"Here's a sentence I don't often say: Donald Trump did something good," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. Commuting the life sentence of great-grandmother and nonviolent drug offender Alice Johnson was the right thing to do, he said, "but maybe he did the right thing for the wrong reason. Because there was no legal process or review, as there normally is. Trump just commuted her sentence because of a meeting with Kim Kardashian. So executive clemency is now just a reality TV show — stay tuned for The Pardoner."
In fact, people are now going on Fox News to beg Trump to pardon their husbands, Colbert noted. "Going on Fox News is one of the best ways to make sure Trump gets your message — other than writing it on his steak in ketchup." But Trump has pardons on his mind more than ever these days, he added. "Insiders say Trump's become fixated on his ability to issue pardons because it's the one area where he has almost unchecked power. And I'm actually okay with that. It's like letting a toddler play with an electric razor: It's gonna look crazy when it's over but he's having a good time."
Colbert turned to Trump's new tariffs on Canada, Mexico, and the EU, "also known as the legion of people who still like us," he joked — or did like us, anyway. Canada is upset because, among other reasons, Trump first had to classify Canada as a national security threat, a proposition he reportedly backed up by asking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau if it wasn't true that Canada burned down the White House. (It isn't.). "Trump was probably referring to the War of 1812 when, in actuality, British troops burned down the White House," Colbert said. "Still, that is shockingly almost accurate. Since when does Donald Trump know anything about American history?" Watch below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert asks Stephen King about Trump's Twitter block, grills the Devil about that White House sinkhole
On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that President Trump can no longer block people on Twitter. "So for those of you who can once again read Donald Trump's tweets, congratulations! — and I am so sorry," Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show. "From now on, if Trump wants to send messages exclusively to his supporters, he'll have to do so on his Etsy pages." He explained the ruling and said it was "adorable" that the judge thought her decision would encourage Trump to change his habits.
Colbert pivoted from Trump's tweets to the staffers who ghostwrite them, reportedly including typos to make them seem authentically Trump. He feigned disbelief at this perfidy, and said he felt personally betrayed by the revelation that some staffer writes some of the tweets Colbert has made an art of reading in Trump's voice. "It's so dishonest — I mean, I would never come out here and read a bunch of words I didn't write myself," he added, throwing in a little self-deprecation.
Colbert was able to ask Stephen King about being blocked by Trump on Twitter. King touched on what got him Trump-blocked and he didn't seem overly broken up about it — in fact, he blocked both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in return, for slightly different reasons.
Finally, Colbert took a look at the sinkhole that's opening up on the White House lawn. "It's true — it finally happened: The Earth is fighting back," Colbert said. But he wasn't convinced by the geologist who assured everyone that sinkholes aren't "the gates of hell opening," so he threw to the Devil in hell, who — it turns out — did disavow responsibility. "Oh, here no!" the Devil said. "I don't want to get mixed up with Donald Trump! Have you seen what they did to Michael Cohen? I don't need Mueller on my ass — I run a legitimate business torturing the damned." Peter Weber
Under a new Trump administration proposal, hunters will once again be able to shoot bear and wolf cubs in their dens. "And I say it's about time," Jimmy Kimmel deadpanned on Wednesday's Kimmel Live. "I don't know about you, but I am sick and tired of not being able to shoot bear cubs in their dens. I mean, what are you supposed to do, wait for them to waddle out adorably and start rolling around? That's not American!" He also mentioned Trump's easing of a ban on importing African elephant trophies, despite saying he wouldn't, "which is disgusting," Kimmel said, "but not only isn't the president backing down, he's going all in on this." That cued up a fake Trump TV ad, and it gets pretty dark. Eric and Donald Trump Jr. make a cameo at the end. Watch below. Peter Weber
"Donald Trump is obsessed with his staff leaking information," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "You know how I know that? His staff leaked that information to The New York Times. And now Trump is determined to stop it at all costs — in fact, West Wing aides are instructed to drop their personal phones into a small storage locker when they come to work. Wait a second! They're taking away the phones of everyone except Donald Trump? That's like saying, 'No one can bring knives to work — except you, O.J.'"
"Now if this sounds paranoid, it's only because it is," Colbert said. "Here's the thing: During the campaign, Trump aides were afraid that whatever they said to him would end up in the press, and behind his back they called him 'leaker in chief.'" He made a show of resisting the inevitable joke that just couldn't be contained: "More like 'leaker on sheets' — damn you, Satan!" Colbert had another faux-illicit pee-pee joke and ended up talking to an imaginary Trump on a banana, Trump-style. Watch below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert thinks he's figured out why Trump is helping China's ZTE, and it looks way worse than leaking
"There is just so much news coming out of the White House these days, and some of it they actually want you to know — that news is called leaks, and right now the Trump administration is obsessed with them," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. Neither the White House nor staffer Kelly Sadler has publicly apologized for the leaked comment about Sen. John McCain "dying anyway," he noted. "In fact, White House officials seem more upset that the story leaked than that Sadler said it." How do we know that? It leaked.
"This White House is so leaky, there are even leaks about why they're leaking," Colbert said, running through some of the reasons — and how one leaker gets away with it by using other staffers' idioms in leaks to throw the White House off the scent. That leaker "added: 'Sad! Witch hunt! Fake news! I want to sleep with a porn star. I wish I was married to Sean Hannity,'" Colbert joked.
The president is incoherently furious, but "I don't get why Trump even cares about leaks, because these days he's not even trying to hide his dirt anymore," Colbert said. Everyone was baffled when Trump announced he's working to save "jobs in China" by helping phone maker ZTE, "the exact opposite of everything he has ever said — what's next, short ties?" he asked. But curiously "Trump tweeted out that announcement a mere 72 hours after the Chinese government agreed to put a half a billion dollars into an Indonesian project that will personally enrich — any guesses? — Donald Trump. He's not even trying to be subtle."
In case you didn't get the Sean Hannity joke, The Late Show re-created a bedtime conversation between Trump and the Fox News host.
And Deadpool's Ryan Reynold's interrupted the last part of Colbert's monologue and made telling Trump jokes look easy. Watch below. Peter Weber
President Trump released a video to celebrate Mother's Day, and Stephen Colbert found something lacking. "Here's the thing: In this whole video, Donald Trump doesn't once mention any of the mothers of his own children — and there's a lot to choose from," he said on Monday's Late Show. Trump also tweeted about China on Sunday, and like many people, Colbert was baffled by Trump's tweet promising jobs to Chinese phone maker ZTE. "During the campaign, Trump wouldn't shut up about how America's jobs were being stolen by China," he said. "I can't wait for his next tweet: 'Have you heard about all the problems in Mexico? We've got to let these good people into our country. Build the ramp!'"
"ZTE is no friend of the U.S.," Colbert said. U.S. spy agencies accuse it of eavesdropping on America for China and it admitted to breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea. He recapped Monday in Jerusalem, where the U.S. inaugurated a new embassy and Palestinians were killed en masse. "Now we've just got to destabilize Antarctica and we'll have global crisis bingo," he said.
The Late Show had a few more thoughts on moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
But while the world burns, Trump is finding comfort talking to Sean Hannity, according to a new profile in New York. "They're like the Gayle and Oprah of angry old white men," Colbert said. "So what do these lovable old codgers talk about?" Apparently, TV and media criticism, and anything else that helps Trump "decompress" after a day in the Oval Office, since he doesn't live with the first lady. Trump apparently calls during the day, too, then announces it to staff. "So after a cable news pundit talks to the president of the United States, it's the president name-dropping Sean Hannity?" Colbert asked. "That's like if Beyoncé bragged about meeting the Trivago guy." Watch below. Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert began Thursday's Late Show with an appreciative nod to the three Korean-Americans who landed in the U.S. early Thursday after being released by North Korea. "The president was there to meet the freed men, along with Melania — who is hoping to be freed next," he joked. "Trump made some brief remarks," and "all he had to do was not thank the murderous dictator who had imprisoned these men in a windowless black hole." He did. Kim "wasn't 'excellent' to them," Colbert said. "And you know the hint that he wasn't? They look happy to be with you."
"Of course, no Trump accomplishment would be complete without a little bragging about ratings," because "this is how history judges all presidential accomplishments: Did it do better than an infomercial for Slapchop?" Colbert said. "Some are attributing this diplomatic victory to Trump's plan to out-'crazy' North Korea," he added, slipping into Trump voice: "Thanks for releasing the hostages, Kim. Now I'm sending them back — didn't see that coming, all right? I've been eating paint chips."
"If Kim Jong Un wants insight into the president," Colbert said, he could just hire Michael Cohen. The payments to Cohen from a Russian oligarch and corporations Colbert talked about Wednesday were "just the tip of the bribeberg," he said. Cohen indulged in some "pretty bald influence-peddling," but he wasn't alone — one GOP consultant said that everyone was hiring "Trump whisperers" in 2017, Colbert said. "A Trump whisperer is like a dog whisperer because, well, there's a lot of indoor peeing and hitting with rolled-up magazines."
Colbert recounted some racial profiling incidents at Nordstrom Rack and Duke University. "We have see far too many of these types of stories popping up in recent months, which leads white people like myself to ask, 'What can we do?'" he said. His solution: a new segment, "Late Show Tolerance Tips." It was pretty comprehensive. Watch below. Peter Weber
Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, and Mike Myers have some fun with Dr. Bornstein's new Trump confession
Dr. Harold Bornstein, President Trump's former doctor, revealed Tuesday that he didn't actually write the unbelievably glowing letter he wrote about Trump's health during the campaign. "Bornstein now says the president dictated the letter directly to him," Jimmy Kimmel said on Wednesday's Kimmel Live. "So he is a dictator!" He ran through the reason Bornstein is breaking his silence now, adding: "I have to say, I'm actually happy to see Dr. Bornstein back. I always love when a fun character from Season 1 pops up unexpectedly." He said Bornstein had agreed to a live interview, and he brought on Mike Myers doing an entertaining and slightly risqué Bornstein impersonation.
"Let's not rush to judgment — maybe Trump didn't write the letter," Stephen Colbert said on The Late Show. "Let me try something, let's read the letter." And he did, in Trump voice. "Yeah, he did it," he decided, revealing other (fake) doctor's notes dictated by Trump. "Evidently, the letter could have been more glowing, because Bornstein said Trump 'dictated the letter and I would tell him what he couldn't put in there,'" Colbert said. He reminded people what was in the letter, then imagined what Trump wanted "that was too much for Bornstein." (Again, borderline NSFW.)
"You know who won't let Trump write the report for him? Robert Mueller," Colbert said, switching gears. "And things are getting testy between the special counsel and the president," with Mueller threatening to subpoena Trump and Trump's legal team leaking 49 questions they wrote based on Mueller's statements. "Those questions are made up — they're just Mueller fan fiction!" Colbert said, and he suggested why Trump's team would leak them. Trump more or less confirmed the speculation with his tweets, one incoherent and the other ending with a vow to "get involved" in Justice Department business. "Sir, you're already involved," Colbert said. "Technically, the defendant is the star." Watch below. Peter Weber