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Stephen Colbert to incoming intelligence head Adam Schiff: "I've never seen you look this happy"

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

Another day, another Trump intimate going down in flames, leaving Late Show host Stephen Colbert with plenty to joke about concerning former National Security Adviser and current future jailbird Michael Flynn. Coincidentally, Colbert had Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) booked to talk all things Individual 1 (as Donald Trump is known in court filings concerning other Trump intimate going down in flames, Michael Cohen), with Schiff contentedly letting the eager Colbert twist in anticipation. Emerging to hopeful applause clearly translatable as “free us from this national nightmare, incoming head of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,” Schiff played it cool as Colbert pressed the congressman on just what he knows now that he didn’t know last time the two spoke, back in March.

“Yes,” Schiff replied tersely to Colbert’s question as to whether he’s in possession of new information, although he did then go on to hint around about the various areas of investigation the IC under his watch will be actually investigating. As opposed to the not-at-all suspicious hands-off approach taken by noted Trump and Russia apologist Devin Nunes (R-CA), whose job Schiff is taking. Answering Colbert’s question about what his investigation will do differently, Schiff explained that, under his predecessor, “We were not allowed to follow the money.” Yeah, that’s over, Trump’s “red line” justice-obstructionist threats aside, as Schiff told Colbert that every legitimate point of inquiry is now on the people’s table. Like Trump’s self-enriching plans for a Moscow Trump Tower, to the possibility of Russian money laundering through the Trump Organization, to Trump’s financial ties to other journalist murderers Saudi Arabia, to Trump scions and two-headed implication engine Don Jr. and Eric bragging openly about how they and their daddy totally have all the money they need from Russia. That sort of stuff. As Schiff told Colbert about his mission going forward, “It would be negligent of us not to find out.”


Colbert begged his guest throughout for some more insider information, getting no promises in return. Not even Colbert’s suggestion of a secret high sign at the press conference just before “shit’s going down.” Nothin’. Schiff did say that the Intelligence Committee certainly intends to “invite” Michael Flynn for a little sit-down (Colbert joking that dress would be “collusion casual”), and that all the possible pardons for his co-conspirators Trump keeps dangling aren’t covered by presidential pardon powers “if your intention is to obstruct justice.” In response to Colbert asking what the Democratic-controlled House could do in such a case, Schiff replied that his Dem colleagues are planning to introduce a doomsday-device failsafe-style bill where, should, say, a president under criminal investigation for various crimes including treason pardon someone connected to his own criminal investigation, “the entire investigative files in that case will be presented to Congress.” Damn, son.

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.