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President Trump is threatening a government shutdown
over funding for his border wall
just as he faces the most serious legal peril
of his presidency.
For more on this, it's time for "A Closer Look."
[ Cheers and applause ]
It's worth remembering that when 2018 began,
we didn't know anything about illegal hush payments
to porn stars, a secret resister inside the Trump administration,
or the fact that Rudy Giuliani
always looks like he just sat on a box of thumbtacks.
When the year began,
Republicans controlled all three branches of government
and they were celebrating the passage of a corporate tax cut
to line the pockets of millionaires.
And to take a victory lap at the time,
Trump turned to his creepiest aide,
senior adviser Stephen Miller.
[ Thunder crashes ]
[ Witch cackles ]
-You rang?
-Miller decided to go on TV and make the President look good --
A, by comparison, and, B, by calling him a genius.
-On the campaign, I had the chance to travel
all across the country with the President,
and I saw a man who was a political genius.
The reality is is the President is a political genius.
All these so-called political geniuses in Washington,
whether it be at the big lobbying firms or --
-The only person who's called him a genius in the last week
is the President.
-Because it happens to be a true statement.
-Ugh.
Stephen Miller is the only person on Earth
who'd be less creepy if he wore a hockey mask.
But, hey, maybe some of Trump's supporters
still thought he was a genius,
and yet in the almost 12 months since that comment,
Trump has rambled at length about how people in Finland
rake the floors of the forest,
left an umbrella outside
when he couldn't figure out how to close it,
got on Air Force One with toilet paper stuck to his shoe,
and said this about a hurricane.
-They haven't seen anything like what's coming at us
in 25, 30 years, maybe ever.
It's tremendously big and tremendously wet.
[ Laughter ]
-Tremendously big and tremendously wet
sounds like something Stephen Miller would say
about Donald Trump.
As we've learned this year,
the President is just a weird, weird man.
He's like a space alien with a head injury
who just took his first bong rip.
"It is a pleasure to meet you, fellow human.
I am enjoying the traditional Earth greeting of shaking hands
for exactly one full minute.
And now let us all display our patriotism
by engaging in the customary hugging of the flag.
I am normal!"
[ Laughter ]
[ Applause ]
But you'd think a political genius
could at least figure out a way
to deliver on the one thing he repeatedly told his supporters
he would absolutely do, and that's build the wall.
And yet today, Trump threatened
the very real possibility of a government shutdown
because he didn't get any money for the wall.
In fact, it's finally starting to dawn on his supporters
that the wall is never going to happen,
and they are very upset about it.
-Democrats are going to win on this.
There will be no money
for the President and his wall this time.
-Not a penny!
Forget wall. Think border security.
-I think that not funding the wall is going to go down
as one of the worst, worst things
to have happened to this administration.
Forget Mueller. The wall, the wall, the wall has to be built.
And this was a scandal that it hasn't been built.
-Well, it's very sad. We needed the wall.
-That's a real fight, and I don't know
that he minds dragging it out for a while.
-Is it something he just needs --
-...series of two-week agreements.
-It is something he just needs to give up on, though?
-Wow, man. They're talking about the wall
like they just lost a pet.
Trump's gonna have to have
a special chat with the Fox & Friends.
"Mr. Trump, where'd the wall go?"
"It went to a farm upstate
to live with all the other walls."
Because he knows he's never
gonna get any money for his wall.
Trump has been lying
and claiming he's already building it
just by putting up some fencing with existing money.
But now supporters are starting to figure out
that's also a lie.
Here's Trump lying about the wall followed by a very confused
Laura Ingraham trying to figure out what he means.
-A lot of wall has been built. We don't talk about that.
But we might as well start because it's building --
It's being built right now. Big sections of wall.
And we will continue that.
-Uh, wh-- I must have missed the wall being built.
What wall? Where's it being built, Tom?
-I think what he means is they're upgrading certain parts of the wall.
-That's not a wall. Stop saying it's a wall. There's no wall.
If you want a wall, say, "We don't have the wall."
I know it's bad because he made the promise,
but they're not building the wall.
-Wow!
She went through all five stages of grief in five seconds.
It's like watching someone
realize they're in the Matrix in real time.
"This isn't real! None of this is real!"
So, today, Trump, the political genius,
said at the last minute he would not sign a deal
to keep the government open, and in response,
outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan
scrambled to find a way to get him money for his wall,
which is a fitting end to Paul Ryan's career.
Ryan had spent all year loyally serving Trump
and ignoring his many abuses of power,
even openly admitting
he doesn't pay attention to Trump's scandals.
-Mark Sanford yesterday,
speaking on the Stormy Daniels story,
said allegations of hush money are a big deal.
I guess first question is,
do you agree with that characterization?
-I haven't put a second of thought into this.
It's just not on my radar screen.
-This must bother you.
"Access Hollywood," Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal.
At a certain point, it must be embarrassing.
-Well, look, I didn't read the article.
-Is it appropriate, in your view,
for the White House to invoke executive...and deny --
-No. I'm not familiar with exactly what happened yesterday.
I've been a little busy with some other tasks.
-Man, Paul Ryan might be a bad House Speaker,
but he'd be a great roommate.
"Hey, Paul, my friends are coming over to watch
the UFC fight, and then my punk band's gonna practice."
"That's cool. I'll be busy with other tasks."
Yesterday in his farewell address,
Ryan decried what he called our broken politics,
but Ryan is the one who spent two years
ignoring Trump's many scandals
and actively praising Trump in truly absurd ways,
like when the GOP passed their corporate tax cut.
-Something this big, something this generational,
something this profound could not have been done
without exquisite presidential leadership.
-I'm sorry. Did you just use the word "exquisite"
to describe Donald Trump?
You're talking about him like he's an art installation
at the Guggenheim.
He's not exactly a Picasso.
I mean, look at him. If he looks like anything,
he looks like he was painted by Edvard Munch.
[ Laughter ]
Although, you know what? He'd fit right in
in that Salvador Dalí painting with all those melting clocks.
Watching Ryan frantically try to scrape together money for Trump's border wall
is a fitting way for his career to end.
Ryan used high-minded rhetoric
about the importance of our institutions
while Trump degraded those institutions.
For example, Ryan had nothing to say
when the President's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani,
went on TV and literally said that truth isn't truth.
-When you tell me that, you know, he should testify
because he's going to tell the truth and he shouldn't worry,
well, that's so silly because
it's somebody's version of the truth, not the truth.
He didn't have a conversation --
-Truth is truth. I don't mean to go, like --
-No, it isn't truth! Truth isn't truth!
The President of the United States says, "I didn't --"
-Truth is a truth. Mr. Mayor, do you realize what --
This is gonna become a bad meme.
-No. No, no. Don't do this to me.
-In every interview, every interview,
Rudy sounds like a grandpa
whose adult children just put him in a nursing home.
"Don't do this to me!
I can live on my own! Just get me a stair lift!"
Also, can we go back to this part real quick?
-This is gonna become a bad meme.
-Chuck Todd, why are you talking to this guy about memes?
He doesn't know what a meme is.
Rudy probably things a meme is one of those guys
who pretends to be trapped behind an invisible wall.
Well, truth is truth, and now the truth
is starting to catch up to Rudy and Trump
like when we learned recently that Trump
and his former lawyer, Michael Cohen,
had lied about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow
during the 2016 campaign.
After insisting that he never
had any business deals in Russia,
Trump went back on all that and admitted he did try
to build a Trump Tower in Moscow
but insisted it wasn't that big a deal.
-It was during the early part of '16
and I guess even before that.
It lasted a short period of time.
I didn't do the project. I decided not to do the project.
So I didn't do it. So we're not talking about doing a project.
We're talking about not doing a project.
We decided -- I decided ultimately not to do it.
There would have been nothing wrong if I did do it.
If I did do it, there would have been nothing wrong.
That was a project that we didn't do, I didn't do.
It was just reported very well by Catherine Herridge,
who's a terrific reporter on Fox.
She talks about a letter that he signed.
I don't even remember it.
And it specifically talks about this deal.
-Trump only knows three words, and then when he runs out,
he starts drawing invisible squares with his hand.
I guess you could call him a French meme.
The Trump Tower project was apparently so serious
that there was actually an official letter of intent
signaling that Trump wanted to go forward with it.
Now, you heard Trump there say
he didn't really know anything about that letter.
And on top of that, Rudy insists that the letter
wasn't a big deal for one important reason.
He told CNN there was a letter of intent to go forward
but no one signed it.
Oh, come on, Rudy. That's your excuse?
No one signed it? What's next?
"He tried to mail it, but he doesn't know Putin's address."
[ Laughter ]
Well, you will never guess what happened.
This week, we found out that Rudy was either lying
or very wrong when he said no one signed the letter.
-This is the letter of intent
for the proposed Trump Tower Moscow.
All right? It is signed by Donald J. Trump.
It's a lot of pages, man, with a lot of detail
about what they wanted and how they wanted it
and how he'd be paid.
And there's his signature. Okay?
-So Trump lied about the letter, too.
Mr. President, let me put this in a way you'll understand.
You went on TV and said you didn't sign the letter.
But now the feds might bust down your door and put you in a cell,
and then we'll be stuck with President Mike Pence.
[ Cheers and applause ]
So...
how did Rudy explain the fact that Trump's signature
actually does appear in the letter?
He said he was confused.
-Rudy Giuliani is commenting to our Dana Bash, a new comment.
I'm seeing that he was wrong
if he said that the President didn't sign this letter.
He said, "I haven't seen the quote,
but I probably meant to say that there was never a deal,
much less a signed one."
So some very, very confusing statements from Rudy Giuliani.
You don't want a lawyer,
especially one working for the President of the United States,
who is going to say two things
completely opposite of one another.
-You wouldn't, but that's exactly
the kind of lawyer Donald Trump wants.
He thinks he's psyching everyone out
by putting a crazy person on TV.
Trump watched "Lethal Weapon" and thought,
"I want a lawyer like that!"
Every Rudy interview basically goes like this.
-Joining me now is the President's attorney.
-Yeah, you want to see crazy?
-Trump is in serious legal jeopardy
just as Democrats prepare to take over the House,
and he's hoping he can salvage his presidency
by threatening a shutdown over his wall.
I'm not saying he's scared, but his pants are...
-Tremendously wet.
-This has been "A Closer Look."
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Trump Threatens a Government Shutdown over His Wall: A Closer Look

30 Folder Collection
Jingjiang Li published on January 27, 2019
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