September 19, 2017

CNN's New Day had David Frum and Rob Reiner on to discuss their new joint project, a non-partisan Committee To Investigate Russia.

Alysin Camerota asked Reiner how he got involved.

"Well, I mean, it occurred to me that, you know, we've heard this cliche our whole lives. when our country is attacked, politics stops at the water's edge," Reiner said.

"This is the first time that that didn't happen. And 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. They're trying to undermine our democracy. For some reason we are not understanding the gravity of this.

"And I think a big part of that is because the president of the United States is not saying in the Oval Office, my fellow Americans, we've been attacked. And so I started reaching out to people who are patriots and not necessarily my political stripe to say we're all together in this. our country is attacked. Democracy is on the brink to -- if we're going to survive, we need to come together as Americans and understand what happened," he said.

Camerota then played a clip featuring Morgan Freeman that's part of the group's campaign.

"Rob Reiner, David Frum, none of you like Donald Trump at all. You all worked aggressively against him during the campaign and since the campaign and number two, that somehow people aren't focused on Russia. It seems we talk a lot about the Russian investigation. You don't think there's enough focus on what's going on?" she asked.

"You guys do talk about it a lot. The media does talk about it a lot. And for whatever reason, it doesn't seem to be penetrating into what i refer to as the real Americans. Patriotic Americans that wave the flag," Reiner said.

"And I think because it's complicated. It's very, very complicated to wrap your mind around all of the -- you know, what is cyber warfare? What is -- what have the Russians been trying to do since 1917, since they were the Soviet Union and trying to destabilize us? David brings up a great point. I don't want to take it out of your mouth but about the idea that they're weak now militarily. you can pick up on that. And what they now do to undermine us."

"Russia is not the Soviet Union," Frum emphasized. "They have to leverage America's weaknesses against America, including, above all, our intense partisan and other divisions. you say what's different. This is Rob Reiner's work. One of the great contributions he has made with this is, people need a gold standard of what is known and what is merely surmised.

"We are Trump skeptics of the willingness to believe things because they make you feel good in the moment. Not because they're corroborated. CNN has been very careful. If you get your news from social media, especially Facebook, not everyone included among the Trump critics. False stories are spread. People need to know what is the state of play. What is known, what is guessed at and what is probably untrue?"

Camerota interjected, "I do a lot of interviews with die-hard Trump supporters and they say, yeah i'm sure Russia meddled. It's not the first time. They do this. They do it to other countries and, by the way, other countries do it, too, and by the way the U.S. meddles in other people's elections. How are you going to get them to pay attention to what people have compiled?"

"What you said is true but it's also true that the level of their intrusion into our democracy is greater than it has ever been before and they have succeeded," Reiner said.

"In past times, they've always tried to spread propaganda. Now they've actually succeeded. They've disrupted the election and continue to spread -- they're going to look at this and say that's fake news. They've successfully made you guys fake news, the mainstream media, American journalism, fake news."

"They're trying. I wouldn't say it's successful," Camerota said.

"Well, they are successful with a lot of people. A lot of people discount CNN," Reiner said.

"The answer is Republicans and Democrats coming together and saying this cannot stand. Make no mistake about it: if there was an atom bomb dropped on us, we would pay attention. What has happened is conceivably way worse than that. Because it's not just disrupting the election. Cyber warfare has disrupted electrical grids, nuclear power plants and as of now, they've hacked into our nuclear plants and electric grids over 50 times this year. So this is going on."

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