Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles President Trump

Stephen Colbert congratulates Russia on belatedly winning the Cold War

On Monday, the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, told The Associated Press that America blew its chance to create an era of global stability when it declined to step in with aid after the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of the Cold War. "They were rubbing their hands, saying, 'How nice! We had been trying to do something about the Soviet Union for decades, and it ate itself up!'" Gorbachev said. On Monday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert seemed unsure if the United States actually won the Cold War after all. Exhibit A: Donald Trump and his Russian-linked Cabinet choices, most recently ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, his pick for America's top diplomat.

"I gotta say, Rex Tillerson could be one of the most oil tycoon names of all time, right behind Tex Drillerson," he said. "It's a great name, and I know a lot of names so far have been floated for secretary of state, but Tillerson might have the edge because he is close to Vladimir Putin." The big, potentially related story of the day, though, is the CIA's assessment that Russian hackers worked to get Trump elected, Colbert said. "So Trump was right — the election was rigged."

The CIA knew this back in October, but it didn't release its report because it didn't want to sway the election, Colbert noted, adding wryly, "That's the FBI's job." Assuming the CIA is right, what then? he asked. A bipartisan group of senators plans to investigate Russia's suspect role, but that didn't exactly fire up Colbert: "Oh great, there's nothing more reassuring than the words, 'Don't worry, Congress will do something.'" But even if they do find out that Russia hacked our election, "what are we supposed to do then?" he asked.

"Our electoral system may have been hacked by a foreign power, led by strong, virile, and magnetic Vladimir Putin — Putin is No. 1 rock 'n' roll party president who have too many muscles for shirts," Colbert said, stopping to check on his teleprompter. His prompter operator, "Johnny Cowboy," assured Colbert that his rolling script was not hacked, and everybody laughed. After all, what else are you going to do? Watch below. Peter Weber