Late Sunday, John Oliver kicked off the latest episode of Last Week Tonight by recapping all the drama surrounding President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who is under federal criminal investigation for his ties to two shady Ukrainian associates.
“It’s true, Giuliani may finally be under federal investigation, meaning events have finally caught up with his face, which perpetually looks like someone who just found out they’re under investigation,” cracked Oliver. “And look, this news shouldn’t be remotely surprising. On a list of things that Giuliani is likely to be under, federal investigation might even narrowly beat out his own cousin.” (Yes, Giuliani notoriously married his second cousin.)
The federal probe is reportedly tied to two of Giuliani’s associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who’ve been arrested and charged with illegally funneling foreign donations to political campaigns—including $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC.
“OK, come on! These two men are just cartoonishly suspicious!” Oliver joked of Parnas and Fruman. “They look like they’re about to sell you a rocket launcher in a Grand Theft Auto game. And if that wasn’t suspicious enough, they were arrested at the airport trying to fly out of the country with one-way tickets.”
“In any case, thanks largely to their political contributions, these two gained entry to Republican inner circles. Here is a photo that [Parnas] posted, captioned ‘Power breakfast !!!’ with Don Jr., whose very presence alone disqualifies this meal from being a ‘power breakfast,’” Oliver added.
Parnas and Fruman also posed for a photo with President Trump and Vice President Pence at the White House. “And it’s going to be pretty difficult for Giuliani in particular to distance himself here,” Oliver opined, “because he reportedly had lunch with them just hours before they were arrested, and it is not hard to find evidence of their relationship online.” The HBO host then threw to a viral online video of Parnas, Fruman, and Giuliani partying it up at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., last year.
The plot thickens. “We know Giuliani wanted career diplomat Maria Yovanovitch removed as ambassador to Ukraine because he felt she was blocking his anti-Biden campaign. Igor and Lev also wanted her gone—enter [former] congressman Pete Sessions. Igor and Lev donated a bunch of money to him, and at a meeting, Parnas apparently told him the ambassador was ‘disloyal to Trump’ and that she’d been ‘bad-mouthing our president,’” explained Oliver.
Sessions, a former House Republican from Texas, subsequently wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alleging that Yovanovitch had “disdain” for the president, and she was subsequently removed—something that Trump brought up on his infamous phone call with the Ukrainian president, asking him to investigate the Bidens numerous times and saying Yovanovitch was “bad news” and “going to go through some things.”
“Wow. That’s ominous,” said Oliver.
And, when Trump was asked during a press scrum whether Giuliani was still his personal attorney, he replied, “Well, I don’t know… he’s a very good attorney, and he has been my attorney.”
“Oh, that is not good, Rudy, because history suggests that sooner or later Trump will abandon him, at which point, to paraphrase his maybe client, Giuliani’s going to be ‘going through some things.’”