Stephen Colbert has taken aim at Donald Trump’s extensive list of possible pardons in the president’s last day in office.
Reports have emerged this week that Trump intends to pardon more than 100 people before leaving the White House, including Rudy Giuliani and Lil Wayne.
“Sources say that tomorrow, on his last full day in office, the president is prepared to issue around 100 pardons and commutations. Why so many?” Colbert asked during his Monday night monologue. “Well, there’s reportedly a lucrative market for pardons. Finally, POTUS is running a business that makes money. He’s calling it, ‘The Olive Pardon.’ When you’re here, you’re a crime family.”
Colbert’s ribbing comes as several businesses have distanced themselves from Trump following the riots at the Capitol on January 6.
Colbert, a frequent Trump critic, spoke of one individual who he called a “pardon peddler”—former federal prosecutor Brett Tolman
Referencing a New York Times article, Colbert said: “Tolman has collected tens of thousands of dollars to seek clemency for a variety of clients including the son of a former Arkansas senator, the founder of online drug market place the Silk Road and a Manhattan socialite who pleaded guilty in a fraud scheme.”
Colbert then joked that the socialite in question was Ivanka Trump.
Colbert also referenced reports that an associate of Giuliani claimed that a pardon would cost $2 million.
“One guy whose really looking for the big bucks—no surprise—is presidential lawyer and man oozing what he insists is just charm, Rudy Giuliani,” he said.
“According to an ex-CIA agent who is seeking a pardon for disclosing classified information, he met with Rudy and his associates last year. When Rudy went to the bathroom, one of his henchmen said the mayor could help ‘but it’s going to cost you $2 million—he’s going to want $2 million.’
“That’s a lot of money,” Colbert continues. “But as a lawyer, Rudy is worth every penny, it’s the dollars I’m not so sure about.”
Giuliani has since denied the claims and said he doesn’t remember the meeting taking place because it involved “substantial alcohol.”
“Hey, we’ve all been there,” Colbert mocked. “It’s the end of the night, you’ve got your pardon goggles on, next thing you know, you don’t know whose conviction you forgave. I guess what I’m saying is: Rudy, please grift responsibly.”
Colbert wasn’t the only late-night host to have a field day with “Pardonpalooza” jokes.
“There’s 48 hours left in the Trump presidency, and there are reports that Trump has basically given up his presidential duties,” said Conan O’Brien on his late-night show Conan. “But there is one area where Trump apparently has been working hard: issuing pardons.”
Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon joked about the fact that Trump had not attempted to pardon himself.
The president appears to have been dissuaded from pardoning himself or members of his family.
“Trump is the only president in history who decides not to pardon himself, and you immediately think: ‘What’s he up to?'” he mocked. “I’m not surprised Trump didn’t pardon himself today, because then he’d be liable for whatever he does tomorrow.”