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Late-night hosts have a memo for Trump, Devin Nunes, and Sean Hannity: Your “bombshell” memo is horseshit

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah (Screenshot: Comedy Central)

Since it was the start of a new work week, the late night comedy hosts all had a weekend’s worth of Donald Trump’s crap to sift through on Monday. Sure, there was that speech in Cincinnati where Trump said Democrats who dared to not applaud for his typically mendacious State Of The Union address were guilty of “treason.” And the fact that, during that Ohio speech, the cable news stock ticker in the corner of the screen was tracking the single biggest one-day plummet in stock market history—and on Trump’s watch. (Check your Google alerts for “Donald Trump” and “Jesus Christ, what now?” and you’ll find any others that might have slipped through.) But most of the attention, especially from Seth Meyers on Late Night and Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, was focused on the infamous, much-anticipated, Trump- and Fox News-touted memo written by Republican congressman and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes. A guy who, according to Meyers, has “always seemed more interested in helping Trump than investigating him.”

Meyers, in his “A Closer Look” segment, hammered the California Republican for making the “disputed and misleading” four-page memo public on a number of fronts. You know, like how Nunes’ CliffsNotes summary of the 60-page FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant authorizing surveillance of individuals in Trump’s campaign with ties to Russian election interference has been widely debunked as cherry-picked, partisan nonsense. (The same committee has now voted to release a 10-page rebuttal from Democratic member Adam Schiff, which now sits on Trump’s desk… waiting.) Or the fact that, when pressed—ever so gently—on his claims by Trump administration propaganda outlet Fox News, Nunes admitted that he hadn’t actually read the original FISA warrant, which even some fellow Republicans have been forced to admit, completely destroys most of Nunes’ claims. (Meyers notes that that’s fair, since, undoubtedly, Trump never bothered to actually read Nunes’ summary thereof.) Or, hey, how about the fact that Nunes, stammering away on Fox, made the preposterous claim that Donald Trump has never even met foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos, whose dealings with Russian agents have already seen him plead guilty to lying to the FBI. Yes, that George Papadopoulos, whose photo sitting in a policy meeting with Trump has been all over the world for months now. (Google that, too. Should take about three seconds to find, depending on your internet speed.)

Over on The Daily Show, Trevor Noah also went in hard, not just on the overtly untruthful Nunes but also on Fox and friends’ (and Fox & Friends’) massive, warrantless overhyping of what has turned out to be, predictably, a big heap of GOP bullshit. Noah played clips of Fox’s “archbishop of bullshit” Sean Hannity red-facedly proclaiming the yet-to-be-released memo “bigger than Watergate,” “Watergate on steroids,” “Watergate on human growth hormone,” and “Watergate on that serum that Bane used to make himself really, really huge that time he broke Batman’s back.” (Only one of those is not a Hannity quote.) Citing the necessity of Hannity following through with a victory party for his hyperbolic attacks on the nation’s intelligence community despite Nunes’ memo being revealed as hot air (even by stalwart conspiracy buff and “Mr. Benghazi,” Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, who helped write the thing), Noah pitched the idea that Hannity and the triumphant Philadelphia Eagles fans should trade celebrations. Since, as Noah put it, the Super Bowl champs actually gave their fans something to celebrate, Philly fans should have a “nice, safe parade,” instead of, say, the car-flipping, fire-setting riot that broke out on Sunday. (Be cool, Philly. C’mon.) Meanwhile, said Noah, bringing out a suspiciously covered dish from beneath his anchor desk, the humiliated Hannity can chow down—as one on-camera Eagles fan notably did—on a big, steaming heap of police horseshit. (So, perhaps “archbishop of horseshit” would be more accurate for Hannity.) For someone who’s been besmirching law enforcement so loudly in his vain efforts to prop up Donald Trump in the face of the accelerating Trump-Russia investigation, there seems a certain foully poetic justice to the idea.


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Dennis Perkins

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