Late Night Tackles Trump and impeachment
February 12, 2021

House Democrats wrapped up their impeachment case against former President Donald Trump on Thursday, and their videos and other evidence "make it pretty obvious that Trump incited the rioters," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show. "They were wearing Trump hats, carrying Trump flags, and they all just watched Trump speak, and they are chanting 'Fight for Trump!'"

"I mean, if one guy stormed the Capitol because he thought you said it to him, maybe you can just blame him," Noah said. "If an entire stadium of people misunderstood you in the exact same way, I don't know, man, that sh-t's on you. But if there's one theme of this trial, aside from Trump being super guilty, it's Republican senators not caring that Trump is super guilty." Seriously, he said, "these senators are a jury for a trial of the president, but instead they're acting like bored middle schoolers."

The Democrats' closing "presentation was so emotional and compelling that Republicans almost looked up from their phones," Jimmy Fallon deadpanned at The Tonight Show. "It's been a rough couple of days for Trump. Thanks to what he said and tweeted, not only is he on trial in the Senate, he's also no longer in Disney's Mandalorian."

This impeachment trial is "kind of like The Empire Strikes Back: We already know how it ends, but we're watching it anyway," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. He narrowed down the jury pool to 26 GOP senators who might be persuaded to convict. "The Democrats made an excellent case, so much so, Trump's lawyers are now only planning to use three of the 16 hours they're allowed to rebut," Kimmel said. Or "maybe they realized he's only planning to pay them for three of the hours."

The House impeachment managers "were clearly, deeply, sincerely, desperately trying to make any human connection as fellow citizens to the Republican senators in that gallery and convince them to put country before party," Stephen Colbert said at The Late Show. "So, doomed from the start." But no matter how low the Republicans duck, the Democrats were right about Trump, he added. "If we don't hold him to account, it will happen again — it did happen again!" He showed how Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) closed out Trumps last impeachment trial.

The Daily Show's Jordan Klepper talked to Schiff, and a handful of Washingtonians, about which impeachment was better. Watch below. Peter Weber

February 12, 2021

Republican senators serving as jurors in former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial have been effusive in their praise of the Democratic House impeachment managers and their case that Trump incited an instruction at their shared workplace last month. But almost nobody expects 17 of them to join Democrats in voting to convict Trump. On Thursday night, The Daily Show and The Late Show offered these GOP senators oddly similar exit ramps, neither of which requires tortured constitutional arguments.

"Are you a Republican senator feeling overwhelmed by overwhelming evidence?" The Daily Show asked. "Introducing ImpeachPods."

The Late Show went with "Conscience Canceling Headphones, the only headphones that cancel both ambient noise and your own sense of what's right." But Stephen Colbert's team also offered a budget version. Peter Weber

February 10, 2021

Former President Donald Trump's "second impeachment trial has finally begun," Jimmy Fallon said on Tuesday's Tonight Show. "Seriously, I can't believe we're talking about Trump again — even herpes knows when to take a break once in a while." Trump's lead lawyer was a guy named Bruce Castor, and he was so rambling, "if the Senate had an orchestra pit, they'd be playing him off," he said.

"But I'll give Castor this: the man can talk — and talk, and talk," Stephen Colbert said at The Late Show. "Castor was so rambling, there were times it seemed like his plan was to put everybody to sleep then grab the articles of impeachment and just tiptoe out. Even C-SPAN tried to save their ratings by switching to live testimony from the House subcommittee on paint drying." But then the House "prosecutors went straight for the heart with a devastating video proving the president's rally and the riot at the Capitol were one and the same thing," he said. It was hard to watch, especially "for the cowards in the Senate" who studiously looked away or doodled on notepads.

Most Senate Republicans actually want Trump convicted and barred from office, but "they saw what happened to Mike Pence, and they're afraid," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. Watching Castor speak "was like a Seinfeld routine without the punchlines," he added. "Trump was reported to be deeply unhappy and was almost screaming at the television during the trial, so those guys aren't getting paid."

Trump was probably watching Castor on TV, going "What the hell is wrong with this guy? The ad on the side of the bus said that he was the best!" Trevor Noah joked at The Daily Show. "And here's the crazy thing: It doesn't actually matter what this guy says," because Republicans will make sure Trump gets off. "But just because we know how the trial will end doesn't mean the trial shouldn't take place," Noah said. "I mean, when you're watching Law & Order, do you turn it off in the first five minutes when the cops interview a dentist who obviously killed his patients to cover up an affair? Of course not. You watch the whole thing because then you get to say 'I knew it!' when you end up being right."

The Late Show also went with a Law & Order joke. Watch below. Peter Weber

February 11, 2020

President Trump is done with impeachment and "ready for revenge on anyone he believes wronged him," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "On Friday, Donald Trump proved that he's more spite than man when he fired impeachment witnesses Gordon Sondland and Alexander Vindman in a post-acquittal purge. Yes, Trump has gone full strongman — he's making a list of enemies, and he's changed the name of his resort to Mar-a-Gulago."

"At times like these, some people might get depressed, but not me, because this weekend there was one bright orange spot: this actual photo of Donald Trump's face," Colbert said, showing the photo in full color and then black and white, cringing, and reading Trump's angry "Fake News" response.

The Late Show had another explanation for Trump's bad makeup job, too.

Jimmy Kimmel eased into Trump's face by discussing Sunday night's Oscars, notably surprise winner Parasite, "a South Korean film that tells the story of a family who cons their way into a house they have no business living in, and things go very wrong from there. The American version of it is called The Trumps. It's also known as Hairasite. He's now tanning with just a bucket."

Meanwhile, "Attorney General William Barr has confirmed that the Justice Department is conducting a review of whatever nonsense Rudy Giuliani dug up or digs up on the Bidens in Ukraine," Kimmel said. And "Trump is shaking those tiny fists at his enemies, he's acting to punish those who testified against him" he said. "I guess Susan Collins was right — he definitely learned his lesson after the trial. But both men who were fired testified under subpoena, which means Trump is now firing people for obeying the law. ... He's firing the people who testified against him, and no one seems to — well, I guess some people have a problem with it, but not enough people."

Late Night's Seth Meyers, for one, had a problem with Trump "retaliating against impeachment witnesses as his attorney general works with his personal lawyer to continue digging up dirt on his political rivals," including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who voted to convict him. "By acquitting Trump, Republicans explicitly gave Trump license to cheat again in the 2020 election, something he will absolutely do if he has the chance," Meyers said. But he, too, found humor in Trump's bad spray-tan job. Watch his roast below. Peter Weber

February 4, 2020

"Now that President Trump's impeachment trial is wrapping up, a big question is: What did his supporters think of the scandal?" Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. Jordan Klepper visited last week's Trump rally in Des Moines, Iowa, to find out. The responses from Trump's fans outside the rally were not surprising — impeachment was a partisan "sham" and Trump "did nothing wrong" — but Klepper found that if you ask the question in the right way, these voters didn't approve of Trump's conduct, either. He also found comedic utility in follow-up questions.

On The Late Show, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog went to Washington to see what senators think of Trump's impeachment — but he mostly just ended up insulting Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Watch below. Peter Weber

February 4, 2020

President Trump sat down with Fox News host Sean Hannity for a pre-Super Bowl interview on Sunday, and Stephen Colbert tagged in for Hannity on Monday's Late Show, poking fun at, among other things, Trump's embarrassing post-game sports geography flub.

Yes, "the Kansas City Chiefs are based in Kansas City, Missouri," not Kansas, Colbert said in his monologue. He turned to Trump's word-association game answer to Hannity on Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), which somehow involved marriage and Moscow. "Of course Trump doesn't think of marriage when he thinks of Moscow," he said. "For Trump, Moscow means a binding oath of loyalty that he cannot break until death."

"Today, the Senate heard closing arguments from both sides" in Trump's "sham" impeachment trial," Colbert said. House prosecutor Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) "called on the senators to do the moral thing and rise above their corrupt leader," but "here's why things look grim for Schiff's argument: On Friday, the Senate voted against calling witnesses in the impeachment trial, 51-49." He singled out "lame excuses" offered by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

Unlike Alexander and Murklowski, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) voted for witnesses on Friday, as did Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), "but only after waiting to make sure her vote wouldn't matter at all," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. "Today they had closing arguments, which were very much like the opening arguments but without any witnesses or evidence in between,"and "Kenneth Starr today, Trump's attorney, referenced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he was defending Trump, so Happy Black History Month, everybody. At least irony and democracy died together."

"After months of claiming Trump did nothing wrong, many key Republicans have now settled on, 'Look, man, it was bad, but not kick-the-guy-out bad,'" Trevor Noah paraphrased at The Daily Show. "Republicans basically treat Trump like white people treat their dogs: 'Sure it tore up all the furniture and pooped on the floor and bit the neighbor's kid, but who can stay mad at that face?'"

Still, Trump's apparent lie about Michael Bloomberg asking to stand on a box was an act of evil genius, Noah said, in part because it "creates yet another distraction from what really matters, like the fact that people in his own party are admitting that they think he is guilty — while also making sure that his trial is so short that not even a box will help it." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 30, 2020

President Trump has obviously been watching his impeachment trial, and "he got things going bright and early today with a light sprinkling of witness intimidation directed as his former national security adviser John Bolton," Jimmy Kimmel said on Wednesday's Kimmel Live, reading Trump's rage tweet. "This is quite an argument: 'Everybody told me not to hire John Bolton, so I did, and he sucks!'" he paraphrased. "Here's a better questions: Who would be stupid enough to hire the person you just described?"

"Trump is all worked up about John Bolton's book," and the White House sent a threatening, but ultimately futile letter to Bolton saying he can't publish it, Kimmel said. "The only way to keep John Bolton from talking now is really for Trump to have sex with him and pay him $130,000." The big outstanding question at the impeachment trial is about witnesses. "A vast majority of Americans — 75 percent of voters — believe witnesses should be called to the trial, but 98 percent of Republican senators don't," he said. "This trial, it needs somebody to cut through the nonsense. If I could go up there in front of the Senate and present my thoughts, I think I could save us all a lot of time." And so Mr. Kimmel went to Washington, virtually, and he brought Bill (of Bill and Ted) fame and some founding fathers.

"The Republicans are worried because they don't currently have enough votes to block witnesses like John Bolton from being called to testify," Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show. "Yeah, Trump is in a real jam, which probably explains why this signal was shining over the White House tonight." It wasn't for Batman.

Bolton reportedly "told conservative donors he thinks president Trump is 'mentally unstable,'" Seth Meyers said at Late Night. "But I'm sure Trump will clear up that misconception with 150 tweets at 3 a.m." Watch below. Peter Weber

January 30, 2020

President Trump's impeachment trial has moved into two days of question time, Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. He explained the process and groaned: "No wonder this thing takes 16 hours. The Senate is communicating though note-passing like they're back in middle school." To "make it fun," he proposed, Chief Justice John Roberts should impersonate the senator whose question he's reading.

"For most of the day, senators asked questions to their own side that gave them another chance to repeat their talking points," Noah said. "But there was one moment — one moment — from the trial that caught everyone's attention, and it came from Trump's attorney Alan Dershowitz." He played Dershowitz's defense, then summarized it: "So just to be clear, the Trump team's argument is now that anything Trump does to get himself re-elected is fine, because his re-election, in his mind, is good for the country, and then it's not impeachable. Anything. ... This whole idea, it seems more like a monarchy or something," Noah added, and then he was handed a note with a "question for Alan Dershowitz. It says: 'Get the f--k outta here!'"

Dershowitz was definitely the star of Wednesday's Q&A session, Stephen Colbert said at The Late Show, jumping from Dershowitz's early "Freudian defense" of Trump to his circular "the only way that it could be illegal is if it's illegal" rationalization, and he lingered on Dershowitz's "crazy, corrupt argument" that "if a politician believes their re-election is 'in the public interest,' and he just said all politicians believe that, it naturally follows that anything they do to get re-elected is fine."

"No, it's not!" Colbert said. "Only the public gets to decide what's in the public interest, not the politicians! It's We the People, not You the Douchebag. That's why on Election Day you don't see a politician wearing a sticker that says: 'You voted. Trust me.'" Colbert had one final question about Dershowitz's "blueprint for a banana republic": "What sort of inspirational posters are hanging in Dershowitz's office? 'Confidence: When you believe you can fly, you're always above the law.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

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