Late Night Tackles Trump versus Congress
August 11, 2020

Stephen Colbert was back in the Ed Sullivan Theater — well, an office in the theater — for Monday's Late Show. "Now, you might recall that right before I went on break, Congress couldn't agree on ... anything, specifically how much supplemental unemployment pay out-of work Americans should get," he said. So President Trump stepped in with an executive order. Yes, "it's against the law," Colbert said. "But on the bright side, Trump's orders aren't just unconstitutional, they also don't help."

"You've got to give it to Trump, man: He knows that Congress is so gridlocked that they can make even him look good," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "Because, you see, it doesn't matter if his executive orders are illegal or toothless or completely unworkable, he understands that even the appearance of doing something is better than the appearance of going on recess in the middle of a recession."

"So once again, Trump has tried to solve a problem and ended up creating a bigger mess," Noah said. "But if you're wondering whether he thinks he's doing a good job," it appears he thinks he's earned a spot on Mount Rushmore. "And honestly, I agree with him: I think we should put Trump on Mount Rushmore," he added. "But not a carving — I think we would actually put him on Mount Rushmore, no phone, no internet, problem solved."

"Trump's wasting his time at Mount Rushmore," Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show. "If he wants something carved into rock that looks like him, the orange hue of the Grand Canyon is a much better option." Fallon was also unimpressed Trump "signed four executive orders to help the unemployed from his private country club. Even Marie Antoinette was like, 'Come on, man, read the room.'"

Asking to be put on Mount Rushmore is "like going up to a priest after mass and asking him, 'So, what's the process for adding someone to the trinity? What if it was like the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the Dan?'" Seth Meyer joked at Late Night. "And even if there was a process to get on Mount Rushmore, I'm pretty sure presiding over the preventable deaths of 160,000 Americans and the worst economic crash since the Great Depression would be disqualifying." Watch his critique of Trump's "meaningless and blatantly unconstitutional executive orders" and his impressive Owen Wilson impersonation below. Peter Weber

May 23, 2019

"Today, there really is just one big story: America's step-daddy is angry," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. Frustrated Democrats are starting to push for impeachment, and after a meeting Wednesday morning to calm down her caucus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) emerged and said she believes Trump "is engaged in a cover-up." Colbert laughed: "It's called bronzer, Nancy, and he's not fooling anyone."

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) then went to the White House to meet with Trump for a pre-scheduled meeting on infrastructure, Trump walked in late, walked out, and the meeting was over in three minutes. "According to Stormy Daniels, that's two bonus minutes," Colbert said, naughtily. "Trump walked out the door, straight to the Rose Garden for a nationally televised hissy fit, complete with a podium adorned with a pre-printed sign that said 'No collusion, no obstruction.'"

"So Trump has a clear stance on infrastructure: 'It's my way or no highways,'" Colbert said, paraphrasing Trump's opening message. Trump then claimed Democrats can't investigate him and legislate at the same time, raged about Democrats moving toward "the 'i' word," insisted he's denying Congress its constitutional powers for altruistic reasons, and stood up for his son Don Jr, Colbert recapped. Then Pelosi politely savaged Trump, but couldn't quite articulate "the 'i' word."

The Late Show had no trouble finding (and singing about) "i" words to describe Trump.

"Trump's press conference was predictably off-the-rails," starting with his "obvious lie" that he's a historically transparent president, Seth Meyer said at Late Night. "I mean, we can see right though you, but I don't think that's what you meant." With Trump "now openly defying the law and refusing to work with Congress unless they stop investigating him," he added, "it's worth remembering that Republicans spent years pretending to care about the Constitution, and now Trump is exposing them all as frauds." Well, all except one. Watch below. Peter Weber

May 22, 2019

The latest blow in the oversight fight between President Trump and Congress was former White House Counsel Don McGahn ignoring a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee, Stephen Colbert explained on Tuesday's Late Show. "They wanted to ask McGahn about the section of the Mueller report where McGahn says Trump tried to obstruct justice — and it's a large section — but last night the White House blocked McGahn from testifying to Congress. So, they don't get to ask about obstruction, because the alleged obstructer obstructed the witness to his obstructing."

House Democrats, who scolded McGahn's empty chair on Tuesday, are not happy. "But there's some good news on the obstruction front," Colbert said. On Monday, a federal judge upheld a different House subpoena for Trump's financial records from his accounting firm. "That's huge — we are finally getting his financial records, and I have a strong feeling that we're going to find out that the whole time, Eric was just a shell corporation," he joked. Trump criticized the ruling and the judge, and Colbert recapped in Trump voice: "You can't trust an Obama-appointed judge. Take it from me, a Putin-appointed president."

"Trump promised to appeal this decision — and now comes the fun part," Colbert said. "Because the case is going to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is headed by .... drumroll please ... Judge Merrick Garland." In case you forgot, he said, "Merrick Garland is the judge Obama nominated to the Supreme Court in 2016, only to have his appointment shot down by Mitch McConnell. Now that guy's court gets to rule on Trump's financial records." Ha, "payback's a Mitch," Colbert said, adding, quietly and probably correctly, "I'm sure he'll be evenhanded."

"Thankfully, one member of the Trump administration actually did show up in Congress today," Colbert said, and what we learned from HUD Secretary Ben Carson "is that in two years, he has learned nothing about this own agency." Peter Weber

May 8, 2019

Financial markets aren't responding well to President Trump's deal-confounding threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, and Trump doesn't appear to know that Americans are the ones footing the bill for his China tariffs, Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "So he's willing to tank the economy just to look like a tough guy with China. 'Hey, China? Want to see how strong I am? Well, stand back while I punch myself in the face.'"

"But the big story is everything that's not happening in Washington," Colbert said. For example, "Attorney General William Barr did not appear before the House Judiciary Committee, where he did not have to answer questions about all the things he did not disclose about the Mueller report, which did not exonerate the president. So in short, we have a functioning democracy — not." The Trump administration also ordered former White House Counsel Don McGahn not to hand over subpoenaed documents, is trying to stop Robert Mueller from testifying, and refused the House's lawful request for Trump's tax returns.

"So Trump won't give the co-equal branch of government, Congress, any of the things that they have subpoenaed," Colbert said. "What can the Democrats do about that? Well, one solution is to impeach Trump — but that's exactly what he wants, according to the person who could make that happen."

Congress also has its own jail and police force, Trevor Noah noted at The Daily Show. "The House Democrats are on the verge of holding the attorney general in contempt of Congress, which means, technically, he could get arrested. And I know it's extremely unlikely, but man, wouldn't that be exciting? Like, wouldn't it be exciting if this whole thing just ends in a standoff at the White House? The Capitol Police storming the Oval Office, Trump and his people taking a final stand like Scarface? And then Trump just pulls out Jeff Sessions from a hidden drawer — he's like, 'Say hello to my little friend!'" Watch below. Peter Weber

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