“Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver closed out his season with a special report for Fox News hosts who seem to be struggling with the basic understanding of things like “bribery” or the concept that attempted crimes are still actually crimes.
At the top of Sunday’s show, Oliver played a clip of Fox News host Laura Ingraham who made the argument that if Trump tried to commit a crime and didn’t manage to pull it off, then he’s clearly innocent.
“Attempted bribery isn’t in the constitution,” proclaimed Ingraham, forgetting about what “high crimes and misdemeanors” covers. “Remember, Ukraine got its aid, it was 14 days delayed, big deal. And Ukraine never made any public statement about the investigation.”
“So, wait, hold on,” Oliver cut in. “She’s saying that because the deal didn’t go through, it didn’t matter. But crime doesn’t stop being a crime if it doesn’t work. If you’re trying to blow up an airline and your vest doesn’t go off, you don’t get to go, ‘Welp, no harm, no foul.’ And then sit there watching Detective Pikachu for the rest of the flight. Also, Ukraine only got its aid after the House started asking questions. And the Ukraine president was days away from publicly announcing investigations but canceled his announcement at the last minute after this story started breaking. So, the ‘nothing to see here’ defense is pretty shakey.”
The next argument from Republicans is that the only evidence against Trump is “hearsay.” Oliver explained that it doesn’t matter, because multiple people with varying degrees of evidence, including first-hand knowledge, have come forward to say that Trump was pressuring Ukraine to announce a fake investigation into a fake scandal involving a potential political opponent.
One of the greatest examples of people with first-hand knowledge of the incident was chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who announced live on television that Trump attempted to bribe Ukraine, asking, “So what?”
“So, yes, the fact that there was a quid pro quo is all hearsay, in that you hear people say it all the f*cking time!” Oliver shouted.
The fall-back defense from the right is a partial admission of guilt like, “yes, there was a quid pro quo, but those are totally fine.” He showed an interview with a Republican Party chairwoman who tried to give that defense and ended up humiliating herself on national television. She explained that presidents make deals all the time, and Oliver pointed out that she’s right. Typically presidents make deals for the sake of the United States not for the sake of their own economic or political interest, as Trump did here.
“That’s Trump,” she explained. “I mean, do we want Trump not to be Trump?”
“Yes!” Oliver exclaimed. “Yes! So badly!”
He explained that it’s like Teddy Roosevelt’s famous saying, “speak softly and carry a big stick” were actually “speak softly and try to get as many sticks as possible for your personal stick collection.”
Another argument the right is claiming that the scandal is simply too boring to even care about. Oliver put that argument to rest, saying that if people don’t like this scandal, there are several others involving a payoff to a porn model, hacking from Russia, obstructions of justice similar to Nixons, and many more.
“Pick the Trump scandal you prefer; there’s one for everyone,” Oliver said.
Finally, the Republicans are claiming this scandal is too complicated to understand. Perhaps it is for the likes of Fox News, which can’t even accomplish the “news” part of their name without the president losing his mind.
In one Fox & Friends clip, Steve Doocy had to inform a Washington Times editor that “quid pro quo” was Latin, something one would hope he would know after working in the news business for decades. Having to ask Doocy a question is particularly embarrassing since, as Oliver said, his business card even declares himself “an idiot.”
Watch the last Oliver of the season below: