Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles President Trump

Stephen Colbert wraps his head around Michael Flynn's departure

Stephen Colbert kicked off Tuesday night's Late Show monologue with the big news of the day, the record-short tenure of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. "He resigned last night — not because of a scandal," Colbert deadpanned. "He just wanted to spend more time with his Russian contacts." It was Flynn's multiple phone calls with Russia's ambassador to Washington, in which he discussed just-implemented sanctions, that led to his early departure. "Now at first, Flynn denied all of this," Colbert said. "But he got caught because, it turns out, we listen in on every phone call to the Russian ambassador. Who knew? Evidently, not the national security adviser, you dummy." He paused. "It's funny 'cause it's treason."

President Trump was warned weeks ago that Flynn was being less than truthful and might be open to Russian blackmail, by acting Attorney General Sally Yates, Colbert noted. "Trump did nothing about it, but then again, the president, he's very busy — attacking Nordstrom, Arnold Schwarzenegger's ratings, and then firing Sally Yates." But now Flynn is gone. "Of course, this is a major betrayal of trust, and Donald Trump immediately condemned both Flynn and the Russians," Colbert said, adding after a short pause: "I'm just kidding." Trump said the real story is about the leaks. Colbert wrapped up by noting that Trump's reputed pick for ambassador to Austria is a Sound of Music fanatic and making an off-color Stephen Bannon joke.

Democrats are up in arms over the Flynn affair, Colbert noted after moving to his desk. Their GOP colleagues? "For a major political scandal, Republicans have been conspicuously silent," he said. Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) had an interesting explanation for that silence on CNN Tuesday morning. "Well, of course, what was I thinking? Valentine's Day breakfast," Colbert said. "That old tradition that all of us do. That's why Republicans were so quiet on this issue: They were all having breakfast with their sweethearts." To find out why Rep. Collins was not having breakfast with his own wife on Valentine's Day, Colbert interviewed the congressman's wife (Christine Baranski), who was having a liquid "breakfast for one." Watch below. Peter Weber