×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
June 8, 2018

The big summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un is coming up, and "the stakes are almost as high as Trump and Kim's cholesterol — they're calling this one the Lipitor in Singapore," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. And Trump seems oddly relaxed about the whole thing. "You don't have to prepare," he said, repeating Trump. "Complex diplomacy with an international adversary has always been about 'tude." First lady Melania Trump finally made a public appearance, Colbert added. "Yesterday, she and the president met with FEMA officials to discuss hurricane preparedness — which is appropriate, because she disappeared after a Stormy."

That brought Colbert to his recurrent update on Stormy Daniels. "With everything going on in our busy lives, once in a while it's good to take a moment to stop and remember: Hey, our president had sex with a porn star," he said. Daniels filed a new lawsuit on Wednesday accusing her previous lawyer, Keith Davidson, of being a Trump "puppet" and working with Trump lawyer Michael Cohen against her interests.

"But Hurricane Stormy has also crossed the Atlantic and made landfall in Israel," thanks to an appearance in Tel Aviv by Rudy Giuliani, who belittled and besmirched Daniels and also insisted he doesn't "look at porn," right before telling someone filming his remarks to put the camera down. "Methinks the mayor may be protesting a little too much," Colbert said. He played more of Giuliani's remarks about Daniels, then went there: "Wow, I know Stormy Daniels is an adult-film star, but Rudolph Giuliani might be the biggest d--k she's ever seen — an unpleasant person!" he protested. He ended back on North Korea and, somehow, porn. Watch below. Peter Weber

May 8, 2018

Stephen Colbert began Monday's Late Show with safe wishes for the residents of Hawaii and a joke about that car swallowed by the lava from the Kilauea volcano. "Speaking of natural disasters, Rudy Giuliani," he said. After Giuliani plastered televisions nationwide last week to explain Michael Cohen's $130,000 hush payment to Stormy Daniels, President Trump slapped Giuliani down on Friday, saying his new lawyer is still learning the facts. "That's just Rudy Giuliani using a classic legal strategy: Step 1, go on every TV show known to man; Step 2, learn the facts of your case," Colbert joked.

But Giuliani wasn't done. He went on Sunday's This Week "to explain that when he said that Trump had reimbursed Cohen, he didn't know what he was talking about" and that it's very hard to "separate fact from opinion," Colbert said, and he agreed. "For instance, it's my opinion that he is clearly lying, but that's also a fact." And "when the subject turned to the actual payment to Stormy Daniels, Rudy's defense was: Size matters," he added. "Yeah, $130,000, you're lowballing her. ... Rudy says $1.3 million is the number you should be paid, so now we know how much it will cost to silence Giuliani — and Trump might have to do it because this weekend, Giuliani screwed him hard." Some of the jokes are kind of risqué for network TV.

The Late Show found a way to conduct its own "interview" with Giuliani, seen busily digging himself into a hole.

Colbert was a little underwhelmed with first lady Melania Trump's new policy initiative: the overall well-being of children. "That's kind of vague," he said. "It's like spending all year planning your Halloween party and you decide the theme is 'candy.'" And her slogan? Melania Trump is a very intelligent polyglot, Colbert said, but "for everyone on her team who signed off on 'Be Best," be better." Watch below. Peter Weber

May 8, 2018

"Did you hear about that very old, very scary volcano that erupted over the weekend?" Jimmy Kimmel asked on Monday's Kimmel Live. "Well, his name is Rudy Giuliani." After his disastrous media blitzkrieg last week, Giuliani appeared on ABC's This Week and spouted a bunch of barely decipherable nonsense about Trump's payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, Kimmel said, and he knew it was gibberish because he went through it on a chalkboard.

"But I think I know what's going on here," Kimmel said. "I think their strategy right now is to put someone out there who's even nuttier than Trump to make him look normal by comparison, and it's working."

At The Daily Show, Trevor Noah wasn't so sure. "Do you think the president regrets bringing Giuliani onto the team? Because this feels like a total mess," he told correspondent Michael Kosta. "Rudy Giuliani is a legal wizard, and this is his Fantasia," Kosta said. He skillfully recapped Giuliani's contradictory statements over the past week in 40 seconds, sowing "reasonable doubt," then laid out Giuliani's "airtight" gambit, "the 'Scumbag Defense.'"

"All Rudy said was that the president might regularly pay women to be silent about affairs," Noah said. "Exactly," Kosta explained. "You see, paying off Stormy Daniels is only illegal if Trump did it to help his campaign, but if Trump was paying hush money to women all the time, then it wouldn't be for the campaign. It's just a reoccurring expense he barely pays attention to, like a cable bill or child support."

"So the bigger a cheating scumbag Trump is, the less likely it is that this hush money broke any laws?" Noah asked. "Bingo," Kosta said. "And that's why Rudy is a genius. All he has to do is prove to a jury that Donald Trump is a bad person, and there's not a jury in the world that would rule against that." Watch below. Peter Weber

May 4, 2018

President Trump's "got some problems — and we'll cover just some of them tonight in Stormy Watch," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "And it's not just a storm this time, it's Hurricane Rudy! Last night, Hurricane Rudy made landfall on Fox News, and Trump may have to declare himself a disaster area." Giuliani tore down months of denials that Trump was unaware of his fixer Michael Cohen's hush payment to Stormy Daniels and did not reimburse him, but he had an explanation. "What he's trying to ship here is the idea that Cohen gets $35,000 a month from Trump, and out of that he deducts all the hush money he pays," Colbert recapped. "It's all the porn stars you want to silence for one low monthly fee — Cohen calls his service Netchix."

"A visibly shaken, a shattered-to-his-core Sean Hannity tried to point out the looming iceberg in front of the SS Trumptanic, but Rudy said, 'Full steam ahead!'" Colbert said. "And Giuliani went on Fox & Friends this morning to explain the payment in even more damaging ways. ... There's something kind of admirable about being that bad of a liar."

"We don't have Scandal on Thursday nights anymore, so the president has been working overtime to fill that hole for us," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live, recapping the "new new bombshell": "So the president repaid Michael Cohen for the hush money he didn't know anything about — which almost makes you think maybe he did know something about it — and he 'funneled' it, which doesn't sound suspicious: That's how I pay all my porn stars, too, through a funnel." He had a theory on why this had to be a deliberate decision, "because they can't be this dumb," then for giggles, he showed a supercut of Giuliani's "crazy eyes" on Hannity.

And if you didn't get enough of Giuliani's colorful expressions, The Late Show creatively turned them into commentary on Giuliani's confessions. Watch below. Peter Weber

May 4, 2018

Until President Trump asked Rudy Giuliani to join his legal team, he and his allies had their story straight about Michael Cohen's $130,000 hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels: Trump knew nothing. Then, "last night, Giuliani went on TV and flipped the Stormy Daniels payment story upside-down," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show. "Rudy! What are you doing?" he asked. "Why would Giuliani and Trump change their story? There's no logical explanation."

One theory is that after the FBI's Cohen raid, the truth will come out, so better to reveal the information yourself. "Wow, imagine a PR crisis so bad that your best move is to admit you paid hush money to a porn star," Noah said. Salacious details aside, Trump and Cohen "might have broken the law," he added, and Giuliani's continuing confessions are just making everything worse.

"Rudy, what is wrong with you?" Seth Meyers asked on Late Night. "You're the president's lawyer and you just told everyone he lied on TV — on Sean Hannity's show. You cracked under no pressure. If Rudy Giuliani had been O.J.'s lawyer, he would have said, 'Hey, even if your gloves don't fit, you can still stab somebody.'" But he had his own theory about what's going on: "Every time someone in Trump's orbit gets a close-up look at the [Robert] Mueller investigation, they freak out ... and the same thing is happening with Giuliani."

No, "Giuliani is embarking on a bold new strategy: Don't deny the thing, don't excuse the thing, just say the thing," Jordan Klepper said on The Opposition. "Finally! We're done dancing around these snowflakes worried about laws and/or consequences! Who cares about the P.C. police — or the regular police? Rudy is the just-say-the-thing expert. ... And before you can say, 'Won't Donald Trump get in trouble for just saying the thing?' ask yourself: When has that ever happened before?" He broke out his gaslight. Watch below. Peter Weber

May 3, 2018

"Lawyers don't normally do talk shows," Stephen Colbert told Michael Avenatti on Wednesday's Late Show, pointing out that Avenatti has appeared on CNN about 60 times since taking Stormy Daniels as a client. "That's it?" Avenatti joked. Colbert asked if constantly appearing on TV was part of his legal strategy, and Avenatti didn't disagree. "This is not your normal case, and it's not your normal defendant," he said. "I mean, you're dealing with a defendant that's very undisciplined, can be easily baited into making mistakes, and I think we've been very, very successful in doing just that."

Avenatti said he's confident that he and Daniels will beat Trump in court and doesn't think the president will serve out his term. "I have never seen anyone pander to an audience like you just did," Colbert laughed. Avenatti unveiled a new document, the receipt for $130,000 from Cohen's LLC to Daniels' former attorney. The important detail, he said, is that the transfer was from a California bank, putting Cohen potentially in the Trump-pardon-free crosshairs of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

Colbert asked about the National Enquirer salvo fired at Cohen, and Avenatti said "there's no question that they've started the character assassination now on Michael Cohen because it's clear to them that he's going to flip on the president, and they're nervous about what me might say so they want to undercut his credibility." And Colbert circled back to Avenatti's theory that Trump will step down: "What makes you think he'll resign? He is nothing if not shameless, so what is it that would make him step down? He'll fight tooth-and-nail to the end." Cohen "knows where all kinds of bodies are buried, there's no question about that," Avenatti said, "and I don't think the president is going to be able to withstand the heat at the end of the day, I just don't." Watch below. Peter Weber

April 10, 2018

On Monday, FBI agents raided the offices, home, and hotel room of Michael Cohen, President Trump's longtime personal lawyer and fixer, and the late-night TV hosts focused on one particular facet of the afternoon's big news. "The breaking news is that Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, is in trouble for maybe using campaign funds to buy a porn star's silence," Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. "And you know, it's just nice knowing that in 20 years, teachers won't be able to give a history lesson without explaining what a pornographic actress is. 'You see, children, when a man pays a woman very much....'"

"Remember, Michael Cohen claims he paid off Stormy Daniels out of his own pocket, which is crazy — who pays for porn?" Stephen Colbert asked on The Late Show. Trump may be angry about the raid, but he has only himself to blame, he added. Trump "said on camera, just to recap, 'You'll have to ask Michael Cohen.' Well, guess who watches TV? Robert Mueller." A tip from Mueller apparently led to Monday's Cohen raid, and the FBI "got everything," Colbert joked. "They got all of his information about porn in a folder marked 'Finances,' and all his information about finances in a folder marked 'Porn.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

March 28, 2018

"We all know that President Trump loves to trash-talk people, but strangely, he's never said one bad thing about Vladimir Putin," Stephen Colbert noted on Tuesday's Late Show. In fact, despite the counsel of Trump's advisers, "up till now, he's been a huge fan of Vladimir Putin. Well, yesterday, all that ... stayed the same, but the United States did expel 60 Russians over a U.K. poison attack. Sixty! Normally for Trump to expel that many people, they have to be in his Cabinet." Russia hasn't officially responded, but Russia's foreign ministry posted a trollish Twitter poll on which U.S. consulate they should close, Colbert noted, "and like all Russian votes, the winner was Vladimir Putin."

There is also "more news on the Stormy Daniels front — and the rest of her," Colbert said. "The president has a brilliant new defense: He's telling people that Stormy Daniels isn't his type. What? She's a buxom blonde. She couldn't be more his type if she was a Fish Filet wrapped in a 100 ruble bill." He also made some almost tasteful Ivanka jokes.

"Trump has been largely silent about the accusation of the affair," but the White House responded Monday with a weirdly phrased rebuttal from Trump. And "evidently, the scandal is starting to affect Trump's reputation in Washington," earning him an embarrassing new nickname behind his back, Colbert said, barely stifling a grin. "In all seriousness, we should show some respect: It's President Spanky." He ended with a pox on both their lawyers. Watch below. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads