Stpehen Colbert manages to find the humor in federal indictments
Stephan Colbert and his fellow late-night hosts helped us find the humor indictments in Paul Manafort’s indictment for conspiracy against the United States.
On Monday morning, a newly unsealed grand jury indictment revealed 12 charges against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and business associate/former Trump adviser Rick Gates relating to shady dealings with Ukraine predating the election.
Clocking in at 31 pages, it was an all-day feast for major news networks as they dissected the myriad of charges related to the former Trump campaign members pre-election dealings with Ukraine. But leave it to Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, and Jimmy Fallon to find the surreal and downright ridiculous footnotes in a court document.
For Colbert, it was Christmas on Halloween as he reveled in the charges brought against Manafort and Gates. Citing multiple sources, they face allegations of conspiracy to launder money, massive tax fraud, and conspiracy against the United States related work as unregistered agents of the Ukrainian government.
Manafort’s financial crimes deal in the millions, accused of laundering $18 million and receiving $75 million from Ukraine. Both Colbert and Meyer delighted in the expenses of their apparently ill-gotten gains. They include three Range Rovers, hundreds of thousands of dollars in men’s clothing, and most amusingly, nearly a million dollars on antique rugs.
Meanwhile, Late Night host Seth Meyers detailed the awkward calm before the storm and Trump’s Twitter-rage after it broke.
On the same day CNN announced that a Washington grand jury approved charges in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, President Trump hosted the children of the White House press corps for Halloween. Meyers lampooned the President’s awkward comments to the costumed kids and passive-aggressive jabs at the media.
The Halloween scene felt like a preemptive discrediting of the news networks in light of the President’s reaction to Monday’s news that Manafort and Gates had surrendered to the FBI. “He is so bad at this,” Meyers said, alluding to Trump’s Twitter rant shifting the focus to Hilary Clinton and Democrats as well as his all-caps claim that “…there is NO COLLUSION!”
As Colbert also mentioned, the tweet was sent too soon. A short while later, it was revealed that former Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos pled guilty to lying to federal investigators and is now cooperating with the FBI. In the Statement of Offense, he admits he had undisclosed contacts during the election with Russians close to Putin who offered “dirt” on Clinton.
Not only did Meyers and Colbert have a field day with cable news’ inability to pronounce “Papadopoulos,” but they also poked fun at Fox News for skimming over the story as it broke in favor of the Google cheeseburger emoji controversy. “Okay, I’m actually mad at about this one,” Colbert deadpanned.
On NBC, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon took an even more ridiculous and sadly accurate angle. Preceded by a horror-movie style skit about being haunted by Trump news at every turn, Fallon gave his verdict on Manafort guilt. “Is that the way someone guilty talks?” he said, referencing the former manager’s stuttering and visibly uncomfortable denial of any involvement with Russian oligarchs.
With Jon Stewart long gone, late-night hosts have stepped up to fill the void of helping America laugh through the insanity of domestic politics. But it’s safe to say that no one — not the hosts, America, or even President Trump — ever wanted so much material.