Select text to annotate, Click play in YouTube to begin
-Yet another associate of former President Trump has been arrested. This time, it was the former chair of his inaugural committee, Tom Barrack, who is accused of illegally using his connections and access to Trump to lobby on behalf of a foreign government. For more on this, it's time for "A Closer Look." ♪♪ There's a lot going on in the world right now -- Delta variant, climate disaster, wealth hoarding, tax dodging, tech billionaires who exploit their workers,
racing to space in cowboy hats like Data, playing sheriff on the holodeck. Second Data ref in a week. Is next generation our new "MASH"? But I'd like to start with perhaps the most trivial and least consequential development in the news. Disney unveiling its new Joe Biden animatronic for the Hall of Presidents. Look at that! Joe Biden was basically made to be in the Hall of Presidents.
You can't tell the difference between the real Biden and the animatronic Biden. In fact, given how much of a wild card human Biden can be, I'm betting his aides would love to have the animatronic on standby for town halls. "Oh, God. Oh, he's telling the Corn Pops story again. Bring in the robot. Oh, phew. Oh, now the robot's telling the Corn Pops story. Oh, wait. But, okay, I can actually follow it. I can follow when the robot does it." And I have to say I enjoy the fact
that Disney made a realistic Biden robot with a presidential demeanor and a normal human facial expression, as opposed to the Trump animatronic, which has the expression of someone who just walked in on their parents having sex. I mean, lookit. This looks like one of the bodies preserved in ash at Pompeii. "Vesuvius is never gonna blow. Yikes!" Looks like Han Solo frozen in Carbonite.
Also, who signed off on making Franklin Pierce look exactly like me? You gave me one of the worst presidents. I grew up in New Hampshire, so I actually know some stuff about Franklin Pierce. He was also from New Hampshire. And nothing else. I remember in fourth grade, they told us that New Hampshire news, we lost our [bleep] And then it was on to James Buchanan.
Look, maybe one of the reason -- [ Laughter ] Guys, don't laugh at the Easter eggs. [ Laughter ] Maybe one of the reasons Trump's animatronic figure looks so surprised is it keeps finding out more about just how corrupt the campaign and presidency of the man he was based on were. Every day, it seems like we get new details about alleged crimes involving Trump's cabinet officials
or his business associates or his friends. Some of them are investigations we didn't even know about. It's like a game of Clue where every answer is correct. Was it Professor Plum in the ballroom with the dagger? It was. How about Miss Scarlet in the kitchen with the lead pipe? Her, too. Okay, and what about Rudy in the billiard room with the candlestick to the nuts? Yep. Every time. For example, we learned this week that an inspector general found that Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
lied to Congress about the census and presented those findings to the Trump Justice Department. But Trump's DOJ declined to prosecute him. And when Ross heard he wasn't getting prosecuted, I'm guessing he celebrated by cracking open a beer and a can of soup. I mean, look at him. That looks like the poster for a movie called "Retirement Frat." "Wilbur, did you replace the oxygen tanks with helium again?" -I'll never tell, dude.
[ Laughter ] That -- That is -- What you just saw is 100% my fault. And then there's Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. A week ago, we found out that a banker who arranged millions in loans to Manafort was found guilty of trying to use those loans to secure a job in the Trump campaign and administration. -It took a federal jury less than two hours to reach a guilty verdict in the case
of former Federal Savings Bank executive Stephen Calk. -He was accused of pushing risky loans through for former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in exchange for a high-level position in the administration. Calk got Manafort $16 million worth of loans from the bank, despite concerns from board members over their high levels of risk. Manafort then recommended Calk
for an open undersecretary of the Army position. -Look, I'm sure this sort of [bleep] happens all the time in D.C. and more people should be prosecuted for it, but, my God, Trump and his cronies were so brazen about it. The Trump operation was such a toxic criminal enterprise that even people who are just tangentially related to him are getting thrown in jail now. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if they get his Disney robot for using a shell company to dodge taxes. Don't look surprised. You know what you did.
Calk apparently got a job on the Trump campaign by loaning Manafort millions despite his checkered financial past. And when Trump won, he actually wrote down a list of jobs he would want in a Trump administration. -Stephen Calk was convicted for giving Paul Manafort $16 million in questionable bank loans in 2016 and 2017. After Calk's first multimillion dollar loan to Manafort,
Manafort put him on the Trump campaign's Economic Advisory Council. Prosecutors said Stephen Calk repeatedly ignored financial red flags in Manafort's loan applications because he desperately wanted to be secretary of the Army and that's how we could get it. He listed, in ranked order, his favored, quote, "prospective roles" -- prospective roles in the new administration. His number-one choice was secretary of the Army.
If not that, he'd take, you know, secretary of commerce, deputy secretary of the Treasury, 18 preferred ambassadorships, everything from the U.K. to the Vatican to Singapore. -I guess if you're the kind of guy who ignores red flags, you're also the kind of guy who writes down a list of the quos you would like in return for your quids. "Yeah, send a copy of this to Manafort, Trump, and, uh, uh, the FBI? Is that dumb?" Also, total aside here,
but if you're a corrupt banker paying for a job in the administration, why would you want secretary of the Army over ambassador to the Vatican? I mean, the secretary of the Army has actual stuff to do. I'm pretty sure the ambassador to the Vatican just gets to hang out in Rome, drinking Aperol spritzes, and dodging Vespas on cobblestone streets. Every now and then, you run into the Pope, and he says, "I'ma from Argentina. I don't-a talk-a like this." Of course, Calk wasn't the only Trump goon
to write down incriminating material. When prosecutors indicted Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg for alleged tax fraud earlier this month, it turned out they kept internal spreadsheets detailing the scheme. For example, according to the indictment, Weisselberg caused the Trump Corporation to issue corporate checks made payable to a Trump Organization employee who cashed the checks and received cash. The cash was given to Weisselberg for his personal use.
The Trump Corporation booked this cash as holiday entertainment but maintained internal spreadsheets showing the cash to be part of Weisselberg's employee compensation. The dead giveaway there is that Trump would never pay for holiday entertainment on Christmas. He would sit there with Eric and Don Jr. and watch the "Grinch" on TV. "Why can't you idiots be more like this guy?" Then yesterday, we got news about the arrest of yet another longtime Trump associate Tom Barrack, who was an adviser to Trump's campaign
and the chair of his inaugural committee, which incidentally is also under investigation unrelated to these new charges. -Tom Barrack, the chairman of Trump's 2017 inaugural committee, has been arrested on a host of charges, including illegally lobbying for the United Arab Emirates, obstructing justice, and making false statements to federal agents. "The Washington Post" reports, "Federal prosecutors say Barrack capitalized on his friendship with and access to Trump
and other high-ranking government officials and his relationship with U.S. journalists to advance the policy goals of a foreign government without disclosing their true alliances." -So one of Trump's closest confidants and advisers was secretly using his access and connection to Trump to lobby the campaign and the administration as an unregistered agent of a foreign government. That means various Trump associates were either lobbying for or connected to Ukraine,
Russia, Turkey, Qatar and the UAE, among others. That place was like the Epcot world showcase of corruption. This was supposed to be the America First campaign, the new working-class GOP. Instead, it was all a bunch of millionaire lobbyists, bankers, consultants, and private equity titans working for foreign countries. The so-called America First campaign was a bigger scam than Subway tuna. I'm not saying it's not tuna. All I know is, last week, I found a wishbone in my foot-long
and then I pulled it apart and wished for real tuna. Now, we already knew part of this story, thanks to an investigation by the House Oversight Committee during the Trump presidency, which found that Barrack had submitted drafts of a 2016 America First energy speech to the UAE for edits. He took a speech with "America First" in the title and submitted it to a foreign government for approval. That's like finding out the cop who did the Dare presentation at your high school
snorted some fat rails off a cafeteria tray to get hyped up. "Whoo! Who's ready to learn about how bad drugs are? Wait. Uh, sorry. My friend Pablo Escobar did a rewrite on that. Who's ready to find out how bad drugs aren't?" And according to the indictment released yesterday, Barrack, a long-time Trump friend, used that friendship to get language inserted into the then candidate's energy speech in 2016 about the importance of working with our Gulf allies
at the behest of Emirati officials. So, thanks to Barrack, the UAE basically hired Trump to do a cameo for them. "UAE, it's Donald Trump, and I hear you have a birthday coming up." But Barrack succeeded, as you can see from this clip of the speech in 2016, which was supposed to be about American energy independence and the so-called America First energy policy. Weirdly, there was a line out of nowhere where Trump seemed to backtrack and say,
"Actually, we'll keep buying oil from Gulf states like the UAE." -We will become and stay totally independent of any need to import energy from the OPEC cartel or any nations hostile to our interests -- anybody hostile to our interests. Believe me, we don't deal with them. We'll handle them just fine. Just fine. [ Cheers and applause ]
And, by the way, there are plenty of them out there that are hostile to our interests. At the same time, we'll work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy. -He makes it so easy for prosecutors. You can literally see the moment where he riffs off the cuff and then goes back to the line Barrack wrote for him. He totally contradicts himself. "Those Gulf states,
they hate us, don't they, folks? Mark my words, we will never work with them, ever. Those Gulf states can kiss my ass. At the same time, we will work with our Gulf allies because they love us and we love them. And remember, they do have a birthday Coming up." The Trump campaign and presidency were one big criminal enterprise, a toxic cesspool of corruption and self-enrichment, and clearly, there's still so much more we need to find out.
Among many other things, it proves once again that the new supposedly populist working-class America First Republican Party is a total scam. In reality, it was just a bunch of wealthy oligarchs conning voters while they serve foreign interests and rake in millions. Every time we find out about yet another Trump corruption scheme, it's like taking a kick right to the... -Calk. [ Laughter ] -That one's not on me.
This has been "A Closer Look." ♪♪ God's Love We Deliver cooks and brings over two million meals a year to men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses, and they need your help now more than ever. If you're watching this online, you can hit the "donate" button. Stay safe. Get vaccinated. We love you.
End of transcript