Late Night Tackles Trump and impeachment
2:19 a.m.

The House's public impeachment hearings start Wednesday, and President Trump appears determined to bury them under a blizzard of tweets and obfuscation, Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live. "You know, people thought it was magnanimous when he decided not to take a presidential salary. Turns out it's because he doesn't do any presidential work. He's tweeting all day."

Trump is releasing a transcript Tuesday from an earlier call with Ukraine's president, Kimmel shrugged. "What he thinks this will prove, I have no idea. Just because you release a transcript of a second call where you didn't break the law doesn't mean you're off the hook for the first. ... The president is also ramping up his attacks on the whistleblower. This is his thing now, attacking the whistleblower. 'Never mind what I did — get the guy who told people I did it!'"

"Today we learned that another Pentagon official testified that Trump himself withheld aid money to Ukraine because he wanted an investigation of Joe Biden," Kimmel said. "That was damaging," but the White House is most worried about former National Security Adviser John Bolton and his copious notes. Meanwhile, Trump announced "he's thinking about making a trip to Moscow for a May Day parade," Kimmel sighed. "The idea that the president of the United States would go to Russia to celebrate their military might is absurd, and no one was more surprised than Joe Biden."

"Oh hey, speaking of people Donald Trump doesn't want to see: It was a rough weekend for Donald Trump Jr," Kimmel deadpanned. "DJTJ was here at UCLA promoting his new book, and he was heckled by what he thought was a group of liberals. Turned out it was a group of angry far-right-wingers who were upset there'd be no Q&A. And Don Jr., to his credit, stepped aside and let his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, handle the yellers for him." Watch below. Peter Weber

November 8, 2019

"The big news today is that it looks like the House could wrap up impeachment by Christmas," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. To stave that off, President Trump has "been looking for someone to help convince us" that the transcript of his "perfect" phone call with Ukraine's president "does not say what it says." Someone like Attorney General William Barr.

"Last night we learned that after the Ukraine scandal broke, Trump asked Barr to hold a news conference stating that no laws were broken in his call with Ukraine's president," and "Barr declined," Colbert said. "Bill Barr refused to publicly defend the president? Something is seriously wrong. That's like Nicolas Cage turning down a movie role." It sounds pretty bad, he noted, but "there's only one way to make sure a story about Trump is true, and that's if he rage-tweets his denial." He read the tweet and fact-checked it.

The Barr story was first reported in The Washington Post, "and the president went Washington postal over it," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. In his "series of rage tweets," Trump "said this never happened and there were no sources, which means it definitely happened and there are multiple sources," Kimmel continued. Kimmel then suggested the House impeach Trump on Christmas so "we can start a new tradition of rewatching that every year instead of, like Rudolph."

The whole Ukraine scandal is due to Trump extorting Ukraine for dirt that doesn't exist, Kimmel said. "Basically, Trump tried to pull off a heist on a casino that had no money in it — you know, like a Trump casino, for instance."

"These guys are so out of touch with reality that when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi first announced the impeachment inquiry in September, Trump himself argued that it would actually be good for him," Seth Meyers recalled on Late Night. Tuesday's election losses and popular opinion suggest otherwise, and Trump's "flailing" defenders are going so far as to suggest he was mentally incapable of breaking the law. "So they can't be criminals because they're stupid?" he asked. "No version of that is good." Watch below. Peter Weber

November 7, 2019

Seth Meyers had a reminder for President Trump and his allies on Wednesday's Late Night about what happens if someone blows a whistle and it turns out there really is a fire. An anonymous intelligence official filed a complaint, through proper legal channels, on Trump's Ukraine dealings to kick off the House impeachment inquiry, he said, and now "Trump and his allies are fixated on the whistleblower because the actual evidence is damning and they have no response."

"So the whistleblower is the one who tipped everyone off to the fact that something very corrupt had happened, but since then we've seen the notes from the call, we've seen text messages from officials involved in the scheme, we've had Trump and his chief of staff confess on TV, and we've had one witness after another come forward and provide damning testimony," Meyers said. "We already have all the evidence. This is like if during the O.J. trial they not only had the gloves but dozens of witnesses, a tape of O.J. confessing, and a note inside the gloves that said 'If found at crime scene, return to O.J. Simpson, the murderer.' And yet, Trump and his allies remain obsessed with the whistleblower."

Yes, "Republicans are trying to blow the lid off the whistleblower's identity," Jimmy Kimmel said at Kimmel Live. "Today, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted the alleged whistleblower's name, because of course he did, and one of Daddy's top apologists, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, is calling on the mainstream media to divulge the name, too."

Kimmel lingered on Paul, an erstwhile civil libertarian: "Remember the Rand Paul who campaigned on a platform about individual rights to privacy, who staunchly opposed things like wiretapping? Well, he's dead. And the new Rand Paul is a vindictive, spiteful little elf who moved out of the tree where he makes cookies to take up permanent residence in the president's a--." You can watch Kimmel interview Paul's pugilistic "neighbor" below. Peter Weber

November 7, 2019

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff announced Wednesday that the House impeachment inquiry will hold its first public hearings in a week. "There you have it, the Schiff hits the fan next Wednesday," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "And if the transcripts they've already released are any indication, this is going to be très cray, beybey."

The testimony released Wednesday was from William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and it "undermines every argument the president has made so far," Colbert said, pointing, for example, to Taylor's "clear understanding" that Ukraine would not get U.S. military aid until it agreed to conduct Trump's political investigations, which he understood to be a "quid pro quo." Trump "has been saying 'no quid pro quo' all this time, and now his own diplomat is saying 'yeah huh pro quo,'" Colbert said. "What else has the president been lying about? Is Mexico not gonna pay for the border wall?"

Gordon Sondland, Trump's ambassador to the European Union, belatedly acknowledged the quid pro quo in an amended statement Monday, and "now, Sondland's sudden awareness that he didn't want to go to jail has put Trump's Republican defenders in a bit of a bind," Colbert said. "When the facts aren't on your side, your only hope is ignorance," and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was more than up to the task, he added, showing Graham insisting he won't read any of the transcripts. "How tragic. Graham is clearly working through the five stages of Republican impeachment grief: Anger, denial, won't read, can't read, no hablo inglés." Watch Colbert try to educate Graham below. Peter Weber

November 6, 2019

"I don't want to get out over my skis here, but I'm beginning to think this Donald Trump fellow might get impeached," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "The Democrats keep releasing these transcripts, and the evidence is pretty damning — in that it's exactly what we already knew."

Tuesday's transcript drop had a bonus feature: updated testimony from Gordon Sondland, President Trump's ambassador to the European Union. "Sondland's original testimony was pretty good for Trump," Colbert said — so good, in fact, Trump tweeted Sondland's "no quid pro quo" assertion.

"Well, today, Sondland 'amended' his testimony — much the same way that Sherman 'amended' Atlanta," Colbert said. "And it turns out, yes quid pro quo." Testimony from other witnesses "refreshed" Sondland's "recollection about certain conversations," he read. "Specifically, Sondland now recalls that he told a top Ukrainian official that the country likely would not receive American military aid — that had been appropriated by Congress — unless it publicly committed to the investigations President Trump wanted. That is game, set, match," Colbert said, continuing to say Sondland added to Trump's woes by acknowledging he "assumed" Trump pushing Ukraine to investigate Biden was "illegal."

"Wow, so this guy's just revising the testimony he gave under oath?" Trevor Noah marveled at The Daily Show. "We can't even edit our tweets, but this guy's walking into Congress, just like, 'Oh, you said quid pro quo? I thought you said squid pro quo.'" Honestly, "I feel bad for Sondland, because he was the first to testify," Noah said. "And he probably thought everyone else was gonna have his back and also say there was not quid pro quo, but then instead everyone snitched on him."

Sondland's revised memory is "a major plot twist in this ongoing quid pro quo show today," Jimmy Kimmel agreed on Kimmel Live. "Gee, I wonder what jogged his memory? Maybe he started taking those Omega 3 supplements or something? They say those are very effective against perjury. So it turns out it was a quid pro quo, which we already knew but now know — which means our president might not be telling the truth. I know, I'm disappointed in him, too." Watch below. Peter Weber

November 5, 2019

President Trump is now officially a Floridian. "Good riddance, Don," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "Just so we're clear: Trump is leaving because of a tax problem he created. New York state and local taxes went up because of the tax bill that Trump signed into law in 2017. Yeah, it's the old fart-in-the-elevator-then-take-the-stairs tactic."

Meanwhile, Republicans are finding it "harder to defend Trump in the impeachment inquiry," Colbert said. "Up till now the GOP's main argument has been that the process has been secretive and unfair, but today the head of the impeachment inquiry, Adam Schiff, started releasing transcripts of the closed-door testimony. Oh, Schiff just got real."

Monday's "most stunning testimony came from former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who back in May was recalled from her post following political attacks by right-wing media figures," Colbert said. According to Yovanovitch, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Fox News host Sean Hannity for advice about her, and Gordon Sondland, a Trump donor appointed ambassador to the European Union, gave Yovanovitch advice to save her job: Tweet support for Trump. She didn't, Colbert noted. "So faced with losing her career or saying one nice thing about Donald Trump, she said, 'Anybody got any boxes?'"

"Trump's defenders are backed into a corner, so a growing number of GOP senators are considering acknowledging Trump's quid pro quo on Ukraine," Colbert said. "The Republicans are so desperate, they're considering telling the truth."

"Trump and Republicans keep changing their defense because they don't have one," Seth Meyers said at Late Night. "Democrats have now passed a formal impeachment resolution and they're releasing transcripts of damning witness testimony." Still, all four witnesses scheduled for depositions Monday refused to show up, and the stonewalling is expected to continue all week, he noted. "They're just refusing to show up now. How long before Trump tries that tactic? The day he gets impeached he'll probably be holed up in his bedroom, hiding under a pillow fort. 'You can't impeach me if you can't find me!'" Watch below. Peter Weber

November 1, 2019

"One day history will ask: 'Where were you when the House voted on the impeachment inquiry?'" Jimmy Kimmel said on Thursday's Halloween edition of Kimmel Live. "And I will say, 'On stage, dressed as an orange peanut.' The House voted today to formalize the impeachment process, which means — I don't know what it means. It means it will go to the Senate, the Republicans in the Senate will do nothing about it, and he'll say he won, is probably what it means."

But Trump still rage-tweeted about the "witch hunt" Thursday and "once again, defended his 'perfect call' with the Ukrainian president," Kimmel said. "He wrote: 'Read the transcript!' Which, this is like Lori Laughlin saying 'Check my kid's SAT score!' Not one Republican voted in favor of the impeachment resolution. In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lashed out, he said the Democrats are taking a vacation from the needs of the American people — in other words, instead of wasting time on this, you should be sending over more legislation for me to kill. Mitch McConnell is sitting on over 100 bills right now. He uses them to nest his terrarium."

"Today is Halloween and the House of Representatives passed a resolution that formalized the impeachment inquiry into President Trump — in other words, Boo!" Seth Meyers said at Late Night. "Today is Halloween, which means tomorrow Rudy Giuliani will be half off. ... After being named President Trump's cybersecurity adviser in 2017, Rudy Giuliani got locked out of his phone after entering an incorrect password 10 times, and had to visit the Apple Store to have it fixed. Even worse, his phone is a Samsung Galaxy."

This year's "least popular Halloween costume, once again: Sexy Rudy Giuliani," Jimmy Fallon joked at The Tonight Show. "Today the House voted on a resolution to move forward with the impeachment inquiry, and you could tell the Democrats were pretty fired up about it," he said, playing fake audio of the roll call. Hear a fake House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yell "break open the White Claw!" below. Peter Weber

November 1, 2019

The House approved a road map to impeaching President Trump on Thursday, and since it was Halloween, The Late Show paid homage to a holiday classic.

"The resolution passed by a vote of 232 to 196, with zero Republican votes," Stephen Colbert said, teeing up a loaded question: "Are they just complaining about process with those zero votes, or are they really so lacking in any honor that they are willing to publicly state that blackmailing a foreign government to interfere in our election is okay?" It was the latter, and Colbert had a "quick follow up" involving the Titanic, an iceberg, and a mad captain.

Republicans also brought visual aids and odd complaints. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), for example, accused the Democrats of using "Soviet-style tactics" — "Ah yes, the classic Soviet-style rules for impeaching their leaders," Colbert said. "Remember, Stalin was in power only 30 years when he was impeached by dying" — and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) called the Democrats a "cult" chasing "one outlandish conspiracy theory to another." Really? Colbert asked. "Wow, that is the pot saying the kettle was born in Kenya."

Late Night's Seth Meyers laughed at Nunes' "cult" comment and Scalise's Soviet poster, "but at least that guy brought a visual aide," he said. "Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tried to use his words, but he said something so confusing" it sounded like he'd "asked Siri to read a quote from Alexander Hamilton after spilling water on your phone." Thursday's vote "was obviously a historic moment and a huge blow to Trump and his supporters," who have "started to freak out," Meyers said. "The House has now formally endorsed the impeachment inquiry, and that's because the basic facts of what happened are indisputable."

"Before you get too excited, please remember this is just a vote to define the rules for the process of impeachment," Trevor Noah cautioned at The Daily Show. "They still have to vote on impeachment, then they vote on the rules for the impeachment trial, then they vote on whether or not to convict. ... Seriously, there are like so many steps before you can actually punish an American president. Congress impeaches presidents like white parents discipline their kids. 'Young man, if you don't listen, I'm going to tell you again!'" Watch below. Peter Weber

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