Late Night Tackles Michael Cohen
February 28, 2019

"Today was a very dramatic day for the government of the United States," Jimmy Kimmel said on Wednesday's Kimmel Live. In a hearing before the House Oversight Committee, President Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen "delivered an opening statement that somehow managed to mention both the Holocaust and a porn star, and we were off to the races from there. Michael Cohen, who worked for the president for 10 years, called his former boss a racist, a conman, and a cheat, but said he served him because being around Trump was 'intoxicating' — but not in a bottle-of-wine kind of a [way], more of a cocktails-with-Cosby type of thing."

"Republicans were relentless in their blind defense of the president," Kimmel said. "Nixon must be so jealous of these guys. ... It was quite a show of outrage and bluster. I tell you, I haven't seen acting from Republicans like this since Arnold Schwarzenegger in Jingle All the Way." And keep in mind, he added, the man they were attacking "was Donald Trump's right-hand man for 10 years. This guy was so loyal to Donald Trump, he took out a loan on his house to pay off a porn star he didn't even get to have sex with. Imagine refinancing your mortgage so your boss can sexually disappoint someone for two minutes at a golf tournament."

Kimmel ran though Cohen's various "bombshells," including allegations that the feds are investigating Trump for crimes we don't even know about, that Trump ordered Cohen to quash his SAT scores, and in "one of my favorite moments of the day," that Trump often said Donald Trump Jr. "had the worst judgment of anyone in the world." But there was also a deeply sad part of Wednesday's hearing, "because long before Donald Trump had this relationship with Kim Jong Un, Michael Cohen was his guy," he said. "And so we thought it might be fitting to take a look back at the friendship that was." You can watch that below. Peter Weber

February 28, 2019

"Today in Congress, Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen testified about the president and all his scandals," Jimmy Fallon said on Wednesday's Tonight Show. "He called Trump a conman, a cheat and a racist. Trump heard that was like, 'Great, now I need a new 2020 campaign slogan. And a new Tinder bio.'" Cohen also said "he was responsible for making sure Trump's SAT scores never leaked," he added. "It's safe to say the only time Trump's seen a 1600 is when he passes the White House mailbox."

"Cohen's testimony was such a big deal that it completely overshadowed between Trump and Kim Jong Un," Fallon noted. "You could tell Trump was upset because at one point he leaned over the Kim and said, 'How much to fire off a nuke right now? Don't hit anything!'"

"It was a seminal day, it was huge," NBC News' Katy Tur told Fallon, comparing Cohen's testimony Wednesday to John Dean's during the Watergate hearings. Tur covered the Trump campaign for NBC, and she frequently interacted with Cohen, who "would always, always defend" Trump, no matter what. So "it's incredible," she said, to now hear him "come out and describe the president of the United States as a cheat, as a conman."

"Is this going to do anything to President Trump?" Fallon asked. Tur shrugged: "It remains to be seen, I guess." Democrats asked a lot of questions about Trump, but the GOP's decision to ignore Trump and just re-litigate Cohen's confessed crimes shows "they believe that their voters are still on Donald Trump's side." And that may be true, she added, but they should be worried about the "marginal voter, the Trump-trier voter" in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

"How do you think Michael Cohen handled himself?" Fallon asked. "I thought he was really authentic," Tur said. "I mean, as somebody who knows him and knows him well, I think Michael Cohen came off exactly like Michael Cohen is. He didn't seem rehearsed, he didn't seem practiced. ... I think he came off as well as he possibly could have." Watch below for her criteria on whether he was trustworthy. Peter Weber

February 28, 2019

"Today was truly one of the most eventful days of the Trump presidency," Seth Meyers said on Wednesday's Late Night. President Trump's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, testified before the House Oversight Committee, and in a damning opening statement he "listed off a bunch of alleged crimes committed by the president, on national TV," he said. "It's so ironic — Trump finally went to Vietnam and he's getting killed back home."

Cohen explained that Trump called his for-profit campaign "the greatest infomercial in political history," and that's true, Meyers said. "And like any product you buy from an infomercial, it turned out to be much crappier than it looked on TV." He laughed at Trump's reported behind-the-back insults of Don Jr. — "Man, you know it's bad when you get dissed for being dumb by the guy who threatened his college not to release his SAT scores" — and shared some thoughts on the level of preparedness and professionalism of the Republican members of the committee.

Conan O'Brien had mixed feelings about the little fact boxes NBC News put up whenever a member of Congress was speaking, though Conan fabricated some of them for elucidation and comedic effect.

"It was interesting to hear Cohen give examples of Trump's racism in private settings," Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show, though he disagreed with Trump's apparent assessment of why black people don't support him. "Actually, the reason black people wouldn't vote for you is because of your trash-ass weave," He said. "Also, the 50 years of well-documented racism, but mostly the weave." Noah was hilariously underwhelmed by the GOP's "black friend defense" for Trump, noting that "whenever the Trumps are accused of racism, they always the same woman."

And the grade-suppression "part is just hilarious — how bad were Trump's grades that he threatened to sue his school if they release them?" Noah asked, adding: "Maybe it's something else — maybe Trump doesn't want anyone finding out he got an A in Spanish." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 24, 2019

On Wednesday's Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon poked fun at Trump's manipulated social media photos and State of the Union flop, and he came up with some follow-up tweets to Trump's "Build a Wall & Crime Will Fall" tweet, including "Not paying TSA agents may be controversial / But what do I care? I don't fly commercial." And "get this, Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen is delaying his testimony in Congress because he says he's been threatened by Trump, which could actually be witness tampering," Fallon said. "So now Trump's being investigated for collusion, obstruction, and witness tampering — or as Robert Mueller put it, 'I got Bingo.'"

Right, "just in case things aren't thuggish enough" with the shutdown, Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live, "the president made a rambling phone call to Fox News during which he somewhat ominously suggested that someone should investigate Michael Cohen's father-in-law, and then he did another interview with Fox News and made insinuations about Michael Cohen's wife. ... Remind me, which Godfather are we on now?"

"While Donald Corleone is settling scores, you have the vice president of the United States staying on top of international affairs," with bad Spanish aimed at Venezuelans, and yet another White House tell-all by a disaffected former Trump aide, Kimmel said, annoyed. "He's always been bad at everything," he vented. "The world's lamest Pizza Hut spokesman is running the United States, of course things are bad."

"Trump has been claiming in interviews that Cohen's father-in-law did something illegal, although he doesn't seem to know many details," Seth Meyers noted at Late Night. "You just said he committed a crime but you don't know his name? Is he Zorro?" Cohen is at the center of a contested BuzzFeed story reporting that Trump ordered Cohen to lie to Congress. "Here's the thing about the BuzzFeed story," Meyers said. "We're in this weird place right now where we keep waiting for another smoking gun when what we already know is incredibly damning." Watch him explain below. Peter Weber

December 13, 2018

"There has been, just today, another big decision in the landmark case of Donald Trump v. Getting Caught," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. On Wednesday, President Trump's former lawyer "Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison," he said, and he had a tip for Cohen: "First day in prison, you walk right up the biggest guy in the yard, and you pay him $130,000."

"Before Cohen climbed up onto the prison bus, he made sure to throw Trump under it," copping to covering up Trump's "dirty deeds," Colbert said. "And evidently, you suck at it." He read some excerpts from Cohen's tortured confessional and regrets about working for Trump. Cohen said that ironically, he is finally getting his freedom back, but Colbert disagreed: "Actually, the irony is that while you're in prison for your crimes, the guy who ordered you to do the crimes will be at Mar-a-Lago sharing chocolate cake with Xi Jinping and Kid Rock."

"It's especially infuriating to watch Trump pretend to care about the law when his own Justice Department just accused him of a crime for paying hush money to cover up affairs," the crime that's sending Cohen to jail, Seth Meyers said at Late Night. And "Cohen told the court in no uncertain terms that he committed those crimes at the direction of Donald Trump." With Trump facing potential felony charges, he joked, "forget running for re-election — in two years, Trump might be running from the feds." His imagined reason Trump gets caught is worth a watch.

While Cohen was being sentenced to three years, "Michael Flynn, Trump's former National Security Adviser, made an interesting argument for why he shouldn't go to prison," Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show. "Yeah, that's right, Michael Flynn says he didn't know lying to the FBI is a crime." He suggested helpfully that "going forward, everyone working for Trump should just be read their Miranda rights on their first day." Watch below. Peter Weber

June 14, 2018

President Trump may think he's solved the North Korean nuclear crisis, "but now he's got to deal with an even greater threat: Robert Mueller," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. Specifically, Trump's lawyer and longtime fixer Michael Cohen has reportedly lost his legal team and is about to flip. "Yes, Michael Cohen is going to sing like a canary — which is ironic, because it's Trump that actually looks like one," Colbert said. He suggested Cohen hire Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti: "I hear that the last lawyer to go up against him is about to get arrested."

This is bad news for Trump, not just Cohen. "One former White House official said, even before the news that Cohen was cooperating broke, that 'Trump should be super worried about Michael Cohen. ... If anyone can blow up Trump, it's him,'" Colbert said. "Okay, well, that gives Cohen leverage because the last guy who threatened to blow up Trump got his own summit." Cohen apparently hasn't flipped yet, but Trump has reportedly been fuming about Cohen in private, blaming him for the Daniels fiasco. The Late Show had a brief video waving "goodbye to their beautiful friend-thing."

Colbert shot down Trump's claim to have already denuclearized North Korea and noted the disconnect between Trump's version and North Korea's of what they agreed to orally, because, Trump says, he didn't have time to get it in writing. "This raises a troubling question," Colbert said. "If we're negotiating with dictators, what happens to America's status as an international bulwark against the rise of totalitarian — forget it! Can we talk about that raccoon now?!?" Watch below. Peter Weber

May 11, 2018

The payoffs to Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal lawyer, keep getting bigger, with AT&T now known to have paid Cohen at least $600,000 since Trump's election and Novartis at least $1.2 million. "That's right, corporations paid millions of dollars into the same shell company that Cohen then used to pay off Stormy Daniels," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show. "And right now, I can't believe that an affair with a porn star is the least scandalous part of this story."

"Why would multibillion-dollar corporations give so much money to Never Call Saul over here?" Noah asked. "It turns out it's because of what he promised," access to Trump. "This guy's not just a swamp creature, he's literally selling swamp tours," he said. Whether Trump is on this or Cohen is "running a solo side hustle," corporations appear to have been "conned," Noah added. "I'm actually shocked that these major corporations got tricked by the classic 'Nigerian prince' scam. Because if Michael Cohen had pitched them in an African accent, they would have seen this coming from a mile away." He demonstrated.

Cohen's "perfect, he's what would happen if Entourage and The Sopranos did a crossover episode," Jordan Klepper said on The Opposition. "But now my boy Mikey is being smeared just for making an honest bu— for making a buck. ... It's like they say, keep your friends close and your lawyer closer, so that he can sell that closeness to the highest bidder."

"Now the left, they want to paint Michael Cohen as some kind of swamp-filling, Russian-friending, hush-money-paying bad guy who's not qualified to teach high school volleyball," Klepper said, but "the real bad guy here is Michael Avenatti, emphasis on the naughty." Trump TV lawyer Rudy Giuliani is no match for the hunky Avenatti, he added, so he brought out a new counsel for Trump, "hot lawyer Michael Gucciucci," and it gets wet. Watch below. Peter Weber

May 10, 2018

On Tuesday night, Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti released documents, later confirmed, showing that President Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen had gotten millions from companies. A Russian oligarch's U.S. subsidiary paid Cohen $500,000, and AT&T ponied up, Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "You paid for insights into this administration? He's a horny old racist who likes cheeseburgers more than his children — $200,000, please."

Drugmaker Novartis chipped in seven figures. "Side effects of taking money from Novartis may include headache, nausea, and extended jail time," Colbert said. "So they paid $1.2 million for access to the same administration that let Michael Wolff just sit around writing down everything he saw? No wonder drugs cost so much." The payments were all made in what Colbert jokingly called "crime-sized" chunks, "because the whole thing was supposed to be under the radar," he said, repeating a pertinent question from a source close to the deals: "How the f--k did Avenatti find out?"

"It's pretty crazy that the Stormy Daniels money could be traced all the way back to Vladimir Putin," Jimmy Fallon said on The Tonight Show. "In response, Putin said, 'Donald can spend allowance however he wants.'" This is "why Trump calls Putin his Sugar Vladdy," he added.

"Meanwhile, great news from North Korea — is not a sentence I was expecting to say, but it's actually true," Colbert said, pointing to the release of three Americans held by North Korea. "So credit where credit is due: The return of these prisoners is a good thing that Donald Trump helped happen. We can put it right up there with humiliating Ted Cruz and ... that's it." And CIA director nominee Gina Haspel "attempted to put her past behind her" at Wednesday's Senate confirmation hearing, "and like me, some of the senators there were not convinced that Haspel's torturing days were behind her," he said, helpfully reminding her that Trump favors waterboarding and worse. Watch below. Peter Weber

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