Rotting Monuments

Like Trump Tower Moscow, which was supposed to be the tallest building in Europe with a penthouse for mass-murderer Putin and an Ivanka Trump branded spa, the White House was another monument for Trump, in a long list of monuments he's built for himself over the years, and one that would help him and his family continue to live above the law.

Sarah: 00:00:05 Hi, I'm Sarah Kendzior a journalist and scholar of authoritarian states and the author of the essay collection, The View From Flyover Country.

Andrea: 00:00:17 I am Andrea Chalupa, a journalist, filmmaker, and the writer and producer of the journalistic thriller, Mr. Jones, directed by Agnieszka Holland.

Sarah: 00:00:27 And this is Gaslit Nation, a podcast covering corruption in the Trump administration and rising autocracy around the world. On this show, we never run out of stuff to talk about, but occasionally it feels like we're living inside our own rerun. And this has been one of those weeks. For on today's Gaslit Nation, we are discussing the corruption of Michael Cohen, yet again the national security threat of Jared Kushner, yet again, and Trump's nuclear weapons and dictator fetish yet again. The reason we are locked in this perpetual rerun is because two years into this nonstop shit show of an administration, there is still almost no accountability, just reconfirming of the obvious in the public domain. But hey, since repetition works and if we've learned anything from the Trump campaign, it should be that, Andrea and I need to run down this bullshit yet again.

Andrea: 00:01:19 It's so much fun. I enjoy it thoroughly. So on that note, I want to just share a public service announcement on how crucial in all the work we do uh self care is an important part of that self care is bending time with the people in our lives, not just over social media or phone calls even, but physically being in each other's presence for days.

Sarah: 00:01:42 I feel like I'm being sub tweeted, but go on.

Andrea: 00:01:46 This is, it is, this is an intervention to get you to come see me finally as you know. No, but that too Sarah obviously, but I want to share the story of um, so my mother and I, as Sarah knows, because I told her not to contact me unless it was an emergency. My mother and I escaped to Disneyland for a few days, we just shut off the world and just treated ourselves to some mother daughter bonding time. That was crucial. Like most people we're having a very tough 21st century. That was a very special trip for us because we had just gotten back from the world premiere of my film, Mr. Jones, which, which I'd worked on for a very long time. And it was back in 2015 when I actually wanted to give up on the project because I'd been hitting my head against a wall and it was getting nowhere. And the fact that I was trying to produce my first ever feature film, $10 million budget, all of it was sort of a dark, shameful secret in my family, because it was getting nowhere and just sort of people were like whispering, I know behind my back, my family, like, oh my God, is she's still doing that project in 2015 I really wanted to give up cause I just like, this is hopeless. I feel pathetic. I'm getting nowhere. And it was my mother who finally, step forward and said, don't you dare, I've seen you work on this for so long.

Andrea: 00:02:58 And my mother is nervous about the whole thing. Well, it was very supportive and uh, cautious, nervous way. But this is the first time that she was full throated like you will not give up. You want this. I keep going and that was when I decided to give it another try and at the exact same time I was working with a Russian human rights activist in New York City and we're working on organizing a solidarity march in New York and solidarity with Boris Nemtsov was march in Moscow protesting Putin's invasion of Ukraine and just days before we're going to march, Boris Nemtsov was assassinated in the shadow of the Kremlin and that for me was yes, the I of course I'm going to keep going and I did like a page one rewrite redoubled my efforts and just because I was not going to be silenced and the story was so important and I wrote a draft of the screenplay that basically grabbed the reader by the throat and said, if you don't understand how urgent it is to tell a story today about the destruction of the Kremlin's information war and how it works and the useful idiots in the west that empower it, I don't know what's wrong with you.

Andrea: 00:04:00 Then, and this was a script that I emailed directly to three time academy nominee Agnieszka Holland. And she understood perfectly well what I was talking about having grown up in the Soviet Union and lost her father, a journalist to the Soviet state. And the project got made and the project took off from there. And so this mother daughter trip was so important to, you know, be with my mom, spend time with her. And hear so many interesting family stories I hadn't heard over the years just being together and, and I just want to recommend everyone to spend time with their loved ones because this is very hard what we do. Our day job, that's what Sarah and I focus on in our work is authoritarianism our passion project is focused on authoritarianism. So we absolutely have to check out every now and then. And one thing that Sarah knows that I love to do is I watch Disney movies to escape and I just ended up like, you know, analyzing them for their political subversive messages.

Andrea: 00:04:53 Like for instance, did you know that Mary Poppins is about toxic masculinity? Sarah's heard this a million times before, but now you're going to hear it. So if you look at Mary Poppins, the only character that changes in the entire movie is the father, Mr. Banks. It's not the suffragette mom. It's not mysterious being Mary Poppins that comes out of nowhere and it remains perfect. It's not the emotionally well adjusted chimney sweep guy Bert, who Mary Poppins blatantly sings to says, Bert, you make women feel safe. There's no higher compliment than that. Listen to what she sings to him. That's what she says. It's the father, the toxic male who in the very beginning is singing about the age of man and how the British pound is the envy of the world. Yet it was the age of man. All those public school boys, David Cameron, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, and others who brought down the British pound with Brexit. So go watch Mary Poppins with an eye for Brexit's really eye opening. And I could analyze, like ask me about any Disney movie. I can tell you like the political message to it. I have it all down.

Sarah: 00:05:53 No, that's good. I mean, it's a novel concept. Um, to have this sincerely changed man, I'm glad you had fun. I've been trapped in Saint Louis and the snow watching testimony all day long. I mean, I actually had to stop watching the Michael Cohen testimony because I mean it, it's just frustrating. It's good to finally have a lot of these concerns to say the least aired in public under oath to a mass audience. Things that we've been discussing for years, things other people have just been discussing for years. But every time this happens, much like when there's a, an indictment or a plea deal, you know, you wonder how did we get to this point? You know, why has no one acted earlier? And so I kind of want to just review a few things about Michael Cohen before we start talking about the wonderful reality TV show that we got last week. Michael Cohen is, or was Trump's longtime personal lawyer recently disbarred. He's also a lifelong mobster and childhood friend of the Russian mobster Trump business partner and occasional FBI informant Felix Sater, who we've talked about on the show frequently.

Sarah: 00:07:03 Together, Sater and Cohen conspired in emails in late 2015 to work with the Kremlin to get Trump elected. That was not mentioned in the testimony. We'll get to that. Cohen is a longtime members of Trump's goon squad who goes around threatening women, threatening the media. Uh, he's a kind of Roy Cohn wannabe an heir to that position and we've known he's been threatening people. Michael Cohen threatened a daily Beast reporter in 2015, there were transcripts of that threat online. There was audio of it later. Yeah. You know, you was still invited on TV, like he was just a regular guy, a friend of the candidate, Michael Cohen has been involved in white collar crime and organized crime for decades, including a taxi medallion scheme. It was for those older crimes that his home was finally invaded and he was indicted. And despite all of this, despite all these dubious achievements, Michael Cohen was made the deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2017. so after the election and was only removed from that position post indictment.

Sarah: 00:08:08 So, in addition to all of this, Michael Cohen is someone who knows all the Republicans' financial secrets and was tasked with protecting them in the Trump era. He is a loyalist or he was, he was someone who once said that he would take a bullet for Trump. Trump of course once claimed that he would shoot somebody on fifth avenue and you know, get away with it. So nowadays wondering whether both statements will prove uh prophetic. There's a lot to talk about with this testimony. What were your impressions?

Andrea: 00:08:38 I loved it. I listened, I listened to the whole, I listened to the whole thing and I savored every moment. I loved it because it was the blue wave in power and that was just so nice to watch. And the house in the US congress has always had this reputation, especially when the Republicans are in control of being essentially a college dive bar filled with bros. Whereas the Senate was sort of, you know, seen as a members only jacket and tie required more stately, whatever. But like the Republican controlled House really brought down civility. It just, they were a banana republic and it was just a bar fight of rhetoric all the time under their leadership. So it was so nice to have civility returned with a just how wonderful all of the um, Democrats handled themselves, all of them and how they kept their eye on the prize. If you listen to that, uh, the whole thing. And especially in the beginning, the Republicans try to shut it down from the start of the hearing and they were just grasping for straws and there's total desperation and sloppiness throughout and they just don't know what to do being out of power.

Andrea: 00:09:45 So that one was very satisfying. Number two, yes, Cohen is dark and dirty and can we trust him and all those other goon squad questions and personas swirling around him. Um, but he is very entertaining and he clapped back with the best of them. And that was obviously wonderful. There's no, no major revelations clearly in a lot of what he says, what we say on the show, which is Donald Trump is a want to be autocrat and that we should have concerns for a peaceful transition in 2020 and all these other things. And one thing that he really underlined is, and we can get into this cuz I know, you have thoughts on this, whether Donald Trump wanted to win or not, and I think no one saw him winning. I think even the Kremlin, given how the, the, the Russian parliament, the Duma exploded in applause when Trump won, that shows you that I don't think even the Kremlin with a big gamble they took and supporting Trump and actively being a part of his campaign.

Andrea: 00:10:37 I don't even think the Kremlin anticipated that they would win despite all the effort they put into making sure he won. I think the candidacy of Donald J. Trump was still a big gamble for all those involved, including Trump and the Kremlin. And I think that he did want to win. And I think he did have the consolation that even if he didn't win, as he told himself, as he told Cohen, and I'm sure others, it was still a great branding opportunity because Trump is a brand. But I think he wanted to absolutely become president of the United States because it was just another monument to him. And this is a man who has more than anything dedicated his life to building monuments to himself. And I want to do just a quick rundown of that. If you go to Florida, there's a stately hotel founded in the gilded age called the breakers.

Andrea: 00:11:25 It was founded by a great railroad industrialist. Just up the road you have Mar a Lago. So here was Trump building his beach front shrine to himself in proximity to a historic American monument like the breakers is on the national register of historic places. This was intentionally done. He wanted to be neighbors with greatness, with history. Then you have the Donald J. Trump state park, which yes, exists over 400 acres just outside New York City. Again, Donald J. Trump state park. That's creepy. I that's somebody

Sarah: 00:11:57 That's an actual thing that exists.

Andrea: 00:11:59 Yes, yes. I've driven by it. And then if you're a

Sarah: 00:12:03 Oh my god.

Andrea: 00:12:04 Yes. And there's a, there's a big now that now that New York state is a blue trifecta, now that we finally have control fully here, the democratic legislators are trying to rename Donald J. Trump state park after Heather Heyer. Wouldn't that be amazing. I mean, that's what it should be. Just it. It should be a memorial to a reminder to all of us that propaganda kills fake news kills and that people have sacrificed their lives to stop Trump and his authoritarian instincts. And Heather Heyer certainly did. And then also, if you're driving up the main strip in Las Vegas and you're passing MGM Grand Bellagio, Caesar's palace, straight ahead, you're driving towards a big monument in the distance on the horizon. And that's Trump tower in Las Vegas. So it's of course, no surprise that Trump is going to sell out his own country to build a monument to himself. And that's not just Moscow Trump tower, which was supposed to be the tallest tower in Europe. Putin was going to have a penthouse in it. Nevermind that he's a mass murderer. That certainly didn't bother Ivanka, who's going to have an Ivanka branded Trump inside Trump tower in proximity next to her, her neighbor, a mass actual mass murderer. So nevermind that. That was going to be a monument that he was going to sell out his country for order to build, but also the White House himself taking over the White House that is just inhabiting the White House is just another monument to Donald J. Trump.

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Sarah: 00:14:27 I find the whole, you know, Trump tower, Moscow angle frustrating. You know, the night before Cohen's testimony I went on Rick Smith's show and he was asking me what I should expect the next day. You know, and there's some things I was concerned about, you know, one, I was worried whether it was going to happen, you know, because it had been delayed so many times. So that's something else to kind of bring up is you know, why did that happen? And there were all these rumors beforehand about, you know, Cohen had had surgery, Cohen had heard his shoulder and then you see photos of him, you know out and about in fancy restaurants, completely unguarded seeming perfectly fine, shaking hands using the shoulder and you know that raised questions to me like is he a flight risk, is he an assassination target? If he is both of those things. And I certainly think he's the second why is nobody watching him, why is no one monitoring them.

Sarah: 00:15:16 So part of me thought this might not happen. Part of me wondered is he going to lie again, you know this is somebody who obviously has a long track record of doing that. But the main thing I was worried about was this narrative that has been in the media basically ever since the Trump team realized that they could no longer go on and just flat out deny Russian interference because there's this far too much evidence in the public domain. They have to find some kind of, you know, a rationale. They cover up crime with scandal. That's what they do. And the main narrative that's been put out lately is Trump had no political ambitions. He had no desire to actually win. And this was just a business deal, uh, related to building Trump tower Moscow and achieving that allegedly lifelong dream. And I'm sorry, but this is just a load of crap and I'm just going to repeat myself again until people grasp this, Trump does not do anything unless he wants to win.

Sarah: 00:16:11 And if he's going to run for national office, he's not going to voluntarily lose to a woman or to a Clinton. You know, as you were saying, he's obsessed with his brand that will torpedo his brand. There will be no, you know, fake Macho Donald Trump, you know, with President Hillary Clinton. Secondly, President Hillary Clinton would be someone who would put in Russian sanctions who would target Putin and the Kremlin much more strongly because they had interfered in this election and would have gone on to prosecute Trump and this whole team of people. So they had a, you know, a protective interest in winning this office so that they'd be the ones who would be in charge of the law. They would decide who breaks the law. They could be immune from prosecution. And that's of course what they've been doing. And the other thing which I've mentioned many times is that Trump is not this political neophyte.

Sarah: 00:17:01 He has had long term ambitions. He almost ran for president or ran five times in 19 nine, 1988, 1996, 2000 and 2012 and 2016 both of those last two, uh, he actually had entered the race. He has had connections to Russia for just as long. And so it's not an either or, you know, like is he interested in doing business in Russia or is he interested in being the president? He's always been interested in both. And when you have no desire or willingness to divest your business interests from your political interests, then you don't have to choose. And that's exactly what he's done. You know, he became the president. He has continued his illicit dealings, you know, not only with Russia but all over the world. And we're seeing these sanctions, you know, not be put into practice. We're seeing people, Oleg Deripaska, you know, who Manafort worked for, you know, and a prominent backer of Trump benefiting from Trump administration policies.

Sarah: 00:17:57 He has traded policy for business favors. So, you know, this is really a false binary and I'm not quite sure why people in the media, you know, some of whom I respect are not, you know, thinking it through and buying into it. But yeah, you know, Cohen said that, he said that in his opening statement that Trump didn't expect to win, didn't want to win, that this was just about branding and that this is just about business. But under questioning, he basically reversed that and he, you know, he said he did want to win. But of course the other thing is why do you go to these enormous lengths? You know, bringing everyone in from wikileaks to Cambridge Analytica, to oligarchs around the world to the GOP, blackmailing people, threatening people, bribing people, you know, putting an enormous amount of money and time and just something that what you don't want it, you want to have a media empire.

Sarah: 00:18:48 He had a reality show. He was a regular on Fox News and he easily could have just built himself, you know, whatever kind of bullshit, sleazy, white supremacist, extremist network he wanted. That was all within his grasp. He did not need to run for president. But if you are in trouble, if you are, for example, backed by a transnational crime syndicate that you yourself have been participating in with your family for the last 30 years, perhaps it's advantageous to grab some executive power and make yourselves immune from prosecution. And I think that that might be the dangerous question at the heart of this. That's the question that envelops so many different parties, you know, from the GOP to the NRA to evangelicals to you, you know, extremists abroad, oligarchs abroad, regular corporation, social media corporations. A lot of people are implicated in this. And to simplify that narrative and say, oh, it was just an unfortunate accident.

Sarah: 00:19:45 It was just a little mistake. Instead of saying it was a giant deliberate plan and we accomplished it and the FBI and other organizations that should have caught us while we were doing either were unable to stop us or were perhaps, especially in terms of the New York branch complicit in bringing us to power. That's a much scarier narrative and that's a narrative that Cohen didn't quite go into. He talked a lot about, you know, Trump is a racist a con man a cheat, I mean obviously, uh, he gave some evidence of crimes regarding stormy Daniels and payoffs. You know, you talked about Trump is a mafia boss. I mean, all of this is like, it's obvious stuff. It's good that that, uh, Cohen brought it to national attention. It's very good that he supplied documentation, but we are two years into this and the problem has not been that.

Sarah: 00:20:35 We don't know what happened. It happens right in front of our eyes. The problem is accountability. The problem is an unwillingness to confront this, uh, with the assertiveness that's needed. Instead, everyone just kind of tip toes around it, whether they're pundits or politicians and nothing actually gets done. Um, and I guess the last thing I want to say, I just want to quote Michael Cohen to kind of bring home this point, which refutes his opening statement. He says, nothing went on in Trump world, especially the campaign without Mr Trump's knowledge and approval. So that would include, of course, the, the illegal and extensive measures that it took to get him to win. We should all remember that when next time you hear, oh, he didn't want it. It was just about a tower.

Andrea: 00:21:18 This whole question about Trump running for president has been out there for decades. His ambition to do this has been out there for decades and has always been opportunistic big time campaign operatives who have courted him just to collect like they're doing right now with Howard Schultz, the Starbucks CEO, just to collect an easy paycheck from dumb money to convince some egomaniac that yeah, you could be president, let me manage your campaign and then pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it. So yes, this ambition for Trump to be president has been out in the open for many decades now. And the timing of it of course is very interesting. It coincides with his easy Russian money cause no other credible institution will loan to him. And the one that did Deutsche Bank is now under serious investigation, might have to be broken up. But all this Russian oligarchs including those close to the Kremlin had been coming into his properties and a lot of money's been, been offloaded and Trump properties.

Andrea: 00:22:14 Um, so the timing is very interesting that when he finally decided to run, because that is when the Kremlin could not afford to have a President Hillary Clinton, because that meant accountability. That meant further isolation on the world stage. That meant a furthering of an extent, an easy extension of sanctions. Could you imagine Angela Merkel running the EU and President Hillary Clinton running the US and how those two would get United on stopping Russian aggression, like Putin would be absolutely cornered and so weakened and all of the policies that they would put forward and curbing and, and holding accountable his aggression in Syria and Ukraine and elsewhere, he would be stuck because his hands would be absolutely tied and Hillary and like Obama, you, she was obviously known to be, yes, she's pressed that stupid reset button back in the day when people had amnesia about, uh, who Putin was and coming from the FSB and how that sort of, the Soviet tactics were inherited by the FSB and so forth.

Andrea: 00:23:18 But Hillary was considered more, um, more of a hawk on foreign policy than Obama, Hillary, unlike Obama, would've, she would've hit the switch and shut down those Russian troll farms and, and I'm sure, which the US has capabilities to do and did not do. And now that's a big part of the, this sprawling Mueler investigation of, of how influential it turned out those uh wide reaching bot farms were across all of our social platforms. It turns out the u s government could have blocked them, so I think Hillary would have definitely gone there and Putin feared her and feared that. And when you have someone so deeply in your debt as Trump was to all of this easy Russian money, you come a callin, you have your handlers like Manafort really cooing and Trump's ear and saying, wouldn't it be great if if you were president and that's how you make it happen.

Andrea: 00:24:10 Just like Cohen was saying, Trump would never give direct orders. He would always speak in this language, this indirect language. That's how it was done with Trump. It wasn't Putin calling up Trump on the golf course and say, I need you to run for president now because I'm in trouble. It was done a lot more indirectly through that. It was done through like a Russian pop singer saying, Hey, I have some people for Don junior to meet. We've got dirt on Hillary. It was done with through many different handlers coming around and baiting Trump and his idiot family in various ways and then of course enticing him with this, with his deal as well. And I think as we've said, Trump wanted the white house for his brand. He had Trump steaks, Trump university, why not Trump White House. But at the same time I think he is as difficult as this is, is to believe he is a human being. And you did see him cracking under the pressure as the election came closer. And I think the reality is setting in of what this meant hit him. And when he and Obama sat there in the White House and Trump was president elect, he looked devastated. You never seen someone so miserable. And I think all of his life choices just caught up to him in that moment. But it didn't mean that he didn't want to win. And Cohen is absolutely right when he says that Trump will do anything to win,

Sarah: 00:25:22 People always bring up that he looked devastated or he looked surprised. I never quite thought that. I think the, you know, when he won there was a moment of, okay, now I exist in the world of law. You know, I've always lived outside the law. I've always lived above the law. Now suddenly I'm in a bureaucracy that has regulations that I myself didn't make. But then it was just how do I make it so that I make them, how do I destroy them? And he had backers, you know, people like Steve Bannon who were, you know, explicitly setting out to quote destroy the administrative state. You had people like Jeff Sessions who are able to tell him how to legally navigate things. And then you still had his god damn goon squad of like Stone and Manafort and Colin and you know, all the people that he had brought in.

Sarah: 00:26:06 And I think a lot of this kind of, you know, it, it flowed in a more fluid way. It's a fluidity that I think people sometimes mistake for chaos. Like there was a recent article in Politico that was talking about the kind of, you know, the wildness of the Trump White House and its initial weeks as if it was this, you know, surprising thing that it would be run in this disordered way, but it's advantageous for there to be disordered. It's advantageous for I think something, you know, in the first year, 60% of a, you know, career officials. Uh, I think in the State Department, in a different agencies, you know, they were all quitting.

Sarah: 00:26:40 These longterm bureaucrats who follow the system, they abandoned ship, you know, leaving Trump to steer hit. And I think he knew that that would be the outcome of the presidency. It was just a matter of like will he get there? And that's why that transition period was so fraught with tension and so full of meetings. And of course, you know, for us, like we were trying to get them to audit the vote. We were trying to get a congressional investigation into corruption and into Russian interference at that time. That was when you and I faced the greatest number of threats are the most serious threats. I think and you know, and others did as well because that was the time of vulnerability. But once an autocrat gets in, it's very hard to get them out. And you know, that's my frustration now like two years in it is just, it's mind boggling to me that they did not see the pattern within the chaos.

Sarah: 00:27:30 They did not see the advantage within that. They saw it as weakness. And all you have to really do is look at a history book, put aside your notions of American exceptionalism and you can predict what's coming. You know, it doesn't take psychic powers, it doesn't take some kind of brilliance. It takes a flair for the obvious and a willingness to see our vulnerabilities and our failures and to assume that the worst is always possible. And especially assume that the worst is always possible when it comes to Donald Trump.

Andrea: 00:27:58 Without question. And I think to your point about him being miserable, what him and Obama and the White House and Trump's slumped over, the look of shock on him. I think just in general, this is someone who does not handle pressure well. Clearly he can dish it, but he can't take it. He's gone on more vacations that our tax dollars have paid for that people can count like he just runs away to mar a lago every chance he gets. And even even in like the weeks leading up to the campaign where you saw him cracking up from all the pressure, he just did that just the other day when he went and spoke at CPAC and came out like man handling the American flag and just giving this really incoherent speech and just sort of throwing them, I don't know, just drooling all over the place whatever he was doing, this is somebody who needs to sort of surround himself in his monuments. So you even have that horrible viral video of Ivanka Trump leading her father around, I believe in the White House of all these assembled business leaders who just went down the line praising her dad like he was Kim Jong Un and Ivanka just standing by her side knowing that this is all her father wants and she knows how to feed the beast.

Andrea: 00:29:06 And that's why she's playing into this. And that's why Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are the de facto President of the United States. They just keep Trump humped up with McDonald's hamburgers and Fox and friends. While they effectively are running the country is like there's a revolving door chiefs ofstaff and whatnot and people said, Trump's uh chief of staff. Sure. Yeah, he is. Cause he likes to bark orders and he just does what he's wants and he's completely out of control. But it's the people who are meanwhile putting on the quote unquote want to be respectable face of the United States of America at the moment are Jared and Ivanka. That is who is representing us abroad. And that is so absolutely chilling is they're already president.

Sarah: 00:29:47 Yeah. And I think that, you know, there's been speculation, which I think is somewhat well founded. The, the actual goal of a lot of Trump's backers, whether oligarchs or heads of hostile states or corporations, was to get Jared into the White House, get Ivanka into the White House. Uh, because they're younger, they're slicker, uh, in their, you know, they have less of a long history of criminal activity. Although you know, they obviously have one, they share it with both of their parents, you know, with Charles Kushner as well is with Trump. But in many ways it's easier for them to get done what needs to get done. And now we are like back again to the point where we're talking about them as danger, you know, as a serious dangerous and national security threat. And I mean, I, I feel like I'm living in some kind of awful hell with Jared Kushner's security clearance.

Sarah: 00:30:39 It's like, I feel like I died and I'm living in purgatory and in order to like ascend to heaven, I have to warn America over and over and over that Jared Kushner is a national security threat and that you need to indict him and actually remove him from access to classified information. And then maybe, maybe this hell will end and I won't have to keep saying it. You know, and I apologize to our audience because I feel like I'm giving you a rerun. But the reason that we're in a rerun is cause every couple of months, like the New York Times or some kind of cable news outlet or somebody has this revelation that Jared Kushner a security threat for many reasons that I'm about to name has access to classified information and never actually got his clearance taken away, which is incredibly obvious if you just look at what he's doing.

Sarah: 00:31:25 And then there's this kind of, you know, national freak out and all these national security experts and lawyers are like, oh my God, I had no idea. And I'm just kinda like, what the fuck? I mean, I'm sorry, like I, I have no idea how to respond to this. I'm like, you know, did I did, were you asleep? Am I asleep? Like am I hallucinating? Like what the Hell is going on? Cause this has all been going on in plain sight and since apparently people need a recap, uh, I'm just going to list like some of Jared's crimes. But before that, know that the one of the most blatant crimes, one of the most provable crimes, this is the fact that he lied on his security clearance forms. He left off about, you know, a hundred to 200 names and had to redo them. This is not an easy thing to get this level of clearance.

Sarah: 00:32:09 Usually if you're caught lying once it can be revoked, sometimes you can't even get it if you have the kind of sketchy background that Kushner had. So there's all sorts of problems with nepotism and lax standards going into this, but they have proven, they know that he lies, so there is ample cause not to just to remove him, but to indict him for that crime. However, if you would like to choose a different crime, Robert Mueller or the FBI or whoever's listening, there are many to choose from. Like Jared had illicit meetings with Russians who actively sought to influence the US election. He weaponized stolen data for that election. He participated in the infamous and illicit June, 2016 Trump tower meeting and easing Russian sanctions and lied about it. He has designed policy in the Middle East to pay off his personal debt, the massive debt accumulated through 666 fifth avenue, which basically looks like a giant money laundering scheme.

Sarah: 00:33:05 He has made illicit deals with China to pay off debt. He used a personal email to conduct state business and we all know how much you care about that. He gave state secrets to hostile actors, possibly trading them for a financial or other kinds of favors and possibly helped MBS uh murder, the journalist Jamal Kashoggi, possibly helped him target and torture Saudi dissidents by passing along the information he needed and allowing him to get to his chosen enemies quicker. And to cap it off, Jared Kushner has possibly traded or sold nuclear weapon secrets to Saudi Arabia. So yeah, we have a national security problem. Like maybe you should get him on, you know, one of the aforementioned crimes. But if you need a real, you know, kind of easy win, just go for the clearance forms. You know, all along I've been saying, my litmus test of whether the Mueller probe is effective has been whether Jared Kushner gets indicted because he has such a massive, massive risk.

Sarah: 00:34:05 I mean, even if he's just out of the White House, he is carrying around all the information that he's been accumulating for two years and you can take away his clearance. It doesn't necessarily matter because they'll just get the information from Ivanka or they'll get it from Trump. You have to actually lock this guy up. You have to keep him sequestered. You know, I look at what happened with, for example, Reality Winner, you know, who, uh, has not had any kind of trial but was thought to be a national security threat because she was leaking classified information that was her great sin. They have managed to keep her quiet. Jared Kushner is like not just a threat to the US but to the entire world. And he's just walking around full of trade secrets. So is, Michael Flynn, you know, so are so was Roger Stone, despite his gag order, you know, sore so many people and I cannot believe the lax treatment that they receive when whistleblowers are locked up.

Sarah: 00:34:57 This shows they are indeed capable of locking people up for various reasons, but you know, they are not willing to do it when it really counts. And so you know, we now have as a result of this, our national security is in tatters. Jamal Kashoggi and others are dead. We have people being tortured in other countries with the help of his information. Jared is still doing dirty deals with Netanyahu. Netanyahu is an old family friend of the Kushners and Netanyahu got indicted last week. You know, he is a criminal as well. He is deeply corrupt and those families have been intertwined for 30 years. That's something they should maybe look at. They should look at the relationship with Alan Dershowitz. They should look at the relationship a, you know, Israeli criminals like Beny Steinmetz who's, you know, linked to Kushner as well. They should be looking at black cube.

Sarah: 00:35:43 I mean, I can go on and on and on and on, but I have named so many things that like one of these things would have sunk any other official in any other administration. And we know why he's still there. He's there because he's the president's son in law. But that's what happens in an autocracy. That's what happens in a kleptocracy. And that's what happens in a monarchy. And in case you've forgotten, the reason this country was founded was in rebellion to a corrupt monarchy. So perhaps we should revive our old traditions. Perhaps these, you know, tea party members should really go back to their roots and get rid of Jared Kushner. He needs to be locked up.

Andrea: 00:36:21 Without question. And I'm tired of Jared and Ivanka being untouchable. I mean, yes, you have these big leaks and revelations and repeated revelations, the Deja news coming out again and again, but at the same time, why isn't Ivanka Trump being called to testify before Congress? I know there was talk in Congress, said she was going to be called. And this latest lis they put out a very long list of people. They're calling in like Gates and others. She's not on it, and even Michael Cohen and his testimony kept pointing to the kids. He even had that great line saying that Donald Trump thinks that Don junior is basically an idiot who can't do a deal himself, which is obvious pointing out the obvious to everyone. But Ivanka Trump, he really comes across as the type of woman who dresses and carries herself in such a way that she could not only talk her way out of getting pulled over from a speeding ticket by batting her eye lashes, but also talk her way out of getting out of vehicular manslaughter.

Andrea: 00:37:23 I mean that's very much how this is all feeling as though there's something going on maybe behind the scenes. Maybe it's intentional, maybe who knows, but it feels like she's not, there's no talk. There's no serious talks so far. But you, Ivanka herself getting indicted or the pressure putting being put on Ivanka. Even Don junior is going around and telling people he's going to get indicted. Roger Stone in the months leading up to his arrest that he's going to get arrested. But why does it seem like Ivanka is just skating by and as, oh, she's untouchable and possibly going to get away with this, which is so dangerous because as we always say on this show, Ivanka Trump is her father wrapped up in a prettier package, which makes her a far more lethal to American sovereignty and actual Americans because she is blonde and sparkly. And fortunately a big portion of America loves that.

Andrea: 00:38:11 One of our greatest exports. It's entertainment, sparkly blondes. And we produce that, the whole Britney Spears industrial complex, all of it. So, so Ivanka plays into that and unfortunately that works. It certainly works. Uh, it feeds into the pageantry of fascism. Fascism needs that tough guy or beautiful, gorgeous, sparkly woman. Um in order to sort of give people a false sense of pride in their country and a sense that everything is controlled and together and you can trust me, look how perfect I am. Right after the 2016 election, I had dinner with some Italian friends and they weren't surprised at all that Trump won. Of course, this is Italy, that that elected Berlusconi prime minister four times. It's the birthplace of actual practiced fascism. And so, you know, they weren't surprised at all that Ivanka, that Donald Trump won the election because that's what they saw happening in Italy with Berlusconi.

Andrea: 00:39:08 And that's what goes on with these sort of fascist leaning parties and, and governments. There's always going to be some sparkly woman on stage that softens the tough guy, the strong man. And Ivanka plays into that. And I know there's this sort of feminist backlash of don't come after Ivanka for whatever reason, but the reality is there's nobody worse for women especially is of course women of color. Then Ivanka Trump, she's lethal. She defends her friend Stephen Miller's uh Naziesque policies of what's going on the border, which has led to a child sex trafficking ring that our tax dollars are funding. That's the Ivanka Trump brand. That is, that is it. She's getting all these trademarks from China for voting machines and other things. The Ivanka Trump brand, her face should be on that whole massive crime of the sex trafficking ring that is going on because of her immigration policies, her inhumane immigration policies.

Andrea: 00:40:05 That is who Ivanka Trump is behind that plastic mask of hers. And you know, as a woman you can be however you want to be. You can be as feminine as you want to be. That's not what this is about. It's about packaging yourself in whatever way pleases you. Her whole issue is the total package. Ivanka Trump limits herself to how women were forced to be for generations if they wanted to get anywhere in life and have any sort of protection. And that of course started first and foremost with having a husband and, and bearing children. And so Ivanka Trump not only carries herself that way, but she protects policies like that. And she didn't lie through her teeth as she always does about empowering women and, and, and all types of girls' education. But the reality is she is a racist. Just like her father. She helped bring her racist, her father to power.

Andrea: 00:40:55 She herself is a racist. She defends destructive violent policies on the border being carried out in our name. That is who Ivanka Trump is. Her whole glittery billboard is sending a message to the red states, to Trump's base that don't worry, I'm your Aryan princess and how we will protect the way of life that you fear is slipping away. I am declaring war on the nrown people and on those hairy feminist women like Sarah and Andrea and, and so, um, and that's who she stands for and that is who she appeals to and she's an important arsenal. She's as important to her father's brand to her father's base as the Kremlin and its support.

Sarah: 00:41:35 I think that's true, although I think in terms of who she appeals to, you know, just like being in a state with a lot of Trump supporters, I don't think she's the primary attraction. You know, I think Trump is, I think who Ivanka appeals to is the media, particularly the New York media, particularly people like

Andrea: 00:41:53 Oh it's definitely both. It's definitely both. I hung around Republican women and in some of these purple or red states and like don't underestimate the Ivanka Trump brand to, to Trump's base. It's, it's uh, right after the election when, when they had a whole coalition of corruption that stole the presidency from Hillary Clinton, Roger Stone tweeted a photo with a blonde, sparkly woman saying, this is what a real woman looks like. Ivanka Trump is a poster child for how conservatives think a real woman should look like and act and be. And she's an important figure in protecting, uh, that way of life for Trump's base

Sarah: 00:42:28 And this is what makes me fearful for the future in terms of whether she is going to be the person who will inherit power. You know what, we have both stated before that we think that that's their goal is to install her as the first president of the United States, is that the media is extremely susceptible to her. You know, they underestimate her and they also are unwilling to call her out. It's not just law enforcement that's not asking her to testify or congress not asking her to testify. It's a kind of idea that she's harmless, you know, because of all the qualities that you just described. And I don't think that that's necessarily you know the case out you know, where I live, I think, you know, people are more taken in by Trump as this, you know, kind of the inverse of this is this typical macho white male racist demagogue.

Sarah: 00:43:15 But yeah, it's absolutely critical to point out all of the things that she has condoned in terms of racist policies, in terms of migrant children. We had a report last week that migrant children have been sexually assaulted from the moment they were taking in, to what are essentially concentration camps. You know, this was something that many of us suspected and feared and you know, that horrible reality is true. Yet you have uh Ivanka Trump, you know, and Kushner does this as well. They put out these op eds, they put out these statements that condemn the actual practices that they're condoning. Kushner pushes for criminal justice reform while these out committing crimes. Ivanka the minute the Jeffrey Epstein scandal broke back in, um, you know, rebroke I should say back in November when the Miami Herald put out its expose, she immediately writes up a little op Ed for the Washington Post, you know, condemning sex trafficking and seeing the administration was clamping down on it. You know, I find all of that interesting, given Trump's deep ties, uh, to Jeffrey Epstein, given the fact that Trump himself was accused of raping a 13 year old, uh, you know, who was said to resemble Ivanka as so many of the women he is assaulted or uh paid off for sex have.

Sarah: 00:44:34 And you know, I'm sorry to bring that up, but that's just, that's just a fact of the case. Um, should we keep going on this or why don't you start on North Korea and then I'll, uh,

Andrea: 00:44:45 Okay. So Kim Jong Un's big summit with Trump and Vietnam. This was advised by the Kremlin. We learned that from Russian state media that Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia was advising Trump on this. He was even present in Vietnam during this big so-called denuclearization summit. Trump just did the stupidest thing you could even imagine, which was legitimize bring out into the spotlight of the global stage, the president of the United States shaking hands in front of American and North Korean flags with a man who created a prison camp system. That one holocaust survivor said was worse than what the Nazis did. You know, this is a regime that was such destructive policies that one family in the late nineties killed an estimated 3.5 million people.

Andrea: 00:45:40 This is not a government, it's a cult of personality. It is one of the worst autocratic cults in human history. And there is the president of the United States smiling, doing photo ops, being buddies with its dictator. This is beyond comprehension. Like if you woke up from a coma and saw this, you would go back into the coma. And so none of this is normal. We can never ever allow this to be normalized. This is shocking. Absolutely shocking. And of course, you know, Trump is all over this because as we were going off on earlier in the show, he loves his monuments. And if there's anybody that does monuments to himself, well it's the dictator of North Korea, the entire prison camp of this country. It's a prison camp, not a country. So this entire prison camp of North Korea is a, is a monument to this man's ego. For instance, like just one anecdote, I know the North Korean defector, Yunomi Park, and she told me that, you know, through the hell that she escaped North Korea, unimaginable.

Andrea: 00:46:46 How was she was she was living off grass and insects just to feed herself. When she came out into the safety of South Korea, she'd been so brainwashed living in that cult, in that prison camp that it took George Orwell's animal farm to show her like a religious experience of reading that book. It took Orwell's animal farm to show her that evil systems are manmade and not natural. So even when she got to the safety of South Korea, she was still so brainwashed that she thought as they're taught in North Korea, that their dictator is the center of the universe, the center of the natural world, all the maps and their classrooms and so forth. There's reflect this and, and so all of this is an incredibly chilling that the president in states would be up there with this man legitimizing him, given, given that he's a mass murderer, that enslaves his own people.

Andrea: 00:47:37 And, and, um, and of course it's no surprise that that regime, which was essentially founded by stolen for many years at its start North Korea was under the leadership of the Soviet Union. It's not a surprise of course, that Putin which has done so much to resurrect a lot of, um, knew Stalin certainly as a hero and build off of Stalin's own crimes. The part of Ukraine that Putin has invaded, suffered one of the worst genocides of the Soviet period under Stalin. So here's Putin again, was very active at when he came to power in resurrecting relationships, building a very strong relationship with North Korea. Yeltsin before him took South Korea's side. So when Putin came in he switched that policy and has very much used the chaos and instability of North Korea, almost like a lever against the western alliance like standing with North Korea because if sanctions for instance are able to work inside North Korea and hold North Korea accountable that it changes its behavior, then that means sanctions work.

Andrea: 00:48:38 That means sanctions are good thing. And Putin, one thing he hates as we saw with his whole coalition of corruption that helped get Trump elected is he hates sanctions. That's what was, it was very much at the heart of, of of his whole gamble on Trump. And I do want to clarify, yes, Russia has been outspoken here and there on North Korea Saber rattling, but they are propping up this state. They are giving loads of money and aid to keep North Korea going. It's essentially a vassal state of Russia and Russia likes it that way cause they could use North Korea as a pawn to suit their geopolitical interest and are certainly doing that now by having their puppet do this Photoshop there in North Korea. And Trump of course is taking full advantage of this because like we say, he wants a monument and he wants his Nobel peace prize for doing nothing. Essentially. And he, and he even apparently asked Japan to nominate him for a Nobel peace prize for his North Korea talks, which he wants a prize for doing nothing. And so all of this is incredibly disturbing and it's very convenient. The timing with him running off to North Korea, meeting with his Kremlin handlers while his personal attorney is testifying and spilling all before Congress. So the timing of it is very convenient. Of course for Trump, he gets to meet with his Kremlin handlers and all that.

Sarah: 00:49:51 It was interesting that he was out of the country and Ivanka and Jared were out of the country in Saudi Arabia, possibly making deals involving nuclear material. And I was basically like, you know, if you want to build that dome over America, maybe this is a good time. But yeah, you know, the visit was disturbing on so many levels because, you know, as you were saying, on a propaganda level, Kim Jong Un gets a win on a kind of personal sociopathic level. You see the same lust for dictatorship. You know, the same desire to emulate, you know, the most brutal leaders, uh, that Trump has always demonstrated. You know, this is the same attitude he's taken to Erduan, to Duterte to Putin, obviously, uh, you know, to anyone, and of course you see him, you know, slobbering over this millennial murderer. At the same time, what you have is a quasi negotiation about nuclear weapons and all along, you know, as I've been saying, Trump has been obsessed with nuclear weapons.

Sarah: 00:50:50 He's been obsessed with them since the mid eighties. When he proclaimed he could learn everything he needed to know about them in an hour and a half. He's always wanted to be involved in some sort of ultimate deal in which he, you know, back in the 80s said he wanted to get, you know, the Soviet Union to give up their nuclear weapons and that he, Donald Trump was the only person qualified to do this. And he said he had gotten that idea and inspiration from his mentor. Right? Cohn, Cohn, of course, is the person who introduced him to Stone and Manafort and in many ways uh set this entire national and global nightmare in motion. There is a lot on the line here. You know, it's not just a matter of Trump being humiliated by Kim. We know when he's ultimately left with an empty room or Trump going to North Korea as a distraction from Michael Cohen testifying.

Sarah: 00:51:37 There are actual nuclear weapons negotiations going on. And it's always interesting for me to watch, you know, North Korea specialists on Twitter as they evaluate this nightmare. Because on one hand, I think many of them are more strained than me, but I think they want Trump gone. Cause you obviously don't want a sociopathic nuke fetishist who is disloyal to the United States to be the person making decisions about nuclear weapons. But at the same time, you know, these are folks who have been studying North Korea for a long time. They don't want hostility. They don't want tension. You know, they want a better life for people in North Korea. They're thinking about the humanitarian angle of this. And so, you know, we don't want actual fighting. You know, you want something in between. It's always going to be an unsatisfactory resolution unless you have a complete change in both personality and policy from both Trump and Kim, which is not going to happen.

Sarah: 00:52:32 So yeah, it's, it's, it's deeply nerve wracking. And then the other thing that Trump did, which is just revolting in so many levels is he insulted the family of Otto Warmbier, who was an American who visited North Korea, was accused of stealing a propaganda poster and was basically killed, you know, by Kim Jong Un's regime. You know, he made it back to the United States but quickly died. And this is, you know, a young guy who was in his twenties. And so Trump defended Kim Jong Un much in the way that he said he believed Putin when Putin said, I didn't interfere in the election, I didn't do this. I didn't do that. He says about Kim, he tells me he didn't know about it and I will take him at his word. And so it's not just that he's backing a dictator yet again, it was so reminiscent of the hurtful and horrific statements he's made about other Americans who've died usually in battle.

Sarah: 00:53:27 You know, the family of, uh, Khizr Khan, you know, who spoke at the Democratic national convention and brought out his constitution and the way that he, you know, he attacked that gold star family. He attacked La David Johnson and his widow, Myelisha Johnson, when he was killed. Like he has no regard for the sanctity of human life in general. And he has a particular disregard for Americans who are killed, you know, in hostile situations abroad. And I don't want to equate Otto Warmbier. Um, you know, with Americans who have gone to war, you are enlisted in the military to fight for our country. It's two different situations. But the end result is of course you expect your president to be on your side. You know, you expect your president to grieve for you and you expect them to stand up for you against a foreign country.

Sarah: 00:54:16 And I feel like that's one of the biggest shifts in consciousness that we as Americans have had to make, is just to know that Trump is not on our side. And even if you're, you know, a devout supporter of him, even if you're someone you know that goes to the rallies and wears a MAGA hat, all he sees you as is a prop. He does not care if you live or die. He doesn't care if anyone really besides himself lives or dies. You know, he doesn't have friends. He doesn't have those normal kinds of emotions. And if anything, he has antipathy toward America. He gets off on hating America. He gets off on controlling America. Um, and that's something, you know, I've said from the start is that this really is about all of us. This is not a blue state red state thing. This is not a Democrat Republican thing, you know, and to some extent this is a American versus anti American thing with, with Trump really, uh, being on the anti American side. But above all, this is a human thing. This is an existential threat and it's just such a, a disgusting display of disrespect. Any complete lack of empathy. And I mean, I don't know. I don't have, I don't have words. Um, I don't have words for why he did.

Andrea: 00:55:29 It takes you back to his WWF wrestling days when he used to participate in that. And that's what this pageantry reminds me of. Trump has never met a dictator he doesn't like. And it is sort of like he's getting in the ring with them. WWF wrestling style. It's just a big, orchestrated fake wrestling match for him too. It's just that reality show showmanship, that's all it is. And there's a saying in Ukraine that I've heard in relation to Ukrainian oligarchs and oligarchy and this applies of course to oligarchs in general how they see the people and that saying is the people are the shit we grow our money in. And that's very much how Trump sees all of us. Even those around him that he uses and abuses and Michael Cohen's testimony, he talked about how Trump relished in the fact that he would get away without paying people or paying them are less than what they were deserved and that he enjoyed this.

Andrea: 00:56:27 He got off on it like that is who he is. He is, as Michael Cohen said, a con man and of course he's going to hang out with and be attracted to other con men because they are protecting him. The Kremlin right now is protecting him. They gave him a place to hide out with North Korea and this summit because things have been getting very hot for him in here in the US and Trump just sees it as, you know, hanging out with people who understand him and who are, who want to protect him. And at the same time, he vainly thinks he can get a Nobel peace prize out of this for doing absolutely nothing. And it just being atrocious. Um, and so as we've said throughout this show, we've been talking about how Trump, all he wants to do is build monuments to himself.

Andrea: 00:57:07 Like that famous Percy Shelley poem Ozymandias. The poem describes a great king, his, his snarl looking out on his land. But what we're really experiencing the poem through is a sunken statue to him in the, in a desert looking out on a wasteland because there's nothing there because the monuments that Trump devotes his life to building of himself, they're absolutely worthless. They're nothing. And they've been plenty of Trump's throughout human history, and he's just a pattern of the worst of human behavior. And it has always been the strong men that have just devoted themselves to shallow pursuits, ego pursuits of building monuments to themselves. It Trump is not new. We're just stuck under him right now. And he's very dangerous. Um, but I do want to say the real monuments that matter in life that do make a difference, that are creative. They're the acts that we do. The, the simple acts of choosing hope and faith over despair.

Andrea: 00:58:01 Even when we want to just stay in bed and despair, it's showing up even when we don't want to show up. It's taking that first step of faith to build something, even though you don't stand a chance in hell. It's exceeding. It's those, the real monuments in life where you can plant a seed and quite a ripple effect that changes people's lives. Uh, for instance, a dear friend of mine, a Ukrainian man by the name of Anthony Maximovich who's now in London, he back in 2005, he founded with his friend, Macola Peck, another young student in Ukraine at the time, both of them, you know, college kids, they founded this great program for people, for foreigners to go abroad and live in U in Leviev Ukraine for a month and do all of these immersion classes of language, learning about Ukraine's economy and history. And you get all this free food and board and all of it.

Andrea: 00:58:50 And the program was so super cheap because they raised money from abroad to subsidize it. And I was able to do that after college. Their program, you know, I was living off of my savings, what I saved working through college and I was trying to pursue this really crazy idea of making a feature film about Stalin's genocide in Ukraine, which my grandfather lived through. And their program allowed me, cause it was so cheap, it allowed me to go to Ukraine and experience the country and begin my research for my, my script. And that my film having just had this world premiere. They, that is a monument that those young men created. They share in that success of the film that their work and creating that program that I did, that is an important monument that I was able to take for the rest of my life and build on.

Andrea: 00:59:33 And so it's, it's those, the real monuments that matter, that have a ripple effect that change people's lives in ways that we beyond than you can even imagine. And in those are the monuments we all have to work towards in our own lives and work towards building our own lives. And I bring that up because um Macola Pekh who had health issues. He was legally blind and he achieved so much in his young life. He passed away. And so as his friends have launched a scholarship fund on just giving and donations are being matched by the community initiative program of the European Bank for Reconstruction and development. Um, so it's got a trusted backer behind it and that scholarship fund, if you want to join me in giving to it, you just go to and look up the Macola Pekh scholarship. That's p e k h Macola Pekh scholarship on and I was very happy to donate to that because it's just one tiny little act that cr that helps create a monument and to change someone's lives in a way that you could even foresee happening. And those are the real monuments that we all have to dedicate our lives to.

Sarah: 01:00:33 You know, as this goes on, you know, as this existential threat continues, you can see people buckling under the pressure. And for a long time you saw people looking for a savior, you know, kind of having this duet Mueller kind of attitude that he was going to come in and it was just a matter of time. And he's, you know, crossing the t's and dotting the i's. And I've seen less of that now. You know, and I, I think it's both good and bad. I think people realize that we have a deep structural problem but never was properly addressed in that Congress with all of its limitations and its bureaucracy may not be able to address it. But then you're left, you know, with the mentality, you're left with mindset and authoritarianism. It's not just a matter of action from above. It's about how you respond to it.

Sarah: 01:01:22 You know, what you're willing to accept what you're willing to do to fight back. And so, you know, I encourage people, I always see this, you should expect autocracy but not accept it. And if you're looking for things to do, you know, do these small gestures, work with your local community, you know, do something for the people around you. Try to retain what we have left of society and don't just expect that, you know, there's going to be some sort of easy neat resolution from above. If there's going to be change, it's going to come from below. So, you know, people are always asking for advice. I feel reluctant to give broad advice because everyone brings something different to the table and that's good and everybody has different limitations and that's just how life is. So really, you know, this is a question that everybody needs to answer for themselves is, you know, what can I do to help this situation?

Sarah: 01:02:16 What can I do to help my community? What can I do to my country and to try to make it finally fulfill the ideals that have always been there on paper but have never ever been a fully supported in practice. You know, that's a decision that people have to make for themselves. And you know, to not go back into a bleak note, you know, you never know how long people are going to be around if you follow the natural trajectory of autocracy. People who speak up vehemently against it are often targeted, um, unable to continue their work through censorship, through things if it happens in America, excessive litigation or through a murder. So, you know, that is one of the reasons that I'm always telling people, please think for yourselves, you know, be creative, be innovative, be compassionate, be kind, but be yourself. You know, don't just fall into a group, fall into a mold. People who live in autocracies have no choice but to do that. They can't express their individuality. They can't make decisions for themselves because it's illegal and they'll, they will be persecuted for it. You still have that ability, so you should do what you can to fight back.

Sarah: 01:03:34 Gaslit nation is produced by Sarah Kenzior, and Andrea Chalupa. If you like what we do, leave us a review on iTunes. It helps us reach more listeners and check out our Patreon, it keeps us going. Our editors are Carlin Daigo and Nicholas Torres. This episode was edited by Nicholas Torres. Original music for Gaslit Nation was produced by David Whitehead, Martin Visonberg, Nick Far, Damien Ariaga, and Carlon Begel. Our logo design was donated to us by Hamish Smith of the New York based firm Order. Thank you so much, Hamish. Gaslit nation would like to thank our supporters at the producer level on Patreon page, Harrington Nicholson, David Porter, Glenda de Guzman, Jared Lombardo, Jason Bainbridge, Jody Dewitt, John John Ripley, Kate cotton, Kevin m garnet, Lorraine Todd, Phyllis Schroeder, Terry Brady, Zachary Lemon, Angelie Khosla Anne Marshall, Catherine Anderson Carina, Kathy Kavenaugh, Irina Guardia, Ethan Mann, Jason Rita, Jennifer, Slavic Jen Aystrup Rasmuson, John Danborough. John Keane, Joy Christine, Kevin Christie, Kim Mellon, Lauren's Graham Luke stranded. Margaret Mo, Matthew Copeland, Maureen Murphy, Michelle Dash Mike Tripaco. Rhonda White, Rich Kwok, Sonia Bogdanovich. Thank you all so much. We can not make the show without you.

Andrea Chalupa