Late Night Tackles Trump and impeachment
January 17, 2020

"This afternoon, the Senate officially opened the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump," and "every single senator just swore to be an impartial juror," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "For weeks, Republicans have been ignoring mounting evidence that Trump knew everything that was happening with the Ukraine scheme, and Democrats have been praying for the other shoe to drop. Well, last night, an entire Foot Locker fell out of the sky," thanks to Lev Parnas, a "recently indicted goon" who worked with Rudy Giuliani "to help Trump blackmail Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden."

Parnas "tossed Trump under Air Force One" in several "juicy" interviews, Colbert said, claiming Trump knew everything he and Giuliani were up to and never cared about corruption, just Ukraine announcing Biden investigations. "The only way this could be more damning for Trump is if there was some sort of phone transcript of him demanding investigation of — oh...." Colbert deadpanned. Trump refrained from tweeting about Parnas most of the day, "but this afternoon, the pressure finally got to him, and he blasted off this gem: 'I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!'"

Yes, "it was an all-caps kind of day for the president of the United States today," Jimmy Kimmel laughed at Kimmel Live. When the trial starts Tuesday, "senators will not be allowed to use their phones" and "they will have to stand when they cast votes — which is a big deal, because for a lot of these senators, this will be the first time they've ever stood for anything." Meanwhile, "the bombshells are still falling from the sky" as Parnas continues "to spill the borscht," Kimmel said, laying out some of the more damning revelations from Trump's "smoking goon. ... The whole scenario feels like The Sopranos, except instead of organized crime, it's disorganized."

"If those other people smelled the borscht, [Parnas] actually made it," and he's spooning out "some pretty big accusations," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "And to make matters worse, a nonpartisan government agency declared that Trump withholding military aid from Ukraine was illegal. Yeah, the thing he actually did." And as Trump continues to claim he doesn't know Parnas, Parnas is responding "pics, it happened," he added. "You know the game is real when someone is threatening to open their camera roll."

Not that The Daily Show was waiting on Parnas. Peter Weber

January 16, 2020

The House voted Wednesday to send its articles of impeachment to the Senate, setting up the trial of President Donald J. Trump. The Late Show recreated the formal handover ceremony.

The reality of walking the articles of the impeachment to the Senate was much more pedestrian, but this is still "an historic day," Stephen Colbert said in Wednesday's monologue. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doesn't have the votes to avert a trial, and "one person that the Senate might want to hear from" is Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani's dirt-digging Ukraine fixer, he said, running through the "trove of ridiculously incriminating impeachment evidence" Parnas released through the House Intelligence Committee.

"The most damning evidence" includes "a series of handwritten notes by Parnas on stationery from the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Vienna," and a letter from Giuliani to Ukraine's president-elect explaining that "Trump knew and approved of what Giuliani was doing," using "two words not generally associated with President Trump: knowledge and consent," Colbert said. "You don't write the crime down, you dummy!"

Yes, "Trump will become the first former steak salesman to be tried for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live, but "Mitch McConnell won't even commit to questioning witnesses or admitting new evidence," despite the new Parnas "bombshells," documentary and in interviews with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. He read some bizarre, ominous-sounding texts Parnas released, adding sarcastically: "Ah yeah, nothing to investigate there, Sen. McConnell."

The "new evidence about Trump and his shady dealings with Ukraine" is pretty mind-boggling, Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "Seriously, they wrote down the plot of their crime and then kept it? That is a literal paper trail. ... Only Donald Trump would hire henchmen who are also into scrapbooking." So "we'll see how many senators decide they're interested in hearing more evidence, but at least for Nancy Pelosi, her job is now done," he said, though Pelosi "seemed a little spaced-out" in her press conference, like maybe her "edibles just kicked in at the wrong moment."

Late Night's Seth Meyers took a deeper dive into the "damning new evidence" about "Trump's henchmen," noting that "it's well-established these guys worked directly for Trump in his scheme to get Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election by digging up dirt on Joe Biden." He wasn't impressed with the caliber of Trump's "meathead goon" help, either: "Trump's like a mall Santa for wannabe goodfellas," except "these guys are a lot dumber than the criminals on TV." Peter Weber

January 15, 2020

"While the Democrats debated their debate in Iowa, [President] Trump tried to steal the limelight by holding a 'Keep America Great' rally up in Milwaukee," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. Trump brought up Tom Cruise while bragging about the U.S. military strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, "rambled on about stuff he liked," and finally "launched into his favorite topic: household appliances."

And "Trump wasn't afraid to talk about the hot-button issues, like dishwasher efficiency," Colbert said, showing the president's now-routine dishwasher rant. "First of all, we cannot let this guy become president," he deadpanned. "Second, nobody does that, it's all made up. And third, I'm gonna say we should not take dishwasher advice from a man who eats the majority of his meals out of a cardboard bucket."

At Tuesday's Democratic debate, "everyone was focused on Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren after Bernie reportedly told her a woman can't win the presidency," Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show. "Most Americans disagreed while every Oscar voter sided with Bernie." President Trump was at the college football national championship game in New Orleans Monday night, "and this is cool, the referees actually used his tie to measure first downs," Fallon joked. He also revealed what Trump and actor Vince Vaughn (might have) talked about at the game.

Yes, "the president and first lady were at the game," and "Trump was thrilled with himself," retweeting "not one but two videos of the crowd cheering for him," Jimmy Kimmel said at Kimmel Live. "The president loves to get love from a crowd, which — you know, I actually have an idea that could solve a lot. I say we move the Oval Office to the Superdome. Trump can sit at a desk right on the 50-yard line and get cheered by people all day. He'd be so happy, and maybe it would distract him from ruining the whole world."

Kimmel recounted how an enterprising man at a Trump rally last month "pulled a pretty good one on the president," getting Trump "to sign a copy of his own impeachment report." Trump's Senate impeachment trial will start as soon as next Tuesday, he added, running through some of the "damning new evidence" the House had just released from one of "Rudy Guiliani's Ukrainian dirt-diggers, Lev Parnas." Watch below. Peter Weber

December 31, 2019

At some point in the new year — perhaps after President Trump's State of the Union speech — the House will send its article of impeachment to the Senate for Trump's trial on obstruction of Congress and abuse of power charges. Perhaps, after more than three months of rapidly moving events and weeks of illuminating testimony, you are no longer clear on how we got to this remarkable point in American history.

If you have 20 minutes, The Daily Show retraced Trump's entire "Magical, Wonderful Road to Impeachment" Monday by splicing together Trevor Noah's contemporaneous coverage of events. Maybe you forgot about Gordon Sondland and William Taylor's damning text exchanges, or the fact that Fox News was briefly obsessed with how "sexy" the hearings were not.

And before Trump released the transcript of his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky — you know, "I would like you do do us a favor, though" — he essentially confessed to the whole scheme, Noah recounted. "Okay, we all heard that, right? Trump just said there was no pressure except for the pressure to get dirt on Biden. That's the only pressure we're talking about!" Some of Noah's recap is a little NSFW, but you can relearn some of what you already forgot about Trump's impeachment below. Peter Weber

December 20, 2019

"Christmas is coming, whether we're ready for it or not," Jimmy Kimmel said on Thursday's Kimmel Live. "Last night in Washington, Nancy Pelosi roasted the president's chestnuts pretty good. Democrats in the House made Donald Trump only the third president ever to be impeached." No Republican voted for impeachment, he said, "which means they either really love Donald Trump or really hate Mike Pence."

"Trump was in Battle Creek, Michigan, when the vote happened, pepping himself up with a rally," Kimmel said, giving a taste of "what our president was talking about while this historic impeachment vote was coming in." For example: "'Women tell me' about the dishwasher. What women are telling him about the dishwasher? Trump also lashed out viciously at Rep. Debbie Dingell from Michigan," joking that her late husband, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich), "went to hell because his wife voted for impeachment."

"Republicans have insisted that Trump is weathering the storm and pushing forward," but Wednesday night's "deranged rally" suggests otherwise, said Late Night's Seth Meyers. "The rally was billed as a Merry Christmas rally, and in the spirit of the season, Trump went through a list of grievance and insults" that included "security guards, Democrats, the media, and dishwashers," he said. 'Normally when someone rambles that long, you have to take away their keys."

"Let's assess Donald Trump's understanding of dishwashers," Meyers said. "I mean, he clearly has no idea how they work," and "he has clearly never washed a dish in his life. Also, I like how he says 'women tell me.' They probably tell you that to get away from you."

"But probably my favorite moment came right before that dishwasher rant, when Trump was again rambling about light bulbs, garbage dumps, sinks, and showers, for some reason — and even his own fawning admirers were just staring at him in silence," Meyers said. "When you're Donald Trump and you lose Trump supporters, you know you're way out in left field." The crowd did get involved "when Trump went on yet another rant about how people supposedly have to flush toilets 10 times now," he said, and he flagged Trump's pronoun choices: "I love how when it's impeachment, he's like, 'We're all getting impeached,' but when it's about toilets, he's like 'You people probably take giant 10-flushers, not me.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

December 19, 2019

"Well, here we are: President Trump has been impeached," Seth Meyers said on Wednesday's Late Night. Before the House approved the two articles of impeachment, lawmakers spent hours debating them, he said, and there was quite a contrast between the "pro-impeachment speeches" and "the whiny rambling of the Republicans" competing "to see who could be more sycophantic toward Trump."

In a "truly deranged six-page letter" to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, "Trump compared impeachment to the Salem Witch Trials," Meyers said, but on Wednesday, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) was actually "deranged enough to compare Trump to Jesus. ... These people are out of their minds. Soon they're going to start claiming they saw images of Trump appear in their food." Finally, "a GOP congressman literally asked for a moment of silence for the people who voted for Trump," he sighed. "All right, if the 63 million who voted for Trump get a moment of silence, can we also have a moment for the 66 million who voted against him to go 'What the f--k?'"

The Late Show's Stephen Colbert was also vexed by Loudermilk's analogy: "Really? You're going to compare Donald Trump to Jesus Christ? May I remind you, Jesus never had to cut a check to keep Mary Magdalene quiet." Predictably, "Trump is reacting to the impeachment news with his usual calm and measured ranting," he said, even sending his "angry six-page screed" to every member of Congress in a giant Christmas card "the size of a Cheesecake Factory menu — which makes sense, since both feature an orange chicken."

"As upset as Trump sounds, his Republican minions in the House seemed even more angry," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "Did these guys just compare impeachment to Pearl Harbor and what happened to Jesus? Did they just Google 'bad things' then click 'I'm Feeling Lucky'?"

"House Republicans spent the whole day being huge drama queens about impeachment," but "that doesn't mean that Democrats were gloating," Noah said. "All day the Democrats were roaming the halls of Congress sad and depressed, just walking around like living Adele albums" — though, he told correspondent Michael Kosta, "it feels like Democrats are acting sad, but then deep down they're actually happy about this."

"We should all take a moment to feel excited that Trump is finally facing a consequence!" Samantha Bee said at Full Frontal. "Okay, moment's over. ... When the New Year starts, this whole process is going to get even uglier," Trump will be acquitted, and "it might even feel like impeaching Trump was pointless — but it's not," she said. "In a world where old, rich white dudes seem to increasingly operated with impunity, today Trump faces the tiniest bit of punity, and that is magic." Watch below. Peter Weber

December 18, 2019

"It's Impeachment Eve," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "And like every Impeachment Eve, we've put the kids to bed but they're all up listening hard to see if accountability is coming." Unfortunately, he added, "all they can hear right now is Scrooge McTrump screaming 'Humbug' from his rooftop."

Trump was "relatively quiet" all week "about his impending impeachment," Colbert said. "But the pressure clearly was building under the surface," and today "the eruption came in the form of a six-page shriek addressed to Nancy Pelosi." Colbert read snippets from the "disorienting mishmash of dry legal language mixed in with Trump's signature angry word smoothies," mocking various lines. But he agreed with Trump that he should at least be afforded the same due process as the accused witches of Salem: "Fair's fair: We should throw him in the river, and if he floats. ..."

"This might be the most deranged letter to Santa ever," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. "It is a long, stupid, disingenuous, and incoherent defense, signed by an angry gorilla with a Sharpie." Meanwhile, he said, "Republicans continue to insist there's nothing illegal about the illegal things the president did," and "the House Judiciary Committee released a 658-page report detailing the president's misdeeds, which — who's gonna read that? ... Unless that report comes printed on a pizza box, nobody is going to see it."

The House Judiciary Committee's report "accused President Trump of committing multiple crimes in addition to those for which he's being impeached," Seth Meyers said at Late Night. "And while we can't talk about every single crime he may have committed, we can at least show them to you."

"Tomorrow's the big impeachment vote," The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon said, dressed as Trump visiting an uncomfortable-looking Santa at the mall. "People are saying all I can do is pray, but why pray when I can come straight to you, Jesus' dad?" Fallon's Trump unfurled a wish list that included Santa taking out Pelosi, and he asked for "any tips on what to get a Russian dictator who has everything? I'm pretty sure he's buying me another election, so I want to get him something good." Watch below. Peter Weber

December 17, 2019

"On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against our president," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "The vote was 23-17, along strictly partisan lines. That's right — not one Republican evidently has a problem with the president blackmailing a foreign government to get dirt on a political opponent. In a related story, the GOP has changed its mascot from an elephant to an ostrich."

"The full House is expected to vote on impeachment on Wednesday," then senators will act as the jury in President Trump's impeachment trial, Colbert said. "It is their constitutional duty to be impartial," but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "sees that just slightly differently," telling Fox News he is letting Trump's lawyers dictate how the trial will go and confidently predicting there's "no chance" Trump will be removed from office. "How is that okay?" Colbert asked. "Uh, spoiler alert! Don't tell me how democracy ends!"

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) isn't even pretending to be a "fair juror," Colbert noted. "Really? You should at least pretend. Because when the trial starts, the oath you take actually says 'I solemnly swear ... I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.' So, to cover up for Donald Trump, a man you loathe, you're going to raise your right hand and lie to God? You're going to betray the man upstairs for a man who's afraid to walk down stairs?"

"Republicans are doing everything they can to rig the Senate trial" in Trump's favor, "trying to cheat in the trial about the cheating," Seth Meyers said at Late Night. Graham and McConnell "have said explicitly their only goal is to end the trial as quickly as possible, call zero witnesses, and take their marching orders directly from the president himself," and Graham is so open in his bragging about not being a fair juror, he "sounds like a dude who's just making stuff up to get out of jury duty," Meyers said. "This is the Republican Party of Trump: A party that sees any challenge to its power as illegitimate, that's fine with cheating to win elections, and that rigs trials to avoid consequences for that cheating." Watch below. Peter Weber

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