Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Trump Firing James Comey

Samantha Bee and Nixon counsel John Dean speculate on who might bring Trump down from the inside

Ever since President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, midway through his investigation of the Trump campaign and Russia, "people have begun whispering the 'I' word in earnest," Samantha Bee said on Wednesday's Full Frontal. "But as much fun as it would be to put the country through that again, is impeachment really the answer?" She sat down with Richard Nixon's White House counsel John Dean, a key witness and target in the Watergate scandal, "to see how unfazed he was by Trump's behavior compared to the real corruption of the past," Bee explained. He was pretty fazed.

After estimating how much worse Trump appears to be than Nixon, ethics-wise, Dean said things will likely get worse. "Given the fact he's coming up on the learning curve, there's no telling what he could be like once he understands where the levers are and what the buttons do," he explained. Bee asked how bad things could really get, and Dean brought up the Bush-Cheney unified executive theory of government that could, if adopted by Trump, "quadruple his power." His potential meddling with independent federal agencies is bad, but "the more difficult problem for me is, once he's up on the learning curve and we take this authoritarian personality and turn him loose, we could have a war so easily," Dean said, adding, when asked, "we could have a nuclear one."

Bee, after pulling a face, asked if there is any way to slow that learning curve, or short-circuit it from the inside. "Who's the John Dean of Trump?" Bee asked John Dean. He judged that a good question, and suggested somebody in the White House counsel's office might be forced to come forward with damning information in order to keep their law license. Bee listed all 27 of their names, unsubtly reminding the lawyers they work for the office of the president, not Trump. "They're not cops, and they're not whistleblowers," Dean said. "They have, actually, ethical responsibilities."

Bee filmed the entire interview in 1970s TV format, complete with retro set and gratuitous abuse of legendary TV host Dick Cavett. There is some NSFW language. If that's not a concern, watch below. Peter Weber