Late Night Tackles Trump and impeachment
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

January 29, 2020

"The opening arguments wrapped up today in Donald Trump's impeachment trial," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show, and "all that's left is all the arguing, mostly about witnesses. Mitch McConnell doesn't want any, and it looked like all the Republicans were going to fall in line" — until news broke Sunday of former National Security Adviser John Bolton's quid pro quo bombshell.

"Bolton claims that the leaks have nothing to do with boosting the sales of his book, but people are suspicious, especially considering the quotes leaked the same day the Amazon product page for the book went live," Colbert said. "Now we know how to get Trump's people to tell the truth: Give them a product to promote. Mick Mulvaney, come on my show and I will play a clip from your new Disney movie, Frozen Military Aid." He sang a snippet of the movie's hit song, "Quid Pro Quo."

Bolton "says he saw Trump do what he is being accused of doing firsthand, and most of the Republican senators are like, 'Eh, we don't need to talk to him, let's go home already,'" Jimmy Kimmel said at Kimmel Live. "But the coalition is cracking," and McConnell now says he doesn't yet have the 51 votes to block Bolton's testimony. Kimmel offered a kind of milk-and-Twinkies quid pro quo to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a leader of the GOP's let-Bolton-testify faction. "That's right, the Mitt is about to hit the tan," he said.

Yes, "Bolton has now thrown a wrench into Trump's impeachment trial, which has been a major topic of discussion among Trump's most trusted advisers, Fox News," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "Not too long ago, John Bolton was clearly part of the Fox family," like "the goofy uncle who just wants to have fun and wipe Iran off the planet, but now that Bolton's allegations could hurt President Trump, Fox News has made it very clear that he is no longer invited to the family cookout." He focused on Lou Dobbs and his journey from "Bolton's No. 1 fan" to thrashing him as a "tool of the left."

"I'm not saying Trump wants this book to disappear, but he just bought all the copies and threw them in Jeffrey Epstein's prison cell," The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon joked. Watch his Senate GOP excuse generator for not calling Bolton as a witness below. Peter Weber

January 28, 2020

President Trump's lawyers made their case in Monday's Senate impeachment trial, Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. "And it basically boils down to this: One, this is just a political attack by the Democrats; two, Trump did nothing wrong; and three, there are no first-hand witnesses who spoke to Trump about a quid pro quo." He was impressed with the brazenness of complaining "about having no eyewitnesses when you're the ones blocking the eyewitnesses."

But "right in the middle of Team Trump making that argument about witnesses," Noah said, we learned that if willing first-hand witness John Bolton testifies, "he would say that Trump personally told him that he wanted to hold up aid to Ukraine until he got dirt on the Bidens — which is the whole thing! This is the heart of the entire impeachment thing. So I don't know how Senate Republicans can justify not hearing from Bolton now." Also bad for Trump, Lev Parnas just joined the "insane number of people who are secretly recording him," he added. "At this point, we have enough tapes to produce an album," and they did.

Seriously, "how is possible that so many people have secret recordings of the president?" Seth Meyers asked at Late Night. "Trump was so worried about Obama spying on him, he failed to notice that everyone else was. This is why it's so crucial that the Senate vote to allow new evidence to be considered in the impeachment trial, because almost every day new evidence emerges," including Bolton's bombshell.

"There was an impeachment bombshell that just came out, and it could possibly bring down Trump's presidency," Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show. "Or as it's known in the White House, Monday." He showed a photo of Bolton: "It would be the ultimate irony if Trump gets taken down by the KFC colonel."

"These allegations are the most disturbing thing to come from John Bolton's lips since his mustache," James Cordon joked at The Late Late Show. But Bolton's bombshell "just goes to show you that sometimes, political figures will have the moral courage to go against their party, as long as its perfectly timed with the release of a book." The new information "put a ton of pressure on Republican senators to call Bolton and other witnesses to testify," he added. "They're still not going to, but the pressure!" Watch below. Peter Weber

January 24, 2020

"Today was the third day of testimony in the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. And while the Democratic House prosecutors have laid out "a detailed description of perhaps the greatest abuse of power ever by a U.S. president," they're also "trying to keep it simple." For example, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) "tried to explain why crime is bad" using "the A-B-C's of high crimes and misdemeanors," he said, inspired: "Let me try a simple one! The impeachment 1-2-3s: Trump never 1 the popular vote, he's 2 corrupt to have the job, and 3 years is really enough."

House prosecutors "went through a mountain of evidence today — very compelling, very damning evidence," Jimmy Kimmel recapped at Kimmel Live. "It's nuts, they have everything, this is open-and-shut — which is a problem for Fox News," which "instead of even trying" to defend Trump is just "going with the old 'it's boring' defense." He countered that it would be very exciting to see what it takes to drag Trump from the Oval Office: "I mean, don't you want to remove him just to see that?"

The Late Show had a theory about why some senator-jurors are so restless.

Sitting quietly "for one lousy day" is "not hard — it's irritating, but it's not hard," Late Night's Seth Meyers chided senators. Meanwhile, Trump keeps "providing more evidence that he's a criminal who's unfit for office," bragging during a press conference "that his side was winning the trial because he was hiding all of the evidence from House prosecutors."

Trump also said "he wishes he could be at that impeachment trial to look his accusers in the face," The Daily Show's Trevor Noah laughed, agreeing with the idea, "because if he's locked up in a room for 12 hours at a time, he wouldn't have time to be doing things like" gutting protections for clean water. "Huh, that's a weird coincidence: A new rollback on water protections will benefit real estate developers," he deadpanned. "And it was passed by a real estate developer who hasn't drank water since the '70s — what are the odds? Why do I feel like all of Trump's policies really just him trying to help himself? Like I wouldn't be shocked if we find out the real reason Trump killed Soleimani was because he gave Trump's hotel one star on Yelp." Watch below. Peter Weber

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