Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 5, Episode 24 - Episode #5.24 - full transcript

John Oliver discusses the ongoing controversy surrounding Brett Kavanaugh, the sexual assault allegations against him, his Supreme Court nomination, and what that could all mean for the highest (mostly-dog) court in the land.

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Welcome to Last Week Tonight.

I'm John Oliver.
Thank you for joining us.

I know we usually start
with a recap of the week,

but tonight, this show is going to be
one long recap, of one very long week.

And one event in particular.

Meaning that, sadly, there is gonna be
no time to talk about Trump

insisting that the UN was laughing
"with" him and not "at" him,

which it absolutely wasn't.

Nor is there gonna be time to delve
into what was the most fun story.

The Philadelphia Flyers have
a new mascot and fans are saying:

"What the ?"
That's 7 foot tall Gritty.

Gritty unveiled in front of kids,
probably scarred for life.

Yeah, those kids should be scarred.
Gritty is fucking horrific.

Every photo of him is appalling.
Look at this. That is a nightmare.

How about this one ?
That is simply psychotic.

Gritty looks like the end result

of the orange McDonald's Fry Guy
hooking up with Grimace.

We've been over this:
if you're a McDonald's mascot,

you do not have sex
with another McDonald's mascot.

Your genetics are too similar and
their kids always turn out weird.

It's not like Gritty has any business
being a hockey mascot.

He hasn't figured out how
to navigate on the ice yet.

He fell multiple times
in his debut last night.

The Pittsburgh Penguins tweeting:
"Lol ok."

To which Gritty responded:
"sleep with one eye open, bird."

Holy shit, Gritty.
Calm down.

They're engaging
in interteam banter

and you've gone straight to
"I will murder you in your sleep."

There is nothing that I would love
to do more than talk about Gritty,

from the fact that he's already done
a Kim Kardashian-style photo shoot,

to the fact that someone has got
a tattoo of him on their body.

Interestingly, that someone ?
Jimmy Carter.

The fun we had must now stop,
instead we need to talk

about Brett Kavanaugh, Supreme Court
nominee and walking crushed beer can.

Christine Blasey Ford, who accused
Kavanaugh of assaulting her in 1982,

came before the Senate Judiciary
Committee, with a powerful testimony.

I am here today not because
I want to be. I am terrified.

I believe it is my civic duty
to tell you what happened to me

while Brett Kavanaugh
and I were in high school.

And she did just that,
describing in detail her recollection

of how a drunk Kavanaugh
pinned her down,

and put his hand over her mouth
when she tried to scream.

She insisted that this could not be
a case of mistaken identity,

she was certain that it was him
and after her opening statement,

she then took questions,
which sometimes took an odd turn.

The prosecutor to whom the Republicans
had outsourced their responsibilities,

seized on a polygraph test
that Ford had passed.

Did you pay
for the polygraph yourself ?

I don't think so.

Ok. Do you know who
did pay for the polygraph ?

Not yet, no.

I believe you said it hasn't been
paid for yet. Is that correct ?

Let me put an end to this mistery.
Her lawyers paid for her polygraph.

As is routine.

Wait !
Slow your roll there.

"As is routine." Don't you try
and brush her question aside !

She cracked this case open ! She found
the missing piece to the puzzle !

A puzzle that reads
"who fucking cares ?"

Ford's testimony
was brave and compelling

and affected many on the committee,
including Senator Orrin Hatch,

who chose to express his
admiration in a far from ideal way.

Have you found
Dr. Ford credible ?

It's too early to say.
I don't think she's uncredible.

I think she's an attractive,
good witness. But it's way early...

What do you mean by "attractive" ?

In other words,
she's pleasing.

No ! "Pleasing ?" You should
not use the word "pleasing"

to describe a sexual assault survivor
recounting a worst moment of her life.

You shouldn't use it
to describe anything.

Maybe watching milk
mix into your coffee ?

Not even then. The moment you say:
"watching this milk is pleasing,"

you're waiting for everyone to leave
so you can fuck your coffee.

By lunchtime on Thursday,

it seemed that Kavanaugh's
nomination could be finished.

Even Fox News
was implying as much.

This was extremely emotional,
raw and credible.

Nobody could listen to her
deliver those words

and talk about the assault
and the impact it had on her life

and your heart go out to her.

This is a disaster
for the Republicans.

Fox News, calling Ford's testimony
a disaster for the Republicans

and not like one
of those Puerto Rico disasters,

this time, one they
might actually care about.

Then came Kavanaugh's testimony.
It is worth looking at it in detail.

In every regard, it could not
have been more different from Ford's.

While she was remarkably composed
in discussing traumatic details,

Kavanaugh came straight out of the
gate weird in his opening statement,

not just denying her allegations,
but almost breaking down

while attempting to paint a folksy
image of his time in high school.

I worked out
with other guys at Tobin's house...

He was the great quarterback
on our football team

and his dad ran workouts.

He's crying at the memory of lifting
weights at his friend Tobin's house.

Men might be too emotional
for the Supreme Court.

Also, he'd be really pretty
if he just smiled more.

Wasn't just memories of a high school
quarterback making him tear up.

I have always had a lot
of close female friends.

I remember talking almost every
night it seemed,

to my friends Amy,
or Julie

or Kristin, or Karen, or Suzanne,
or Moira, or Megan, or Nikki.

The list goes on.

That's not testimony
though is it ?

That is a plaintive, spoken
word cover of "Mambo #5."

I remember my friends Angela,
Pamela, Sandra, and Rita.

And as I continue, you know
they're getting sweeter.

But when Kavanaugh
was not choking back tears,

he was starting
to get noticeably angry,

arguing that he was the victim
of a giant conspiracy.

This allegation was unleashed
and publicly deployed

over Dr. Ford's wishes.

And then, as no doubt was expected,
if not planned,

came a long series of false
last-minute smears

designed to scare me and
drive me out of the process

before any hearing occurred.

Crazy stuff.

Gangs, illegitimate children,
fights on boats in Rhode Island.

Come on ! Do I seem
like exactly the type of person

who would get into a fight
on a boat in Rhode Island ?

Seriously ! When you picture
a fight on a boat in Rhode Island,

do you picture two of me yelling at
each other at this pitch and volume ?

That if you wanted my haircut,
you would tell your barber

to give you the "fight on a boat
in Rhode Island" ?

I would like to see you say that
to my face on a boat in Rhode Island

and that's all I have
to shout about that !

Fuck you !
I'll see you on the water !

What you've seen was him reading
from a prepared statement.

It got even stranger
once he started taking questions.

Did you consume alcohol
during your high school years ?

Yes, we drank beer. My friends
and I. The boys and girls.

Yes, we drank beer. I liked beer.
Still like beer.

The drinking age, as I noted, was 18
so the seniors were legal.

Senior year in high school,
people were legal to drink.

We drank beer and I said sometimes,
probably had too many beers

and sometimes other people
had too many beers.

We drank beer.
We liked beer.

Yeah, I get that. I do.
I get that loud and clear, Brett.

But the question isn't really
"do you like beer ?" Is it ?

It's "how much do you like it ?"
Just like how the question

in Jeffrey Dahmer's trial wasn't
"do you like people ?"

It was: "do you like people
to a really problematic extent ?"

When pressed, Kavanaugh became
either dismissive or outright hostile

and you got a real sense
of who this man actually is.

What do you consider
to be too many beers ?

I don't know.
Whatever the chart says.

I like beer. Do you like beer,
senator ? What do you like to drink ?

There's never been a case
where you drank so much

that you didn't remember
what happened the night before ?

It's you're asking about, yeah,
blackout. I don't know. Have you ?

Could you answer ? That's
not happened ? Is that your answer ?

Yeah and I'm curious if you have.

Aside from being disrespectful.

"Have you ?" is just not the answer
of an innocent person.

If you ask someone if they blew a dog
and they go: "I dunno, have you ?"

He blew a fucking dog. And in all
likelihood, not just one either.

That surly tone was emblematic
of Kavanaugh's demeanor.

Not the tone of one who hopes
to serve on the Supreme Court.

But the tone of someone
who feels entitled to be on it

and can't believe you're being
such a dick about this.

That does make some sense.
He has had every imaginable advantage.

His elite high school has
its own nine hole golf course.

Am I saying that someone who went
to a school with its own golf course

should not be
on the Supreme Court ?

Yeah, I think I am. I didn't
plan to when I started that sentence,

but here we are
and I'm gonna stand by it.

Kavanaugh didn't just rely on
belligerence to refute Ford's charges.

He brought evidence.
Specifically, a calendar from 1982,

about which he was, and this
will shock you, weirdly emotional.

Why did I keep calendars ?

My dad started to keeping
detailed calendars of his life in 1978.

He did so as both
a calendar and a diary.

Christmas time, we'd sit around
and he'd regale us with old stories,

old milestones, old weddings,
old events from his calendars.

I know that it may seem cruel

to make fun of a man crying
over his late father's calendars.

What if I were to tell you his father
is alive, and was sitting behind him ?

That's him there. That is why
I am now comfortable saying

that "every Christmas, we'd gather
round and dad would regale us"

"with old events from his calendar"
is the single weirdest fucking thing

I've ever heard anybody say.

Kavanaugh said that his dad
started keeping calendars in 1978,

when Kavanaugh was thirteen.

Meaning he would have been 14
at the time his dad had even a calendar

to read to his children from.

An adult man reading last year's
calendar to his fourteen-year-old son

is the saddest Christmas
I can imagine,

other than being one of the innocent
people who gets murdered in "Die Hard".

That is the only other example.

Kavanaugh's calendar may not
have helped him.

He told he "never attended a gathering
like the one Dr. Ford describes".

His calendar shows at least
one similar event

with at least two of the people
Ford named in her letter.

Kavanaugh misrepresenting the truth
became a really troubling pattern.

He repeatedly made this strong
claim to poke holes in Ford's story.

I reemphasize: all four witnesses
who were allegedly at the event

have said it didn't happen, including
Dr. Ford's longtime friend, Ms. Keyser.

Except this 53-year-old frat
pledge is misstating the facts.

Three of those merely said they
didn't recall the party as described

and Ford's friend, Ms. Keyser,
did specifically say:

"she believes Ford's allegation."

The fourth person there is
Kavanaugh himself.

mischaracterized evidence.

And that is one thing a judge
should know not to do.

It's basically that an don't tuck
your robes into your blue jeans

because it's objectively a bad look.

For all of Kavanaugh's talk of
his wholesome teenage years,

spent respecting women
for their friendships

and doing sick reps
in Tobin's dad's house,

his high school yearbook
tells a different story.

He and his bros friends brag
about being "Renate Alumni",

referring to a girl they knew.

Kavanaugh claims that was asexual and
"clumsily intended to show affection"

"and that she was one of us."

Which is hard to believe,
given that A:

Renate only just
found out about it

and said "'the insinuation is horrible,
hurtful and simply untrue."

And B: if it was just affection for
a friend, where's the alumni society

for Amy, or Julie,
or Kristin, or Karen, or Moira ?

Especially Moira.
Moira most of all.

Kavanaugh had similarly implausible
explanations for other terms,

specifically those commonly associated
with drinking or sex.

Have you... I don't know
if it's "boufed" or "boofed",

how do you pronounce that ?

That refers to flatulence.
We were 16.

Let's look at "Beach Week Ralph Club
Biggest Contributor",

what does the word "ralph"
mean in that ?

That probably
refers to throwing up.

I'm known to have
a weak stomach.

- Devil's triangle ?
- Drinking game.


The term "devil's triangle"
is commonly known to refer

to a threesome involving
two men and one woman.

I am not buying that,
unless all your drinking games

were named
after widely recognized sex acts.

Doggy style ? Drinking game.
You pour vodka in a bowl

and you lap it up while
wearing only a dog collar.

Fisting ?
Drinking game.

Gripping a shiraz in each fist and
toasting the progress of feminism.

69ing ?
Absolutely drinking game.

That's listening to Bryan Adams
hit song "Summer of '69"

while drinking
a beer on the porch.

Even C-SPAN callers were not buying
this drinking game defense.

Go ahead, Carl.

I just wanted to echo a few things
that another caller said,

which is that a devil's triangle
is certainly not a drinking game.

It's an encounter
with two men and a woman.

We'll go next to Mary
in Bronxville.

I'd like to imagine
that that guy calls in every day

to describe what
a devil's triangle is

and that was the only chance of getting
all the way through his explanation.

It seems petty to give this attention
to a high schooler's yearbook,

remember that to some extent,
many were watching this hearing

to try and ascertain
who was more trustworthy.

Was it the terrified psychology
professor who blew up her entire life

to relive her trauma
on a national stage ?

Or was it Judge Animal House,

making up drinking games
before members of the Senate ?

And yet, for some senators,
Kavanaugh's poor performance

was immaterial, as they
had already made up their mind.

Orrin Hatch, taking a break
from being "pleased",

made the broad case that
it was ridiculous to even ask questions

about an event that took place
such a long time ago.

This is a national disgrace,
the way you're being treated.

There's been no misconduct
by him in the time he's been a judge.

What we have are uncorroborated,

unsubstantiated claims
from his teenage years !

Now, that is clearly a shitty,
disingenuous argument,

I will give Hatch credit for
invoking "teenage years"

with the voice of a 13 year-old
whose balls are dropping.

Lindsey Graham turned his
performative disgust up to ten.

This is the most unethical sham
since I've been in politics.

If you really wanted
to know the truth,

you wouldn't have done
what you've done to this guy.

You're looking
for a fair process ?

You came to the wrong town
at the wrong time, my friend.

First of all: Lindsey Graham sounds

like the least intimidating sheriff
in the entire Wild West.

You turn back around and get back
on your horse, Mr. Man,

'cause you're looking at the soft,
tender little babyface of justice.

You came to the wrong town
at the wrong time, my friend.

Babyface ! Justice !
Get on your horse ! Ride !

Second: Lindsey Graham
is not actually wrong.

He looks like a doll not allowed
to be within 50 feet of a playground,

but he is not technically wrong,
this process was deeply flawed,

because he and the Republican
majority designed it that way.

If they wanted to avoid
a "he said, she said" situation,

they could have, but instead,
they only called two people,

so we only heard what he said
and what she said.

A fairer process would have
involved gathering evidence

and hearing from others,
like Kavanaugh's classmates,

his high school friend Mark Judge,
who Ford says was in the room.

That is not how Republicans
chose to set up the hearing.

For Kavanaugh's emotional
appeals about wanting his name cleared,

he was asked about whether
he supported an FBI investigation

and he dodged the question.

Judge Kavanaugh, will you
support an FBI investigation ?

I will do whatever
the committee wants to...

Personally, do you think that's
the best thing for us to do ?

- You won't answer ?
- Look, Senator...

I have said I wanted a hearing and
I said I was welcome anything.

You'll "welcome anything ?"
Say you will support an investigation !

You've been accused of a crime
that you insist you did not commit.

I would be desperately trying to prove
my innocence in every possible way:

investigations, polygraph tests, sworn
affidavits from not only Mark Judge

but also all my other boys
from G-Town Prep:

I'm talking about Tobin,
Timmy, Squee, PJ, Cumrug, Tooks,

Merc, C-Dubs, Dirty Pete, Fat Andy,
Spliffdog The Horndog, Bonerwitz,

Bonerwitz's brother, J-Money,
and Shit Dick.

Character witnesses.
At this point, let's pull back and look

at the picture of Kavanaugh's
character that we now have.

Even if you don't think
he's guilty of sexual assault

or even if you think it's impossible
to say whether he is

because it happened in
his "teenage years"...

Even then there should be plenty
to cause you real concern.

A key part of the job that he is up for
is judgment and temperament.

We saw Kavanaugh talk over the top
of senators, dodge questions

and conflate "doesn't recall
something happening"

with "denies something happened"

which is an important
distinction for a judge.

Not to mention, he repeatedly
wept at the concept of calendars.

There was one more important
moment disqualifying in and of itself.

A Supreme Court Justice should make
decisions independent of politics.

Kavanaugh himself has stated:

"the court must never be viewed
as a partisan institution."

And yet, in his opening statement,

a document he had time
to draft and consider,

his tone was
positively Trumpian.

This two-week effort has been
an orchestrated political hit

fueled with apparent pent-up anger
about Trump and the 2016 election,

fear that has been unfairly stoked
about my judicial record,

revenge on behalf of the Clintons
and millions of dollars in money

from outside
left-wing opposition groups.

That is absolutely horrifying.
And it is worth taking a moment to note

the norm
that has just been shattered.

We're all basically callused
to people talking that way now,

but we are supposed to have
at least nine people left in America

who do not talk that way.

Kavanaugh just all but came out
and said he's gonna approach his tenure

as one giant case of
"Me v. The Fucking Libtard Cucks".

This brings me to the most basic
question that remains: why ?

Why this particular asshole ?

Why is he the hill that conservatives
are willing to die on ?

I know that for some of Kavanaugh's
most ardent supporters,

this is a purely ideological issue.

Senators may not say it out loud,
but this "woman for Kavanaugh" did.

I'm hoping he gets in personally
because I want abortion to stop.

Even if it turns out he's guilty,
I'm still gonna support him

this could be
a chance to overturn abortion.

It's fine, to appoint someone
who has committed sexual assault

to the Supreme Court, as long
as they will curtail abortion rights.

It's a stance that prioritizes
human lives,

as long as you think life begins
at conception,

stops before a sexual assault
and then starts right back up again

as soon as that assault is over.

I personally do not agree
with that.

But even if ending legal abortion
is your ultimate goal,

there are many conservative judges
who could deliver that to you

without all of Kavanaugh's issues.

Purely as a judge, there is nothing
unique about Kavanaugh. Nothing.

He's not uniquely qualified.
Trump reportedly picked him

from a list of 25 names provided by
groups like the Federalist Society,

whose executive vice president
pointed out he had no preference.

- A leading contender for you ?
- No. There's not.

- The list is really good.
- They're not in order ?

You can throw a dart at that list
and in my view you'd be fine.

He answered that question
about Supreme Court justices

like he was asked which pickle
in a jar is his favorite pickle.

I dunno, man.
They're all pickles.

It's a pickle jar, so if it's in
this jar, it's a fucking pickle.

The Republican leadership is continuing
to push Kavanaugh hard.

Lindsey Graham seemed to view
Kavanaugh with even more relish.

I've never felt better about him
being on the bench than I do now.

Really ? You feel better now
than before Kavanaugh testified ?

Do you really mean that, or are you
afraid that if you don't say it,

Kavanaugh will challenge you
to a fight on a boat in Rhode Island ?

Because I do get that.
He seems like the type.

After all of this,
I cannot see a single good reason

for pushing Kavanaugh
over a replacement candidate.

Any judge they choose is certainly
going to restrict abortion rights.

You don't need to choose an unhinged
partisan with multiple accusations

of sexual misconduct
hanging over him.

It feels like they're doing this just
to deliver a "fuck you" to Democrats

and even more directly,
a "fuck you" to women.

When this week began,
the biggest fear for many

was that the committee would not
believe Christine Blasey Ford.

But by the time the week ended,
something darker might have happened,

'cause it seemed their response was:
"We believe you. We just don't care."

She knew this was a possibility.
She said so during her testimony.

Once he was selected
and it seemed like he was popular

and it was a sure vote,
I was calculating daily

the risk benefit for me
of coming forward

and wondering whether I would
be jumping in front of a train

that was headed to where
it was headed anyway

and that I would just be
personally annihilated.

She knew publicly reliving the most
traumatic event of her life

could have no effect
and yet she spoke up anyway.

It is incredible the lengths
that some people will go to

for a free polygraph test.

Here's the thing...

I am not saying
that this is a done deal just yet.

They were desperately pushing
Kavanaugh through on Friday,

only for pressure to force
the reopening of the FBI investigation.

Which may well end up being so limited
as to be essentially pointless.

Only continued pressure
has even the slightest chance

of stopping Kavanaugh's confirmation.

And if he does, as seems
increasingly likely,

we should never forget how that
happened, or what he represents.

We will not forget it on this show.
You may know that, for years,

we've had an all-dog Supreme Court,
from Samuel Alito

to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Right, good dog !
Don't die.

Good dog. Sit and don't die !

Since 2017, it's been
a mostly dog Supreme Court,

because Neil Gorsuch
is represented on it by a lobster.

That's because his seat was
stolen from Merrick Garland.

Therefore, like a lobster,
he does not belong there.

But Kavanaugh,
if he is seated,

deserves something that
constantly reminds people who he is:

something hostile, unsettling,
temperamentally unpleasant

and that screams: "who
the fuck allowed this to happen ?"

I pray that we will not have to
use this, but if we do,

I see no more fitting embodiment
of Kavanaugh than this.

Yes, that's right.
Just as the actual Supreme Court

should not have
to deal with Kavanaugh,

our animal Supreme Court should
not have to deal with

this mutated carpet swatch that
appears to be tweaking on bath salts.

I hope it does not come to this.
There is a chance we can stop it.

Call your senators tomorrow
and tell them you do not want

to be looking at this
for the next 30 years.

Get off the bench !
You're not even confirmed yet !

No, I don't want a beer,
you big weirdo !

Get off that bench,
you entitled monster !

That is our show !
Thank you for watching.

We will see you next week,
good night ! You're terrible !