“I feel like every time you’re here, there’s some big piece of news that just happens day-of,” Seth Meyers told Sen. Bernie Sanders on the occasion of his fifth Late Night appearance.
“We arrange it,” Sanders joked. But seconds later, he had turned deadly serious.
“It’s a big deal, Seth,” Sanders said of the first indictments that were handed down as part of the Russia investigation on Monday. “Bob Mueller, who—let us remember, was appointed to be FBI director by George W. Bush, reappointed by Obama, a man who has a whole lot of bipartisan support across the political spectrum—he was given the assignment of determining whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to undermine American democracy. And today is a major step forward with the indictment of [Paul] Manafort. And we’ll see how the process works out.”
“But I worry very much about the attacks that we’re seeing every day in a variety of ways, not only from the Russians on American democracy,” Sanders continued. “We have a president who clearly does not understand the Constitution of the United States. A president who attacks the media every day and the media has a very important role to play in our democracy.”
He also cited Citizens United and Republican governors “trying to suppress the vote” as major threats. “And I think of all of the enormous issues and problems facing this country, making sure we fight to protect and revitalize American democracy and take on all of those people who want to undermine what men and women fought and died to defend, that is our major task,” Sanders said.
Meyers asked Sanders if he worries at all that stories like the Mueller indictments “can to the left provide an excitement of, ‘Oh, this is almost over,’ when in fact it will probably go on forever and they need to focus on the ballot box as opposed to Mueller.”
“Yes. I mean, I think we’ve got to work in two ways,” Sanders answered. “No. 1, we have got to take on Trump’s attacks against the environment, against women, against Latinos and blacks and people in the gay community, we’ve got to fight back every day on those issues. But equally important, or more important: We have got to focus on bread-and-butter issues that mean so much to ordinary Americans.”
Sanders said those “ordinary Americans” are “not staying up every day worrying about Russia’s interference in our election.” Instead, he said, “They’re wondering how they’re going to send their kids to college” or “how they’re going to be able to pay the rent” or “whether they can afford health care.”
“We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world and our job is to create an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent, and those are issues that absolutely we cannot afford to lose sight of,” Sanders added.
In other words: Don’t get too excited about the indictments of a couple of ex-Trump campaign officials.