Tucker: Washington never tires of being shocked at what a 'bad man' Trump is

This is a rush transcript from "Tucker Carlson Tonight," February 27, 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." You're looking at live pictures from Hanoi, Vietnam in the northern part of the country. The president is there tonight. He is about to meet with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un. We will monitor that live. We expect a lot of movement in this hour. We will play it to you as it happens.

But first, a lot going on Capitol Hill today. The circus came to town. The President's former lawyer, Michael Cohen testified for most of the daylight hours and everybody carried it. You probably heard snippets in the Uber on the way to work, you've got a real job, so we watched every moment because we are paid to do that.

And most of the day was devoted to the question of Trump's personal character. Now, people in Washington never tire of being shocked by what an incredibly bad man Donald Trump is. They are incredibly good people and they can just hardly believe his flaws.

They sat open mouth in the Congress today as Michael Cohen described his former boss -- brace yourselves now -- as a bit of a conman who has at times overstated his personal wealth. In private, Trump apparently has said offensive things.

At one point, Michael Cohen claims Trump used a straw buyer to bid up a portrait of himself at a charity auction. He wanted his picture to go for the highest price. Whoa. Are you shocked yet? Can you believe it? Of course you can. This is exactly we knew back in 2015 when he descended the famous escalator and yet millions of people voted for him anyway. His character was not the point.

The point of today's hearings not his character either, it was supposed to be Russian collusion and obstruction of justice. Those are the topics that have completely derailed the American government for the past two years. And on those subjects, we actually did learn quite a bit today.

Here is one example. About a month ago, the cat blog, BuzzFeed ran an article that claimed Trump had ordered Michael Cohen to lie to the Congress. That is a big deal. It is a crime. And so immediately, the hysterics in the Congress and on cable news went bonkers -- impeachment, indictment, life in prison -- but did that actually happen? Well, since Cohen was there, in person, he was able to conclusively answer that question today and he did. Watch.


REP. GREG STEUBE (R), FLORIDA: Mr. Cohen you stood before multiple congressional committees before today and raised your right hand and swore an oath to be honest, is that correct?


STEUBE: And you lied to the congressional committees, is that correct?

COHEN: Previously?

STEUBE: Correct?

COHEN: Yes, sir.

STEUBE: You stated that Trump never directed you to lie to Congress, is that correct?

COHEN: That's correct.


CARLSON: Okay, so it looks like Trump will not be going to jail for suborning perjury after all -- darn, foiled again. Look for a retraction in the latest edition of BuzzFeed, you'll find it just below the 15 cats that look like Ruth Bader Ginsburg listicle. Look carefully.

But what about Russian blackmail? You have been hearing about that for years. Trump they have told you again and again has somehow been compromised by the Russians. And that is why he has been spying for them. Putin has something horrible and incriminating on Donald Trump, he must. A picture of the President in a "Batman" costume maybe, or a video tape with hookers doing something weird.

Certainly, Michael Cohen would know about that kind of thing, that is his world. Luckily, a sitting member of Congress asked Cohen about it directly today. Watch.


JAMIE RASKIN, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, MARYLAND, DEMOCRAT: Are you aware of anything that the President has done at home or abroad that may have subjected him to or may subject him to extortion or blackmail?

COHEN: I am not, no.

RASKIN: Okay, are you aware of any videotapes that may be the subject of extortion or blackmail?

COHEN: I've heard about these tapes for a long time. I've had many people contact me over the years. I have no reason to believe that that tape exists.


CARLSON: The Jamie Raskin of suburban Maryland, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks, Mr. Raskin for clearing that up. So the "pee tape" is not real. There goes the juiciest part of the Trump dossier which you will remember was yet another highly publicized scoop from yes, BuzzFeed. Good time to get back to those cat videos, fellows.

But wait, what about the trip to Prague that Michael Cohen supposedly took that was part of his collusion with dark forces of the Russian empire? That was in the dossier as well. BuzzFeed told us about it.

Surely Cohen would admit it now, he's heading to prison. He has got nothing to lose. Well, Cohen was asked about the Prague trip and this is what he said.



COHEN: I have never been to Prague.

NORMAN: Never have?

COHEN: I've never been to Czech Republic.

NORMAN: I yield the balance of my time.


CARLSON: This is where it gets confusing. Never been to Prague. This is the point at which, what they call the "narrative," starts to break down a little bit. If Michael Cohen never went to Prague as BuzzFeed and Adam Schiff and the entire primetime lineup of MSNBC have told us repeatedly that he did, then how exactly did Michael Cohen collude with the Russians to steal the 2016 Presidential election from its rightful winner, Hillary Clinton? Well, that is a good question, isn't it?

Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida as incisive an interviewer as the Democrats have wondered that, too. Here is the exchange.


DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, FLORIDA, DEMOCRATIC: Based on what you know, would Mr. Trump or did he lie about colluding and coordinating with the Russians at any point during the campaign?

COHEN: So as I stated in my testimony, I wouldn't use the word "colluding." Was there something odd about the back and forth praise with President Putin? Yes, but I'm not really sure that I can answer that question in terms of collusion.


CARLSON: Oh, wait, so there is no collusion. There is no Russian blackmail. There is no obstruction of justice. There are none of the things that our entire media class has spent the last two years huffing and speculating wildly about. Keep in mind that Michael Cohen is Trump's personal lawyer of ten years. He now hates Donald Trump and would like to destroy him. He has said that again and again.

If Michael Cohen had the dime, he would drop it. But he doesn't. There is nothing there. It was all a lie. Can we go home now? Nope, we have got two more days of stuff just like this. Two more days of exchanges like this one where members of Congress will be able to prove that they are not only dumber than you thought they were, but they are a lot creepier.


JIMMY GOMEZ, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, CALIFORNIA, DEMOCRAT: Can he be blackmailed because of this financial and business adventures, including by foreign government?


COHEN: There is not to the best of my knowledge.

RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, ILLINOIS, DEMOCRAT: Do you have any knowledge of President Trump abusing any controlled substances?

COHEN: I'm not aware of that, no.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Do you have any knowledge of President Trump arranging healthcare procedures for any women not in his family?

COHEN: I'm not aware of that, no.


CARLSON: Is there a love child? Is he a dope head? Did he pay for abortions? No, no, no. By the end, you start feeling kind of bad for Michael Cohen, honestly. He's not a genius. Anyone who knows him will affirm that. He is in his 50s now and he is headed to prison, and that is a long way from where he expected to be.

Cohen showed up in Washington two years ago anticipating that he would be the kind of guy, the kind of mover and shaker who would welcome at any restaurant in town. Part the seas for Michael Cohen. Now, he is going to be eating sloppy joes off of a metal tray with a thousand other creeps in identical polyester uniform in the lock up.

So take the politics out of it for a minute if you can. Let's be honest. This is a sad story. Michael Cohen is a broken and desperate man, but nobody cares. Democrats cheered for his conviction on ludicrous, absurd campaign finance charges, as if paying off somebody's girlfriend is a campaign finance violation. It is laughable, but they don't care.

Now, they are squeezing whatever use they can out of Michael Cohen as he shuffles off to his cell. What do the rest of us get out of this? We learn that Trump is vain and vulgar, okay. What do we do with information? Is it supposed to make us support open borders? Late-term abortion? The war in Syria? The Green New Deal? Will it make the drug epidemic go away? Will it make the suicide rate drop? Will it make housing affordable in the cities? What does that have to do with anything?

Well, it doesn't have anything to do with anything and that is the exactly the point of it. That is why this is going on forever. The more time they waste yelping about Trump's charity auction scam and his naughty language in private, the last time they have to explain why they have run this country into the ground and gotten rich doing it. This is a distraction, and we are falling for it, for the record.

Congressman Mark Green was at today's hearing and he joins us now. Congressman, thanks very much for coming on.


CARLSON: So, again and again and I'm not defending the character of Michael Cohen. I am not defending the character of anybody in Washington actually, because why would I? He is clearly a liar. On the other hand, he said a bunch of things that he would have reason to lie about. It seems like he would have every incentive since he dislikes Trump so much, he would admit if he knew that Trump had a love child, a drug addition, paid for an abortion, was colluding with the Russians, and that the tape that was real -- all of this stuff, and he said it wasn't. So why is that not kind of significant?

GREEN: No, I think it's a great point -- the real story is what he didn't say today. The things that you brought up in your monologue before and the "pee tape" and all of this other stuff. I mean, we are not talking about that. He did talk about the accusations with the payoffs and of course, the buying of the painting, ridiculous stuff.

CARLSON: By the way, let me just say for the record, that buying of the painting thing sounds totally true to me. I mean, that is my opinion. I mean, I have no idea, but that sounds like something Trump would do. I think every Trump voter thinks that's something Trump would do, like whatever.

GREEN: Yes, what difference does it make, right? I mean, it has nothing to do with what they are trying to do today and the left is trying, the Democrats are trying to begin an impeachment process. They started with a fake dossier to get an FBI investigation going, and now, they are starting with a fake witness to get the impeachment going. That is their agenda and this is the best they've got. This is their star witness. A guy who lied on his bank loans, a guy who lied five times to the IRS, lied to Congress. I mean, their lead testimony to Congress is a guy who lied to congress. It is the best they've got and that is what they are trying to do.

CARLSON: Can I ask -- I mean, I am sincerely confused by this. So let's say you are having an extramarital affair, as many members of Congress do, as you know and your girlfriend tries to extort money from you, "I am going to tell people, unless you pay me," and you pay her. Is it a crime to crumble in the face of an extortion plot?

GREEN: Actually, there are a lot of debates out there. Most people don't think it was a crime, and most people think that Michael Cohen probably didn't need to plead to that. That is what many people are saying. Many of the legal experts, why he did, I don't know. But his other crimes are real.

CARLSON: But can I just ask, I mean, many members of Congress we know for a fact have paid off sexual harassment claims. Members of Congress are elected every two years, so every one of those should be a campaign finance violation, no?

GREEN: If they use campaign funds, absolutely.

CARLSON: No, but Trump didn't. He used private funds.

GREEN: Yes, as far as I know, the way it went down here, that is not -- I mean, what Michael Cohen did is not a crime.

CARLSON: It's just -- the whole thing is so nuts. Thank you, Congressman. I appreciate it.

GREEN: Thanks for having me on the show, Tucker.

CARLSON: Michael Caputo was the former adviser to Donald Trump in his Presidential campaign. He knows Cohen well, of course, and he joins us tonight. Mr. Caputo, thanks very much for coming on. What did you make of this?

MICHAEL CAPUTO WAS THE FORMER ADVISER TO DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, it went as pretty much as I thought it would. I think, if America were to get what we deserve, we'd see John Lovett as Michael Cohen on "Saturday Night Live." The President of the Pathological Liars Association of America, but of course, we are not going to get that.

The Democrats in Hollywood want us to believe Michael Cohen, but I saw two or three times in this hearing where Michael Cohen couldn't resist lying again. I mean, for example, when he talked about how it was his idea that President Trump ran for President in 2011 for the 2012 cycle, that couldn't be further from the truth.

There was a whole team put together by Roger Stone that was already in motion trying to get the President into the game when Michael Cohen came along and joined up with the team and started a group called, something like, "Should Trump run?" And the reason he was given leadership of the group is because he promised President Trump that he would raise $2 million to $3 million at the end of that whole flirtation with the campaign, Michael Cohen had raised $16,000.00.

So the idea that it was idea for the President to run in 2012 is a lie. He lied right to the committee's face again, and of course, we had that whole thing with his foreign contracts and they are going to refer that for an investigation, and I think they should refer for an investigation his whole claim, this prideful claim it was his idea that the President run in 2012. It is preposterous.

CARLSON: So, I've heard a lot today from Republicans about Michael Cohen is lying. And I'm willing to believe anything of course, but do you think he was lying in the exculpatory statements in effect he made about the President that none of these BuzzFeed theories are real and he would know, is he lying about that?

CAPUTO: I don't know. I think the Congress has a heck of a job from yesterday, today and the next couple of times he is front of committees, to sort through what is a lie and what is truth. And I think peppering your lies with the little dollop of truth is one of the best strategies of a pathological liar, right?

So I think the Congress is going to have a tough time to figure out what Michael Cohen is -- what he is saying whether it is a lie or whether it is truthful, and the idea that he is their star witness is really hilarious. It's just John Lovett, and by the way, Tucker, John Lovett like him. He sounds like him. They have got to do it on Saturday night.

CARLSON: So can I just ask you why -- I mean, you know him, I think pretty well. I know him actually. He always struck me as a little slow, I don't hate him or anything. But only a dumb person would plead to campaign finance violation for paying off somebody's girlfriend. That is not a campaign finance violation. Why would he plead to that?

CAPUTO: I think he is being told to do what he's doing. I think it's all about the Rule 35 that he talked about during his testimony today. Rule 35 is a motion that the prosecutors put in to reduce somebody's sentence for substantial assistance, and I talked to a couple of former U.S. Attorneys, you know, real pipe swingers today, who said that what Michael Cohen is doing is selling a narrative, trying to get the public to buy off on it.

So that for example, the U.S. Attorney -- oh, I am sorry, the Special Counsel's office can get Roger Stone for being on speakerphone when anybody who knows Donald Trump and knows Roger Stone knows that would never happen. The President wouldn't put him on speakerphone any more than Roger Stone would let anyone listen to any of his conversations with the President. It would never happen.

CARLSON: That is true. I know that for a fact. No, that is totally -- and you would hate to think a prosecutor would be involved in propaganda effort and the press would sort of nod along with --

CAPUTO: Well, it's all of this Rule 35 thjng. Pay attention there. It's Rule 35. He's in for three years.

CARLSON: I get it. I am the only person in America who feels a little sorry for him, but I do. Mr. Caputo, thank you very much. Great to see you.

CAPUTO: Thanks a lot, Tucker.

CARLSON: Michael Tracey is an independent journalist and a wise man, we'd say. He joins us tonight. You've been following the Russia stuff since the very beginning. I think you are a liberal, by the way, I should say that. But you have been skeptical about the Russia narrative as they say on CNN. Did what you heard today change your view?

MICHAEL TRACEY, INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST: Absolutely not and in fact, it reinforced my view that much of what has been touted as smoking gun evidence of Russian collusion since the beginning of this sordid ordeal has actually not been worn out. You know, I think a line of questioning that was used by Representative Ro Khanna, who is an independent thinker, he is a Democrat ...


TRACEY: You have him on your show.

CARLSON: Yes, I like him.

TRACEY: Yes, I think he actually had an interesting approach here. He speculated that perhaps the actual smoking gun in this whole episode was not anything to do with Mueller or Russia, but just garden-variety financial fraud. Those were his words, you know, stemming from this hush money payment that Michael Cohen supposedly gave Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election and the way that Trump and his associates repaid that payment to Cohen may have constituted some financial fraud. I don't know if that is true, but at least that's a rational motive inquiry and it's sensible.

CARLSON: Right, I agree.

TRACEY: But what is not rational is the way the Democrats have approached this Russian matter, especially with regard to Cohen. I don't know if you have been following the coverage on the other networks and in the other media outlets, but they have been so excited that they have been trembling with glee about this revelation from Cohen that he apparently overheard a conversation between Donald Trump and Roger Stone sometime in late July 2016, where Stone apparently confided that he had a phone conversation with Julian Assange.

And there is no independent evidence for that whatsoever. Mueller as you know, just indicted Roger Stone last month on charges that relate to his claimed communications with WikiLeaks and Mueller who has access to all the pertinent phone records and every other record under the sun made no mention of this supposed phone call that transpired on this date, I think, Cohen said it was either July 18th or 19th, 2016.

So either Mueller is a total failure in terms of his investigative prowess or there is something else going on. I don't have to tell you, Tucker, but I think Roger Stone has developed a reputation rightfully so as a bit of a fabulist and he has not always characterized his communications with WikiLeaks totally accurately, and I think that may have been the case here.

CARLSON: That's fair to say. He may go to prison for bragging. I mean, I am laughing, it's tragic but yes, I think that is probably right.

TRACEY: Yes, so that was the big takeaway and if that's the big takeaway, then this whole narrative is on flimsier ground than even I thought from the beginning, and I always thought it was pretty darn flimsy.

CARLSON: Meanwhile, we are like moving toward war with a nuclear armed power that we have no cause to be an enemy of. The whole thing is bizarre, and by the way, I would say to any of our viewers who don't know who you are, Michael Tracey that you are the one thing on Twitter worth reading, I would say. So thanks a lot for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.

TRACEY: Thank you.

CARLSON: Well, the Michael Cohen drama proceeds on Capitol Hill, a very different scene is unfolding in Southeast Asia. The President's Summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un is underway. Bret Baier, Ed Henry, Victor Davis Hanson -- all here as we follow the events from Hanoi. You're looking at live pictures of the President's car. He will get in it in a moment to drive to the scene of the Summit and we will be back in just a moment.


CARLSON: This is a Fox News Alert, the President is about to leave his hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam to meet with Kim Jong-un for their second summit. The White House wants to remain focused on the Summit in Vietnam, but it would be foolish to think they have paid no attention to the testimony before Congress today of Michael Cohen. How is the administration reacting to all that has happened here in Washington, "Special Report" host Bret Baier is in Hanoi tonight, but following everything that is happening here and he is here to tell us, hey, Bret.


CARLSON: So how are the traveling White House press people responding to what we have been watching?

BAIER: They are paying attention, obviously to the Michael Cohen hearing, obviously watched it a lot. We didn't get a lot from the White House in reaction.

Jay Sekulow put out a statement saying that one element of the testimony was completely wrong. No fool tweet from the President other than re- tweeting what he retweeted before. Our best inclination about the President's view of all of this was a statement from Senator Lindsey Graham in which he said he had a phone call with President Trump and he said he was kind of angry that there was this split screen of the Hanoi, you know North Korea-U.S. Summit and Michael Cohen's testimony.

As you are getting ready to see the motorcade leave here, we are at the JW Marriott as well. The President will head down to the Metropole Hotel and have a one-on-one summit meeting bilateral with the North Korean leader and then there's a full day of events including a working lunch. Really, the focus has been what the tangible things are going to be out of this summit and not Michael Cohen's back and forth.

CARLSON: Interesting. Does the White House seem optimistic about being able to announce something meaningful after this meeting?

BAIER: Yes, I had a number of conversations on the background with a few officials. I've talked to other people who say they don't know until it happens. This is different than other summits where teams of diplomats go in and kind of iron out all of the details and minutia and then the principals come in and just sign the paper.

This has to do with the one-on-one personalities of President Trump and Kim Jong-un about what Kim is going to agree to or not, and whether the U.S. is going to hold the line on denuclearization. Everything I'm hearing is, they want to define success as getting Kim to give up his nuclear weapons, to see the economic success of a place like here in Vietnam or Singapore, the site of the first summit.

CARLSON: That is a big ask to go into this. What are they threatening if they don't get it?

BAIER: Well, I mean, that is it. What does success look like? What does failure look like? Success looks like maybe incrementally may be getting inspectors, getting a verifiable system in place, getting a timeline when things actually are going to happen.

As you see, the motorcade rolling here from the JW Marriott, "The Beast" there with the President inside and it's about a 15-minute drive across town. Security is really tight, but not for these guys.

And then, failure looks like it just falls apart and the maximum pressure of sanctions comes back in play and neither party wants that. And I can tell you this, the people in Vietnam who I have talked to, the people in South Korea who we have been talking to, Greg Palkot out there, really want this to work. They want this piece to happen. It's just for the region.

CARLSON: So let me just ask you finally, a number of people here are saying here including the President's son, Don Jr., that everything that is playing out with Michael Cohen, these hearings in the Congress that we saw today, undermine the President's hand in these negotiations. Do you think that is true and does the White House think that is true?

BAIER: I don't think they think that. I think they think it distracts the attention. You know, the hearings happened today. The meetings really -- now, it is today, it's tomorrow your time, and the summit goes all day this day here in Hanoi, so the coverage will come back to the summit after a day of being up on Capitol Hill. Does it distract? Yes. Does it diminish? No.

If they get deliverables out of the summit, anything that is substantial, history has a long view and Michael Cohen will not be a big part of history if that happens.

CARLSON: No, either way, I doubt he will be a chapter. Bret Baier light from Hanoi. Thank you very much for that.

BAIER: See you, Tucker.

CARLSON: So what can we realistically expect out of the summit we are watching tonight in Hanoi? Harry Kazianis is the Director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest and he joins us. Hey, Harry, it's good to see you. Thanks for coming on.


CARLSON: So give us the interview of what the point, the object of this meeting is.

KAZIANIS: Well, Tucker, I think we have to really think about how this has changed in terms of what the White House was saying back in 2017 and today. Everything was about denuclearization. And I think that is still a big point.

But what the President has been doing in sort of foreshadowing on Twitter and all of his statements, he is talking about peace. And we have to think about this, how do we incent Kim Jong-un to give up his nuclear weapons? I think there's only one way to do that. It is to end the Korean War. I think what you are going to see today is both parties signing an end-of-war declaration that formally ends this.

And I think what that will do is that will allow Donald Trump to say, "Kim Jong-un, we are no longer enemies anymore. I'm not a threat. I am not going to invoke regime change on you. Now, you are able to release your nuclear weapons."

At least, we will know at that point if Kim is actually serious about doing this, and I think that is what we are going to see. There are a couple of other things, but I think that's the biggest thing.

CARLSON: Ending the war after 65 years. What are the tangible consequences of being at war as a diplomatic matter with North Korea? Will it improve life for North Korea if the war officially ends?

KAZIANIS: Well, think about it this way, Kim Jong-un will be able to go back to Pyongyang. He would be able to talk to his generals, the party cadre around him and say, "Look, we are no longer enemies anymore. For once, I feel like I can trust the United States. I feel like we have a relationship. It changes the whole dynamic of this relationship.

If there's not a war, Kim can actually go to his people and say, "You know what? We don't need to invest billions of dollars in nuclear weapons anymore," and at least we can start the process to denuclearize. And that is important. It gives him that opportunity.

CARLSON: It has always been said that China is the pivotal unspoken player in all of this. What is their position? What do they want out of this?

KAZIANIS: Well, I think China is probably concerned that actually Kim Jong-un may actually start moving closer to Seoul and the United States because remember, China uses North Korea as a buffer against Seoul, and against U.S. forces that are actually in Korea.

So the Chinese are very worried that someday that there will be reunification. Let me tell you something, a reunified South Korea would have trillions of dollars of minerals. Seoul would actually have a very cheap and entrepreneurial labor force to actually rebuild. Seoul would be a power. They would be a powerhouse and China does not want that. So I am a little worried about China's motives here.

CARLSON: So you believe that the government of South Korea would like to reunify the country?

KAZIANIS: Eventually, yes, I mean, they have unification ministries. They have scholars on staff that are researching this and trying to figure this out and I think someday it will happen. We may even see it in our lifetime.

CARLSON: What do you think the President will announce when this is over?

KAZIANIS: I think there is a few things. I think a peace declaration that will end the war. I think we are going to see that. I think there's going to be liaison offices, and that is critically important here. I know a lot of people have downed that, Tucker, and said, "Oh, it's a concession. You're giving something up to the North Koreans." Well, Tucker, I have never heard of talking as being a concession. That is what the neoconservative say and I think that is garbage to be honest with you.

Think about it, if we had a Cuban missile crisis and we were not able to talk to the Soviets and walked our way through that and have Ambassadors, we need to be able to talk to our adversaries. So I think that is important. I think what you're also going to see is the closure - full closure of the Yongbyon nuclear facility which is actually the flagship facility of North Korea's nuclear program.

Some people have said it is older, it is breaking down, but it actually helps the North Korean build hydrogen bombs. So I think that is a key component and we are probably going to see a big announcement in terms of U.S. and North Korean teams actually going on the ground to battlefields where the Korean War happened and doing excavation work and working together. Those people to people ties, they are important.

CARLSON: Will North Korea have in some way to atone for, apologize for and make good for the many misdeeds that it has committed killing Otto Warmbier, the UVA student, for example, kidnapping Japanese citizens and running concentration camps. Will they have to acknowledge, "We did this," do you think?

KAZIANIS: I think they have to. I mean, I think they understand it and I think Kim Jong-un realizes that there is going to be a limit to how far the United States can go. Denuclearization is important. Lessening tensions is important. But let's face it, the North Koreans cannot be a regime, that's a human rights monster.

There is no way that the United States or Donald Trump is going to be able to go back to the American public with all of this great news if the North Koreans aren't willing to change at least a little. And I think that is going to happen slowly, it might take years, but I think Kim gets that.

CARLSON: And let me just ask you -- end by asking you the question that I just asked Bret Baier in Hanoi, do you think that domestic politics, the attacks on Trump by Michael Cohen today affect the President's ability to negotiate this deal with North Korea?

KAZIANIS: No, and the reason I say that is I think Donald Trump understands that this is the time to make history. This is a once-in-a- lifetime chance to end the Korean War and actually have peace, because is the thing, Tucker, we sat here in 2017, and let me tell you, we came close to nuclear war. I think the President is going to have blinders on and I think he is going to bring this home.

CARLSON: Interesting. Harry, thanks very much for that.

KAZIANIS: Thank you.

CARLSON: Great to see you. We'll continue to monitor everything that is happening in Hanoi, Vietnam. We're trying to keep these live images on the screen. The President's summit to avert a possible war on the Korean peninsula, but on the other side of the planet, war is looking more likely by the day.

In Venezuela, the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro is falling apart and more and more voices in the U.S. suggest it is our duty to launch a military intervention to overthrow him. Consequences be damned.

David Tafuri is an international lawyer and former adviser to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, he joins us tonight. David, thanks very much for coming on.


CARLSON: So let me ask you the question of Venezuela, I've asked you of Syria and of Yemen, and of Libya and of Iraq. How is it in America's interest directly to effect regime change to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro?

TAFURI: Well, I don't agree with you that many people in Washington are calling for the U.S. to intervene right now. But the U.S. does --

CARLSON: I don't know where you are right now. Come back to Washington, you can hear it.

TAFURI: I'm in New York. I just left Washington yesterday, but I do think that this administration would like to see regime change and through sanctions and other sort of soft power techniques.

It is pushing for regime change, and I think that is appropriate. The problem in Venezuela is a completely failed state. It has an authoritarian dictator who has plunged the country into complete desperation and that's creating a very negative humanitarian situation.

It is creating refugees who are fanning out all over South America, Latin America, and some of them are going to come here to the U.S. More refugees have applied for asylum in the U.S. than from any other country this year. It is a problem for America and it's a problem for this hemisphere.

It's also a humanitarian -- it's also a human rights problem. Several people have been killed at the border just because other countries are trying to bring in food and aid. So this is something the U.S. has to be concerned about. Anytime a country completely becomes a failed state, it's a place where drugs can come through, it's a place that can support terrorism.

CARLSON: You don't need to convince me.

TAFURI: These are all things we should worry about.

CARLSON: I have watched as the left, the neocons -- Bill Kristol and friends, Barack Obama, Samantha Power, Hillary Clinton -- toppled -- and George W. Bush -- that toppled dictator after dictator, leaving smoking craters in their wake, failed states that have made the world worse, so I completely agree with you 100% and what you just said.

But why wouldn't overriding concern be a wave of refugees coming across our border? Pretty much the last thing we need in a country with as many problems as we have? Why shouldn't that be job number one - prevent a wave of refugees from coming to our country?

TAFURI: Well, I agree with you, but regime change would probably lessen the amount of refugees. Already, as I've mentioned, there are tons of refugees coming out of Maduro's Venezuela. That is a big problem and it is only going to get worse until Maduro is gone.

None of the economic policies that he has put in place have helped. It has made it worse. There is a huge inflation. The economy is dying and so he has to go. He is no longer a legitimate leader and that is why President Trump recognized the opposition leader as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.

CARLSON: Look, I am not defending Maduro. He is appalling and as was Chavez before him, and it is a shame that so many on the American left have supported them, members of the Kennedy family, Bernie Sanders. I mean, I am not going to defend Maduro, why would I?

I am standing back in shock as John Bolton, the National Security adviser encourages various countries to offer asylum to refugees as Republicans in the House suggest giving refugee status to Venezuelan refugees. Why should the United States bear the burden of socialism in Venezuela? I'm completely confused.

TAFURI: Well, it is not the burden of socialism. It is the effort to prevent a failed state because a failed state is going to hurt us. When you talk about doing an intervention --

CARLSON: But hold on, no, no -- but I am asking this -- I am sorry maybe I wasn't clear. Why are people in the United States agitating for us to bring in refugees from Venezuela? Why should we have to pay the price for the insane socialist policies of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro? I don't understand.

TAFURI: Well, America has a history of bringing in refugees. We shouldn't always have to shoulder the burden. It should be countries all over the world. Refugees should be accepted all over the world. There are lots of reasons why you need to have refugees to be able to go somewhere else. I mean, it's a humanitarian reason. You also want to support -- let me just finish.

CARLSON: Give me one reason, why would we do that?

TAFURI: You want to support political dissidents who are pushing for a country to become a democratic country, to become a pro-western, pro- American country, so when those dissidents end up having their lives threatened because they talk positively about America, because they cooperated with America, and they have to leave, they are running for their lives, they need somewhere to go. That is how we encourage them to support our policies.

CARLSON: Okay, but let me ask you a question, are we still pretending that democracy -- look, and I despise the Venezuelan government. I think they are evil, okay, so I just want to be clear on that.

TAFURI: We agree on that.

CARLSON: But why are we pretending that the goal for every country around the world should be democracy? Do we want it in Jordan? Do we want in Saudi Arabia? I mean, that is like a 2003 talking point that has turned out to be ridiculous. We don't want democracy at every country around the world, that shouldn't be the goal, what are you talking about?

TAFURI: It's been a bipartisan policy.

CARLSON: I know, that is the problem. All the dumb people agree with each other.

TAFURI: The Republicans and the Democrats ...

CARLSON: I know.

TAFURI: ... to spread democracy. I mean, that goes all the way back --

CARLSON: How does that work?

TAFURI: Because that goes all the way back to our founding fathers, Tucker. I mean, they supported --

CARLSON: The founding fathers were not neocons. They did not support the --

TAFURI: They said people should be able to decide -- people should be able to decide who their leaders are.

CARLSON: Yes, in this country.

TAFURI: They should be able to vote for their leaders. They said freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of the press. Those are things Venezuela does not have. So we should support that.

CARLSON: Okay, but hold on, why are we pretending that democracy is a panacea? We know from experience in Iraq where we toppled the dictator and imposed a democracy on the population that did not work at all and the main effect, according to the new report from the Army War College was to make Iran more powerful.

So like the democracy talking point, don't you think it ought to go to -- I am just pulling this out of the air, the dustbin of history at this point, or no?

TAFURI: It is like someone said, democracy is the worst form of government except for every other one. Democracy is imperfect.

CARLSON: Really?

TAFURI: But it supports individual rights. It supports our values, and right now, we are basically in a competition with China and Russia who have a very different vision for the world. They are not democratic countries. They don't believe in democracy. They believe in their form of kleptocracy and authoritarianism ...

CARLSON: Okay, yes, and I know the talking points. Let me just ask you one last -- hold on.

TAFURI: ... and they want to spread that, so we are countering with democracy.

CARLSON: Okay, all right. We are fighting. We are fighting Russia again. Okay, right, I get that.

TAFURI: If democracies fall, and they become --

CARLSON: Hold on, can I ask you one question?

TAFURI: If democracies fall and become authoritarian countries that ultimately will threaten us. We are in a community of democracies.

CARLSON: No, it won't actually. I'm sorry, George W. Bush, but has been proved not true. Really quick. Would you like Jordan to become a democracy? It is a dictatorship now, it's run literally by a King. Okay, it's a police state. Do we want to have free and fair elections in Jordan tomorrow? Who would that be good for?

TAFURI: Eventually --

CARLSON: Eventually?

TAFURI: Eventually all of these countries are moving towards democracy, even a place like Jordan is becoming more democratic.

CARLSON: Let's hope not.

TAFURI: It is.

CARLSON: Okay, I hope not. I'm on the King's side there. I'm sorry. I'm not for it. Call me names. Great to see you, David. Thank you.

TAFURI: Nice to see you, Tucker.

CARLSON: Ed Henry joins us with more. He is in Hanoi right now. He always has got his ear to the ground, if something interesting has happened, Ed Henry will know about it. Ed, what is happening?

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tucker, do I have an interesting nugget for you. You see the motorcade there arriving at the Metropole Hotel? It's a classic French colonial style hotel. You know it. It's very famous here in Hanoi. They had talks there Day One, yesterday. Day Two now, we're expecting maybe even a poolside chat between these two leaders.

Here is what is interesting - that nugget - the President's motorcade known as "The Beast" just arrived. You know that's about $1.5 million for the President of the United States limo because of all the security concerns. The tires -- everything is special, especially done by GM and Cadillac.

But we did some digging. Kim Jong-un's limo, you've seen the pictures of the synchronized swimmers almost, the security cordon around him. It's a Mercedes Maybach that costs $1.6 million. Why is that significant? They manufacture cars in North Korea, a small number and you see that Mercedes Maybach there with the synchronized swimmers running around essentially. They manufacture cars in North Korea that are only worth about $10,000.00, okay?

And the average annual income in North Korea is $1,300.00. It gives you some perspective, A, about why Kim Jong-un, as he enters these talks with President Trump may be a little nervous. He sleeps with one eye open about a not so tight grip on power because he has got people making $1,300.00 a year as an average annual income in his country.

He's riding around in $1.6 million Mercedes Maybach and the other point is, that he a taste for capitalism. And you mentioned this a few moments ago with Bret. He wants the finer things in life. He wants to perhaps see some market reforms in North Korea and get a taste of what it is like for the wealthier folks here in Vietnam which once had an economy that was in the pits as well like North Korea now and would like to see it all open up.

So this is the person that President Trump is sitting down with to try and forge peace, Tucker.

CARLSON: Amazing. I think at one point, North Korea was the world's largest consumer of Courvoisier cognac. Quite a work. Nice work, guys.

HENRY: Tucker, yesterday, Dutch officials we were told, seized, I think 80,000 bottles of vodka that were headed for Kim Jong-un's inner circle in North Korea. Because of the sanctions, of course, you cannot bring that vodka in. But you have to wonder, did they think they were about to celebrate some sort of big deal with 80,000 bottles of vodka? I mean, even if they do forge world peace, that is a lot of vodka.

CARLSON: It's a lot of vodka. That's a Russian level of vodka. So I want to play -- we have got some sound for you I want you to react to. This is Donald Trump after the first North Korean summit. Watch.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank Chairman Kim for taking the first bold step towards a bright new future for his people. Our unprecedented meeting, the first between an American President and a leader of North Korea proves that real change is, indeed, possible.

My meeting with Chairman Kim was honest, direct and productive. We got to know each other very well in a very confined period of time under a very strong, strong circumstance. We are prepared to start a new history and we are ready to write a new chapter between our nations.

As history has proven over and over again, adversaries can indeed become friends. We can honor the sacrifice of our forefathers by replacing the horrors of battle with the blessings of peace.


CARLSON: So Ed, what is striking about that, I wouldn't exactly call the tone warm, but the President dared to talk about leader of North Korea as a human being. He took some criticism for that. Do you expect a similar posture after today's meeting?

HENRY: Absolutely. A few hours ago when they first sat down and had some handshakes here in what was Day One, basically, President Trump was saying, we have got such a warm relationship. I think we've surprised the world with that, of course they have written lovey-dovey letters.

At one point, President Trump, said on the campaign trail before the midterms that they fell in love. You are right. That sort of raises some eyebrows when you have the human rights record of Kim Jong-un. The hundred thousand people in North Korea, we should remember who are in the gulag system as we speak.

On the other hand, if you are going to make peace, you've got to deal with some really bad actors on the world stage and that is the bargain this President is dealing with. And I want to point out something, Nicholas Kristof in "The New York Times," one of the guys we were supposed to be told is so smart on foreign policy. In my research for this trip, April 20th, 2017, headlined, "The North Korea-Trump Nightmare," and the lead says, "President Trump is scary in many ways, but perhaps the most frightening nightmare is of him blundering us into a new Korean War."

Tucker, that was April 2017. So my point is, all the "smart people" quote- unquote, on foreign policy have been wrong again and again about President Trump particularly his approach to North Korea.

So to your point, it is not great when you have got to jump into bed with someone like Kim Jong-un, but if he comes out of this with some kind of measure of peace, I think a lot of quote-unquote " smart people" are going to be proven wrong.

CARLSON: Yes, I think they are administering an inverse IQ test at the HR Department over at the "New York Times." It's amazing. Ed, it is great to see you, and thank you for that.

HENRY: Good to see you as always.

CARLSON: Well, for more reaction tonight the President's eminent summit with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, we are joined by former Trump State Department senior adviser, Christian Whiton. Christian, it's great to see you tonight.


CARLSON: So how would you describe the significance of what we are watching on the screen right now?

WHITON: Well, it is a big deal. It may not be quite as big as some people are making. They are a lot a lot of sort of weird expectations out there, a lot of people who have said and they said this when Kim went to Singapore, too, like, "Oh, my God, he is going to see almost capitalism in Hanoi, and he is going to want this for his people." I really don't think that.

He actually went to a fancy boarding school in Switzerland before when he was young. He has seen parts of the world. He knows his system doesn't deliver for his people. He doesn't actually care about that. I mean, he is at the end of the day, a dictator.

Similarly, you are seeing expectations. People who are saying that Donald Trump has already lost. He has given up on total denuclearization and that he is going to just accept some peace deal for the appearance of it. Consider that as some big victory. I don't think that is realistic either. I think Donald Trump wants to win not in sort of a PR photo up sense, but in a real way.

So I think some of the expectations are wrong, what they really they are going to probably do is try and work for incremental steps at disarmament including things like boring things -- inspections, discussions about plutonium 239 and uranium 235 and things like that.

CARLSON: So that would -- do you think -- I mean, that is the benchmark that you would set for victory if tomorrow or whenever this finishes, we are told that they have agreed to some sort of inspection regimen and future talks, that is a win?

WHITON: No don't think so, but sort of the idea which is, "Here are our finished nuclear weapons. Here is our stockpile of plutonium. Here is our centrifuges. Here is all of the nuclear waste," which is actually fuel that can be processed into warhead material and you can have all of that and send that to Oakridge, that is unlikely, but I think something that is a significant timeline.

I mean, if Singapore was a meeting of the minds between Trump and Kim on the end-state, if this is the sequencing. They want goodies. They want sanctions relief and economic assistance which could come from South Korea.

We want the nuclear material. It is the sequencing and the sort of those things can happen in parallel. And also, some process so that this can be decided below the leader level. If you talk to people on the U.S. team, they actually are in communication with the North Koreans. The North Koreans have been afraid to make decisions for good reason because if they make a mistake they, they could be executed.

CARLSON: Yes, that will focus the mind. I mean, it seems like it's a pretty tough ask. I mean, if I am a small backward hermit kingdom, and all I have is nuclear weapons, it is probably the last thing I am ever going to want to give up.

WHITON: Yes, exactly, right. And you know, Kim, they have a big army, but we saw with some defector, well, one defector who crossed the DMZ. I mean, these are young men who are like on the brink of starvation often. They have to pay for their own uniforms. This is not an army to march that is going to march into South Korea or that could actually defend North Korea from a conventional war.

They have seen what our weapons can do in other places and I'm not trying to defend what they have done or the way they run the country, but yes, what is the difference between North Korea and another sort of poor dumpy dictatorship like Belarus? Well, it's their nuclear weapons. That's their one ship in the game and they are not going to give it away flippantly.

CARLSON: Yes, what do you think China wants?

WHITON: China, you know come, I think has always appreciated North Korea. They have said that they don't want North Korea to be nuclear. I don't necessarily believe that. They know those nukes are never going to be used on China.

You know, it's sort of like their eccentric little cousin that causes problems for their enemy, which is us. You know, a buffer. I think the Chinese know we are not going to invade Asia with the 28,000 guys we have in South Korea. You would have to add two zeros to that number to be a significant force to invade the Asian mainland.

So I don't believe that they need North Korea as a buffer. I think they like it as a distraction. It distracts the world. It makes sort of North Korea enemy number one instead of China. Sometimes that backfires. If we move more capabilities to the Pacific because of North Korea, for example with the missile defense system we gave to South Korea last year. That pisses of China, but other than that, I think they sort of appreciate North Korea.

CARLSON: I bet they do. That is the kind of people they are. Christian Whiton, great to see you.

WHITON: Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON: Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He's been watching all of the insanity today and joins us tonight. Professor, thanks very much for on. I am just going to ask the broadest possible question, what did you make of Michael Cohen's testimony before the Congress today?

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON, SENIOR FELLOW, THE HOOVER INSTITUTION: Well, he was only of value for two reasons and could he have anything to say about Russia and collusion? And did he harm -- did he change our opinion of Donald Trump's method of operation? He didn't either.

He has already lied about Russian collusion and the only other aspect was did he go to Prague or not and he obviously didn't. He had no reason to lie about that.

So I think it is a 36-hour phenomenon and more importantly as you've heard from your guest, it was staged to take away attention from Korea in the short term and the long term, it's part of the Emolument Clause, the 25th Amendment, the suing of the voting machines, the in-palace McCabe coup designed to take Donald Trump's positives down to below 40%.

I just say about the Korea, if I could. Why these talks have failed under Bush and Clinton and Obama were, we didn't think there was an existential threat yet; now, we know there is with the ability to hit a western city, so Trump is much more urgent and serious; and second, we have this crazy appeasing idea of China that they were on the trajectory to the family of nations. The more we appease them and the more rich they got, the more reasonable they are.

Trump does not buy into that. So he is pressing China with tariffs and then finally, we always gave up on sanctions. We said, "God, they are eating grass." Or we have to be careful about the innocent North Korean people. But they don't rate when you're considering losing Seattle or Portland.

So I think Trump brilliantly put it in Vietnam and he is basically saying with that backdrop, this was an archenemy of the United States. It is communist. And it is doing much better than you are, and it's not very close with China and you don't have to be close with China and we are not going to invade it.

And so the carrot is that we probably won't invade you and you can become a Vietnam and the stick is, do you really want to live in a neighborhood with a nuclear Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea because they may well go nuclear if you do. And then China is not the ascendant sun, it's a setting sun. And we are the ascendant power. And we are doing pretty well in missile defense, so even if you did weaponize these weapons in a way -- these ballistic missiles to hit us, we could knock them down.

So it is a good carrot for you and it's a bad stick for you, and you can decide and we suggest you look at what is going on in Vietnam and that might be a model you'd like to consider.

So I think it has done pretty well and I think Michael Cohen in comparison to all of that, it is just more of the cycle dramas that we hear every 48 hours about Donald Trump from the left.

CARLSON: If Trump comes back from Hanoi with some sort of framework, some kind of deal that de-escalates for the near future of the relationship with North Korea, he will be the first President to have done that in 65 years. Will that, do you think be counted as a win for him? And I'm not whining about how they are being unfair to Trump, but it's a sincere question. I mean, do you think people will say, "You know, I don't like the guy, but that's kind of impressive."

HANSON: I think it is. That's cumulative, Tucker. I think people admired him for getting out of the Paris Climate Accord, when you look back at it; moving the embassy to Jerusalem, defeating ISIS and almost annihilating ISIS. The Iran deal, I think even its sponsors realized it was flawed. I think even people realize now that NATO needed to pay more in their pledge to $100 million and so I think cumulative, people are saying, "You know what, if you look at the entire Trump record especially under Secretary of State Pompeo, it is getting better and it's already good." So he will get credit for it.

And in contrast, all the other stuff has failed. All of these melodramas whether it is McCabe or whether it is the 25th Amendment, they have gone nowhere. And they look smaller and smaller and Trump is looking bigger and bigger.

CARLSON: And it is awfully repetitive, too, I have to say. Victor Davis Hanson, thank you very much. It is great to see you as it always is.

HANSON: Thank you.

CARLSON: Ed Henry is still in Hanoi, Vietnam by choice and joins us with a timeline and breakdown of what we expect to see over the next 24 hours -- Ed.

HENRY: Well, Tucker, both leaders now at the Metropole Hotel here in Hanoi and the bottom line is, in about five minutes, we expect them to sit down behind closed doors and then let reporters come in and take pictures. This will be another handshake as we saw in Day One.

About 45 minutes after that, they are going to add more people like Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. I think the key is at about 11:55 p.m. tonight, Eastern Time so about noon here local in Vietnam, we are expecting some sort of a working lunch. Another meal.

Remember these two leaders with a large group of aides and advisers had a dinner last night that the President said was going to be relatively quick. Instead, it went about two hours or so.

So that suggests maybe they were getting to know each other a little more and may be even getting some business done. The real key is that roughly in the middle of the night where you are, about 2:00 a.m. or so Eastern Time, we anticipate there could be some sort of a ceremony where they sign a document like they did in Singapore.

The question of course is going to be, what will be on that document? Is it just -- you can see the President now and Chairman Kim meeting again, the key is going to be, do they sign an agreement that officially ends the Korean War? Do they do something deeper that does moves towards denuclearization with some specificity?

Bottom line is, we are going to be alive all night, Tucker, starting 1:00 a.m. Eastern taking you through for a couple of hours through that signing ceremony and then of course, the President is doing an interview with Fox's Sean Hannity and we anticipate, depending on how it all goes, the President may also do a news conference with the International Press Corps. All of that live on the Fox News Channel all night long, Tucker.

CARLSON: Those are pretty amazing picture, Ed. You are lucky to be there. Thanks a lot for the update. I appreciate it.

HENRY: I sure am. Thank you, sir.

CARLSON: As we watch these pictures out of Hanoi, Trump and Kim together on the stage, you can imagine that the President with all that is going on, was paying some attention to the news this afternoon on Capitol Hill. His former lawyer spoke to Congress all day long and came up with no evidence of Russian collusion.

So I'm sorry, we are going to stop. Let's take the President here.

TRUMP: I think very importantly, the good relationship that is just very strong, and when you have a good relationship, a lot of good things happen. So I can't speak necessarily for today, but I can tell you that this -- a little bit longer term and over a period of time, I know we are going to have fantastic success with respect to Chairman Kim and North Korea. They are going to have an economic powerhouse. I've been writing about it. I've been talking about it. I think it's going to be an economic powerhouse. And it is something I very much look forward to, helping with because with a little bit of help in the right location and the right place, I think it is going to be something very special. Please?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: [Speaking in foreign language].

CARLSON: We are still broadcasting in English. We are waiting for the translation from the Koreans. This is of course live - a live picture of the President and the North Korean dictator on stage.

TRUMP: I've been saying very much from the beginning that speed is not that important for me. I very appreciate no testing of nuclear rocket missiles, any of it. I very much appreciate it. And Chairman Kim and I had a treat talk about that last night.

I've let him say what he said if he would like to, and if doesn't, he doesn't have to. But we had a very good talk about that last night, and again, I am in no rush. We don't want the testing and we've developed something very special with respect to that, but I just want to say I have great respect for Chairman Kim and I have great respect for his country, and I believe that it will be something economically that will be almost hard to compete with for many countries, it has such potential. Okay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: [Speaking foreign language].

CARLSON: Something that almost nobody six months ago would have thought possible. And it's happening live on your screen. That's it for our hour. We're going to hand it over to Sean Hannity who's in Hanoi tonight.


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