Impeach Normalization

Impeachment sends a message about who we are as a country and what we will accept and abide. The rule of law demands action. Refusing to take action is normalizing atrocity. Lawlessness must be confronted regardless of the outcome, as a matter of principle and conscience. Fighting only the battles that you know you will win is a sure way of ensuring you lose; preemptive surrender, in a rapidly consolidating autocracy, is permanent surrender. The American people have suffered enough under Trump; they should not have to suffer due to Pelosi’s capitulation as well. We all deserve better than this.  

Sarah Kendzior: 00:00:11 I'm Sarah Kendzior, a journalist and scholar of authoritarian states and the author of the essay collection, "The View From Flyover Country".

Andrea Chalupa: 00:00:18 I'm Andrea Chalupa, a writer, journalist, and filmmaker focused on Ukraine and Russia, and the writer/producer of the film that's coming up, "Mr. Jones", directed by Agnieszka Holland.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:00:31 And this is Gaslit Nation, a podcast covering corruption and the Trump Administration, and rising autocracy around the world. And we have a lot to talk about this week, including rising autocracy in the U.S., which nobody seems willing to confront in a meaningful way. But first, I am going to ask my dear co-host, Andrea, have you heard about Paul Manafort?

Andrea Chalupa: 00:00:55 Yeah, I heard about him and he's heard about me. [laughs]

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:01:01 No, really, Sarah and I have had a very big weekend, a couple of days. Where do we even start? Like, do you want to implode first or should I implode?

Sarah Kendzior: 00:01:11 I'll implode first. I’ll give the lowdown. You know, Andrea and I were talking briefly before this podcast began. We've been coping with a number of emotions related to the Manafort case. I recommend that you go back and listen t,o in particular, the first three episodes of our podcast, which explain the rise of Paul Manafort and his insertion into the Trump campaign, and his targeting of Andrea's sister, who was a person who basically was a whistleblower regarding Manafort, brought vital information to the public about his doings in Ukraine, and was attacked and threatened for that. Since then, Manafort has been a problem for both of us. I have complained about him vocally. I, you know, today when I was checking on the new indictments, went on his Wikipedia and you know, voilà, there I am with extensive quotes and honestly like, it's not an indication that you're in a good place in life when you're in Paul Manafort's Wikipedia entry.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:02:12 Nonetheless, this has been quite a week. It began with Judge Ellis calling Paul Manafort a, you know, who is a brutal person, a dictator, lackey and oligarch lackey, a career criminal, a mafia associate, someone who is embedded in murder and theft, in the destruction of nations, called him somebody who had led an otherwise blameless life, and contrary to the expectations of the DC legal establishment, who you should not pay attention to, gave him a very minimal sentence of about three to four years. Today, we are recording this right after the decision from judge Amy Berman Jackson who, thankfully, condemned his actions. That was a relief. We didn't know what would happen in that case. Uh, I was worried she would, you know, canonize him and make him a saint after Ellis. So that came as a relief. But nonetheless, her sentence did not match her words. And he's currently set to face about seven years following that.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:03:15 And New York City's prosecution, I think, put a 16 felony count indictment on him––this is breaking in now so we're not completely caught up––therefore making it difficult for Trump to pardon him and then still have him not face time. All of this is frustrating. I mean, the only reason that the relief of Judge Berman Jackson's decision came today is because Ellis' was so grotesque. The entire thing has been a horror and it's been a farce. I think one point that has not been emphasized enough is that both of these judges in the Manafort sentencings have been threatened. Ellis was threatened so badly during his initial proceedings with Manafort over the summer that he had to have a security detail. The jurors were also threatened in that case. So he's threatened and then he goes around and not just gives Manafort this unbelievably light sentence, but praises him.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:04:10 Then you have Berman Jackson who is threatened with murder by Roger Stone, you know, who of course should be not just under a gag order but under lock and key. Nothing happens to him. You know, he gets like a little bit of a mild condemnation and then she also gives him a low sentence. I've been saying over and over that this is a mafia state. This is a transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government and you see this in our judicial system. This is beyond regular corruption. I mean, of course we have a corrupt judicial system, I mean for fuck’s sake, I live in St. Louis, like, I'm deeply aware. But there's more to this than just the typical sentencing disparities that you always see between white people and black people, between rich people and poor people. This is a criminal enterprise directly linked to the President of the United States threatening and abusing their way into minimal repercussions for their crimes and they've been doing this for decades.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:05:11 The people you see in Trump's circle have been committing these crimes without repercussions for decades, going all the way back to Watergate and the pardoning of Nixon, which was abetted by Roger Stone, abetted by Roy Cohn who is Trump's mentor. You can go from that to Iran Contra, where you now see people like Elliott Abrams re-entering US politics. You could look at the War in Iraq and you see John Bolton making a comeback. You can go to Wall Street and basically every goddamn banker that was let loose, that faced no repercussions for their financial crimes that brought this country to its knees, are now installed in the Trump administration. Like, this is the swamp, like, and we are drowning in this swamp. And the lack of repercussions for people’s actions is causing actual harm. This is not politics. This is not about partisanship. This is about public safety.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:06:01 This is about national security. This is about our lives literally on the line, and in the case of me and Andrea, especially Andrea’s sister, Alexandra, is a very literal threat. So, if I sound pissed, it's because I am. If I sound stressed, it's because there is reason. And another reason for my stress is that, uh, certain Representatives in this government, like Nancy Pelosi, apparently seem to find this incredible threat to public safety to be a trivial matter, to not be worth it, that our country is not worth it, our lives are not worth it, the people who have already died or not worth it. So, you know, we are worth it. I mean, I guess that is probably going to be the point of this show is that you are worth it. We are worth it. This country is worth it whether our Representatives and our judicial system thinks so or not. Anyway, you got any thoughts on that?

Andrea Chalupa: 00:06:52 Oh yes. Oh yes I do. You know I do. Um, so, the name of our show, Gaslit Nation, what it is is we’re pointing out the fact that there's abuse in the media, there's abuse by governments, by our government, where we see what's going on. We know what's going on, we see this, and yet we're made to question our sanity. And so when Sarah and I call each other, especially when you have just generally over the years, and we've been having this same conversation since one of the worst terrorist attacks on America, which was the Kremlin hacking our democracy in 2016 and in working very hard and investing a great deal, years, investing years and years of resources into installing their asset as President of the United States––that's going to go down in history as one of the most disastrous terrorist attacks on the United States––and seeing all of this go down and just seeing how normal mainstream pundits and journalists and political leaders are acting about all of this except for it's some rare exceptions, of course, Sarah and I have always called each other to be like, are you seeing this? Just to make sure, just to basically do like a sanity check in. So that's why we call it Gaslit Nation, because what the media leaders are doing now, and for quite some time now, around this issue is gaslighting us. And an alternative name for the show could very easily be also Stay Human because in everything we say and everything we focus on in the show is you want to ground people in what it means to be human, and stand up for our right to be human and everything that that means, ‘cause that's what authoritarian regimes try to do. They try to dehumanize. And we see that with how Trump came to power with, you know, using the classic fake populous tactics of scapegoating brown people, you know, people of color, women, immigrants and so forth.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:08:41 And so we're always standing up for human beings and our right to be human. And we always try to bring that back. And it, especially when we're in this unprecedented disinformation war today, which is being powered by, uh, the social media giants, the Kremlin, North Korea, China, and other other bad actors exploiting all of these loopholes in America and really influencing people––that was a very important component of what, of the attack on our democracy in 2016, like, how widely spread all these bots were and the disinformation that was going around and targeting all sorts of groups and creating real world results in it, and deliberately driving out voters with authoritarian leanings wanting to see a wannabe strong man, wannabe autocrat like Trump in power, all of it. When you have the fake news epidemic like that and you don't know who to believe, and you have Kremlin funded media trying to appeal to audiences abroad with a Progressive Leftist platform pretending to give voice to the voiceless, and news programs like RT that a lot of liberals, including members of Congress have have fallen for an amplified.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:09:46 But yet the Kremlin media back home, to a domestic audience, is xenophobic, anti-gay, anti-democracy, anti-everything. So who do you believe? And so we always bring it down to the human perspective. Look at the humans, stay human, stay human in this situation. So who do you believe in Venezuela for instance? Well, RT and a lot of people on the Left, a lot of influential people on the Left are trying to say that this is some Far-Right American coup to overthrow him. So who do you, who do you know? Who do you trust here in Venezuela? Well, go to the humans. When you have several million human beings fleeing Venezuela and a refugee crisis that could be worse than Syria’s own refugee crisis after like, oh, like seven years of civil war, that's who you believe. You believe the human beings who are caught in the middle.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:10:31 So, Sarah and I on this show are always trying to bring everything down to a human level. And we show our human side a lot. We cry on this show. We allow ourselves to be human and we support each other. This show is first and foremost about two friends who just happened to have spent well over a decade studying authoritarianism, who are helping each other cope right now, where they're seeing a lot of the same playbook that they've studied in their work, looking back on history decades they thought were well in the past, being repeated today. And we help each other cope and make sense of that. But we're first and foremost two friends. And that's what the show is. We're just two friends dealing with all of this.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:11:10 When you get a verdict, like what happened with Judge Ellis. You know when you get a verdict that Paul Manafort, somebody that you've seen inflict, be complicit in unimaginable violence against protesters in Ukraine, just one client, just isolate one client of his, and he's had several clients who were dictators, violent militias driving rape as a war crime. He had just the worst imaginable human rights abuses you could imagine - a whole portfolio of human rights abusers over decades of work as clients. Paul Manafort made his embezzled fortune off of blood money. So, if you just isolate his one client, the Kremlin-backed puppet in Ukraine, and just look at what he inflicted on Ukraine, the violence that he was complicit in in Ukraine. Just look at that. And it just blows your mind that we, in America, have this weird mythology that white collar crime is inherently nonviolent. And I think we need to reform that and confront the fact that white collar criminals who earn blood money, who are, yes, they're committing tax fraud and money laundering and all of that, but what––how did they earn that money? It's blood money. Lives were destroyed because of those fortunes they're embezzling. So, Paul Manafort, with this mythology in America that white collar criminals are inherently nonviolent and therefore should not get strict sentences.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:12:44 That is such a miscarriage of justice. It feels so embarrassing to us today. It feels as humiliating and beneath us as you look back on the Salem witch trials, like, what a farce that was. We need to confront that Paul Manafort is a violent criminal. Paul Manafort is capable of violence. Paul Manafort was complicit in violence. And if you look at the story of my sister, Malcolm Nance, who wrote THE book on the Russian attack on our democracy in 2016 as it was happening, he called my sister Patient Zero. And there's an important reason for that. My sister was not only a victim for being a whistleblower, for risking her life and career to alert the country of what the Russians were doing in 2016, she was a witness to their harassment, to their campaign of active measures against us. She suffered in ways that haven’t even become public yet. That are all her story. That’s her story.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:13:44 That's her right to tell. But we hold up her story all the time because A) private security is extremely expensive and nobody came to my sister's aid in 2016 and said, “we will provide security for you. Thank you for what you're doing for our country.” Not a single person did that. There's a lot of respectable, influential people in media and government who she went to who did not take her seriously. So we, as a strategy after researching how expensive private security was, given all the death threats she was getting and the attempted break-in on her home and her car being broken into and trashed inside multiple times, all of that, we couldn't afford private security. So, we decided to amplify her story for her own security. That was the cheapest way we could get private security for her. So not only do we hold up her story all the time on the show and did a lot in real time when all that was happening, but we also do it to hold it up as, like, look at what they're capable of. Look at what they do to people. And we know from multiple reports now that Paul Manafort had devised a strategy from the beginning and and carried it through even after he had been arrested where he was advising the White House on targeting my sister, the FBI, and Steele in trying to flip the script and divert attention away from the Russia investigation by pinning it all on them: on my sister, the FBI and Christopher Steele.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:14:59 And so with everything that my sister was put through, the harassment––and that harassment carries on to this day. She had her car broken into and trashed inside when Whitaker took over, which was just recently––so this harassment goes on and off, continues to this day. We never know when it's going to flare up. I live with, you know, when my mother calls me at an odd hour, I live with the feeling of the first thought in my mind is, oh, something's happened to Allie. You know, I live with that. And so what happened with the judge Ellis verdict... it's such a denial of human rights, of whistleblowers, human rights of us who are on the front lines of risking everything to expose this. And if they can do this to my sister, they can do this to any of us. Imagine what they're doing to the men and women of the FBI who are central in investigating Trump and Russia, and the men and women in New York state who are central to investigating all of Trump and Manafort's financial crimes.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:15:47 They do this, we've seen with Weinstein and his, the survivors of his crimes, those survivors being harassed and orchestrated campaigns like this that were funded, uh, black ops, you know, against these survivors. Like, this is what happens to people. This is happening. And Paul Manafort is a violent criminal. The fact that he's rich and arrogant doesn't excuse that or doesn't erase it. Paul Manafort is a violent criminal. He is complicit in violence. And when Judge Ellis, who represents ––he comes across as like the perfect demographic of a Fox News viewer with the shots he was taking at the US government and just being really arrogant from the bench––when Judge Ellis gave that little slap on the wrist to Paul Manafort and said he had a “blameless life”, which is the most darkly morbid thing I've heard in a very long time–and we've been covering a lot of dark, morbid issues obviously on this show––just “blameless life.”

Andrea Chalupa: 00:16:45 That should be the epitaph of Judge Ellis when he leaves us, leaves this earth, he should be remembered for that. That is his legacy: blameless life of a man who was complicit in unimaginable violence against investigative journalists and pro-democracy protesters just in Ukraine alone, just in Ukraine alone out of is a massive portfolio of earning blood money from some of the worst human rights abusers today. Blameless life.

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Sarah Kendzior: 00:17:13 No, I mean, it's horrifying. And I think you're touching on something that's been one of the most frightening things we've had to deal with since 2016 when both Andrea and I started, you know, delving deeply into this. You know, we were among the first people to, you know, talk to the national audience about Trump and Russia and Manafort. It’s that there's no one to turn to. You know, and I've talked about this many times, this issue of normalcy bias, that people assume that if a criminal is dangerous, that if the country is under threat, that surely somebody is going to come in and they're going to stop it and they're going to help you and they're going protect the public and they're going to be on the side of democracy and against criminality. And that is not the case. We don't have people we can turn to. Everybody is looking for a savior. You know, this began with Muller. You know, I've talked previously about how Mueller is basically viewed as this Messiah. You know, there's a cult around Mueller. And it's not a cult started by Mueller. He's been very quiet. But people have projected all of their anxieties and expectations onto him. And like any cult that had a, you know, an end times date and a messianic figure, once Mueller let Flynn go free, to the protests of another judge in DC who was so horrified by this because much like Manafort, Flynn is a real danger. He's somebody who was treating nuclear secrets. He is a traitor to this country. He was working for Russia and for Turkey.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:18:42 He's a sociopath, he's violent and Mueller doesn't care. He let that guy go, he let him come to my city and you know, and then we see the same thing. There are all these kind of elite establishment legal experts who have been offering reassurances that of course Mueller knows what he's doing, and of course justice will prevail because this is America. And of course Paul Manafort is going to die in jail and you know, okay, so Ellis didn't give him a big sentence. That just means Judge Berman Jackson will––none of that is happening. That investigation has sank. And, and I don't understand why. You know, we have questions, and this is a show where we ask these questions and these are not condemnations. These are not us saying that Mueller is evil, that anyone is evil. We are asking about the judicial process and about public safety because from the get go I have noticed problems, uh, with the Manafort case in this investigation. Manafort announced that he was cooperating with Mueller the day that Papadopoulos––after lying to the Mueller probe, after impeding the investigation––received only two weeks in prison.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:19:55 You know, there's no deterrent there. And then immediately Manafort announces, “Oh yeah, I'm going to cooperate too.” Because before that he had a jury trial and had actually been convicted, despite the threats to the judge and the jury. And I immediately said, you know, “this is a con, this is Paul Manafort. Like for Christ's sakes, like all this information is online. You need to be aware of what he's doing. He's lying to you. He's impeding the investigation because he knows that if he does this with Mueller, he gets a shorter sentence.” And I genuinely am shocked that the Mueller probe, they either couldn't see this, and I don't know how I could and they couldn't, or they are allowing it in some way. But regardless, the issue is efficacy. Like is this an effective investigation in terms of curbing threats to public safety and international security?

Sarah Kendzior: 00:20:45 Like no! It is not. You know, we see this with Manafort. We are worried for our lives that Manafort may get out and there is no one we can go to. Like, we are just journalists. We are just trying to give information to the public because Congress hasn't been really doing it. And there are some people in Congress who have, and I’m appreciative of that. And there are some judges who have been trying, you know, like the judge in the Flynn case. There are still remnants of conscience and of democracy and of a desire to protect people and to do the right thing. But you know, much in the way Andrea, when she gets calls from her sister that come at random times and she worries about her safety, I'm worried about hers. And there are people in my life who know the extent of what I've been through and what's been going on, who worry about mine.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:21:38 And when you're told, you know, by your own Representatives, they're going after the people who've done this, that it's not worth it. You know, and I'm a mother, you know? I mean, I have, I have children and I want to protect them and I want to be protected so I can stay as their mother. So that I can, you know, do something for my country, so that I can be there when they grow up. And there's no one, there's no one we can go to for this because the corruption is so endemic and so deep. And so, you know, we've both, we know the reality of the situation. Both Andre and I have studied authoritarian regimes for a long time. You know, most of my work was on Uzbekistan, which has never had some sort of glorious victory. It's never had relief from oppression.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:22:25 And Andrea hass mostly studied Ukraine, you know, which has had victories. It has shown how the power of the people can force change. But none of that takes away from the human toll. And so, you know, yeah, like yes, my voice is breaking. Yes, you know, I'm borderline crying because this isn't partisan to me. This is not a game to me. This is my life. This is the life of others. And there's not been a day that I've woken up since June of 2018, you know, when we first got word that they were taking children away from their parents and putting them in cages, and there's not a day I wake up and I don't think what those kids are going through with those parents are going through. And especially now that we know that they've been sexually assaulted. And I think if I were in a position of real power, if I were a member of Congress, if I were Mueller, if I were a judge, you know, what would I do to help those people?

Sarah Kendzior: 00:23:18 Because they will never get that time of their lives back. They will never get that time with their children back. But, you know, it can be stopped. You can stop the level of this atrocity. You can stop it from continuing. You can stop the consolidation, if you have courage, if you have will. And if you have love for your people, for the people of your country. And what I see, it's glibness and dismissal and an abandonment. And it is just the most brutal thing. And I'm glad that there are people out there who will fight, even though the odds were very long. You know and I'll fight too because it's my obligation as a human being and as a citizen. But it is deeply, deeply discouraging to see how deep the rot goes, and the gutlessness, the unwillingness to root it out or to even ask questions––this sort of voluntary submission. You know, we have Freedom of Speech and we should, we should use it. You know, and if you have other tools at your disposal, you should be using those too.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:24:26 Yeah. Well, yeah. So in this whole so called Twitter world of um, the Resistance, I think Sarah and I stick out as an anomaly and people like to make fun of us and say that we're demoralizing and all of it. We, like so many people out there, get a lot of um, information and feel comforted knowing that there's so many brilliant people who are making the time to fight for their democracy, to rebuild their country, to call people out. And we need all of us. This is an all hands on deck moment. But what's really sort of funny is that Sarah and I have sort of developed a reputation, the show has, of being doomsday or whatever you want to call it, which is bullshit because they're erasing an entire part of us, which is always driving people to action. We started the podcast specifically for the Midterms to help people stay engaged.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:25:17 [Be]cause this was a crucial election for us. We ran contests, we did the thousand door knock challenge. I did that with people. I knocked on hundreds of doors. And so we believe, as we have since the very beginning, that people have a right to know what's going on. In the early hours of Trump winning the election and shocking the world, in those early hours, Sarah and I did not collapse and buckle. We got to work. At 3:00 AM I was on the phone with Sarah and my sister was crafting a memo to as high up as she could go in the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign outlining exactly who Paul Manafort is and why given Russia's attack on our democracy warranted a closer examination of the voting results and given big widespread voting hacking. And she put that on Facebook. We put it on Twitter, it went viral and we launched the Audit the Vote Movement to amplify this. And within, you know, within days, Kushner’s Observer did a hit piece on us and then a contributor to RT did a hit piece on us and the Kremlin did a hit piece on us and whatever. And people thought we were crazy because the New York Times came out and said the paper of record that the FBI sees no link between Trump and Russia.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:26:28 So Sarah and I looked incredibly crazy for not only banging on about Trump and Russia, but also being so called alarmists because we knew how bad this could get, because we spent well over a decade setting authoritarianism. Authoritarianism is not innovative. All those abusive practices are not innovative. The complicit actors that they need, the access journalists that they need in order to abuse power, none of that. That's all been done before. My film, “Mr. Jones”, is about conformity. It is about access journalism. It is about a lack of moral courage in governments. It is about governments and big businesses profiting from doing business with mass murdering regimes. It is about the pressures and dangers that investigative journalist and whistleblowers go to to work against these systems to expose the truth. It is about today, even though my film takes place in 1933. But it's all the same playbook ‘cause authoritarianism does not innovate.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:27:25 The only thing that changes are the toys they have access to to suppress us. That's it. And so, Sarah and I got to work with Audit the Vote. We joined with others. What we were doing was ultimately amplifying the computer scientists, like J. Alex Halderman and Barbara Simons, who were warning us for well over a decade that our elections could be hacked. We were, we were amplifying them. I was closely involved with launching the March for Truth demanding transparency and protection of the Russia-Trump investigation. Sarah spoke at that in St. Louis. That came together with complete strangers. We found each other on Twitter. None of us had ever done a real life in the streets march before. We took a leap of faith. And within weeks, we had a nationwide march in over 150 cities and with sister marches around the world with members of Congress and wonderful celebrities coming out to support us and speak at these marches.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:28:20 And Michael Tracey was of course famously thrown down into the concrete by Maxine Waters. And that was like a nice little karmic present for us, ‘cause Michael Tracey, the Far-Right troll, was always bashing people like me and Sarah. So I thought that was the Universe saying “good job guys.” A little cherry on the cake on that one. But um, yeah. And then we launched the podcast and that was deliberate, like I said, for the Midterms, to help drive out the vote, to help people stay engaged [be]cause our democracy depended on it. And so don't erase that part of us ever. Sarah and I've always operated from a place of, we believe that people need to have this information. The people need to have these insights. Because we see as clear as day what is happening. For us, it's our years of research staring back at us. A lot of people haven't had to stare at the things that we've stared at.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:29:06 You know, there's things like when I was studying Stalin's genocide famine in Ukraine, which my grandfather survived through. When I read about that, you read things like “parents driven mad by hunger.” They eat their own children. That was not uncommon. You have an orphanage so overrun with children who are starving. They turn on an eat one of the children there. You hear these horrendous stories. You're staring evil in the face and you do that again and again and again in your research and do that for years. There’s one security analyst in Berlin who's focused on Russian aggression in Europe and he was telling me that Ukrainian soldiers right now facing Russia's invasion, they're going up against the heavy machinery from the Russian military that no American soldiers had to fight against. We always say that Ukraine is an experimental laboratory for Russia. Right now, Russia is using at state of art equipment on invading Ukraine, a country that's had its military hobbled under Yanukovych’s corruption. And so I've had to go through, in my research for my, the various things I was working on and collecting photographs of Ukrainian soldiers squashed like bugs by Russian tanks. And so Sarah and I, over the last decade and a half, we've been pretty much acclimated to the worst of human nature. And so, it's easy for us to see what's going on here. So for instance, if you look back on a previous show, you know, we're not psychics, we're not Cassandra's, it's because of all this experience in our research.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:30:33 It's very easy to see, for instance, that when you have Stephen Miller's border policy, which is separating families, ripping children away from their parents, it's very easy to understand what's going to happen next. We said on the show, we said on earlier episodes, that this was going to lead to sex abuse. Clearly. That's obvious. And how do we know that? Well, that's just because we've seen that––we've stared into the darkest of human nature. If you look at the Soviet period, if you look at the Great Terror, who did that attract? That attracted the sadists. Who do you think was carrying out the torture and all the mass murders? People who are attracted to that. For instance, read up on the life of [Lavrentiy] Beria. He was the chief of the Soviet Security and Secret Police, the NKVD, under Stalin. If you look up his story, it's, it's B-E-R-I-A. His, what he liked to do, he used to like to lure women off the street and torture them. His whole story reads like a Saw horror film. He was a sadist. The person that ran Stalin’s Secret Police was a sadist. Even the people around him in the Communist Party leadership did not trust their daughters and wives around him. He was a sadist. And so when you look at the abuses that Steven Miller, Trump and Ivanka and Jared Kushner are carrying out, who are they employing to carry out the dirty work? Who is attracted to that dirty work? People that will want to take advantage of this opportunity. That includes pedophiles and sadists and racists. That's who's running into ICE. It's a big recruitment flag for that type of character when we've seen this throughout history. It's the sadists, it's the pedophiles, it's those disgusting human beings that will tend to carry out the dirty work for these authoritarian regimes. So, no, Sarah and I are not psychics. We just happen to understand how this works because we've studied history very closely for a very long time. And so when people scream at us for being demoralizing because we don't trust in Robert Mueller making all of this go away, because we don't believe that Nancy Pelosi is taking the right position on impeachment (and it's a dangerous position, we believe, in fact), when we call that out and we're accused of being all sorts of things, as demoralizing. We're trying “to demoralize and divide the opposition. Therefore, we must be Kremlin agents” and all the ridiculous things they like to lob at us from these anonymous bot accounts and some passive aggressive influential Resistance accounts, they're missing the bigger picture here. And that is simply this. Sarah and I warned everyone that we had to keep Trump from getting into power. And she and I and others, our other friends, did everything we could to try to stop them. Audit the Vote was just one thing. We tried everything we could to try to keep him out of office because we knew that once he got in there, it's very hard to get him out. Say what you want about Cohen's credibility; what he was right about under oath was that in 2020, we should all be concerned about Trump giving up power and any sort of peaceful transition of leadership should Trump lose the election. Yes, we should all be concerned about that. Sarah and I were screaming about that back in November, 2016. And so the other thing we want to underline to everyone, including influential Resistance accounts, including anyone who thinks for a minute that we might be Kremlin, we might be demoralizing, we might have some hidden, secret agenda...

Andrea Chalupa: 00:33:48 It's simply this: we need to do everything we can, go as hard as we can now, to bring it all the surface now. There is no negotiating with terrorists. There is no negotiating with terrorists {and we'll get further into that) because we are not Ukraine. America is not Ukraine. If it gets worse, if it keeps getting worse, and we just let this go, what you're seeing now is normalization and normalization is absolutely deadly. Ukraine is a rare example of a popular uprising succeeding. Syria was a popular uprising and it led into a bloody civil war that created one of the worst refugee crises since World War II. Okay? Venezuelans right now are being killed, risking their lives and freedom, trying to lead a popular uprising. Popular uprisings don't tend to work. And whether they work or not, they require you to sacrifice your life and they require you to be willing to do that and put you and yourself, your family at risk.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:34:49 The closest thing America has had to anything like that; we had authoritarianism here in the United States, in practice in the Jim Crow South for centuries before and after America's founding of slavery. That was unimaginable brutality of authoritarianism where women were raped as though it was nothing, where families were broken apart, where children were raped and sold off. That was like––it was beyond a humanizing. Animals were treated better than slaves were in the American colonies in America. And so if you want to look at what overcoming authoritarianism looks like in a more relatable case study than far, far off, remote Ukraine, then look at what black men and women and allies who are not black had to do to overthrow the authoritarianism of the Jim Crow South. People had to be willing to die. They had to be willing to risk their family's lives.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:35:39 They crossed that bridge in Selma directly into violence. Like do you want to get to that point in this country? Because what we're telling you is it's the same playbook. Authoritarianism is the same playbook. We're not reading tea leaves. We're reading history. We're reading case studies of history. We're reading case studies of this playing out in countries today. We do not want it to get to that point because what's going to happen as we're seeing in Turkey is normalization sets in and people start justifying decisions they don't quite understand. And they say, “there must be a reason for this. The leaders must have something bigger in mind. They must be playing 3D chess.” How often do we hear about the 3D chess? 3D chess has become another way of saying normalization. And so, I have a friend who lived for a very long time in Turkey and she saw Erdoğan come in, this dumb George W. Bush type character, turn into an autocrat, purge Turkey, bring it all under his control.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:36:37 And she was shocked to go back to Turkey recently and just see how so many friends of hers there who were once so outspoken against Erdoğan are now justifying his decisions. Why? Because that's so much more comfortable than fighting and risking your life and exposing yourself and going through all types of harassment. Normalization is like self-medication and it's so tempting. And I can tell you from my experiences of working with Agnieszka Holland, who was the director of my film, Mr. Jones, she was in Prague in 1968 during the Prague Spring when people were protesting against the Kremlin's invasion. They wanted to overthrow oppression. They wanted to live free. And it was this beautiful coming of age story for her where she had never felt such optimism and excitement and you just felt the sweat and sex of being young and just seeing that there was a future of hope ahead of you.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:37:37 All you had to do is fight for it and risk your life for it. And then all of those dreams were dashed and they were invaded and they were shut down and repressed. And one thing that Agnieszka Holland told me about having witnessed the Czechoslovakia Prague––you know, being in Prague in 1968, being thrown in prison in 1968 for her activism––one thing she told me is that what she learned from that experience is that fear spreads very quickly. Fear spreads very quickly. We're all outspoken now. We are all organized now. That could go away if this continues. 10 years from now, when Ivanka is the first woman president, imagine––if we don't recognize our country now and what it's doing, creating a sex trafficking ring with our tax dollars––imagine 10 years from now what our country will look like. Who will be brave 10 years from now?

Andrea Chalupa: 00:38:28 So we don't want to get to that point. And if you look at the example of Prague, there was a young Czech student, Jan Polák, who set himself on fire in Prague. And he did that to protest normalization, because the fear had spread and people just accepted it and went on with their lives, and they came up with excuses for why things were happening the way they're happening. They didn't, they stopped questioning. They kept their heads down and they lived. You can live in authoritarian regimes. You can carry on with your life. There are comedians that will entertain you. There's all sorts of stuff that could happen. Like, in my grandfather's memoir, he wrote about, you know, stand-up comics are coming around, are entertaining the kids, you know, young men and women his age, in his age group, that were supposed to be inspired by the communist regime to build this new communist regime.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:39:16 The good times still exist. It's just when they're killing people around you and people are disappearing around you. When human rights abuses are being carried out in your name and your country's doing that, you don't have anything that you can say against it. You just keep your head down and you live and you hope they don't come for you. And then you have to make the decision: do I stay away from these people? Because those people over there might expose me to risk, violence against me, against my own government. You're forced to make decisions. You're forced to shut down. So, if you think that all sounds extreme, remember that we were the alarmists that were laughed at. That was us for a very long time. And so we're telling you now that the end game, 10, 20 years from now, if we don't turn this around in a very big way, if we don't flush people out of our system in a very big way, and we don't accept that you absolutely cannot negotiate with the Republican Party, we might be in very big danger here.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:40:10 So, we want to get into now impeachment and Nancy Pelosi and our fury there, because we feel like that is some gaslighting going on.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the statement that Pelosi made, you know, our frustration with it, the immorality of it––it’s not that she is against impeachment, not merely that––it is the purposeful cruelty with which she said it, you know, where she said very explicitly, um, you know, “I'm about to make news” and then went on to say that Trump “wasn't worth it.” And that also, you know, the reason that they weren't going to have impeachment hearings was because they could not reach a bipartisan consensus. And as we have described, without exaggeration, the GOP has been hijacked by a transnational crime syndicate. You know, they are deeply implicated in all of Trump's crimes, you know, his multiple campaign managers have been indicted. Michael Cohen was handling the finances of the Republican National Committee. And then, of course you, can look at individual Senators/Representatives as well. And of course you can look at the way that they will defend Trump, even though his crimes were committed in the public domain, even though we know that he is a traitor, even though the intelligence agencies have been saying, since 2016, that he is a national security threat, even though our country is collapsing before our eyes, they will never impeach him. The reason that we want impeachment ––you know, and we certainly want oversight hearings, too––is to present information to the American public, is to get evidence out there and to let people make up their own minds. And throughout time, this is an effective tactic. It worked during Watergate. And yes, this is not Watergate. Nowadays, people are in information silos. You have people watching Fox, you have people getting disinformation from Facebook. You have people watching, uh, you know, liberal networks. But there has been an exception to this and that has been the public hearings. From Cohen to Comey, you have seen the nation tune in and watch the democratic process unfold. And yes, of course, that includes Republicans lying and having tantrums, but what you're seeing is, you know, representative government, debating in action.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:42:31 You're seeing people moving closer to the process of exposing what happened in 2016: what has happened since? What happened in the decades prior? Why were people not accountable? Why were criminals allowed to get away with things? All those tough questions are being asked and they're not necessarily being answered, but they're moving closer to the truth. And that has power in and of itself. And what Pelosi is saying is that none of this is worth it. What matters to her are Trump's feelings. She thinks she's getting some little dig in at him. That's what defenders of Pelosi’s statement have been saying is that, “oh my goodness, what an amazing, you know, 3D chess, strategic move. Like she said, Trump wasn't worth it and it hurt his little narcissistic ego.” Trump does that give a fuck! Trump cares about money, about power, and about immunity from prosecution.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:43:25 Those are the only things that he cares about. And those are things that you can actually make an impact with if you are having impeachment hearings because that forces that process, that spurs the public in a different direction, and it may even spur indictments, which are the most effective means of doing this. And then, you know, one last thing is throughout 2016, before the election, Andrea and I, you know, were urging officials to treat this as a criminal probe because Trump doesn't have shame, you know, he's not going to bow out because he's embarrassed or because a scandal comes to light. He covers up crime with scandal. What matters is actual prosecution. And what happened with the Obama administration and especially with Comey and the FBI, is that they knew full well that Trump was linked to a transnational crime syndicate, mostly buffered by Russia, deeply attached to the Kremlin, as well as hostile non-state actors like Wikileaks.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:44:22 They knew that the vote was going to be compromised. Harry Reid issued multiple open letters to James Comey begging him to inform the American public of what they were going to do. And they said nothing. And their reason for that is “it's too divisive. It's too partisan”––which first of all like, wake up! Like, where have you been since the mid-nineties? You know, this country is already deeply divided. This country is a bleeding, open wound and it is not a Red or Blue thing, as I've said many times, it is purple. It is purple like a bruise. We are hurting already in unison and we are aware of that. What we need is truth. What we need is justice. And so when I hear, “oh, you know, they were too afraid of making Mitch Mcconnell mad” or “we need to get his permission first” or “we need to reason with the Republicans.”

Sarah Kendzior: 00:45:10 You cannot reason with them. You cannot win with them. They are not going to give an inch and so you have to fight for the people. This is not about Trump. This is not about making little digs at Trump's ego. This is about the American people and their safety and an imminent national security crisis that it is your obligation to stop. It is your constitutional obligation to stand up for the people and stop these atrocities. And the fact that this is not just predictable, but to some extent preventable, and people lack the courage or the compassion to move forward––it is reprehensible. And so yes, this is not a personal attack on Pelosi. I don't care about her as a person. I care about her as somebody who is wielding power and she is wielding power in an abusive way. It is not a strategy.

Sarah Kendzior: 00:46:03 If anything, I think she has alienated voters from 2020. I will say right now I'm voting for the Democratic candidate no matter who it is, and no matter how angry, I am because Trump is a, you know, existential threat. So of course you vote against the existential threat. However, younger voters are turning away, there is a racial division, I think, in terms of how Pelosi’s statement has been interpreted. You see this with commentators like Charles Blow, Malcolm Nance, Peter Dow, Ferdinand Omandi, like, you know, they are thinking of this in terms of the people. They are thinking of what Andrea was just talking about, about the, you know, the decades and centuries of oppression of non-white people in the United States, of sanctioned authoritarian practices like slavery, the genocide of Native Americans and internment camps for the Japanese. They know full well that not just it can happen here, but it has happened here and it is happening here and you're not doing anything about it because you don't think we're worth it.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:47:01 Mmhm. Yup. I've got a lot to say on that. And it was just, it hit so hard, after following judge Ellis's horrible ruling, for Pelosi to come out, you know, and then say “we're not going to impeach” and you know, “it's too soon” and we're waiting for this mythological unicorn of bipartisan support. I mean that was like a double-stab in the heart. And I want to say ‘cause I know we saw so many influential resistance accounts fall in lockstep behind her statement, and all these bots spring up pushing her statement saying, “Pelosi's playing 3D chess. There's 3D chess going on here.” And we're like mmhmm. And Sarah and I of course get alienated because we're pointing out what we, what is the obvious? And that must mean we're Kremlin agents, surely. And if you go back to an interview we recently did with a prominent investigative journalist in Ukraine, it was called something like Lessons from the Revolution in Ukraine Five Years Later.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:47:58 And that was with Nataliya Gumenyuk who runs Hromadske Media, which is an independent media company in Ukraine founded by leading prominent investigative journalists there, including one who launched the Revolution itself with a Facebook post. And Nataliya––I know from her work, from knowing her over the years–– that group of journalists, they get accused of being pro-Kremlin simply by exposing corruption inside Ukraine, by speaking truth to power of elected leaders inside Ukraine. “How dare they do such a thing when the country is being invaded by Russia? Don't they know that the Kremlin is the enemy and we all have to be united and the opposition has to be strong and united? And why be divisive?” And so here you have these investigative journalists in Ukraine who also, by the way, lost someone central to their group of friends in a car bomb in Kyiv in July, 2016, which hasn't––his murder has not been solved yet.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:48:49 His girlfriend was the editor-in-chief of Ukrayinska Pravda, one of the top respected credible journals/newspapers in Ukraine. So these are investigative journalists and reformers that are living on the front lines of kleptocracy. There’s a lot of lessons we can learn from them and they're risking their lives and careers to do it and they're fighting two wars. They’re fighting the Kremlin and they're fighting their own government, the corruption in their own government, and they get accused of being divisive and demoralizing and pro-Kremlin and all the bullshit these anonymous bots lob at me and Sarah––that some resistance accounts like to snidely sort of point out or you know, subtweet us or whatever––we know, we see it. Again, we are holding up the authoritarian, the, this whole kleptocracy playbook. This is how it works. People that point out the obvious tend to get labeled and we've been labeled all types of things. [laughs]

Andrea Chalupa: 00:49:42 And so, what I want to say about impeachment. So let's just break down some of the stupid stuff we've been hearing in defense of Pelosi’s stupid statement. Um, number one is what's the point of impeachment when it's going to fail? Don't do it. It's going to fail.” No shit, it's going to fail. We did an entire [episode] called Arms for Impeachment in early January, and we––everything we said then we're going to say now, again, which is, we have the House right now. Democrats control the House right now. Do not throw away your power. Claim that power and call impeachment hearings, because if there's anything that autocrats and wannabe autocrats love more than themselves, it's their brand. And a House voting for impeachment––that headline, traveling around the globe in all these different languages that––will send a strong message to the world about what the United States stands for. We stand for the Rule of Law. We stand for exposing kleptocracy. We stand for damaging the brands of autocrats and wannabe autocrats. And Trump's brand is international, as we know. And Ivanka Trump is representing us on the world stage, do not forget. Jared Kushner is it representing us on the world stage. So, impeachment just voted and voted by the House with victory for impeachment just in the House alone, sends a very strong and damaging, resounding message to Trump's brand, to the fragile little ego of Trump himself and his fragile little ego daughter, Ivanka Trump. It sends a very strong message to them and makes them wear a big, orange letter of shame [laughs] when they have to travel abroad and represent our country.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:51:33 Oh, weren't you guys impeached? Didn’t the House vote for impeachment? The world will love that. The world will love that if we have to make Ivanka Trump where the cone of shame of impeachment every time she has to go see Merkel, the Leader of the Free World, and pretend to be on her level, as Ivanka Trump likes to do. So, first and foremost, okay, we understand the Senate, not in a million years, will vote for impeachment, no matter what you do for them. No matter what you do, there is no bipartisan support for impeachment. There never will be. It doesn’t matter what Mueller comes out with. Did you not see what Dr. Ford came out with when it came to Kavanaugh? Did you not hear those heartbreaking stories of these women crying saying, “please don't support Brett Kavanaugh, an attempted rapist. Please do not do that.” And they did it anyway in the Senate.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:52:21 That is who you're relying on for bipartisan support? That will never happen in a million years. Obama, in 2016, asked Mitch Mcconnell “please unite with me to come public and tell American voters that the Russians are attacking our democracy right now.” And Mitch Mcconnell refused. Donna Brazile sent a letter to her counterpart at the RNC, the head of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, and said, “please join me in solidarity to inform the DHS that we are uniting, as two parties, to stand against the Russians’ attack on our vote in 2016. Please join me.” Nothing from Reince Priebus, who would go on to serve in Trump's White House. Nothing. And then, of course, you had the Kavanaugh hearings. Do you think Susan Collins can be relied on as an ally to do the right thing for our country? To put country above party? Absolutely not. Do you think that fake Democrat in West Virginia, whatever his name is, the one that voted to––

Sarah Kendzior: Manchin, I think.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:53:24 Yeah. Do you think he’s going to be on our side? [laughs] No. He's one of them. So, this whole bizarre self-own of saying we're waiting for bipartisan support, which will never come, it reminds me so much of the miscalculations the Obama Administration made in their own foreign policy where they negotiated like idiots with the Kremlin when it came to Syria. You cannot negotiate with terrorists. Here you had the Kremlin deliberately bombing civilians, according to NATO, deliberately creating a civilian refugee crisis to flood Europe to further divide the EU around this whole debate over refugees and what to do about this big influx of refugees. At the same time, the Kremlin is funding the Far-Right and all these anti-refugee candidates. Do you think you can negotiate with terrorists who deliberately bomb civilians, deliberately, like, killing more civilians in Syria than isis? Do you think these people are trustworthy on any single level whatsoever?

Andrea Chalupa: 00:54:24 They're not at all. We always talk about values on this show. We bring it down to values. If you see people that are that despicable in their values, like Mitch Mcconnell, who are willing to betray their country for their own self gain, you need to just dismiss them immediately and not trust a single thing they say. You need to get them out of the way. They do not exist to you. You instead focus on your own power and all the leverage you have and you push hard. You borrow an ounce of their ruthlessness and you push hard and you get impeachment going and you get all this out in the open, because we need that label carried on Ivanka Trump. We need the stink of impeachment all over Ivanka Trump when she dares to go represent us at the security conference. That's reclaiming America and our standing in the world.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:55:09 So, that's one thing, okay? [laughs]––the importance of the symbolism. The second thing is you are taking such a stupid gamble by saying “it's too soon and let's all wait for the Mueller Report.” Okay? What if the Mueller Report gets hijacked? We have no doubt that if the Mueller Report were allowed to be carried out without any obstruction, that it would be absolutely damning. If there's any justice in the world, the Mueller Report will outline that this was an attack of war on the United States in 2016, what the Kremlin did. And it would be devastating. And so many more complicit actors would be brought to the surface. So, if there's any justice in the world, that is what the Mueller Report would be. But, as we're seeing, the stakes are so high here, we are fighting right now for who is going to lead the Free World.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:55:52 We're fighting right now to a uphold the Western Alliance. The stakes could not be higher. So you can imagine that both sides are trying to outmaneuver each other and outsmart each other and outplay each other, and that that includes betrayal and false promises and a very precarious negotiation going on. Okay. If you think that Mueller Report is going to come out completely clean like it should, without anything watered down or any language tampered with. So that's a big “if”, that you're waiting for that big bombshell, the Mueller Report, and that's going to be the game changer. And then you'll call impeachment. What if they outplay you? And what if something happens? You get outsmarted. These guys are desperate to save themselves and they have a lot of power now. They have the Supreme Court, they have the White House, they have the Senate, they're packing the courts and they’re getting a lot of judges. So what if they outplay you here? It's very precarious if you think you can negotiate the situation and rely on a untampered-with Mueller report that goes to the public. That's what you're basically betting on, and that’s a very––you're putting all your eggs in one basket here. So, good luck to all of us [laughs] that you basically set up that psychological framing that we're all waiting for this big bombshell or Mueller Report that may or may not come. So that's why you call impeachment now, because you have enough now. And it's not just the Russian collusion, it's also what Jared Kushner is doing, selling our security secrets for his own personal gain. What Jared Kushner is doing, helping the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia kill a journalist right before he's about to get married. It's what they continue to do.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:57:22 They have so many crimes for you to expose. So, impeachment is just you carrying out your constitutional duties, and the fact that you come out and refuse to do that, that is abusive to us. That is absolutely––that is abuse. That is abuse. I was as demoralized by Nancy Pelosi abusing us as I was by Judge Ellis abusing us. It was just too much abuse for one week. I couldn't handle it. I was so depressed. And we delayed the show ‘cause we wanted Judge Jackson's verdict, obviously, but we also needed to delay the show for our own self-care because this was just too much that we were being hit with at the same time. And we're not being dramatic here. This is just the facts that we’re pointing out.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:57:59 If you think we're sounding extreme here, or you think that we're coming after your beloved Nancy, just look at the fact that, in 2011, when Mueller gave his his Iron Triangle speech–– where he has the director of the FBI painted the new face of the mafia and it is fancy accounting firms, fancy law firms, violence and blood money and fancy consultants and all of it––basically he painted the entire picture of the coalition of corruption that would get Donald Trump elected five years later in 2016. That is what the Iron Triangle speech is. And in that speech, Mueller, then director of the FBI, he goes into the head of the Russian mafia as being an example, as an idea, of who is benefiting, who's running these Iron Triangles, and that's [Semion] Mogilevich. And he's saying that Mogilevich, the head of the Russian mafia, he's “going to be on the FBI 10 Most Wanted List until he is caught.” That's Mueller, the director of the FBI, promising us that. A couple years later under Comey, James Comey as FBI director, for some reason Mogilevich is taken off of the FBI 10 Most Wanted List.

Sarah Kendzior: In 2015. I have to add that. In 2015, as Trump's coalition was meeting with the Russians abroad that Fall, that is when he was removed from the list.

Andrea Chalupa: 00:59:18 Mmhmm. And by that point, Manafort was already taking meetings with Assange in an embassy and so forth, and all of it was was falling into place. And Maria Bettina was working with, you know, having sex with some gross Republican [laughs] and pollinating the NRA. Like, all of those operations were already in gear. And then the Russian mafia elects their asset as Present United States, Donald Trump. So, do not tell me that there is some 3D chess going on by James Comey taking the head of the Russian mafia off the 10 Most Wanted FBI List, when Robert Mueller, before him, promised that he would be on that Most Wanted List until he was caught and brought to justice. Do not tell me that the FBI, in 2015, James Comey was playing some 3D chess by doing that. Don't tell me that the FBI allowed Donald Trump to become President of the United States, that the FBI allowed Paul Manafort––who was already under FBI investigation because Yanukovych himself was under FBI investigation because Ukraine invited the FBI in in 2014 to hunt down the tens of billions of dollars that Yanukovych has stolen from Ukraine––so do not tell me that the FBI allowed Manafort to go forward in running Donald Trump's campaign because they were playing some 3D chess. Do not tell me that Donald Trump, the most abusive and corrupt President of the United States, one of the most abusive and corrupt Presidents in the modern world today, don't tell me that he is allowed to be President of the United States and destroy innocent lives because the powers that be are playing 3D chess. 3D chess does not exist. It is a myth.

Sarah Kendzior: Yes.

Andrea Chalupa: And so and so stop saying that because you're making fools of yourselves. Just stop saying it. Just take everybody by their word. When people tell you who they are, believe them. And one thing that's really nagged at me that I've been meaning to talk about on this show, and I haven't had the opportunity because there's so much for us to cover, that was Nancy Pelosi's answer to Joy Reid when a student in the audience stood up and asked Nancy Pelosi, “do you support black lives? Do you support Black Lives Matter?” And Nancy Pelosi, listen her answer:

Nancy Polosi: 01:01:15 I support the recognition that black lives matter, for sure, and I have incorporated that in many of my statements. I think all lives matter. Yes. Uh, but there, it has, we really have to redress past grievances in terms of how we have addressed the African American community. I had a real privilege yesterday to address, uh, the swearing in of the new Black Caucus members, eight, at least eight, new members elected from places that are not majority-black communities. So this was a real breakthrough. So, I think that we're all, you know, working together to make sure that every part of our community, whether it's the immigrant community, whether it's a black community, whether it's women's community, and the rest, not only matter, but rule.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:02:03 She says, “yes, I support Black Lives Matter and all lives matter.” Okay, Nancy Pelosi, allow us to ghostwrite your answer for you. So, you can now say this from now on: “Yes, I support Black Lives Matter.” When you have a massively disproportionate number of black men and women in prison than white men and women, yes, black lives matter and this statistic themselves screams that black lives matter. Because when you have black boys and girls, children in school, who are being disproportionately targeted by the authorities, yes, we say black lives matter. When we say black lives matter, we're talking about finishing the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. who said that he dreamt of a day when black boys and black girls would “not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of the character.” That's what we mean when we say black lives matter, is that we still have work to do.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:02:52 The statistics themselves scream for that work. Just look at the statistics, the incarceration rates for black people versus white people. Imagine being a parent today. It's so difficult and challenging and terrifying to be a parent. On top of that, being a black––or being any parent, raising children of color in America––and having to worry about your child playing with a toy gun in a park and being gunned down by a police officer. All of the statistics themselves, the data speaks for itself why black lives matter. That is the simplest answer you can give. That's the most obvious answer that you can give. And Nancy Pelosi could not give that answer.

Sarah Kendzior: Yup.

Andrea Chalupa: So do you not tell me that she's got some grand scheme here when she is––this is a precarious negotiation. Even if she has all these Republicans flipping and giving her word and all of this is coming. “Don't worry. Big Bombshell. It's all being teed up.” This is like, this is such a huge gamble. This is such a huge gamble that can just demoralize people, especially demoralizing your base leading into 2020. Your base, Nancy Pelosi, are black men and women, and you can't even state the obvious of why black lives matter.?Like, her answer for that, just like her answer for impeachment, are abusive and gaslighting and absolutely taking your base for granted and abusing your base because we have no choice but to vote for you and to show up for you and put aside our goals, our comfort, our priorities to sacrifice and work hard to get Democrats elected because lives are on the line here. Our safety is on the line. If you want to know––through all the noise, all the hit pieces about me and Sarah, all the bullshit people say about us online and these anonymous bots––what we stand for, what our agenda is, our agenda is we want to feel safe. And we haven't felt safe in a very long time.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:04:44 And if we feel this way, imagine how people of color feel in this America. Okay? So, that is our only agenda here. And Nancy Pelosi is acting so tone deaf and so abusive in her comments. And how dare people just fall in line and snicker at us and try to undermine us when we're pointing out the obvious here, that this is a big gamble that she's taking, and it's just not right, and it's not why she was put in there on that blue wave. And we need more Progressives more than ever. And just to give you a parallel of this “we're not going to impeach” situation––well, okay, I hear you, she did say she’s not gonna impeach––it's too soon and that we need that mythological bipartisan support. Let me give you a parallel. The DCCC, which campaigns for the House Democrats. Right after those Parkland kids in Florida were gunned down, the DCCC sent out a memo to their candidates saying, “please don't politicize this tragedy.” And one Progressive wrote back saying, “are you fucking kidding me? People, like, kids were killed. Like this is the time to talk about gun reform, ending gun violence.” And thank God for those kids from Parkland. They did not get that DCCC memo and they “politicized” that tragedy, and they launched the March for Our Lives. And those kids have become an example for all of us, shaming us adults, and shaming the calculating politicians who are straight out of that TV series, Veep, where they make fun of all the mercenaries inside DC and how out of touch with the life and death crises on the ground they are.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:06:15 Like, those Parkland kids came out and reminded us what it means to be human and reminded us of the importance of staying human. And they said “we're fighting for our lives.”

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah.

Andrea Chalupa: It's like––please,like, please continue because I'm going to start throwing things.

Sarah Kendzior: 01:06:30 No, No. I mean I feel like what is happening here is they're playing partisan games in a country where, you know, democracy is rapidly meeting its demise. And of course we've never been a true democracy. You know, we have never upheld our principles in practice, but we are now under kleptocratic rule. And you need to understand what's happening in the country through a kleptocratic framework in which these calculations that she's allegedly making, if they are calculations at all, are not going to apply. Because what happens here is we do not have Rule of Law. We have endemic corruption.

Sarah Kendzior: 01:07:08 And so when you don't have law, you basically are down to two things. You’re down to force––you know, the force and raw power––or you are down to conscience. And autocrats and aspiring autocrats are going to use force in the most brutal way possible. They will use it physically. They will use it through rhetoric. They will redefine what reality is. They will redefine what truth is. And your weapon throughout all of this is your conscience. It's your individuality. It's your compassion. It's your refusal to obey in advance, which is exactly what Pelosi has done and what she is encouraging people to do and what many of her supporters are encouraging her to do. And I thought it was, you know, fitting that you brought up Martin Luther King because of his quote on what is courage in times like these, you know, in times of struggle, where he says: “Courage is an inner resolution to go forward, despite obstacles. Cowardice is submissive, surrender to circumstances. Courage breeds creativity. Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it. Cowardice asks the question, ‘is it safe?’ Expediency ask the question, ‘is it politics?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘is it popular?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘is it right?’ And there comes a time where we must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.” And that is what we need to be doing. You know, that is what everyone needs to be doing, is looking into their conscience, looking at who is being hurt in this situation. How can we stop this abuse? You know, this is not a game. This is not a rhetorical trick. You know, this is a decision that you have to make. You know, I wrote an essay that was very popular right after the election where I encouraged people to write down what their values were at that time, to write down what they were willing to accept, what they considered as normal.

Sarah Kendzior: 01:09:09 because I knew that as time went on, they would lose touch with that. They would forget. They will normalize atrocities. And so you have to get back into that place where you think about, what are you willing to accept? What are you willing to fight for? And what are you willing to sacrifice? And in Pelosi's case, who are you willing to sacrifice in order to obtain, you know, this vague, mythological goal? ‘Cause in my mind there is no sacrifice of a human life that is worth it. It is not worth it to me for children to have died at the Texas border. It is not worth it to me for Jamal Khashoggi to have been butchered and put in a plastic bag so that we could get what? You know, a Mueller Report that might not be acted on? You have to act with conscience. And it has been enormously frustrating to see people's conscience subsumed by a desire for conformity, for complacency, for easy answers.

Sarah Kendzior: 01:10:06 I see this all throughout Twitter. You know, you named some of these logical fallacies against the argument for impeachment. You know, another one that I hear over and over is, “we only get one shot.” That is just not true at all. I mean, first of all, it's not true because the goal of having the hearings is not to actually impeach Trump, because to add onto what you said, not only will the Senate not convict him, if by some miracle they do, he's never going to leave. The only way he would leave that office is in handcuffs.

Andrea Chalupa: [laughs] Exactly. Exactly.

Sarah Kendzior: He's just going to sit there and he's going to feel smug. I mean, he's going to do that whether you impeach him or not. He is just there, you know, and they're going to have to figure out what to do about that. But more to the point, this “one shot” idea, this idea that you can't take down, for example, Jared Kushner, who is an active, ongoing national security threat because “you only get one shot” or you can't stop illegal actions both domestically and abroad because “it'll upset Trump and you'll only get one shot.”

Sarah Kendzior: 01:11:03 That's crap. You know, this is about, what are your values? This is a lifestyle, you know, dedicated towards forcing accountability, to looking out for your fellow citizens. It's the continual practice of values. You know, all of these events throughout history in which people have overthrown their oppressors and they've created a more just world, they didn't happen in a day. They didn't happen because of a Report, and they didn't happen because of a savior. They happened because people worked together, against incredible odds, over long periods of time, and they faced challenges head on. They looked into that darkness and they pushed their way through. And this unwillingness to even confront the severity of the situation, to label the willingness to confront it as being “demoralizing, as “despair” and “despair porn” and all the other accusations that are thrown our way, we are giving you information. You can go and check our records and see whether our predictions bore out.

Sarah Kendzior: 01:12:03 And it is heartbreaking to us that we were right. We have wanted to be wrong for a very long time. I would love it if all of those rich, you know, legal experts in DC were correct, that Manafort is going to die in prison, that he's guaranteed to get 25 years, that Kavanaugh can't get appointed, that Trump can't win the Primary, that Trump can't win the General, that Checks and Balances are gonna hold. None of that happened. And it's very obvious that that wasn't going to happen because we are not living in a democratic society with Checks and Balances. We are living under a transnational crime syndicate. We are living under a kleptocracy that is backed by white supremacists and those kind of rules are the ones they follow. They govern through power. They govern through lies. And we have to reject that and we have to use as much power, but have it guided by conscience and a refusal to give up on the fate of the most vulnerable people.

Sarah Kendzior: 01:12:57 Because, you know, as I keep saying, they are worth it. And so please, you know, do not be led astray by these bot-brained people, you know, [laughs] out on social media. I don't know if they really are bots. I know Pelosi's team has some sort of social media strategy that they unfolded that day. I have proof of that. Um, you know, but it doesn't matter.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, there was this huge, orchestrated push with influential resistance accounts. Bam. Repeating, “she's playing chess. This is genius. What a genius.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, what a genius. Now you get this show, geniuses [laughter]

Andrea Chalupa: 01:13:28 Right. It was revealed to us from two different sources that there's like a, that this was all orchestrated, that there's this big push. And so we saw the text, the messaging that was sent out. So, you know, Sarah and I have created a lot of enemies making the show ‘cause we hold absolutely nobody sacred. We see people with the good and the bad. Like, we appreciate that Bernie has made––thank God––the Democratic Party more progressive, and by showing that you can collect small donations as long as your values are there, and that brought in a lot of good, much needed people into the system.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:14:01 But at the same time, we always point out that Bernie missed three major votes or voted against sanctions of Russian oligarchs. And we always say kleptocracy anywhere is kleptocracy everywhere. It’s the 21st Century. The kleptocrats are united now and we're up against all of them. Whatever nationality they have. So, if Bernie's really committed to the fight against corruption and kleptocracy here at home, it's a global fight. He knows the locals struggles or the national struggles, because that is the whole sort of premise. The whole premise of the Socialist Revolution that he was so supportive of for so long was that the Revolution was global. So yeah, we call people out and we make a lot of enemies and Nancy Pelosi is a formidable person to call out. And I feel like the inevitable Gaslit Nation hit piece taking cheap shots at us that's going to come out one day, I could see it coming out of this situation [laughs], you know, and one of these mysterious DM groups. Like, they hate us, people hate us. And that's fine.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:14:56 We don't care because like we said, this is life and death for us. Like, this is real for us and we can go into all those stories by what we mean by that. Sarah was in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, where she witnessed the Police State up close. It was a battle zone. That was traumatic. People were killed. In my work, I've given talks and things and I’ve had, for instance, I gave a talk on Resistance in Art in Russia and Ukraine at the National Arts Club. And halfway through my talk, six people from the audience got up, like, in protest, and I found out later that they were from the Russian Consulate in New York City and the Russian Embassy in Washington DC. And that's not unusual for me. I've come up and close with these Kremlin operatives. They've tracked my work.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:15:38 I did a whole event at the Ukrainian Museum in New York City, bringing together producers for the Daily Show, for Steven Colbert, for The Onion, to try to teach the attendees, you know, Ukrainians and Syrians and others that work in human rights, on how to leverage pop culture to get their message out. And this was a packed event. One group of Ukrainians that worked to fundraise for medical supplies in Ukraine flew out from Ohio for it. One Russian activist drove five hours from Boston for it. It was a very big event. And leading up to it, there was some blog post that appeared, saying that it was a “neo-Nazi Ukrainian gathering” and “how dare Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart allow their producers to go to such a thing?” And I had one fancy producer who was speaking at the event reach out to me with concern because this person wasn't acclimated to the Kremlin misinformation, like, wasn't used to seeing something like this, was like, “what is this a neo-Nazi gathering?” And I'm like, “absolutely not.” And this person, you know, luckily, trusted me and showed up and the event was a huge success. But I've been living this for so long. I've had the FBI show up at the homes of friends during the Revolution in Ukraine and say, “be careful. You need to be careful now” because things were going on. So, what we talk about is not an abstraction for us. What my sister has gone through and is going through, it's not an abstraction. The bullshit hit pieces we've gotten for pointing out the obvious, that's not an abstraction. If you want to see what kleptocracy looks like in practice, kleptocracy is Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon, being appointed the Secretary of State.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:17:08 Okay? So, I got called a conspiracy theorist for pointing out that Rex Tillerson had any connection whatsoever with this whole Russia attack on our election. Why would I make such a absurd, crazy claim like that? Because Exxon stood to make more money than God if they dropped those Russian sanctions, which were at the heart of Putin's motivation for doing Russiagate in the first place. And by dropping the Russian sanctions, they finally got to drill in the Arctic with the Russians and everyone would make a ton of money. That is obvious. That is kleptocracy. That is what it looks like. Don't call me names because you don't understand that. Don't punish me for your lack of knowledge and awareness of global events. [laughs] That is what Sarah and I are up against, is that people label us bullshit because they simply do not know better. And here we are with our decades-plus of research and experiences and being on the frontlines of conflicts today and gathering information and giving voice to people on the frontlines of the conflicts today.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:18:02 And we have these fucking amateurs who are like, are trying to dismiss us or trying to explain us and trying to label us. So let me just give you a classic example. It blows my mind that Progressives did not see Russiagate for what it was. Russiagate justifies all of the pet issues of aggressives [laughter]. Aggressives, because that's how they work towards Russiagate. But no, but Russiagate justifies the fundamental principles of Progressives. Okay. All of it. It justifies all of it. So, for instance, in Trump's proposed budget, we do not need tens of billions of dollars more for defense. Why? Because all the money in the world cannot protect us from asymmetrical warfare, which is what the Russian attack on our democracy in 2016 was. The U.S. has the most powerful military in the world. Russia is a distant second. What Russia did to us in 2016 was asymmetrical warfare, which means the little guy outsmarts the bigger guy.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:19:06 That's what asymmetrical warfare means. They did it cheaply and they did it without any tanks and planes. They invaded us and they installed their puppet, their asset, as President of the United States. This will go down in history, whether we like it or not, as one of the biggest underdog victories in any military battle ever. Okay? It's just a fact. Russia had everything going against it. They were outgunned. Literally. We were the Leader of the Free World. We had all the alliances. We had everything going for us and they still outsmarted us because warfare in the 21st Century is extremely cheap. It's cyber attacks, it's hacking, it's bots, it's all of that. So the fact that Progressives don't see that, the fact that Progressives, many of them have some sort of allergy to foreign policy, some allergy to understanding defense and what it means, they're missing a huge opportunity to make their case against feeding the beast of the Military Industrial Complex.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:20:00 We do not need to funnel tens of billions of dollars more needlessly to defense when the Russians can simply undermine us using all of our social networks. Okay? And get their honeypots and their golden handcuffs all over our politicians Tanks and planes aren’t protecting us here from that. What will protect us, though, is more money for education, strong public schools that create sophisticated minds that can be equipped for the challenges of the 21st Century, including media literacy, including combating fake news and what it means. Okay? And then also, another key issue that Russiagate demands us to invest in, is securing the vote, not only against election hacking but expanding voting rights, automatic voter registration, because it's very difficult to steal elections unless they're close. So what you want to do is make it as easy as possible for everyone to vote. And as we saw in 2016, we had the perfect storm of the Voting Rights Act expiring and voter suppression running amuck and gerrymandering and all of that.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:21:03 And then the Russian influence campaign on top of that. So the Russians could not succeed without our help and our abysmal voting laws help them there. So Russiagate is calling for securing the vote and expanding voting rights and protecting voting rights. Okay? And on and on and on you can go, how Russia is a silver platter, vindicating all the issues that Progressives care about, demanding financing for all the issues that Progressives care about. And it's sort of like, instead, you had people on the Left laughing at people like me and Sarah for calling all of this out and pointing it out to them. And we looked crazy. And all this is some cheap spy novel on acid. No. [laughs] It's like, it's kleptocracy, plain and simple. And you have to get real about it. It's like, Russiagate was just one big oligarch circlejerk of kleptocracy. That's all it was. And it was our oligarchs, Mercer and others, with their oligarchs, Deripaska and others, united. And that's why Bernie Sanders, you need to stop missing and voting against the votes of sanctioning these Russian oligarchs. ‘Cause it affects us here at home. It makes us vulnerable here at home.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:22:02 Alright, so, what should we talk about? All those rich kids buying their SAT scores? [laughter]

Sarah Kendzior: 01:22:08 Yeah, I mean, good God. I feel like we can save that for next time. [laughter]

Andrea Chalupa: 01:22:13 We'll just point it out. Okay, a bunch of rich kids bought their SAT scores. There's this whole––we did have a big indictment, a wave of indictments, including celebrities like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and others who [Sarah interrupts].

Sarah Kendzior: 01:22:25 Yeah, they can indict Felicity Huffman, but not Jared Kushner, who by the way is one of those other people who bought their way into Harvard. So maybe they'll nab him on that instead of, you know, the multitude of national security violations and international crimes that he has committed, but go on.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:22:41 Yeah. And Tim O'Brien of Bloomberg points out Trump pledges to Penn Wharton in the 90s a total of at least $1.5 million. And that coincided with a 1996 and 2000 enrollment there of Don, Jr. and Ivanka, respectively. O'Brien also points out that Jared Kushner, as Sarah just said, was starting to look at colleges in 1996, that his father, Charles Kushner, pledged $2.5 million to, like Harvard. So, basically Charles Kushner pledged $2.5 million to Harvard and Jared later attended Harvard. So yeah, that huge indictment, wave of indictments, of rich kids, their parents anyway, buying college spots at elite schools, even claiming that they played sports and had certain gifts they simply did not have or any interest in. That whole scandal, of course, reminds us that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, the de facto President of the United States right now, they bought their way into college.

Sarah Kendzior: 01:23:32 Oh yeah. You know, I wrote a book, "The View From Flyover Country". It's a collection of essays that I wrote between 2012 and 2014, which have unfortunately stood the time very well. You know, there is an essay in here called "The Immorality of College Admissions", which talks about exactly this kind of practice. And so while I'm glad it's finally getting attention, and especially in a criminal probe, the fact that it's gone on so long is disastrous. You know, like one line from my book that's quoted often is a 'false meritocracy, breeds mediocrity'. You know, and I wrote that back in 2013, you know, about all these sort of 'pay to play' situations: unpaid internships, paying your way into expensive schools, whether directly or through things like SAT tutoring, private schools, enrichment activities that are incredibly expensive, you know, anything that will lock out the majority of the American population regardless of their talent or skills into professions of power, into professions like politics, like media, entertainment, [and] law, you know, all of these have basically become impossible for the average person to enter unless they're incredibly lucky, you know, and win some sort of scholarship or have some sort of, you know, outside benefactor or something. And at the time, it was more, you know, my thought was we’re getting, you know, low quality candidates. And we are also getting people cast out of these industries, which is immoral. It's wrong. They should have as much of a chance as anybody else. But what I feel like we're seeing now is really the culmination of these practices, which have now been going on for about two decades. You know, I feel like people like Jared and Ivanka, it is not merely that they are incompetent or unqualified for their position. They are actively dangerous because of their greed, because of their immorality, their lawlessness, their lifestyle, which from birth has been, you know, “money not only can buy you everything you want, money should buy you everything you want.

Sarah Kendzior: 01:25:32 Money can buy you complete and total domination.” And what we have now is them effectively acting as the President of the United States, and a media, which also comes from this world, from this incredibly nepotistic elite world conglomerated in these very expensive coastal cities, you know, which most people cannot afford to live in working as a journalist––New York or DC––they don't see this as abnormal. They're unable to see the corruption right before their eyes because they have been immersed in it from birth as well. They see a job as a privilege. A job is an indication of how much money you had before you applied. It is not an indication of, you know, what you will get in the future or what a talents brought you there. And of course, you know, there are exceptions to this rule all over the place. There are good representatives, there are good journalists, but this is systemic corruption.

Sarah Kendzior: 01:26:24 And I think it is, at this point, a national security issue. When you have people not only unable or unwilling to do their Congressional duty or perform their job, but unwilling to recognize how broken this system is because they are the ones who broke it, you know, we need a lot of reforms. I mean, we honestly need to to rebuild this from the ground up because it is an absolute disaster. And you know, there are folks who say, “Oh, you know, we deserve this because of our extreme inequality, because of our deep corruption.” No, no, that is not true. The people who caused this deserve it to be undone. The people who have suffered under it deserve to rise up and have the opportunities that they have long been denied.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:27:11 Yeah. And so I think we're going to close this very intense episode of Gaslit Nation by, yes, you know, Sarah and I are well aware that given the two big federal verdicts of Paul Manafort, Judge Ellis and Judge Jackson combined, that Manafort will be in prison, if he's not pardoned, of course, until he's 76 years old. And then that whole issue of a padon, which he's clearly been jonesing for ‘cause he hasn't flipped, he hasn't been cooperative with the FBI, and he's been lockstep even after his arrest in advising the Trump White House, namely to attack my sister and the FBI and Christopher Steele. And Manafort has been defiant of the Rule of Law here in the US. just like he was in any of these developing democracies that he collected blood money from. And now you have, in New York state, as we've all been sort of hoping for, Cy Vance, the Manhattan DA, he's trying to save his own legacy because Cy Vance, of course, hurt us and played his own role contributing to getting us here by looking the other way in a fraud case involving Ivanka and Don, Jr. who frauded investors in the Trump Soho hotel.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:28:22 And they got a visit from a Trump family lawyer who made a donation to Cy Vance's reelection campaign and next thing you know, the case against them was dropped. So Cy Vance there trying to redeem himself, save his soul, by bringing in indictments against Paul Manafort in New York. And that came right on the heels of Paul Manafort essentially leaving court from, [laughter] leaving Judge Jackson. So yeah, we're excited about that. A little too late, but we'll take it. Everybody gets a shot at redemption and Cy Vance is doing the right thing here and let's hope he sees it through and that Paul Manafort isn't pardoned and then escapes the country and joins his indisposed client, Yanukovych, in Russia. But yeah, no, I think as members of Congress and legal experts have pointed out, that any sort of pardon against Manafort could be, you know, would be Obstruction of Justice by Trump.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:29:08 But let's see as it all plays out. And in the meantime, we want to, as always, as we have a track record in our own work and on the show especially, we want to direct you in actions that you can take, ways that you can get involved and get engaged and, you know, channel that frustration, because it will help so much right now. And that is check out a website called And the group is called "By the People" and it's a grassroots organization that is organizing around impeachment and working with members of Congress that are, rightfully so, in favor of impeachment because that is their Constitutional duty. And all of the crimes and alleged crimes that have been exposed so far demand it.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:30:00 We strongly urge you to check out There are actions you can take there. Follow them on Twitter. We're going to be interviewing one of their key organizers about what their organization is doing, what they've done and how we can all get involved, because my God, it should not have to be a struggle to get impeachment going. It's just, we knew it might be hard, but we didn't expect it to be to be this hard. And so, again, the only power we could really rely on, which is a very powerful check on the abuse going on right now in the US government––our system of Checks and Balances is under a lot of strain right now, as we've seen, and we cannot forget that the grassroots, us, who mobilize like our lives depend on it because they do, we are an important check on his power. We are an important check on anybody inside DC who is acting too slow in a time of life or death. Like we, we are the grassroots. We cannot forget that, that we are the power, we are the real, true power. And so please do what you can and get involved and get engaged and that’s always what we advocate [for] on the show. So check out Join the Movement for Impeachment.

Andrea Chalupa: 01:31:10 [END][CREDITS]

Andrea Chalupa