Late-night TV hosts find Trump guilty after first impeachment hearing

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), left, and ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) at the impeachment hearing Nov. 13.
(Saul Loeb / Associated Press)

Part one of the public impeachment hearings into President Trump has ended, and the next phase has commenced: all the late-night jokes about the event.

Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah all had a field day with Wednesday’s political spectacle, digging into every prominent figure and water-cooler moment, from former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to U.S. diplomat William Taylor’s new evidence involving another not-so-secret Trump phone call.

Plenty more late-night content is expected to emerge throughout the remainder of the hearings, which aim to determine whether President Trump’s phone call asking the Ukrainian president to investigate political opponent Joe Biden is an impeachable offense.

Wednesday’s hearing, chaired by Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), featured testimonies from the State Department’s top Ukraine expert, George Kent, and the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Taylor.


“A lot of bars in D.C. opened up at 9 a.m. so people could watch the hearing and drink,” Fallon reported at the top of his “Tonight Show” monologue. “Yep, drinking all morning on a work day, or — as the White House staffers call that — every day.”

House Democrats’ formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump is moving into its public phase, with open hearings starting today.Today’s hearing featured Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine and George Kent, the State Department’s top Ukraine expert. Each witness provided lengthy closed-door depositions in recent weeks, and the transcripts of their testimony have been released, giving us a good idea of what Democrats and Republicans are likely to ask.Read more: U.S. diplomats describe Trump’s effort to hijack Ukraine policy for his political benefitWatch live | Cheat sheet | Who are the witnesses?

The major standout from the day was Taylor’s testimony revealing a second phone call, this one between the president and his ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland. According to one of Taylor’s staffers who overheard the discussion, Trump asked Sondland about launching an investigation into Biden.

“This is a major bombshell, yet another piece of evidence that directly ties Trump himself to this scheme,” “Late Night” host Meyers said. “We have the transcript, witnesses, text messages and now we have a damning new phone call. If we had this much evidence on the O.J. trial, even Johnnie Cochran would have been like, ‘You know what? The glove does fit.’”


Others latched on to the fact that the conversation was able to be overheard at all, ridiculing Trump for his indiscreet methods.

“OK, this is very sensitive information: I want Ukraine to investigate my political opponent,” Colbert said on “The Late Show,” mimicking Trump. “Wait, am I on speakerphone? Why not? I want the waiter to hear this: I would like dirt on Joe Biden and fully loaded nachos.”

Meanwhile, Fallon directed his attention to the following text messages between Taylor and Sondland, which Taylor read aloud for the committee. At one point during their exchange about Trump’s dealings with Sondland, the ambassador instead asked the diplomat to “call me.”


“If you’re unaware, ‘call me’ is a legal term meaning, ‘I can’t put this very illegal thing I’m about to say in writing,’” Fallon joked.

Another major topic of late-night scrutiny was the Republican attorney’s questioning of the witnesses, which seemed to focus more on Biden’s son, Hunter, who has been informally accused of unethically conducting business in Ukraine.

“Does Hunter Biden like flowers, or do you think I could send him a card?” “The Daily Show’s” Noah quipped, mocking the Republicans’ priorities. “Is he, like, seeing someone? Because I totally think we’d make a great couple. Are you friends with Hunter Biden? What the hell was this?”

And finally, the late-night circuit wouldn’t have been complete without a few digs at presidential lawyer Giuliani, whom Trump allegedly sent to Ukraine to facilitate a probe into the Bidens. At one point during the hearing, the Republican rep asked Taylor if such actions were as “outlandish” as they could be, to which Taylor replied, with a chuckle, they were not.


“In other words, it could have been more outlandish,” Kimmel said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” “For instance, if instead of Rudy Giuliani, Trump sent Gary Busey to Ukraine, that would be more outlandish.”

As usual, the consensus among all the comedians was that Wednesday’s proceedings did not look good for the president’s future.

“It’s what we’ve been praying for since the beginning of the Trump presidency,” Colbert said. “The end of the Trump presidency.”