On Thursday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert started off his monologue with President Obama's surprise farewell gift to Vice President Joe Biden, made a Franklin Pierce joke, then returned to the big story about the unsubstantiated dossier on President-elect Donald Trump's alleged ties to Russia. He noted that since his riff on the dossier Wednesday, media reports have identified the British former MI6 agent who put it together, reportedly for Jeb Bush's presidential campaign.
"So a Brit spy named Steele — is he Remington Steele's cousin?" Colbert asked. He called Christopher Steele a "kind of on-the-nose name for a British agent," then disclosed that it's also the name of a gay porn star. "And now Christopher Steele is on the run," Colbert noted; reportedly "he was seen fleeing his home yesterday and asked a neighbor to take care of his cat. Oh, you gotta protect the cat, because Trump is known for grabbing the—" (You can probably provide the punch line.)
Colbert then turned to Trump's press conference on Wednesday, pointing to the pile of apparently blank sheets of paper Trump passed off as documents relinquishing control of his business. "Wow, that is a really big pile of... something," he said. "So it's all just political theater. The press conference even had a best supporting actress, Trump's lawyer, Sheri Dillon. And we know she's extremely qualified because — and this is true — her firm was the 2016 winner of the 'Russia Law Firm of the Year' award."
He ended on the Senate confirmation hearing for Rex Tillerson, Trump's pick for secretary of state. Tillerson, former ExxonMobil CEO, told the senators he did not recall doing business in Iran and Syria through a European subsidiary, and "reassured the committee that Exxon never lobbied against Iran sanctions," Colbert noted. When a senator held up copies of lobbying reports showing Exxon lobbying four different pieces of legislation on the Iran sanctions — "Oh, that lobbying, yeah, yeah — I thought you meant I was against buildings in Iran having lobbies!" Colbert joked — Tillerson asked if Exxon was lobbying for or against the sanctions. "Well, that's just what you want in a secretary of state," Colbert said: "A guy who's not sure which side he's on." Watch below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert kicked off Wednesday's Late Show monologue by talking about President Obama's farewell address on Tuesday night. "It was truly a moving experience, and I just have to say... let's talk about Donald Trump for a second," Colbert said. "Because there's a story that that came out in the last 24 hours, and — pardon the expression — it is, um, juicy." He started with CNN's report that Trump was briefed by the top U.S. intelligence officials last Friday on unsubstantiated claims that Russia has compromising information on him, then moved on to the leaked, unverified dossier.
"Everyone admits this report is unverified, and the man is about to be president of the United States, so I'm not going to validate that report by sharing the most salacious details from it," Colbert said. "Even the detail everybody's talking about, okay? You might call it the, um, No. 1 detail. I think this is just an unfortunate leak... that's making a huge mess, and I know I'm being a wet blanket, but reporting on this is the worst kind of yellow journalism. And even though jokes about this story are a golden opportunity, I just won't do it. Not to say the story didn't make a huge splash — it did. It flooded Twitter, I mean. We'll keep you up to date as facts trickle in. And we have our best researcher working on it — she's a real whiz. And one thing is for sure: The president-elect is a Goldwater Republican who truly believes in trickle-down." He cracked puns for a full two and a half minutes.
"I only feel for Donald Trump a little bit here, because he brought this on himself," Colbert said. "And I have a suggestion, Mr. Trump, of how to get rid of it: Just do the thing you have never done, which is say anything Putin wouldn't like. Alright? That would prove they're not running you." Trump could also release his tax returns — which Trump said again on Wednesday he won't do, because they're under audit, prompting Colbert to imagine the IRS agent with big enough nerve to audit the president. He ended where he began — talking about Obama's farewell speech — and with one last Russia dossier joke, and the band played him out with The Beatles' "Golden Slumbers." Watch below. Peter Weber