Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 6, Episode 15 - Episode #6.15 - full transcript

Every week a new topic emerges and many starts the talk about impeachment. John explains the facts behind impeachment and how many ways it might effect the Trump presidency. Even though it ...

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Welcome to Last Week Tonight.

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

A quick recap of the week.
It has been ferociously busy,

protests in Hong Kong,
escalating tensions with Iran,

the lineup announced
for the first Democratic debates,

featuring 20 candidates,
which is a lot !

Some candidates still didn't make
the cut, one of whom,

something called "Montana Governor
Steve Bullock" took it hard,

releasing an ad featuring
a disgruntled supporter.

Yeah, I heard the news.

DNC saying Governor Bullock doesn't
qualify for the debates ?

That's horse...

Horseshit ?
A strong stance there, Steve !

Undercut by the fact that video
has 46 hundred YouTube views.

If your angry plea for attention
only gets 1/44th of the views

of an actual video of paint drying,
you might not deserve that attention.

Let's not get dragged
into the 2020 race, instead,

let's move on to California: the state
so primed for its own destruction,

its seal features a man
digging his own grave.

I want to talk to you about
California Congressman Duncan Hunter,

whose photo I don't
even need to show you.

Even if you've never seen him, deep
down, you know what he looks like.

I'll prove it. Close your eyes.
Picture a "Duncan Hunter".

The thickness of his neck, the
wetness of his hair, the slack jaw

and the EarPods he won't take
out even while you give birth

to his first and only son.

Open your eyes. Is this
what you're picturing ?

Of course, it is !
That is the face of a Duncan Hunter !

That is the face you'd get if a pair
of wrap-around sunglasses

fucked a sunburn.

It's the face of a man who would vape
during a congressional hearing,

which is something Hunter did
as a way of protesting legislation

that would ban
e-cigarettes on airplanes.

Of all the improvements one could
make to air travel,

"encourage vaping"
is absolute last on my list,

behind "allow karaoke"
and "add bugs".

Hunter and his wife Margaret have
been embroiled in a major scandal.

And last year,
he made a bold legal gambit.

Embattled Duncan Hunter
appearing to implicate his wife

as he attempts to defend himself
against allegations that both used

a quarter of a million dollars
to pay for personal expenses.

She was also
the campaign manager.

Whatever she did on that,
that'll be looked at, too.

But I didn't do it.

Yeah. He totally
threw his wife under the bus.

Although, they had been
married for 20 years and that is

the "Let your spouse take the fall
for financial fraud" anniversary.

This week there was
a major development:

his wife actually switched
her plea to guilty.

Which has some potentially
huge legal implications.

Legal experts say a change of plea
almost certainly means

that she is now working
with prosecutors.

Shit. "She is now working
with prosecutors"

is one of the worst
things a politician can hear.

One of those phrases that indicates
rock bottom is around the corner,

like "They have you on tape" or
"You're polling behind Mayor de Blasio".

It is worth to revisit what
this scandal is about,

some of the details are astonishing.

Nearly $30 000 for family
vacations to Italy, Hawaii and Vegas,

more than $12 000 for fast food,
alcohol and groceries,

a trip to Sea World, their
kids' private school tuition,

payments to a family dentist classified
as "charitable contribution".

His wife spending $152
on makeup at Nordstrom,

"gift basket items for
the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Diego."

Claiming you visited the Nordstrom
"for the children" that's one thing.

Calling a dental appointment
"charity" is another.

But using misappropriated funds
to take a trip to whale Guantanamo ?

That is a dick move.
All of that was previously known

but there are some
new details now.

While we knew before the Hunters
used campaign funds to fly

their pet rabbit across the country,
thanks to his wife's plea deal,

we now know
that rabbit's name is Eggburt.

Which complicates
things for me.

While I've always assumed that
Duncan Hunter,

a man whose very face
screams "I don't tip",

is a despicable individual,

I now must accept
he has a rabbit named Eggburt.

Which is a very good name
for a rabbit.

Not as good as Mike Pence's
Marlon Bundo, but almost.

That's the sort of thing that
deserves to be the subject

of a doctoral thesis titled: "Why Do
Bad Men Name Rabbits Good ?"

"A Meditation on Bunny Nomenclature
in the 21st Century."

I'd read it.

This caps a rough
couple of months for Hunter.

In May, he defended
a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes

and admitted that, when
he was a Marine,

he also took photographs
with a dead enemy combatant.

He made this video
in an attempt to expose

the country's supposed
border issues.

This is it. It looks tough to cross.
Let me see if I can do it.

There we go.
And this is the border fence,

that you won't see
on the fake news media.

This is why we need a wall,
this is why Trump is right.

This is what we need to get rid of
and expand upon to secure the country.

While clearly,
he looks very cool there,

wandering around the desert
dressed in The North Face's

impending-divorcee collection,
if he just crossed the border there,

that would be a violation of a
judge's order to not leave the country.

Luckily for him,
that whole video was fake news,

that wasn't the border, just a vehicle
barrier 100 feet away from it.

Hunter either knew that there
and was lying.

Or he didn't, and is a blue ribbon
ding-dong dipshit.

We already know that
he's broadly both of those.

Which one was he in that moment ?
It's almost impossible to say.

Hunter insists that he's the victim
of a political conspiracy right now

and that he will be
cleared of all charges.

I don't want to get out
ahead of the court here,

but after reading
his wife's plea agreement,

if I may quote a certain disgruntled
man sitting in the trunk of his car:

That's horse...

It is. Exactly. And now, this.

Fox And Friends's Brian Kilmeade
Took German In High School !

"Hombre" translated
simply means "man".

He's talking about the border.
So, I understand it.

My choice to take German
has hurt me, right, again.

I did not know what "hombre"
I took German in high school.

We don't know Spanish.

If I didn't have subtitles...
I focused on German.

Guten tag to my German fans,
I took German in high school.

I took German in high school,
they didn't have drones ?

The German election results.
I'll take this story.

In "Der Spiegel," which is a
magazine I don't get, but it's German.

If I paid more attention in school,
I took three years of German.

It's like my second language.

My French is coming back
from high school.

I took German.

It's like
a second language to me.

I know you took
German in seventh grade.

Because I took German in high school.

In what country did the custom of
putting up a Christmas tree originate:

United States, Germany or France ?

Brian, you have your chance.

You know
what country that is ?

That would be Germany,

Germany, Deutschland is correct !

Moving on.
For our main story tonight,

we'll focus on something
getting talked about a lot:


It's one of the most consequential
decisions a legislature can make,

but it's also an anagram
for "Pinch Me Meat",

which is the sentence that got the
Lucky Charms leprechaun Me Too-ed.

Ever since this president got elected,

people have been dying
to see him impeached,

sometimes literally, as this upbeat
"Inside Edition" clip shows.

Two people who passed away
recently died happily

after being led to believe
President Donald Trump was impeached.

According to the obituary for
Corliss Gilchrist from Des Moines,

loved ones told him before he died that
Trump's impeachment process began.

Further west in Oregon,
loved ones say this man,

75-year old Michael Elliott passed
away peacefully last month,

as soon as they told him
Trump had been impeached.

So first: great music choice
to cover two old men dying.

Perfect tone you set. That's
a sweet gesture from their families.

But why stop there ?
Dad, we all love you very much

and we wanted to tell you:
Trump has been impeached,

registered as sex offender,
stuffed into a tire by Mueller

rolled into the Potomac.

He got so dizzy and shit himself,
all at the same time.

They got it all on camera
and now it's a meme.

Have a good death, goodbye !

The impeachment hasn't been
employed as effective hospice care,

it's become a major talking
point among House Democrats,

with a rising number
coming out in favor of it.

63 of them now support
an impeachment inquiry,

and some, like Representative
Rashida Tlaib, have gone further.

We're gonna go in there and
we're gonna impeach the motherfucker.

It is startling to hear that language
from a congressperson.

I'd almost sooner expect to hear
"Impeach the motherfucker"

as an edgy new slogan
for peach iced tea.

Snapple, you were always
the nice tea ! This isn't you.

Not everyone in the Democratic Party
is quite as motherfucking enthusiastic

about the impeachment idea.

Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly attempted
to apply the brakes to an impeachment,

claiming the country is not behind it
and that in fact,

they barely understand
what it means.

Most people think impeachment
means you're out of office !

Did you ever get that feeling ?
Or are you in a bubble here ?

They think that you get
impeached, you're gone.

That is not true. It's not
the means to the end that people think.

All you do, vote to impeach.
Bye bye Birdie. Right ?

It isn't that.

Nailed it.

Nancy knows there is no better way
to connect with the average working Joe

than by referencing a
Broadway musical from 1960.

If this situation were to be a musical,
it wouldn't be "Bye Bye Birdie"

it would obviously be "Grease",
where a rapey guy with weird hair

treats women like shit, and yet
gets everything he's ever wanted.

Many people don't understand
what impeachment involves.

Might be a good time to discuss what
it is, why it may be warranted

and what the risks might be
in carrying it out.

As Nancy Pelosi just said,

impeachment in no way guarantees
a president's removal from office.

No president has ever
been removed through this process.

Two presidents have been impeached,
Clinton and Johnson,

but remained in office.

Nixon resigned on his own before
the House finished impeaching him.

Like an Irish goodbye,
if Nixon didn't also hate the Irish.

Here is how
the impeachment process works.

Typically, it begins with an inquiry
in the House of Representatives.

A committee investigates and holds
hearings into a president's conduct.

If a majority decides
they found impeachable offenses,

they vote to impeach, but that
moves the process to the Senate,

where a trial is held and the president
is only removed from office

if a two thirds majority votes
for that.

What is the case for putting this
president through that process ?

Constitution says grounds
for impeachment are treason,

or high crimes and misdemeanors.

That last phrase can trip
people up,

even people who might want
to research its exact definition.

There was no crime.
It's high crimes "and",

not "with" or "or",
it's high crimes and misdemeanors.

There was no high crime. And
there was no misdemeanor.

How do you impeach
based on that ?

Okay. Clearly "high crimes
and misdemeanors"

doesn't literally mean there has to
be both a big crime and a little crime.

The president's committed murder,
now we just need to catch him

urinating on the side of a Wawa,
and we've got him !

No, that's not
how anything works.

"High crimes and misdemeanors" can
include acts that are not crimes.

It is a broad term
for serious misconduct.

Congress is looking into a wide range
of Trump's potential misconduct,

from campaign finance violations

to whether or not he's used
his office to enrich himself.

One area where we have
evidence against Trump

is obstruction of justice,
a very serious allegation.

It was in the articles of impeachment
against both Nixon and Clinton.

Obstruction was also half
of Robert Mueller's report,

in which he laid out 10 potential
instances of it taking place.

We don't have time to get into all,
so let's just look at one,

involving Don McGahn, who was
Trump's White House Counsel.

You remember him as
the understudy for Brett Kavanaugh

during his confirmation hearing.

He was ready to go if Kavanaugh
ever cried himself into an early nap.

McGahn's appearance in the
Mueller Report got a lot of attention,

primarily because
of one eye-catching quote.

Former White House
Counsel Don McGahn refused

to ask Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller
and threatened to resign

instead after the president
asked him to do, quote:

"Crazy..." using a word
that I can't use on TV.

The word is "shit".
The word in question is "shit".

Don McGahn said the president
and I quote:

"asked him to do crazy shit."

It's amazing that in a time
when norms are crumbling,

we are upholding the norm that
Ali Velshi can't say "shit" on MSNBC

though, I guess that does make
sense: kids love the Velsh.

There's nothing four year olds
love more than watching him on TV

and repeating everything
the Velsh says.

But that phrase "crazy shit"
became unhelpfully distracting.

The fact the president's lawyer
said a naughty word

kept people from focusing on the
details of what Trump asked him to do.

Which many argue amounted
to flagrant obstruction.

Trump asked McGahn
to have Robert Mueller,

the person investigating him,

According to McGahn, under oath,
Trump told him:

"Mueller has to go" adding,
"Call me back when you do it",

then calling him back,
and asking: "Have you done it ?"

This is something
important to Trump.

It wasn't something
said casually:

"Pattinson should not
take back Kristen Stewart."

"She cheated on him like a dog"
or "My favorite part of "Pulp Fiction"

is when Sam has his gun out
in the diner and he tells the guy

to tell his girlfriend to shut up.

Tell that bitch to be cool.
Say: "Bitch, be cool."

I love those lines.

This was something Trump
was serious about.

The potential obstruction
didn't stop there,

a second instance Mueller cited
came after news broke

that Trump tried
to remove Mueller

and Trump tried to get McGahn
to put out a statement denying it

and to write a letter
to that effect "for our records".

The president obstructed justice,
then obstructed justice again

to try to obstruct the investigation
into his obstruction of justice.

I know that this might seem
like a legal technicality

but here's why this really matters:
but for Don McGahn,

Trump might've stopped
an investigation into himself.

If a president can shut down
an investigation,

he can basically do
anything with no consequences.

It's a big, big deal.
The problem is,

this has been in the public record
for nearly two months.

Justin Amash, the only Republican
to come out in favor of impeachment,

held a town hall
where he explained his decision,

one of his attendees was shocked
to hear

that Trump might have done
anything wrong.

I was surprised to hear there
was anything negative

in the Mueller Report
at all about President Trump.

I hadn't heard that before.
I mainly listen to conservative news

and I hadn't heard
anything negative about that report

and Trump had been exonerated.

That's what'll happen when you mainly
listen to conservative news.

Like if your only source
of information about O.J. Simpson

is his new Twitter account,
that's real.

The Juice is on Twitter now. If that
was your only source of Juice news,

you might not understand why this
first video he posted is so alarming.

Now, coming soon to Twitter,
you'll get to read all my thoughts

on just about everything.

This should be a lot of fun.
I've got a little getting even to do.

What does "getting even"
mean for O.J. ?

When you kill two people you're even,
three people you're odd,

four people you're even again,
is that it ?

If that's the only place
you're getting your O.J. info,

your response to that video might
be: "O.J. looks great ! He's 71 !"

"Whatever he's been doing,
it works !"

But that woman
is by no means alone.

Most people are never going to read
a 448- page legal document.

That is why Congress has been
trying to have public hearings,

in a way that might resonate
with people better.

McGahn was called to publicly
testify last month,

which could've been very powerful,
that's why this happened instead.

Former Counsel Don McGahn
was a no-show at a House hearing,

the president insisted
he not testify.

Democrats had hoped to hear
from Don McGahn.

Instead, they were faced
with this empty chair.

Democrats tried to have a hearing,
but instead had Passover:

they put out a chair
for a guest who didn't arrive

and most of America
had no idea that it happened.

There is a real argument for
concentrating Congress's investigations

into one impeachment inquiry.

Why not do it ?
Nancy Pelosi might argue

that impeachment
is not popular with the public.

Polls show a majority of Americans
oppose impeachment proceedings.

Most people don't even know
what is in the Mueller Report.

And numbers can move as people
learn more. Look at Nixon.

In hindsight, his resignation
seems inevitable,

but in the early days, there was
public resistance to his removal.

Many more things are bothering
America than Watergate.

A big fuss over nothing.

Nothing has been proven illegal,
and I think he's on the right track.

Yeah, exactly. For a while,
people thought that Watergate,

the scandal that we now use as
shorthand for every political scandal,

didn't matter
and that's shocking to watch.

In the 1970s, they also thought
shag carpeting was attractive

and that Liberace
hadn't met the right girl yet.

That decade had a lot to learn.
A Nixon outcome is not the only model.

Many Democrats worry things could
end up like the Clinton impeachment,

where the public wasn't on board
with impeachment,

and they never got on board,
not only did Clinton survive,

his party gained seats in midterms.

That is what Democrats
are scared,

that impeachment could end up
strengthening Trump for 2020.

For Democrats whose
concern is that pursuing impeachment

could be the reason
they lose in 2020, relax:

it is just one of many ways
the Democrats could lose.

Maybe Trump is caught
on tape saying the n-word,

but then Elizabeth Warren accidentally
calls a "veteran" a "veterinarian"

and people get twice
as angry about that !

There's so many ways
that this could go wrong.

For so many people here,
the key calculation is,

would the benefits of
impeachment outweigh the risks ?

It's impossible to say how
a Trump impeachment would play out.

Although, him leaving office
is extremely unlikely.

That would require 20 Republican
senators to vote against him.

Even if they did that there is no
guarantee Trump would leave.

He basically told us as much
out loud.

When you look at past impeachments,
whether it was President Clinton,

or I guess President Nixon
never got there, he left.

I don't leave.
There's a difference.

Of course Trump wouldn't leave !
You think he'd hold a press conference

and bashfully say into a camera:
"I was wrong ?"

In what reality would that happen ?

Then he'd say: "I would now let
someone else be the president" ?

You're insane ! Then what ?
He'd pack a suitcase and walk,

physically walk out of the White House
and just not be the president ?

No ! He'd make us drag him out
like an uncooperative toddler.

You know that's true.
And if you're thinking:

"Well, if he's unlikely to go,
then what's the point ?"

It might be helpful to stop thinking
of this in purely binary terms.

If the president goes, that's
a success. If he stays, it's a failure.

Basically, it's Nixon or it's Clinton.
That's a false choice.

It's like saying you can only be
Hufflepuff or Slytherin.

Gryffindor and Ravenclaw
are right there !

And in my case,

that's the fifth Hogwarts house,
exclusively for cowards.

When it comes to impeachment,
there aren't just two outcomes.

Even if Trump is not removed,
which he probably won't be,

the process could shine a light on
the contents of the Mueller Report,

lead to new revelations
about Trump's conduct,

and force his Republican allies
to choose, publicly and on the record,

whether or not
to hold him to account.

You might say: "Even so, opening
an impeachment inquiry is risky."

I do get that. I've gone back and forth
on this myself, for that very reason.

The thing that's tipped the scales
for me is remembering

that not opening an inquiry
comes with consequences, too

'cause it sends the message that
the president can act with impunity.

Which is a dangerous precedent to set,
not just for future presidents,

but for the current one.

This week, he was asked about
Don Jr.'s failure to alert the FBI

when Russia offered them
intel during the campaign.

His response was appalling.

Should he have gone to the FBI
when he got that email ?

Let's put yourself in a position.
You're a congressman,

somebody says:
"I have information on your opponent."

- Do you call the FBI ?
- If it's coming from Russia, you do.

I don't think in my whole life
I've ever called the FBI.

You don't call the FBI.

This is somebody that said: "We
have information on your opponent."

Let me call the FBI.
Life doesn't work that way.

- The FBI director it should happen.
- The FBI director is wrong.

Okay. Let's break this down
into three pieces.

"I don't think in my life
I've ever called the FBI"

is a truly insane thing to say.

No, people don't call the FBI, except
when they're in a specific situation

that requires them to do so.

I have never called Emilio Estevez.
As a rule, in one's everyday life,

one does not call Emilio Estevez.

But, if I found a wallet on the street
with Emilio Estevez's drivers' license

and contact information,
I'd call Emilio Estevez,

because that's what
the situation requires.

Second, let's take his, "Give me
a break, life doesn't work that way."

It is fascinating to watch Trump
project his own immoral awfulness

onto the rest of humanity.

You see a baby stroller about
to roll down the hill, and what ?

You're gonna stop it ? Give me
a break, life doesn't work that way !

You stand there,
you watch and you laugh !

Everybody knows this
and everybody agrees.

Give me a break on that one.
And: "The FBI director is wrong."

He's basically saying:
"Laws are a matter of opinion,"

"and you can trust
your Uncle Don on this one."

That is not true. The head
of the Federal Election Commission

put out a statement reminding
all of us that:

"It is illegal to accept anything
of value from a foreign country"

"in connection with a U.S. election"

and "when foreign governments
influence American politics,"

"it is always to advance their
own interests."

She tweeted that out
with a note reading:

"I would not have thought
that I needed to say this."

And that kind of sums up where
we are in the Trump presidency:

all of those things we wouldn't
have thought we needed to say,

we need to say them now.

And as if that weren't bad enough,
Trump engaged in a thought experiment

of what he would do if he found
himself in the same situation again.

If someone else offers you
information on an opponent,

should they accept it,
or should they call the FBI ?

I think maybe you do both.
I think you might want to listen.

There's nothing wrong with listening.
If somebody called from a country,

Norway: "We have
information on your opponent."

I think I'd want to hear it.

You want that kind
of interference in our elections ?

They have information.
I'd take it.

Okay, first of all:
let's address that: "Norway".

It continues to be telling that
when Trump tries to search

for the best country he can imagine,

it goes directly to the whitest
country he can imagine.

But more importantly,
that is the president openly inviting

foreign interference
in our elections again.

I know that we've all become
numb to Trump by this point,

but moments like that really
shock you out of your stupor

and make you think:
"That guy's gotta be impeached."

"We've got to impeach him."

Should Democrats let investigations
play out further before a move ?

I don't know, maybe ! That strategy
paid off during Watergate.

But "later" can't mean "never".

The case for inaction here
is starting to get pretty weak.

And, yes, public opinion is
against an impeachment inquiry,

but if Democrats think opening
an inquiry is the right thing to do,

then it's then incumbent upon them
to work to change that opinion.

I know it's easy to be defeatist,

nothing has seemingly
reined Trump in so far.

But I will say this: every asshole
succeeds until finally they don't.

18 months before he resigned,

Nixon had a sky-high
approval rating of 67 percent.

Harvey Weinstein was winning
Oscars until one day, he wasn't.

James Holzhauer was stealing
all of Alex Trebek's money

until someone put a stop to it.

Respect the spirit of the game,
James, you fucking monster !

I can't guarantee that impeachment
will work out the way you want it to,

because it probably won't.

That doesn't mean that
it's not worth doing.

We'd be standing by the basic,
fundamental principle

that nobody is above the law.

And in doing so,
it would mean that,

when people tell dying relatives
that we're doing everything we can

to hold this president accountable,
this time, it would be true.

And now this.

Finally Tonight, A Father's Day Salute
To The Great Dads Of Local News.

- What do you want for Father's Day ?
- I want a day off.

- But you're not working on Sunday.
- No, from the family.

- What do you want for Father's Day ?
- I don't know.

- Then that's easy.
- Cold beer in a hammock.

Leave me alone for an hour,
let me sleep.

I'm happy with watching
the final round of the U.S. Open

on Sunday afternoon with
or without the family.

Let me have the house to myself.
For about six, seven hours.

What do you want ?

To sit in a dark room,
watch TV and not do anything.

How 'bout you ?

I try to convince them
to leave me alone.

I'd love to do a fly fishing trip.

- With your kids ?
- No, just me.

Happy Father's Day !
That's our show.

Thanks for watching.
See you next week. Good night !