HBO host Bill Maher has warned that the criminal indictment against Donald Trump could backfire on opponents of the former president, likening it to the impeachment of Bill Clinton when he was in the White House.
“This is all, going after the president because of something,” the comedian said on Friday’s episode. “I’ve seen that movie before, and it was called Kill Bill, and America didn’t like it the first time.” at present.
“What don’t you get about ‘sex scandals don’t help presidents’?” he added.
In 1998, Clinton, a Democrat, was impeached by House Republicans on charges of perjury and obstruction stemming from his statements made under oath denying his sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He was acquitted in the Senate, even after admitting that he had indeed had sexual relations with Lewinsky.
Maher noted Clinton’s highest approval rating in office, which came after the impeachment vote: “When they finished him off, he had an approval rating of 73 percent.”
HBO host Bill Maher has warned that a criminal indictment against Donald Trump could backfire on opponents of the former president, comparing it to the impeachment of Bill Clinton.
In 1998, Clinton was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction stemming from his statements under oath denying his sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Maher, a left-leaning analyst who is not a fan of Trump, warned Democrats that a similar dynamic could play out in the Manhattan case against the former Republican president.
Last month, a Manhattan grand jury indicted Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, related to silent money payments made on his behalf to a porn star and former Playboy model. Trump pleaded not guilty.
The criminal case hinges on nuances of the law that are obscured by the casual observer, and Maher argued that these questions would be clouded in the public mind by allegations of extramarital affairs, which Trump denies.
“No matter what the reasons behind a sex scandal are, for the average person, it will always be about sex, and nothing can compete with it,” Maher said.
“The law is boring,” the comedian joked, “It’s the constitutional equivalent of golf.”
“I remember what people were talking about during the Clinton scandal, and it wasn’t the finer point of perjury,” Maher said.
The criminal case against Trump, filed by Manhattan Attorney General Alvin Bragg, accuses the former president of falsifying business records at his firm to conceal the true nature of 11 checks paid to attorney Michael Cohen to reward him for work covering up Trump’s alleged extramarital affairs.
Prosecutors said those checks reimbursed Cohen for $130,000 he paid on Trump’s behalf to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels, who was in negotiations to sell her story of an alleged sexual encounter with the Republican.
Cohen also played a role in arranging payments to Playboy model Karen McDougall and Trump Tower doorman, according to shipping documents.
Last month, a Manhattan grand jury indicted Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, related to silent money payments made on his behalf to a porn star.
Stormy Daniels with Donald Trump in 2006, the time of the alleged relationship
The Bragg case is the first criminal trial of a former president, and it comes as the country prepares for the 2024 presidential election, in which Trump will be the front-runner from the Republican Party.
Maher lamented that the Manhattan case could undermine other potential prosecutions of Trump, who faces investigations over his handling of classified documents after leaving office, the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and his interactions with election officials in Georgia.
Democrats didn’t have to do that. Trump commits real crimes, he commits them on TV.
“Now when the real indictments are served for really serious crimes, we’re going to shoot Stormy Daniels,” he said.
We’ll be so used to seeing Trump go to court, it won’t be as loud, just like we’re used to watching him impeach, which is a real shame, ’cause I’ve been saving my good ol’ drugs for Georgia, he joked.