Trump and his team were apparently determined to make this week extra insane. Watch John Oliver try to make sense of it all on Last Week Tonight.
John Oliver and his team at Last Week Tonight had a perfectly nice segment about the TSA planned for their audience. And then this week happened.
If you’ve had the privilege of avoiding the news, somehow, you may be wondering what, exactly, is such a big deal. Why is John Oliver getting so upset that he’s calling this all “a scandal with the potential ramifications of Watergate, but where everyone involved is stupid and bad at everything”? Let’s break it down.
On Monday, Trump revealed classified information to Russian officials. The Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador met with the President in the White House, where Trump revealed some serious high-level information.
Yes, that’s bad, but we frankly don’t have enough time to dwell on it right here. You see, after Monday, Tuesday happened.
On Tuesday, sources revealed that Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to shut down the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Former acting-Attorney General Sally Yates, along with former President Obama and even Michael Flynn himself expressed doubts about his connections. Comey, who recorded this information in a detailed memo shared with his aides, demurred and was likely fired as a result.
Wednesday meant we were only halfway through the week
Wednesday brought Trump’s commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy, which should have been an easy win. Except he used the opportunity to whine about how “no politician in history… has been treated worse or more unfairly” than him. Just don’t ask Presidents Lincoln, McKinley, Garfield, or Kennedy about that statement.
Perhaps more importantly, the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller (former director of the FBI) to act as a special investigator in the Russia case.
News on Thursday was still dealing with the ramifications of the rest of the week. However, it did bring news that the 6’8” Comey had attempted to escape Trump’s notice by blending in with the curtains of the White House’s Blue Room. It clearly didn’t work. Nice try, though.
Friday, wherein we were all still alive somehow, marked the beginning of Trump’s first international trip since his inauguration. That didn’t stop the news cycle, though. It reported that Trump had said to Russian officials that Comey was a “nut job” and that “great pressure because of Russia” was taken off.
Furthermore, the Washington Post said that the ongoing Russia investigation has identified a current White House official as a person of interest. Oliver briefly considered that favored Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner may be that person. However, “[Kushner] is the person equivalent of an empty room painted eggshell. He is like a white bread sandwich where the middle is just a third slice of white bread.”
So, you may fearfully ask, is this all really a big deal? In short: yes. Want a more detailed answer? Heck yes, it is.
There are strong allegations that Trump and his administration is involved in a serious international scandal. People who may have stood up to Trump or who have gotten too close have been conveniently fired.
Republican politicians were reluctant to speak, and those that did were not exactly glowing in their praise. Senator John McCain even said that this whole mess is “Watergate size and scale”. Lawyers within the White House are even reportedly looking into their defense for a possible impeachment trial.
Is this a big deal?
But how seriously should we take all of this, and where do we go from here? Because Trump has experienced numerous other scandals that would have ended the career of other politicians. Remember that whole Access Hollywood debacle? Or that time he went up against a Gold Star military family? How about the time David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the KKK, endorsed his presidential campaign and Trump said nothing?
Even if Trump were taken down by impeachment proceedings, the line of succession is ghoulish. Think “President Mike Pence”. How about “President Paul Ryan”? Sorry, that may have caused you to choke a little bit on the bile that suddenly rose up in your throat. Even “President Orrin Hatch” (the current president pro tempore of the Senate) is a grim prospect.
At any rate, impeaching Trump is seriously a long shot. Such a procedure needs a majority of the House to vote for it and two-thirds of the Senate to convict the President. Both parts of the Congressional Branch are, duh, controlled by Republicans. So, don’t hold your breath on this account.
Is this really happening?
Moving on to Oliver’s final question: is this real life? Alas, that appears to be the case. Even Oliver seems especially worn down by the craziness of this week’s political news. Yet, he reminds his audience that this is not normal. Politics is not inherently this corrupt or blatantly self-serving.
If you’re feeling bad, said Oliver, “I’m not sure that Trump is entirely happy either”. This whole “President” thing is apparently way more work than he had originally imagined. Which, yeah, of course it would be if your previous job consisted of lending out your name and fake-firing people on TV from their made-up jobs.
“Say what you want about Nixon,” said Oliver, “at least he wanted the f-ing job”.
You may very well be exhausted by now. So, feel free to take a little bit of joy watching Oliver try to cram 20 minutes of a TSA segment into three. It’s breathtaking.
It also involved Muppet penguins, which was probably going to be a lot of fun, and Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin getting very close, which probably wasn’t. But at least they still managed to get the Muppet penguins on the show. At least we’ll always have that.