Hillary Clinton disappointed the left-leaning "Late Show" crowd Tuesday night when she said she wasn't thinking about "contesting the election," saying there was no mechanism to do so.
Host Stephen Colbert noted Clinton told NPR's Terry Gross earlier she "would not" rule out questioning the legitimacy of Donald Trump's 2016 victory if Russian interference were discovered to be even deeper than people knew.
The partisan crowd whooped upon hearing Colbert say this but they were soon let down.
"My question is—I have these fantasies—but my question is … what then? There is no constitutional mechanism to question the election," Colbert said. "Our elections are messy. This is just what happened."
"That's right … Nobody's talking about contesting the election, including me," Clinton said, to some groans in the audience. "There is no mechanism."
Colbert tried to assuage his audience, gesturing to Clinton and saying, "This is someone who believes in the Constitution, unlike the guy who got the job."
"There is no mechanism, but I think legitimacy is rooted in what comes out of these investigations, because if there is evidence of coordination, communication … then I think millions of Americans are going to say, ‘Well, those raise questions about legitimacy,'" Clinton said.
Clinton made similar remarks in an interview with Mic on Tuesday after her NPR statement made headlines.
"I think no one, including me, is saying we will contest the election," Clinton said. "I’m in the very large group of people who believe that, you know, there’s no legal basis, no constitutional basis for that."
Colbert, fresh off hosting a hyper-partisan Emmy Awards, did not trouble to hide his political leanings in his interview with Clinton. He told her later he wished she was the president instead and relayed to her his and his live audience's distress on election night as it became apparent she would lose.
— A Late Show (@colbertlateshow) September 20, 2017
Colbert's audience is not always known for being politically informed. It cheered loudly upon initially hearing the news that Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey in May. It took a couple minutes of explaining by Colbert to realize they were supposed to boo.