On Sunday night, John Oliver—who was off last week—addressed the confounding aftermath of Trump Attorney General William Barr’s summary of Robert Mueller’s report on Last Week Tonight.
As Barr’s summary concluded, “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” and that Mueller could not exonerate the president on obstruction of justice.
“OK, so there’s two things there: first, the report did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump’s campaign, which is undeniably good news for the president; however, the fact that Mueller did not exonerate him on obstruction of justice is pretty remarkable,” offered Oliver. “It’s the kind of thing that might prompt headlines like ‘President May Have Obstructed Justice,’ which is why it’s been a little weird this week to see the good news for the president often shoving aside the bad. That doesn’t normally happen.”
Yes, as Oliver explained, “All week long, the president’s supporters took their one piece of good news and rounded it up to two.”
He then threw to a montage of Fox News’ Trump talking heads singing their master’s praises, including Sean Hannity (“no collusion, no obstruction of justice”), Jeanine Pirro (“no collusion, no obstruction, nothing”), and Lou Dobbs (“victorious, exonerated, vindicated”).
“OK, again, Trump was not completely exonerated,” Oliver explained. “In fact, the report literally used the words ‘does not exonerate him.’ The only way Mueller could have been clearer on that point is if he put hand-clap emojis between every word. And normally, this is where we would do a deep-dive into the details of the report explaining all the possible implications it may have, the problem is, we still haven’t seen it! Congress hasn’t seen it! Even the president hasn’t seen it!”
Indeed, in the words of Oliver, “We only know what Trump’s own attorney general thinks we need to know—a man who, unsolicited, and before he got his current job, sent top DOJ officials a memo ruling out obstruction of justice charges against the president. So there are plenty of qualifiers and questions left here, which is why it’s been a little strange to see Trump supporters say things like this…”
Oliver, who previously referenced Barr’s 19-page memo ruling out obstruction of justice against Trump in order to land the job (compared to his 4-page summary of the several-hundred-page-long Mueller report), then cut to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham saying that the Mueller investigation “was a waste.”
That got Oliver into a tizzy. “Even if the investigation didn’t conclude that Trump conspired with the Russians, that doesn’t mean the whole thing was a waste of time,” Oliver said, before outlining how Mueller’s investigation concluded that Russia indeed interfered in the election; the president’s campaign manager, lawyer, and multiple advisers were convicted of crimes; Trump and his team lied about their business and contacts with Russia; and that Trump may have committed campaign-finance violations to cover up an affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels shortly after his wife Melania gave birth.
“All of that happened!” exclaimed Oliver. “And we know it one way or another because of Mueller’s investigation!”