Speed Reads


John Oliver has some ideas on what's in that 'comically oversized' letter to Trump from Kim Jong Un

"This week, the June 12 summit between the U.S. and North Korea was suddenly back on after President Trump met with a North Korean envoy who had brought him this gigantic, comically oversized letter from Kim Jong Un," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "And as if smiling while holding a letter from a dictator were not enough of a propaganda coup for North Korea, the president then raved about the letter to the press." And then, eight minutes later, he said he hadn't read the letter, admitting he might be surprised. Yeah, Oliver said. "You just agreed to a summit without reading the contents of the letter that supposedly convinced you to do it. So, worst-case scenario, it's a declaration of war. Best-case scenario, it says: 'Donald, it's me. I have run away to North Korea and I'm never coming back. Melania [your third wife].'"

Oliver moved on to Ukraine — "or as Vladimir Putin calls it, 'Bonus Russia'" — and Tuesday's shocking, tragic murder of Putin critic and journalist Arkady Babchenko. "And that's what made what happened on Wednesday even more remarkable," he said. "It's true — Babchenko faked his death to bring down a team of Russian assassins."

"Some of the details of this fake assassination are amazing," including the detail that he watched the news of his own "murder" from the morgue, Oliver said. Babchenko's colleagues were thrilled that he was alive, but some of his friends were rightfully ticked off, Oliver said, as was his wife, who was also left in the dark. Or was she? "And that is the problem here," he said. "And it's why some reporters criticized Babchenko, arguing that this plays into Russia's hands in dismissing actual crimes as 'fake news.'" He also explained why Babkenko probably shouldn't be so "borderline cocky" after his fake death. Watch below. Peter Weber