This didn’t go as expected.
Minutes before yesterday’s “Late Show,” news broke that President Donald Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey.
In front of the live audience, Stephen Colbert broke the news to them, saying, “Huge story that broke minutes ago, like just 10 minutes ago! FBI Director James Comey has just been fired by Donald Trump.”
The crowd went wild, much to Colbert’s surprise.
Comey, of course, was overseeing a wide-reaching FBI investigation into Donald Trump and his campaign’s ties to Russian intelligence when he was fired. He’d just requested new resources to continue the investigation, and the timing for his firing — blamed on Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation — has been called suspect by members of both parties.
To anyone who believes that Russian interests coordinated with the Trump campaign in any way, decapitating the investigation by removing the FBI Director is, in fact, bad. (Colbert and his audience have treated this narrative favorably in the past.)
But Colbert plays it off pretty well.
“Wow, uh — Huge, huge Donald Trump fans here tonight,” he begins, looking visibly surprised. “That shows no gratitude at all. Did he forget about the Hillary emails that Comey talked about? ‘Thanks for the presidency, Jimmy, don’t let the door hit ya where the Electoral College split ya,'” he adds, alluding to the theory that Comey’s public letter from Oct. 28, 2016, helped deliver the White House to Donald Trump.
Then, he reminds the audience what’s actually at stake in the firing.
“My heart is thumping. My pulse is racing. He fired the FBI Director who said under oath that he’s investigating the Trump Campaign’s ties with Russia! No rationale has been given yet as to why, but it came on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”
Then Colbert gets some boos. Finally.