Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien, Seth Meyers and James Corden see a president who tried really hard to obstruct, but just couldn't pull it off.
After two years of waiting, the release of the redacted Mueller Report absolutely dominated the news cycle on Thursday, and that media dominance continued into late-night, where every single host tackled the report in their monologues.
They also tackled Attorney General William Barr's preamble to the release of the report which was such an impressive performance, Jimmy Kimmel redubbed him President Trump's "Defense Attorney General."
Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon could not stop laughing at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who flanked Barr throughout his press conference and stared directly into the camera -- nay, into our very souls -- seemingly without blinking.
But the key takeaway for all of them was the Trump team's inexplicable victory lap and continuing assertion that the report fully exonerates the Trump camp from charges of collusion or obstruction. Actually, they might be willing to concede the lack of obstruction, but purportedly not for a lack of trying on Trump's part.
Read on to see how the Jimmys, Stephen Colbert, Conan O'Brien, James Corden and Seth Meyers unpacked the redacted report and read between the lines to come to their own very different conclusions than the ones Trump's camp clearly came to if the following tweet is any indication:
"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"
"The Mueller Report is finally here and it's a huge mess," Jimmy Fallon told his audience. "Republicans say it proves that there was no collusion and exonerates Trump. Democrats say they want to see the redacted parts and have the attorney general testify, while the rest of America is like, 'Thank god it's almost 4/20.'"
Even before we got the full (but redacted) report, Attorney General William Barr made a statement to the press where he repeatedly stated that the report did not conclude that there was any collusion or obstruction on the part of Trump, which is true, while leaving out that it also stated Mueller could not conclude that there wasn't those things, either.
But even that was overshadowed by a terrifying form looming over Barr's left shoulder that Fallon could not stop staring at. "Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was staying very still and staring straight ahead -- it's really strange," Fallon said. "I don't even think he blinked."
As he showed the live footage of Rosenstein staring directly into the camera and definitely not blinking, Fallon couldn't help but break into laughter. "I think someone redacted his eyelids," he joked. "He looks like Woody in 'Toy Story' when the humans are around."
Another funny detail Fallon's team noted was the fact that Mueller seemed to indicate that Trump tried on several occasions to obstruct justice and the investigation, but that he failed because his team did not follow his orders or suggestions. Thus, he was technically cleared of those allegations.
"In response, Trump thanked his staffers for not listening to him and then he fired them all for not listening to him," Fallon joked.
"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert"
"Trump may or may not have obstructed justice, but it ain't for lack of trying," Colbert said of those same passages.
He pointed out a quote from the text that read, "The president's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests."
So really his people were there to help him, and it's a good thing he had them because he apparently can barely remember what's been going on, if his written answers to Mueller's questions are any indication. Countless times, his answers were some variation on, "I don't recall."
But Colbert wasn't buying any of it. "I have reason to believe that these responses were not actually written by Donald Trump because, uh, they're written," he said. "That's it."
He also took issue with William Barr's pre-report press conference. "If you've got nothing to hide, why do you have to set up the report first," he said. "Officer, before I open up the trunk of this car, I'd like to give a short speech about what you're about to smell."
His favorite detail, and it was one much of late-night enjoyed, was the fact that the redacted version of the Mueller Report was presented to members of Congress on CD-ROM. "I'm disappointed," Colbert joked. "Everyone knows obstruction sounds more authentic on vinyl."
At one point in the report, and upon finding out that a special counsel had been appointed to investigation Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump apparently said, "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m f--ked."
"That's actually what I said at the beginning of your presidency," Colbert said. "And I'm guessing that's not how an innocent person reacts."
So engrossed was Colbert with the report that he gave it two monologue segments on his show Thursday night. You can check out the second half of his monologue below.
"Late Night with Seth Meyers"
Seth Meyers was actually excited that the Democrats in Congress are dissatisfied with this redacted version of the report. Not only do they want to see the entire report -- even if it's never released to the public in an unredacted form -- they also want to interview Mueller himself.
"We might actually here from Robert Mueller. He never speaks in public," Meyers said. "Honestly, I don't even know what his voice sounds like. For all I know he could sound like Bobcat Goldthwait, or maybe his mouth moves like a 'South Park' character."
With this he had Mueller's head bob around like a "South Park" Canadian character -- not all of their mouths move like that Seth Meyers! -- with Eric Cartman's infamous line, "You will respect my authority!"
This show's been on for how many years and you get this crucial detail wrong? Come on, "Late Night," you're better than this!
At least they were able to recognize that the antiquated media format of the CD-ROM is a ridiculous way to release "one of the most anticipated documents in recent history." How many people have an easy way to read one of those these days?
"Was it a report or did they just send Congress a mixtape?" he joked. At least it wasn't on an eight-track.
As for Trump's reported declaration that his presidency was "f--ked"? Meyers responded, "The one time we wanted you to be right and you weren't."
Over on TBS, Conan O'Brien could not get over the fact that a government agency used CD-ROMs to deliver the Mueller Report to Congress. "Do computers even have a CD drive?" he asked. "I haven't heard CD-ROM in a long time."
But, he also pointed out that the report was conducted by a lot of older people and, let's face it, Congress is also made up of a lot of older people, so maybe this is a more familiar format for them.
It inspired him to make an infomercial mocking the decision, though, as if the Mueller Report were going to be released to the public like those old music compilation albums, featuring classic tracks like "No collusion" and new favorites like "This is the end of my presidency, I'm f--ked"
"Jimmy Kimmel Live"
Jimmy Kimmel figured that Congress "had to dig out their computers from 1994" to read the report on CD-ROM. But even that wasn't as funny to him as all the redactions in the report.
He even created a "Schoolhouse Rocks"-inspired children's song to explain to children why so much of the report had to be redacted. "Redaction Jackson" -- a black Sharpie marker -- was on hand to clear everything up, singing, "I redact this sentence so the president doesn't get this sentence," showing the president in a jail cell.
He also found it "very curious" that Attorney General William Barr held a press conference that Kimmel said was "clearly designed to put a positive spin on this not-very-positive report."
And that's with all those redactions from Barr's team that Kimmel was certain are protecting the president from even more damning elements in the report.
But he nevertheless couldn't help but laugh at Trump technically being innocent of obstruction charges simply because he couldn't get his people to do the obstructing he was allegedly trying to get them to do.
"The reason Donald Trump is still in the White House is because no one in the White House is listening to him," Kimmel joked.
"And in terms of obstruction, the report makes it abundantly clear that yes, the president did repeatedly lie and ask others to lie, but -- and this is the important thing -- he didn't lie to investigators, he only lied to us, the American people. And let's be honest, we deserve it."
As for Trump's presidency being "f--ked," Kimmel isn't surprised how this turned out. "Of course, he was wrong," he said. "It wasn't the end of his presidency and it's us that are effed."
"The Late Late Show with James Corden"
James Corden also took note of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's stoic expression during Attorney General William Barr's press conference. "Even Rod Rosenstein's facial expressions have been redacted," he joked.
And even though he and his late-night brethren were all in on the Mueller Report on Thursday, he nevertheless made fun of CNN's wall-to-wall coverage and their desk of nine panelists to discuss the report in real time. "It's basically CNN's version of 'Avengers: Endgame," he said of the image.
As for Trump's alleged failed attempts to obstruct the investigation, Corden had to laugh. "Trump is so ineffective, he somehow managed to make his own campaign follow the law," he noted. "And forget colluding with the Russians, Trump couldn't even collude with his own staff."
As I have been saying all along, NO COLLUSION - NO OBSTRUCTION! pic.twitter.com/BnMB5mvHAM— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2019
But perhaps the most startling thing for Corden was discovering that Trump used footage of him talking about the Mueller Report in one of his campaign pieces. "I guess this does explain why I got an amazing job offer from Fox News today," Corden laughed.
But Trump cut the video shot. "Trump didn't include my punchline to that joke and I just can't understand why." Check out the above video to see what was redacted from Corden's full joke.
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