is a white slash? Well, he should tell that to his colleagues who are constantly pushing fake news, so long as it fits their hate Trump mob mentality media.
Listen to radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh today. He summarized the state of the media pitch-perfect. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The left is nothing but phony. Hate crimes, phony alleged hate crimes, phony charges, made up stories, they know these things probably aren't true but they want them to be and that's why they report them as true. They think this is what America is.
In the mind of the American left, these crimes are happening everywhere. Even if the Smollett case isn't real, it's real elsewhere and we must raise consciousness. The media is signing onto it, the celebrities are signing s on, presidential candidates are signing onto it, and tweeting what a rotten place America is because of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Now, Rush is right. The mob's disgusting bias, it is obvious, both from what they obsess over and what they choose to sweep under the rug. For example, on Tuesday, pro-Trump activist recruiting students for the conservative group Turning Point USA was violently assaulted at UC Berkeley. Watch this.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
HANNITY: To be consistent and fair, we don't know what occurred before that video but what we do know is that police are currently looking for the person you just saw throwing the punches and the person that was punched, will tonight tell his story. We'll reserve judgment. The individual assaulted will join us later in the show. We are looking for the truth.
But do you want likely see him on "Good Morning America" getting a friendly interview from Robin Roberts or any mainstream media outlet for that matter. This alleged assault, potential political hate crime, doesn't fit their narrative. Journalism, dead and buried.
First, more on our top story tonight, joining us live from Chicago and our affiliate, WFLD, FOX 32 reporter Rafer Weigel.
How many people are giving me crap because you gave me crap, you know? Jeez.
RAFER WEIGEL, FOX 32 REPORTER: Listen, I just want to thank you, Sean, for extending my contract after giving me the pink slip three days ago. So, I really do appreciate for giving me back on.
HANNITY: Well, I was kidding -- obviously kidding.
WEIGEL: I know, I know. You're a good man.
HANNITY: All right. What's the latest? This is a serious topic, obviously.
WEIGEL: Yes, it absolutely is. You know, you are talking about Superintendent Eddie Johnson earlier when he gave his press conference. That was the most demonstrative that I have ever heard Eddie Johnson at any press conference.
The phrase he gave was, this is not TV. This is real life. And real life is coming hard and fast at Jussie Smollett right now. He finally had his camera debut and it was anything at all but a red carpet experience. As hordes of media, myself included, cameras, descended on him in a media scrum that I personally have never seen before.
We shouted questions at him, he took no questions, then he got into the back of a black SUV, shielded by his bodyguards, and then went to the set of "Empire" where he was expected earlier in the day today before I got arrested. But that courtroom, when he was in their posting bond, it was so dramatic. The tension you could cut with a knife, as he as the assistant state attorney was reading these charges, a mountain of evidence.
You can see Smollett staring daggers at her. The evidence was so detailed, down to the fact that this man, Abel, one of the two alleged attackers, was his former drug dealer, and even down to what Jesse Smollett wanted them to do and say in the attack. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LANIER: Defendant Smollett also stated he wanted the brothers to catch his attention by calling him Empire F, Empire M. Defendant Smollett further detail that he wanted Abel to attack him but not hurt him too badly and to give him a chance to appear to fight back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WEIGEL: And even the judge had some fiery rhetoric for Smollett, saying that he is presumed innocent until proven guilty but if these statements are true, the judge saying it's outrageous and despicable and he described the noose that Jussie Smollett use as a symbol of evil in this country.
Now, just a few moments ago, I got a statement from Jussie Smollett's lawyers, and I'm going to read it to you so I get it right. Not the whole thing, just the beginning part.
It says: Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably on the eve of a mayoral election.
So they are claiming politics is behind all of this. They're giving every indication that they're going to fight this. His next court date is on March 14th -- Sean.
HANNITY: All right. Rafer Weigel, reporting for us tonight in Chicago, great report. Thank you.
Joining us now with more on this breaking news story is FOX News correspondent at large, Geraldo Rivera. Former Florida circuit court judge, host of "Whistleblower" on CBS, Alex Ferrer, is with us.
Judge, good to see you.
ALEX FERRER, FORMER FLORIDA CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE: Good to see you, Sean.
HANNITY: Geraldo, I want to start with you.
That evidence that is now being presented, both to the grand jury leading to the indictment, presented before this judge, Geraldo, is overwhelming. These text messages detailed the video of these kids, you know, very different than Michael Avenatti he said-she said or Judge Kavanaugh when he was 16 years old. There seems to be real evidence here.
GERALDO RIVERA, CORRESPONDENT-AT-LARGE: You know, you are looking at the selfish, soulless, cynical person who sought to exploit the worst in American's history as he gets his justice being escorted past that media scrum to get into the back of his SUV. I thought you got it right, the Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. Wow.
HANNITY: Wasn't he great?
RIVERA: An articulate man, what a sincere, wonderful man to put this in context.
How dare a black man exploit the imagery of a noose, of all thing a noose, to make his fake story, a story apparently engineered so he can get a better contract. I mean, to take that -- the long generations of ugly American history and to seek to turn it to a contractual negotiation, how low do you go? I mean, how much on your belly are you crawling that you would do this, spitting on the memory of Emmett Till and all those who fell in the civil rights movement and the Jim Crow era, and, you know, slavery, for goodness' sakes.
And then, just as evil, to try to pin it on the president of the United States because you despise him and you try to denigrate his supporters and make them all seem like animals that would commit a crime like this. It is beyond disgusting to me. This is a low down and dirty cheater and he's going to get his just deserts, Sean.
HANNITY: You know, Judge, I know you preside over cases, I know you hear stories all the time. I know you ascertain probably quicker than any of us if somebody is telling the truth or lying. Assuming this evidence is real and it seems more and more like it every hour, why would he not just fall on the sword and stop the bleeding and stop making the hole bigger?
FERRER: Well, first of all, I'm retired, so I'm not hearing cases anymore.
HANNITY: We know --
FERRER: But I get your point.
He is going to fall on the sword, believe me. His lawyers right now are posturing. What they want to give him as a non-felony conviction and a probationary sentence. That's what their -- that's a home run for them. And there are plenty of reasons --
FERRER: -- why a judge would go along with something like that on a typical case. In this case, I think there are plenty of reasons why a judge would send him to jail.
First of all, he did lie to the police before when he was arrested a while back. He pretended to be his brother. Never mind, who does that? Who gives their brother's name and throws them under the bus?
But secondly, what kind of criminal think they'll get it away when the police arrest you, fingerprint you and photograph you, and they know which body committed the crime? I guess the answer to that is the same kind of criminal who writes a check to pay for the crime.
The fact that they expended so much money, the police expended 24 detectives assigned to this case in a city that has 56 shootings in a weekend, and as reported like 30 percent chance of rain.
HANNITY: That's a good point.
FERRER: They don't have the resources to do this. The fact that this was not just premeditated, this wasn't something that happened in a bar, and he though, let me expand on it, let me embellish it and get some mileage out of it, this was a cold, calculated premeditation from the initial letter to the attack, intended to divide the country by making the whole white Trump racist argument. These are the kinds of things that judges take into consideration.
On top of the fact that when it started falling apart, when the whole thing started falling part, instead of just remaining silent like any good, non- check-writing criminal would do, he goes on the offensive and starts saying, I can't believe that my friends would have been the ones who assaulted me. This is outrageous. Everything about this case --
HANNITY: Your arguments are powerful. The police superintendent was unbelievable today, Geraldo, you are believable. Let's say he calls you up, you are a lawyer, asks for your help. What would you tell him?
RIVERA: Well, I would tell him to keep my mouth shut for two, three weeks and as the judge says, I would say, OK, let me plead guilty and hope that the defense won't indict me --
HANNITY: Well, Geraldo, why not -- if he's going to do that, do it now so you don't have 24 detectives wasting more time on this.
RIVERA: Now is too soon. Let the case --
HANNITY: No such thing as too soon.
RIVERA: Let something else happen, let Michael Cohen go to court, let the president make peace with North Korea, let other things happen, then he can do it in the quiet -- relative quiet of a couple of weeks from now.
HANNITY: All right. Amazing commentary from all this tonight.
RIVERA: He should get nailed. He should get nailed.
HANNITY: All right. When we come back, all right, fake news CNN's Don Lemon taking a swipe at me over this case. I'll respond coming up next.
Also, we'll talk with a conservative activist assaulted on UC Berkeley's campus earlier today, caught on tape. What's the background, what's the history, what's the behind-the-scenes? We'll ask all the right questions, straight ahead.
HANNITY: All right. Fake new CNN's Don Lemon, he claims to be a so-called journalist. He is not. I've met him in person, he's actually a nice guy, wasn't nice to me last night.
Back in January, in the immediate aftermath of Smollett's hate crime allegations, Lemon rushed to support the "Empire" actor. Despite obvious red flags, Lemon publicly told out of sympathy to Smollett. In fact, this CNN host told "Entertainment Tonight" that he texted Smollett every day following the incident.
Now that the actual facts are coming in, Don is trying to spin the story, even blamed me, like I'm responsible. I'm apparently running the world and everything else. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is playing out every single moment in cable news. Sean Hannity is going to eat Jussie Smollett's lunch every single second. Tucker Carlson is going to eat Jussie Smollett's lunch every single second.
The president of the United States is going to eat his lunch and who does the president of United States watch every night?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You.
LEMON: Well, cable news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: You know, the interesting part is I purposely stayed away from the story to wait for more facts to come in. My sources in Chicago almost instantly were warning me, be careful on the story.
Don, everyone knows you hate Trump. You are part of the hate Trump media. You pretend to be objective. You're not.
So why don't you just admit you're a talk show host like me? Be honest with your viewers.
Joining us now is America First Action senior advisor, Sean Spicer, media reporter for "The Hill," Joe Concha.
Good to see you both.
You know, Joe, something fascinating you discovered and wrote about. Wow, everybody at conspiracy TV, NBC over there, they were all over the story in the beginning. How much coverage was in prime time last night?
JOE CONCHA, THE HILL: In prime time MSNBC, if you're talking about -- now, remember, the Chicago police announced at 7:53:00 p.m. that Smollett would be charged, That means the 8:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m., 11:00 p.m. shows.
HANNITY: Whole primetime, yes.
CONCHA: Primetime, right. Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell, Brian Williams, used to be the NBC news anchor --
HANNITY: Whoa, whoa, the same Brian Williams that saw dead bodies floating where there was no water?
CONCHA: May be why he's now at MSNBC at 11:00 instead of NBC at 6:30 at night.
But they covered it for zero minutes. And, look, opinion shows, I give a lot of leeway too because it's the editorial page. The problem here, the issue for MSNBC here, Sean, is the fact that they covered the story heavily when the narrative fit with a thought their audience wanted to hear. This was custom-made for an MSNBC audience as it was presented in the beginning.
Two white males attack gay black actor with bleach and a noose.
HANNITY: And a MAGA hat.
CONCHA: In a MAGA hat yelling this is MAGA country. And despite the fact there were many questionable parts about the story from the very beginning and I withheld judgment as well, as in what are two men walking around Chicago in a polar vortex in 30 below degree weather waiting for a gay actor they probably have never seen on TV before, prepared for that very moment.
And then once Smollett wasn't handing over phone records or they are heavily redacted, that's when you knew there was a problem at MSNBC and NBC and a lot of other news outlets, not Chicago media. They did a great job here. They went ahead and presented it as an attack, as if it were fact instead of using that keyword alleged, and now it's coming back to bite everybody.
HANNITY: Sean let me put it in context, besides missing the biggest abuse of power corruption scandal in history, the "Hate Trump" mob mentality media, going with every story that's anti-Trump. Proven wrong they just move on to the next story like it never happened.
Look at how often they have been wrong. I had Richard Jules (ph) attorney on Lin Wood - I've known since 1996. We went back that far. But then it's UVA, then it's Duke Lacrosse, then it's Cambridge Police, then it's Zimmerman-Trayvon, then it's Ferguson and then it is Baltimore. It's not vetting Obama, it's not after eight years telling the real statistics of failure of Obama. It is "Destroy Trump". It's fascinating how wrong they are, how often they are so wrong.
SEAN SPICER, AMERICA FIRST ACTION SENIOR ADVISOR: Well if you look at the last few cases, in particular, both the Covington case and now this one in Chicago. Both of them it was a rush to judgment, because the narrative fit this idea that that anything that's anti-Trump is got to be something that we jump on and go with.
If you look at what Don Lemon said, he attacked you last night. But look at what he said, that Jussie Smollett has lost in the court of public opinion and it's "It's not his fault". He went on to say, when something happens in its controversial, everyone is coming for you.
And so I knew everyone would be picking a part of his story. It's not for me, that's not my concern. That wasn't his concern. There was - this gentleman stoked racial hatred. He spoke homophobic hatred and he used the resources of the police. I'm all for forgiveness Sean, but this individual hasn't even admitted his problem.
He hasn't admitted the crime and Don Lemon is rushing and saying, that "I'm more concerned about him than the thousands of people who didn't have police resources--
HANNITY: Well, we have 24 detectives, Sean.
SPICER: --and all that. Right. So there's 24 detectives assigned that weren't doing other things for the people of Chicago. But, furthermore, this concern that everybody has about fake news and further divide, this is exactly what it was happening. But it was inspired by the Left and now they want to ignore it. That's a problem.
HANNITY: By the way are you really working for "Extra", congratulations.
SPICER: I am. Thank you, it's a great.
HANNITY: That's actually awesome. Good for you.
SPICER: Thank you.
HANNITY: Joe, we'll give you quick 20 seconds, go ahead wrap it up.
CONCHA: I think in the Sean, MSNBC didn't cover this last night because they were afraid their audiences would be offended in their safe spaces, as if we don't give them comfort food and tell them what they want to hear then they're going to go somewhere else.
People need to be told what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear and we're seeing that across a lot of news organizations at this point. Just report the news and don't worry about the feelings of your audiences in these cases.
HANNITY: Larry Logano (ph) was on with us last night, 90% of the media it is Left. And it get - and they're wrong to the point where--
SPICER: And now they're calling - and by the way, now they're calling--
SPICER: The second that she didn't go along them - they dismissed her.
HANNITY: I have no idea what her politics are. But when you get to the point you're willing to destroy a 16-year-old kid and not even make a phone call to find out of what you're - the 10 seconds you're looking at is true, that's why these companies are going to pay I know Lin Wood he is unrelenting, we'll see.
All right, thank you both. All right wait till you hear how much of a hypocrite - you're going to love this, socialist Bernie Sanders is, when it comes to as well. Also a shocking video appears to show a conservative punch in the face at the University of California, Berkeley, the alleged victim. Here will tell his story along with our own Lawrence Jones, straight ahead.
HANNITY: All right, "Hannity Watch" from the Democrats 2020 primary ramping up and it's become very clear that it's going to be a contest to see who can push the most extreme radical socialist agenda.
Just this week, Bernie Sanders announced he's running again and the Vermont Senator actually believes that is far Left 2016 platform is now in the "Political Mainstream" for 2020. I actually agree with that. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT: What I am very proud of, in a sense this campaign, John is a continuation of what we did in 2016. All of those ideas people would say, "Oh, Bernie, they're so radical. They are extreme. The American people just won't accept those ideas." Well you know what's happened in over three years? All of those ideas and many more are now part of the political mainstream.
JOHN DICKERSON, CO-HOST, CBS: Is that your argument then against your competitors, which is, I was Medicare for All, before Medicare for All was cool.
SANDERS: I guess that's one way of looking--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Problem for Bernie he may not be socialist enough. Here's where Bernie is confused. While his extreme agenda, higher taxes - way higher, open borders, government mandated climate shaming may appeal to the radical base of the extreme socialist Democratic Party, it couldn't be more disconnected from everyday Americans.
And get this we're now learning a lot more about Sanders champagne socialist lifestyle, caviar dreams. He owns multiple homes, has reportedly earned over $1 million annually in recent years. I don't like the senator's lifestyle, doesn't exactly match the rhetoric.
Democrats, remember, only - they're only super generous with your money. Bernie is free to redistribute his money to the poor. He going to open up his expensive homes to the homeless and provide health care with that money. Go on, hold your breath.
But, of course, Bernie's far-Left turn is being embraced by other Democratic candidates like California Senator Kamala Harris, who today was in New York City having lunch with the Reverend Al, just like Bernie did back in 2016.
Now somehow the Reverend Al Sharpton is still a Democrat power broker. Does she know about his kind of wild history? Let's remind her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALTON MADDOX JR., AFRICAN-AMERICAN LAWYER: --you ain't nothing. You are a punk (BEEP) Now, come on and do something.
REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: We're the black chicken fryers of the universe, and we going to go buy some Colonel Sanders chicken.
White folks was in the cave when he had built empires. We learned to admire them, but they knew to admire us. We built pyramids before Donald Trump ever knew what architecture was.
David Dinkins, you want to be the only (BEEP) on television, only (BEEP) in the newspaper, only (BEEP) that can talk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: I wonder if the "Hate Trump Media" mob is going to ask Kamala Harris about our friend Reverend Al now. Remember, much like Reverend Al rushed to judgment. Remember the Tawana Brawley case, Kamala Harris did the same on the Jussie Smollett case and Justice Kavanaugh.
And after refusing to answer reporters' questions about Smollett's arrest, she later explained in a statement she was quote "Sad, frustrated and disappointed". But all of this is very alarming. We have a Democratic Party that rushes to judgment, eliminates due process, presumption of innocence and won't wait for any facts.
We have a Democratic Party pushing higher taxes - 70-plus percent wealth confiscation if you save a few cents, open borders, ending ICE and living personally a life of excess. Why don't they donate their money? We have a Democratic Party full of hypocrisy. It's all on display. We'll continue to give you a front-row seat as our "Hannity Watch" on 2020 continues.
But joining us now with reaction former White House Press Secretary, Fox News Contributor Ari Fleischer along with Trump 2020 Media Advisory Board Member, author of the bestseller "Mad Politics", Gina Loudon.
Gina let's start with you. Why are they only generous with other people's money? Why don't they use their own money?
GINA LOUDON, TRUMP 2020 ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER: Well, this is typical of Socialism. And Sean, for me, I'm just glad they're finally admitting they're socialists. Remember, a few years ago, if you would have ever used the word socialism or socialist in relation to the Democrats, they would have called you crazy, a conspiracy theorist.
But now they themselves are labeling - self-labeling themselves as socialists as there's this mad rush to the Left. And Sean, the sad reality is, we have all symptoms of socialism. There's the bullying, the thuggery, the violence and all the things we never thought we would see here in the United States of America. And yet, they seem proud to be labeled socialist.
But the thing about socialism, Sean, we can never forget is it requires tyranny and that's exactly where we're going.
HANNITY: Ari, really abortion up until even the birthing process, late-term abortion - lot of states, Democrats now pushing it. Wealth tax - 70 percent tax raise, free healthcare, free housing, free retirement guaranteed, free, free, free - even free healthy food or government healthy food guaranteed.
ARI FLEISCHER, CONTRIBUTOR: Stop it. You're depressing me. Look, I think, there's a real tension inside the Democratic Party. The one thing they want more than anything else is to beat Donald Trump. And I think at the end of the day, they really want the candidate who can be Trump.
But because they all think they can be Trump, they're trying to score the advantage by running to the far-Left and that's their great risk if they nominate somebody who has no chance of defeating the President, because they are too far-Left.
This tension is going to play itself out throughout 2019 and throughout 2020. Every early sign if they just keep running left.
HANNITY: Do you see moderate Democrat - I don't - crazy Uncle Joe is no moderate Democrat. He embraced all of Obama's failed agenda.
FLEISCHER: No. The definition of a moderate Democrat now is somebody just says, "I'm not for Medicare for All. I won't abolish private health insurance". This is the bold moderate of the new Democratic Party.
No, it's a race to the Left, Sean, you're exactly right about that, and it's one of the things that could create a center that Donald Trump can take advantage of.
HANNITY: All right, Gina Loudon, we'll give you the last word tonight.
LOUDON: Well, there is a race to the Left. And when you talk about free food and things, let's remember that Bernie Sanders is the one who has praised food lines, right? Who has said that food rationing is an OK thing, praised the government of Venezuela, praised Castro.
People have to realize, this is really seriously what the Democrats are talking about and this is a very clear decision for 2020.
HANNITY: When everyone has to remodel their home in 10 years when we get rid of the all gas, natural gas, oil, when airplanes go away and we're going to take sailboats to Europe and high-speed trains to Australia. Wow. Good luck selling that plan. Good to see you both.
HANNITY: Thank you. When we come back, a conservative attacked on the campus of California, Berkeley. He's here to share his story with our own Lawrence Jones, next.
HANNITY: All right. Amid the whirlwind of news of political violence in America, lost in the coverage was a very disturbing event at UC Berkeley on Tuesday. Conservative youth organization Turning Point USA's UC Berkeley affiliate, they had a table set up in the college's Plaza where members were recruiting students to join.
According to multiple eyewitnesses, an unidentified individual confronted the Turning Point table before physically assaulting Hayden Williams, The Leadership Institute field representative who was helping Turning Point. The actual punch was caught on camera, but not what led up to it. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to hit me? I will shoot you. (BEEP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: UC Berkeley released a statement addressing the incident saying in part, "UC Berkeley strongly condemns violence harassment of any sort for any reason. That sort of behaviors reprehensible, it's intolerable.
A message was sent by our police force to the campus community with a picture of the suspect and request that anyone with information about the incident come forward and report what they know in support of our Police Department's ongoing investigation. We intend to identify and bring the perpetrators to justice".
A photo of the suspect has been released, as you can see on your screen, as a search for him now is ongoing at this hour. Joining us now with reaction, the student at the center of this controversy, Hayden Williams is with us, Fox News Contributor, Campus Reform Editor-in-Chief our own Lawrence Jones is here.
All right. Let me - obviously, there's a lot going on here. Is that black eye by the way from this incident?
HAYDEN WILLIAMS, LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE FIELD REPRESENTATIVE: Yes, it is.
HANNITY: OK. None of us - you're watching what's happening with Jussie Smollett, correct?
HANNITY: A lot of people may doubt your story. What led up to it and is there any evidence that you have, eye witnesses that will testify that you did nothing to provoke this?
WILLIAMS: Absolutely. So I'm a field representative, as you said, for The Leadership Institute, and it's my job to help, organize and train conservative activists throughout California.
And on Tuesday, I was invited to UC Berkeley's campus to help a conservative group Turning Point recruit new members. And while I was there some students took offense to our sign that we had that said, "Hate crime hoaxes hurt real victims". And this person who claimed we were promoting violence on campus and proceeded to take his aggression out on us.
HANNITY: How many witnesses do you have, because - listen, I'm watching. I train MMA and that shot was a cheap shot, especially at the end. You - when did you start filming? At what point in the encounter?
WILLIAMS: As soon as the gentleman - and I use that term lightly, approached our table and began acting very erratic, I feared for my own safety, so I started to record at that moment.
HANNITY: All right. Now, did you try to defuse this? Did you try to say, I'm entitled to my view. I guess, one of the posters said, This is MAGA Country" is so I don't know what the trigger is for liberals and Make America Great Again.
Walk us through the very beginning. This guy, what did he do, when did you start filming and how many people were there with you?
WILLIAMS: That's right. So I had the president of the club with me there and we were talking to a potential new member when this happened. And these two people just approached our table, as I said very erratically, and started cussing at us. And that's when I knew that this was probably a troublesome situation.
So I pulled out my phone to start recording and his friend - one of the gentleman that approached our table smacked my phone out of my hand and--
HANNITY: But there were other people videoing, thankfully, right?
WILLIAMS: Yes, that's right, that's right. And picked my phone--
HANNITY: Would you say at what - how long into the confrontation did video begin that you have seen?
WILLIAMS: Six, seven seconds.
HANNITY: Wow. Laurence, I've known you for a long time. You know about this group really well.
LAWRENCE JONES, CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
HANNITY: I know you've been investigating this for us and tell us what you found out.
JONES: So, Sean, we don't rush to judgment on this program or on this network. We try to get all the facts.
HANNITY: Always do.
JONES: We contacted three students that were surrounding this event. They had backed up what Hayden have to say here. We contacted University, the University Police and we've even asked for if anyone has any other evidence that could give us a full picture to give that to us.
This is what we do now.
HANNITY: But there somewhat we do know that there were witnesses from the get go, correct - numerous ones?
JONES: Yes. We know there were three witnesses. But I think it's also important to note, Sean, that this is not new for UC Berkeley, all right? This is a school that's been burned down almost because they don't like the conservative point of view on the college campus.
And so it's not just an isolated event here. The conservative view is under attack and you have professors that are on that campus that don't want the conservative view and students there. So it's something we've got to take seriously, Sean.
HANNITY: All right. Lawrence thanks for investigating for us. Hayden, assuming right now, because we're in this moment, obviously with Jussie Smollett, that you have those witnesses that would make you a victim.
HANNITY: That person will be found, and we will get to the truth. And we wish you well. And take - I've had a few black eyes in my day, but take care of that and I'm sorry that happened.
When we come back, we're going to read some of your viewer mail, next straight ahead.
HANNITY: Reminder, right after the show tomorrow, don't forget, we're headed to Vietnam, that's we're going to be interviewing the President, exclusively, the big summit with Kim Jong-un.
To the mail, Dennis writes about the Smollett case. "I hope you give praise for all the good work that the Chicago Police Department did on this case for all the negativity the city receives most of it is just. They followed the evidence. Didn't listen to the mainstream media. Great job, CPD and I agree and their superintendent's amazing. Let not your heart be troubled. Laura's next. Missed it by two seconds.
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