On Sunday, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight aired mere moments after the conclusion of James Comey’s hotly anticipated 20/20 interview with George Stephanopoulos. And so, while Oliver wasn’t able to comment on the exclusive sit-down—owing to his show taping at 7 p.m. ET—he was able to riff on the numerous “tantalizing” teaser clips from the chat.
“I honestly never thought [these] words would come out of my mouth, but I don’t know whether the—the—current president of the United States was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013. It’s possible, but I don’t know,” Comey told Stephanopoulos, adding that he found the Trump briefing to be “really weird.”
“Yeah. James Comey thought that conversation was ‘really weird.’ And I will remind you: This is a man that’s seen Anthony Weiner’s emails,” joked Oliver.
The HBO host explained how the Comey interview was “just the end of a ludicrously dramatic week” that began with the FBI raiding Trump lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen’s office, reportedly related to the hush money he’d arranged for alleged Trump paramours Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. CNN’s Gloria Borger reported that the Cohen raid left Trump “pissed, flailing, and upset,” as well as filled with anger “beyond what anyone can imagine.” That’s “really saying something,” offered Oliver, “given that Trump’s anger level is permanently somewhere between child who accidentally ate a pound of cocaine throwing a tantrum in a Kmart and Alec Baldwin after being told the other party is finishing dessert and the table is going to be another 10 to 15 minutes.”
But that wasn’t all that happened over the past week—perhaps the most chaotic week yet in the Trump administration. “Yes, the deputy finance chair of the RNC [Elliott Broidy] cheated on his wife with a former Playboy model and paid her off, and has now resigned,” said Oliver. “Now, on top of all of this, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan unexpectedly announced he wouldn’t seek re-election; Trump pardoned Scooter Libby; and it came to light that the National Enquirer may have paid a doorman at Trump World Tower to keep quiet about rumors that Trump had fathered a secret child with his housekeeper in the 1980s. Oh, and on Friday night, we bombed Syria.”
Oliver then got serious. “Look, there are those who would argue that something had to be done in response to Assad’s suspected chemical attack, but there are legitimate debates of whether Trump had the authorization to order these strikes, and whether this risks drawing us into a longer-term conflict for which we have no clear strategy,” he said, “but don’t worry on that front, because Trump has already declared ‘Mission Accomplished.’”
Yes, on Saturday morning President Trump borrowed former president George W. Bush’s infamous phrase to describe the Syria airstrikes.
And if that weren’t enough, after being called out for his silly blunder—including by Bush’s former press secretary Ari Fleischer—Trump doubled down on Sunday morning:
“What? It does not fill you with confidence to have a president who announces, ‘I know I’m repeating one of the most notorious political blunders in recent history. I meant to do it, everyone should do it, and I’m gonna do it again forever,’” said Oliver. “I have got to say, if Trump’s intention was to descend so far into self-parody that he somehow burrowed into the Earth’s crust and came out on the other side, mission fucking accomplished.”
For what it’s worth, Trump also used the phrase “mission accomplished” back in 2014, when his bid was not accepted to purchase the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.
“The only reason I bid on @buffalobills was to make sure they stayed in Buffalo, where they belong. Mission accomplished,” tweeted Trump.