On the most recent episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver's scathing take on Michael Cohen's Essential Consultants company left many viewers amused. The late night host didn't hold back at all when it came to critiquing Trump's embattled personal attorney and his shell consulting firm.
Oliver opened his segment by describing the multiple quandaries in which Cohen has found himself in recent weeks. As Oliver reported, Cohen first made headlines for making a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star who alleges she had an affair with President Donald Trump. Trump vehemently denies these allegations. Now, Cohen is once again in the news after he allegedly accepted payments from several companies through his own shell company, Essential Consultants LLC, allegedly in exchange for access to Trump. Cohen's lawyers have confirmed that he had business relationships with certain companies, but notes that the documents supposedly outlining the aforementioned payments contain many inaccuracies.
Oliver found the notion that companies allegedly paid Cohen for access to Trump both funny and alarming. As the late night host described,
Millions of dollars for access to Trump — which is just bizarre, because I naturally assumed that you gained access to the president by finding a golden ticket in your MAGA hat. ... Now selling access is a serious allegation, and there’s a lot that we don’t know here. What we can say is, shortly after Trump was elected, Michael Cohen started making a lot of money...
Oliver then proceeded to mock the naming of Cohen's shell company, Essential Consultants, which the comedian portrayed as being hilariously misleading. As the late night host noted:
Essential Consultants... a company for which there is no logo. And even the name arouses suspicion. For starters, this company involves Cohen, who is absolutely not essential. He's also not a consultant. Plus there's only one of him, so even the "s" in the company name is a big dumb lie.
Oliver then condemned Cohen for the way he allegedly marketed himself to clients. According to a Republican strategist, Cohen would tell potential clients that they should "fire" whoever had been representing them and hire him, because, as Cohen reportedly noted, "I’m closest to the president. I’m his personal lawyer.” Oliver characterized Cohen's sales pitch as "a little bit weird," saying, "lawyers generally don't pitch themselves by offering up info on their other clients."
Oliver proceeded to ask, "What exactly is Cohen an expert in?" after noting that many high-profile companies, including AT&T and Novartis, reportedly paid Cohen in exchange for his expertise. Oliver was heavily amused when commenting on the notion that AT&T in particular said it had paid Cohen to gain insight into how Trump thinks. The late night host implied that he doesn't believe shelling out millions is necessary to achieve the aim of gaining insight into Trump. As Oliver put it:
If you want to understand this president’s thinking, simply have a donkey kick you in the head five times and then watch Fox News for 72 hours straight. That would give you a pretty good idea of what’s going on his mind.
Finally, Oliver wrapped up his piece by noting that, while all of the details regarding alleged payments to Cohen are not yet known, the host firmly believes that the companies received exactly what they supposedly paid for — insight into how the Trump administration works. As Oliver described,
They [the comapnies] put their trust in a political novice [Cohen] who turned out to be a total moron and was actually just bilking them for personal gain. So, you want to know how the Trump administration works? Congratulations, you just got a f*cking master class.
Oliver clearly found the entire Cohen-Essential Consultants issue amusing, to say the least, but also certainly recognized that the implications of these alleged payments could potentially be very significant. Time will tell how the Essential Consultants story continues to unfold — and whether Oliver has more cutting commentary to offer.