Speed Reads

Trump fires James Comey

John Oliver has given up on Trump. But he still expects something more from Congress.

On Sunday's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver ran though the key developments in President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey last week, including Trump admitting that the Russia investigation was on his mind and his bizarre tweet-threat about taping his and Comey's conversations.

"At this point, President Trump has made it very clear: He fired the director of the FBI at least partially due to unhappiness with the bureau's investigation into his campaign's possible collusion with Russia," Oliver said. "Which is both shocking and yet completely unsurprising. There's really nothing Trump could do to genuinely shock me right now. If you said he fired Comey because he's investigating Russia, I'd believe you. If you said he did it because Comey is 6' 8" and Trump feels like a tiny little man standing next to him, I would believe you."

"It is too easy to point at Trump being crazy — that's what he does, that is not going to stop, and it's going to be exhausting for everyone," he continued. "The important question is, what do the rest of us do? And that brings us to Congress." Oliver called out House Speaker Paul Ryan's spineless response to the Comey firing, and implied that one party in particular needs to acknowledge that this is messed up, and act: "The point is, the Founding Fathers created a system of checks and balances to limit the power of the president, but it only works if someone f—ing checks or balances. And if you don't, it's no longer on Trump, it's on you." He illustrated his point with a hypothetical 5-year-old boy at a Ruby Tuesday salad bar. Some language is NSFW.

If you want to hear the same point without the profanity, David Gergen reached a similar conclusion last Thursday night on CNN. Gergen, a presidential adviser back to Richard Nixon, began by noting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions broke the terms of his recusal by taking part in Comey's firing. But the broader question is "not only about who Donald Trump is," he said. "The question becomes, Who are we as Americans? What values do we hold? Are we willing to accept a White House that has such an utter contempt for the rule of law, that's willing to invent tales for children and tell us those tales, watch them fall apart, and pay no attention and keep moving?" Peter Weber