Stephen Colbert on Trump’s impeachment defense asking: Are crimes illegal?

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Photo: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Photo: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert recapped day one of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump finally got underway on Tuesday. It was a day of debate over rules and what will and won’t be allowed as evidence. It was also another day of Republicans rallying to President Trump’s defense in a strategy that Stephen Colbert says begs the question: are crimes illegal?

The Late Show has been monitoring the Republican defense of President Trump since the Ukraine story broke. As time went on, Colbert turned more and more of his monologue jokes towards Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Lindsey Graham, and others who went far out of the way to protect the president.

Colbert wasn’t holding his breath in hopes that GOP members would change course now that the impeachment trial has started. Instead, Senator McConnell has tried to introduce bills that would speed up the trial and restrict who can testify.

So after weeks of television interviews and reports that gave us an idea of the impeachment defense strategy, it was time to see it in action. The Late Show‘s monologue on Tuesday summarized the day’s event as Colbert followed Republicans jumping through hoop after hoop.

Colbert makes sure that his first joke is shot directly at Senator McConnell. The Phantom of the Opera-inspired line is one of The Late Show‘s harshest in recent memory and a clear indication of how Colbert and company feel about the Senate majority leader.

Those feelings stem from Senator McConnell’s plan to prevent any new evidence from being introduced at the trial. The plan also bars witnesses unless a majority votes to allow them. In that case, the witnesses would testify behind closed doors and not in public. It doesn’t exactly sound like the defense of a “perfect phone call” nor a president being impeached for nothing. The reaction from The Late Show audience all but confirmed that point.

White House lawyer Jay Sekulow took the defense to a new level when he stood up on behalf of the Trump administration. As Colbert highlights, Sekulow asked more questions than he provided answers. The Late Show host then had a rebuttal for Sekulow’s colleague Pat Cipollone who suggested that discovering new evidence would get an attorney thrown out of court.

No evidence and no witnesses makes it hard to hold a trial. But that’s the whole point, says Colbert. He echoes Representative Adam Schiff’s notion that debate over the trial process is meant to distract from the lack of any real defense. For Colbert, President Trump’s only strategy is to argue that crimes aren’t illegal.

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The Late Show with Stephen Colbert will be late night’s go-to source for covering President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. The show was at the top of it’s game Tuesday night and the trial is just getting started. Stay tuned.