Hollywood Liberals Team Up With Iraq War Hawks To ‘Protect Democracy’ Against Russia

Will Racke | Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter

Some of Hollywood’s most respected names have joined forces with Washington’s leading neoconservative intellectuals to expose what they describe as a Russian campaign to subvert American democracy.

The group of unlikely allies inaugurated Tuesday a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that seeks to expose information about Moscow’s interference in U.S. elections and, especially, its alleged ties to current and former members of the Trump administration.

Dubbed the “Committee to Investigate Russia,” the group is the brainchild of progressive movie director Rob Reiner and Iraq War backers, including The Atlantic senior editor David Frum, neoconservative foreign policy analyst Max Boot, and American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Norman Ornstein.

Along with Reiner, Boot and Ornstein, the committee’s advisory board includes conservative Trump critic Charles Sykes and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Actor Morgan Freeman has also backed the group, appearing in a promotional video proclaiming “we are at war” with Russia.

“I don’t know that the public understands the gravity of what the Russians were able to do and continue to do here in the United States. They attacked us,” Reiner said during an appearance with Frum on CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday.

Reiner is known in Hollywood as particularly outspoken advocate for liberal political causes. Along with his wife Michele, he was a founding member of American Foundation for Equal Rights, which brought a court challenge against a California law banning same-sex marriage. The referendum, known as Proposition 8, was overturned in court decision that paved the way for a Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Reiner recently wrapped up production on Shock And Awe, a movie about a group of skeptical journalists investigating the George W. Bush administration’s claims about weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the Iraq War. Premiering Sept. 30, the movie is an examination of what Reiner says was the failure of the mainstream media to question conventional Washington wisdom about Saddam Hussein’s intentions and capabilities.

Given the topic of Reiner’s latest film, it is perhaps ironic that he now finds himself allied with Boot and Frum, who were two of Washington’s most enthusiastic supporters of the Iraq invasion. From his position as a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Boot authored numerous articles about the benefits that U.S. military intervention would bring to the greater Middle East, while Frum, as a speechwriter in the Bush administration, helped sell the invasion to lawmakers as a critical front in the war on terror.

Though they may have differences over U.S. foreign policy, Reiner and his neoconservative partners are united in their view that Russia poses an existential threat to American democracy. The director says partisan divisions should fall to the wayside when it comes to investigating Moscow’s hacking and disinformation campaigns against the U.S.

“I started reaching out to people who are patriots and who are not necessarily of my political stripe,” Reiner said of his collaboration with Boot and others on the Committee to Investigate Russia. “We’re all together in this. Out country was attacked. Democracy is on the brink.”

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