Donning Maddow’s signature blazer, The Late Show host began talking about the vital document he had obtained.
“I hold in my hand something very significant,” Colbert said in the show’s cold open. “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 dealing with Donald Trump has been released.”
Each time Colbert neared telling the joke — starting with “Why did the chicken …” — he went on a minimally-related tangent, clearly mocking Maddow’s nearly 20 minute-long introduction on her Tuesday show after teasing she had obtained portions of the president’s 2005 tax return on Twitter.
“Why did the chicken cross the road?” Colbert finally continued before launching into a monologue on the specific definition of a road.
“Whether or not you’re a Trump supporter, it ought to give you pause that after all of this buildup, I still haven’t gotten to the punchline,” the comic said.
When it finally seemed like Colbert was going to spit out the line, he cut to a commercial break.
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“I got home last night and Susan bought me new sneakers,” Maddow told host Jimmy Fallon, flaunting her Stan Smith Adidas kicks.
“She went out, when she found out that I got the scoop, and she bought me sneakers,” she continued. “I don’t know where she got them in our neighborhood at seven o’clock at night. She said ‘These are your you got the president’s tax returns sneakers.’ This is now a bounty for whoever gets the rest of them, I will now give you these shoes.”
On Tuesday, Maddow teased on Twitter that she would expose the new information nearly an hour and a half before The Rachel Maddow Show aired. She later clarified that she was in possession of the commander-in-chief’s 2005 federal income tax return — which the Wall Street Journal had already reported on one year ago.
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By the time The Rachel Maddow Show aired, reaction was mixed. Many liberals were disappointed that Maddow only had two pages of the billionaire businessman’s taxes from 2005 – and no bombshell. Conservatives – including the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. – crowed that the documents showed Trump paid $38 million on $150 million in revenue, seemingly refuting claims that he dodged taxes.
“It’s a national security concern,” she told Fallon of Trump’s refusal to release his tax rates. “Show us the tax returns, so we can stop freaking out about them.”
Until Trump does so, Maddow will continue to hunt for them. “Honestly it feels like a big responsibility,” she said. “I want to be trustworthy to my audience … I take it seriously, we’re going to get this thing figured out piece by piece by piece.”