Exposure of abuses in Russia probe boosts new film 'The Plot Against the President'

"If the media did its job, there'd be no reason to have this movie," filmmaker Amanda Milius says of her documentary slamming the press and select Democrats for what it views as a political conspiracy against President Trump.

Published: October 9, 2020 11:18pm

Updated: October 11, 2020 7:11am

Director Amanda Milius offers a blunt reason why she left the Trump administration to resume her budding film career.

"If the media did its job, there'd be no reason to have this movie," Milius says of "The Plot Against the President," her documentary slamming the press and select Democrats for what it argues was a political assault against President Donald Trump.

The just-released film, based on the book of the same name by Lee Smith, contends the Russian collusion accusations came not from Team Trump's misdeeds but from a cabal of D.C. insiders, known to Trump supporters as the "deep state."

The movie is available now via two streaming outlets linked to from the film's website, and it's expected to be available on Amazon, iTunes, Vimeo and select theaters in the coming days. 

The film's central thesis enjoyed a sizable boost in recent months due to newly released documents tied to the Russia collusion narrative.

In May, we learned that the FBI knew as early as January 2017 that it had no credible evidence Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow. The investigation continued for another two-plus years all the same.

More recently, documents suggested Hillary Clinton might have created the "Russian Collusion" narrative to distract from her own e-mail scandal.

Milius is the daughter of John Milius, famed screenwriter ("Apocalypse Now," "Jeremiah Johnson") and director ("Red Dawn," "Conan the Barbarian"), and actress Celia Kaye. She grew up on movie sets and continued her film education at the University of Southern California's famed film school.

A certain real estate mogul's ascent convinced her to change career paths, at least in the short term. Milius was winding down her festival tour for her USC thesis short "The Lotus Gun" when she volunteered for Trump's 2016 campaign in Nevada 

"Even though it was such a political climate I couldn't talk about it with anyone in L.A. in my immediate circle, it was so exciting," she recalls. "I wanted to be in it. The campaign hired me, then I just stayed. I didn't consciously make a decision. I got sucked into it."

She ended up as the deputy assistant secretary for content in the State Department's Bureau of Global Public Affairs, her film career officially on pause until she picked up Smith's 2019 book. She eventually optioned it in manuscript form last summer and began plotting her feature film debut.

"It's a giant hoax," she says of the collusion narrative, spreading blame from the media to "half the intel community and the various deep state players who think they know better than the American people."

"The Plot Against the President" interviews key insiders including Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Devin Nunes, Donald Trump Jr., and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn's attorney Sidney Powell. JustTheNews.com founder John Solomon also appears in the film.

Milius understands the power, and clarity, of cinema versus a book or series of op-eds. It's why she sharpened her skill set to make "Plot."

"Ask an average person what happened in 'RussiaGate,' and they'd get lost in tangents," she says. "We digest information on a night-to-night news basis. Every story, and every important through line, has been chopped up ... the attention span of the country is so schizophrenic."

That's where a documentary comes in, she argues.

"So much has happened in the last four years," she says. "Nobody can keep track of all of this. 'Plot' offers real, first-hand sources, not just people who are offering their opinions on what happened."

Smith supports the film version of his book so that a different audience is exposed to its lessons. 

"This story is being shaped so that it's not getting out in the way it should be getting out," Smith says, an issue he partly blames on mainstream media outlets.

"None of this would have happened without the media," Smith says. "That's why you have The Washington Post getting all these leaks of classified intercepts, all illegal."

Smith, a Just the News contributor, holds out hope that the people his reporting says committed crimes will face justice.

"People can say what they like, but if there are indictments and arrests, people have to account for that," he says.

Milius' father suffered a stroke in 2010 and hasn't written or directed since then. He's still a voracious news consumer, his daughter says, and is animated by both his daughter's "Plot" project as well as China's increasing influence over the film industry, she says.

Hollywood's 2012 remake of "Red Dawn" originally featured a Chinese-led invasion, but the studio swapped in North Koreans as the villain late in the production to appease Chinese censors.

Papa Milius still hopes to see his "Genghis Khan" script get made, his daughter notes, adding he has roughly 35 unnamed scripts owned by various production companies, though no current plans existing to move forward with any of them.

The younger Milius senses a hunger for "The Plot Against the President" based on early reaction to the film's trailer.

"People were bootlegging it, reposting it themselves," she says. "People are thirsty for the movie that isn't lying to them and isn't just recreating the same narrative we've been told from the press. A huge audience has been ignored."

Amanda Milius doesn't see herself returning to Hollywood anytime soon, but that doesn't mean she'll stop making movies.

"My company is here in D.C.," she says. "Hollywood is kind of over. You can make movies from anywhere."

She's moving forward with wisdom from her celebrated father firmly in mind.

"He never considered this idea of writing or creativity as an ethereal thing," she recalls. "He treated it like a day job, like digging a ditch. That's just what you do, you treat it dry and professionally."

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