As Real Time With Bill Maher interviews go, last night’s top-of-show chat with Republican congressman Darrell Issa was low-key, even genial, but Issa’s call for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s involvement in last November’s presidential election has been reverberating ever since.
The Republican congressman from California surprised Maher by agreeing that President Donald Trump’s recently appointed attorney general Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from an investigation. (Watch the interview above.)
“You’re right,” Issa said, “that you cannot have somebody – a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions – who was on the campaign and who was an appointee.” Issa also batted away the option of a Sessions deputy – “another political appointee” – handling the investigation.
Issa’s stance seemed to catch Maher off guard (“Well, that’s certainly not the opinion of the Trump Administration,” the host said before enthusiastically telling the audience, “Give him credit for that answer!”).
Reaction to the exchange has been gathering steam today, with pundits, news organizations and the politically minded of Hollywood weighing in. Here are just a few examples:
As the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from 2011 to 2015, Issa steered investigations into Benghazi and the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, among many others. Maher pointed out that Issa once called Barack Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents.”
Incidentally, during the clip above, Issa jokes that the water he’d been given was really booze. “No, it’s not,” Maher said as he was about to bring up the Russia investigation, “but you’ll wish it was after this question.”
Later in the show, when guest Seth MacFarlane griped that his booze was nothing but water, Maher realized that a staffer had gotten the orders mixed. Issa delivered MacFarlane’s drink.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.