Late Night Tackles Trump versus Mueller
July 24, 2019

"The Robert Mueller Show" goes live Wednesday morning, Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. But the Justice Department is trying to limit the former special counsel's testimony. "Basically, he's allowed to answer questions about anything as long as we already know it or don't care about it," Kimmel said. President Trump, already rage-tweeting about Mueller's testimony, appears to care a lot, he added. Trump "initially told reporters he would not watch any of it, and then he said he might watch part of it, which means he's will watch all of it."

Kimmel mocked Treasury Secretary Wilbur Ross over highly credible reports he frequently falls asleep during meetings and jokingly previewed Sarah Huckabee Sanders' reputed Arkansas gubernatorial aspirations, then turned to newly chosen British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the first U.K. leader "who looks like he's smoked meth in an Arby's dumpster." He showed a photo of Johnson. "It's almost as if Trump is selling franchises of himself now," Kimmel said. "They do have a lot in common. ... England basically elected the Jim Carrey to our Jeff Daniels, and now both our countries are led by a johnson."

Yes, "if you've ever thought, 'I like Donald Trump and his policies and his hair but I really just wish he could read,' well then Great Britain has the leader for you!" Trevor Noah joked at The Daily Show.

The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon, looking at side-by-side photos of Trump and Britain's new leader, said Johnson reminds him of "Trump after he did the ice bucket challenge" — which is a thing that actually happened. Fallon also previewed Mueller's congressional testimony: "Basically, Democrats are hoping Mueller goes out there and explains his written report on camera — it's their way of saying to Americans: 'We know you didn't read the report so maybe you'll watch the movie.'" Watch below. Peter Weber

May 7, 2019

Monday saw the birth a new royal baby, and "it's the best type of British baby — it's an American one this time," Stephen Colbert joked on Monday's Late Show. "Of course, America has its own royal baby, Donald Trump. Our baby has been president for two years — he's hitting the terrible 2s right now, so willful! And lately, the president's been throwing a tantrum about Robert Mueller."

Based on Mueller's report, 379 former federal prosecutors said Trump would be prosecuted for felony obstruction of justice if he weren't president, but "his job is too important," Colbert said. "That's like knowing that a dog is the pilot of your 747, but you can't remove him because Capt. Scruffles has to stay focused on landing the plane a year and a half from now."

"No wonder Congress is desperate to speak to Robert Mueller directly, but the president is against it," Colbert said, reading Trump's tweeted argument. "This is not a 'redo,' this is just more 'do.' And you want to stop it because you're afraid you'll get it deep re-doo-doo." Trump apparently has no interest in stopping the Russian election interference Mueller detailed, as he indicated in recapping his recent phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Yes, "Trump got definitive, iron-clad proof that he did not collude with Russia — from the president of Russia," Seth Meyers said on Late Night. He also had some thoughts on Trump's tweet. "'No redos'? How is it that Trump always seems to be 100 years old and 7 years old at the same time?" he asked. "Second, I thought you said Mueller exonerated you. Why don't you want him to testify? 'I'm afraid he'll make me look too innocent — I have to maintain some of my criminal mystique.' It really doesn't help your case when you tell the cops you have an alibi but they can't talk to anyone who can verify it." Watch below. Peter Weber

April 11, 2019

For once, the big story of the day wasn't from Washington. It was the historic new photograph of a back hole, "a cosmic abyss so deep and dense that not even light can escape from it," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show, temporarily showing the "wrong" photo. "Some in the scientific community have pointed out that the black hole resembled the Eye of Sauron," he added. "Who would have guessed there'd be a crossover between space fans and Lord of the Rings nerds? Speaking of dark, destructive forces from which you can never escape, Donald Trump."

Trump "took a moment to yell at reporters" before flying off to Texas on Wednesday, and after trying to make sense of his "avant-garde poetry" on the wall, Colbert frowned at Trump's assertion that he "won" the Mueller report. "You don't win a report!" he said. Also, "the victory Trump is talking about is over his own intelligence agencies, who started the Russia investigation" — or as Trump described it, a thwarted "coup" attempt.

"Of course, describing a legitimate counterintelligence investigation as a 'coup' is just the mad ramblings of a syphilitic brain that no sane, responsible adult person would touch with a 10-foot pole," Colbert said. "Enter Attorney General and professional pole-toucher Bill Barr," who has assembled a team to investigate how the Russia investigation began and told the Senate on Wednesday he thinks "spying did occur" on the Trump campaign (before walking that back). Colbert was temporarily speechless, as you can watch below. Peter Weber

April 5, 2019

"I want answers," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "For almost three years now, I've had to read all of [President] Trump's tweets, all of his staff's indictments, 127 tell-all books, and none of them told us anything we didn't already know just by looking at the guy." Special Counsel Robert Mueller's 400-page report was supposed to tell us everything, but all we got was Attorney General William Barr's four-page summary, he said. "That's like tuning in to see the new season of Game of Thrones and it's just Barr holding a sign that says, 'Dragons did some stuff. The end.'"

Congress wants to see the "whole kit and colludal," too, especially after reports that Mueller's team is complaining that Barr whitewashed their report, Colbert said. "That was in The New York Times, but it was also the cover story for No Duh! magazine."

The House Ways and Means Committee has similarly asked the IRS for six years of Trump's tax returns, and Trump "didn't sound happy," Colbert said. But the House has that power, and "no one is exempt. Mr. President, he is going to grab you by the 1040s, and when you're a chairman, they let you do it."

"In fairness to Trump, he probably is under audit," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "I mean, Trump's taxes are so dirty, the IRS probably has them in one of those contagion rooms from Outbreak. And look, I want to see Trump's taxes as much as anyone, but after the Mueller report, I'm not putting my heart on the line."

"Look, we don't know what's in the full report," Seth Meyers noted at Late Night. "But it's remarkable that Mueller's team is suddenly speaking out to reporters after two years of total and complete silence." It's also suspicious that Barr voluntarily wrote a summary when "Mueller's teams wrote their own summaries for the public," Meyers said. "I mean, we don't actually write a new 'Closer Look' every night, we just buy it from a website called Political-Rants.com." Watch below. Peter Weber

April 4, 2019

"Americans are on the edge of the middle of their seats waiting for the possible eventual release of the actual Mueller report," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. All we know about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's findings is contained in a four-page summary written by Attorney General William Barr, "while the full Mueller report is nearly 400 pages," he said. "That's Harry Potter length, and everybody wants to read Donny Trump and the Idiot of Azkaban, and The Goblet of Covfefe." Congress got tired of waiting, so the House Judiciary Committee voted to subpoena the full Mueller report.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) won't accept any reductions, and President Trump called Nadler a hypocrite on Twitter, saying "nothing will ever satisfy" his critics. "I don't know about 'nothing,'" Colbert said. "Seeing you hauled out of the White House would be pretty satisfying." Trump's claim about Nadler was wrong — he didn't oppose the release of the 1998 Starr Report to Congress, just to the public — but Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) still tried to further the Starr-Mueller line of attack using water bottles, and Colbert roundly mocked him for his confusing efforts.

"Republicans are scrambling to any microphone they can find to say, 'Please, don't tell us anything!'" Colbert paraphrased. "Why would any member of Congress demand that Congress know less?" He acted out an example that drew on Oedipus Rex.

"Speaking of nonsense, Donald Trump," Colbert said, turning to Trump's remarks to the National Republican Congressional Committee on Tuesday night. "They have to be 'more paranoid'?" he puzzled. "Republicans already think that caravans of immigrants from three different Mexicos are coming to steal their lake houses and gay-marry their wedding cakes! As ever, Trump was concerned about secrecy. ... Yes, 'Someone's gonna leak the speech,' he said — directly into the C-SPAN camera." Watch that and his take on Trump's windmill vendetta below. Peter Weber

March 21, 2019

"Everybody is breathlessly waiting for the Mueller report to come out, and there have been signs today that it might, maybe, possibly, definitely, or not be really soon," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. Wednesday's sign was yet another senior member of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team wrapping up her work. "You know what that means?" Colbert asked. "Probably something."

With all the clues out there, "it's like we're three-quarters of the way through a Scooby-Doo episode," he said. "Just pull the mask off the monster, okay? We know it's Old Man Trump! 'I would've gotten away with it, too, if I wasn't totally guilty.'" At the same time, "some of the clues are pointing to the investigation not being over," he said, nodding to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein disclosing he's going to stay on the job just a little bit longer.

"Now, we've been on high Muller alert" since Feb. 21, when CNN noted some boxes being removed from the special counsel's office, Colbert said. "Yes, CNN is stalking Robert Mueller," but "the media has to look for whatever signs they can find, because the Mueller team has been completely silent. It's like trying to divine messages from the great volcano god — which, come to think of it, is exactly what Robert Mueller looks like."

Whenever Mueller submits his report, Attorney General William Barr will decide what parts of it to release to Congress or make public. But according to CNN, the White House expects to review whatever he plans to release — "you know, the way we let criminals edit their own indictment," Colbert said. Watch below. Peter Weber

March 8, 2019

"Today has been a rough one for those close to the president," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show, and he was mostly talking about Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chair. "Earlier today, a federal judge sentenced Manafort to 47 months in prison," he said. "Not quite four years, but with good behavior, he is incapable of good behavior. The 47 months Manafort got is a shockingly lenient sentence, considering the sentencing guidelines call for a prison term of 19 1/2 to 24 years."

Manafort's lawyers "claimed the sentencing guidelines were unfair since he was a first-time offender," Colbert said. "But prosecutors pointed out that for over a decade, Manafort repeatedly and brazenly violated the law. He wasn't so much a first-time 'offender' as a first-time 'getting-caught-er.'" Manafort may get out early if he's "a smooth-talker" with the parole board, he noted, playing a clip of Manafort and quickly ruling that out.

In any case, Manafort isn't in the clear — next week, a second federal judge will sentence him for witness tampering and money laundering, Colbert said. "You know you're in trouble when the only time you get out of jail is to go get sentenced to more jail."

Colbert turned to the question of whether Michael Cohen lied about asking Trump for a pardon, and if so, which Michael Cohen asked for the pardon. Trump insisted on Twitter that despite Cohen's guilty plea, he himself did not violate campaign finance laws, because he said so. One Republican senator tried the slightly more effective Trump-loves-his-family defense, Colbert said. "Yes, while Trump was being spanked with a copy of Forbes magazine by a porn star, he was thinking of his family. And I believe that because they are on the cover of that magazine." Watch below. Peter Weber

February 21, 2019

Special Counsel "Robert Mueller's report may be delivered as early as next week," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. Among the many unknowns are what kind of "summary" Attorney General William Barr will give Congress, and what, if anything, the public will ever know of Mueller's findings. "We might just get the book report version," he said, stiffly reciting: "The Mueller report was a report written by Robert Mueller. It had many pages and was full of information regarding his report. I found the main character of the president to be cartoonish and unbelievable. And the well represents God."

President Trump would prefer we just don't talk about the Russia investigation, or any of the investigations involving him, as The New York Times tallied on Wednesday, Colbert said. Most of the instances of Trump trying to quash investigations are already public knowledge, and all of them are troubling.

"It's all lies — all of it," Colbert said. "The president attacking his Justice Department, trusting [Russian President Vladimir] Putin over his own intelligence community, calling the FBI a bunch of corrupt deep-state coup-plotters is not normal. It is strange. It's like how Jack in the Box sells tacos for some reason. It may not be illegal but it certainly violates something sacred." The Times had one new revelation, though, and it's quite a doozy.

Yes, "President Trump may have committed obstruction of justice," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "And you're probably thinking, 'Uh, is this a rerun of The Daily Show?' No, it's just that Trump keeps doing the same s--t over and over again. It's like that Netflix show Russian Doll, only with way more Russians." The allegation is that "Trump asked [acting Attorney General] Matt Whitaker to interfere in the Michael Cohen investigation, which is highly unethical," he explained. "Basically right now we're at the point where Trump may be obstructing justice into his obstruction of justice case." Watch below. Peter Weber

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