Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers try to make sense of the president's convoluted conspiracy theory and why that name sounds so familiar.
President Trump seems determined to make "spygate" a thing, tweeting about it several times over the past few days. Trump claims that the FBI was spying on his campaign, while the FBI says they were spying on Russia. Meanwhile, the late-night hosts really want the president to stop trying to make "fetch" happen.
In the latest development, Trump tweeted again about "spygate" on Thursday morning, alleging that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has admitted there was spying on the Trump campaign in 2016, but that's not exactly true.
On Tuesday during an appearance on "The View," Clapper was asked by Joy Behar if the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign. "No, they were not," he replied. "They were spying on -- a term I don't particularly like -- but on what the Russians were doing. Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage or influence, which is what they do."
Trump took that statement as an admission that the FBI was spying on his campaign and has suggested that the Obama administration was behind it. He's dubbed the whole scandal "Spygate" and seems determined to make that a thing, but Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon are going to do everything in their power to stop it from happening.
"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert"
The CBS late-night host played the audio clip of Trump telling reporters that both his administration and the media were calling his conspiracy theory "spygate," and immediately followed it up by saying, "No we're not. A) A criminal investigation is not spying; it should be 'Investigategate.' And B) Spygate has already been used ... twice."
He then detailed the previous uses, including the scandal over the New York Patriots videotaping the New York Jets' defensive coaches' signals. "As long as we're just stealing other scandal's names, from now on Watergate is the fact that Trump can't drink one-handed," Colbert joked.
He then shared the crux of Trump's elaborate theory and broke it down for his audience.
...Follow the money! The spy was there early in the campaign and yet never reported Collusion with Russia, because there was no Collusion. He was only there to spy for political reasons and to help Crooked Hillary win - just like they did to Bernie Sanders, who got duped!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2018
"Yes, follow Trump down the rabbit hole here, OK?" Colbert said before laying it all out. "They embedded a spy early on and paid him massive sums of money to sabotage the Trump campaign with false claims of Russian collusion in the press to help Hillary Clinton win, and then -- and here's the insidious part -- they didn't tell the press and Hillary Clinton lost so when Trump revealed this plot he would seem like a desperate criminal spinning conspiracy theories to stop the walls from closing in. Nice try, Deep State. Nice try!"
"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"
The NBC personality marveled at Trump's early morning tweetstorm and "spygate" conspiracy theory as well. "Earlier this morning, Trump tweeted that the FBI spied on his campaign and called it one of the biggest scandals in history. Then Mike Pence fed him a warm bottle of Diet Coke, burped him and rubbed his back until he fell back to sleep."
Of course, in reality, Trump stayed awake and was all fired up about the latest scandal to maybe hit his presidency -- the jury is apparently still out on of this one is even real.
"Trump was like, 'This one goes all the way to the top,'" Fallon said. "People were like, "You are the top.' 'All the way to me? When I find out about this, wow!'"
"Late Night with Seth Meyers"
Meyers was reading those same tweets, marveling at the president tweeting, "Spygate could be one of the biggest political scandals in history."
"At least I think it's spygate. Knowing Trump he might think that's how you spell spaghetti," Meyers joked.
He then played the same clip Colbert shared of Trump telling reporters that they were calling this whole thing "spygate" as well. "I'm going to stop you right here," Meyers said. "Stop trying to make 'fetch' happen. You're not allowed to name stuff anymore. You had a garbage hotel in Atlantic City and called it the Taj Mahal. You had a son and the best you could do is, 'Um, my name but with Junior.'"
In "A Closer Look," which you can watch below, Meyers said that the president has taken it "to a deranged new level by trying to give his fake scandal a name." He added, "You're the only one calling it 'spygate.' Trump's like a guy who tries to give himself a new nickname and pretends it's catching on. 'I'm Donald Trump but everyone calls me D-Trizzy.'