Late Night Tackles Trump and impeachment
12:47 a.m.

"Yesterday, the House Intelligence Committee released a 300-page report, and it looks like the impeachment charges are gonna be abuse of power and bribery, obstruction of Congress, and obstruction of justice," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "And, based on his diet, let's throw in obstruction of his GI tract." On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee took over the impeachment inquiry, empaneling a group of four constitutional law scholars. He gave a quick gist of the hearing.

"Before the Intelligence Committee released their report, the GOP issued their own prebuttal, in which they concluded that Trump was acting on 'genuine and reasonable' skepticism of Ukraine," Colbert said. "Yes, because the two words everyone uses to describe Donald Trump are 'genuine' and 'reasonable,' right after 'athletic' and 'monogamous.'"

"Before their investigation ended, the Intelligence Committee had one final bombshell," Colbert said. "Their investigators have obtained phone records from Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani," and they suggest he was "crimeing it up with everybody, including the president," as indicted by a number of calls from a phone number identified as -1.

At The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon recapped the House Judiciary Committee hearing in character as Trump — and also British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. "All the committee did today was throw around big words without telling you what they mean — or at least what I want them to mean," Fallon's Trump said. "Let me just explain to you the most important word in the hearings, and my least-favorite Harry Potter spell: Quid pro quo. Let's break it down: Quid, as in quid asking me about it; pro, as in it's pro-bably nothing; and quo, as in 'Don't quote me on this, but if you give us dirt on Joe Biden, we will give you $400 million."

Then Fallon's Trump showed an actual answer from one of the law professors: "Oh, I'm going to cyberbully that nerd so hard. Watch out, Professor Plum. Because it's going to be Donald Trump in the bathroom with the Twitter." Watch below. Peter Weber

November 22, 2019

In five days of public impeachment hearings, "the witnesses have been compelling, they've corroborated what the whistleblower said," and "despite what the old brain trust on cable news claims, this is a very simple story," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. He compared the hearings with other "sagas with a lot of characters," specifically Game of Thrones, and he named (some) names and distilled the hearings to a catchy jingle.

"Today's testimony was also easy for you to understand and hard for Trump to swallow," Colbert said, especially from Dr. Fiona Hill, who "came into the hearing with a reputation for not suffering fools lightly" and showed why. "The first butts she booted this morning were Republicans who insist on floating bizarre conspiracy theories about the 2016 election," he said, and she testified that U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland was engaged in a "domestic political errand" for Trump in Ukraine. Hill also "confirmed previous reports that nobody likes Rudy Giuliani," recounting that former National Security Adviser John Bolton called him "a hand grenade," Colbert said, skeptically: "Rudy seems more like a Molotov cocktail: used by Russians and full of alcohol."

Hill "laid absolute waste to both the president and all the bootlickers who made the unfortunate decision to do his bidding today — it was ninja-level witness jujitsu," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. "She went in hard on a number of subjects, so much so, Republicans actually stopped asking her questions." Kimmel also recapped what we've learned in the impeachment hearings and said that given the overwhelming evidence, "the question now, going forward, for those congresspeople who support him, is: Are you a Republican or are you an American?"

"All the cable news networks have been covering these hearings live," Kimmel's said, "but maybe the most lively moment from all of them came from C-SPAN."

"Impeachment's been so crazy, C-SPAN is turning into Howard Stern," Seth Meyers said at Late Night. He lingered on Thursday's testimony from David Holmes, and he recapped the "jaw-dropping" two weeks of hearings. "In many ways we already knew the core facts at the heart of the case, but this week's testimony has made it clear as day: Yes, there was a quid pro quo; yes, it was ordered by the president; yes, everyone else knew about it; and yes, it was designed specifically to help Trump win the 2020 election." Peter Weber

November 21, 2019

"This was a huge day in the Ukraine scandal," thanks mostly to Gordon Sondland's "explosive testimony," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. The U.S. ambassador to the European Union's "biggest bombshell" was his admission that yes, there was a "quid pro quo" with Ukraine, President Trump was calling the shots, and a who's who of senior officials "were in the loop," too. Sondland also explained why he called Trump from that restaurant in Kyiv. "Yeah, A$AP Rocky was the primary purpose of the call," Colbert deadpanned, "as in, 'Zelensky better launch the Biden investigation ASAP, or his life's about to get pretty rocky. Put a beat behind that.'"

Colbert's wish was The Late Show's command.

"We have moved past Watergate into floodgate," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. Since the beginning, "Trump's been saying Ambassador Sondland will say there was no quid pro quo," but then Sondland testified, "and just like that, Donald Trump's defense disappears faster than he downs a bucket of KFC."

"Staffers in the White House were said to be shocked and blindsided by the testimony this morning, as it appears our president has been caught orange-handed," Kimmel said. "Sondland screwed the president so thoroughly today, Trump reflexively paid him $130,000 to be quiet," and "the vice president, secretary of state, chief of staff, Rick Perry, John Bolton ... they all went under the bus," too. Comedian Jeff Ross stepped in to play Sondland, colorfully.

"Sondland's testimony was explosive, shocking, and jaw-dropping" — just watch Rep. Devin Nunes' (R-Calif.) slack-jawed reaction, Seth Meyers said at Late Night. He provided "some context for why today was the most shocking day of testimony so far" and explained why it's bad news not just for Trump, but for "virtually everybody at the highest levels of the administration."

"I think we can all take our impeachment balls and go home now, because that is the whole ball game," said Full Frontal's Samantha Bee. "The Democrats have been going about this all wrong." Their previous passel of "cautious, sober" witnesses "laid out a damning case, but they didn't exactly give good soundbites," she said. It's now obvious that "in order to catch a selfish, idiotic hotel business guy you have to send a selfish, idiotic hotel business guy," and "if you're not Devin Nunes, it was honestly really fun to watch Gordon Sondland." Watch her NSFW case below. Peter Weber

November 20, 2019

Tuesday was Day 3 of the House's public impeachment hearings, and the star witness was Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine expert on the National Security Counsel and decorated war veteran whose family fled the Soviet Union when he was a child. "Vindman used his opening statement to send a message to his father, who is still alive," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show, playing the clip. "That's moving, and true, but you know it's really going to enrage Trump, because it features his two least-favorite things: immigrants and fathers who love their sons."

Vindman lauded America's virtues, which Colbert endorsed: "Yes, in America, right matters — you know, unless you're one of the congressmen on the right, then not so much these days." He played several clips highlighting the GOP's attacks on Vindman, Vindman's well-prepared pushback, and a moment of twin-talk between Vindman and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas).

"It is safe to say that, politically speaking, these hearings have been very bad for President Trump," Seth Meyers said at Late Night. "And Trump's reaction to the impeachment hearings has only made things worse." After Trump's previous contemporaneous attacks of witnesses raised witness-tampering concerns, "in advance of today's hearings, anchors on Trump's favorite TV channel, Fox News, begged him not to tweet or even watch the hearings at all."

"In fact, the public hearings are going so badly for Trump that Republicans who spent weeks complaining the initial depositions were being held in private are now going back to saying this should all be handled behind closed doors," Meyers said. "And after this morning's hearings, you could see why." Trump and his allies "have tried to impugn the integrity and character of Lt. Col. Vindman," before and during Tuesday's hearings, he said, proving "once again" that "Republicans have no defense, all they can do is attack the witnesses because that's what Trump wants."

Does it matter? "We went out in the street today, we found people who said they were fans of Donald Trump, we asked them how they felt about some stuff that Trump has done — except none of it was stuff Trump has done," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. "All of the events we described were about Richard Nixon." Watch his head-pounding "Watergate edition of Lie-Witness News" below. Peter Weber

November 19, 2019

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

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