"The Trump White House has been plagued by incessant leaks, and judging by his tweets, the president has had enough," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. President Trump is particularly incensed about the latest big leak, the comment from a staffer about Sen. John McCain "dying anyway," because "it's made the White House look even worse than usual," Noah said, briefly running through the history of the Trump-McCain feud, ending on McCain requesting that Trump skip his funeral.
That's "the highest level of dis possible, to uninvite someone to something you're technically not really gonna be at," Noah laughed. "Personally, I would want Trump at my funeral, because I know that he'd hate being at an event that wasn't about him. You know, he'd be like, 'I can be in a hole, too, folks! I was also dead — they said I was dead, folks, 270 Electoral College votes, but I got them!'"
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders held a meeting to chastise staffers for leaking, and of course it immediately leaked. "So now, the leakers are leaking leaks about a meeting about what leaked," Noah said. "This is like in a relationship when you're having an argument about how much you argue." But not only is the White House not apologizing about the comment, killing the story; they won't even talk about it. "I understand what's happening here," Noah said. "In Trump's world, if you apologize, you're admitting that it happened, and for Trump, that's a sign of weakness. But here's the thing: Just because it wasn't meant to get out doesn't mean you can expect everyone to act like it didn't happen. That's not how this works." He illustrated his point by trying Sanders' tactic in a hypothetical court of law.
In Late Night's choose-your-own-response press briefing, Seth Meyers got a different kind of leaking answer out of Sanders. Watch below. Peter Weber
Seth Meyers warily looks past Ronny Jackson at the Fox News pundit Trump might tap next to lead the VA
President Trump loves to use the word "choice" when discussing the Department of Veterans Affairs, but what he really seems to mean is fully privatizing veterans' care, Seth Meyers said on Tuesday's Late Night. "There's a debate to be had, but I'll just say that the Hoover Dam has been there for almost 90 years, while the Jamba Juice on your block that used to be a Curves is now a Chipotle." Veterans have had some "choice" since 2014 — "you know, back when your Chipotle was a Radio Shack," Meyers joked — and given the choice, "studies have shown that veterans overwhelmingly prefer to go to the VA for their care."
Former VA Secretary David Shulkin says Trump fired him because he wouldn't go along with privatization plans, and Trump's pick to replace him, White House doctor Ronny Jackson, appears to be going nowhere fast, amid mounting questions about his work and personal history. And "unfortunately, when it comes to decisions involving veterans, Trump reportedly seeks the advice of Fox News personality and Iraq War veteran Pete Hegseth, who favors an overhaul of the VA and who is on Trump's short list to be the next secretary of Veterans Affairs," Meyers said. "Now, you might be unfamiliar with Hegseth because you don't watch Fox News — or you're very familiar him, which means you're just hate-watching my show, and frankly, I don't appreciate that."
Right now, the question is whether Jackson's nomination will survive — the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee has postponed confirmation hearings, and Trump is sending mixed messages, privately urging Jackson to fight while publicly questioning why he would want to go through an "ugly" confirmation process, adding, "if I were him, I wouldn't do it." That was a bridge too far for Meyers. "What do you mean, if you were him you wouldn't do it? You're even less qualified, and you did do it." Watch below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert kicked off Wednesday's Late Show by declaring he's "still riding high" from Tuesday night's interview with former FBI Director James Comey. "I'm not sure if the president saw the interview — I hear he doesn't watch TV hosts who don't share his lawyer," he joked, but one "seemingly out-of-nowhere" tweet suggests he might have. Either way, the interview "is already healing a nation," he said, because "James Comey is now friends with the Wu-Tang Clan." (Unlike Jeff Sessions.)
"Speaking of unlikely duos," Colbert said, CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea — and he's not even secretary of state yet. "Apparently now, just anyone can have face-to-face talks with the leader of North Korea." He said he hopes the denuclearization talks are successful, and he couldn't believe "Trump kept something this big secret. How did he do it? I mean, the only possible explanation is that Michael Cohen paid him $130,000 to stay quiet about it."
The Late Show also imagined Kim's reaction to Pompeo's visit, and yes, it includes a Dennis Rodman reference.
Russian sanctions are dividing the White House, with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announcing new sanctions Sunday — before Trump then scrapped the idea over the objections of his advisers. "We tried to get a follow-up from Nikki Haley, but it's so hard to reach her under that bus," Colbert said. Trump reportedly got so angry watching Haley announce the sanctions on TV, he shouted "Who wrote that for her?" at the screen. "Fun fact, Mr. President," Colbert said: "Not all women are under legally binding agreements about what they can say."
"Trump may be angry because he accidentally appointed someone competent," but Republicans are reportedly suspicious that Haley and Vice President Mike Pence are conspiring to run together in 2020, Colbert said. "That is absurd. Mike Pence can't be on a ticket with a woman who's not his wife." Peter Weber
"The big story is still President Trump and all the turnover in his administration — it seems like every week, someone new loses their job," Jimmy Fallon said on Wednesday's Tonight Show. "And believe it or not, another person was just fired by Trump moments ago." Luckily, thanks to the fortuitous timing of Fallon's guest being Mike Myers, he was able to land an exclusive interview with the sacked aide, Dr. Evil.
If you were unaware that the Austin Powers villain was in the Trump White House, so was Fallon. "Naturally, I was going to be secretary of evil — but Steve Bannon got that job," Dr. Evil explained. So instead he ended up being more of an "ideas guy." "All the most evil stuff was me," he added, listing the border wall (which was supposed to be a blowfish-filled moat, paid for by Alec Baldwin) and the Space Force. "Even deporting DREAMers?" Fallon asked. "No, Jimmy, even I have my limits," Dr. Evil said. "I'm evil, but I'm not a monster."
For the rest of the interview, Dr. Evil dished on various members of the Trump administration ("Well, I got along swimmingly with Ben Carson: We were both evil doctors that didn't know why we were there"), promoted his new tell-all book Fire and Fury and Also Evil (And More Fire and Also Magma Too), and announced his own run for president, complete with a catchy slogan and a running mate, "the only man who's more hated right now than Donald Trump." Watch below. Peter Weber
The record-setting churn at President Trump's White House has left West Wing staffers so on edge and in the dark that "White House officials have begun betting pools of sorts among each other on who's getting ousted next," according to Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey. Wednesday's Late Show ran with that idea, creating a DCAA "March Sadness" bracket.
Fake CBS Sports announcers Larry Boberry and Gary Nanafanafoferry walk through the regional matches to "find out which Trump administration members will still be left by the end of March." Rex Tillerson was already knocked out for Mike Pompeo, but what about John Kelly vs. Javanka, or Ben Carson vs. Budget Office Furniture? The Betsy DeVos bracket is especially barbed. Watch below. Peter Weber
On Tuesday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert explained the curious circumstances surrounding President Trump's tweet-sacking of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. But "Tillerson's firing today is just the latest in a massive purge of the Trump administration," he noted, listing off the biggest of the fallen Trumpites. "For those of us in the media, the constant turnover has been amazing to watch: the drama, the fireworks, the winners, the losers, the losers, the losers. It's like something out of The Hunger Games. Or, something even more dramatic than that — it's The Hungry to Leave Power Games." Colbert reprised his Caesar Flickerman persona from the 2016 campaign, adjusting it for the Trump White House.
Colbert/Flickerman ran through a version of Tillerson's life story and rocky tenure at the State Department, and then it was time to say goodbye. "All our sexy ex-Rexes are going back to Texas," he said. "So we bid Secretary Tillerson a symbolic farewell by filling this simple wooden coffin, first with Secretary Tillerson and next with what he loved most, delicious oil. ... Because whether it be fossil fuels or calling the president a f---ing moron, we know Rex Tillerson likes it crude." He gave the traditional farewell to the tribute (Trumpbute?) from District Oil, then threw up a bunch of other Trump White House alumni. "It's sad to see them leave," he said, "but they're going to a better place: testifying for Robert Mueller." Watch below. Peter Weber
Secretary of State and "human Grumpy Cat" Rex Tillerson was just one of three Trump administration officials fired on Tuesday alone, Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show. "Working for the White House is basically like being in a Saw movie: You show up, you get tortured for a while, and then you get killed off." It's not clear why Trump decided to fire Tillerson now, Noah said, but he summed up their fraught relationship with the "serious mind games" Trump played with Tillerson on North Korea. "It's like Trump was trying to get Tillerson to break up with him," he said. Still, the people who dissed Tillerson early on "turned out to be right," Noah added. "Tillerson was a pretty bad secretary of state." He gave some examples — funding cuts, exodus of diplomats — then drily celebrated "Rex Tillerson's greatest achievements." Or rather, achievement.
"I'm not saying Rex Tillerson was a great secretary of state — he had the energy of a 14-year-old bloodhound on his third mint julep," Seth Meyers said on Late Night. "But if you're going to fire Cabinet secretaries for being bad at their jobs, let me refer you to Betsy DeVos' appearance on 60 Minutes. Not only was she wildly uninformed, but 60 minutes is also her longest work day so far." Tillerson, like Gary Cohn, was never going to "rein in Donald Trump," he added. "If the White House is a fraternity in an '80s movie, Tillerson was the dean — and the dean never wins in an '80s movie."
"There's a million reasons why Donald Trump should have fired Rex Tillerson," Jordan Klepper agreed on The Opposition. "He called Trump a 'f---ing moron'; for a guy in the State Department, he wasted a lot of time in foreign countries"; and worst of all, he added, Tillerson wanted to punish Russia. Watch more below. Peter Weber
President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday. "The strange part about this is ... everything," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "But strangest of all is how Trump told him, via tweet. ... What could be worse than learning you got fired from your boss' tweet? Oh, maybe seeing that 86,000 people 'liked' it. 'I lost my job but I am #trending,'" Colbert joked. "It's too bad Twitter wasn't around when Trump ended his first two marriages — back then he had to do it by fax."
The White House said it did not fire Tillerson by tweet, but via a phone call from Trump last Friday — but State Department spokesman Steve Goldstein contradicted that, saying Tillerson did not have advance warning and had planned to stay on. Colbert laid out a scenario where the White House apologized to Tillerson for getting it wrong, said he was just kidding, then explained what really happened: Trump fired Goldstein, too. Trump kind of elaborated on why he let Tillerson go, but one phrase caught Colbert's attention: "Rex will be much happier now? Every word in that sentence is what you say to a child when their dog has been put down."
So what was the final straw for Tillerson. "We don't know for sure — but yes we do, it was Russia," Colbert said, pointing out that just one day earlier, after the White House declined to blame Russia, Tillerson had strongly criticized Moscow for the attempted murder of a former Russian spy in Britain and said it would certainly "trigger a response." And it did, Colbert noted: "Goodbye, Rex. ... Tillerson should have known better. Russia has denied the whole thing, and the only thing worse than contradicting your boss is contradicting your boss' boss." Tillerson said his public farewells, but notably he "didn't mention Donald Trump" at all, Colbert said. "Sounds like Rex just made $130,000." Watch below. Peter Weber