This is a rush transcript from "Tucker Carlson Tonight," January 18, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: This is a Fox News Alert. Just moments ago, the Office of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, denied a report that ran last night in BuzzFeed. That story said that President Trump had ordered Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.
The story set off a full day of speculation in Washington from Members of Congress and the media that impeachment and indictment might be imminent. Now, to repeat, the Special Counsel is denying the substance of that story.
Good evening and welcome to “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” This is moving very fast. A remarkable day. Trace Gallagher has more on what is happening. Trace?
TRACE GALLAGHER, CORRESPONDENT: And this really is the bombshell, Tucker, because breaking right now, as you said, Robert Mueller's Special Counsel, a spokesperson has knocked down this BuzzFeed report.
Quoting now, "BuzzFeed's description of specific statements to the Special Counsel's Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen's Congressional testimony are not accurate."
That is critical because, remember, the BuzzFeed report laid this at the door of the Special Counsel saying, quoting again, "The Special Counsel's Office learned about Trump's directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents."
But one of the reporters, who wrote the piece, admitted he never saw the alleged damning documents. But he still maintained that his reporting was rock-solid. Listen to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY CORMIER, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, BUZZFEED NEWS: I am rock solid. My sourcing on this goes beyond the two that are on the record. This 100 percent happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Yes, 100 percent, except President Trump says it 100 percent didn't happen tweeting, "Lying to reduce jail time," clearly referencing Michael Cohen's three-year prison sentence.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley added this comment. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: This is absolutely - absolutely ludicrous that we are giving any type of credence or credibility to a news outlet like BuzzFeed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: And he's right. BuzzFeed does have credibility issues, including multiple accusations of plagiarizing and stealing original content. A Pew Research survey also found the publication to be unreliable.
And, of course, BuzzFeed published the uncorroborated and salacious Steele dossier, which was labeled an unverified smear of President Trump.
Even Democrats, eager to impeach the President, had to qualify their comments today saying if the information is true. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK ROBERT WARNER, D-VA: We don't know whether the new report about Cohen being told to lie by the President is true or not. We'll have to ask Mr. Cohen that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Yes. Cohen is supposed to go back before Congress next month. But his Legal Adviser, Lanny Davis, says he might be having second thoughts about that. Remember, 24 hours after BuzzFeed broke this story, nobody matched the reporting. And now we know it's because it wasn't true.
CARLSON: Just unbelievable. Just unbelievable. If you've been by a television today, you have seen a level of frothy hysteria that really I've - I've never seen in 25 years of watching.
Trace Gallagher, thank you very much.
CARLSON: Andy McCarthy is a Contributing Editor at National Review. He's the former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York, and he joins us tonight.
Andy McCarthy, this is not - I mean I think most of us were at least taking seriously the possibility that this story was rooted in fact. Now the Special Counsel's Office, which has commented on virtually nothing for the past two years, is knocking it down.
What is your reaction to this?
ANDREW MCCARTHY, NATIONAL REVIEW CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Well I think the most important thing, Tucker, is the money (ph) paragraph of the - of the BuzzFeed story is the one that Trace Gallagher honed in on.
And the reason that's important is because what - what the Trump response to this, if there were any credibility to it would want to be, is that you can't believe anything that Cohen says because he's a pervasive serial liar.
But the way this story was teed up, it was that Mueller had developed independent information--
MCCARTHY: --and corroborated it, pieced it together himself, and then he confronted Cohen on it.
Not - it's - it's not a thing where, you know, Cohen is peddling this information. So that, if I were the White House, that would have been the part that would have alarmed me the most, and that's the part that it appears that - that Mueller has blown up.
I think the big hesitation that those of us, who watch this sort of thing and did this sort of work, prosecutor work, for - for a living also couldn't get our brains wrapped around is that what a prosecutor would normally do, if he thought that there was a conspiracy between Trump and Cohen to lie to Congress, is you would have Cohen plead guilty to conspiracy, to obstruct a Congressional investigation, and then have him in court when the judge asks, "What did you do that makes you guilty?" say, "I was involved in this conspiracy with the President. He told me to lie to Congress. And I went on ahead and did it."
MCCARTHY: You didn't see anything like that in the charges against Cohen.
CARLSON: So, where could this story have come from, do you think? I mean by my reading of it, and it was parts of it were unclear by design, but it left the impression that this was an allegation directly from the Office of the Special Counsel.
CARLSON: What do you make, I mean--
MCCARTHY: Yes. The word that--
CARLSON: --where do you think this information came from?
MCCARTHY: Yes. The - the word that struck - struck out - stuck out to me, Tucker, when I read this, was the word "an," oddly - oddly enough.
They - they say at the beginning of the story that the two sources are connected to "an" investigation of Cohen, which made it elusive whether they were talking about the investigation of Cohen, meaning the Special Counsel's investigation.
So, you don't know coming away from this are these a couple of guys who, you know, are in the loop enough to get briefed on law enforcement investigations, but are not in the core of Mueller's team. It's very hard to - to make a judgment about that.
But I can only tell you from, you know, I - I was fortunate enough, as a prosecutor, to work on a couple of cases that were pretty high-profile cases.
And if you asked the number of people who now would say to you that they worked on those cases and were the Case Agent on the case, there's probably more people who would say it than were, you know, than saw Bobby Thomson's home run.
You know, there's an awful lot of people who--
CARLSON: It's a - no, it's a fair point.
MCCARTHY: --say they have lots of information. Yes.
CARLSON: Right. It's like there were 15 million people who claimed to have been at Woodstock. Why would--
CARLSON: --why would the Special Counsel's Office weigh in on this tonight in the way that it did?
MCCARTHY: I'm really pleased that they did. I think that probably this is the sort of thing that could really compromise the President's ability to govern.
I think a lot of us who have been troubled by this investigation from the beginning think that there's been too much deference to investigative secrecy, and not enough acknowledgement that when you have a Special Counsel investigation, it really makes it very difficult for the President to govern the country, which is a much more--
MCCARTHY: --important thing than investigative secrecy. I think here, perhaps, Mueller saw that this was really harming the President and it was just flat wrong, so he - he felt compelled to say something.
CARLSON: What do you think of the reaction by Members of Congress today to this story?
MCCARTHY: Well, you know, it's such - it's so political now, it's, you know, each - each side but the - the Democrats, in particular, who've just been, you know, deranged about Trump from the start, anything that seems like it's blood in the water, they just go berserk over.
So, I - I can't be surprised by anything anymore.
CARLSON: Amazing! It's an amazing moment, still trying to shift gears here. Andy McCarthy--
CARLSON: --thank you very much for your insight into that.
MCCARTHY: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: Dan Bongino is a former Secret Service Agent. He's the Author of Spygate: The Ascent - Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump, and he joins us tonight.
Dan, I guess this shouldn't be as surprising as we are saying it is.
DANIEL JOHN BONGINO, FORMER AGENT OF THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE: Yes.
CARLSON: One of the reporters, whose byline is on this story, Anthony Cormier seems like a real reporter to me. Well, he's a real reporter, and seems like a decent one.
The other guy, whose name on - is on the story, Jason Leopold is a political activist with a long history of making reckless and unfounded charges. He's the guy who reported in 2006, I believe, that Karl Rove had been indicted, and that turned out--
CARLSON: --to be false. He's - he's not a journalist. Again, he's a political activist. So, what does this tell us about the credibility of BuzzFeed or any publication that would employ a guy like this to cover a story this central?
BONGINO: Yes, Tucker. There's also some other allegations out there about Leopold about plagiarism. This - this is a real black eye for the media today.
Now, as you know, Tucker, BuzzFeed has been involved in a significant fake news campaign before as well, where they were the first run - ones to run with the Dossier, which really was the initiation and the flashpoint for this whole investigation.
Tucker, this isn't really a good day. You know, listen, I'm a supporter of the President. I - I don't think that's a big secret. But we do need a free and fair press or some semblance of it, Tucker.
BONGINO: And even though I do my best to call out instances of malicious malfeasance and misfeasance in reporting, this story today is a significant black eye for the media outlets all over the country.
And you know what? It shows that Donald Trump is correct when he - when he says that a lot of times these people are, at a minimum, the - the enemies of truth. I think that's a pretty accurate statement at this point.
This story was devastating. I mean you saw it. People were frothing at the mouth all day over this.
BONGINO: There were calls for impeachment. There was a guy on another network making Nixon-like allegations over his Twitter account to hundreds of thousands of people. This does the country absolutely no - this was really a disgrace.
CARLSON: It - but it was revealing. I mean the - the story was tough, and let me just be completely honest about it.
If that story had been accurate, I think it would have been very hard for the Administration to survive it. I mean the story, again, alleged that the President had directed his Personal Attorney to lie to the Congress of the United States under oath, to commit perjury.
So that's not - so--
CARLSON: --that's a crime. It's a felony. So, it was a very, very serious story. But the reaction from the press, but it turned out to be a false story, and it was always a story that was not corroborated.
CARLSON: There were no names in it. So, the reaction from the press all day long was, you know, finally. I mean it was like Christmas. We got him. We've been working for two years to get him, and we finally got him.
And I wonder if that's the role of the press. That seems like the role of political consultants to me, to get a politician.
BONGINO: Well - well, Tucker, I'm not in any way trying to be self- laudatory. I pat myself on the back. But there were red flags, as a former Federal Agent, all over this story earlier in the day.
Let me point out two. Why would Donald Trump lie and initiate a crime which, you are correct, instructing Michael Cohen to lie? If that happened, which now it looks like it obviously didn't, is a crime. Why would he instruct him to lie about a non-crime? A building project in Moscow, Tucker, is not illegal.
BONGINO: There's nothing illegal about it. That part of the story made no sense.
But secondly, think about this, Tucker. You were in journalism before. You know, you have the scoop of the century right here, right? And you give it to BuzzFeed and to a reporter at BuzzFeed with a checkered past, what does this say to you?
Think this through in the audience. This was probably some kind of a canary trap. It was probably someone feeding false information to sniff out some leakers on the inside of the government. The only people eager enough to pick up this ridiculous story was this discredited guy at BuzzFeed with a history of malicious actions in the journalism field.
That's what it says to me. I could be wrong. It could just be a bad source. But this says to me that this was probably a canary trap, and this guy got suckered into the whole thing. There were red flags all over this story, if you were paying attention.
CARLSON: One of the reasons this country's so volatile right now is because nobody trusts people in authority, so many of our institutions have been discredited. And part of the reason they're discredited is because nobody's ever held - held accountable for misdeeds, for screwing up, intentionally or not.
So, here you have a publication that has the support to the tune of tens--
CARLSON: --hundreds of millions dollars from business. BuzzFeed has a huge market cap, OK? And they're the ones who printed the Dossier without verifying any of it. It turned out to be false. It turned out to be a political document.
And then they run this story and you sort of wonder at a certain point, BuzzFeed's only been around for a few years, and they've run two of the biggest, what appear to be, hoaxes of this moment. Is there any accountability--
CARLSON: --at all?
BONGINO: I - I don't think so. The only accountability is that the public and the journal - Tucker, journalists have one job, just one, to get the facts right.
When you don't get the facts right, and the public overwhelmingly, upwards of 80 to 90 percent of Conservatives don't trust you, you know, that kind of says like, you suck, pardon my language, but you'd not to (ph)--
BONGINO: --it's like if your job is to sell cars, and you don't sell a car, you're fired. The media's one job is to get the facts right. When 90 percent of people in a political party say you're not telling the truth that - that's the ultimate barometer of your - your - your #EpicFailure.
Tucker, this isn't even it. They failed on the Mike Flynn story, the Deutsche Bank story, the WikiLeaks Don Jr. story--
BONGINO: --McClatchy on the - on the - the Prague dossier Cohen story, the drapes Nikki Haley story in The New York Times, it is just endless. And the public trust in the media's gone. This is not a good day for the country. Believe me--
CARLSON: Well that - that's - that's--
BONGINO: --I'm not smiling about this.
CARLSON: --what it is. And that's, you know, the root of it is - is understandable, recognizable to anybody who's ever supervised reporters. I've supervised a lot of reporters. And I always told them, I've got, you know, pretty strong political views.
But I always say to the reporters, "If you're too angry, if you hate the person you write about, or if you love the person you write about, you shouldn't be writing about that person because you can't see things clearly, and you're very likely to make mistakes because you're blinded by your own emotions."
So, if you're the Editor, assigning this piece at BuzzFeed, and you're assigning it to a guy who's a political activist, transparently, and who has a history of getting things wrong and making things up and plagiarizing, that's crazy behavior. That's reckless behavior. Why would you do that?
BONGINO: And - and, Tucker, even worse is these stories that are mistakes and are not properly edited, or not properly supervised, or not properly fact-checked, are so transparently obvious that there was a missing step. You had one of the reporters admit he hasn't seen the evidence.
What guy - I mean is this - this is journalism--
BONGINO: --in this era? And the stories, Tucker, are never ever mistakes, with the dreaded air quotes, are never mistakes that are pro-Trump. That's got to say to you that something is wrong. And believe me, I don't want pro-Trump mistakes. I want fair coverage.
I'm simply suggesting that when a litany of stories over the Trump two years in office right now, which are bombshells are continuously debunked in - in - in just an incredible fashion, embarrassing the media, and are anti-Trump, you got to believe there's something wrong in America's newsrooms.
But they just have no ability to self-reflect because--
CARLSON: That's totally true.
BONGINO: --they can't see themselves. It's like The Truman Show, Tucker. They are Jim Carrey--
CARLSON: The standards--
BONGINO: --in The Truman Show right now.
CARLSON: --the standards have gotten - and I feel - so this Cormier guy, who was a newspaper reporter, won a Pulitzer Prize, seems like kind of a straight-arrow guy. He gets the - double byline with this kind of nutty Leopold character, who everyone knows is not a reliable narrator, to put it mildly.
I can't imagine why he accepted writing a story with this - with this other guy. Very - turned out to be a--
BONGINO: Well - yes.
CARLSON: --big mistake, I guess. Dan, thank you very much. Good to see you.
BONGINO: Thanks a lot, Tucker. Good seeing you.
CARLSON: Well tonight's news completely upends what we thought we were going to talk about tonight, and what virtually everyone in Washington has believed for the last 24 hours.
It's especially surprising because the Mueller team has been so very hesitant to comment on anything in public, anything about the investigation, or reporting about the investigation.
Fox Chief National Correspondent, Ed Henry, has been following all of this closely for more than a year now, and he's got--
CARLSON: --some perspective for us.
HENRY: Yes, Tucker, I mean--
HENRY: --you're absolutely right because Robert Mueller has been accused by Conservatives of leaking and - and being out to get the President. You've heard the witch-hunt claim. And his allies, some of them Democrats, have said for a long time, he doesn't comment. He doesn't weigh in. He's trying to be fair.
And so, for him to insert himself is extremely rare, and tells you, this story is 100 percent not true. Why is that a big deal? Well because we had commentator after commentator come out today on other networks, and there should be accountability, as you suggested at the top.
And as a reporter, I'm getting kind of angry about this because as a journalist--
HENRY: --you said you've instructed a lot of reporters over the years, and you have. And, you know, another thing, we instruct reporters and colleagues, and we talk about newsrooms is, you never say, "If true, this is a big deal." And it--
HENRY: --how many times did you hear that today, Tucker? You heard it over and over again.
HENRY: "If true, this is a big deal." "If true, it can lead to impeachment." "Well, if true that Ed Henry robbed a bank, he's in serious trouble."
HENRY: I didn't rob a bank. You don't have any evidence of it.
And I think the most important part of the Robert Mueller statement is not the first line, but the second line where he talks about the idea that there's evidence collected by the Special Counsel's Office is not true.
That's significant because what every critic of the President was hanging this story on today was that it's not Michael Cohen, an admitted liar, his word against the President.
HENRY: It's emails, text messages and other things in the Trump world. And now, Robert Mueller is saying, "I don't have those text messages, those documents." Again, we have to be careful. We have to see. We can't overcorrect the story as well.
Bob Mueller's investigation is still ongoing. We'll see what he has.
CARLSON: Exactly. I agree.
HENRY: Let's not say the President's in the clear tonight. But let's not impeach him, as a whole bunch of people did over the last 24 hours.
My final point on this is, is Axios, which is, again, supposed to be a very credible organization, they have a lot of credible people there.
I was just reading as I was listening to you and Dan Bongino, they had this all outtake a few hours ago about how what's really, really bad for the President is that Donald Trump Jr. has exposure, because when you look at the story, and I'm looking down because I won't even (ph) read you the whole quote, but the BuzzFeed story said that Don Jr. and Ivanka and other family members had exposure.
Well if the core part of the story about there being evidence that the President directed Michael Cohen to lie is bogus, the stuff about Don Jr. and Ivanka must be bogus as well. So, why do we have so many people in the media who seem to be part of some sort of a lynch mob?
"Let's indict Donald Trump Jr. Let's say, you know, let - let's bring all these people down." How about we just wait for the facts? How about we take a deep breath and follow the facts on the story, which is what we're supposed to do as journalists.
CARLSON: First thing I did this morning, first thing, when I woke up was called around. Yes, I woke up early too. And I - I called a bunch of people I know who were sort of plugged in, I said, "This story looks really bad. And if it was written about me--
HENRY: Yes, yes.
CARLSON: --I'd be very concerned." And I got back word (ph), you know, they don't seem concerned actually. I didn't talk to anyone at the White House.
But - but I talked to people who did, and they said they don't seem worried at all. I thought that either they're lying or they really - they know something that I don't know or that it's not reflected in the story.
So, what's the effect, since you've been in journalism so long--
CARLSON: --both of us worked at another network--
CARLSON: --20 years ago.
CARLSON: You've seen our business change. When Trump exits the stage at some point and all of this is over, what's left of our business, journalism?
HENRY: Yes. The honest answer is - is I - is I simply don't know. I mean I think, to be fair, we should push back when the President shouts fake news, and says, "The fake news is the enemy of the American people." I know some people are not going to like me saying it.
CARLSON: Yes, no, that's fine.
HENRY: But as a journalist, I'm going to be honest with you. I'm going to give you a blunt direct answer. I don't think that that's helpful.
On the other hand, the critics of the President should wake up, because the fact of the matter is when you keep producing fake news, and it's not just BuzzFeed and the story, my broader point is--
CARLSON: No, I know.
HENRY: --all - CNN and everyone else who when you wake up this morning, the President's about to be impeached, if true, of course, they had that little caveat, that's just as bad as the original story because you're - you're supposed to have credibility.
And - and I just simply think that that people hanging it on this "If true" business, the more fake news you create, the more fodder you're giving that man there, the Commander-in-Chief to say, "You know what? You are fake news."
And like I said, I'm trying to be fair, honest, fair and balanced, as we say here, and - and say that when the President says that, sometimes that's not fair. Sometimes, it is, folks, because there are a whole bunch of people who are creating fake news. And the more you do it, the more the President's going to say it and, you know what, the less credibility, as you said, many in the mainstream media are going to have.
CARLSON: So, you often hear people in Washington say, and no one has more contempt for the public than people who live in our city, as you well know.
CARLSON: But you often hear them say, you know, the morons out there--
CARLSON: --in the sort of great middle of the country, they believe all these conspiracy theories, and they're going to all these flaky websites for their news, and I often think to myself, "Why do you think they're doing that, you know, why do you think they're tuning into alternative news channels?" Because you're running stories like this--
CARLSON: --so like why would they believe you?
HENRY: Right. And, you know, I was having lunch with a Democrat that you know today, and I was pressing on this point. I said, "Well what if this BuzzFeed story is not true?" And the person said something to the effect, "Well, but Russia. You know, Russia though they - they impacted the election."
And I said, why is it always this fallback it becomes, if you're not winning the argument, you're not sure if the story is true, it's just this fall-back on Russia, Russia, Russia. And we've talked about it many, many times. And it seems to be a convenient excuse for Democrats about why they lost the last election.
Folks, it's more than two years ago. We're now in the middle of a government shutdown. The President's talking about a crisis at the border. I was filling in for Martha tonight and we led not with this story because it broke about halfway through the show, but we led with the fact that an American record, Tucker, as you know, has now been set.
The most number of Central Americans or anyone from any background to break into America successfully, more than 300--
HENRY: --Central American migrants. And yet, we have a large number of people in the media, and a large number of people in Democratic parties saying, "It's a manufactured crisis." That's fake. It's not manufactured. It is a crisis. I'm not defending the President.
CARLSON: No way (ph).
HENRY: But you know what? He's right that there's a problem at the border. Look at the photos. Don't listen to me. Don't listen to the President. Look at - at what's--
HENRY: --actually happening. And yet, every time you talk about it, it's like, "Well, Russia. Russia something happened. They - they - they threw the election." And now the - and - and yet another story about that is not true. And so, credibility is suffering.
CARLSON: Really quick, Ed. Has BuzzFeed responded to the statement--
CARLSON: --from the Special Counsel's Office?
HENRY: --I'm - I'm looking. While--
CARLSON: Where do they go from here?
HENRY: --I was on the air, they put out, to be fair to them, they put out a tweet that said the Special Counsel is now denying our report from last night. So, and then they posted what that statement is.
So, in fairness to them, they are, at least to me, in the early stages look like they're being transparent about the fact that there's a dispute. But I'm not going to give them that much credit.
Yes, they're being transparent now. They should have been more transparent last night about the sourcing--
HENRY: --and also to get back to our conversation about newsrooms, how do you publish the story? I mean I know that the story, I'm - I'm refreshing my memory from last night about 10:00 P.M. Eastern, it said something about the Special Counsel not denying it.
Maybe the Special Counsel didn't know they were really going with the story. I don't know all the particulars. But you got to get the facts before you publish it. It's fine to be transparent now. But they could not go with the story until they had it nailed down.
And, by the way, on CNN this morning, one of the two reporters was saying, this is a 100 percent true. Look at CNN New Day's Twitter account. They still have a tweet up there--
HENRY: --with a long segment quoting the reporter from BuzzFeed saying "This story is 100 percent true," and by extension they were suggesting, this is really bad for Donald Trump. Well, you know what--
CARLSON: I was stuck. Yes, I - I--
HENRY: --story's not true.
CARLSON: --I listened to it. Stuck - involuntarily, stuck in an airport this morning. Why do they still play that crap in airports?
HENRY: I think - don't they pay to do that or something?
CARLSON: Yes, they - they pay. It's--
HENRY: I've - I've seen that on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
CARLSON: --it's - it's unbelievable. Ed Henry, thank you for that perspective.
HENRY: Good to be on with you (ph).
CARLSON: Appreciate it.
Well there turned out to be, and this is the understatement of the evening, a huge issue with BuzzFeed's sourcing of this report though, by the way, I'm just getting word that as of this hour, BuzzFeed is saying, "We stand by our reporting," even though the apparent source of the reporting, the person who would know, is now denying it.
Guy Benson's been watching all this. He's Political Editor at Townhall.com and, of course, co-host of Benson & Harf. He joins us tonight. Guy, what do you make of this?
GUY PELHAM BENSON, TOWNHALL.COM POLITICAL EDITOR: Oh, Tucker, I mean, yes, this is a huge issue, I think, for BuzzFeed here tonight.
I'm a little bit taken aback at this development that you just reported that they are standing by their reporting, because if that's what they're doing, they are contradicting Robert Mueller and the Special Counsel's team.
Are they calling them liars? Because they put out a statement very clearly. They know the cards that they hold, right? They're the Special Counsel's Office.
BENSON: They know what they do and do not know. For them to say, the way this story was reported is not accurate should be case-closed.
I would imagine, I guess, BuzzFeed probably in a bit of chaos here tonight, one more piece of this, Ronan Farrow, who is an Investigative Reporter at The New Yorker, he tweeted moments ago something very interesting.
He said, "I can't speak to BuzzFeed's sourcing, but, for what it's worth, I declined to run with parts of the narrative they," meaning BuzzFeed, "conveyed based on a source central to the story repeatedly disputing the idea that Trump directly issued orders of that kind," of that kind, meaning, to lie under oath to Michael Cohen.
So, there's Ronan Farrow, who's saying I got wind of this, and some of my best sources were telling me, "No, Trump did not do this." BuzzFeed went with it.
And here's my question, Tucker, because I was listening to your conversation a moment ago with Ed Henry very carefully, and you were talking about accountability, and accuracy, and all of that. I would like to know, at this point who were these two sources that are quoted by BuzzFeed?
BENSON: If they had been given false information, and now they've got egg and mud and everything else all over their face, it would seem, I think it's now time, journalistically, to burn the sources. Tell us who these unidentified law enforcement sources were--
BENSON: --who gave you the information that was so apparently inaccurate that Robert Mueller and his team took the stunning step of coming out on a Friday night, and putting out a denial of the story.
If you're going to stand by the sources, I'm a bit mystified by that. I think we now, as the American people, have a right to know who are these people, what did they tell you--
CARLSON: Well, of course.
BENSON: --and why.
CARLSON: So, this is an ongoing theme, and you see it very frequently in the media, which demands, as I think we should, transparency from people in power, show us your tax returns, you know, who did you speak to, where were you on the night of July 29th, whatever.
CARLSON: But then when caught making mistakes deliberately or accidentally, refuse to account for them.
So, NBC leaks its own Access Hollywood tape destroying the life of its own reporter, Billy Bush to the Washington Post, and then won't comment on what it did. In the case of BuzzFeed, doesn't that publication have a moral obligation, Ben Smith, its Editor have a moral obligation to tell us where did you get this?
OK. You misled us. You lied. You made a mistake. How did this happen?
BENSON: Right. So, that's the point. If you want to believe that the problem here is the sources, and if the sources aren't good that, obviously, reflects on the outlet that ran with those sources without attribution.
But if the core argument that BuzzFeed is going to make is, "We were told false things and ran with it, it looks bad for us," you would think they would want to hang those sources out to dry.
CARLSON: Exactly. That's exactly right.
BENSON: Right? If they were that wrong, they should come out and tell us, all right, they have given up their an - their anonymity. The quid pro quo here of - of not listing their names and attributing their names to those words, it's gone because of what's happened here, in the Mueller statement that they put out.
But, as of now, it would seem that they are quasi doubling down here, and they said, "Stay tuned." Believe me, we will.
CARLSON: I wish they'd stop calling themselves journalists. You know, run your little cat pictorials, your stupid little listicles or whatever you're thinking up in Brooklyn, but stop calling yourselves journalists, and stop playing in a world that you don't understand, which is what they're doing. Guy Benson--
BENSON: Well, you know, there's (ph)--
CARLSON: --it's infuriating. It's--
BENSON: Yes, right.
CARLSON: --it is infuriating because it makes - it really does devalue the currency that the rest of us trade in, I would say. Great to see you.
The press spent almost the entire day--
BENSON: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: --as you watched, reporting on BuzzFeed's false report and its implications, impeachment, indictment, may be a wave of indictments, maybe everybody goes to jail. Well it looks like not, at least for now.
Ethan Bearman is a progressive radio host in California, and a frequent guest in this show, he joins us tonight. So, I mean, Ethan, could this be, or let me rephrase the question, and make it a statement, this is an example of people believing what they wanted to believe.
ETHAN BEARMAN, LIBERAL RADIO SHOW HOST: Well I think that there was some of that.
However, I want to say something right up-front. It's - it's an interesting and odd day when I agree as much with Dan Bongino, as maybe even more so than Guy Benson right now, because he - Dan is right.
We have to have some trust and faith in journalists. And there is a problem--
BEARMAN: --right now, where journalists want to be opinion hosts, and they blur the line, because it's exciting to share your opinion. You and I love sharing our opinions. That's what we do, right?
CARLSON: Yes, no, that's true.
BEARMAN: And we want to base it upon facts. And it's really important that we have some faith. However, I think it's really important to parse the words of the Attorney here, the Special Counsel.
He didn't say false. Not accurate actually in a legal context is very different from false.
So, we don't know, and in slight deference to BuzzFeed at this point, because I am deeply disappointed in this news coming out, but some slight deference to BuzzFeed, which is, "Hey, let's figure out what isn't accurate before we throw all of it out."
Maybe there were pieces that were right.
BEARMAN: What pieces weren't, and - and I think it's important to understand what is wrong about it.
CARLSON: Look, I will say and I - you make a fair point. There's a lot we don't know. And I am not going to get over my skis and speculating about what did or did not happen. I don't think Russia's the primary threat we face, going forward. That's obvious.
But the specifics of this case are unknown, at least to me. So, you're right. We're going to find out a lot of stuff we don't know. But to have someone who would know, the Special Counsel take this extraordinary step of refuting, at least to some degree, the story tells you--
CARLSON: --it must have been pretty wrong. Why else would he do this because he's covering for Trump? Probably not, right?
BEARMAN: Yes. I mean this is absolutely astounding, as I was coming in and seeing this news come across, I - my jaw might have been dropping open because Mueller doesn't talk. His team doesn't talk.
CARLSON: Exactly. Now they're trying (ph)--
BEARMAN: For them to come out and talk right now - yes, this is a huge deal. But I also want to point out we have a new--
CARLSON: At least on the record.
BEARMAN: --yes, go ahead, Tucker.
CARLSON: I'm sorry. We're - I'm being told we're out of time. We blew a break. We're going to a hard break.
CARLSON: Ethan Bearman, it's always great to see you. Thank you for that.
BEARMAN: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: We'll be right back after this.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Kind of an amazing night.
Washington, for the last 24 hours, discussing impeachment, indictment, multiple indictments, all of the speculation flowing from a story that broke last night on BuzzFeed, a website famous for its cat videos, wading into the political realm with a piece claiming that Donald Trump ordered his Personal Lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie under oath to Congress.
That, of course, would be a felony. That would be obstruction of justice. That would be grounds for, in fact, impeachment. Tonight, right before we went on the air, in a move that has really no precedent at all, Robert Mueller's Office, which never comments on anything, issued a statement unbidden saying, in effect, the BuzzFeed story is wrong.
Now, we have a response from BuzzFeed. This is from the Editor, Ben Smith, who's been a guest on this show, the person who put the now-famous discredited Dossier into circulation.
He says this, "In response to the statements tonight from the Special Counsel's spokesman: We stand by our reporting and the sources who informed it, and we urge the Special Counsel to make clear what he's disputing."
In other words, Ben Smith is saying, "Let Robert Mueller correct our story." Does perhaps the onus lie with Ben Smith and BuzzFeed to make certain that what they reported last night is accurate? It sounds like it is not accurate. We'll find out whether their sources were telling the truth in the coming days.
In the meantime, Terry Turchie, who was Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI, and he joins us tonight.
Terry, we originally asked you to come on tonight to talk about border security. But before we do, I want to ask you your response to this back- and-forth between BuzzFeed and the Special Counsel's Office. What's your take?
TERRY TURCHIE, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF THE COUNTERTERRORISM DIVISION, FBI: Sure, Tucker. Well, I'm a - I'm a skeptic because of being in law enforcement. But I think it's kind of pretty simple.
When you take the election and you take the House, and you now convert all the committees that you have to investigating various aspects of the President of the United States, then your lifeblood has to be to react to stories.
So, you're going to see more stories planted, so that all these committees can have--
TURCHIE: --a lot of work to do. And I - I think this is just more of the same. And I think we can expect more of this because, quite honestly, the electorate in some places is putting more and more progressives and self- described socialists in positions.
And ironically, years ago, when I first got into the FBI, one of the missions of the FBI in its counterintelligence efforts was to try and keep these people out of government. Why? Because we would end up with massive dysfunction and massive disinformation and massive misinformation, and it seems to me that's where we're at today.
I'm glad I don't live in D.C. I don't know how you start to--
TURCHIE: --separate this and make - make head or tails from it, but it's a mess.
CARLSON: I mean, look, if you believe in socialism, if you've got some program you want to impose in the country, tell us what it is. Explain us how you - how you think it works. Make the case for it.
But these people are so stupid, and so emotional, so overwrought that they think that the key to running the country is an endless series of Gotcha stories, criminalizing political disagreement. I mean it's - it's - it's the least straightforward way to run a government, I would - I would say.
So, let me just ask you about the original topic that we want to talk to you about tonight, and that's border security.
So, you heard the new Speaker of the House say the other day that she in - in place of a physical wall would like some sort of high-tech, non- physical, sort of quasi magical wall, a digital wall on the Border, and that that would be more effective somehow than an actual wall.
Do you think that's true? And why do you think she's saying that?
TURCHIE: Well, first of all, I don't think that's true. But I think it's pretty easy why she's saying that. And, in fact, I'll say this.
If Donald Trump called Nancy Pelosi tonight, and said, "Look, why don't you give me $5 billion for a - a technological wall along our border?" she'd say, "Now, you know, we can probably start talking about that."
And the - and the reason is simple. The Democratic Party is simply owned by the technocrats in Silicon Valley. I worked in Palo Alto. I worked counterintelligence and - and terrorism there, and had all kinds of contacts many years ago with Silicon Valley, and you could see this developing then.
The Silicon Valley depends upon cheap labor. They - they love the B-1 visa program, they allowed of a (ph) more National Lab. This is a national entity. They like the B-1 visa program, and they were making no bones about it in meetings we had.
They would - they would say, "Look, we can get people cheaper than having to - to bring in young American kids who we just don't think are as good of scientists." Well, that's baloney, I think.
But they own the Democrats. And the Democrats, in turn, have to do things for them. I mean take a look at just every symptom and every indicator. Whether it's Elon Musk and the fact that he's a billionaire because of all of his government contracts, and all of these ideas--
TURCHIE: --the government funds or Solyndra, or the fact that President Obama and Hillary Clinton and Dianne Feinstein, and all of these people, they have a solid march out to Silicon Valley's dinners and $1,000-a-plate lunches, and all of these other things, they have to deliver in return.
The Silicon Valley for the Democrats is the new Union. People scratch their head and wonder why don't - why - what have the Democrats done? Why did they abandon some of the Midwestern states and the people they used to represent?
Well because they have no money anymore. The Silicon Valley has the money. And, quite honestly now, they're pumping this ideology into some of the people that they're helping get elected.
It's very, very dangerous because the Silicon Valley, totally other topic, is completely wrapped around the axle of Intelligence Services from the Chinese to the Russians, even to our friends, some of the friendly nations.
The French said it best one time, a number of years ago, they said, "Look, sure we're friends with the United States. But we have our own interest. And we will rely on dealing with our interest and make sure that we take care of those before our friendship."
And that's - that's pretty much how all of these places look at it (ph).
CARLSON: I think you're - I--
TURCHIE: But when it comes to your--
CARLSON: --I've never heard anybody say what you just said. Pushing a digital solution to everything is, in effect, a pay-off to their campaign contributors. But now that you say it out loud, it's so clearly true that I hope you will--
TURCHIE: Remember, Tucker--
CARLSON: --keep saying it.
TURCHIE: --I - I want to. And remember something, when you put all this technology, and the government loves to buy it, one or two years later, it all needs to be replaced with the - the latest best upgrades.
TURCHIE: It's a constant billion, billion dollar enterprise.
CARLSON: Yes. We've been scammed for 20 years by Big Tech--
TURCHIE: Yes, we have.
CARLSON: --and it's just dawning on us, it's unbelievable.
CARLSON: Terry Turchie--
CARLSON: --you are - you are the cutting edge of that for sure. You figured that out first. Great to see you, thank you very much.
TURCHIE: Thanks, Tucker.
CARLSON: We'll be right back.
CARLSON: Really kind of an unbelievable night in the news business.
A report last night from BuzzFeed News, and let's add air quotes around the word, "News," accused the President of the United States of ordering his Personal Lawyer, former lawyer, Michael Cohen to lie under oath to Congress.
He encouraged perjury. That would be a felony. It would be an impeachable offense. All day long, you have heard people on television speculating about this, prefaced with "If true."
But now, after we have spent literally 24 hours imagining the President being dragged in chains to a holding cell, Robert Mueller's Office in a move that has no precedent at all, out of nowhere, issued, in effect, a denial of the BuzzFeed story.
BuzzFeed meanwhile has issued a statement just about 20 minutes ago daring the Special Counsel, in effect, to fact-check their own story. Insanity!
Chris Hahn is a radio host. He's former aide to Chuck Schumer. He joins us tonight. So Chris, I wonder - I mean my primary interest as someone who's spent his life in the media, is in the behavior of the media, and my jaws open almost full time watching it.
CHRISTOPHER HAHN, CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
CARLSON: But I wonder if any of the parade of dumb people we've watched for the last 24 hours will step forward and say, "You know what, I - we probably shouldn't throw allegations around prefaced with the phrase, "If true," because if we don't know it's true--
HAHN: Yes, I - I--
CARLSON: --we probably shouldn't be alleging it." Is that fair?
HAHN: --I - I - that is fair, frankly. And I think that media outlets, when they get a story like this, sensational story like this, they should try to confirm it before they run with it on their own, using their own reporters and their own editorial standards.
I don't know what the editorial standards are at BuzzFeed. And frankly, the Special Counsel who doesn't ever talk to choose this moment to talk suggests that that story is completely un - untrue. I've heard some people parsing words saying that it's inaccurate whatnot. But we haven't heard from Mueller.
But this should also con - you know, this should also ease concerns about anybody in America who thinks that Robert Mueller is not going to be fair to the President. This shows he's a man of honor. And if he sees something that is way out of line, he's going to call it out.
So I - you know, kudos to Robert Mueller for stepping in because this really was a sensational story and all the "If trues" were, you know, if it was true this would have been one of the most horrible things we've heard so far, and would have absolutely led to impeachment hearings at the very least.
So, Robert Mueller did the right thing. He stepped in. And I think the news media needs to take some ownership of the mistake that was made here, particularly BuzzFeed.
And - and I think all the media outlets that ran with this really should, in the future, do their best to confirm these stories on their own, you know, before they go and - and - and spend 24 hours talking about it.
And you would think, you know, I was thinking around 3 o'clock this afternoon, when no one else had confirmed this story that, you know, where are we at with this? This is BuzzFeed. I don't really know their standards.
I know Ben Smith. I think he's been a - a decent reporter most of his career. But I don't know what kind of editorial background checks they're doing on these sources. And - and like my friend--
CARLSON: Right. Well just - just - just - just to - just to confirm--
HAHN: --Dan Bongino said earlier--
CARLSON: --for the record, I mean, Ben Smith is a joke. And I think anyone who knows Ben Smith will confirm that.
He's a smart person but, obviously, a dishonest, reckless person. He ran and - and again, anyone who knows him, I think, will confirm that, but this is the same outlet that deviated from the - the cat slideshows long enough to run the--
CARLSON: --Steele dossier, which the same news outlets absorbed as if it were real too, and Donald Trump was paying hookers to urinate on him. Do you remember all this? I mean this is like not new ground.
HAHN: I do rem--
CARLSON: We've - we've plowed this ground already like lunatic cat slideshow website runs unconfirmed salacious report that turns out to be false. And CNN pretends--
CARLSON: --that it's real.
HAHN: --you know, I - I think they have an obligation right now, you know. If their sources really did burn them and if, as Dan Bongino said, this was some sort of canary trap, they should reveal their sources.
HAHN: They should call those sources out, and they should say, hey look, you know, these guys lied to us according to what the - the Special Counsel has said tonight, and they should make a deal about this.
But I think this is--
CARLSON: Well that's a - that's a fair - that's a totally fair point.
HAHN: --you know, the big story here tonight for me the--
HAHN: --the silver - the silver lining in this story though tonight is that this should re-affirm people on the Right that Mueller is going to be fair. And I hope that that is actually the message that they're taking away from this tonight.
CARLSON: Well, OK. Can - can - can I just say--
HAHN: Because I think Americans when he releases his report--
CARLSON: --I - I don't think you--
HAHN: --when he finally re - when he finally releases his report--
CARLSON: --it is so funny.
HAHN: --we should all understand it.
CARLSON: OK. But I don't think you have to be a man of extraordinary integrity to find BuzzFeed ludicrous. I mean I - I think small children find - I mean BuzzFeed is prima facie ludicrous. It's an absurd website.
CARLSON: And so like it doesn't - it doesn't mean that you're a man of ex - amazing honor that you call out BuzzFeed--
HAHN: --well, look, the - the - the President--
CARLSON: --for being as ridiculous as it so obviously is.
HAHN: --the President's Attorney General Nominee said that - that Mueller was a man of honor and a friend of his. And - but I don't think most Americans heard that. But tonight, they heard him loud and clear when he pulled back this statement.
So, that's twice in - in - in one week that - that - that--
CARLSON: Can I ask you one question really quick?
HAHN: --the Right should be reassured in him.
CARLSON: Really quick.
CARLSON: So, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota at the Barr hearings the other day said something almost that almost seemed like she had read the BuzzFeed story before it ran. She said, "Would obstruction of justice suborning perjury be an impeachable offense?"
She asked Barr that, almost like she was setting up a predicate for this story. Do you think that--
CARLSON: --she had read the BuzzFeed story before it came out, I'm guessing?
HAHN: No. But there's been lots of claims of obstruction of justice, the - the Comey firing, other things that could be disputed--
CARLSON: Yes, maybe.
HAHN: --if it was obstruction of justice. That's been thrown around for the last year and a half.
CARLSON: No, you're right. You're right.
HAHN: Right? So I - I would suggest, you know--
CARLSON: It - it did seem--
HAHN: --so that - probably that.
CARLSON: Yes, probably. It just did seem a little too perfect. Well we'll find out, I hope.
HAHN: I think we will.
CARLSON: Chris Hahn--
HAHN: And I think we'll get that report--
HAHN: --sooner rather than later. And I think Americans should read it and - and - and take it in and understand it before they judge it.
CARLSON: Chris Hahn, thanks very much.
HAHN: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: An amazing night. We're following this breaking news.
Up next though, how (ph) assisted suicide is growing in popularity in America. Who benefits exactly from treating the old and the sick as expendable? Could it be insurance companies trying to save money? Maybe it's not a civil rights issue. Maybe it's a way to save a buck.
Stay with us.
CARLSON: One of the clearest measures of any society is how it treats its weakest members, the poor, the sick, and the dying. It says something about us then that assisted suicide is rising in popularity in America.
In seven states, plus the District of Columbia, sick patients are now allowed to kill themselves with the help of a physician. This is called compassion. But it's easy to see what is actually going on. Killing sick people is now just as valid as treating them.
Our most vulnerable have become our most disposable. Now, a lot of people who back this do so for good reasons. They're decent people. It's not impugning the integrity of everyone who's for assisted suicide.
But take three steps back. You think an insurance company would rather pay for years of cancer treatment or a suicide pill? Maybe that's part of what's going on here.
Kristen Hanson is with the Patients' Rights Action Fund, and she joins us tonight. Kristen, thanks very much for coming on. So, you've--
KRISTEN HANSON, COMMUNITY RELATIONS ADVOCATE, PATIENTS' RIGHTS ACTION FUND: Thanks for having me (ph).
CARLSON: --you've seen this firsthand. Tell us what you think the rise in assisted suicide is really about?
HANSON: When my husband, J.J. Hanson was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer back in 2014, and he dedicated the last three years of his life to fighting the legalization of assisted suicide, because we saw that it puts those who are most vulnerable at risk for losing their lives to mistakes, coercion, and abuse.
CARLSON: Yes. So the - the financial incentives to kill people rather than treat them are so overwhelming that why wouldn't we slide very quickly down that slippery slope.
HANSON: These laws create perverse incentives for health insurance companies to deny patients the care that they need and offer assisted suicide instead. Being J.J.'s caregiver, I was constantly going to battle with our health insurance company to get them to cover the treatments J.J. needed.
And we had good health insurance. And assisted suicide wasn't legal in our home state of New York. And what we're seeing in states that have legalized assisted suicide is that that's exactly what's happening.
Health insurance companies are denying patients coverage for the care they need, and offering assisted suicide instead. That's not a choice. That's--
HANSON: Death is not compassionate care. When assisted suicide becomes legal, it will always be the cheapest medical treatment.
CARLSON: And you've got to think that sick people and, particularly, the terminally ill will feel some kind of obligation to suicide to spare their families the financial cost or they're going to come under pressure from insurers to kill themselves.
I mean are there - are there people looking out for sick patients to keep the insurance companies at bay in - in - in this case?
HANSON: So, proponents of assisted suicide insist that there are adequate safeguards. But what J.J. and I saw is that these laws abandon vulnerable patients like J.J., who can experience depression at any point following their diagnosis.
CARLSON: Right. And - and that's a key thing.
HANSON: If you look at Oregon, this--
HANSON: --if you look at Oregon, the state that this has been legalized the longest in the United States, pain and suffering never makes it into the top five reasons why patients are choosing assisted suicide.
Their main end-of-life concerns are fear of being a burden, loss of autonomy, inability to do the things that they used to enjoy, and--
HANSON: --and those are all valid end-of-life concerns. But they're not reasons to kill yourself.
CARLSON: Exactly. No, that is exactly right.
Thank you for reminding us of that and reminding us that we have a duty to love people even as they're dying. Kristen, thank you very much. Good to see you tonight.
HANSON: Thank you for having me on the show.
CARLSON: That's all the time we have. We'll be back Monday night, the show that's the sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness, and groupthink. An amazing night in the news. Stay with Fox for more. Sean Hannity is next.
And most important of all, have a great, relaxing, and happy weekend with those you love.
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