Trump Threatens War Crimes Against Iran: A Closer Look


-Well, it looks like
2020 is off to a great start. For more on this,
it’s time for “A Closer Look.” [ Theme music plays ] [ Cheers and applause ] I’m just [Bleep] with you.
2020 is already the worst. [ Laughter ] The sky in Australia
is blood red, thanks to a climate crisis; Republicans are trying to rig
the impeachment trial; and the president is threatening
more crimes on Twitter. We’re less than a week
into 2020. The world is like
your friend who tells you this is the year he’s going to
quit drugs and take up yoga, and then, on January 6th, you see him trying to
sell his mat for crack. [ Laughter ] I mean, we should have at least
been able to come together and enjoy the Patriots getting
knocked out of the playoffs, and the first round at home. [ Cheers and applause ] I mean, finally, Bill Belichick
was as sad as his outfit. For a guy who’s supposed to be
good at clock management, he always looks like he woke up
five minutes before game time. And you know, we couldn’t even
take 24 hours to savor that small victory, because the president
spent the weekend threatening war crimes
against Iran after ordering the assassination
of a top Iranian general and then, in Orwellian fashion, claiming he did it
to stop a war. -Breaking news this morning. The U.S. has carried out
the assassination of a top Iranian military and
intelligence commander. The president ordered this. It was carried out by drone
last night in Iraq. -His name was Qasem Soleimani. He was Iran’s
top military commander. -I went to a State Department
briefing today, a background briefing,
and the officials basically said the ball is in Iran’s court, and
we are trying to de-escalate. Actually, one official said this
was an act of de-escalation. -We took action last night
to stop a war. We did not take action
to start a war. -Trump thinks we can’t accuse
him of rushing into a war if he reads his TelePrompTer
super slowly. [ Laughter ] You can’t just kill a top
general of a sovereign nation and call it de-escalation.
That’s like getting drunk and driving your car
into a Kmart and then telling the cops,
“I did it to stop my car.” [ Laughter ] Trump and his allies are lying
in the exact same ways the Bush administration
lied us into a catastrophic war in Iraq nearly 17 years ago, and the exact same people
are doing it. After the attack Fox News
decided to turn to their stable of
lumpy white guys who have been wrong
about anything, like Lindsey Graham, a champion
of the Iraq war, and former Bush officials
and serial liars Ari Fleischer and Karl Rove. Why are these
the best experts we can get? This is like doing a segment
on organizing music festivals and interviewing
Billy McFarland and Ja Rule. And the same people are
trotting out the same lies they did 17 years ago.
For example, Vice President Mike Pence lied and tried to link Soleimani
to 9/11 in a tweet that was not supported
by the evidence. And if that sounds
familiar to you, it’s because it’s right out of the playbook of George W. Bush
and Donald Rumsfeld, who repeatedly linked
Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda and
other terrorist groups without providing any evidence. -The reason I keep insisting
that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam
and al-Qaeda — because there was a relationship
between Iraq and al-Qaeda. -There are reports
that there is no evidence of a direct link
between Baghdad and some of these
terrorist organizations. -Reports that say
that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me because, as we know,
there are known knowns. There are things
we know we know. We also know
there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there
are some things we do not know. But there are also
unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know
we don’t know. -Excuse me, but is this
an unknown unknown? [ Laughter ] -I’m not —
-There are several unknowns — -I’m not going to say
which it is. -Oh, you’re not going to say,
so it’s unknown whether it’s
an unknown unknown. But one known that we do know
is what Trump knows, which is a known unknown, because he un-knows
what he doesn’t know. Meaning we know
he knows no knowns. [ Laughter ]
It’s amazing. [ Cheers and applause ] It’s amazing that we found a way to elect people who think
these guys have the right idea. It’s like if, 17 years from now, someone made a movie
called “Cats 2” — this time with genitals. [ Laughter ] So, Pence lied, just like
Bush and Rumsfeld lied. But, hey, at least
this isn’t the first time Mike Pence has been wrong about a disastrous war
in the Middle East. -I am here to report, as the United States military
confirmed in Iraq on Monday, weapons of mass destruction
have been found in Iraq. -It’s fitting
that 16 years later, Pence is telling the same lies, because 16 years later,
he looks the exact same. I mean, I’m pretty sure
he’s just a stock-photo businessman
come to life. When he takes off his shirt, it says “Getty Images”
across his chest. [ Laughter and applause ] So, the Trump administration
tried to link Soleimani to 9/11. They also claimed they were
stopping an imminent threat. But if that’s true,
they haven’t presented any evidence of that threat
to Congress or the public. In fact, a “The New York Times”
reporter tweeted that the evidence
for such a threat was razor-thin.
And “The times” also wrote that national security experts
and even other officials at the Pentagon
said they were unaware of anything drastically new
about Iranian behavior in recent weeks.
But that’s not good enough for “Fox & Friends”
host Ainsley Earhardt, who said today that we just
have to trust the intelligence agencies.
-So interesting that people are critical
of the president’s decisions, of our intelligence community’s
decisions, our generals’ decisions.
-They want details. -General Tata said —
Well, they can’t have it. They can’t —
Everything can’t be made public. We heard Pompeo
over the weekend saying, “Everything that we have, the
intelligence community has” — he said, “I ran the CIA
at one point. We can’t release everything. We can’t release all of our
intelligence information. We’ll release as much as we can, but you just have to
trust us, basically.” -Oh, we just have to trust them? I’m sorry, but I’m not inclined
to trust an administration that lies about everything,
even the most dumbest thing. Let’s not forget, this is
the same guy who literally drew a circle on an official
weather map, in Sharpie, to claim that Alabama was
going to get hit by a hurricane and then pretended he had
no idea how it got there. Can you imagine if Trump
actually tries to present
some evidence against Iran? [ As Trump ]
“I have it right here — the top-secret
intelligence briefing that proves I was right. It says, ‘Iran bad,’
right there.” [ Laughter ] “Right there.”
[ Applause ] [ Normal voice ]
So, there you go. You heard “Fox & Friends.” We have to trust our
intelligence agencies. I wonder, though, if she felt
the same way back in May, when the intelligence agencies
were investigating Trump. What? No, she didn’t? Oh, and the next clip
proves it? Oh, why are you telling me?
You ruined the surprise. Alright, well,
let’s just show it anyway. -There was a Fox News poll,
and folks were asked how likely intelligence
agencies, like the FBI, broke the law
to investigate President trump. Look at that. 58% said “extremely,” “very,”
or “somewhat,” and only 31% said “not at all,”
so that just shows you — -And you get that number when
you add up the first three. -That’s pretty scary
that we can’t trust the FBI. -What?! We can’t? But that lady on the news
just a second ago said we can! [ Laughter ]
Wait a second! Oh, my God, one of two things
is happening here. Either Trump supporters are
self-serving hypocrites who defend intelligence agencies
when they want to bomb other countries,
but attack them when they investigate
the president’s crimes, or Ainsley Earhardt
has an evil twin! [ Laughter ] [ Suspenseful music plays ] [ Applause ] Now, if you’re
a Trump supporter out there, claiming anyone who opposes
this act of war is siding with the enemy,
let’s just remember, this is the same president
who literally said he and Kim Jong-un,
a brutal dictator who starves and tortures
his own people, quote, “fell in love because
of Kim’s beautiful letters.” Trump actually said that
about a brutal dictator. He sounds like a Southern belle
meeting suitors at a cotillion. “My dear Beauregard,
I fell in love with you after your beautiful letters.” [ Laughter ] I’m pretty sure most people hadn’t even heard
Soleimani’s name until recently, and that includes Trump himself,
who was asked about him in a radio interview in 2015 and
clearly had no idea who he was. -Are you familiar
with General Soleimani? -Yes. Go ahead.
Give me a little. Go ahead, tell me. -He runs the Quds Forces.
-Yes, okay. Right. -Do you expect —
-And I think the Kurds, by the way, have been harshly
mistreated by us. -No, not the Kurds,
the Quds Forces — the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard Quds Forces, the bad guys.
-Yes, right. -Do you expect his behavior
to change as a result — -Oh, I thought you said “Kurds.” -I love —
I love how Trump tried to pretend he knew who he was,
even though he clearly didn’t. “Do you know General Soleimani?” [ As Trump ] Yeah — No, I do. But I want to see
if you know who he is. [ Normal voice ]
Clearly, this was a reckless act
by an impulsive president who hasn’t thought through
any of the consequences. But a lot of people,
including prominent Democrats, are also asking, “Why now? Why would a president who’s
facing an impeachment trial, and mounting evidence
of his guilt suddenly start a war with Iran as he heads into
an election year. I wonder if 2011-2012
Donald Trump had anything to say about that when it came
to President Obama. -I say that he starts
a war in Iran before the election, which will make it very hard
for the Republican to win, okay? And I’ve said that,
and I predicted that. He doesn’t talk to anybody.
He’ll start a war. You know, lives will be wasted
for no reason. I happen to think
that the president is going to start
a war with Iran. I think it will be a short-term
popular thing to do, and I think he’s going to
do that for political reasons. Our president will start
a war with Iran because he has absolutely
no ability to negotiate. He’s weak, and he’s ineffective.
So the only way he figures that he’s going to
get re-elected, and as sure
as you’re sitting there, is to start a war with Iran. I believe
that he will attack Iran sometime prior to the election
because he thinks that’s the only way
he can get elected. Isn’t it pathetic?
-Yes, it is. The thing about Trump is
that he never tells the truth about himself in the present, but he always tells the truth
about himself like 10 years in advance. When he accuses people of
crossing the border illegally, that means, 10 years from now,
he’s going to get caught climbing over his wall,
trying to flee to Mexico. [ As Trump ] David, uh,
why did we make it so tall? [ Laughter ] [ Normal voice ] So,
it’s already terrifying that the president is
impulsively lurching into an unjust and unmoral war, and then, on Sunday,
he decided to go even further and threaten war crimes
against Iran with a truly psychotic tweet
that he genuinely thought counted as some sort of
official legal document. Here is the very real tweet the president
of the United States sent out on Sunday. “These media posts
will serve as notification to the United States Congress
that should Iran strike any
U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly
and fully strike back and perhaps in a
disproportionate manner. Such legal notice
is not required but is given nevertheless.”
That’s right. The same guy who brought you
such tweets as, “Robert Pattinson
should dump Kristen Stewart,” and, “I have never seen a thin
person drinking diet Coke,” now thinks his tweets serve as official
legal notice to Congress. I don’t think this tweet counts as legal notice to commit
an act of war, but I do think it counts as legal notice
to have you committed. That tweet sounds like something that could be scrawled
on the walls of a psych ward. “Let this serve
as a legal notice that I know you’re hiding pills
in my applesauce, and I will find them
and sue you for malpractice.” [ Applause ]
And by the way, threatening a disproportionate
response is a war crime, just like when Trump tweeted
the previous day that, “If Iran strikes any
Americans or American assets, we have targeted
52 Iranian sites, some at a very high level and important to Iran
and the Iranian culture. And those targets
and Iran itself will be hit
very fast and very hard.” First of all,
it’s not reassuring when the president tweets
in all caps like a lunatic who sees his ex-girlfriend
posting pictures of herself with another guy,
and texts her at 3:00 a.m., “Who is Brad?
Why are you in Cabo? I will hit him
very fast and very hard!” A war with Iran would be
unjust and immoral, cause mass death and suffering, and destabilize
the region and the world. And Trump obviously
hasn’t thought about, or doesn’t care about,
those consequences, because, by all accounts, he made this decision
impulsively, to the surprise of his own
top military officials. “The New York Times” reported
that they were stunned, flabbergasted, and alarmed
when trump chose the option of killing Soleimani. Apparently,
Trump’s military advisers put the option
on one PowerPoint slide to make the other options
seem more reasonable, not actually thinking
he would pick it. One briefing slide
shown to Trump listed several follow-up steps
the U.S. could take, among them targeting Soleimani. Unexpectedly,
Trump chose that option. Oh, oh, did Donald Trump
do the unexpected… [ Laughter ]
…instead of the reasonable? Did you guys
not get a briefing on him? You can’t expect
the reasonable choice from the guy who
stared into a eclipse, and when his umbrella
got caught, just left it on the stairs. [ Laughter and applause ] Congress must do
everything in its power to stop an unjust and immoral
war with Iran that will have
disastrous consequences. That’s why thousands of
protesters took to the streets over the weekend
in cities across the country to say no to war with Iran. We have an impulsive, lawless
president threatening war crimes, who thinks his tweets count
as official legal documents. You got to ask…
-Isn’t it pathetic? -This has been
“A Closer Look.” [ Theme music plays ]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *