Mueller Speaks!

Hey, it can talk! In this episode of Gaslit Nation, we break down Mueller’s surprise press conference on Thursday with a special guest – Alexandra Chalupa, the independent researcher who was one of the first people in the US to warn officials about Russia’s attack on the 2016 election.

Robert Mueller: And as set forth in the report after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime. The introduction to the volume 2 of our report explains that decision. It explains that under long-standing department policy, a present president can not be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. And I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments that there were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American.

Sarah Kendzior: I'm Sarah Kendzior, a journalist and scholar of authoritarian states, and the author of the book The View from Flyover Country.

Andrea Chalupa: I'm Andrea Chalupa, a writer and the screenwriter and producer of the upcoming journalistic thriller Gareth…sorry! "Mr. Jones.” My film is called Mr. Jones.

Sarah Kendzior: And this is Gaslit Nation, a podcast covering corruption in the Trump administration and rising autocracy around the world. And today we are joined by a very special guest Andrea's sister, Alexandra Chalupa, a researcher and activist who is one of the first Americans to alert the world to the dangers of the Trump campaign's illicit collaboration with Russia. Alexandra will be telling us her story, in her own words, later in the show. But first, we are going to discuss the press conference that Robert Mueller just held on the Russia investigation and his resignation from the Department of Justice. So I guess my first question on this is, what prompted Mueller to speak out today? Like why not speak out when Barr misrepresented his work? Why not speak out on the day that the Mueller report came out, which prompted a lot of questions like "what's going on here?”

Alexandra Chalupa: Hi, Sarah and Andrea. Thank you for having me on, and I love your show and the important work you're doing and your fans are the best, I’ve heard from a lot of them.

Sarah Kendzior: They are.

Andrea Chalupa: They are they are the best.

Alexandra Chalupa: I love them. But, a lot has happened in this process that we can't take for granted in terms of how worse Donald Trump and Bill Barr and others have made the case for themselves. Had Mueller spoken up, we may not have seen some of this corruption with what was happening at the top of the DOJ with Bill Barr. But I think now it's gotten to the point that we're in a crisis, we're in an emergency situation. And there's been so much smearing from witnesses to the investigators, and everything that they're doing that they've really shown their full colors and a lot of people have woken up in this process. But it would've been very useful a little earlier on. I think we got enough of the taste of it.

Sarah Kendzior: So, you're saying that Mueller basically gave them enough rope to hang themselves with?

Alexandra Chalupa: Yes, and I think they took it and they definitely did exactly that. Look how far we've come from the first Bill Barr letter and how we saw who understood that it was gas lighting at its best, and who bought into it.

Andrea Chalupa: Right.

Alexandra Chalupa: That was a big deal. And I've seen such a shift in Congress since then in terms of some of the friends that I'd check in with that were on staff, after the Bill Barr letter, a lot of them, you know, kind of didn't understand what was happening at first. Some of the younger members. But I think right now, so much has happened. We've had some powerful statements and information come out from Adam Schiff. It is not okay, the speech that he gave. And so much of the rope that they did use to hang themselves. They've really shown, look at Giuliani that was running around. That's a whole episode itself.

Sarah Kendzior: It literally was!

Alexandra Chalupa: He's always good for a Gaslit Nation episode, Giuliani. I do want I say I agree with you that Barr's cover up, that initial four-page letter that Barr sent out, that very much was an ethics test for the mainstream media. We got to see which journalists actually practice journalism and which ones are just idiots. And so, big shout out to the journalists out there who are true journalists. That, of course, includes and is not limited to David Corn of Mother Jones, Marcy Wheeler. Who are some others that were just...?

Sarah Kendzior: Malcolm Nance.

Andrea Chalupa: Absolutely. Joy Reed.

Alexandra Chalupa: Josh Campbell.

Andrea Chalupa: Josh Campbell, and then I think that Natasha Betrond was—

Alexandra Chalupa: Wonderful.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah always. And then we had Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo. So those were sort of the core group that were holding it down and waiting for everyone to catch up.

Alexandra Chalupa: Yes.

Andrea Chalupa: I think that’s so important to preserve in history, because Barr did succeed for a week or two in terrorizing people, and launching these horrible front-page headlines—"Mueller exonerates Trump,” which the New York Times, The Washington Post committed to history.

Alexandra Chalupa: And how it emboldened, how it absolutely emboldened the Trump administration as a result. A lot of people were so shocked at Barr’s letter, but what I was seeing, because it attacks so many people directly is how they were starting to call for the investigations even the Ukraine collusion narrative was being resurfaced by Giuliani at that early stage. That week I was documenting a lot of this publicly on Facebook, all this type of things that they were doing. You know Lindsey Graham saying that we need a special councel which now investigate who created this farce of a narrative that the president was being involved in something like this and that how his committee's not going to investigate it because he doesn't want it to be partisan, but he's going to have a secret meeting at the council instead.

And so they became very emboldened, and it was interesting to see. But they fitted exactly what they've been doing consistently for two years in terms of obstructing justice and trying to intimidate people.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, exactly, and that's one of the things that I almost don't want to use the metaphor anymore of give them enough rope to hang themselves, because this is what they're talking about in a pretty literal way. You know, they want to flip the script. They want to investigate the investigators. And in the month between when the Mueller report came out and when Mueller actually spoke today, we've had Trump threatening all the members of the FBI that had been investigating his illicit collaboration with Russia including Comey, Page, Stroke, McCabe, others.

And you know, even flirting with the idea of executions, with the idea of imprisonment, with the idea of show trials. And so I get nervous when I hear that Barr, yes, I mean of course a great deal of criminality has been exposed, and I do think more Americans are seeing things for what they are, they're seeing what a grave crisis this is. But ultimately, who is going to enforce accountability? Who is going to actually prosecute the criminals instead of prosecuting the investigators and all the people who are working to bring those individuals to justice and to bring stability to the American public?

That's what frightens me, is that we are on the precipice, not even on the precipice as Andrea said in a previous episode, we are in the early stages of authoritarianism, and this is what it looks like. It doesn't happen overnight. It happens with the erosion of laws of ethics of morality and of expectations. And I don't know, what are what are you guys’ thoughts on that?

Alexandra Chalupa: That's exactly right. I mean, we are in the early stages, and if this is left unchecked I'm a DNC member and a political operative. But anyone who is talking about that the solution to this national and international crisis that we're dealing with, is 20-20. It's normalizing the situation. We need to address this immediately.

We are in crisis mode, and it's wishful thinking that this is going to be saved in a normal election, but nothing is normal. We are in a very dangerous situation. And when our own men and women who serve this country put their life on the line, as in the intelligence community and federal law enforcement, when they are being targeted this bluntly, publicly, the way that they've been harassed and intimidated for doing their jobs, that means that none of us are safe, that this will impact every single American when they have lists of us they want to go after and blame for sounding alarm bells that Russia was attacking our election, and Donald Trump was hoping that, because he did, and that's public information. Even those who are loyalists to a dictator like Trump today by any means, much less tomorrow, tyrants will pardon anyone who gets in their way.

And so, the bigger picture. But I definitely agree with you on Andrea of speaking out about this very early on and making people realize that this is happening and it doesn't happen overnight. If they don’t get the power to stand up, there will come a point where it's too late.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, I agree, and one of the things that bothered me today about what Mueller said is that he said it's not appropriate for him to speak out about this anymore. But it's his obligation as an American tasked to serve this country to speak out, and I also don't understand how he can abandon not only his fellow former colleagues at the FBI, but all the other people, as you said, who are literally on enemies lists right now with a lawless regime that will resort to force if necessary. We have seen so many atrocities. We've seen atrocities directed at the most vulnerable people, at child migrants on the border. We've seen atrocities directed at the most powerful people, at people like Jamal Khashoggi like a wealthy journalist for one of the biggest papers in the country, just savagely butchered and murdered because he dared to speak out.

You know, it's so extraordinarily serious that it's just, of course Mueller should be I think saying more. He should be answering questions. He should be testifying to Congress. That's another thing, this whole sort of narrative that subpoenas are now optional and that you can choose whether or not to do your constitutional duty, like I find that just unfathomable. I mean, I would for one think he would want to do this. Like if he's a patriot, he would want to speak out. He'd want to set the record straight.

He'd want to stand up for his work, because he did a lot of work. He did two years of work in a 400-page report which honestly still had holes in it.

So why not speak out, you know?

Alexandra Chalupa: But here's the thing, that's what was very significant today. Mueller today, basically it was a Declaration of Independence from the DOJ. He resigned. He contradicted, like basically very subtly contradicted what Barr had said. He reinforced and reset the narrative of how serious it is, and it does belong to go to Congress. But he also said that he is now a private citizen. He expressed that he does not want to speak out, wish to speak out publicly, and this is his intentions, is only to do this and not to take any questions.

However, he is someone who's also showed us that he follows the rule of law under all circumstances. And so as a private citizen, he can be subpoenaed, so that these guys know this is like you can choose to testify or not. A subpoena is a subpoena, and if Mueller's a private citizen now, this could be a different scenario. I mean I don't know, but I understand what your point is, Sarah. I think it's an important one to bring up, because what will happen over the next coming days? And how will these Congressional chair committee chairs react, especially Nadler’s committee?

Sarah Kendzior: No, I totally agree with you, and I hope what people take away from that is that it is Congress's obligation to subpoena him, because if like you said Mueller is a rule follower, then he'll follow through on that, and hopefully they will all understand the value of doing this publicly, because there's so much misinformation about all of this out there, as we all know. You know, we've been trying to correct that misinformation for three years. But yesterday, Justin Amash did that little town hall where someone in the audience had no idea that Mueller had even criticized Trump, that Mueller had talked about obstruction. They just genuinely didn't know, because they're receiving propaganda.

So hopefully Congress understands it has so much power here to do the right thing and to educate and inform people.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, I couldn't agree more. So that woman in the audience of Congressman Amash’s Town Hall, the congressman from Michigan who is like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, suddenly, for America. So they interviewed a woman in the audience who was stunned that the Mueller report showed that Donald Trump did anything wrong. And she said she had no idea, because she gets her news from conservative media. So just to build on Sarah's point, the Democratic Party is basing their decision of whether to impeach or not on polling. Well, they have to also of course take into account that we have an aggressive, extremely well-funded, wide-reaching, far-right propaganda machine in America.

Fox News is practically an extension of the White House. Sean Hannity is practically an adviser to Donald Trump. Trump, of course, famously watches Fox and Friends, and his blood pressure goes up and down depending on what Fox is saying, like he lives and dies and breathes by Fox and so forth. And so do many other Americans, and they're stuck in that echo chamber. So if it's bad enough that impeachment hearings are brought against the president, that's a huge wakeup call for the country. And what that will then turn into our unfiltered big hearings inside Congress that Americans will tune into just like they did today with Mueller’s surprise announcement.

So this is a massive, massive media coup that the Democrats can leverage on their side to break through that wall of far right propaganda.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, I totally agree. And I just have to say, as someone in a red state that used to be a swing state, it's been surreal watching some of the Democrats’ excuses, because you know they keep saying they want to reach out to conservative voters or to conservative Democrats independents and what have you. But what they're really reaching out to is that clichéd caricature that the New York Times constructs of what people are like and what they think out here. You know, there are people who voted for Trump because he is a bigot, because he's xenophobic. There are some that voted for him because he's cruel. There are also people who were misled. You know, they were like that person at the Town Hall. They've been hearing different things from Fox News. I don't buy the economic anxiety excuse entirely, because it cuts completely across racial lines. Only white people had the particular kind of economic anxiety to vote for Trump. But nonetheless, it is true that people are suffering. I don't think people wanted to vote for a mafia syndicate-related criminal.

I do not think that that is the attraction of Donald Trump. And I think if folks realize exactly who he is hooked up to and what that means for our country, what it means for our sovereignty, our freedom, and just the sheer criminality of it, that it's a kleptocracy. Kleptocracy is rule of thieves; no one votes for a thief for the president. You know, that's not an attractive prospect. And I think hearings would make that clear.

Alexandra Chalupa: It would make clear, but they had the power to do something else. I totally agree with the comment that you cannot govern by polling. You have to govern out of responsibility to your nation, and this is applicable to both Democrats and Republicans. And a great service would be for every single member, regardless of what party, to take the lead of doing town halls that explain exactly what that Mueller report and what this investigation is, and why it's important. They should start at the district level and they need to take it to Washington as well.

And that's something that the Democrats have more ability to do, because they have more understanding of the urgency of what's happening. But they really do need to get this information out, as even Mueller himself said, is that everyone needs to understand what's going on the investigation and read the report, and we're still learning that there are many who have not yet. It's their duty to warn. You know, we're in a national crisis, and it's it's their duty to warn. Those who choose to be silent are being complicit. Those who choose to help the president of the United States cover up for crimes are now accomplices.

It's very simple, and this is the bigger picture that I think we need to focus on, is what you have been focusing on, is the responsibility to our nation.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah.

Alexandra Chalupa: It's not about politics like Trump wants to go after Democrats, and you know, whatever, 18 angry Democrats, 17 angry Democrats, or this, or this. This is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. This is a national security issue. It’s a high priority one, and people will suffer even more than they are today if it's not addressed.

Andrea Chalupa: Impeachment is definitely a story of putting country above party, regardless of which party you're from. You’ve lived in D.C. for decades, you've been on Capitol Hill, you know members of Congress, you know their staff.

What are they thinking? They see that their base, the vast majority of their base, wants impeachment. The polling numbers leading up to the 2018 midterm elections showed that the vast majority of Democratic voters that ushered in the blue wave brought these Democrats into power in the House, wanted impeachment. They saw that Donald Trump was scared of impeachment. All of the reporting leading up to the midterms showed his paranoia of Mueller and being impeached.

Matthew Whitaker being brought in as acting A.G. is proof confirmation yet again that Trump fears impeachment. Attorney General Barr who wrote the cover up memo to audition to get his job and then followed through on it, following his legacy of being the Iran Contra guy and leading the cover up there for Republicans, he is confirmation again that Trump fears impeachment. So given all of that, walk us through how the halls of power in Washington D.C. work and what their thinking may be here, because it's infuriating their base, which they need to show up for them in 2020, but more specifically, Ali, if you could talk through what calculation are they making inside Congress, like what's stopping this? You know, Washington and how it works.

Alexandra Chalupa: I have to tell you, it's changed a lot, just the weeks since the Barr letter. I check in with different chiefs of staff every once in a while, and I've met a couple members of Congress last week, and I've met with different committee chairs. The committee chairs are full force moving forward and on the investigation front and doing their job to get documentations to challenge and get information. They're hitting walls, but I have to tell you that the readout after the Barr letter when I just kind of gauged through a friend of mine who's a chief of staff about where the Democratic caucus was, and basically the feedback was while the committee chairs and leadership definitely understand the seriousness of the situation, a lot of the freshman members are so focused on so many different issues, but it's changed a lot in the last weeks even. Like you're saying, there is a shift. We are definitely seeing a shift.

And I think this situation has been even more publicly bad optics with the behavior of this administration and everything that you pointed out know a few minutes ago, it's making the case stronger and stronger. And today you can't refute it. I mean, we could not determine he’s innocent. There's a lot of obstruction concerns that right there in the report that go to the core of our ability to get to the truth of the matter. And this is something that our hands are tied to that Congress has cleared the way he said it.

And it goes to Congress now. Everyone should keep up the political pressure. I know there are some people who believe that there's a grand strategy here, and there's a certain time know everything else. But as you pointed out and others have pointed out, there’s enough information. That information is way more than we ever wanted to be able to make a case for impeachment right now. Absolutely. We have to do our duty and be on the right side of history. We need our elected members regardless of their power to be on the right side of history for the United States of America.

I think that the more pressure that they get, the more they move forward.

But I just cannot. I mean I've I've met with members who are looking into the 25th still, you know trying to push in and get Republicans to see what they could do behind the scenes, because there's enough grounds for that as well.

Andrea Chalupa: So I want to say that Mueller's announcement today, obviously the timing of it, because he's in negotiation with Nadler to testify before Congress, yes, he's the king of vagueness and the sort of mysterious figure of Mueller emerged today that this man is like the Sphinx. He raises more questions than he answers. The questions he already left us with and he could do such great satire about him really but so I think in Mueller speak, it did sound like a cry for help of Congress do your job. Yes, the president is a criminal that DOJ policy keeps us from putting on trial and indicting. And also he ended it with a huge banner, fireworks, cherry bombs going off, for Mueller speak anyway, where when he said that every American needs to understand, every American needs to understand that this was a sweeping systematic attack by the Kremlin on our democracy. That is what he left it off with and he blazed out of there with those big banner words, according to Mueller speak. So I think that that alone is significant because in Barr’s big cover up and all the journalists fell into line being complicit in aiding Barr’s cover up, that got lost that yes, the Kremlin did commit a massive sweeping attack on our democracy and they're still doing it. And Trump is even emboldening their tactics by refusing to do anything of substance to confront them and siding with Vladimir Putin, the mass murderer in the Kremlin, against American intelligence, repeatedly.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah I agree. And I do think it's significant. The exact quote was, “I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there are multiple systemic efforts to interfere in our election.” One thing I thought was very interesting about that is that it kind of echoed Harry Reid's original cries of alarm in the summer and fall of 2016, saying that Russia was interfering with the election and that it might affect the actual vote tally, you know, that the election the integrity of it was in great danger. And that allegation was basically dismissed by James Comey, who instead focused on Hillary's e-mails and of course released his infamous letter.

But I thought, I mean with Mueller It's so hard to tell. Everyone reacted to what he said differently. It's like this Rorschach test of you know the public sphere. But I did notice that, it made me wonder what that means: was the integrity of the 2016 election compromised? I mean, I think I would say yes, and given that we were all asking for a vote audit, I think we certainly agree it's a relevant question. But also, what does that mean for 2020? You know, this is one of the things that infuriates me about Pelosi and others’ argument that we need to wait for 2020, because as you just said, these problems not only were not rectified, we have the person who helped cause these problems at the highest branch of office aided by a transnational crime syndicate that's going to do it again. And we see more and more with the election machines, with domestic voter suppression, and with just criminal obstinacy like the kind that Mitch McConnell specializes in where they just simply refuse to follow the rule of law. And of course, Bill Barr exemplifies this tactic as well in the GOP. And so there is a lot at stake. I mean, even with massive turnout for the Democrats, which I don't think we can necessarily count on at this point in the way of the blue wave, because people are so frustrated. But even with that there's a very good chance that the GOP and others, outside actors, will try to interfere with this election and prevent it from being free and fair. I hope that if anything, people take that closing line of Mueller's speech to heart and just think long and hard about that and about the fact that none of this has been rectified and has in fact been made much worse.

Alexandra Chalupa: And that's exactly right, Sarah, and I have a big network of political operatives on Facebook, and I spent a lot of time pushing this, saying that 2020 is not the answer. It's normalizing the crisis we're in. We cannot afford to risk our entire national security because this guy has already told us you know he behaves like a tyrant. It's out in the open the way he's acts like a tyrant, and he's already openly told us that he could envision the U.S. having a permanent president someday. And the way he's still collaborating, his team is, with the Russian government on certain hits on people same messaging.

It's an issue it's an ongoing issue. Our democracy is very vulnerable. I think it did have a very big impact on 2016, more than people realize. And before the election I was worried that there were going to be issues because of everything that was being reported, and also was getting lost in the media, how the Russians were going after our statewide systems. And if you look at the analysis of how long it took for Homeland Security to work with the states the final, like, I think it was by early October, mid-October, they were barely working with half the states on securing election systems.

But then if you look at how many counties actually took out the Department of Homeland’s offer to help secure the systems, it was only about 300 out of 3000 counties in the country. And I called up the secretary of state's office in Pennsylvania during the early infancy of the recount and talked to a senior aide there, and I just said, even though it wasn’t public yet I just assumed, and I said, “Oh, I know Pennsylvania was one of the states that were being targeted. How did you relay this to the counties, the urgency of doing recount efforts?” Because they can't force it on them, right? They can't force it on them, and I said, “How many of your 67 counties actually took up the Department of Homeland on its offer?” And it was 3. 3 out of 67.

Andrea Chalupa: Wow.

Alexandra Chalupa: Very hard to do a recount in Pennsylvania to begin with, but nothing made sense in Pennsylvania, especially, like, there was like no ground operation. There were so many things that were off, and I think if people actually go back and look at those numbers and see that there are these patterns that jump out…I do think it had an impact, but it had other impacts, too, because coming through the perspective of seeing the Russian influence very early on and seeing similar patterns that were used in Ukraine, which is a testing ground for the Russians, I think control of the media and the manipulation of the media was overpowering. And how much we had our top intel officials testified openly before Congress that Putin is the biggest threat, enemy, the United States faces, yet we had a candidate that was normalizing Putin and branding him as a strong leader and acting as if he's our buddy throughout the election. He was getting help from Putin and he was the choice that Putin was backing. So there's just, it's just, the amount of people who didn't understand Russia, the danger of the Russian Federation or Putin in general. You know, we thought our enemy was a different type of enemy that Hollywood produces in the Middle East. And we were vulnerable to political warfare because that's what this is. You have to start defining it. What this is, it is political warfare, and it's impactful especially because you know you don't have to shoot off a single bullet.

You can help take over a branch of government just through political warfare and a lot of the victims won't even know that they are victims. And that's what we are as Americans right now. We were all, whether we supported Trump or not, at the end of the day we were all victims of this attack on our nation, that I think there is enough information out there that definitely did have an impact on on the election. And it's still having an impact. I mean the Democratic National Committee really took a beating, and it wasn't like reporters were listening to what they were saying in 2016 how serious the compromise was, and what was happening, and then their emails are being disclosed, and it's like people are digging through the emails or reporting about different opponents and rather than saying, “Oh my gosh, one of our democratic institutions responsible for overseeing the president's election for their party has been attacked by a foreign government,” and it was sent spiraling for the general election. The amount of money that they had to spend on addressing the situation and on cyber warfare security and cyber security and everything else and the morale. I mean, the amount of my colleagues there who had their phone numbers released, personal information, and were getting harassed for weeks after the general election. That those stories were never properly told about the impact it did have. And there are different types of impacts. And it's the bigger scale of the bigger bird's eye view of the types of impacts it made.


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Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, and we'll go into that in further detail, the DNC hack, and you living through it, and the impact it had, and what it was all like when that was unfolding. That was what Mueller reminded us of today in his announcement, that that was one of the main focuses of his report, his investigation. And if you just take the four hundred-and-fifty-page Mueller Report itself, just the Mueller report itself, which comes to the conclusion that Donald Trump is an unindicted criminal. And unfortunately, the legal requirements for conspiracy between the Trump campaign the Trump family and the Kremlin wasn't able to be reached for whatever reason.

And we have numerous examples throughout the Mueller report itself, as Mueller again mentioned today, reminded us of today, of individuals who worked against the investigation. Individuals like Paul Manafort who obstructed justice themselves, and the report says, you know, if we had these individuals cooperating, then things could be changed here in terms of various aspects of the report itself. So just this report, just Mueller’s report itself, is confirmation--not that we needed it--but it's confirmation that Donald Trump is an illegitimate president. It's confirmation, and a lot of the reporting that has gone on, the good reporting, the David Corns of the world that have basically prepared the public for the Mueller report by a lot of great investigative reporting, which was confirmed by the Mueller report itself, that investigative reporting has told us over and over again that Donald Trump is not a legitimate president.

He repeatedly called for and accepted and sought the Kremlin's help in defeating Hillary Clinton. And it took a massive coalition of corruption to defeat Hillary Clinton, which included the NRA and a lot of dark Russian-linked money going around the GOP, and Jared Kushner bringing in militarized propaganda for Cambridge Analytica and so forth. But what I want to draw people's attention to is in the lead-up to the 2016 election, there was polling, there was polling showing that the Democrats stood a really strong chance of not only winning the presidency, but also winning the House and the Senate.

And so it wasn't just that the polling was off only for the White House, it was off for Congress as well when the results came in. It was an absolute shocker. As Frank Lutz, one of the great pollsters on the GOP-side said, he's never, ever, ever seen the polls be so historically off before. But what I want to point out is, I think given what the three of us knew back in November 2016, because we're digging into this and not sleeping, and what has been confirmed with Mueller's report given that Manafort and Gates working with Russian intel, with an operative linked to Russian intel, we're focusing on these states where the three of us helped bring recounts, right, where we focused all the vote, and that's Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

What I'm saying is, that was a big tipping effect. That had to have a big tipping effect. And I think one day one day, hopefully soon, I would not be surprised if we learned that the Kremlin helped, for instance, steal the Senate in 2016. I think that if you study the Kremlin long enough and you've studied this operation long enough and what they did, they left no stone unturned. They covered their bases, full stop. When we say there was a coalition of corruption, it was a proper coalition. You had everybody on deck to steal the election for Donald Trump.

So, I think as the American public becomes more acclimated to the reality that our election was stolen in 2016, I think you're going, they're gonna be ready for the harder truths. And I wouldn't be surprised if one included that the Senate itself was stolen in order to push through a lot of this Kremlin agenda. And we've seen that already with the Senate protecting Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch close to Putin who was active in this operation, just like he's been active in spreading his golden handcuffs in the U.K. and buying British MPs in the U.K., and so forth.

So Oleg Deripaska cashed in on Donald Trump's victory. He was allowed to get a sweet deal from Trump's Treasury to protect his businesses. And suddenly one of those businesses is building one the hugest aluminum mines in the last 40 years in Kentucky, Mitch McConnell's state. So I think the American public one day might find out. I wouldn't be surprised if thr Senate itself was stolen as well.

Alexandra Chalupa: And I think you're exactly right, because in order to get their agenda pushed through including the judicial appointments, that was key to them. The cabinet appointments and the judicial appointments, and look at the Cabinet appointments.

Andrea Chalupa: They're ideological.

Sarah Kendzior: I mean it's the same for them. The ideology is financial.

Andrea Chalupa: Greed is their religion.

Alexandra Chalupa: Greed is their religion, and it's all connected. I mean, Betsey Devos. And you know an interesting one with that is there's an article in Bloomberg that, after the election, Manafort is back like he ever went away. I mean he was always behind in the shadows. It's not out in public but that he was very interested in the HUD appointment.

Andrea Chalupa: Manafort was interested in the housing appointment.

Alexandra Chalupa: Yes. And there's a reason why I posted it. There was an article in Bloomberg after the election saying that Manafort is back, and there's a line in there that says how he was very interested in the HUD cabinet secretary position.

Andrea Chalupa: The Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD.

Alexandra Chalupa: Right, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and in the 80s, the first time he was congressionally investigated, he was investigated for an over 40-million-dollar HUD scam that he was involved in, in which he branded the term, and said, “I wasn't doing anything legal I was merely influence peddling.” And it's a housing scam that was orchestrated in New Jersey that he was involved in.

That's how they make their money right. It's a kleptocracy. They want their people appointed so they can, then get away with to get cuts for government contracts any kind of business of influence peddling that he wants to do for foreign governments or elsewhere. That's how he operated in the 80s, and perfected, and was planning to operate this time around. And this article points out that HUD was where he was interested most, that he showed interest there.

Sarah Kendzior: Now one of the things that, it's just so frustrating to me, it's like we're going back and we're looking at 2016, you know, all three of us had this conversation, basically, with Andrea, it’s like the key node where we each talked to her about this, where we all saw this coming, and this information about Manafort and his history was public knowledge. Trump’s ambitions were public knowledge; he in fact proclaimed them when he did things like asking Russia to hack Clinton's emails. But at the same time, there was this sense that this can't really be happening, because if it is happening, somebody is going to leap in and stop it and prevent it, because clearly it's disastrous.

You know, it was this normalcy bias, this idea that whether it's intelligence officials, the FBI, Congress, Obama, somebody is clearly going to stop it. And they didn't. And then this has continued. I think the Mueller report kind of, or the Mueller probe, contributed to this in a way, you know, it gave people the sense of a forthcoming savior and made them placated. They were waiting, and as this happened, of course Trump packed the courts. He purged agencies. He put us in a position that's even more vulnerable. But my point is that in 2016, I kind of understand why to some degree people did not believe that this could be pulled off, or they felt like they could stake it on the election. They could say, “Well, looks like Hillary is going to win. We'll deal with all of this after she wins so that it doesn't seem political. We'll just place our bets on that.” I have no idea how someone could make that calculus for 2020, because we've seen how it backfires over and over again.

And so, I'm very nervous about this. I hope they finally get it.

Alexandra Chalupa: We should be nervous, because I don't understand how they can make that mistake in 2016, to underestimate Putin, what he was doing, especially after Putin got caught, just made the situation worse, when the intelligence community was really digging deep and looking into it and saying that there was a serious issue, then it was like, “Where does he go from there?” I mean he was so terrified of being President to begin with. But what did they expect? He was going to double down. And I think that's something that we have to put out there, because it was just a naive way to look at it, as if he was just the talking point at the time for election was, “Oh, he's just undermining the election, and he's trying to create chaos.”

Andrea Chalupa: What a dumb ass. Like, every single person who had that talking point, oh Putin, you know he’s sowing his wild oats. It's like, he's just trying to create chaos. He's just spinning wheelies in the parking lot. He's trying to get his little dancing bear elected president so he could get a strong foothold in United States and go in as deep as possible and stay here and further his interests, which means continuing to live above global law essentially, and shatter the Western alliance, and he's succeeding swimmingly.

Alexandra Chalupa: Yeah, he's succeeding. And I was shocked at even some of the public hearings that the intelligence officials…I mean, when they were saying, “We know that he's had capabilities to try to interfere in elections before and there was some issues, but never to this level. We don't know what it was now.” And his entire economy was on the line, because the sanctions and the lowing price of oil strategy to address what he did in Ukraine and by illegally annexing Crimea and starting a war in eastern Ukraine, the retaliation you got from the EU and the bipartisan response from the United States as sanctions against Russia, Russian individuals, and the lowest price the oil was having an impact.

I mean his entire strategy for how Russia dealt with this was dipping into the cash reserve, and that Russian cash reserve was going to be depleted in the spring of 2017. So he was very fearful. And he posted about the university where Carter Page spoke, that new economic institute of Moscow. Their director did an estimate in 2015 about which candidates that they were hoping would win and which ones they feared. And they basically concluded in 2015 that Hillary Clinton would be a nightmare for the Russian Federation. She would be tougher than Reagan and Obama combined.

And they really seemed to like Rand Paul.

Andrea Chalupa: What does that tell you?

Sarah Kendzior: And Jill Stein.

Alexandra Chalupa: Yeah. And they actually said in this assessment that some of these Republican candidates they highlighted will talk tough on Russia, but when it comes down to it it won't be a threat. And they were terrified of a Hillary Clinton presidency. There was every, it was out there, it was like, the economy is stupid. Only was the Russian economy.

Sarah Kendzior: That's one of the things that blows my mind, is back when people were like, “What could Putin's motive possibly be?” And I'm like, I don't know. Billions of dollars, money, resources, power? Like the exact same motives that any autocrat has. The exact same motives that any mafioso has, the same motives that Trump and his whole group has. You know, they had this idea that somehow there are limits, that Putin would only push the U.S. so far, that Trump and his cohort would only take so much or that the Russians would you know hack voter databases but then not do anything with the information, you know, not go so far to to change that. They're going to stop right there, just kind of chill and see what happens. I mean, come on. Like, the naivete! I think some of it is this leftover aftermath of American exceptionalism, where people wanted so badly to believe that we were immune from this, that people were better than they were, that they were more prepared than they were, but the warnings were in plain sight. And you were a warning, you know, you were the canary in the coal mine of this whole horrible situation.

Andrea Chalupa: So if you're following the big show trial purge that the Iran Contra guy William Barr and Trump and all their little minions on cable news like Lewandowski, they want to bring the show trials. Lewandowski was just, I think, on Fox saying that by this time next year, spring 2020, Comey, Peter Strzock, the investigators that were in charge of uncovering the Kremlin's attack on our democracy, and exposing and understanding how it all worked, will be on trial for basically following the law and protecting our country.

[Media Clip] Corey Lewandowski: I think we're going to see additional criminal referrals, with McCain getting another referral, Comey a referral, Strzok and Page, James Baker, possibly Bruce Orr, and other people who we haven't even met as household names yet will have criminal referrals, and I think what we're going to see, Greg, is in March or April of next year, James Comey, Andy McCabe, Strzok and Page will be on trial for the crimes they committed against the Fourth Amendment against this president. And we can’t wait.

Andrea Chalupa: So they're very serious. So if you've been following the far right's obsession, the Kremlin bots’ obsession, the Russiagate skeptics’ obsession on Russiagate itself, because they're just as obsessed as anyone who believes in facts and follows it closely, and the obsession is on both sides. I know because I've talked to Russiagate skeptics directly and their big crown jewel is how did it all start. The origin story of the Russian investigation.

And for them the narrative is that Trump was rising and he was going to bash the institutions. And so all the institutionalists rose up and created this politically motivated investigation of Russiagate in order to stop him. They really place the origin to 2016 with the launch of Crossfire Hurricane, which launched in late July 2016, looking into Trump connections with the Kremlin, with a lot of focus on Carter Page.

Good old Carter Page, the Gilligan of this island. Of course they're obsessed with Christopher Steele; they’re trying to hunt him down. Devon Nunez even went to London as the president's attack dog to try to dig something up. And what's really interesting is that these idiots, they have, and it's all politically motivated, but some of them are just idiots with just no political motivation, just plain idiots. They have no sense of history. They have no sense of how far back Trump's ties to dirty Russian money go. They have no sense of history of how far Paul Manafort’s ties to helping some of the worst human rights criminals on this planet go.

And so what I want to really emphasize, because you're one of their favorite targets as we all know, and they think that you just sprouted up overnight like you flew out fully formed from Zeus’ head, like hey everybody, I’ve got the receipts. They don't understand there's a whole history there, and as your sister, I can speak to that, and I even have documentation that our history with knowing who Paul Manafort was and what he was capable of goes back several years. There was a tweet I sent in the very early days of December 2013. 2013, okay? That's ancient history for millennials. That's that's ancient history in Twitter time. So, my tweet in early 2013, December, when Ukraine's revolution is just starting, when the riot police are just starting to beat protesters, when the violence is on the verge of escalating. I was digging into all of this and following the revolution closely. And one thing I did was I shared a tweet which was Paul J. Manafort’s Wikipedia page, and pointing out that this Republican operative was an advisor to Yanukovych who was committing these acts of violence against his own people.

So it's confirmed that as your sister I have written proof on Twitter from early December 2013 that I knew exactly who Paul Manafort was all the way back then before he became a household name, before Americans started mispronouncing his name and nasal-izing it and calling it Paul Manafort. It's not Paul Manafort, and I am not Andrea, okay?

Sarah Kendzior: I'm glad you're clearing this up because we get more questions about this than possibly we get on the entire investigation.

Andrea Chalupa: I have not heard Paul Manafort until he came over here, okay, and it's like, this is a guy that bought his suits from Bougie-R-Us in Beverly Hills. He had a giant manicure “M” on his lawn. He had an ostrich leather jacket. Do you think he really wants the name Paul Manafort? He's being bougie. He's got the nouveau-riche way of pronouncing. It's Paul Manafort everyone.

[Media Clip] Nobody should underestimate how much Paul Manafort did to really help his campaign to where it is right now.

So you and I went way back alley about talking about Paul Manafort. I remember he was your obsession, and the way we always talk about Paul Manafort back in like 2012, 2011 even, I'm sure. Back in the day, it was always with this mystique of Apocalypse Now, The Heart of Darkness, like there’s this Republican operative by the name of Paul Manafort who went to Ukraine and never came back. What is he doing there? And we always had this weird mystique about him that we would discuss, and so we always knew that he was a player there.

So if you want to just enlighten folks to those very early years when Paul Manafort was just a good fun little gossip item for us.

Andrea Chalupa: Sure, because there's a lot that needs to be clarified, because first of all, I was never a professional researcher.

Paul Manafort came on my radar when I was a stay at home mom of three little girls, including three daughters, a 6-year-old, 3-year-old, and a newborn. And it was during the Ukraine crisis, when it was you Andrea who were really focused on what was the developments in Ukraine, at Maidan, that led to the revolution of dignity, that in the early days you had really been focusing on this. I started paying attention, but there wasn't a lot of news coverage at the time. But we have a very strong network of Ukrainian American and Ukrainian friends on social media, and that's where a lot of the early information was being exchanged.

And when the students were beaten by Viktor Yanukovich’s government, that was Paul Manafort’s client, on November 30th, that's when I really felt like I wanted to do something to help support the situation, because I noticed through the work I had done previously, before I left the DNC, through active engagement, and I worked with the White House on certain meetings for ethnic leaders, and I wanted to do my part to help, because I know that there was a disconnect between the White House and Ukrainian Americans from what I was seeing on listservs that I belonged to. And so, I helped schedule a call with the National Security Council, a meeting, and offered to put together a meeting of the Ukrainian-American delegation.

We reached out to them in December 2013 and I spent my Christmas break working on it until like 3:00 in the morning, because I was trying to figure out who to bring, the right players, and making sure all that it wasn't political, that it was all the top organizations, totally bipartisan. And then you introduced me to a very great contact, Roman Kazuk, who put me in connection with two individuals, Ukraine-American and Canadian, to invite to Kyiv to bring additional information of what they were seeing on the ground. And so we had this meeting that I put together with the National Security Council on January 5th, I believe, it was in 2014.

And one of the things that we were asking at that meeting was for the White House to understand the geopolitical ramifications of what Putin was doing in Ukraine, and how it affects Europe, but to ask for Magnitsky’s sanctions against individuals, and Yanukovych’s government who ordered the police to beat the student protesters, many of whom were very badly injured, and to also mention Ukraine in the State of the Union. And someone in that meeting, afterwards, I didn't get to spend a lot of time with meeting participants because I had to go rush home to nurse my baby.

But later on, in Maidan, in the actual protest, the hundreds of thousands of protesters, they had his jumbotron, and the jumbotron scrolled, “Ukrainian-Americans, go to the White House and ask for sanctions,” and then they list the government officials that we had given the list of, and someone has leaked it. And the next day I felt like, “Oh I think I got on someone's list, because one of my friends, a participant in the meeting, I had asked, “Do you know who did this?” and we never did figure out who did it, who made it, given the two journalists.

But basically, I was told that I was getting associated with the meeting, and that there was someone, an official from the Ukrainian embassy, who was coming around saying, “Who is Alexandra Chalupa? And how did she get all these people in the same room who usually don’t talk to each other? And how can she organize this?” And so they started asking about me.

Through that meeting, I got on some, I think I really got on someone's radar. At the same time, I was taken back, at that meeting, of how the administration's reaction was kind of shocked that Yanukovych didn't sign the EU deal like he promised, and that they were kind of caught off guard a little bit. So, I was really looking into this as a political operative wanting to understand better how Yanukovych rose to power, and really started looking into Manafort a lot just on my own, and asking around what people knew about him and his background.

And the more I learned, I was like, “There is an American political operative, a Republican, no less, who is literally influence peddling for Putin's interests in Ukraine.”

And I reported some of my concerns to the NSC, the National Security Council, because what I ended up doing was I organized a series of meetings, because I wanted to be helpful, right? So, once my name got out there, I ended up just starting to take this as a volunteer, in addition to the three kids, being a stay at home mom. I just worked with the White House to try to organize experts who came from Ukraine, saw the border vulnerabilities, and had something to report. I would help set up meetings when Mustafa, the head of the Crimea, came after the illegal annexation had already started.

He had no one in Washington, and one of the Crimean-American representatives reached out to me and asked me to set up meetings all about human rights issues, what was going on in the human rights and democracy landscape in Ukraine and their fight of trying to stand up for Russian aggression. And it was in early 2014 that I reported my concerns. You remember, at NSC, before one of these meetings, quietly I said, “There is an American political operative, Paul Manafort, who is behind what's going on in Ukraine.” And they confirmed to me, they said, “Oh, we are well aware of who Paul Manafort is.”

And they confirmed that he was still advising Yanukovych throughout the revolution of dignity, that he was still involved. And I have emails to some friends of mine who do ethnic engagement. I said, “Am I reading this correctly? This guy is not registered with Farah, right?” Because he wasn't, and because I was looking at the background, but you know his people were very much involved, even after Yanukovych fled with other government officials to Moscow with almost 40 billion dollars stolen from the Ukrainian government, Manafort’s people were still on the ground going toward eastern Ukraine and probably politically propping up their people there.

What the person who worked on that NSC team told me was that his name was found all over the documents in Yanukovych’s house after Yanukovych left. The journalists and civic leaders came and they were able to preserve documents. Anyone who saw Winter on Fire knows a little bit about this, but there's a big lake, and they sent scuba divers. And within hours, had they waited even maybe five or six hours later, those documents would have been completely destroyed. But they took them out, and they started a whole operation in the house.

There was no looting. It was just everyone working together and creating an operation of drying them out with blow dryers in the sauna and piecing it together. And so, he was always on my radar.

Join us next week on Gaslit Nation to hear the rest of Alexandra Chalupa’s interview. This is a behind the scenes story of the 2016 election and its aftermath that you haven't heard, but need to know. So we made its own episode to preserve her story intact. Tune in next week.

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Andrea Chalupa: Gaslit Nation is produced by Andrea Chalupa and Sarah Kendzior. If you like what we do, leave us a review on iTunes. It helps us reach more listeners. And check out our Patreon. It helps keep us going. Our editor for this was Karlyn Daigle, Original music for Gaslit Nation is produced by David Whitehead, Martin Visenberg, Nick Farr, Damian Arriaga and Karlyn Daigle. Our phenomenal logo was designed by the genius that is Hamish Smith at the New York based design firm Order. Thank you so much Hamish. Gaslit Nation would like to thank our supporters at the producer level on Patreon, Allen Lew, Page Harrington, Adam Levine, Alexandria Lane Detweiler, David Porter, A.W. Nicholson, Lena De Guzman. Jared Lombardo, Jason Bainbridge, Jody Dewitt, John Ripley, Kate Cotton, Kelly Ranson, Kevin M. Garnette, Lorraine W. Todd, Phyllis Schroeder, Stephanie Brant, MD. Cary Brady, Zachary Lemon, Anne Marshall, Atila Halsey, Brian Tejuden, Carolyn Friend, Catherine Anderson, Corrina, Kathy Cavenaugh, Lorina Guardia, Ethan Man, Jason Rita, Jennifer Slavic, Yans Astrop Alinson, John Danverough. John Keane, Kenshiro Nakagawa. Kevin Christie, Kim Mellon, Christy Vital, Lawrence Graham, Luke Stranded, Margaret Mo, Matthew Copeland, Marine Murphy, Michelle Dash, Mike Beat Matheran. Mike Tropico, Ronda White, Rich Croft, Sonya Bogdanovic, Ted Gary Mitchell, Thomas Burns, Victoria Olsen and Zach Rowsdower. Thank you all so much for your help. We could not make this show without you.

To deal with these abnormal times that we find ourselves in, we here at Gaslit Nation take a strong stance of saying no to Savior Syndrome. The only thing that's going to get us out of this is self-reliance and holding our leaders accountable. And the only power we have left that we can rely on is grassroots power. To illustrate our point, here's Cher providing a useful metaphor for these times. Rely on no one but your own hard work and dedication. That's the only way out of this. Awaken your Inner Cher.

Interviewer: You said a man is not a necessity. A man is a luxury like dessert.

Cher: Yeah, a man is absolutely not a necessity.

Interviewer: Did you mean that to sound mean and bitter?

Cher: Oh, not at all. I adore dessert. I love men and I think men are the coolest. But you don't really need them to live. My mom said to me, “You know sweetheart, one day you should settle down and marry a rich man.” I said, “Mom I am a rich man."

Andrea Chal. Alexandra Chalupa: Welcome to the Gaslit Nation action guide available on our website, Democracy is a lifestyle. Trump is a symptom of the corruption, institutional failure and indifference that we can no longer tolerate.

Sarah: Sarah Kendzior: Okay, so number one, get a guide. Stride toward freedom, the Montgomery Story by Martin Luther King, Junior is an essential guide to self-management, managing others and building teams. This inspirational case study of resistance written by a young MLK after successfully leading the Montgomery bus boycott shows how smart organization took on the authoritarianism of the Jim Crow south. Never forget the MLK was considered a radical in his day, even though there's nothing radical about demanding human rights and dignity. Today, the same remains true. It's not radical or socialist to demand that corporation stop polluting for profits and to call for an end to tax breaks like for sending jobs overseas that worsen the income inequality crisis. To help communicate these urgent issues, another essential guide is the all new Don't Think of An Elephant. Know your Values and Frame the Debate by George Lakoff.

Andrea: Andrea Chalupa: Number two of the Gaslit Nation action guide. Focus on state races. States decide key quality of life issues and local candidates help drive votes up ballot for federal races. EveryDistrict and Future Now are two excellent groups working to build a progressive infrastructure and turn states blue from the bottom up. Get involved by donating what you can or join or start your own group with their help in your state. We provide in our action guide interviews with EveryDistrict and Future Now for more background.

Sarah: Sarah Kendzior: Number three, join. Grassroots power is one of the strongest forms of power we have left in America, especially with Mitch McConnell and Trump packing the courts. Don't succumb to savior syndrome by expecting Alexandria Ocasio Cortez or whomever else you admire to do all the work. Representatives are human and need our help fulfill the far right's worst nightmare by creating generations of AOC by helping build a more progressive union. Join a local group from any of these great national organizations for important action alerts like demonstrations or getting out the vote Indivisible, Swing Left, Sister District, MoveOn, Flippable.

Andrea: Andrea Chalupa: Number four, fight global warming. Sunrise Movement is a grassroots organization demanding a green new deal. There are a lot of other groups working to adopt urgently needed green initiatives. C40 cities connect cities around the world committed to taking climate action. helps activists rise to the challenge of the climate crisis and there are more trusted organizations that need our support linked to on our action guide.

Sarah: Sarah Kendzior: Number five, unionize. In the age of Trump, there should be no more fear of starting or joining a union. Just tell your boss that you saw how unions protected workers during the universally unpopular Trump shutdown. Fight for 15 and its local variants are working to ensure a fair wage and strengthen unions in the service sector. Don't know how to get started? Read organizing to win: new research on union strategies and No Shortcuts: organizing for power in the new gilded age, both of which are linked to the Gaslit Nation website.

Andrea: Andrea Chalupa: Number six, run for something. There are a lot of great groups out there that demystify the process of becoming a candidate and running a campaign. Run for something is one of our favorites. There's even a book to help you get started. Run for something: a real talk guide to fixing the system yourself by Amanda Litman. If you believe in facts and science and are a compassionate human being, you need to run for something and recruit others to as well. Even if it's a long shot, you can still create urgent conversations and treat your campaign like a platform for discussions you care about helping bring together like-minded people to work for change even long past the election. Just look at what a refreshing discovery long shot Mayor Pete has been and all the great work Andrew Gillum continues to do to register 1 million voters in Florida.

Sarah: Sarah Kendzior: Number seven, protect the vote. EveryDistrict action fund just launched a quote "report card" identifying states with enough progressive support and local governments to push through important voting reforms like automatic registration and the abolishment of racist voter ID laws. Is your state on the list? You can click a link and find out. If so, EveryDistrict action fund empowers you to help your state reach the gold standard of voting. Concerned about vote hacking and Ivanka Trump branded voting machines? Yes, that is a thing. Secure Our Votes provides background information and other resources to take action. Other groups to check out are Spread the Vote, Let America Vote, and Project ID which helped people get the information they need to register, vote and get an ID. And again, these are linked to on our site.

Andrea: Sarah Kendzior: Number eight, launch ballot initiatives and laws. Why not launch a ballot initiative? Kate Faghe turned her Facebook post into the movement Voters Not Politicians to end gerrymandering in Michigan. It passed overwhelmingly. We have a link on our action guide for you to read more of her story or you could build a grassroots coalition to get a law passed in your state. In our episode "how to pass a law," I interview my mother about how she, while pregnant with me and a young mother already without any political experience, mobilized a grassroots army to pass the child car seat law in California. Yes, it can be done.

Sarah: Andrea Chalupa: Number nine, end terrorism in America. Moms Demand works to elect candidates and lobby for sensible legislation to stop the gun violence epidemic driven by the blood money gun lobby, the NRA. Southern Poverty Law Center exposes white supremacy, a leading terrorist movement in America to help immigrant communities deliberately terrorized by Trump's cruel border policies. We have a list linked here of groups that you can support.

Andrea: Sarah Kendzior: Number 10, make art. To say that art cannot make a difference stems from a tone-deaf attitude of privilege. Ukraine's Euromaidan Revolution of 2013 to 2014 relied on art and artists of all kinds to sustain protesters living in Arctic cold temperatures and under the threat of government sanctioned violence. North Korean dissident Yeon Mi Park said the Orwell's Animal Farm helped her heal after escaping the cult like dictatorship. And in our episode The Blue Wave continues, Kansas rising, we shared Davis Hammett's account of how painting a rainbow house created a ripple effect in Kansas leading to major electoral victories. We need the artists and storytellers of all kinds more than ever.

Sarah: Sarah Kendzior: So this is not a comprehensive list of suggestions of how you can create a more progressive America and stop entrenched corruption. There are many paths you can take, and we encourage you to think for yourself and to work together. There is no one solution whether you're in a blue state or a red state, these ideas apply to you. Do not take any of the freedoms you have left for granted. Never underestimate the power of hard work. Additionally, we have a reading list linked to you from there because it's essential to read widely to understand how we got here and the best ways to navigate the challenges of the 21st century. So again, all of this is available on our site,

Andrea Chalupa