John Oliver says Trump’s call for foreign investigation is ‘what dictators do’

John Oliver
John OliverLloyd Bishop/HBO/File/HBO

Comedian John Oliver revisited the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump during the opening sequence of his show “Last Week Tonight” on HBO on Sunday Night. The host focused on the president’s public call for an investigation into Joe Biden’s family and on the emergence of a second whistle-blower in the Trump-Ukraine case.

Oliver said that the president’s open acknowledgment that he is seeking foreign investigation —including from China or Ukraine — of a political opponent is dangerous for the country.

“Using your office to take down your political rivals is what dictators do,” Oliver said. “Trump asking China and Ukraine to do that should really bother us.”


The response from Senate Republicans, Oliver added, has been lackluster and uncaring, before playing a clip of Senator Marco Rubio asserting that Trump was simply trying to “provoke” the media with his request for information from China.

Oliver objected to Rubio’s remark by noting that power of the presidency could make even a president’s joking request of investigation seem serious to another country.

That’s problematic, Oliver argued, because not every foreign government “will be as brave and willing to stand up to Trump” as the band Nickleback. Earlier this week, Trump tweeted a meme of a Nickleback video that Twitter removed for copyright infringement, which prompted a series of jokes from Oliver on Sunday night.

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