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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 ]
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Cohen and Giuliani Cause Problems for Trump: A Closer Look

36 Folder Collection
Jingjiang Li published on January 27, 2019
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