8:48pm PT by Trilby Beresford, Sharareh Drury, Katherine Schaffstall
Late-Night Hosts React to Trump Impeachment Probe
Following the news that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is moving forward on a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump, late-night hosts used a portion of their Tuesday night episodes to give comedic commentary on the situation.
The probe is centered around whether Trump sought help from a foreign government for his re-election, an action that is, according to Pelosi, a "betrayal of his oath of office."
Declaring that "no one is above the law," Pelosi continued, "The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president's betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of his national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections."
The Daily Show's Trevor Noah showed his shock over the news. After playing NBC clips announcing the impeachment probe, Noah looked to his audience with a stunned face, asking "Is it finally happening?"
Noah noted that if the American public thought Trump was "unhinged" prior to news of the probe, the president's anger might be worth avoiding social media altogether. "This thing is going to be a category 5 tweetstorm," the late-night host said. "And this one will hit Alabama," he added.
The Daily Show dug deeper into how the impeachment probe and events leading up to it came to be in a new segment called "The Full Story." Noah first joked about who the whistleblower could be who first flagged Trump's communications with a foreign government.
"Did he promise Kim Jong-un that he could use his Netflix password? Or did he promise Vladimir Putin a role in the next Fast and Furious movie?" Noah questioned.
Noah said the only person who couldn't possibly be the whistleblower is Mike Pence because "he doesn't believe in blowing things."
Trump's suspect phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is at the center of the probe. The president has been accused of asking for help in investigating former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter, threatening to freeze $400 million in military aide as leverage on information on the Bidens.
"It's abuse of power. It's extortion," Noah said. "Worst of all, it's asking a foreign country to meddle in America's election, which is the one thing that if you were Donald Trump, you should stay away from."
Noah noted that for Ukraine, who needs military aide to fight off a Russian invasion, doesn't feel the need to dig up any information on Biden.
"Didn't they see the clip when he [Biden] forgot Obama's name? He's burying himself!" Noah said, impersonating a Ukrainian solder.
Trump has denied that charge, but acknowledged he blocked the funds and later released them. Of the call with the Ukrainian president, Trump tweeted on Sept. 19, "Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. No problem!"
On Trump's claims that he had a "perfect" call with the Ukrainian president, Noah simply said, "I think he's lying." As to how the late-night host knows this, Noah noted "there is no such thing as a perfect call" and "something always goes wrong. That's why we text."
Noah highlighted one glaring issue with Trump's claims he has done nothing wrong. The administration has blocked Congress from getting other details of the whistleblower report, citing presidential privilege. Trump has authorized the release of a transcript of the call, which is to be made public on Wednesday. The late-night host said either Trump is up to something shady or just said something embarrassing on the call.
"The one silver lining of any Trump scandal is that if you wait long enough, eventually he'll just spill the beans himself," Noah said near the end of the segment, followed by clips of Trump saying Ukraine needs to look into the Bidens.
On The Late Show, host Stephen Colbert told audiences to "buckle up" for the biggest news of the day.
"For two and a half years, Donald Trump has had scandal after scandal," Colbert said before listing off those scandals. "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 -- every time ... people have asked, 'Is this the thing?'"
Colbert shared clips of Nancy Pelosi announcing the impeachment inquiry, shortly followed by the late-night host staring off with surprise as his audience cheered, then gave a standing ovation to the news. To that response, Colbert asked, "OK, but ... how do you feel?"
As for that phone call with the Ukrainian president, Colbert says he has the audio already. The host shared a clip ahead of his show's airing Tuesday night.
On The Late Late Show with James Corden, the host commented on Pelosi's statement that the House of Representatives were moving forward with an impeachment inquiry.
"You heard Pelosi. Finally, the time for talking about impeachment is over! It's time to inquire about impeachment!"
Corden continued that the probe "is really gaining steam now" and "at this rate, Democrats should have Trump impeached by the last six months of his second term."
The late-night host offered a lengthy adage on the political story that's taken over today's headlines. "More than 180 House Democrats are now in favor of impeaching President Trump. It's like the old saying goes, '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.'"
Over on Conan, host Conan O'Brien offered insight on to how Trump has been handling the news.
"Trump was furious," O'Brien said. "I've done way worse things."
On the whistleblower's identity, the late-night host said though it's unknown at this time, they will likely appear on Dancing With the Stars (a knock on Sean Spicer's casting).
O'Brien also reviewed clips of left-leaning television news personalities covering news of the probe, like Rachel Maddow, who the host said was "having a hard time containing her excitement."
The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon also spoke about Pelosi beginning an impeachment inquiry.
"You can tell Trump's desperate to make this go away because tonight he was like, 'Hey, who wants to see my tax returns?'" said Fallon.
The host added that it’s bad news for the president. "Today, he called Ukraine and was like, 'Forget Biden, give me dirt on Pelosi,'" he said.
Fallon said that the Democrats were "pretty excited" to move forward with the impeachment.
"The whole thing is moving very fast. We found out about the Ukraine scandal last week. The impeachment inquires started this week, which means Trump will be on Dancing with the Stars next week," Fallon said.
Over on Late Night, Seth Meyers shared the news with his audience. "I've had my doubts in the past, but I think this time she's serious," said Meyers before sharing a photo of Pelosi wearing blue face paint, making her look like Mel Gibson's Braveheart character.
After Jimmy Kimmel announced the development on his ABC late-night show, he told the audience that Pelosi's plan is "not gonna get rid of [Trump]."
"She's been very reluctant to do this, but once again Donald Trump is doing what he does best. Forcing a woman to do something she didn't want to do," said the host.
Kimmel joked that Trump has promised that if he is impeached, it will be "the biggest and most beautiful impeachment in history."
After the host explained Trump's interactions with the Ukraine, he noted that the president had to "clear his throat a little before" he said that he was withholding the money to stop corruption. "I guess he 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 said. "You remember when the raptors in Jurassic Park tested the fence for weaknesses? If he gets away with this, next time he could ask North Korea to bomb Bette Midler."
The host shared that the whistleblower has volunteered to testify to the intelligence committee in the House. "Which has got to infuriate Trump because the only whistle he wants blown is the one to summon Mike Pence when he needs him," Kimmel said.
"All of this is because he's dumb. Because he gets on the phone and he can't resist saying stupid stuff," he continued. "In 2014, Donald Trump tweeted, "Are you allowed to impeach a president for gross incompetence?' Well, I guess we're about to find out."