Stephen Colbert does an annotated dramatic re-enactment of Trump's colorful New York Times interview
Stephen Colbert kicked off Thursday's Late Show not with President Trump, but rather the news that O.J. Simpson was granted parole. He made some wry comments about O.J. and murder, then turned the monologue toward Trump. "Say what you want about O.J., he never met with [Russian Ambassador] Sergey Kislyak — unlike his buddy here," Colbert said, showing a photo of Simpson and Trump in happier days. "That was back in 1993, when it was still a coin toss which one of those guys would be president and which one would end up in jail." Colbert said he was surprised that Trump has only been president six months — it seems much longer — and turned to Trump's freewheeling interview with The New York Times.
Colbert, of course, had quite a bit of fun reading excerpts of Trump's Times interview — the "bad people" Trump knows, his triumphs (and hand-holding) in France and Poland, and his impression that his English-speaking G-20 dinner neighbor, Japanese first lady Akie Abe, doesn't speak English. "Sir, I think she was faking it," he said. Colbert arched an eyebrow at Trump's warning to special counsel Robert Mueller that investigating Trump's finances would be a "violation." "Oh, that's not a red flag at all," he said, noting that it also didn't work. That gave him an idea: "Mr. Trump, could you please warn Mueller not to subpoena your taxes?"
Colbert read all of the other Times interview excerpts in his Trump voice, but he played the actual audio of Trump saying he wouldn't have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions if he'd known he would recuse himself on the Russia investigation. "That is 90-proof crazy," Colbert said. "It would have been impossible for Jeff Sessions to recuse himself because the thing he recused himself from hadn't happened yet." That led to a Back to the Future reference, followed by a fake Trump review of The Wire, because Trump apparently doesn't like Baltimore (or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.) Watch below. Peter Weber
"I'm going to say something right now that I did not think was possible anymore: I am shocked by something Donald Trump said," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. He was hardly alone in that, though he did manage to find a silver lining, or at least a bronze one: "I thought by now, after five months of this, that my soul had calcified into a crouton — not true."
Colbert was, of course, referring to President Trump's Thursday morning tweets about MSNBC's Morning Joe and Mika Brzezinski, which he read. "Where to begin?" he asked. "First of all, someone bleeding at your door and you say no? It sounds like your health-care plan." He also compared it, unfavorably, to the Christmas story. "This is shocking and vicious — so, on-brand," he concluded. "Of course, Mika responded with her own tweet today, a picture of a Cheerios box saying 'Made for Little Hands,'" he noted. "Really, Mika? Making fun of the size of his hands? I'm more worried about the size of his brain at this point."
Colbert read some of the negative reviews of Trump's tweets, stopping at a comment by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) "This is not what's wrong with American politics — you don't see Paul Ryan throwing shade at Chuck Schumer over his eye job," he said. "This is what's wrong with the American president. Let's stop pretending that Trump is a symptom of something — he's the disease." Trump's wife, Melania, defended Trump, and Colbert sighed: "Yes, as the first lady says, when they go low, we go 10 times lower. So, the focus on cyberbullying is going well so far — we just didn't know she was going to be a super-fan of it." He ended with a look at Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders' similar defense of Trump, and an ode to The Twilight Zone. Watch below. Peter Weber
President Trump began Tuesday by retweeting a series of posts and videos from Fox & Friends, including a monologue from Sean Hannity, whose sycophancy toward Trump earned him a rebuke Wednesday from Trump super-fan Ann Coulter. "The Fox & Friends shower Trump with so much praise, they're starting to sound like the helicopter parents of a [censored] private-school kid," Seth Meyers said on Wednesday's Late Night, breaking out his best private-school-helicopter-parent voice: "Our Donny would never collude with Russia! How dare you?! Do you know how much money we give to this school?"
The praise is mutual, even though — as in the case of Hannity — it sometimes does more harm than good. "Trump is apparently so obsessed with praise from the media that, according to The Washington Post, he keeps this framed Time magazine cover hanging at several of is golf clubs," Meyers said, showing the magazine. "Cool cover, flattering photo, just one problem: The Time cover is a fake. That's right, Trump hung a fake Time magazine cover, with his face on it, in his private golf clubs. That is the literal definition of fake news. This would be the saddest thing I've ever heard if it wasn't the funniest thing I've ever heard."
"Now, apparently, Trump didn't like this report from The Washington Post, because today he tore a page out of the strongman playbook and attacked Amazon, whose CEO, Jeff Bezos, also owns The Washington Post," Meyers explained, showing the tweet. "So Trump is threatening Amazon by implying that he might make them start paying internet taxes. There's just one problem with that — there is no such thing as an internet tax." The closest thing we have to an internet tax, he joked, is that if you go on the internet, you have to read Trump's tweets.
Meyers spent the rest of his "Closer Look" on the GOP's ongoing, very-much-alive plans to push through their health-care bill, including a proposal to get the House to pass whatever the Senate approves, and the GOP's apparent efforts to sideline Trump from the process. Watch below. Peter Weber
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had pledged that Republicans would pass a bill to repeal and replace much of ObamaCare before the July 4 break, "and they have got to, because McConnell knows if they do not pass it now, there's a serious danger that someone might read it," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. But on Tuesday, he abruptly delayed the vote. "There are a lot of good reasons not to have the vote this week," Colbert said, finding just one: "McConnell would have lost, and that's it."
Republican senators started running for the exit after the Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the bill on Monday, finding it would lead to 22 million fewer insured Americans. "Now to put that number into perspective, if you laid 22 million people end to end, it would reach Canada, where they could get health care," Colbert said. He played a clip of Kellyanne Conway arguing on Sunday that the bill's $800 billion in Medicaid cuts weren't actually cuts. "Yes, they're not cuts, it's just returning Medicaid to its original intention," he repeated. "It's like an arsonist saying, 'I didn't burn the house down, I just took the ground back to pre-house levels.'"
He went on to make an obvious joke about Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), poke fun at Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and explain to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) why not having health insurance isn't "freedom," using Oreos as an example.
Next, Colbert noted that while CNN was retracting a story about President Trump and Russia, and three reporters resigned, the network said the article wasn't necessarily wrong. "Yes, it's a fine story, they just forgot to call it 'Breaking News' and have a countdown clock," he joked. But while the subject of the retracted article, Anthony Scaramucci, has moved on, Trump has not, unloading on CNN in a series of "FAKE NEWS" tweets. Colbert read them gleefully. "There is one person who is guilty of fake news out there — it's Donald Trump," he said, noting the fake Time magazine cover of Trump that Trump has framed and put on the wall of at least five Trump resorts, including Mar-a-Lago. "Trump made his own Time magazine cover?" he asked in mock horror. "Oh my God, you know what that means? That can only mean he's acquired mall kiosk technology!" Watch below. Peter Weber
Wednesday was President Trump's 71st birthday, and to celebrate, Seth Meyers and his Late Night crew came up with a bunch of birthday wishes for Thursday's show that were definitely not posted to Trump's Facebook wall. They start out plausibly boring enough, but go downhill fast. To watch what Melania Trump, Jeff Sessions, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and James Comey did not write on Trump's Facebook wall, look below. The short clip is safe for work, but you might laugh audibly. Peter Weber
"Ever since Donald Trump took office, he has been a bachelor in the White House," Stephen Colbert noted on Tuesday's Late Show. "They say he's been lonely, he's been isolated, he's put on weight." Well, "those bachelor days are over forever, because this weekend, after more than five months of living apart, Melania Trump moved into the White House," he said. "It's like their second honeymoon — and for Donald, his fourth. So, how are things going?" He turned to Melania Trump, "live" from "the White House," as played by actress Laura Benanti. Benanti's Melania is maybe not thrilled to be at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., perhaps not sad at the idea of Trump's impeachment, possibly fantasizing a bit about Canada's Justin Trudeau, and as committed to her marriage as America is to its constitutionally elected president, even if survival means taking up the tippling slogan "Make America Grape Again." Watch below. Peter Weber
"There have been a lot of moments in Donald Trump's brief presidency that have raised eyebrows and lowered expectations," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show, but Trump's first Cabinet meeting was something else. "I cannot get over these fawning Cabinet members," he said. "Come on, these are adults, some of them are billionaires, and they're just happy to have their leashes yanked as the cameras roll for the Dear Leader."
"Honestly, this is next-level weird; this is an unprecedented public stroke-fest for an emotionally frail man," Colbert said. "That is absolutely chilling." Then he poked fun at himself.
Trump is clearly not insecure about former FBI Director James Comey's testimony last week, Colbert said, because he said so himself at a press conference on Friday, plus a little extra. "Spoken like a man with nothing to hide," he joked, breaking into Trump voice: "Officer, I did not steal that car, and there would be nothing wrong if I did because stealing's not illegal, right?"
Trump took his Comey attacks to Twitter starting Friday — "Yes, Trump says Comey's a 'coward.' 'You want to attack somebody, do it like a man: tweet from the toilet" — and by the end of the weekend, the entire Trump circle was on the Comey-belittlement train. "So, Comey's a liar and a coward, because Trump never said 'I hope you let Flynn go,'" Colbert summarized, noting that it's too bad nobody told that to Donald Trump Jr., who went on Fox News and "completely contradicted everything Donald Trump just said. Usually Donald Trump has to do that."
Colbert next took a short jab at President Trump, wedding-crasher at his own golf resort. "Well, every wedding has a best man, but only a select few get the worst one," he quipped. "Plus, you know what they say about weddings: something old, something new, something orange, someone get him away from the bridesmaids!" He ended by deciphering White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders' odd emoji-filled tweet from the weekend. Peter Weber
Former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday has consumed Washington, the White House, and apparently President Trump's legislative agenda, Seth Meyers said on Wednesday's Late Night, mocking Trump for holding an elaborate ceremony to sign a memo on Monday. Well, Comey Christmas came early, because the Senate released Comey's opening statement Wednesday afternoon, "and it contains some damning and truly bizarre details about Comey's uncomfortable interactions with Trump," Meyers said.
The first "weird" detail is the number of interactions — Comey says he met twice with former President Barack Obama over Obama's entire two terms, but Trump "would not leave him alone," Meyers said, calling Comey or meeting with him nine times in just four months. One of those meetings was that "infamous dinner" where Trump apparently demanded loyalty — and it turns out, "Comey had no idea the meeting would be a private, one-on-one encounter," he said. "This is starting to sound less like All the President's Men and more like a Lifetime original movie — 'James Comey and Donald Trump star in Suspicious Attraction.'" And when Comey recounted the awkward conversations, loyalty bargaining, and word games, their dinner "sounds like a terrible Tinder date," Meyers said.
He ran through the other highlights of Comey's prepared testimony, including when Trump allegedly told Comey that he "had not been involved with hookers in Russia" and asked how he could "lift the cloud" from his administration. Meyers had a suggestion: "Well, the first thing you could do is not call people out of nowhere and say 'I was not involved with hookers in Russia.'"
He ended by wondering aloud if Trump will live-tweet Comey's testimony, looking at how congressional Republicans are dealing with Trump's tweeting, and recapping the intra-White House fight over whether Trump's tweets are official statements. Sean Spicer says yes. "It's so great how often the press secretary has to say the president is the president," Meyers said. "It's like he needs to remind himself or get confirmation." Watch below. Peter Weber