Hollywood is at it again. Actor and Director Rob Reiner helped launch the Committee to Investigate Russia. Their crack team of investigators strives to be “a non-partisan, non-profit effort designed to help Americans understand and recognize the scope and scale of Russia’s continuing attacks on our democracy.” But their likelihood of success is questionable.
The Advisory Board consists of military historian and foreign policy analyst Max Boot, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Norman Ornstein, and conservative commentator Charles Sykes. Oh yeah, and Rob Reiner – their director? His listed credentials are “Director, Actor, and Activist,” but it’s unclear exactly how he’s qualified to help. Missing from the Advisory Board’s roster is their unofficial public relations director and press secretary, Morgan Freeman, who can be seen both on the official site and Twitter explaining Russia’s dastardly deeds to any American willing to lend an ear.
A Noble Intent
Morgan Freeman warns that Russia is waging war against American democracy, and it’s entirely possible that he’s right. There is a strong belief and significant evidence that Russia did indeed at least attempt to interfere in the 2016 election. In fact, then-president Barack Obama was informed of exactly that by the intelligence community before Trump was ever elected.
According to the group’s “About Us” page:
“The Committee to Investigate Russia is a nonprofit, non-partisan resource provided to help Americans recognize and understand the gravity of Russia’s continuing attacks on our democracy. All relevant information is aggregated in one place to provide context to allow users to see the full picture of what Russia has done and will continue to do unless we start paying closer attention.”
Just from watching Freeman’s video and reading the “About Us” page, it seems clear that these people have the best of intentions. They not only seek the truth, but they also strive to reveal it to the American people. They call the president and other politicians to act. Unfortunately, a slightly deeper reading unveils two serious flaws.
A Misguided Intent
Though they claim to be non-partisan, and the Advisory Board roster certainly gives that impression, Reiner was always quite vocal about his pro-Hillary, anti-Trump stance, and he’s unlikely to be a part of anything involving the president (not HIS president!) that isn’t anti-Trump. And he’s far from the only anti-Trump member.
Upon reading the stories collected thus far on their website, it’s clear that the group’s noble intent is, in fact, a misguided intent. They’re specifically investigating President Trump’s involvement with Russia – and they sure seem to believe he’s guilty.
By believing in Donald Trump’s guilt from the outset, they risk only collecting the news stories that focus negatively on the president – because when someone already has an established opinion, that person tends to look for evidence to support it. Evidence for an already held belief is likely to be readily accepted as proof, and anything that seems to oppose it is met with skepticism at best. Sure enough, the “evidence” gathered consists of news reports focusing solely on President Trump’s (or someone close to Trump) direct involvement with Russia.
A Preposterous Intent?
Aside from Rob Reiner – who really is the odd man out in this group – the Committee at least seems to be made up of folks with somewhat relevant backgrounds. It boasts a military historian and foreign policy analyst, a former Director of National Intelligence, an American Enterprise Institute scholar, and a conservative political commentator – a group of folks who seem like they should be far better qualified for the job than most Americans.
However, all historical, investigative, or political experience aside, what special authority do these men really have? None of them – even the former intelligence director – legally has any more access than the average politically savvy citizen. In practice, they may have informative connections that many of us lack, but they’re most likely powerless to be anything more than just another collection of Russia stories – and they’re wasting even that potential by ignoring anything that doesn’t advance the Trump/Russia collusion narrative.
As the Committee accurately states: “Now, only months into his term of office, the President and his staff are facing multiple investigations in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and by a Special Counsel for the Department of Justice.” All of those investigators have the potential to actually discover new evidence, should it exist. Not only is this group most likely impotent compared to the DOJ and Congress, they’re also entirely superfluous. But hey, at least when they come up with nothing, they won’t have wasted millions (possibly billions) of taxpayer dollars.