Republican Rep. Darrell Issa made a shockingly blunt admission on Real Time with Bill Maher last night — that Vladimir Putin and possible Russian ties to the Trump White House had to be investigated.
Speaking to Maher, Issa branded the Russian premier “a bad guy who murders people”, and said he was “screwing up things all over the world”.
Issa made his remarks after Maher said that an independent prosecutor was needed to probe Russian ties to the White House.
Issa said: “The American people — who are beginning to understand that Putin murders his enemies, sometimes right in front of the Kremlin, and then suddenly the cameras don’t work there — he’s murdered people and taken down using cyber warfare in Georgia and the Ukraine.
“This is a bad guy who murders people, who runs a gas station with an economy the size of Italy, but is screwing up things all over the world that we’ve been working with…we need to investigate their activities…they are bad people.”
San Diego County Rep. Issa’s appearance on Real Time led to demonstrators gathering outside CBS Studio Center in protest at him failing to show up to a town hall meeting earlier this week.
Referring to the demonstrators, Maher called him out on his actions saying: “This issue that they’re upset with you about…having a town hall…now excuse me but in 2009 it seems to be, when the shoe was on the other foot, the Democrats showed up at the town hall meetings and took the yelling.
“And it looks like you Republicans, including you sir, are just ducking it.”
Last night’s Real Time was otherwise a comparatively reasonable discussion about the trouble with Trump, a far cry from last week’s pearl-clutching conservative bad boy Milo Yiannopoulos throwing incendiary remarks towards female actors, comics and feminism.
The show’s ongoing segment I Don’t Know It For a Fact (Oscar Edition) saw Maher slam the film La La Land, Casey Affleck’s sketchy beard and the potential for John Travolta to mix up La La Land director Damien Chazelle’s name with Idina Menzel’s.
On New Rules, Maher said the press needs to fight back, and said they had devolved into a lazy viral video clickbait-y cuteness machine. He said: “The news media lost trust because they became eyeball-chasing clickbait whores.”
In his summation, Maher set aside his distaste for nightly network newsmen and applauded Scott Pelley and Chuck Todd’s Trump plain speak in their respective broadcasts.
Turning the topic into a bit of a pep talk for people who have protested in recent marches, Maher noted that an energized populace was exactly what the times called for. He said: “What do we have? Pussyhats! And the people wearing them.”
He said: “Okay guys, for the sake of the Republic, you’ve got to get serious again. You have to win your respect back so Trump can’t say that people don’t believe you — you’re [the press] a joke.”
Maher continued: “There’s something about getting in the street that makes a powerful statement…that we care, that we’re not afraid and that we feel so strongly we’re willing to use a port-a-potty.”
Making a joke, he added: “We’re liberals…dammit we’re tanned, rested and gluten-free and we are the type of people who will throw a trash can through a Starbucks window and then climb through and say ‘you know what, while we’re here can I get a double mocha latte?'”
During Overtime, Bill and the show’s guests Issa, Fran Lebowitz, Sen. Angus King, Seth MacFarlane, and Asra Nomani answered viewer questions after the show.
Towards the end of it, MacFarlane argued with Nomani over Trump’s credibility. Nomani had publicly declared she was voting for Trump.
Speaking about the nature of power, MacFarlane said: “Whoever you are, whether you’re Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders and Hillary — whoever you are if you are on a stage for months at a time being deified and lionized by thousands upon thousands of people that will affect anyone of us.”
Then, ever quick-witted, Fran chided Issa who answered a question and said that more military spending was in order. She asked Issa, why don’t the super rich pay any taxes?
Issa deflected the barb, but after pointing out the super rich was MacFarlane and Issa, Maher said: “You’re the richest guy in congress.”
Fran did get her zinger in, aimed directly at Issa. She said: “I would rather have a smart congress.”
Real Time with Bill Maher airs Fridays at 10pm ET on HBO.