This is a rush transcript from "Tucker Carlson Tonight," February 15, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRIAN KILMEADE, HOST: Good evening, everybody and welcome to “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” As you know, I'm not Tucker. I'm Brian Kilmeade, lucky enough to fill in for Tucker and here we go.
Actor Jussie Smollett said he was the victim of a savage, racist homophobic attack. Now, his story seems to be, let us say, unraveling and the entire attack may turn out to be a stunt -- may turn out to be a stunt arranged by the actor himself. We will have all of that soon right from Chicago.
Plus, an appearance on this show by Tucker himself, don't ask me how we pulled that off. But first, President Trump has pulled the trigger declaring a national state of emergency on the southern border in order to fund and build the wall and other things. How did it happen and how will the emergency work? Washington correspondent Kristen Fisher is all around the madness and she is here to unwind it for us -- Kristen.
KRISTEN FISHER, CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brian. Well, this emergency declaration is only a few hours old, but already the ACLU says that it will sue President Trump and the House Judiciary Committee has launched an investigation.
Democrats on the committee sent a letter to President Trump tonight saying that, "We believe your declaration of an emergency shows a reckless disregard for the separation of powers and your own responsibilities under our constitutional system by fabricating an emergency order to bypass the political process for allocating a budget, you appear to be abusing both this trust and your own oath of office."
But President Trump predicted all of that when he announced the emergency declaration in the Rose Garden earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: The order is signed, and I'll sign the final papers and we will then be sued and they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit, even though it shouldn't be there and we will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we will get another bad ruling. And then we will end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we'll get a fair shake and we will win in the Supreme Court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FISHER: Now, the declaration will give President Trump about $8 billion to build this border wall. The White House says its attorneys have spent weeks going through the ins and the outs of an emergency declaration to ensure that President Trump is on solid ground, and they believe he is.
But some Republicans believe it's an abuse of executive power and could set a bad precedent. So this will be hashed out in court and in Congress for quite some time, but at least Washington avoided another government shutdown, Brian that was set to start in just about four hours if they hadn't reached a deal -- Brian.
KILMEADE: Right, and I just love the way the President went through that because he basically outlined what we are going be covering and how we're going to be covering it over the next year or so. Kristen, thanks so much.
FISHER: He did. Thanks.
KILMEADE: All right, meanwhile, the President vowed that his national emergency will get the job done and halt the decades' long crisis at the border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're going to be signing today and registering national emergency.
Because we have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people, and it's unacceptable.
So we have a chance of getting close to $8 billion, whether it is $8 billion or $2 billion or $1.5 billion, it is going to build a lot of wall. We are getting it done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILMEADE: Well, he got a green light for at least 55 miles of wall, and then we'll see about the $8 billion, it will give you more.
But CNN's Jim Acosta accused the President of conjuring up a broken border crisis out of thin air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Let me just ask you this, what do you say to the critics who say that you are creating a national emergency, that you are concocting a national emergency here in order to get your wall because you couldn't get it through other means?
TRUMP: I'll ask the angel moms, what do you think? You think I'm creating something? Ask these incredible women who lost their daughters and their sons.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILMEADE: They were there with pictures of their loved ones. What an answer, what a comeback. Why does the President keep calling on him? Well, that is the consensus. The media end of left, despite millions of illegal immigrants, despite the mess at the border, they think the President made it up and our border is just fine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, HOST, MSNBC: The President of the United States is going to declare a national emergency on the southern border, but I have to tell you it doesn't look like an emergency from where I am standing.
NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: It's not an emergency, what's happening at the border.
CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, CNN: A national emergency to solve his manufactured crisis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have a national emergency, that's just not true. There is no national emergency.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no national emergency.
REP. DAVID CICILLINE, D-R.I.: There is just simply no emergency.
DON LEMON, ANCHOR, CNN: What are we, stupid? A manufactured emergency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILMEADE: Really? Well, the Migration Policy Institute estimates that 827,000 of the 11 million here illegally are convicted criminals. That's a total of 7%, not 1% should be in the country.
Mark Morgan is the former head of the Border Patrol, and he has heard the rhetoric, but he knows the reality. Mark, is the President making up an emergency?
MARK MORGAN, FORMER CHIEF OF THE BORDER PATROL: Absolutely not, and Brian, this is the part the frustration for those of us from a law enforcement, border security perspective. How many more statistics do we have to provide? How many more factually based examples do we have to provide? How many more angel families have to stand in front of some of these individuals before they will family say, "Yes, okay, this is real." It's just incredulous.
KILMEADE: It's true, and the other thing I thought about, too, Mark. And because I know you served on the Obama years. There was an emergency then. They chose not to act on it. It doesn't mean there is not one now and it doesn't mean they are not getting worse.
I mean, the numbers this year show a huge uptick in apprehensions. That doesn't count the people we don't catch. So when people say to you, "The drugs are coming through the port of entry, let's use some technology to crack down there. There is no problem with drugs in the middle of the country and other areas that are populated." What do you say?
MORGAN: Well, that is right, and a couple of things you hit on, Brian, and you're spot on. So first of all, look at the take right now. Sixty thousand are coming in a month illegally into this country.
This year so far, 62 caravans of 100 or more -- 13 in all of last year. Two thousand in one single day this week. So the numbers are climbing, but it's manufactured, right? And the other thing, the other argument in between the ports of entry, it is an absolute false narrative.
Sixty percent of the southwest border does not have enough infrastructure, technology and the personnel. I call that wide open. So they are disingenuous when they talk about the ports because we don't -- Brian, just what you said, we don't know what is getting through, but we know that it is getting through and there is a lot that we are not interdicting in between the ports.
KILMEADE: So, you know, it's just amazing, too, because not only do most Democrats not agree, there is a new trend, and mark my words, it's going to be happening all week. Instead of build the wall, take down the fence. That is going to be the method.
As a person who is out there trying to defend our border, what does it mean to you?
MORGAN: Again, what it means to me this is absolutely driven on identity politics. The experts have spoken both on I.C.E., both on the United States Border Patrol and CBP and they have told Congress what they need to protect our borders, for the security and the safety of this country, Brian, and they have not just ignored it, they have just absolutely discounted everything that they have said.
And unfortunately to me, I have only drawn one conclusion. It's based on identity politics.
KILMEADE: And I just asked for the latest, that is why I was looking down. The latest news about January. And so far in January, apprehension have risen up. There were 58,207 apprehension in January. That is the highest it's been over the past five years, and those are the people, as you always tell us that you get. What about the ones we don't know about?
KILMEADE: And I just talked to somebody else who just went down to the border because they are serving in the military, and they say some of the techniques that these people crossing are using mirror the military techniques that they have seen in battle. That is what is happening in Arizona. So I will share more of those stories.
Mark, thanks for your unclose and personal unbiased look at what is happening at the border. We'll see where we go from here.
MORGAN: Thanks, Brian.
KILMEADE: Meanwhile, eight minutes after the top of the hour, while, President Trump seeks to build a wall, some Democrats think walls are so evil, as I have said before, they want to start anti-wall jihad.
Potential Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said he wants to eliminate whatever defenses are on the Mexican border. in this case, Texas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: If you could, would you take the wall down now here?
BETO O'ROURKE, D-TX, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Yes.
HAYES: Like you have a wall.
HAYES: Knock it down.
O'ROURKE: I'd take the wall down.
HAYES: And do you think the city -- you think that if there is a referendum here in this city, that would pass?
O'ROURKE: I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILMEADE: Right, and then ask that question and then run back to New York. Kirsten Gillibrand always looking for a new cause to jump on the bandwagon. She might think her ratings might tick-up a little bit. She chimed and guess what she said?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The idea of dismantling some of the wall? Good idea? Bad idea?
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, D-N.Y.: Well, I'd have to ask folks in that part of the country to see whether the fencing that exists today is helpful or unhelpful.
So I could look at it and see which part he means and why and if makes sense, I could support it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILMEADE: If you've been in Washington this long and haven't asked anybody who works at the border if a fence helps or not, you are not doing your job. Chris Hahn is a radio host, former staffer to Senator Chuck Schumer, joins us now.
First of Chris, your reaction to the President using emergency powers?
CHRIS HAHN, RADIO SHOW HOST: Completely unconstitutional. I expect all of these Federalist Society guys for the last 100 years talking about the strict construction of the United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 5, 6, 7 tells who gets to decides where money is spent, whether you think the wall is necessary or not, the President needs to convince Congress to do this.
And if Congress does not stand up to the President, I don't know why they are there. Are they there for the state run offices and the fancy pins? Their job is for their ambition to counteract the President's ambition and it is their job as members of Congress to determine where money is spent.
And if you are in Congress and worried about being primaried on this issue, maybe you should step down from your leadership position and let somebody with courage to actually do the job of a member of Congress take the reins of that spot and do the job appropriately. This is completely unconstitutional, struck down 9-9 by the Supreme Court.
KILMEADE: Chris, let me give you a scenario. I empower Chris Hahn -- I empower Hahn as President of the United States or somebody in that area -- Governor of Texas or Arizona -- and you see a legitimate problem at the border and no one else in politics keeping you from backing up the border and keeping the people safe that you have been elected to do.
You would do anything you could to protect your family and your constituents. That is exactly what the President is doing, and thanks to a 1976 ruling, he has got the executive power to do it, and he says, "If you have a problem with it, take me to court." What is wrong with that?
HAHN: Well, look. Emergencies don't -- you don't get to choose emergencies. Emergencies choose you. This President has been waiting on an emergency for two years. Congress didn't see the emergency. If Congress thought this was an emergency, when we were debating this over the last 45 days, they would have given him funding for this. He couldn't convince Congress that there was an emergency, so there must not be an emergency.
Plus the border crossings are at 50-year low. So I don't understand what he is worried about. What that is the fear that he is trying to generate? I will tell you where the emergency is, Brian. The emergency is with his base --
KILMEADE: Chris, let me just get a word in. It's really not at a low because they are at a high. In fact, in January apprehensions were 58,207. The most over the past five years.
And CBP announced that agents in the Rio Grande Valley apprehended 1,300 people on Wednesday. Come on.
HAHN: I'm using the President's own statistics from 2018, from his own government. These are the President's statistics, they are at a 50-year low and the President even admitted that today in his press conference.
KILMEADE: Chris, I appreciate your passion. But I think you should ask yourself why President Obama wasn't taking more of an urgency less than you should ask why is President Trump doing it now.
HAHN: This is not about President Obama. This is about the President of the United States violating the Constitution of the United States. I don't care what circuit he brings it to. It will be shut down.
KILMEADE: Well, we're going to see. He has got $8 billion and all he wants to do is spend it to keep Chris Hahn safe on Long Island. That is all. Chris, thanks so much. We want to keep MS-13 out of the neighborhood because we know it is miles away from my house and your house.
Meanwhile, Tucker is back after the break. President Trump's re-election odds by the way look kind of dicey for some. But could he be getting a big boost from Democratic radicalism? That story is debated next.
KILMEADE: Hi, welcome back to “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” I'm still Brian Kilmeade and I am still filling in for Tucker. But Tucker was talking to Mark Steyn and Larry Elder just a short time ago, and we taped it. Watch.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Amazingly, the 2020 election cycle is in full swing at this point. Virtually every notable Democrat really in the world has already jumped in. President Trump looked vulnerable a couple of months ago, maybe even doomed to defeat and that was of course, the lure that got them into race.
But things have changed a lot in the last two months. The Democratic Party's own wokeness has been the real factor. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, D-N.Y.: An agency like I.C.E. which repeatedly and systemically violates human rights does not deserve a dime.
REP. ILHAN OMAR, D-MINN.: This administration and this President are truly, morally corrupt.
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB, D-MICH.: When your son looks at you and says, "Momma, look you won. Bullies don't win." And I said, "Baby, they don't, because we're going to go in there and teach them [bleep]."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So what would happen if the least balanced, most extreme members of the Democratic Party took over? Well, the President couldn't have scripted better. He may not have built a wall in the end, but his enemies are so terrifying to normal voters that it has helped him.
His approval rating is rising, his reflection odds have improved as well. Author and columnist Mark Steyn has been watching all of this and joins us tonight.
So I'm starting to think that maybe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and this Ilhan Omar are working for the Trump organization in some capacity. I mean, it almost seems like a setup. It's just almost too perfect.
MARK STEYN, AUTHOR AND COLUMNIST: Yes, I think they are colluding with Trump, as we should say, and need to investigate it. Yes, basically what is going to happen now is that the trajectory in the Democratic side of the field is that they are all going to -- they are all going to drive each other even more woke.
So you will think that Elizabeth Warren is woke and she will make Kamala Harris even more woke, and in the end they, they will even succeed in woking Joe Biden, and they are all going to be made super hyper woke.
Federal officials, policemen in effect have discussed using the 25th Amendment because they think that President Trump is mentally ill. And as Alan Dershowitz said, that is a judgment that should be made by doctors or secretaries or chiefs of staff -- anyone, in fact, by the police agency.
And the question before the electorate is going to be who is really the sane or the insane one? The party that is proposing retrofitting every single 230-year-old colonial era farmhouse in northern New England in order to make it compatible with the Green New Deal, the party that is committed to abolishing the Border Enforcement Agency, or the guy who is just there in the White House doing his job even as he drives deep state lunatics to devise ever more absurd ways of trying to get rid of him?
CARLSON: So you have got to wonder if there are not big parts of the Democratic Party, even the Democratic Party who are going to look at people like this screaming on CNN all day and think, "You know what? This is too much for me." I mean, they could potentially break their party in half.
STEYN: Yes, I think so, because if you look at what happened last time, they had a problematic and frankly, rather unlikable candidate proposing relatively centrist or left of center policies in Democrat terms.
This time around, you are going to have candidates who are taking extreme leftist positions, and the risk, of course, is as with what happened to Ilhan Omar, which in crude identity politics terms, they check all the boxes. They do all the virtue signaling so they seem kind of nice, and then you read three or four of their tweets and you realize, "Actually, this person isn't nice."
And I think that is a real danger for the Democrats, whereas Trump by comparison plays a sort of fog and bully and he tweets up a storm, but he's actually not unlikable in the same way that some of these Democrats are revealing themselves.
CARLSON: And his policies are basically moderate, which nobody ever says, but it's true.
STEYN: Yes, no, that's absolutely right. He is relatively centrist on that stuff.
CARLSON: For sure. By the standards of two years ago, anyway. Mark Steyn, thank you very much for that. Appreciate it.
STEYN: Thank a lot, Tucker.
CARLSON: Well, here is an update to a story we spent a lot of time talking about. The U.S. news media as you remember immediately seized the chance to brand a group of high school boys from a Catholic School in Kentucky -- Covington -- as villains. Bigots who are targeting people on the basis of skin color.
Well, it soon emerged that not only wasn't true, it was the opposite of what happened. But it didn't matter. Journalists continued to use their power to browbeat and bully the high school kids. Here is one among many examples.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, HOST, NBC: Do you feel from this experience that you owe anybody an apology? Do you see your own fault? If you looked at that video and thought about how it felt from the other's perspective? In other words, there were a lot of you, a handful of the others. There is something aggressive about standing there. Standing your ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Something aggressive about standing there, and journalists weren't the only ones to make the point. The Covington students own Catholic Bishop condemned them as well. Now, that Bishop has apologized for what he said. He has admitted that he was bullied into denouncing the boys and that he never even looked at the evidence about what they did.
Larry Elder is a radio show host from Los Angeles. We're always happy to have him on the show. He joins us tonight. So, Larry, you have got to think not, just in case of these boys, but in the case of anyone who has been called names by the media collectively and then found to be not guilty of the charges, how does that person get his reputation back?
LARRY ELDER, RADIO SHOW HOST: Well, of course, the person doesn't get the reputation back. The accusation is made above the full page one. The retraction is made deeper in the newspaper.
What happened here is what I call the intersection of Trump derangement syndrome and what Tom Wolfe, the author who wrote the book, "Bonfire of the Vanities" calls the media's incessant search for the great white defendant.
Nothing better for the media than a white man who is perceived as privileged that they can malign. And that is what happened with Mr. Nick Sandman. And later on, earlier this week, Tucker, it also happened to a friend of mine named Doug Adler who used to be an ESPN commentator.
Two years ago he did a match involving Venus Williams, used a term, "guerilla tactics," not G-O-R-I-L-L-A, but guerilla as in guerilla tactics and a "New York Times" tennis writer named Ben Rothenburg puts out a post and accuses Doug Adler of racism.
ESPN demands that he apologize. Adler happened to be white, and he does to keep his job. They still fired him and for two years, he's been battling a defamation lawsuit. Finally, he won it, got his job back, but the tennis sports writer at "New York Times" has not lost his job nor has he apologized, nor did anybody in the tennis commentating field come to Doug Adler's rescue.
Not the McEnroe brothers, not Martina Navratilova, none of these announcers said guerilla tactic is a normal term used to describe a tactic in a match, and he got fired, got maligned as a racist just like Nick Sandman got maligned as a racist before the facts came in.
The intersection of Trump derangement syndrome and the incessant search for the great white defendant.
CARLSON: Well, that is a shocking story. Guerilla spelled G-U-E -- the French word, it had nothing to do with the primate at all. It's a completely different word.
ELDER: Nothing. And Tucker, and when he ESPN approached him, he said what you said, he said, "I didn't say "gorilla" as an animal. I said, "guerilla" as in tactic." And they still fired him after he apologized. My goodness. Talk about hysteria. This is mass hysteria. It fit the script. This young man in D.C. who was wearing a MAGA cap. He committed also the sin of being born white, and he was privileged, and so the media just ran with that, just as they ran with the story about Doug Adler. It is outrageous.
CARLSON: And nobody stood up to defend him. They were all cowards?
ELDER: Nobody did.
CARLSON: They just looked at their shoes.
ELDER: After one tennis commentator did, named Robbie Koenig, he is a South African commentator, outside of that, nobody did. And Venus Williams could have stopped this in five seconds. I know she is busy, but my goodness, she could have stopped it in five seconds had she wanted to, instead, she wouldn't comment. She just him twist in the wind.
CARLSON: And wreck the man's life and reputation.
ELDER: Right. And by the way, Tucker, he had a heart attack. His cardiologist said his heart was fine before the stress of being called an international racist for two years, and now he has gotten his job back with a settlement, but no apology.
CARLSON: You know, there really aren't many brave people left, which is part of the problem. You are definitely one of them. Larry Elder, again, it's always a blessing to have you on the show. Thank you very much.
ELDER: My pleasure.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
KILMEADE: Great conversation. Meanwhile, straight ahead, Andrew McCabe now admits that the Department of Justice considered bureaucratically overthrowing the Trump administration and tossing the President out. That story is next. They want to amend some of it.
We also have breaking news on the Jussie Smollett investigation, plus more of Tucker who has never been better.
KILMEADE: All right, in a soon to be released blockbuster "60 Minutes" interview set to air this Sunday, fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said that the DOJ seriously considered an effort to have the bureaucracy remove President Trump from office.
CBS' Scott Pelley explained on Thursday what McCabe told him and we will hear Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT PELLEY, HOST, CBS: There were meetings at the Justice Department in which it was discussed whether the Vice President and the majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the President of the United States under the 25th Amendment.
The Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein offered to wear a wire.
A statement was released after that that that was never serious, it was sarcastic, et cetera. McCabe in our interview says, no, it came up more than once and it was so serious that he took it to the lawyers at the FBI to discuss it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILMEADE: Wow. Now through -- now, though Andrew McCabe is trying to walk back the comments to a degree, claiming his 25th Amendment talk was taken out of context. Dan Bongino not buying it. He is a former Secret Service agent and the author of "Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump." He joins us now.
Dan, interesting. Does Andy McCabe think we don't remember the last time we saw him and that is being fired because he lied?
DAN BONGINO, CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, he definitely has a credibility problem, Brian. I mean, according to multiple reports out there for anyone to see on the internet, he is being investigated by a grand jury for lying about leaks to the media. He has a serious credibility problem.
Keep in mind also, Brian, this is the same guy whose wife ran for office as a Democrat, took substantial money from people connected to the Democrat and the Clinton machine and then refused to recuse himself from that case investigating Mrs. Clinton until the end of the year.
But Brian, the most important takeaway from all of this, is of course Andy McCabe is trying to walk this back. This guy, he is not that bright. He just admitted in a "60 Minutes" interview according to Scott Pelley to taking part in a coup attempt. That is just the hard facts. There is no way he is going to weasel his way out of this.
KILMEADE: Well, Scott Pelley summarized what he said, so we will see Sunday, but this is the walk-back. You ready for this? "He was present and participated in a discussion that included a comment by Deputy Director Rod Rosenstein, Attorney General, regarding the 25th Amendment."
So he is saying it wasn't a big meeting, it was just mentioned once. Rosenstein came out and said, "Yes, I said, I would overthrow the President, but I said it sarcastically, I'd wear a wire." I don't like either one of these comments, either side of this conversation.
BONGINO: Yes, I don't know about you, Brian, but when I go to dinner with my friends, I don't just casually bring up like, "Hey, you want to go rob a bank? Don't worry, I was just kidding."
Like there are some things as the Deputy Director of the FBI, let me just give him like a pro-tip, right? It's probably not a good idea from a former Federal agent -- granted, I wasn't the Deputy Director of the Secret Service, but probably not a good idea to hit the 25th Amendment, in other words, removing a President from office for an obviously nonsensical reason, some physical incapacitation.
This guy, Brian, make no mistake. He was operating -- this was the discussion of a soft coup. There is no way around this. He didn't -- I don't know if he is just not that bright and he said this to Scott Pelley not realizing what he was admitting to, but it's clear to me now that Rosenstein and him have a lot of culpability in this. Rosenstein with the FISA, McCabe admitting by the way on the record that the case wouldn't have existed without the dossier, and they are both essentially two guys who have culpability sitting in two separate rooms being interviewed by law enforcement who are trying to be the first to rat on each other to get the best deal.
KILMEADE: And he admitted he started an obstruction of justice probe before Robert Mueller was even in the picture and he did it to make sure the counterintelligence operation wasn't shelved with his firing after Comey was fired. Really?
So to stop -- you were fearful of a counterintelligence investigation stopping, so you started obstruction of justice and then you got fired anyway.
My head is spinning, but all I know is, this President is being hampered by an investigation that just won't go away. Dan, I want to talk to you Monday after we see the entire thing. Is that all right?
BONGINO: Yes, you know, listen, Brian, of all the players in this, McCabe is the -- I believe the one with the most culpability. Remember, he was involved in the Clinton investigation and the Crossfire Hurricane one and he has got that issue with his wife running for office, too. He has got lot of culpability here. Big trouble for McCabe.
KILMEADE: This is why Dan Bongino is one of the best people to talk to about this case. Dan, thanks so much.
BONGINO: Thanks, buddy. I appreciate that.
KILMEADE: All right, and now you have a great weekend. Meanwhile, coming up, actually we're not going to take a break, I want to go to this story right now. A surprise development happened just as we were walking into the studio.
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has settled his lawsuit with the National Football League. Kaerpernick sued the league last year claiming 32 teams colluded to keep him off the NFL roster because he was taking a knee during the National Anthem.
Now, we don't know details about the settlement, but Kaepernick had previously signaled that only a lucrative payout will convince him to drop the suit. What does this mean? What does it mean for Kaepernick's future? He is 31 years old. You would have to think he could still play if he wants.
Fox News contributor, she used to be at ESPN where she thrived there, Brit McHenry used with a rich sports background. Brit, Michael Freeman, a respected reporter is reporting get this -- that he is getting $60 million. What does that tell you?
BRIT MCHENRY, CONTRIBUTOR: It tells me, Brian, that money will make a problem go away or it will make a social justice warrior really happy and really rich, but I have to tell you, I did a little reporting on my own. I reached out to an NFL source of mine, an NFL agent who said he will be shocked if that was the number. He expects it to be much lower than that.
Of course, Kaepernick's attorney might be the one leaking this because they want to set a precedent for future cases. But it really makes me scratch my head because you have to factor in, it's not just Colin Kaepernick, it's Eric Reid who just signed, Brian --
KILMEADE: With Carolina.
MCHENRY: A three-year deal, yes, with the Carolina Panthers for $22 million. He only missed four games this season. And I was told the reason that he wasn't on a team at the start of the season was because, hey, he wasn't as good as he thought he was.
Now, as far as Colin Kaepernick goes, this is just him selling out, getting the money that he wants. It's confidential, so we may never really know and he made $1 million on a book deal advance.
KILMEADE: The Nike ad.
MCHENRY: You know, he's in more headlines. He has gotten more publicity and more attention and I would argue more money by doing this than what he would have been, a backup QB.
KILMEADE: But if he did get $60 million as Michael Freeman is reporting or anything close to that, it shows he was right. Why would the NFL settle this if there wasn't collusion? I think you have to suspend disbelief to think that 32 teams would decide not to hire a quarterback they thought he could help them win.
I can't believe this collusion would happen, but I am left to that conclusion if that money is correct.
MCHENRY: Well, we saw the Commissioner Roger Goodell answer questions at the Super Bowl media week. It was uncomfortable. This is to make it go away. They want this problem to go away and that is essentially what they got.
KILMEADE: Brit McHenry, thank you so much.
MCHENRY Thank you.
KILMEADE: We will continue to watch you on Fox Nation everywhere else. Meanwhile, Tucker is back after the break. This time with the "Final Exam." Can you do better than the great Lauren Blanchard as she goes for her eighth win in a row? Many didn't think it was possible. Now, you can take a wide shot.
KILMEADE: All right, welcome back to “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” Here is Tucker now with this week's edition of the "Final Exam."
CARLSON: A break in the clouds, a respite from the news. It's time for "Final Exam" where we pit news professionals against one other to see who has been paying the closest attention to what is happening in our country this week. Our defending champion, once again is Fox correspondent, Lauren Blanchard.
No fewer than seven opponents have been buried by Blanchard two below the all-time record. Her latest challenge is chief congressional correspondent, Mike Emanuel, who like Lauren Blanchard is beloved in this Bureau here in Washington. I'm not sure if it's a fair matchup or unfair. Breathe through your nose trying to establish calm.
MIKE EMANUEL, CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you. You brought me in to be slaughtered. Thank you very much.
CARLSON: Not at all. I'm sure you will do great. I know you both know the news -- rather the rules, but I am going to repeat them for those just tuning in. Hands on the buzzers. I ask the questions. The first one to buzz gets to answer the question. You have to wait until I finish asking before you answer. You can answer once I acknowledge you by saying your name. Every correct answer is worth a single point. If you get one wrong, you lose a point. Best of five wins. Are you ready?
LAUREN BLANCHARD, CORRESPONDENT: I hope so.
CARLSON: You look so resigned. I think you can do this. Mike Emanuel on - - I think you can. Okay, question one. In a new interview, which 2020 hopeful said that marijuana legalization would be good since it gives, quote, "a lot of people joy"? Lauren Blanchard.
BLANCHARD: It's Kamala Harris.
CARLSON: Kamala Harris. Did Kamala Harris say weed brings joy?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF.: I believe we need to legalize marijuana.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever smoked?
HARRIS: I have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay in college or --
HARRIS: And I inhaled. I did inhale. Listen, I think that it gives a lot of people joy and we need more joy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Yes, it doesn't make the population sad or passive or anything. But you knew the answer.
CARLSON: You're probably not a weed smoker if you knew that.
BLANCHARD: Did you also here what she listens to?
BLANCHARD: She said she listened to Tupac and Snoop Dog, but they hadn't released albums yet.
CARLSON: She's very cool. Well, she had the advanced copies. Clearly, when you're that cool. Question two. This is a multiple choice question, so wait until I finish asking before you answer. At his rally on Monday night, the President said that people often tell him if he wants to improve his image, his political image, there is one thing in particular he should do. What is it? A. Lose the MAGA hat? B. Get a dog? C. Smile more? Lauren Blanchard.
BLANCHARD: It's get a dog. He won't do it, though.
CARLSON: Get a dog. Is it get a dog? He should get a dog.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn? Would that be--
(Cheering and Applause)
TRUMP: It is a little phony -- phony to me. A lot of people say, "Oh, you should get a dog." Why? It's good politically. I said, "Look, that is not the relationship I have with my people."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: Can we just check to make sure my button is working?
CARLSON: Actually, our producer has -- Lauren Blanchard's streak has been so -- I am not going to say controversial, but so unusual.
CARLSON: Not missed a single question that our producer, Justin Wells has come down from New York to supervisor it, and I am not making that up.
EMANUEL: I feel better having him in here.
CARLSON: He is here. He is here. It is unbelievable what she has done. Okay, question three, speaking of dogs, the 143nd Westminster dog show was held this week. A wire fox terrier won best in show. What is his name? Lauren.
BLANCHARD: It's King. And the reason I know that is we have a wire fox terrier, so my mom sent out a text message about it this morning making sure we knew. My pet is --
CARLSON: Mike's jaw is open. Is that -- can that be right? Does she know the name of the dog that won the Westminster dog show? Is it King?
BLANCHARD: He is the king of the show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ultimately the top prize at the Westminster Kennel Clug Dog Show going to the top terrier. appropriately named King, a 3-year- old wire fox terrier.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLANCHARD: My mom literally texted this out at like 7:00 a.m. to everyone in my family.
EMANUEL: Can this be an eject button?
CARLSON: No, all I know is, I think I like dogs as much as anyone on Earth and I did not know the answer to that. So that's impressive. Okay, here is another multiple choice question. On Tuesday, we celebrated the birthday of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. How many years ago was he born? Was it 200? B. 210? C. 220? Mike Emanuel.
EMANUEL: Two twenty.
CARLSON: Was it 220?
EMANUEL: He says with no confidence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the way, today is Abraham Lincoln's birthday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it? Yes, you're right. You're right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was born on this date in 1809.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And by the way, if I could steal Ainsley's line, "Abraham, I'm glad you were born."
CARLSON: That was an impossible question. But game of you to try.
EMANUEL: I am negative one.
CARLSON: No, that's okay. By the way, it's Lauren Blanchard, so this doesn't mean -- we are not going to put this on the record books because it's -- you know, it's foregone. Question five. The final question. Police in Houston, Texas received an unusual call this week from a man they thought was hallucinating. The man called to tell them he had entered abandon home to smoke marijuana and found what kind of wild jungle cat inside the house? Lauren Blanchard.
BLANCHARD: It was a caged tiger.
CARLSON: Come on now.
BLANCHARD: It was.
CARLSON: Was it a tiger?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNEDY, ANCHOR, FOX BUSINESS NEWS: Two Houston men snuck in an abandoned house to smoke some reefer and they wound seeing a tiger inside. Luckily for them, they got out of there before the crouching tiger caught a contact high from their hidden bong and got the munchies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: You even knew it was caged.
BLANCHARD: Yes, well, they had to come in and they found it and it was like deplorable conditions, but thank --
CARLSON: You are amazing. Mike Emanuel, I wouldn't feel bad at all. I would be in exactly your position. I know our audience empathizes with you because they are scratching their heads as well.
EMANUEL: I think a root canal might be more pleasant.
CARLSON: Trust me, you lost to the best.
EMANUEL: Thank you for having me. God bless.
CARLSON: That's it for this week's "Final Exam." Pay attention to the news as carefully as Lauren Blanchard does and we'll see you next Thursday and you could see if you can beat her. We'll be right back.
KILMEADE: Here we go. Jussie Smollett claims he was the victim of a savage hate crime by Trump supporters. The truth appears different perhaps as the police have now arrested two men for the attack, both of them from Nigeria, supposed to be brothers. One at least has appeared on Smollett's TV show "Empire" which appears on Fox.
A lot of comments from three weeks ago now look kind of dumb. The NAACP blamed Trump. Kamala Harris called the attack a modern day lynching. "GQ" ran the headline, "The racist homophobic attack on Jussie Smollett is far right America's end game."
Buck Sexton is the host of "The Buck Sexton Show." He is also a reporter with "The Hill" and has been all over this case, so Buck, we wielded you in here to give us the latest. We know that these two suspects have been questioned for two days.
BUCK SEXTON, HOST, THE BUCK SEXTON SHOW: Yes, they've been questioned for two days. They also know Jussie Smollett, and were on -- at least, one of them was on his show as an extra. So the people that are supposedly or supposed to have been in the only surveillance footage that we have seen of the individuals of suspicion are people that he has a connection to.
Which is now, now, people are starting to think, "All right, is this a case of a hoax where he had help? Or is this perhaps a scuffle that happened that then he created a story in addition to whatever the facts were to make this about the Trump supporters?" Because those don't look like the two individuals before -- racist, MAGA, Trump supporters -- that's not what people would think.
KILMEADE: And he is not backing down. He said, "The reason why I took so long, I wanted to delete some things on my phone because I have personal pictures on there. I don't want to send celebrity phone numbers to strange police officers." He claims they shouted "Empire," that's the name of his show, a gay slur, a racist slur, and quote, "This is MAGA country," and then punched him in the face.
SEXTON: All right, so I haven't thought that this was credible from the start. That doesn't mean that I could prove it's false. I can't say he is a liar. I can just say this doesn't add up.
The Jussie Smollett story has had issues of credibility, I would say, it has gone from improbable to implausible at this point, but that doesn't mean it is entirely impossible.
What we have is a guy here who, first of all, when he talked with these quotes, "MAGA country," he says they claim -- that they yelled out in Chicago. Who is going to yell it is MAGA country in Chicago? It is just a strange thing to say, it doesn't add up.
And as you look at the fact pattern after the initial incident, nothing supports his version of events. Everything looks shadier and shadier, which people in the news business should be saying "Hold on a second, maybe there should be some skepticism."
KILMEADE: They are putting huge resources, the police force is all over the case as if there is no other crime in Chicago. But he says his goal is to let people know and prove that he fought back and get the word "alleged" over "alleged attack." That really bothers him.
These two Nigerians, I didn't know that Trump supporters had a hotbed in Nigeria, but these two Nigerians coming over being Trump supporters seems like an odd mix.
SEXTON: It certainly seems strange for them to yell racial epithets as well. And now, when we look at where all of this is going, people see the way the media has covered this from the start.
KILMEADE: What bothers you about it?
SEXTON: Well, it bothers me because there was an obvious rush to judgment because of the preferred narrative. Because a lot of the major media outlets, not all of them, but about 90% plus across the country see this and they say, "Here is an opportunity to trash Trump supporters." The story fits in perfectly, so they run with it, right? Just as they ran against the Covington kids stories that were defamatory, disgraceful and untrue because they saw a chance to tell people what they want to tell them and not actually be journalists who should be skeptical and search for the facts.
KILMEADE: And here's the danger, this could be race riots. You know, if you go out and this happens, people react emotionally. If it didn't happen and people react emotionally, that is inexcusable, believe me --
SEXTON: The left will not hold him to account on this if it's a hoax in the end because they are going to say, it's a teachable moment, Brian.
KILMEADE: Second great guest without a tie. I am thinking, too, I might change my outfit if this continues.
SEXTON: It's tough to follow Bongino, so I had to get rid of the tie.
KILMEADE: You did. Very effective, Buck. I appreciate it. Buck, thanks. Meanwhile, we're going to end the week on an inspirational note by showing you the man who survived an attack from a mountain lion using only his feet and his bare hands, and it's not Tarzan and it's not Bongino. I will tell you the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRAVIS KAUFFMAN, JOGGER WHO KILLED A MOUNTAIN LION: It started to claw at my face and neck and that is when kind of my fear response turned into more of a fight response.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILMEADE: Wow. Think you are tough, not as tough as that guy. As hiker, Travis Kauffman survived a mountain lion attack with only his bare hands.
Kauffman was hiking in the Colorado Mountains and says he was quote, "pretty bummed out" when he turned around to see a big cat pouncing on him. He was even more bummed out when the animal bit into his hand and put a claw right through his cheek as you see.
No matter though, Kauffman got in a wrestling match with the mountain lion, bashed it a few times with a rock and was finally able to suffocate it.
Colorado officials congratulated Kauffman, but members of PETA were not pleased. Get this, the group released a statement saying, quote, "This is a tragic story all the way around and it had to have been terrifying for both the man and the mountain lion, ending in the death of the animal who called that land home." It's wasn't as uplifting as I thought.
Well, that is it for us tonight. We have 24 seconds left, so I'll say this. Tune in at 8:00 every single night to be part of the show that is the sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness and group think. And also head to Fox Nation. Download the app, I have a series "What Made America Great." Five episodes, you can watch for free with a brand new trial. Fox News app, you can't go wrong. In fact, don't be surprise if you get rid of all of your other apps.
Here's Hannity, first name, Sean. Watch.
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