Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson warned the federal government’s investigation of Trump confidante Michael Cohen had broad implications regarding civil liberties.
The Fox News Channel host described the unknown terms of a raid and surveillance as “Orwellian” and argued his affiliation with President Donald Trump alone was not sufficient enough to justify the norms the FBI had violated in this investigation.
Transcript as follows:
It’s been an amazing 24 hours even by the action-packed standards of 2018. There has been lots of drama in Washington. Last night as doubtless know, former New York City Rudy Giuliani revealed on Sean Hannity’s show that President Trump did, in fact, reimburse his lawyer Michael Cohen for payments Cohen made to porn star Stormy Daniels. That seemed like a major story at the time.
But within hours it wasn’t even the biggest story of the day. NBC News reported that federal law enforcement had wiretapped Michael Cohen’s phone, and apparently recorded at least one conversation he had with the White House, presumably with the president of the United States. But then that story changed. NBC’s new account claims the FBI simply recorded the numbers that Cohen dialed and not the content of the calls he made. And that is where we are as of right now, 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
One thing we know for sure is that NBC screwed up, and there’s no surprise there, obviously. But that’s pretty much all we can be certain of. If NBC’s first story was wrong, why do we assume the second is right?
We really don’t know what the truth is, and we have no way of knowing. In the absence of honesty from our government, we are totally dependent upon leaks for our news, and many of those are dishonest. Michael Cohen by the way still doesn’t know why his office was raided and his phones and email were apparently monitored by the government because nobody in government will tell him and they’re not required to tell him.
How Orwellian is that, by the way?
Imagine if that happened to you — if one day, armed men arrived at your office or your home and seized your phone, your computers and files at gunpoint but never explained why they were doing it, and the next thing you knew, cable news anchors were calling you a criminal.
Now, Michael Cohen certainly looks like a shady character, but so what? Shadiness is not a crime The FBI can’t destroy your life just because you talk like a character from “The Sopranos,” or because you work for Donald Trump. Those are not felonies.
Basic norms were violated here. Attorney-client privilege is an ancient and a vital concept. And by the way, so is privacy. The FBI bulldozed all of that. Let ‘s hope they had a very good reason for doing it. The government better have evidence that Michael Cohen was doing something awful — putting lives at stake or betraying his country or something really beyond the pale in order to justify this.
If it turns out that all of this was just about a financial settlement with some porn star, which by the way, is a story that not a single American is honestly shocked by or threatened by no matter what Anderson Cooper tells you — if that is all it’s about, then what we are watching is a grotesque violation of civil liberties, and that would be a real crime, one with actual victims: every American who believes in representative democracy, for example.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor