John Oliver Dubs Trump's Ukraine Scandal as "Stupidest Watergate"

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver March 17 - Publicity - H 2019
Lloyd Bishop/HBO

John Oliver wasted no time in getting to the news that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump last week.

Oliver spent the first 10 minutes of his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, dissecting the probe, which centers on whether Trump abused his presidential powers and sought help from a foreign government to undermine Democratic foe Joe Biden and help his own re-election. Specifically at issue are Trump's actions with Ukraine. In a summer phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he is said to have asked for help investigating former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter a total of eight times.

"Wow.  Eight times. The only time it make sense to ask for the same thing eight times a single phone call is if you're trying to connect with a customer service agent from AT&T. Boom! I got you, Business Daddy! I got you! You genuinely bad company," Oliver joked of HBO's parent company in what's become a frequent jab on his show.

In the days before the call, Trump ordered advisers to freeze $400 million in military aid for Ukraine — prompting speculation that he was holding out the money as leverage for information on the Bidens. Trump has denied that charge, but acknowledged he blocked the funds, later released.

"We called his Russia scandal 'Stupid Watergate,' which unfortunately means, we now have to work out what the sequence should be called," Oliver said, before revealing other names that had been considered: "Stupid Watergate II: Look Who's Stupid Now (The Same Guy," "S2pid Watergate" and "Stwopid Watergate," before settling on "Stupid Watergate II: The Stupidest Watergate."

Oliver noted that the White House initially denied any wrongdoing and released its own account of the call, which didn't, in fact, exonerate Trump, and pointed to the  whistle-blower's account alleging that the White House tried to cover up the call.

"It's true — the notes from the call were stored in a separate code-word level system for highly classified information despite the fact that there was no legitimate reason to do that, and why do that, if there wasn't something very bad in there? If you don't want someone to see something on your computer, everyone knows you put it in a folder labeled 'finance records.'" He then joked that his "finance records" folder was full of photos of "hamsters in Speedos," complete with photos.

Oliver then noted that "every part of this new 'Stupidest Watergate' is dumber than you can even imagine," noting that Zelensky was once a comedian who played the president of Ukraine in a sitcom. He then showed video of an earlier comedy routine in which he and another comedian pretended to play the piano with their penises.

Oliver then went on to mock Rudy Giuliani — "the New York City subway of New York City mayors" — and noted that Giuliani is working pro bono. "So the president is paying Giuliani nothing. And yet I would argue, the president is still overpaying him," Oliver quipped.

Oliver then went on to note that while some may think that "nothing Trump does ever affects him," this time "people seem legitimately furious over this." He also pointed out that while the Russia scandal was over allegations of what Trump was accusing of doing while a presidential candidate, "this involves him abusing the power of the presidency."

Watch the segment below.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.