I watched this Amazon Prime
mdocumentary so you don’t have to.
Twitter is an interesting place. Get into an argument with a Men’s Rights Activist, and chances are far better than even that they are going to ask you if you have watched any one of countless YouTube videos of Jordan Peterson. Unless you have, they will argue, you can’t claim to know what Men’s Rights Activism is. It’s basically an Argumentum Ad YouCantMakeMeWatchThatum. Even if you had watched the video or videos that they mentioned, they will just bring up even more videos. They don’t want to have a discussion. They just want to tire people out.
In similar fashion, I recently had an encounter on Twitter with a Trump voter who was trying to push the recent conspiracy theory of a rigged election. As evidence, they used a recently dropped video on Amazon Prime named The Plot Against the President. Based on the book of the same name that was published by journalist Lee Smith, the film purports to show how Congressman Devin Nunes uncovered a “Deep State” operation to oust
Dear Leader President Trump.
The film opens by discussing the lead-in to the investigation of Russian meddling in U.S. elections, but the story it is presenting is already self-contradictory. First, it claims that Russian meddling into U.S. elections has been ongoing and long-predates Trump’s presidency (which is almost certainly true) but then cuts to a scene of then-FBI director James Comey initiating the investigation into Russian meddling, after which we hear from Devin Nunes saying that there was no evidence of Russian meddling.
Which is it? Was there evidence of years-long Russian interference or not?
As the documentary continues, it is difficult to get a handle on what they are trying to say, because the film seems to rely on shotgunning voluminous claims without any supporting evidence. With almost no segues in between, it jumps from Barack Obama to Russia to James Comey to Michael Flynn, bringing no evidence to back up any of the claims that it makes. For example, an unidentified figure filmed in shadow claimed that Barack Obama fired Michael Flynn to cover up his own actions against ISIS. We have no evidence to back this up, and the people that they interviewed for insider information include hyper-partisan people such as Seb Gorka, who is a figure with ties to the alt-right and was described by Business Insider as “widely disdained within his own field.”1
This does not bode well for the remainder of the film. The evidence is virtually nonexistent and the commentary comes from people like Devin Nunes, Seb Gorka, and Rudy Giuliani. If the facts in this film are accurate, then why are they unable to find people other than hyper-partisan personalities to back it up? Why can’t they present any evidence to back up their claims?
Even more interesting is that one of the central figures in this narrative is Michael Flynn. When the narrative is that a “Deep State” is out to get the President by propping a false narrative about the Russia investigation, then it is a strange move to paint as a victim someone who pleaded guilty about lying to the FBI with regards to his contacts with a Russian ambassador during the Obama administration.
The story shifts gears after mentioning Flynn’s resignation from the Trump Administration by pushing a long-debunked conspiracy theory in which a White House staffer named Ezra Cohen ostensibly stumbled upon a plot by Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice in which the administration was illegally spying on the Trump campaign.2 The film leaves out many important details from the story, not the least of which is that it was not Susan Rice, but a Republican, John Eisenberg, who was principally responsible for the surveillance policies that would have included Trump’s campaign advisors. This is a very important point that the film leaves out.
The film continues by attempting to discredit a firm called Fusion GPS, which is a commercial research and investigation firm3 that specializes in performing legal research, in particular for political inquiries. Their services were used in the Congressional investigation and the film spends a lot of time accusing the company of being biased, but once again provides zero evidence of it. As part of the allegation, the film spends time discussing the infamous Steele dossier, but they neglect to mention that the dossier was commissioned not by Congress but by the Conservative political web site The Washington Fee Beacon. Yet another important point that the film leaves out.
The movie continues with more of the same. There are a lot of accusations, and the only evidence that is presented is either debunked or leaves out a lot of important information. It is clear that the filmmakers had a political axe to grind and wanted to make Trump out to be a victim of some vast conspiracy, and it might seem very convincing to an audience predisposed to believe it, but overall it is very weak. The fact that this supposed conspiracy has never been picked up by any major media outlets should be especially telling, too, to anybody except for Trump conspiracy theorists who will allege that the “Fake News” is in on the conspiracy, too.