During a highly contentious segment on Fox News Friday night, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) accused host Tucker Carlson of jeopardizing national security by peddling pro-Trump narratives that are also pro-Putin narratives that are retweeted by Russian bots.
Carlson started the raucous conversation by asking Swalwell to explain why Democrats were saying that releasing the FISA abuse memo would jeopardize national security which, he said, “turned out to be a lie.”
“You should be concerned about this too,” Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, began. *”It does reveal sources. You should read the memo. Just because you knew the sources beforehand because they were reported on doesn’t mean we acknowledge them in an ongoing investigation.”
Tucker insisted that Swalwell “be precise” about how the memo was jeopardizing national security, because it’s a “serious charge” that he wouldn’t want to “play any role in.”
Swalwell replied, “You’re playing a role right now — because we don’t acknowledge sources in ongoing investigations.”
“What source are you talking about?” the perplexed Carlson asked.
“The memo goes into Papadopoulos and Page and others that you only knew about because they were reported on,” Swalwell responded.
Confused, Carlson tried to get Swalwell back on track. “You just accused me of endangering American national security, and I think it’s fair to ask you to be very precise in explaining that,” he said.
Swalwell tried to meander off into a “larger point” about “the rule of law” and how [people like?] Carlson were using the police to go after their political enemies. [?!]** He was making no sense and Tucker was losing patience.
“You got two choices. You can either apologize and take it back or you can explain it,” he insisted.
“Because we don’t reveal the sources in ongoing investigations,” Swalwell replied. He compared the Trump/Russia probe to the police interrogating a suspect. “And you’re suggesting that we should give the suspect the evidence before we ask them the questions,” he argued.
“Who’s the suspect?! What the hell are you talking about?” Carlson exclaimed.
“They gave the White House evidence in the Russia investigation,” Swalwell answered.
“I’m not talking about the White House,” Tucker shot back. “I’m talking about me as an American citizen who got a chance to read this much-talked-about memo today and I listened to people like you tell me — and now explicitly tell me — that I’m hurting our country by reading it. And I wanna know how I’m doing that!”
Swalwell’s answer was bizarre: “You’re also hurting our country by not acknowledging the rule of law has been run over! They’re using the police to attack their enemies [?!] and they’re attacking the police because they’re under investigation.”
“Okay! One serious crime at a time,” the increasingly perplexed Tucker said. “You don’t have an answer, which is why you’re not answering my question.”
“I gave you a bunch of answers, Tucker,” said Swalwell.
“I have literally no idea what you’re talking about!” Carlson protested.
He asked Swalwell if he actually thinks Carter Page is betraying his country.
“I think you’re not allowing the FBI to answer that question with what you and others are doing to undermine their work,” Swalwell answered.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” Tucker exclaimed. “All I want is for my questions to be answered.”
“These are important times in our history. Either you are supporting those that are undermining the independence of the Department of Justice and the rule of law, or you’re standing firm and saying this is wrong,” Swalwell intoned.
“I’m not sure what the hell you’re talking about,” the confused Carlson insisted.
“You don’t like what I’m talking about!” Swalwell shot back.
“Oh! Well I definitely don’t like what you’re talking about, but more profoundly, I don’t understand it,” Tucker argued.
He challenged the Democrat to come up with one thing he has done to make America less safe.
“You continue to support the idea that we should give suspects in criminal cases the evidence against them before we ask them any questions,” Swalwell answered. “Do you think it’s a problem that the White House was sent evidence of the Russia investigation when they are subjects of an investigation?”
“Who are THEY?!” Tucker exclaimed.
“Donald Trump and Don McGahn,” Swalwell answered.
Tucker decided to try one last time to get a coherent answer. “In the case of today’s memo, what specifically have I espoused that empowers — threats to our country?” he asked.
“You’re peddling the narrative that the Trump administration is putting out — which also is the Putin narrative because they’re retweeting this with their Russian bots,” Swalwell answered. “If you’re on the same side as WikiLeaks and Putin …you should take a step back and wonder whose bidding are you really doing!”
Carlson was speechless.
“I don’t even know what to say,” he sighed. “I don’t want to explode on TV so I’m just going to end this segment now.”
* Liberal projection: When Democrats accuse Republicans of something, it’s a pretty safe bet that they are actually guilty of the thing. As far as “sources and methods” are concerned, the Democrat countermemo might have a problem.
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) said on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” Friday night that although he is in favor of releasing Rep. Schiff’s memo, it is “chock full of sources and methods” so it will have to be “heavily redacted first.”
** More liberal projection: Twice Swalwell brought up how [the GOP] was using law enforcement to go after political enemies. That, as we all know, is what the Obama administration did to conservatives for eight years. It’s very strange that he wanted to talk about that.