Stephen Colbert opened Tuesday’s Late Show nervous for his revealing interview with Prince Harry, and also for a classified documents snafu involving papers from Joe Biden’s time as vice-president found at one of his offices at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Come on, Joe. Classified?” Colbert worried. “Is this just what every president does now? Just scatter a trail of intelligence like Johnny Document-seed? Are these classified files everywhere? My God, this is stressing me out. I’m sweating bullets here.”
It’s still unclear what the handful of documents, which Biden said he was unaware of and were promptly returned to the National Archives, contain or pertain to, “but given Biden’s age, I assume it’s the Spanish-American war and the digging of the Panama Canal”, Colbert quipped.
Donald Trump, of course, reacted to the news with glee, posting on Truth Social: “When is the FBI going to raid the many homes of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House?”
“Wait a minute, he may be on to something. Are you telling me there are classified documents in the White House?!” Colbert joked.
“I can’t believe I have to explain this,” the host continued, “but while those documents should have been returned earlier, there’s no comparison between this and the transparently nefarious behavior of the ex-president hauling box after box of classified material to Mar-a-Lago and tossing them into a mop closet. And then when the National Archives say, ‘Hey, where are all those documents?’ he goes, ‘Here’s some of them,’ and they say, ‘Are you sure you don’t have any more to give us?’ And he says, ‘I don’t know. What I do know that I have is executive privilege.’”
Colbert continued with the recap of Trump’s classified documents and the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago: “And they go to a judge, and the judge says he has to go look for more of them, and he goes [unintelligible blabber].” The FBI subpoenaed Trump, “and he goes ‘OK, here’s 38 more documents.’ And they go, ‘Is this everything?’ And he says, ‘You bet, looked everywhere.’ And the justice department says, ‘We don’t believe you,’ and he says, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ And the FBI raids Mar-a-Lago and finds hundreds of documents and he goes, ‘Oh I knew I had those, I packed them myself, but don’t worry, I declassified them with my mind.’”
“They’re not the same, OK?” he concluded. “It’s comparing apples to orange-man.”
Jimmy Kimmel also worked through Biden’s classified documents story, which “for the Maga crowd”, was like “Christmas and the McRib coming back at the same time”.
“It’s alarming when you realize how much our national security relies on old men keeping track of loose pages,” he added. “I really think we need to break this down and be specific about what happened in each case. The day the Biden documents were discovered, the White House counsel’s office notified the National Archives. They took possession of them the following morning, which is slightly different from how it went down with Trump, who lied about even having the documents, then refused to give them up.
“He said they were his, which forced the FBI to come search his wedding venue/house and take them from him,” Kimmel continued. “And still, the Republicans aren’t entirely wrong about this. We can’t have two sets of rules. We can’t hold Trump accountable for leaving documents around and not Biden.” Kimmel jokingly proposed putting Trump and Biden in a cell together for a 24-hour reality show. “We get Ryan Seacrest to host it. And then we watch as they either tear each other apart or get along. And then maybe we will stop tearing each other apart and get along, too.”
As Seth Meyers put it on Late Night, the discovery of classified documents in Biden’s University of Pennsylvania office explained “in case you’re wondering why Tucker Carlson did his show tonight in full Joker makeup”.
Also on Tuesday, the House approved rules that would weaken newly elected speaker Kevin McCarthy’s powers, following concessions to a far-right faction of his own party and a marathon 15 votes. “How could they possibly make him any weaker?” Meyers wondered. “They’re already treating him like a substitute teacher on the last day of school. Are they gonna make him wear the ‘kick me’ sign on the front?”
And earlier this week, former Democrat-turned-independent senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona led a bipartisan group of lawmakers on a visit to the southern border, “because if there’s one thing Kyrsten Sinema loves, it’s when a sentence starts with her name”, Meyers joked.
The host also poked fun at Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was forced to take down a self-promotional video soundtracked to Dr Dre’s 1999 hit Still DRE after the rapper issued a cease and desist order. “She made a mistake they teach you first day of law school: she forgot about Dre,” Meyers quipped.