John Oliver explains impeachment’s benefits and risks on Last Week Tonight


John Oliver looked at what is involved in the impeachment process before weighing the pros and cons on Last Week Tonight.

Behind only “collusion,” the word “impeachment” has become the most popular one referenced when discussing the administration of President Donald Trump. There has always been a percentage of citizens calling for impeachment and now a growing number of Democrats in the House feel that way, too. But as John Oliver explained on Last Week Tonight, it’s not as simple as many people think.

Anytime that a member of Congress has come out in favor of impeachment, it has made headlines all over the news. Late night shows have been no different in covering the calls for President Trump’s impeachment.

While monologues from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert or Late Night with Seth Meyers have been entertaining, nobody in late night has been able to look at the full picture of what impeachment means.

This is another area where Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has an advantage over other shows. He is free to dedicate 20 or 30 minutes a night to a single topic. So with everyone talking about impeachment, Oliver used his show on June 16 to take a step back and examine just what the country would go through if President Trump’s job was in jeopardy.

John Oliver starts off showing a clip of Representative Nancy Pelosi accurately saying that many Americans don’t know enough about the impeachment process. It still a requires a majority of House to vote in favor and then two-thirds of the Senate to agree following a trial. But even before all that, a consensus must be reached on whether there is sufficient evidence of treason, bribery, or high crimes and misdemeanors. Oliver shows that President Trump himself is unclear on the impeachment requirements.

Oliver follows up his explanation of the process by looking at one example of potential obstruction of justice from the Mueller report. For Oliver, the actions of President Trump regarding former White House Counsel Don McGahn could be what convinces the House to move forward with impeachment proceedings.

So why not do it?

Oliver cites polls indicating that a majority of Americans are against impeachment. But the Last Week Tonight host counters that by pointing out the number of Americans who are unaware of just what the Mueller report found. There are also the political risks of a failed impeachment that results in a stronger Trump in 2020 and a stronger Republican Party.

Oliver adds it all up and concludes that opening an inquiry is still the right thing to do. He calls for the president to be held accountable and the ideal that no one is above the law be protected.

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Chances are that John Oliver didn’t change anyone’s opinion one way or the other on impeachment. But Last Week Tonight still provided insight on why things are where they are right now and why there is the potential for it all to change. It is the advantage that the format Last Week Tonight has as a show and with John Oliver as the host.