Late-Night Hosts Skewer Trump's Putin Relations, Denial of Russian Election Meddling
"Trump says Putin's taking the allegation personally. And I believe it, I mean no one wants to take the blame for Trump being elected."
The late-night talk-show hosts wasted no time in skewering President Trump's antics in Asia during Monday night's shows.
Coming off the weekend's news about Trump's stop in Vietnam, where he shook hands and chatted with Vladimir Putin during a photo-op for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon and Trevor Noah took jabs at Trump's seemingly friendly relations with the Russian president.
Referencing Trump's press conference Sunday during which he told reporters Putin has repeatedly denied all accusations of Russian meddling in the presidential election, Late Show host Colbert joked, "Trump got to the bottom of Russian interference in the 2016 election by using his most powerful investigative tool — asking Putin if he did it."
Colbert mocked Trump's response to reporters: "'Every time he sees me he says, 'I didn't do that.'"
Comparing Putin's denials to those of prominent men in Hollywood who have been accused of sexual harassment, the host added, "Yeah, and we know from past experience, you can always trust a guy who repeatedly denies allegations — look at Weinstein, Cosby, Ailes, O'Reilly, Louis C.K., Brett Ratner, Bill Clinton and future Senator, Roy Moore."
He continued, "Trump says Putin's taking the allegation personally, adding, 'I think he is very insulted by it.' And I believe it, I mean no one wants to take the blame for Trump being elected."
Over on Late Night, Meyers made jokes at the president's expense during his "Closer Look" segment.
Addressing Trump's shaky replies during his Sunday press conference, Meyers said, "He seemed very eager to go easy on Putin. Trump told reporters, 'He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they're saying he did. Every time he sees me, he says, 'I didn't do that.…' Putin said he did not do what they said he did."
Calling Trump "gullible," he pegged the president as "probably the easiest mark Putin has ever had. You're like the guy at a magic show who applauds before the trick is even over." Putting on his best Trump impersonation, Meyers joked, "Oh my God, how did he get that woman inside the box. That's amazing."
He continued, "Of course Trump's own intelligence agencies believe Russia interfered in the election, so Trump was later forced to clarify his comments. But what he said actually made things more confusing."
After playing a clip from Trump's conference in Vietnam during which he stumbled over his words while trying to justify his stance on Putin's denial, Meyers said, "Trump is so desperate to avoid answering this question, he's just talking in circles. 'I believe he believes what he believes and he believes that I believe what I believe even though he believes what I don't believe. And now, if you don't mind, I believe it's time for me to be-leaving."
During his opening monologue, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon also joked about Trump asking Putin whether he meddled in the election.
"Is Trump the guy who should be leading that investigation?," Fallon asked. The late-night host then added a quip about Kevin Spacey, comparing Trump's defense to "telling Kevin Spacey to keep an eye on Roy Moore."
Meanwhile, over on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, Trevor Noah couldn't comprehend why Trump defended Putin and believed in his innocence, only based on what Putin told him.
"What do you mean you believe him? He's Vladimir Putin, ex-KGB. Why would you believe him?" Noah asked the president.
Noah proceeded to compare Trump to the friend who "always defends his woman no matter how much everyone says she's bad news." "He's like, 'She looked in my eyes and said she wasn't cheating,'" Noah joked as he mocked Trump, before adding, "And then the guy in the bed said so too and I don't even know him so why would he lie?"
After addressing the investigation underway about Russian meddling in the election, Noah said the only issue with Trump's defense of Putin is that it "only brought more questions." The host then showed a news clip of a conference in which Trump tells reporters of his defensive statements of Putin that he "believes that he believes that and that's very important for somebody to believe." Trump also said, "I believe that he believes that him and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership."
"I still don't know what Trump believes," Noah said after showing the clip. Although confused, the host said he was sure of one thing. "But he definitely knows the word, 'believe.'"
After suggesting that Trump was merely attempting to say Putin could in fact be unaware of Russia's involvement in the election, Noah joked, "I feel like if you said to Donald Trump, 'Mr. President, It's absolutely crazy to say that a leader of a global superpower has no idea what's going on in his own government,' he would be like, 'It's not so crazy. Believe me.'"