Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Trump and Russia

Stephen Colbert isn't buying Trump's disownment of ensnared campaign adviser George Papadopoulos

Tuesday was Halloween, and Stephen Colbert appeared on The Late Show in costume as a late-night host, but in the Halloween spirit. "Now, ghouls and goblins, join me for tonight's twisted tale of terror, The Fall of the House of Trumper," he said, spookily, kicking off another look at Special Counsel Robert Mueller's indictment of President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and two other aides.

Trump took to Twitter Tuesday morning to argue that Manafort's transgressions "took place long before he came to the campaign" — "Iron-clad defense," Colbert said: "'Don't blame me, I happen to know he was a criminal before I hired him'" — though the indictment says Manafort's alleged conspiracy lasted through February 2017.

Still, if Trump was prepared for the Manafort indictment, he and everybody else was blindsided by Mueller's ace, the unsealed guilty plea of campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who has been cooperating with Mueller's team for months. Colbert showed CNN's Jeffrey Toobin suggesting that Papadopuolos was wearing a wire for those months, declaring the idea "Papadop-alicious." He was less sympathetic about White House staffers who are, reportedly, "freaking out" about the Papadopoulos and Manafort news. "Oh are they?" he said. "Do they wake up every morning feeling overwhelming dread that something terrible is happening in our country that they have no control over? I have no idea how that feels — if I drink enough! Welcome to the club."

"Now, according to Trump, 'George' is just some random young person he's barely heard of, like Tiffany," Colbert said, unkindly. But he didn't buy that or the line from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that Papadopoulos had just one meeting with Trump. "Did you not go to health class?" he asked. "Collusion is like pregnancy — it only takes one time." Watch below. Peter Weber