On Thursday, The Daily Beast released an interview with three filmmakers, Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan, and Suzanne Hillinger, who have spent the last several months creating a "top-secret" documentary, Totally Under Control, that exposes the dark motivations behind President Donald Trump's cover-up of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The question early on was, Was it a fumble?" said Gibney. "Was it just an administration caught unprepared and unaware? Was it the thinning out of the federal government that Trump engaged in? But what we discovered over time — particularly with things like the handoff of the playbook from the Obama administration; the cruise; and the contagion exercise, which was published just a few months before the actual pandemic and contains all the information you would need to handle it; then the way that the whole testing episode was so mishandled ... it seems much more intentional."
Trump has faced intense scrutiny following his taped confession to journalist Bob Woodward that he deliberately sought to downplay the virus — something for which the documentary purports to show additional evidence.
"There are senators — Senator Warren and others — who have opened an investigation and are looking into this as we speak," said Harutyunyan. "They’re asking for records from these companies to see how much they profited from being the companies arbitrarily chosen by the government, and that the Trump administration is working with to basically subsidize the shipping costs of bringing PPE in. So there are still obviously questions out there, whether there was an intentional kind of profiteering by the government or not. Hopefully those are questions that will be answered soon."
"What was so interesting is we started looking at who were political appointees and how much power they have," said Hillinger. "I think that’s something that through the lens of the story of the pandemic becomes really obvious. When you’re looking at the minutiae of everyday government, you don’t really see it, but when you find out that somebody like Alex Azar, who ran a pharmaceutical company for a very long time, is now in charge of HHS, overseeing the FDA and the CDC, you realize how much power he has, and you can’t help but think, where are his alliances? That is really illuminating to understanding our government and also looking at the CDC."
Harutyunyan added, "I thought, 'OK, now that he got the virus, maybe he will change his messaging. Maybe he will understand how serious this can be.' And it’s actually been quite the opposite — by pretending that everything is OK, he is putting so many people in danger because there are a lot of people who look up to him. These past two, three days I’ve just been watching the news and I can’t believe what I’m seeing, because I know that more people are going to die because of this."
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