On Friday night, Bill Maher opened the latest edition of his HBO program Real Time with some groan-worthy dad jokes about the controversy surrounding Joe Biden, who announced his presidential candidacy this week.
“It’s obvious: the ‘woke left’ is not excited about this,” cracked Maher. “They’re like, ‘Oh great, another white guy in the race.’ So today, Joe announced that he is transitioning and the woke people loved that, but then he fucked up his own gender pronoun and now they hate him again.”
Yeesh. There was more, about how Biden was “brave” to go on The View where he’d be surrounded by “all those huggable ladies,” which the comic said was “like sending a drug addict to Burning Man.” But enough of that.
The more interesting talk involved Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who sat down with Maher prior to the panel portion of the show to discuss the Mueller Report.
Calling Robert Mueller “a conservative” who was “going to follow established policy,” Rep. Schiff said he didn’t think it was “realistic” that the special counsel would indict the president and those that did were being “unrealistic in their expectations.”
The congressman did, however, conclude from the report that “Russians were engaged in a systemic effort to interfere in our election; that the Trump campaign welcomed it, embraced it, built it into their plan, made full use of it, lied about it, covered it up, and then obstructed the investigation into it; and, if we had any doubt before about this president’s fitness for office, there is no doubt remaining: he is unfit for the presidency.”
Maher then pushed back. “But this was our big gun. Now it just looks like you’re stalking him,” he said. “I think in the eyes of the people who don’t follow it that closely, which is most of the country, here’s the thing about Bob Mueller: he’s the last thing in America that left and right agreed on. Left and right basically agreed, this is a guy of honor, this is an honest guy, an honest broker, whatever he says goes…The fact that he was like umm…If you couldn’t impeach before, how are you going to impeach after? Or should you?”
Rep. Schiff, who seemed taken aback by the “stalking” comment, responded, “I’m not there yet on impeachment. I may get there—he may get me there—but here’s the awful dilemma that we face: if we don’t impeach him, that sends a message that this kind of conduct—this obstruction of justice, this kind of willing use of the help of a foreign adversary, all the lies and cover-up—that this is non-impeachable. At the same time, if we do impeach him, and he is acquitted, as he would likely be acquitted, then the message is: those are non-impeachable offenses.”
He concluded: “At the end of the day, Bill, there is only one way to deal with the problem whether we impeach him or not, and that is to vote his ass out of office.”
But Maher wasn’t done. He proceeded to press Rep. Schiff on the two strategies of Democratic candidates that have emerged in 2020: Biden’s, which is to run against Trump, and the rest, which is to not focus on Trump and stick to policy.
“I’ve seen you on TV a lot over the last couple of years. I know everything you know, or that you tell us, about the Russian situation,” Maher told Rep. Schiff. “I don’t have a clue what you think about health care—I’ve never heard it. I don’t know whether you’re for Medicare for all or improved Obamacare or get a chicken. I don’t know what.”
“Here’s what I was telling my colleagues, and particularly these wonderful candidates we had running in the midterms: don’t talk about Russia,” Rep. Schiff offered. “What I urge the candidates and I urge our nominees to talk about it is, how are you going to help American people put bread on the table? How are you going to help them provide for a secure retirement in an environment when people don’t stay in the same job their whole life?”
“I’ll tell you who I’m behind in 2020, and I’m behind them heart and soul: any living adult 2020,” Schiff added. “Anyone who gets the nomination, we all need to get behind.”