It wasn’t exactly a sit-down interview with President Obama, but Late Night host Seth Meyers dedicated Monday’s edition of his must-see “A Closer Look” segment to The Washington Post’s jaw-dropping report over the weekend.
The piece, quoting anonymous officials, stated: “The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system.” The New York Times followed that up with a report claiming that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to those of the Democrats, but chose to “not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.”
“So they only released the Democrats’ emails but not the Republicans’, though to be fair, what could possibly be in the Republican emails that was more embarrassing than what their candidate was saying out loud in public?” joked Meyers on Monday. “Donald Trump is a hacked email come to life. ‘Did you hear? Donald Trump made fun of the disabled.’ ‘In a private email?’ ‘No. Into a microphone in an arena.’”
And, as Meyers added, “you might expect an incoming president to take seriously the findings of the intelligence agencies that he’ll need to rely on as president,” but this is Donald J. Trump we’re talking about. So as is his wont, Trump’s team instead opted to slam the CIA in a statement that read: “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction… The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’”
Well, almost nothing in that statement released by the Trump transition team is true. The U.S. officials who spoke to WaPo and the Times did so anonymously, so there is no way of knowing whether they are the “same people” who claimed that Saddam Hussein had WMDs over 14 years ago; Trump’s win was not one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history, instead ranking 46th out of 58 presidential elections in terms of margin of victory; and the election only happened five weeks ago.
“Of course, this is not the first time Trump has openly rejected the findings of the intelligence community,” said Meyers. “Both during—and after—the campaign he’s repeatedly sought to downplay the possible role of Russia in the hacks, suggesting alternate theories for who might be behind them.” These theories have included “China,” “some guy sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds,” or as he told Time magazine, “some guy in his home in New Jersey.” “A 400-pound guy at his home in New Jersey? Is he actively trying to frame Chris Christie?!” cracked Meyers.
Meyers also covered his bases, issuing the following disclaimer about the recent news reports alleging that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee in order to sway the election toward Trump: “Now, it’s always important to take anonymous claims from intelligence officials with a giant grain of salt. That’s why we need a full investigation and all the evidence to be made public,” he said. “But even before that happens, Trump has repeatedly rejected the intelligence community’s findings.”“Trump could easily reassure critics who say he’s too close to Russia by denouncing Russian influence in the election, but as he has repeatedly made clear, he has a bizarre affection for Vladimir Putin,” Meyers added. “And his apparent choice for secretary of State isn’t helping.”
Trump’s pick for Secretary of State is ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, a longtime friend of Putin’s who’s not only received Russia’s Order of Friendship award from Putin himself, but also presides over a company with billions of dollars tied up in Russia. Meyers subsequently threw to the following tweet of Trump’s, which indicates that the president-elect is treating the Cabinet selection process like his own personal game of The Apprentice:
“Stop telling us to ‘stay tuned!’” exclaimed Meyers. “You’re president-elect for the next four years. Like it or not, we’re all fucking tuned! You’re going to be the first president who has commercial breaks in his State of the Union.”