“Real Time” host Bill Maher returned from his summer vacation Friday to argue that Republicans would “secretly love it” if former President Trump were in prison for his part in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
Maher opened the panel discussion by praising the Jan. 6 House Select Committee hearing as “very impressive” and adding that “the witnesses and the prosecution are all Republicans!” So it defies GOP critics who say they’re all political.
But on the “big decision” of whether Attorney General Merrick Garland prosecutes the former president, Maher suggested the GOP will eventually come around to it.
“I reasoned why not because if their son was in jail, they would be crying their eyes out. Let me ask you this… what if they did this and won the case—because if you bring this up, you’re going to win the case. He’s in jail. . My theory: Republicans would secretly love it,” Maher said. “I think they like it because it’s out of the way – ‘not our fault’ the way our country secretly likes when Israel bombs Iraq- or Iran.
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Sam Stein, Politico’s White House editor, acknowledged that “there’s something to that,” referring to Republicans who say privately they “can’t stand the guy” and wish he’d go away, adding that “they won’t be totally disappointed.”
“They can pretend they’re being harassed which I think they do more than anyone… and meanwhile, it’ll be while he’s off Twitter!” Maher exclaimed.
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The HBO star insisted that the DOJ has to “run the law” against Trump because Congress can’t indict him, saying the Jan. 6 committee is “making the case” and “showing the blueprint.”
He then pointed to Garland’s recent comments on NBC News, saying the DOJ would bring justice to “everyone criminally responsible.”
“Disrupting a joint session of Congress—I think that would be easier to prove in court,” Maher said. “Now, of course, if you get someone on the jury who’s just a dyed in the wool tramper, that’s a problem … but you’ve got to try.”
Columbia University associate professor John McWhorter was pessimistic that even if Trump goes to prison, “his fans will be the same.”
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But the more optimistic Maher pushed back, suggesting the Jan. 6 hearing had enough of an impact on voters, indicating that “6%” of GOP voters and “more than independents” “could be enough” to make a difference.
“Elections are won by margins… put them together, this is an election,” Maher said.
Last month, Maher suggested that Trump would have been in a stronger position politically in a rematch with President Biden if he had not focused on the results of the 2020 presidential election.
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“If Trump could just skip the election, which he can’t, he could win this as easily as he could just win the drag queen story hour,” Maher said of 2024.
“Anybody can beat Biden … Trump could be the one guy who can beat Biden,” Maher later added.