Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 3, Episode 23 - Scandals - full transcript

John Oliver talks about the scandals involving Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

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Welcome to Last Week Tonight !
I'm John Oliver.

Thank you so much for joining us.
We are back, after a whole month away.

We have missed so much
since we've been gone,

from Apple introducing a cutting edge
way to lose their products,

to once again celebrating
America's greatest goose murderer,

to a nightmare
endorsing a panic attack.

But we must begin tonight
with the protests in Charlotte

following yet another fatal shooting by
the police of an African American man.

The police videos were released late,
after significant resistance,

including an excuse from the police
chief that was far from reassuring.

Full transparency, but you're not
gonna release the video.

How can you square
those two things ?

I appreciate your passion,
but I said transparency.

And transparency
is in the eye of the beholder.

No, it isn't, though.

That's literally the opposite
of what the word "transparent" means.

None of us could behold the tape,

because of how untransparent
you were being.

The protests following the shootings
in Charlotte and Tulsa

raise issues from police accountability
to institutional racism,

all of which require time
and sensitivity to discuss.

Or, if you're North Carolina
representative Robert Pittenger,

they're pretty simple.

The grievance in the mind
is the animus, the anger.

They hate white people
'cause white people are successful.

I mean, yes, it is.
It is a welfare state.

We have spent trillions of dollars
on welfare,

and we've put people in bondage

so that they can't be
all that they're capable of being.

That is some toxic stuff.

And just look at the expression
on that journalist's face.

It's half confusion,
and half wonder

at witnessing that kind
of racism being spoken aloud,

instead of coming out of a Twitter
egg named "Aryan the Hendersons".

Pittenger had to quickly walk
those comments back.

Which should've been easy: apologize,
and avoid some clichéd excuse,

like you have many friends
in the African American community.

And I apologize.

I have many dear friends
in the African-American community.

No, you don't. At best, you had one,
and he's pretty pissed off with you.

There'll more to say about Charlotte,
but let's move on to Wells Fargo.

The only bank ever to be serenaded
by an eight-year-old Ron Howard.

Fuck you. I'm sorry !

I know you're a very powerful man
in Hollywood now,

but to be fair, you were
an infuriating eight year old.

Now, three weeks ago, Wells Fargo was
the most valuable bank in the world,

but its reputation has taken a massive
hit after some alarming revelations.

The feds say employees at Wells Fargo
took money out of customers' accounts,

opened bank and credit card accounts
without the customers knowing,

and charged fees for the accounts
the customers didn't know they had.

The feds say two million accounts
are involved.

Wells Fargo employees
created fake email addresses

to enroll customers
in hidden accounts,

creating pin numbers that customers
didn't even know existed.

And hidden fees are bad enough,

without being hidden inside hidden
accounts with hidden pin numbers,

made with hidden email addresses.

Because that's like
a Russian nesting doll

where the last doll
is giving you the middle finger.

For customers who got caught up
in this, like Frank Ahn,

even when they found out,
they couldn't stop it.

I've had more than ten accounts
at Wells Fargo. I only need one.

Ahn says he complained, but the bank
kept opening accounts in his name

and sending him credit cards
he didn't even want.

They kept making promises, they said,
we won't charge you any fees.

They said this is the end of it,
I thought it was, but it wasn't.

Frank, I do not want
to let Wells Fargo off the hook here,

but after ten accounts,
any bank would have been better.

Chase Bank. Citi Bank.

Even Elizabeth Banks would've been
a better place to stash your money.

Wells Fargo apparently fired over
5 000 people for engaging in this,

but you do have to wonder:
how did they all get the same idea ?

They were incentivized
to earn financial rewards

under the incentive
compensation program.

And we're hearing that managers
even taught employees how to do this.

So the fraud was baked in.

Which, I believe is the title
of Martha Stewart's autobiography.

And all this a little surprising given
that the bank's CEO, John Stumpf,

has talked a big game
about decency and integrity.

The DNA of leadership is trust.
That's true in a family relationship,

that's true for government,
for business.

We like to say we don't care what you
know until we know what you care.

You can't teach caring.
And you can't teach sharing.

What ? He sounds like a burned-out,
drunken Barney.

"We can't teach caring,
and you can't teach sharing."

"The little shits won't listen.
Don't touch me !"

Stumpf appeared in front of the senate
banking committee this week,

with a bandage on his hand,
which I legally can't say is the result

of carpal tunnel from typing in
so many fake email addresses.

He wanted to be clear: he didn't know
anything about anything.

I'm not an expert in compensation.

I don't know that issue off
the top of my head.

I'm not an expert in this field.

I'll talk to our team
and we'll get back to you,

I am not an expert in that.

I don't know exactly
what we're talking about.

If he was going to play "that" dumb,
he should have at least turned up

wearing his shoes on his hands
and a stone cold Steve Austin t-shirt.

Then it would've made sense.
But this gets one step worse.

The total fine for Wells Fargo's
behavior was $185 million,

which is nothing, considering they made
$23 billion in profit just last year.

And it's even less than Stumpf himself
could walk away with if he resigns.

A CNN money investigation
shows that if he does resign,

he could get $200 million
in terms of payouts

when he walks out of the door.

The only way
that could possibly be okay

is if they put that money in
20 million fake accounts of $10 each.

And never ever tell him about them.
And now, this.

Now... Wait, is WCBS 2 News at 11
just fucking with us at this point ?

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Extreme kidnapping, the game,
tonight at 11.

Moving on: our main story tonight
concerns the 2016 presidential election.

"The electoral equivalent of seeing
someone puking so you start puking,"

"then someone else is puking and pretty
soon everyone is puking... 2016."

The first presidential debate
is tomorrow night.

More than 100 million people
could be watching two candidates

whose campaigns have been defined
less by questions about their policies.

Every day is another
drip of scandal for Hillary Clinton.

Too many scandals have followed her
and Bill Clinton over the years.

- What about the Trump scandals ?
- Another Trump campaign scandal.

Another booming scandal
of the day,

but there are so many
it's hard to keep track.

We have had scandals
during campaigns in the past

from Barack Obama's financial
dealings with Tony Rezko,

to George W. Bush's air
national guard service,

to the revelation that Eisenhower's
middle initial stood for "Deez Nuts".

But in this campaign
the scandals have been so pronounced,

polls show that less
than half the electorate

sees either candidate
as honest or trustworthy.

You may not like either candidate
for good reasons.

But, if you are still somehow torn
about which one to vote for,

and are factoring their scandals
into your decision,

it might help to spend tonight
walking you through them.

So let's start with Hillary Clinton,
the woman who, if she loses,

will sit there, motionless,
not speaking until she eventually dies.

And I do know that, even talking about
her scandals will irritate some of you,

given that her opponent
is an unambiguously racist scarecrow

stuffed with scrunched up
copies of Juggs magazine.

And that's fair. That is a fair point.

But not being as bad as
Donald Trump is a low bar to clear.

And if you focus on nothing but him,

you fail to vet
a woman who might be president.

And if you believe the Internet,
she's guilty of everything.

Click around, and you can find
such masterworks as:

"Killary Klinton," "Hillary ordered
the murder of the children of Waco",

"Hillary, the Butcher of Benghazi,"

And my favorite:

"Is Hillary Clinton Satan ?
Hillary: 'I am the devil.'"

That's in quotes on the internet,
so she must've said it.

Although she could've been referring

to her time
as the New Jersey Devils' mascot.

Many of Hillary's most famous scandals
have been heavily litigated.

For instance: Whitewater.
More than six years of investigations

by 3 different prosecutors
and multiple congressional committees

failed to find sufficient evidence
of wrongdoing.

Then there was Benghazi:
eight congressional investigations

concluded the state department
could have done more,

but, none found evidence
of wrongdoing by Clinton.

Then there is the problematic
issue of the Swiss file transfer.

While investigators found Hillary was
in Zurich at the time of the transfer,

and documents show she was aware
the transfer took place,

and the Clintons
did have something to gain financially,

the Swiss file transfer is something
I just made up right now.

But the very fact that, for a second,
you kind of remembered it

says something about the tone
of coverage surrounding Clinton.

But many rational people are still
worried about two particular scandals:

it turns out nearly half of all
Americans are very concerned

about both her emails
and the Clinton Foundation.

Let's start with the emails,
which you may remember

from their starring role
at the RNC.

She put our nation's security
at extremely high risk

with her careless use
of a private email server.

Hillary Clinton cared more
about protecting her own secrets

than she cared
about protecting America's secrets.

She jeopardized the American people,

our national security
with her secret email server.

She lied !

Hillary's emails were basically
the unofficial theme of the RNC,

right alongside
"how loud can Giuliani scream ?"

and "Happy Days' residuals
can't buy you attention."

While some of Hillary's opponents feel
the scandal should put her in prison,

at least at the beginning,
she claimed there was nothing to see.

Everything I did was permitted.
There was no law or regulation.

There was nothing
that did not give me

the full authority to decide
how I was going to communicate.

And people across the government
knew that I used one device.

Maybe it was because I am not
the most technically capable person

and wanted to make it
as easy as possible.

Now it's kind of fun.

People get a behind-the-scenes look
at what I was emailing about,

and what I was communicating about.

That is a bad answer
for a number of reasons.

First she says "everything I did
was permitted", which isn't true.

The use of a private email server
would've required prior approval.

Then she blames
not being "technically capable",

which is an excuse for your dad when
he texts you the letter "q" 10 times,

but it's pretty shitty coming
from a secretary of state.

And then she caps it off by saying
the whole thing is "kind of fun !"

Which it definitely isn't.
Unless every single one of her emails

was just a jpeg of a dog
dressed as Dracula,

in which case, you know what,
that is kind of fun.

There have been exaggerations
on both sides.

While she's since acknowledged
that it was a mistake,

the idea persists
that it was a good deal more.

Let's walk through
what we actually know.

Hillary claims this started
due to a simple tech issue.

When she took office in 2009,
department-issued Blackberries

couldn't access
two different email accounts.

Clinton said it was more convenient
for her to carry one device,

instead of devices for work
and personal emails.

Looking back, it would've been better
for me to use two separate phones,

and two email accounts.

I thought using one device
would be simpler,

and obviously,
it hasn't worked out that way.

Yeah, no shit. So this situation
could potentially have been avoided

if she'd just had the ability
to carry two Blackberries.

It's the only time the best advice
a politician could have received

was "cargo shorts".

If she wanted one phone,
she had a few options:

first: use a state-dot-gov email
address for all her emails,

meaning her personal emails would
reside on government servers,

making them more accessible
to requests for public records.

Hillary sent everything through
a non-government address.

It's a practice that's legal,
but highly discouraged.

Although, she is by no means
the only one who has done that,

others include Colin Powell, John
Kerry, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush,

Rick Perry, Scott Walker,
Martin O'Malley, Greg Abbott,

Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin,
Ashton Carter and Karl Rove.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson
had a different workaround,

using a second government email
under the alias "Richard Windsor",

a mash up of her dog's name
and her family's hometown.

So she was doing government
business under her porn name.

Which cannot catch on.
Nobody wants to be writing

to Housing and Urban Development
secretary Julian Castro

at [email protected],
that can't happen.

But Hillary went much further
than just having a private email

she had her own private server,
it wasn't just any old server.

To put an email server at your house
it's a complicated thing.

It was already there.
It had been there for years.

It is the system that my husband's
personal office used

when he got out of the White House
and so it was sitting in the basement.

Wait. You used a server
that Bill Clinton had been using,

which was in your basement.

I hate to tell you, but you
stored government records

on a machine that Bill called
"The Pornmaster Five Thousand".

I love that machine.
Old Faithful.

The private server wasn't
the only way Hillary communicated.

There was a separate government
system for classified information.

Some emails sent to Hillary contain
information classified in nature.

The FBI found 113 such emails,
though, in fairness,

only three of them
had classification markers

and were not
in the header of the email.

FBI found Clinton and her staff
to be extremely careless,

they couldn't find a case that would
support bringing criminal charges.

So it's not good,
but it's not as bad as it looks.

Which is never a satisfying
thing to hear, or, indeed,

read above the buffet
at a Golden Corral.

So that is basically the emails.
Let's move on to Clinton Foundation.

Six months ago, it was known as the
top-rated global foundation

that helped millions around the world
access lower-cost HIV treatment.

It has become the only charity that
inspires more visceral anger than this.


K-a-r-s Kars 4 Kids.

1-877-Kars 4 Kids.
Donate your car today !

Shut up !
What is this charity ?

You're kids !
You can't fucking drive !

What money-laundering
scheme are you operating ?

The controversy
with the Clinton Foundation

is not so much what
they did with their money,

it's the possible conflict of interest
in taking donations

from individuals and governments with
business before the state department.

In 2008, the foundation
tried to head this off

by promising the Obama administration
they'd not only disclose all donations,

but get advance approval for any
coming from foreign governments.

Which they did.
But, a few slipped through.

There's Algeria
donating half a million dollars,

although there's no proof that state
department policy was swayed.

More concerning is one involving
Russia, which does sound bad.

Reports out say the state
department with Clinton at the helm,

approved the sale of one of
US's largest uranium mines to Russia.

A foundation controlled
by the mine's chairman

was making donations
to the Clinton Foundation.

We are talking about big money.
4 donations totaling $2.35 million

and these donations
were not publicly disclosed.

Holy shit. There are so many not-good
words in that one sound bite.

Russia, uranium, controlled,
big money and not-disclosed.

It could be worse if it also
contained the words orifice,

shart, butt-chug and Cosby.

Brace yourself,
this gets pretty dense.

The Canadian chairman of
the mining company

that was sold to Russia had also given
money to the Clinton Foundation.

Instead of doing it directly,
he gave it through this affiliate,

which didn't disclose his name,
it didn't have to,

the affiliate wasn't included
in that agreement

the Foundation signed
with the Obama administration.

Neither the law, nor the
agreement, were technically violated,

though the spirit
of the agreement definitely was.

This looks bad, given that the state
department did sign off

on the sale
of that uranium mine to Russia.

But, not only was Hillary
not involved in that decision,

but eight other federal agencies,
plus the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

also had to sign off,
which they did.

So this donation was legal,
but very annoyingly handled.

Any suggestion of pay-for-play
fails to account

for the separate actions of nine
unrelated government agencies.

It's complicated. And like
the movie "It's Complicated",

it would've been best for everyone
if it had never happened,

but no one broke the law.

We've spent several frustrating
weeks trawling through

all the innuendo and exaggerations
surrounding her email and scandals,

they both look bad, but the harder you
look, the less you actually find.

There's not nothing there,

but what is there is irritating
rather than grossly nefarious.

And this is where it's instructive to
compare her to her opponent,

Donald Trump,
America's wealthiest hemorrhoid.

Because if you are struggling with
the idea of voting for Hillary

because of all this, you need to take
a long, hard look at Trump.

If you're irritated by her lying,
that is understandable,

but he is quantifiably worse.

Politifact checked around the same
number of statements from both of them

and found 13 percent of Hillary's
statements to be flatly false,

but for Trump, that figure
was a whopping 53 percent.

It's only that low

because the rest of the time
he was saying things like this.

If Ivanka weren't my daughter,
I'd be dating her.

Stop it ! It's so weird !

Yeah, that's probably true.
And that makes it so horrifying.

If you're thinking: "Hillary may
not lie as much as Trump,"

"but she needs to be more
transparent", that's fair enough.

Bear in mind, we know almost
nothing about Trump's finances.

And that is not good. He's the first
major-party nominee since 1980

not to release his tax returns
and his justification is pathetic.

I will give my return,
but I'm being audited now

for two or three years so I can't
do it until the audit is finished.

But yes, you can.
The IRS has explicitly said

you don't need to wait for a completed
audit to release them.

You're just saying two
completely unrelated things.

I'd love to pick you up
from the airport, but I can't,

because a blue whale's tongue
weighs as much as an elephant.

What are you talking about ?

Those two things have
nothing to do with each other !

On top of Trump's tax records,
there are unanswered questions

about his business dealings
as many experts have pointed out,

his investments, debts and
business ties span the globe

and could present unprecedented
ethical challenges for a president.

Traditionally, candidates
in that kind of situation promise

to put their financial holdings
into a blind trust,

where an independent trustee is
given control over their investment.

But when Trump was asked
if he would also do that as well,

he seemed
not to know what it meant.

Are you planning on putting
your assets in a blind trust ?

I have Ivanka and Eric
and Don sitting there.

Run the company, kids, have a good
time. I'm gonna do it for America !

- I would be willing to do that.
- You would put it in a blind trust ?

I would put it in a blind trust.
I don't know if it's a blind trust

if Ivanka, Don, and Eric run it,
but is that a blind trust ?

No, that is not a blind trust,
it's the opposite of one.

Almost anything else you could
have said would've been closer.

I'm gonna put my assets
in a doghouse filled with pudding !

Is that a blind trust ?
No, that's ridiculous,

but you're actually closer
than you were before.

When George Stephanopoulos
talked to Donald Trump Jr.,

he didn't seem to understand
what a blind trust was, either.

It's not a blind trust if you
are running the company.

We're not going to be involved
in government.

It's not a blind trust. You're running
the company and he's president.

He's not making any decisions
in the company.

It's not a blind trust
if it's being run by his children.

He'll have
nothing to do with it.

He's still going to know what
the businesses are.

We're not going to discuss it.
It doesn't matter. Trust me.

Wait: trust you ? The only
reasonable thing to trust you on

is which hair products can make
you look like a 1980s serial killer.

That's it.

If the financial actions
of the Clinton Foundation annoy you,

let me introduce you
to the Trump Foundation.

Not the 12 pounds of foundation
that Trump wears on his face,

I'm talking about
his charitable organization.

Washington Post has found that

Trump has not personally given it
any money since 2008.

This week, this story broke.

Donald Trump is facing questions
about his charitable foundation

after a report today
in the Washington Post.

The foundation spent more than
a quarter of a million dollars

of donated money to settle lawsuits
against Trump businesses.

Trump used foundation's money
donated by people for charity,

as a tool to make
some legal disputes go away.

And on the spectrum
of "shittiest things you can do",

that is right up there
with catfishing a baby owl.

He waited all night for you ! He's
nocturnal, so that's his day gone !

Trump also used foundation money to
purchase ridiculous items for himself.

Trump's foundation paid $10,000
at a charity auction in 2014

for a portrait painted of Trump.

It was the second time Trump used
foundation funds for a portrait of him.

Okay, wait.

Just for a start: what is he
doing with his face in that photo ?

That is not a smile, that's waking up
in the middle of a colonoscopy.

Also, on top of that,

how did that portrait cost
$10.000 ?

Looks like someone xeroxed
a black-and-white picture of Trump

and then painted over it
with condiments from Burger King.

What Trump did there
would technically be legal,

as long as the portrait itself was
put to some charitable purpose.

Univision found it,
and it wasn't exactly in an orphanage.

This is the painting that Trump
purchased with funds donated

to the charitable foundation
that carries his name.

Univision got the scoop that
the artwork remained

hanging in the restaurant
Champions Bar & Grille,

inside the Doral Hotel and
Golf Course, owned by Donald Trump.

That portrait is the perfect pairing
for his restaurant's signature dishes,

which are,
according to Yelp reviewers:

"watery tomato chunks
with no flavor"

and "craft beer brands
misspelled on the menu".

And it is not just portraits. Trump
also once used foundation funds

to buy a signed Tim Tebow helmet,
a steal at $12 000,

for something that contained the
head of America's worst quarterback.

He also used funds
to support Florida AG Pam Bondi,

when she was considering investigating
his not-a-university university.

So it seems the Trump Foundation may
exist primarily to benefit Trump.

They should really change the name
to something more appropriate,

like the National Association for
the Advancement of Donald Trump

or the NAADT for short.

We have barely scratched
the surface of his scandals.

From the ongoing lawsuits against
that bullshit university,

to the alleged use of undocumented
workers when building Trump Tower,

to the fact he received an illegal
$3,5 million loan from his father

in the form of a purchase of chips
from one of Trump's casinos.

That loan could not have been shadier
if it was given in baggies of cocaine

or the bones
of endangered species.

This campaign has been
dominated by scandals.

It is dangerous to think that there
is an equal number on both sides.

You can be irritated by some
of Hillary's. That is understandable.

But you should then be
fucking outraged by Trump's.

Try and think of it like this:

ethical failings in a politician
are like raisins in a cookie,

they shouldn't be there,
they disgust people.

But most politicians have
at least a few raisins.

Hillary is a cookie like this one.
She has more raisins than average.

There's probably
ten of those fuckers in there.

But we need to remember
that when it comes to Trump,

this is the amount of raisins
that he represents.

The man is a raisin monsoon.

He is ethically compromised
to an almost unprecedented degree.

So if you don't like raisins ?
I get it. They're disgusting.

But unfortunately, this November,
you're gonna have to swallow ten

or we're all going to be eating
this shit for years.

That is our show.
Thanks for watching.

We'll be back next week.
Good night !