Last week, Stephen Colbert flew down to Washington with his own "memo" on House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and he had some fun at Nunes' expense with the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, and even Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). "As much fun as we had down there, ultimately what we wanted was for Devin Nunes to respond to us, a comedy show," Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "But say what you want about the guy, he's not that dumb — is what I thought." He played a clip of Nunes complaining about Colbert on Fox News. "He took the bait!" Colbert said.
Nunes told Fox News that Colbert is part of the "danger" the left poses to America, and when asked if Colbert even tried to contact him for the show, he replied, "Not that I know of." Colbert had the footage. "Either your staff didn't tell you that I charged into your office, or you're not telling the truth," he said. "So is Devin Nunes a liar? Not that I know of." Colbert played some outtakes from his interview with Schiff, then summarized Nunes' view of the situation: President Trump, who openly asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's emails, is good for America; Stephen Colbert, a comedian, is "a danger."
In the full video from Friday, Colbert failed to get much information about the Russia investigation from Schiff or the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), but he at least made Schiff laugh. Warner? "I mean this as a compliment — you look dead inside," Colbert told the senator. "I appreciate that," Warner said. Watch below. Peter Weber
A shellshocked Stephen Colbert recaps Sam Nunberg's wild afternoon spilling Trump secrets on cable TV
"Now, I know you all came here tonight to hear me talk about trade tariffs," Stephen Colbert deadpanned on Monday's Late Show, after recapping the Oscars. "But we're not talking about trade tariffs tonight" he added, "because right before we taped this show, the entire news cycle jumped on the bus to crazy town. At the wheel?" Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg. Special Counsel Robert Mueller subpoenaed Nunberg in the Russia investigation, and Nunberg spent much of Monday on TV insisting he won't cooperate.
"Nunberg took over cable TV like a car chase," Colbert said, playing some choice CNN and MSNBC clips. He found Nunberg's defiance a little puzzling: "You know Mueller can arrest you, right? That's like saying 'Eat me' to Hannibal Lecter." And yet Nunberg talked and talked and talked, dropping tantalizing clues and unsubstantiated bombshells. "This guy is like a Snickers bar — the peanuts just keep coming," Colbert marveled. "I think all of our feelings about Nunberg's call-ins this afternoon were best summed up by this face," he added, showing a frowning Jake Tapper. "Are you happy Nunberg? You broke Jake Tapper! I keep telling Jake, if you keep reporting on the Trump campaign, your face is gonna stick that way." Watch below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert finds Jared Kushner's security demotion amusing. Russian election meddling? Not so much.
"First son-in-law" Jared Kushner has lost his top security clearance, Stephen Colbert noted on Tuesday's Late Show, and when his audience cheered, he fake-rebuked them: "What's wrong with you people? How will he fix the Middle East now? He was so close to starting." So far, President Trump "has not commented on Jared's demotion — he was too busy with his main presidential duty, live-tweeting Fox News," Colbert joked, pointing to one that really stood out: "WITCH HUNT!" Presumably, Trump was talking about the Russia investigation, but nevertheless it persisted on Tuesday with the congressional testimony of Hope Hicks.
Hicks refused to say much, annoying and boring members of both parties, but there's nothing dull about Russia's continuing attempts to meddle in America's elections, Colbert said. "That's impressive — Americans don't even show up for the midterms. And with this sword hanging over the neck of American democracy," NSA chief Adm. Mike Rogers warned the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that Vladimir Putin has learned from Trump's inaction that there's no price to pay for election-meddling, America isn't doing enough to protect itself, and Trump hasn't given him the necessary orders to protect America from Russian hacking. Since that's not funny, Colbert spun an analogy involving a burning house and a Twitter-obsessed fire chief.
To calm everyone down, Colbert turned to some "booze news," Johnnie Walker's new female-focused brand, Jane Walker. "Female drinkers everywhere will say, 'Finally, a brand that's condescending to me,'" he said, jabbing at the "brandsplaining" rationale that scotch is "particularly intimidating" for women, and lady scotch shows "the brand's commitment to progress." The Jane Walker launch was originally scheduled to coincide with Hillary Clinton's victory. "Why did you scrap it?" Colbert asked. "I'm pretty sure the 2016 election made a lot of women want to drink." Watch below for his suggestions on other lady versions of well-known liquor brands. Peter Weber
The Late Show has an alternative theory for Trump's refusal to release the Democratic anti-Nunes memo
It has been two weeks, and President Trump still has not released the Democratic rebuttal to the memo compiled by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and nobody is sure why. The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to release the Democratic memo, but Trump said it contains classified information (he ignored similar concerns when he approved release of the Nunes memo, with no redactions). On Thursday, Stephen Colbert's Late Show found a creative way to remind everyone that the Democratic memo is still being withheld.
The Democratic memo apparently shows, among other things, that the FBI did not rely on the Trump-Russia dossier to obtain a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, as the Nunes memo claims. So Colbert had the dossier interview the Democratic memo, depicted as blindfolded and in prison. But The Late Show throws in a twist at the end. Watch below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert kicked off Tuesday's Late Show with some much-needed "good news" out of Wakanda, the fictional African nation featured in the blockbuster movie Black Panther, which crushed all sorts of box office records over the weekend. "Meanwhile, back here in America, we have our own drama," he said, with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's indictment of 13 Russians and three Kremlin-linked entities — and President Trump tweeting about it for the rest of the weekend.
Some of the indicted Russians trying to influence the 2016 election were in contact with "unwitting individuals" associated with Trump's campaign, according to the indictment. "Unwitting — so that narrows it down to the entire Trump campaign." Trump's first tweets claimed vindication, but as "the mean TV people pointed out that it did not exonerate Trump," his tweets got progressively angrier, Colbert said. You can watch him read some of them, with commentary, below. Peter Weber
President Trump's lawyers are advising him against talking with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, because of Trump's well-documented problems with the truth and sticking to one story, Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "Yeah, it is a crack legal analysis from the law firm of No Sh-t & Sherlock."
"I know Trump watches this show, because it's on TV, so right now I've got a special message for him," Colbert said. "Mr. President, ignore your lawyers, sir. You follow your instincts and you sit down with Robert Mueller. Otherwise, everyone's going to think that you're scared. But we know that you're not — oh, oh, your fried chicken has arrived," he added, holding up an empty KFC bucket and looking at the screen. "Where is that — oh, I think I know where the chicken is. Bawk bawk-aw."
Colbert turned to the declassified memo from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). "Republicans hyped this dud for weeks," he said, with their central claim that the FBI didn't tell a FISA judge that the Trump dossier referenced in the application to surveil former Trump adviser Carter Page was paid for indirectly by Democrats. "If true, that's a pretty damning charge," Colbert said. "Spoiler alert: not true. Turns out the partisan nature of the dossier was mentioned in a footnote. Now Nunes really should learn how footnotes work — he's about to become one in history."
Nunes isn't letting the footnote get in the way of his story. "I mean, just because a footnote completely destroys your entire argument, that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep making the argument," Colbert said, with a footnote. Democrats have their own rebuttal memo that may be released this week, "so our nation's leaders have been reduced to passive-aggressive memo writing. It's the congressional version of the office thermostat," he added. And he imagined the heavily redacted version of the Democratic memo that Trump might release. Watch below. Peter Weber
"The hottest news item in America is about a three-and-a-half-page memo no one has read — yet," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. The memo purports to show that the FBI used misleading information in a FISA application to surveil a campaign adviser for President Trump. "Ugh, that sounds a little dry," Colbert said. "Can't another porn star come forward about spanking the president? I mean, it's been over a week!"
Friends of Trump say the president sees the memo as a way to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. "Yes, it's like when you're losing at basketball, so you shoot the ref," he said, slipping into Trump voice. "I guess I win — there's nobody to tell me I didn't. Now, who wants to be the new referee?"
The memo was written for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Colbert said, and "there's suspicion that Trump's White House helped Nunes write this memo. Because remember, Nunes' last supposedly shocking memo was written by the White House that they gave to him to give back to them." Trump's ultimate target with the memo appears to be Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the only one who can fire Mueller. Some people in the White House are concerned the memo is a "dud" that will disappoint Trump's base, Colbert noted. "But, Mr. President, even if the memo doesn't prove that the FBI's out to get you, look on the bright side: After you release it, I think they might be."
Mueller, meanwhile, is zeroing in on an apparent cover-up involving Donald Trump Jr.'s email exchanges with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. The new person of Mueller's interest is Hope Hicks, who reportedly assured Trump that his son's inculpatory emails "will never get out" — until Don Jr. tweeted them out. "So, good luck, Ms. Hicks," Colbert said. "These are the Trumps you work for, and you are literally the only Hope they have." Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert wryly tries to out–Sean Hannity Sean Hannity in his whiplash-inducing defense of Trump
Sunday night's Grammy Awards "was a pretty political show," with artists including Camilla Cabello, U2, and Logic criticizing President Trump's immigration policies, Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "Not the first time that Donald Trump and logic have been at odds." Trump's "arch-enemy and wedding guest" Hillary Clinton also made a cameo, reading from Fire and Fury, Colbert said. "Man, that must have made Trump so mad, to see Hillary showing off how she can read." U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley wasn't a fan of that bit, saying she wanted to keep politics out of music. Colbert listed some artists Haley must love, from Bob Dylan to N.W.A. "N.W.A. — I love their song 'No Comment on Tha Police,'" he deadpanned.
Trump has his own performance on Tuesday, his first State of the Union address. "He's not scheduled to appear in front of Congress again until the impeachment hearings," Colbert said, wistfully. "The administration wants to showcase what the country is like now that the Republicans are in charge of everything, and they may have done just that, because they sent out these actual tickets to see the 'State of the Uniom.'" Or maybe that wasn't a typo, Colbert mused.
Colbert turned to the reports that Trump tried to fire Special Counsel Robert Muller last summer, stopped only by his White House counsel and '80s cover-band guitarist, Don McGahn. Trump got plenty of heat for his attempted justice-obstructing, but "luckily, Trump could count on backup from his friend on the TV," Sean Hannity. "Sean, just one broadcaster to another," Colbert said, "if you want to change the subject away from Donald Trump, maybe don't go to footage that is so clearly a metaphor for his administration — just a car crash you can't tear your eyes away from." Colbert's "Real News Tonight" fake-news team paid homage to Hannity, and may have outdone him. Watch below. Peter Weber