Tucker takes on Kavanaugh opponent; Martha MacCallum's takeaways from interview with Kavanaugh

This is a rush transcript from "Tucker Carlson Tonight," September 25, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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

Brett Kavanaugh just finished speaking with Martha MacCallum. He pushed back pretty aggressively against attacks on his personal integrity and his decency. And he denied completely all of the sexual allegations against him. In doing that, he, at times, provided a level of information about his personal life that would have been unthinkable just days ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS: Through all these years that are in question you were a virgin?

SUPREME COURT NOMINEE BRETT KAVANAUGH: That's correct.

MACCALLUM: Never had sexual intercourse with anyone in high school?

B. KAVANAUGH: Correct.

MACCALLUM: And through what years in college since we're probing into your personal life there (ph)?

B. KAVANAUGH: Many years, many years after, I'll leave it at that, many years after.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Wow. Not your conventional interview. He was asked repeatedly by Martha again about the accusations against him. His wife sat by him as he denied all of them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAVANAUGH: I'm not going to let false accusations drive us out of the -- out of this process. And, you know, we're looking for a fair process where I can be heard and defend the -- my integrity, my lifelong record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Nobody expected anything like this when that confirmation process started (ph). We're going to have more from Martha's interview with Brett Kavanaugh and his wife. Martha herself will join us on the set little bit later in the show to tell us what it was like in that room.

But first, we typically open this hour by talking to someone we disagree with. We believe in straightforward debate on this show. Americans have been talking through their differences for more than 200 years and it's worked pretty well.

We think all of us reach wiser conclusions when both sides have their say, when everybody gets to talk, and we'll continue to do that. But tonight, we want to pause for a minute. We'll invite guests on later in the hour.

First though, it's worth considering what we've learned from the debate over Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. This feels like a turning point, something entirely new in the life of this country.

We certainly had bitter and partisan debates over judicial nominations before, a lot of them. Robert Bork in '87, Clarence Thomas, four years later, there are many others.

Shortly after being re-elected President in 1936, Franklin Roosevelt tried to take over the entire judicial branch of government packing the court with extra Democrats so he could impose his program on Congress by force. Thankfully, FDR failed in that.

But the point is a lot of this is not new. Politics has always intruded on our justice system. Congress confirms the nominees, so it's inherently political, always has been. Yet, some of this we have not seen before. It's entirely new.

Never in our lifetimes have sitting Members of Congress attacked our justice system as they now are. Lawmakers haven't mocked the idea of due process or called for the collective punishment of American citizens or declared that the burden of proof is on the accused rather than the accuser.

All of that is happening right now in Washington and more. It's not just Brett Kavanaugh who's under assault. Elected officials have announced they no longer believe in our Western understanding of justice. There's no precedent for that here. It's stunning.

You should pay close attention to what's happening because it could affect all of us. The shift began late last week with these remarks from Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO, D-HAWAII: I just want to say to the men in this country, "Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change."

Not only do women, like Dr. Ford, who bravely comes forward, need to be heard, but they need to be believed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: So, there you have it. All men are guilty not because they've been proved guilty but because they are men. They are inherently guilty, by their nature. All women must be believed not because we can show they're telling the truth but because they are female.

Evidence is irrelevant in both cases. All that matters is DNA. All of us are condemned or redeemed at birth and there's nothing any of us can do to change that. It's baked in the cake. That's what she said.

No living U.S. senator has ever said anything like that in public. Yet, none of Hirono's Democratic colleagues recoiled or even scolded her or suggested she was wrong. They seem to agree with what she said. Hirono herself did not issue an apology or a clarification. She kept going. Here she is from over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: Doesn't Kavanaugh have the same presumption of innocence as anyone else in America?

HIRONO: I put his denial in the context of everything that I know about him in terms of how he approaches his cases.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Well give her credit for directness. According to senator Hirono, Brett Kavanaugh is not protected by the United States Constitution. He does not enjoy the presumption of innocence. Kavanaugh is guilty because his opponents say he is guilty. That is Senator Hirono's position. She's proud of it. She's become a folk hero on the Left for saying that.

Watch her say it again from earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALLIE MARIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS: Can you clarify what you meant? Do you believe Judge Kavanaugh does deserve a presumption of innocence or not?

HIRONO: Look, we're not in a court of law. We're actually in a Court of Credibility at this point. And without having the -- the FBI report or some semblance of trying to get corroboration, we are left with the credibility of the two witnesses.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Oh, a Court of Credibility. Now, Senator Hirono didn't explain exactly what a Court of Credibility is, though you can be sure you wouldn't ever want to be tried in one, though at this rate, sorry, you may be.

If the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to Brett Kavanaugh, it probably doesn't apply to you either. It all depends on what Mazie Hirono thinks of your political views. If she agrees with you, you'll be fine. If not, you won't be fine.

Keep in mind that once you've been accused in this new Court of Credibility, you're responsible for proving yourself innocent. It's your job to un-convict yourself. If that sounds like a mirror image of our actual justice system, you're right. It is.

For more than a 1,000 years, the burden of proof in the West has fallen on the accuser. In our country, that would be the government. If they say you did it they have to prove that you did it. But, not anymore.

Here's Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut from this morning explaining how the new system works.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONN.: We have a constitutional duty to get to the bottom of these allegations. They are serious, and credible. And now, the person with the most knowledge about them, namely, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, has a responsibility to come forward with evidence to rebut them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Got that? We accuse you of a felony. Your job is to show you're innocent. You're a sex criminal, prove you're not. Senator Blumenthal went to Yale Law School. Did he learn that concept in his classes there? Probably not.

It's a new idea but it's also a very old idea. It was common during the medieval period where the accused also had a "Responsibility" to come forward with evidence to rebut the charges against them. Heretics who survived torture sometimes got declared innocent. Hurray.

But there's a flip side to the new system. Because the accused are guilty by definition, the accuser suddenly have no responsibility to make credible claims. And we're seeing that principle in action too.

We covered the story all last week. Five nights in a row we said that we are giving Christine Ford every benefit of every doubt, and we did that. But let's be honest now. Not many of her claims would hold up in an actual court, the one governed by the justice system we thought we had until about 10 days ago when Mazie Hirono informed us otherwise.

When did this alleged assault take place? Ford can't say. When did it happen? She doesn't know. Where are the witnesses to this? Well there aren't any. The few people Ford has named deny it happened. When was this first reported to authorities? Well it never really was.

The story came out in stages. It was a recovered memory, apparently summoned by a psychotherapist 30 years after the fact. And even then, it was another six years before Ford named Brett Kavanaugh specifically at exactly the point he was being nominated for the Supreme Court.

That's not our analysis of the case. It's the position of Ford's lawyer, nearly all of whom double as Democratic Party activists and operatives and some of whom defended Bill Clinton from far graver sexual assault claims when he was accused.

That doesn't mean Ford is lying but it does raise legitimate questions so does a lot of her behavior. Last week, for example, Ford told senators she couldn't come to Washington to testify because she's afraid to fly on airplanes.

This fear, she explained, is a direct result of being groped over her clothes by Brett Kavanaugh back in high school in the 80s. As one of her friends told The Washington Post, airplane's cabins remind Ford of the trauma their, quote, the ultimate closed space where you cannot get away.

But wait, is this true? Ford has relatives on the East Coast. According to published accounts, she's been here recently. Did she drive back and forth to California every time she visited? We don't know.

Then last week the New York Times reported that Ford did graduate work at the University of Hawaii. That's on an island thousands of miles in the Pacific. How exactly did she get there?

Could it be possible that Ford is claiming she can't fly in order to delay the proceedings long enough that Brett Kavanaugh can't be confirmed? There might be something the committee could ask her if she shows up on Thursday as she says she will.

They probably won't ask her though. That would be victim-shaming. She's a woman. She's telling the truth no matter what she says. Even when things she says turn out to be not true they are still true by definition.

Watch former Michigan Governor, Jennifer Granholm, explain this principle.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: --Kavanaugh, Judge, Smith and her friend, Leland -- Leland Keyser, have all said they don't remember anything like this ever happened. And Leland Keyser, who says she believes Ford, says that she doesn't even remember ever being at a party where Kavanaugh was present.

FORMER GOV. JENNIFER GRANHOLM, D-MICH.: Right. And -- and that actually corroborates Ford's story which is that she was so horrified by this that she kind of snuck out or slunk out of this apartment in -- in a way that no one would know what happened because she was so utterly mortified.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Are you following this at home? See if you can track the reasoning here. When you're corroborating witnesses can't corroborate your story that when you say they can corroborate your story has still been corroborated maybe even more so.

Those are the new rules here in the Court of Credibility. They're certainly the rules Washington is applying to the new story that The New Yorker magazine dropped last night. In it, one of Kavanaugh's classmates at Yale says that during a drunken party on campus Kavanaugh once wagged his genitals in her face.

Well that sounds awful and damning. But wait, here's the magazine's description of those claims.

"In her initials (ph) conversations with The New Yorker, the accuser was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh's role in the alleged incident with certainty. After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party."

So it turns out she didn't actually remember what happened. None of the people she says were in the room remember it happening either. Yet after talking to her lawyer for a week, she suddenly remembers it. That's enough for CNN, guilty as charged, string him up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Are they all lies? Perhaps, but, you know, it certainly has the ring of truth to me.

The idea that it's all made up seems sort of preposterous at this point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Oh, it has the ring of truth. Oh, perfect, that's enough, let's hang him.

This is a bad joke, this whole thing. That's clear at this point and everybody knows it on both sides. What's amazing is that Republicans, for some reason, are still playing along.

Last week, Senate Republicans declared in effect that all allegations against Brett Kavanaugh must be heard no matter how frivolous or obviously fraudulent they are. Senate Republicans are the ones who made the Court of Credibility possible in this country.

Shouldn't surprise anyone The New Yorker ran this piece. How many more pieces like it are coming? As many as it takes, no question about that.

We can't control the Senate Republicans, obviously. They exist in their own world. But we can remind them what is at stake here. If Brett Kavanaugh who's a mainstream judge, a moderate, really, a man who's literally married to George W. Bush's assistant can't get confirmed to Supreme Court then no Republican can get confirmed to the Supreme Court, even with a Republican Congress ever.

But it's worse than that. There's a mid-term election just weeks from now. If you're a Republican, you may be wondering why should I bother to vote. You backed Trump two years ago, your brother-in-law from Brooklyn mocked you for it, so did a lot of other people but you did it anyway.

Why? Because you wanted secure borders. You wanted an end to Obamacare and you wanted non-crazy people on the Supreme Court of the United States. You didn't get the first two. You're starting to realize you probably never will get them.

But the Supreme Court? That ought to be easy. And yet somehow we're all discovering it's not easy. Why is that? Well there's a really simple reason. Republicans in the Senate don't really care about you. If they did care about you, they would protect you.

That's what you do for people you care about, you protect them. If the Republicans cared, they would protect you from the foreign invasion our immigration system has become. They'd protect your children from the torrent of mandatory propaganda they face in schools that are bankrupting you.

They'd protect your privacy and your freedom of speech, freedom of worship from the tech monopolies that seek to crush all of those things. And they'd protect Brett Kavanaugh from the obvious smears that are destroying his family and his life.

But they won't protect him. And they won't protect him for the same reasons they won't protect you. Because it's hard and embarrassing or because they just don't feel like it.

This could be a socialist country in a few years. It's moving that way. A lot of us would like to be protected from that. Our representatives don't seem to notice. Good luck in November, gentlemen.

We're not finished with the topic of Brett Kavanaugh tonight. We'll talk to a Liberal who backs an FBI investigation into Kavanaugh. Then we'll talk to Tammy Bruce and Heather Mac Donald for some perspective on all of that.

And our friend Martha MacCallum just interviewed Brett Kavanaugh and his wife. What was it like to do that? What was the mood of the room? What did she learn? She joins us later in the show. That's just ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAVANAUGH: The women I knew in college and the men I knew in college says it's inconceivable that I could have done such a thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Do you believe that President Trump is going to stand by you throughout?

KAVANAUGH: I know he's going to stand by me. Called me this afternoon said he'd (ph) stand by me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: We're still covering the battle over Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court which most people assumed would not be difficult. It has turned out to be very difficult and it's exposing fault lines and ideas that some of us are not familiar with. We want to get to the bottom of what they are.

Christy Setzer is President of New Heights Communications and she joins us tonight. So Christy, Mazie Hirono said something remarkably, played it twice on this show, no one else seems amazed by it. She's a sitting U.S. Senator, of course, from Hawaii.

And she said that men, all men are implicated in sexual assault and women, all women must be believed because they're women. That seems like an idea that would cut against the Western understanding of justice.

CHRISTY SETZER, NEW HEIGHTS COMMUNICATIONS: I'm not sure that that's exactly what she said. But I do think that there's something particular about crimes of sexual assault and accusations of sexual assault.

And that is that it's the one crime, at least that I can think of, in which the presumption, the burden of proof is on the woman to say that she really is a victim. So last year, I had my car stolen. When I reported it, it was -- I was not asked "What did you do wrong to allow your car to be stolen," right?

CARLSON: But -- but hold on -- hold on -- but -- but you (ph) were asked questions like--

SETZER: --and that's -- that's very different from what happens in (ph) sexual assault cases.

CARLSON: --no, did you leave your keys in the car?

SETZER: Mm hmm.

CARLSON: I mean, of course, you were. Now, sexual assault is a more delicate issue for obvious reasons.

SETZER: Yes.

CARLSON: But do you think that our standards of justice change? In other words, is the burden of proof lower?

SETZER: Yes.

CARLSON: Do you believe in the idea that a person is innocent until proved guilty? We see lawmakers challenging that idea.

SETZER: I -- I do. But again, there's something very particular about cases of sexual assault and rape, which is that, for one thing, the vast majority of women never come forward. And there's lots of reasons for this.

One is basically about how difficult it would get it is to get to trial or to get to a conviction. One another reason is just all the issues around shame. And then a final reason is some of the things that are playing out with Kavanaugh which is peculiar issues around memory, when we're talking about traumatic events.

CARLSON: So --

SETZER: Yes.

CARLSON: --all of that is true. And, of course, there -- this is a recovered memory we now know that came out in psychotherapy. Doesn't mean it's false. Doesn't mean there are lot of instances where recovered memory was false and innocent people went to prison.

It happened quite a bit in the 80s around the satanic abuse ritual scare, as you know. I'm not saying this is like that. But I am saying it means the rest of us have to ask real questions about it. You seem to be suggesting the standards ought to be different that we should give her the presumption of honesty.

SETZER: Yes.

CARLSON: And that's not how our justice system works, is it?

SETZER: Yes. I mean I -- I think it's important for you and for your viewers to know the context of it, which is that there's no more instances of false accusations around, say, rape, and -- and similar crimes as there is for any other crime. And I think that we believe that --

CARLSON: But I'm not -- I'm not saying -- hold on --

SETZER: --yes.

CARLSON: --I'm not saying -- I'm not saying otherwise.

SETZER: Yes.

CARLSON: I am saying there is a much higher incidence of false memory in recovered memory cases than in conventional cases. That's true and it's been looked at extensively by social scientists, and I -- I don't think there's any debate about that. Doesn't mean this is false.

SETZER: Sure.

CARLSON: But it means that if you want justice, if that's your goal, then you have to ask hard questions. But again --

SETZER: I (ph) --

CARLSON: --I don't understand.

SETZER: --yes (ph).

CARLSON: Have we changed the standards or haven't we (ph)?

SETZER: No (ph) --

CARLSON: We see all (ph) these Members of Congress saying he's a man, he's guilty. She's a woman you must believe for --

SETZER: Again, no --

CARLSON: --that you saw well (ph) --

SETZER: --no one said that exactly.

CARLSON: --actually, here's what --

SETZER: Yes.

CARLSON: --Mr. Blumenthal (ph) is saying the onus is on him to prove he's innocent.

SETZER: Right.

CARLSON: Is that how our system works? It's -- I thought it was the opposite of how it worked.

SETZER: Yes. Again, the reason is because he has said it absolutely didn't happen, fabrication, right? This isn't a criminal trial but it is something in which he is asking for a very large promotion to the Supreme Court of the United States, right?

So you want somebody who has impeccable character, whose motives absolutely cannot not be questioned and he's given us nothing but doubt throughout these confirmation hearings.

CARLSON: But -- but hold on, wait, so it's the (ph) principle, leaving Kavanaugh aside because these are lawmakers --

SETZER: Mm hmm.

CARLSON: --they're the most powerful people in our society. They determine what our laws are by definition --

SETZER: Sure (ph).

CARLSON: --they're saying that the accused has an obligation and I -- has a responsibility to come forward with evidence to rebut the claims.

SETZER: Mm hmm.

CARLSON: That is, again, precisely the opposite of English common law on which our system is based. No one has ever said that before that I'm aware of in the history of -- my living history, anyway --

SETZER: Yes.

CARLSON: --and you're OK with that?

SETZER: Yes what -- what I think should happen is actually what both Dr. Ford and -- and now Ramirez believe should happen which is that there should be an FBI investigation --

CARLSON: But hold on, are you --

SETZER: --right?

CARLSON: --but he's saying Judge Kavanaugh has a responsibility --

SETZER: Yes.

CARLSON: --to come forward with evidence to rebut the charges. Do you or don't you think that's a fair standard?

SETZER: I -- I do think that yes, if we're going to have this conversation about whether or not these things happen and he doesn't want an FBI investigation, which by the way he does not, then sure yes, he's going to have (ph) --

CARLSON: OK. So if I accuse you --

SETZER: --accusation that's something wrong (ph).

CARLSON: --of something with no physical evidence or eyewitnesses, which is what she has done, from 36 years ago, and it's a sex crime --

SETZER: Yes.

CARLSON: --that would destroy your reputation and hurt your family, you now have a moral obligation or a responsibility, as Senator from Connecticut says, to rebut that?

SETZER: He (ph) --

CARLSON: Is that what you're saying?

SETZER: You have an obligation, yes, to defend yourself. Now, again, he has decided that he doesn't want an -- an FBI investigation. That's what the (ph) Republican Party has said. And that they also don't want Mark Judge --

CARLSON: So you want to live in that (ph) country where the accused --

SETZER: --the other -- the other person --

CARLSON: --has a responsibility --

SETZER: Yes.

CARLSON: --and if (ph) you can't find evidence to disprove the charge which has no evidence to support it in the first place then you are presumed guilty.

SETZER: Is anybody saying that he's going to go to jail? No. They're saying maybe he won't be a Supreme Court Justice --

CARLSON: What do you mean (ph) --

SETZER: --that's OK.

CARLSON: --he has two little girls and a wife and he's being accused of a sex crime by someone who has zero evidence it happened and multiple witnesses who say it didn't. And now, we're saying that this guy has to prove that he's innocent. You really want to live in that country, honestly? Sincere question.

SETZER: Yes, no, sincere -- sincere answer --

CARLSON: Yes (ph) --

SETZER: --which is that I think that right now there is a very disproportionate sense of justice for women who have come forward with these crimes. And I think that right now --

CARLSON: OK.

SETZER: --we tend not to believe them. And I think that all that Senator Hirono and others are saying is that maybe sometimes we -- if we've learned anything from, say, the MeToo movement is that these things happen all of the time and we should believe --

CARLSON: Yes, sort of (ph) --

SETZER: --women who've been victims (ph).

CARLSON: --false claims. I was a subject (ph) of one of them, so I can tell you a lot about that --

SETZER: Yes.

CARLSON: --if you're interested, maybe later. Christy, thank you.

SETZER: Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON: Tammy Bruce is a radio show host and President of Independent Voice. Heather Mac Donald is a Contributing Editor at City Journal and the author of The Diversity Delusion and they both join us.

Now, Heather MacDonald, to you first, how should we assess these claims both in The New Yorker story and from Christine Ford?

HEATHER MACDONALD, CITY JOURNAL: Well with our traditional standards of justice, obviously. What we're looking at right now called, Tucker, is the arrival of campus culture into the world at large, and it is not a pretty sight.

It's a combination of rank ignorance of what an extraordinary accomplishment it was to develop standards of due process. You referred to medieval trials by -- by ordeal and the presumption of guilt.

What we're hearing from students and these -- these senators, they have no knowledge of what we have with difficulty and the work of -- of centuries moved away from to assure fairness to the accused and what we're also seeing is the victim ideology that holds that females everywhere are necessarily the victims of male patriarchy in a rape culture.

That is false. It is -- it is pure ideology. But this type of mass hysteria is the norm on campus and it has now taken over the world at large. And as you say --

CARLSON: Right.

MACDONALD: --we are on a very dangerous slippery slope towards group government oppression and -- and mass injustice.

CARLSON: Tammy Bruce, do you agree with that?

TAMMY BRUCE, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S VOICE: Yes. I -- what just this interview you just had was -- was shocking. You've got now Brett Kavanaugh effectively being used as a stand-in for all perpetrators. And I think something happened to Ms. Ramirez and Dr. Ford.

And they -- and they are -- are slotting Judge Kavanaugh into the perpetrator framework. And in the name of women and many who have not ever had justice and have never had closure and -- and effectively this is what the Democrats are admitting.

And what your guest said effectively was that so many women have not been believed or have been heard but -- and that is unfair. And we've got to fix it. But we're not going to fix it by dupe -- by becoming fascists and by blaming every man and presuming every man is guilty.

Americans have to ask themselves a very basic question. Is this fair? Is this a fair framework --

CARLSON: Right.

BRUCE: --for everyone involved? The MeToo movement at this point has been hijacked. That was a non-partisan movement that -- that women could relate to. This is now being used as a weapon. Clearly, it's been weaponized at this point.

And -- and not only should American men be concerned but the -- but the women who have sons and husbands and boyfriends and brothers and fathers. My -- my goodness, you know, this is the opposite of what should be happening if we want real justice for women because right now you've got two women claims obviously difficult and would not stand up in a court of law or in any kind of -- of fair discussion.

CARLSON: Right.

BRUCE: The New Yorker piece has been -- has been reviled at this point. But you've got to see that women then who do make claims are going to be looked at with even more suspicion because due process matters for the women, the accusers especially, because we have to believe in the outcome. We have to believe in the outcome and trust it.

CARLSON: I'd give (ph) you a whole show with both of you. I wish we had more time. Thank you both very much --

BRUCE: Thanks Tucker.

MACDONALD: Thank you.

CARLSON: -- Heather MacDonald, Tammy Bruce.

Martha MacCallum, here, just ahead. What did she learn in her interview with the Kavanaughs earlier today that is making news?

Also Rod Rosenstein appeared to be resigning today until it turns out he wasn't. Maybe he thought he was getting fired but he wasn't getting fired. We're not exactly sure what's happening in the White House. We've made a lot of calls today about it. And we'll tell you what we know, after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: What a news day. It's unbelievable. Competing leaks told different stories about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein today.

Some reported that Rosenstein was planning to resign, others, that he was about to be fired. As of tonight though, Rosenstein is still at the Justice Department and is scheduled to meet with the President this week. What is going on?

One man knows. Ed Henry joins us tonight.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS: Tucker, good to see.

He's going to meet with the President on Thursday. It was a strange day today. As you know, one of our producers had to put out an email assuring all of us "Rod Rosenstein is still the Deputy Attorney General of the United States," but then quickly added "Right now," because we don't know how long it will last.

A source close to Rosenstein tells us he went to this meeting today at the White House expecting he was going to be fired by the Chief of Staff, John Kelly.

But during that meeting, Kelly put him on the phone with the President who is in New York for U.N. meetings to discuss that bombshell report about the May 2017 meeting where Rosenstein discussed with Andy McCabe and others the possibility of wearing a wire to record the President and try to invoke the 25th Amendment.

Rosenstein insists he was joking and some of the President's advisors think this may have been a false flag designed by McCabe and others to get the President to overreact and help Democrats who would use a Rosenstein firing to try and impeach the President.

McCabe was under federal investigation for leaking to the media and then lying about it. Insists he had nothing to do with this leak to the New York Times. And it's important Rosenstein not be fired because he oversees Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

While I was hosting Fox & Friends over the weekend, I interviewed Ian Prior. He's been on this program. He used to work with Rosenstein at the Justice Department.

He believes Rosenstein was so stunned by McCabe's anti-Trump behavior at that May 2017 meeting that Rosenstein sarcastically said "Oh sure, I'll wear a wire," and that after the meeting he appointed Mueller because Rosenstein knew he had to keep the Russia probe far from the cave that basically, Tucker, bringing in Mueller who might be seen as more fair as a former FBI Director was important because Rosenstein was so alarmed that McCabe and Lisa Page who was in this May 2017 meeting were out to get the President.

That's what some of the President's allies have believed. It is interesting that people who have recently left the Justice Department are now trying to say that as well. It's -- it's fascinating.

CARLSON: Have you ever spent (ph) time in a Latin American capital where it's (ph) just an ongoing swirl of rumor and conspiracy and nobody believes the official story about anything? That's what Washington is right now.

HENRY: I've read about it.

CARLSON: Yes. Reads (ph) like a Graham Greene novel. It's unbelievable. Thank you, Ed.

HENRY: Good to see you pal (ph).

CARLSON: Great to see you.

Joining us tonight, author and columnist, Mark Steyn who has X-ray vision in stories like this. What do you think this is really about, Mark?

MARK STEYN, STEYNONLINE.COM: Well this is, as you said, the classic espionage wilderness of mirrors. As Ed said, basically the -- the -- the idea is that this is a setup.

This was deliberately leaked by an anti-Trump person to provoke Trump into firing Rod Rosenstein in order to assist the Democrats in the mid-term elections. That's why Rosenstein's position is secure.

If you're less conspiratorial though it's clear that there is no honor among thieves and that the vast number of people that have been removed from the highest levels of the FBI and the Department of Justice in the last few months, all have an incentive to slip the shift to Rosenstein as the guy --

CARLSON: Right.

STEYN: --who's still there.

They're basically in the position -- you know how it works with the -- with corporate crimes when the U.S. Attorney tries to persuade the Chief Financial Officer to turn on the Chief Executive Officer, that's the position these guys are in in order to -- in order to avoid their own criminal liability leaking stuff about Rosenstein who's still there is in their interest (ph).

So -- so to be super-conspiratorial, it's actually if he did offer to wear a wire and use the 25th Amendment to depose Trump, it's in Trump's interest to keep him as Deputy Attorney General forever and encourage McCabe and Comey and the rest of them to leak dirt on him.

This is the craziness of what happens when a Latin American bureaucracy decides in effect to try and nullify the result of the election, which is - -

CARLSON: Well it's totally right.

STEYN: --what's happening (ph).

CARLSON: That's exactly what we found (ph). And that's why it reminds me of, you know, Managua 1988 but really quickly --

STEYN: Right.

CARLSON: --if you think that Rosenstein is your enemy and he (ph) probably actually on some level is Trump's enemy, wouldn't you want to keep him close and not cast him out into book contract world?

STEYN: Yes, absolutely. I mean I think if I was Rosenstein as well, I think book contract world isn't really an option now (ph). There's too many -- there's too many books --

CARLSON: Right, good point.

STEYN: --like that (ph). But I think -- I think -- I think basically, you know, we had an attempted internal coup against the winner of the 2016 election. Rosenstein should be fired. Yes (ph), he should have recused himself but it's politically impossible to do that.

So, the thing to do now is keep him there forever and make him suffer. And I hope -- I -- and Trump should -- Trump should do that. He should find humiliating things for him to do.

You know, if we're going to have all these stupid things where you have to investigate what happened at a high school dance in 1973 in deep in Idaho or wherever the next judge comes from, send him over there for like a six- year investigation into what happened at the -- what happened at the middle school prom in 1964. That's where that's it (ph) Trump should find ways to torture him.

CARLSON: And you've got to wear a funny hat while you do it, maybe a Viking one with horns or something.

STEYN: Yes, right (ph).

CARLSON: I totally agree. I like your style Mark Steyn, thank you very much for that.

STEYN: Thanks a lot, Tucker.

CARLSON: Well a new study from three Yale researchers took a close look at what the illegal immigrant population actually is in the United States, and found that it's more than double what we thought it was.

What does it say about our borders? That's next. Plus, more of Martha MacCallum's exclusive interview with Brett Kavanaugh and his wife. Martha joins us coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: There's a new study out of Yale. Three researchers looked into the question "How many people live in this country illegally?"

The number you hear is usually around a 11 million. No one really knows. Well their conclusion, which has been disputed by some, is that it's at least 22 million. It's double what we say it is. True or not, it's clearly a lot more than we're pretending. How'd we get here exactly?

Reihan Salam is a columnist. He's the author of a brand new book, out tomorrow, called Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders, one of the smartest things I've read in a very long time and he joins us tonight.

Reihan, thanks very much for coming on.

REIHAN MORSHED SALAM, COLUMNIST AND AUTHOR: Thanks for having me.

CARLSON: So, you meditated on this question for a long time. And the question isn't how many millions or tens of millions people are here illegally. The question really is how did we get here? How'd this happen?

SALAM: Well one thing to keep in mind is that it can't possibly be just the Democrats, right?

CARLSON: Right.

SALAM: It's also Republicans who decided that this was useful for their purposes. It was Republicans who were more interested in the interests of employers than of workers.

You've got Democrats and Republicans who feel this way, both of whom work together to see to it that you do not have a more worker-friendly immigration and economic policy across the board. And that has been a huge dereliction on the part of America's elites.

CARLSON: So, one of the reasons I was so excited to get your book, which I was reading this afternoon, is that you are, I hope, starting a debate about this question, no matter what side readers are on. At least, there will be a conversation, a rational one, not about race, but about the economic effects of immigration on the country. Why haven't we had that conversation?

SALAM: You know, it's the economic effects but also it's kind of a core idea of conservatism, the idea that we care not just about the here and now, we care about the future.

CARLSON: Right.

SALAM: We care not just about the immigrant and what kind of work they can do but about the children and grandchildren of the immigrant, right? So what we have right now is a situation where we are in a combustible state where people are trying to turn one kind of American against another. You have people saying "Oh, these older people in middle America, they just don't get it," you know.

And then other saying that "Hey, you know, we need to replace them essentially with an entirely new people. They need to be more enlightened. They need to get with a (ph) program or get the hell out."

And that elite attitude of contempt for ordinary working Americans, some of whom, by the way, are themselves immigrants or the children of immigrants is incredibly toxic, and has fueled this legitimate question about whether or not our elites think of themselves as American elites or whether or not they're in fact opposed to the interests of the country.

CARLSON: Exactly (ph).

SALAM: And I find it pretty terrifying that we've gotten to the point where elites have almost seceded from the country that has actually enabled them to build their wealth and power.

CARLSON: Like the corporations they serve, they are multi-national. The passport is -- is just a way to get it. It doesn't have any meaning, Nationality doesn't mean -- do you know what I mean?

SALAM: Exactly.

CARLSON: They're in effect (ph) owned by sovereign wealth funds too, just like the companies they work for.

SALAM: Exactly. But here's the thing. Who actually suffers because of that? A lot of the time --

CARLSON: Yes.

SALAM: --the people who suffer are the second generation children of immigrants who are themselves working class. And the thing is that the same government, the same elite that is not looking after the interests of older stock Americans, later-generation Americans --

CARLSON: Right.

SALAM: --it's also saying these second-generation Americans who maybe they're having a tough time. They're maybe flawed (ph). You say, "Oh, we'll just replace you with a new round," right?

CARLSON: OK (ph).

SALAM: I mean it's this kind of incredible attitude.

CARLSON: Read the book. It's worth it. Reihan Salam, thank you very much. Congrats on this.

SALAM: Thank you very much, Tucker.

CARLSON: Brett Kavanaugh and his wife just gave an exclusive interview to our friend, Martha MacCallum, here at Fox. Some of the highlights, Martha's here to tell us what it was like to do it, after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Brett Kavanaugh and his wife Ashley appeared on The Story with Martha MacCallum just an hour ago. On the show, he categorically denied all allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAVANAUGH: I've never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not ever. I've always treated women with dignity and respect. Listen to the people who've known me best through my whole life, the women who've known me since high school, the 65 who overnight signed a letter from high school saying I always treated them with dignity and respect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Kavanaugh's wife, of course, came to the defense of her husband as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASHLEY KAVANAUGH: I know Brett. I've known him for 17 years. And this is not at all character (ph). It -- it's really, you know, hard to believe. He's decent. He's kind. He's good. I know it's hard. This is not consistent with -- with Brett.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Martha MacCallum on our set tonight. They look in pain, both of them.

MACCALLUM: You know what? Watching it again, this was really hard for them, really hard for them. And I felt like they were both kind of just tamping down the tears. They were this close to crying. I think this is obviously incredibly emotional and devastating for them.

I think they thought, and we all thought, that that first day at the hearing when Democrats tried to shut down the whole hearing --

CARLSON: Yes.

MACCALLUM: --that it couldn't really get any worse than that --

CARLSON: Right.

MACCALLUM: --and then they think they're all the way through and suddenly these accusations start coming out of the woodwork. And I think it would wreak havoc on anybody.

They seem very solid together and very united in the effort because I said to them "You know, at some point, don't you just say like, forget it. This is -- it's not worth it anymore. It's too painful," but that is not an option --

CARLSON: For a job that pays, you know --

MACCALLUM: --not an option.

CARLSON: --less than the average lawyer makes in town. You asked them about their girls, their family. Here was the response of Mrs. Kavanaugh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASHLEY KAVANAUGH: It's very difficult to have these conversations with your children, which we've had to have. Some, broader terms for our youngest. But they know it's Brett. And they know the truth. And we told them at the very beginning of this process "This will be not fun. Sometimes you're going to hear things that --

MACCALLUM: Yes (ph).

ASHLEY KAVANAUGH: --people feel strongly, and you need to know that and just remember you know your dad."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Boy, I bet they -- their girls were not prepared for this though.

MACCALLUM: No. I mean how -- how could they be? You can imagine at their age they're like mid, you know, teens, 12, 10, in that age range and it's obviously I'm -- I'm sure, it's -- it's devastating for them.

And to have to explain, you know, I -- I asked him specifically point-blank about all of the allegations. And we talked about them in very specific graphic terms. I can't imagine what it's like to have to kind of frame that, as she said, broadly for their younger child.

But, you know, she also said that they know their dad. And remember, even in the beginning when he got roughed up in that first day, he said his daughter came down and gave him a hug that night, so I think he needs a lot of hugs to get through this period.

But, you know, I mean the allegations are what they are that he's going to face this on Thursday. Christine Ford will be heard from. She'll have her moment to speak to make her peace. But there's no doubt that this has been extraordinarily difficult for them, especially the new allegations over the weekend.

CARLSON: When Clarence Thomas was accused of inappropriate behavior in 1991, he made a decision that he was going to fight back --

MACCALLUM: Yes.

CARLSON: --in a very tough way.

MACCALLUM: Absolutely.

CARLSON: I mean in it -- he was not going to go down. Do you think Kavanaugh has made that decision?

MACCALLUM: I -- Kavanaugh was not in Clarence Thomas fighting shape today. I'll -- I'll say that. And I played that clip from Clarence Thomas' when he just basically leveled the Senate Judiciary Committee --

CARLSON: Yes.

MACCALLUM: --is so, so powerful, that is not the frame of mind that Brett Kavanaugh appeared to be in today. He may be in that mood on Thursday. I even asked him several times, you know, you say that this is all false, so what do you think is behind this? Where do you think this is coming from?

CARLSON: Great question.

MACCALLUM: Is there some kind of political vendetta against you that's being played out, and we all know some of the corners where that could possibly be coming from, he did not want to go there at all. Doesn't want to conjecture about -- about any of that. And Clarence Thomas clearly called it what he thought it was.

CARLSON: Yes.

MACCALLUM: A high-tech lynching, and he felt that -- that Senate Judiciary Committee had sunk to such lows to entertain some of the accusations against him that they entertained. That was his feeling.

CARLSON: Yes.

MACCALLUM: And he persevered. So whether or not we'll see some of that fire in Brett Kavanaugh come Thursday, we'll see.

CARLSON: He's going to need it. Martha MacCallum, congrats on that interview with Kavanaugh (ph) --

MACCALLUM: Oh thanks, Tucker --

CARLSON: Great to see you (ph).

MACCALLUM: --good to see you.

CARLSON: Wow. We'll sum it up after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Something pretty amazing happened in the last 10 days. One half of our political establishment has announced the due process, the presumption of innocence are no longer relevant. And the other half has said very little about it.

Where does that leave the rest of us, those of us who'd like to be protected by due process and the presumption of innocence? Unprotected.

Why is that? Because both sides share a set of common assumptions. I've unpacked this and explained it in some detail in a book that's coming out on Monday of next week, a week from today. It's called "Ship of Fools." And it explains why the middle of the country normal people don't seem to have advocates anymore. You can pre-order if you like. We'll tell you more about it tomorrow.

We'll be back, the show that's the sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness and groupthink. Sean Hannity, right now.

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