On Sunday's episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver strongly criticized Devin Nunes, describing the Congressman's role in the wiretapping controversy as a continuation of what he refers to as "stupid Watergate." Oliver has coined the phrase "stupid Watergate" to describe the entire Trump administration and Russia controversy, saying the issue represents "a potential scandal with all the intrigue of Watergate, except everyone involved is really bad at everything ... "
This week, Nunes played the "starring role" in Oliver's so-called "stupid Watergate." Nunes, the chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which is investigating claims of Russian interference in the presidential election, has recently received a great deal of attention in the press. This attention derives from his questionable decision to brief President Trump ahead of Congress when he acquired information which indicated that the Trump transition team may have been subject to routine, "incidental surveillance" by U.S. authorities.
On his show, Oliver mocked every aspect of the Nunes story, describing it as a "smoke and mirrors" scenario, which gleaned absolutely no actionable intelligence. While the intelligence Nunes gathered was initially thought to help bolster Trump's unproven claims that he had been wiretapped by U.S. officials during his campaign, Nunes himself admitted that the surveillance was "routine, appeared to be completely legal, and occurred after the election and may not have even targeted Trump or his transition team ... "
Furthermore, Oliver indicated that Nunes actually received this intelligence from White House officials, calling into question why he made such a show of racing to the White House to brief the President on information that was not useful and that he likely already knew. Describing the scenario in a mocking way, Oliver stated:
Okay so, to recap: Devin Nunes took what appears to be an unnecessary trip to tell what appears to be unimportant news to what may have been the source of the news itself. So what Nunes brought to light has turned out to be a bunch of smoke and mirrors as convoluted as it is pointless.
Finally, Oliver took Nunes and his fellow Republicans to task for additional "absurdities" surrounding the issue. Oliver decried the fact that Nunes was receiving and evaluating intelligence about the Trump transition team when he himself was a member of the transition team, calling it a conflict of interest. Furthermore, Oliver lambasted Republican Congressman Ted Yoho's characterization of Nunes as "working for the President," when Yoho was trying to defend Nunes' decision to brief Trump before he briefed Congress. Oliver expressed outrage at the idea, saying that "the whole point of Congress," is that legislative officials do not work for the President.
Oliver went on to end the Nunes segment by describing exactly why the whole scenario epitomized his "stupid Watergate" concept, saying:
That is why this story is "stupid Watergate." It could very well take down the government but nobody involved understand why or how to cover it up or what the government f*cking is ... or possibly how to breathe without getting reminders.
While the Nunes scenario is absurd and, indeed, worrisome, considering the seriousness of the House Committee investigation that Nunes is tasked with chairing, Oliver's comedic relief about the controversy is much appreciated in an otherwise trying time.
Images: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver/HBO