Local Residents Are Hosting A Mueller Report Reading In Poughkeepsie
It was highly anticipated for months. Then it was finally released. Now comes the regional tour. Two Dutchess County residents are holding a nonpartisan reading of the Mueller Report in Poughkeepsie beginning Friday. The two-day reading of the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Election comes after the document has been read aloud over the past few months in other parts of country. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with one of the organizers of the local reading.
The 448-page redacted version of the report was released in April, following the report’s confidential issuance to U.S. Attorney General William Barr in March. Now, Laurie Woolever and Christopher Duncan have organized a Hudson Valley reading for Friday and Saturday. Woolever says she and Duncan started to think about it following a June reading in New York City.
“We really wanted to do something so we that could help educate the public because people need to know what was found out,” Woolever says.
The reading is called “Interference.”
“We put on our old teacher hats and said, we want to kind of make a difference and have people understand that there’s a whole lot of stuff in this report that people need to know about, people need to know about. And what we are handing out as a program is actually an edited table of contents. And even just looking at the table of contents I went, oh my goodness, because there’s… These are some of the big roman numerals: Russian Active Measures Social Media Campaign; Russian Hacking and Dumping Operations; Russian Government Linked to and Contact with the Trump Campaign; and right under that is says Trump Tower Moscow Project, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Dmitri Simes and the Center for… I mean, I could go on and on. Wow. And that’s just the first volume,” Woolever says. “The second volume is more about the obstruction, the president’s conduct during the investigation; Attorney General Sessions recuses from the Russia investigation; the president’s efforts to remove the special counsel. And I edited it but it’s still five pages front and back, so two-and-a-half pages.”
Woolever says 40 readers have committed from across the region. Each will read for 25 minutes.
So we actually still have nine slots empty. Well, I haven’t signed up for anything and neither has Christopher, so I have a feeling we’ll be filling in the ones. It’s funny, it’s from 8-10 p.m. that have most of the open slots,” Woolever says. “And you’d think Friday night, Saturday night, people would want to come and read some of the Mueller report, I mean, geez, with friends in a wonderful space. It’s been recently renovated. And we’re going to have free snacks and we’ll have some entertainment. My friend DJ Kevin Frank is bringing his equipment and we’re going to have some songs playing during some of the longer redacted sections.
And Woolever, a retired music teacher, will play some piano while a friend of hers strums the guitar.
“Somebody asked me the other day, well, can I practice the part I’m going to read? I said, no. It’s just to have to be a cold reading. You’re just going to have to come in and read the thing,” Woolever says. “There was no way we were going to go through this whole thing and micromanage it to death.”
All involved in putting on the event are volunteering their time with a common goal.
“We’re doing this publicly so that we the people will know the truth,” says Woolever. “We’re all about truth and transparency and the rule of law.”
Woolever says she and Duncan launched a gofundme campaign.
“Well, we have 19 total donors for $820,” says Woolever. “And we were only asking, we were originally asking for $600, and then we bumped it up to $700 but we have $820.”
She says $500 was paid to the reading venue, with other money going for food and beverages and any incidentals. What remains will be donated to one or more nonpartisan organizations working to address or publicize the information and conclusions in the Mueller Report.
“We had originally decided to try to do it in the 24-hour period. But then, it was like, who’s going to be there at 2 o’clock in the morning? Who’s going to want to be there to read, who’s going to want to come in and listen?” says Woolever. “So we decided to break it into two 24-hour periods. It’s actually 12 ½ and 12 on the next day.”
“Interference: The Hudson Valley Reads The Mueller Report” takes place at the Poughkeepsie Trolley Barn on Main Street, from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.