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Trump Releases Damning Ukraine Memo Amid Impeachment Inquiry: A Closer Look

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Sep 25, 2019

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Trump Releases Damning Ukraine Memo Amid Impeachment Inquiry: A Closer Look
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Transcription

  • -The White House released a damning memo
  • from President Trump's call with the leader of Ukraine
  • after the House opened a formal impeachment inquiry.
  • For more on this, it's time for "A Closer Look."
  • [ Cheers and applause ]
  • After Democrats announced yesterday
  • they would move forward with impeachment,
  • the White House announced that they would release notes
  • of Trump's phone call with Ukraine's president
  • in which Trump pressured him to interfere in the 2020 election
  • by digging up dirt on Joe Biden and his son.
  • And suddenly everyone started speculating
  • that maybe -- maybe the transcript
  • wouldn't be as bad as we were expecting.
  • -I just don't understand why you do it today
  • when the transcript theoretically -- I'm not say --
  • could be somewhat exculpatory of Trump.
  • -If the transcript is exculpatory --
  • that's sort of legalese for helpful to the president.
  • -Well, my first thought is that President Trump
  • would not release this transcript
  • if it were not exculpatory.
  • -Yes, he would.
  • Donald Trump is literally incapable
  • of doing anything exculpatory.
  • First of all, he would have to know
  • what the word "exculpatory" means.
  • "Of course I know what 'exculpatory' means.
  • It means you used to be culpatory."
  • [ Laughter ]
  • And he certainly couldn't pronounce it.
  • I mean, yesterday, he couldn't even read the word "tire"
  • off a teleprompter.
  • -Americans will never fire or tire in our effort.
  • -Oh, my God, he couldn't read a one-syllable word.
  • And I love the irony of saying "Americans will never tire"
  • while you're standing there looking like
  • you just drank a bottle of NyQuil during a gas leak.
  • "Americans will never tire or -- or fire."
  • I love that thing he does where instead of correcting himself,
  • he acts like both words were right.
  • Like he's reading a Dr. Seuss book.
  • "Americans will never fire or tire or get stuck in the mire,
  • but they'll definitely hire a liar who perspires."
  • So at first some people thought the notes from the phone call
  • would somehow clear Trump of wrongdoing,
  • and then there was the question
  • of whether this supposed transcript will even be complete
  • because as we all know,
  • White House transcripts have been edited before.
  • I mean, remember, this is the guy
  • who literally doctored a hurricane map
  • by drawing a circle in Sharpie to include Alabama.
  • There was a good chance
  • the supposed transcript would come out
  • and the first line would be the president of Ukraine saying,
  • "Thanks for being so innocent, sir."
  • Then there's the fact that actual transcripts
  • of Trump's words are often incomplete
  • because even the world's best stenographers
  • have no idea what he's saying,
  • like the time the Associated Press
  • put out a transcript of an interview with Trump
  • and there were sentences where even the reporters
  • could not understand what he was saying.
  • These are sentences from the actual transcript.
  • "Here's part of your story.
  • It's going to be a big unintelligible.
  • I'll tell you the other thing is unintelligible.
  • We've been working on it. Unintelligible.
  • Secretary Mnuchin is a very talented person,
  • very smart, very successful, unintelligible.
  • Let me leave a little room just in case unintelligible."
  • My God, "Unintelligible" should be his Secret Service code name.
  • "Unintelligible is on the move.
  • He said he was going to McDernald's,
  • but we think he means McDonald's."
  • [ Cheers and applause ]
  • And then, of course, Trump himself
  • was going around insisting repeatedly
  • that he did not pressure the president of Ukraine
  • to investigate a political rival in exchange
  • for hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid.
  • -It was a totally appropriate conversation.
  • It was actually a beautiful conversation.
  • There was no quid pro quo. There was nothing.
  • It was a perfect conversation.
  • The conversation, by the way, was absolutely perfect.
  • It was a beautiful, warm, nice conversation.
  • The conversation I had with the president of Ukraine
  • was absolutely perfect.
  • The conversation I had with the president of Ukraine
  • was absolutely a 10.
  • It was perfect.
  • -A 10?
  • Why are you talking about a phone call
  • like you're creeping on women at the beach?
  • "That call is a 10.
  • Wait until you hear the jugs on that call."
  • So there you go.
  • The media speculated that the call would be exculpatory,
  • impeachment calls would be premature,
  • and Trump said it would prove he was innocent.
  • They all said, "There's no way Trump would be dumb enough
  • to release a transcript in which he commits a bunch of crimes,
  • like asking for a personal political favor
  • in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars
  • in military aid."
  • And then this morning, Trump released notes from the call
  • in which it turns out he was dumb enough
  • to commit a bunch of crimes,
  • like asking for a personal political favor
  • in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars
  • in military aide.
  • -Here's what the president said.
  • "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son,
  • that Biden stopped the prosecution,
  • and a lot of people want to find out about that,
  • so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.
  • Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution.
  • So if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me."
  • -The first investigation that the president brings up
  • with the president of Ukraine --
  • This is immediately following
  • the Ukrainian president's mention of military aid
  • and how he wants to continue with military aid
  • from the United States, which we know at this point,
  • a large portion of which had been suspended.
  • Here's what the president says
  • in response to that conversation.
  • "I would like to ask you to do us a favor, though,
  • because our country has been through a lot.
  • Ukraine knows a lot about it."
  • -In an official call with the president of another country,
  • he literally brought up Joe Biden, Rudy Giuliani,
  • and said the words "I would like you to do us a favor."
  • It doesn't get more obvious than that.
  • It actually would have been better for Trump
  • if the whole transcript had just said "unintelligible."
  • At when Trump asks for the favor,
  • it wasn't just an innocent request.
  • As this call was happening,
  • Trump was holding up hundreds of millions of dollars
  • in military aid to Ukraine
  • that Ukraine desperately wanted from the U.S.
  • In fact, Trump specifically brought up the Biden stuff
  • right after the Ukrainian president
  • brought up that military aid.
  • In the memo, the Ukrainian president said,
  • "I would also like to thank you
  • for your great support in the area of defense."
  • And then the very next sentence out of Trump's mouth was,
  • "I would like you to do us a favor, though."
  • That is an obvious quid pro quo.
  • The only way it's not a quid pro quo
  • is that when it comes to committing crimes,
  • Trump is definitely not a pro.
  • He's an idiot.
  • It's more like a quid idiot quo.
  • He literally said, "I'd like you to do us a favor."
  • He might as well have been having this meeting
  • at his daughter's wedding while petting a cat.
  • Or if not a cat, one of his other pets.
  • [ Laughter ]
  • Let's remember -- Let's remember Rudy Giuliani
  • was a private citizen, the president's personal lawyer,
  • who was on a fishing expedition to concoct a fake scandal
  • and get Ukraine to manufacture dirt
  • on a political opponent, Joe Biden.
  • The fact that his name came up
  • on this call even once is insane,
  • but look how many times Trump mentioned Rudy.
  • "Mr. Giuliani's a highly respected man.
  • He was the mayor of New York City, great mayor.
  • And I would like him to call you.
  • I will ask him to call you, along with the Attorney General.
  • Rudy very much knows what's happening
  • and he's a very capable guy."
  • But he's not.
  • He does not know what's happening
  • and he is definitely not a capable guy.
  • For one thing, any time he does a interview,
  • he looks like a guy in a haunted house
  • after a zombie just popped out of the bushes.
  • [ Laughter ]
  • In fact, Rudy has spent the last few days
  • spitting out live on national television.
  • First he tried out some prop comedy
  • by showing everyone his phone in a Fox interview
  • and then showing up to another Fox interview reading a book.
  • Why? Why's he doing prop comedy now.
  • "Here's a phone. Here's a book.
  • And here's one of my puppets. He's actually my brother."
  • Also, I can assure you, Rudy is not a highly respected man.
  • In fact, just to give you an idea
  • of how little he's respected on Capitol Hill,
  • Politico reported today that, and this is real,
  • "At the House Democratic meeting this morning,
  • Rudy Giuliani was the butt of a joke.
  • Congressman Hakeem Jeffries showed a Seth Meyers sizzle reel
  • of Giuliani's recent cable appearances.
  • The room erupted in laughter."
  • That's right, as House Democrats --
  • [ Cheers and applause ]
  • As they were meeting
  • to discuss impeaching the president of the United States,
  • they were watching a sizzle reel of our Rudy Giuliani jokes.
  • Does that mean I could get called as an official witness
  • in the impeachment?
  • Oh, my God [ Cheers and applause ]
  • I mean, I already have my testimony prepared.
  • "Yes, Mr. Chairman, while I do not have any insights
  • into Mr. Giuliani's conversations with Ukraine,
  • I can confirm that he does, in fact,
  • look like he accidentally stuck his [bleep]
  • in an electrical socket."
  • [ Laughter ]
  • "Yes, you heard me right."
  • [ Laughter ]
  • So you got the president
  • dangling a quid pro quo asking for a political favor
  • and repeatedly prodding a foreign leader
  • to speak with his personal lawyer
  • and manufacture a baseless smear of a political opponent.
  • Just what we can see in this memo alone
  • is impeachable behavior,
  • let alone what's in the full whistle-blower complaint.
  • I mean, can you imagine how bad
  • that full whistle-blower report is?
  • What else could it possibly say?
  • "After the call, Mr. Trump then stood up, tripped on his tie,
  • fell headfirst into a garbage can, got up, ran into a wall,
  • knocked himself unconscious, woke up, and screamed,
  • 'Where am I, and who [bleep] my pants?'"
  • [ Laughter, applause ]
  • Today...
  • Today Trump actually met with the president of Ukraine
  • on the sidelines of the United Nations
  • and claimed he hadn't pressured him
  • while also insisting all he cared about was corruption.
  • -You know what? There was no pressure.
  • And, by the way, you know there was no pressure.
  • All you have to do is see it, what went on on the call.
  • -Would you like President Zelensky
  • to do more on Joe Biden and the investigation?
  • -No, I want him to do whatever he can
  • but whatever he can do in terms of corruption
  • because the corruption is massive.
  • -Oh, you want him to do something with corruption?
  • Okay, well, he's sitting right next to you.
  • Did he bring his handcuffs?
  • 'Cause when it comes to stopping corruption,
  • one thing's for sure.
  • The president of Ukraine will never...
  • -Fire or tire.
  • -Now, one big question looming over the impeachment debate
  • has always been the political impact.
  • How would it affect Trump's chances of getting reelected?
  • Would it cut into his chances, or would it solidify his base?
  • Some Democrats have been scared that impeachment
  • would somehow be good for him or play into his hands.
  • We have to drop this idea
  • that Trump is playing three-dimensional chess.
  • He's more like a guy who ate a chess piece,
  • is now choking on it,
  • and instead of gesturing for the Heimlich maneuver,
  • eats another chess piece to dislodge the first one.
  • In fact, Trump himself has made this argument,
  • that he wants to be impeached
  • because it would somehow be good for him politically.
  • In fact, he repeated that claim again yesterday.
  • -The country's doing the best it's ever done.
  • And I just heard that she'd like to impeach.
  • Our country's doing the best it's ever done.
  • They're going to lose the election,
  • and they figure this is a thing to do.
  • This never happened where we're in the election.
  • And, I mean, if she does that,
  • they all say that's a positive for me from the election.
  • You could also say, "Who needs it?
  • It's bad for the country."
  • -Of course, his first priority is, "It's good for me."
  • And then he throws in as an afterthought,
  • "Also, it's bad for the country."
  • He's like an athlete who bet against his own team.
  • "Yes, the Patriots scored a touchdown!
  • I mean, damn, let's go, Jets."
  • The reality is that if we finally have
  • a real formal impeachment process with hearings and votes,
  • we'll all get to see actual evidence
  • of Trump's serial corruption and lawbreaking
  • live on national television every single day.
  • And that's a huge deal.
  • Now, just before we taped this show,
  • Trump held another of his signature
  • off-the-rails press conferences
  • where he once again lost his mind on national television.
  • First he started out by claiming the whistle-blower
  • who reported on his conversation with the president of Ukraine
  • didn't have what he called first-class information,
  • although it was hard to follow what he was saying.
  • -The so-called whistle-blower,
  • the one that didn't have any first-class or first-rate
  • or second-tier information, from what I understand.
  • You'll have to figure that out for yourself.
  • -Firsthand!
  • He didn't have any firsthand information!
  • [ Cheers and applause ]
  • "First-rate, first-class.
  • Didn't have any first-base information.
  • The common phrase, first-base information."
  • I mean, why does he make us try to figure out
  • what the hell he's trying to say?
  • "You'll have to figure out what I'm --
  • I'll say words, then you guys put them into sentences."
  • [ Laughter ]
  • Then Trump complained that because everyone
  • was talking about Ukraine and impeachment,
  • no one was covering how hard he was working
  • during his meetings with foreign leaders.
  • -The sad thing about this hoax is that we work so hard
  • with all of these countries.
  • And, I mean, really hard.
  • I've been up from early in the morning to late in the evening
  • and meeting with different countries,
  • all for the good of our country,
  • and the press doesn't even cover all of this.
  • -Early in the mornings and late in --
  • So you mean a workday. You had a workday.
  • "We start in the morning. And then we stop for lunch.
  • It's called a lunch break. First I've heard of it.
  • Then we have meetings again at night.
  • I'm working like eight, nine hours a day."
  • [ Laughter ]
  • Trump wants us all to be impressed
  • by how hard the job is.
  • But we knew it was hard.
  • You're like the only one who was like,
  • "Presidents work mornings?"
  • What we saw in today's memo alone is impeachable behavior,
  • and Trump and his lawyer keep going on TV
  • and confessing to more crimes.
  • When it comes to corruption and lawlessness,
  • what we saw today was...
  • -Absolutely a 10. It was perfect.
  • -This has been "A Closer Look."
  • [ Cheers and applause ]

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Seth takes a closer look at the damning memo from President Trump’s call with the leader of Ukraine and the House opening a formal impeachment inquiry.
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Trump Releases Damning Ukraine Memo Amid Impeachment Inquiry: A Closer Look- Late Night with Seth Meyers
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