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To read more about Episode 205, visit the main episode page.
Episode 205: Massive Cover-Ups, Wiped Phones, Brown Water, and Democrats Protecting Republicans (with Jordan Chariton)
Michael Moore [00:01:11] This is Rumble with Michael Moore and I am Michael Moore. Welcome, everyone. So today on Rumble, first of all, I’m going to give you some information about a big announcement that we’re going to be making this coming Tuesday, August 17th. And I don’t want you to miss it. In fact, I want you to be the first to hear it. So I’m going to let you know how you can be the first to hear it on Tuesday morning. So stay tuned for that.
Michael Moore [00:01:37] But today, our guest is going to be Jordan Chariton from the investigative reporting group called Status Coup. And Jordan is an investigative journalist. And we’re going to hear about his latest exclusive report about the cover-up of the crimes, the crimes, the water crimes in Flint, Michigan. There is new news on this, and I want you all to hear it, because I can see that the mainstream media is once again not covering this. They think everything is now hunky dory. President Obama went there. He drank the water. We have Democratic administration in the state capitol in Lansing. Everything must be just fine. It’s not fine. And I want you to know about it, because I’m afraid not many others are going to help us in Flint with this situation. And you’ve always been so good about this. So thank you for tuning in today and listening to this interview. That’s coming up.
Michael Moore [00:02:36] I also want to thank all of you for the incredible feedback on our two-part conversation with journalist and writer Rebecca Traister from New York Magazine. It was great to have her on Rumble. One of her recent pieces from, you know, a month or so ago was about Andrew Cuomo and how he treats women and men in his office. And just a few days after publishing that podcast conversation with her, Cuomo announced his resignation. Just to be clear, he said he was not going to step down. The quote was, I’m going to step aside. You know, I pay attention to little things like that. The English language is an interesting language and step aside is different than stepping down. And I think a lot of people are concerned that he will give the story a time to die off and then he is going to run again next year because the governor’s election is in 2022. So we’ll see. But incredible reporting that she had already done on Cuomo. And when I say not only how he treated women, but also men, I’m not implying his using sexual powers with men mostly over the years and Rebecca reported on this, basically he just used a hammer. He’s a bully and often stood for all the wrong things. And I’ve never liked the guy and anything I’ve seen about him I’ve never had a sense that he was there for the people. And like anybody, you can point to good things that he did. Same sex marriage long before the Supreme Court in the U.S. allowed it. But good riddance to that.
Michael Moore [00:04:35] As Rebecca mentioned, simply punishing these bad men is not really going to completely solve what the real problem is here. I mean, it’s good, obviously, that Cuomo is resigning, if that’s what he meant by stepping aside. And it’s also good that Les Moonves at CBS and Matt Lauer at NBC and all the others, you know, got their comeuppance here. But why and how these men accumulate so much power, gets lost, never really gets discussed. In fact, how do we even get to the situation where they can do this to these women? In other words, how and why are so many people forced to cater to them, to serve them, to rely on them for their jobs, their careers, their livelihoods? Why are we forced to rely on them to bring us the news? It’s just the whole thing is totally fucked up. So thank you for everybody who wrote to me and spoke to me and went online, social media, whatever, about those two episodes with Rebecca Traister. And I suggest if you haven’t listened to them, to go back and listen to episode 203 and 204. 204 is the one where we got into talking about Harvey and all this other stuff. But thank you.
Michael Moore [00:06:04] And also, if you haven’t yet, listen to my conversation with Dr. Peter Hotez about the Covid surge, you should check out Episode 202. As we’ve seen now in recent weeks, Covid-19 cases have increased tenfold since June. The Delta variant is 3x more contagious than the common cold. We are in deep shit here, my friends, and we’ve never really left it. And as I’ve tried to tell people and warn people since the first month of the lockdown back in March of 2020, when I had on Dr. Zeke Emanuel, who spent so many years at the National Institute of Health and where he said on this podcast, this is going to be a 3 to 4 year pandemic. And I remember when he said that my jaw dropped and I think people listening to it, nobody wanted to hear that. Nobody wanted to hear this was going to last 3 to 4 years.
Michael Moore [00:07:03] And now another guest of ours that we’ve had on, the author, award-winning author John M. Barry, who we’ve had on the podcast, the author of “The Great Influenza,” about the 1918 epidemic, pandemic. And he was on C-SPAN earlier this week saying that this Coronavirus, we have strains of it, are never going to leave us because we have failed to take advantage of the brief window that we had to get everybody vaccinated and to put a halt to this. That has not happened. Only 50 percent of the US population is fully vaccinated. So that means that’s 160, 165 million that are not vaccinated. Some of them can’t be because there is no vaccine for children up to the age of 12. Not yet, soon, but for those 12 and older. The thing is, is that the 50, when we say the country is 50 percent vaccinated, 81 percent of that 50 percent are people over the age of 65. So it’s not enough. Schools are reopening. People have been going back to the office and now a number of companies have announced they’re sending people back home. And the schools have announced they’re going to still try to do school, but there are these mask mandates that are absolutely necessary and the teachers union came out today and agreed that teachers should be vaccinated. You can’t send your unvaccinated kids into places where adults, teachers and school staff, cafeteria workers, bus drivers are not vaccinated, can’t have the unvaccinated around kids who are also not vaccinated. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. So we’re in a deep, deep pit here. I know. And I know we don’t want to think this way and we want to be optimistic and positive and everything. But I think once you heard that Stevie Nicks had canceled her tour for the rest of the year there yesterday, that should be the big clue right there, that one after another.
Michael Moore [00:09:21] Now they’re going to close the theaters again, concerts, plays, et cetera. Things that have been planned because people have gotten hopeful, but we’ve talked a lot about hopium on this podcast and the danger of hope when it’s a false hope, not based in science, not based in reality. So, my friends, please get vaccinated, get everybody in your family vaccinated, hold their hand if they’re afraid, give them a hug after they’re vaccinated, but get them vaccinated. This is it. I don’t know what else to say until the government finally mandates it, makes it the law and that’s what’s coming. Those of you who are afraid, that’s what’s coming, so let’s get this done, because we don’t want to see what the second wave is going to bring us now. With the delta, the Delta epidemic.
Michael Moore [00:10:24] But on the good news front here, as I mentioned at the beginning, I am going to make a big announcement this coming Tuesday, next Tuesday, August 17th. It’s good news. So don’t worry, it’s not bad news. But I have something I want to share with you about a project and something I’ve been working on. And it’s going to be everywhere, announced on the 17th, next Tuesday. But I would like you to learn about it first on Tuesday morning. So if you can, please sign up on my mailing list. I’m going to send a letter out to everybody on my mailing list, so you’ll hear about it first. And all you gotta do is go to the link here on my podcast page on the platform page that you’re listening to this on, and there will be a link to sign up on my mailing list. Get on that list so that you know about this before the general public knows about it. I want you because we have had this relationship for 205 episodes. So anyways, add your email to my list and you’ll be the first to find out about this new endeavor that we’re starting. And I want you, you, all of you personally to be part of this with me. So just click on that link, sign up to Mike’s mailing list and look for this special announcement on Tuesday morning.
Michael Moore [00:14:50] And now it’s time to Rumble.
Michael Moore [00:15:07] In January, this January, after more than 6 years of no accountability for former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for his actions leading to the poisoning of the city of Flint, Snyder was arraigned on 2 counts of willful neglect of duty. Misdemeanors. He became the first of Michigan’s 49 governors in 184 years to face charges related to their time in office. Snyder was among 9 senior officials in his administration who are now facing a total of 42 criminal charges for their actions that caused a deadly Legionnaires disease outbreak in Genesee County and caused permanent, irreversible brain damage due to the poisoning, mostly lead poisoning of 1,000s and 1,000s of Flint children. Back when these indictments took place here earlier this year, I was joined on Rumble by Jordan Chariton of Status Coup, who also does investigative reporting for The Intercept, the Detroit Metro Times and other outlets. Status Coup is an investigative reporting and journalism operation that Jordan and his partner Jenn Dize formed to get to the bottom of stories that the mainstream media simply doesn’t want to cover. Jordan and Jenn have doggedly pursued the truth about what has happened in Flint, trying to make sure that the conspirators face justice and that the media never forgets Flint. He’s broken many of the key stories about what has happened there with this poisoning crime and about its cover-up. He’s also got a new revelation in The Intercept this week with Dize, and it’s titled “The Flint Cover-Up: Wiped Phones and the Battle for Evidence In Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s Prosecution.
Michael Moore [00:17:26] As all of you know, I have been covering this since I first heard about it. This is now over 7 years ago. It’s certainly been very distressing to me. On a personal level, people I know, people have gotten sick, people whose children now have this permanent brain damage, and a city, obviously, that I was born in. And my first film, “Roger & Me,” dealt with the Flint story that had been ignored by the media for how this place, that was the birthplace of General Motors. That was the birthplace of really the modern labor movement through the sit down strike that got the UAW its first industrial contract in the country back in the mid 30s, a strike that my uncle was in, participated in. As you can imagine, this has all been very frustrating to me and very disheartening thinking that this governor was going to get away with it. So that’s why, once again, I am very happy and honored to have with me here today on Rumble, investigative journalist and founder, co-founder, of Status Coup, Jordan Chariton. Jordan, welcome to Rumble.
Jordan Chariton [00:18:54] Hey, thanks for having me again.
Michael Moore [00:18:56] Why don’t just to catch people up in case they may be hearing about the Flint water situation for the first time, it’s always referred to in the media as the Flint water crisis. Like it’s something that just kind of happened. Or a lot of people think, oh, yeah, I’ve heard that about Flint. They’ve got lead in the water.
Michael Moore [00:19:16] Jordan, welcome and thank you. And please give people the basics, of the background, of how a purposeful decision was made to take them off the clean water and have them drink the dirty water and the governor’s role in that.
Jordan Chariton [00:19:35] So, you know, as you showed in, you know, a really important documentary, Roger & Me, you know, Flint was once really the envy of America. I mean, vibrant middle class, you know, where the auto industry was born. But like many cities in America, it was essentially gutted through, you know, federal policy, offshoring of jobs, et cetera. So by the time Governor Snyder came into office a decade ago, 2011, you know, Flint was basically broke badly in debt. A lot of, you know, a lot of people leaving Flint abandoned. Abandoned homes, empty lots, you know, really, very stark departure from what it was, you know, half a century before. So the governor, who was trying to present himself as some kind of economic wizard that could rescue flailing cities like Flint and Detroit, along with, you know, some local officials in Genesee County where Flint is, they had the brilliant idea to essentially try and privatize the water system. They pretend that it was not privatization, but that’s exactly what it was. So they wanted to take, essentially take the power away from Detroit’s water system, which was the third largest water utility in the country at that time, and create a brand new regional water pipeline called the KWA Pipeline. And this new water pipeline was unnecessary. It was going along the same exact path as the existing Detroit water pipeline, which you just mentioned had delivered water without issue, really fresh clean water from Lake Huron for 50 years.
Jordan Chariton [00:21:26] So under the guise of saving Flint residents money that they claimed that would save Flint money by joining this new water pipeline, they took Flint off of Detroit’s water pipeline. And while the construction of this brand new unnecessary pipeline was under construction, the governor, his administration and the emergency managers, that’s an important point, unelected emergency managers were put in by Governor Snyder to take away democracy. They had more power than the elected mayor and the elected city council. They decided, well, in the meantime, while this pipeline is being constructed, we’ll just put Flint on the Flint River, which, as you said, was a cesspool. GM and many others have been dumping its waste in there for a century. And, you know, they claim it was accidental. But the state, Snyder’s administration, failed to add the proper chemicals into the water supply when they switched that you’re supposed to put in around the country.
Jordan Chariton [00:22:35] I mean, underneath the ground, our pipes are 50 to 100 years old. So if it did not add the proper chemicals in to make sure that lead in those pipes did not leach off the pipes into the water supply very quickly, we’re talking weeks residents started complaining of rashes, losing hair, discolored water, foul smelling water. But that fell on deaf ears in the governor’s office. It’s important to note this was 2014, the year Governor Snyder was up for reelection. There was also reporting that he was already angling to run for president in 2016, so essentially the Snyder administration and local city officials basically told the residents, you know, you’re imagining this, yeah, the water might be brown, but it’s safe to drink: the data we’re finding shows no issues. And this went on for 18 months. Basically, residents, even despite residents protesting at city hall, protesting at the Capitol, the Snyder administration claiming nothing to see here as children in Flint, adults, drank toxic water that didn’t only have lead.
Jordan Chariton [00:23:47] I mean, the media focused on lead. It had dangerous deadly bacteria in there known as Legionnaires disease, which killed an untold number of Flint residents and other heavy metals. And really, the word crisis, like you said, is overused because crisis means an urgent dilemma, an urgent issue, and that this has not been treated as urgent essentially for 5 years, it is urgent. I was just in Flint again. Residents are still getting active rashes. Residents are still losing their hair today when they shower. Residents are slowly getting sicker and sicker because the effects of lead poisoning gets worse as the years go on. And this has basically been whitewashed by the national and the local, even the local media, in Michigan.
Michael Moore [00:24:39] You’ve posted on your site. And I think it’s, I don’t know if people, can get it on The Intercept site, but this is in the last week, people that you videotaped of what the sickness that they’re still going through, because of of the water and they’re being lied to and they want to believe that it’s ok. Well, maybe I can’t drink it, but maybe now I can shower in it or I can do some laundry in it. And it’s amazing as you interview these people in Flint and they show right there on their arms and their hair, the effect that the poisoning. I can’t even believe I’m saying this. We are 7 plus years into this and they are still suffering like this. You know, you come to Flint as somebody who’s not from Flint, but it must have quite an effect when you see this, that this is going on in the United States of America in the year 2021 in the middle of a pandemic. Also on top of all this. And people still have this very dangerous problem.
Jordan Chariton [00:25:55] I feel like I’m in the twilight zone. I mean, I’ve been there nearly 20 times in 5 years. And each time I go back, I mean, honestly, people that I met 5 years ago are getting sicker, slowly dying. They don’t have Medicare for all. By the way, I speak with you know, I go into people’s homes, I could smell the water. It is awful. Anecdotally, I’ve tasted the water. It’s not right. And more importantly, these residents are basically screaming into a cave. I mean, the state, the Republican administration and now the Democratic administration has fed them numbers and data that I believe are manipulated based on our reporting to claim that the water is fine. The national media kind of just, you know, lazily reports what they’re told by the state. We should say it’s kind of been, you know, this misleading thing that, oh, well, they’re changing most of the pipes have been changed. Yeah, they’ve only changed 1 out of 3 sources that need to be changed. So not to get too in the weeds, but they’re only changing the service lines. Those are the water pipes that go from the curb of your home into the home. They haven’t touched people’s interior home plumbing. It’s not like the acid water skipped over people’s pipes inside their home. And if you live in Flint, the main pipes are underneath the street, they’re bursting all over Flint and they’ve been bursting for years. They never change those. And they told the residents, oh, no, no, it didn’t affect those pipes. Like, it just skips over 2 out of 3 pipes. So until they replace all of the pipes, we’re talking inside the homes, the main pipes underneath the street.
Jordan Chariton [00:27:46] There’s also the problem of the water system in Flint was developed for, you know, when Flint had 200,000 people living there. It now has less than 100,000. So there’s a lot of, you know, periods where the water is stagnant because it’s not moving with all the abandoned homes and things like that. So this is still very much a disaster. This is still people are actively, actively drinking water. That, in my view, cannot 100 percent definitively be said to be safe, particularly children. There is, they never even tested for the full spectrum of contaminants. They only tested for lead and copper. So it’s still a disaster. And it’s basically been whitewashed and buried under the last 5, 6 years of, you know, the Trump reality show. You know, Russia, now you know, obviously the pandemic needs to be covered, but it’s just amazing to me. You know, I’m just a guy who cares and I go there. But it’s really amazing to me that I’ve been there 18 times and you can’t even get the local paper in Flint to investigate or cover this anymore.
Michael Moore [00:28:51] I saw your video that you posted. You see Jordan and Jenn holding the camera there. Yeah, you went to the Flint Journal, which thank you for doing that. You just go to their door and you want to just, all you want to do, in this video is hand them your investigative research and what others have done to show what the situation really, truly is, and could they just publish that? And, of course, you get nowhere. The funny thing to it, you probably know this, that there’s that sign on that building on Flint, but it’s kind of a fake front, like a storefront, like a false front to make it look like the store’s open. So they have the Flint Journal little sign out there on the building. And there are some people in there. But the Flint Journal, it’s not in Flint anymore. Most of the reporters in the whole operation is in Bay City, which is 60, 70 miles to the north of Flint. Part of what I think Newhouse still owns, it’s still part of the Newhouse newspaper chain. And there’s like people in Flint think that there’s still like a real Flint operation there. The last time I checked it’s now being published 3x a week, is that right?
Jordan Chariton [00:30:20] It’s twice a week.
Michael Moore [00:30:23] It’s down to twice a week out. There you go.
Jordan Chariton [00:30:25] And online 24/7, you know.
Michael Moore [00:30:28] Of course. But it’s there and it claims to be there and telling the stories of what’s happening, the people in Flint. But it’s just not the truth. And then you go to the Detroit Free Press to ask them and on the front of their building, it says The Detroit Free Press on one side of the door and on the other side it says Detroit News. So these are the two dailies in Detroit. Detroit’s one of the few cities that still has two dailies. And, you know, of course, they’re supposed to be competitive. You know, they’re not supposed to, but they’ve had an up joint operating agreement for a long time now. So they tried. They tried to they look like it. It looks like there’s two papers in Detroit. But there’s really, there’s really one entity that’s putting out both of these papers. And you don’t even look at the Detroit Free Press door. What you get when you get from the person there is that, oh, the building’s closed. They think it’s so mind boggling. And of course, this is worth another whole episode of Rumble of what’s happened to happen to our local media and how it’s been shut down, bought out, destroyed, so that these stories that need to be covered locally don’t get covered.
Michael Moore [00:31:44] But thank you for doing that and thank you for taking all this research and offering it to them for free in the hopes that they would really dig in and do something. Why don’t you think that the Michigan media and especially the new Democratic administration in Lansing, in the state capitol in 2018, Democrats won the 4 top offices, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state. You know, and I think people had a lot of hope, but one of the first things they did was to dismiss, to end any sort of investigation by the state into what was going on. But they promised they were just ending the Snyder administration’s investigation and that they were going to do their own. And then in January, that these indictments, these misdemeanor indictments, whatever took place. What’s your take on this? Why aren’t the Democrats, why aren’t they more aggressive? Why isn’t Snyder in jail? Why isn’t he having to then bail himself out of jail until there’s a trial? What’s really, really behind this, because it makes no sense. Snyder’s gone. Democrats in charge. Let’s do this. And then not only are people not safe in Flint with the water still, but the people responsible for this, there’s no real justice here taking place. Why?
Jordan Chariton [00:33:21] There’s multiple reasons and they’re going to probably piss you off. So on one end, a lot of people don’t know this, but Governor Snyder and his political machine were not supportive of Republican candidate for governor Bill Schuette, who was the attorney general presiding over the investigation into the water crisis. So Snyder, not publicly, not publicly, but his political machine behind the scenes threw their weight towards Gretchen Whitmer, who’s now the governor. So a lot of Republicans actually came out for Gretchen Whitmer because of Snyder’s team doing behind the scenes things to try and help her. Former Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has told us that she was shocked when she first met with the governor, Whitmer and subsequent meetings, she didn’t have to really be introduced to anyone because it was all people from the Snyder administration, including people that were involved with this water cover-up. So Whitmire kept in a lot of, I mean, health department, environmental department, people that were part of the Snyder administration that frankly poisoned Flint. So that’s on one end. There seems to be some political behind the scenes where Snyder and the Republicans helped Whitmer.
Jordan Chariton [00:34:44] I can’t get in the governor’s mind, but she has kept a lot of Snyder’s administration intact. Then there is the, in my view, really scandalous reason, I always say follow the money. So as we talked about earlier, this was really just a privatization scheme. And this new water pipeline, the KWA pipeline, well, somebody had to pay for it to be constructed. Well, Flint to join the pipeline would have to borrow nearly 100 hundred million dollars for their part of the construction. The problem was Flint was nearly bankrupt and in 2014, Flint had reached its debt limit. So legally, it’s not allowed to borrow more money. But the Snyder administration and local officials, they kind of plotted to create a fake environmental emergency. And that would be the only exception that would allow Flint, who was almost bankrupt, to borrow more money.
Jordan Chariton [00:35:44] So they decided the necessary clean-up of a local lime sludge lagoon would really only cost, you know, a couple 1,000 bucks. They created an emergency order for that. And within that, they snuck in the construction of the KWA pipeline, and that was bond fraud, basically, that the bonds for the pipeline were created under false pretenses. And in fact, the former attorney general who happened to be a Republican, his team, he had a special prosecutor, kind of like a Robert Mueller independent prosecutor, leading the prosecution. They actually charge 2 of Governor Snyder’s emergency managers with financial fraud related to that bond fraud. They charge the other local Flint city officials with the bond fraud based on that fraudulent financial deal.
Jordan Chariton [00:36:41] Fastforward, Attorney General Dayton, a Democrat, comes in. She drops charges against 8 state and city officials, including the director of the health department who was charged with involuntary manslaughter. And like you said, she basically said, oh, this doesn’t mean we’re not going to charge them. It just, you know, she cited flaws in the previous prosecution. She charges a lot of those people back. But mysteriously, the people that the previous administration investigation had charged with financial fraud, Attorney General Nessel, when she recharged them, there were no financial fraud charges. And the reason, based on my reporting, a lot of sources I have, well, there’s a basic conflict of interest, Michael, if financial fraud, bond fraud that led to Flint joining this water pipeline and ultimately temporarily using the Flint River, if that went forward in court, even a pretrial hearing. You’re talking Wells Fargo wrote those bonds. JPMorgan wrote those bonds. A lot of wealthy investors own those bonds for this active water pipeline, well, they could demand their money back. In fact, they could sue the state and who would be on the hook if bondholders flee the state of Michigan, who approved it? And that could cost them 100s of millions of dollars in liability.
Jordan Chariton [00:38:04] I have been told by sources literally inside state government, it could bankrupt the state of Michigan. So I do find it suspicious that the previous investigation was charging real crimes. The chief investigator, he was a former FBI agent, Andy Arena. He said at the time that he and the rest of them were fired by the current attorney general. They were 6 months away from additional financial charges that my sources indicate were RICO charges. That’s what they charge Mafia figures with in terms of financial fraud. So essentially, if they went full force, charge Governor Snyder with financial crimes, charge other people with financial crimes, it could essentially bankrupt Michigan. And I believe that is why what you’re seeing are essentially throwing the book at certain officials, but not the governor.
Michael Moore [00:38:59] The Democratic administration in the state capital, are they pursuing these financial crimes, the bond fraud? The thing that’s really the underlying cause of all this was the desire to get into company with these New York banks who were going to get behind this privatized water line, you know, take Flint off the public water line that Detroit had built for itself and for communities on the way to Flint and Flint itself. Are you saying that this Democratic administration is not pursuing these larger financial criminal charges?
Jordan Chariton [00:39:43] So far, they’re not. All I could tell you is Attorney General Nessel, who’s obviously, you know, razor sharp, intelligent, she did an interview with Michigan Radio right when she got in there in 2019. And she claimed that she had never seen any charges related to the pipeline. I don’t, I don’t want to say she’s lying, but that was not true. As I just said, there were 4 state and city officials charged with crimes related to the KWA pipeline. She said she never saw anything related to that. Like I said, the previous investigation had charged 4 people with basically bond fraud related to that. And when she came in, she dropped those charges, never brought them back against them. The top investigator was on the record that at the time he was fired and the rest of the team was fired they were about 6 months away from additional financial charges. And the 9 officials, Attorney General Nessel and her team charged in January, including Governor Snyder, there were no financial charges. So technically, you know, they say this is still an open investigation. But thus far, you know, it’s honestly, it doesn’t smell right when one investigation is finding financial fraud and the second one either has a different opinion or has decided to not go after those crimes.
Jordan Chariton [00:41:11] I also should say, and we broke this earlier this year, the original investigation, Michael, they were building a case against the governor for involuntary manslaughter. I mean, that’s about as high as you can go. They had decided they could charge him with misconduct in office, neglect of duty, as well as building a case, they weren’t ready to charge him, but they were building a case. Sources tell me they were about 75 percent there against him for involuntary manslaughter. And the current attorney general, who, you know, basically said these people messed up for 3 years before us, she charged him with a misdemeanor and the people of Flint and the people of Michigan and the people of America, the truth is we have no idea what evidence they even presented because it was done in a 1 man grand jury, which is a secretive process, where a judge serves as the grand jury and you don’t know what evidence the attorney general and her team presented to him because it’s secretive and we won’t know until, you know, trials.
Michael Moore [00:42:15] You do understand how distressing it is to anybody in Flint, in the state of Michigan. And I hope anybody who’s listening to this, that the hope that the new Democratic administration would somehow take up the mantle here and forge ahead, not just with the criminal prosecutions of Governor Snyder and his team, but also to to truly, truly fix the problems so that people are not still confronted with poisoned water in Flint, these two main pieces of the story, the cover-up and the inability of the current Democratic administration in the state capital for taking this on in the fact that quietly behind the scenes, whatever, and then maybe not so quietly Snyder people were hoping that the new governor would get elected. She then as soon as she was elected, Trump went after her viciously and the Michigan militia types were all, you know, threatening her, the plot to kidnap her, all of this. So I think most people, when they, you know, hear about Governor Whitman, if they’re not in Michigan, you know, everybody felt instant empathy and support for her because of what Trump and his Trumpsters wanted to do to create literal harm to her, that there’s no kind of bandwidth in people’s heads to dig into this or to be critical of it simply because Trump practically declared her public enemy number one. So that makes everybody want to just rally around her and support her.
Michael Moore [00:43:59] But your stories create a more complicated picture. And your stories remind us sometimes how little difference there is. You know, people put these party labels on themselves or we put them on, we put labels on them in terms of whether they’re on the right or the left or whatever. But the truth is maybe just a little more nuanced, sometimes more complicated and sometimes sadder than what we want to believe. And just listening to you describe this, it’s just, you know, I’m, you know, I’m sort of at my wit’s end in terms of what what to do, but you’ve got this new reporting now, just to just to pile on everything else that you’ve reported on in these 20 visits over 5 years. And thank you for doing that. Thank you very much. On behalf of everybody in Flint. It’s like what you have done and thanks to the Metro Times and The Intercept for publishing your work. But I’m sorry to put this on your shoulders, it feels like we’re down to you to do the actual work, so that we can figure out, you know, what’s really going on. And so you have this new story that’s out this past couple of weeks here, end of July and your follow-up reporting this week. Just tell us about that. We’ve learned now that these cell phones, phone records of the former Governor Snyder and people who worked for him have been wiped clean.
Jordan Chariton [00:45:33] Yeah. So just so your audience knows, if they don’t know, in January of this year, myself and my reporting partner, Jenn, we broke that. Prosecutors had obtained Governor Snyder’s phone calls with his chief of staff and health director. They obtained their phone calls from October 2014, which was obviously a long time ago, very important because October 2014, 6 months after the water was switched in Flint, a couple of weeks before Governor Snyder’s reelection and prosecutors obtained they spoke on the phone 22 times over 2 days and it was rapid fire. Governor calls the chief of staff. They hang up. Chief of staff calls the health director and so on and so on over 2 days.
Jordan Chariton [00:46:22] And at this time, as they were on the phone with each other, rapid fire, Snyder’s health department and Environmental Department were going back and forth about the water borne Legionnaires disease, which ended up killing a whole lot of people in Flint. It’s a bacterial disease. It kind of mirrors pneumonia, but it’s much worse. So prosecutors concluded the governor and his chief of staff and health director were basically on the phone trying to stop this from going public a couple of weeks before his reelection. Obviously, if they would have made it public, they could have saved lives at that time. So that was kind of a big smoking gun that prosecutors found. So after that story, which, by the way, I actually handed to the Detroit Free Press before we published it at The Intercept. They said, and I quote, We regret not doing more on Flint. I said, great, here’s your opportunity. And then they passed 3 days later.
Jordan Chariton [00:47:16] But fast forward after that, it’s just, it’s an endless tsunami. Once you find an open door, door number one of corruption, many other doors open up. Then we found that prosecutors, when they got phones from top officials in the governor’s office, they were erased. Governor Snyder’s press secretary, so one of his top officials, when she left office in November of 2015, she left her job with Snyder. Her phone was wiped. And this happened right before the launch of the Flint criminal investigation. Other officials, top officials in the health department, when prosecutors got their phones mysteriously, there were no messages on them for all of 2014, all the way through October 2015, which was the entire period Flint was on the Flint River. So obviously, how does a prosecutor investigate who knew what when if you don’t have access to what they were saying, what they were talking about? Environmental officials, their phones were allegedly dumped off in state IT, the state IT department soon after the governor announced or finally admitted that Flint’s water was toxic.
Jordan Chariton [00:48:32] He [Snder] held a press conference in Flint in October of 2015 announcing the high lead levels. And, you know, that Flint would immediately move off the Flint River. And less than a week and a half later, all of a sudden, phones are dumped off at the IT department, wiped clean. They technically worked, but there was no messages, no phone logs of history. So you got the governor’s office, his health health department, the Environment Department, either, you know, complete erasure of phones or partial erasure with no messages. On top of that, we found we got access to documents from the investigation showing that essentially the governor refused to hand over documents for 3 years. He would not give prosecutors his daily briefings. So he got daily briefings from all his departments, you know, put into a packet, wouldn’t hand them over, wouldn’t hand over briefings they got from the environmental department. He would not hand over notes from conference calls about Flint. So, again, this is a digital crime, you know, you will know who knew what when, who was notified when through emails, phone calls, text messages, et cetera.
Jordan Chariton [00:49:46] So essentially, you have what is very clearly a cover-up. I mean, I just put it simply, could you imagine, Michael, if President Trump’s press secretary, chief of staff, health officials, environmental officials, if their phones were erased in January 2020 or February 2020 or March 2020 before Coronavirus went global. I mean, the media would be absolutely apocalyptic, rightfully so. Well, this is basically what happened. They erased their phones before a criminal investigation. They deleted their messages. Snyder himself wouldn’t cooperate. And there were other things of the story, including Snider’s, basically, his right hand man. His top adviser was approaching administration officials before their testimonies with prosecutors to basically tell them what to say or what not to say, which is obstruction of justice. So, you know, it’s a massive government cover-up to me. I put it on par with Watergate. I think with Watergate if a president wasn’t involved, nobody would have sneezed at it. But this is a cover-up that killed people. It’s a cover up with destruction of evidence, tampering of evidence. And, you know, unfortunately, even though we broke this, it’s been swept under the rug. National media has ignored it as well as Michigan media.
Michael Moore [00:51:14] Well, here’s somebody who hasn’t ignored it. The US Congress, the House Oversight Committee read your story and they want to know what the hell is going on. And in fact, I believe the chair of the committee, Congresswoman Maloney from New York, has been demanding some answers about this because she seems pretty mortified. Having read your reporting on this, what can tell us about what the reaction has been in Congress about this?
Jordan Chariton [00:51:54] Yeah. So after we broke this, you know, obviously we contacted the oversight committee. Chairman Maloney issued a statement, really, a frankly scathing against Governor Snyder, saying he obstructed their investigation, their federal investigation since day 1, obviously saying, you know, any possibility that evidence was destroyed or tampered with is a very serious issue. And then, you know, we spoke with the committee and they say they were investigating it. There’s also the issue separate from the state criminal investigation. Governor Snyder, based on our reporting, perjured himself in front of Congress. I believe that’s still a crime in America. So as far as we know, they’re currently investigating. I believe, you know, part of their investigation would have to be, you know, asking the attorney general of Michigan’s office, you know, collaboration there to find out certain things which, you know, I find also odd because, again, the attorney general’s office, when they charge people in January, they did not charge anyone related to what we found. And this is not our opinion. This is from documents we obtained from the criminal investigation and a lot of sources.
Jordan Chariton [00:53:16] So, again, it gets back to you know, I just don’t know, I don’t know what the attorney general or office is doing because, you know, if you read the story, it’s overwhelming. I mean, it is overwhelming to the point that, you know, as a journalist, you usually get government officials or corporations kind of spinning, coming up with ways to rationalize things. It was Silence of the Lambs, Michael. The health department, when I said, do you have an explanation for these messages being gone, they just said, quote, We don’t care to comment. And others would not comment either, including Governor Snyder’s team. So as far as we know, the House is investigating it. We’re going to follow up with them and make sure that they’re actually doing so rather than just saying it.
Michael Moore [00:54:02] Yeah, let me just let me just read the quote from Congresswoman Maloney after she read your piece here recently about the wiping of the phones and hiding evidence, et cetera. And again, she’s the chair of the House Oversight Committee in the United States Congress. This is what she said regarding your reporting, quote, It would be deeply troubling if any of the officials involved in the poisoning of Flint’s children destroyed evidence of their misconduct, Governor Snyder obstructed this committee’s investigation from the outset and set the tone that his decisions were above accountability. Governor Snyder made the choice to put money over the lives of children in Flint, and he must be held accountable.
Michael Moore [00:54:59] Man, that is, that’s a serious statement in reaction to your reporting. And, yes, it’s absolutely incumbent upon you and the rest of us to make sure that her committee and others follow through on this. So congratulations for getting the attention of the local officials or the people in Lansing. But you certainly have got the ire of the chair of the House Oversight Committee in the United States Congress. Is there any reason that the attorney general in Michigan can’t subpoena or can’t I mean, maybe I don’t know the technology as well as I should about when you wipe a phone, but it seems that somewhere that information is stored, somewhere there’s a way to get it. But it would require the attorney general or others of that stature to take some sort of action or not. Is this evidence that has now permanently been vanished?
Jordan Chariton [00:56:12] It’s a great question one we ask that they will not answer every time we reach out to them. It’s just, you know, can’t comment. There’s an ongoing criminal proceedings. But, you know, this is the year 2021, there’s forensic technology to retrieve messages and data from phones. Absolutely. You know, honestly, we don’t know if they did that. But what we do know is when the attorney general and her team came in and cleaned house of the previous investigation, they said the basic reason they were doing so is because evidence was not thoroughly obtained or the previous investigation had not gotten all the evidence. And they claim there were millions of documents that were not obtained, et cetera, et cetera. So if that’s the case, which you know, based on sources, I don’t think is entirely true, you would think they would have gone the extra mile to get the forensic experts technology, you know, subpoena phone companies to retrieve anything that was erased. And, you know, you would think they as this story was coming out, if that were the case, it would behoove them to tell us that. So, you know, obviously it would be less not that it would be less scandalous that they did this and they tried to cover their tracks and erase things, but at least people would have the benefit to know, you know, they might have tried to get away with it.
Jordan Chariton [00:57:43] But the attorney general’s office has it. But that has not happened. And, you know, the other thing is, you know, at a certain point, you really, the people of Flint and frankly, the former mayor of Flint in an interview we just did last week, said, and, I quote, The attorney general was not truthful with the people of Flint. And she went as strong to say as, you know, Attorney General Nessel’s helping the governor get away with murder. So I’d love to be wrong. I would love to, you know, maybe I’ll have egg on my face and they’re building a case against Snyder for more. But from what it stands right now, it’s mind boggling.
Jordan Chariton [00:58:21] Even just from I mean, Michael, you know, politics, even just from a political perspective, forget what’s right or wrong. It would be great politics to throw the book at Snyder. And, you know, the Democrats came in and righted this wrong. But it’s silence, I mean, silence across the board from elected Michigan and Flint officials as we spoke about the media and the attorney general’s office. You know, obviously, it’s a criminal investigation. I understand there’s certain things they cannot say, but the people of Flint, you know, trusted them when they came into Flint and said we had to restart this investigation, citing everything that went wrong or they claimed went wrong with the previous investigation. And, you know, Flint residents put their belief and faith in this, in the Democrats that were restarting this thing. And, you know, 2 and a half years later, you know, there’s a misdemeanor charge against the governor and a settlement, a civil settlement that most residents I’ve spoken with feel is way, way, way, way too little.
Michael Moore [00:59:26] How’s this going to end up?
Jordan Chariton [00:59:29] You know, I don’t love making political predictions, but I always try to be honest with my audience, you know, right now it does not look good there. Governor Snyder’s got an army of lawyers and all the money in the world. As we know in the criminal justice system, it’s really about how much money you have that helps, you know, outcomes to get off with crimes. Right now, a judge has paused the criminal proceedings and is hearing motions to dismiss against top officials. And the governor’s lawyers are trying to get, you know, put forward a motion to dismiss. They are citing errors that were made by Attorney General Nessel’s teams. I don’t want to get too in the weeds, but errors that were allegedly made in terms of not making sure attorney client privilege documents and information were released, so technically, and I’ve spoken with lawyers that tell me Snyder could get off on this technicality, and when we say off, we’re even just talking about the absurdity that it’s only a misdemeanor.
Jordan Chariton [01:00:38] I mean, I just go with my reporting and facts. And the facts are there’s a lot more against this governor than a misdemeanor. And I think, honestly, you know, people have asked me, why do you stay on this? Why do you keep going back? Because this is not just to me about one city. It’s about America, because if a governor and his whole administration can get off and there’s no accountability with poisoning a city, leaving them to die, basically, then you know, what makes you think your governor is going to think twice or your mayor is going to think twice, whether it’s water, fracking, mining. I mean, the list goes on of what could make people sick, kill people. I mean, Libby, Montana, there was a disastrous asbestos crisis that killed a lot of people. Go look at West Virginia. I mean, the coal pollution, coal disasters that have killed, you’re talking tens of 1,000s of people down there through corporate greed, cutting corners.
Jordan Chariton [01:01:39] And if this is allowed to stand in Flint, you know, I really fear for the precedent that sets up. And I’ll also just say from a human level, you know, I understand that there’s a lot of threats in this country, you have right now, you know, to me, very dangerous people, you know, refusing vaccination, pushing lies about, you know, the vaccines and Coronavirus is very dangerous people. We talked about the white supremacists that, you know, tried to kidnap the governor are making threats all around this country against whether it be Black people or other vulnerable communities. There’s a lot of threats. But I got to tell you something, Michael, you know, we can’t live without water. That’s the number one need. And if this goes on without true accountability, I really, you know, to me, that we don’t have a country anymore, we have a multi-trillion dollar corporate conglomerate that will look the other way as citizens are poisoned, right?
Michael Moore [01:02:42] Right. So what do we do? What do we do, what are the people who are listening to us right now, what can they do? Is there anything they can do for the people in Flint? Please don’t send more bottles of water, that doesn’t fix the problem. Who’s advocating for the people in Flint right now?
Jordan Chariton [01:03:03] I’ve been telling my audience this for a long time. You know, I’m not saying don’t protest outside the politician’s office or protest outside of Blackrock. You know, protest everywhere you can within, you know, within health and safety because obviously there’s still a pandemic. But to me, the main reason this has been covered up is because the media has been complicit in the cover-up. If you had, I mean, to be clear, Michael, The New York Times, they know about the story we just broke. We’ve gone through Detroit Free Press, Flint Journal, Washington Post knows ,the Associated Press knows, other local Michigan outlets now because I’ve sent it to them and I’ve gotten responses from a lot of them.
Jordan Chariton [01:03:45] Ok, so they are the gatekeepers. I mean, what’s outrageous and infuriating to me, Michael, is how do people stand up and demand action, particularly people in Flint, if they have no idea? I just interviewed Ariana Hawk. She is a mother. Her son was on the cover of Time Magazine in 2016 with his body rashes, a young African American boy. And I sat down with her to interview her and she was hearing about this, what we just broke for the first time for me, because where are they going to find it? It’s not coming from Michigan. Media is not reporting it and national media is not reporting it. So how can Flint residents stand up and demand action if they don’t know about the new revelations of this cover-up, the new revelations of corruption?
Jordan Chariton [01:04:35] And basically, you know, for these wealthy white folks to save their hides, they knowingly allowed these people to continue drinking toxic water. So to me, what can we do? Well, you know, The New York Times has an address, The Washington Post has an address, Flint Journal, Detroit Free Press. I’m talking civil disobedience, nothing more than that. But I think people need to start protesting outside their local media. These folks should not be comfortable, as they, this is not simply, you know, oh, you say tomato, I say tomato. And you think there’s a major story here. And we don’t. I mean, hell, Congress just reacted and they’re investigating. That’s a major news story that Michigan media is ignoring. Flint media is ignoring, national media is ignoring. So I tell people, obviously, everyone’s situation is different. Not everyone can get out there and protest, particularly Flint residents who are mentally and physically exhausted from all of this for 7 and a half years.
Jordan Chariton [01:05:35] But I say shame the media, force the media to cover this, force the media to. Jenn and I would love it if we weren’t the only ones, The New York Times has a whole lot more resources than we do. And they could be digging much further and finding even more shit. You know, if necessary, get outside the attorney general’s office. Again, to be clear, we’re not we’re just talking about civil disobedience and protest. But if people just, nonviolence, nonviolence. But at the end of the day, the media are the gatekeepers that have declared this over, that have basically hoodwinked well-meaning people all around the country into thinking this is over. I get responses all the time. What are you talking about? I thought this was fixed. So to me, that’s the biggest thing of what people could do, stand up and demand accountability outside the media, outside the attorney general’s office. And you don’t let up because, again, it’s not just about Flint. It’s about all of us.
Michael Moore [01:06:39] I think that’s a very important thing to do, and if people post this on social media, if you can’t obviously can’t make it to Flint or Detroit or Lansing. I’ve noticed in the past few days you have received attention and support from Mark Ruffalo, from Susan Sarandon, from Erin Brockovich and other members of Congress were Ro Khanna, Rashida Tlaib has been vocal about this. So this is, so the more the better. I agree with you so much in terms of if we let them get away with this, whether it’s the Republican governor that initiated the poisoning and then covered it up, Rick Snyder, or whether it’s the current administration that has been dragging their feet on this and not really going after the people there, it’s you know, how I mean, in my last film, I, put in that scene of President Obama coming to Flint and drinking the water publicly at this rally to tell the people of Flint the water was safe and clean, and then of course, we find out later that he was well, you can see in the footage I put up, he was fake drinking and he didn’t actually swallow any water. Smarter than that.
Michael Moore [01:08:10] What they brought, they brought the water in from Air Force One. There was no water in that school. They closed down the whole water systems so that the kids wouldn’t drink the water in the school. So it was very, very disheartening to see President Obama do that. People were shocked. I’m glad you brought up the racial part of this. The white, the rich white people who are making money off the Flint water, privatizing the water and poisoning the people in the process. This is a Black city. It’s majority Black residents. I’ve said many times, if this water situation, this poisoning had happened to Bloomfield Hills or Grosse Pointe or Ann Arbor, Michigan or any wealthy, any white community, majority, white community, this just wouldn’t have even happened at all. And we don’t discuss this enough in terms of the racial implications behind all of this, but if you want to poison a city that’s these days probably less than 60 percent Black, more than 40 percent white, but the white people there, as you, I’m going to put your video up here on my platform page, so that people can see you talk to the people of Flint and the poor white people, the people who are white, who live there, there are people who used to have, you know, middle class jobs and homes out in the suburbs have had to move back into Flint because they can no longer afford the the so-called middle class lifestyle. So you see, you see a majority Black city with thousands of poor white people in it. And I want people listening to this: if you could please take a couple of minutes and watch the video here of [Jordan] interviewing people in Flint and having them show you what’s still happening to their skin. They can’t show you what’s happening to their insides and they are mentally beaten down after seven years of this.
Jordan Chariton [01:10:27] I’ll just say also in that video and you can find it on our YouTube, Status Coup, literally I interviewed 7 to 10 people, residents I know that I’ve interviewed over the years just in a circle. A woman who had to have a tracheotomy after drinking this water, a woman who has a very rare form of cancer was healthy before drinking this water, a woman who developed Parkinson’s after drinking this water, a woman who, her children had extremely high lead levels and she was pregnant during this water crisis and her child was born with high lead levels. A man whose liver is failing and that was never a drinker. This is just in a circle with 7 out of 10 residents, another woman who has lost 70 pounds and is bone thin and was showing me the rashes she’s still getting. That’s just 7 people.
Jordan Chariton [01:11:33] If I went through Flint, I’ve met people that have no teeth anymore because of the water, that people who have no hair. The list goes on. So for people, I think we started by talking about this term crisis, but it’s been used so much that people don’t get it’s still an active crisis. I mean, it is an active disaster with people still getting rashes, losing hair, teeth falling out. Residents tell me their eyes burn when they take a shower. So if you watch those videos, you know this, these are the victims of the cover-up or exposing, they’re the living victims. And I really hope people, when they see these videos, when they read these stories and thank you so much for elevating it, take action, because I’m telling you, not that you know Trump and you know the radicalization of the right and Covid, they’re all important. But, you know, we need to walk and chew gum at the same time. This is still one of the top stories in the country and it needs to be covered and responded to as such.
Michael Moore [01:12:43] Well, thank you, Jordan, for covering it. And thanks also to Jenn for doing this important journalism and keep doing it. I encourage people to follow you guys, and I will do my part. I will keep covering it. I will keep raising my voice on this. And again, when I say don’t send bottles of water, I just mean, I know this makes people who are on our side of the fence and liberals, whatever, who feel good, and I appreciate everybody in the beginning when this was revealed, sending literally cases and cases and cases of bottled water. But those 16 ounce bottles of water, plastic bottles, no, forget about just the environmental issue of that much plastic being used. But the average human in the United States of America uses about 50 to 80 gallons of water a day. That’s for drinking and showers and baths and for your dog and to cook and to brush your teeth and everything else that we use water for. So if you just do the math of, let’s say, 50 gallons a day and you got less than 100,000 people, how many 16 ounce bottles of water are needed every day? Millions, millions a day.
Michael Moore [01:14:10] To provide the water that human beings need in Flint, Michigan, there’s no way you could send anybody can send millions. That’s not the solution. The solution is, Jordan said, has to replace all the pipes, including the internal piping in everybody’s home and the appliances, the washing machine, the dishwasher, they’re all wrecked. The appliances that use water in people’s homes have been wrecked, been destroyed. This problem is nowhere near being fixed. And I know a lot of people think that, oh, something happens, something good happened. Well, there are some things happening and the rest of it’s cosmetic, so that you don’t think about this. Jordan, I’m so happy that you point out that nobody should see this just as a Flint issue and the issue isn’t that we’ve got lead in the water around the country. We’ve known that for some time. The issue is that those in charge think they can get away with this. That they can cause this kind of death and destruction. And Michigan is proving that maybe, just maybe they will get away with it. So thank you, Jordan, for staying on top of this. Continue to do this work, please. I’ll do my part. Everybody else listening to this. Do your part. Make your voices heard. Get on social media, talk about this. Share this episode. And Jordan, pass this on to Jenn, your partner there. Many thanks.
Jordan Chariton [01:15:49] Thank you very much.
Michael Moore [01:15:50] From those of us who grew up there, who are from there, who still live there, I’ll be damned if I let them get away with us.
Jordan Chariton [01:15:59] Thank you, Michael. It really means a lot that you elevate this, because obviously, you know, this is your hometown and you have a big voice. So I thank you for continuing to stay on it.
Michael Moore [01:16:11] Thank you. And please come back and be on Rumble here in the future and let us know further developments.
Jordan Chariton [01:16:18] Absolutely.
Michael Moore [01:16:19] Well, thank you for listening to Jordan and myself on this very serious issue. I hope you’re not tired of listening to it. The people of Flint are more than tired right now, and they deserve our help and support. And we need to speak, we need to speak up to the Democrats and others that we believe are on our side to do the right thing here. And the governor, Rick Snyder, needs to atone for his crimes, so please do what you can to help out and thank you for listening today.
[01:16:58] And get ready for our big announcement on Tuesday, this coming Tuesday, August 17th. Be sure to sign up here on the podcast platform page. And there’s a link there designed to be part of my mailing list. Get on the mailing list, because you’re going to get the announcement first. And I’m so anxious to and excited to share this news with you and what we’re going to be doing. We’ve worked on this for many, many months, since 65 A.D. in fact. And I think you’re really going to like this new thing that we’re going to be adding on to what we’re already doing. So sign up Tuesday morning, look in your mailbox and see what we’ve got for you. Ok, my friends, thank you for this. And thanks to our executive producer, Basel Hamdan, our sound engineer Nick Kwas, and everybody who helps me put this podcast on. Thank you very much and we’ll see you on Tuesday in the mailbox, and next week’s podcast will come in the days after that. So be well my friends. This is Rumble and I am Michael Moore.