Seth Meyers used his "Closer Look" segment Thursday night to discuss the anxiety of President Donald Trump over special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, especially as Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's trial proceeds and his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen turns on him.
"You can tell the walls are closing in on Trump because he keeps reacting to the Russia investigation in increasingly desperate ways," Meyers said. "He’s gone all the way from insisting he had nothing to do with Russia, to saying there was no collusion, to claiming that even if there was collusion it’s not a crime, to demanding that the investigation be shut down. He’s like a murder suspect who says, 'I didn’t kill anyone, and besides, it was self-defense!'"
The late night host noted how disappointing the inaction or lack of outrage from many Republicans has been, refusing to hold Trump accountable as he attempts to "shut down an investigation on his campaign for colluding with a foreign adversary," Meyers said.
The comedian compared members of the GOP to the famous Kermit the Frog meme, where the Muppet character sips iced tea. Usually across the bottom of the meme it says: "But that's none of my business," signaling some situation that is peculiar or even shady, but that someone doesn't want to get involved in. For accuracy, Meyers added across the top of the kermit meme, "The President is a criminal," before its normal, "But that's none of my business."
"Despite Trump’s insistence that collusion is not a crime — conspiracy to commit fraud or violate election laws very much are crimes," Meyers said. "And many former prosecutors, even cautious ones, are beginning to argue that there’s already enough evidence in the public record to prove those crimes."
"Late Night" aired a clip of former senior FBI official Chuck Rosenberg on MSNC, saying "there are bits and pieces in the public record that suggest that it wasn’t just Russians. . . So there are some unanswered questions, but I think the pieces are there."
"Of course they’re there!" Meyers replied. "The guy publicly asked Russia to hack his opponent, his son took a meeting with them, and his closest aides all look like gangsters from a Tex Avery cartoon. Which is why Trump is getting increasingly hysterical in his calls to end the investigation before its findings become public. Yesterday he tweeted that his attorney general Jeff Sessions 'should stop this rigged witch hunt right now.'"
Meyers added that the president moved into dangerous territory with that mandate. "If Trump was directing his attorney general, who is supposed to be recused from the investigation, to shut down the investigation, that seems like a pretty obvious case of obstruction of justice," he said. "Which is why Giuliani tried to insist it wasn’t an order, it was just an opinion."
"Late Night" played a clip of Rudy Giuliani asserting that it wasn't a directive, but an opinion, after all, Trump uses Twitter to promote his opinions, Giuliani claimed.
"It’s an opinion," he said to a reporter in the clip. "He used a medium that he uses for opinions, Twitter. One of the good things about using that is he’s established a clear, sort of practice now that he expresses his opinions on Twitter. He used the word 'should.' He didn’t use the word 'must.'"
"I’m sorry, do you really think Donald Trump is gonna agonize over the difference between 'should' and 'must'?" Meyers questioned. "A couple weeks ago he called his wife Melanie. Yesterday he misspelled the word 'smoking.' He’s not sitting over parchment dipping a quill into an inkwell debating which word to use. 'Thou aught — no. Thou shalt.' Trump just dumps the ink on the paper and then smears it around with his finger."