8:37pm PT by Lauren Huff, Trilby Beresford, Katherine Schaffstall
Late-Night Hosts Tackle "Anticlimactic" Mueller Report Findings
Late-night hosts Monday had a lot to say about Sunday's announcement that Robert Mueller's long-awaited report did not find evidence that President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Attorney General William Barr gave the news with a four-page letter to Congress on Sunday summarizing the key findings of the report. In it, he also said Mueller's report "does not exonerate" the president on obstruction and instead "sets out evidence on both sides of the question."
Of the news, Jimmy Kimmel joked that now "the process of tearing our country even further apart can finally begin."
"All I know is, I haven’t been this confused about an ending since the series finale of Lost. It is kind of funny though, half of America is upset that our President didn’t collude with Russia," he said, adding, "Seems like we should probably be happy about that shouldn’t we? And didn’t we really, deep down, didn’t we know Trump probably didn’t collude with Russia because he could never pull that off? And even if he did collude, it probably would have been by accident?"
Kimmel also noted that the news was "a bigly victory" for Trump and was much-celebrated by him and his camp. "I hear [Trump adviser] Kellyanne Conway drank the blood of an entire goat last night. That’s right," he joked. "The only way Trump could be happier with this Mueller report is if a porn star rolled it up and spanked him with it."
Over at The Late Show, Stephen Colbert also made light of the "troubling" news that "our president is not a Russian asset." "I say 'troubling' because if Trump is not working with the Russians, then what the hell is wrong with him?" the host joked. "If they don't have anything on him, then why does he keep saying nice things about Vladimir Putin?"
Colbert said Barr's letter was "anticlimactic." "It's like saying, 'Guess what kids? Santa came and he brought mostly nothing! In fact, Santa took his sack of presents and handed them over to some guy named Bill, and Bill was like, "I'll give you a summary of the gifts," and, oh by the way, this Bill got his job by writing a 19-page memo about how Christmas is illegal,'" he said.
Like Kimmel, Colbert also likened the report to the finale of Lost, saying it was worse than the conclusion of the hit ABC show. "What about the smoke monster? Was it real or not? And if not, why have so many members of Trump's campaign plead guilty to lying about meeting with the smoke monster?" He added that he wished the ending could be more like Seinfeld: "Still disappointing, but at least they’re all in jail."
Moving onto The Daily Show, host Trevor Noah took a deep dive into the Mueller news, looking particularly at the language Trump uses to get his point across. “The Mueller investigation report is in and it says there was no collusion,” Noah began. “I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit disappointing — a lot of us were expecting something different. It’s a little bit like coming down the stairs on Christmas morning, you were hoping for a brand-new BMX, but instead, you find Santa’s dead body, burnt, because your parents forgot to turn off the fire."
Noah went on to say, "Like I guess now we see why Trump just kept on saying ‘no collusion,’ he was doing the secrets. You see, you put it out in the universe and it happens for you." The host impersonated Trump repeating 'no collusion' over and over, asking his adviser when to stop. "Yeah, instead of fighting him, we should just ask him to use his powers for good, get Donald to start saying things that we don’t want," suggested Noah, launching into another impersonation of the President: "‘No student debts, no more debt folks, it’s all gone, all gone.'"
The comedian continued, "And you don’t have to be a genius to know that Donald Trump was really excited to hear this news. In fact, we have footage from when he found out that Mueller had let him off the hook." The Daily Show then ran a series of clips with Trump's joyful face superimposed onto people dancing. A Fox News clip played afterward with a reporter noting that Trump was "cracking jokes at a fundraising dinner" and playing golf with Kid Rock soon after hearing the news. "It's amazing how different human beings are, because for me, playing golf with Kid Rock seems more like the punishment," Noah joked.
Continuing the segment, Noah noted that Trump said that the Mueller report "totally exonerated him," but that may not be true, as news clips reiterated the fact that the Mueller report didn't give a definitive answer to the question of whether Trump obstructed justice. "Are you shitting me right now?" Noah exclaimed. "Robert Mueller spends two years investigating obstruction of justice and his conclusion is, 'I don't know, what do you think?' That's not an answer Robert Mueller, that's the question we gave you."
Wrapping everything up, Noah jokingly recognized that this is a financial "win" for Trump. "Mueller spent $25 million dollars on this, but because of him, [Paul] Manafort had to pay the United States over $40 million dollars, which I guess is another reason why the Mueller investigation was such a big win for Trump: It's the first time he's been involved in something that actually turned a profit."
Over on The Late Late Show, James Corden shared that the investigation was over.
"This completely wrecks my bracket," he joked, alluding to the NCAA March Madness tournament, after he shared the investigation's findings. "I had Donald Trump going all the way to impeachment."
Corden added that the news caught many people by surprise. "It's never a good sign when after two years as president, the whole world is shocked because you didn't do something illegal," he said.
After the host shared that Barr released a summary of the report, he said that Democrats have called for the full report to be released. "I, for one, cannot wait to read the article that summarizes the four-page summary of the full report, as long as it's brief," he joked.
He added that Democrats should instead demand a "bingeable Netflix documentary series" about the investigation.