Stephen Colbert draws on Scooby-Doo to explain Trump's fixation on Susan Rice and 'unmasking'

Stephen Colbert explains "unmasking"
(Image credit: Late Show)

President Trump is still bragging about his Electoral College win, in great detail, Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "Earlier today, Donald Trump addressed a group of builders' unions, and to prove that he was a builder, he spent a lot of the speech building up his ego." After spending a few minutes on that, and saluting a lonely Trump fan in his audience, Colbert turned to the hot story about Susan Rice, the "former national security adviser and person who thought she was done with this crap," and "unmasking."

Colbert took a stab at explaining the story. "You know how all the U.S. intelligence sources are saying that they intercepted conversations between foreign officials — for example, like the Russians — and members of the Trump campaign?" he asked. Well, according to reports, "Rice asked for those people's names to be 'unmasked.' You know what that means, I hope? Because no one really knows what that means."

"Republicans say that this means Trump was right when he claimed that Obama wiretapped him," Colbert said. "But here's what it also means: It also means intelligence agencies were eavesdropping on shady foreign officials, and incidentally picked up conversations they had with Americans. Would you like to know which Americans? The national security adviser did. So she asked to have their names unmasked." That appears to be completely legal.

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But there's more. The national security adviser can only request the unmasking of names if it's necessary to understand the intelligence or if there's probable cause of criminal wrongdoing, Colbert said. "So Trump is going after Susan Rice by saying: 'My team wasn't talking to Russia. If they were, how come Susan Rice caught my team talking to Russia? There's your scandal!'" If that seems murky, Colbert tried to explain why Trump would think this vindicates him using a cartoon. "I think Trump got the idea that unmaskers are the real criminals from this classic episode of Scooby-Doo," he said. Watch below. Peter Weber

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.