Rep. Matt Gaetz on Gordon Sondland's 'quid pro quo' claim

This is a rush transcript from "Tucker Carlson Tonight," November 20, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Good evening and welcome to "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

It looks like the never-ending impeachment hearings just ended about 60 seconds ago. Like an HR meeting convened in hell, the whole Ukraine impeachment saga is boring, hard to understand, and apparently goes on for eternity. It never ends. Washington endured, and the rest of America ignored, yet another round of it today. The hearings consumed virtually every hour of Wednesday's available daylight and elevated to international celebrity this country's current ambassador to the European Union, a man called Gordon Sondland. In contrast to other recent witnesses, Sondland wasn't obviously hostile to the administration. In fact, he was appointed directly by President Trump. He was also a major Trump donor. So, given those two facts, Sondland's opening statement this morning initially looked like a complete disaster for the administration:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMB. GORDON SONDLAND: I know that members of this committee frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question, "Was there a quid pro quo?" As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is, "Yes."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: So that's how the morning began. "The answer is, "Yes,'" said Gordon Sondland. "There was a quid pro quo. And not only that," he explained, "pretty much everybody knew about it."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SONDLAND: Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret. Everyone was informed via email on July 19th, days before the presidential call.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Holy smokes. For a moment there, it looked like case closed. The final ignominious end of the Trump Presidency, the one that our perpetually excitable friends in the news media have been confidently predicting day after rage-filled day for more than three years now. The last meltdown, the great Orange Hindenburg finally bursts into flame. In TV studios across midtown Manhattan, cable news contributors struggled to hold back tears of joy. And then Adam Schiff took the microphone. Schiff, as the ringmaster of this particular circus, was determined to bring it to its final theatrical close. "Tell us," Adam Schiff said, "about President Trump's deal with Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden in return for foreign aid." It was the moment Democrats had been waiting for. But, when it finally arrived, Gordon Sondland wouldn't read from the script.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Though President Trump claimed to you there was no quid pro quo, he also made it clear to you in that call that president Zelensky had to, quote, "clear things up and do it in public." You don't have a reason to dispute that's what you told --

SONDLAND: I don't have any reason to dispute the, "clear things up and do it in public." What I'm trying to be very clear about was President Trump never told me directly that the aid was tied to that statement.

SCHIFF: But, in that same conversation you had with him about the aid, about the quid pro quo, he told you that president Zelensky had to, quote, "clear things up and do it in public," correct?

SONDLAND: I did not have a conversation with him about the aid. I had a conversation with him as referenced in my text about quid pro quo.

SCHIFF: Well, the quid pro quo you were discussing was over the aid, correct?

SONDLAND: No. President Trump -- when I asked him the open-ended question, as I testified previously, "What do you want from Ukraine," his answer was, "I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing." That's all I got from President Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: So, they pushed him, and they pushed him, and they pushed him again, but Gordon Sondland would not in the end mouth Adam Schiff's talking points. Well, why not? Maybe because he didn't have any evidence that they were true. As Sondland conceded in the exchange with Congressman Michael Turner, his assessment of any deals Trump may have struck with Ukraine was based mostly on assumptions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHAEL TURNER, REPUBLICAN MEMBER OF THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations.? "Yes," or, "No"?

SONDLAND: Yes.

TURNER: So, you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations?

SONDLAND: Other than my own presumption.

TURNER: Which is nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: This is tiresome. And, of course, we apologize for it as we have in nights past, but since it's happening, we feel duty bound to explain it: so a presumption. Now, some presumptions are correct. Others are laughably wrong. But one thing presumption definitely isn't is evidence. You can't overturn an election based on a presumption. You can't stage an impeachment on presumptions. You need facts to do that. And, as the day went on, Sondland introduced a new fact. The president, Gordon Sondland told us, had told him explicitly that he, in fact, didn't want a quid pro quo with Ukraine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TURNER: You said to the President of the United States, "What do you want from Ukraine?" The President, "I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. I want Zelensky to do the right thing. I want him to do what he ran on." Why didn't you put that statement in your opening statement? I think you said you couldn't fit it in. Is that right? Instead, we might be here for 46 minutes instead of 45 minutes?

SONDLAND: It wasn't -- it wasn't purposeful, trust me.

TURNER: It wasn't purposeful?

SONDLAND: No.

TURNER: Couldn't fit it in a 23-page opener?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: A fair question, actually. So why wasn't that fact -- and it's not a small point, by the way. It's the point on which the entire impeachment hangs. Why wasn't that point included in Sondland's opening statement? Well, we don't know, really, but here's one possible explanation. The statement was likely drafted by Sondland's legal team, and all four of his attorneys, it turns out because we checked, are Democratic donors. The man seated next to Gordon Sondland today during the hearing, that would be a man called Robert Luskin. He has given over $130,000 to the Democrats over the years. Luskin also represented the FBI informant, Stefan Halper during the Russia hoax not too long ago. So is it possible that someone like Luskin was thinking about more than his client's personal interests in this case? Could impeaching public enemy number one have cross his mind? We don't know, but it doesn't seem implausible. We should also point out something that the press conveniently overlooked in its analysis today, for the most part. Gordon Sondland and his family have been under intense political pressure, in some cases scary political pressure, from the left for weeks. Protestors have swarmed Gordon Sondland and his family in public. Democratic politicians have endorsed boycotts -- pushed boycotts of his businesses, his livelihood. In other words, the left has been working the refs, and that shouldn't surprise you, because, for the left, this is total war. And yet, in this one case, it didn't quite work. By the close of business today, we were back right where we were when the Ukraine circus started. In fact, we're back where we were on November 9th, 2016. Yes, a lot of people in Washington despise Donald Trump. But still, to this moment, nobody can prove a crime. Don't tell the press, though. They're celebrating as if someone did.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

MALE SPEAKER: Now we know that every fantasy about how corrupt this administration was is actually true.

MALE SPEAKER: For our live coverage of the blowtorch testimony this morning from Gordon Sondland -- turns out to be the guy that has offered the most stunning testimony.

MALE SPEAKER: In addition to that and the bombshells we've heard about, this was an IED from Mr. Sondland.

FEMALE SPEAKER: As you said, taking a blowtorch to even defense Donald Trump has offered, we don't say this very often anymore, because it's rarely true, but I think today changed everything.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

CARLSON: So, you heard it, "Bombshells, IEDs, blowtorches." Who writes the metaphors for these hair hats? It sounds like today's hearing was taking place in ISIS territory in the caliphate. But the really telling line comes from the scene and legal analyst -- and we're quoting now, "Every fantasy about how corrupt this administration was is actually true." So pause for a minute and think about what he's telling you. All of the fantasies the press has held without evidence are true based on testimony from another person who doesn't have evidence. So you remember the Russia collusion story? Remember Stormy Daniels? Remember every totally baseless and, in some cases, insane allegation that people like CNN's legal analyst invented, and promoted, and used to try to affect elections and, in so doing, destroyed lives? Well, they're telling us that all of them were true because of our presumptions. That's the most revealing thing in all of this. From the beginning, Washington has had presumptions about what the new president was like, about was policies voters were allowed to choose. Voters weren't allowed to end foreign wars by casting a ballot, or to put America first, or to secure America's borders. That's not on the table. Those aren't menu options. This isn't a real democracy, according to the people who administered the democracy. And, by the way, that ought to make you nervous. You come to Washington, the city that's in charge of our democracy, and no one believes in it? You're like -- if you showed up in Detroit and everyone's driving a Japanese car, would it make you nervous? It would. And they don't believe in it. And so what they're really saying to voters is, "You can't actually make changes to American policies, the ones that we support. All you're allowed to do is rubber stamp the current status quo, the one that enriches private equity managers, and defense contractors, and parasites in the vast federal bureaucracy, our donors and friends. Other than that, shut up and obey. So that's their program. And maybe they'll succeed in the end. Maybe they'll remove the President. Okay. What then?

Well, Washington will celebrate of course. But will they have learned anything from the exercise? Will the 2016 election have changed their minds or their priorities at all in any way? Or will they continue to console themselves with the whole thing was just some weird aberration run by Russia and racists in the heartland. Something that they can safely ignore and return to a kind of arrangement looks very much like 1998 or 1978 for that matter. We know the answer to that. If the people in charge were capable of learning anything, our country wouldn't look like it does today.

Congressman Matt Gaetz represents the state of Florida. He watched carefully today. He joins us tonight. So, if you were to sum up what we learned today from these hearings, and they were touted throughout the day as pivotal, a bombshell, an IED, a blow torch, what would be your summary?

REP. MATT GAETZ, R-FLA.: Donald Trump is skeptical of foreign aid and permanent Washington loves foreign aid because it allows politicians and ambassadors and government bureaucrats to do our favorite thing, give away other people's money. And Donald Trump was especially concerned about the Ukraine because it was the third most corrupt country in the world. And, of course, everyone in permanent Washington wants you to believe that Russia is always our enemy and Ukraine is always our friend when the reality is far more complex than that. Republicans did their best work today when they drove a wedge between that which Gordon Sondland presumed in his wisdom as sort of part of the diplomatic world and that which he actually heard and saw. And I think that Mike Turner, John Ratcliffe, Jim Jordan did a great job showing that the only direction that Ambassador Sondland got from President Trump is that President Trump didn't want anything. He just wanted Zelensky to fulfill the commitments in his campaign to clean up that country. But you know what? It just didn't sit well with permanent Washington. And that's why the show goes on.

CARLSON: So that, I mean, would you say that that's really the takeaway? That this is a debate about policy cloaked in a lot of high-minded language designed to sort of hide the ball from the rest of us. But it's really they don't like what Donald Trump wants to do with American policy toward Ukraine and Russia.

GAETZ: It is the worst kind of group think that I hear this show is an enemy of. And I think in Sondland, you see another element of Washington emerge. Sometimes people speak with the president, you know, a couple times, and then all of a sudden they get the sense that all of their own beliefs are then the president's beliefs and that they can go and say, well, because I have surmised some conclusion on the global stage and because some weeks ago I spoke to the president. I can say oh, in fact, you know, it is my belief that this ought to be the case from the administration standpoint. The reality is far different. I think in Gordon Sondland, you see someone who was an inter-meddler, who was a bit out of his lane and someone who never, ever got direction from the president or anyone else in the administration to engage in a quid pro quo for aid. And the media, what they do is they try to conflate what someone's feelings are or their what their belief is about policy, with what they actually observed and what would be admissible when you're trying to scrutinize evidence in something as serious as getting rid of the duly elected president, the United States.

CARLSON: Congressman Matt Gaetz from Florida, thanks for joining us tonight. Appreciate it.

GAETZ: Thank you.

CARLSON: So, while walking to Air Force One today to depart Washington on a trip, President Trump reenacted his phone call with Ambassador Gordon Sondland. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I say to the ambassador in response, "I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky, President Zelensky, to do the right thing. So, here's my answer: I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing. Then he says, "This is the final word from the president of the United States. I want nothing."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: It's like an old-fashioned radio play.

Matt Whitaker's former acting attorney general of the United States. He joins us now. Mr. Whitaker, thanks so much for being here tonight. So you watched, you watch carefully, and of course, you're perfectly situated to assess the legal aspect of all of this. Was a crime demonstrated today?

MATT WHITAKER, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: No, and in fact, this continues to be an impeachment in search of facts that prove any kind of wrongdoing by the president. I mean, you know, you saw in your clips there in the beginning how the left, I mean the American people have to be scratching their heads. They watch this. And then the folks in the media try to tell them something different happened than what actually did happen. And it is almost a schizophrenic moment to watch some of the folks on CNN contort themselves around facts that don't exist to try to convince the American people that something wrong has happened. But, you know, fundamentally, Tucker, and we've talked about this before. It is only, what, two, you know, the majority of the House believes is a crime or is an impeachable offense. And there's no burden of proof. There's no standard. There's no evidence. There's no there. It is just whatever they vote to impeach this president on a purely partisan basis. And that's a shame.

CARLSON: So, as a constitutional matter, which is to say in the matter of the Founders' intent, I mean this was always supposed to be a political process and not necessarily a legal one, it sounds like.

WHITAKER: There is no doubt that impeachment is a purely political process. And, you know, sort of what each founding father determined when they created the Constitution and the high crimes and misdemeanors standard, is sort of up for debate. I know a lot on the left are convinced that they know what the founding fathers were thinking 200 some odd years ago. But that's just not the case. I mean, fundamentally, it is whatever the Democrats in Congress believe it is, whether there is a presumption of guilt, whether there is any kind of beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no standard here. They get whatever a majority of them in the House believe. And it's just it's a shame that they would use this purely to weaken the president and purely to try to undo the 2016 election.

CARLSON: Yeah, it's not a precedent they're going to want to live with I would imagine. Matthew Whitaker, thanks so much for coming on.

WHITAKER: Thank you.

CARLSON: Sean Davis co-founded The Federalist. Boy, was he on it from dawn to dusk today, watching every twist and turn of this hearing. So, as someone who, in a sense, essentially wrote about this all day long on Twitter, if you were to summarize what you learned, what would it be?

SEAN DAVIS, CO-FOUNDER OF THE FEDERALIST: I think we learned that the Democrats are quite convinced they need to keep going with this Watergate cosplay in Washington. I mean, we learned no new facts. We heard the same stuff we've heard over and over again. We saw the same play acting. And I guess the only thing I learned is how committed these people are to running this farce of a process to the very end. I mean, it was, nobody was watching this because they wanted to tell you what, it was a bit masochistic having to sit through that whole ordeal. The whole thing is just a farce.

CARLSON: You really get the sense that having power taken from them in 2016 was the pivotal tragedy of their lives in a lot of cases. They never got over it.

DAVIS: Well, yeah, and I think that's the central crime of Donald Trump's presidency is he had the audacity to beat Hillary Clinton when she was supposed to be ordained and coronated as the next leader of the free world. They said they were going to impeach him on day one. The day he was inaugurated, they said, "Now, impeachment begins," at The Washington Post. And look, they tried it with the Russian collusion hoax. They tried it with their 25th Amendment nonsense, and that failed. And so now we're in the third version of their impeachment passion play that we're having. We're all being forced and held hostage to watch.

CARLSON: And I think you're right to call it that, because there is clearly there's a religious quality to all of the faith-based quality to to all of this. So just to skip ahead a year, I'm starting to think that all of this is making it more likely that the president wins reelection. If he does and these people have promised their voters that they're going to stop Big Orange in his tracks and they can, he gets reelected. What happens then?

Seriously.

DAVIS: Oh, goodness. I mean, so look at what we have upcoming. So we're going to go through impeachment, and we're going to have an election. We may have a Supreme Court vacancy. We saw how they acted after 2016. We saw what they did with Bret Kavanaugh, for goodness sake. They concocted these bogus crimes out of nowhere to smear a man who didn't do anything. They are going to lose their minds. And I know that's going to be a short trip given the current state of where they are, but they're going to lose their minds if Trump ends up winning. And I don't know if you saw there is a poll out today in Wisconsin. Huge flip in favor of Trump since these impeachment proceedings began. He's now beating all the Democrats. So they're going to be in for a tough road if this continues. Yeah.

CARLSON: And I really hope in the end, if Trump is reelected, and again, they're making a much more likely he will be, that someone responsible on the left stands up and cools the temperature a little bit because we're going to be in trouble if no one does that I think. Thanks.

DAVIS: You would hope so.

CARLSON: I mean it.

DAVIS: Thank you.

CARLSON: Yeah, I would hope so. Thanks a lot. Well, more of the House impeachment drama such as it was just ahead. If an army of bureaucrats is ready to rise up the moment a president tries to change American policy, does that prove the existence of a deep state?

That's next. We're also not talking simply about impeachment tonight. There are other things going on in this big, complex country. And we'll bring those stories to you as well. Just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Well, just a few weeks ago, the New York Times published a piece celebrating the so-called deep state. They told us it was protecting America from the harmful effects of democracy. But it turns out that most Americans don't like being told they are ruled by unelected bureaucrats, and that their votes mean nothing, and that, no matter what they do, no matter how assiduously they organize, they can't change policy at all. So, even as an army of bureaucratic termites tries to impeach the President for delaying military aid to a corrupt regime on the other side of the planet, CNN is busily assuring Americans that there definitely is no establishment agenda in Washington, and you're a racist if you think otherwise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

MALE SPEAKER: I think there is this fantasy that there is this resistance within these organizations like the FBI and the CIA --

MALE SPEAKER: And the State Department.

MALE SPEAKER: -- which -- and the State Department, which, in my experience, are not exactly left-wing outfits.

MALE SPEAKER: Yeah.

MALE SPEAKER: There is, of course, no deep state. There is no resistance within the bureaucracy across the government agencies pushing against this president.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

CARLSON: "There's no deep state. There's no resistance. Everything is totally on the level." What are you watching? What does it mean when people tell you lies that are so implausible that they must know that you know that they're lies, even as they tell them? What is that about? I'll tell you exactly what it's about. What you're watching is the people in charge losing control. Why? Because the Internet. For all the downside of the Internet, the upside of the Internet is you really can't control all the information on the Internet. And so the average person knows more than ever before. And so people like the ones you just saw on the screen who have had basically a monopoly on control over this country for a very long time all of a sudden are losing it, and they're panicked. They're freaked out. And so they're redoubling their efforts to lie to you, to clamp down on speech, and to, above all, make sure that you shut up and stop asking obvious questions.

Tom Fitton makes a living and improves this country by asking obvious questions and insisting on the answers. He's president of Judicial Watch, and he joins us tonight. So, Tom Fitton, you just saw CNN assuring us, and not just assuring us, scolding us for daring to believe that there was a kind of unchanging permanent agenda in Washington. You live in Washington. What do you think?

TOM FITTON, JUDICIAL WATCH: Oh, there certainly is. You see this with this whole debate where the President's own political appointees are opposing his campaign promise that he was trying to implement to hold back on foreign aid and be skeptical of it. Andrew McCabe is a classic case. We just had a document written by Andrew McCabe come to us under the FOYA where he's talking about wearing a wire on the President of the United States. We have confirmation they were talking about invoking the 25th Amendment to lawlessly remove him. And he tells us there's no resistance? These folks don't like Republicans, generally, in office, and certainly not the type of Republican that Donald Trump is. And they oppose his policies and think of ways to resist it. And it means breaking the law, oftentimes, to do so. We have potentially in this case of this impeachment leaks of classified information that ended up in Adam Schiff's office that he later lied about. I just can't believe that these officials are so -- well, I guess I can -- so oblivious to the arrogance they exude as they substitute their own will and try to substitute their own will for the will of the elected leader of the -- well, of America --

CARLSON: Yeah.

FITTON: -- which is Donald Trump. It's unbelievable.

CARLSON: It is unbelievable. I'm just thankful that Jeff Zucker isn't very smart, or else they'd be churning out effective propaganda on CNN. As it is, their lies are so transparent that nobody is fooled. Nobody stuck in an airport has his mind changed by CNN, thank heaven.

FITTON: Andrew McCabe is waiting to hear from the Justice Department where he's going to be prosecuted for lying four times about a leak. James Comey stole quite --

CARLSON: Exactly, so --

FITTON: -- stole Trump's FBI files to leak them to get a special council out to go after him.

CARLSON: Yeah, it's another, "paid contributors because we trust them." Oh, Tom Fitton, thank you tonight and always. I appreciate it.

FITTON: Thank you.

CARLSON: Well, one unquestioned assumption that appears to be shared by most people who work full time at the State Department, and most of Washington, in fact, is that fighting Russia is crucial to America's interests. By the way, the public doesn't believe this at all. But everybody in D.C. thinks that fighting Russia, whether it's in Ukraine, or Georgia, or Latvia is essential, and that Americans should be forced to risk their lives, spend billions of dollars to keep Russia out of those countries. But, as noted, every survey of the subject shows the same thing. The public doesn't agree. Here's a new one surveyed by the Eurasia Group Foundation. And it found what the rest of them have found. Even if Russia outright invaded a U.S. ally in the Baltic states region, a region most Americans couldn't find at gunpoint, only half of Americans would favor a military response.

Mark Hannah is a senior fellow at the Eurasia Group Foundation, and he joins us tonight. Mark, thanks so much for coming on tonight. So why is it -- I mean, your survey tells us what I think previous surveys have told us. Why is it that nobody in Washington cares, they just don't care what the public thinks about this? Why?

MARK HANNAH, EURASIA GROUP FOUNDATION: Well, I think, you know, you've heard a couple of these foreign service officers say that there was his robust spirited sort of public debate around the topic of Ukraine policy. And I don't think that that actually -- you know, when Washington talks about the public, they're not talking about ordinary Americans. They're often talking about, you know, sort of think-tank types and people in foreign policy journals. And so I don't think that they understand, frankly, or are that concerned that, you know, if we were called upon to live up to our NATO treaties, article five, where we have to [unintelligible] --

CARLSON: Right, exactly.

HANNAH: -- and attack on one ally as an attack on ourselves, there's very little willingness, especially after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to actually respond militarily. And that crosses generational boundaries, partisan boundaries. That's not a partisan issue.

CARLSON: And yet, it -- just quickly, the people who got us into those wars, who diminished America's prestige and power abroad, are still the ones making the decisions about our foreign policy. Like, how is that?

HANNAH: To some extent, yeah. I mean, the -- you're a careered diplomat, and you're continue working for the State Department, or you're going to be part of the National Security Apparatus. It's interesting both parties seem to be kind of falling over themselves trying to make a case for, you know, an expansive foreign policy in that part of the world, whether it's Democrats who are, you know, talking about, you know, democracy promotion in Ukraine, and somehow if Russia increases its influence, the American influence goes down as a zero sum game. Then you have, even Republicans are talking about, you know, well, we, under Trump, we gave them more Javelin missiles and we gave them more lethal aid. And they're trying to, you know, out hawk each other. When in fact, that's not what the American people want. And if we're going to promote democracy in Ukraine, you have to be sensitive to the popular will here at home.

CARLSON: But why would we promote -- I mean this whole thing is like nuts, actually. And if you say that you're a Russian agent, but I no longer care. Mark, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

HANNAH: Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON: Well, the left was once the group, and they they're proud of this, they want to preserve America's natural beauty. Good for them. That is a laudable goal and a central goal. But they've abandoned it in favor of unlimited immigration from abroad. We'll investigate the death of left-wing environmentalism. One of the saddest things to happen in this country. No one ever mentions it. We'll tell you what happened after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK).

CARLSON: One of the greatest blessings we have as Americans is the amazing pristine beauty of our country. Ever been to the coast of Maine or Big Sur or the Tetons? It's incredible. Why is that? Well, even with 320 million people living here, this country still is not particularly crowded. That's the key. The old environmental movement understood that, and it was why they campaigned for lower immigration levels, because crowded countries are never beautiful countries. But the modern left and modern environmentalists care much more about identity politics than the actual physical environment. So they're pushing for open borders because their donors want it.

Kevin Lin is a rare holdout. He's executive director of Progressives for Immigration Reform and a sincere environmentalist. Kevin, thanks so much for coming on tonight. So, for some reason, they're incredibly touchy when you pointed out the Sierra Club doesn't care about the environment anymore. But it's true. How'd that happen?

KEVIN LIN, PROGRESSIVES FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM: Well, Tucker, first, thanks so much for having me on this evening. In 2008, when we created progressives for immigration reform, the whole idea was to have that discussion with our brothers and sisters to the left of the political spectrum on the consequences of unbridled immigration. And one of those consequences is, as you said, the environment.

And I have a belief, Tucker, that if you believe that anyone, any person matters, you have to believe that numbers matter. And Jonah Christiansen, a hero of mine, probably said it best. When we're looking at the immigration debate, we really have to answer three questions. And those three questions are number one, what should the number be? And how do we arrive at that number? Should it be 200,000 people we let in a year, 1 million, 2 million? And the next question, Tucker, is how do we decide who makes up that number? Do we do merit based? Skills based? Do we have a beauty pageant? And the third, of course, is once we've come to these conclusions, how do we effectively and humanely enforce our immigration laws?

CARLSON: So, if you really cared about the natural world, this would be a major concern for you. If you really cared about nature, and some of us do, you would care. But they don't seem to care.

LIN: Absolutely. I think they care, Tucker. The problem is most people I've found through the years are very good natured, and they're not. And when you look at the American experience, my experience is very close to that of the immigrant tradition. My mother was born and raised in another country; came here in 1952 as an immigrant. And I think a lot of people feel that we're particularly blessed to have gotten here. Someone in our ancestry got here.

CARLSON: Yes, I agree.

LIN: And so, it's difficult knowing that we're blessed in that respect that we have to tell some people no. However, Tucker, we have to because a billion people would move to the United States if they could. Two billion people, and the world's almost eight billion people, earn under two dollars a day. They are hungry to come to the United States. So when you look at the impact. I'm sorry. Please go ahead.

CARLSON: No, we're just out of time. I just. I agree with you completely. And I think you make a fairer point that I then I made. I think people do care, but they haven't thought it through. And I would just end by saying, you know, no more strip malls like we have enough.

LIN: Right. Exactly.

CARLSON: No more glass boxes. We have too many.

LIN: And it's all the numbers.

CARLSON: Thank you.

Exactly. Thank you for keeping that tradition alive.

LIN: Well, thank you very much.

CARLSON: Thanks. CNN, thank you. CNN and the Justice Department colluded to humiliate Roger Stone for supporting the current president. Republican senator vowed to find out what exactly happened. But did he? We need to hold our elected representatives responsible for the promises they make, particularly the ones they make on this channel to us. And we're doing that after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: With the beginning of this year, long-time Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone was dragged from his home at dawn by dozens of federal agents with automatic weapons for the thoroughly nonviolent crime of lying to Congress. Now, in order to increase Stone's humiliation, the military style arrest was broadcast live on CNN. The question is, "How did CNN know to be in Stone's neighborhood when the feds showed up?" Well, the same way anyone in media knows anything. They were tipped off by an interested party. Of course, CNN being CNN, they shamelessly lied about it. Jeff Zucker's faithful marionette went on television to pretend that the network just somehow knew to send a camera crew to a particular residential development in Fort Lauderdale at 4:00 a.m. on January 25th. "Reporter's instinct," he explained, with an entirely straight face -- please. Federal prosecutors abuse their power in the most grotesque way for political reasons, and CNN eagerly helped them do it. That's what actually happened. Conservatives were justly outraged.

As he often does, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina claimed to be the champion of outraged conservatives. Graham fired off a letter to the director of the FBI demanding to know who had tipped off CNN to the Stone raid. Graham then bragged about that letter in a press release as well as on Twitter. Then he came on this channel to brag about it some more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: This seems to me over the top. And I don't know what the message was, being sent, but I personally didn't like it. I'm sending a message to them, "You're accountable to the Congress, and we're going to find out what you --"

MALE SPEAKER: "You will get to this"?

GRAHAM: Well, they better answer my letter.

MALE SPEAKER: Okay.

GRAHAM: If I were them, I would.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Oh, "They better answer my letter," Graham said to the camera. "If I were them, I would." Sounds pretty tough. So whatever happened to all that? Well, as it turns out, nothing. We called Graham's office to follow up, which we in the press too rarely do. The staff explained to us that Graham met in person with the FBI's deputy director who told Graham that he, quote, "Did not think it was an FBI agent who tipped off CNN to the Stone raid." Did you catch that? The FBI wasn't sure, but quote, "didn't think" they did it. The FBI had nothing at all to say about DOJ or the special counsel's office, both of whom Graham had asked about in his letter. Apparently, the FBI just ignored that part of the question. They never even responded. Nine months later, Lindsey Graham did not appear to have done anything to press the FBI further or to get to the bottom of this mystery. In fact, his staff seemed annoyed to be asked about it, as if promises made on cable news weren't meant to be taken seriously. They're just theatrical events staged for the benefit of voters at home. Conservative noises designed to help in the next Republican primary back in South Carolina. No one in Washington expects you to do anything real once you get off the air. They know the deal. It's just a performance for the dummies back home. Pretty cynical, but then a lot of United States senators are pretty cynical, even the Republicans. Unfortunately for them, their voters are starting to figure it out. The Clinton Foundation used to be one of the biggest charities in the world, believe it or not. Its revenues have collapsed though. Why? Hillary lost. What does that tell us? We'll unpack it after the break.

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CARLSON: Hearing a lot about quid pro quos recently in Washington, everyone's against then, at least when they allegedly involve the sitting president. But that's not the only quid pro quo going on. In fact, they're par for the course in Washington --Hunter Biden's obviously corrupt arrangement with Burisma is a quid pro quo.

The Clinton Foundation is one giant quid pro quo, and it's persistently ignored. In 2016, with Hillary Clinton expected to be the next president, the Clinton Foundation attracted massive donations from around the world. It was one of the largest charities anywhere. Three years later, its revenues have collapsed. Why is that exactly? Peter Schweitzer would know. He's the author of "Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends" because, boy, do they. He joins us tonight. Peter, thanks for coming on. So it's just, I think it's a public service to get a regular update from you and how the Clinton Foundation is doing. How is it doing?

PETER SCHWEITZER, AUTHOR: [laughs] It's not doing well, Tucker. Just consider this number. This past year, the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Foundation literally raised 10 percent of what it did in 2009, the first year that Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. And the international numbers are even worse. They had all this money flowing in when Hillary was the chief diplomat of the United States. Curiously, in light of the testimony, the number one country for giving money to the Clinton Foundation was not Great Britain. It was not France. It was not Japan. It was Ukraine. All that money has now dried up. Literally, the Clinton Foundations have a hard time raising money because they don't have influence to sell. They don't have power access to sell. And that, I think, is the primary evidence for what the Clinton enterprise was all about.

CARLSON: But what about all the women and girls they were empowering?

SCHWEITZER: Yeah. I mean, look, they still have those programs. The Clintons certainly have a lot more time than they did in 2015 and 2016 to spend building up the foundation. But it simply hasn't happened. And look, one of the most interesting things that came out of those Podesta emails a few years ago was an internal review that the Clinton Foundation did actually at Chelsea's behest.

They hired Simpson Thatcher, the law firm, to sort of look at the Clinton Foundation. And what they found is that high dollar donors to the Clinton Foundation had expectations of what, they had expectations of quid pro quos. That's the word of Simpson Thatcher in their internal review. So you are quite right. I mean, with all the discussion in Washington in these impeachment hearings, you know, it's remarkable to me that there's no interest in the Clinton Foundation. Just consider the testimony of Gordon Sondland and this whole issue of, you know, a meeting in the White House between the Ukrainian president and Donald Trump, which some have alleged was linked to them announcing these investigations. Well, that's a classic example of access. Well, the Clintons did that every day when she was secretary of state.

CARLSON: But self-awareness in short supply here in the nation's capital is, you know, better than most. Peter Schweitzer, thanks so much for that update. I hope you'll come back. [talking simultaneously] Won't be long.

Jesse Smollet is still around. He can't help himself. He's already avoided a trial for his fake hate crime. Now he's suing for ever being prosecuted at all. Great story.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSE SMOLLETT, ACTOR: I still want to believe with everything that has happened, that there's something called justice. If I stop believing that, then what's it all for?

ROBIN ROBERTS, ABC NEWS: Beautiful. Thank you, Jesse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Beautiful, says ABC's Robin Roberts. Jesse Smollett was lucky to have powerful friends like that. He's already struck a corrupt deal to escape felony charges for his fake hate crime last winter. But that's not good enough. So now he's suing Chicago for charging him in the first place. Chief breaking news correspondent Trace Gallagher has all the details. Hey, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS: Hey, Tucker. Despite overwhelming evidence against him, actor Justice Smollett continues to insist that he is innocent. So now, in response to the city of Chicago's lawsuit against him seeking one hundred thirty thousand dollars to cover the cost of the investigation, Smollett has filed a 49-page counterclaim accusing the city of Chicago and some Chicago police officers, including Superintendent Eddie Johnson, of malicious prosecution. It's notable that while Smollett claims he was maliciously prosecuted, his claim does not name the prosecutor. State's Attorney Kim Fox, though experts are not surprised considering Fox in a highly controversial move suddenly dropped the charges against Smollett, despite the fact that Chicago police determined the actor staged the entire hate crime hoax. And on that note, Smollett is also naming the Osundairo brothers in his claim. You know, the ones who confessed to helping Smollett orchestrate the entire hoax. Now Smollett says those brothers were simply trying to avoid criminal charges. Tucker?

CARLSON: Now, that's chutzpah, I would say. Trace Gallagher, so great to see you. Thank you for that.

Trace Gallagher: Sure.

CARLSON: What a country it is. We're honored to cover it. We're back tomorrow. The show that's the sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness and groupthink. Have a great night. Sean Hannity's next.

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