“TRUMP’S SHOWDOWN”

October 03, 2018 at 5:15 am

Frontline takes us inside President Trump’s fight against Robert Mueller, the FBI, and even his own attorney general, as the investigation into the 2016 election and post-presidency obstruction of justice continues.

Watch the full documentary here. 

Aired on October 2, 2018.

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>> I THINK THAT WE'RE BEING HURT
VERY BADLY BY THE, I WOULD CALL
IT THE WITCH-HUNT.
>>> RUDY KNOW KNOWS IT'S THE
WITCH-HUNT.
>>> WE'VE HAD A PHONY WITCH-HUNT
DEAL.
>>> AND I HAVE THIS WITCH-HUNT
CONSTANTLY GOING ON FOR OVER 12
MONTHS NOW.
>> PRESIDENT TRUMP AND THE
ONGOING PROBE THAT COULD
ULTIMATELY THREATEN HIS
PRESIDENCY SINCE TAKING OFFICE,
DONALD TRUMP HAS BEEN LOCKED IN
AN UNPRECEDENTED CONFRONTATION
WITH SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT
MUELLER OVER HIS INVESTIGATION
INTO RUSSIA'S MEDDLING IN THE
2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN AND
HIS POSSIBLE OBSTRUCTION OF
JUSTICE.
NOW A "FRONTLINE" DOCUMENTARY
TITLED TRUMP SHOWDOWN GOES
INSIDE THAT FIGHT.
TAKE A LOOK.
>> DONALD TRUMP SAYS, CAN I
EXPECT LOYALTY FROM YOU?
COMEY SEES DANGER.
>> PRESIDENT TRUMP --
>> THE CALL FOR A SPECIAL
COUNSEL JUST GETS LOUDER.
>> JUSTICE DEPARTMENT APPOINTED
A SPECIAL COUNSEL.
>> BOB MUELLER CARES ABOUT ONE
THING, INDICTING BAD GUYS AND
PUTTING THEM IN PRISON.
THE PRESIDENT IS TRYING TO
CONTROL THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT'S
INVESTIGATION INTO HIM.
>> PHONY RUSSIA WITCH-HUNT.
>> THAT'S EXTRAORDINARY.
>> HERE TO TELL US MORE IS
PRODUCER AND "FRONTLINE"
REPORTER GABRIELLE SHANDER.
HE WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
>> THIS IS LIKE A RECAPPING, IF
YOU WILL.
LAST WEEK ON THE TRUMP
PRESIDENCY, EXCEPT THIS IS THE
PAST YEAR.
AND SO TAKING US BACK, WE DO
START WITH WHAT WAS INCREDIBLY
PIVOTAL FOR THIS ADMINISTRATION
AND FOR THE REST OF THE COUNTRY
AND THAT WAS THIS RUSSIA
DOSSIER.
>> YEAH, SO DURING THE
TRANSITION, THE LEADERS OF THE
INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY TRAVEL UP
TO NEW YORK TO BRIEF
PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP ON RUSSIAN
INTERFERENCE IN THE 2016
ELECTION, THE ELECTION HE HAD
JUST WON.
AND THE PRESIDENT HAS A REAL
PERSPECTIVE ON THIS MOMENT,
WHICH IS THAT HE VIEWS THIS AS A
SHAKE DOWN, A SHAKE DOWN BY THE
INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY.
THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY, OF
COURSE, COMES IN WITH A
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
PERSPECTIVE, WHICH IS WE'VE HAD
THIS UNPRECEDENTED MEDDLING BY A
FOREIGN ADVERSARY IN OUR
DOMESTIC ELECTIONS AND THIS IS
INTELLIGENCE THAT MUST BE SHARED
WITH THE NEW PRESIDENT.
BUT IT REALLY SETS THE TONE.
IT SETS A TONE BECAUSE AFTER
THAT MEETING, AFTER THAT
INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING, DIRECTOR
COMEY STAYS BEHIND TO TALK TO
THE PRESIDENT ABOUT THE STEELE
DOSSIER, WHICH HAD SOME PRETTY
SENSITIVE MATERIAL IN IT.
IT'S A PRETTY UNCOMFORTABLE
MOMENT FOR THE PRESIDENT-ELECT
TO HEAR SOME OF THE DETAILS THAT
ARE IN THAT DOCUMENT.
>> YET AT THE SAME TIME, THAT
MOMENT SEEMS TO TAKE WHAT
BECOMES AN AWKWARD CONVERSATION,
LET'S SAY, AND IT BECOMES
SOMETHING ELSE BECAUSE, OF
COURSE, AS WE KNOW, JAMES COMEY
ENDS UP LOSING HIS JOB.
>> HE DOES.
I MEAN, ULTIMATELY, THE MESSAGE
THAT THE PRESIDENT RECEIVED, IS
THAT WE, YOUR GOVERNMENT, HAS
SOMETHING ON YOU.
AND IT'S A PRETTY, IT'S A PRETTY
INTERESTING PERSPECTIVE.
AND HE IMMEDIATELY -- THE
PRESIDENT IMMEDIATELY STARTS
SORT OF DEFENDING HIMSELF WHEN
THE INFORMATION IS PRESENTED TO
HIM, SO MUCH SO THAT COMEY
LEAVES THAT MEETING, GOES DOWN
TO HIS SUV, AND STARTS TYPING
MEMOS, CONTEMPORANEOUS NOTES
THAT WE NOW RELY ON FOR AN
ACCOUNT OF THAT MOMENT TO SORT
OF EXPLAIN, HEY, THIS IS HOW THE
PRESIDENT SORT OF RESPONDED TO
THAT BRIEFING.
>> NOW, THERE S ANOTHER VERY
IMPORTANT PLAYER IN ALL OF THIS,
EVEN THOUGH HE DOESN'T MAKE AN
APPEARANCE, SO TO SPEAK, AND
THAT'S ROY COHN.
TELL ME ABOUT WHAT INFLUENCE HE
HAS HAD ON THE PRESIDENT ON THE
MAN DONALD TRUMP.
>> YEAH, SO ROY COHN WAS A SORT
OF NO HOLDS BAR PRETTY
AGGRESSIVE NEW YORK ATTORNEY WHO
BEGINS WORKING WITH DONALD TRUMP
IN THE '70s.
AND THEY DEVELOP A PRETTY,
PRETTY INCREDIBLE CO-DEPENDENCY.
HE WITH HAD WORKED WITH
PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FATHER, BUT
HE'S VERY INFLUENTIAL ON THE
YOUNGER TRUMP IN KIND OF THE
FORMATIVE YEAR.
PRESIDENT TRUMP SORT OF LEARNS
HOW TO THROW PUNCHES AND LEARNS
HOW TO RELY ON SORT OF A BULL
DOG LIKE ATTORNEY PRETTY EARLY
IN HIS REAL ESTATE CAREER.
IN MANY WAYS THERE'S LESSONS
HE'S CARRIED THROUGHOUT HIS
ENTIRE LIFE.
>> WHAT IS THINK IS INTERESTING
IS WHERE WE ARE NOW WITH THE
PLAYERS WHO ARE SO IMPORTANT,
ONE OF THEM BEING ROD
ROSENSTEIN, EXCUSE ME.
YOU GET TO REVISIT WHAT ROLE HE
ACTUALLY PLAYED IN THE COMEY
SITUATION.
>> AND THE COMEY FIRING, OF
COURSE.
YOU KNOW, ROD ROSENSTEIN'S MEMO
WAS INITIALLY THE WHITE HOUSE'S
EXPLANATION FOR THE FIRING,
RIGHT?
AND THE FIRING WAS AT THAT TIME
BECAUSE JAMES COMEY HAD BEEN
UNFAIR TO HILLARY CLINTON T
THROUGHOUT THE ELECTION.
BUT EFFECTIVELY ROSENSTEIN, THE
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL WROTE A
LETTER AND THE PRESIDENT ALLUDE
TODAY THAT LETTER WHY HE WAS
FIRING JAMES COMEY.
>> ANOTHER PERSON WE GET A
BETTER BROADER PICTURE OF IS
ROBERT MUELLER WHO SO MANY
PEOPLE TALK ABOUT.
WE KNOW SO VERY LITTLE ABOUT
HIM.
THIS DOCUMENTARY GIVES US AN
UNDERSTANDING OF WHO HE IS AND
KIND OF WHAT MAKES HIM TICK.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
BAD GUYS MAKE HIM TICK.
ULTIMATELY THIS IS A GUY WHO IS
INTERESTED IN PROSECUTING,
INDICTING AND PUTTING AWAY
CRIMINALS, AND HE'S DEVOTED HIS
ENTIRE LIFE TO DOING THIS.
HE'S TESTED THE WATERS OF
PRIVATE PRACTICE, IT WASN'T FOR
HIM.
HE IS VERY MUCH SORT OF A
GOVERNMENT PROSECUTOR, AND HE'S
REALLY WELL RESPECTED IN
WASHINGTON BY BOTH SIDES OF THE
AISLE.
BUT HE'S ATTRACTED A CERTAIN
LEGAL TALENT TO HELP HIM IN THIS
INVESTIGATION THAT'S REALLY KIND
OF A STAR TEAM.
>> YEAH, WHICH I THINK GETS
DESCRIBED AS THE A-TEAM IN THE
DOCUMENTARY.
>> SOMEBODY IN OUR FILM
DESCRIBES IT AS SORT OF THE
SCENE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE
AVENGERS WHEN ALL THE HEROES
COME TOGETHER.
YOU KNOW, THESE HEROES JUST
HAPPEN TO BE, YOU KNOW, EXPERTS
IN FORENSIC ACCOUNTING, EXPERTS
IN SORT OF TERRORISM AND
FINANCING, EXPERTS IN ALL THE
THINGS YOU'D NEED TO BUILD A
FINANCIAL CRIMES CASE.
CERTAINLY AN OBSTRUCTION CASE.
THESE ARE SOME OF THE TOP, YOU
KNOW, U.S. PROSECUTORS IN THE
COUNTRY.
SOME ARE FORMER FBI AGENTS AND
THEY HAVE THIS ADMIRATION FOR
ROBERT MUELLER IN A WAY WHICH
THEY LEFT MOST OF THESE
HIGH-PAYING LAW FIRM JOBS TO
JOIN THIS CASE.
>> NOW, OF COURSE, I DO WANT TO
SAY THAT EVEN THOUGH THE PERSON
THE FILM SORT OF COMPARES THEM
TO, "THE AVENGERS" OR SOMETHING
LIKE THAT, TO CALL THEM HEROES
IS A LITTLE PREEMPTIVE BECAUSE,
OF COURSE, WE HAVEN'T SEEN WHAT
THEY'VE DETERMINED.
WE DON'T NECESSARILY KNOW IF ANY
OFFICIAL CHARGES WILL BE FILED
AGAINST THE PRESIDENT OR
ANYTHING LIKE THAT.
>> IT'S INCREDIBLY UNLIKELY.
ROBERT MUELLER IS GOING TO, YOU
KNOW, REMOVE THE PRESIDENT FROM
OFFICE.
IT'S NOT WHERE HIS AMBITION
LIES.
IT'S NOT WHERE HIS ROLE IS.
IN FACT, THE ONLY REAL CENSURE
THAT CAN HAPPEN TO THE PRESIDENT
IS THROUGH EITHER IMPEACHMENT BY
THE SENATE WHICH IS VERY
UNLIKELY TO HAPPEN, A REPUBLICAN
HELD SENATE, OR IF HE DOESN'T
WIN REELECTION.
SO REALLY THE 2018 AND 2020
ELECTION S ARE SO CRITICAL TO
THE NEXT STEPS IN THE RUSSIA
INVESTIGATION, AND THAT
RESPONSIBILITY SORT OF LIES
WITH, YOU KNOW, WITH YOU AND I
AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.
WE HAVE I THINK THE GREATEST
IMPACT IN SEEING WHERE THIS
INVESTIGATION GOES.
>> LISTEN, THERE IS SO MUCH
MORE, I COULD TALK TO YOU ABOUT
THIS DOCUMENTARY, OF COURSE.
WE EVEN GET INTO THE REEMERGENCE
OF RUDY GIULIANI IN THE
PRESIDENT'S ORBIT.
BUT UNFORTUNATELY WE'VE RUN OUT
OF TIME.
SO THE BEST I CAN SUGGEST IS FOR
PEOPLE TO TUNE IN TO "FRONTLINE"
FOR TRUMP'S SHOWDOWN WHICH AIRS
OCTOBER 2ND AT 9:00 P.M. ON 13.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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