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  • -President Trump's former and current lawyers

  • are causing problems for him in the Russia investigation.

  • For more on this, it's time for "A Closer Look."

  • [ Cheers and applause ]

  • Trump has spent the last few weeks

  • openly threatening his former lawyer, Michael Cohen,

  • by demanding that law-enforcement officials

  • investigate Cohen's father-in-law.

  • Trump has been claiming in interviews

  • that Cohen's father-in-law did something illegal,

  • although he doesn't seem to know many details.

  • -In order to get his sentence reduced,

  • he says, "I have an idea.

  • I'll tell -- I'll give you some information on the president."

  • Well, there is no information.

  • But he should give information, maybe, on his father-in-law,

  • because that's the one that people want to look at.

  • Because where does that money --

  • That's the money in the family.

  • And I guess he didn't want to talk about his father-in-law.

  • He's trying to get his sentence reduced.

  • -What is his father-in-law's name?

  • -I don't know. But you'll find out.

  • -You don't know?

  • You just said he committed a crime,

  • but you don't know his name?

  • Is he Zorro?

  • "We don't have a name,

  • but he did carve a 'Z' into the White House.

  • So...

  • [ Applause ]

  • We're, uh, keeping an eye out for Zachs."

  • [ Laughter ]

  • Now, Cohen was supposed to testify in public

  • to Congress next month about his involvement

  • in plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow

  • during the 2016 campaign.

  • But today he postponed that testimony

  • due to Trump's threats.

  • Trump was asked about Cohen's decision

  • at the White House this afternoon.

  • -He says he's been threatened by you and Mr. Giuliani.

  • He and his family have been threatened.

  • -No, I would say he's been threatened by the truth.

  • He's only been threatened by the truth.

  • -Yeah, he's threatened by the truth.

  • You know, truth like his father-in-law's name!

  • [ Laughter ]

  • I don't know if he's threatened by the truth,

  • but at least he knows the truth.

  • If you were put under oath in a courtroom

  • and a prosecutor asked you, "What does the president do?"

  • you'd say...

  • -I don't know. But you'll find out.

  • [ Laughter ] Yeah.

  • You might remember that just a few days ago,

  • a confusing saga unfolded when BuzzFeed published

  • what seemed like a blockbuster story

  • about that deal to build the Trump Tower in Moscow.

  • And then Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office

  • took the incredibly rare step of issuing a public statement

  • claiming that the story was inaccurate.

  • Well, BuzzFeed stood by its initial report.

  • Trump slammed BuzzFeed to the media broadly

  • but claimed he was actually sad about the fact

  • that BuzzFeed supposedly got the story wrong.

  • -I think that the BuzzFeed piece was a disgrace to our country.

  • It was a disgrace to journalism.

  • And I think it's going to take a long time

  • for the mainstream media to recover its credibility.

  • It's lost tremendous credibility.

  • And believe me, that hurts me.

  • It hurts me to say it.

  • -No, you are not in the least bit upset

  • about the media's credibility.

  • You wake up every day and tweet "fake news,"

  • and your favorite hobby is yelling at reporters.

  • -You know what? You've really had enough.

  • Hey, you've had enough. Sit down. Sit down.

  • Quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet.

  • Quiet. Wait. Wait, wait.

  • That's enough. Put down the mic.

  • -He's like a wrestler on steroids.

  • He's going to show up to his next press conference

  • in a leotard and put Jim Acosta in a choke hold.

  • [ Laughter ]

  • Here's the thing about the BuzzFeed story.

  • We're in this weird place right now

  • where we keep waiting for another smoking gun

  • when what we already know is incredibly damning.

  • The president was secretly pursuing

  • a business deal in Russia

  • while his aides were secretly meeting with Russians

  • offering to help him win.

  • His campaign chairman was sharing internal polling data

  • with a business associate tied to Russian intelligence.

  • And the entire time, they were all lying about it.

  • What are we waiting for? We have enough.

  • It's like we're all cops in a surveillance van

  • watching a drug deal go down saying,

  • "Okay, they gave him the money.

  • And now they're giving them the drugs.

  • And now they're all getting in their cars and leaving.

  • And now we wait."

  • [ Laughter ]

  • The reason why -- [ Applause ]

  • The reason why it feels like we're not getting traction

  • on the stuff we already know

  • is that our political system is incapable of processing it

  • in the way a healthy political system should.

  • Normally, if the president lies repeatedly

  • about his entanglements with a foreign adversary

  • or crimes committed by his subordinates at his direction,

  • that would prompt hearings, investigations,

  • universal condemnation by both sides.

  • Instead what we have is one party that says,

  • "Hey, that's bad," and a another party that says, "So what?

  • Every president in history has paid hush money to a porn star."

  • [ Laughter ]

  • And the BuzzFeed story was actually a perfect dry run

  • for what will inevitably happen if and when Mueller reveals

  • what really happened between Trump and the Russians.

  • After the BuzzFeed story was published

  • but before the special counsel denied it,

  • Trump supporters went on TV and radio

  • and offered up a series of absurd reasons

  • why it was not a big deal.

  • -President Trump does not e-mail or text.

  • He tweets, okay? And he uses his phone.

  • So there's gonna be no physical evidence for any of this.

  • -The first question has to be,

  • since when has Democrats started caring about obstruction?

  • Because the biggest slam-dunk case of obstruction of justice,

  • if we have equal justice and equal application of our laws,

  • is Hillary Clinton's subpoenaed e-mails.

  • -This is an absurdity.

  • I mean, can you imagine any president of the United States

  • being dumb enough to say to somebody,

  • "I'd like you to go over now and lie to Congress"?

  • -Not only is Trump dumb enough to lie to the country,

  • he's dumb enough to misspell the word "country."

  • And look, everybody -- everybody makes typos,

  • but the president should at least be able

  • to spell the thing he's in charge of.

  • Can you imagine if Steve Jobs had made the same mistake

  • when he launched Apple?

  • [ Laughter ]

  • So the short answer to all of this is,

  • we don't know whether Trump directed Michael Cohen

  • to lie to Congress about the Trump Tower deal.

  • But we do know that Trump himself

  • has lied repeatedly to everybody.

  • And then this week, Trump's current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani,

  • claimed it would have been totally fine

  • for the president to talk to his former lawyer

  • about what he was going to say in his testimony to Congress.

  • -As far as I know,

  • President Trump did not have discussions with him,

  • certainly had no discussions with him

  • in which he told him or counseled him to lie.

  • If he had any discussions with him,

  • they'd be about the version of the events

  • that Michael Cohen gave then, which they all believe was true.

  • -But you just acknowledged that it's possible

  • that President Trump

  • talked to Michael Cohen about his testimony.

  • -Which would be perfectly normal!

  • -No, it wouldn't!

  • Nothing this president does is normal.

  • The guy couldn't figure out how to close an umbrella,

  • and his first instinct was to leave it outside.

  • [ Laughter and applause ]

  • And, Rudy, I've got to say --

  • If you keep messing up like this, Rudy,

  • he might do the same to you.

  • [ Laughter ]

  • Rudy's comments over the weekend

  • raised more questions than they answered.

  • So in an attempt to clean up the mess he made,

  • he did an interview with "The New Yorker,"

  • and somehow it got much worse and much weirder.

  • Here's how "New Yorker" staff writer Isaac Chotiner

  • described the start of his conversation with Rudy.

  • "On Monday afternoon, I called Giuliani to try to understand

  • what he was saying about the Moscow negotiations.

  • After telling me that he only had a minute

  • before getting into the shower, he agreed to a conversation."

  • Why does he compulsively share details no one wants to know?

  • It's like he can't help himself.

  • Every interview Rudy does

  • is like a call with your grandfather in Florida.

  • "How are you, Grandpa?"

  • "Well, I'm getting a shot tomorrow in my back

  • for sciatica, and the doctor says I'm going to be sore

  • for a couple of days, so I got to use Aspercreme.

  • But I got Preparation H by accident,

  • so I got to go back to the pharmacy,

  • even though the lady there was mean to me."

  • "All right, you know what? That's great, Grandpa.

  • I got to go."

  • Giuliani then insisted

  • he knew the BuzzFeed story was false immediately,

  • and in the process,

  • he once again revealed something he shouldn't have.

  • Here's the exchange.

  • "I can tell you from the moment I read the story,

  • I knew the story was false."

  • "Because?"

  • "Because I have been through all the tapes."

  • "Wait. What tapes have you gone through?"

  • "I shouldn't have said tapes."

  • "So there were no tapes you listened to, though?"

  • "No tapes.

  • Well, I have listened to tapes.

  • But none of them concern this."

  • Jesus!

  • Rudy is like that guy you play poker with

  • who keeps turning his cards around and going,

  • "Is this something?"

  • He just keeps rambling.

  • It doesn't matter what you ask him.

  • We've been waiting all this time

  • for Mueller to tell us what went down

  • when all we needed to do was point a camera at Rudy

  • and ask him what he had for dinner.

  • "I went to a Spanish restaurant and had tapas,

  • but I thought the waiter said, 'Tapes.'

  • And then they said, 'No, it's tapas.'

  • I said, 'It sounds like you're saying "tapes."'

  • And they said, 'Tapes?'

  • And I said, 'Yeah, like the secret tapes

  • of Trump colluding with the Russians.'

  • But they said, 'No, it's tapas,'

  • and I said, 'Hey, you look familiar.'"

  • [ Laughter and applause ]

  • The reason -- the very simple reason

  • their story keeps changing is because they are lying.

  • Rudy might be the worst at it, but he's not alone.

  • It's all out there for everyone to see, including the president.

  • He must be watching all these Rudy interviews and saying...

  • -Quiet, quiet, quiet.

  • -This has been "A Closer Look."

  • [ Cheers and applause ]

-President Trump's former and current lawyers

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Cohen and Giuliani Cause Problems for Trump: A Closer Look

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    Jingjiang Li posted on 2019/01/27