The first seven weeks of Donald Trump's presidency have injected several new phrases into the American lexicon.
There's “alternative facts,” Kellyanne Conway's interpretation of the easily disproved things White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in his inaugural news conference. And the “Bowling Green massacre,” the Kentucky tragedy in which no one died because it never happened.
Now, in case the word-of-the-year people are listening, John Oliver has given a name to the scandal that has engulfed the new administration:
“Stupid Watergate” /n/:
“A potential scandal with all the intrigue of Watergate except everyone involved is really bad at everything.”
Oliver made the assertion Sunday on “Last Week Tonight.” (You can see the clip here; there's a small amount of exasperated profanity.)
In “Stupid Watergate,” the caustic HBO anchor said, “the relevant question isn't so much what the president knew and when did he know it, as it is, is the president physically capable of knowing things at all.”
To recap, the Trump administration is under fire as the nation tries to determine how much contact campaign officials had with Russia, a country accused of influencing the U.S. election in Trump's favor.
Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned last month amid revelations about his potentially illegal contacts with Russia's ambassador. Flynn's misleading statements about the contacts, the Justice Department warned, left him susceptible to Russian blackmail.
Now, the actions of Attorney General Jeff Sessions are being scrutinized. During his confirmation hearing, Sessions said he had no contact with Russia in 2016 — then later conceded that he'd twice met with the Russian ambassador, according to The Washington Post's national security reporters.
Sessions announced Thursday that he will recuse himself from investigations related to the 2016 campaign, which would include any Russian interference in the electoral process.
Despite the whirlwind, as the sun rose over Mar-a-Lago on Saturday morning, President Trump's thoughts were elsewhere, judging from his Twitter feed. He belted out a series of unsupported (and occasionally misspelled) claims about his predecessor, saying the Obama administration tapped phones in Trump Tower during the election.
“How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process,” he said. “This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
Trump may have gotten the information from a Breitbart article published Friday, according to The Post's Philip Rucker, Ellen Nakashima and Robert Costa.
FBI Director James B. Comey asked the Justice Department to publicly reject Trump's assertions about phone tapping, according to the New York Times.
“Mr. Comey has argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected,” the Times wrote, calling the request “a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s truthfulness.”