John Oliver: Trump Using ‘Incompetence’ Defense In Russia Probe

John Oliver started his Last Week Tonight show by first acknowledging the horrific mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where a heavily armed gunman massacred 26 people.

“Obviously our thoughts are with the people of Texas after today’s horrific incident, details of which are still unfolding as I speak,” said Oliver, whose HBO program began taping around the time the news broke. “I am sure that there will be more to say about this in the hours and the days ahead, but for now, we are just going to dive straight in tonight with President Trump, statues of whom will inevitably one day be erected and then taken down amid a storm of controversy.”

After that Oliver changed the subject to the “Stupid Watergate” scandal as hi called and the first indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Trump-Russia probe.

“Yes, it’s finally happening!” exclaimed a giddy Oliver.

This past week, Mueller brought charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate (and Trump adviser) Rick Gates. On Sunday, NBC News also reported that Mueller has enough evidence to bring charges against Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, as well as his son.

“Over $2 million on rugs and clothes!” exclaimed Oliver. “Now, I can’t speak to the quality of rugs, but how the fuck is this guy spending that much on clothing? He looks like he bought all the suits he was going to wear for the rest of his life on one day in 1982 with a cashier’s check for $900.”

“If you think about Trump’s defense here—which he definitely hasn’t—it’s actually pretty straight, because he’s essentially saying Manafort had already done all this stuff at the time that I, Donald Trump, decided to hire him as my campaign manager, which means one of two things: Either Trump did a background check, discovered his suspicious activity, and didn’t care, or he didn’t so much as Google Manafort before hiring him,” argued Oliver.

I don’t remember much about that meeting,” Trump said this week.

“In all three cases, Trump’s pushback has basically been: I don’t know anything about the people I should have known those things about. And that is his signature move—he’s playing ‘The Trump Card.’ What I mean by that is, he’s using his own incompetence as a defense,” said Oliver.

He continued: “The worrying thing here is, it may work for Trump. Because think of what the counterargument may have to be: This is a meticulous man who made strategic decisions fully aware of the consequences of his actions. That can be a tough case to make, but we cannot accept ‘The Trump Card’ as his defense here, because if we do, just think about what we would actually be saying there. We would be saying: Look, this guy is too dumb to really understand what he’s doing, so I guess we have no choice but to let him keep being president. Please, let’s not do that.”