The comic kicked things off by addressing the biggest news he missed: President Donald Trump’s acquittal in the Senate after being impeached by the House (though many accused it of being a show trial, given that no star witnesses were called).
“What happens when an obvious criminal-sociopath is accused of abusing his power yet somehow holds onto his office by sitting through a sham investigation?” asked Oliver.
After throwing to footage of Gritty, the late-night host segued to Trump: “The president beat his impeachment charges, but some Republicans who voted to acquit him believe the experience has really changed him.”
Cue Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who defended her vote to acquit Trump by telling CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell that “the president has learned from this case” and “will be much more cautious in the future.” (She later walked back the ridiculous comments.)
“What are you talking about, Susan? Of course he hasn’t learned his lesson!” exclaimed Oliver. “Trump never learns his lesson! This is a man whose first-born child was Donald Trump Jr., and he kept having children!”
“And if you need further proof of that,” he continued, “just look at what happened this week with Trump associate Roger Stone.”
Yes, four prosecutors resigned after the Department of Justice, led by Trump appointee William Barr, chose to reassess their sentencing recommendation of 7-9 years for Stone—just hours after Trump tweeted heavy criticism of the sentencing, calling it a “miscarriage of justice.” Since then, 1,100 former DOJ officials have signed a letter calling on Barr to resign for “doing the president’s personal bidding.”
“To have DOJ leadership interfering in a case involving a Trump ally hours after the president publicly commented on it is appalling,” said Oliver, adding, “And the excuses offered by the president’s defenders ranged from the absurd to the genuinely terrifying.”
He then cut to a clip of Fox News host (and ardent Trump defender) Lou Dobbs exclaiming, “I don’t want to hear any crap about an independent Justice Department! This Justice Department works for the president!”
Which brought Oliver to his closing: “Susan Collins may have actually been right about one thing: Trump did learn a lesson from his impeachment trial; specifically, I can get away with anything because nobody will hold me accountable.”