Speed Reads

last night on late night

MSNBC's Chris Hayes tells Stephen Colbert how he came to believe in Trump-Russia collusion

MSNBC's Chris Hayes was on Thursday's Late Show, and Stephen Colbert dove right in. "As a newsman, an actual newsman, is the Stormy Daniels lawsuit important, or just news candy?" he asked. "I actually think it is important," Hayes said, both because "we are watching a cover-up come unraveled in real time, and it's a microcosm of what I suspect is something that they have done a lot of" — using nondisclosure agreements to "sweep unpleasant facts under the rug" — and also the timing.

"Michael Cohen was willing to pony up $130,000 for what seems like a thing that's priced into Donald Trump anyway — like, 'Donald Trump had an affair with an adult film actress' is not mind-blowing to anyone" — just weeks after the Access Hollywood tape sent President Trump's campaign into a panic, Hayes said. But WikiLeaks also immediately bailed them out, suggesting coordination between Trump's campaign, WikiLeaks, and the Russians who gave WikiLeaks the John Podesta emails.

"So are you all in on collusion?" Colbert asked. "It walks like a duck, it talks like a duck, let's indict the duck?" Hayes said he started out skeptical, because true conspiracies are rare and hard to pull off, but "as the facts have come in, my Occam's Razor — at this point, the simplest explanation is that everyone's running around acting guilty because they're guilty. ... Why is everyone lying to investigators? Why is everyone making stuff up? Why are people acting super guilty? They're acting super guilty because they're guilty."

As an example, Hayes asked why Trump fired FBI Director James Comey then secretly told Russian officials in the Oval Office that firing Comey took the heat off him. "There's no way of knowing other than him telling Lester Holt exactly why," Colbert deadpanned. Hayes laughed: "If we could just get one more interview with Lester Holt, he'd be like, 'I'll lay it out for you.'" Peter Weber