John Oliver Breaks Down the Craziest Week of Trump's Presidency

John Oliver
John Oliver on "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver." A Russian activist has been fined for sharing a clip from the show on a Russian social media site. Last Week Tonight

"Tonight, we're going to do something a little bit different," John Oliver said at the top of Sunday night's episode of Last Week Tonight. "For one week and one week only, the show Last Week Tonight is actually going to talk at some length about the last week, tonight. The reason we unfortunately are going to have to do that is because the last seven days have been absolutely insane."

In an effort to make the events of the past week easier to digest, Oliver divided the feature segment into four questions.

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1. What the fuck is going on?

Even for those who spend 10 hours a day scouring Twitter for the latest tidbit of Trump news, it was hard to keep up with all that happened in the past seven days. Remember last Monday, when it was revealed that Donald Trump shared "highly classified" intelligence with Russian officials? Remember how that was such a big deal? How Alan Dershowitz said on CNN that it was "the most serious charge ever made against a sitting president," and then how we more or less forgot about it 24 hours later? This is life in the Trump era.

Since that Monday evening bombshell, we have learned that Trump told the former FBI director, James Comey, to stop investigating former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's ties to Russia; that Trump feels he has been treated more unfairly than any politician in history; that a special counsel was appointed to lead the FBI's investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia; that Trump called Comey a "nut job"; and that a current White House official is a potential person of interest in the FBI's investigation. In a normal administration, any one of these reports would be an earth-shattering revelation.

2. How big a deal is this?

A good barometer for how damaging a particular news story is to Trump is how thoroughly Fox News attempts to avoid it entirely. Their coverage over the past week was bizarrely quiet about the many just-mentioned news stories, and when the developments were addressed, it was through the lens of how much liberals were panicking. Tucker Carlson even assured viewers that "what you think is happening often really isn't happening."

Another way to measure how much trouble Trump is in is the degree to which Republican politicians avoid talking to the press. Charlie Rose said CBS This Morning reached out to 20 Republican senators and representatives about coming on the show, and none of them accepted the invitation, nor did the White House.

The Republicans who have spoken with the press have had no choice but to rebuff the president's actions. Senator John McCain said that "it's reaching a point where it's of Watergate size and scale," while Representatives Justin Amash and Carlos Curbelo said impeachment could be a consideration. "A member of Trump's own party has raised the specter of impeachment just four months into the president's first term," Oliver said in disbelief.

3. Where do we go from here?

There aren't many good options. If Trump is impeached and convicted in the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence would assume office. As a congressman, Pence wanted to defund Planned Parenthood, opposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, opposed the ending of "don't ask, don't tell" in the military and wanted a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between man and woman. As the governor of Indiana, he signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which made it legal to discriminate against gay people.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is next in line after Pence, and after Ryan it's 83-year-old Republican Senator Orrin Hatch. The line of succession is likely to be moot, though, as impeachment probably isn't going to happen, which means we're doomed to endure Trump. "Impeachment is a long shot for many reasons," says Oliver. "It would require a majority of the House to vote to impeach, and that is controlled by Republicans. It would then need two-thirds of the Senate to vote to convict the president, and that is also controlled by Republicans right now."

4. Is this real life?

"Unfortunately, yes," says Oliver.

John Oliver Breaks Down the Craziest Week of Trump's Presidency | Culture