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John Oliver: Vladimir Putin “Biggest Threat To U.S. After President Trump”

Deadline logo Deadline 6/5/2017 Lisa de Moraes
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John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight isn’t the only TV program to focus on Vladimir Putin, but is probably the only one to call the Russian ruler “perhaps the biggest threat to the United States after the President of the United States.”

Putin was everywhere on TV this week, Oliver noted. He appeared in newly released clips from the upcoming Oliver Stone series on him, which Oliver said “looks like a truly depressing episode of Carpool Karaoke.” Putin also appeared Sunday night as guest of honor on Megyn Kelly’s new NBC show which, Oliver suggested, really should be called Forget Everything I said On Fox Since 2004 with Megyn Kelly.

But the most notable thing about Putin this week, was when he admitted, on neither of above mentioned programs, for the very first time, that Russian citizens may have been involved in hacking the U.S. election.

In an interview, Putin suggested patriotic Russian hackers are just artistic types looking for inspiration, like an improve troupe who said, “All we need is a location to get started,” and someone in the audience shouts, “Inside the email center at the DNC!”

Putin’s coy remark about patriotic Russian hackers added to concerns about that country’s connection to the Trump administration. And that concern should have gotten even worse with news that broke during the week, but that got lost in all the other news. That is, the Washington Post reports Trump may be giving back to Russia two compounds, in Maryland and New York, from which Russia got ousted by Obama after the presidential election, in direct response to interference in the election.

Since the Reagan era, the compounds have been associated with spying on Americans, Oliver noted. The compounds are directly related to the scandal that tripped up Michael Flynn, Oliver said, describing Flynn as “a man whose very face answers the question, ‘What if an eagle hated Muslims?'”

Among the things Flynn got in trouble for, were misleading answers about phone calls with the Russian ambassador during the Trump transition.  One object of those phone calls allegedly was whether Trump would roll back sanctions on Russia –sanctions that included closing these two compounds. “And now it seems that not only may that happen, but we’re not really expecting much in return,” Oliver said.

“Trump may be handing the Russians back the compounds from which they have reportedly spied on us, in the midst of a special counsel investigating whether his campaign colluded with Russia – an investigation that includes the issue of those very compounds he may now be returning!” the late-night host ranted. “And, he could be doing all of this while receiving nothing for America in return.”

He added, “At this point I honestly kind of hope Putin does have a golden-shower tape of him. Because, otherwise, Trump is the worst deal-maker in human history.”

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