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May 14, 2018

John Oliver began Sunday's Last Week Tonight by cleaning up the loose ends from last week's show, which he ended with a show of shutting it down. "I went to Australia to work with the koalas, but then I learned two important things," including that "HBO contracts are a little harder to get out of than I originally thought," he joked. "So unfortunately for everybody, this show must continue, and we begin tonight with the Trump White House," from President Trump shutting down the Iran deal to first lady Melania Trump asking Americans to "be best" and a White House staffer "joking" about Sen. John McCain dying. "That's shocking, but it's also not really surprising," Oliver shurgged. "These days, 'Trump aide says something awful' isn't really news, it's just an assumed fact, like gravity."

Oliver spent most of his Trump time on the travails of Michael Cohen, "a lawyer so shitty, he made Trump say: 'I need someone good — get me Rudy Giuliani on the phone.'" Novartis, AT&T, and Kremlin-linked Columbus Nova paid Cohen "millions of dollars for access to Trump — which is just bizarre," he said, not only "because lawyers don't generally pitch themselves by offering up info on their other clients," but also "because I just naturally assumed that you gained access to the president by finding a golden ticket in your MAGA hat. Don't fall into the river of gravy, little Charlie, or you'll never be the next owner of the racism factory!"

"We probably don't yet know the full significance of all of these payments, but I would argue that, at heart, these companies got exactly what they paid for," Oliver said. "Because they wanted to understand how the Trump administration worked, and think about it, they put their trust in a political novice who turned out to be a total moron and was actually just bilking them for personal gain." Watch below. Peter Weber

10:49 a.m.

As expected, late Sen. John McCain's replacement is stepping down at the end of this year.

Following the longtime senator's death in August, fellow Arizona Republican Jon Kyl was appointed to take his spot. Kyl served three Senate terms alongside McCain before retiring in 2013, and only promised to serve until the end of the year. He officially submitted his resignation letter Friday, leaving Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to appoint another senator before a 2020 special election.

Arizona's U.S. senators have had a tumultuous year, with Sen. Jeff Flake (R) opting not to run for re-election this year and making a few last-minute bipartisan stands along the way. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) narrowly beat Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) to win Flake's seat in November.

Still, McSally remains popular among other Republican senators, suggesting Ducey might appoint McSally to fill Kyl's shoes next year, CNN notes. Ducey's Chief of Staff Kirk Adams has also emerged as a potential appointee, as has state treasurer Eileen Klein, AZ Central says. Regardless, whoever Ducey appoints will only get to serve until 2020 before having to defend their seat in a special election. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:47 a.m.

"Truth isn't truth," and presidential inaugurations have nothing to do with presidents, apparently.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Thursday night that The Wall Street Journal's report about a criminal investigation into President Trump's 2017 inaugural committee is only distantly, vaguely related to Trump himself.

"That doesn't have anything to do with the president or the first lady," said Sanders. "The biggest thing the president did in his engagement in the inauguration was to come here, and raise his hand, and take the oath of office."

Federal prosecutors are reportedly looking into whether Trump's inaugural committee misspent any of its record $107 million haul and whether any of the committee's biggest donors sought access to or special favors from the incoming Trump administration for their donations. Improper spending could amount to a violation of federal corruption laws.

Even though the committee told the Journal that there is no such investigation, Sanders quickly distanced Trump from the entire situation. "The president was focused on the transition during that time and not on any of the planning," she said. Watch her comments below, via Vox's Aaron Rupar. Summer Meza

9:37 a.m.

Among allies of President Trump, "he did not break the law" has quickly evolved into "even if he did, who cares?"

Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told The Daily Beast in a story published Friday that the ongoing controversy over possible campaign finance violations isn't a big deal because "Nobody got killed, nobody got robbed," adding, "this was not a big crime." He went on to compare paying hush money to two alleged mistresses shortly before a presidential election to not paying parking tickets.

Trump's lawyer had previously argued that the payments were not related to the campaign and were "personal," and therefore were not in violation of campaign finance law, per The Washington Post. But this argument has become increasingly dubious in recent days considering American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, said this week that it paid Karen McDougal $150,000 to keep her silent about her alleged affair with Trump for the sole purpose of ensuring she did not affect the election. Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, has also said the payments had everything to do with the election.

Giuliani separately told The Wall Street Journal on Friday that even if Trump did violate campaign finance law, it's not big deal. "It's campaign finance, my God," he said. "Everybody pays a fine to the FEC that is in politics. You can’t follow all the rules.” Brendan Morrow

8:59 a.m.

MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski apologized on Morning Joe Friday morning for having called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a "wannabe dictator's butt boy."

Brzezinski at the top of the show referenced her "terrible choice of words" two days prior. "The term is crass and offensive and I apologize to everyone, especially the LGBTQ community and to my colleagues for using it," she said, per Mediaite. This was a "mistake," Brzezinski added, saying she will "work hard to be better."

The Morning Joe host had apologized for the remark on Twitter Wednesday morning, saying that it was a "SUPER BAD choice of words" and that she should have said "water boy" instead. Brzezinski was not on Morning Joe the next day, which co-host Joe Scarborough said was because of a pre-planned family event.

President Trump weighed in on the controversy, tweeting that if a conservative made a similar mistake, they would "be banned permanently from television" but that Brzezinski, who he referred to as "crazed," will "probably be given a pass, despite their terrible ratings." Megyn Kelly, a conservative whose NBC show was canceled after she made comments defending wearing blackface on Halloween, said Thursday that Brzezinski should not be fired for her statement, per The Daily Mail. "I hope she's forgiven," Kelly said. Brendan Morrow

8:14 a.m.

Nancy Wilson, a vocalist who is best known for singing jazz but preferred to call herself a "song stylist," died Thursday night after a long illness. She was 81. Wilson, who retired from touring in 2011, died at her home in Pioneertown, California, near Joshua Tree National Park.

Wilson was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1937. She started singing at age 4, began performing professionally after a year of college, and started recording hit records soon after moving to New York City in 1959, The Associated Press reports. Her biggest commercial success was in the 1960s, when she recorded eight albums that hit the Billboard Top 20 pop charts. Her repertoire ranged from torch songs to show tunes and pop standards, but she is most associated with jazz. Wilson won two Grammys for jazz records, in 2005 and 2007, but also a Grammy for best R&B performance in 1965. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded her a "Jazz Masters Fellowship" in 2004, and the NAACP honored her with an Image award in 1998. She also appeared on several TV shows, including Hawaii Five-O and her own eponymous variety show.

Here, Wilson sings "Lush Life," from the 1967 album of the same name.

Wilson, who was married twice and divorced once, is survived by one son, two daughters, two sisters, and five grandchildren. Peter Weber

8:13 a.m.

CBS has been hit with yet another sexual harassment scandal.

The New York Times reports the network in January 2018 secretly reached a $9.5 million settlement with actress Eliza Dushku, who said she was written off of Bull after complaining about being sexually harassed by the show's star, Michael Weatherly.

Weatherly reportedly commented on Dushku's appearance, made a rape joke, and talked about having a threesome. After she confronted Weatherly about this, her character was shortly written off the series, even though there had reportedly been plans for her to join the cast full time. She felt she was written off as punishment for her sexual harassment complaint. Some of this harassment was reportedly captured on tape.

This information came out as part of an investigation at CBS following the sexual misconduct allegations against Les Moonves, the network's former chairman. Dushku didn't comment for the Times' article, but CBS confirmed the settlement was reached, saying that "while we remain committed to a culture defined by a safe, inclusive, and respectful workplace, our work is far from done."

Weatherly told the Times he made jokes on set "mocking some lines in the script" but was "horrified" when he found out Dushku wasn't comfortable with them. "After reflecting on this further, I better understand that what I said was both not funny and not appropriate and I am sorry and regret the pain this caused Eliza," he said. Weatherly, after being confronted by Dushku, had reportedly texted David Stapf, the president of CBS Television Studios, "saying that he wanted to talk about Ms. Dushku's sense of humor." He denies pushing for her to be written off the series. Read more at The New York Times. Brendan Morrow

7:27 a.m.

President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen is speaking out in his first televised interview since being sentenced to three years in prison.

Cohen told ABC News Friday that "of course" Trump knew that making hush money payments to two women, Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, was wrong. But Cohen says his boss instructed him to silence the women, who have alleged they had affairs with Trump before he ran for president. Trump denies their allegations. "I knew what I was doing was wrong," Cohen also said.

Referring to Trump's claim that the payments were made without his knowledge, Cohen said, "I don't think there is anybody that believes that ... He directed me to make the payments."

Trump has additionally argued that the payments were not campaign contributions, but Cohen tells ABC that they were specifically made to "help [Trump] and his campaign.”

Cohen regrets giving loyalty to Trump, who "truthfully does not deserve loyalty," he said. When ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked Cohen why people should believe him now when he has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, Cohen responded that prosecutors have a "substantial amount of information that they possessed that corroborates the fact that I am telling the truth," adding that he's "done with the lying."

Speaking more about his former boss, Cohen observed that Trump is now a "very different individual" than in the past because the "pressure of the job is much more than what he thought it was going to be." Watch a portion of Cohen's interview with ABC below. Brendan Morrow

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