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This is a rush transcript from “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” August 31, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, (D-MS) CHAIRMAN, JANUARY 6th SELECT COMMITTEE: For the president to somehow decide that he is going to take boxes and boxes of classified documents home with him is just note what the law requires.
I trust the FBI. They are just doing their job. It’s not a partisan effort.
REP. KEN BUCK, (R-CO) HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: The Department of Justice should have gone to court and used the lessons — least intrusive means possible to enforce whatever they were trying to do. The fact that he had documents in and of itself isn’t a concern. How he treated those documents and what negotiations occurred with the archivist, we just don’t know at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ROBERTS, GUEST HOST: The debate over the prudence of the federal raid at the president’s home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, back at the beginning of August continues to rage. So let’s keep it going.
Let’s bring in our panel, Mollie Hemingway, editor in chief of “The Federalist,” Ben Domenech, editor at large of “The Spectator” and host of “The Ben Domenech Podcast” on FOX News Radio, and Leslie Marshall, Democratic strategist.
So the Department of Justice in a late night filing made what it believes is a very strong case against the appointment of a special master which will be taken up in court in Florida tomorrow, saying, quote, “Appointment of a special master is unnecessary and would significantly harm important governmental interests, including national security interests.” Leslie, what about full transparency given the precedential nature of this raid?
LESLIE MARSHALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, full transparency when you have a special master obviously is going to occur. But if you have full transparency and you are involving witnesses and there could be witnesses that are not only tampered with but whose lives could be threatened or even harmed when you are talking about agents whose names could be revealed, especially if those agents are undercover, that certainly is problematic.
If we want to talk transparency, then let’s talk about a couple of things. In my opinion, a raid is what we did with Usama bin Laden. Not this. Secondly, when we talk about transparency, the National Archives asked forever these months ago. This wasn’t like, oh, we are not going to tell anybody. There was communication. There was a search warrant. This wasn’t done 3:00 in the morning where they were climbing over the former president’s bed to get things in the closet.
And these are documents, it’s not like they haven’t found anything. They have. And these are documents that should have not left the White House, and they are — they have top security clearance. Even FBI officials looking them over have to have been at the highest clearance that there is within our law enforcement agencies.
ROBERTS: You stole my next element. But Ben, if we are talking about just the appointment of special master here, we are not going to get into sources and methods and witnesses, et cetera.
BEN DOMENECH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Of course not. And so much of what we’ve experienced from have the FBI, from the intelligence community over the past several years has included issue after issue where we were promised from the highest levels that to engage in such transparency would endanger sources and methods, would endanger the approaches that they use when it comes to investigating these types of criminal actions. And time and again we saw that that was not actually the case. And, in fact, the transparency revealed a lot of questions as opposed to revealing anything that would be damaging to an institution that we all agree is very important for America to have faith in.
ROBERTS: Yes, for example, the small un-redactions in the affidavit led to a lot of questions. It gave us some idea of why the raid took place, but most of the real casus belli for that raid was behind black ink.
Leslie mentioned this, but I’m still going to put it out there, because this is what they said in the DOJ filing, highlighting the sensitive nature of the documents and the urgency to go get them. “Even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents.” The DOJ is saying here, this was really secret stuff.
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, EDITOR IN CHIEF, “THE FEDERALIST”: The very last people on earth who should be trusted in any dispute of this nature is the FBI. The FBI admitted already that they had fabricated evidence to go get a search warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. They have done very little other than meddle in elections going back to the 2016 election. They meddled in that election in two ways, both by weaponizing Hillary Clinton’s bought and paid for Russia collusion hoax, but also by downplaying the problems posed by Hillary Clinton.
In 2018, they had already known for a year that there was nothing to the Russia collusion hoax at best, if they ever believed it, and yet they had that Mueller probe going on and on for years to meddle in that election.
In 2020 we just had Mark Zuckerberg admitting that the FBI had told him to suppress information, and you had all those intelligence agents falsely claiming that the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation. And now they are meddling in this election, too.
Everyone knows that the Democrats control everything in D.C. Their policies are deeply unpopular. And so they are doing this raid in order to meddle in this election and then also in a subsequent one. This is a disaster for the FBI. And people in D.C. can pretend like these leaks and these court filings are anything different than what we have experience dollars since they began their war against Trump, but I think most of America says enough is enough, and they need to stop.
ROBERTS: So Leslie, can we take the FBI and the DOJ at their word, or does there need to be an independent third party looking into this?
MARSHALL: I don’t mind an independent third party so we can put to bed any distrust of the DOJ or the FBI, and there has been that on both sides of the aisle. But to say it’s politically motivated, I love you, girl, but if it was, then this is — as a Democratic strategist, I would say OK, my party just shot themselves in the foot all the way up to the president. This has helped Donald Trump. His numbers have come up. There are people in his — people within the MAGA group, if you will, that have been apathetic and weren’t going to come out necessarily in the midterms to vote for candidates that he backed, and they are now. So if anything, this is not helping Democrats. It’s helping the Republicans, and more specifically Donald Trump and Donald Trump backed Republicans that are running in the midterms.
ROBERTS: I want to put up this picture of all of these top secret/SCI, which stands for Sensitive Compartmented Information, documents on the floor. I don’t know if that’s at the FBI or if that’s at Mar-a-Lago. But Ben, this was done for impact in this court filing, causing president Trump, former President Trump, to fire back on Truth Social to say, “Terrible the way the FBI, during the raid of Mar-a-Lago, threw documents haphazardly all over the floor, perhaps pretending it was me that did it, and then started taking pictures of them for the public to see. I thought they wanted to keep them secret. Lucky I declassified.”
Trump maintains he declassified these documents. The DOJ and FBI say no, they weren’t declassified. You can have that argument, but does this amount to obstruction of justice, and could the president face charges?
DOMENECH: Well, I think that everything that we have in terms of signals from the top levels of the DOJ and from what we know to this point suggests that they are barreling or stumbling their way towards charging the president. I found that picture to be particularly embarrassing. Their choice of trying to push it forward, if it was meant as an act of propaganda in order to make the case against the president, was, I think, as so many other things, clumsy and foolhardy on their part. And it looks unserious. It looks silly in a certain way.
And from the perspective, I think, of all the people who have so many doubts, borne out because of everything that they have experienced over the last several years, this is only going to increase the idea that the FBI has engaged in something deeply unserious but also is barreling toward indicting someone who is an all likelihood going to be very soon a candidate for the presidency once again.
ROBERTS: Mollie, do you think the president faces charges here?
HEMINGWAY: They are giving every indication. They leaked to the very same people that they leaked to during the Russia collusion hoax to indicate that they are. Although one of the leaks was that they are going to wait until after the midterm to do this. And that’s why it’s important to understand, right now this is meddling in this coming election. And the FBI is really in a bad situation and they need to be reined in.
ROBERTS: Leslie, we’ve just just got 30 seconds left. If you don’t tag Hillary Clinton for criminal prosecution for having classified emails on her server, can you turn around and charge Donald Trump?
MARSHALL: I think so. But I’m going to disagree with these guys, I know big surprise. But I don’t think there are going to be charges coming. When you look at Robert Mueller and the investigation into the president, everybody thought there were going to be charges. He is not going to be able to run for president again. It didn’t happen. And so maybe because I’m a pessimist, I don’t think there are going to be charges that come against the former president.
ROBERTS: Panel, great to spend time with you. Thank you for coming in tonight, appreciate it.
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