Saturday, March 06, 2021

"The Plot Against the President": a "conservative" film accuses Democrats of undermining the peaceful transfer of power in 2017, as Trump took office


Protest sign day after Trump's inauguration in 2017

The Plot Against the President” (Oct. 2020) is not well known as a film outside of conservative circles, but it surely must have been shown at CPAC recently in Orlando.  It is directed by Amanda Milius, and based on the book by Lee Smith “The Plot Against the President: The True Story of how Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History”, published by Center Street (which also published Andy Ngo’s “Unmasked”).  The film distributor seems to be Turn Key Films.   Right off the bat, the movie title reminds me of a little known Irving Wallace novel, “The Plot”, from the 1960s.

The basic irony is that the Democrats, according to this film, not only colluded illegally to prevent Trump from winning (and failed), they also tried to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power in 2017 (and I saw no real evidence of that).  Today, we know what happened after the 2020 election and on January 6 (which will generate a major PBS movie soon). 

The narration goes at breakneck pace, so it’s easier to give the basic references on Wikipedia, to the Nunes Memo, a link that also produces the 4-page PDF.  There are accusations of improper surveillance of Carter Page, accusing him of setting up deals with the Russians for his own benefit.  We could pass along the summary of the MuellerReport on supposed ties of Trump to Russia. An important figure in all of this was George Papadopoulos.

The film makes many other ironic points.  One is that a private citizen cannot legally conduct “diplomacy” outside of the government or State Department.  I have come close to doing that on at least one occasion. It talks about quasi-memes like “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” and the “Three Jump Rule”, which made it easy (supposedly) to go after Steve Bannon after first doing Carter Page.  They note that it is not legal for a private citizen or journalist to disclose classified information that “they” (watch my pronouns!) come in touch with, but, oh no, CNN can read it to you.  There is a lot of material on how FISA works in the film.

The music score by Stephen Limbaugh sounds rather post-romantic. 

Armond White has a useful discussion in National Review of the film.

Tatiana Siegel writes  in Hollywood Reporter that the film was held up by Amazon for “content review” before allowed on its platform, where it can be watched free by Amazon Prime members.  Now that is the process that self-publishing platforms use to clear self-published books for legal risks and, they say, hate speech.

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