“I want you to know that today the Mueller Report was released, and I’m here to tell you you’re not crazy,” said Stephen Colbert at the opening of his Thursday night show.
Colbert launched some scathing commentary on William Barr’s pre-release press conference: “If you got nothing to hide, why do you have to set up the report first?”
“Barr really sounded like he was channeling the president,” Colbert said, ripping the attorney general for his explanation that what looks like obstruction was merely Trump lashing out because he was frustrated and upset over the investigation: “Wait, when did feelings become a get out of jail free card? (In lawyer voice) ‘Sure my client’s actions might look like arson, but might I remind you, he was feeling tense and who doesn’t relax in front of a roaring fire?'”
Colbert then pointed out that the report was delivered to Congress on CDs: “I’m disappointed. Everyone knows obstruction sounds more authentic on vinyl.”
One of the revelations in the redacted Mueller Report was Trump’s reaction when he heard from then Attorney General Jeff Sessions that a Special Counsel had been appointed to investigate him.
Said Trump, according to “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”
Quipped Colbert: “That’s actually what I said at the beginning of your presidency. … I’m guessing that’s now how an innocent person reacts.”
Colbert then pointed out that at his press conference, Barr “told a bald-faced lie” about Mueller’s reasoning for not making a call on whether Trump obstructed justice.
Barr also said that Mueller did not indicate that his purpose was to leave the decision to Congress, adding “I hope that was not his view.”
Added Colbert: “Oh I hope so, too. Because if he said that, and then you made the decision anyway, that would be, in the words of James Madison, from the Federalist Papers No. 62, ‘Super f**ked up.’ I mean it would really make Barr look like a feckless stooge if Mueller had written on page 220, ‘The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.'”
Colbert came back after a break for more Mueller monologue.
He tackled the report’s assertion that Trump’s efforts to obstruct the investigation were unsuccessful because many people declined to carry out his requests.
Said Colbert: “It’s a shock to find out both which associates declined to carry out his orders, and what they declined to do. Like his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who did not deliver the president’s message to Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he should confine the Russia investigation to future election meddling only.”
More on Don McGahn, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Trump’s written responses to Mueller’s questions below.
“There was one common thread among Trump’s responses: he remembers nothing.”