Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Trump's Sharpie Scandal Has Triggered Multiple Investigations: A Closer Look

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-The president's use of a Sharpie

to doctor an official hurricane forecast

is now an actual scandal

that has prompted multiple official investigations.

For more on this, it's time for "A Closer Look."

[ Cheers and applause ]


-So you remember how like two weeks ago,

there was this whole thing where a dangerous hurricane

named Dorian was headed toward the United States,

and so the president, you know, the guy whose job it is

to protect Americans, tweeted out that Alabama

will most likely be hit much harder than anticipated.

And then some people in Alabama started to freak out.

So then the National Weather Service had to be like,

"No, Alabama will not see any impacts from Dorian."

And instead of just letting it go,

the president took out a big map in the oval office

and drew a little circle on it with a Sharpie

to include Alabama and make it look like he was right?

You know, like he was accepting one of those

giant novelty checks for a thousand dollars,

but then wrote in a bunch of zeros and went,

[ As Trump ] "Wow, you're giving me a billion dollars?

Too generous, but I accept. No takebacks."

[ Normal voice ] You remember that whole thing?

It was fun.

Well, anyway, after like a full week of coverage,

we all thought it was over. We wanted to let it go.

The White House wanted to let it go.

Even the PR Department at the Sharpie company

was probably like,

"Okay, maybe there is such a thing as bad publicity."

[ Laughter ]

And I'm sure Alabama wanted to let it go,

because for a week they were all, like,

"Are we going to get hit by a hurricane or not?

Because I've been sleeping on a cot

in a high school gymnasium for seven days."

[ Laughter and applause ]

Well, guess what --

It's not over. That's right.

The whole insane Sharpie thing is still going.

First, we found out earlier this week that staff

at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

were instructed not to contradict

the president's Sharpie hurricane forecast.

And then we found out that the Secretary of Commerce,

Wilbur Ross, threatened firings at NOAA

after Trump's Dorian tweets.

That's right, Wilbur Ross, the guy who once tried

to defend Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum

by holding up a beer and can of soup in a live TV interview,

threatened to fire actual scientists

for contradicting the president.

Look at this. He looks like he's bringing hurricane supplies

to Alabama.

[ Higher-pitched voice ] I -- I don't have water,

but how about a soup and beer party?

[ Normal voice ] So Wilbur Ross threatened to fire scientists

for issuing accurate weather forecasts

that contradicted the president's stupid tweets.

But, hey, it's not like Wilbur Ross has ever, himself,

committed an actual fireable offense, right?

-A federal judge has taken the extraordinary step

in ruling that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

acted in bad faith and broke several laws

when he asked a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

-Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross held in contempt.

Now this battle is all about Ross hiding evidence

that might show whether Republicans

changed the 2020 census to discriminate

and help their own party, the GOP.

-The president's Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross,

stands accused of misappropriating

or outright stealing as much as $120 million

from former investors and business partners.

That's according to a new investigation from "Forbes."

-We all know Wilbur Ross had problems before this.

Aides have been saying from the beginning

he regularly falls asleep in meetings.

-Ross was famously caught sleeping during Trump's speech

to Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia

back in May of 2017.

-And on top of all that,

two former colleagues remember the Commerce Secretary

taking handfuls of Sweet'N Low packets from a nearby restaurant

so he didn't have to go out and buy some for himself.

So he's an alleged criminal

who took Sweet'N Low from restaurants

and falls asleep in meetings.

He's like a character from a Clint Eastwood movie

where a bunch of old guys plan a bank heist.

[ Laughter ]

[ Gruff voice ] You guys grab the money,

I'll grab the soup and beer.

[ Laughter and applause ]

[ Normal voice ] Also, just let it sink in that Wilbur Ross

is a billionaire who steals Sweet'N Low,

which is in no way sweet, but it's plenty [bleep] low.

I mean, how about instead of a citizenship question,

the census asks, "Are you a billionaire

who steals Sweet'N Low?"

And if you answer yes, we shoot you into space.

[ Laughter ]

So that was all stuff that happened this week.

And as a result, Democrats called on Ross to resign

and NOAA's Chief Scientist

said he would investigate what happened.

Now, you think that would be the end of it,

but no, this insane story is still a thing.

In fact, it's even more of a thing now

because yesterday, we found out that the White House itself

was directly involved in efforts to pressure officials at NOAA

to side with the president over their own scientists.

-"The New York Times" reports

that acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney

told commerce secretary Wilbur Ross

to have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA, publicly disavow this tweet that was sent

by the National Weather Service office in Birmingham, Alabama,

which said the state would not feel the effects of the storm.

A senior administration official told the "Times"

Mulvaney wanted to correct the record

because he felt the Birmingham tweet went too far.

National Weather Service tweet went too far.

One that actually forecasts the weather.

[ Laughter ]

-Think about how insane this is.

Two of the most senior officials in our government

called up a scientific agency and threatened to fire them

unless they changed their forecast

about a dangerous hurricane just so they could pretend

the president was right when he accidentally said

a state that was not in the Hurricane's path would get hit.

I mean, what's next, are they going to make Melania

change her name to Melanie to justify Trump's typo tweet?

[ Laughter ]

I'm shocked Trump didn't just go all the way

and make Congress pass a disaster aid bill for Alabama.

[ As Trump ] I'm here in Montgomery

to help rebuild from the hurricane.

And in the meantime,

we'll be moving all these people into temporary shelters.

[ Normal voice ] But my house is fine.

[ As Trump ] No, your house was destroyed.

Here, look at this photo.

[ Laughter ]

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Normal voice ] So...

this insane, dumb thing the president did

that we all desperately wanted to move on from

will not go away.

In fact, and this is real,

this whole thing has now triggered

multiple official investigations.

NOAA's Chief Scientist has said he would investigate

why the agency backed Trump over its experts on Dorian.

The Commerce Department Inspector General

has opened an investigation, and on Wednesday,

a Democrat-controlled House Science Committee

kicked off its own inquiry.

This all started with a Sharpie.

If the pen is mightier than the sword,

the Sharpie is a long-range missile.

I mean, this is an actual scandal now.

There are multiple investigations.

That means there's a chance, which would be awesome,

we could have meteorologists testifying before Congress.

[ Cheers and applause ]

[ Southern accent ] Please state your name for the record.

[ Normal voice ] Uh, my name is Breeze Thunder.

[ Southern accent ] And Mr. Thunder,

where did the president tell you to lie?

[ Normal voice ] Well, first, the lies began over here,

but then they eventually picked up speed and moved down here.

[ Laughter ]

[ Southern accent ] Also, And remember,

remember, that you are under oath.

Mr. Thunder, is dew point an actual thing?

[ Normal voice ] No, it is not.

[ Laughter ]

Seriously, this is now officially the craziest

weather-related scandal America has seen since this one.

-Right now dew points in the 20s

and near 30 degrees across central Mississippi.

Well, hey, there.

-I don't know what's going on, but Zane doesn't know.

[ Laughter ] Are you sure?

Are you crazy sure? -[ Laughs ]

Well, we've got a little bit of interesting things

going on right now.

Take a look at what's going on right now.

You want to point out the weather right now?

-Yeah, there are farts everywhere and toots.

I don't even know. It's crazy.

[ Laughter ]

-You laugh. You laugh.

Trump just made that kid

Director of the National Weather Service.

[ As Trump ] I'm hearing Alabama is about to get hit very hard

with farts and toots. It's scary.

But the National Guard will be ringing --

will be bringing matches and Glade PlugIns

to the affected areas.

[ Normal voice ] Yesterday Trump was asked in the oval office

about the report that his Chief of Staff

instructed NOAA to disavow their own scientists

and side with Trump,

and Trump pretended that he personally

had nothing to do with it.

-Did you tell your Chief of Staff to have NOAA

disavow those forecasters to who said that Alabama

was not -- -No, I never did that.

I never did that.

That's a whole hoax by the fake news media

when they talk about the hurricane

and when they talk about Florida and they talk about Alabama.

That stuff, just fake news.

It was -- right from the beginning, it was a fake story.

-He just covers lies with more lies.

I'm surprised he didn't say...

[ As Trump ] This is a really hard week for me because --

and I didn't want to say this,

but I was also hit by the hurricane.

[ Laughter and applause ]

[ Normal voice ] So Trump denied that he personally

ordered his aides to intervene and tell a scientific agency

to lie about a dangerous hurricane

in order to justify an embarrassing tweet

and a map he doctored with a Sharpie.

Well, you'll never guess what happened next.

On Wednesday, the news broke that, yes,

it was, in fact, Trump who ordered the Sharpie cover-up.

-"New York Times" today and "The Washington Post"

revealed that the White House and Donald Trump, himself,

were behind threats against weather forecasters

who, wait for it -- forecasted the weather.

"The Washington Post" adds that the president, himself,

was behind the threats to the weather forecasters.

President Trump told his staff

that NOAA needed to deal with the tweet

that seemed to contradict his statement

that hurricane Dorian posed a significant threat to Alabama.

-Of course, it was Trump who ordered it.

Trump orders his aides to lie all the time.

He doesn't even let Mulvaney cough in his presence

without permission.

-Trump, interrupting his interview with ABC News,

to scold his Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney,

for coughing while he was speaking.

-But at some point, I hope they get it...

-[ Coughs ] ...because it's a fantastic

financial statement.

It's a fantastic financial statement.

And -- Let's do that over.

He's coughing in the middle of my answer.

-Yeah, okay. -I don't like that, you know?

-Your Chief of Staff -- -If you're going to cough,

please leave the room. -We should get a shot of --

and I'll come over here. -Just can't --

You just can't do that. -Okay.

-Sorry, Mr. Trump.

-Hey, you leave him alone.

He was probably coughing from all the dust

kicked up by that hurricane.

At least we knew it wasn't Wilbur Ross who was coughing,

because he was probably sound asleep.

He'd, uh -- He'd been up all night stealing Sweet'N Low.

[ Laughter ]

And by the way, now that there are multiple

official investigations of this whole insane ordeal,

let's not forget that on top of everything else,

by doctoring the map, Trump may have also broken federal law.

-This is in "The Washington Post,"

and they say flatly, "It was Trump who used

a black Sharpie to mark up an official NOAA map

which he displayed during an oval office briefing

on Wednesday."

-And there's one more problem.

As a Fox News meteorologist noted,

it's a violation of federal law

to falsify a National Weather Service forecast.

-Wouldn't it be great

if this was the thing that finally brought him down?

I mean, seriously.

[ Laughter, cheers, and applause ]

This about it.

Think about everything else that came before this.

He obstructed justice, paid off a porn star,

takes money from taxpayers and foreign governments

at his personal properties,

and they finally nail him for map vandalism.

[ Cheers and applause ]

It would be like -- It would be like if they got

Charles Manson for tearing the tag off his mattress.

I mean, seriously, when it comes to breaking the law,

how much worse could things get for Donald Trump?

-Breaking news now.

Sources telling CNN that in recent weeks,

prosecutors with the New York District Attorney's Office

have interviewed Michael Cohen,

President Trump's former fixer and personal attorney.

The investigation is looking into whether

the Trump organization broke any state laws

by falsifying business records.

-The former lawyer is now an inmate serving three years

in prison for, among other crimes,

his role in procuring those payments

to porn star Stormy Daniels,

which constituted a campaign finance violation.

Let's not forget this -- a case in which the president

was an unindicted co-conspirator.

-They're investigating whether the Trump organization

violated any state laws

relating to those hush money payments to women.

-That's right. Investigators are looking at

the Trump organization's handling of hush payments

to cover up affairs.

Trump is so versatile,

he's managed to break laws relating to Stormy Daniels

and stormy weather.

[ Laughter and applause ]

Sharpiegate is a perfect,

stupid microcosm of the Trump era.

He lies and concocts insane conspiracy theories

and then strong-arms the rest of the government

into enforcing those lies.

Like on climate change, he's repeatedly called it a hoax

and now his government is scrapping regulations

on everything from methane emissions

to energy-efficient light bulbs,

to clean water protections,

resulting in at least 85 environmental rollbacks

under Trump.

Sharpiegate is just the latest,

dumbest example of Trump's war on reality.

Congress needs to get him out of there immediately,

like they did with this guy.

-There are farts everywhere and toots.

I don't even know. It's crazy.

[ Laughter ] -This has been "A Closer Look."

[ Cheers and applause ]


The Description of Trump's Sharpie Scandal Has Triggered Multiple Investigations: A Closer Look