Exclusive: Rudy Giuliani responds to accusations from Lev Parnas

This is a rush transcript from "The Ingraham Angle," January 20, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: I'm Laura Ingraham. This is "The Ingraham Angle" from Washington tonight. We now know the rules that will dictate the upcoming Senate impeachment trial. And members of the President's legal team, Alan Dershowitz and Robert Ray are here to lay out what we can expect over the next few days.

And Clinton impeachment vets Sol Wisenberg and Bob Barr tell us if they're on the right path. Plus days after shady Ukrainian businessman Lev Parnas leveled a number of shocking allegations, Rudy Giuliani, he's here to respond exclusively to those claims.

And a frankly disgusting media wanted you to think a pro-gun rally in Virginia was Charlottesville 2.0. Exclusive video in reaction from the ground, you won't see anywhere else but first, sending the moderates, a message. That's the focus of tonight's Angle.

For years some of us have been trying to talk sense into Mitt Romney. We supported him over McCain in 2008 and then in 2012 against Obama and I urged him to distance himself from the Bush foreign policy and from the GOP establishment in general, on issues like China, trade and immigration but in general he didn't listen.

And in the spring of 2016, he just couldn't help himself from dumping on the then likely GOP nominee Donald Trump in a very, very stupid way.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY: Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart. I'm afraid that when it comes to foreign policy, he is very, very not smart. He's playing the members of the American public for suckers.


INGRAHAM: Now in the Senate, Romney feels that he can play the people for Utah for suckers. Now let's waste millions in taxpayer money, weeks of legislative time to force the Senate to call witnesses that Nadler and Schiff didn't even bother pursuing?


ROMNEY: Point, I'll be voting in favor of considering witnesses including John Bolton, yes. I mean he's someone I would like to hear from.


INGRAHAM: Oh, is that right? Remember, Pelosi and Schiff want witnesses only to scuff up the President before the next election. Period. It's not about fact finding. So why on earth would any Republican agree to this? 
There has to be a political price to be paid for engaging in these types of charades and the voters of Utah need to let Mitt Romney know their feelings on this, loud and clear.

Ditto for all Republican voters by the way. These senators have to stop trying to burnish their moderate bona fides by hemming and hawing on whether there's any impeachable offense here. There's not any impeachable offense here. Murkowski has to understand that with the entire presidency on the line, this is no time now to show off her independent streak.

And Collins needs to hear that it's about to get a lot colder for her in Maine, if she plays footsie with Pelosi and Schiff. And Lamar Alexander, God bless him. He needs to know that his legacy will be forever tarred if he's part of creating a precedent for this type of political impeachment.

Years from now, historians, if they're fair at all, are going to say that this impeachment was a fraud and a mockery and a political disaster in the end for the Democrats. That's why it's so concerning that we learned tonight that unlike the Clinton impeachment trial, Mitch McConnell's rules resolution will not include a motion to dismiss.

This is an act of pure political expediency.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That there might have been some kind of trade off on that here with the moderates who clearly got what they wanted in this, which is the potential for allowing for witnesses who would be deposed first. There is no motion to dismiss.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: McConnell's sole goal is for protecting his Senate majority but really Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, Joni Ernst, Martha McSally are the - this document exists for their protection.



INGRAHAM: Exists for their protection? Good luck protecting them from the voters if they make the wrong decision. Any Republicans who appear to have taken these bogus articles of impeachment seriously, will only be remembered as Craven fools and puppets of the New York Times.

Just listen to the voters.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For Republicans, impeachment has made them dig in more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you think this impeachment enquiry is influencing you as a voter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am becoming more - more of a supporter of Donald Trump and I think a lot of people in this area are the same way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By the time I made it to Ashtabula County, Ohio during the House vote, fatigue had set in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So they're waste the time and it was unnecessary. It's the very epitome of what frustrates people about Washington.


INGRAHAM: Bingo. Well said. And as I said last year, this isn't impeachment. It's impeachment theater complete with door prizes and a full parade. Well, miraculously this travesty hasn't slowed President Trump down one bit. Wall street, main street are humming. They don't seem to be taking any of this seriously so why should any of us take it seriously?

Impeachment should always be considered a nuclear weapon of mutually assured destruction. The case and the evidence must be overwhelmingly clear and bipartisan, blatant and obvious lest it leak into a toxin, into the entire body politic.

Remember the Democrats used to believe that. Romney and company would be doing the moderate sin by arguing that impeachment is so serious that it shouldn't be based on theories of what people guess the President was thinking.


GORDON SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO E.U.: President Trump never told me directly that the aid was conditioned on the meetings. The aid was my own personal you know, guess based again on your analogy 2 plus 2 equals 4.


INGRAHAM: Oh my God. There are no words. If an anonymous whistleblower using a Democrat majority is allowed to threaten a presidency, then all bets are off for the future. I promise you. Republican Presidents and their staff will be subjected to this type of harassment every time they take office. In that environment, who would even want to run for President? Let alone work for a Republican President.

So tomorrow morning on your way to work or dropping off the kids maybe call 202-224-3121, that's 202-224-3121. That's the Senate switchboard. Jam the capital lines and urge your senators to dismiss this case, get on with the business of governing. If the Senate allows a full blown trial to proceed, one based on zero factual evidence and no constitutional precedent, it's only going to encourage the abuse of congressional power that got us here in the first place and no doubt, will trigger a sequel.

This is Chairman Maxine Waters, just yesterday.


REP. MAXINE WATERS, D-CALIF.: We will not stop, whether or not that leads to another impeachment activity, I don't know but I know we must continue with the work that our constituents have elected us to come to Congress to do.


INGRAHAM: Now did the moderates in the Senate want to try to sell that vision of government to the constituents back home? The people are sick of this. Now, it's time for deciding, senators. And that's The Angle. All right, joining me now Robert Ray, counsel to President Trump and Alan Dershowitz, constitutional representative. What the heck is that? For the President.

Alan, the media has been downright hostile to your constitutional arguments, watch.


ALAN DERSHOWITZ, CONSTITUTIONAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: I said you didn't need a technical crime back then. I still don't think you need a technical crime and I think your viewers are entitled to hear my argument without two bullies jumping on everything I say and trying to pinpoint and nit-pick on what I said. Let's talk about what the issues are instead of trying to attack the messenger.


INGRAHAM: Alan. More on that.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, obviously they've been attacking me from Day 1. They already know what I'm going to argue and they disagree with it because that matter what I argue, they will of course disagree with it. Look, back in 1998, the issue was not whether or not you needed a crime because President Clinton was charged with a crime.

The issue was whether it was a high crime so I didn't do the research. I relied on people like Professor Larry Tribe who said you didn't need a technical crime. That turns out to be wrong. You may not need - you may not need crime. The point - the critical point is that obstruction of Congress and abuse of power are clearly not within what the framers intended and I will lay out that argument quite clearly with sources.

And I'm sure my other members of the Trump team will do the same.

INGRAHAM: Now Alan, why did you want to be called constitutional representative rather than like everybody else. I mean you have to have a special title. Everyone else is just part of the team.

DERSHOWITZ: No. It's exactly what I did - it's exactly what I did in the OJ Simpson case and what I did in the second Claus von Bulow case. I'm of counsel. I have a special role to perform. My role is to present the constitutional argument. I'm not meeting with the team on strategic issues. 
I'm not involved in whether witnesses should be called or whether facts should be alleged.

My argument is limited as it was in OJ where I just argued the legal issues and that's very common. I've done that over and over again as constitutional council to big cases that I don't want to get involved in the weeds.

INGRAHAM: It sounds very - it sounds much more fun than having to get involved in the weeds. You can just quote Charles Pinckney during the constitutional debates, OK? So let's pull out all the delegates and start doing that. Now, I appreciate that Alan. Now one specter hanging over the trial is John Bolton's potential testimony.

The Washington Post reports Republicans are working to make sure, he doesn't testify in public. One option being discussed would be to move Bolton's testimony into a classified setting because of national security concerns. Robert, are you guys worried that Bolton testifies and some real problem for the President?

ROBERT RAY, COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Why? Because where is that going to take anybody through this process? I mean the whole point of the legal argument that's been made in the factual record as it exists which of course, the House managers are stuck with, is that it doesn't constitute impeachable offenses because they didn't charge and alleged them and they don't have a sufficient case that would warrant removal of the President from office.

And you know I'm not a constitutional scholar. I'm just a trial lawyer but as a trial lawyer on behalf of the President, taking a fair evaluation of this you know, let's look at impeachment. What's the whole purpose of impeachment? It's the democratic constituency not talking to themselves. 
The only way this works is if a democratic constituency can talk to the constituency of the other party and convince them that the President should be removed from office.

Has that happened here at all ever? Is it ever going to happen? And the answer is no. So you know I don't care how many witnesses you tried out or how many arguments you make, that's never going to change.

INGRAHAM: Yes, lot of the folks are saying tonight, Alan, Democrats mostly are saying well, the term team legal brief, 171 pages, I haven't gotten through all, I've gotten through most of it. Basically says well, OK, he did these things but they're not crimes and so he can't be impeached or he did some of these things.

DERSHOWITZ: No, totally wrong. Totally wrong. That's not the position. The position is he didn't do any of these things, that he is innocent as a matter of fact. But as every criminal trial lawyer knows when you have disputes over fact and disputes over law, you always argue in the alternative. You always argue that the facts don't - are not proved.

But hypothetically even if the facts were to be proved, they wouldn't rise to the level of a crime or in this case an impeachable offense. So it is not an acknowledgement in any way by anyone on the legal team that the President did anything wrong. That's just not how that brief could possibly be read.

INGRAHAM: Yes, here is how one of the MSNBC contributors characterized Trump's legal defense.


FRANK FIGLIUZZI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: This is what I call the 'I did it so what' defense is actually may be their best bet for avoiding needing to call witnesses because what they can say is, hey, if we call the witnesses, what will we do that for? Although do is tell you what we already are telling you. He did it. He did it and we just don't think it's impeachable.



RAY: That's just - that's just a lie. Well, that's just silly because we're going to be arguing both and the rejoinder from the Democrats really as was pointed out in the President's submission, today, they're arguing for impeachment based upon the President's motives. We don't impeach Presidents for motives.

INGRAHAM: That's a part of your brief, the part of the brief on motive is about subjective intent.

RAY: Right.

INGRAHAM: And inferring the subject of intent of a President to impeach is something that has never happened. In Clinton, it didn't happen. In Nixon, didn't happen. Johnson, didn't happen.

RAY: So it's you know - it's a question of it - that's not sufficient as a matter of law, as a matter of the constitutional text, as a matter of historical practice and as a matter of the framers' intent and on top of all of that as a matter of fact in connection with the facts that are alleged here.

DERSHOWITZ: Think of how dangerous - think of how dangerous it is when you start probing the motives of a President. Every President wants to win re- election. Every President makes foreign policy decisions, domestic policy decisions, at least in part to enhance their electability. Are we going to start psycho-analyzing every President's motives and creating impeachable offenses out of looking at the worst possible motives that they might have had?

No. You judge a President by his or her actions and you judge a President by the affect and impact. You don't judge him by looking into the depths of his mind and trying to figure out whether somewhere in the back of his mind, he was trying to get some advantage to his electability. That would be so dangerous.

INGRAHAM: What I've been trying to impart over the last week and plus, gentlemen, is this idea that given what we know already about the allegations and the testimony in the House of Representatives, that a motion to dismiss at the outset was almost - I mean, you can't be required.

But if you're - if you're a good lawyer, to me, that motion has to happen and for Romney and these - and these other senators who I guess, they're trying to play cute or cover all their bases, I don't know what they think they're going to get here with oh, we need to hear from Bolton in order for me to think that there's no impeachable conduct here.

There are only two articles alleged. Neither article on its face represents impeachable conduct under any sensible reading of our constitutional precedent and the language of the constitution so why shouldn't there be a motion to dismiss right at the top either by the Trump team or by a Republican senator?

DERSHOWITZ: I agree. I agree. I think that that's the right way to go. This is a motion to dismiss case in which if it were a criminal case and a person were charged with say, dishonesty and then there were a list of things he did, the first thing you do is make a motion to dismiss because dishonesty isn't a crime and obstruction of Congress is not an impeachable offense and abuse of power is not an impeachable offense.

A motion to dismiss in a perfect world would be ideal but so the American public want to see an end to the trial so quickly, I think that becomes a political issue.

RAY: But we don't live in a perfect world. I mean the point is that I think - and I never quite understood this about the Clinton impeachment. If you're going to have opening presentations and you're going to do that for both sides and we're going to do this--

INGRAHAM: What's like summary judgment -

RAY: --for 24 hours at least, really, a better characterization you know. If you did it as a civil case, it would be essentially a motion for summary judgment.


RAY: And in the criminal context, the equivalent of that would be a motion for acquittal, for judgment of acquittal and I think that the door is still open for that procedurally to happen so if you don't call it a motion to dismiss, you call I think what it properly is, I think you still are going to have an opportunity to have that motion in conjunction with the question about whether or not there'll be witnesses properly presented before the Senate.

INGRAHAM: The LA Times has a big story tonight basically saying Mitch McConnell's trying to rush this, trying to speed this up to get this thing sped up so fast that you know, we don't really ultimately ever end up hearing from witnesses. That's fair.

RAY: You think there's fatigue now. Wait until the 24 hours on both sides is completed.

INGRAHAM: Let me just read. "The proposed accelerated schedule infuriated Democrats, who saw it as a partisan effort to short-circuit a fair trial and to block Americans from following the historic proceedings."

Alan, it's up to Mitch McConnell to save what, the ratings for cable television? It's kind of against my interest because I think it - Fox viewers really want to follow this because they're so enraged including all the moderate senators, they're not too happy with them.

But is that a fair characterization of what McConnell is doing, trying to bore people to death with this or trying to speed it up?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, I hope that neither of us here will bore our listeners. I think we will present interesting, compelling and I hope, people will listen substantive arguments so whether we present them at 2:00 in the afternoon or 2:00 in the morning is going to be up to obviously the Senate leadership you know.

I would prefer to present them at a time when viewers are awake and can take in the argument but my argument and our argument is primarily 200 senators and that's our audience and that's who we're going to be speaking to. They have to be the ones to vote in the end.

INGRAHAM: So Robert, you're not speaking to the moderates? That's what everyone's - not just addressing the moderates, everyone's saying that?

RAY: Jeez, I think the whole point of this is that there's 100 people there. Why would I choose four? I mean we're talking to the - and you know I mean, Alan is right that ultimately you know in terms of impeachment and removal from office, we are talking to a 100 senators but really, truly this is a momentous occasion and we're talking to the entire country.

INGRAHAM: Absolutely. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. I know you have a lot of work to do still before you do your presentations. We really appreciate. We look back to - look forward to talking to you again and coming up, Rudy Giuliani. He offers his first on camera response to the claims leveled by Ukrainian businessman, Lev Parnas. You don't want to miss this.


INGRAHAM: The media spent much of the last week touting their new hero. The shady and indicted Ukrainian businessman Lev Parnas. Now he's been leveling some serious accusations not only at the President and other top officials but also at Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani joins us now exclusively. Rudy, great to see it tonight. Well, your name was all over the news last week thanks to your former whatever he is Mr. Parnas. Everyone in the media is waiting for your response. We really appreciate your joining us tonight.

So first I want you to listen to the remarks from Parnas.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Did anybody in the U.S. government or Mr. Giuliani actually convey to officials in Ukraine that you were there as a representative of the President Trump?

LEV PARNAS, FORMER ASSOCIATE OF RUDY GIULIANI: The first thing I did is to introduce myself and tell them, I'm here on behalf of Rudy Giuliani and the President of the United States. I wouldn't do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the President.

I have no intent. I have no reason to speak to any of these officials. A whole bunch, Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and also Rudy had a personal thing with the Manafort stuff.


INGRAHAM: Rudy, your response.

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: My response is that Lev is someone I'm - I was close to. Obviously, I was misled by him. I feel very bad. I'm Godfather to his child and Svetlana's child. I still feel sorry for him. I'm not going to respond to him for each and every one of the misrepresentations he's made because there is so many. If I'm called as a witness, I'm prepared to do it.

In fact I wouldn't mind being called as a witness for a lot of reasons including being able to reveal the unbelievable amount of corruption that went on between the Democratic Party and Ukraine, all throughout the Obama administration. I think people would be astounded to know the hundreds of millions of dollars that illegally passed hands between Americans and Ukrainians.

INGRAHAM: I got it Rudy but nobody - everyone watching tonight is going to thank and I just know how it all plays out as do you. You've been doing this for decades. They're all going to say Rudy Giuliani will not respond to the allegation that the President was directing him to direct Parnas to do what he was doing in Ukraine to put the pressure on the Ukrainian government.

GIULIANI: I will tell you that he in very large part, did not tell the truth. I will give you a couple of examples that are public. I will not be sucked into a point by point response which I am ready to give in great detail in front of Congress or a court, in which it will turn out that he lied multiple times.

I'll give you one. He said that he was part of a meeting that he was called into during a Hanukkah party at the White House and the President and during that meeting deputized him and told him that he was going to be like his representatives.

There were four people in that meeting. The four people in that meeting, myself, his former partner, Igor Fruman and two others say that it's absolutely untrue. The meeting never took place. The records demonstrate the meeting never took place.

INGRAHAM: So that would indicate that he wasn't being - that he wasn't being directed by the President through you--

GIULIANI: No, no, it's indicating he lied. No, no, it indicates that he lied, misrepresented like Michael Cohen did. Let me give you a second example. They put out a story that Congressman Nunes met with Viktor Shokin in Vienna in 2018 making it like a horrible thing that Devin Nunes did.

Lev Parnas put out that story. Lev Parnas once again lied. Devin Nunes was not in Vienna at the time. His passport demonstrates that.

INGRAHAM: Yes, we covered that.

GIULIANI: Videotapes demonstrate it.

INGRAHAM: Yes, we covered that.

GIULIANI: No, no, please let me finish because I have to answer it my way. The second part of it is that I interviewed under oath Mr. Shokin. Mr. Shokin is prepared to show that he hadn't been in Vienna for seven years, never talk to Devin Nunes and that Mr. Parnas lied about him. Now how many times do I have to prove a man is a liar before he isn't featured any longer as the main witness for all you people in the press.

INGRAHAM: So - so--

GIULIANI: The man is a demonstrated liar.

INGRAHAM: OK, so you've impeached his preferability. All right.

GIULIANI: Every single thing that he said--

INGRAHAM: I get it. I get it.

GIULIANI: - I can assure you as those two lies I just demonstrated, he didn't lie, he lied stupidly.

INGRAHAM: What's his motivation for lying?

GIULIANI: You know what a stupid lie is? A stupid lie is when your partner, Igor Fruman can contradict you. A stupid lie is when there's a tape recording that can contradict you. A stupid lie is when there's a passport that can contradict you but I can't possibly go through all the lies that he told.

INGRAHAM: All right. All right, Rudy, let's move on because this is an area

GIULIANI: What's his motivation?


GIULIANI: His motivation is not to go to prison, the same thing as Michael Cohen.

INGRAHAM: OK, that's what I was thinking you were going to say. That's what our idea was.

GIULIANI: Come on.

INGRAHAM: That's kind of obvious.

GIULIANI: What's his motivation.

INGRAHAM: All right Rudy, what - the other big question--

GIULIANI: Unfortunately, the man's character got tested.

INGRAHAM: Well, he was--

GIULIANI: I will lie my way out.

INGRAHAM: You must be disappointed?

GIULIANI: Am I disappointed? I'm heartbroken.

INGRAHAM: Yes, you must be - personal betrayal.

GIULIANI: I'm heart broken and the lies are not just lies, they're stupid lies which means he is extremely poorly represented. I don't let my client go in and tell a story that four people can contradict without checking it out.

INGRAHAM: All right, Rudy, I want to move on. Help me out. I want to move on. Let's - let's move on to the other allegation which was that you directed the surveillance of a sitting U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in Ukraine.

GIULIANI: No, I did not. No, I can definitely tell you. I didn't. In fact she directed a surveillance of me which nobody is investigating and of Mr. Solomon and of your colleague, Sean Hannity and of Donald Trump Junior.

INGRAHAM: I'm on the list by the way. I'm on the list.

GIULIANI: Oh, you're on the list?


GIULIANI: Nobody's investigating that. Nobody's investigating Biden's bribery. Nobody's investigating the surveillance of a lawyer, of a newspaper reporter. Nobody is investigating the money laundering charge against Hunter Biden which I have as a matter of record. Nobody is investigating the money that Biden's brother took out of Iraq, the last time he was appointed. Another half billion dollars. They don't investigate Democrats.

They are afraid. They are afraid of what the media will do to them. Instead they take chicken -- you know the next word -- charges and they exaggerate them against the Republicans. It is so disgusting the double standard. So disgusting.

INGRAHAM:  He's also, he's also alleging --

GIULIANI:  And I have got a big surprise coming up. I'm going to devote a lot of my time this year exposing the double standard on my own podcast.

INGRAHAM:  Oh, fun. OK.

GIULIANI:  And I will do it with records, recordings, tape recordings, financial records. A lot of people were pulling a lot of money out of the Ukraine, and I learned a lot more about Ukraine than I did, just the millions that Joe Biden stole there, and the millions that he stole in Iraq, and the millions that he stole in China. And it is a disgrace that he is not under investigation. It's a --

INGRAHAM:  Well, Bill Barr, speaking of Bill Barr, because he could be doing a lot of these investigations, Parnas is saying that Barr was aware of all of your --

GIULIANI:  OK, I'll make another definitive statement.

INGRAHAM:  Hold on, let me play it, also because we don't know what it's about.

GIULIANI:  This one I can answer definitively for you.

INGRAHAM:  OK, let's just play it, then you can react. Watch.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Do you know if Mr. Giuliani was ever in contact with Mr. Barr, specifically about the fact that he was trying to get Ukraine to announce these investigations into Joe Biden?


MADDOW:  Mr. Barr knew about that?

PARNAS:  Mr. Barr had to have known everything. It's impossible.


INGRAHAM:  Parnas also sent a letter to A.G. Barr arguing --

GIULIANI:  That's a terrible --

INGRAHAM:  -- given the circumstances, we believe it's appropriate for you to recuse yourself from the ongoing investigation and pending prosecution of Mr. Parnas. Rudy, was the attorney general in on whatever was going on there in the Ukraine?

GIULIANI:  I have never spoken to Attorney General Barr about this investigation ever, not one word to Attorney General Garr about this investigation. Not even a congratulations on how well he is handling it. I have been circumspect, careful, exceedingly careful. Not only that, Parnas knows that. I told Parnas several times that I would make sure I would never go to the attorney general with it so I wouldn't compromise him.

That is a flat-out, absolute, despicable lie. I am very disappointed and hurt by him, but that one really is a shame, to try to implicate somebody who had nothing to do with it. I never, I will tell you this definitively, never spoke to Attorney General Barr about this investigation, never once.

INGRAHAM:  Rudy, we really appreciate you being here tonight. Parnas has been showcased all over some of our competitors.

GIULIANI:  Why you can take an unreliable man, an unreliable source, proven to have lied --

INGRAHAM:  Because they want to get the president.

GIULIANI:  -- by five witnesses, six witnesses.

INGRAHAM:  Because it's the impeachment and they want to roll impeachment.

GIULIANI:  For the Washington Post and The New York Times to take a proven liar, and not even point out his lies. So if you're going to use the proven liar, point out his five lies that have been proven.

INGRAHAM:  That would be an objective media.

GIULIANI:  It might be a fair media instead of a hatchet job.

INGRAHAM:  Thanks so much, Rudy, we appreciate it.

And the media said today's gun rights rally outside of Virginia state capital could be a bloodbath, which, of course, turned out to be a total lie. We speak to a sheriff who has a message to the gun-grabbing Governor Northam. Plus, Trump defender Steve Cortes used to be a CNN contributor, so why did they start icing him out? He is here to tell us, next.


INGRAHAM:  Today thousands of law-abiding gun owners rallied at Virginia's capital to oppose the gun grabbing policies of Democrats in the state house. The media did their job, and best job, to smear those at the rally as gun toting racists. So we sent Fox's own Griff Jenkins to Richmond to give you the real story.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  None of us out here want to cause violence at all. We all just want peace. But I would love to have the ability to protect myself, my family, and everyone else around me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And I heard a lot about violence. There's really no violence happening out here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They want to have universal background checks, which we know is a first step toward gun registration, which we don't need. Target criminals and violations of law-abiding criminals whether it's weapons or other things, don't target the law-abiding citizens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It all starts with the Second Amendment. Once they take that from you than it's one right after another.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The rest of Virginia if you look at the Second Amendment sanctuary city movement and counties, we don't want gun control. 
We're not going to comply with your gun control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You would have a better chance of laying in the creek and kissing a copperhead than you would getting the firearms from Virginians.


INGRAHAM:  I want to hang out with all those people, they look really fun. Joining me now is someone who was at that rally, Richard Vaughan, sheriff of Grayson County Virginia. Sheriff we really appreciate your being with us tonight. I know it wasn't easy, so thanks so much. What is going to happen in your county if the bills that the Virginia Democrats are pushing go into effect?

SHERIFF RICHARD VAUGHAN, GRAYSON COUNTY, VIRGINIA:  Grayson County is a Second Amendment sanctuary, and if these bills are passed as proposed, I know they can still make some changes on this bill. But if they are passed as proposed, they will not be enforced in Grayson County because they are unconstitutional. We took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Virginia, and that's what we're going to do. 
We are not going to arrest law-abiding citizens for having guns.

INGRAHAM:  I pressed one of the State Democrat gun control advocates who serves now in the statehouse last week, he insisted, sheriff, that guns that are in possession of people now would be grandfathered in, and they wouldn't be forced to be turned over, you wouldn't have to turn your guns over. But that is not what I understand. There is a lot of loosey-goosey language in this legislation that would mean you become a felon if you own a particular type of semiautomatic weapon that has a big enough magazine in it, 10, more than 10, you are in big trouble.

VAUGHAN:  Absolutely, Senate bill 16 that died in the committee last week thankfully, but then there's also a House bill to the same effect that could gun grab semiautomatic weapons like the AR-15 which is an Armalite rifle. That is nothing but a .22 caliber rifle, its' not much more than a squirrel gun. So these high-capacity magazines, why are we telling homeowners that they can't have a high-capacity magazine there to defend themselves in these situations? We hear of cases all the time where we have home intruders coming into residences, and they need a high-capacity magazine to be able to defend themselves. A lot of people that are disabled have guns in the home and have to defend themselves.

INGRAHAM:  Sheriff, we sent our Griff Jenkins down there, and he was all through the crowd today. These are people from all parts of the state, they were men, women, ethnically diverse, racially diverse, people who, most of them were carrying their weapons because they were outside the perimeter, but Northam didn't allow anyone to go on the property near the capital with their firearm. And also, you can see the crowd is much more representative in the overhead shot there. And then they didn't allow drones. I didn't understand that. The FAA said no drones could be flown overhead either, I guess to take pictures? I don't even understand that. It seems like they are curtailing everybody's rights going into this rally, almost hoping to tick people off to spark some kind of unrest, but that never happened.

VAUGHAN:  Absolutely. It definitely was not a state of emergency. I spent several hours in the crowd in uniform with two of my deputies and some of my constituents. We met some of the best people in the country. We ate breakfast this morning with a gentleman from Houston who drove 19 hours just to be here in Virginia to help us protect our Second Amendment rights. We met people from Florida, Pennsylvania, militia groups, people carrying Armalite rifles, everybody there was armed. And they estimated nearly 60,000 people, yet there wasn't a single person even arrested.

And the governor made the statement today that law enforcement did a great job of de-escalating the crowd. And I agree, law enforcement did do a great job, but there was no de-escalation needed. Everybody we met there came up to us, shook our hands, and thanked us for being there and standing up for their Second Amendment rights.

INGRAHAM:  Sheriff, compare that to the Antifa rallies, what happens at those things, right? You've got people with clubs, and cement they're throwing at people, and trash everywhere, and assaulting people, and the media does a big collective yawn. You guys show up, a huge rally for the Second Amendment, no problems, no trash, no assaults, and you get the sense the media is unhappy that this happened. They are unhappy it didn't play up to their stereotype.

Sheriff, we are with you all the way. Stay safe out there. Thank you for what you do for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and for the cause of the Second Amendment. Thank you, sir.

VAUGHAN:  Thank you for having me.

INGRAHAM:  All right, the media spent the days leading up to the peaceful gun rights rally hyping it, as I said, as a potential bloodbath, a powder keg of armed Klansmen just waiting to erupt into violence.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thousands of gun right activists, white nationalists, militia groups all swarming the Virginia state capital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Virginia's governor has declared a state of emergency, hoping to avoid a repeat of the deadly protest in Charlottesville in 2017.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There are a lot of people nervous about what's going to happen there today.


INGRAHAM:  Steve Cortes, spokesman for the America First, joins us now. Steve, CNN took you off the air for exposing the media's lies about the Charlottesville protests in 2017. Does their handling of today's rally surprise you at all?

STEVE CORTES, NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, AMERICA FIRST:  No, it really doesn't, because, unfortunately, Laura, when you look at corporate media in this country, they have overwhelmingly forsaken journalism in favor of narrative promotion. And the foremost narrative they want to promote about the president is that he is a racist, and that those of us who support him are racist as well.

Charlottesville was really, unfortunately, the linchpin of that argument. I really detailed why that is a lie, the Charlottesville lie, the fine people hoax. The president never called neo-Nazis fine people. And for committing what was, I guess, the unpardonable sin, at least in the eyes of CNN, for declawing that deception that they continued to push. They put me on the bench, they took me off the air after I did a Prager U video that got 6 million hits detailing exactly why the Charlottesville myth was a deception.

INGRAHAM:  And the myth you are focusing on is that the president in his comment, said some good people, that he was referencing racists or those with clubs who wanted to hurt people, and certainly the horrific killing of an innocent person who was run over at that rally, your point is he wasn't referencing both people, he was referencing whom?

CORTES:  He was referencing people who were there in Charlottesville who believed that the Robert E. Lee statue should be preserved and that the park's name should be maintained. And by the way, that is not my opinion. You can look at the actual transcripts and the video evidence. The president, in fact, not only did he not praise the supremacists and the hateful bigots who were there, he explicitly condemned them. His exact phrase was they should be condemned totally.

However, that didn't fit the narrative. So media in this country ran with a very different story. I would like to think I was part of pushing back hard against that. But as a consequence of telling the truth, of being a truth teller, and as I said, just declawed the deception --

INGRAHAM:  Hold on, Steve, did CNN give you any explanation? Did they actually give you an explanation in writing why you're not on?

CORTES:  Not in writing, no, but they did tell me it was directly because of the Charlottesville video. The president retweeted it, the Prager U video that I did. The president retweeted it. It got, as I said, many millions of views, and I think we did strong work at improving the truth of the matter, which is --

INGRAHAM:  CNN doesn't want that. They don't want that. That is very dangerous to ruin a misconception and a stereotype that has been floating out there now for more than two years. Steve, we really appreciate it, thanks for coming out tonight.

And coming up, does the Trump legal team have the right approach to the impeachment trial? Two men involved in the Clinton impeachment, Sol Wisenberg and Bob Barr, have answers, next.


INGRAHAM:  Earlier in the show we heard from members of Trump's legal team. Now it's time for our own legal team to analyze the White House strategy. Joining me Sol Wisenberg, former Whitewater independent counsel, and Bob Barr, former Clinton impeachment manager. Sol, does McConnell's aggressive timeline on arguments help or hurt Trump's legal team?

BOB BARR, FORMER CLINTON IMPEACHMENT MANAGER:  It depends on how they handle it. If Trump's legal team takes far less than 24 hours, simply presents its case based on what you've already indicated, and what I believe to be the case, and that is that there is no impeachable defense here, or no impeachable offense here, and then sit down, I think that will help their case, because the House managers, they want to showcase everything about their team, the diversity of it, all of the great legal theories and eloquence, so they will take all the time in the world. And I think the Trump team ought to take just a few hours, and then sit down.

INGRAHAM:  The criticism today, Sol, from some of the more liberal courts was that Trump clearly just chose his lawyers based on how they will do on TV. What about that?

SOLOMON WISENBERG, FORMER DEPUTY INDEPENDENT COUNSEL:  I think it's ironic in light of how they have been attacked. In particular they have attacked Dershowitz and they've attacked Judge Starr. So they can't have it both ways. We know why he chose Dershowitz and Starr, because they are outstanding appellate constitutional lawyers. And Bob Ray is a very seasoned trial lawyer. And I think he made some great points tonight, particularly about the motion for summary judgment, which I think is really the way to go here in this case.

INGRAHAM:  So summary judgment, again, for those who missed earlier in the show, tsk-tsk, that would be after the initial opening arguments are made, both sides, then you move for what is the equivalent of summary judgment, on everything you have heard, there is no constitutional case for impeachment, correct?

WISENBERG:  First, you ultimately left the House put their evidence and that they have developed, then you decide whether or not to call witnesses. 
And then after you have done all that, you say, OK, we have heard all of this, and even if it is true, we don't believe in this instance that the president should be removed because of it. And there's no question that would be a trial.

INGRAHAM:  I want to look at two excerpts from both the House argument that's released tonight and the White House's legal brief, and two different points. This is from the House brief. "Although his sweeping cover-up ultimately failed, 17 public officials courageously upheld their duty, testified, and provided documentary evidence of the president's wrongdoing. His obstruction will do long-lasting and potentially irreparable damage to our constitutional system of divided power if it goes unchecked."

And Bob Barr, this is what the White House says tonight. "The only threat to the Constitution the House Democrats have brought to light is their own degradation of the impeachment process and trampling of the separation of power. Their fixation on damaging the president has trivialized the momentous act of impeachment." Final thought, Bob?

BARR:  There's a reason why only three pages of the House managers, 111- page report, deals with the constitutional basis for impeachment. There is none and they know it.

INGRAHAM:  Sol and Bob, we'll be talking you all week long as this develops. It's going to be quite a week.

And coming up, Thomas Steyer observes MLK Day in a truly tragic fashion. The Last Bite, next.


INGRAHAM:  It's time for the Last Bite. Tom Steyer appeared at an MLK rally and tried to bust a move.




INGRAHAM: Haven't they learned not to try that? Kids, don't try it at home. Oh, boy. Dancing with the stars. I don't think so.

That's all the time we have tonight. Shannon Bream and the "Fox News @ Night" team take it all from here.


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