Joe Biden returned to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight in a virtual sit-down to discuss, well, any number of topics. The veteran late-night host and erstwhile VP ended up talking about a subject that many pols would have dodged.
But Biden did not.
In an advance clip (watch it below), Colbert pointed out that “after the Obama-Biden administration took power in 2009, there was a lot of criticism that y’all didn’t investigate some of the activities of the Bush administration, and it was felt that it was time perhaps to move on and heal the country, especially in a time of economic crisis like that.”
Seems quaint now. But the homebound host continued: “Would the Trump administration be investigated for some of their behavior? Because there are some fragrantly corrupt actions being taken by the Trump administration. Can you say now that you would be open to investigation of the people who have danced with the law if not been proven to have broken it?”
That’s a heavy question for a party’s presumptive nominee for president.
But Biden kept his cool. “Look,” he said, as he usually does while calculating how to respond to a query. “Number 1, I will appoint an inspector general to take a look at where every single dollar in the stimulus package and whatever recovery occurs, if it does, between now and January. … I think there’s too many cozy relationships out there.”
After citing some specifics, Biden continued — presumably getting to Point No. 2.
“In terms of having the Justice Department go look at an individual or whatever, the Justice Department is not my lawyer. This Justice Department has turned into the president’s private lawyer. He is, or she is, the people’s lawyer — the people’s lawyer — not answerable to the president saying, ‘I want you to investigate so-and-so.'”
Finishing the thought, Biden said, “I will lay out broad assertions about ‘take a look at the antitrust laws — are they being applied? — take a look at the following things.’ But the idea of saying, ‘I want you to go take a look at’ — uh, I’m not going to name — but somebody in the administration …”
At that point, Colbert interrupted: “Pompeo, I would say — just pick a name out of the hat.”
Biden chuckled and said, “There’s a couple I could pick. But that’s not what I’ll do. That will be for the professionals in the Justice Department.”
Ah, misty watercolor memories…
Here’s the snippet from tonight’s Late Show: