Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Trump versus Mueller

Stephen Colbert helpfully turns Trump's claim to absolute legal impunity into a 2020 campaign slogan

Monday was the 500th day of President Trump's time in office, and Stephen Colbert said some congratulations are in order. "We've made it through the first trimester of his presidency," he said on Monday's Daily Show, "but for some reason, my nausea hasn't gone away." Also not going away? Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, he said, and Trump introduced a new legal wrinkle Monday, claiming the absolute power to pardon himself.

Colbert was skeptical but Trump's lawyers apparently agree, telling Mueller in a newly disclosed letter that the Constitution allows Trump to, "if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon." That means "it's probably not going to happen," Colbert reasoned, "because if there's one thing Donald Trump won't do, it's exercise."

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani went on TV to defend Trump's expansive reading of executive powers, Colbert noted, and things started off a little awkwardly on Sunday's Meet the Press: "Yes, he called Chuck Todd 'Todd,' then corrected himself to 'Chris.' That's the sort of attention of detail I look for in a lawyer." Giuliani also claimed that Trump could shoot James Comey and not face any consequences, except maybe impeachment. "So there it is: The president can commit any crime he wants," Colbert said. "Which will make a great new campaign slogan: 'Trump 2020: I Could Kill You in Your Sleep.'' He went on to rib Giuliani for getting booed by Yankees fans on his birthday, and Colbert booed the Supreme Court's gay-wedding cake ruling. Watch below. Peter Weber