“He loves his drums,” says Ann Mueller, wife to the man voted ‘Likeliest To Save The World From Incipient Assholery’ by his graduating class at Princeton. “I would call him a methodical player who takes practicing very seriously, though he can be somewhat lacking in artistic flair.”
From below where we’re standing in the kitchen of the Mueller’s home comes a steady, hollow, insistent, and determined drumming. It sounds vaguely like a giant heart, hidden beneath the floorboards of DC after the murder and dismemberment of democracy, now come back to haunt the perpetrators by driving them slowly insane until they finally confess. Or something like that.
“Yo,” Mueller says as we descend into the basement, finding him seated at a large kettle drum set, casually spinning two felt-ended drum mallets like a boss. Without missing a beat he knocks out another note as we enter the room, keeping time.
“Okay, going for a recording, everyone keep quiet.” Mueller announces as we take a seat on an old pull-out sofa under a wall full of impressive shit that shows this man means business. He nods to his grandson, who is holding a phone angled towards the saviour of the free world. The grandson solemnly holds down the record button in a whatsapp chat with the identifier “Kush” at the top of it.
The deep, dull, profoundly threatening sound of thundering justice fills the room. While counting time between beats Mueller sits with his forearms calmly resting on his thighs, staring straight ahead. On the wall opposite him is a photo of Michael Flynn adjusting his tie in obvious discomfort. Boom goes a drum. Next to the picture of Flynn is one of Jared Kushner wiping sweat off his brow, while busy standing in the desert looking like a tool. Another drum goes boom. Mrs. Mueller stands up at this point, pulls down a screen, and quietly turns on an old-school overhead projector. A six-foot high image appears in which Donald Trump is sharing a belly laugh with the ambassador and foreign minister of Russia shortly after firing James Comey in May of this year. Boom goes a drum, and then it doesn’t stop, as Mueller continues hitting the set, faster and faster, building into a torrential kettle-drum-solo that would make Chad Smith proud.
The hammering noise fills the basement. It goes on, and on, and on. Sweat beads on Mueller’s forehead and flies off his brow as he carries the sustained onslaught onward. Finally, exhausted and still expressionless he culminates in a prolonged, sustained, steady rumble that shakes dust from the rafters over our heads. And then he stops.
“You get that Jimmy?” The special counsel asks his grandson, still breathing heavily. The teenager nods.
“Send it to Kush.” And Mueller smiles, though only with his mouth. His eyes remain hard, and very focussed.