December 09, 2020

Stephen Colbert asks the Slate Political Gabfest trio about Trumps pardons and future as GOP kingpin
Slate's seminal podcast, the Political Gabfest, is celebrating 15 years with a live show Wednesday night, and Stephen Colbert spoke with the longtime hosts — John Dickerson, Emily Bazelon, and David Plotz — on Tuesday's Late Show. Colbert called it "my gateway drug for podcasts." The original idea for the Political Gabfest, Bazelon said, was "a show that would be like hanging out at the bar with the panelists on TV after the show." But if you go back to the first episodes, Dickerson said, "it sounds like what the most boring people at the bar, or the people they don't let into the bar, talk about." Colbert wanted to talk about the Axios reports on President Trump's plan to give out pardons "like Christmas gifts." "Are there rules on issuing pardons, or can he just sort of load the pardons in a tank and crop-dust all his cronies with forgiveness?" Colbert asked. "He can give them out as he chooses," Bazelon said. "Maybe he can't pardon himself, but even that isn't clear. But what I like the best about this story you just told is people are being offered pardons who don't want pardons. They're like, 'I didn't do a crime!'" Colbert noted that according to Supreme Court precedent, accepting a pardon is an admission fo guilt. Plotz said Trump made him reconsider his tolerance for a little bit of corruption, but only Bazelon and Dickerson argued he needs to be investigated after he leaves office.
"Why are the Republicans sticking by this guy?" Colbert asked. "Don't the people who are coming up — your Tom Cottons, your Ted Cruzes, your Nikki Haleys — don't they really want him off the scene?" If the 2024 primaries are "about who an be most like Donald Trump, well, Donald Trump's gonna win that," he noted. Bazelon said maybe they will show him the door, but right now "they have a collective action problem." Dickerson found that unlikely. "Anyone in his party, or outside his party, who thinks they can control or define what Donald Trump does has been delivered defeat after defeat," he said, and "trying to move him aside" would similarly fail. Plotz was not convinced Trumpism works without Trump. "Trump has a certain kind of chaotic-evil charisma that none of those other folks has, and the only person I see coming up in the Republican Party is Tucker Carlson." Watch below.

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