The liberal MSNBC host delivered a nearly 20-minute preamble on Tuesday’s show before revealing the documents, which showed Mr. Trump paid $38 million in federal income tax in 2005.
“I hold in my hand something very significant,” Mr. Colbert said, dressed as Ms. Maddow. “It is a joke, a joke that we have confirmed has been heard by Donald Trump. We believe this is the first time any joke connected with Donald Trump has been released.”
“This is the document with the joke,” he said. “The joke in question: Why did the chicken — but first a word on chickens. Chickens are flightless birds domesticated 3,000 years ago in Mesopotamia.
“But back to the joke,” he continued. “Why did the chicken cross the road? OK, what are roads? Why do we need them? Do tax dollars pay for roads? … and where is this road-crossing chicken going? Mar-a-Lago? Is it going to Russia to be chicken Kiev? These are important questions.
“Whether or not you’re a Trump supporter, whether or not you’ve heard this joke before, it ought to give you pause that after all of this build-up, I still haven’t gotten to the punchline,” Mr. Colbert said. “So without further ado, why did the chicken cross the road? The answer right after this break.”
For her part, Ms. Maddow explained Wednesday that the “hype” surrounding her report was the audience’s fault for expecting too much.
“Because I have information about the president doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a scandal,” she told the Associated Press. “It doesn’t mean that it’s damning information. If other people leapt to that conclusion without me indicating that it was, that hype is external to what we did.”
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