Stephen Colbert took a mysterious trip to Russia last month and has been teasing viewers with footage and stories ever since. On Monday night’s episode, he finally kicked off The Late Show’s “Russia Week” with a few jokes about the fact that no one was supposed to find out about his trip to Russia. “I didn’t think you’d find out, the whole week was supposed to be a secret, but someone leaked it to CBS’s marketing department,” he pretends to gripe, before mouthing: “I did.”
“I just want to get out ahead of the story here,” Colbert says in his monologue to open the week-long event. “I recently met with a lot of Russians. I can’t remember why — maybe because I was in Russia. Some of them work for the government.” The longer he spoke about his trip to Russia—and the people he met there—the more the facts changed. Before he could get into hot water with his lawyers, he changed the topic to the U.S. news cycle, which of course was dominated by stories of Russia and Donald Trump Jr.’s private meeting last year with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, who according to Colbert “is reportedly a former Soviet Counterintelligence Officer”
“Of course, when it comes to Don Jr. there’s not much intelligence to counter,” Colbert jokes. “Here’s the deal, Akhmetshin denies any current ties to Russian spy agencies, so you know it must be true. Remember the first rule of spy club: tell everyone you’re in spy club.”
Colbert goes on to say that while Trump Jr.’s story about the nature of the meetings changed, at least eight attendees have been reported, which caused Colbert to quip: “This is the first time that a Trump has lied about having a smaller crowd size.”
Colbert’s “Russia Week” will continue all week and will include highlights from Colbert’s stay in the Ritz-Carlton’s Presidential Suite and he assured viewers, that yes, it’s that presidential suite.