If anyone watched late-night talk shows with the volume low on Tuesday night, they might have assumed, from triumphant expressions, that each host had just won the lottery.
In reality, Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Jimmy Fallon and others were celebrating House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement Tuesday that the House would open an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Colbert, a more ardent Trump critic than most, brought his audience to its feet just by showing footage of Pelosi saying, “Today, I’m announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”
“For two and a half years, Donald Trump has had scandal after scandal,” the “Late Show” host said. “And every time, it wasn’t the thing. But here’s the thing. There’s a new thing, and it might be the thing. Because this afternoon, Nancy Pelosi did this thing.”
Pelosi’s statement came after the president acknowledged that he halted aid to Ukraine shortly before he spoke with its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, in July — a conversation during which he urged Zelensky to investigate his potential 2020 election opponent former Vice President Joe Biden.
“No wonder Pelosi’s launching an impeachment investigation,” Colbert said. “This makes Watergate look like Nixon tried to pass an expired coupon at the Kroger.”
“The Late Late Show’s” James Corden was also encouraged by the news, though he wasn’t too confident in a swift process.
“Finally, the time for talking about impeachment is over — it’s time to inquire about impeachment,” he joked. “At this rate, Democrats should have Trump impeached by the last six months of his second term.”
Fallon projected his own timeline of events on “The Tonight Show,” where he managed to squeeze in an indirect dig at former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who recently and controversially joined the cast of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”
“The whole thing is moving very fast,” he said. “We found out about the Ukraine scandal last week. The impeachment inquiry is starting this week. Which means Trump will be on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ next week.”
Trump also declared Tuesday that on Wednesday he would release the “complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript” of the July phone call. A whistleblower complaint from someone in the intelligence community, in the process of being obtained by Congress, could offer additional evidence regarding Trump’s actions. Though “Late Night’s” Seth Meyers was already pretty convinced he’s guilty.
“He denied it, and that’s how you know he did it,” Meyers quipped. “If someone told you, ‘Hey, people are saying you withheld military aid from Ukraine to force an investigation into Joe Biden,’ you wouldn’t say, ‘No, I didn’t.’ You’d say, ‘Wait, what?’”
Meanwhile, Noah and Jimmy Kimmel directed their attention to — what else? — the president’s infamous social media presence. On “The Daily Show,” Noah braced for Trump Twitter impact.
“If you thought Trump was unhinged before, I can’t imagine what he’s going to be like now,” he said. “You better keep your kids away from Twitter, people, because this thing is going to be a Category 5 tweet storm. And this one will hit Alabama!”
Instead of worrying about Trump’s future tweets, Kimmel looked back to one from his past, which picked up renewed viral steam on the internet Tuesday after Pelosi’s bombshell.
“In 2014, Donald Trump tweeted, ‘Are you allowed to impeach a president for gross incompetence?’” the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” host quoted. “Well, I guess we’re about to find out.”