Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 4, Episode 13 - Stupid Watergate - full transcript

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Season IV
Episode 13

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

Thank you for joining us.
We're going to do something different.

Because for one week,
and one week only,

the show Last Week Tonight
is actually going to talk,

at some length,
about the last week tonight.

And the reason
we have to do that is,

the last seven days
have been insane,

so much so that by Friday night,
it may've broken Anderson Cooper.

Jeffrey Lord, CNN contributor
and die-hard Trump supporter

was in the middle of defending another
indefensible statement from Trump

when Cooper finally snapped.

He's the president of the US.
If he wants to say that,

Barack Obama wants to say whatever,
if Bush says I looked in his eyes.

If he took a dump on his desk,
you would defend it.

Yes, that is a professional journalist,
saying of the president:

"if he took a dump on his desk,
you would defend it."

More importantly, Jeffrey Lord
did not immediately answer "no".

I could devote time to why CNN
would put themselves in the position

of having a professional dump-defender
constantly on their network,

but there is
not going to be time.

Tonight, we track the latest
developments in "Stupid Watergate",

a scandal with all the potential
ramifications of Watergate,

but where everyone involved
is stupid and bad at everything.

Given the exhausting pace
of this week's events, tonight,

we are going to try and answer
a few basic questions:

What the fuck is going on ?
How big a deal is this ?

Where do we go from here ?
And is this real life ?

So, let's begin with question one:
what the fuck is going on ?

And the answer to that is:
"quite a lot".

Can you even remember
how this week began ?

There was a big story on Monday
you may have forgotten by now.

Reports Trump revealed information
to Russians in the Oval Office.

The president was boasting to Russia's
foreign minister and ambassador

when he divulged intelligence during
an Oval Office meeting.

President Trump may've
revealed code word information,

one of the highest levels of
classification, to Russian officials.

That is the information you shouldn't
share with your closest friends.

In Trump's case would be
the golf caddy he calls "Steve"

even though his name is "Doug",
a bucket of KFC chicken

and the ghost of Roger Ailes.

Back then, in the more
innocent time of Monday,

it felt like there simply could not
be a bigger story than that.

This is the most serious charge ever
made against a sitting president.

Let's not minimize it.
Comey is in the wastebasket of history,

everything else is off the table.

This is the most serious charge
ever made

against a sitting president
of the US.

Alan Dershowitz was extremely
wrong about that.

I would say it's hard to imagine him
being more wrong about anything.

Fortunately we have
photographic proof.

But that Russia news was buried
the very next day by this.

ABC News confirming that after
an Oval Office visit in February,

former FBI director James Comey
wrote a memo

saying that during that meeting,
President Trump asked him

to shut down his investigation
into NS Adviser Michael Flynn.

That was a huge deal. A reminder about
why the FBI was investigating Flynn,

a man
whose overall demeanor says:

"I only fuck on top of the sheets so
I don't ruin the hospital corners."

Flynn was fired after he'd discussed
US sanctions against Russia

with Russian official
during the transition,

despite denying that to the press,
to the FBI,

and to Vice President Mike Pence.

Flynn was so flawed, Team Trump was
repeatedly warned about his baggage

by both then-acting AG Sally Yates
and President Obama,

and even General Flynn himself.

But Trump kept standing
by him anyway.

Which makes sense. Every decision
in the Trump administration

is the worst possible one.

Paper or plastic ? Whichever
one kills the most birds.

Soup or salad ?
I'm gonna go with the n-word.

Favorite Beatle ?
It's got to be Yoko.

Let's get back to this week,
on Wednesday, just four days ago,

which is the equivalent of 150 years
in 2017 time,

Trump gave the commencement
address at Coast Guard Academy.

Should've been easy,

lift the cadets' spirits and
point them towards the future.

But Trump used the speech to,
I'm fairly sure,

momentarily forget the word
"certainty" and then also whine

about how mean people
were being to him.

No politician in history
and I say this with great surety

has been treated
worse or more unfairly.

Wait: no politician
has been treated worse ?

Abraham Lincoln was shot by an actor.
McKinley was shot by an anarchist.

JFK was, of course, murdered
by Ted Cruz's father.

James Garfield was shot, then to find
the bullet, and this is true,

Alexander Graham Bell devised
a metal detector which didn't work,

so doctors tried to fish
around in his guts for the bullet

with unwashed fingers,
which made his infection worse.

He died in horrible pain.

But yeah, Alec Baldwin sometimes
does a mean impression of you on TV,

so yeah,
it's basically the same, isn't it ?

Then later that same day,
the Justice Department appointed

a special counsel,
former FBI head Robert Mueller,

to conduct an investigation into
the Trump's connections to Russia.

Which is also a massive development
closely followed by Thursday's news

concerning James Comey,
his friend's account of the lengths

to which Comey went
at this post-inauguration meeting

to try and avoid a personal encounter
with the president.

If you watch the video of it,
he's wearing a blue blazer

and he stands in the part of the room
as far from Trump as it is possible.

And also against blue drapes that
are the same color as his...

- He chose that spot ?
- Yes.

It was like almost like a chameleon,
camouflaged against the wall.

Come on, Comey !
If you're six foot eight,

you don't hide
by blending into a curtain.

You wear a brown suit, you paste leaves
and hope to be mistaken for a tree.

That's what you do.
We somehow escaped Thursday alive.

On Friday, the president took off
for a nine-day overseas trip.

The wheels of Air Force One

had barely left the ground
when this happened.

The New York Times reporting that
according to a White House document,

President Trump in the Oval Office
told Russian officials

that James Comey, the FBI director,
was a, quote, nut job.

That sounds rough,
but in Trump's defense,

I can kind of see
where he's coming from.

The guy keeps hiding in my drapes.
Who does that ? He's huge !

I can see him ! Dress like a tree !
You've got to know that.

That same document, which
the White House did not deny,

gave the even more concerning detail
that Trump told his Russian guests:

"I fired the head of the FBI. I faced
great pressure because of Russia."

"That's taken off."

It's almost difficult
to believe your ears

when you hear something
so audaciously corrupt.

It's like if Hillary Clinton had sent
an email with the subject line

"Sup ? I did Benghazi".

Wait, because the week
still wasn't quite yet done.

Almost at the exact same time
that the nut job news emerged,

there was one last
startling revelation.

Washington Post began reporting
that the FBI investigation

into possible coordination with Russia
and the Trump campaign

identified a current official
as a significant person of interest.

That is also potentially enormous.

Some suggested could be
Jared Kushner, but it seems unlikely.

While he is technically significant
and legally a person,

he in no way qualifies
as "of interest".

He is the least interesting
human on Earth.

He is the person equivalent of
an empty room painted "eggshell".

He's like a white bread sandwich,

where the middle is
a third slice of white bread.

Or, as Mike Pence refers to
that, "the devil's hoagie".

That is the shortest summation
of the events of this week.

Which brings us to our second
question: how big a deal is this ?

Because it feels
like a pretty big deal.

There were already multiple
investigations into Russia's efforts

to swing the election and any possible
ties to the Trump campaign.

But there are now also strong
allegations that Trump attempted

to influence the investigations.

We now have a special counsel
looking into all of this.

You would have to be trying
hard not to see this as a big deal.

Nobody tried harder than some
commentators on FOX News.

This is insane, where is
the evidence of a crime ?

People are buying this lunacy.

Hysteria every single day.

- We've reached madness.
- They're unhinged.

This is a scandal with no video,
with no audio, with no sex,

with no money, with no dead
bodies, it's a boring scandal !

That is just ridiculous.

"There may be Americans
hidden in plain view,"

"working on behalf of Russia"
is not boring,

it's literally a Emmy
nominated TV show.

But perhaps my favorite attempt
to pour water on this story

came from Tucker Carlson,
the villain from a direct-to-video

"Caddyshack" sequel
who became a real boy.

Tucks tried to Jedi-mindtrick
this scandal out of existence.

The world is a complicated place,
Washington especially.

What you think is happening
often isn't happening.

What you think
is happening isn't happening.

He's talking like a parent whose kids
walked in on them sixty-nining.

This isn't what you think !
This isn't what you're looking at.

Your mother and I were just
listening to see

if there's an echo
when you scream into a butt !

Nothing is happening here !
You're not seeing anything here !

Although fascinatingly,
as the week went on,

even some on Fox were struggling
to hold the line.

Mr. "This Is A Boring Scandal" ?

This was him just two days later.

I've been the first one to say

there's a lot of smoke
but I don't see any fire.

I'm getting concerned. Even I,
myself, have gotten to the point

where I'm like what is going on
here with this situation ?

That cannot be a good sign.

A Fox host not being able to hold
his doubts at bay for 48 hours

is a canary in a coalmine.

At this point, Trump
is waist-deep in dead canaries.

You can tell how serious
this is becoming by the fact

that members of Trump's own party
were suddenly hard to find.

We've reached out to 20 Republican
senators and representatives.

We've reported and requested
that someone from White House join us

at any point
to respond to the latest news.

All declined our invitation.

Think about how crazy that is.
Twenty invites, twenty refusals.

That's worse attendance than a wrap
party for the cast of The Jinx.

I don't know, Bob, where do you
think everyone is, you massive creep ?

Some Republicans did comment
on Trump this week,

but not perhaps in the way that
the White House would've wanted.

John McCain had this to say.

It's reaching the point where
it's of Watergate size and scale

and a couple of other scandals
you and I have seen.

It's a centipede and
the shoe continues to drop.

It's like a centipede
that keeps dropping shoes.

But it's real.
And people wear shoes.

So the Trump administration is more
like a human centipede,

in terms of the amount of shit
passing through it

and how nauseating
watching it really is.

While McCain was willing
to cite Watergate,

other Republicans
were willing to go further.

Michigan's Justin Amash
became the first Republican to say

the president's actions
might merit impeachment.

A member of Trump's own party
raised the specter of impeachment

just four months
into the president's first term.

That is almost impressive in a way !
And it gets worse.

Because when Mother Jones ran
an article citing Amash

as the first Republican
to mention impeachment,

a spokeswoman for another Republican,
Representative Carlos Curbelo,

reached out to say he was
the first Republican to mention it.

To be completely fair here,

the very first person to think
"God, he should not be president"

is probably some unnamed
nurse in Queens in the year 1946.

I've been doing this a long time,

but this baby
is the worst one I've ever seen.

This is a terrible baby.

The specter of impeachment

is something that some in
the White House are taking seriously.

After days of incendiary headlines,
CNN learned that White House lawyers

are researching what a possible
Trump impeachment might look like.

That's actually
a pretty good question.

Ironically, I imagine
at least part of it would involve

thousands of Muslims
celebrating in New Jersey.

So this has all the appearances
of a pretty big deal.

Which brings us to question number
three: where do we go from here ?

If you are hoping for impeachment
or a resignation,

take a quick peek at the presidential
line of succession.

Trump going would be fantastic. But
that would give us President Pence.

Look how our prospective
next president sees himself.

I'm a Christian, a conservative
and a Republican, in that order.

I'm a Christian, a conservative,
a Republican, in that order.

I'm a Christian. A conservative.
And a Republican. In that order.

I would have loved it
if he'd just kept going after.

I'm a Gemini, I'm a furry, and
gluten-intolerant in that order.

That's what I am.
Those 6 things. Don't get it wrong.

Mike Pence led efforts
to defund Planned Parenthood,

he opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Act
and the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell,

championed an amendment defining
marriage as between man and woman.

As Governor,

his accomplishment was the passage of
the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,

which could have made it easier

for religious conservatives
to refuse service to gay couples.

When he was asked multiple times
whether that's what it did,

he kept dodging the question,
ending in this exchange.

Do you think it should be legal
in the state of Indiana

to discriminate
against gays or lesbians ?

It's a yes or no question.

Hoosiers don't believe
in discrimination.

I don't believe in Hoosiers !
What the fuck is a Hoosier ?

Where does that term
come from anyway ?

It sounds like the sound Al Pacino
makes when he sneezes.

By the way,
if you tell yourself:

maybe Trump's impeachment
could take Pence down,

think about
what that would mean.

Then we'd have
President Paul Ryan,

three words that I always
knew I'd have to say,

but I didn't expect
to have to say it quite so soon,

like remember polar bears ?

Or female Entourage reboot.

The boys are back, and this time...
they're girls.

Let's say that Ryan is also sitting
on his own impeachable clusterfuck.

Do you know who is next in line
to the presidency ?

You might not. I'm not sure
that you do, do you ?

It's actually Mr. Kelsey Grammer.

You're probably assuming,
correctly, that that is wrong,

but what is the real
right answer there ?

We would genuinely have
President Orrin Hatch at that point.

He would be president, a man whose
every expression says:

"I take fiber supplements
and frankly they're not working."

Hatch is his own separate
kind of nightmare,

but before we get lost any
further down this paranoid wormhole,

let's just all take
a collective breath.

In reality, even though some people
have been getting excited this week,

impeachment is a long shot
for many reasons,

it would require a majority of
the House to vote to impeach

and that is currently
controlled by Republicans,

it would need two-thirds of the Senate
to vote to convict the president

and it is also controlled
by Republicans right now.

So the likelihood is that Trump
will continue as president.

Which shouldn't really be
a surprise to anyone.

Why would this be the end
of the line for him ?

Trump seemed to reach the end
of the line on multiple occasions,

only for nothing to happen.

Remember when he hesitated
to disavow David Duke ?

Wasn't that supposed to be
the end of the line ?

Or the time he bullied
a gold-star family ?

That had to be the end
of the line, right ?

Or the Access Hollywood tape ?
We thought the next stop on that bus

was, you guessed it,
the end of the fucking line.

Seems like, when it comes
to President Trump,

he's always approaching the end,
but it never seems to come.

As if for him alone, the end of line
is drawn by MC fucking Escher.

I know following stupid Watergate's
every development

can be all-consuming.

It feels like nothing else has happened
over the last couple of weeks.

That is dangerous to believe because
things have happened.

This administration has made
significant moves.

Jeff Sessions moved
to lengthen drug sentences,

undoing Obama-era
criminal justice reforms.

Tonight, it came out that Trump
is going to propose

slashing Medicaid
and other safety-net benefits.

In court, the administration may
decide to end Obamacare subsidies

which could unravel
the Obamacare insurance markets.

So that 1946 nurse
was absolutely right,

he was the worst baby
and he's still the worst baby now.

As if all of this wasn't bad enough,
which it comfortably is,

we are getting glimpses
into how this president operates.

We learned that this is how
his own national security team

feels they have to brief him
on important global issues.

He likes single page memos,
maps, charts, graphs and photos.

NSA officials have included
Trump's name in, quote:

"as many paragraphs as we can 'cause
he keeps reading if he is mentioned."

That is absolutely pathetic.

Our president can only
understand the world

to the extent
that it involves himself.

It is possible that his security
briefing reads:

the leader of North Trump,
Kim Jong Trump,

is making an intercontinental
ballistic Trump.

This could seriously jeopardize
not just the region.

Also the safety of millions
of... God, we're losing you !

Trump, Trump, Trump.
Welcome back, sir.

This can all seem
like a terrible work of fiction.

Which actually brings us
to our final question.

Is this real life ? To which
the answer is, unfortunately, yes.

If you are feeling miserable about
the situation we're in,

the only consolation
I may offer you is,

I'm not sure that Trump
is entirely happy, either.

You've seen him enjoy the rallies
and the attention

and the fact that he can say
he's the president.

The most telling photo taken
of him so far is this one.

That was taken on his inauguration day,
at a luncheon thrown in his honor.

Look at his face. He looks like
he's at the funeral for every dog.

If you think I'm projecting
this onto him,

listen to an interview Trump gave
at the 100-day mark of his presidency

and tell me if this is a guy
who sounds like he's happy.

I loved my previous life... This is
more work than my previous life.

I thought it would be easier...
I do miss my old life.

I like to work, that's not a problem,
but this is actually more work.

Of course being president
is harder than your old job.

Of course it is. Your old job
was basically having a name,

letting other people pay you to use
that name, and firing Dee Snider.

It was fucking easy.
Although I will say this:

I have something in common
with Donald Trump.

I, too, preferred my previous life
before he became president.

That is why this is truly
stupid Watergate.

We are in for an agonizingly long
period of leaks, allegations

and recriminations, all over
a presidential campaign

to put a man in power, who may
not entirely want to be there.

Say what you want about Nixon,
at least he wanted the fucking job.

I don't know about you,
but this week has drained me.

At the end of last year, we told you
to write down this is not normal,

to guard yourself
against getting complacent.

I don't think there is much danger
of that happening in the future,

but it is also worth remembering
that sentiment to reassure yourself

that you're not going crazy.

And if you are tempted to believe
that this is all politics

and every president goes through
a week like the one that we just had,

let me show you why people were
attacking the last president for,

at the same point
in his first term.

President Obama
is a real man of the people.

Take a look at him ordering his burger
with a very special condiment.

You got like a spicy mustard,
a Dijon mustard ?

I hope you enjoyed
that fancy burger, Mr. President.

They were really mad about that !
That was on actual television !

I would give anything to once again
live in a time when the scandal

rocking the executive branch
was a Fox News host

implying that the president
likes metrosexual mustard.

And maybe, fingers crossed,
one day, we can all get there again.

And now, this.

Another look at whatever the fuck
is happening on WCBS 2 News at 11.

Bye-Bye Bunions, tonight at 11.
Grooming the Groom.

The Better Bread, tonight at 11.
Filthy Fare, Face Cupping,

Drunkorexia, Decision Fatigue,
Inside A Big Rig, The Road Reader,

High-Tech Chores, High Tech
Looking Glasses, The Body Hack,

Living Dead, Shocking the Habit,
Exploding Sunroofs,

Pets: The Dental Dilemma,
Smell Dating. Tonight on CBS 2 News.

While you're sleeping these kids
are playing. Why ? Tonight at 11.

Now before we go
we have a bit of a problem.

You may have noticed Trump
has decimated this week.

In doing that, he's destroyed
our plans for this show.

We wanted to give you one
of our usual deep dives

into an extremely
boring topic.

We'd chosen the TSA. There is not
enough time left to do it, properly.

I'm gonna give you a full
Last Week Tonight story

that should take twenty minutes
in just three minutes.

Are you ready ? There's
no time for that, let's go.

Our main story tonight
concerns the TSA.

The only people who worry more about
what's stuck up your butt than you do.

There are problems, potential
solutions, and it's more complicated.

This graph goes up,
this graph goes down.

In combination,
that's clearly a real problem.

This woman believes TSA techniques
are an invasion of her privacy.

It's an invasion of my privacy.

That's not how
that word is pronounced.

Then I was going to show you
victims of inappropriate TSA conduct,

and hit you with a clip
involving Muppet penguins.

1, 2, 3, 4, penguins
that went by the door.

That made sense
in the context of our piece.

Penguins are a flightless bird,
so if they wanted to go somewhere,

they might have to deal
with the TSA...

Imagine the fun graphics
we had planned.

Here's one of Trump with a penguin.
Going to break down TSA procedures.

Sensitive areas like the breast,
groin and buttocks.

All three are funny,
but we would be placing them

next to a story where that
clip would actually be sad.

How long we got ? Ninety seconds ?

We're gonna skip this clip,
this clip, and this clip.

That woman is the TSA chief.
No time to get into what she's saying

but just enough time to show you
this graphic of Putin and Boris Yeltsin

giving each other handjobs,

it would've made
some sense in context.

We had this TSA cartoon for you.

It looks kind of scary.

No time for a joke there.

We were also going to spend time
with the TSA's Instagram account !

Here is an actual picture
where someone asked them:

are knife-nanas allowed ?

Knife-nanas ? We're not supposed
to joke about knife-nanas ?

We also don't have time for
this graph,

and this graph is actually a bigger
problem than you might think...

And this is the part where I have
to say, to be fair...

And read what the TSA said about
an incident that I was going to mention

and they say, we conducted
a thorough review...

I don't have time for this.
Then I was going to say 48 percent,

41 out of 50 states,
4.8 billion dollars and 9 000 dollars,

which is a lot and to show you we
were going to use the GDP of Moldova.

Twenty seconds left ?
Here's three pullquotes,

the second of which involves
twenty tons of cocaine.

An elephant snorting cocaine.

I was gonna reach my conclusion,
which we do not have time for.

To cheer everyone up at the end
of a long and depressing show,

we were going to give you something
fun to watch, the penguins !

The penguins were
gonna cheer us up !

I guess they still can !
Look, penguins ! It's just nice.

Things are allowed to be nice.

Write your congressman about
the issues you've seen discussed !

Can you do that thing where you
laugh with your mouths ?

That's one of my favorite
things in the world !

Enjoy it now and forever.
That's our show, we're off next week,

we're back on June 4th,
thank you for watching, good night !

We've got penguins !

Penguins !

It's penguins !
It's just fun. It's just some fun.