Stephen Colbert dug into the Mueller report and the way Attorney General William Barr managed to spin many of the special counsel’s findings in President Donald Trump’s favor on The Late Show Thursday.
While the report laid out numerous instances where Trump seemed to obstruct justice, Barr said during a press conference that there was ultimately no intent and the president’s actions were more a result of his frustration and anger over the investigation.
“Wait, when did feelings become a get out of jail free card?” Colbert cracked. “‘Sure my client’s actions might look like arson, but might I remind you, he was feeling tense and who doesn’t relax in front of a roaring fire?'”
Despite Barr’s conclusion, Colbert noted that the Mueller report was unsparing in its depictions of Trump. It detailed his reaction to learning that the special counsel had been appointed — he literally said, “I’m fucked” — and his ostensible understanding that an investigation would uncover facts about the campaign that Trump “could have understood to be crimes.”
“In other words, Trump probably thought he broke the law and that now his past was coming for him,” Colbert said. “Like in that movie, ‘I Know What I Did Last Summer.'”
Colbert closed his monologue by noting the way Barr repeatedly misrepresented the Mueller report, specifically when it came to charging, or not charging, the president with a crime. During the press conference, Barr claimed that a long-standing Justice Department precedent against indicting a sitting president played no role in Mueller’s decision to not make a call on whether Trump obstructed justice, even though Mueller cited that exact precedent in his report. More so, Barr claimed that Mueller did not indicate that he wanted to leave the obstruction of justice decision to Congress, adding, “I hope that was not his view.”
“Oh I hope so, too,” Colbert said. “Because if he said that, and then you made the decision anyway, that would be, in the words of James Madison, from the Federalist Papers No. 62, ‘Super fucked up.’ I mean it would really make Barr look like a feckless stooge if Mueller had written on page 220, ‘The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.'”