On Monday evening, The Washington Post reported that President Trump had disclosed “highly classified information” to Russian officials during an Oval Office visit last week.
Quoting current and former U.S. intelligence officials, the Post reported that the commander in chief’s intel reveal had “jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State” provided by a U.S. intelligence partner and that Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”
The Russian ambassador, of course, is none other than Sergey Kislyak, a spymaster whose secret meetings with several Trump officials during the campaign have led to the firing of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the acceleration of the FBI’s counterintelligence probe into alleged Trump-Russia ties during the U.S. presidential election—a decision that, by Trump’s own admission, caused him to fire FBI Director James Comey, the very man leading the aforementioned investigation.
“We’re at a point now in the Trump presidency that feels very much like a pivotal moment for our democracy,” said Seth Meyers, opening his Late Night program. “An increasingly authoritarian president relying on a small circle of loyalists abusing his power, and on top of that, just before we started taping, The Washington Post reported that Trump revealed classified information to Russian diplomats.”
Yes, the Post report dropped right before late-night shows were set to tape in the late afternoon on Monday, forcing all the programs to scramble to add it in. The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert called on President Trump to “resign,” while The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah found it “sad” that Trump had to resort to revealing classified intel in order to impress the Russians. Jimmy Kimmel, broadcasting from the West Coast, didn’t manage to factor the breaking news into Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Meyers pulled up a photo of Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov smiling while posing with Trump during that very Oval Office visit—photos that were taken (and then published) by Russian state media, and which compelled the White House to later admit they were “tricked” into allowing to be taken by none other than Vladimir Putin, who orchestrated the visit.
“Now I know why the Russians are smiling in that picture. Look at them!” exclaimed Meyers of the photo. “They must have been like, ‘Can you believe how easy this is? I can’t believe it! We did not even ask for it, just gives.’”
The late-night host then called on Republicans in Congress to stand up to Trump.
“Our democracy only works if both parties choose to exercise the checks on presidential power that our Constitution prescribes,” said Meyers. “Republicans can’t just abdicate their responsibility.”