Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 6, Episode 28 - Episode #6.28 - full transcript

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LAST WEEK TONIGHT
WITH JOHN OLIVER

SEASON VI
EPISODE 28

Welcome to Last Week Tonight.

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

Let's dive straight in
with the latest in the scandal

we're calling Stupid Watergate II:
Revenge Of The Ding Dong Dingus.

Despite the fact that Trump continues
to repeat "no quid pro quo"

like it's an invincibility spell
he learned at Hogwarts,

the number of witnesses telling
Congress the opposite rised.

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman,
the first official to testify

who was on Trump's phone call
with the president of Ukraine.



His account was so damning,

some the president's defenders
desperately tried to use the fact

he was actually born in Ukraine
to smear him.

Here we have a U.S. national
security official

who is advising Ukraine
while working inside the White House

apparently against
the president's interests

and usually
they spoke in English.

Isn't that kind of an interesting
angle on this story ?

I find that astounding. Some people
might call that "espionage".

If "some people" call it espionage,
those people are just wrong.

"Some people" might call a boat
a "wet metal mommy".

That's not what it is, anyone who
calls it that is weird and stupid.

Attacking Vindman's patriotism would be
despicable regardless of credentials.

Not only is he a war veteran



who was awarded a Purple Heart
for his service in Iraq,

as a child, he appeared in a Ken Burns
film about the Statue of Liberty

and what it means
to generations of immigrants.

Ken Burns even tweeted
that clip out this week, saying:

"I remember the Vindman boys. Theirs
is the story of America at its best."

Which is a solid endorsement.
Although I do have to say,

me reading that tweet didn't convey
the full Ken Burns spirit.

So, Ken, please,
take it away !

The place was America.
The year was now.

The person, Ken Burns, was me,
Ken Burns.

The memory was one of me
remembering the Vindman boys fondly.

They represent America at its best.

Baseball, jazz, country music,
Ken Burns.

Yeah, that's much more like it.
Thank you, Ken Burns.

The smears of Vindman are a good
indication of how Republicans

are running out of ways
to defend the president.

House Democrats moved to take
away another major argument

against the impeachment inquiry, that
hadn't been authorized in the House.

They held a vote
to formalize the process

and set rules for its public phase,
Republicans fiercely objected,

Steve Scalise choosing to do so with
the help of an ill-advised visual aid.

This is unprecedented !

It's not only unprecedented,
this is Soviet-style rules !

Maybe in the Soviet Union
you do things like this,

where only you make the rules.

Where you reject the ability
for the person you're accusing

to even be in the room,
to question what's going on.

Yeah, that happened. To defend
Trump, he used a picture of Red Square,

reminding us
there's a whole second category

of possibly-impeachable
Trump conduct.

Like Harvey Weinstein saying:

"I know you're mad at me
for one thing,"

"but I also
produced 'She's All That',"

"with the message: if people
are judging your physical appearance,"

"get hot, and then you win."

"That was me, too. Sorry, poor word
choice there. Anyway, bye for now !"

Scalise was joined in
his outrage by Kevin McCarthy,

answer to the question:
"What would Mitt Romney look like"

"if he ever had to worry about money
like other people ?"

McCarthy attempted to denounce
Democrats with Churchillian rhetoric.

Unfortunately, he didn't
quite stick the landing.

This is the moment
that history will write,

history will ask you
when you cast this vote,

the vote to justify something that
has gone on behind closed doors,

I want you to ask the historian
and answer the question:

"What do you know
that happened there ?"

Nailed it.

Yes, this is the moment
when history talks to you !

History can talk now, and it will
ask you questions about this vote !

I want you
to ask the historian !

His name is Greg, by the way,
Greg the historian !

Greg is the historian of history times,
a very nice man.

Before Greg can answer, I want
you to answer the question:

"What do you know
that happened there ?"

And what you will tell them is that
McCarthy did not write down his speech.

He just started talking and he hoped
come up with something good

and he was sorely fucking
disappointed in himself.

It might be a sign of how desperate
Trump getting that on Thursday,

this was his idea for how
best to articulate his defense.

The president said: "This is over
a phone call that is a good call."

"At some point, I'm going to sit
down, perhaps as a fireside chat"

"and I will read the transcript,
because people have to hear it."

That is not a good idea.

Because even in its abridged form,
the call summary is damning.

There is no way Trump has
the attention span to sit down

and read a 2 000 word document
on live television without losing focus

and going wildly off-topic.

If you told him to read
"Hop On Pop," by page three,

he'd be rambling about how great
chicken tenders are at Mar-a-Lago,

how zebras are just loser horses,
and how he invented the word "dog".

Despite the mounting
evidence against him,

Trump insists this is "The Greatest
Witch Hunt In American History !"

His website started to sell these
"Stop The Witch-Hunt!" t-shirts,

an item of clothing that I've become
obsessed with this week.

Look at this graphic.
What seems to have happened is...

Someone took the poster from
the 1993 film "Hocus Pocus"

removed the dark outfits,
the moon,

and basically all the details
that have to do with witches

and replaced the witches' faces
with Pelosi, Schiff and Nadler.

It's a witch hunt where the witches
are the ones doing the hunting.

Which is categorically
not what a witch hunt is,

in the same way a duck hunt

doesn't mean a bunch of ducks
hunting humans in the woods.

On the shirt, Trump is depicted
as a flying superhero,

which has no place
in the witch genre.

The product description
confuses this issue further:

"The only people scared
this Halloween are Shifty Schiff,"

"Nervous Nancy and Hack Jerry Nadler
about their chances in 2020 !"

In this witch hunt, the witches,
even though they are the hunter,

are the scared ones,
the only scared ones, in fact.

It's still the "Greatest Witch Hunt
In The History",

but only three people are scared
and all of them are witches.

The shirt makes no sense
and it prompts so many questions.

My main one being, does it come
in a man's extra-medium ?

I'm going to want a relic
to show my grandchildren in the future

when they refuse to believe that
any of this shit ever happened.

And now this.

MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace Has A Real
Problem With This President.

This is a president who will stand
there and lie his you-know-bleep off.

This could undermine his brand,
make him look like he's full of bleep.

Trump doesn't give a bleep-hole
country about Bill Barr.

Doesn't give a bleep
about any of them.

That's big
holy bleep kind of trouble.

You lose "The Wall Street Journal",
you're bleeped.

When you've lost Fox News,
you're bleeped.

They'll talk
about what a bleep-show it all was.

Do you think any of them
call him and say:

"That tweet you just sent out ?
Totally bleeping bonkers."

Isn't that an interesting angle
on this story ?

I find that astounding, some
people might call that "espionage".

Except those people aren't
chicken-shit like the three of you.

Moving on.

Our main story
tonight concerns voting.

It's the only way to get Sean Spicer
off "Dancing With The Stars".

So far, he's danced
the "Red Wedding",

the "Woody From Toy Story
After His Third Divorce" and this.

Cool.

He is dressed and dancing there
like the "Chernobyl Musketeer".

Please, America: put this man
out of everyone's misery.

It might be a good time to talk about
voting, Election Day is this Tuesday.

Yes, there are elections this Tuesday.
Depending on where you live,

you could be voting for
your governor, your state legislator

or even your city comptroller,
a very important position.

They comptrol the city.
Without them,

the city would be
completely out of comptrol.

Before you vote, which you
should, it may be worth asking:

how much do you trust
the system that counts your ballot ?

Many of us don't know the first thing
about how our votes get counted.

When you cast your ballot, how do
you know they're getting it right ?

- That they're getting it right ?
- Yeah.

Isn't that their job
to get it right ?

Do you trust that your vote
is being recorded as intended ?

- I think so.
- What are you basing that on ?

How do you know
that they got it right ?

I'm sure they did.

We put it in the machine. I assume
they're going to read it correctly.

But how do you know
they're getting it right ?

There's no such thing as being dead
sure but I think I'm quite sure.

I get the point the interviewer's
trying to make,

but he is coming on
pretty strong there.

How are you so sure
they got your vote right ?

'Cause you're a stupid
child in a dumb adult's body ?

You were born yesterday
in a voting booth

and the first thing you did
was vote like a newborn idiot ?

Do you pull a tooth out with pliers,
and then lie there

waiting for the Tooth Fairy
to suck you off ?

Do you do that ? Do you lose sleep
waiting for Tooth Fairy blowjobs ?

Then how do you know
they got your vote right ?

His overall point is decent:

we don't always know how
our votes are being counted.

It's not unreasonable to have
questions about our election security.

In 2016, Russian hackers targeted
election systems in all 50 states.

What they were targeting back then
was voter registration data.

As for the voting machines,
to hear some local officials tell it,

they could not be more secure.

I could set one of these machines
in the middle of Red Square

and the Russians
couldn't hack into it.

Don't do that. Because they can hack
into it, they're Russians.

There are precisely three things
that they are good at: hacking, hockey

and writing books so sad
they make you want to drink a potato.

As you will see tonight,

leaving our voting machines
in the middle of Moscow

or, indeed, the middle of America,
might not be the best idea.

A Senate report found that some of
our voting equipment is aging

and vulnerable to exploitation
by a committed adversary.

Let's talk about
our voting machines.

And first, there is no single, standard
voting system in this country.

In some places,
you vote by filling out a paper ballot

and feeding it into a machine.

At others, you press a button,
get a printout

and have that scanned
into a machine.

And at still others, you press
a touchscreen and that's it.

While that last option
may seem like the best,

it's actually, for reasons
that we'll get into later, the worst.

The reason most of us vote
on electronic machines

has to do with the 2000 election.

For those of you too young
to remember that,

first, I've got to ask you:
is "Euphoria" accurate ?

Are you all horny,
sparkly drug addicts ?

I'm curious, I don't know
any teens and I suspect

the people behind "Euphoria"
don't either.

Second: very basically,
the 2000 election came down

to over a thousand votes in Florida,
which triggered a recount,

which turned out to be
a nightmare.

Many key Florida precincts
used punch-card ballots.

A major issue with punch card
ballots was the fact that, on some,

little bits of paper or "chads" might
not have punched all the way through,

leading to images like this
and non-stop news coverage like this.

- Gore's hopes hang by a chad.
- Dimpled chads.

- Dangling chads.
- Hanging chads.

- Indented chads.
- Lone chads.

- Another claim: chad build up.
- A pregnant chad.

The race comes down to the chads.

Much like the third elimination
in every season of "The Bachelorette",

it all came down to the Chads.

Chad G., you have
the eyes of a murderer.

Chad R., you're 5'8, so Chad R.,
I'm afraid you have to go.

America became nervous
about punch-card ballots

and in 2002, Congress passed
the Help America Vote Act,

offering states 3.9 billion dollars
to administer federal elections

and buy new voting equipment,
which sounds great !

The then-chair of the Election
Assistance Commission

realized
that there was a problem immediately.

I was forced to send 2.3 billion
to the 50 states to buy equipment

even though the equipment
was not ready to be bought.

- Why'd you do it ?
- We had to.

We begged: "Let us do the research
before we send the money."

And Congress said no.

The politicians knew
these machines wouldn't work.

The politicians don't care.
Washington believes

the machines can't be that bad,
because after all, it produced them.

So, if they won the race,
how bad can the machine be ?

"The machine can't be bad
because it produced me !"

That is some faulty logic.
It's like saying:

"Reverse cowgirl is the best position
because it gave us Abraham Lincoln."

It absolutely did. That's just a fact.
Correlation does not equal causation !

Reverse cowgirl does not
equal Abraham Lincoln,

unless you're one
of these two fuck machines.

He brought the log,
she brought the cabin.

That's a history fact
I'm not willing to argue about.

States rushed to buy electronic
voting machines

before they were ready
to be bought.

There were already
some red flags:

one machine in Iowa
had 300 ballots fed into it

and somehow produced
four million votes.

To meet the demand,

at least one company outsourced
production of the machines,

and quality controls were sometimes
close to nonexistent.

Many people do not know

that we made those voting
machines in the Philippines.

Vibar says he worked on thousands of
voting machines shipped to the US

with what he says was virtually
no testing done on them.

A fraction of the machines underwent
a so-called "vibration test".

And what was this
quality control test ?

They shake the machine.

Yeah, that's it. They tested
the machine by shaking it.

Weird ! The only time
you should ever shake a machine

is when you're voting for Jill Stein,
in which case, that's how you do it.

You walk in, you shake
the machine and you leave.

The machine will totally
record your vote for Jill Stein,

just like you
and I both want it to.

That clip is actually from 2007,

but a shocking number of machines
bought back then are still in use.

Aging machines can be a problem.
Some counties have found

that the glue holding the touchscreen
can degrade, meaning that,

the screen can slip out of place
and register votes incorrectly.

The danger isn't just machines
going wrong by accident.

There is the threat of someone
gaining control of them.

Voting machines are technically
computers and computers are hackable.

It can be far easier to control
a machine than you might expect,

as this hacker demonstrates on
a model used in at least 18 states.

All they have to do,
this bad actor,

would be to open up this machine
by pressing this button right here

when it's off,
removing the card reader.

You don't need
any tools to do this.

Unplugging this, again, you
don't need any tools to do this.

Turning it on.

All you have to do is pick this lock
with a ballpoint pen.

Open this up,
press the red button

and we're gonna
let it boot up here.

Just click "Cancel" and "OK".

Now I have full admin access.
Under two minutes.

Holy shit ! That should have been
a lot more been more difficult.

You want hacking
into a voting machine

to be at least as difficult
as breaking into Fort Knox.

Which, incidentally,
is really hard.

You need to build a big giant
wooden horse,

you roll it up to the gates and
wait for all the guards to say:

"That's a fucking A-plus
horse right there."

"Let's put that inside our fort
where the gold lives."

While they're distracted,
sneak in and steal the gold.

It takes a lot of work,
but trust me:

it makes you value
the gold much more.

Hackers find vulnerabilities
in voting machines all the time.

We've not always been
great at responding.

A Finnish man, Harri Hursti,
once found

"one of the most severe security flaws
ever discovered in a voting system,"

and he alerted the company
who made the machine.

They created a patch to fix
the vulnerability, which is good.

While they put
the patch out in 2006,

we know the state of Georgia
never installed it.

A court case found their machines
had not been updated since 2005.

They'd been hitting
the "Remind Me Tomorrow" button

on a critical security update
for over a decade.

Georgia's election systems operate
at the same level

of technical proficiency
as every dad.

His laptop weighs 21 pounds,

he has a Yahoo mail address that he
can't open 'cause it only receives porn

and he has a Hotmail address
he can't open

because it only sends porn
to his Yahoo address.

His life is a beautiful mystery.

Voting-machine companies
and election officials will tell you

that hacks like that one take
place in very controlled settings

and that it would be difficult
in a booth without people noticing.

It is not always as difficult
to get some alone time with a machine

as you might think.

Professor Ed Felten of Princeton

performs an exercise every
Election Day.

He drives around Princeton to various
polling locations and he follows

the prominent signs that say
"Voting Here" days before the election

and then he takes photographs
of unattended voting machines.

That's for him to document that
anybody can walk up to these machines

and anybody can manipulate
them and nobody will know.

I've now shown you how to hack voting
machines in less than two minutes

and how to find
unattended voting machines.

It's the kind of important educational
work we do here

at "I Really Hope Putin Doesn't Watch
This Show with John Oliver."

You don't have to have hands-on
contact with a machine to hack it.

If it's connected to the internet,
you can get into it from anywhere.

Although, on that front,

many election officials insist
you have nothing to worry about.

Our machines are not connected
to the internet.

And they're not gonna be.

No state is on the internet.

It's difficult to hack something
not on the internet.

Our voting systems are never
connected to the internet.

Okay, so first,
let's deal with this.

I am aware that that man is a lot.
His name is Stan Stanart

and he's not
a Zach Galifianakis character.

He's a real human
and was the clerk

for the largest county
of Texas until last year.

This was his official photo,
and come on.

There is nothing I don't
like about that picture

besides the fact that it simply
hasn't winked at me yet.

Stan !
Right back atcha, Stanart the Man-art.

For a guy so sure his voting systems
are not connected to the internet,

watch what happens when a reporter
asks a very basic follow-up.

Are the machines
connected to the internet ?

Never.

- Is it ever connected to a modem ?
- Nope.

It is a secure modem where we dial
to an old-fashioned landline

to the one
of our four drop-off sites.

But that's the internet, Stan !
You just described the internet !

It's like he said:
"I've never eaten a banana split !"

only for the reporter to ask: "Then
what are you eating right now, Stan ?"

Why, it's just bananas
and ice cream topped with fudge !

I call it a Fruity Fantasm...
Why ?

Some machines that officials insist
don't connect to the internet

do connect to the internet.

Some machines that don't
connect directly to the internet

are programmed with cards
that have been programmed

on computers
that connect to the internet.

Your machine
isn't connected to the internet

the same way Alexa isn't recording
everything

and sending it directly
to Jeff Bezos.

It's not doing that, except for when
it's totally sometimes doing that.

Every voting machine can be tampered
with, in some way or other.

If I may quote an extremely
upbeat axe murderer:

"Pretty much everything
is hackable."

The solution isn't to make unhackable
machines, that's impossible.

We should be making them
as secure as we possibly can,

while also creating systems
so that we know for sure

when a problem has occurred,
which is an issue.

There is good reason to believe
that at least one individual

might exploit the vulnerabilities
in our current system.

Is Russia, as Robert Mueller alleged,

attempting to influence
the 2020 elections in the US ?

I'm going to tell you a secret.
Yes, sure, we're going to do that.

Yeah, this is...
Don't tell anybody.

Listen to that laughter in that room.
Putin is killing.

And not just in the normal
his political rivals way !

There is actually a consensus
on what we should do.

After each election, we do
what's called a risk-limiting audit,

where we take a small
percentage of the paper ballots

and make sure that they match
what the machines recorded.

Unfortunately, most places
don't currently do them.

Some actually can't, because
they use the machines

that we mentioned earlier, where
you vote directly on the machine

and there is no paper trail at all.

They are called direct-recording
electronic voting machines, or DREs.

They are very bad. If something
goes wrong with one of them,

you would basically never know,
because you can't audit the results.

And things have gone wrong.
In one local New Jersey election,

a husband and wife were running
for seats on their county's committee.

The DRE machines
said that they lost,

but they were in the unusual position
of knowing that that was a mistake.

I knew 33 of the people that voted
for us and we lost 33 to 10.

I knew that that wasn't the case.

The results had been switched
with those of their opponents.

We started calling people that we
thought we knew voted for us

because it was in this district
of this township

and we know
everybody in this district.

It's true. That woman went around
and got signed affidavits from people

saying they had voted for her.

Which means one of two things:
the machines switched the votes

or people will sign anything to
avoid a face-to-face confrontation.

Hi, Cynthia.
Yeah, sorry about that election.

I was really sad because
I totally voted for you.

You want me to affirm that statement
under penalty of perjury ?

That sounds better
than having this conversation, so fine.

I will sign anything to get you
off my fucking porch, Cynthia.

Unless you happen to personally know
everyone who votes for you

on a paperless DRE machine,
there is no way to verify the result.

It's a good case against them,
which makes it insane

that New Jersey
not only still uses them,

but plans to keep using them
for the 2020 election.

And it's not just New Jersey.
In 2016, 20 percent of voters

voted on paperless DREs.

An estimated 12 percent
will use them in 2020.

16 million Americans,
spread out across all these states,

are set to be voting on machines
that everyone agrees are flawed

and if they malfunction, there
could be no way of knowing.

Which is terrifying.
What we have to do here is obvious.

It's so obvious, in fact,
even this guy understands it.

One of the things we're learning,
is it's always good, it's oldfashioned,

but it's always good to have
a paper backup system of voting.

It's called paper,
not highly complex computers.

A lot of states are doing that.

Yeah, he's right. That's it.
He's all the way, completely right.

It is called paper.
Paper is not a computer, it's paper.

And a lot of states are doing it.

I'm sure everything he said
around those 16 seconds

was some combination
of wrong, racist, and horny,

but for a brief, glorious moment,
he was just absolutely right.

And probably slightly horny.
Earlier this year,

the House approved $600 million
for states to buy new machines,

with the requirement
they not connect to the internet

and provide a paper trail
for mandatory audits.

Senate has got its own plan,
providing less than half that amount,

with none of those requirements
at all, which is ridiculous.

We can fix this
and we must fix this.

It is important for people to have
confidence in our voting machines

and we should have more faith in our
system for choosing our leaders

than we do in the one that
inexplicably keeps Sean Spicer

doing the cha-cha
on national television.

And now this.

Our Look At What Happens When Local
News And Halloween Collide.

Halloween...

A good day
on "Coastal Living".

Batman, thank you
for having us here.

My strapless bra
is at my bellybutton right now.

What are we supposed to do ?

Dana found this in the newsroom,
which I thought was fitting

since this is what I get called
on a regular basis.

Happy Halloween !

Happy Halloween and we were
blessed with some snow this morning !

What we're seeing out there for
today's fire danger, it's lower.

It takes extra effort to fight
through the puddles

and the spray coming off
the vehicles on the interstate.

There was another spot
where we have one crash, on 275.

It's so cold out there.

- No.
- Yes.

That's our show.
See you next week. Goodnight !

LAST WEEK TONIGHT
WITH JOHN OLIVER

END OF EPISODE 28,
SEASON VI