Movie Night: Clue with Mueller, She Wrote
We join the women of the great podcast Mueller, She Wrote to debate a matter of vast geopolitical importance – the 1985 black comedy Clue! (In case you are counting, that’s one plus two plus one plus one people appearing on this show). Together we discuss why the McCarthy-era Clue explains so much about our Roy Cohn-created present, including our tenuous grasp on reality and our deep longing for alternative endings.
Andrea Chalupa: I'm Andrea Chalupa, a writer, and the screenwriter and producer of the upcoming journalistic thriller Mr. Jones.
Sarah Kendzior: I am Sarah Kendzior. I'm a journalist, a scholar of authoritarian states focusing on the former Soviet Union, and the author of the essay collection The View from Flyover Country.
Andrea Chalupa: Today on our show we have very special guests, the mysterious dinner guests of Mueller, She Wrote. So we'll be talking to them in just a bit. But first, Sarah and I want to announce a big announcement. We have, after several months of debating each other, put together a very special summer reading series, the Get Un-Gaslit reading series, which is a toolkit to defend ourselves against the inevitable gaslighting leading into the 2020 election, because nothing has changed and no one has learned anything, including the media. So, those authors that we interview over the summer, which we are so excited to share their insights with you, they include Malcolm Nance, author of The Plot to Hack America: How Putin's Cyber Spies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election, and a bunch of other great books which we'll talk about with him. House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia by Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger. And also the very brilliant Olga Lotman, an expert on the Russian mafia and Trump's many decades-long ties to the Russian mafia, who is a researcher on that book. An Uncivil War: Taking Back our Democracy in an Age of Trumpian Disinformation and Thunderdome Politics by the Washington Post's Greg Sargent, author of their blog the Plum Lines.
Sarah Kendzior: At the Washington Post.
Andrea Chalupa: At the Washington Post. And How to be Less Stupid about Race by Professor Crystal Marie Fleming, a very important book which we call a multivitamin. Essential reading because, as we keep pointing out on this show, the vast majority of the newsrooms remaining in America after decades of decline are filled predominantly by white men and women. So, a very good book to open people's eyes up to white supremacy and why it's so essential to where we are now, how we got here and all of it. So we hope you join us over the summer for that.
Andrea Chalupa: We're here with Mueller, She Wrote after just cosplaying the movie Clue among each other, with each other for the last 20 minutes, we kid you not, just to set up our recording arrangement. It was like the three alternative endings of clue.
A.G.: It turns out the gun was in my purse.
Andrea Chalupa: Of course it was.
Sarah Kendzior: It was A.G. with the Wi-Fi in the dining room.
Andrea Chalupa: With the Zoom. So we are so excited because of a million different reasons, but for those tuning in who are not familiar with the movie Clue for whatever reason, we're not going to judge you at all. Clue is, simply put, one of the greatest movies ever made, and it is based on a board game. [laughter] It came out in the 1980s, and it is the story of a dark and stormy night in a mysterious mansion in the middle of nowhere with the moon hanging low in the sky, and all these strangers, these shady strangers show up for a dinner party having all received a mysterious invitation, and throughout the night, bodies start dropping, and we find out how this group of strangers came together and what their connections are, and who's really at fault in terms of this body count that keeps growing, and it's just a masterpiece.
Sarah Kendzior: BODY count.
A.G.: Oh, nice.
Andrea Chalupa: There's a character named Mr. Boddy. And so we're going to basically be breaking down the film, paying tribute to it and how it's impacted our lives and made us the women we are today, as well as pointing out the very obvious parallels to the transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government.
Sarah Kendzior: The kompromat! The kompromat situation! Always bringing people together.
Andrea Chalupa: There's a lot of kompromat in this film. A lot of kompromat. And so the ladies of Clue are gonna help us break this down. The ladies of Mueller, She Wrote and Clue are going to help us break this all down. And we want to also announce that this is the first ever movie night, resistance cinema between Gaslit Nation and Mueller, She Wrote, and we're gonna continue doing this. We were gonna launch it with Clue. Mueller, She Wrote gets to pick the next film. I put my requests in; you know what they are.
Sarah Kendzior: Mm.
Andrea Chalupa: [Laughter] Sarah's not thrilled about them. And they're going to be movies that help us make sense of the world we live in and ourselves in these times.
Sarah Kendzior: And give us a well needed break, all of us. Both shows.
A.G.: Yes, indeed. And I would like to mention that probably one of the reasons Clue came up is because we use a clip from the movie Clue in our opening sequence.
Andrea Chalupa: Oh, don't make this about you.
A.G.: [laughter] From Miss Scarlet. And, you know, I'm just very proud of that clip.
Andrea Chalupa: Well, that turned out to be what they call a coincidence, and yes, Malcolm Nance says there are no such things as coincidences, but I will say that there was this meme going around Twitter saying name five movies that are absolute perfect and you wouldn't change a thing, and I did my five, which included Clue. And then Sarah chimed in like she normally does with some bullshit. [laughter] And then I replied saying I'm always in the mood to watch Clue. And then A.G.: Came in, and next thing you know we're just chatting it up, and we're like, "We're gonna do a Clue episode."
Sarah Kendzior: We all love Clue. We're all 80s children, right? We all grew up watching Clue, which is completely inappropriate for children, I'm now realizing, now that I'm you the age I am. I'm like, Mr. Green was gay? Who knew.
A.G.: And the best part is you've got Jane Wiedlin, you've got Jane Wiedlin who stars as the singing telegram, and she's the guitarist for the GoGos, and then you've got Lee Ving, who is the lead singer of the punk rock band Fear. He plays Mr. Boddy in this film, and so it's just kind of this cool crowd and like music crossover from the 80s as well.
Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, no it's a masterpiece. I mean, Tim Curry! How many iconic roles has he had? He plays Wadsworth, the butler. He was in Rocky Horror Picture Show, the clown in It, and he's had so many iconic roles. It's just such a great, perfect, wouldn't change a thing movie. So let's get to it. Alright. So Sarah and I watched the movie together. We took copious notes. We're assuming that you ladies, given how deeply you research, have done the same.
A.G.: Yes, I do have pages of notes here and the first note is, "I'm the butler, sir. I buttle."
Andrea Chalupa: Okay, yes! Exactly. So buttling is our new name for crimes, for committing crimes, like so Manafort butlers a lot, right?
A.G.: He's buttling.
Sarah Kendzior: He's buttling.
Andrea Chalupa: He's buttled our democracy.
Sarah Kendzior: Honestly there are other connotations coming to mind, but go on girls.
Andrea Chalupa: But I think Sarah wants to say something.
Sarah Kendzior: What? Oh yeah, well I was thinking we need to introduce Mueller, She Wrote, because they're on our show. They should introduce themselves.
Andrea Chalupa: Oh sorry, we're being really bad butlers. For those of you who do not know Mueller, She Wrote, they are an all-girl crew of crime fighters who have been painstakingly documenting one of the biggest crimes in human history, which is of course the Kremlin hijacking of our democracy with the help of many useful idiots across the Trump campaign and their entire network. And they do brilliant work, and they bring together a lot of major experts, legal experts, and law enforcement experts, and so forth. They've had, for instance, Andrew McCabe on their show, the deputy director of the FBI who Trump terminated before he could collect his pension, which is extraordinarily cruel. And you've had a lot of other stellar guests coming up in the last two years.
Sarah Kendzior: Like us.
Andrea Chalupa: You've had us. Those are obvious career highlights, we know. You want to tell us, each go down the list of the three of you, you three magnificent women?
A.G.: Yeah, sure. I'm the host, A.G. And with me as always are Jaleesa Johnson.
Jaleesa Johnson: Hello.
A.G.: And Jordan Coburn.
Jordan Coburn: Hello. And that's it. [laughter]
Sarah Kendzior: This is the first time we've talked, and somebody has got to break the ice, and it might as well be me. And it's always difficult when a new group of friends meet together for the first time to get acquainted, so I'm perfectly prepared to get the ball rolling. I mean, I have absolutely no idea what we're doing here or what I'm doing here or what this place is about but I'm determined to enjoy myself.
Jordan Coburn: Thank you, Mrs. Peacock.
Sarah Kendzior: Oh, good. I was like, "They don't know what I'm talking about. They're about to hang up."
Andrea Chalupa: It's like, "Sarah's on a rant again.".
Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, exactly.
A.G.: [Imitating Mrs. Peacock] I'm perfectly willing to break the ice; I have nothing to hide. [laughter]
A.G.: She's so funny, and I love her hat thing, when shit keeps flying around, getting stuck in her mouth and her glasses. She's just so funny.
Sarah Kendzior: She's the best one. We were debating who is the best one, and Mrs. Peacock is my childhood fave, and remains so today.
A.G.: Madeline Kahn is my favorite.
Andrea Chalupa: Madeline, absolutely.
Sarah Kendzior: Oh, yeah.
Andrea Chalupa: [Imitating Madeline] Flames! I've got flames hovering on the side of my face.
A.G.: Flames, on the side of my face! Heaving breaths. Yes, she's by far my favorite, and she's slurping the soup. Her subtleties are magnificent.
Andrea Chalupa: Mm.
A.G.: She's on her fifth husband. All have mysteriously died. Let's ask Gaslit Nation ladies here. What do you think the symbolism of--I think it was Plum?
Jordan Coburn: The soup slurping, yeah, it was only two people, right?
A.G.: It was. I think it was Plum and White.
Jordan Coburn: Wow, you guys are going deep!
A.G.: They were slurping their soup, and I was wondering, you know, are they defying a subpoena somewhere? Like why are they...
Andrea Chalupa: They're speaking to each other in code. It's like when the president says to a journalist, "You know, Manafort is a good guy. I might consider pardoning him." Maybe the slurping is like a signal to each other.
Sarah Kendzior: As for subpoena defying, we thought that was the singing telegram scene, where she shows up, says she's the singing telegram, gets shot. We're like, "Yeah, that's basically how the subpoena process has been rolling out throughout the House Judiciary Committee, where you're just blown away on sight." Democrats might want to hear about that.
A.G.: Yeah, I can hear it now: she just knocks and [singing] "Da-da-da-da-da-da, I am your singing process server." Shot.
Sarah Kendzior: Exactly.
Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, but what's amazing is when you look at the political climate of Clue. So what you have in the very opening scenes when the butler Wadsworth, played by the genius Tim Curry, checks in on the cook, the cook is sharpening her knives, and you see in the box television set in the background, the McCarthy hearings. You see Senator Joe McCarthy, right? And that ties it so perfectly to today, because we have basically Joe McCarthy in the White House, with attacking everybody and trying to purge and carry out the actual witch hunt, which is Trump, of course. And then Roy Cohn was Joe McCarthy's lawyer: the worst son of a bitch in American history, Roy Cohn, who was a mob boss who intimidated people left and right. And Trump, when he felt like he was being let down and when people weren't carrying out his dirty work of obstructing justice, he would say, "Where's my Roy Cohn?"
A.G.: Yeah, and good catch on that, too. I think that the interesting parallel here is that we're kind of in an opposite situation. Back then, they were super paranoid about Russia, and now we aren't paranoid enough.
Jordan Coburn: Did you all see when Giuliani gave a statement to The Daily Beast about the potential investigation into him and his ties to Ukraine? He referenced Joe McCarthy, saying that it's a McCarthyism era again. And that's so ironic, because Trump is looking for a Roy Cohn and his attorney, and Giuliani is his attorney. It's like, do you guys not coordinate before you give statements? [laughter]
Sarah Kendzior: I feel like they say it as almost a little in-joke. We were discussing this with the guest yesterday about Roy Cohn, who is this homophobic gay man. He was an anti-Semitic Jewish man. He was basically someone who always wanted to appear as the opposite of what he was. And so I kind of looked at him, I'm like, so he was an anti-Soviet? What, exactly? So my question, of course, is was communism just a red herring? That's what I want to know from you guys.
A.G.: Oh. Are you talking about today or back then?
Sarah Kendzior: Back then? I mean, we're kind of re-evaluating the collapse of the Soviet Union and kind of the opportunism that emerged from various parties during the late 80s, early 90s, which of course was when Trump was coming up, and I love that you guys used that line on your show, because so much of this giant crime crisis has been guised with ideology. That's not to say that ideology is not real or doesn't matter, but a lot of this is about greed. A lot of this is just about raw transactionalisms. I don't know exactly what our red herring is today, but I kind of wonder about Roy Cohn, like was he really such a staunch anti-communist, or was that just a way to get into the crime world?
A.G.: Yes, absolutely communism was a red herring. It was about capitalism. I think that was, like to me, that's one of the entire points of the movie. It was about war profiteering, and top-secret fusion bombs, and selling secrets, and making money and being greedy off of this fear of the communist regime, which is kind of similar to, maybe, I don't know, the fear of the crisis at the border that Trump is trying to make money off of.
Andrea Chalupa: Absolutely. I mean that is the central node that brings all of these mysterious dinner guests together, is they're all...
Sarah Kendzior: Blackmailed.
Andrea Chalupa: They're all blackmailed because they're all deeply corrupt, and they're all linked to each other in some way.
Sarah Kendzior: And they're all linked to the government. The United Nations. To the military. To atomic technology. To all these different facets that I really didn't pick up on first grade when I when I rented this room Take One Video down the block, but yeah, it's the new world now.
Andrea Chalupa: And what's really interesting is the scene where, I think it's the study, where is it where Mr. Boddy gets shot, and Mrs. Peacock starts crying because she drank some of the cognac. What room was that?
A.G.: That's the study, and he doesn't get shot. The bullet just grazes his ear, but whoever had the gun tried to shoot him. I think he was he was playing dead.
Andrea Chalupa: Right.
A.G.: Because he realized his plan was foiled. He wanted to get everybody there you to sort of undo his, what did he call it, his little syndicate of accomplices. But when he realized that they were gonna kill him and not the butler, he played dead.
Andrea Chalupa: So what's interesting is in this study, with all of these unpatriotic people, as they're accused of being in the film, there's a big oil painting of George Washington, founding father George Washington, which I think is a really interesting contrast to sort of...I don't think George Washington really envisioned....
Sarah Kendzior: Being in Clue, the movie of the board game? No, I don't think he did.
Andrea Chalupa: Well, he hated Washington itself. He didn't want to be president, so he didn't want to have anything to do with those sort of like shady type dinner guests that would eventually flood the swamp of D.C.
A.G.: I do love that argument because Wadsworth is like, "You are all totally un-American. That's what you all have in common." And somebody says, and I can't remember who it is, but says, "We were making money off of our greed. What could be more American than that?"
Jordan Coburn: I think Tim Curry says that, right?
A.G.: Yes, I think so.
Jaleesa Johnson: Which is, honestly like, it is kind of a part of America to me. I think the idea of America has always been, or it used to be a better place or, it's like we're still in progress, like it actually used to be way worse I think. There's things that happen that I guess are repetitious, but I feel like that the idea of America, to me at least, is the pursuit of making it better. Right? Like that whole pursuit of happiness thing? It's like, we started off pretty shitty for people like me. You know?
Andrea Chalupa: Oh, absolutely.
A.G.: But just the concept that you're un-American because you're working with the Russians, that makes you actually more American.
Jaleesa Johnson: Well that I don't do, but I see where you're coming from. Yeah, yeah.
Andrea Chalupa: It's like Manafort is like the ultimate American, right?
Sarah Kendzior: In some ways he is, and even in Clue, they have a line later where they're like, you know, there's nothing illegal about any of this. Then another character is like, "Are you sure?" And they're like, "Yes. This is America." It's like the loopholes that everyone's exploited now, to just make as much money possible.
A.G.: It's a free country, but I didn't know it was that free.
Sarah Kendzior: Yeah. Yes, exactly, and blackmail and all these things that people are treating as new revelations of our time are really such old clichés that they were in fact in Clue, the movie, so the answers were there. They were there all along, as I'm always saying. It was in the public domain.
A.G.: And I do love the line where we find out that Professor Plum was once a shrink who treated patients suffering from delusions of grandeur. And he says, "Yeah, but now I work for the U.N." And Tim Curry goes, "Oh, so your work hasn't changed.".
Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, exactly.
Andrea Chalupa: Exactly. And I love how they take a bunch of shots at the hypocrisy of the U.N., which is so perfect. So let's go through the cast of characters and who's who. That's what we've been obsessively doing all morning. There are three alternative endings, which may complicate things. So I want to just start with the first ending. You have to determine who's who based on the ending, right? Because that really defines the character. So in the first ending--and turn this off now if you haven't seen Clue! Well, it doesn't really matter.
Sarah Kendzior: If you haven't seen Clue, you're lost already in this episode, so see you next week, everybody.
A.G.: I'm not doing spoiler alerts for a 1980s movie.
Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, true. A 1985 movie with three endings, I think we're okay, you guys.
Andrea Chalupa: Okay, so in the first ending, it turns out Yvette, the super sexy French maid with her boobies hanging out is a mass murderer. She's just going around killing everybody and she's doing it with Miss Scarlet.
Sarah Kendzior: To create confusion, in some cases.
Andrea Chalupa: To create confusion. So Sarah and I are like, "Oh, okay. Well, Yvette's the Kremlin."
Sarah Kendzior: Or maybe Maria Butina. We went back and forth.
Andrea Chalupa: Yeah. Well, I think she's just the perfect package of the Kremlin, because you have the honey trap element, which the Kremlin likes to use. You know, Anna Chapman, that goes far back. And then you have the fact that she's posing as this French maid, but at one point you hear her real accent when she's talking to someone she thinks she knows, and it's not a French accent. So that's like the Kremlin bots posing as like Christian moms in Ohio that are wearing MAGA hats.
Sarah Kendzior: Deep, Andrea. Very deep.
Andrea Chalupa: Oh yeah.
A.G.: Miss Scarlet strangles her because Miss Scarlet had her do the other murders to create confusion, like you said, but really the mastermind was Miss Scarlet, and then she offed Yvette so that she could get away with it. So what does that make her, like Mogilevich?
Jaleesa Johnson: Oh my gosh.
Andrea Chalupa: That's interesting!
Sarah Kendzior: Yes, Miss Scarlet is Mogilevich.
Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, I think definitely, because obviously all of the sex and child trafficking that the Russian mafia does for these oligarch parties. We went into that cool conversation with Craig Unger, who wrote the book on Trump and his Russian mafia ties. But I think also Miss Scarlet could be Roger Stone.
Sarah Kendzior: Oh, yeah, because there's no shame. Because she doesn't mind everyone knowing that she's blackmailed, because there's just nothing that she feels she needs to hide because there's no consequences that she's going to face.
Andrea Chalupa: If Miss Scarlet had an Instagram account, she'd be using it to threaten the judges coming after her.
Sarah Kendzior: It's true.
A.G.: I don't know, man. She seemed like she had it pretty all together there. And she also knew the one plus one plus two plus one, and I don't think Roger Stone could put that together. Plus, she's a way better dresser.
Sarah Kendzior: That's true. I was actually gonna say. That is a valid, valid point. We have like more of a Professor Plum situation going on with Roger Stone.
Andrea Chalupa: Interesting.
A.G.: Yes. Yes, kind of creepy, weird creeper.
Sarah Kendzior: Just like the little glasses with this sort of like, I'm like a dude with there's sort of like a hyper-dandy—
Andrea Chalupa: An "I'm the hipster of this crime syndicate" type of thing.
Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, yeah.
A.G.: He keeps trying to hit on Miss Scarlet, a.k.a. Mogilevich, and she's like, "Nah dude, you're small beans, get the F out of my face."
Andrea Chalupa: Yeah. Okay, I like that. Okay, Miss Scarlet is the head of the Russian mafia.
Sarah Kendzior: And then we had Colonel Sanders, who we decided was Flynn—
Jordan Coburn: Colonel Sanders! [laughter]
Sarah Kendzior: Oh my god. Not Colonel Sanders. Colonel Mustard.
Andrea Chalupa: Oh my god, we just ate, Sarah.
Sarah Kendzior: Colonel Mustard we think is Michael Flynn, because he is a self-identified war profiteer.
Andrea Chalupa: And he's an idiot.
Sarah Kendzior: And he's an idiot. And he has a mustache.
Jordan Coburn: Who?
A.G.: Flynn. Yeah, he's totally Flynn.
Jordan Coburn: Alright.
Andrea Chalupa: He's a big dumb-dumb.
A.G.: Yeah, bumbling idiot working with the Russians, not realizing it's probably against the law but totally knowing it, and then having to kill people in one of the other alternate endings to cover his tracks.
Sarah Kendzior: Then Mrs. Peacock, who is Mrs. Peacock?
A.G.: She's the one from the Nixon era that blabbed all the time. Do you know who I'm talking about, from Watergate?
Jordan Coburn: Yes.
A.G.: She was the one who was locked in a room and her husband wouldn't let her out.
Sarah Kendzior: Oh yeah. I know who you're talking about, but I forgot her name. Yes.
Jordan Coburn: Oh shit, whose wife was that?
Sarah Kendzior: It was the wife of somebody who ultimately testified, I think?
A.G.: The attorney general maybe, or—
Sarah Kendzior: It's All the President's Men, right?
Multiple voices: Yeah. Yeah.
Sarah Kendzior: Get the other movie out.
Jaleesa Johnson: She was in Bag Man a little too, right?
A.G.: Yeah, she was in Bag Man, she was in Slow Burn. I mean, she was in the Nixon Watergate hearing.
Jordan Coburn: Yeah. It's in like the first episode of Slow Burn, I think, is like titled about her.
Jaleesa Johnson: Totally.
A.G.: When I first heard about her, I'm like, "That sounds just like Mrs. Peacock." Wife of somebody important in the administration, talker, in charge of all the social events, just absolutely ridiculous.
Jaleesa Johnson: She was scared for her life, though, at a certain point, right?
A.G.: Yeah, well so was Mrs. Peacock.
Jordan Coburn: I forget, did she take the first drink? Because I remember—she did right? She's like a drinker?
Multiple voices: Yeah, yeah.
Jordan Coburn: So is this person we're talking about, too.
A.G.: Yeah exactly.
Jaleesa Johnson: Damn.
A.G.: I don't know who that would be here in this administration, but I was trying to figure out if she's that in there—
Jaleesa Johnson: Melania.
Jordan Coburn: No, Melania doesn't say shit.
Jaleesa Johnson: That's a good point.
—then who is that person for us? Who is the drunk blabbermouth? It's Papadopoulos!
Andrea Chalupa: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
Sarah Kendzior: That works, unfortunately.
Jordan Coburn: That's true. We don't have to adhere to gender here.
Sarah Kendzior: He seems like the type who would scream hysterically in a corner after sipping questionable cognac as well, so yeah, that works.
Jaleesa Johnson: Or what about Kellyanne Conway's husband, George?
Sarah Kendzior: Oh yeah! That's good, too.
Andrea Chalupa: Yes, yes, yes. Miss Peacock as—is it Mrs. Peacock or Miss Peacock?
Sarah Kendzior: It's Mrs. Peacock, I think.
Andrea Chalupa: Mrs. Peacock, of course. Well it has to be because her husband is—.
Sarah Kendzior: They don't have Ms. back in the 50s. They haven't evolved yet.
A.G.: Especially not a senator's wife, right?
Jordan Coburn: Yeah. I also get a little bit of Sarah Sanders in her, too. Like she tells just enough of what she shouldn't say, probably, to like out enrage you. And then she shuts her mouth and doesn't do the right thing.
Jaleesa Johnson: That's true.
Sarah Kendzior: Or Sean Spicer, works for him, too. She's just got a press secretary kind of a vibe.
A.G.: I feel like he's more like Mr. Green. I don't know why.
Jaleesa Johnson: A klutz.
Sarah Kendzior: I don't know who Mr. Green would be. At the end, we were all like, "God, it would be so nice if it happened that way." You know, if there was that raid.
A.G.: Well, he's sort of the hero. He's kind of the Mueller in the whole thing. And I know Mueller is not our hero, but maybe like a trying to be a hero, like a Comey kind of a guy.
Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, he's like the Mueller we're looking for that did not show up. We need a new alternative ending to our actual political crisis in which a Mr. Green type comes bursting through, because we were watching all of the scenes towards the end when all the characters go from room to room, and they just see all these bodies piling up, and they're saying things like, "Wow, this is looking serious," and it just reminded us so much of like, you know, the Mueller investigation, or the Democrats' investigation, being like, "We need all the facts. We need more evidence." And it's like, oh my god, people! You're literally surrounded with dead bodies. How much more evidence do you need? So that was my take on that little scenario.
Jordan Coburn: I love when it's the sixth person dead, I think, and Tim Curry's like, "Six bodies. Huh, things are getting serious.".
Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, that's what I said. I mean, that's Nancy Pelosi. Things arent getting serious. We've got to collect some facts here.
A.G.: Perhaps we just say that Mr. Green represents the entirety of the FBI.
Jaleesa Johnson: Mmmm.
Andrea Chalupa: Oh interesting. Mr. Green is the entire—okay, yeah. Because the FBI—
Sarah Kendzior: He got called by J. Edgar Hoover at the house.
Andrea Chalupa: Yeah.
A.G.: And I love the line where he's like, "Why do you have J. Edgar Hoover on your phone?" He's like, "He's on everyone else's phone. Why can't he be on mine?"
Sarah Kendzior: It's amazing this movie got made. I mean, as a child I watched it for the sheer slapstick goofiness, and because it was based on a board game that I played, and you know, 80 percent of this went over my head. It's so interesting to me that they made such a pointed political commentary throughout this whole thing, with all these little details about the WHO, and the U.N., and atomic energy, and all this stuff. It's totally weird. I can't picture this being made now, unfortunately.
A.G.: And brothels. Yeah. Fifth grade.
Andrea Chalupa: It came out in 1985, which was of course Reagan, and which gave us the Iran Contra scandal, and then you had Wall Street greed and the whole Gordon Gekko era, all of it. So I mean it is a film, ultimately, about corruption and all these bad actors. I think it's really interesting that it came out in that environment of coked out gun slinging.
Sarah Kendzior: The last year of Roy Cohn. He got a little Roy Cohn tribute in there.
Jordan Coburn: I felt like, so I went into this movie entirely blind. I know that's an egregious offense. I had never watched it in my life.
Sarah Kendzior: Wait, you never saw it?
Jordan Coburn: I never saw it. No, I never saw it.
Sarah Kendzior: Oh my god. What was your impression?
Jordan Coburn: I was really surprised. I had no idea that it was even political at all, and so that was like, I was like, "Oh, I wonder why they're picking this movie." That's how ignorant I was of this movie. So it's just incredible. But I did think that, I wonder a little bit of the lines, while they're incredibly accurate, they're a bit on the nose. You know? Like the criticisms that they're saying.
Jaleesa Johnson: Yeah.
Jordan Coburn: And back then when it came out, was it that on the nose sounding, or no? Have we just finally maybe started to hear decades worth of outward criticism of our government that it seems on the nose to me now?
Sarah Kendzior: I think we're seeing it through a new lens, because the first time I saw it, when I was in first grade, I know that my reaction to Mrs. Peacock's husband being a paid consultant for the government was not, "Did he register for FARA?" Which my current thought. It is interesting though. I don't know how much people picked up on it. I think everyone expected the government to be corrupt at this time. This is post-Nixon. This is post-Vietnam. This is right before Iran-Contra. It's the mist of the Reagan era. I think we just didn't expect a hostile takeover from within abetted by multiple foreign actors in concert with disloyal Americans, and that's what makes this big goofy comedy game movie resonate so hard, is because they actually do kind of touch on all of this duplicitous behavior, and the paranoia and the blackmail and the threats, and all that stuff that people like to just say is nonsensical conspiracy, and they can no longer ignore.
A.G.: The zeitgeist back then was definitely different. In 1985, we had the Miracle on Ice just had happened. We had Rocky Four that came out. We were still very afraid of all-out nuclear war. We were running drills, hiding under our desks for when the bomb would drop from Russia, and we were just trying to break through, and, you know, Gorbachev tear down the wall. And so all these things were happening where I think back then we didn't kind of have the picture of our corrupt government that we do now. So yeah, I think when you're talking about things being too on the nose, back then it would have been more shocking than it is today.
Jordan Coburn: Okay, that makes sense. Yeah, that's cool. I mean, it's great. Like I said, everything that they're saying is super on point, and a lot of it is very detailed. Like you said, talking about WHO, and making these references that I do not see jokes go that specific even in movies nowadays. They won't touch specifics like that.
Jaleesa Johnson: Yeah, I was really impressed with how much they did from board games. I played Clue. It was my first time watching it too, because we're 90s babies.
Sarah Kendzior: Yeah.
Jaleesa Johnson: And so yeah, I grew up on the board game, and seeing them fill all the details and make such a political statement with just the foundation of a board game, that was so impressive.
Jordan Coburn: Yeah, it was great writing.
Andrea Chalupa: They couldn't make this movie today. That's what I love about it so much. I pointed out to Sarah that it's probably the only movie in existence, I think, that re-enacts the entire film again within the film.
A.G.: Yeah, three times.
Andrea Chalupa: And on top of that has three alternative endings. Could you imagine any studio today saying we're going to let you make that film?
Andrea Chalupa: No.
A.G.: Yeah, and I want you guys to know, since you never had the opportunity to see it in the theater, when it came out, you didn't get to see all three endings. They played one of the three endings. So it was a toss-up which one you got in the theater.
Jordan Coburn: Oh what? That's cool.
Jaleesa Johnson: Wow.
Sarah Kendzior: That's a great way to make money.
A.G.: So, you know, if you wanted to go back and see it again, they wouldn't tell you what ending it was, or if it was ending one, ending two, or ending three. You had no idea. You might get the same ending again or you might get a different one.
Jordan Coburn: How cool is that?
Jaleesa Johnson: Yeah. How many times have you seen in the theater?
A.G.: Five times in the theater and I only caught two endings.
Multiple voices: Whoa. Wow.
Andrea Chalupa: We love you, A.G., even more now.
Sarah Kendzior: Hero! A hero among us.
Jordan Coburn: That's so cool.
Andrea Chalupa: But yeah, it makes sense because it's a board game, right? You play it and you get all these different endings. That's really great marketing, and interactive, and great. Anyway, but I wanted to say, gosh, 1985. Oh yeah. So A.G., how you spelled out that time, like the sort of cataclysmic energy of 1985 with nuclear drills in classrooms and the threat of nuclear war, and things were escalating with the Soviets, and that's why the Miracle on Ice was just such a cathartic event for our country, and so forth. Well, you have that sort of feeling of Armageddon captured in Clue with the undercover FBI agents showing up to the door pretending to be this Armageddon beatnik, saying, "The kingdom is upon us. Repent!"
A.G.: You ain't just whistling Dixie.
Andrea Chalupa: Yes, and we're saying how that is very much like today in this Armageddon climate that we're in.
A.G.: But nobody's feeling it. I don't think it's a national feeling like it was in 1985.
Sarah Kendzior: I think it depends where you are. In Missouri it feels like it just because the weather is downright Biblical. We're literally surrounded by floods. We just lost our reproductive rights. There's gun violence everywhere.
A.G.: I just meant with Russia. I just meant with Russia.
Sarah Kendzior: Oh, with Russia. Well, that's the thing that's interesting is, you know, for the first time in my life, because I was a kid when the Cold War ended, I didn't do those under the desk drills or anything like that. So I never had that overwhelming feeling of nuclear apocalypse coming until Trump was elected. And this entire time where we've been looking at the threat of nuclear warfare, people worrying about Kim Jong Un, I'm most concerned about Trump. I'm worried about Trump dropping a nuclear bomb, not necessarily on us in America, but somewhere else, leading to retaliatory actions.
A.G.: I like how you have to say not necessarily on us.
Sarah Kendzior: I have to specify!
A.G.: I mean, it is possible.
Sarah Kendzior: That's the thing. I mean, if he wanted to just knock out Chicago or St. Louis or one of these other cities that he doesn't like—
Andrea Chalupa: CNN in Atlanta.
Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, or like a targeted nuke on CNN. I mean, unfortunately, this is all within the realm of plausibility in Trump's mind, and because he has unilateral control of the button. It's frightening. And then you look at who's surrounding him, like well who's gonna tame him? It's like, John Bolton? You know, good luck with that. You got Colonel Mustard pulling the trigger. It's not a good scene. That was Flynn. We decided he was Flynn.
Andrea Chalupa: Who's Wadsworth, the butler that's at the center of all this?
A.G.: Depends on which ending.
Andrea Chalupa: Right. So the first one he catches Miss Scarlet. Miss Scarlet thinks she's about to get away with it. It turns out that Wadsworth is himself in the first ending an FBI agent undercover. So I guess Wadsworth in the first ending is who we all wanted Comey to be, who we all wanted Mueller to be.
A.G.: Maybe McCabe.
Andrea Chalupa: Oh interesting.
Sarah Kendzior: I'd take any of them at this point if they actually would do the right thing.
Andrea Chalupa: I'd take Wadsworth.
A.G.: I actually think McCabe actually did the right thing.
Andrea Chalupa: Well, you interviewed him and you read his book. We haven't.
Sarah Kendzior: I've read the excerpt in the Atlantic. I feel like he did the right thing on the job, in terms of trying to take down and study the Russian mafia, and he shouldn't have been fired for it. He should still be there, and obviously he was the target of a purge. I just wish, you know, our question, the one we're always asking on this show is like why did people not act in time? If they're this well informed on this immense threat that we're facing, how could they have let someone like Trump or Manafort get so close and then ultimately get access to classified information that jeopardizes our national security?
A.G.: Them's the rules. And then also, I mean, he did open the counterintelligence investigation on time. He did it in a correct way so as to make sure that there's a paper trail about how it got shut down if it was shut down. I think we'll find that out when we start getting the counter-intelligence information from Barr with the contempt threat vote coming up June 11th, this week. We'll see. But I think he did open the investigation on time. He did everything that he could. He was removed and gagged, and there was really nothing much else he could do about it.
Jordan Coburn: Yeah. He also got Rosenstein to appoint Mueller in the first place. That's a big thing in his book that he talks about. It's in a surprisingly non-self-aggrandizing way, considering what the ultimate point is, which is that, "I basically got Mueller appointed." Yeah. So there's that.
Jaleesa Johnson: Yeah, that counts for something.
Andrea Chalupa: How does he handle Comey? What's the whole deal with Comey? How does McCabe sort of dance around...
A.G.: I asked him, because he said when I met him, he said, "If there's one thing you could know, what would it be?" And the first thing I asked him was, "Was your office, was Comey blackmailed by the New York field office, FBI field office, Giuliani, Prince, et cetera, to reopen the Hillary Clinton email investigation by threatening to leak the Wiener laptop ahead of the FBI." And I said basically, "Is Comey our homie?" Because that's what we were kind of questioning, and he just got a look on his face like, "Mm, meh." So he couldn't obviously tell me what exactly went down with that, because it's still under investigation, but I don't think that he agrees necessarily with what Comey did, and the way Comey handle things.
Andrea Chalupa: Oh, Comey is the worst. Anybody who would write the book that he did, which is all about, "History, please be kind to me. I did what I could under extreme circumstances." Meanwhile, Comey has a press release for Hillary Clinton's e-mails, refuses to join in a letter coming out publicly to inform the public of Russia's attack on our election—
Sarah Kendzior: Ignored Harry Reid.
Andrea Chalupa: Ignored multiple pleas from Harry Reid saying please tell the public, please tell everyone what you know. Comey is the absolute worst. Yeah, I like McCabe more now that I know he said that. Thanks for the tip.
A.G.: Obviously, none of them are gonna say anything negative about any intelligence agency or the FBI or the Department of Justice or anything. They're just not going to.
Jordan Coburn: Yeah, the book is really interesting. The book is very interesting, especially when he talks about his origins into investigating the Russian mafia and everything. So if you haven't read it, it's a really quick and easy read, too.
Sarah Kendzior: I read the part in the Atlantic. Look, I know we're here having this goofy conversation about Clue, but since we're on this topic, I'd love to know your opinion on Mueller and his recent actions in the press conference, because we're talking about McCabe and Comey and all of these figures in the FBI who were purged in a slow motion Saturday night massacre, who will likely be the target of show trials, potentially imprisonment, in Trump's fantasy world, execution. That's all very frightening stuff, and I'm surprised that Mueller isn't coming out swinging, because as you noted, McCabe is an institutionalist, they follow protocol, they follow the rules. The FBI as an institution is in great jeopardy, and I would think that Mueller, seeing all of his former colleagues and members of that institution targeted in this way, would want at the very least to protect them, as well as protect the national security of the United States. What do you make of his kind of reluctance to speak out?
A.G.: Well, I have to believe that his reluctance to speak out is actually the best course of action for maintaining faith, at least what little bit we have if any in those institutions. Otherwise, he wouldn't be doing it. I think that's his number one goal, is to maintain the public's faith in the independence of the Department of Justice, or at least the FBI. And so I don't know why he can't or isn't coming out swinging other than just knowing him as an extremely conservative person. You know, even though he's a total angry Democrat, whatever. He had a very narrow thing to look at. He looked at it. He handed everything else off. We've now got a whole counterintelligence investigation that he didn't do. He didn't look into whether the actual vote count was hacked. He left that to other people in the FBI. He handed everything off because he said, "I'm looking at whether or not there is hard evidence that Trump and his campaign or his associates had a conspiracy, conspired to hack the DNC D triple C, and set up the Internet Research Agency. That's all I'm looking at. Here's my tiny little piece of pizza and I'm handing off 40 other giant pizzas to everybody else."
Andrea Chalupa: Yeah. He decentralized it, which is a good way of protecting it as well. I mean it's practical, of course, because these are sweeping crimes, very sophisticated crimes. Also, it does spread out the targets, right? For any of these investigators to be harassed, as they as they were on Mueller team, with Peter Schrock, Lisa Paige, Bruce Orr becoming household names because the president United States was harassing them for all the world to see, largely from his Twitter account and so forth. Those three names, Lisa Paige, Bruce Orr, Peter Schrock were superheroes in fighting organized crime, namely Russian mafia. So that's really interesting that the President took such a deeply personal interest in them.
A.G.: I mean, Struck took down the entire Anna Chapman ring. They made a show out of it called the Americans.
Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, what do you guys think of that show, since we're talking about pop culture stuff? [laughter]
A.G.: I think we should get back to Clue and talk about the rest of the characters.
Andrea Chalupa: No, we're going to do a little hiatus and go visit the Americans for a second, because I got something to say about that. In November 2016, my sister and Sarah and I, we were talking to everybody you can imagine, and digging into what was in the public domain, and we basically got downloaded into our brains the crime of the century. We saw Cambridge Analytica, Jared Kushner's role, all of it. We had one IC expert, a member of the intelligence community that we just happened upon through all of our digging say that the election Donald Trump was essentially marriage between the Russian mafia in the East and the Russian mafia in the West. As part of that, we knew that for this to go on, they needed Americans. They needed a network of Americans to aid them in order to attack our election. And so I put on Twitter, "The Americans is real." I said like, this show the Americans is real. And an RT contributor took that and wrote how I was absolutely crazy. Right? So I just wanted to share that. And then he deleted the post, because all these other news reports had come out saying, "And then these Americans came along and the NRA was involved," and all of it.
Jordan Coburn: I'm surprised they haven't deleted it though, because typically RT just runs with whatever propaganda they're going to run.
Andrea Chalupa: Well, he was a contributor. He was somebody that had appeared on the show, wrote for them or whatever. I think he put in his personal blog and then was like, "Oops."
Jordan Coburn: Got it. Okay, so he cares a little bit about his journalistic integrity.
A.G.: I know some folks think that Mueller didn't do much, but he backs you up on this. His whole part of Vol. 1 of his report is how several Russians came to America. They used Panetta, who's been indicted, an American, to give them fake IDs, and they came here and posed as Trump supporters and had rallies and infiltrated our election systems that way. I know that we're kind of back and forth about if Mueller is a hero or if he's kind of a low-level figure in this whole thing, but he vindicated you on that point.
Andrea Chalupa: Without question, and just to clarify, I think with our whole criticism of the FBI and Mueller and McCabe and so forth, it's rather a position of, "Guys, this was in the public domain for decades. Why don't you do anything sooner to stop it?" It's more of a position of a little too late, and a lot of that little too late action by the FBI has actually made them targets of the Trump and far right and Kremlin propaganda machine, because that propaganda has really tied the FBI's sort of aggressive late night cramming session before a big test actions to try to investigate and expose all these deep Kremlin ties and how far they go with Trump's camp to Crossfire Hurricane, the investigation launched by the FBI in late July 2016. And if you talk to any Russiagate skeptics, the famous ones, as I have, I found myself after the March for Truth in New York City, we did like a big emergency rally following Barr's coverup, and we did like an all hands on deck, everyone show up to this big demonstration, and I spoke there, and after the march I got tag-teamed by famous Russiagate skeptics on Twitter. And we did a leisurely stroll through the park. We had an adult conversation, and everyone just tried to hear each other. It was actually quite beautiful. And one thing that was really interesting was that they were really pegging this whole Russiagate crime as something that just sort of sprung up with Crossfire Hurricane, and their belief is that the FBI launched Crossfire Hurricane to try to stop Donald Trump because he will bash institutions, and the FBI are institutionalists. So what I'm saying is because the FBI finally sort of acted in a big, aggressive sort of way as required a bit late in the game, that made them open to labelling of having a political motive, because it was so close to the election, and that's what's been exploited by this propaganda attack against them. What the Russiagate skeptics don't understand is that there's history here, decades of history. We know that Mueller has done such a service to validating a lot that Sarah, myself, and others have pointed out very early on, and we know that Peter Schrock and Lisa Paige and Bruce Orr have been under great threat in the work they've done for years, and they've been great heroes for our country. Our point is always, "Guys, you knew about all of this so far in advance, so why did you let it get so close?"
A.G.: Well, you have to remember that quote-unquote "late in the game" is the way the FBI operates. They have to have articulable facts in a row, in a line. Especially if it's against the President of the United States, you have to have, you just have to wait until you've got more than enough to justify opening Crossfire Hurricane. You just have to.
Andrea Chalupa: No, of course. But what we're saying is he should have never been President of the United States to begin with because of all of his corruption and connections deeply embedded with Russian mafia, like Trump property.
Sarah Kendzior: Like Felix Sater, for example. Like they all knew who McCabe was examining. They all knew that Trump was hanging with these dudes and should not be given classified intel, like just not a good idea, you know?
Andrea Chalupa: The book people need to read, and you guys should have him on your show if you haven't already, is Vanity Fair contributor Craig Unger, who wrote House of Trump, House of Putin. It's the historical background of the Mueller report. Okay, so back to Clue. Alright, let's go down the character list. So who is Mrs. White, who kills all her husbands?
Sarah Kendzior: I feel like we need a Mrs. White, honestly.
Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, like she's the most sympathetic character there. Just kidding.
Jaleesa Johnson: It's true. I think she's our closest bet there. Who do you think, A.G.?
Jordan Coburn: Yeah, I'm thinking Kellyanne, but only strictly because of the inherent conflict that comes with her marriage.
Jaleesa Johnson: Sure. Sure.
A.G.: Maybe Kasich, you know? Like just somebody who was like, "Let me do it. I'm jealous." And then just gets shut down. He didn't end up killing anybody, would've been cool if he did.
Andrea Chalupa: Who? Kasich?
A.G.: Yeah, the guy who tried to run for president from Ohio against Trump.
Andrea Chalupa: Oh my God.
Sarah Kendzior: One of the 16?
A.G.: Yeah. Though we mock, what we what do we have now, 28?
Jaleesa Johnson: We do, yeah. Yeah.
Andrea Chalupa: I know, really. I remember when we used to be able to mock that with integrity, and now we're kind of like, ooh.
A.G.: Can't say that anymore.
Andrea Chalupa: The Democratic field is just one big dinner party.
A.G.: Yeah, but I do have to say, I think that the reason that the Democratic field is so big is everyone's like, "Well if he can be president, I can be president." The bar is just low now.
Jaleesa Johnson: But there's a lot of great qualified people that do believe. They had like I guess imposter syndrome before, they were like, "Oh no, I couldn't possibly be president." But they're good people.
Andrea Chalupa: I think imposter syndrome is dead in America forever.
Sarah Kendzior: Imposter Syndrome died November 2016.
Andrea Chalupa: We're all fully capable. My confidence shot straight up. So Mrs. White, interesting ideas there.
Sarah Kendzior: Who are we missing? Professor Plum, I guess.
Andrea Chalupa: Well Professor Plum you said was Roger Stone. Because he's sleazy. He wants to swing, he wants to sleep with people. He's like the hipster of the crime syndicate.
Sarah Kendzior: Roger Stone seems like he would carry a pipe around.
Andrea Chalupa: I'm sure. There's those photos of him. And then we have...we're not we're not the obscure characters yet.
Sarah Kendzior: Well, let's ask Mueller, She Wrote. What else do they have to say?
Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, who else? I think there's like 15 more characters at the dinner party.
A.G.: There's only six main ones, and then we've got Wadsworth and Boddy.
Andrea Chalupa: Right.
A.G.: And then Mustard, Plum, Peacock, Green, Scarlet. And...
Sarah Kendzior: The cop. The cop who's like, "Hey everybody, there's terrible things happening here," and everyone kind of ignores him. That's probably us. That's like our two shows. [laughter]
Multiple voices: The podcasts, definitely.
Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, we're the corpses.
A.G.: And there's the motorist who used to be the driver for Mr. Flynn, I mean Colonel Mustard, in his war profiteer days. So who's close to Flynn that kind of knows what he was up to, but is a buddy of his and supports him?
Jaleesa Johnson: Not Gates anymore, but maybe back in the day, right?
A.G.: That's more Manafort.
Jaleesa Johnson: Oh.
A.G.: Does Flynn even have any friends?
Sarah Kendzior: That's a really good question actually.
Andrea Chalupa: The motorist is Turkey. The Turkish government.
Sarah Kendzior: Erdogan is the motorist.
Andrea Chalupa: Trying to get Flynn to kidnap an opposition figure.
A.G.: That's it, Bijan Kian. Yeah, he's Bijan Kian, his other operative for KLS research, or whatever the hell it was called.
Andrea Chalupa: Okay, so what about Wadsworth when it's all his fault, when he's behind everything? I would say that's when he's Manafort. He's like the guy that seems respectable. No one really can peg him or see him more clearly for what he is. He is masterminding the whole show, and it's his dirty bag of tricks that are creating this whole body count and all this confusion and chaos. And it turns out that he was behind the whole thing and that he's the criminal, and he thinks he's going to get away with it because he's so arrogant, and then he gets shut down by Mr. Green. So I think in that scenario, he's Manafort.
Jaleesa Johnson: Totally Manafort. Yeah, the way you laid it out is perfect.
A.G.: Yeah, I agree. I concur.
Sarah Kendzior: And he was doing about the line that was like, "Did none of you deduce that everyone else was involved too?" That was him, right? That was one of my favorite moments of that. That's what really did remind me of this administration, because it feels like all of these things we grew up thinking were obnoxious but innocuous, like the National Enquirer or something like that, they're all folded into this massive conspiracy. It just feels like history vomiting itself back up at us, and that line unfortunately embodies our time.
A.G.: Yeah, and that third ending is really probably my favorite one, because they're all responsible for disposing of their own accomplices or, you know, the people who are informing on them. Plum killed Mr. Boddy, right? He was the one missing in the kitchen. Peacock killed the cook, because she was informing on her. It was her cook, and she made that fatal mistake at dinner when she said it was her favorite dish, but monkey brains, while popular in Cantonese cuisine, are not often found in Washington, D.C. And then Colonel Mustard killed the motorist, which was his driver, and Mrs. White killed Yvette because she was stripping her husband, one of them. And then she had an affair, you know. That's the flames on the side of the face, and why she killed her. And then Scarlet killed the cop who'd she'd been bribing in D.C. to keep it quiet that she was running a brothel, and then Wadsworth shot the singing telegram, reveals he's Mr. Boddy and then thanks them all for deposing of his network of spies, right?
Jaleesa Johnson: Yeah.
A.G.: And that's just the best ending. The last line though bugs me. It didn't bug me in 1985, but it bugs me today.
Sarah Kendzior: The "I'm going to go home and sleep with my wife" line?
A.G.: Yeah, where the gay FBI agent who's been posing as a homosexual—and one thing I didn't get is why being a homosexual was a national security issue, but maybe in the 50s it was. But at the end when he says, "I'm gonna go home and sleep with my wife.".
Andrea Chalupa: Right.
A.G.: I was just like, "Ughhhh."
Andrea Chalupa: Right. "I'm not gay everyone; I'm a hero." But I have to say, when I watch beloved movies from way back in the day, I'm always trying to take count of how many horrible things it turns out that were in that film. So I've watched Clue for that, and I think pretty much that's one of the few sort of, "Ugh, guys" moments in that movie.
A.G.: Just to have to gloat that you're not gay. It just got me. You know, like, "Oh man, come on."
Jordan Coburn: Yeah, it's kind of, it's a bummer to me. I didn't know that the three different endings were showed in isolation in the movie theaters, because I got such a huge effect to watching one two three, where it's like the first one, everyone's going to jail that kills someone. In the second one, everyone's going to go to jail that kills someone, presumably. And then in the third one, there's such a quick resolution when the FBI is part of the people that are like contributing to people dying, and it's just like, "Okay, there you go. That's it. That's our job." And there's zero questions asked, and it's like when the government is killing people basically, then it's like completely fine.
Jaleesa Johnson: Oh, people brushed it over. Yeah, yeah.
Jordan Coburn: It was like a one two three punch, sort of, watching it like boom, boom, boom.
Jaleesa Johnson: Oh, you saw it back to back.
Jordan Coburn: Like yeah. The version that I watched, which I think is the only version probably available now, shows all three of them.
Jaleesa Johnson: Yeah, I had to watch little clips, so I missed that one.
Jordan Coburn: Because they kill someone, right?
Jaleesa Johnson: Yeah.
Jordan Coburn: Doesn't the FBI shoot and kill someone at the end, in the ending scene?
Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, Wadsworth. They kill Manafort.
Jordan Coburn: Yeah exactly. So that. So they just they just get to kill someone, zero questions asked, zero repercussions, because that's just what the government does. And then he's like, "I'm going to go home and sleep with my wife at the end of it."
Andrea Chalupa: I will say though, it was a self-defense shooting, because Wadsworth was about to kill him.
A.G.: Yeah. Wadsworth was pulling a gun on him. He shot Wadsworth. Otherwise they would've taken him into custody. He's a white, privileged male.
Jordan Coburn: Yes, true. True. I guess that's just how it affected me, even if it wasn't self-defense, because who's to say? I mean, doesn't America always say that our killings are in self-defense when a lot of the times they're not?
Jaleesa Johnson: Oh yeah, they feared for their lives.
Jordan Coburn: But I know in that case he literally had someone shooting a gun, pointing a gun at him.
Jaleesa Johnson: That's fair. But it is tricky.
A.G.: And he did kill the singing telegram girl in that last ending.
Jordan Coburn: Totally. Wadsworth?
Jordan Coburn: Yes. Yeah, no. I'm not saying he didn't deserve to die. Well, maybe I am saying that. That's also a very big statement. But I'm just saying simply the reaction, the initial reaction in the seconds after it had been revealed that someone was murdered by another person, because it's the American government, zero questions are asked, and they get to go home and sleep with their wife and all is right.
Multiple voices: Right.
Andrea Chalupa: I just killed someone and now I'm gonna fuck.
Jordan Coburn: Yeah, exactly.
Andrea Chalupa: Let me just say, how amazing that ending have been if he said, "I'm gonna go home and sleep with my husband.".
Multiple voices: Yes. Wow.
A.G.: Way better. In fact if they do a remake I hope they do it.
Jaleesa Johnson: Yes.
Andrea Chalupa: The only thing they're allowed to change if they do a remake.
A.G.: Absolutely. That would be the only change I would make.
Jaleesa Johnson: And an all black case. All POC.
A.G.: Because I think Miss Scarlet was the murderer in the first one, Mrs. Peacock was the murder in the second one, and then in the third one they all murdered their own accomplices, or they're all murdered everyone who was getting blackmailed.
Andrea Chalupa: They're all guilty.
A.G.: Except for the singing telegram girl, who was shot by Mr. Boddy, which was Wadsworth, and then the FBI comes in. They caught Wadsworth, and he's like, "Well it all worked out." He goes to draw a gun, and the FBI agent shoots him. "Good shot, Green. Very good." Dies on the floor. The whole FBI comes in and arrests the rest of them and takes them the fuck home. To jail, not home.
Jaleesa Johnson: Yeah, yeah. Solid. I dig it. I dig the whole experience of multiple endings. It was a different time.
Jordan Coburn: Yeah, that really cool. I had no idea that that was a thing.
Sarah Kendzior: That's what I want now in reality. I want to go into the alternate ending of the Mueller Report, the one where there's indictments of Kushner and Bannon and all these other people that we were hoping would go down.
Andrea Chalupa: You ladies have been following this crime spree so closely for so long, and you have it all documented. You're like the librarians of the Kremlin attack, so I know you have like your whole glossary and all of it all squared away. What is your alternative ending to how the Mueller Report went down, or just where we would be right now at this moment?
A.G.: I think we're still in it. It hasn't ended yet, because while Mueller was the tip of the iceberg, we've got the counterintelligence information that's going to come out. That's what determines whether or not any of these people are Russian assets, are compromised by a foreign agency. And then of course Russia is only one sixth of the quote-unquote "grand bargain" that was made with Trump between Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Russia to get Iran out of the way and try to make Qatar look like dicks until they lend a bunch of money to Kushner. So there is a giant, giant, huge global conspiracy. And I think that it's just going to take a long time to unwind it. Mueller is a tiny tip of one piece of one country of part of a giant conspiracy.
Jaleesa Johnson: I will say though, as far as like fantasy alternative endings go, I was kind of hoping that people would not riot like hardcore in the streets, but just a little like upset. Like when Mueller came out for that press conference, I knew I should've been prepared more for what he was going to actually say, but I was really just fantasizing that he'd be more direct, and that people would be finally waking up to it. But that's happened so many times in this whole scheme of things. You're right. This is just what it is, and it's going to be slow, but I do fantasize about people just snapping. But I mean, it's not likely.
Sarah Kendzior: I think people snapped inside. They just don't know what to do because there's constant ambiguity. I mean, because that's real life. I guess we do have villains in this situation, but most of the time people aren't heroes or villains. They're people who make decisions in the confines of their environment. They're people who make decisions that are bad that might otherwise be good people, or vice versa. I think that that lends this inertia that also feels like chaos, and that's why, you know I'm just gonna keep pounding this drum, that's why I really wish we had these impeachment hearings, because what we need is a Clue-style, cinematic production to kind of bring all this home to the masses. Like in the end when Wadsworth goes through and he explains who did what with what weapon and why. We need a Wadsworth. We need somebody to come out and break this down.
A.G.: You're right, we need a Wadsworth, but I do think another great alternate ending would have been Mueller, for the good of the country and for what he feels is actual justice, would have gone ahead and not paid attention to the constitutionality of the OLC memo and indicted Trump on eleven counts of obstruction of justice.
Sarah Kendzior: Yeah. I want Mueller to do like a Wadsworth thing and run all over that stage that he came out at a couple of weeks ago at that press conference, and be like, "And then Flynn did this, and then Manafort did this," and then just get all riled up.
A.G.: Too late!
Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, unfortunately. Unfortunately, we live in this ending and missed the alternative.
Andrea Chalupa: There's a moment in Clue near the end where the lights had gone out or some big chaotic moment had happened, and when the lights go back on, they walk around room by room and count the new body count. They discover all these new dead bodies that died and were murdered in a span of just a few minutes.
A.G.: And they're so fatigued that they're like, "Eh."
Andrea Chalupa: That's what Jerry Nadler looks like, the head of the Judiciary Committee, whose role it is to open up impeachment inquiries. I mean, when you see him, all the reports are saying that he and a big group of Democrats, I think it's up to like nearly 60 now on the Democratic House side that really want impeachment, or to open up an impeachment inquiry at the very least, and Jerry Nadler is one of them. Obviously, publicly he has to keep a united front with Pelosi. Pelosi is keeping all of everybody in line.
A.G.: Yeah, or that fatigue could represent just the American people. Just like as the bodies keep piling up, everyone's like, "Uh, yeah, that's another thing." But Jordan, what was your alternate ending?
Jordan Coburn: Oh yeah. My alternative ending, I guess, would be that there's some sort of rogue actor from the intelligence community that can come out and like you said just give us the statement that we wish Mueller could have given us.
A.G.: Right, so Mueller could keep his hands clean, but it's just some rogue guy.
Jordan Coburn: Yes. Or even if Mueller went rogue himself. But unfortunately, I know that in reality that's incompatible, for an FBI or an intelligence community member to go rogue.
A.G.: Come on, McCabe!
Jaleesa Johnson: Yeah, the ultimate rando.
Jordan Coburn: Yes, and I wish there was an alternate reality in space time in which we could accept a rogue actor from the intelligence community and have it not de-legitimize that institution, but unfortunately, I think that's what would happen.
Jaleesa Johnson: Yeah, desperate times, man.
Jordan Coburn: And that's how the American people would take that, even though that's what we need right now.
A.G.: The other question is, how much more do you need to delegitimize the Department of Justice than it is right now? It's like when people make the impeachment argument, “Oh, you're going to divide the country." What, motherfucker? You're going to divide the country.
Jordan Coburn: Yeah absolutely.
A.G.: So now you're worried about protecting the reservoir of trust built up by the Department of Justice and respecting their independence? That's shot to shit.
Sarah Kendzior: Yep.
A.G.: So just fucking come out guns blazing.
Jordan Coburn: I agree, but it's not entirely shot to shit right now, and I think a future in which it is entirely shot to shit is kind of a freaky thought experiment that I'm not so sure we want to live in.
Jaleesa Johnson: It's what Putin wants. Yeah.
Jordan Coburn: At some point, we're going to have to.
A.G.: And then you might get your riots.
Jaleesa Johnson: Oh yeah. I might get those riots. I don't want them, but like—
A.G.: Not riots, but more of an uprising.
Jaleesa Johnson: Yeah, we need it. Like I literally don't want a civil war. I don't want anything like that, but I feel like when it comes to fighting for our rights, at some point it's gonna get really literal.
Jordan Coburn: Yeah. I mean, it's happening in the streets like every day in different cities and stuff. We just don't see it on a national front yet, for the people that aren't paying attention.
Jaleesa Johnson: Totally. And I'm a lover. Yeah. But if it came down to it? Because we're facing climate change. All these things are gonna have tensions rising no matter what happens with this whole investigation. Things are gonna get tense regardless.
A.G.: We might solve this whole thing by 2050 by just killing ourselves off.
Sarah Kendzior: We're contagious to you guys. This is sounding like Gaslit Nation. One of the things that's so alarming is that if you think of a rogue actor from the DOJ at this point, what you're thinking of is someone who will tell the unvarnished truth, and who will do it out of just principle instead of out of protocol. And it is so sad that we're at that point as a country that that person then becomes like a—I don't know. Honestly, they are the opposite of what a treasonous or bad person would be.
A.G.: A kook. A rogue.
Sarah Kendzior: But we're in such a corrupt administration that they would become, as you say, this incredibly controversial figure by so many sides, like within the DOJ, within the Trump administration, within people who are more of an institutionalist bent. But I do think it's what we need as well.
A.G.: Yeah. Telling the truth should never be called going rogue.
Jaleesa Johnson: That's where we are right now. Wasn't Hitler all about disinformation, too?
A.G.: Oh yeah.
Jaleesa Johnson: Yeah man, this is their game.
Jordan Coburn: Yeah. My friend gave me this really easy to read book on dictatorship. It's like "how to become a dictator" or something.
Andrea Chalupa: Ooh, I need that. I need a self-help guide.
Jaleesa Johnson: Buzzfeed article.
Jordan Coburn: Yeah. Yeah. It's crazy. It's a formula that gets repeated and repeated successfully over and over and over.
Jaleesa Johnson: Madeleine Albright, she talked about this in her book. What was it called? Just "Fascism," I think. Very blunt. Just Fascism. Yeah, but no really, she lived it.
Sarah Kendzior: Well yeah, it's very textbook. What they're doing to the DOJ is in all these other administrative bodies is very textbook. They purge. They pack courts. They pack the Supreme Court, and then they rewrite the law. That's why time is of the essence. That's why Andrea and I are always like, "Okay FBI, you're about to get purged.".
Andrea Chalupa: It's coming up.
Sarah Kendzior: Get it done you guys, before you get fired.
Andrea Chalupa: It's like we're a midwife for authoritarianism. The contractions are getting closer together. But I want to say, so when Trump got elected or whatever, stole the election, there was one Middle East watcher, an expert on the Middle East, who said, "Hey, America. Now do you understand where all of our dictators in the Middle East, how they came up?" The point is that it's like the guide to becoming a dictator. It's a reliable guide, and I am optimistic. If Jaleesa gets her riots, I am optimistic that we can get out of it. People can riot at the ballot box. People can riot by organizing at the local level and just showing up to marches. Showing up has such power in it. That itself is such a big ripple effect, and all of it is showing up.
A.G.: Yeah, and I think that's the main thing, is that we have to just remain active and remain vigilant, do what we're doing, do what you guys are doing. Seriously, you guys are doing a great service here. I think that the number one walkaway lesson here is watch the movie Clue and stay active. Be active. Do things. It does matter and it does make a difference, even if it's just to call up Pelosi and tell her to open an impeachment inquiry. Whatever it is you can do, do it. It's just so important.
Jaleesa Johnson: We can actually literally save the world. Like climate change. No really, politically we can turn it around. It just gets darkest before dawn usually.
A.G.: Yeah that's true.