John Oliver used Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight, to dive into the most interesting details of the Mueller report and its investigation into what the host previously called “Stupid Watergate.” In particular, Oliver focused on what he calls the “two main factors that may have saved” President Donald Trump: “incompetence when it comes to conspiracy with Russia and disobedience when it comes to obstruction of justice.”
Oliver called the report’s conclusion on Trump’s obstruction — that there was not enough evidence to prove a crime or exonerate the president — “a pretty conspicuous non-exoneration” that contradicts Trump’s claims that he did not collude and that the report completely exonerates him, per Rolling Stone.
“If you were interviewing a job applicant and they told you, ‘Just so you know: I wasn’t found guilty of f**king my neighbor’s mailboxes, but I also specifically wasn’t found innocent,’ you wouldn’t necessarily rule them out, but you’d definitely think twice about hiring them.”
Oliver covered the report’s detailing of Trump’s reaction to discovering the investigation as well as the campaign’s “incompetence” regarding conspiracy with Russia. He touched on Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, who at one point misspelled the email address for Vladimir Putin’s press spokesman Dimitri Peskova and confused the identity of Dmitry Klokov, a former press secretary to Russia’s energy minister, with a former Olympic weightlifter by the same name.
As the comedian and talk show host highlighted, the report found multiple instances where the Trump campaign was contacted by the Russian government and offered assistance. Not only that but in some cases, the campaign was receptive to these offers. However, Oliver suggests that the “often cartoonish levels of disorganization and incompetence” prevented coordination from happening.
Oliver also highlighted how the Trump campaign’s lack of legal knowledge actually helped protect them from criminal liability, pointing specifically to the Trump Tower meeting that included Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and a Russian offering dirt on Hilary Clinton.
After moving on from Russia coordination, Oliver joked about how the high amount of evidence suggesting Trump tried to obstruct meant nothing because “everyone around him was too disobedient to listen,” which the host called both “reassuring and terrifying.”
As noted in the report, Trump ordered at least 10 current and former administration officials or associates in ways that may constitute obstruction, but they refused to listen. For example, Trump asked former White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller, but he ended up resigning because Trump kept asking him to “do crazy s**t.”