Piers Morgan: Jussie Smollett is not mentally ill, he's greedy and craved attention

This is a rush transcript from "Tucker Carlson Tonight," February 21, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Well, good evening, welcome to "Tucker Carlson Tonight." The saga of Jussie Smollett entered a pretty intense new phase today. A tale of victimhood is now a tale of unimaginable hubris. Smollett stands charged with a felony for plotting his own assault from the very beginning.

Tonight, we will investigate how this happened and why it happened. We will take a close look at Smollett's defenders who dismissed doubts about this story, doubts that any reasonable person would have had from day one as conspiracy theories. Piers Morgan will join us, too.

But first, a rundown of everything that's happened today in Chicago, and for that, we are joined by Fox News, Trace Gallagher -- Trace?

TRACE GALLAGHER, CORRESPONDENT: And Tucker, the media presence was immense for the Jussie Smollett bond hearing. But in the end, the courtroom drama could not hold a candle to what happened outside. In fact, while Smollett was settling up his $100,000.00 bond, a prosecutor from the Cook County State Attorney's Office spent 20-plus minutes detailing the entire case including statements from the brothers who claimed Smollett staged the whole thing. Watch.


RISA LANIER, COOK COUNTY ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Smollett stated that he wanted them to appear to attack him on the evening of January 28th, 2019, near his apartment building in Streeterville. Defendant Smollett also stated he wanted the brothers to catch his attention by calling him an "Empire F, Empire N."


GALLAGHER: Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson who was deferential to Smollett's initial claim also lashed out today saying he was offended by the actor's actions. Watch.


EDDIE JOHNSON, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: How can an individual who has been embraced by the City of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?


GALLAGHER: And as "Chicago Tribune" columnist, John Kass points out, Chicago Police solve about 17% of the city's thousands of homicides, yet even with the Department's thin resources, two dozen investigators were assigned to the Smollett case and today, Superintendent Johnson cited that. Watch.


JOHNSON: As I look out into the crowd, I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention because that's who really deserves the amount of attention that we are giving to this particular incident.


GALLAGHER: Johnson went on to say that he realizes the City of Chicago has a racial divide and that it's hard for the city and country to come together. He also wonders how this might impact future cases. Listen.


JOHNSON: My concern is that hate crimes will now publicly be met with a level of skepticism that previously didn't happen.


GALLAGHER: And we should note, Smollett could also face Federal charges for allegedly sending himself a phony threat letter containing white powder which turned out to be Tylenol. His next court appearance, March 14th -- Tucker?

CARLSON: Trace Gallagher, thanks for that. Well, there is at least one big unanswered question in the case of Jussie Smollett tonight. Why did this happen? Why would a popular actor on a network TV show, someone who is rich and successful and famous pay people to assault him and risk going to jail in the process?

Well, at a press conference in Chicago today, the Police Superintendent wondered the same thing.


JOHNSON: I'm left hanging my head and asking why. Why would anyone, especially an African-American man use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile.


CARLSON: That's a fair question. What Smollett did was not simply illegal and weird, it was terrible for the country. So why did he do it? Well, the short answer appears to be he wanted a raise at work and he thought this would get him that. The broader answer, the one that we should all think about and meditate on is that Smollett was simply responding to the incentives that American society has created for him.

Smollett pretended to be a victim because we reward victims. We've decided that it's more heroic to suffer than it is to achieve. That's the message of our culture, our politics, and our workplaces. Jussie Smollett was doing his best to get ahead according to the rules that others made. And in fact, had his hoax succeeded, there is no doubt Smollett would have been richly rewarded for it. He would probably get a significant bump in pay and an extended segment on "Colbert." He would have been a hero.

So Jussie Smollett was not crazy. He knew exactly what he was doing. Faking a hate crime was an entrepreneurial move. In modern America, victimhood is power that's why so many powerful people claim it.

That's why Elizabeth Warren pretended to be an American Indian. It's why at every low point during the entire span of his political career, Barack Obama invoked bias. That's why so many politicians do the same today. "I have suffered, you cannot criticize me."

The academic left has constructed an entire theology around the holiness of victimhood, it's called intersectionality. It comes with an elaborate ratings system in which every group in America is assessed according to how much it has suffered.

The more your group says it has been discriminated against, the more moral authority you receive. It's a pretty good deal for a lot of people and they have no interest in changing it, and that explains why so many on the left initially jumped to Jussie Smollett's defense. They weren't simply defending him. They were defending identity politics.

We could give you any number of examples of this, but we will skip ahead to the most nauseating one of all. Watch anchor Robin Roberts of ABC quote, "News" beam with joy after Smollett finishes the most dishonest performance of his life and then tell him his lies are beautiful.


JUSSIE SMOLLETT, AMERICAN ACTOR: I still want to believe with everything that happened that there is something called justice. Because if I stop believing that, then what's it all for?

ROBIN ROBERTS, ANCHOR, ABC: Beautiful. Thank you, Jussie.


CARLSON: "Thank you, Jussie." Well, before he claimed that white supremacists beat him up on the street, most people had never heard of Jussie Smollett. And after he became a victim, everybody wanted to be his friend. Here is Don Lemon over on CNN bragging about how he texts his new pal, Jussie every single day. He has got Jussie's cell number. That's how close they are. Really tight.


DON LEMON, ANCHOR, CNN: My concern is for him.


LEMON: And for his well-being. Every day I say, "I know you think I'm annoying." I can show you the text. "I know you think I'm annoying, but I just want to know how you are doing."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know how you are. That you are okay.

LEMON: That you are okay. And if you need somebody, you can talk to me because there is not a lot of us out there.



LEMON: And sometimes he responds, sometimes he doesn't. He responds and says, "You are not annoying."


CARLSON: "You can talk to me," Don Lemon says because there aren't a lot of us out there. Well, here is the translation. "Us" means people who have been oppressed in the ways that Jussie Smollett has been oppressed. Lemon is letting you know that he is in that group, too. Yes, he is a highly paid news anchor with his own TV show, and yet, like Jussie Smollett, Don Lemon is a holy victim.

So there is a mad scramble over who is the victim here? Who is the victim? Well, there is one. What Smollett did was not a victimless crime. There is no such thing as that. An entire group of people did get slandered by this hoax. Regular people from outside the coastal cities. People with the wrong political beliefs and the wrong skin color.

Smollett and his many defenders savagely attacked these people and they are not apologizing for doing it. Instead they are telling you, you hear this everywhere that the real losers here are the authentic victims of hate crimes who won't be believed the next time. Okay. That's fine.

But what about the innocent Americans they just poured venom on for two weeks because it matched some bigoted stereotypes they had about Middle America? What about them? There is no mention of them.

Don Lemon very like to keep up those attacks on those people, attacking them allows him to feel oppressed. That is why when Smollett was finally caught, Lemon reacted in a very puzzling way. He didn't seem especially concerned that his buddy had lied to further divide the country to hurt America which he did, no, that wasn't the real problem. The real problem, according to Don Lemon is that Smollett's arrest might discredit the occult of victimhood.


LEMON: This is playing out every single moment in cable news. Sean Hannity is going to eat Jussie Smollett's lunch every single second. Tucker Carlson is going to eat Jussie Smollett's lunch every single second.


CARLSON: Yes, because when you tell the truth about a hate hoax, you are the real hater. What's the cost of this attitude so floridly on display to our society? What does it do to us? Well, think of it this way? What would happen to your kids if you woke them up every morning by telling them that they were victims? No matter how hard they worked, people would always hate them just for who they are? What if did you that? Would that be good parenting? Would it make your kids stronger, happier, and more successful?

No, it wouldn't and good parents would never do that. Good parents tell their kids to take responsibility for their lives, not to blame others, to work as hard as they can to overcome obstacles. That's what good parents of all of races and all background tell their kids.

And if you don't believe it, just ask 10 well-adjusted accomplished people if their parents allowed them to feel like victims. Again, it doesn't matter where they are from or what they look like. Ask them. Did your parents tell you, you are a victim and not one of them will say "yes."

And yet, we tell our citizens just the opposite. And you see the effects very clearly. In the workplace, for example, in the years after the 2008 recession, there was enormous surge of claims of workplace bias of all kinds. There is still no evidence that bigotry itself increased at all during those years. And yet, when people felt threatened by a teetering economy, they knew that claiming victimhood status would give them an advantage.

Can you blame them? No, you really can't. Not really. They didn't write the rules of our society. They are just following the rules that people like Don Lemon wrote, but at great cost.

Piers Morgan is editor-at-large of dailymail.com and a keen observer of everything that happens in the world. He joins us today. So Piers, as a guy who has been in the news business for a long time, you must be wondering why were the reporters following this, the most credulous of all? Why didn't they smell a rat?

PIERS MORGAN, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, DAILYMAIL.COM: Well, it was the perfect storm, wasn't it? This is where the victimhood culture that you so brilliantly articulated there meets Trump derangement syndrome, this disease which has afflicted so many particularly liberal celebrities.

And I think in Jussie Smollett, you had greed as a motivation, but you also had - he wanted to be a celebrity victim as you said. He wanted people to feel sorry for him, to like him, to retweet him. But, also, he wanted to use the prism of his hatred for Donald Trump and all things Trump as the bedrock for this.

They had to be two white Trump supporters in "Making America Great Again" caps who attacked him because he knew that would be the perfect vehicle to turn him into American hero. That actually if he was attacked by Trump supporters who lynched him or tried to lynch him with a noose and really, you know, committed one of the worst hate crimes imaginable, then he, Jussie Smollett, would become a hero and he would be a heroic victim, and in fact, he went further.

In the Robin Roberts interview, he said that he fought back against these two guys. Well, we have now seen the size of them. These are two very big men. And, our hero, Jussie fought back, so he is a victim, but a hero who also fought back.

And I look at this whole story. I tweet every day all day and I write columns two or three times a week. I didn't say a word about this, Tucker, from the moment the story broke.

CARLSON: Yes, I didn't either.

MORGAN: Something about this stank from the moment it happened, and I just stayed very quiet. I waited and I watched and I waited and I watched. And all the time more and more stuff came out, from him not releasing his phone to then releasing redacted records to so on and so on. And slowly but surely, the real story built up and this guy had completely invented the whole attack. He had staged it. He had roped in his friends to do this and I'm sorry, but I have already seen on social media people starting to feel sorry for this guy.

You know, "We should cut him some slack. He has got has mental health issues." That's always the first refuge of excuse for this kind of behavior. He is not mentally ill. He is greedy and he is somebody who was craving attention and a lot of the media as I think is very apparent from the story, a lot of the mainstream media in America have gone so full on anti-Trump that they were prepared to suspend all journalistic integrity and credibility in the way they reported this story by just believing every word this guy said, and they did it, Tucker, because we're now in a culture where my truth is perceived to be the truth and it's not.

Time and again now, we see people where their truth, their idea of a truth is a complete lie. Jussie Smollett claimed to have been effectively lynched. Everybody followed up with this. All the Democrats were tweeting -- Kamala Harris to Cory Booker -- it was a lynching. They were trying to lynch this guy, but it wasn't. The only thing that was lynched was the truth.

CARLSON: No. That's right. And the press abetted it, the channel that you and I once worked at among them. Piers Morgan, such a great summation as always. It's great to see you. Thank you very much.

MORGAN: Good to see you.

CARLSON: We have got more on this story and I would be joined later in the show by Dan Bongino and Chadwick Moore for even more on why this happened, what it means and what happens next. That's in just a bit.

We live in the age of the woke billionaire, but you never thought you would live to see that. We are seeing it. Why are the biggest winners in our economic system endorsing socialism for America? There's a reason for that we will tell what you it is after the break.


CARLSON: 2019 is only a couple months old. We haven't given it a name yet, so how about "The Year of the Woke Billionaire." Sit back and watch as the Democratic presidential candidates simultaneously jockey to establish the most left wing possible credentials and at the very same time, feverishly suck up to the super rich to fund their campaigns.

We have seen some of this before Tom Steyer and George Soros as the obvious examples, but there are many, many, many more. On Saturday, just this past Saturday, coming Saturday rather, Senator Cory Booker is attending a Silicon Valley fundraiser. It is hosted by Gary and Laura Lauder. They are heirs to the $14 billion Estee Lauder fortune.

Kamala Harris just had a fundraiser in Beverly Hills that was attended by an army of wealthy studio execs. Kristin Gillibrand did not even start her campaign for President before asking the permission of Wall Street. So what is the message? Rich people are highly progressive now and you can see why? They love mass immigration, it brings them servants. They support Federally-mandated snobbery, masquerading as environmentalism. Abortion essentially a sacrament to them especially when practiced in poor neighborhoods.

But here is the confusing part, these are by definition affluent people, and yet increasingly confiscatory tax rates are the rallying cry for the Democratic Party. So why are billionaires so eager to back candidates who want to seize their assets to fund new entitlements?

This is confusing. Here is one reason. Billionaires understand that they will never have to pay those taxes. Why? Because the top Federal income tax rate stops at about 500 grand. So what's the difference between someone making $500,000.00 a year and someone making $50 million a year? The answer. The richer one can much more easily evade paying full freight and they do.

This group makes far more of their money on capital gains which are taxed at only half the rate of your salary, and some of it is not even taxed at all. Under the 2017 Tax Law, investments in Federally-designated opportunity zones evade capital gains taxes entirely.

One such opportunity zone by the way is right by the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia, one of America's richest zip codes. But even on their official tax returns, even on income, the richest Americans are paying less.

According to the IRS, the top 1% of Americans pay about 27% of their income in taxes, but the top tenth of 1% -- that's people who make $35 million a year -- pay less than 26%. And the top thousandth of a percent, the absolute richest pay less than 24%. In other words, past a certain point, the richer you are the less you pay. That's why billionaires back socialism. It doesn't cost them much.

Dana Perino hosts "The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino." She is also coming on later in the show on "Final Exam" with Greg Gutfeld, but for now --


CARLSON: Here we go. I'm rooting for you as you know.

PERINO: Thank you.

CARLSON: Don't tell him. There is this really interesting dynamic where the Democratic Party is becoming openly socialist in some cases, but certainly, embracing economic populism but it is still funded by the richest segment of our society. How does that work?

PERINO: It is pretty interesting and actually to have Bernie Sanders launch his campaign in the week after basically another fellow Democratic socialist chased Amazon out of New York City, it put Bernie Sanders to the left of Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo, it's not easy to do that.

CARLSON: Exactly.

PERINO: In some ways, I feel like Bernie has been a victim of his own success. He has won this war without even firing a shot. In 2016, he basically said this is going what I'm going to be for. He ran unabashedly on it and he had a lot of support.

And I think if the Democrats hadn't "rigged" their primary, he might have actually been the nominee. Perhaps good for him that he wasn't because then he had time to let these ideas percolate. Do you think there had been Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 if there had not been a Bernie Sanders in 2016?

CARLSON: No, it's a good point.

PERINO: Absolutely not. And also, the other thing you have is, you have Democratic candidates like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren both taking great pains this week to say that they are not socialists, they are capitalists and they have to explain it, but you have to ask yourself, is it a distinction without a difference?

If you are talking about free healthcare for all, free college for all, unabashedly bashing the financial institutions and promising lots of things that are going to look like a socialist country, that is why the Democrats find themselves already in February of 2019 on the losing end of a debate with Donald Trump.

CARLSON: Are they -- we're almost out of time, but I'm just interested since you are steeped in the numbers. Are they going to lose that debate? I mean, they will lose it as far as I'm concerned, but is the public on the side of capitalism or socialism? Sincere question.

PERINO: Well, I actually think that Karl Rove has talked about this for a while and he is right. If younger people in America say that they more align with socialism, we should take them seriously. Just this week, Tucker, we found that most people in America could not pass a basic citizenship test that immigrants have to take in order to get a chance to live here in America.

So we have a lot of making up to do, but I do think that the country is still a center right country, but conservatives, capitalists, people who do not want socialism have to try to make a very good case for it because Bernie Sanders has a grassroots organization across the country willing to send him $25.00 over and over and over again. That makes a big difference. They are not just going to big donors and billionaires to get funding even though they do that, too. They have support all across the country and people should take that very seriously.

CARLSON: Yes, they should take it -- I couldn't agree more.

PERINO: Oh good.

CARLSON: There is a reason people feel that way. Dana Perino, it is great to see you as always and we are going to see you in just a minute.


CARLSON: Well, the Democratic Party is changing very fast as you know. We try to chronicle it on this show. They are for socialism now. They are also embracing reparations for slavery, something people talk about on the fringes. No big candidate has ever endorsed it, a bunch just in the last week. That's next.


CARLSON: Well, in a recent interview, Kamala Harris came up with a new policy position. She now says she supports reparations for slavery.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF.: We have got to address -- again, it's back to the inequities. They are through -- look, America has a history of 200 years of slavery. People aren't starting out on the same base in terms of their ability to succeed and so we have got to recognize that and give people a lift up.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD, RADIO SHOW HOST: So you are for some type of --

HARRIS: Yes, I am.


CARLSON: That used to be eccentric opinion, suddenly, lots of people seem to have it, not just Kamala Harris. Today, just today, Senator Elizabeth Warren, maybe under the influence of peyote, said that she also supports reparations, so did Leon Castro. Just two years ago, keep in mind, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were both asked about this and both said they opposed it. Five years ago, we'll be tearing down statues for taking that position, but that's where we are today.

Author and columnist, Mark Steyn has been following this and joins us tonight. It seems like things are moving kind of fast, Mark.

MARK STEYN, AUTHOR AND COLUMNIST: Yes, they are, and this is disturbing if reparations is becoming a mainstream position. It's particularly absurd, I think, for Elizabeth Warren to be in favor of that. This is someone who, in a sense, has benefited from a fake appropriation of racial grievance.

As you know, the business about her being 1/1,024th Native American, presumably. And, yet, presenting herself as Harvard Law School's first woman of color. That's what happens when you actually get into this sort of neo-apartheid of racial classification, and I find it particularly absurd.

I mean, when Kamala Harris says people are not starting from the same point, slavery was abolished a century and a half ago. Nobody alive today has a grandparent who was a slave, and in that sense, I think you reach a point where, you know, you need to move on.

I mean, the reparations thing, eventually as the decades goes by becomes ridiculous. I'm Canadian. I mean, you guys should give us reparations because if you hadn't had Revolution, we would have -- the whole continent would now be Canada and if you were going to steal our land from us and driver the loyalists out, Tucker, you could at least have divided the continent East and West so that we, Canadians weren't holed up in the cold bit.

CARLSON: Which half would you take?

STEYN: Well, exactly, I think I would have the half without the California and presidential candidates in it.

CARLSON: I think that's right.

STEYN: Odd ballots, or maybe the middle and you guys could have the two coasts. But the point here is this is nothing real. This is nothing real to the lived experience of people of all kinds of identities today.

And certainly not to -- Kamala Harris has a Jamaican father and Indian mother, and I don't know whether it's the identity politics as her father was suggesting earlier today, I don't know whether it's this whole identity politics obsession that means she has to feel she has to genuflect to this because her whole experience is in fact entirely apart from the African- American slave experience.

CARLSON: Exactly. It's also bad though. It's really divisive. Mark Steyn great to see you. Thank you for that.

STEYN: No, it is pretty divisive.


STEYN: Thanks a lot, Tucker.

CARLSON: See you. Time now for "Final Exam." Two contestants create chaos on set during their last match-off will face off again. Get ready for Dana Perino and Greg Gutfeld in this week's news quiz. See if you can beat them. We'll be right back.


CARLSON: Time now for "Final Exam" where hardened news professionals compete with one another to see who has been paying the most attention to what's happened over the last week. Our defending Champion, Lauren Blanchard is on assignment.

So tonight we have a New York City special edition for you. Two long standing bitter rivals of many decades -- Dana Perino and Greg Gutfeld, co- host of "The Five" join us tonight. I'm glad you are here.

PERINO: Oh, we're glad to be here.

GREG GUTFELD, HOST:I wish I could say it.

PERINO: Greg is so happy to be here.

CARLSON: Yes, bitter rivals might be a little strong.

GUTFELD: But right now, I'd be eating ribs, Tucker. I'd be eating ribs and drinking wine and watching a rerun of "Friends."

CARLSON: We are going to see if that kind of preparation serves you well.

PERINO: Actually, he watches your show every night, don't think that he doesn't.

GUTFELD: I do watch.

CARLSON: I mean, so I think if you'd ask our audience, who has done more prep work for this segment? Yes, that's exactly right. You know the rules. I'm going to run through them super quick.


CARLSON: Hands on buzzers. I ask the questions. The first one to buzz in gets to answer. You have to wait until I finish asking a question before you answer it.

PERINO: Like Alex Trebek.

CARLSON: Exactly, you can answer once I acknowledge by saying your name. Every correct answer gets you one point. If you lose a question, we detract a point. So you could actually get into negative territory pretty fast. Best of five wins.

GUTFELD: Best of five.

CARLSON: Make sense?


PERINO: Best of "The Five" right here.

CARLSON: Best of five. "The Five." All right, question one. Here it is. If elected in November of 2020, Bernie Sanders would be the oldest President in American history. How old would he be on Inauguration Day?

GUTFELD: She came in early.

PERINO: Seventy seven. You're right, I did cheat.

CARLSON: Unfortunately, I can't hear you. I can only hear our judges yelling in my ear it goes to Greg. I'm sorry, Dana, obviously, I am rooting for you.

PERINO: Bet you didn't know the answer.

GUTFELD: I would say 80, but I already won.

PERINO: Seventy seven.

CARLSON: Okay, so Greg gets to answer. You are saying 80, Greg?

GUTFELD: No, I already won. I'm not answering. I'm taking a fifth. I am taking the fifth.

CARLSON: No, you have to answer the question.

GUTFELD: Talk to my lawyer. I already won.

PERINO: I gave you the answer.

CARLSON: You said 80.

PERINO: Seventy seven.

GUTFELD: All right, 77 all right.

CARLSON: Seventy seven. All right, we are going to go to the tape. Is it 77?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He will be 79. That's old.


GUTFELD: Oh, no, you. That is -- no, no, we're not doing this anymore. She cheats. This happened last time.

CARLSON: So you thought you were benefiting from her premature buzz. But actually you are now in negative territory.

GUTFELD: Okay, is a total set up. This happened -- last time, she was reading off the teleprompter or was that Judge Jeanine?

CARLSON:I think that -- I'm pretty sure that was Judge Jeanine. I don't think anyone believes Dana Perino would do that.

GUTFELD: All right. Well, she jumped the gun. Your questions are too long, Tucker.

CARLSON: Okay, this is an even longer one. It's a multiple choice, so be sure you have heard all the options before answering. Here it is.

GUTFELD: So mad.

CARLSON: 2020 hopeful, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York had a campaign event in Iowa at a bar this week. Her speech was interrupted when a woman pushed past her on a mission to find which condiment? Was it A. Hot sauce. Was it B. Ranch Dressing or was it C. Dana Perino's famous queso? Dana Perino.

PERINO: It is B. Ranch Dressing.

CARLSON: Is it B -- it wasn't your famous queso, is it B. Ranch Dressing? To the tape we go?


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, D-N.Y.: ... base and the the grassroots care about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry, I'm just going to get some Ranch Dressing.



PERINO: She just wanted some Ranch, just like everybody.

CARLSON: Well, look at that. Look at that, you are one up.

GUTFELD: That was so easy because no one is going to go for Dana's queso.

PERINO: No one.

GUTFELD: That would lose in a court.

CARLSON: Actually, that was my guess. You never know at a Gillibrand campaign event. All right, question three. A Democratic Congressman became a bit of a laughing stock in digital world yesterday on Twitter. This congressman bragged to his followers that he walked an entire extra block to get his coffee. This was an effort to boycott Trump Tower. Who was it? Greg Gutfeld.

GUTFELD: Swalwell.

PERINO: Are you going to give that to him?

GUTFELD: Yes, I'm mocking his name. Eric Swalwell.

CARLSON: I am not sure what that means. Let's see if answer matches our tape.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Eric Swalwell, California Democrat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He turned a trip to go to Starbucks into this political statement tweeting this, "It's snowing in New York. I need coffee. The closest cafe is inside Trump Tower. This is me walking to an alternative."


CARLSON: Our judges say, they are giving it to you even though you sound like the parents in a Peanut cartoon.

GUTFELD: I was mocking his name.

PERINO: That is just because they are trying to appease you.

CARLSON: That's good enough. No, I don't think they are. That is good enough. You are back. I think you are back to zero. Congratulations.

GUTFELD: Wow. Story of my life.

CARLSON: All right, question four. If you looked up at the night sky this week, if you didn't live in New York City for example, you may have seen an interesting lunar spectacle, the winter moon appeared extra bright because it was thousands of miles closer to the Earth than it normally is. There is a name for this event and hint is, it has something to do with winter weather. If you were to look outside your apartment.

GUTFELD: I don't do that. I usually sit in a dark room and listen to Death Metal.

PERINO: I knew -- I saw the picture. It was tweeted.


GUTFELD: It was pictured, right.

CARLSON: Guess. Dana.

PERINO: It's not a harvest moon. Lunar moon.

GUTFELD: She said harvest moon.

PERINO: Lunar moon.

CARLSON: No, no. She said it's not a harvest moon. What is your answer?

PERINO: I don't know. I said lunar moon, but it doesn't make any sense.

CARLSON: Lunar moon. That would be redundant, but it might still be the answer. We will find out.

GUTFELD: Back to zero.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A super snow moon. T.J. is wrapped watching this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is called super T.J. because the moon is at its closest to earth right now and it's full and February's full moon is known as a snow moon because many associated the month with heavy snowfall.


PERINO: Okay, I get it. We got it.

GUTFELD: Yes, yes.

CARLSON: Okay, so the statisticians in our control room are saying, they just checked the books, this is the first ever zero-zero final question. So you are going into sudden death with no points on the board.

PERINO: Sudden death, it just might be his. Okay.


CARLSON: All right, so here is the final question. It's a multiple choice. You have to wait until I finish asking it. A statue of Abraham Lincoln in the State of California has become very popular online because of its unusual depiction of our 16th President. What is so strange about this particular Lincoln is it A. He is a young and shirtless? B. He is holding a kitten? C. He is on roller blades?


CARLSON: You sound resigned.

PERINO: I have no idea. I mean, I have no idea. I have not seen this statue or anything, but he was a big animal rights activist actually for his time, so I'm going to go with B. Holding a kitten.

CARLSON: Was Abraham Lincoln holding a kitten in the stature in California. To the tape.

PERINO: Sure, it's rollerblades, come on.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reminder that the Los Angeles Federal courthouse has a statue of Abraham Lincoln where is he a shirtless young stud suggestively tugging at his waistband like a "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit model. Abraham Lincoln like you have never seen him before.


PERINO: I really don't think I should ever be asked to join this again.

GUTFELD: So I won with a score of zero.

CARLSON: You -- I am not even sure what to say. My mouth is open. This is the lowest score ever recorded in the history -- two-year history of this show.

GUTFELD: We are little people and we have little scores.

PERINO: Yes, we have little scores.


CARLSON: Greg Gutfeld you win with zero, and next time I see you, I will award you our Eric Wemple victory mug.

PERINO: But I can't believe you guys gave him Eric Swalwell. That is not his name.

GUTFELD: Oh come on. You are going to talk about this for the end of time.

CARLSON: Well that may be how it's pronounced, what do I know, I am not --

GUTFELD: He is our next President.

PERINO: You have him on your show all the time. I watch your show and I know that.

GUTFELD: He is our next President.

CARLSON: It's unbelievable. Thank you, have you entered the history books. Congratulations to you, both.

PERINO: Thank you we are very honored.

GUTFELD: Thank you, Tucker. If that's your real name.

CARLSON: Thank you, Greg. Congratulations. That's it for this week's "Final Exam." If you can call it that. Pay attention to the news each week. Tune in Thursday to see if you can beat our pros, hint, yes, you can. We'll be right back.



JOHNSON: Absolute justice would be an apology to this city that he smeared, admitting that he did and then be man enough to offer what he should offer up in terms of all the resources that were put into this.


CARLSON: So as journalists and politicians race to see who could say the most embarrassingly credulous things about Jussie Smollett's obvious hate hoax, the police did their jobs. They stayed calm. They made no assumptions. They investigated it thoroughly and they discovered something shocking. And for that, they are being attacked.

Just moments ago, Smollett's attorney released a statement saying this, quote, "Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing."

Dan Bongino is a former officer with the NYPD and he joins us tonight. So, Dan, you've watched this from beginning until now and it is still unfolding. But what are the main conclusions you are drawing from what have you seen?

DAN BONGINO, CONTRIBUTOR:Well, Tucker, you know, it's amazing we have spent all this money in this country and in an education system that claims to teach, you know, critical thinking, right?

But if you thought critically about this case from the beginning, you would have never jumped to the conclusions. And, you know, listen, I've spent a lot of time with the Secret Service and the NYPD, but you don't have to be a law enforcement officer to have seen the red flags in the case, Tucker.

First, if you are attacked like this violently at night, who doesn't turn over their police records to immediately clear themselves and try to get the actual bad guy? It just didn't make sense? And that statement you just read, I mean it's outrageous. He is not entitled to due process? Tucker, he was given every single benefit by the media, by everyone else, benefits by the way you and I wouldn't have -- we would have been questioned about this vigorously from the beginning. And now he is claiming somehow that he is a martyr in this?

Listen, of course you are presumed innocent. I get that. But that's a ridiculous statement to try to paint yourself as a martyr when you haven't even cooperated with the police from the beginning. It's absurd.

CARLSON:I mean, at some point he is going to put the media in a pretty tough spot. I mean, if he continues to deny this and say that he is once again the victim of yet another persecution or whatever, I mean, can Don Lemon sit there and CNN and not defend him?

BONGINO: You know, at some point when these kids on Twitter, they say, "You have got to take the L." At some point, you have got to take the loss. I mean, Tucker, it's binary at this point, is it not?

They have these two brothers, these people that they are questioning, apparently involved in this. They are either the attackers or they are not. If they are cooperating and they have been released, what does that say to you as someone who thinks in common sense terms? They are either the attackers or they are not. They have been released. Clearly, there is something wrong with this case and it appears that when you take it all and you look at it that Smollett is the guy who has not been clear, open, and honest here.

CARLSON: I just don't understand how we are sort alighting over what this guy really did, which is use racial stereotypes to attack fellow Americans and no one is kind of saying that. I am not really sure why.

BONGINO: Right. It's not just that. He lied. It's that he took it to the next level. He added a bunch of -- let's call them aggravating factors, Tucker. They were wearing MAGA hats and they screamed, "This is MAGA country." And then they put a noose around --

You know, one of the most abhorrent symbols of a troubled time in American history, it's all of these aggravating things he threw on top as if being attacked and claiming it was Trump supporters wasn't bad enough, Tucker, we've got to put bleach in it and a noose in and they screamed "It's MAGA country."

I mean, it really speaks to if this didn't happen and this is all a hoax, a level of serious depravity. This guy could need some serious help.

CARLSON: So I just want to do a super quick kind of check on your sensibility about all of this. So you work in journalism. Robin Roberts over at ABC quote "News" works in journalism. She heard Jussie Smollett's story and she concluded it was, quote, "Beautiful." Was there ever a moment when you heard his story and you thought yourself that's beautiful?

BONGINO: No. I thought it's questionable. But, Robin Roberts needed that story to be true and wanted it to be true and it's clear from the questioning, there was not one critical question asked of a guy with a very suspect story. It's a real shame and a stain on journalism.

CARLSON: Yes, that's nicely put. Dan Bongino, great to see you. Thank you.

BONGINO: Good to see you too, Tucker. See you next week.

CARLSON: Well, after his court hearing today, Jussie Smollett returned to work at the show, "Empire." According to reports, Smollett kept crew waiting for at least 30 minutes in order to film his scene. This was today.

When he arrived he begged the crew and his fellow actors to believe him, to believe in his innocence. He said this, quote, "I would never do this to any of you. You are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this." End quote.

Well, the press didn't need that kind of begging to believe Jussie Smollett. Virtually, everyone in the press was ready to believe him anyway.


LIZ PLANK, HOST OF VOX MEDIA'S "CONSIDER IT": What we do know is that racism is alive and well in this country. There is real evidence of people who have done these crimes who cite that the President has inspired that.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": The fact that reportedly it reportedly said, "This is MAGA country," adds to sort of the atmosphere of menace that African-Americans in particular and people of color in general have felt since the advent of the Trump administration.

BROOKE BALDWIN, ANCHOR, CNN: He said his attackers hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him. This is America in 2019.


CARLSON: So there are a lot of dumb credulous people in the media. Chadwick Moore is not one of them. He was not fooled. He predicted the outcome in the Smollett case more than two weeks ago that he was attacked for it, but joins us now for a well-deserved, I don't want to call it a victory lap, but you were right. And we want to acknowledge that you were. Chadwick Moore, great to see you. So you looked at this story, looked at the facts and you didn't buy it.

CHADWICK MOORE, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: I didn't buy it from the first sentence of the first report that I read. And it wasn't even just MAGA country which made me laugh out loud and I think a lot of people because nobody -- no Trump supporter would say that. Everyone knew that was fake.

CARLSON: Yes, exactly.

MOORE: My first question when I read this story was, I thought what was the weather last night in Chicago? Looked it up and it was negative 20 with a wind chill. That was the first thing that tipped me off there, like, something isn't right here.

Now, we expect our -- that is the most simple question to ask. We expect our journalists to be able to -- that would be the most basic thing I would look up. None of them did it. And now what we see with the media is they are legitimately gas lighting the American public and saying "No, no, we handled this very, very well. We were very fair." They are saying, "A lot of celebrities and activists on Twitter ran with it and you are confusing us with them."

No, you can certifiably look up "The Washington Post," ABC News, NBC News, the Associated Press, "The Guardian." You can go on forever. They all ran with the story. They all never said alleged attack. They never said claims. They said he was definitively attacked. Now, they are circling their wagons and now they are defending one another.

I have never seen a journalist ever have true remorse ever go through a period of or very rarely a period of self-reflection and we're not going to see it here. Brian Stelter over at CNN is sort of leading the charge with this. It's about - they are continuing to protect their own, protect their industry, and they just simply do not care about the truth. They do not care about being anything but activists at this point.

CARLSON: No, I think that's absolutely right. What's interesting is that there doesn't seem to be any penalty in this deeply corrupt, deeply corrupt business of journalism for getting it wrong in one direction.

But if you would come out in public two weeks ago, I had doubts myself about this story, it seemed obviously like -- there were at least holes in it. I was afraid to express those doubts in public. It's not worth it actually. There would have been massive penalty for doubting this in public, and yet our job - isn't our job supposed to be skepticism?

MOORE: Exactly, and I sort of thought the same thing. I said, if I'm wrong this could really be a big hit to my career. I was just so convinced that it wasn't. Nothing about it made sense. Meanwhile, at the time when a few brave people were actually expressing skepticism, they were called conspiracy theorists by the media. They were maligned and they were treated like kooks.

And it turns out they were right all along, and, you know, the media will just move on. They don't care. They are really the propagators of all of this. They are the reason why Jussie Smollett felt like he could get away with this because he knew they would be on his side. Because they created this fake narrative of armies of racist Trump supporters marching around and assaulting people. So, why would he think that he wouldn't get away with it?

CARLSON: That's a good point. And I mean, you, of all people know what it's like to be inside journalism and take a view that is not considered acceptable. You came out in favor of Donald Trump and had people basically try to destroy your life?

MOORE: Exactly, and, yes, a lot has happened. We just saw recently that reporter, I believe she is from CBS News who came out and --

CARLSON: Laura Logan.

MOORE: Yes, that's right -- and deflected, and there is another case recently, it's so weird to see this. But another case, I believe it was an NPR Chief who did a similar thing. It's almost like when these journalists actually seek out the truth and actually try to get to know these boogieman Trump supporters, they almost seem to always deflect afterwards and sort of seem to see the horrors that are happening in their industry.

Journalists are -- they couldn't be more disconnected. I think that the Democratic politician who ran with this story from day one are genuinely corrupt and they are smart enough to see the holes in it.

CARLSON: That's for sure.

MOORE: Yes, and the journalists who ran with it, some I'm sure, but I think it was mainly a case of profound stupidity and --

CARLSON: Well, that's not reassuring. You know what? Because all the smart kids go into finance. I don't think any of like our homegrown geniuses are like rushing to the "New York Times" anymore. Chadwick Moore, great to see you.

MOORE: Always a pleasure.

CARLSON: Thank you. Well speaking of presidential candidates, Kamala Harris has lost no time resorting to stereotypes to advance her cause. True. She recently bragged about smoking a ton of weed in college listening to Tupac. Tupac Shakur had not released any music at the time it turned out.

So when pressed on her commitment to legalizing weed, Harris resorted to another stereotype, "Come on, man, I'm Jamaican." She said, "I'm Jamaican." Okay, one person who didn't think was that funny was her own father. He is a Stanford professor called Donald Harris. He released a statement condemning what his daughter said, quote, "My dear departed grandmother, as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their graves right now to see their family's name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity connected in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics. Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically disassociate ourselves from this travesty."

It's amazing, but it really shouldn't surprise you. She was trafficking in stereotypes. Completely. Not every Jamaican has dreadlocks and smokes weed all day and you only have to be Kamala Harris to think otherwise. Amazing.

That's it for us tonight. Good night from Washington.

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