A big news day in the Russia investigation meant a big night for Stephen Colbert on Thursday.
“Robert Mueller is getting closer and closer to his prey,” the Late Show host said, excitedly. “It’s a true game of cat and large, slow-moving man.”
“This morning, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. That’s a serious offense,” Colbert continued. “He could end up in jail… or on the Supreme Court.”
“Here’s the lie that Cohen told,” he added, explaining that Trump’s former fixer told Congress that the Moscow Trump Tower project ended in January of 2016 when it was actually still in the works as late as June 2016. “Why would Cohen lie about that?” he asked. “Well, he didn’t want people to think Trump was in bed with the Russians. Because nobody wants to be in that Russian bed. It’s got pee-pee in it.”
In response, President Trump told reporters on Thursday that Cohen was “lying” about the timeline. “And it’s terrible because this time I’m not paying him to lie,” Colbert said, imitating Trump. “It’s pro bono. Before, I was paying him to say I never boned all those pros.”
Colbert then predicted, based on some “subtle” clues from Trump, which of his former confidants—Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort—would be more likely to receive a presidential pardon. While the president repeatedly smeared Cohen as “weak” for making a deal with prosecutors, he lamented how “poorly” Manafort has been treated after he was caught lying to Robert Mueller.
“We have a winner!” Colbert announced. “Paul Manafort, you and your ostrich-skin coat will enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to fabulous Washington, D.C. for a luxurious pardon ceremony. Then set sail on Collusion Cruise Lines where during the middle of the night you’ll be smeared with sheep’s blood and dropped in shark-infested waters to silence you forever. All of this can be yours if you just: Shut! Your! Trap!”
After playing more of Trump’s convoluted, rambling excuses, the host said, “There you have it. Simple, non-panicked explanation. It’s all explained in his best-selling book, ‘The Art of the Deal That Didn't Happen. It Was No Deal. We Had a Position to Possibly Do a Deal and Everybody Knew About It. I Decided Not to Do It. There Would Have Been Nothing Wrong if I Did Do It.’”
At one point, Trump stalled the impromptu press conference by telling a reporter he couldn’t hear their question over the sound of his helicopter. “Oh, that’s a helicopter?” Colbert asked. “I thought that was the sound of your presidency going down the toilet.”