On Thursday, House impeachment managers wrapped their case against Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection of the Capitol on 6 January, with yet more previously unseen, disturbing footage from the riot. The videos “make it pretty obvious that Trump incited the rioters”, said Trevor Noah on The Daily Show.
“They were wearing Trump hats, carrying Trump flags, and they all just watched Trump speak and were chanting ‘fight for Trump.’ Even that dog from Blue’s Clues is like, ‘I need a challenge here, guys, we all know what this is, right?’”
“I mean, if one guy stormed the Capitol because he thought you said it to him, maybe you could just blame him,” Noah added. “But if an entire stadium of people misunderstood you in the exact same way? I don’t know, man, that shit’s on you.”
If there’s one theme to the trial “aside from Trump being super guilty”, Noah continued, “it’s Republican senators not caring that Trump is super guilty”. Throughout the week, GOP senators including Rand Paul, Josh Hawley and Rick Scott have been spotted tuning out the proceedings – doodling in their notebooks, or reading about other topics as House impeachment managers presented their evidence.
“These senators are a jury for a trial of the president, but instead they’re acting like bored middle-schoolers,” Noah said. “What do Democrats have to do to make this interesting for them? Bring in one of those math teachers who raps everything?”
On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert played clips from Congressman Jamie Raskin’s closing argument for the prosecution, in which he directly addressed Trump’s defense team: “Just in general, if a president incited a violent insurrection against our government, would that be a high crime and misdemeanor?”
“Man, he actually had to ask that question!” Colbert marveled. “The bar has gotten that low. And someone should pick it up quick before some Maga bro uses it to beat a cop.”
In all seriousness, Colbert later added, there was one thing all House impeachment managers had in common throughout the trial: “they weren’t grandstanding for their own egos. They were clearly, deeply, sincerely, desperately trying to make any human connection as fellow citizens to the Republican senators in that gallery, and convince them to put country before party.”
“So, doomed from the start,” he joked, as Senate Republicans “are doing exactly what they did on 6 January: running away from what they helped create”.
Watching the conclusion of the House’s case against Trump was “like the Empire Strikes Back”, said Jimmy Kimmel. “We already know how it ends, but we’re watching it anyway.”
Democrats “could produce a video of Trump looking straight into the camera saying ‘I, Donald Trump, hereby incite this insurrection of violence,’ and most of the Republican senators would be like, ‘But where’s the proof? We didn’t see proof,’” he added.
Conviction remains highly unlikely, Kimmel explained, as most Republican senators either support the ex-president or are too scared of angering his base to vote against him. “Here’s the thing: if Americans cared as much about America as we do about Britney Spears, this would be a really great place to live,” he said.
Most observers expect the GOP senators to vote in the ex-president’s favor, even though Trump’s argument, according to Kimmel, is “basically, ‘Yes, maybe I did shout “fire” in a crowded theater, but the people trampling each other were acting on their own.’”
And on Late Night, Seth Meyers zeroed in on Marco Rubio, the former GOP senator from Florida, who in five years has morphed from vocal critic of Trump to staunch supporter. Meyers played a Rubio clip from this week, in which he called impeachment a “waste of our time” as it didn’t vaccinate people or provide jobs.
“How many people are gonna get superpowers from this impeachment trial? None,” Meyers deadpanned. “How many people are gonna fall in love because of this impeachment trial? None. How many people are gonna win the McDonald’s Monopoly million-dollar grand prize by collecting all four railroads from containers of large or medium-sized fries or McFlurries or apple pies? None.
“That’s not what impeachment is for. You should be capable of doing two or three or even, God forbid, four things at once,” Meyers added, seriously. “If you really want to help people out, why not sign on to the Democrats’ Covid relief bill, or a $15 minimum wage?”
When Trump dismissed the pandemic or encouraged people to “stick a few Tide to-go pens up their noses, why didn’t you say anything?” Meyers continued, answer in hand: “Because you’re a boneless fraud.”