Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers are skeptical Trump had the goods on Soleimani, demand 'better lies'

Late night hosts are skeptical of Trump's war motives
(Image credit: Screenshots/YouTube/The Late Show, The Daily Show, Late Night)

"It's been a couple of days since the Iran almost-war," and "with the perspective of time, we can ask: Was any of this legal?" Stephen Colbert asked on Thursday's Late Show. "The administration says yes, the drone strike was completely justified because they were heading off an 'imminent' attack," but "so far, [President] Trump hasn't provided any evidence of that." Top-level Trump officials briefed Congress on Wednesday, but lots of lawmakers left decidedly unpersuaded.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) called it "the worst briefing" he can recall and an insult to Congress and the Constitution. Colbert co-signed that sentiment, plus some: "This is insulting to the American people. Has everyone already forgotten what happens when we don't ask for concrete evidence justifying a military attack against a Middle Eastern country whose name begins with Ira?" Back in 2002, "George W. Bush respected us enough to put some effort into his lies," he said, and Bush had Colin Powell to spread them.

Instead of a trusted figure like Powell, Trump has Vice President Mike Pence, Colbert said. "Did you get that? Pence has seen all the evidence, but you won't ever see it because it goes to another school in Canada and it's super hot, and he totally got to third base with it — which, for Mike Pence, is sharing fro-yo. And I say, before giving the president the authority to attack another Middle Eastern country, we must demand better lies. We deserve better lies!" After all, he said, our tax dollars are paying for them.

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To wit:

Trump insisted Thursday morning that "numerous" lawmakers told him it was "the best" briefing, noted Late Night's Seth Meyers. "Oh, numerous senators said that? Which ones? 'You wouldn't know them, they go to a different school in Canada.'"

"Trump and his team have tried to justify this strike by claiming [Gen. Qassem] Soleimani posed an 'imminent' threat," Meyers said, but "it is becoming increasingly clear that a lawless president violated the Constitution to order the assassination of a foreign official, and then lied about it. And the only people cheering him on are the reckless warmongers who've lied us into war before. But now, members of both parties want to rein Trump in," and the House has already taken the first step.

The Daily Show brought in the full team to explore why Trump ordered Soleimani's killing, with a lighter touch. 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.