HBO talk-show host Bill Maher on Friday defended Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHickenlooper day-old Senate bid faces pushback from progressives Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Andrew Yang: News coverage of Trump a 'microcosm' of issues facing country MORE's (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign over sexual harassment allegations.

"Let me ask a question about the Democrats. Bernie Sanders got into some trouble the last couple of weeks because apparently there was sexual harassment that was reported on his campaign. They asked him about this, and he apologized," Maher said.


"They asked if he was aware of it, and he said, ‘I was a little busy running around the country trying to make the case.’ Which I had no problem with," he continued. "Just like Hillary [Clinton] wasn’t responsible for Benghazi, she was the secretary of State, it’s not [Sanders’s] responsibility to know everything that goes on, and it didn’t seem like it was the worst kind of sexual harassment." 

“I don’t know what went on in that campaign, but if the Democrats are going to keep killing their own — Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFormer GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment Reid says he wishes Franken would run for Senate again MORE, Eliot Spitzer, [Al] Gore didn’t support [Bill] Clinton through the blowjob horror — I don’t know where it ends,” Maher quipped.

Maher's comments came during a panel segment on his show "Real Time," which returned Friday after a nearly two-month hiatus. Fellow panelists Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell and former Democratic Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.) pushed back on Maher's remarks.

"I don't think Bernie is responsible for every bad actor in his campaign, but it wasn't just one bad actor," Rampell said. 

"The notion that you’re too busy making speeches to know what’s happening in your campaign I don’t think is an acceptable excuse,” Frank added.

Sanders apologized earlier this month to female staffers on his 2016 presidential campaign who said they experienced sexual harassment, acknowledging that the campaign’s procedures for addressing such issues were “clearly inadequate.”

The apology followed after The New York Times and Politico reported that nearly a dozen women who worked for Sanders’s campaign said they were harassed and that their complaints were handled improperly.

The slew of allegations comes as Sanders weighs a presidential run in 2020.