But there's another reason for Colbert's trip, as well-one that, in the bigger picture, is a lot more important: he wants to remain the No. 1 host in late night, and to do so, ambition is key.
"I don't know if you knew this but I was in Russian Federation last week", he told his audience. I'm in Russia. If the "tapes" exist, I'll bring you back a copy! "Russian intelligence. Hardcore fans, evidently... followed me everywhere", he said.
He continued, "Also got some attention from American intelligence". Couple guys seemed to pop up everywhere we went.
"But it's important, keep your eye on a comedian while he's in Russian Federation doing jokes", he said. "Oh, wait. Somebody's already got that covered".
It was the same meeting where he told the Russians our FBI Director was a "nut job".
The comedian was filming episodes of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in Russian Federation last week, and on Friday appeared on Evening Urgant, a late-night talk show hosted by Ivan Urgant. He offered a clarification on the show though: "To be clear, all I said in the clip there is that I was considering a run". The CIA reportedly captured intelligence that Russian officials were working to help Trump's campaign, but the president and the administration have vehemently denied collusion with the Russian government. "I would have my son-in-law ask them". I did not personally make any such recordings.
- "While I was in St. Petersburg, I was a guest on the Russian late-night talk show 'Evening Urgant.' It's hosted by the very talented Ivan Urgant".