Column: The real problem with the Mueller report: It should have been a musical

“Mueller Report: The Musical”
(Illustration by Chris Morris For The Times)
Culture columnist/critic

For the past week, the Mueller report has been dissected, deconstructed, analyzed and psychoanalyzed. But where many see a damning portrait of Russian interference and President Trump’s mendacity, I see … a potentially terrific musical.

No, seriously. Even though I already knew the main takeaways, as I read the whole report, the enormity of the Russian attacks and the president’s continual attempts to shut down the Mueller investigation floored me.

Still, I feared the impact would be muted by the predictable cacophony of reactions. All the pundits, left and right, would say what they’ve been saying for years and the country would remain divided.


“If only,” I thought, “someone could sing some of these things, then people might think about them differently.”

So I spent the better part of the day throwing together “Mueller Report: The Musical,” a sure-fire box office smash. Then I sent my masterpiece to Peter Barsocchini; he wrote all the “High School Musicals,” so I knew he would understand.

He was very … kind. He offered me some thoughts on structure — identify the protagonist and antagonist (“Trump and Mueller? Trump and blind justice?”) and even suggested an opener (“What’s your inciting incident? Maybe Trump saying, ‘I won the election. Why is everyone still talking about Russia?’ ”).

Then he essentially shut the whole thing down, and not just by making it clear how freaking hard it is to write a musical.

“The first thing you really need to know is the ending,” he said. “Where does this story end?”

And of course we do not know that. So there goes my Tony.

On the bright side, Barsocchini completely understood why I wanted someone to write “Mueller Report: The Musical.”

“What music does is highlight the emotion rather than the information,” he said. “And the Mueller report is long and confusing. But so many people feel like they’ve been had, so how do they deal with those feelings? The way you deal with those feelings in America right now is you write a musical about it.”


So just in case it was a good idea, here are a few excerpts of a hastily revised draft.

Donald Trump, left, and his wife, Melania Trump, at the "Make America Great Again Welcome Concert" at the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 19, 2017.
(Evan Vucci / AP Photo)


But I Won (With apologies to “Do You Hear the People Sing”)

Do you hear the whispering


Saying I didn’t really win.

People think the Russians rigged it

That the hacking slid me in.

Why won’t they just admit


That they lost and move along.

Wait, Flynn hung out with Kislyak?

And lied? Well, he is gone.

Ignore the whispering,


No need for any cover.

Now we fired Flynn,

The Russia thing is over.

Act I: In which the special counsel investigates the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.


Narrator: The Internet Research Agency (IRA) carried out the earliest Russian interference operations.

We Are the IRA (Not That One) (With apologies to “Dear Evan Hansen”)

Funded by an oligarch, we hardly ever miss the mark,

Using social media, anti-Clinton hate we feed ya

Four thousand fake accounts.


(Onstage screen fills with tweets from @TEN-GOP, @Jenn_abrams, APamela_Moore13)

Facebook filled with pro-Trump litter,

(Second screen fills with calls to IRA-organized rallies)

It wasn’t hard, a few re-tweets,


(Screen fills with fake accounts re-tweeted by Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Michael Flynn)

Media coverage, pretty sweet.

(Screen fills with stories quoting tweets)

If you were one who bought our lies,


What can we say? Blagodaryu vas, guys.

Some of the Facebook and Instagram ads linked to a Russian effort to disrupt the American political process, released by members of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, photographed on Nov. 1, 2017.
(Jon Elswick / AP Photo)

Narrator: Beginning in March 2016, units of the Russian Federation’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU) hacked the computers of organizations, employees and volunteers supporting the Clinton campaign.

Unit 26165 (with apologies to “Who Am I?”)

We are the elite of hundreds of hackers


All part of team GRU

An elite cyber unit devoted to targeting you.

If you are a Democrat or support Hillary

We’ll spearfish, plant malware, steal data


Then set it all free

Through Guccifer, DCLeaks, Julian Assange.

Trump says find emails we leap to respond.

Through WikiLeaks, we even DM his son.


We coordinate data dumps to help if he fails.

When that ET tape leaks we release more emails.

Who are we?

Who are we?


Unit 26165

Narrator: The presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump showed interest in WikiLeaks’ releases of documents and welcomed their potential to damage candidate Clinton.

Get Me the Emails (with apologies to “Into the Woods”)

Where are the emails?

You said there’d be emails.


I’m counting on emails

Because everyone said

Someone find me those emails.

Without them I’m dead.


Ah, there are the emails.

Who cares that it’s theft.

Now that they have emails

The media will stop leaning left.


Act II: In which Donald Trump’s actions toward the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election are addressed.

Narrator: On Jan. 27, the president invited FBI Director James Comey to a private dinner and told Comey that he need loyalty.

James Comey, then FBI director, testifies before the House Oversight Committee to discuss Hillary Clinton's email investigation on July 7, 2016.
(J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo)

Come Dine With Me (With apologies to “Come Fly With Me”)

Come dine with me, we’ll eat, we’ll have a chat.


Just you and me, there’s nothing wrong with that.

You’re the FBI, but we’ll see eye to eye on Flynn.

He’s been through a lot.

I hope you’ll go easy on him.


Come dine with me, we’ll eat, we’ll chat we two

About the things you should and should not do.

Just let this go, I cannot stress enough

That disloyalty will make our future tough.


You need to lift the cloud.

You need to say out loud

I’m in the clear.

And if you won’t then you are out of here.


Narrator: After Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his recusal on March 2, the president expressed anger.

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the White House on March 27, 2017.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo)

Unrecuse Yourself (with apologies to “Maria”)

Jeff Sessions, I just chose an AG named Jeff Sessions

And suddenly it seems


He’s refused to say his team

Is me.

Jeff Sessions, you are not recused, my Jeff Sessions.

I thought that you were bolder


Like RFK and Holder,

Or Roy.

Jeff Sessions, don’t make me hate-tweet you, Jeff Sessions.

When you first offered to resign


I said, no it will be fine

But now I think we know

It’s time for you to go,

Jeff Sessions.


Narrator: On May 17, 2017, acting attorney general for the Russia investigation Rod Rosenstein appointed a special counsel. The president reacted to the news by telling advisors that it was the end of his presidency.

Where Is Rod (with apologies to “Where is Love?”)

Weeeeelllll, I’m (bleeped).

Special counsel, just my luck.

Everyone tells me,


These end a pres’dency

Years and years and I am stuck.

Wheeerrrreee is Rod?

He can act as cattle prod.


McGahn, you must tell him

To fire Mueller on my whim.

Just do it, give old Rod the nod.

Haaaaavvvee you called him yet?


It’s not something you could possibly forget.

Don’t give me “massacre.”

I want to hear “yes sir.”

Just do it before next sunset.


Soooooommmmeeeonnneee call Rod.

Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen becomes emotional as he finishes a day of testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on Capitol Hill on Feb. 27, 2019.
(J. Scott Applewhite / AP photo)

Just Lie for Me, Michael Cohen (with apologies to “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina”)

Just lie for me, Michael Cohen.

I know nothing ’bout Trump Tower Moscow.


It’s worth a billion

But I don’t know that.

It never happened.

Don’t talk of updates.


Stay strong for me, Michael Cohen.

Say nothing about all those payouts.

You know I love you.

Your client thanks you.


Just hang in there.

Try not to worry.

You’re a big rat fink, Michael Cohen.

You flipped because of this witch hunt.


You are a weakling,

An awful lawyer.

You are just lying

To cut your jail time.


Act III: Still in development.