'I'm asking you a very simple question': FOX News segment goes off rails when host presses Newsweek writer on unsubstantiated Trump claim

A FOX News segment went off the rails Thursday night when host Tucker Carlson confronted Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald over the "partisan turn" he said Eichenwald had taken in the past several months.

"Do you believe that you are practicing journalism?" Carlson asked.

Eichenwald laughed, then quipped: "When did you stop beating your wife? What are you talking about?"

Related: Trump's official picks for cabinet and administration positions

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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions

Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway

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Veterans Affairs Secretary: David Shulkin

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Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao

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Energy secretary: Rick Perry

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Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

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Secretary of Defense: Retired Marine General James Mattis

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Chief of staff: Reince Priebus

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Chief strategist: Steve Bannon


Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions

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Director of the CIA: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo

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Deputy national security adviser: K.T. McFarland

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White House counsel: Donald McGahn

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Ambassador to the United Nations: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

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Education secretary: Betsy DeVos

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Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross

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Homeland security secretary: General John Kelly

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Housing and urban development secretary: Ben Carson

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Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

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Health and human services secretary: Tom Price

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Department of Homeland Security: Retired General John Kelly

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Secretary of agriculture: Sonny Perdue

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Carlson paraphrased a list of tweets to Eichenwald in which Eichenwald attacked President-elect Donald Trump and his advisers.

"That sounds pretty partisan to me," he said.

Eichenwald accused Carlson of taking "a couple words here and there," challenging him to read the messages in their entire context. As Carlson attempted to do so, the Newsweek writer repeatedly interrupted him.

"I've got a hundred of them. I'm trying to give you one right now," a seemingly frustrated Carlson said.

Eichenwald, at this point, held up a binder with the words "Tucker Carlson Falsehoods" printed in bold on the cover.

"I can sit here and I can read them to you one at a time," he said. "And we can talk about what you have to say. Or you can give me an example of what you are talking about."

Carlson, finally able to get a word in, noted that Eichenwald once made a baseless claim about Trump being "institutionalized in a mental hospital for a nervous breakdown in 1990."

"Do you see a little irony that on one day, you're criticizing the press for being lazy and inaccurate, and the next day you yourself are being lazy and inaccurate?" the FOX News host asked.

Eichenwald said a real journalist would ask him why he sent the tweet, a question he said he would answer. The Newsweek writer than delved into his multidecade history covering Trump, saying he obtained medical records that showed the billionaire was once on a "heavy prescription for an amphetamine derivative."

Carlson interjected: "Was he in a mental hospital or not in 1990? You allege that he was. Was he or wasn't he? He wasn't, was he?"

The two spoke over each other for several moments, with Carlson trying to force Eichenwald to answer the yes-or-no question and Eichenwald refusing.

"Can I finish, Tucker?" he asked.

"It's a really simple question. I'm asking you to finish, sir. Answer the question," Carlson replied.

Eichenwald instead took the discussion elsewhere.

"If you don't like the answer, don't have guests," he told the Fox News host. "But I would really like to answer your question."

After more crosstalk, Eichenwald again threatened to read from his "Tucker Carlson Falsehoods" binder.

"Was he in a mental hospital in 1990 as you allege or was he not?" Carlson again asked.

"Let me answer the question," Eichenwald replied.

"Go ahead," Carlson shot back.

"Look, you are not fooling anybody," Eichenwald said. "You are trying to stop me from giving the answer. So let me give you the answer."

Carlson, continuing to go in circles with Eichenwald, said the interview was getting "a little nutty."

"I'm asking you a very simple question," he said.

Eichenwald said "nobody is getting fooled" by the questioning, claiming Carlson was "not letting me answer the question."

"I think you are humiliating yourself by your unwillingness to answer a simple question," he said.

Carlson asked how Newsweek could employ Eichenwald as a reporter when he "can't substantiate" his claims.

"I have never had an interview like this in my life," Carlson said, before telling Eichenwald that he "may be coming undone."

In the final 30 seconds of the interview, Carlson gave Eichenwald the floor and asked him one more time to answer his question. Eichenwald refused but said he wanted to deliver "a message I have got from people from the CIA."

"What's the message?" Carlson asked.

Eichenwald praised the valor of CIA officers but never relayed the message from agency members he had promised to deliver moments ago.

"I'm not calling anyone a liar, but I am saying I'm concerned about your behavior on this show tonight," Carlson said to conclude the segment.

Eichenwald later turned to Twitter in an attempt to provide the message he had failed to deliver on-air. He was unable to do so:

A Twitter user then replied to the Newsweek writer with a flashing GIF saying he deserved a seizure.

A tweet appeared soon after on Eichenwald's account claiming that he had suffered a seizure as a result of the image sent to him:

A representative for Newsweek did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Friday morning about the current health of Eichenwald.

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