Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Trump and impeachment

Late night hosts have theories on why Trump released such an incriminating transcript of his Ukraine call

"Boy, when it Ukraines, it pours," Jimmy Kimmel said on Wednesday's Kimmel Live. The main event of this "nutso day" was President Trump releasing a partial transcript of his now-infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he said. "And what a transcript this was — this is like if O.J. told Chris Darden, 'Hey, you found my glove!'"

Trump "clearly only had reason for making this call, and that was to strongly encourage President Zelensky to find information that could hurt Trump's opponents and hurt his campaign," Kimmel said. "That is the conclusion any reasonable person who reads this would draw," but Trump "seems to have no idea of how bad it is — who would have guessed that Volodymyr Zelensky would be his Monica Lewinsky?" The transcript show that Trump's call "was very clearly a thinly veiled extortion request," he said, comparing Trump to the mob boss on The Sopranos. "At least Tony Soprano knew when his conversations were being recorded and that he should avoid saying illegal things. If Tony Soprano ran the mob like this, he wouldn't have made it past Episode 3."

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah also referenced The Sopranos to show that despite the no-quid-pro-quo protestations of Trump's defenders, "you don't need to be explicit to set up a shady deal." Noah explained why the transcript is so incriminating, then he got to a key mystery: "If this phone call is so damning, why did Trump even release the transcript? Only an idiot would do that. Exactly. And also, this is what Trump does. He does this all the time. Like, Trump is the only person who'll do something so bad right out in the open that it makes you question whether it's actually bad."

No, it's bad, Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show. In fact, "a lot of people are calling the transcript a smoking gun, which explains why today Trump said, 'Okay, now I'm ready for gun control.'"

Before the transcript was released, everyone "said there's no way Trump would be dumb enough to release a transcript in which he commits a bunch of crimes like asking for a personal political favor in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid," Late Night's Seth Meyers said. And then he did. Trump's aid-for-dirt insinuation "is an obvious quid pro quo," he added. "The only way it's not a quid pro quo is that when it comes to committing crimes, Trump is definitely not a pro, he's an idiot. It's more like a quid idiot quo." Watch below. Peter Weber