Sometimes you just have to shake your head. Trevor Noah began Thursday's Daily Show with Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity chief Jeanette Manfra's recent acknowledgment that "an exceptionally small number" of states had their voting systems "successfully penetrated" by the Russian government in 2016. "She delivered that line like it was supposed to sound comforting" he said. "It's like a doctor saying, 'Good news, Brian, you have an exceptionally small number of tumors in your brain.'" The only thing more worrisome, he said, is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's "wimpy" and "mind-boggling" shrug that the Russians are going to hack, so get used to it.
Noah turned to Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary who resigned Wednesday amid accusations he abused his two ex-wives. "You know, every time I think I've reached the highest level of disgust for this administration, I'm right, but then they invent another level," he said. "I miss the days when White House staffers got fired for fun stuff — you know, Spicey couldn't talk, the Mooch couldn't shut up, Steve Bannon couldn't shower."
But in this case, Noah said, "not only did the White House have a domestic abuser in its midst, a lot of the people there, especially Chief of Staff and alleged 'adult in the room' John Kelly, just ignored it for months. And with the job Porter had, there's no reason that they couldn't get somebody else. ... You oversee every piece of paper that lands on Trump's desk? You mean, this desk? Oh, tough job: Trump's desk is balder than his head." Seriously, he added, "if your job is to bring reading materials to a guy who doesn't read, then that's not much of a job. It's like being Kevin Spacey's agent." Watch below. Peter Weber
"From almost the beginning of the investigation, Republicans have tried to find any way to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show, and their latest fixation is a series of unkind text messages between two FBI officials formerly on Mueller's team. "I kind of get what Republicans are saying," Noah said. "If someone thinks Trump is an idiot, you don't want that person investigating him. On the other hand, if you don't think Trump's an idiot, then you're the idiot. Like, we don't want an idiot in charge of an investigation, we'll find him eating the evidence."
But since "even Republicans think that Trump is an idiot," they've moved on to new texts, including one mentioning a "secret society." "The FBI has a secret society — that they call the secret society?" Noah asked. "That's really sinister — and a little obvious. I mean, calling your secret society 'the secret society' is a weird way to keep a secret. That would be like if Batman's real name was Bruce Batman." Seriously, he added, "if you're in a secret society that controls the world you'd give it a boring name, like World Economic Forum, and you'd hold meetings in a Swiss mountain resort like a super-villain."
There's one part of the story that "does seem a little suspicious," he said, pointing to five months of (previously) missing text messages. "So you may want to dismiss this whole FBI conspiracy as Republican fan fiction, but for a change, maybe we should look at it from their point of view," he said, putting on spooky lights and music, then giving up. "Look, people, we all know what's happening here," he said. "Republicans are just trying to discredit the FBI and the Justice Department as much as possible so that when Robert Mueller comes out with his findings, you'll see them in a different light." Watch below. Peter Weber
Everybody can claim a win from the short government shutdown over the weekend, Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. Democrats got six years of CHIP funding, "campaign ads for the midterms," and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's suspect pinky-promise to hold a vote on legislation to protect DREAMers, he said, while Republicans got Democrats to back down with just a flimsy promise and also snuck in $30 billion in additional tax cuts. The only ones who demonstrably didn't win were the DREAMers, the focus of the whole shutdown.
"They came away from the shutdown worse than before," Noah said. Before this "became about winning and losing," Republicans at least said they believe DACA recipients deserve to stay in the U.S., he showed, "but once the shutdown became about scoring political points, suddenly Republican leaders turned these people from 'DREAMers to 'illegals.'" Democrats, meanwhile, have repeatedly and disingenuously "promised the DREAMers more than they can deliver," he noted, because they don't have any power in Washington.
"And this is what sucks for DREAMers about this whole situation," Noah said. "You're six weeks away from being deported to a country you've never known, and now the only thing that stands between you and an answer is a man with more broken promises than chins." Watch that — plus Noah's impersonation of McConnell the Player and explanation for why Kermit the Frog is clearly a Republican — below. Peter Weber
On Tuesday, President Trump fulfilled his promise to get Democrats and Republicans in the same room to discuss immigration, and he invited in news cameras, "which was mind-blowing, because finally we'd get to see the president take charge," Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. Or not. Trump essentially told the lawmakers present he would sign whatever they sent him, and he seemed to be fuzzy on the details of the main point of negotiation, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program.
"While both sides want DACA, there's a 'clean' DACA and then there's DACA with everything else," like Trump's border wall, Noah said, "and if you were running a high-level negotiation about DACA, this would be a key concept to understand. But if I told you there was one person in the room who didn't quite understand, I'll bet you can guess who it was." He showed Trump agreeing to a "clean" DACA bill, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) jumping in to correct him. Trump said he wants a big bipartisan "bill of love," and Noah drew a line.
"It's funny to hear Trump talking about love and immigration, especially after you hear the cruel decision that he made on Monday," rescinding the immigration status of some 200,000 Salvadorans. "While President 'Bill of Love' puts on a show for the cameras, behind the scenes his administration is kicking out 200,000 people who have lived in the U.S. legally for decades," Noah said. "These are families, Mr. President, human beings — you can't just treat them the same way you treat Eric." Watch below. Peter Weber
"I don't know if you've noticed, but in between his tweetings and cheeseburgers, Donald Trump has been saying some pretty dictator-y things," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. He pointed to President Trump's statement that he has "the absolute right to do what I want with the Justice Department," and explained why that's both not true and "a dangerous idea for the president to have."
Trump is widely reported to be furious with Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not "protecting" him from the investigation into Russian election meddling. And points to the underlying problem," Noah said. "In President Trump's mind, the attorney general is his personal attorney — that's what he thinks. Instead of recusing himself from Russia, he wanted Jeff Sessions to basically be his pint-sized Johnny Cochran, just walking around, like: 'He's a good dude, he did not collude. If the sheets have no pee, the man must go free.'"
Trump was so upset that Sessions wasn't "protecting" him, he reportedly asked his staff, "Where's my Roy Cohn?" That's "actually a very revealing question for Trump to have asked," Noah said, turning to clips to explain who Roy Cohn was. "Trump longing for a lawyer like Roy Cohn is disconcerting, because what he admires in Cohn is that he worked to destroy his political rivals by any means necessary. And that's exactly what Trump wants the Justice Department to do for him now — and it looks like he may be getting his wish." He pointed to Trump's call for the Justice Department to reopen its investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails, and the DOJ's compliance. "That should make you a little bit afraid," Noah said. "If the president can start criminal investigations into anyone that he wants, that feels less like a democracy and more like a Trumpocracy." Watch below. Peter Weber
"If someone wrote a book about you not being mentally fit, and you knew it was all lies, a smart person would ignore the bulls--t and carry on with his life," Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. "But Donald Trump is not that person." President Trump lashed out at Michael Wolff and his new book, Fire and Fury, saying in a weekend tweetstorm that he's "like, really smart," and also a "stable genius." "This is, like, really funny," Noah said. "Only Donald Trump could defend himself and in the same sentence, completely undermine his whole point."
Noah spent the next few minutes ruminating on "stable genius — which I guess is Einstein if he owned a comb?" On the one hand, calling yourself a stable genius on Twitter is a "delusionally confident" move, Noah said, playing examples of other self-declared geniuses. But actually, "I guess Trump is stable. I mean, look at his life: Twitter, golf, bedtime, cheeseburger, fall asleep, do it again. He's the only thing that hasn't changed since he became president. If anything, Trump is stable and he's made everyone else unstable."
"Trump was always going to come out and tell us that he has a very good brain," Noah said. "What was fun was watching the grown-ups around him pretend that they don't see what's blatantly obvious." The Trump allies and appointees who went on TV to defend Trump "aren't just saying that Donald Trump is of sound mind, they're basically saying that all of us are mentally unstable for questioning him," Noah said, even as some of these same Republicans called him crazy. "Look, I guess what the Republicans are saying is this: Yes, Donald Trump was a deranged lunatic unfit to be president, but once he won the Electoral College, then he became a stable genius. Because everyone knows, nothing turns a man sane like absolute power." Watch below. Peter Weber
Trevor Noah says Fire and Fury might help Trump or hurt him, but it's the 'perfect scandal' for his White House
It seems all anybody can talk about right now is Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff's new book about President Trump and his White House, which "sounds like the Real Housewives of Pennsylvania Avenue," Trevor Noah said on Thursday's Daily Show. According to Wolff, "Trump's own people think that he's dumb as a watermelon — I guess the country isn't as divided as it seems," Noah said. Trump not being "the fastest fidget spinner out there" isn't exactly news," he added, but it "has been fun is discovering little details that help us understand President Trump a little bit more," like his quirky fast-food habits.
"Now, this book has tons of stories ranging from mildly amusing to salacious," Noah said, but "the most tragic story" is that nobody on Trump's team, Trump included, wanted him to win. There's an upside to that for Trump, he pointed out. "If you believe that he didn't want to win, then it's hard to believe he colluded with the Russians. If anything, instead of trying to shut this book down, Trump should be sending a copy to Robert Mueller."
But the allegations about Trump's mental decline and crooked family aren't great for Trump. "As entertaining as it is, I don't know how much of this book is accurate and how much is exaggerated — but in a way, that's what makes it a perfect scandal for this White House," Noah said. "Bizarre, unverified, fraudulent claims: This is the world Donald Trump promotes," from his "birther" nonsense to claims of millions of illegal voters to his jab that Ted Cruz's dad helped murder JFK. "Someone who tweeted 'check out sex tape' can't complain about tabloid gossip," Noah said. "The truth is, Mr. President, you made your bed, now eat your cheeseburger in it." Watch below. Peter Weber
Two of the big lingering questions from 2017 are whether President Trump colluded with Russia and why the FBI started investigating that question, Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into the first one, and The New York Times provided an answer to the second last week: "Alcohol" — specifically, drunken gossip from Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. "Man, Donald Trump's people are such amateurs," Noah said. "Everyone knows the first rule of keeping a secret is you don't drink with Australians. Like, their smallest beer can size is 'bucket.'"
On Wednesday afternoon, Stephen Bannon had an unexpected answer for the first question. "This is huge," Noah said. "Steve Bannon, Trump's dude, not only accused Trump's second-dumbest son of collusion, but he's also accusing the president of being in on it and then lying to the American people about it." Trump did not react calmly. "I didn't even know presidents could release dis tracks," Noah said. "But I do feel bad for President Trump because today he found out that some Nazis aren't very fine people."
"But you know, as much as I enjoy watching this fight, I realize I don't know who I'm rooting for," Noah said. "Steve Bannon beefing with Donald Trump? It's like Alien vs. Sexual Predator — who do you go with?" This feud may end up being "just the latest episode of our favorite gringo telenovela," he said, but it's also "the first time a member of Trump's inner circle is saying that this Trump-Russia collusion story is as bad as it seems."
At The Opposition, Jordan Klepper was in mourning because "mommy and daddy are fighting." This Trump-Bannon split needs to be healed, he deadpanned. "I don't want to split my time wearing my MAGA hat on weekdays and two collared shirts every other weekend." Watch below. Peter Weber