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September 27, 2018

It can be difficult to take a song closely associated with a particular artist — Frank Sinatra's "My Way" or "Fly Me to the Moon," or Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" — and make it your own. But Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste's arrangement of George David Weiss and Bob Thiele's "What a Wonderful World" will almost make you forget the song belongs to Louie Armstrong, or forget to care. More to the point, Batiste wants you to remember that the planet Earth is "a beautiful place to be" and that it's important to "take time to reflect and love yourself," especially when life turns especially ugly. If you happen to be facing one of those days, consider this a short musical amulet, a respite from the unpleasantness, if only for five and a half minutes. Peter Weber

September 7, 2018

After about two hours of conversation and sipping Old Camp whiskey on comedian Joe Rogan's live podcast Thursday night, Tesla founder Elon Musk accepted what Rogan said was marijuana wrapped in tobacco and took a nice long toke. "I mean, it's legal, right?" Musk asked. His friends were apparently watching the YouTube feed. "I'm getting text messages from friends saying 'What the hell are you doing smoking weed?'" Musk said after his phone started vibrating a few minutes later. "I'm not a regular smoker of weed," he added, telling Rogan that he "almost never" smokes it because "I don't think it's very good for productivity."

Things got a little heady after that, with Rogan suggesting Musk terra-farm Mars and "turn it into a big Jamaica," and Musk saying it would be "sad" if "we were forever confined to Earth." And then Musk started talking about his brain. "When I was 5 or 6 or something, I thought I was insane," he told Rogan. Compared with other kids, "it was clear their minds weren't exploding with ideas all the time," he added. "I don't think most people would like to be me."

Tesla's investors and shareholders were already concerned about Musk after an aborted attempt to take the company private, odd behavior on Twitter, and a maudlin interview with The New York Times in which his friends also expressed concern about his workaholism and use of Ambien. Tesla shares dropped 1.4 percent in trading before U.S. exchanges opened, Bloomberg reports. If you have two and a half hours to spare, you can watch the entire interview for yourself. Peter Weber

August 8, 2018

There's been a lot of legal drama in U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis' federal courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia, this week as Rick Gates testifies against Paul Manafort, his former business partner and former campaign manager for President Trump. But there's also been the human drama of Gates flipping on and incriminating his mentor and friend. This could be the stuff of Oscar-worthy Hollywood cinema or Greek tragedy, but The Late Show turned it into a parody of the Friends theme song.

The Manafort trial is not being televised, but Stephen Colbert's crew has actually been pretty creative with the Manafort set pieces. You can watch some other highlights below. Peter Weber

July 31, 2018

On Monday, CBS's board of directors said it's "selecting outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation" of CBS chief Les Moonves, following allegations of sexual harassment from six women. "No other action was taken on this matter at today's board meeting." Stephen Colbert had a more robust response on Monday's Late Show. In his monologue, "I made a few jokes about my boss being in trouble," he noted. "And — are we still broadcasting? You know what? Don't tell me — I like a surprise."

This year of #MeToo reckoning has been objectively positive, Colbert said. "Because — and it's strange to have to say this — powerful men taking sexual advantage of relatively powerless employees are wrong. We know it's wrong now, and we knew it was wrong then," and we know this "because we know these men tried to keep the stories from coming out back then." What's going to happen with Moonves? Nobody knows, he said. "In a situation like this, I'd normally call Les."

"For so long, for women in the workplace, there was no change, no justice for the abused," Colbert said. "So we shouldn't be surprised that when the change comes, it comes radically," with powerful men banished from public life. He said he doesn't know what will happen at CBS, "but I do believe in accountability. And not just for politicians you disagree with. Everybody believes in accountability until it's their guy — and make no mistake, Les Moonves is my guy. He hired me to sit in this chair, he stood behind this show while we were struggling to find our voice, he gave us the time and the resources to succeed, and he has stood by us when people were mad at me. And I like working for him. But accountability is meaningless unless it's for everybody, whether it's the leader of a network or the leader of the free world." Watch below. Peter Weber

July 25, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, facing a grilling from lawmakers prying into President Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week. One of his fiercest questioners was Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the committee's ranking member, who pressed Pompeo about the details of Trump's closed-door discussion with Putin — a meeting at which only translators were present, aside from the two leaders.

Menendez began by asking Pompeo whether Trump told him directly what he discussed with the Putin. Pompeo began his response by defending the merits of one-on-one meetings, prompting Mendendez to remind Pompeo that he'd asked "a simple question." Pompeo eventually said that yes, he'd had "a number of conversations" with Trump about the meeting with Putin.

Menendez's grilling of Pompeo continued, as he next wanted to know whether Trump had suggested to Putin that the U.S. might relax sanctions on Russia. Pompeo replied that "the U.S. policy ... remains completely unchanged." Menendez pointed out that he was not asking about stated U.S. policy, but rather about Trump's specific remarks to Putin. "You asked me about U.S. policy with respect to sanctions," Pompeo replied. "I can confirm to you that no commitment has been made to change those policies in any way."

The exchange reached its tense peak when Menendez asked Pompeo whether Trump confronted Putin about Russia's annexation of Crimea — an inquiry Pompeo once again responded to with an explanation of U.S. policy. "Senator, I understand the game that you're playing, I get it," Pompeo said, before Menendez heatedly shot back: "With all due respect, I don't appreciate you characterizing my questions. My questions [are] to get to the truth. We don't know what the truth is." Watch the fiery moment below. Kimberly Alters

July 12, 2018

President Trump is on his way to the United Kingdom, and London is bracing for his arrival, with thousands expected to take to the streets to protest his state visit. The crew on Good Morning Britain was particularly tense Thursday morning, with Piers Morgan face-planting during an attempted gotcha with activist Ash Sarkar, who was arguing in favor of protests against Trump.

Things began innocently enough, with Sarkar telling the hosts, "I'll be marching in Westminster tomorrow, alongside thousands of other people who found [Trump's] policy of forced separation unconscionable." Morgan then interrupted to ask, "Did you find [Barack] Obama deporting 3 million people to be unconscionable?"

Without hesitation, Sarkar replied, "Yes!" Morgan then asked when she ever protested against Obama, with co-host Susanna Reid cutting in to say, "You don't have to go out and march against everything in order to make a point about one thing."

Morgan wasn't finished yet, though, and when Sarkar suggested he check out some of her activist work, he answered: "Go check out some basic facts about your hero Obama."

"He's not my hero!" Sarkar said. "I'm a communist, you idiot!" Watch Morgan's blundering argument below. Jeva Lange

July 2, 2018

A White House aide was decidedly not using her inside voice on Monday as she tried to herd perfectly well-behaved reporters out of a press spray with President Trump and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte. "Come on everybody, let's go, make your way out!" she can be heard yelling offscreen as Trump fields a few last questions from the media:

When the aide starts in on the press again, an amused Rutte turns to Trump to ask, "Is it always like this?"

Yes. Yes it is. Jeva Lange

July 2, 2018

President Trump's longtime personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, has made a big show over his loyalty to his boss — "I will do anything to protect Mr. Trump," he has told Fox News, while illustrating his seriousness to Vanity Fair, saying: "I'm the guy who would take a bullet for the president. I'd never walk away." But after the FBI raided his office and homes in April, Cohen had a different tune when speaking this weekend with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

"My wife, my daughter, and my son have my first loyalty and always will," Cohen said. “I put family and country first."

Cohen's words echo those of George Papadopoulos' wife last year. Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, was the first witness to make a deal to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, with his wife telling ABC News: "George is very loyal to his country. He is already on the right side of history."

Trump has repeatedly claimed that Cohen will not flip. "Sorry, I don't see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!" he tweeted in April. Listen to George Stephanopoulos discuss his meeting with Cohen below. Jeva Lange

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