After nearly a month off, John Oliver returned to the Last Week Tonight desk on Sunday night. And the Emmy-nominated comedian had quite a bit to catch his audience up on with “Stupid Watergate,” the Brit’s nickname for the ongoing Trump-Russia scandal.
“This week, it seemed like investigators started closing in on the Trump team—and not just metaphorically,” Oliver quipped, before throwing to an image of Donald Trump Jr. and Robert Mueller waiting for a flight at Reagan National Airport just outside Washington, D.C.
But then, on a more serious note, the funnyman addressed the “series of potentially damaging revelations this week courtesy of the president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, whose very face now permanently asks the question: Is this the day I go to jail?”
These “revelations” began on Tuesday, with a recording of Trump and Cohen discussing a hush payment to ex-Playboy playmate—and alleged Trump mistress—Karen McDougal that was leaked to CNN by Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis. The McDougal recording is just one of as many as 100 the feds seized from Cohen involving Trump.
“Wow. Now historically, ‘there are tapes’ hasn’t worked out well for presidents,” joked Oliver. “It’s one of those phrases that’s universally foreboding, like ‘the virus is airborne’ and ‘Ronan Farrow is working on an article about you.’”
He continued: “The tapes feature Trump and Cohen discussing a plan to keep McDougal’s story from becoming public, which is interesting because remember, Trump had previously denied any knowledge of the situation—and also denied the affair itself. So this could be a problem for multiple reasons, from it being a potential campaign-finance violation to the embarrassment it causes Trump’s wife, although given that she just released a statement that she’s allowed to watch ‘any channel she wants,’ that marriage appears to be rock-solid.”
The McDougal payoff recording was followed by a second bombshell on Thursday, as CNN broke the news that Cohen alleges Trump knew in advance—and approved of—the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower of son Donald Trump Jr., then-campaign head Paul Manafort, and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and a Kremlin-linked attorney who’d promised to deliver damaging dirt on rival Hillary Clinton.
“Now THAT is potentially huge—and also somehow completely unsurprising, because deep down, we all assumed that was the case anyway,” said Oliver. “Breaking news: The president actually knew about a meeting that involved his son, his son-in-law, and his campaign manager discussing dirt about his greatest enemy that took place where he lived and worked in a building that has his fucking name on it.”