It can be hard to keep up with all the scandals swirling around EPA chief Scott Pruitt, who is currently the subject of 13 federal investigations. The Late Show has a quick rundown masquerading as a movie trailer.
"The thing that is so shocking about Pruitt's latest round of scandals is that they're so damn petty," including spending more than $3,000 on pens and having an aide try to acquire a used Trump hotel mattress for him, Stephen Colbert said on Thursday night's show. "Well, finally answering the question, 'How does Scott Pruitt sleep at night?' It turns out: in other people's filth." He ran through some other scandals, with commentary, and ended with Pruitt's government-funded forays for moisturizer and a Silence of the Lambs clip.
It's shocking that Pruitt's scandals "haven't come from him trying to destroy the environment," but rather "his little side hustles," Trevor Noah added at The Daily Show. "Normally when you find out about corruption in D.C., it's the kind of corruption that makes you mad — you know, 'Millions in bribes!' But with every new Pruitt revelation, every time you find out, you go, 'Wait, what?'" Like Pruitt trying to officially hustle a Chick-fil-A franchise for his wife: "You're the head of a major government agency, with influence over some of the biggest corporations in the world, and you decide to abuse your position to get your wife a chicken store," he said. "It's like he's Thanos and he's using the Infinity Gauntlet to cut the line at Disney World."
But Pruitt is "finding little grifts all over Washington," and once you realize that he's just extraordinarily cheap, Noah said, "all his other weird scandals start to make more sense." When Pruitt is finally fired, it won't be for ruining the environment, he predicted. "He'll go down doing what he loves," something like "stuffing his pockets with White House toilet paper." Peter Weber
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) canceled the Senate's August recess, blaming "unprecedented obstruction." Stephen Colbert agreed. "Damn right! It has been over two years — it is time to confirm Merrick Garland!" he said on Wednesday's Late Show, shaking his head that the audience doesn't even remember the Supreme Court nominee McConnell stonewalled. "Somewhere Obama is weeping," he said. And when President Trump tweet-celebrated, Colbert felt compelled to remind him Democrats aren't in charge.
Senate Republicans say they were afraid Trump would sabotage them if they left for August, hurting their chances in the midterms. "So Trump can't be left unsupervised?" Colbert asked. "They're treating the president of the United States like you would a dog near sandwiches." And with the departure of White House communications aide Kelly Sadler, "there are fewer people to dog-sit him," he added. He read Sadler's infamous leaked quote about Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) "dying anyway," then deadpanned, "Wow, a quote like that is really bad for Kelly Sadler's political career, but it doesn't matter, it's dying anyway."
Sadler may not even be fired, according to Kellyanne Conway — who Colbert introduced with a sassy Dorian Gray joke — because Trump can use Sadler's skills elsewhere in the administration. "Well, her only known skill is mocking John McCain," Colbert said, "so ... president?" But he was immensely amused by Conway calling Trump "the commander of cheese." "That's not a slip of the tongue," he said. "That would be 'the commander in cheese.' The commander of cheese is an entirely different position — one, I will admit, Trump is qualified for. I mean, after all, he did win Wisconsin." He saw Conway's rhyming and raised her one.
You can watch The Late Show's "commander of cheese" reply to Conway below. Peter Weber
"The Trump White House has been plagued by incessant leaks, and judging by his tweets, the president has had enough," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. President Trump is particularly incensed about the latest big leak, the comment from a staffer about Sen. John McCain "dying anyway," because "it's made the White House look even worse than usual," Noah said, briefly running through the history of the Trump-McCain feud, ending on McCain requesting that Trump skip his funeral.
That's "the highest level of dis possible, to uninvite someone to something you're technically not really gonna be at," Noah laughed. "Personally, I would want Trump at my funeral, because I know that he'd hate being at an event that wasn't about him. You know, he'd be like, 'I can be in a hole, too, folks! I was also dead — they said I was dead, folks, 270 Electoral College votes, but I got them!'"
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders held a meeting to chastise staffers for leaking, and of course it immediately leaked. "So now, the leakers are leaking leaks about a meeting about what leaked," Noah said. "This is like in a relationship when you're having an argument about how much you argue." But not only is the White House not apologizing about the comment, killing the story; they won't even talk about it. "I understand what's happening here," Noah said. "In Trump's world, if you apologize, you're admitting that it happened, and for Trump, that's a sign of weakness. But here's the thing: Just because it wasn't meant to get out doesn't mean you can expect everyone to act like it didn't happen. That's not how this works." He illustrated his point by trying Sanders' tactic in a hypothetical court of law.
In Late Night's choose-your-own-response press briefing, Seth Meyers got a different kind of leaking answer out of Sanders. Watch below. Peter Weber
Seth Meyers warily looks past Ronny Jackson at the Fox News pundit Trump might tap next to lead the VA
President Trump loves to use the word "choice" when discussing the Department of Veterans Affairs, but what he really seems to mean is fully privatizing veterans' care, Seth Meyers said on Tuesday's Late Night. "There's a debate to be had, but I'll just say that the Hoover Dam has been there for almost 90 years, while the Jamba Juice on your block that used to be a Curves is now a Chipotle." Veterans have had some "choice" since 2014 — "you know, back when your Chipotle was a Radio Shack," Meyers joked — and given the choice, "studies have shown that veterans overwhelmingly prefer to go to the VA for their care."
Former VA Secretary David Shulkin says Trump fired him because he wouldn't go along with privatization plans, and Trump's pick to replace him, White House doctor Ronny Jackson, appears to be going nowhere fast, amid mounting questions about his work and personal history. And "unfortunately, when it comes to decisions involving veterans, Trump reportedly seeks the advice of Fox News personality and Iraq War veteran Pete Hegseth, who favors an overhaul of the VA and who is on Trump's short list to be the next secretary of Veterans Affairs," Meyers said. "Now, you might be unfamiliar with Hegseth because you don't watch Fox News — or you're very familiar him, which means you're just hate-watching my show, and frankly, I don't appreciate that."
Right now, the question is whether Jackson's nomination will survive — the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee has postponed confirmation hearings, and Trump is sending mixed messages, privately urging Jackson to fight while publicly questioning why he would want to go through an "ugly" confirmation process, adding, "if I were him, I wouldn't do it." That was a bridge too far for Meyers. "What do you mean, if you were him you wouldn't do it? You're even less qualified, and you did do it." Watch below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert kicked off Wednesday's Late Show by declaring he's "still riding high" from Tuesday night's interview with former FBI Director James Comey. "I'm not sure if the president saw the interview — I hear he doesn't watch TV hosts who don't share his lawyer," he joked, but one "seemingly out-of-nowhere" tweet suggests he might have. Either way, the interview "is already healing a nation," he said, because "James Comey is now friends with the Wu-Tang Clan." (Unlike Jeff Sessions.)
"Speaking of unlikely duos," Colbert said, CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea — and he's not even secretary of state yet. "Apparently now, just anyone can have face-to-face talks with the leader of North Korea." He said he hopes the denuclearization talks are successful, and he couldn't believe "Trump kept something this big secret. How did he do it? I mean, the only possible explanation is that Michael Cohen paid him $130,000 to stay quiet about it."
The Late Show also imagined Kim's reaction to Pompeo's visit, and yes, it includes a Dennis Rodman reference.
Russian sanctions are dividing the White House, with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announcing new sanctions Sunday — before Trump then scrapped the idea over the objections of his advisers. "We tried to get a follow-up from Nikki Haley, but it's so hard to reach her under that bus," Colbert said. Trump reportedly got so angry watching Haley announce the sanctions on TV, he shouted "Who wrote that for her?" at the screen. "Fun fact, Mr. President," Colbert said: "Not all women are under legally binding agreements about what they can say."
"Trump may be angry because he accidentally appointed someone competent," but Republicans are reportedly suspicious that Haley and Vice President Mike Pence are conspiring to run together in 2020, Colbert said. "That is absurd. Mike Pence can't be on a ticket with a woman who's not his wife." Peter Weber
"The big story is still President Trump and all the turnover in his administration — it seems like every week, someone new loses their job," Jimmy Fallon said on Wednesday's Tonight Show. "And believe it or not, another person was just fired by Trump moments ago." Luckily, thanks to the fortuitous timing of Fallon's guest being Mike Myers, he was able to land an exclusive interview with the sacked aide, Dr. Evil.
If you were unaware that the Austin Powers villain was in the Trump White House, so was Fallon. "Naturally, I was going to be secretary of evil — but Steve Bannon got that job," Dr. Evil explained. So instead he ended up being more of an "ideas guy." "All the most evil stuff was me," he added, listing the border wall (which was supposed to be a blowfish-filled moat, paid for by Alec Baldwin) and the Space Force. "Even deporting DREAMers?" Fallon asked. "No, Jimmy, even I have my limits," Dr. Evil said. "I'm evil, but I'm not a monster."
For the rest of the interview, Dr. Evil dished on various members of the Trump administration ("Well, I got along swimmingly with Ben Carson: We were both evil doctors that didn't know why we were there"), promoted his new tell-all book Fire and Fury and Also Evil (And More Fire and Also Magma Too), and announced his own run for president, complete with a catchy slogan and a running mate, "the only man who's more hated right now than Donald Trump." Watch below. Peter Weber
The record-setting churn at President Trump's White House has left West Wing staffers so on edge and in the dark that "White House officials have begun betting pools of sorts among each other on who's getting ousted next," according to Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsey. Wednesday's Late Show ran with that idea, creating a DCAA "March Sadness" bracket.
Fake CBS Sports announcers Larry Boberry and Gary Nanafanafoferry walk through the regional matches to "find out which Trump administration members will still be left by the end of March." Rex Tillerson was already knocked out for Mike Pompeo, but what about John Kelly vs. Javanka, or Ben Carson vs. Budget Office Furniture? The Betsy DeVos bracket is especially barbed. Watch below. Peter Weber
On Tuesday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert explained the curious circumstances surrounding President Trump's tweet-sacking of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. But "Tillerson's firing today is just the latest in a massive purge of the Trump administration," he noted, listing off the biggest of the fallen Trumpites. "For those of us in the media, the constant turnover has been amazing to watch: the drama, the fireworks, the winners, the losers, the losers, the losers. It's like something out of The Hunger Games. Or, something even more dramatic than that — it's The Hungry to Leave Power Games." Colbert reprised his Caesar Flickerman persona from the 2016 campaign, adjusting it for the Trump White House.
Colbert/Flickerman ran through a version of Tillerson's life story and rocky tenure at the State Department, and then it was time to say goodbye. "All our sexy ex-Rexes are going back to Texas," he said. "So we bid Secretary Tillerson a symbolic farewell by filling this simple wooden coffin, first with Secretary Tillerson and next with what he loved most, delicious oil. ... Because whether it be fossil fuels or calling the president a f---ing moron, we know Rex Tillerson likes it crude." He gave the traditional farewell to the tribute (Trumpbute?) from District Oil, then threw up a bunch of other Trump White House alumni. "It's sad to see them leave," he said, "but they're going to a better place: testifying for Robert Mueller." Watch below. Peter Weber