WELCOME TO “THE LATE SHOW.” I’M YOUR HOST STEPHEN COLBERT. ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )
THANK YOU FOR THAT. I NEED IT TONIGHT. SOME DAYS THE NEWS IS
FRUSTRATING. AND BY SOME DAYS, I MEAN EVERY
DAY FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS. BUT TODAY IS ESPECIALLY IRKSOME. I AM FULLY IRKED. TRUMP IS REALLY IRKING ME OFF. SEE, IT’S BEEN A COUPLE DAYS
SINCE THE IRAN ALMOST-WAR, AND THE WORLD’S SPHINCTER IS FINALLY
UNCLENCHING. NOW, WITH THE PERSPECTIVE OF
TIME, WE CAN ASK, WAS ANY OF THIS LEGAL? THE ADMINISTRATION SAYS YES. THE DRONE STRIKE WAS COMPLETELY
JUSTIFIED, BECAUSE THEY WERE HEADING OFF AN IMMINENT ATTACK. MIGHT BE TRUE. BUT, SO FAR, TRUMP HASN’T
PROVIDED ANY EVIDENCE OF THAT, OR TOLD ANYONE WHAT THE ATTACK
WOULD HAVE BEEN. YESTERDAY, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION
OFFICIALS DELIVERED A CLASSIFIED BRIEFING TO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS. AND NOT EVERYBODY GAVE IT A
RAVE. SOME GAVE IT A RANT, LIKE UTAH
REPUBLICAN SENATOR AND MAN DEFINITELY NOT SNAPPING ON THE
BEAT, MIKE LEE. LEE DESCRIBED THE MEETING WHERE
THE ADMINISTRATION WAS SUPPOSED TO EXPLAIN THE JUSTIFICATION FOR
THE ATTACK THIS WAY:>>PROBABLY THE WORST BRIEFING
I’VE SEEN, AT LEAST ON A MILITARY ISSUE, IN THE NINE
YEARS I’VE SERVED ON THE UNITED STATES SENATE. THEY KEPT TELLING US THAT THERE
WOULD HAVE BEEN AN IMMINENT ATTACK HAD THEY NOT TAKEN THIS
STRIKE ON FRIDAY. BUT THEN WHEN WE WOULD ASK THEM,
“WHAT WAS THE NATURE OF THAT ATTACK? WHEN AND WHERE WOULD THAT HAVE
BEEN OCCURRED? BY WHOM WOULD IT HAVE
BEEN CARRIED IT OUT?,” THEY REFUSED TO ANSWER THE QUESTION.>>STEPHEN: AND THAT’S THE ONLY
REASON FOR THE MEETING. THAT’S LIKE A DOCTOR SAYING, “WE
HAVE THE RESULTS OF YOUR M.R.I., BUT I REFUSE TO SHOW THEM TO
YOU. SO WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TALK
ABOUT? HEY, HAVE YOU FINISHED BINGING
“THE WITCHER” ON NETFLIX YET? I’D GET TO THAT IN THE NEXT
COUPLE OF WEEKS, IF I WERE YOU.” ( LAUGHTER )
( PIANO RIFF ) NOT ONLY ARE THEY NOT PROVIDING
ANY INFORMATION TO CONGRESS, BRIEFERS WERE EVEN SHUSHING
LAWMAKERS WHO ASKED TOUGH QUESTIONS. OKAY, THAT ONE’S FINE. REMEMBER WHAT JAMES MADISON SAID
TO JOHN ADAMS AT THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION ABOUT
THE SEPARATION OF POWERS: “SHUT YOUR DIRTY LITTLE MOUTH!”
( LAUGHTER ) SENATOR LEE, WHO AGAIN, IS A
REPUBLICAN, SAYS THE CENSORSHIP WENT EVEN FURTHER THAN THAT:
>>WHAT I FOUND SO DISTRESSING ABOUT THAT BRIEFING WAS THAT ONE
OF THE MESSAGES WE RECEIVED FROM THE BRIEFERS WAS “DO NOT DEBATE,
DO NOT DISCUSS THE ISSUE OF FURTHER MILITARY INTERVENTION
AGAINST IRAN, AND THAT IF YOU DO, YOU’LL BE EMBOLDENING IRAN.”>>STEPHEN: OF COURSE, IRAN
WANTS NOTHING MORE THAN FORCING THE GREAT SATAN TO HAVE A
FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY. DON’T FORGET THEIR RALLYING CRY,
“REASONED DEBATE TO AMERICA!” LEE SAYS THAT NOT ONLY WAS THE
BRIEFING HORRIBLE, THE PORTIONS WERE SO SMALL:
>>THEY HAD TO LEAVE AFTER 75 MINUTES.>>STEPHEN: 75 MINUTES IS
SHORTER THAN THE OPENING CREDITS OF “THE IRISHMAN!”
LEE WRAPPED UP HIS CRITICISM OF THE BRIEFING BY TELLING US HOW
HE REALLY FELT.>>I FIND THIS INSULTING. AND DEMEANING. NOT PERSONALLY, BUT TO THE
OFFICE THAT EACH OF THE 100 SENATORS IN THIS BUILDING
HAPPENS TO HOLD. I FIND IT INSULTING, AND I FIND
IT DEMEANING TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.>>STEPHEN: DAMN RIGHT, MIKE! ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )
YES! YOU MAY BE REPUBLICAN, BUT YES! OH, HELL, YES! SENATOR,
I’M GOING TO RUIN YOUR POLITICAL CAREER BY AGREEING WITH YOU. ( LAUGHTER )
HE’S ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! HE’S ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! THIS IS INSULTING. ( PIANO RIFF )
THIS IS INSULTING. NOT JUST TO CONGRESS– TO THE
AMERICAN PEOPLE. HAS EVERYONE ALREADY FORGOTTEN
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DON’T ASK FOR CONCRETE EVIDENCE JUSTIFYING
A MILITARY ATTACK AGAINST A MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRY WHOSE
NAME BEGINS WITH “IRA”? ( LAUGHTER )
OBVIOUSLY, WE KNOW WHAT THAT WAS LAST TIME:
>>OBVIOUSLY, THE WAR IN IRAQ WAS A BIG, FAT MISTAKE. ( LAUGHTER )
>>STEPHEN: THANK YOU, MORE RECENT MISTAKE. ( LAUGHTER )
( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ) ( PIANO RIFF )
HERE’S THE DIFFERENCE — HERE IT IS!>>Jon: COME ON, NOW!>>Stephen: LISTEN UP! HERE’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
2003 AND NOW– I WEIGH 30 POUNDS MORE. ( LAUGHTER )
HERE’S ANOTHER ONE — HERE’S ANOTHER ONE —
BACK THEN, GEORGE W. BUSH RESPECTED US ENOUGH TO PUT SOME
EFFORT INTO HIS LIES. REMEMBER? (AS BUSH)
“SADDAM HUSSEIN HAS MOBILE WEAPONS LABS THAT RIDE THE RAILS
MADE OF ALUMINUM TUBES THAT CAN DELIVER 50,000 BARRELS OF HONEY
MUSTARD GAS HIDDEN ON A TURKEY FARM. SADDAM WILL ATTACK US WITH
HUMAN-ANIMAL HYBRIDS.” ( LAUGHTER )
THEY EVEN SENT COLIN POWELL TO THE U.N. TO SHAKE HIS COCAINE
VIAL FULL OF SWEET ‘N’ LOW, AND CLAIM IF HE OPENED IT, IT WOULD
KILL EVERYONE FROM HERE TO WESTCHESTER. ( LAUGHTER )
AND HE’D LOVE TO SHOW US THE EVIDENCE, BUT THAT WOULD RUIN
EVERYTHING. WE JUST HAD TO TRUST THEM AND
THEIR BUDDY CURVEBALL. WELL, 17 YEARS LATER, HERE WE
ARE AGAIN. WORST THROWBACK THURSDAY EVER. ( LAUGHTER )
( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ) AND HERE’S ANOTHER DIFFERENCE. HERE’S ANOTHER DIFFERENCE. TRUMP DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A COLIN
POWELL. THEY DON’T HAVE SOMEONE WITH A
REPUTATION WORTH FLUSHING DOWN THE TOILET. THE BEST THEY CAN SCRAPE
TOGETHER IS THE MIKE PENCE EXPERIENCE:
>>WE HAVE TO PROTECT SOURCES AND METHODS, AND SO THERE’S ONLY
A CERTAIN AMOUNT THAT WE CAN SHARE WITH EVERY MEMBER OF
CONGRESS, BUT THOSE OF US WHO HAVE SEEN ALL THE EVIDENCE KNOW
THAT THERE IS A COMPELLING CASE OF AN IMMINENT THREAT.>>STEPHEN: GET THAT? PENCE HAS SEEN ALL THE EVIDENCE. BUT YOU WON’T EVER SEE IT,
BECAUSE IT GOES TO ANOTHER SCHOOL, IN CANADA. AND IT IS SUPER HOT. ( LAUGHTER )
AND HE TOTALLY GOT TO THIRD BASE WITH IT, WHICH FOR MIKE PENCE,
IS “SHARE FROYO.” ( LAUGHTER )
I SAY, BEFORE WE GIVE THE PRESIDENT THE AUTHORITY TO
ATTACK ANOTHER MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRY, WE MUST DEMAND BETTER
LIES. WE DESERVE THEM! THIS IS AMERICA, HOME OF THE
WHOPPER. ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )
OUR TAXES, YOUR TAXES, MY TAXES, OUR TAXES PAY FOR ALL THESE
LIES! PUT SOME EFFORT INTO IT! DAZZLE AND DECEIVE US! SELL IT WITH SOME SIZZLE! SCARE THE ( BLEEP ) OUT OF US! ( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )
BUT JUST TRY! BUT ONE SENATOR WAS DEEPLY
GRATEFUL FOR ALL THE NOTHING THEY GOT– SOUTH CAROLINA
SENATOR AND FROG WHO GOT KISSED AND TURNED INTO LINDSAY GRAHAM
— ( LAUGHTER )
— LINDSEY GRAHAM. HE WAS ASKED ABOUT WHETHER
CONGRESS SHOULD EVER GET TO LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT THE
JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS ATTACK FROM THE PRESIDENT:
>>DOES THE ADMINISTRATION NOT HAVE A DUTY TO DISCLOSE SOME OF
WHAT THEY KNOW SPECIFICALLY WHEN THEY COME TO CONGRESS?>>THE WAY WE FOUND THIS OUT,
WE’LL NEVER TELL ANYBODY, IT WAS MAGICAL, AND WE WON’T COMPROMISE
IT.>>STEPHEN: YES, IT WAS MAGICAL. (MAGIC MUSIC)
WOULD YOUREICH A JUSTIFICATION? ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT,
PICK A JUSTIFICATION, ANY JUSTIFICATION. ALL RIGHT, DON’T LOOK AT IT. NOW, PUT IT BACK INTO THE DECK. BRIEFING OVER!”
( LAUGHTER )