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John Oliver outlined the case for and against impeachment of President Trump on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight.
He pointed out that the Democrat-based argument in favor of moving forward with the process includes the fact that it would “shine a light on the contents of the Mueller Report, potentially lead to new revelations about Trump’s content and force his Republican allies to choose publicly and on the record whether or not to hold him to account.” Meanwhile, the argument against it is that the vote needed to actually kick Trump out of office is not guaranteed, and that it could have the risky effect of putting more Republicans into Congressional seats and giving Trump a boost heading into the 2020 election.
Oliver outlined the case that could be used against Trump, noting that “one area where we already have considerable evidence against Trump is obstruction of justice,” one of same articles of impeachment used against both Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.
He referred to special counsel Robert Mueller, who painstakingly documented Russian efforts to boost Trump’s campaign and undermine that of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. He also referred to White House counsel Don McGahn’s telling investigators that he had been instructed to seek Mueller’s removal.
In addition, Oliver showed a clip from Trump’s ABC News interview, in which the former defended son Donald Trump Jr. for not calling the FBI when approached by Russians offering intel during the 2016 campaign.
“OK, let’s put yourself in a position: You’re a congressman, somebody comes up and says, ‘Hey, I have information on your opponent.’ Do you call the FBI? You don’t,” Trump said in an interview that aired Wednesday. “I’ll tell you what. I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI.”
His assertion that he would be open to accepting a foreign power’s help in his 2020 campaign alarmed Democrats, who condemned it as a call for further election interference while Republicans struggled to defend his comments.
Asked by George Stephanopoulos what he would do if Russia or another country offered him dirt on his election opponent, Trump said: “I think I’d want to hear it.” He added that he’d have no obligation to call the FBI. “There’s nothing wrong with listening.”
“That is the president openly invited foreign interference into our elections again,” Oliver said on his HBO show Sunday night. “And I know that we’ve all become numb to Trump by this point, but moments like that really shock you out of your stupor and make you think, ‘Oh hang on, that guy’s got to be impeached.'”
Oliver said that this, in part, was what pushed him toward wanting impeachment. He argued that Trump is not untouchable.
“Every asshole succeeds until they finally don’t,” he argued, noting that “18 months before he resigned, Nixon had sky-high rating approval of 67 percent. Harvey Weinstein was winning oscars until one day he definitely wasn’t. [Jeopardy! champion] James Holzhauer was stealing all of Alex Trebek’s money until one day someone finally put a stop to it.”
He said that impeachment would not likely result in Trump leaving office, but still argued for it.
“I can’t guarantee it work out the way you want it to because it probably won’t,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth doing, because if nothing else, we’d be standing by the basic fundamental principle that nobody is above the law.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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