Watch: John Oliver advocates for impeachment on “Last Week Tonight” ( Warning: This video contains content some may find offensive)
Comedian John Oliver often uses the main portion of his show “Last Week Tonight” to discuss unique, complex issues that he wants to bring to his audience’s attention.
In the past he has examined niche subjects like robocalls and lethal injection, but Sunday he focused on the impeachment of President Trump, a topic that, Oliver admitted, has been on people’s minds “ever since this president got elected.”
Oliver outlined the specifics of impeachment, noting that it does not guarantee removal from office and serves primarily as an investigative tool. Notably, Oliver pointed out, no president has been removed from office via impeachment.
The impeachment standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” Oliver said, has already been met, based on the evidence outlines in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
“It seems the president obstructed justice then obstructed justice again to try to obstruct the investigation into his obstruction of justice,” Oliver said.
The comedian argued there’s a compelling case there for consolidating various Democratic congressional investigations under the umbrella of impeachment. Although, Oliver admitted, it’s publicly unpopular.
About a quarter of the country approves of impeaching Trump immediately, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday. Low support for impeachment mirrors national attitudes about impeaching Nixon, Oliver noted.
Now look where we are, Oliver remarked — Watergate is now the “scandal we now use as shorthand for every political scandal.”
Many people wondering about impeachment are weighing the risks and the benefits, Oliver said. But it’s just impossible to say how a Trump impeachment would play out, he argued. It’s “extremely unlikely” the president would leave office, but it’s possible further investigation could reveal further undoing, Oliver said.
And not opening an inquiry has consequences too, Oliver said, citing the president’s comments from an ABC interview this week, in which Trump declared he would accept foreign assistance in an election.
The case for inaction here is pretty weak, Oliver said. If Democrats believe impeachment is the right thing to do and they’re worried about public approval, they should work to change people’s minds, he said, because Americans need to stand behind the principle that “no one is above the law.”
“I can’t guarantee impeachment will work out the way you want it to, because it probably won’t,” Oliver concluded. “But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.”
Watch the entire segment at the top of this story.