“That’s not how an innocent person reacts,” Colbert said.
The long-awaited Mueller report was released to the public in redacted form on Thursday, capping the 22-month investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and whether Trump or anyone on his campaign colluded with Russia.
The report did not make a conclusion on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, but didn’t exonerate him, either.
In a lengthy monologue Thursday night, Colbert delved into the pages of the report, stating Attorney General Bill Barr “evidently hadn’t read it” because there were various parts not outlined in Barr’s original four-page summary three weeks ago nor his pre-release press conference.
Colbert questioned the reasoning for holding a press conference before releasing the report, asking, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, why do you have to set up the report first?”
House committee chairs on Wednesday had called on Barr to “let the full report speak for itself,” and Colbert shared “exclusive footage of the report speaking for itself,” showing a cartoon version of the report having its mouth covered with tape.
The talk show host then brought up multiple passages, including how Trump felt when he learned about Mueller’s appointment from then-attorney general Jeff Sessions, saying it would mean the “end of my presidency. I’m f**ked.”
Trump also, according to the report, told Sessions, “You were supposed to protect me,” after learning about Mueller.
Colbert then said the reason the president found Mueller’s appointment “terrible” was because while the redacted report did not find any evidence that members of the Trump campaign or the president himself conspired with the Russian government, Trump was worried the FBI investigation would “uncover facts about the campaign and the president personally that the president could have understood to be crimes.”
“In other words, Trump probably thought he broke the law and that now his past is coming for him, like that movie I Know What I Did Last Summer,” Colbert said while showing a photoshopped movie poster with Trump on the front.
On the note of obstruction of justice and why Mueller didn’t make a decision on whether to bring charges against the president, Colbert wondered if the Office of Legal Counsel’s (OLC) conclusion in 2000 that a sitting president is immune from indictment had any pull.
But Colbert said Barr nixed that idea. During his press conference on Thursday, Barr said they had asked Mueller if he was taking a position that “he would have found a crime but for the existence of the OLC opinion, and he (Mueller) made it very clear several times that that was not his position.”
The late-night host pointed out Mueller “said” it several times — except in his report.
“He said it everywhere except in his report, where he specifically cites the OLC opinion and then writes, ‘We recognized that a federal criminal accusation against a sitting president would place burdens on the president’s capacity to govern,'” he said. “So Barr stood up there and knowingly said a bald-faced lie. The president must be so proud.”
Throughout the monologue, Colbert slams Barr multiple times, ending his opening by calling him a “feckless stooge.”