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Transcript: ‘Gaslit’

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MS. QUINN: Wow. Good afternoon, and welcome to Washington Post Live. I’m Sally Quinn, author and Washington Post writer here at The Post.

It's been almost 50 years since the break‑in at Watergate. "Gaslit" is the upcoming STARZ series that depicts Martha Mitchell's experience during the Watergate scandal, from sitting in the front row while her husband, Attorney General John Mitchell, ordered the break‑in, to being drugged and kidnapped.

I'm joined today by three people who brought the story of Martha Mitchell to life: Mignon Clyburn, a board member of Lionsgate and the former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission; series creator, executive producer and showrunner Robbie Pickering; and actor Allison Tolman, who plays the role of journalist Winzola McLendon. Thank you all so much for joining me here today.

Robbie, I think I'll ask you the first question. "Gaslit" is built on the first season of your acclaimed podcast, "Slow Burn," which you also created and executive‑produced. So‑‑

MR. PICKERING: No, no, no. I didn't create that podcast.

MS. QUINN: Oh.

[Laughter]

MR. PICKERING: No, no. I‑‑

MS. QUINN: Well, can I give you credit, anyway? Okay.

MR. PICKERING: No, I can't take credit for the podcast.

MS. QUINN: So, you produced it. You produced it.

MR. PICKERING: Yeah.

MS. QUINN: I think Martha Mitchell actually created it.

MR. PICKERING: Yeah, Martha Mitchell created it.

MS. QUINN: So, Robbie, let me ask you this question. So, it's based on "Slow Burn." Is that right?

MR. PICKERING: Yeah. It's based on "Slow Burn," which was a podcast that Leon Neyfakh created for Slate, and yeah, it was all about‑‑the first episode was about Martha. But, really, the purpose of the podcast was kind of to immerse a new audience in, you know, a real‑life feeling of what it felt like to go through one of these scandals, and of course, it came out in 2018, 2017. So, it was while all the Trump, you know, Russia stuff was boiling and all that.

MS. QUINN: So, why Martha Mitchell? Why did you concentrate on her out of all the characters in the Watergate scandal?

MR. PICKERING: Well, I mean, I personally have been obsessed with this whole period since I was 11 or 12 and Nixon's funeral was on television, and I remember my mom watching it and just weeping. I grew up in a small town in Texas. My mother is a very evangelical conservative, and she‑‑I didn't know anything about Nixon, and I kind of asked why are you crying. And she said to me he was a good man, he was a great man, and the liberals did this to him, and kind of from that point on, I was like, I've got to know everything I can find out about this period. And I became really obsessed with, you know, all the Oliver Stone movies and books like Jay Anthony Lukas' "Nightmare" and things like that.

And kind of what I discovered along the way was that the‑‑you know, there's the Oliver Stone, kind of "All the President's Men," you know, Woodward and Bernstein the heroes and Nixon the villain kind of version, which I think is kind of a baby‑boomer version of mythologizing of that period.

But when I read like particularly Jay Anthony Lukas' book, "Nightmare," and then in 2008, Rick Perlstein's book, "Nixonland," it really made the whole period kind of more relatable, and the villains were a lot more relatable on a human level than I thought. And the heroes were a lot more‑‑felt a lot more complex.

Well, I'll also say "The Final Days" does this as well, the Woodward and Bernstein book. I really loved that book as well, and I always‑‑

MS. QUINN: Did you see Martha Mitchell as a hero or a villain or somewhere in between?

MR. PICKERING: I didn't see her at all is what I'm kind of building up to. I mean, I really‑‑in all the contemporaneous accounts and all the‑‑you know, John Dean's book, any of these accounts, Martha Mitchell was really sidelined a lot.

And, you know, I wanted to make a show about the people around Nixon for a while, and it wasn't‑‑nobody really bit until Leon's podcast came along, and what it did was really center Martha in the scandal. And that was such an inspirational thing to hear, especially because I knew about her, but she always felt tangential, and I think that was by design.

And then I started reading more and more about Martha Mitchell once I got the show going and, you know, reading not only Martha's biography, but also, you know, like Nora Ephron wrote about Martha Mitchell. A lot of people who kind of judged her initially because she was complicit in all these‑‑all of Nixon's schemes before she started telling the truth about Watergate, and that‑‑I've always written about Southern conservative women because of that duality. I mean that kind of‑‑they're kind of‑‑to me, they're kind of punk rock because they're women.

[Laughter]

MR. PICKERING: But‑‑and we want to remember them, but to me as kind of the liberal, they're punk rock for the wrong side.

And I think that, you know, I grew up with women like that, and so when I'm writing Martha, I'm just writing church ladies I grew up with and things like that. You know, the show is really a study of complicity, and Martha is‑‑because she was complicit in horrible things before Watergate and then started telling the truth, it's really kind of a complicated hero.

And, yeah, the reason I did it was because it needed to be told. It needed to be brought to a wider audience.

MS. QUINN: Allison, you are playing Winzola McLendon who befriended Martha Mitchell and later wrote a biography about her, and we got a clip here that I'd like to play before I ask you a question.

[Video plays]

MS. TOLMAN: [Laughs] Like a horror movie.

MS. QUINN: Allison‑‑that's an incredible scene. Allison, how‑‑what kind of research did you do to play Winzola McLendon? And this was‑‑for most people, the story of Martha Mitchell was so hard to believe and understand. What do you think that Winzola McLendon was thinking? What was she‑‑what was she believing?

MS. TOLMAN: Yeah, it's hard. You know, I read as much as I could about Winnie when I took the role, but there's not a lot out there about her. She exists really as a tangent to everything that we know about Martha. So, I think the more I learned about Martha, the more I was able to kind of get into who Winnie was and where she was at in this story.

And I feel like the really interesting thing about this scene in particular is that, like, there's this extreme moment. There's this extreme situation, and even Winnie who knows Martha, who likes her, who is a friend of hers doesn't really grasp what's going on. I think it would be difficult to grasp how serious the situation was. And the fact of the matter is that Martha is a woman who was easy to dismiss because she was kind of known for being silly and being larger than life and being the socialite. She was in a unique position to be gaslit and to have people say that, oh, she was just making things up, she was drunk, she was silly, she's hysterical. And I think the fact that even‑‑even Winnie, while concerned, can't really wrap her head around the severity of the situation is a pretty good indication that, you know, Martha was really vulnerable.

MS. QUINN: Mignon, we have an audience question for you from Monique here in D.C., and she asks, former Commissioner Clyburn, what resonated with you about this story? And as someone who's involved in politics both personally‑‑your father is Majority Whip Clyburn‑‑and professionally as a former public servant, what warnings does this story provide?

MS. CLYBURN: Well, for me, the significance and the danger, both of those are reflected in the story, and what I mean by how significant this series is, this was a woman who was marginalized, complex, yes, complicit, but she evolved. And that evolution was not fully embraced, and in fact, the powers that be did everything they could to minimize, to vilify, to ensure that her voice‑‑or that she was just a footnote in history, and that is the power and the danger in all of this, that consequential situations and individuals, if they buck the status quo, if they push back, if they speak truth, that there is‑‑it's dangerous. And there are powers that be in the media and beyond that will ensure that their voices are not heard.

We have seen that throughout history with woman, with people of color, and if we don't have outlets and outlets that are responsible with checks and balances, those stories, those complexities, those points in times in history that will inform, and honestly warn us about what could happen if we're not vigilant, those stories will not be told.

So that to me is‑‑in terms of addressing that question, it's both evolutionary and revolutionary and enlightening as well as a warning to all of us.

MS. QUINN: Robbie, how do you think that what happened during Watergate will resonate or does resonate in our political discourse today, in today's politics?

MR. PICKERING: I think what I hope is that people‑‑one of the first questions we asked of our writers when they started working on the series was name a quality of yourself you see in one of the characters. The only caveat is it can't be a good quality, and I think if you can look at a lot of the people who are complicit in these horrible things and see times that you've done things out of ambition that go against who you think you are or you've done things for‑‑because you feel valued by somebody in power, which is the reason I think John Mitchell was doing what he was doing, or you've done, you know, things that you wouldn't usually do because you think the ends justify the means, as Liddy does‑‑I mean, Liddy thinks he's, you know, fighting for some sacred principles, you know. And if you can see yourself in those characters, I think it becomes modern because it becomes human, and it becomes less about this singular point in history, which is I think the kind of version of this we've‑‑you know, my generation has really been fed for so many years is that this was the singular point in history. And my tack is more to show how these things keep happening, not because history keeps repeating itself but because the capacity for complicity is in the best of us at all times.

But the foresight of that‑‑

MS. QUINN: Allison‑‑I'm sorry.

MR. PICKERING: ‑‑is the capacity for heroism is in the most flawed of us at all times, which we show with Martha.

MS. QUINN: Allison, how did you work with the rest of the cast? I'm interested in how everybody sort of dealt with the story of Martha Mitchell, and did you find that some of your fellow actors were more positive about her or more negative about her? And did you feel that you were changing as you went along in your views of her?

MS. TOLMAN: I mean, I just think I loved her more and more as Julia brought her to life. I spent almost all my time with Julia Roberts. So I was, you know, primed to really love Martha because I think Julia did such a good job of portraying her. So, I just found her more and more endearing as time went on.

And I think, you know, the last thing that I shot was a scene with both Julia and Sean, and seeing Martha in a different context, within the context of her marriage and in her home, was really heartbreaking and really sad. It made me think a lot about how this kind of vibrant, interesting woman was left destitute. You know, this incident that happened and the fallout from it really ruined her life, ruined her marriage, ruined her relationship with her kids, and I think it's just a really tragic story in the end.

MS. QUINN: Robbie, we have an audience question for you here from Heidi in Canada who asks, do you see parallels between Watergate and "Stop the Steal"?

MR. PICKERING: You know, we didn't really deal with the kind of conspiracy theory part of‑‑I see "Stop the Steal" as a conspiracy‑theory movement, general movement in this country that's pretty alarming. We didn't really dwell on that aspect of that, but this‑‑the scandal, we really wanted to show an insider version of everything that happened, and really, the show, we wanted to concentrate on two marriages, that between John Mitchell and Martha Mitchell and John Dean and Mo Dean, and then characters like Frank Wills that never got their due around the scandal.

We did have an episode about Mae Brussell, who was a conspiracy theorist at the time, but we kind of scrapped that earlier on to focus the series. But there was absolutely‑‑you know, the Watergate period is absolutely the birth of a lot of this widespread conspiracy‑theorist sentiment in the country, the idea that the government is just, you know, plotting against the American people constantly, but‑‑

MS. QUINN: Mignon, how do you think that we should‑‑or we can prevent the kind of fear and paranoia that existed during Watergate and during the Trump administration? How can we prevent that from influencing us in the future?

MS. CLYBURN: By challenging ourselves to learn more, to not just rely on one platform or resource or individual for your news and information. You know, what we see here is how effective having one source or having one power dominate the discussion, dominate the conversation, dominate the narrative, and we‑‑it is comfortable. Often, we retreat. We're complicit because it's easy. It's comfortable, but we have to continue to challenge ourselves to not be so, to question authority, to, again, read and consume more than one point of view because it's growth for us, and again, it challenges those who would otherwise take advantage of that. And so, again, that's the beauty and the strength, and I would say to challenge for all of us, to really go outside of our comfort levels and not only speak truth but to read and learn more about what truth is and where it lies.

[Video plays]

MS. QUINN: Robbie, obviously, Martha Mitchell came across as very outspoken and often very indiscrete, and she was the one who said, "The emperor has no clothes." Did you find it hard to portray her as a credible person? Because you could have gone over the line a little bit and made her seem crazy because sometimes she acted, and that's what Nixon administration people did say about her was that she was crazy. But how did you walk that line between presenting her as someone who was emotional and outspoken but also a credible human being?

MR. PICKERING: I think all the characters in the story are credible human beings.

[Laughter]

MR. PICKERING: I think that‑‑I don't really write crazy people because I don't‑‑I'm very interested in the hot messes of history and this, you know, kind of bumbling stupidity that‑‑you know, the reason I don't really believe in conspiracy theories is I just believe everybody, you know, most of us are just, at the end of the day, pretty, you know, buffoonish. [Laughs]

MS. QUINN: Do you see Gordon Liddy as a credible human being?

MR. PICKERING: Yeah. Yeah. I see him as a‑‑he's the most difficult one to write because he is‑‑you know, in the room, we're all writing people we know, you know? You know, I'm writing church ladies when I write Martha. When I'm writing John Dean, I'm just writing me, myself in my twenties. When I'm writing Frank Wills, I'm writing something‑‑somebody I know, you know, in Hollywood who's gotten a bunch of fame but didn't really want it, you know. Like, that's how you make these characters real.

Gordon Liddy is the hardest one because he is a zealot, but I grew up in a very evangelical Texan family. So I know a lot of zealots, and I know a lot of, you know, people who are very intense about what they believe, almost in a comical way, and‑‑but kind of also a little dangerous.

So, you know, that's how you make these characters fun and funny and also three‑dimensional and dramatic, and that's how you get all those things, by writing people you know and writing yourself. And I‑‑just at the end of the day, I believe not many of us are crazy. Most of us are just‑‑have very relatable reasons we're such idiots, you know, and we do stupid things.

MS. QUINN: So we can all be relieved. I'm relieved to hear that. [Laughs]

MR. PICKERING: What's that?

MS. QUINN: Allison, we have an audience question for you from Scott here in Washington, D.C., who asks, in hindsight, questions have been raised about the journalistic ethics of reporters taking advantage of Mrs. Mitchell's delicate mental state during the Watergate period. What are your thoughts on the subject?

MS. TOLMAN: Yeah. I mean, I think that's a fair question and a fair criticism and one that's certainly, you know, relevant today.

You know, Winnie, as she stands in this series, is sort of a stand‑in for a lot of different reporters and characters and people that were speaking to Martha during this time. So, in my version of Winnie, there's a lot of personal care there. She really cares about Martha and really wants what's best for her. So it's not a question I had to tackle in order to do this work because it just wasn't really a question in the story we were telling within this series.

But I think it's a‑‑I think it's a valid question. I think that taking advantage of someone at their most vulnerable, as a reporter, to get a scoop is‑‑it's a slippery slope that's really dangerous ground.

MS. QUINN: Robbie, why‑‑

MS. CLYBURN: And Washington, D.C., is an opportunistic type of place. So is the rest of the world.

MS. QUINN: Really?

MS. CLYBURN: So it should not surprise us that, you know, people‑‑

MS. QUINN: [Laughs] How shocking.

MS. CLYBURN: ‑‑are going to leverage whatever influence they have in order to break that story or to get that edge.

MS. QUINN: Right.

MS. CLYBURN: So it's unsurprising. It's often tragic but not a surprise at all. We know these household names because they have broken stories. They have embraced individuals and have gotten that scoop, and so that's a part of the beauty and the tragedy of it all.

MR. PICKERING: Yeah.

MS. QUINN: Robbie, what‑‑

MR. PICKERING: And remember that Martha was used in these‑‑

MS. QUINN: Why did you decide to call this movie "Gaslit"?

MR. PICKERING: Well, you know, we were looking for names to differentiate it from the podcast because I really went‑‑I really took the Martha story and then blew that up, and the podcast went to some very interesting places, but it was different than the podcast.

So I was looking at "The Martha Mitchell Effect," which is this clinical‑psychological term which is when a person's accurate perception of reality is deemed illusory, despite being, you know, real, and, you know, I was going to call it "The Martha Mitchell Effect," and then one of our producers, Sam, was‑‑said, "Doesn't that just mean to be gaslit?" And it does, and we just thought that was more punchy, more interesting, tonally more what the show is because the show is fun and it has this thriller aspect to it, this very dark aspect to it. But it's also fun and exciting, and "Gaslit" just seemed to hit that. I don't know. It was kind of a moment where we were all like, "Yeah. That's what we should name our baby," you know.

MS. QUINN: [Laughs]

MR. PICKERING: I didn't name my actual baby "Gaslit."

MS. CLYBURN: Oh, okay. I was wondering. That's not very Southern.

[Laughter]

MS. QUINN: Mignon, we're talking about Martha Mitchell often being portrayed as historical or crazy, and a lot of women in those days were if they spoke out at all. Why do you think these stories have been kept so quiet for so long?

MS. CLYBURN: Because he who has the pen rules, and notice I used the pronoun "he."

MR. PICKERING: Yeah.

MS. CLYBURN: So when you do not have those decision‑makers or this green‑lighters or those editors that will ask about the other part of the story or that would lead with, you know, thinking about what is‑‑you know, what are multiple sides of the story, then you will have this.

So, when you have newsrooms, respectfully‑‑I know you work in one, and I had a weekly newspaper, but if you don't have the sensitivity and being intentional about telling more the one dimension in another story, it is very easy to, again, ride that wave that is the norm, that is historic, you know, that it's always been this way, and we've always spoken to this person and we've always hired that person. Then these stories do not get told.

We don't know as much as we should about Martha Mitchell because they were very effective in demonizing her, but honestly, when you use the word "complicit," there were some outlets that were complicit too that did not go and look and listen to what she was saying in real time. They chose a narrative. They embraced it, and then for them, that was the end of the story.

But "Gaslit," thankfully, is telling another part of the story, which hopefully will motivate those to do more research and learn about this incredibly complex woman who spoke her mind.

MS. QUINN: Robbie, we only have a few minutes, actually a minute. Why do you think suddenly everybody is interested in Martha Mitchell? It's now the 50th anniversary of Watergate coming up, and suddenly, she's everywhere. Why now?

MR. PICKERING: Well, I think the "Slow Burn" podcast really‑‑a lot of people listened to that podcast, and I think, you know, after MeToo, post MeToo, we're reexamining a lot of our history. But I don't think they're only interested in Martha Mitchell.

I wanted to say Mignon was talking about, you know, these characters that get written out of history. You know, I've had a lot of people come up to me and talk about Frank Wills, the security guard who is responsible for busting the Watergate burglars, and if Frank Wills were White, everybody would know his name, and everybody in America would know. There would be songs that‑‑there would be a lot more songs about Frank Wills, but he was Black, and so he was really relegated to the footnote kind of thing. And we, in this series, are trying to bring, you know, lives like Frank Wills' life or Angelo Lano and Paul Magallanes, who were the FBI agents, and the whole Watergate task force busting all this thing, stuff wide open and having the report, three or two reports leaked to Woodward and Bernstein. You know, these people's story have‑‑stories have never been told. Mo Dean's story has never been told. There's a wealth of these stories in a scandal like this that has been‑‑yes, we've examined Watergate so much over the course of history, but we've examined a very narrow version of what this could be. And in that sense, it's a microcosm of how, you know, history is written. It's typically written very narrowly. You don't hear about the media and the movers and shakers and the people who run the country, and the people who just hide these things kind of settle on people.

You know, it's not like a cabal. It's not like a conspiracy, but everybody kind of settles on these people. And they most of the time happen to be White men, and we're trying to tell the other stories.

MS. QUINN: So I think we're just about out of time, and I want to thank you, Robbie and Mignon and Allison, for joining us today.

And I just want to remind our audience that "Gaslit" will premiere on the STARZ on April 24th.

And I will be back in just a minute with my next guest, Don Graham. So please stay with us.

[Video plays]

MS. QUINN: Well, I think Martha Mitchell was probably right when she said, "Jesus Christ wouldn't get past the primaries."

In any case, I want to introduce today Don Graham who is one of my oldest friends. He is the chairman of the board for Graham Holdings Company and founder of TheDream.US, but many of you know Don as the former publisher of The Washington Post.

Don, I'm so happy to have you joining us today. I wanted to‑‑

MR. GRAHAM: [Audio distortion]

MS. QUINN: I wanted to talk to you a little bit about Martha Mitchell because you remember those days. What do you think her significance was in the whole Watergate story, in this telling of that, and as you recall her during those days and how she behaved, what was your‑‑what was your opinion of her then? How did you feel about her?

MR. GRAHAM: She was a truth teller, and you and I‑‑Sally and I knew each other 50 years ago. We knew each other on the day of the Watergate burglary, and that day, I was at a weekend house with Katharine Graham, my mother, the publisher of The Washington Post and one woman who's absolutely central to the story of Watergate, as Sally knows. And if you had asked Katharine Graham, if you had asked Ben Bradlee, if you'd asked Woodward and Bernstein in 1972, the day after Watergate, is this going to lead to the resignation of the president, they'd have all said, "Jesus, we don't‑‑we don't think so. Hell, no." It took a lot of people‑‑and Martha Mitchell was a key one‑‑saying a lot of things that they weren't necessarily supposed to say to break that story, to clue the country on to what really had happened, as you recall, Sally.

MS. QUINN: Yes. And I remember at one point‑‑well, it was for a long time. It was like 16 months where nobody else picked up the story except for The Washington Post, and The Washington Post was sort of hanging out there to dry. And no one would touch the story.

I do remember that Walter Cronkite called my husband one day, Ben Bradlee, who was then the editor of The Post, and he said, "Okay. We're going to do a story on Watergate, but we are sending a cameraman down, and we want to see documents." And Ben said, "Walter, there are no documents. There's nothing to show you," and he said, "Well, how are we going to do this on television?" So, I mean, it was a long time, and you're right. Martha was one of the few people speaking out, and it was clear that the emperor had no clothes.

Did you ever think that she was a crazy person, that she was an alcoholic, that she was hysterical?

MR. GRAHAM: I didn't know her, and I've known enough people in my life who appeared to have something wrong with them and turned out not to.

MS. QUINN: [Laughs]

MR. GRAHAM: That I didn't‑‑I did not form that conclusion, no. I thought she might be none of the above. I thought she might be very, very truthful when others didn't want her to be.

MS. QUINN: Well, you know, I was looking up the word "hysterical" the other day. It comes from the Greek word "hystera," which means womb, and it's often why women are always called hysterical and men are not. And I was thinking about would that happen today, and what if it were reversed? And I thought about George Conway, Kellyanne Conway's husband. Kellyanne Conway worked for Donald Trump, and George Conway spoke out against Trump almost from the beginning and really way out there, and no one ever once said he was hysterical or crazy.

MR. GRAHAM: Well‑‑

MS. QUINN: So I thought that was an interesting comparison.

MR. GRAHAM: Another person from history that you could compare to Martha Mitchell was Cassandra, the daughter of King Agamemnon, who threw out the‑‑daughter of King Priam, who throughout the "Iliad," keeps saying that terrible things are going to happen, and no one believes her. And she's right every time and is never believed.

MS. QUINN: Do you‑‑you know, there was a clip when David Frost did his famous interview with Nixon, and in the clip, Nixon said something to the effect of there would never have been Watergate without Martha Mitchell. And I just spoke with Bob Woodward on the telephone a few minutes before we went on, and he said that's absurd. And he said, you know, the problem with Nixon was that he was always trying to blame other people. He was trying to take attention away from his responsibility in the story, and that Watergate really, he was saying, it happened, started in 1970 with "dirty tricks" and the break‑in at Ellsberg and the antiwar movement, and that Martha Mitchell came on much later. But it was so‑‑it was interesting that he focused on that, Nixon did, "Oh well, without Martha, there never would have been a Watergate." What do you think about that?

MR. GRAHAM: I agree with Woodward, but Martha Mitchell was one of several key people who at a moment when no one else‑‑when a cover‑up was being pretty effective, spoke out and corroborated that there was more going on here than met the eye.

Sally, you and I also knew one woman who was directly threatened by the Watergate, which was Katharine Graham, the publisher of The Washington Post, the principal owner, and some of the‑‑there were threats convened by very important people.

MS. QUINN: Yes, I remember those threats very well. [Laughs]

MR. GRAHAM: You do. You remember them very well.

MS. QUINN: Yeah.

MR. GRAHAM: So Martha Mitchell was a key‑‑but Martha Mitchell was not the only important woman in the Watergate story, and I only mention that because in line with what Mignon Clyburn was just saying, in the movie of "All the President's Men," Katharine Graham does not appear, that the paper doesn't have a publisher. So her role tends to be a little under‑‑underreported.

MS. QUINN: Yes. Well, there was a suggestion that Lauren Bacall play her, as I recall, when Alan Pakula did the movie, and I remember your mother being excited about Lauren Bacall playing her. But then they decided that since Jason Robards was playing my husband, Ben, and they were divorced, that probably wouldn't work.

MR. GRAHAM: That might not have worked too well.

MS. QUINN: [Laughs] But, in any case, you're right that Kay should definitely have been portrayed in that movie, and it was a huge‑‑I thought a huge loss.

MR. GRAHAM: Well, you and I‑‑

MS. QUINN: Don‑‑

MR. GRAHAM: You and I would were‑‑yeah, go ahead.

MS. QUINN: No. I was going to ask you, do you see any similarities between what happened in Watergate, which is now 50 years ago, and what is going on in the Republican Party and with the Trump administration with the Trump followers today?

MR. GRAHAM: Not at this time. I mean, Watergate started with a felony. Watergate started with a breaking and entering, a burglary, and in Washington, D.C., people every single day were going to jail for three to five years for burglary, and to our‑‑to all of our astonishment, this single burglary turned into this massive cover‑up, then the disclosure of the cover‑up, then the disclosure of the tapes, then the disclosure that the highest people in the land, the attorney general, the chief of staff to the president and so on had all been in on it, had all conspired to cover it up, and finally, the disclosure that the president was lying.

So that‑‑you know, there are‑‑I'm aware that there's a New York State investigation of former President Trump. I'm aware that there is an investigation going on in the Justice Department related to January 6th, but as of this time, there's no similar‑‑there's been no allegation that, you know‑‑if you look back at the number of felonies which senior members of the Nixon administration pleaded guilty, no, it's not comparable.

MS. QUINN: Don, you were head of TheDream.US‑‑is it dot‑us or dot‑US?

MR. GRAHAM: Dot‑US, and Lionsgate‑‑

MS. QUINN: Dot‑US. Well, tell me‑‑tell me about that.

MR. GRAHAM: It's a scholarship fund for the most discriminated‑against students in the United States who are the children of undocumented immigrants. We have 4,000 students in college around the United States in low‑cost colleges, the city of‑‑University of New York being an example. The average of one of these students came here at the age of four. They have just one desire, which is to get educated, to remain in the United States, and to work. The largest single concentration, the largest single major among them is nursing. One of the next largest is teaching.

So these are the most motivated group of students I've ever met, and Lionsgate has generously made them the beneficiary of this premier. And I'm beyond grateful to everybody associated with the company and with STARZ, so thank you to all.

MS. QUINN: Terrific. Don, thank you so much for joining us.

I’m Sally Quinn, and to learn more about our upcoming programs, please go to WashingtonPostLive.com, and thank you so much for joining us today.

[End recorded session]

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