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July 20, 2018
YouTube/The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

President Trump surprised everyone — his own director of national intelligence included — on Thursday by seemingly inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington. This sent Stephen Colbert into a conniption fit on Thursday's Late Show.

"It is hard to imagine you could be this shocked every day by the Trump administration," Colbert said. "I mean, freshly shocked!" Americans were horrified by Trump's Monday meeting in Helsinki with Putin, Colbert said, and since then, people within the administration have been "trying to put distance between Trump and Putin." But then the president had to sabotage those efforts with a tweet (what else?), suggesting he and Putin were arranging a second meeting. That made Colbert spit out his coffee.

"Second meeting. Second meeting?!" Colbert gasped. "Because the first one went so well! ... Nothing could have gone worse than your meeting in Helsinki!" So what's Trump thinking? Colbert says one thing's for sure: Trump is in Putin's pocket. "The reason remains, why? There's only two possible answers: Either Putin has something on him, or he's an idiot." Either way, somebody has to break it to Trump that Putin doesn't have his interests at heart, so Colbert staged a tearful intervention. Watch below — but beware, there's some NSFW language. Jessica Hullinger

July 18, 2018

Tuesday's Late Show came at the end of a tumultuous couple of days for President Trump. Having just returned from a "disastrous" trip around Europe, during which he managed to bash NATO and rub shoulders with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump had some mopping up to do upon his return home.

In remarks Tuesday, Trump went into "emergency spin mode," Colbert said, listing his version of various events — including a weird fib about his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II — in an effort to make it into what Colbert calls the "Lying Hall of Fame."

But perhaps the biggest walk-back came after Trump stood next to Putin and told a room full of reporters that, despite conclusions to the contrary from American intelligence agencies, he was confident Russia did not meddle in the 2016 presidential election. "I don't see any reason why it would be [Russia]," Trump said. "That needs no clarification," Colbert assured, and then showed a clip of Trump saying his statement needed some clarification. "Okay, I stand corrected," Colbert said. "Alright Mr. President, I'll bite. Let's see how dumb you think the American people are."

Trump insists he simply misspoke. What he meant to say was, "I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia."

"Yes, the sentence should have been that," Colbert said. "It was not that, but then again who among us hasn't said the exact opposite of what he just said in front of cameras on multiple occasions?" He finishes with a sick burn on Trump's "double negative" flub. Watch below. Jessica Hullinger

July 17, 2018

President Trump's Monday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin was so bipartisanly bad, Stephen Colbert had to deliver a double dose of Trump bashing.

On Monday's episode of The Late Show, Colbert started with a surprise: He suggested, per former President Abraham Lincoln's advice, that Americans just "shut up and take" Trump's "alarming behavior" until he's out of office. "Does anyone feel like just taking it?" The audience roared back with a resounding "No," and Colbert responded with "me neither."

So Colbert launched into an anti-Trump tirade, ripping the president's "spineless, toadying" deference to Putin and suggested the Russian leader definitely has incriminating information on Trump. After all, when Colbert — who says he's just a comedian — went to Russia, it was clear "my phone was bugged and my room had cameras in it."

After a break, Colbert returned to bring up examples of Republicans, Democrats, and Trump's own staff tearing up the meeting, concluding that it "upset people across the partisan divide in ways that I have not seen in years." So Colbert did a quick calculation using some of the insults Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had for Trump. He punched in "egotism, plus naivete, times false equivalence," on a calculator to find it added up to "treason."

Watch the whole second monologue below. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 12, 2017
YouTube/Oliver Tweet

On Sunday's Last Week Tonight, John Oliver dissected the latest developments in the ongoing Russia investigation, or as Oliver calls it, "Stupid Watergate — something with all the potential national shame of Watergate brought to you by people too stupid to grasp the concept of shame." The biggest news was, of course, former FBI Director James Comey's testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Oliver cherry-picked some of the most surreal bits from the hearing, such as when Comey explained that he took copious notes about his meetings with President Trump because he was worried Trump would lie about the interactions later. But the most amazing moments, Oliver says, came from the things Comey couldn't say.

For example, Comey said the FBI knew of facts that would have made Attorney General Jeff Sessions' involvement in the Russia investigation (from which he's now recused himself) "problematic" but that he couldn't talk about said facts in an open setting.

"Now that sounds like a big deal," Oliver said, making use of a very colorful analogy about turtle sex to hammer his point home.

Despite Trump's proclamation of "total and complete vindication," the hearing was bad news for him, and even Fox News couldn't put a positive spin on it. And Paul Ryan's explanation for Trump's behavior was downright "pathetic." Watch below, but beware NSFW language. Jessica Hullinger

April 6, 2017

The Bill O'Reilly sexual harassment story is "just the latest example of the symbiotic relationship between Fox News and Trump," Seth Meyers said on Wednesday's Late Night. He began with President Trump's well-documented devotion to Fox & Friends — presumably, Meyers said, because the Fox News morning hosts "routinely give him sycophantic coverage." In return for their "glowing, unquestioning coverage," he said, Trump gives them "unparalleled access. And they'll go to absurd lengths to defend him." That defense doesn't always go as planned, as when Eric Bolling tried to compare Trump's first quarter with former President Barack Obama's and it backfired. Meyers highlighted the absurdity by comparing Trump and George Washington.

"So Fox is basically the closest we have to state TV," he said. The network does have some fine journalists, Meyers conceded, citing Shep Smith and Chris Wallace, but Trump "prefers people like the Fox & Friends [hosts] and, of course, one of his favorite sources, Bill O'Reilly." O'Reilly has "routinely defended Trump, even when Trump has done the indefensible," like when he dismissed Trump's Access Hollywood tape as mere "crude guy talk," Meyers said. So it makes some sense that Trump would step in and defend O'Reilly against the $13 million in sexual harassment settlements that just emerged.

"So far, Fox News has not taken O'Reilly off the air, but that could change soon because now that these settlements are public, the news is starting to hit Fox News where they care most: their wallet," Meyers said. At least 21 major companies have pulled their ads from his show. But in concluding that Fox News, Trump's "propaganda arm," is what "the president relies on for information," despite its "archaic culture of sexual harassment, fear, and intimidation," Meyers kind of undercuts his suggestion that O'Reilly is on the way out: He is Fox News' biggest ratings draw, and why would any network executive fire a pundit whom the president of the United States will quote almost verbatim? Watch below. Peter Weber