Stephen Colbert opened Wednesday’s Late Show with a celebration: the House was expected to vote on Thursday to hold Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist to Donald Trump, in criminal contempt for refusing to assist the congressional investigation into the 6 January insurrection. “Hell yeah! Criminal contempt makes sense to me because I feel a lot of contempt for that criminal,” Colbert said.
The expected vote is “big moment”, he added, because while 650 members of the pro-Trump mob have been arrested for storming the Capitol, “this is the first time we’ve seen any accountability for one of the big fish. Or, in Bannon’s case, one of those weird, gelatinous fish that live in eternal darkness with spiky teeth and a lantern blob up here growing out their face.
“It’s going to feel great to see these consequences – when they happen, if they happen, at a date to be named later,” he continued, noting a labyrinthine, toothless process ahead: the contempt question will first go to vote in the House, then certified by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, then sent to the Department of Justice for evaluation based on “the facts and the law”.
The DoJ would then decide to bring the case to a grand jury, who would have to indict Bannon, at which point the case would go to trial in Washington. Pending conviction, Bannon could face a fine of $100 to $100,000 and one month to one year in jail, but he would not be forced to disclose any information about his role in the insurrection. “In other words: justice!” Colbert joked.
The host also touched on a report from the Verge that Facebook will rebrand under a new name, one kept secret even from some top leadership. “Well that’s surprising – Facebook has leadership?” Colbert quipped. The host then suggested some Late Show-approved names for the company, such as Pinsurrectionist, DikTok, Aunt Brenda’s 3-Paragraph Rant-a-torium, Best Fun Times America Website (in Kremlin font), and The Washington Football Team.
On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah explored resistance from some city employees, especially firefighters and police officers, to vaccine mandates. New York City’s mandate, for example, includes over 160,000 workers without an option for frequent testing. But two weeks out from the 1 November deadline, the vaccination rate for the NYPD is 71%, and roughly 60% for the fire department.
“Maybe they just don’t know how to get vaccinated – I mean, I know it seems easy, but some cops don’t even know how to turn on a body camera,” Noah joked of the NYPD’s rate.
“But this is still a little concerning,” he continued. “Because any police who don’t get vaccinated can’t go to work, and if there’s a shortage of police, well that could cause some big problems. I mean, protesters can’t kick the shit out of themselves. Plus, who are the Karens going to call when they feel scared?”
The New York police union has announced a lawsuit to stop the mandate from taking effect on 1 November, echoing police unions from Chicago to Seattle to Los Angeles who have resisted public health measures, leading to a shortage of officers.
“I’ve gotta say, out of all the occupations, cops and firefighters are the last people who I’d expect to see this from,” said Noah. “These are the same people who sign up to swarm hostage situations or run into burning buildings. But when it comes to the vaccine, suddenly they’re like, ‘I don’t know, seems like a health risk.’”
What’s “most strange” about this resistance, Noah added, is that “for years, police departments have been telling us that nothing is more important than protecting the lives of cops on the street. It’s why cities have been increasing their budgets to buy military-grade armor. And it’s also why they can’t take 30 seconds to determine if somebody is really a threat before shooting them.
“But there is literally nothing more dangerous to police officers right now than Covid-19,” he continued. The virus is the current leading cause of death for law enforcement, having killed five times more police than guns since the start of the pandemic. “So it turns out that if you do believe that blue lives matter,” he concluded, “one of the best ways to show your support is by getting the vaccine.”