Liberal filmmaker Oliver Stone took “Real Time” host Bill Maher by surprise with his dismissal of the recently released Senate Intelligence Committee report outlining Russia‘s interference in the 2016 election.
Maher highlighted from the report, which was released earlier this week, that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had “directly and indirectly communicated” with Russian national Konstantin Kilimnik and other pro-Russian oligarchs in Ukraine during the election — in addition to Trump ally Roger Stone being linked to the WikiLeaks dump of Clinton emails.
But that prompted a dismissive wave of the hand from Stone, the 73-year-old director of “JFK,” “Platoon,” and other films.
“You can’t really think that a Russian president … should be able to rat-f— our elections like this, can you?” Maher asked.
“Oh Bill, I’ve known you all too long and I think you’re sophisticated enough to know — we have to question everything that comes out of our intelligence agencies,” Stone responded. “If you haven’t learned that by now, you’ve got a long way to go still.”
“We have to question everything that comes out of our intelligence agencies. If you haven’t learned that by now, you’ve got a long way to go still.”
“So they’re lying?” Maher asked.
“Intelligence agencies are not reliable. They’ve been screwing with America going back to the Vietnam War, going back to the Iraq Wars, the Afghanistani wars,” Stone continued. “It’s very hard to find out the truth from them. Everything they publish — the rumors, the anonymous sources, the think tanks, the anti-Russia — it all adds up into this ball of wax that becomes enormous. And then they have people like you, who are skeptical generally, believing it. I would really triple-check everything, every one of those sources.”
The Oscar-winning filmmaker said the way “they went after” Manafort was “bizarre,” insisting Manafort “wasn’t that intelligent” and was “just trying to make some money from Ukraine.”
“We’re at a moment in time where anything, anything about China or Russia is being broadcast loudly to the American people,” Stone told Maher. “We have a very effective western media that does this all the time. You have to go back- and you have been skeptical in the past, why do we need enemies? Why do we need these enemies? Why do we want to make this into an issue? Why?”
A puzzled Maher reacted to Stone, saying he didn’t expect the “conspiracy”-type response but then pivoted to President Trump — claiming the president’s conspiracies “hide in plain sight,” pointing to Trump’s recent remarks about U.S. Postal Service funding ahead of the election and comparing his transparent explanation of “screwing” with voters to a “James Bond villain.”
But Stone doubled down.
“I’m not voting for Trump and he’s a sad figure,” Stone said. “He was the wrong choice to be president … but to make our foreign policy dependent on attacking Trump, to get rid of Trump and creating a Cold War environment with China and with Russia and with other countries is crazy and this stigmatization is not a policy.
“So they’re looking for everything possible to build up this Russia, James Bond, Dr. No scenario. You think the Russians — do you think they sit around and think about America all the time? They don’t care. They’ve got their own problems and they have a country that is vibrant and they want to make it work. They have a lot of issues like we do. They’re not thinking about our election as you think they are.”
He later added, “Keep in mind, Bill, and you know damn well, how many elections have we interfered with and how many countries in the world interfered with — with money and all kinds of dirty tricks. It’s a double standard here.”