Bill Maher recaps the top stories of the week, including a new wave of reality show drama in the White House.
Bill’s guests tonight:
“Stay Tuned with Preet” Podcast host Preet Bharara
Ex-Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm
“Adam Ruins Everything” star Adam Conover
Weekly Standard Contributing Editor Charlie Sykes
Axios Politics Reporter Jonathan Swan
* * *
Ok, shut the fuck up, I’ll get to it. Jesus… I’m glad you’re keeping your chin up. What a depressed crowd uh… Well, not such a good week for the president on the other hand. Man, he lost his one black friend. Yes, if you’ve spent your life as an American, refusing to know who Omarosa is… well now you’re fuck out of luck, because she’s got a book to sell. It’s about her time in the White House, where she was there for 18 months-I believe her official title was assistant secretary for throwing shade-oh, and boy, is she? She has a lot to say about Donald Trump there: “he said, she said, she said, boy, he is a racist and he suffers of dementia, he said she’s crazy and crying and a low-life at a dog, and Putin said “I can’t believe I have to collude with these people” [Applause]
Let’s not forget that Omarosa did defend Trump a million times, lied for him. After the election she said “all his detractors would have to bow down before Donald Trump.” I don’t care, she’s our asshole nap. I’ll take anything I can get, gladly. But really, this is where we are? This is where we are, where the reality show people are now the reality? And you know what? You can’t turn away. It’s like watching earthworms mate or a hobo jack off in the alley, I don’t want to look at it but… And we have to hear it, Omarosa has tapes. Did you hear the one-oh god-did you hear the one where she’s playing… where she’s talking to Trump after she got fired and telling him about her… Play that tape.
[Omarosa:] “General Kelly – General Kelly came to me and said that you guys wanted me to leave
[Donald Trump:] “No. Nobody even told me about it,” the President replied. “You know, they run a big operation but I didn’t know it. I didn’t know that. Damn it!”
Aside from everything else, what a pussy piece of shit he is! [Applause] He can’t even… yeah… I didn’t know if they’d run a big operation here boy if ever ever this President of the United States guy gonna find out, what he… ‘They’ run a big operation here! Boy, if I ever find this ‘president of the United States’ guy…
And so vain… she says in the book that he immediately put in-when he became president-a tanning bed that he uses every day. Oh, big mix-up one morning, Rudy Giuliani was getting into his coffin.Trump was getting out of the tanning bed and… luckily Melania had just come out of her sensory deprivation tank so she…
Oh yeah that’s it, Melania… in the book Omarosa says that Melania plans to divorce him as soon as the term is over, and she said she’s taking the kid. And Trump said “we have a kid?” She also says that he drinks eight Diet Cokes a day-which causes dementia, which I think is probably true-but Diet Coke… come on… it’s working: he does have the body of a Greek god… I’m sorry, he has the body of a Greek diner…
Here’s my favorite: Omarosa says she and Trump were once in a black church, and she got up to do something. And he grabs her arm and says “you can’t leave me here with these people!” You know, Christians! Oh yes, he’s got such a deft touch with race, this president. Doesn’t he?
Aretha Franklin passed away, I’m sure you heard. And of course this guy says,‘Yeah, she worked for me.’ She worked for you? A complete lie! This guy cannot say ‘rest in peace’ without lying. Trump said he was going to tweet his favorite Aretha song, ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T,’ but he couldn’t remember how to spell it. [Applause]
There’s a couple of actually important things going on: two Russian supersonic nuclear bombers did a flyby right over Alaska-of course Republicans demanded an investigation into the radar that detected them. They were they were so close Sarah Palin said that you could see them from her meth lab.
And finally, I just have to bring up this story again, cuz it’s the news: remember the baker in Colorado who would refuse to make a wedding cake for the gay couple? He went all the way the Supreme Court—right now he’s back in court because he wouldn’t bake a cake for a couple celebrating, or somebody celebrating, gender transition. I got a couple of questions: one, is there only one bakery in Colorado? [Applause] And also, I see a big business opportunity here. I’m gonna move to Grand Junction Colorado and open a store called Bang Whoever You Want Cakes [Applause]
* * *
Former US Attorney Preet Bharara joins Bill to discuss whether the Republican Party is enabling a traitorous president and the importance of defending America’s institutions.
Bill Maher: He is the former District Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He hosts the cafe podcast “Stay Tuned with Preet,” Preet Bharara.
All right, such a silly monologue, such a serious person.
Preet Bharara: I enjoyed the monologue very much.
Bill: Oh wow.
Preet: I can’t say those things .
Bill: No you can’t… well, you couldn’t… you can now…
Preet: Now I can.
Bill: Yes, now you can. You are free, you got a big job, you’re the US Attorney for New York. I always said that the US Attorneys are like the Senators of the justice system. There’s about a hundred, right?
Preet: Yeah, sort of, more like the governor’s.
Preet: But masters of our domain.
Bill: Masters and in New York. Tell us why New York is more important probably than any other day.
Preet: Well, so there are four districts in New York, southern, eastern, northern what, you know, following the direction. I was the Attorney of the Southern District of New York…
Bill: Wall Street…
Preet: …Wall Street, which contains lots of businesses, it has gangs like other districts have, and it also is probably the greatest target in the country for terrorism—that’s where 9/11 happened, in part. So we’re always focusing on those kinds of issues and also it has probably the most media presence of any place in the country, so anything that happens in Manhattan and the surrounding suburbs gets a lot of attention.
Bill: Comey had you job, Giuliani had your job.
Preet: Yeah, Giuliani did have my job.
Bill: What do you make of Rudy Giuliani and, by wider extent, the whole Republican Party right now? I don’t know what your politics are, you’re a serious public servant, that’s secondary to what you do, but you must have seen a different Republican Party until two years ago, as we all have.
Preet: Those are separate questions. What has happened with Rudy Giuliani and the Republican Party, I guess, they sort of overlap a little bit… Look, Rudy Giuliani was…
Bill: Well, they’re both enablers for a traitor, what’s the difference?
Preet: Look, Giuliani is supposed to be a professional lawyer and for six and a half years—I did it for seven and a half years—for six and a half years was the US attorney in Manhattan, for the Southern District of New York, he had a great reputation, some people thought he went too far in some cases, but he was a trial lawyer by training and understood what integrity, I think, in speaking about cases in court and outside of court, meant generally. But some of the things that he said, just viewing him as a former colleague—and he was very nice to me when I took the job, I had dinner with him to get some advice from him—and in recent times, I think, he’s taken on an aura of someone who doesn’t remember what the truth is, doesn’t remember what he said about issuance of subpoenas 20 years earlier, who doesn’t remember that the people he used to work with, including folks in the FBI, who helped save New York, and people in law enforcement he saved New York and find the bad guys, he now calls them stormtroopers because he’s trying to protect a particular president not in the way that he was trained to do and not in a way that he trained generations of federal prosecutors to do. So I gotta tell you, it’s fairly disconcerting.
Bill: So I saw you, when I said traitor, you looked like you were uncomfortable with the word. Tell me why we’re not saying that word more. Because we are being attacked by Russia, even presently, you would agree with that, right?
Preet: That’s my understanding.
Bill: Okay. Well, if the president is taking the side of the people attacking and he’s certainly doing that when he goes after the people who are defending us from those Russian people, he belittles them, he criticized them, he threatens to arrest people like Jim Comey. One side or the other why do we restrain from that word?
Preet: Trust me I’ve been a pretty vocal critic of the president in various forums. I think he’s leading a corrupt government. I think he’s doing a lot of things, both corrupting people, corrupting institutions, corrupting processes, corrupting…
Bill: I could have said that about George Bush.
Preet: Well no.
Bill: I could have said he was a corrupted guy but I couldn’t have said he was a traitor.
Preet: There’s an order of magnitude difference. I think that the words treason and traitor have particular legal meaning and so maybe I’m an overly careful recently former prosecutor…
Bill: Can we afford to be overly careful at this moment?
Preet: Maybe not and if people want to call folks traitors, I guess that’s fine. The worry I have sometimes, just as a private citizen now, I’m not speaking as a lawyer, is that you can subject yourself to criticism if you are sort of overstating—and I’m not saying necessarily you are—but if you’re overstating what other people have done and it allows folks to be dismissed a little bit more out of hand, when people yell treachery and treason.
Bill: Well, they don’t worry about that and they’re winning. I mean he’s purging the ranks of the FBI. He’s going through them one by one. It’s like—as I keep saying— a slow moving coup, some people said this week it was like the Saturday night massacre, but slowly. He’s slowly going through the ranks. He got rid of… I think I saw seven of the eight people that Jim Comey had in his office to corroborate, as corroborating witnesses, what Comey was telling them about his meetings with Donald Trump. What would your office look like if seven of your eight top guys were gone?
Preet: It would still be pretty good actually.
Preet: Yeah, because you know what…
Bill: So that’s a deep deep state you got.
Preet: By deep state if you mean professionals who are consummate professionals…
Bill: My heroes… the deep state
Preet: …who understand…
Preet: …what continuity means, who understand what the Constitution is…
Preet: …they don’t care about party, who don’t care about politics,…
Preet: …they just do what’s right and and honor the law and honor the Constitution, then God bless the deep State.
Bill: But he’s purging… okay, so you could lose your top eight people. How many could you lose?
Preet: It would not be great to lose your top eight people—it’s good to have the top managers. But what people need to understand is… by the way, I think that the new FBI director is an honorable and good person. I think we accidentally got a great person to be the head of the FBI. I think he could do better. I think he could defend the institution better. I think he could speak up about the kinds of things Trump is doing more. But I think what you have happening here—both with Rod Rosenstein and with Chris Wray, who’s the director of the FBI, and some other folks, and I don’t necessarily love it—but they’re sort of walking a line between try to defend their institution and do what is right and also placating a guy who freaks out and gets angry and upset and could fire you want to win. So some people might call—and I get it—some people might call that “weakness” and say you got to stand up to paralyzed it [?], some people might say…
Bill: I get that.
Preet: …but for me being here, then things would be a lot worse. I think there are lines and I think… when we had Admiral McRaven this week, who doesn’t serve in government, I believe it, who comes out and says, it was a quiet guy who wrote a book about how you should make your bed, right, and how little things are important, when he comes out and supports in solidarity someone like John Brennan, who out of pique and and whim and anger and retribution by the president taking away his security clearance, that’s the kind of thing that matters and maybe we need to see more of that, from not only people who were in government now and serving the executive branch now, but also members of Congress.
Bill: I know you care a lot about norms. This is a president who doesn’t care about norms. If you don’t write it down, he will… he’ll just go ahead and say I can pardon myself or I can … no, he has ways of being petty nobody has ever thought of… nobody ever thought of withdrawing people’s security clearances.
Preet: No, the founders did not appreciate that there was going to be at some point… you know they worried about a lot of things and they worried about self-interest and they worried about, you know, self-dealing…
Bill: We are living under a king.
Bill: He’s wants to arrest Omarosa and why? I don’t know, we’ll figure that out later.
Preet: Because she spoke out against him. Because she embarrassed him.
Bill: But again, this is not something we can just say “well, we’ll laid all the facts to [?]… I just think everyone’s too “calm” about this situation… I just don’t get it.
Preet: There’s the old saying “if you want to hit the King, you gotta kill the King”.
Preet: So it’s fine to me.
Bill: You mean metaphorically [Applause]
Bill: He means metaphorically, cuz really…
Preet: Secret service, please, please don’t come to us.
Bill: Yes they will… because they will do that, cuz they’re crazy.
Preet: Well, I used to work with the Secret Service and they’re not all crazy but…
Bill: Not them, He.
Preet: But the rhetoric is fine and I think it’s there’s an important role. I’m a private citizen now and I talk about these things, you talk about these things. There’s an important role for anyone in the public sphere who has a microphone to talk about these things but the people who are gonna make a difference other than at the ballot box—which is probably the most important things—they’re not to downplay that, but the Mueller investigation… Bob Mueller can’t stand up and say “treason” in an interview, he’s got to collect the facts.
Bill: He doesn’t say anything in a interview, that’s the point, it’s up to the Democrats. Rudy Giuliani is on TV every day, they get their story out but we don’t get our story out.
Preet: Does anyone listen to Giuliani says?
Bill: Unfortunately they do. Yeah, it’s all over TV and…
Preet: Just because you’re on TV doesn’t mean you’re believed. Just because you’re on TV doesn’t mean you have credibility. Just because you’re on TV doesn’t mean you’re doing a service to your client.
Bill: But he muddies the waters, would you disagree with that?
Preet: That’s what they’re good at.
Bill: That’s what they’re good at.
Preet: Yeah good…
Bill: We got to get good at something.
Preet: Yeah, but I’m not sure that… I know you’re not saying that if they muddy the water, you know, that “when they go muddy we go muddier”, I don’t think, right?
Bill: No but we are bringing not even a knife to a gunfight, we’re bringing a covered dish and it’s just honestly… anyway I’m glad you’re around and I hope you get back in the game.
Preet: Thanks very much.
Bill: All right. Thank you