Alec Baldwin returned to “Saturday Night Live” this week for a cold open that seized on the latest twists in the Russia investigation and the sexual misconduct allegations against former “Today” anchor Matt Lauer.
In the opening sketch, President Donald Trump (Baldwin, as always) stewed over former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s guilty plea for lying to the FBI. “I’m in pouty baby mode,” Baldwin told Kellyanne Conway, played by Kate McKinnon.
McKinnon tried to cheer him up, reminding him that the Republican tax overhaul had cleared the Senate.
“This tax bill is your biggest achievement yet, in that it is your only achievement,” McKinnon said.
She then stepped out of the Oval Office to fetch some items at the president’s request -- $5 million in a duffel bag, along with his “passport, a fake mustache and a bucket of chicken.”
Baldwin was then visited by some ghosts of Christmas past. Flynn (Mikey Day), calling himself the “Ghost of Witness Flipped,” emerged from a cloud of fog and lamented his legal troubles.
“If only somebody had warned me about you,” Baldwin said.
“Well, President Obama did warn you not to hire me,” Day replied.
“I meant someone American,” Baldwin explained, referring to Trump’s erroneous “birther” crusade.
The next ghost: Billy Bush (Alex Moffatt), a former host on NBC’s “Today” and “Access Hollywood.” Bush came under fire after the release of a 2005 videotape in which Trump, then the host of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” made vulgar comments about women; Bush can be heard on the tape laughing.
“I’m looking pretty good in the NBC News division right about now,” Moffatt said, referring to the sexual misconduct allegations against Lauer, who was fired by NBC News on Wednesday.
The other ghosts: Russian President Vladimir Putin (Beck Bennett) and Hillary Clinton (McKinnon again).
“You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to say this,” McKinnon as Clinton told Day as Flynn. “Lock him up!”
The episode, hosted by “Lady Bird” star Saoirse Ronan, revisited the subject of sexual misconduct in a satirical music video titled “Welcome to Hell.” In the video, the women of “SNL” joked that sexual harassment and assault are nothing new — in fact, women have been speaking out for “hundreds of years.”
“I guess no one, like, cared,” Aidy Bryant said.
“SNL” again took aim at Trump and Lauer during the “Weekend Update” segment.
“The good news for President Trump is that his tax plan just passed the Senate. The bad news is he might not be president long enough to sign it,” co-anchor Colin Jost said as a newspaper headline reading “Flynn Cooperating With Mueller” flashed on the screen.
“I have to say, it’s just refreshing to see a powerful man plead guilty for something that isn’t sexual harassment,” Jost added.
After a few more digs about the GOP tax plan and Trump’s latest tweets, Jost attempted to make light of the flood of sexual misconduct allegations.
“You just gotta announce the names every week like Powerball numbers,” Jost said, as pictures of Lauer, Russell Simmons and Garrison Keillor appeared on the screen.
The episode took a break from current events in most other sketches. Ronan gamely poked fun at her Irish heritage throughout the night, devoting part of her monologue to a song about the spelling of her first name. She has won critical acclaim for her lead role in “Lady Bird,” a coming-of-age comedy.