Late Night Tackles Trump and impeachment
5:26 a.m.

Monday's Late Show began with an announcement about President Trump's surprise weekend physical from a fake Walter Reed doctor bringing words of comfort and mockery: "It was a routine procedure, he is fine — though during the exam it was determined that the president had a blockage in his lower GI tract when it was discovered that several Republican members of Congress had lodged their heads in his, uh, quid pro hole." He named names.

"On Saturday, the president made an unscheduled trip to the hospital," and "the secretive nature of the visit prompted a lot of speculation," Stephen Colbert said in his monologue. "I am sincerely relieved to say that it looks like there's nothing wrong with the president's health," Colbert said, but he found the official White House announcement that Trump is "as healthy as can be" suspicious: "How healthy can he be? He is a 73-year-old insomniac who eats nothing but fast food who is afraid to go down stairs."

"A lot of people are asking questions about Trump's health since the trip to the doctor wasn't on his schedule," Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show. "Although you could probably just read Trump's schedule to see why he needed a doctor: Two breakfasts, a brunch, a lunch...."

"The president loves to talk about how healthy he is and how slow and tired everyone else is — this visit chips away at that," Jimmy Kimmel noted at Kimmel Live. He, too, found the White House's explanation a little suspect: "He had a down day? Every day is a down day." He showed Trump's actual schedule for Monday. "The dolphins at Sea World have busier schedules than our president," he said.

Maybe Trump's health is being affected by the impeachment hearings, Kimmel speculated. "The president claims he will strongly consider testifying — I mean, he won't testify, that will never happen," but "it would be so much fun to see all the Republicans in that chamber barking and wagging their tails when their owner walks in."

Trump and his Republican defenders have had a hard time keeping their stories straight and their excuses up to date with the testimony. The Daily Show has a solution. Watch below. Peter Weber

November 15, 2019

Acting U.S. Ambassador William Taylor tied President Trump directly to the campaign to bribe Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden in Wednesday's public impeachment hearings, and that testimony led to a second "bombshell" Thursday, news of a second witness to Trump's overheard phone call, Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. "So Taylor's testimony was historic — unless you ask Kellyanne Conway, who was not entertained," telling Fox News the hearings were a snoozefest starring "a bunch of gossip girls." Colbert was confused: "Well, is it boring or is it Gossip Girl? Because it can't be both! Gossip Girl was a very successful show."

"But it wasn't just Kellyanne," Colbert said. "Even NBC News tweeted the testimony 'lacked the pizzazz necessary to capture public attention.'"

"What do you mean, it lacked pizzazz?" asked Seth Meyers on Late Night. "The only politicians who have ever been entertaining were the ones in Hamilton. What do you want them to do, show up with their own backup dancers?" Ironically, he added, "Trump's defenders in the Republican Party and on Fox News" were the most invested in working "to dismiss the entire thing as a fake scandal invented by Democrats for TV."

"There are a lot of hot takes out there right now — one of the dumbest is that these impeachment hearings aren't interesting enough," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. "These were two career civil servants giving sworn testimony about a potential attempt to undermine our democracy — they're also supposed to have 'pizzazz'?" Amazingly, he said, that actually "seems to be an emerging line of defense for Republicans," who very clearly "don't want to talk about the facts."

"Even though millions of people have been talking about these hearings," Fox News seems determined to get people to tune out, Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. Their main argument is that "Americans are too dumb to follow these impeachment proceedings," but "sometimes if you watch Fox, it looks like they're straight-up trying to hypnotize their viewers into not caring," he added. If those fail, "Fox has come up with another reason to ignore the impeachment hearings": They're "boring and unsexy."

"These hearings are investigating whether the president of the United States committed high crimes or misdemeanors," Noah said. "They're supposed to be serious, not about excitement. Impeachment is like a family reunion: If it's sexy, something has gone horribly wrong." Peter Weber

November 14, 2019

In Wednesday's televised impeachment hearing, U.S. Ambassador William Taylor and State Department official George Kent "did not paint a flattering portrait of our president, and his bootlickers in the House didn't look too good, either," Jimmy Kimmel said on Wednesday's Kimmel Live. "The president called the hearing a 'joke,' a 'sham,' and a 'hoax,' and he said he didn't watch it. A White House spokesperson said the president was too busy working. Right. They might as well have said he was at a Zumba class."

In reality, Trump spent the hearing "tweeting and retweeting all of these things from right-wing Twitter feeds, in between hosting one of his favorite foreign strongmen, Turkish President Erdogan," Kimmel said. "Trump says he's a big fan of Erdogan, who last month notably slaughtered our allies, the Kurds."

"Trump got things off to a great start by mispronouncing President Erdogan's name," Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show. He also dismissed Trump's claim he was too busy to watch the hearings: "No you're not! For Pete's sake, you live-tweeted Sean Spicer on Dancing with the Stars!"

Yes, "apparently Trump didn't watch," Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show. "Trump wanted to, but he threw his TV remote out the window when he wasn't named People Magazine's Sexiest Man of the Year." Taylor's testimony "was brutal for Trump," Fallon said. "He clearly outlined how the president tried to get Ukraine to investigate Biden in exchange for aid. Which means it's the second time in Trump's life that his cover-up didn't work."

"Trump claimed he did not watch the televised impeachment hearings," Conan O'Brien said on Conan. "When asked what he was doing, Trump said, 'I was cleaning out my desk.'" On Wednesday, he added, "new evidence against President Trump was called damning. Some say this could end his presidency. No, wait, I'm sorry, this joke is from two years ago."

"Today was the first time in over 20 years that Congress has held a public impeachment hearing," Seth Meyers said at Late Night. "And if this one is anything like the last one, Trump will be impeached, then be acquitted in the Senate, and then in 20 years his wife will lose an election to some idiot."

Conan O'Brien also tried out infographics for a few of the Republicans at Wednesday's hearings. Some them are pretty rough. Watch below. Peter Weber

November 14, 2019

"It's finally arrived: The first day of live impeachment hearings," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "Today's testimony was as dramatic as it was historic. It was the biggest ratings hit for C-SPAN 3 since Drunk History, starring Brett Kavanaugh." The "bombshell today" was U.S. Ambassador William Taylor's new testimony that an embassy "staffer overheard [President] Trump asking about a foreign nation investigating his political opponent," Colbert said. "That's like if they had a picture of [Richard] Nixon breaking into the Watergate."

"This is just unbelievable — Trump's people were discussing their Ukrainian plot in public, in a restaurant?" Trevor Noah marveled at The Daily Show. "Also, why is Trump talking so loudly on the phone that people can hear him on the other side?" Taylor and the other witness, State Department official George Kent, "are devoted, nonpartisan civil servants, so if you hear these guys saying that Trump did some messed-up s--t, you know to take it seriously," he added. "And from the sound of it, Trump did some messed-up s--t."

The Democrats spent the hearing "showing the American people that Trump abused his office by trying to extort Ukraine," Noah said, while Republicans "seemed like they were trying to solve a completely different case," mostly involving Hunter Biden. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) also tried to discredit the hearings and the witnesses for relying on secondhand information — "maybe it's because the White House has blocked all the people who do have firsthand knowledge from testifying," Noah suggested. "But it all backfired when he tried to turn the focus to the whistleblower."

Jordan getting owned over the whistleblower was "probably the best moment in the hearing today," Seth Meyers said at Late Night, but House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) made the "crucial point" that "Republicans haven't actually contested any of the facts. In fact, they've basically admitted to all of it." What choice do they have? he added. "If we had this much evidence during the O.J. trial, even Johnny Cochran would have been like, 'You know what? The glove does fit, my client's full of s--t.'"

"Today was not a good start for Republicans," Samantha Bee said at Full Frontal. "The Republican attempts to change the subject didn't get very far, thanks to two persuasive witnesses," and Taylor's "huge bomb" appeared to "confirm that Trump knew about the attempt to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens — which is the first time we've gotten hard confirmation of that since Trump himself. This is what these hearings are going to be like all the way through: Every bombshell will just be confirming things we already know."

Jimmy Fallon, dressed as Trump, also recapped the hearings at The Tonight Show, and he even managed to edit Taylor's testimony into something positive. Watch below. Peter Weber

November 13, 2019

Stephen Colbert's Late Show kicked off Tuesday's "Impeachment Hearing Eve" show with a carol laying out the entire case against President Trump in less that 2 minutes.

Yes, the chill in the air "means we're heading into my favorite season, because it's impeachment eve," Colbert said in his monologue. "Tomorrow is the first day of televised impeachment hearings. I'm so excited, I won't be able to sleep — so, like every other night of the Trump presidency. And I've already decorated my impeachment tree!" He showed off some of the ornaments, including "Quid Pro Snow" and a salty one involving Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Wednesday's first witness, U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor, testified behind closed doors that Trump tied Ukraine military aid directly to investigations of his domestic political rivals and that Rudy Giuliani had opened an "irregular channel" of policymaking on Ukraine, Colbert said. "What's an irregular channel that includes Giuliani? Oh, Fox News!" Ukraine's president was going to announce Trump's investigations on Sept. 13, but Trump released the military aid on Sept. 11 — "not out of any goodness of Trump's heart, but because federal lawyers told the White House Trump had no legal standing to block spending of the Ukraine aid," he explained, switching into Trump voice: "Foiled again by my two arch-nemeses: legal and standing."

The evidence so far has put some Trump defenders in the uncomfortable position of saying what Trump did was wrong but not impeachable, in part because he says similar things in public all the time. "So what?" Colbert said. "Just because you publicly brag about a crime doesn't make it legal! The cops won't leave you alone just because you put up a sign that says 'I [Heart] My Murder Shed.'" Trump did not like that strategy, so Republicans released a memo outlining their talking points, including that Trump had an innocent "state of mind." Colbert had a visual depiction. Watch below. Peter Weber

November 12, 2019

The House's public impeachment hearings start Wednesday, and President Trump appears determined to bury them under a blizzard of tweets and obfuscation, Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live. "You know, people thought it was magnanimous when he decided not to take a presidential salary. Turns out it's because he doesn't do any presidential work. He's tweeting all day."

Trump is releasing a transcript Tuesday from an earlier call with Ukraine's president, Kimmel shrugged. "What he thinks this will prove, I have no idea. Just because you release a transcript of a second call where you didn't break the law doesn't mean you're off the hook for the first. ... The president is also ramping up his attacks on the whistleblower. This is his thing now, attacking the whistleblower. 'Never mind what I did — get the guy who told people I did it!'"

"Today we learned that another Pentagon official testified that Trump himself withheld aid money to Ukraine because he wanted an investigation of Joe Biden," Kimmel said. "That was damaging," but the White House is most worried about former National Security Adviser John Bolton and his copious notes. Meanwhile, Trump announced "he's thinking about making a trip to Moscow for a May Day parade," Kimmel sighed. "The idea that the president of the United States would go to Russia to celebrate their military might is absurd, and no one was more surprised than Joe Biden."

"Oh hey, speaking of people Donald Trump doesn't want to see: It was a rough weekend for Donald Trump Jr," Kimmel deadpanned. "DJTJ was here at UCLA promoting his new book, and he was heckled by what he thought was a group of liberals. Turned out it was a group of angry far-right-wingers who were upset there'd be no Q&A. And Don Jr., to his credit, stepped aside and let his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, handle the yellers for him." Watch below. Peter Weber

November 8, 2019

"The big news today is that it looks like the House could wrap up impeachment by Christmas," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. To stave that off, President Trump has "been looking for someone to help convince us" that the transcript of his "perfect" phone call with Ukraine's president "does not say what it says." Someone like Attorney General William Barr.

"Last night we learned that after the Ukraine scandal broke, Trump asked Barr to hold a news conference stating that no laws were broken in his call with Ukraine's president," and "Barr declined," Colbert said. "Bill Barr refused to publicly defend the president? Something is seriously wrong. That's like Nicolas Cage turning down a movie role." It sounds pretty bad, he noted, but "there's only one way to make sure a story about Trump is true, and that's if he rage-tweets his denial." He read the tweet and fact-checked it.

The Barr story was first reported in The Washington Post, "and the president went Washington postal over it," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. In his "series of rage tweets," Trump "said this never happened and there were no sources, which means it definitely happened and there are multiple sources," Kimmel continued. Kimmel then suggested the House impeach Trump on Christmas so "we can start a new tradition of rewatching that every year instead of, like Rudolph."

The whole Ukraine scandal is due to Trump extorting Ukraine for dirt that doesn't exist, Kimmel said. "Basically, Trump tried to pull off a heist on a casino that had no money in it — you know, like a Trump casino, for instance."

"These guys are so out of touch with reality that when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi first announced the impeachment inquiry in September, Trump himself argued that it would actually be good for him," Seth Meyers recalled on Late Night. Tuesday's election losses and popular opinion suggest otherwise, and Trump's "flailing" defenders are going so far as to suggest he was mentally incapable of breaking the law. "So they can't be criminals because they're stupid?" he asked. "No version of that is good." Watch below. Peter Weber

November 7, 2019

Seth Meyers had a reminder for President Trump and his allies on Wednesday's Late Night about what happens if someone blows a whistle and it turns out there really is a fire. An anonymous intelligence official filed a complaint, through proper legal channels, on Trump's Ukraine dealings to kick off the House impeachment inquiry, he said, and now "Trump and his allies are fixated on the whistleblower because the actual evidence is damning and they have no response."

"So the whistleblower is the one who tipped everyone off to the fact that something very corrupt had happened, but since then we've seen the notes from the call, we've seen text messages from officials involved in the scheme, we've had Trump and his chief of staff confess on TV, and we've had one witness after another come forward and provide damning testimony," Meyers said. "We already have all the evidence. This is like if during the O.J. trial they not only had the gloves but dozens of witnesses, a tape of O.J. confessing, and a note inside the gloves that said 'If found at crime scene, return to O.J. Simpson, the murderer.' And yet, Trump and his allies remain obsessed with the whistleblower."

Yes, "Republicans are trying to blow the lid off the whistleblower's identity," Jimmy Kimmel said at Kimmel Live. "Today, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted the alleged whistleblower's name, because of course he did, and one of Daddy's top apologists, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, is calling on the mainstream media to divulge the name, too."

Kimmel lingered on Paul, an erstwhile civil libertarian: "Remember the Rand Paul who campaigned on a platform about individual rights to privacy, who staunchly opposed things like wiretapping? Well, he's dead. And the new Rand Paul is a vindictive, spiteful little elf who moved out of the tree where he makes cookies to take up permanent residence in the president's a--." You can watch Kimmel interview Paul's pugilistic "neighbor" below. Peter Weber

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