This is a rush transcript from "Tucker Carlson Tonight," September 24, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Good evening and welcome to "Tucker Carlson Tonight." Holy smokes. There is a lot going on in this country right now. We are going to do our best over the next hour to explain what is happening and what it means. We're learning ourselves in a lot of case, the answer to both of those questions.
So for almost three years, the leadership of the Democratic Party in Congress resisted calls from its politically inflamed base to impeach President Trump. Poll showed little support for impeachment among actual voters. They were skeptical of it. Older members in Congress like Nancy Pelosi, remembered well, what happened the last time the opposition party impeached a sitting President.
Republicans did that you'll remember back in 1998. And in the end, the only winner in that saga was Bill Clinton himself. He was supposedly disgraced. But in fact, if you looked at the numbers, he was politically much stronger than he had been before he was impeached.
Pelosi, and not for no reason, told colleagues, she worried that impeaching Donald Trump might just get him reelected. And so up until just last week, impeachment seemed like a fading prospect. And then suddenly, out of nowhere, it seemed, a little fanfare and almost no explanation, everything seemed to change.
Tonight, just a few hours ago, Pelosi announced that impeachment proceedings are in fact underway, full steam ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I can say with authority, the Trump administration's actions undermine both our national security and our intelligence.
The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable fact of the President's betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.
Therefore, today, I'm announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. I'm directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry. The President must be held accountable. No one is above the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: The people who sold out your country to China are concerned that President Trump betrayed America somehow. As of this moment, Pelosi's party seems to agree, they are behind her mostly. As Congressman John Lewis of Georgia explained, working to remove an elected President just a year before a Democratic election is in fact somehow a defense of democracy, or something like that. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): I believe, I truly believe the time to begin impeachment proceedings against this President has come. To delay or to do otherwise will betray the foundation of our democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Are you confused yet? If so, we don't blame you. If you left town for the week, and you may be wondering what the hell is going on exactly? Impeachment? For years, they told you that Trump was going to be impeached for colluding with Russia, spying for Putin.
Then it turned out he didn't do that. The story evaporated into dust and seemed to blow away. Then just a few days ago, they were grumbling about impeachment again, and they dragged Corey Lewandowski. Remember him? They brought him to Capitol Hill to make their case. That didn't go well at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): And so we ask you, is it correct that as reported in the Mueller report on June 19th, 2017, you met alone in the Oval Office with the President?
COREY LEWANDOWKSI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER:
NADLER: I don't think I need to do that. I have limited time. Did you meet alone with the President on that date?
LEWANDOWSKI: Congressman, I'd like you to refresh my memory by providing a copy of the report so I can follow along.
NADLER: You don't have a copy with you?
LEWANDOWSKI: I don't have a copy of the report, Congressman.
NADLER: You don't have any independent recollection of whether you met with the President on that date.
LEWANDOWSKI: Congressman, I'm just trying to find in the Mueller report where it states that.
NADLER: Well, you have it in front of you. I gave you the page number.
LEWANDOWSKI: We are on Page 90, is it, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, you've got to the clock.
NADLER: No, I don't have to start the clock. He is filibustering.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: It didn't take much for Chairman Nadler to collapse live on C- SPAN, pretty embarrassing. You'd think at some point, Democrats might just decide to run a real presidential campaign in 2020 and beat Donald Trump that way, just like in a democracy. It would have to be more effective than what they're doing now, and the numbers show it.
As of this morning, Donald Trump's approval rating was the highest it has been since the inauguration. But no Democrat don't want to wait until the next election. They want to wait until November. Politics takes too long and it leaves too much to chance, the risk of democracy is, voters might not agree with you.
Hillary Clinton learned that the hard way in 2016, and the one thing Democrats don't want to do is to repeat that. Better remove your opponents by force, if you can. Which brings us to the latest question of impeachment. What exactly is this about?
It's more -- sorry to laugh in the middle of this -- we've spent all day trying to figure out what is the impeachment story. It's about Ukraine.
It's less than a week old. And so you might be forgiven for not understanding why would the President be impeached for a story that the Democrats literally can't explain? What did the President do wrong?
We're going to do our best to tell you the case that they're making. And honestly, as we said, it's confusing and not all that interesting. Within a sentence, here is what they're saying.
They're saying that in a phone call with the President of Ukraine, the President threatened to delay a $400 million military aid package to Ukraine, unless the Ukrainian government agreed to investigate possible criminal activity involving Joe Biden's son. Why Joe Biden's son?
Well for five years, Joe Biden's son, it turns out was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to serve on the Board of a Ukrainian gas company. Why would Joe Biden's son be on the Board of a Ukrainian gas company? He had no experience in the energy business. He didn't speak the relevant language. He had no -- apparently, no experience whatsoever in the region.
It turns out at that very moment, Joe Biden was President Obama's point man for Ukraine. Oh. So at a certain point during this saga, the company in question was investigated. And then in 2016, the Ukrainian prosecutor overseeing that investigation was fired. Apparently, he was fired under pressure from then Vice President Joe Biden.
Now to the layman, that looks a lot like corruption. What does it have to do with the President being impeached? Well, the accusation is that President Trump suggested that that squelched investigation deserved a second look. And Democrats say that suggestion was an impeachable offense.
Are you following this? Of course, there are plenty of other reasons that the U.S. might not want to send $400 million to Ukraine. It's a notoriously corrupt country for one thing, what do we get out of it for another and by the way, sending military aid to Ukraine may please the neocons in CNN, Bill Kristol was strongly for it, but it also greatly increases the chances of conflict with Russia. And of course, that would mean nuclear conflict potentially. What's the point of that exactly?
Nobody has bothered to explain why sending $400 million in military aid to Ukraine is in the interest of the United States. They haven't even thought to explain that. They're too busy yelling about impeachment. And they're doing it with all the hysterical intensity that has become the hallmark of the modern left. They have a lot of energy. Too bad, none of it is focused on the country's real problems, and there are a lot of them. We don't want to go through the same litany again, but we will hit on just a couple because they're worth mentioning.
Our national debt is exploding. And that includes credit card debt, by the way, personal debt at its highest ever measured. We have a war in Afghanistan that we can't seem to win or end. Our towns outside the big cities are being decimated and desiccated by opioids and suicide. If you haven't been there, drive through and take a look yourself.
We have basically an open border with Mexico. Tech companies trying to control our freedom of speech.
In many ways, our country is on the wrong track, and people know it.
Everybody knows it, Democrats and Republicans. But instead of trying to fix any of that, Democrats want to spend the next year explaining -- and they plan to -- explaining why it was perfectly fair for Joe Biden's nerduell son to get 600 grand a year from Ukrainian oligarchs, that's totally fine. But it's somehow criminal for Donald Trump to ask about that. That's the message.
Good luck with that. Hard to imagine many voters will be impressed by it.
Sean Davis co-founded "The Federalist." He has been following this story closely from the start, and he joins us.
So Sean, am I overstating that? Again, we spent all day -- we're in this business. Our job is to follow the news, and I talked to my producers this morning. Do you understand the story? Not one of them fully did? I didn't either. We really spent all day trying to really understand what the Democrats are alleging here. And we've come to the conclusion that they're saying it was okay for Biden's son to take this money, basically, obviously, it is a payoff. But it was a criminal act for the President to bring it up? Is that is that the case they're making?
SEAN DAVIS, CO-FOUNDER, THE FEDERALIST: That's apparently the case they're making. It's interesting. There's a bit of a pattern with these accusations against the President. If we go back to the Russia hoax, the Russian collusion inquiry, they started by accusing him of illegally and treasonously colluding with Russia to steal the election from Hillary Clinton, when in fact, that's what the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC were doing.
They hired a foreign spy. They were working with Russian officials. They were the ones working with foreign governments, and they're doing the same thing with Ukraine. They have accused Trump of doing exactly what they did. We have Biden on camera bragging about how he bullied and bribed the Ukrainian government to fire the prosecutor that was investigating his son's company.
So I guess, the crime here -- or if you really look at it, is that he beat Hillary Clinton. That's the crime for which he will never be forgiven, in which they won't pardon him.
CARLSON: Boy, they've never gotten over that, have they? So I mean, I'm assuming and I should say to our viewers, we are assuming that what they're alleging is true. And of course, we don't know that. But we're kind of presenting the worst case scenario. Let's say Trump did do what he is accused of doing. I'm still confused by why we should be outraged by that, much less why we should impeach the President over it. But do we know that that happened? And how do we know?
DAVIS: No, we don't actually know. And, in fact, this whole new impeachment hysteria and brouhaha has been cooked up by a whistleblower over a phone call he didn't hear and a transcript he has not read and documents Congress hasn't seen.
Again, it's Russia all over again. It's these amorphous accusations, innuendo and rumor, when in fact, there's no actual evidence anywhere of any wrongdoing. It is all innuendo. It is all rumors. It is all gossip from people who have been trying to overturn the results of the election since the day Trump was elected.
CARLSON: So there's actually, no -- I mean, I'm assuming what you're saying is right. There's no evidence at all, as of right now that this actually happened, that Trump actually said the things that Nancy Pelosi has announced, Democrats are going to impeach him over.
DAVIS: Correct. This whistleblower was not even a party to this alleged phone call. This whistleblower, according to I believe, "The Wall Street Journal" and CNN has never even seen the transcript. And my knowledge is in Congress, I don't think they've seen the whistleblower report.
It is purely being based on media whipped up hysteria and frenzy over evidence that nobody in the media or most of people Congress have ever even seen.
CARLSON: Okay, so that -- I mean, even allowing for the hysteria of the moment, which really is the hallmark of this moment, and everything is a hysterical eruption. This seems pretty reckless.
If we see in the transcript tomorrow that they're wrong, they're going to be embarrassed. They must believe that impeachment -- announcing impeachment gives them some kind of political advantage, I guess?
DAVIS: They must. You know, it was a weird bit of Kabuki Theater from Pelosi today where she attempted to get everyone spun up about impeachment, while not actually promising to do the one thing you have to do to implement a formal impeachment query, which is force people to vote on the House floor.
And so she is caught in this debacle here where she is trying to placate her left wing deranged, delusional base, and trying to convince them that she hates the President as much as they do, while at the same time trying to protect her own members who are in vulnerable swing districts who barely won their elections from having to take a vote, which she knows about will destroy their political careers.
I mean, I really don't understand what the Democrats and what Pelosi are up to unless the only way to explain it is that Trump has completely broken their brains and they really don't know what to do with him, other than try and throw him out by hook or crook.
CARLSON: I think that's right, and I know that there are some Democrats who are worried because we just got a call from one who wants to come on the show, hopefully, who will come on soon, maybe tonight.
But not all of them think this is a wise idea at all. Something weird is going on as you point out. Sean, great to see you tonight. Thank you.
DAVIS: Thank you.
CARLSON: So the impeachment push looks to be about the 2020 election. So obviously Democratic candidates are weighing in. Beto O'Rourke wants it to be clear that if you don't back impeachment, you are immoral, and the citizens of the future will pull down any statues of you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And to those who are holding out, I just want them to know that the history will judge all of us. And I welcome them in to the right side of justice in history, and hope that their conscience will compel them to stand up for impeachment and to stand up for this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Well, that could get off the stage. It's too -- I can't play another sound bite from that mediocrity. Lisa Boothe, a Senior Fellow at Independent Women's Voice, she joins us tonight. Lisa, thank you for coming.
LISA BOOTHE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, and I'm sure every Democrat turns to Beto O'Rourke for you know, where they should go next with things. So - -
CARLSON: It's that guy, and by the way, I just want to issue a mea culpa here. We are part of the problem. It's irresistible to -- you know, to play sound bites of Beto O'Rourke, but I mean, he is, I think a nonfactor I would say in American life at this stage.
So what is the political calculation if you're running for President right now and you see your colleagues in the House doing this?
BOOTHE: Well, first, I will say to reiterate what Sean Davis said.
There's been momentum and the shift for impeachment, but there is no formal inquiry. There has been no vote. There has been no announcement for a vote.
If you look at the House rules, no committee actually has jurisdiction over impeachment. That's why with Nixon and Clinton, the House voted to one, open an investigation, and then also to give jurisdiction to the House Judiciary Committee, but putting that aside and looking at the 2020 Democrats, you know, look the base wants this, right?
This is what the Democratic base wants. You look at Quinnipiac polling 61 percent of Democrats support it. This is why you've seen people like Beto O'Rourke come out and support. But he is not alone in this.
I want to show you what Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted out today, if we can put that up for the viewers at home. She says this, "No one is above the law - not even the President of the United States. Congress has the constitutional authority and responsibility to hold the President accountable. This is not about politics. This is about principle. We must begin impeachment proceedings."
She then went on to tweet this, which I also found interesting. She says that, "Now the impeachment inquiry must move forward with the efficiency and seriousness this crisis demands. That House needs to vote and Articles of Impeachment. And when it comes to the Senate, I will do what the Constitution requires."
So essentially saying there that if it came to it and got to the Senate, she would be a yes vote. She is not alone in this either. Here's what Senator Sanders had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives must investigate as part of an impeachment inquiry.
We have people, including Republicans, who are sick and tired of a President who believes that he does not have to obey the Constitution of the United States and that he is above the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOOTHE: So now, this is where the majority of the Democratic 2020 candidates have been on this. However, Representative Tulsi Gabbard went on "Fox and Friends" this morning, saying that look, if we move forward with impeachment, it is incredibly divisive. This is bad for the country.
Listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TULSI GABBARD, (D-HI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've been consistent in saying that I believe that impeachment at this juncture would be terribly divisive for the country at a time when we are already extremely divided.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOOTHE: So -- and Joe Biden also gave a press conference today. He was a little bit more tepid with it, and he laid out some preconditions. You know, if President Trump continues to stonewall, then this is what Congress must do. But it also could be the fact that he is implicated in this as well and it's not such great news for him either. So --
CARLSON: It's not great news. In fact, it does seem like maybe his colleagues are selling amount. I think most Democrats have decided Joe Biden is not going to be the nominee. He's not up -- he is not up for it.
BOOTHE: Well, especially --
CARLSON: But I mean, this story really puts his family under the microscope.
BOOTHE: Well, absolutely. And especially now that we see Elizabeth Warren, at least in the new, the most latest Des Moines Register poll, now, she is the front runner in Iowa, so she clearly has some momentum right now.
So if you're Joe Biden, you've got to be nervous. The fact that you're out here on this and so is your son.
CARLSON: I mean, they are the center of the story. There's no way around that, whether or not CNN admits it. It's true. Lisa Boothe, great to see you tonight. Thank you.
BOOTHE: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Joe Biden himself, as we just said, is at the very center of this story. In 2016, he told Ukraine to fire the prosecutor overseeing an investigation involving his son's company. Now Biden says the whole matter is worth impeaching the President over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The President should stop stonewalling this investigation and all the other investigations into his alleged wrongdoing, using his full constitutional authority. Congress, in my view, should demand the information it has a legal right to receive.
The Congress does not -- the President does not comply with such a request from the Congress. He continues to obstruct Congress and flaunt the law.
Donald Trump will leave Congress in my view, no choice but to initiate impeachment. That would be a tragedy, but a tragedy of his own making.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Bryan Dean Wright is a Democrat, a former C.I.A. officer and he joins us tonight. Bryan, thanks so much for coming on. So is this a wise idea, do you think, this apparent beginning of impeachment?
BRYAN DEAN WRIGHT, FORMER C.I.A. OFFICER: Yes, no. No, it's not Tucker.
The whole thing is a disaster. Pelosi launched the Titanic tonight into a gigantic iceberg in November of 2020.
We had up until now, yesterday, really, the last couple of weeks, it was all Russia. This morning, as of later that this morning, it was Ukraine.
This afternoon, Pelosi says, you know what, actually, now that I know that Trump is releasing the transcripts of the phone call, it's not so much about Ukraine. It's about other things to be identified.
So really, it comes down to, we don't like Trump and so we're going to move forward with an impeachment because that's what our base wants, and that is absurd. That is not how it's supposed to work at all in our Republic.
Those are called elections.
The Democratic Party other than folks like Tulsi Gabbard understand this, but unfortunately, this party is led by people like Chuck and Nancy and progressives and the squad that are driving this party off of the cliff.
CARLSON: So how much do you think of this as being driven by Ocasio-Cortez and the rest? The freshman?
WRIGHT: A hundred percent. Absolutely, a hundred percent of it. Look, you have to understand that the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is in control of the party. It's in control of the media, all the talking heads. So folks that I know, my friends who are Democrats, they repeat the same stuff. They're not even thinking critically or for themselves.
So we're not stopping to ask the question of like, hey, you know what? Is there something about this Biden and Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz, who worked with him in the Ukraine for this corrupt, you know, oligarch- based Ukrainian gas company? Is there something to it? Is there something to the fact that Biden put in some phone calls? I mean, should we be investigating this?
"The New York Times" ran an article last May that highlighted this concern for Biden and his campaign, raising the alarm flags, so it's not Trump.
Trump isn't inventing the story. It has been out there for a long time.
So now that we're hooking our party's future on this for the next year, it is a disaster. And it's a disaster for multiple reasons. One of which that I am concerned about as a former intelligence officer, is Putin knows the truth.
The SVR, the Russian intelligence service has Kiev wired. And so they know what Hunter Biden and all of his buddies over there to include an organization called Blue Star, which was an oppo research company based out of and operating in Ukraine, staffed by Obama and Clinton folks who knew that area. He has got all of that compromised. He's got all that stuff and he will make up stuff that isn't true.
So now we are inviting another Steele dossier, but on steroids. We're going to put this country through hell again, for absolutely no discernible reason. Here we go again.
CARLSON: Remarkable. Bryan, great to see you tonight. Thank you.
WRIGHT: You bet.
CARLSON: A lot of unexpected news out of Washington today, as we have said since the top of the hour. Once again, Washington insiders pushing for impeachment based on murky evidence from anonymous individuals. We will investigate the similarities between the Russia collusion hoax and what just happened today. Next.
CARLSON: Well, given the democrats apparent confidence in their ability to impeach the President, as expressed, you might be surprised to learn that the latest allegations traced back to a single anonymous source.
Apparently, a whistleblower whose claims are not even public yet.
You might also be surprised to learn that tomorrow the White House is planning to voluntarily release a transcript of the phone call between the President and the President of Ukraine. That's at the very center of this.
That would be interesting. Fox Chief Intelligence Correspondent, Catherine Herridge has more on that. Hey, Catherine.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Tucker, a source familiar with discussions tell Fox News that Department of Justice lawyers, as well as White House lawyers have been advising the administration to release the transcripts of President Trump's July phone call with the Ukrainian President since last week.
And on Twitter today, the President said he wants transparency that he has, quote, " ... authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine. You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure, and unlike Joe Biden and his son, no quid pro quo."
Also tonight, a government spokeswoman confirming that the nation's intelligence chief, the acting Director of National Intelligence, Joe Maguire, will publicly testify before the House Intelligence Committee, Thursday.
And within the last hour, Maguire issuing this statement standing by his actions. "I want to make clear that I have upheld my responsibility to follow the law every step of the way." He wrote, "As public servants, the men and women of the Intelligence Community have a solemn responsibility to do what is right, which includes reporting wrongdoing. I am committed to protecting whistleblowers and ensuring every complaint is handled appropriately."
The top lawyer for Maguire, the General Counsel for the Intelligence Community found the complaint about the President's call was not standard.
It did not meet the statutory definition of urgent and congressional notification was not required. This undercuts the Democrats' claims today that there is a legal requirement to share.
A former White House official tells Fox News that transcripts of all presidential calls are handled by the Situation Room between four and five intelligence officials, type as the conversation unfolds. Their individual transcripts are then cross referenced so the copy is complete. We were also told that there is no audio recording -- Tucker.
CARLSON: Catherine Herridge, thanks so much for that.
HERRIDGE: You're welcome.
CARLSON: Joe DiGenova is a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, a Federal prosecutor and he joins us tonight. Joe, thanks so much for coming on.
JOE DIGENOVA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: You bet.
CARLSON: So it's hard with a story this political to get to the basic legal questions here. So to what the President did or said he did in this conversation with the head of state of Ukraine. Now, I heard to the effect on our air, I heard Judge Andrew Napolitano say that what the President has admitted to doing is a crime. Quote, "it is a crime." Is it a crime?
You're a former Federal prosecutor?
DIGENOVA: Well, I think Judge Napolitano is a fool. And I think what he said today is foolish. No, it is not a crime. Let me underscore emphatically that nothing that the President said on that call or what we think he said on that call constitutes a crime. And even if he had said, you're not going to get the money, it would not be a crime.
I was watching Nancy Pelosi today, as she struggled to keep her dentures in her mouth, giving this statement, to all call this an official impeachment inquiry, it is not.
The only way you can have an official impeachment inquiry is by a resolution being passed on the floor of the House, calling for an impeachment inquiry and authorizing an investigation. That has not occurred. What she did today was a head fake to placate the nuts on her left.
CARLSON: I've got to say, and I try to take all accusation seriously, because you know, you don't know what is going to turn out to be true in the end.
CARLSON: Of all the things alleged against the President, and some of which are very serious, I mean, spying for Putin at one point was the claim.
CARLSON: This claim -- I'm trying to be as objective as I can be. This claim doesn't seem very serious to me, even if wholly true. So why would they choose this to impeach over?
DIGENOVA: I think they're scrambling, Tucker, at this point. If you go back and look what President Obama did, interfering in elections, the threats that he made to individuals and things like that. This is all acceptable political behavior by Presidents.
They are scrambling for a theme and a narrative. They've gone everywhere from Russian hoax to Russian collusion and now, they've come to this. And you may know today, they said they wanted this see the transcript. And when it was announced that the transcript was going to be put out tomorrow, they said, that really doesn't matter.
We want to know about the complaint from the so-called whistleblower who, by the way, doesn't know anything about the call. He is completely -- he or she is completely anonymous; and at this point, serves no useful purpose other than to help them scream and yell.
CARLSON: So they want to -- I mean, everything you've said sounds absolutely right. They just want to impeach. They are looking for a pretext. This popped up, they jumped on it.
DIGENOVA: This is all pre-textual.
CARLSON: So why -- yes, it does seem that way. But why? I mean, it's a political matter. I've never seen any polling that shows the majority of the public wants an impeachment much less a year before an election. Why would they want to do this?
DIGENOVA: This is about power. The Democrats want to control the House, the Senate and the Presidency. They think they should have won the 2016 election. They think in their bizarre brains that they did, because she got more popular votes. They don't like the Electoral College. They don't like due process. They don't like a lot of things in our Constitution, which is why they always want to change it.
This is lunacy. You are watching a great political party, historically, the Democratic Party devolve into a bunch of screw balls, because they want all the power. That speech today by Pelosi was an embarrassment for a Speaker of the House because it was mostly lies, and mostly made up.
CARLSON: Interesting. Joe DiGenova, nice to see you tonight. Thanks so much for coming on.
DIGENOVA: Great to see you.
CARLSON: Well, for more legal reaction to what has happened today, we'd like to welcome Jenna Ellis. She's a constitutional law attorney and serves on the Advisory Board of the Trump 2020 Campaign. Jenna Ellis joins us tonight. Jenna, thanks so much for coming on.
JENNA ELLIS, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ATTORNEY: Thanks. Great to see you, Tucker.
CARLSON: So if you could, I'm going to ask you a species of the same question I just asked Joe DiGenova because this is all so new, even to those of us, as I noted earlier, who follow stuff for a living. This story is kind of coming into focus for a lot of us. What exactly are they claiming? What is the crime that they're saying the President committed?
ELLIS: Right. Well, they don't have one, and that's really the problem, because this is a rush to judgment from the Democrats that I think is going to end up being their undoing.
And so for the last, even since 2015, they have been looking for a smoking gun to try to undermine President Trump. They couldn't do it before the election, they have not been able to do it with the Mueller report, and now basically, Nancy Pelosi is trying to forum shop some kind of a political tactic and try to say, we now know that we have credible evidence when no one from Congress, including Speaker Pelosi has even seen the transcript of the call with the Ukrainian President.
So clearly, they have no legal basis here. This is simply a political tactic. And Tucker, what the American people -- I don't care if you're Democrat, Republican, independent, or not even a citizen of this country -- what everyone needs to understand about the United States Constitution is that it does not allow for political-based impeachment.
There are specific textual language of Article 2 that says that a President can only be impeached for credible evidence and the term is high crimes and misdemeanors. That goes to treason, bribery. It is not just because we hate the President of the United States.
This should not be political, but clearly because they came up before they've even seen a shred of evidence. This is just a political tactic that should not ever be allowed, regardless of whether there's a D or an R after your name.
CARLSON: Right. I mean, of course, there's a political element to it, because it's a process that plays out in the Congress, which is a person- elected body.
ELLIS: But it shouldn't be. But it shouldn't be. That's a separation of powers issue that hopefully, if everyone is looking at the United States government correctly, and they're saying, okay, we're going to look at what the evidence actually shows. That's why there's also a separation of powers that the House has to impeach. The Senate has to try. The Chief Justice of United States Supreme Court has to preside. They shouldn't be politically partisan, but of course, it's become that way.
CARLSON: Yes, well, that's for sure, everything has. But if you could sum up -- just because I think it's helpful for -- like they do in high school debate, take the other side for a second, what is your opponent saying?
If you could sum up their case in one sentence? What is it exactly? I mean, I've been brooding this all day.
ELLIS: They hate President Trump. That's really their only case is that we hate President Trump. I mean, that's literally all that they have.
CARLSON: They've been making that case for quite some time.
ELLIS: Right. And so this is just a shotgun tactic that we use in, you know, legal speak, to say they're throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks. And Nancy Pelosi is saying, you know, we have evidence of something, but she can't clearly articulate it.
And no one, no attorney would ever go into court and would ever file any sort of charges or anything if they know they can't even reach the threshold of probable cause. That's a really low legal standard.
And here to say, we're going to impeach the President of the United States based on something we can't even articulate, that is just a dirty political tactic. And this should not be anything that the Democrats want to go in front of. And if anyone is paying attention, then they should not vote for this party in 2020 simply because they hate the rule of law. They're only interested in power for their own purposes. That is not how America works.
CARLSON: Well, I got that. I'm just thinking, like, if I'm the President and I'm talking to the head of Ukraine, and he is saying, you know, I'd like $400 million military aid, and the first answer is no, you know, get it from the E.U. if you want it. Why would we pay you that?
And second, by the way, why did you shut down the investigation into the company that was paying all this money to the Vice President's son? Like, I think I would ask that, why wouldn't you? But whatever, I guess I'd be impeached.
ELLIS: But no. You know what? You can have multiple subjects of discussion in a single conversation. I think as adults, we do that all the time. And probably, you know, President Trump with a head of state, he probably hasn't talked to him every day and so there are probably a few things on the agenda, you know?
CARLSON: Well, it sounds he definitely does.
ELLIS: I mean --
CARLSON: He definitely does, I will say that. Jenna, great to see you tonight. Thank you.
ELLIS: Yes, good to see you, too, Tucker. Thanks.
CARLSON: Well, the press has pushed impeachment from day one. Boy, do they hate Trump, but they're also addicted to Trump. What are they going to do when Trump is gone? Can you imagine? A lot of lonely reporters when he finally leaves the state.
Anyway, we'll tell you what they've been saying today as our coverage of the insanity of the day continues, next.
CARLSON: Welcome back. So apparently we're on the road to impeachment.
Boy, did that happen fast with almost no warning. We've seen very few reactions from dissident Democrats, but not all of them are on board.
We're going to be hearing more from some, no doubt, in days to come.
But as of today, one of the very few who seems definitely not on board is Tulsi Gasbbard of Hawaii, who is also by the way running for President.
Just today, Gabbard told Fox's Brian Kilmeade that moving forward on impeachment would be, quote, "terribly divisive" for the country. Robert Patillo is an attorney and a Democrat and he joins us tonight. Robert, thanks so much for coming on.
ROBERT PATILLO, ATTORNEY: Thanks for having me, Tucker.
CARLSON: So what's your assessment of this?
PATILLO: Well, I think impeachment is incredibly divisive. It is not a political winner for the Democratic Party. What we have to understand is that every time we've seen impeachment, the party that launches the inquiry loses in the upcoming election.
We need to find other ways to investigate these very serious accusations against the President. But right now, a full third of House Democrats are against the idea of impeachment. There aren't enough votes in the House to pass impeachment as it stands right now. There definitely aren't enough votes in the Senate to remove the President.
And so this is kind of a quick sonic journey that's being driven by the far left of the party. We have to get back to really the kitchen table issues that Democrats care about in order to try to win in 2020. The best way to beat the President is to beat the President.
CARLSON: Well, exactly. I mean, like as in a democracy, and it's not as if there aren't enough problems with the country that you couldn't cobble together a presidential campaign based on solving them. I mean, there's so many things you could run.
So everything you said is true, I think but -- and this is not an attack on you, but it's also kind of obvious. Everything you said is obvious. So why are they doing this when it is so completely bad?
PATILLO: I think President Trump has baited Nancy Pelosi into this. The calls for impeachment have been growing. From the day that President Trump got elected, there were calls to impeach him. But what we saw with Pelosi resisting this, what he did now with the call to Ukraine is, create a justification for, create a bell cow to lead the way forward.
And what Nancy Pelosi did was not launch a call for impeachment, but call for an Impeachment Inquiry, which she didn't quite explain what that is.
So that means we're going to have hearings, testimony, present evidence, find other ways to gain information. That thing is -- that is Nancy Pelosi's way of splitting the baby in half so that she can satisfy the people who are calling for impeachment, but also not launching all-out assault on the presidency.
CARLSON: It's still a dismembered baby, though. I mean, sorry. To continue the metaphor, I mean, that in the end is going to be embarrassing, right? I mean, you announced impeachment, but then you don't impeach because your members aren't in favor of it. I mean, it's hard to see how Pelosi wins. It's hard to see how anybody, but Donald Trump wins in this.
PATILLO: Well, it is going to important to find out what exactly comes out during this inquiry period. Remember, President Trump could have released the transcript last week, he could have released the whistleblower complaint. He could have released the IG report a week ago and avoided all of this. So what we have to understand is --
CARLSON: Let me just correct you. I don't actually know if he could have released the whistleblower complaints. There's some debate about whether that's legal or not. The transcript is coming out tomorrow, but okay, he is --
PATILLO: The President has the plenary power to declassify information, so he could came out instead of saying, I had a perfect call with the President of Ukraine, and actually detailed what happened. Explain to the American people why this wasn't an issue and not let it build up for a week before doing so. So the President has some culpability in this to go forward.
CARLSON: Wait, so you're saying that Trump baited them. I guess, well, you said that at the outset, but you meant it literally that Trump wanted to be impeached. Is that what you're saying?
PATILLO: I think Trump wants this inquiry to go forward.
CARLSON: This is 3D chess.
PATILLO: I think that he had been trying to get the far left riled up. I think this is exactly -- he plays into the news cycle. He has played the news cycle like no politician before, and I think we fallen into his trap with this.
And now he has basically picked his opponent for 2020. I mean, you see Beto O'Rourke talking about this. I mean, you see the crazy lady who sells crystals talking about this. You realize that different in stature between Joe Biden and the rest of these people running. He has made this basically three-person race and made the rest of the entire field irrelevant, besides Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren.
So President Trump knows exactly how he is playing the Democratic Party. I think it's important for us to understand that and not fall into his trap again.
CARLSON: He is the Puppet Master, it sounds like. Robert Patillo, it's great to see it at night. I don't know if I believe any of your theories, but they're really interesting. So --
PATILLO: I am always right, Tucker, you know that.
CARLSON: Thank you. Good to see you.
CARLSON: Well, the media didn't need today's news to start pushing for impeachment. They've been pushing for that for about three years now for just about any reason at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: If President means anything in the Trump era, Donald Trump will be, must be impeached because of the crimes prosecutors say he committed in the Michael Cohen case.
ROBBY MOOK, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: Both parties need to get on board to pass Articles of Impeachment.
EDDIE S. GLAUDE JR., UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: You have conspiracy, you have obstruction, you have campaign finance and you have emoluments.
If the democrats do not pursue this vigorously, they will be in some ways held accountable for advocating their responsibility. It goes to the moral question, the ethical question. Democracy is at stake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: I'm not a shrink, but you can't watch tape like that and look me in the face say your average progressive activist is a happy person.
Well, MSNBC and CNN have reason though, to get on board. They have been in deep trouble in the last couple of months after the Mueller report came out and turned out that the whole two last years have been an elaborate fraud.
It looked like the impeachment story might be over and the ratings might be in a permanent slump. But with this week's news, they immediately roared back into action. From Congressman David Jolly, who went on MSNBC to explain that delaying aid too far off nations you couldn't find on a map is exactly the kind of tyrannical behavior the Founding Fathers staged a revolution to suppress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAVID JOLLY (I-FL): When the framers wrote the language around impeachment, they specifically wanted to reach abuse of power when there was not an underlying crime.
This is the presidency that the authors and architects of the impeachment language feared. This was the presidency they were worried about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: I don't know if he is being serious or not. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. He is kidding. Chris Plante hosts "The Chris Plante Show," probably the most incisive media critic we know, and we are always grateful to have him on the show. So that was so stupid. I'm speechless.
So the press has wanted impeachment really since the day this guy got elected. But if Trump were impeached, and hauled off in manacles or whatever and sent back to Palm Beach, they'd be the most disappointed people in America because like, what would they do, right?
CHRIS PLANTE, HOST, "THE CHRIS PLANTE SHOW": The behavior is pathological at this point. It is manic. It's really nutty. I'm concerned for the wellbeing of a number of these people. You had the Lawrence O'Donnell, Robby Mook, Eddie Glaude, Jr. thing. They're behaving as though they are lawyers.
They are really just grabbing snippets from "The New York Times" and parroting what they read this morning and faithfully and dutifully carrying out the mission of the Democratic Party, which is unfortunately the role of the vast majority of the news media in America.
They work hand in glove with the Democratic Party. They are in fact the functional wing of the Democratic Party, the news media; much more functional than Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer on Capitol Hill. And they of course, raised no questions, whatsoever.
They have absolved the Biden family, past, present and future of any wrongdoing, possible wrongdoing or theoretical wrongdoing. They are in the clear, it doesn't matter. We've got Joe Biden on tape, expressing what is clearly a quid pro quo involving a prosecutor he is demanding to be fired or we're going to withhold aid.
The prosecutor coincidentally is of course investigating a company that's paying his son a great deal of money. The news media has no interest in this, whatsoever.
Imagine if President Trump was on the phone demanding that they lay off of his son in Ukraine and fire the prosecutor that's investigating his son. I think the news media might be on to a story there that that could be an important story.
We're no longer in the realm of Articles of Impeachment involving high crimes and misdemeanors. Now, it's an ever evolving news story that started out in "The New York Times" as a call with the President of Ukraine and there was a promise made. What happened to that promise? That's no longer the story.
Then the Democrats wanted just the transcript or a recording. As soon as the President announced that they're going to give them the unredacted transcript, Chuck Schumer moved the goalposts there. In fact, Pelosi and Schumer running all over the field like cartoon characters with the goalpost and nobody knows what the threshold is anymore. And in reality, we know that it's just anything -- anything will do.
And the news media, unscrupulously fails to ask all of the obvious and salient questions that if you are just a curious high school newspaper reporter, you might start asking, but amazingly, the entire institution of the fourth estate in America, the American news media, continues to fall down on the job.
I'm beginning to suspect that this is not just, you know, a coincidence at this point. It's remarkable. You know, all the questions that you would ask and then you could ask about the dichotomies between what Joe Biden did, but they don't ask that.
You can ask -- they say -- I was reading a story today, it was a Bloomberg story saying that he was requesting help from a foreign government to tar or smear his opponent. Now, that's what the dossier is. Did anybody miss this in the last two years? The whole dossier is for to --
CARLSON: That's literally what it is.
PLANTE: By the way, to smear the President. And then it was repackaged as a dossier. It was just opposition research from Russian intelligence to smear --
CARLSON: Whatever they're accusing you of doing is exactly what they're doing themselves.
PLANTE: That's precisely right.
CARLSON: Chris Plante. Great to see you.
PLANTE: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: Boy, has it been a weird day of news. Still not exactly sure what's going on, and that's why we are so grateful to have Brit Hume after the break.
CARLSON: We are continuing our coverage tonight of the new impeachment push from the House Democrats announced a few hours ago. Of course, we say new because impeachment is all of a sudden looking like a possibility. But there's nothing new about talk of impeachment. It's been going on since the day this President was elected. What does this mean exactly? There's no one better to answer that question than Brit Hume, the Senior Political Analyst on Fox News Channel. So Brit, we've been asking all night, I still don't know the answer. Why are Democrats doing this? It doesn't seem politically wise.
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it strikes me, Tucker, that the Speaker and the other leaders are under pressure from the left wing of the party and the leftist in their caucus who are numerous to move ahead here.
The loathing of Donald Trump and the desire to get him out of office is very intense. They've got constituents back home that want to see action taken against Trump in a serious way, and so it comes down to this.
What's striking to me about this, Tucker is that Trump has already agreed to release the full unredacted, uncensored transcript of his phone conversation upon which this whole thing is supposedly based. And as of tonight, he is also apparently prepared to release the whistleblower complaint they cooked they're saying they must have.
Now I ask you this, do you think Donald Trump would go forth and release two documents that were highly incriminating? I have my doubts.
CARLSON: Me too. So that -- of course, and to do so quickly, which makes this whole thing seem even more idiotic. But I don't think Nancy Pelosi is idiotic, I think she is good at politics that's why she is the Speaker of the House. So what is she thinking, do you think?
HUME: Well, I think she is thinking that she needs to be responsive to the needs of her caucus. Look at what she did today. It was really quite clever if you think about it. Did she have a vote in the House to conduct an Impeachment Inquiry? No, she did not. She simply announced one.
Well, how is that substantively different from what her Committee Chairman -- Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler did just a week or 10 days ago. He announced that they're going forward with an Impeachment Inquiry. So as a matter of sort of law and constitutional activity, the question tonight is has anything really changed? Is this really an action or is this merely a gesture?
My sense about it is that it's merely a gesture, and she continues to protect vulnerable members of her caucus from having to vote to go forward on an impeachment. They just -- she just announced it.
Now, they may have to defend that, but they can go home and say I didn't vote for this so far. Now, who knows where it will lead. But you know, I think we both, Tucker, you and I both have a hunch tonight that if the President is willing to put all this stuff out, it may not lead much of anywhere.
And of course, at that point, the question becomes who has egg on their face? I think we might be able to surmise something about that as well.
Some of our colleagues in the media may be looking at themselves a little funny.
CARLSON: Yes, I think they're beyond that.
HUME: That's too much, Tucker.
CARLSON: So in the 22 seconds --
HUME: That's too much to hope for.
CARLSON: It's way too much I think, so I mean, it's never been an especially self-aware business, but we've become less self-aware than ever, I would say. So in 15 seconds, is that enough for AOC and the squad, do you think?
HUME: Oh, I don't think anything is enough for AOC and the squad who are largely incoherent when you're talking about actions and policies. So there you are, I just -- you know, she is never going to be able to placate those people.
But she will be able to satisfy, for now, at least a large portion of her caucus, and she will continue to be able to protect her vulnerable freshmen members and other members from having to take a hard vote on this.
CARLSON: Boy, that's a tightrope. I'm glad I'm not her for many reasons.
Brit Hume, thank you for that analysis. You're very smart, as always.
HUME: You bet, Tucker.
CARLSON: Great to see you.
HUME: You too.
CARLSON: That's it for us. Boy, did that our pass quickly. It's what it's like when things are really crazy. We'll be back tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m. The show that is the sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness and groupthink. Hopefully with great cheer and not bitterness. Sean Hannity speaking in cheers in New York tonight.
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