Congress Votes to Limit Trump’s War Powers After Iran Lies: A Closer Look

Congress Votes to Limit Trump’s War Powers After Iran Lies: A Closer Look

January 10, 2020 100 By Luis Garrison


-The House voted today to rein
in the president’s war powers as it becomes increasingly clear
the Trump administration lied to justify an unconstitutional
act of war. For more on this, it’s time for
“A Closer Look.” [ Cheers and applause ] Amid lingering tensions
and unanswered questions from a crisis he started
with Iran, as well as an impending
impeachment trial in the Senate, President Trump took questions
at the White House today, and decided to whine
about the fact that no one gives him credit
for giving up his presidential salary. Trump tried to say that
he donates the money to good causes, like fighting
the opioid epidemic, but it didn’t quite come out
the right way. -I spent a lot
of my own money. And I always ask the question,
I said, “I wonder if it
was necessary.” Because I don’t think
anybody even knew that I was spending it. I mention it every once in
a while, but I don’t know. For instance,
I give up my salary. It’s $450,000,
approximately $450,000, the presidential salary. I give it up. It goes to–
usually, I give it to drugs. [ Laughter ] -I don’t think that’s how
you want to phrase that. You give it to drugs? Which drugs do you
give it to? Are they downers? Is that why you always look like
you just downed a bottle of Benzo’s
during a gas leak? Trump’s deep insecurity,
of course, is one of his many
off-putting qualities. But the one particular quality
we’ve seen on display yet again this week is his
fundamental lawlessness. Remember, in the last week,
he repeatedly threatened to commit war crimes
against Iran, saying he’d target sites
important to Iran and the Iranian culture. And I would just like
to point out that the guy threatening to
destroy Iranian cultural sites is the same guy who lost his
mind when people suggested taking down Confederate statues
honoring white supremacists here in this country — despite the fact that
most of those statues, like this one,
are ugly as hell. That… That is a real statue. Look at that face. That statue looks like
it just found out the South lost
the Civil War. [ Laughter ] So, Trump threatened multiple
times to destroy cultural sites, in violation of the law, which meant
the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense
had to go on TV and try to reassure people
that the president would not, in fact, order them
to do something illegal. -We’ll behave lawfully. We’ll behave
inside the system. We always have,
and we always will. The American people should know
that every target that we strike will be a lawful target. -I’m fully confident that
the president is not going to — the Commander in Chief will not
give us an illegal order. -Oh, you’re confident he won’t
give you an illegal order? He ordered his ex-fixer to
illegally cover up an affair, and he personally wrote
the check for the hush money while he was president. Look at that.
That’s the check. Lots of presidents
have scandal, but Trump is the only one
who paid for his by check. If you go to
the National Archives, you’re not gonna
find a check with George Washington’s
signature on it that says, “Sorry about
your cherry tree.” [ Laughter ] Trump is literally named
in the Michael Cohen indictment as “Individual One,” and he was impeached for trying
to extort a foreign country to cheat in
the 2020 election. The guy gives illegal orders
all the time. When he’s traveling by himself,
he probably tells his driver to get in
the carpool lane. “But sir, we’re in
Air Force One.” [ As Trump ]
“I don’t care. I want to take the L.I.E. to
a Hooters in Ronkonkoma.” [ Laughter ] [ Normal voice ]
And then, during a meeting
in the Oval Office on Tuesday, Trump tried to walk back
his deranged threat to commit war crimes,
but he did it very reluctantly. -We are, according to
various laws, supposed to be very careful
with their cultural heritage. And you know what,
if that’s what the law is, I like to obey the law. -No, you don’t.
And… there’s really nothing more
suspicious you can say than, “I like to obey
the law.” Imagine how that would go
in a real-life situation. If a cop pulls you over,
and says, “Do you know how fast
you were going?” And you just respond by saying,
“I like to obey the law,” they’re going to find
that bag of coke in your
glove compartment. “Sir, is that why you’ve been
sniffing so much?” [ Sniffing ] [ As Trump ] “I give all
my money to drugs.” [ Laughter ] [ Normal voice ] And now,
members of both parties have become increasingly
convinced that the strike that set off
this latest crisis — the assassination of Iranian
general Qasem Soleimani — was an unconstitutional
act of war. Trump and his team have tried
to justify the strike by claiming Soleimani posed
a, quote, “imminent threat.” But watch how cagy
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
has been about it. -President Trump says that
General Soleimani was planning a, quote,
“imminent attack.” What was the plan? Who were the targets?
And how soon? -There’s things we simply
cannot make public about what it is we knew
at that time, and what, in fact, we know today about
the continuing activity. -So, was the justification
in that he’s been this destabilizing force in
the region for so long? Or was the justification
this “imminent threat”? -Chuck,
it’s never one thing. -When you say the attacks
were imminent, how imminent were they?
Are we talking about days? Are we talking
about weeks? -If you’re an American
in the region, days and weeks, this is not something
that’s relevant. if you’re looking for imminence,
you needn’t look no further than the days that led up to
the strike that was taken
against Soleimani. -That’s not what
“imminent” means. It means “ready to take place,
happening soon.” You don’t get to just
reinvent words. If you’re gonna do that, then you have to change
the word itself. For example,
if you wanted to change the definition of the word
“tolerated,” then you’d have to change the
word itself to something like… -Tolerizing. [ Laughter ] -Now, in general, there’s
zero reason — zero reason — to trust anything the president
or his aides say. They’re all proven liars. And even when they’re not lying,
they get basic facts wrong, and make dumb mistakes. For example, just yesterday,
the president lied about the Obama-era Iran deal,
and said this. -Iran’s hostilities
substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear
deal was signed in 2013. -There are many things
wrong with that statement, including the fact that the
final deal was signed in 2015. Dude, just google it,
or ask Siri. Although, given how low Trump’s
numbers are with women, he probably wouldn’t have
much luck there, either. “Siri, when was the Iran
nuclear deal signed?” -Look it up yourself.
I can’t tolerize you anymore. [ Laughter ] -So, they claimed the top
general posed an imminent threat in order to justify
an assassination that sparked a crisis that put us on the brink of a
horrific and disastrous war. Then, yesterday, the Trump
administration sent briefings to Congress,
to present evidence of the, quote,
“imminent threat.” And members
of both parties came away from the briefing
unconvinced. -We did not get information
inside that briefing that there was a specific
imminent threat. I think it is likely because
it doesn’t exist. -There was no specific
information given to us of a specific attack. -My reaction to this briefing
was it was sophomoric and utterly
unconvincing. -The basic theme of it was
the administration essentially saying,
“Trust us.” -One of the messages we
received from the briefers was “Do not debate,
do not discuss, the issue of
the appropriateness of further military intervention
against Iran,” and that, “if you do,
you’ll be emboldening Iran.” Now, I find this insulting
and demeaning. It’s un-American. It’s unconstitutional.
And it’s wrong. I find that
absolutely insane. -I love when a politician
figures out this late in the game that the
Trump administration is insane. It’s like someone watching
“Mrs. Doubtfire,” and turning to you
after an hour, and saying, “I think the British lady
might be Robin Williams.” [ Laughter and applause ] So, you just saw… [ Applause ] You just saw a large group
of Senators and House members of both parties complain this was a horrible
military briefing. In fact, that last Senator,
Mike Lee, a staunch Trump ally, called it, “the worst briefing
I’ve seen, at least on a military issue,
in the nine years I’ve served in the
United States Senate.” And yet, in response to
the criticism from Lee, Trump insisted today
that unnamed Senators were calling him,
and telling him the briefing was
actually amazing. -Mr. President, I’m sure you saw
Mike Lee’s comments. Did your national security team
really say that it would be wrong
for Congress to debate military action
on Iran? -So, here’s what
happened on that. I had calls from
numerous Senators, and numerous Congressmen
and women, saying it was the greatest
presentation they’ve ever had. -Oh, numerous Senators
said that. Which ones? [ As Trump ]
“You wouldn’t know them. They go to a
different school…” [ Laughter ] “…in Canada.” [ Normal voice ] The people
cheering on a war with Iran are the same warmongers
who lied us into a catastrophic and immoral war in Iraq
17 years ago. And they’re using the same
tactics all over again — lying about
imminent threats, trampling the Constitution,
and international law, and of course, trying to frame
anyone who opposes war with Iran as siding with the enemy
over Americans — like former Trump official
Nikki Haley, who said this
on Tuesday. -The only ones that are mourning
the loss of Soleimani are our
Democrat leadership and our Democrat
presidential candidates. -Man, you really have to
be a husk of a person to go work
for Donald Trump. I mean, the only people
who take jobs with Trump are his gang of Mafia-themed
Mr. Potato Head dolls. But the Haleys of the world
are especially infuriating, because they put on an act, and
pretend to have some dignity. Whereas, with Trump,
you know what you’re getting. I mean, he’s shameless,
and he’s open about it. He’s the kind of guy
who would sell you a fake watch in Times Square,
and brag to you that it’s fake. [ As Trump ]
“It’s not a Cartier.
It’s a Fartier. Look, it’s just as good. Plus, it has an alarm.” [ Farting ] [ Normal voice ]
And then, there’s Georgia
Congressman Doug Collins. Now, you might remember him
as the auctioneer on adderall whose job it was to shout
a bunch of incoherent nonsense during the
impeachment process, so no one could actually
understand what he was saying. -This idea of throwing law,
in fact. We’ve disproven the facts. We’ve talked about the law.
The law wasn’t broken. We didn’t put it in
the Constitution. I can yell on both of them.
I can talk about both of them. I still have not got
a transcript. We still don’t know
what got in — the White House
still has not got their stuff. I was told I couldn’t,
even though there have been staff conversations
well before. I was told I was asking
too late. That’s almost like saying,
“Why don’t you ask– you know, frame your questions
differently.” He said this is what
he wanted looked into. He said can you– He said,
“help us as a country, because we’re
trying to heal.” -My God, man,
take a Xanax. [ Laughter ] You sound like
you did a speedball in the bathroom
at Studio 54. Last night, Collins took a break
from rambling incoherently to level a truly disgusting
accusation at Democrats who oppose Trump’s march
to war with Iran. -I did not think she can
become more hypocritical than she was
during impeachment, but guess what,
surprise surprise. Nancy Pelosi
does it again, and her Democrats
fall right in line. One, they’re in love
with terrorists. We see that. They mourn Soleimani
more than they mourn our Gold Star families who are the ones who suffered
under Soleimani. Unlike Doug Collins,
I’m going to say this very slowly so everyone
can understand it. [ Bleep ] off. [ Cheers and applause ] I mean,
you’re accusing Democrats of siding with terrorists
over Gold Star families? There’s only one famous reality
show dipshit turned president who said he and Kim Jong-un,
quote, “fell in love,” and who has repeatedly
attacked or fought with Gold Star families,
like the Khans. Think about how pathetic
that is. Trump attacked the parents
of a fallen soldier, and that’s the guy you support,
Doug Collins, you swamp-diving,
Boomhauer-looking crawdaddy. [ Cheers and applause ] It is becoming increasingly
clear that a lawless president violated the Constitution to order the assassination
of a foreign official, and then lied about it. And the only people
cheering him on are the reckless warmongers who
have lied us into war before. But now, members of both parties
want to rein Trump in. The only way you can believe
anything this president says is if you’re on…
-Drugs. -This has been
“A Closer Look.”