OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
Tucker Carlson, the host of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Live, has been very critical of the handling of the Ukraine crisis by the Biden administration, prompting a Democratic lawmaker to request that an intelligence briefer dig up dirt on the cable news show that is currently ranked #2 in the country in an attempt to determine whether it is connected to Russia.
Jim Cooper, a 65-year-old Republican state representative from Tennessee, asked the question in a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Carlson revealed on his show on Friday.
‘We are not tied to Russia, of course,’ Carlson said. ‘It’s a cable television program. He knows that. But that is not the point.’
‘So in retaliation for that, Jim Cooper has asked the intel agencies to dig up dirt on us,’ he added. ‘To be clear, that is not allowed. It is illegal to use the U.S. Government to settle partisan scores or to silence opposition journalists.’
According to Carlson, Cooper, a Blue Dog Coalition member who is leaving Congress in January after 32 years, ‘admitted what he did today when we asked him,’ and was ‘too cowardly to come on tonight to explain how he could justify that.’
The congressman’s office announced on Twitter Friday that Cooper was marking the first anniversary of the death of his beloved wife, who passed away from Alzheimer’s disease.
Additionally, the statement noted that Cooper “has every right to ask whatever questions he thinks are important to strengthening American security during confidential House Intelligence Committee hearings.”
Carlson found that excuse reprehensible.
‘It is also, by the way, illegal to secretly monitor their electronic communication,’ he said. ‘We are not speculating about it. The NSA admitted that.’
‘This is scary behavior. It is also revealing. After a full year of governing, all the Biden administration could muster when challenged are ad hominem attacks and more spying from the Intel agents. Let’s put the Intel agencies on. What they can’t do is explain themselves. They don’t even try.’
As part of a massive deployment of 3,000 troops into Eastern Europe, Carlson made these remarks the same day that U.S. paratroops, armored vehicles, and jets arrived in Poland as part of a major show of force in a bid to deter Vladimir Putin from invading the Ukraine.
Here's the statement from Cooper's office obtained by Tucker Carlson's show pic.twitter.com/uY8GW59eK9
— Daniel Chaitin (@danielchaitin7) February 5, 2022
According to the Biden administration, the presence of the troops is not escalatory, but instead is intended to reassure NATO allies that the U.S. is sworn to defend them under Article V of NATO’s founding treaty, which President Biden describes as ‘sacred obligation.’
Even as Russia deploys more than 100,000 troop around Ukraine, it decries the new deployments as destructive.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, defended the U.S. commitment of military aid to Ukraine on Friday.
‘We’ve provided hundreds of billions of dollars in aid security assistance over the course of not just the last year but long before that, and including a commitment the President made was announced around president [Volodymyr] Zelensky’s visit,’ she told reporters at the White House.
On Carlson’s show Friday night, he told viewers that his criticism of the Biden administration’s handling of the crisis in Ukraine is what pushed Rep. Cooper to ask an intelligence briefer to dig up dirt on the news program in an effort to find out if the show is tied to Russia.
Cooper had announced at the end of January that he will not seek another term and blasted Republicans in his state’s General Assembly for ‘dismembering Nashville’ in the once-a-decade redistricting process.
His announcement comes after the Republican-controlled state assembly in Tennessee split his Nashville district into three other congressional districts.
‘Despite my strength at the polls, I could not stop the General Assembly from dismembering Nashville,’ Cooper said in a statement Tuesday. ‘No one tried harder to keep our city whole. I explored every possible way, including lawsuits, to stop the gerrymandering and to win one of the three new congressional districts that now divide Nashville. There’s no way, at least for me in this election cycle, but there may be a path for other worthy candidates.’