TRUMP’S IMPEACHMENT BRINGING ‘PLUS ONE’ MIKE PENCE DOWN WITH HIM, SAYS STEPHEN COLBERT—CALLS VP ‘CORRUPT AND DUMB’
BY DAVID BRENNAN ON 10/5/19 AT 6:27 AM EDT
Late Show host Stephen Colbert suggested Friday that the swirling scandal around President Donald Trump could well bring down Vice President Mike Pence, who Colbert called the president’s “plus one.”
Trump’s efforts to have foreign governments interfere in U.S. elections—by either investigating his opponents or working to undermine investigations against him—have prompted the Democratic impeachment investigation. But Colbert said Friday that Pence should be equally worried by the pressure on Trump.
“If he’s going down, he’s bringing a plus one,” Colbert suggested, in a reference to Pence. The vice president has been caught up in the scandal surrounding Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump is accused of offering military aid in exchange for an investigation into 2020 challenger Joe Biden.
According to The Washington Post, Pence told Zelensky in a September 1 meeting that U.S. military aid to Ukraine would remain frozen until the country took action against corruption.
Pence did not mention the Biden investigation, but the Post reported that Zelensky likely equated his comments with pressure from Trump to investigate the former vice president and his son Hunter.
TONIGHT: Trump has put Pence in some very veep trouble. #LSSC
Colbert suggested Pence “had to have known” that Zelensky would make the connection, given that the vice president had been given a transcript of the now-infamous call between Trump and Zelensky.
“So what’s his excuse?” Colbert asked. “Officials close to Pence say Pence met with Zelensky ‘probably without having read—or at least fully registered the transcript,'” he explained, citing the Post report.
“So he probably didn’t ‘read’ the crime,” Colbert continued. “Unless he did, in which case he probably didn’t understand the crime.”
The comedian compared Pence with someone trying to avoid being ticketed for speeding by saying, “Officer, you can’t give me a ticket—I probably didn’t read the stop sign. Or if I did, I didn’t register what it said. How could I? I was doing 90 through that school zone.”
Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short rejected the suggestion that the vice president was a participant in Trump’s efforts to press for an investigation into Biden.
“The president consistently raised concerns about corruption and the lack of burden-sharing by European partners, so having run on an anti-corruption campaign, Zelensky was receptive to those messages,” Short told the Post.
“The vice president, as your reporting says, reported back to the president after the meeting and the aid was released.”
But Colbert said that Pence must be one of two things—a “participant or a patsy.” He then played “America’s favorite game” with the audience—”Corrupt or dumb”—with Pence as the focus.
“Let’s find out, is this member of the Trump administration corrupt or dumb?” he said, before concluding “it’s both!”
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