updated 2/9/2006 12:44:32 PM ET 2006-02-09T17:44:32

Guests: Debra Opri, Ellen Johnson, Brian Finnerty, Pia De Solenni, Brett Rivkind, Susan Filan, Jack Hickey, Arianna Huffington, Elizabeth Holtzman

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  On Capitol Hill and across America, Democrats are starting to talk impeachment?  They are.  The San Francisco City Council trying to pass resolutions to impeach or talk about impeaching the president of the United States.  All across America, Democratic candidates running for Congress talking about impeaching the president, and other people writing columns, former congresswomen that were engaged in impeachment writing columns suggesting it‘s time for George Bush to be impeached. 

We are going to talk about that and much more in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed. 

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Glad to have you with us.  We are talking right now about impeachment politics.  I want to start with Pat Buchanan. 

Pat, you were obviously involved with an administration that knows something about impeachment. 

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What do you make about these articles that are being written about the president, President Bush being impeached for going into a war that you opposed yourself and some of these issues.  Talk about the charges and which ones—do you think any may stick? 

BUCHANAN:  Let me say, the war doesn‘t stick, for the simple reason that Daschle, the Senate majority leader, and Hillary Clinton, and Kerry and Edwards all voted authorized the war. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What about the NSA spying? 

BUCHANAN:  Now, there‘s where you‘re talking about something, Joe.

I think there is really a sense on the left wing of the Democratic Party, libertarian, conservatives, that the president has broke the law.  The problem is, the president informed Congress about this.  The president is defending it.  He‘s got people in the Ford and Reagan and Nixon administrations and Clinton who say it‘s OK.  And others say legally it‘s not.

There is a clear legal argument over whether the president has the authority or not, but the president did inform Congress.  The country basically supports him.  Nothing is going to happen, Joe, unless John Conyers is suddenly chairman of the Judiciary Committee. 

As you know, this has got to come out of the House.  It‘s got to come out of Judiciary.  Henry Hyde is sitting there right now.  Nothing is going to happen unless the Democrats win the House.  If they do, my guess is, they will try to put something together, but they will play right into Bush‘s hands. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, if the Democrats win the House, you think there is a possibility of articles of impeachment. 

Let‘s bring in also MSNBC‘s Tucker Carlson, host of “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON,” Arianna Huffington, editor HuffingtonPost.com, and also former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, who sat on the Judiciary Committee during Nixon‘s impeachment.  Also with us, of course, Pat Buchanan. 

Let me go to you, Arianna Huffington. 

You heard what Pat Buchanan said.  Now, do you believe that George Bush could be impeached by this House? 

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, AUTHOR, “FANATICS & FOOLS”:  I don‘t believe he could be impeached by this House, because obviously there is a Republican majority. 

I believe that there is a clear case for impeaching this president, especially over his breaking the law over the domestic wiretapping.  But I don‘t believe it‘s the right use of Democratic energy, because the most important thing right now—and I think Pat Buchanan and I would agree on that—is to make it clear to the American people that we need to leave Iraq and we need protect this country and fight the war on terror here at home, instead of pursuing imperial adventures abroad. 

And talking about impeachment, when nothing is going to happen, unless Democrats win back the Congress, is simply a complete waste of time, energy and passion. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Elizabeth Holtzman, but you have written an article arguing just that, saying that when you sat on the Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment hearings, you had a sinking feeling in your stomach when a lot of this bad information came out and said you had that feeling when the NSA wiretapping news broke. 

Why could the president be impeached for taking a position that in effect the majority of Americans support? 

ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN:  Well, I think a majority of Americans may support the statement based on how you frame it. 

I‘m not sure that a majority of Americans support the president‘s breaking the law about wiretapping.  I‘m not sure the American people support the idea that, even in A wartime, the president can override the Constitution. 

We learn about checks and balances in the third grade.  We understand that the Constitution really requires that the president be accountable both to Congress and the courts.  And here you have a president who says he‘s above the law.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Congresswoman, if I can interrupt you for one second. 

HOLTZMAN:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  You said that he broke the law.  But that‘s your interpretation of it.  There are a lot of lawyers in Washington...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.

There are a lot of lawyers in Washington that say that he abided by the law. 

HOLTZMAN:  Right. 

But, ultimately, the American people have to make a decision as to how they feel about this.  The Congress will and the American people will.  This is not—impeachment isn‘t something that happens overnight.  It didn‘t happen overnight in Watergate.  The break-in took place in June of ‘72.  It took until July of 1974, more than two years, for the American people to feel comfortable with the facts, understand the facts, understand the Constitution. 

You have to start somewhere in creating a framework.  Here, you have a president—if you assume that he broke the law, you have a president who says I will continue to do this.  And he has also said, by the way, that the Constitution gives him the power as commander in chief to wiretap, even if the FISA law—even if he didn‘t have the statutory interpretation that even Arlen Specter said was ludicrous.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me bring in Tucker Carlson. 

Tucker, respond. 

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”:  Well, I don‘t know.

The conversation strikes me as almost masturbatory, in a way.  It‘s not going to happen.  It‘s the kind of thing, the kind of idea that gets the San Francisco Board of Supervisors all excited.  It gets Cynthia McKinney in the House all excited and people like Cynthia McKinney.

But the president is not going to be impeached.  There is a pretty simple constitutional mechanism for people who don‘t like Bush, the election.  It‘s this year, the midterms; 2008 is the presidential election.  If you don‘t like Bush—and it‘s fair if you don‘t, of course—vote against him and vote against his party. 

One thing we learned—I mean, we have seen this movie before.  And I saw it up close, as did you, Joe.  It‘s not so good for the country to impeach a president.  Most people understand that instinctively.

Moreover, if you impeach and remove Bush, you wind up with what?  Dick Cheney.  You want that?  I don‘t think so. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  But it‘s not good for the country.  And I think even the left knows that, and it‘s just kind of—and I‘m not attacking Ms.  Holtzman at all.

I just think, come on.  Let‘s be real.  Do you really want an impeachment?  Of course you don‘t. 

(CROSSTALK)

HOLTZMAN:  First of all, a statement, it‘s not good for the country, where do you come off saying that?

And if you go back to the Nixon impeachment, it was good the country, in the sense that we put this behind us, and the American people understood that they shared some very basic values, that the rule of law and the—and the constitutional system of checks and balances was more important than any one person. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Arianna?

HOLTZMAN:  And that was very important.

HUFFINGTON:  But, Elizabeth, but Tucker is making a very good point. 

The 2006 elections are not far away.  This is really the time to actually take this to the American people and hold the president and hold his party in Congress accountable.  We have this opportunity coming up.  Democrats have been distracted enough as it is. 

You look at the front-page article in the “New York Times” today, which is really an embarrassment for Democratic leaders, because they are so unclear about they should be focusing on.  They need to focus, as far as I‘m concerned, on proving to the American people that this president is not making us more secure. 

This is the big vulnerability of this president, national security.  The war in Iraq is a disaster.  You have Republicans abandoning him.  You have conservatives like Dick Scathe (ph) abandoning him and following John Murtha in the editorials of his papers in Pennsylvania.

Things are shifting.  You have the head of the state Senate in New York abandoning the president on Iraq.  This is the greatest possibility for the Democrats to create a new kind of alignment, people on the conservative side and people on the liberal side. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me follow up with Pat Buchanan there. 

Look—look at the show.  Look at our panel tonight.  We have got four people on the panel tonight.

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Two supposed conservatives, two supposed liberals. 

That‘s how most Americans would define the makeup.

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And yet all four of you oppose this war. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  But when you have Democrats overreaching the way they have overreached on certain issues, it seems like the—they are just getting in the way of creating alliances with people that could actually help them elect some moderate Republicans or—or Democrats. 

BUCHANAN:  I think you have got a very good point.

This—the impeachment thing is utterly silly.  Look, we oppose the war.  We had the debate.  We argued for the Democrats in the Senate.  For heaven‘s sakes...

SCARBOROUGH:  You opposed the war and Tucker opposes the war, and Republicans.

BUCHANAN:  And don‘t give the president the authority.

We lost the debate, Joe.  They all voted for war.  The president won the debate.  He took us to war.  It‘s not going well.  I agree with folks.  We ought to find a way out of there.  Frankly, I don‘t know a better way than the president has got right now. 

You can‘t impeach him when he won the argument and the country voted for the war and the Congress voted for the war. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Let me—hold it.

On the wiretaps and surveillance, you have got an issue that is very much in dispute.  Whether you like it or not, the president went to the Congress, said this is what I‘m doing.  I have got to do it.  Jane Harman knows it.  Daschle knows it.  He went to him 12 times.  This is what we are doing.  I think I got the authority.  Clinton‘s lawyer says he has got the authority.  Other people said he doesn‘t.

You can‘t impeach someone on an issue which is clearly in dispute. 

And the president was open about it.

Democrats ought to find themselves.  If they want to run against this war, run against it in the fall of 2006, say what they want to do.  And, as Tucker says, look, if you want to beat them on that issue, do it out there with the American people. 

CARLSON:  I don‘t think it‘s going to work.

SCARBOROUGH:  Tucker?

CARLSON:  Look, I think the war is the issue the Democrats have traction on. 

The idea that you would impeach the president on these wiretaps, I mean, the legal arguments aside—and I‘m not even weighing in on those—as a political matter, it isn‘t very smart, because people support them.  They don‘t support the war, by and large. 

So, with every moment that Democrats attack Bush on these wiretaps, they lose politically.  People support them.  Maybe they shouldn‘t, but they do.  And that argument draws attention away from the winning argument for Democrats.

(CROSSTALK)

HUFFINGTON:  I don‘t agree.

(CROSSTALK)

HOLTZMAN:  It‘s three against one.  You got to give me a chance to say something.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  We got to go.  One at a time.

HOLTZMAN:  You got to give me a chance to say something here.

First of all, I mean, it‘s three—you got three against one, not two against two here.

The point about impeachment, first, let me go back.  The framers of this Constitution knew that there were elections every two years.  They created that.  But they also knew that they had lived with a monarch, and they knew there could be tyranny.  And they wanted to make sure, if you had an executive who ran amuck, that the Congress had the power and indeed the responsibility to preserve democracy.  That‘s what impeachment is about, and let‘s not forget it. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.  Hold on.  You are...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no, no.

(CROSSTALK)

HOLTZMAN:  Oh, you had a chance to talk.

SCARBOROUGH:  I can‘t allow you to do this, because you are not—you‘re talking about taking a political issue that is subject to debate right now.

HOLTZMAN:  It‘s not a political issue.  It‘s a constitutional issue. 

What you have is a president of the United States who is saying he is...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It is an issue that is being debated right now.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Listen, you can keep talking if you want to.

The majority of Americans in the latest CBS/”New York Times” poll supported what the president is doing.  There are lawyers all across Washington, D.C., that are saying the president has the right to do what he is doing.  It is an issue that is open to debate.  That is not a high crime or a misdemeanor.  You can‘t confuse that.

(CROSSTALK)

HOLTZMAN:  Look, Richard Nixon debated that, too. 

(CROSSTALK)

HOLTZMAN:  Just because people debate it doesn‘t mean that it is right. 

The point is, the president of the United States can‘t hold himself above the law.  And that is critical. 

(CROSSTALK)

HOLTZMAN:  ... Iraq or anything else is whether we are going to preserve our democracy here in this country. 

Arianna, I disagree with you about that.  We have got to preserve our democracy.  That‘s the most important thing.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m going to ask my producers.

I‘m going to take over now.  And I‘m going to going to give everybody a chance to talk, because we are—this is quadraphonic sound.

Pat Buchanan, go ahead. 

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  Look, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, if you cannot defeat the president in November of 2006, you can‘t get the Judiciary Committee, and you can‘t impeach. 

So, it‘s a moot point.  What we have all been saying is, you have got to win the election of 2006, or what you and “The Nation” and Katrina Vanden Heuvel and David Corn are saying is irrelevant. 

CARLSON:  Exactly. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Arianna Huffington, your turn.  Go. 

HUFFINGTON:  Well, our panel tonight demonstrates what I have been saying for a long time, which is that the left-right divisions, when it comes to the war, when it comes to national security, are becoming increasingly obsolete. 

There are people all across the spectrum in America today who are opposing this war, who want us to protect the homeland first, instead of wasting billions of dollars and thousands of American lives in a war we can never win.  And that should be our preoccupation.  That should be the priority.

And I completely agree that the time to hold Republicans accountable is around the corner.  It is November 2006.  And, please, let‘s not be distracted by impeachment, which is never going to happen before November 2006, and everybody knows that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you, Arianna.

We got to go. 

Tucker Carlson, Arianna Huffington, Elizabeth Holtzman, and, Pat Buchanan, thanks.

And, by the way, for people that watch the show and are trying to figure out the divide, if it‘s an all-liberal panel or an all-conservative panel, I can tell you, I was outvoted tonight on the war 4-1. 

I think it‘s where we need to be.  I think we need to stay there.  And I think the wiretaps, it‘s a great idea.  What do they call it, Pat Buchanan, the, what, terrorist surveillance program.  Don‘t you love that?  I love... 

BUCHANAN:  Sounds like something Newt thought up.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Whoever made that—I love that.  Who could be against the terrorist surveillance program? 

We will be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  A Hollywood movie sparking a religious debate.  Is it “The Passion” part two?  No, it‘s “The Da Vinci Code.”

We will be talking about that and much more and show you the latest clips from this upcoming blockbuster—when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  New questions tonight about the final hours of missing honeymooner George Smith‘s life.  Are the alibis of the young men last seen with George Smith falling apart?  They are those Russians that we have been talking about for some time.

With me now to talk about the new developments, Smith family attorney Brett Rivkind, former prosecutor Susan Filan, and maritime attorney Jack Hickey. 

Susan, let‘s start with you.

It looks like the timeline by these Russians and this story, I mean, it‘s just garbage.  Let‘s set this up.  At 3:15 a.m., Jennifer is seen leaving the disco.  At 3:30 a.m., George and four men return to the Smith cabin, and Jennifer is not there. 

At 3:45, Smith and the four men search for Jennifer.  At 4:00 a.m., the four men say they return to his room and left to order—they left his room, and they left to order room service in another cabin. 

But this is what‘s interesting.  Just five minutes later, at five after 4:00, Clete Hyman—remember, he‘s the passenger in the next cabin that we interviewed first.  He is awakened by noise in Smith‘s cabin.  And, at 4:15, Clete hears the men saying goodbye and looks out in the hall.

He says he saw three men leave.  At 4:20, Clete says he heard more noises, a thud, furniture moving, and a voice.  Now, this is at the same time the room service is being delivered, supposedly, to the four men who had been with Smith.  At 4:30, Jennifer is found unconscious in the hallway.

And, at 4:48, crew members find the cabin empty.  Something doesn‘t add up on the cruise.

Like me bring in you, Susan Filan, and ask you, as you look through this timeline and the story of these young guys, these Russians, do you buy their alibi about the mountains of pizza that they purchased that night? 

SUSAN FILAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  Well, Joe, it‘s so interesting that you asked me the question using the word alibi, because I heard about this room service order a long time ago.

And my first thought was, aha, they are laying the groundwork for their own alibi defense.  That‘s just my opinion, Joe.  But here‘s why I think that.  The earlier reports about this room service was—by their own account, they ordered an obscene, absurd amount of food.  We also know that they photographed themselves in the room with this food.  Now, that is bizarre.  That is not typical drunk, 4:00 a.m., whatever time in the morning behavior.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  So, explain this, Susan.  I have got to stop you here. 

And, first of all, I found it interesting.  When I had their attorneys come on this show, it was almost like they were reading off a script.  Oh, they went back and ordered an absurd amount of room service.  But now we are finding out that these four guys, drunk at 4:00 in the morning, 4:30 in the morning, are actually taking pictures of their food? 

FILAN:  Yes.

Now, to me, they are just laying the groundwork.  Look, we were in the room.  We were in the room at this time.  Here is how we can prove it.  We ordered so much room service that you ask anybody in the kitchen, they are going to remember it.  You ask anybody that delivered it to our room, they are going to remember it.  And, if they don‘t, here are the photographs of us in the room with the food. 

That‘s bizarre.  To me, the problem with the timeline is not that they have established an alibi that looks like it‘s going down the drain.  Yes, that‘s a given.  Their timeline is off.  And it doesn‘t add up.  And they have got real problems.  And the food isn‘t going to help them.

It‘s going to, I think, make them look even more guilty, because they‘re trying to establish this—quote, unquote—“alibi.”  The problem I have is, Clete Hyman says, on the one hand, that he opens the door, sees these guys leave, and, after that, hears the bumping and the thumping and the loud thud. 

I understood him in the very earliest interviews to say something different.  And I‘m not sure whether his story is changing now or whether his memory is getting filled in by what other people are saying.  But there is a pretty significant difference between, I heard bumping, thumping and a thud, then the door opened, and then these kids come out, vs., I see the kids leave, and then I hear the thud.  To me, that is really critical. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Brett, I guess, for the Russians‘ alibi, if that picture story doesn‘t hold up, then, basically, it is game, set, match, right?  They‘re in trouble.

BRETT RIVKIND, SMITH FAMILY ATTORNEY:  Well, Joe, when you start hearing stories that are inconsistent, inaccurate, not true, you have got to ask the obvious question.  Why?

Why would you make up stories?  Why would you take photographs at 4:20 in the morning...

SCARBOROUGH:  Of food.

RIVKIND:  ... of room service, which is the exact time that Clete Hyman says he hears this loud thud?

As Susan says, it doesn‘t add up.  People‘s stories have changed over time.  Their stories, too, are different than they were in July.  And I think, Joe, you have got to go back to what we have said from the beginning, our premise about the cruise line leaving that port so quickly before an adequate and thorough investigation took place. 

The Turkish authorities never, nor did the FBI, interview in detail two of the four passengers who were last seen with George, nor Clete Hyman, nor the people who were on the other side of the Smiths‘ cabin.  These are all turning out to be very material witnesses, as we put this timeline together and as we see these inconsistencies. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Jack...

RIVKIND:  This could have been handled much better at the very beginning, if a complete and thorough investigation had taken place while the ship was in Turkey in port. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What a huge difference it would have made.

And, Jack Hickey, again, when you look at how all of this is lined up, if these Russians were somehow involved—I‘m just saying if—if they were somehow involved in the disappearance of George Smith, obviously, the cruise line could have kept them in port there and figured that out from the very beginning.  Do you think that we are going to ultimately find out that these four young men were the ones responsible for the disappearance of George? 

JACK HICKEY, MARITIME ATTORNEY:  Well, of course, we don‘t know that, Joe. 

But what we do know, when we hear about things about, like people taking pictures of pizza, is, you know, this falls under the heading of, consider the source.  I mean, just—you know, these folks are critical witnesses, obviously.  They may be suspects.  There is a grand jury being convened in Connecticut as we speak, as I understand it. 

And what you have to realize and what folks have to realize is, in the criminal context, 99 percent of the time—and Susan knows this—is that the defendants do not testify.  So, this is the time that their attorneys have to get the message out that, oh, there is an alibi, there‘s a story, to prospective jurors, maybe, to the grand jury, maybe, to you and me, maybe, to say that, hey, they really weren‘t in George Smith‘s cabin at that time. 

So, you have really got to consider that, that they -- 99 percent of the time, they are not going to testify in court.  But what‘s really going to tell the story here are the 97 videotapes that Royal Caribbean says it turned over to the FBI.  You know, Royal Caribbean, if they had been watching those videos, and if they watched them afterwards, knew that these folks were critical, critical witnesses, and let them go, and did not question them, certainly with—in any thorough way. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it.

HICKEY:  So, those 97 videos...

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, they are absolutely critical, and the key codes for the cards, so many things...

HICKEY:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... so many questions we are going to have answered when the FBI finally starts talking. 

Brett, thanks for being with us. 

Susan Filan and Jack Hickey, thank you so much.

And, again, the bottom line is, as our whole panel said, when you have got people who are possible suspects taking pictures of pizza that will have a time code on it to serve as an alibi, you are not going to fool anybody, especially the FBI, with that garbage.

Now, When we come back, the P.R. machine is ramping up for “The Da Vinci Code” movie.  And so are fears that Hollywood is once again trashing religion.  We are going to have the latest clip from “The Da Vinci Code,” the first clip, when we come back. 

And be true to your mate, or get in big trouble on the job.  One sheriff‘s department hands down harsh new work rules about adultery.  We will tell you about it. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We have got the first look at “The Da Vinci Code,” a movie that is sure to be a huge hit this summer.  But the movie says Christianity is a farce, Jesus is a mere mortal, and the Catholic Church is a violent organization.  We will be debating that coming up. 

But, first, here is the latest news you and your family need to know. 

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Can your private life get you in trouble at work?  And should it?  Well, a strict new rule that puts adulterers in hot water with the boss in Florida. 

And a young spelling bee contestant disqualified, even though she was right.  But now she is being told, tough luck.  We will tell you that story and more.

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Those stories in just minutes. 

But, first, “The Da Vinci Code,” of course, it is the best-selling book.  It‘s also an upcoming book that calls Jesus a fake, Christianity a sham, and the Catholic Church an organization that is run by a cult.  Maybe that is why Hollywood is so excited about its premiere.

Now they are rolling out the red carpet, preparing for its release. 

And the faithful look like they are ready to fight back. 

Now, here is a look at a clip that was released today from “The Da Vinci Code,” the movie.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE DA VINCI CODE”)

TOM HANKS, ACTOR:  No.  It doesn‘t say that. 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  Is it another anagram?  Can you break it? 

(NOISE)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  Professor, hurry.  Hurry. 

HANKS:  Demons (INAUDIBLE) monks, rocks. 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  (INAUDIBLE) rocks? 

HANKS:  Da Vinci. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s Tom Hanks, I‘ll tell you what. 

Let me bring in right now Pia De Solenni.  She‘s from the Catholic outreach group that put out the book “The Da Vinci Deception.”  And Brian Finnerty from Opus Dei, the so-called cult in “The Da Vinci Code,” and Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists. 

You know, Pia, we were just talking about how interesting it was that we have this news about how one little cartoon causes half the Muslim world to erupt and, yet—hold up “The Da Vinci Code.” 

PIA DE SOLENNI, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL:  Here we go.

SCARBOROUGH:  This book, we both read this book. 

DE SOLENNI:  Exactly. 

SCARBOROUGH:  This book is filled with statements that say Jesus was a farce, Christianity is a lie, the Catholic Church is a violent organization, and, yet, we read it and just go on.  Very interesting. 

Do you think Christians and Catholics are going to become more inflamed when this book becomes a movie? 

DE SOLENNI:  Well, it depends.

One of the problems, I think, is that so many Christians are somewhat uninformed about their faith.  They don‘t know—the truths of their faith can be easily challenged.  And I think this is really a call to action for Christians to learn more about Christianity, be able to defend it, because the Muslims, they can defend their faith, even if we don‘t agree with the tactics. 

But we need to understand the basics...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I had so many people that read “The Da Vinci Code” before I did.  I didn‘t read it until like two years in.  And they would say, is all that stuff true? 

(CROSSTALK)

DE SOLENNI:  That‘s right, because it‘s a good read.  It‘s a good read.  And it draws you in. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s a great read.  And, at the beginning, Dan Brown lies by saying, this is the truth. 

DE SOLENNI:  Well, his facts—I mean, I brought this simply because it‘s great.  The first page, with his facts, every one of them is inaccurate. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

DE SOLENNI:  Yet, that how he starts the book.

SCARBOROUGH:  So, what is it that makes this book so popular?  Do you think—again, the Muslims are fighting against a blasphemous cartoon in a way that, of course, I find just completely offensive.

DE SOLENNI:  Absolutely.

SCARBOROUGH:  But do you think that‘s—“The Da Vinci Code” is a movie that Christians and Catholics especially should boycott? 

DE SOLENNI:  Yes, absolutely.

More importantly, I think they should be ready to respond to it by informing themselves and knowing the subject matter better.  That‘s the real key.  It—I think it‘s going to be a natural flop amongst practicing Christians, people who are active in their faith, simply because it is offensive to their core beliefs. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  And it‘s going to be hard for them to, like you said, sit through something that calls Christianity a lie. 

DE SOLENNI:  They‘re not going to respond to this like they did to “The Passion.”  We are not going to see the evangelical churches buying out theaters so that they can think their members.  And I think that‘s where Hollywood is going to get a real wide awakening, a big surprise.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Pia, let‘s read what the hardcover edition said. 

In the preface, the first page begins with the boldfaced word “fact.”  Quoting the final paragraph: “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.

Brian, let me bring you in there.

After reading that, I thought that members of your organization were albinos who punish themselves and who set out to murder moderate practicing Catholics.  What are you going to do to inform Americans the truth about your organization? 

BRIAN FINNERTY, SPOKESMAN, OPUS DEI:  Well, what we are doing is taking advantage of every media opportunity that we can get to talk about what the real Opus Dei is.

And, obviously, there are no albino—murderous albino monks in Opus Dei, no monks in Opus Dei, albino or otherwise.  The whole point of Opus Dei, it‘s an institution within the church with the purpose of helping people come closer to God in their work and daily lives, searching for that, and not searching for the Holy Grail. 

So, our whole purpose is to take advantage of media opportunities like that.  And we also have a number of special projects that we have planned in order to respond to all the attention that we have received. 

Ellen, let me bring you in here, president of American Atheists. 

Ellen, I certainly respect your right to be an atheist.  I‘m sure you respect my right to believe the way I believe, as a Christian.  Could you understand why a lot of Christians would be very offended by a book and a movie that calls their faith a sham? 

ELLEN JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ATHEISTS:  Yes. 

I think, however, that the Roman Catholic Church has a lot more other issues that they have to worry about which are far more important than this one.  People are not following the dogmas of the Catholic.  Their churches are closing.  Their schools are closing.  They‘re losing out in so many areas. 

This is really not one of the bigger problems that they have to deal with.  But I applaud the way your other two guests are handling this situation.  They have every right to be indignant, if they don‘t like what is in the book.  And as long as their indignation doesn‘t become intimidation of journalists, authors, and our fellow citizens, then they can be as indignant as they want. 

Again, you are right when you talk about what is going on in the Muslim world over the Danish cartoons.  As long as this is just indignation, that‘s fine, and I—I don‘t have a problem with that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Ellen, are you and your organization glad that this book is being made into a movie because it does punch holes in the Catholic Church and Christianity? 

JOHNSON:  No. 

The Catholic Church is really certainly not a—a transparent organization.  If your other two guests are concerned that people might look—read this book and think that the Catholic Church is a secret organization, that it‘s trying to cover something up, well, that is not really Dan Brown‘s fault, because it is a secretive organization that does engage in cover-ups. 

It is its own worst enemy. 

SCARBOROUGH:  How is that?

JOHNSON:  It does do these things.

So—how does it engage in cover-ups?  And, well, look at the sexual crimes committed against our children, and the cover-ups, the cover-ups of how the Roman Catholic Church got Nazis out of Europe and out of the country and into South America.  And, you know, everybody talks about this.  And they cover these things up.  So, it‘s really—you can‘t point the finger at Dan Brown for the crimes and the problems of the Catholic Church is facing. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pia, what do you say to that and say also to the fact that “The Da Vinci Code” sold a lot of books, which means a lot of people were receptive to this anti-Catholic, anti-Christian message? 

DE SOLENNI:  Well, I think there are two things to—to keep in mind. 

First of all is the climate.  We live in a secularist culture, in which it‘s OK to trounce religion.  And that‘s exactly what happened with the cartoon.  And Benedict XVI, I think, set a perfect example.

He said, look, that cartoon was not respectful.  Of course, the response has not been apt as well.  And it really leads to a larger question.  And that is, when we have certain rights, we also have certain responsibilities.  And what Dan Brown has done with this book is to riddle it with inaccuracies. 

I mean, he calls the Dead Sea Scrolls ancient Christian writings.  And we all know that those are—that they are the writings of a Jewish sect.  And they mention nothing about Christianity. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

DE SOLENNI:  So, you know, he didn‘t—these are things that he could have Googled to get the right answer on, and he didn‘t.  And he had a responsibility to do that.

SCARBOROUGH:  Took artistic license, which is fine.

DE SOLENNI:  That‘s fine.

SCARBOROUGH:  But—but don‘t call it fact in the beginning of the book.  So...

DE SOLENNI:  Exactly. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks so much, Pia.  Greatly appreciate it. 

Brian, Ellen, thank you all for being with us. 

JOHNSON:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up next, if you are married and you work for one sheriff‘s department in Florida, you better be faithful.  The new rule is raising eyebrows tonight.

And what could a first-grader possibly do to be accused of sexual harassment?  Wait until you hear this one.

We will be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Sheriff‘s deputies in Pinellas County, Florida, just got new orders from the top—no adultery on the job, or else.  A new policy there is prohibiting married employees from engaging in an affair with other single employees. 

Samara Sodos with our NBC affiliate WFLA has that story. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAMARA SODOS, WFLA REPORTER (voice-over):  A wedding band is a sign of commitment and lasting devotion, but not everyone honors their marriage vows.  Although the Bible considers adultery a sin, it is not against the law.  But it could get you in big trouble if you work at Pinellas County Sheriff‘s Office, where cheating is now forbidden.

SERGEANT JIM BORDNER, PINELLAS COUNTY SHERIFF‘S OFFICE:  The policy was implemented because we had had a couple of situations where we had had this type of relationship develop. 

SODOS:  Sergeant Jim Bordner says, although people know better, they don‘t always act that way.  The policy prohibits a married employee from being involved with any other employee, unless the married employee is separated or legally filed for divorce. 

The policy also punishes single employees who pursue married co-workers. 

(on camera):  Pinellas County Sheriff‘s Office established this new policy last fall, after administrators say a few uncomfortable situations popped up here. 

(voice-over):  One involved two employees in a compromising position inside a car in the parking lot.  Both were married to other people. 

BORDNER:  The relationship led to problems.  And those problems became disruptive in the workplace.

SODOS:  The adultery policy is the first of its kind among law enforcement agencies in the bay area. 

At the Tampa Police Department, for instance, infidelity is considered a moral and private issue that supervisors won‘t investigate.  But Pinellas Sheriff‘s Office administrators note, they only address complaints. 

BORDNER:  Will we go out every day and ask people who they‘re having a relationship?  No. 

SODOS:  But if co-workers report two employees having an affair to remember, it will likely be one their bosses will never forget. 

In Pinellas County, Samara Sodos, News Channel 8.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  With me now, defense attorney Debra Opri.

Debra, so, does employment law, does the Constitution allow our government to fire people because they are committing adultery in the workplace? 

DEBRA OPRI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  No, Joe, it doesn‘t. 

Let me tell you, this is one step past that Christian university.  This is an invasion of the privacy right.  And let me tell you, this is yet another step into the bedrooms of people‘s lives.  The fact that they are now dictating who you can or cannot date or have an affair with, it is just beyond acceptable. 

Let me tell you, why are they doing it?  Well, look at the bottom line, money, sexual harassment.  Sexual harassment coverage is higher than any insurance in the workplace today.  Sexual harassment is a predatory problem.  Sexual harassment is something that the employer is trying to prevent, and this is not the way to do it. 

The way to do it is have better education, but it‘s not proper to tell someone, we are invading your privacy.  It‘s in fact a violation of public policy.  And it‘s against the law.

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Debra, though, it seems to me, different strokes for different folks.  If the sheriff‘s department in Pinellas County wants to tell co-workers they can‘t commit adultery with each other, because of sexual harassment claims, because of—because it is causing morale problems in the workplace, it seems to me that it is just as legitimate as the U.S. Army telling officers they can‘t have affairs with enlisted people. 

OPRI:  Well, you are taking the moral turpitudes clause past the military, which is a government entity, United States government.

You have moral turpitude clauses in your own contract with the media.  What we are probably going to see, if this catches on and it does lower the sexual harassment coverage in premiums, we are going to see probably a morals turpitude clause in every employment contract in the United States. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Explain that. 

OPRI:  Well, look at it this way. 

Somebody gets accused of sexual harassment who is a high-profile personality on television.  This person stands the risk of losing a job, because it is an embarrassment to the company.  If the advertisers say, this is an embarrassment, we are not going to back the show, they lose money. 

Go to the sheriff‘s department down in Florida.  If you have enough sexual harassment claims, i.e., you have got supervisors, co-workers who are pushing a relationship, and the other individual feels, hey, I can get ahead this way, then it is intruding upon the workplace. 

But is this the necessary first step to take it to?  I say, when it is a balancing act of the invasion of the constitutional rights of privacy, I don‘t think it‘s the way to go.  I think better education in the workplace is the way to go, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks, Debra.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, Debra makes a great point. 

Of course, if this works in the sheriff‘s department, and if it makes their insurance for sexual harassment coverage go down, expect other government entities to pick it up, and expect it to be possibly picked up in private companies. 

And, of course, when that happens, lots of lawsuits to help those ambulance chasers, as Tucker Carlson calls them, which is a perfect segue to bring in the man who hates...

CARLSON:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... trial lawyers who fight for the little man, Tucker Carlson.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  He‘s host of “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON.” 

Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight? 

CARLSON:  They are the only people I know who have their own planes.

Two quick stories.  One, a 6-year-old in Massachusetts busted for sexual harassment. 

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON:  And you thought feminism was dead.  It turns out it‘s not.

Plus, the press, as we have said all week, has been ignoring, virtually, this story about the cartoons depicting Mohammed.  We are going to have a newspaper editor on tonight, also from Massachusetts, who explains why he is not running the pictures.  You know why?  Because he is afraid to.  He‘s afraid that he and his staff will be hurt by Islamic extremists if they run these cartoons.  He is up front.  He is honest about it.  It‘s fascinating.

This man, I disagree with his choice, but I respect his candor. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what, Tucker.  It‘s absolutely fascinating.  And it looks like the terrorists and the thugs out there, they are getting their point across, aren‘t they?

CARLSON:  They are.  They‘re winning.  I mean, they—on this point, they are winning.  And it‘s—there‘s an important principle here, and we are not standing up for it, as a country, and it is really distressing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It is distressing.  And it is chilling.  It‘s certainly chilling.  It‘s all right for you to bash Christianity all you want to, bash Orthodox Jews, bash conservative Catholics all you want, because that‘s a—that‘s your First Amendment right. 

CARLSON:  Because they are not going to murder you, if you do.  That‘s why. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  That‘s your First Amendment right.

But you go after, you know, Mohammed, and, all of a sudden, you have got Muslim extremists across the world who actually scare newspaper editors. 

CARLSON:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What does that say about what where we are as a country...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and as a civilization?

CARLSON:  Somebody ought to stand up in the administration and say, this is unacceptable.  We support the right of a free press around the world. 

I wish they would do that right now.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thanks so much, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thanks, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  And make sure you tune in to “THE SITUATION” with Tucker, coming up at 11:00. 

And, up next, do we need an instant replay for spelling bees?  Parents furious after a young speller is disqualified, even though she didn‘t make a mistake.

Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s time for another flyover of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the stories that may have fallen under the mainstream media‘s radar, but not ours.

Our first stop tonight, Reno, Nevada, for a spelling bee judge that might need to go back to school.  An eighth-grade contestant was asked to spell the word discernible.  Well, she spelled it right.  Then she was told she had it wrong.  The girl‘s mother insisted, but they waited until after the bee was over to complain, but then were told it was too late, kind of like protesting a call in the NFL.  The girl says she just wants another chance.  And her mom says she may file a lawsuit to get it.  Only in America.  Lawsuits over spelling bees. 

Our next stop, Martin County, Florida, where a sheriff‘s deputy was fired for, well, let‘s just say inappropriate use of the dashboard camera.  The video you‘re looking at was shot by Deputy Jack Muncy (ph), who clearly wasn‘t interested in any traffic violations.  Muncy (ph) was busted after he bragged to one of his fellow cops about his hour-and-a-half stash of tapes.  The deputy‘s defense, he videotaped the women because they were pretty. 

Hey, good luck with that one, Sheriff.

We will be right back. 

And, remember, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON,” a man who never uses cameras inappropriately, well, that is coming up straight ahead. 

So, stick around. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, take SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY on the road with you wherever you go.  Just go to iTunes and get your free podcast.

We will be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now I would like to take a minute to talk to you about a project that will help our troops. 

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is trying to raise $30 million to build a state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility for severely injured veterans.  Now, it‘s going to be a place where lives will be rebuilt and heroes reborn. 

But the organization is $10 million short of its goal.  And, you know, so many of you showed so much generosity before, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Well, we really need your help again so badly. 

Please join us and get involved in this important campaign.  You can get more information and make a donation to the Fallen Heroes Web site by going to www.fallenheroesfund.org, or call 800-340-HERO.

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Stay tuned, because Tucker Carlson starts right now. 

CARLSON:  Thanks, Joe.  That‘s a great cause.

                                                                                                               

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