Magazine | July 9, 2018, Issue

Inside Jokers

A display of the IG report, June 14, 2018 (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

IG Interviewer to Agent One: We have some texts of yours we’d like to discuss. Let me quote what you wrote: “I can’t believe the country is so stupid to vote Trump — I mean I know there are millions of stupid people who sit around handling snakes while listening to rush limbaw and licking the flag or whatever they do, but I thought there were enough people in the cities to outvote the people who sit around Waffle House with there child brides drawing swastikas in the sugar they poured on the table, I mean come on, tell me he won’t win, tell me there’s something we can do.” Could you perhaps expand and explain your comments?

Agent One: Oh, ha-ha, that was a joke. “Lick the flag” is a private joke between me and Agent Two, and it means “people who are patriotic and should be respected because they are the heartland folk who make up the soul of the nation.”

Interviewer: Could you explain “Tell me there’s something we can do.”

Agent One: Oh, that was off the top of my head. I wasn’t thinking. Then I realized, Oh yeah, there is something we can do! We can vote! We can totally vote because that’s the American way.

Interviewer: Thank you, you’re dismissed. Could you send in Agent Two?

(Agent Two enters. He drops in a chair and loosens his tie.)

Agent Two: Is this going to take long?

Interviewer: Okay. We have some texts you sent to Agent One —

Agent Two: Yeah, that came as a surprise. I didn’t think those were any of your business. Let the record state that I freely assisted you and gave you my phone password.

Interviewer: Once the phone was recovered from the Potomac, yes. Now, you texted, “He won’t win. We’ll see to that. The WH is on it. There’s a plan. We have an insurance scheme designed to cripple him.” Can you explain that?

Agent Two: It was totally a joke.

Interviewer: I’m detecting a pattern. When you said, “The WH is on it — ”

Agent Two: “WH” means “Waffle House.” See, we had this thing where we believed that the ordinary folk of America would realize that Der Trumpf — ah, Donald Trump — would be harmful to their interests, because his tariff policy would harm farmers, and this would lead to less grain production, which meant the cost of waffles would go up, and so the people at the Waffle House would be, like, seriously? So, they wouldn’t vote for him.

Interviewer: Was that the plan you mentioned?

Agent Two: Okay, there wasn’t any plan. There was just a general faith in the people who ate waffles. As for the insurance scheme, I was talking about something else. I was thinking of opening a sausage stand by the National Mall, you know? And the city requires you to be bonded and licensed and all that, and I said to my phone that I had “an insurance scheme in case the Wurst happened.” It translated it as “worst,” I guess.

Interviewer: So the suggestion that the FBI had a plan to undercut the Trump administration actually referred to your proposed food cart?

Agent Two: Yep. I want to call it the “WH,” or “Wurst Happens.” It’s sorta Zen.

Interviewer: And this “WH” is different from the other “WH,” which meant “Waffle House,” not “White House.” Got it. We also have your texts to Director Comey, where you say, “I will sink that orange-haired orangutan if I have to put jumper cables to POTUS’s nipples and give him the juice until he talks.”

Agent Two: Okay, okay, context? Context matters. If I recall correctly, we were talking about an ape at the National Zoo. Kids like it when he flips, does somersaults, and Comey mentioned he’d been to the zoo and the gorilla hadn’t, you know, flipped. We called him “POTUS,” for “Primate of the United States.” I was just joking about making the gorilla do somersaults. You know, for the kids.

Interviewer: And by “sink” you meant —

Agent Two: There’s a pool in the enclosure. The kids would think it was funny if the gorilla went in the pool after he did a somersault.

Interviewer: Thank you, that’ll be all. Bring in Agent Six.

(Agent Six enters, trembling.)

Interviewer: Please be at ease. This is just a simple interview to clarify matters. Nothing will happen to you.

Agent Six: Honest to God, we thought she would win. I mean this is just a nightmare.

Interviewer: Relax. Now. We have a text from you to Agent Nine that says you interviewed Candidate Clinton —

Agent Six: President Clinton!

Interviewer: Hillary Clinton, let’s say. And you offered to send Donald Trump some exploding cigars left over from assassination attempts on Fidel Castro. Is this true?

Agent Six: No, they were intended for Brezhnev. Totally useless, though. Too dry. They fell apart in my hands when I took them out of my briefcase to show her. It was humiliating.

Interviewer: And what was her reaction?

Agent Six: (bitterly) She thought it was a joke.

Interviewer: Thank you, you may go.

(Interviewer writes on notepad.)

“Signs of bias, but no malfeasance. Recommendation: seminars to instruct agents to add ‘j/k’ after a statement when joking, so intent is clear. I have full confidence in the bureau and its agents.”

(Interviewer considers adding “j/k” but puts the pen down and closes the interview notebook.)

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