John Oliver breaks down the redacted Mueller report

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Late-night television hosts got in their fare share of jokes this week about the release of the redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report and on Sunday, it was John Oliver’s turn.

The HBO host began “Last Week Tonight” by launching into an explanation of the report, which was released with redactions Thursday. He remarked that some of the details of the report are “incredible.”

But the breadth of the report, even the partial version made available to the public, is too much to focus on all at once, Oliver said. He described “incompetence” and “disobedience” as the main pillars of the president’s defense against indictment, given the report’s findings.


Oliver highlighted the behavior of Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, suggesting that the duo barely avoid working with the Russians in various instances.

At one point, Oliver noted, Cohen seemed to think Russian communications officer Dmitry Klokov — who had reached out to the Trump campaign — was actually an Olympic weightlifter of the same name.

“When it comes to conspiracy, Trump’s saving grace may have been that despite Russians wanting to help, everyone around him was too inept to work with them,” Oliver remarked.

As far as obstruction of justice was concerned, he added, Trump benefitted from the fact that everyone around him was too disobedient to listen to his orders.

“The news that the president ordered subordinates to do things that might constitute obstruction, and then they just ignored him, is both reassuring and also terrifying,” Oliver said.

Still, Oliver said, he’s glad Mueller’s report has finally arrived. The public airing of the behavior inside the Trump campaign and White House is important for voters and Congress.


“The alternative is for America to end up like Michael Cohen,” Oliver said. “Perpetually confused, easily manipulated, and never fully understanding how a guy with a full-time job as a press secretary can be such a max-jacked, certifiable meat king.”

Peter Bailey-Wells can be reached at peter.bailey-wells@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @pbaileywells.