Late-night hosts unpack Trump impeachment inquiry: 'Buckle up'
Stephen Colbert‘s audience on The Late Show Tuesday night rose in standing ovation over the news that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. James Corden over at The Late Late Show was more skeptical of the news. Jimmy Fallon dressed up as Trump for a sketch to address impeachment.
Whatever the approach, everyone in the late-night talk show circuit had something to say about it.
According to reports from The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Associated Press published earlier this week, based on information from a White House whistleblower, Trump ordered a freeze on financial aid to Ukraine days before a call with the new Ukrainian leader during which Trump allegedly asked him to investigate unsubstantiated corruption claims involving Joe Biden’s son. Following the release of these reports, Pelosi announced Tuesday that “the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”
“Donald Trump is doing what he does best, forcing a woman to do something she didn’t want to do,” Jimmy Kimmel cracked on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Responding on his favored medium of choice, Twitter, Trump repeatedly called the inquiry a “witch hunt” and “presidential harassment,” in addition to sharing numerous clips of Fox News hosts defending him. Trump also tweeted that he would release “the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript” of the phone conversation. Naturally, folks like Kimmel weren’t convinced it will be the full, untampered transcript.
“Buckle up,” Colbert said on The Late Show, “because, for two-and-a-half years, Donald Trump has had scandal after scandal: Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, saying Nazis are fine people, being an unnamed co-conspirator to campaign finance violations, lying about the Moscow Trump Tower, stealing money to pay for the border wall, faking the weather with a sharpie. None of those are made up. Every time, people have have asked, ‘Is this the thing? Surely this must be the thing.’ And every time it wasn’t the thing. But here’s the thing, there’s a new thing and it might be the thing.”
For other late-night hosts, the news came with both skepticism and worry. Kimmel, noting how Trump claimed he froze aid to stop corruptions, guesses the president “feels like nothing can stop him now.”
“He got away with Russia and the election, it makes perfect sense he would ask Ukraine to help him with the next one,” Kimmel continued. “Remember when the raptors in Jurassic Park tested the fence for weaknesses? If he gets away with this, he could ask North Korea to bomb Bette Midler next.”
Corden riffed to his audience, “Finally, the time for talking about impeachment is over. It’s time to inquire about impeachment. This is it, guys. Let the talking stop and the inquiring begin. It’s really gaining steam now. It is. At this rate, Democrats should have Trump impeached by the last six months of his second term.”
The Late Late Show host continued to mock the inquiry by saying, “Work with a foreign government to undermine a Democratic election once, shame on you. Do it twice, we’re going to inquire about the possibility of doing something this time, maybe, we’ll see, possibly, I don’t know.”
Seth Meyers had a small quip during a segment on Late Night. “I’ve had my doubts in the past, but I think this time she’s serious,” he said, showing a Photoshopped image of Pelosi wearing blue face paint.
Then there was Fallon, who tried to keep things fun. “The whole thing is moving very fast,” he said during his monologue. “We found out about the Ukraine scandal last week, the impeachment inquiry is starting this week, which means Trump will be on Dancing with the Stars next week.”
It’s a similar joke used by Conan O’Brien on Conan in which he said, “We don’t know who the whistleblower is yet, but we do know they’ll end up on Dancing with the Stars.” After all, Sean Spicer, one of Trump’s many former White House press secretaries, is on this season of the celebrity dancing competition show.
In a separate sketch, Fallon emerged dressed as Trump to address the impeachment inquiry at the U.N. “You make one phone call blackmailing a foreign leader and everyone acts like… you made one phone call blackmailing a foreign leader,” he joked.
On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah offered “The Full Story” on what the impeachment inquiry means and how we got here, but also told his audience to prepare for an imminent “Category 5 tweet storm — and this one will hit Alabama.”
“If you thought Trump was unhinged before, I can’t even imagine what he’s gonna be like now,” Noah said. “He’s been crazy.”