Late Night Tackles Trump versus the law
June 14, 2019

"Every night I stand here and I make jokes about all of Donald Trump's lies," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "It turns out, it's even worse if he tells the truth." Trump told George Stephanopoulos he would accept dirt on Democrats from foreign governments like Russia and China, and when Stephanopoulos "gave Trump an opportunity to not publicly betray our democracy," he doubled down, Colbert said. "We know you'd take it! You took it. The question is, why are you admitting it?" Trump's confession is so "stupid," he explained, because after two years of screaming "no collusion," he just told a national TV audience that of course he would collude. Colbert also debuted his impressive Prince of Whales impression and cursed Trump for making him agree with Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade.

"Apparently, foreign dirt is the only import he won't put tariffs on," Trevor Noah joked at The Daily Show. It isn't surprising that Trump would solicit dirt from hostile powers in 2020 since "he never faced any real consequences for 2016," he added, but "even Trump's loyal subjects are calling him out" on this one.

After laughing at Trump's "Prince of Whales" tweet, Noah said "typos are the least of America's problems right now, because the president of the United States has basically invited foreign governments to interfere in America's election if it'll help him win. And that can be a really dangerous thing that could get him and America into big trouble." Roy Wood Jr. had a PSA.

Yes, "the guy who has spent two years scream-tweeting 'no collusion!' is now saying if anyone's down to collude, I'm your guy," Seth Meyers sighed on Late Night. "If Trump had been president during Watergate, he would have left a business card at the break-in." Seriously, "why are we not just treating this as a confession? Just because he's phrasing it as a hypothetical doesn't make it any less damning," he added. And "this is not a random hypothetical. ... In fact at this point, I think the Russians are the only ones who haven't tuned out Donald Trump."

Well, not the only ones... Peter Weber

March 27, 2019

President Trump's Justice Department signaled Monday night that it wants the federal courts to strike down all of ObamaCare — a decision reportedly made by the White House, over the objections of the attorney general and the Health and Human Services secretary. "Yes, now that he's free of the Mueller investigation, Trump can focus on his enemies: the living," Stephen Colbert quipped on Tuesday's Late Show. "The GOP has been trying to kill ObamaCare over and over, but it keeps coming back. It's like Freddy Krueger, if instead of killing you, he entered your dreams to to perform an emergency appendectomy."

"This is a crazy move going into an election year, because people really love many parts of the Affordable Care Act," including the protections for people with pre-existing conditions, favored by 90 percent of Americans, Colbert said. "This is particularly problematic for Donald Trump, who suffers from the pre-existing condition of previously pretending to care about it."

Republicans "have talked about 'repeal and replace' for years now, Trump specifically, but Trump has never announced a plan to replace ObamaCare with anything," Colbert added. "So get ready for the Republican Party's new health-care mascot, Deathy the Friendly Tombstone. ... Trump has to feel very certain about his base to yank away their health care right before an election," he mused. "It explains all those new yard signs: 'If I were still alive, I'd vote for Trump.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

March 15, 2019

"Thank you for joining us on Day 28 of Donald Trump's national emergency," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "Today, Senate Republicans rolled up a magazine and spanked Trump right in the old Oval Office." Before the vote on whether to thwart Trump's emergency declaration, several Republicans said they would vote to spike it. "Trump pulled out all the stops to change their minds," tweeting threats to keep Republicans in line, and "yesterday, the White House tweeted this scare video," Colbert said. He was so impressed he tried the same "scare" technique on kids playing soccer, to similar effect.

It didn't matter. "This afternoon, the Senate rejected Trump border emergency declaration 59 to 41," Colbert said. "He lost. I mean, the last time Trump lost a vote that badly, he was elected president. But Trump should be proud of one thing — he made history here. Because Congress has now voted to block a presidential emergency declaration for the first time. ... Trump had long promised to veto this bill, and sure enough, just minutes after the results came in, he tweeted 'VETO!' If Trump carries out this tweet, it will be the first veto of his presidency — though not the first time he didn't take 'no' for an answer."

"Under the law, the president can declare an emergency, then Congress can say 'It's not really an emergency,' and the president can veto that," Colbert explained. "It's a precedent established in the landmark case Nuh Uh v. Yeah Huh." He explained the constitutional stakes with a little help from that School House Rocks bill. Watch below. Peter Weber

December 14, 2018

"It really feels that we're at a turning point in the Trump presidency — not the point where he's turning himself in, but still," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. According to a guilty plea from President Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen, Trump is essentially "an unindicted co-conspirator" in felony campaign finance violations, Colbert said. And "when he saw he was in trouble with the Justice Department, Trump immediately appealed to a higher authority, Fox News." Trump said he doesn't think he ever paid the National Enquirer to "catch and kill" a story for him and insisted the feds cut a deal with Cohen to "embarrass" him. Colbert laughed: "Well, if they're giving out deals to people who embarrass the president, you might have a chance."

"Trump also keeps insisting that the payments were totally legal and do not violate campaign finance law, despite the fact that prosecutors in his own Justice Department and independent legal experts say they did," Seth Meyers said on Late Night. When pressed by Fox News, Trump said hiring lying criminals like Cohen is something that "just happens," and Meyers disagreed: "It only happens to you. No one else accidentally hires a criminal liar who pays hush money to cover up an affair!"

"Paying people hush money is not a crime," Trevor Noah noted on The Daily Show, "but if it turns out that a presidential candidate secretly used campaign funds to hide damaging information from voters, that is a felony. And today, it's being reported that Donald Trump was actually in the room when the whole plan was hatched." Most people agree that being "implicated in a criminal conspiracy" is a really bad look for Trump, but many top Republicans are waving it away, Noah said, shaking his head. "I understand the Republicans' desire to protect their party's president, I get that. But they're pivoting so far just to defend him that they're moving away from what they said the Republican Party stands for in the first place: law and order." No one claimed that more than Trump. Noah squared the circle, in Trump voice: "That's right, folks, I am the law-and-order candidate — as in, I will break the law in order to become president." Watch below. Peter Weber

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