Prosecutors drop charges against 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," March 26, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Dana Perino along with Morgan Ortagus, Juan Williams, Jesse Watters, and Greg Gutfeld. It's 5 o'clock in New York City, and this is “The Five.”

The heat turning up on the Obama administration's intelligence officers after the release of the Mueller report showed no sign of collusion. GOP leadership now demanding answers on why the investigation was started in the first place, and when and what the Obama team knew regarding Russia's interference in our 2016 election. Here's Senator Lindsey Graham.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN.LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Did they exonerate Clinton because they had a political bias? Did they ignore all the facts because if they indict her they know she can't beat Trump and they wanted Trump to lose? Was the counterintelligence investigation a backdoor way of spying on Trump? There's really no evidence of working with Russia. They just used it as an excuse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: John Brennan who was the head of the CIA at the time, went on to become one of Trump's most vocal critics and heavily push these collusion claims. He was asked about that yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I'm a (INAUDIBLE) bet of nations, but I think I suspected that there was more than there actually was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: And here's former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on whether he regrets attacking President Trump while also deflecting responsibility for the Russian interference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: I do have concerns about -- and the president's unwillingness or inability or whatever to call out the Russian interference in the election. One of President Obama's objectives and tasking us to do that, report on the Russian interference was to hand it off to the next administration. So the Trump administration would have that as a basis for taking action against Russia, which sort of hasn't happened in some ways.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway blasting these Obama officials earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Those people at the DOJ and the FBI at the time, they have besmirched the good reputations and integrity of the 25 to 35000 men and women who work in that department and do their jobs honorably. The Obama administration and the president himself knew that Russia was trying to interfere in our election and did nothing about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: And when the president was asked earlier if he thought the decision to investigate made it all the way to the West Wing of the Obama White House, here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: I don't want to say that, but I think you know the answer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: All right, Jesse, do you know the answer?

JESSE WATTERS, HOST: Yes, it was Obama.

(LAUGHTER)

WATTERS: Anything else?

GREG GUTFELD, HOST: Deep state.

WATTERS: I got this. Listen, this was not an intelligence failure like a WMD or 9/11. This was an intelligent plot that was foiled. What's so funny, Juan?

JUAN WILLIAMS, HOST: Deep state? Even Greg said deep state --

WATTERS: Everybody was mocking the deep state phrase for the last two years, and now I'm totally vindicated.

WILLIAMS: How is that?

WATTERS: Because, Juan, there was no collusion.

WILLIAMS: Oh, my God.

WATTERS: Anytime you've said the word deep state we were laughed at for being a conspiracy theorist. Guess who the conspiracy theorist was?

WILLIAMS: Who?

WATTERS: Your side

(CROSSTALK)

WATTERS: No, this is what it was. The Obama administrations they weren't trying to catch Russians interfering with the elections. They were trying to catch Trump officials colluding with Russians to interfere with the elections. This was a Democratic administration that used the CIA and the FBI to attack a Republican presidential campaign.

It all started with Hillary and the dossier. As many as four Trump officials were illegally surveilled and contacted by the CIA. And then when she lost, they used this as an insurance policy to reverse the election results. Trump caught wind of it, fired Comey and was totally vindicated.

And the only way the media now can vindicate themselves, if they start putting resources into actually investigating what went wrong instead of trying to, you know, brush it off and say let's move on.

WILLIAMS: Let me tell you how deep state this deep state is. The ghost of Obama came out of the Lincoln bedroom and he's the one that fire James Comey. He's the one that started this criminal investigation as opposed to the counterintelligence investigation.

WATTERS: The counterintelligence investigation began under Obama's watch.

WILLIAMS: Yes, that's different.

WATTERS: That was crooked from the jump.

WILLIAMS: That's different. And in other words, you wouldn't have had Mueller unless Trump fired Comey. That had nothing to do with any deep state, nothing to do with Obama.

WATTERS: And you wouldn't have had Comey investigating Trump if it wasn't for the dossier cooked up by Hillary.

WILLIAMS: Get out of here.

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: Morgan, what came first, the chicken or the egg?

MORGAN ORTAGUS, HOST: Well, hopefully we can get that answered today. Listen, out of everybody at this table, I actually disagree with you slightly on that, this not being a 9/11 or WMD failure from the intelligence committee. I think it is of that level. And I speak as someone -- I've been in the intelligence community since I was like 25 years old, I think 26 years old.

And one of the things that you're taught as an analyst when you come in is what were the failures, the analytic failures that happened leading up to 9/11 and WMD and how did we miss all of these? And what I have suspected for a long time with these leaders of the FBI, and the CIA, the DNI, they forgot the basic analytic lessons that you learn as a junior analyst when this -- there were definitely a lot of red flags there.

For sure there was red flag because of what the Russians were doing. And it was the Russians that were trying to infiltrate. So they see all of this maligned behavior from the Russians, they see a lot of red flags, and because of a lack of fully looking at the evidence, they jump to analytic conclusions about the president that I think are one of the most damaging things that any of us have ever seen in our lifetime.

Let's not, you know, sugarcoat this. They accused the president of treason without having evidence to back it up. And as a person who has spent my life in the intelligence community, it is so damning to the men and women who faithfully, who are patriots who go and try to do this work every day. And I think the stain that the American public has for the intelligence committee because of these unethical political leaders can't be discounted.

WATTERS: My point was not that this wasn't a huge intelligence failure to the level of WMD or 9/11. I'm saying that -- those were innocent mistakes and lapses. This was a devious plot hatched two years ago and now exposed. That's the difference.

WILLIAMS: No, it's not --

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: I'm getting Greg in here no matter what happens. Something like a Brennan.

GUTFELD: Yes.

PERINO: Does he -- shouldn't he be held to a higher standard of commentary than your run-of-the-mill pundit?

GUTFELD: Yes.

PERINO: He was a CIA director.

GUTFELD: Yes.

PERINO: And he said, oh, woops.

GUTFELD: It's because people believe they were in -- believing a hallucination. And this is why I like -- as a deep state cynic who is no longer a deep state cynic. You have to understand that there were a group of people who felt that they were so right that they could do -- they could actually be undercover that they could do sneaky things because they were saving the world.

They, in their heads, they were superheroes but they were actually deep state because they were doing the wrong thing, but they didn't think they were doing the wrong thing. And the long-term damage here -- I mean the big story is we -- there's a lot of damage between people and nations because of this. There were people who expected nothing less than war over this or taking out a president who might be taking out, the removing the president, because he might be a Russian agent.

That's how far the hallucination got. That's why people when they laugh at the deep state it's because they thought that they were doing right. When you're wearing a black hat, you think you're wearing a white hat. That's essentially what's going on. But I have to -- you know, Jesse's right, the deep state existed. They just didn't know they were deep state.

WILLIAMS: But I don't get it. The president says that Mueller acted honorably. And Mueller --

GUTFELD: He's not deep state.

WILLIAMS: Wait a minute. Mueller a moment ago was deep state, now he's not deep state.

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: Who said he was deep state?

WILLIAMS: Are you kidding? You missed what Trump had to say about Mueller? Mueller was involved with Comey. Comey was involved in -- former FBI -- this is such about -- we've gone now from Trump doing a victory lap to vindictive actions --

WATTERS: We're not talking about Mueller.

GUTFELD: It's only Tuesday.

WATTERS: We're not talking about Mueller. We're talking about Brennan, Clapper --

WILLIAMS: Oh, Mueller is off the hook now.

WATTERS: -- Comey, McCabe --

PERINO: We have more to come on Mueller, but first the Chicago police chief and a Democratic mayor slamming the states attorney's decision to drop charges against actor Jussie Smollett. You'll hear their explosive comments in a moment. But first, Democrats still pushing their collusion claims, but now A.G. William Barr who's public enemy number one. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: House Intelligence Chair, Adam Schiff, refusing to resign under pressure from Republicans. In fact, he's doubling down on his concerns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF.: There are a lot of open questions. Why did the Russians offer dirt on Hillary Clinton? Why did the president's son say that he would love to have that help? Why did they set up a meeting in Trump Tower? Why did they keep it secret? Why did they lie about it? These questions have not been answered by the summary we got from Bill Barr.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Representative Schiff is not the only one. Congressman Eric Swalwell saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC SWALWELL, D-CALIF.: I stand by what I've said about seeing evidence of collusion. If he has a problem with that, he can sue me. And I promise you I would win in court.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Jesse, so we have a situation here where Adam Schiff is saying Barr, the attorney general, Bill Barr, has done the job he applied for which is exonerating President Trump from obstructing justice. How do you respond?

WATTERS: I think Barr is a pretty solid public servant. And if it was any other environment, he'd be probably passed through the Senate by a larger majority than he was. But we're in very partisan times. There's two types of Democrats now, there Clyburn, the whip of the Democratic Party who says time to move on. We're going to close this chapter and we're going to talk about health care.

And then there's the Democrats that don't care about the party. They care about their reputations because their reputations are in tatters so now they're just doing damage control and following this down a rabbit hole. The collusion thing is now done but now it's the obstruction, and that's the only thing they can hang their hat on.

And it's hard to obstruct a crime that you didn't commit, but they can do whatever they want. I just don't think it's going to work for them at the ballot box.

WILLIAMS: Dana, I see where Democrats are saying there're only 80 words of the Mueller report in the Barr letter. And they're making the case that Congress is an equal branch of government and they want the report.

PERINO: They want to see it. And I think that they have to give Barr just a little bit of time because if they release a report where they have classified information that was exposed or some sort of grand jury thing that got out there that wasn't supposed to do and it ruined somebody's reputation for no reason, they just have to do that carefully. And I think that Barr has said that -- that will happen and they're working on it.

WILLIAMS: So you agree -- I think it's 82 percent I saw today of Americans say get the report out.

PERINO: Well, I think that -- yes, people would like to see as much as possible. And if they don't, I mean, the left is just going to think that this is a massive cover-up and there will be conspiracy theories. That will be there deep state. They'll think the deep state is Barr and Rosenstein, excuse me.

Schiff and crew have gone overnight from being the hunter to the prey. So now they're being chased down the hallway by the reporters and asked, are you going to resign? Are you going to do this? And pretty soon I imagine a lot of Democrats are going to say we should really move on and talk about something else.

But I don't think that they're going to be completely able to do that partly because someone like a Lindsey Graham says, oh, no, we're going to have a hearing. We're going to find out what -- and get to the bottom of it.

WILLIAMS: So let me go to our deep state expert there. Morgan --

ORTAGUS: Thank you. What a title.

WILLIAMS: Vladimir Putin is saying after this report, our country has not interfered in anybody's election. What do you say to that?

ORTAGUS: There's no one that believes this, chiefly this administration, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a John Bolton, I mean, no matter what you want to say about this president's action, he's put incredibly tough sanctions against the Russians for these actions and he's promoted some of the toughest hawks against Putin and Russia in his administration.

And I think -- listen, all of this stuff, the FISA, the unmasking of administration officials, the leaking of classified information, I mean, all of this stuff is fair game because I think -- I did not rejoice when Jim Comey came out and give that press conference against Hillary Clinton.

When I watched that live, I thought what in the world is going on here? He's disparaging this woman without charging her, and to do the same to anybody in this report. My understanding from what Judge Napolitano just said in the last hour is that that's actually not the proper way to follow regulation. You shouldn't do that.

But I think these things are fair game because the president is right. This shouldn't happen again, not to a Republican president or a Democrat president. And the intelligence community needs to cleanse itself of these bad standards that happened during this investigation.

WILLIAMS: So, Greg, I really should ask this question --

GUTFELD: Yes.

WILLIAMS: -- because Dana said last week, one of the good things that might come out of this report is a road map for how we can deal with Russia in the 2020 race. But we still don't know exactly anything about Russia.

GUTFELD: True. There were only 80 words from the Mueller report that ended up in Barr's letter. They were ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha -- should I do 80?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, yeah.

GUTFELD: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. The producers are telling me to shut up now. You know what, Swalwell, is that how you say it?

PERINO: Yes.

GUTFELD: Schiff. They're like the ex who refuses to see that the relationship is over. So they keep showing up outside the window hoping that the collusion story will come back. They're story stalkers, right? They're like outside the window of Russian collusion praying that this will come back.

Keep chasing that story because you're going to end up losing in 2020 because basically what you're doing is you're selling a drug that no longer has any power. And so your disgruntled client base is going to be like -- they will have the hangover of betrayal.

If you don't have any ideas and this is all you've got, it's Trump all over again, 2020.

WILLIAMS: I think that might be wise advice.

GUTFELD: I know.

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: Oh, you know who agreed with you, Greg, apparently last night there was a big House Democratic caucus meeting and two people, one, the woman that's in charge, Bustos, is in charge of fund-raising for the House Democratic Party, and then also a new member who was very liberal one, they both said we have to focus on the issues that helped get us elected in the first place. So they're already pivoting.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think there're lots of people. I just saw a poll indicating most Americans still think the Russians have something on Trump, even after --

GUTFELD: I wonder why? Maybe it's the media -- pushing this narrative.

WILLIAMS: Maybe it's the facts.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: All right. All charges dropped --

GUTFELD: Show us the facts. Show us the facts.

WILLIAMS: -- against actor Jussie Smollett. That's not sitting well with Mayor Rahm Emanuel or the head of the police.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the end of the day, this Mr. Smollett who committed this hoax, period.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: More reaction from them coming up on “The Five.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WATTERS: In a bombshell move, prosecutors dropping all charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett. Smollett was facing 16 felony charges that the grand jury indicted him on after allegedly staging a hate crime in Chicago. The move infuriating the city's Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the chief of police.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDDIE JOHNSON, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT SUPERINTENDENT: Do I think justice was served? No. I've heard that they wanted their day in court with TV cameras so America could know the truth. But no, they chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system.

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL, D-CHICAGO: Now this casts a shadow of whether they're telling the truth. And he did this all in the name of self- promotion. This is a whitewash of justice. A grand jury could not have been clearer.

Where is the accountability of the system? From top to bottom, this is not on the level. At the end of the day, it's Mr. Smollett that committed this false claim. Is there no decency in this man?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATTERS: And if that didn't enrage you enough, here's Smollett's attorney saying she has, quote, no idea, why her client is being left off the hook.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PATRICIA BROWN HOLMES, JUSSIE SMOLLETT'S ATTORNEY: We have nothing to say to the police departments except to investigate charges and not try their cases in the press. I have no idea what occurred in this case and why it occurred. I can just say that things seemed to spiral somewhat out of control.

Well, the two brothers have said that they attacked him. So, you know, we don't want to try them in the press any more than he wanted to be tried in the press.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATTERS: OK, Mr. Gutfeld. What happened today?

GUTFELD: This is absolutely one of the most incredible stories I think I've seen in ages. He got a fine and community service. This was a giant wink to the public. When they said the city can keep the bond, that was the fine. When they said that he had already done enough volunteer service, that was his community service.

It was all kind of like this underlying saying -- saying we're punishing him even though we can't nail him on something because somebody seriously pulled some strings. Talk about privilege. That's celebrity privilege.

I've got to hand it to him. He blew Trump off the news pages. But there's a unanimous sense that he's guilty and he will never be free of it. And the fact that he took this deal is an admission of guilt because he let him keep the money. And then he took -- and the idea of volunteerism is somehow mentioned. That's his community service.

And you saw even the lawyer didn't even know what was going on. Why aren't they saying? She said, you know, don't try the two attackers in the press. The two attackers attacked her client. You'll be going -- we've got to go after those guys. It's hilarious.

WATTERS: Yeah. I mean, they have the videotape of the attackers buying their hats, buying the rope.

GUTFELD: Shouldn't she be outrage about that?

WATTERS: Of course, they have text messages between Smollett and the Nigerians setting the whole thing up, Uber receipts. It was an airtight case, Juan, but it looks like somehow he cut a deal, sweetheart deal.

WILLIAMS: Wait, wait, wait, it's Donald Trump. He's in my ear. He's in my ear, guys. He said some people just can't admit when they're wrong and apologize --

GUTFELD: Who's wrong?

WATTERS: Who's wrong?

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: The apology because, guess what, the prosecutor here said we're dropping the charges. No case.

GUTFELD: Tell that to Rahm.

WILLIAMS: His record is clear. And yet --

WATTERS: Well, wait, you're defending Smollett?

(CROSSTALK)

WATTERS: You're defending Smollett?

WILLIAMS: I am, because you know what, his record has been cleared by the government --

(CROSSTALK)

WATTERS: Juan, they did this behind the backs of the Chicago police --

WILLIAMS: What are you talking about?

(CROSSTALK)

WATTERS: And then they sealed the records, Juan.

WILLIAMS: You know what? Here's the facts --

WATTERS: You don't smell anything fishy?

WILLIAMS: No. You know what I smell? I smell people who are saying, oh, this is about trying to say that there's a spike in hate crimes, and Donald Trump people in red hats attacks. Oh, so now this guy is clear. His record is cleared. That's a fact. You still can't --

WATTERS: Juan, even Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod --

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: You know what? Here's 20th Century Fox TV, Fox Entertainment, Jussie Smollett maintained his innocence. We are grateful that the charges had been dismissed.

GUTFELD: And they're wrong.

WATTERS: Go ahead, Morgan.

ORTAGUS: Well, that's not what the prosecutor said. In fact, the prosecutor I think went on in the last hour or two and said the opposite that he has not been exonerated. I think the most powerful point that I saw today is when Rahm Emanuel and the police chief were giving the press conference, and Rahm Emanuel talked about the damage to the LGBTQ community and to people who suffer from any hate crimes, whether it's for your sexuality, or your religion, or what it may be.

And the fact that those crimes may now be doubted because of his actions and what he did. For me that was the most compelling part of the press conference because we do know these things are on the rise. And instead of trying to get to the root of the problem, we just want to blame anybody because of their politics and who they support.

Why don't we realize that hate and racism and all of these things doesn't matter what political opponent -- political party you support or what your religion is. It comes in all forms. And plenty of people are guilty of it. Let's stop demonizing everybody for what they believe.

WATTERS: The prosecutor told the New York Times this, Dana, he said he dropped the charges because it wasn't a violent crime and Smollett is not a threat to public safety. And he called it a deal, said there were no holes in the case. He did file a false police report and just prosecuting him did not seem like it was a priority.

PERINO: You know where you can find the deep state?

GUTFELD: Chicago.

PERINO: At the state attorney general's office.

WATTERS: Yeah.

PERINO: And there have been many complaints about her and her tenure, including from the fraternal order of police there, specifically about -- basically sort of like letting things go and not allowing them to do their jobs. If you allow somebody to get away with this of perpetuating their own hate crime to get attention so that he could get more money, because - what was it $150,000 an episode wasn't enough from Empire. And you're just going to let this go. And we didn't even play the sound of him getting up to the podium saying, of course I'm so innocent.

WATTERS: He's standing by.

ORTAGUS: But his record is sealed and yet he gets to go out and say that.

GUTFELD: He's got a problem because no one believes him. So, he's going to for the rest of his life going to have this clout--

WATTERS: Juan believes him.

GUTFELD: No. Until you get - but you've got to bring in - you have to bring in the two guys I mean are they still out on the street. The two brothers who admitted attacked him.

WILLIAMS: Right. So, it'd be interesting to hear from them.

PERINO: Can we arrest them?

GUTFELD: They have to be arrested.

WILLIAMS: We have not heard from them yet. But let me just say--

GUTFELD: What if there is a deal between--

WILLIAMS: But I want to respond to what Morgan said. Morgan, in fact what we've learned from the Mueller report, he says, oh you know what this doesn't exonerate him on obstruction. GUTFELD: What a comparison.

WILLIAMS: It doesn't exonerate--

GUTFELD: What a comparison--

GUTFELD: We don't agree with the prosecution. You want to now disparage the prosecutor--

ORTAGUS: Wait, did Trump perpetrate his own crime against himself.

GUTFELD: Yes.

ORTAGUS: To use a Democrat line, we haven't seen the Mueller Report.

WILLIAMS: Yes.

GUTFELD: That's or a leap of faith.

WILLIAMS: I just think some people can't say you know what it looks like this guy has been clear--

WATTERS: I want to ask you a serious question. You believe that Jussie Smollett actually was attacked by random guys wearing MAGA hats at the night? Do you believe that?

WILLIAMS: No, not white guys. He said that he was attacked.

WATTERS: OK. So, who do you believe attacked him, Juan?

WILLIAMS: I don't know. How do I know.

WATTERS: You don't think that Nigerians attacked him.

WILLIAMS: What?

WATTERS: You don't think the Nigerians attacked him.

WILLIAMS: That's what they said--

PERINO: They're actually American--

WATTERS: OK. So, they're two Nigerian Americans who told the police and the grand jury that they orchestrated this plot with him. You think they're lying.

WILLIAMS: I think something--

WATTERS: You think they would purposely lie and tell a grand jury that they committed a crime.

ORTAGUS: (Inaudible).

WATTERS: Really?

WILLIAMS: Yes, I want to tell you something, it doesn't matter what I think.

WATTERS: No wonder you believe the collusion.

ORTAGUS: Oh! My God. Unbelievable.

GUTFELD: That's when you should wrap, Jesse.

WATTERS: All right.

WILLIAMS: Give him a break.

WATTERS: The mainstream media is actually defending their coverage of the Mueller probe. Greg breaks it down next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GUTFELD: When you're faced with a resounding humiliation that exposes how badly you messed up the news, you've got two options. A, admit your mistakes and learn from them. B, circle the wagons and dig a deeper grave. Guess what the media chose.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you have had the media do over the past two years. So, we've reported on horse farms. In Kentucky. Are done investigations into how many eating tree bark would lower our cholesterol. What would you have had us do? (END VIDEO CLIP)

GUTFELD: I would have read that story about tree bark. So, let's compare. This is Rachel Maddow from last week. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW: Brendan Van Grech my favorite name in the whole Trump Russia probe. Honestly if there wasn't a person involved in this investigation named Brendan Van Grech, you'd have to invent one. (END VIDEO CLIP)

GUTFELD: Here's her now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: In 1974, Leon Jaworski was the special prosecutor who was investigating Watergate and related issues within the Nixon administration. The first special prosecutor of course had been Archibald Cox. (END VIDEO CLIP)

GUTFELD: Wow. So, without Russia, she's reduced to doing a history class for shut ins. She's one month from scribbling help me on a chalkboard. Next week, she'll be saying this/

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: We're really freaking old. I mean in cable news years we're like a thousand. We're like Great Uncle Pete who is always falling asleep in the Thanksgiving mashed potatoes right. We are a long thin eel still swimming around New Zealand ready to embark on the next phase of its mysterious fish life after the age of 100.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUTFELD: Yes. Meanwhile, CNN honcho Jeff Zucker excuses his guilt saying we are not investigators, we are journalists. So, he admits his anchors are only stenographers not people capable of ferreting out facts. Why work when media matters can fit your script onto one sheet. But that doesn't explain why they climbed into bed with Michael Avenatti as he tried to destroy an innocent man. Now he's been arrested and one of CNN's former legal analysts may have been involved. I call it a bad week for CNN, but it's just another week for CNN.

It'd be nice to see some introspection from the media maybe ask themselves how do we fall for this and did we play a role in fooling others. But they can't because there is profit in this narrative, a narrative that so division that could have destroyed a country by branding a President, a Russian spy. They didn't care. They still don't. The problem is they got caught. But I'm worried, what did these people do when they've driven their profession into the ground. There is always vaudeville.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Songs that made, guys like us we had it made. Those were the days. This is my favorite part. I would have to be Archie. Guys are guys, men are men, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUTFELD: It's always good to have a backup plan. All right. Media seems in a defensive mode, Dana.

PERINO: Oh! Yes. A little bit. They're feeling a little bit, but they've got a plan.

GUTFELD: They do.

PERINO: Do you want to know what the plan is?

GUTFELD: What is it?

PERINO: OK. The two things that they're going to go after. One, they will say that Bill Barr is compromised because Mueller did not make a decision on obstruction though as Andy McCarthy points out that was his job.

GUTFELD: Right.

PERINO: So, what did we pay you for your job as a prosecutor is to make a decision. You didn't even do that. So, now Jerry Nadler and other Democrats are going to be able to say Barr can we see you please. Mueller, can we see you please. Can you come up here and explain to us how you were supposed to have an apolitical report and now it's totally compromised because you let a political appointee decide that President Trump is not guilty of obstruction. And that's exactly where they are heading. You heard it here first, you don't have to watch the other channels for--

GUTFELD: Don't watch the other channels. Jesse, isn't really the media the deep state?

WATTERS: Greg, I think you're onto something here. The Morning Joe clip you played at the top. It's a straw man argument. We're not saying, yes, I want you to report on horse farms in Kentucky. Just report the story fairly and report it from both sides. You can still report on the Russia collusion investigation, but look around you, don't just look on one side of the story because that's what Fox did. And then we benefited from that. I think what's going to happen now and you saw the ratings last night. The ratings for Fox were astronomical and the ratings for CNN lower than usual and MSNBC really, really soft.

There is going to be a hangover, I think you said at the top. People are going to feel deceived. If I were a reviewer, I would feel misled. And you know when you feel like you've put all your eggs in one basket and then it doesn't deliver, you're going to take a little break from TV and you're not going to watch TV for a little while. I think a lot of Republicans stop watching TV after Romney lost, because people and the media told them that Romney was going to win in a huge landslide. When that didn't happen, they tuned out for a couple of months and that's what you'll see for the rest of the press.

GUTFELD: Juan, why is this so hard just to say, hey, we got it wrong. WILLIAMS: Well, I'm still waiting because actually I thought what Jeff Zucker said was on target. Reporters don't have subpoena power. We don't have--

ORTAGUS: He was talking about his reporter.

WILLIAMS: Yes, but he said, reporters--

ORTAGUS: Reporters are different from people that are on air like a John Brennan.

WILLIAMS: No, hang on. The question was about the media in general and about few (ph) surprises that went to The New York Times, The Washington Post and all of a sudden you seem to say what kind of - why were these awards given to these journalists when in fact here's the finding of the Mueller special counsel. But in fact, the media doesn't have the power to put people in jail to investigate a foreign power trying to subvert an American election. That's something that's done by people in power and the journalist job is to report on that. And Jesse you said--

WATTERS: They vet too Juan.

WILLIAMS: Nobody--

WATTERS: Support they have the vet.

WILLIAMS: Of course. But Jesse you said no attention to the contrary set of facts coming from the Trump administration. To the contrary, we put Trump on TV every day saying, no collusion, witch hunt and all those deep states that was--

WATTERS: MSNBC investigate the dossier. Did they investigate the Strock text? Did they investigate--

WILLIAMS: How much talk we had--

WATTERS: Not as much as we did.

ORTAGUS: I would just say that there are some responsible journalists I saw like ABC, I think his name is Terry Moran who said you know all of these people who came forward and said all of these things like Brennan especially and you go through the list of Democratic operatives masking themselves as intelligence officials who have accused the president of treason. He has now said I'm going to push back against all of these people and demand more evidence. And so, I hope more people follow this honest reporter's lead and don't just take whatever the Democrats. We see they're hiding. Adam Schiff and all of these guys just hide behind the cloak of having some sort of valued intelligence that the rest of us don't have. And it turned out to be a lie.

GUTFELD: All right. Disgraced celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti adamant he'll be exonerated. What makes him so sure? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ORTAGUS: Massive Trump critic and disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti facing almost 100 years in prison for allegedly attempting to extort millions from Nike and allegedly committing wire and bank fraud in a separate case in California. Avenatti adamant he will be fully exonerated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY: I am highly confident that when all of the evidence is laid bare in connection with these cases, when it is all known, when due process occurs that I will be fully exonerated, and justice will be done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ORTAGUS: Right. Quite a steep fall from grace for a guy who was once a media darling. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got lucky tonight, we're back with attorney Michael Avenatti. He is a main player sitting beside me right now. I'm not going to let you cheat you. You have to guess and hint his name is Michael Avenatti. Look, I think you're doing a hell of a job. I don't think you're in this for money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never seen anyone pander to an audience like you just did. How dare you, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're something else. Michael Avenatti, I'd like to meet you sometime over dinner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen.

AVENATTI: Please, whatever you do, don't call me anything other than Michael Cohen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was good though.

AVENATTI: Not really.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: Wow.

ORTAGUS: That's gross. So, Juan since you decided to defend Smollett, I thought you might want to defend Avenatti.

WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know. You know Democrats are pretty upset with Avenatti for what he did in the Kavanaugh hearings, if you recall Morgan.

ORTAGUS: Kavanaugh was upset about what he did in Kavanaugh hearings.

WILLIAMS: Well, no I think in fact he helped Kavanaugh, because the woman that he introduced and it's similarly you know the fact--

ORTAGUS: False charge are really helpful.

WILLIAMS: Well, that's right. There you go. So, I just think that he - but I was struck by what you said at the top, Morgan. He's facing nearly 100 years in jail.

ORTAGUS: Good.

WILLIAMS: And he's saying that this is incredible to me because I know David Boies, he says Boies played the prosecutors and he's making it out as if the prosecutors have fallen for some kind of scheme. I just think that this guy is way over his head, if he thinks that David Boies who might be you know the most celebrated lawyer in the country is going to risk everything going to prosecutors with some false claim. I just think it's hard to understand.

ORTAGUS: You know Dana, there was something that I was curious about, the Southern District of New York has this case against the President on campaign finance. I think largely from the stuff that Avenatti brought up. Is there any sort of correlation here? Do you think that - you know what I mean?

PERINO: So, Preet Bharara who was the U.S. Attorney there and he has a new book out called Doing Justice. And it's not at all political, it's just all about the law. So, I had him on today and I wanted to ask him about the SDNY. But then Smollett broke. But what he says in the book and this is what the - take it or not. I'm just going tell you the SDNY people believe that they do great work that no matter who it is that they go after them.

I have a feeling though especially with Avenatti lawyers do not like dirty lawyers, right. So, prosecutors are going to make sure that he has to - this guy, he says he's confident he'll be exonerated. I'm confident that he'll be found guilty.

ORTAGUS: Yes. What do you think Greg?

GUTFELD: The reason why the Democrats and the media are upset with Avenatti was that they thought he was going to be their hero.

ORTAGUS: Right.

GUTFELD: And he turned out to be a lying scumbag and everybody now can see it. Like most of us, all of us could see a sleazy person a mile away, but not if you're under the spell of confirmation bias. During the Kavanaugh hearing, the media wanted to believe in him because they wanted Kavanaugh to be deemed some kind of a serial rapist, so they overlooked the scumminess of this lawyer.

So, Avenatti was able to game the system, game the media because you could see that by feeding the media what they wanted, they were going to overlook everything about him, all the little things the signs were telling you this dude is bad news. I know this dude is bad news but he's telling me what I want to hear. And so, they indulged him and gave him a bigger footprint. And that's where he just he just fell in love with the spotlight and now--

ORTAGUS: And also, he has so much greed.

PERINO: Yes.

GUTFELD: Yes.

ORTAGUS: Jesse would you ever predicted no collusion and Avenatti indicted?

WATTERS: I didn't make a prediction. Can we roll the tape? That whole shell game that he was trying to arrange is done. I think he's going to probably declare bankruptcy, or he may spend time in prison. That's Gutfeld invitation. Congratulate myself in someone else's segment.

GUTFELD: I haven't done that in ages.

ORTAGUS: Well, you're right.

WATTERS: I was.

ORTAGUS: OK. Well, One More Thing is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PERINO: Time now for One More Thing, Greg.

GUTFELD: I bet you're not sick of this are you.

PERINO: Not at all.

GUTFELD: Animals are great. Interesting fact in Australia, did you know they have animals?

PERINO: Yes.

GUTFELD: They do. But they have weird animals because they're so far away that as the Earth develop, they got weird animals like this one. This is called a koala bear, but it's not really a bear. It's actually a bird. Did you know that? It's a hairy bird.

WATTERS: It's not a bird.

GUTFELD: It's a bird and it's inside somebody's car and it won't get out because it's very hot in Australia. So, this unusual rare bird they call it the koala bear will not leave this man's car and he's trying to get it out and they look really friendly, but they're actually very mean birds. Koala bears are mean--

PERINO: Why are you doing fake news to children who love Animals Are Great.

GUTFELD: I want them to get poor grades in biology. I want them when they go into school to tell their teachers that the Koala bear. All right. Well, move on.

PERINO: OK, we're moving on to mine, because mine is amazing. Alex Griswold of The Washington Free Beacon, Jesse.

GUTFELD: No, it's not free. You have to pay for it.

PERINO: He made this great video of all the Democratic 2020 candidates as Michael Scott quotes from the office. Here's three examples. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is an incredibly attractive person. You are going to be more professional. That's what I'm going to do. I told them that if they graduated from high school, I would pay for their college education. I have made some empty promises in my life, but hands down that was the most cherished.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERINO: Hands down. We'll have the - the link to the full video as on THE FIVE's Facebook page. I don't know who's next job. Jesse.

GUTFELD: That was embarrassing.

WATTERS: I'm still trying to get over the koala bears. What's going on there. All right. You guys ever had a bad day at work. Juan, I know you have. Take a look at this guy who had a horrible day of work at a restaurant in Virginia Beach just trying to put some cups up on there and didn't go. Do you ever that happen and you're just left holding the one stack still up there, it's kind of like propping up the collusion conspiracy. That's what happens.

PERINO: This is your One More Thing. Well, Juan top that.

WATTERS: At least I'm not lying to the audience like Greg.

WILLIAMS: Wow. Getting little testy here. All right. One man's hero, another man's zero. That's Pennsylvania Verizon worker, Maurice German rescuing Princess Momma, a cat that was stranded on a utility pole for 12 hours after calling the fire department, animal rescue and the phone company. The cat's owners asked German for help. He used his truck's hydraulic lift to raise himself up and grab the kitty.

And for saving the cat, he was suspended for three weeks without pay. Verizon said, using the hydraulic system near electrical wires violated its policies. Neighbors have created a GoFundMe page for German and it's raised over $3000. Verizon has made a donation to the local animal rescue group. So, good things came of what looked like a very troubled situation.

PERINO: All right, Morgan Ortega. Since I said it wrong.

ORTAGUS: Thank you.

GUTFELD: It's Ortagus.

ORTAGUS: So, I have some really cool pictures. Many of you in the audience know I'm a Navy Reserve Officer of a new unit and it's in Fallon Nevada which is co-located with Top Gun. And I got to go out with these awesome pilots. That's Lamar, my pilot that was just pictured there. That's his call sign and Admiral Cheever. I was on F-18 Super Hornet for an hour. We did 7.4 Gs. So, for those of you in the audience who know that I did not throw up or pass out which was really awesome. They're also filming Top Gun 2 out there, which is very cool. So, for a reserve unit, this is pretty awesome. Thank you, guys, for the F-18 Super Hornet ride. Go Navy.

PERINO: All right. And for everybody at the table, a koala is not a bear. It is a--

ORTAGUS: Bird.

GREG GUTFELD, HOST: It's a bird.

PERINO: -- marsupial.

GUTFELD: It's a bird.

PERINO: Marsupial.

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