Is it payback? While "2016" moviemaker Dinesh D'Souza says he cannot talk specifically about the Obama administration's legal case against him, he told Fox News' Sean Hannity tonight there's no question his blockbuster film "rattled" and "upset" Obama.
D'Souza, who this week was indicted on allegations of improper campaign donations, was described by Hannity as the "latest victim to be targeted by the White House."
"It's been quite a week, I will say," D'Souza said. "I can't really talk about the case. ... I am determined to continue my work. I'm making a big film called 'America' which is about the greatness of America, which will come out for July 4 this year. So I just want to say I am undeterred and am marching full speech ahead."
Asked about "2016: Obama's America," D'Souza said it "does seem to have gotten under President Obama's skin."
"And the reason for this is," he said, "it wasn't just a critique of Obamacare or policies, but I, in a sense, went into Obama’s world and also into Obama’s mind. There I was at the Obama family homestead in Kenya, I interviewed his brother.”
By tracing the influences that shaped Obama, said D'Souza, “we advanced a thesis that here is a traumatized and somewhat of a mess-up guy.”
The White House was definitely not happy with his film, said D'Souza, noting that "there was a rant against the film on Obama’s own website, which is BarackObama.com. So we know the film rattled him, we know the film upset him, so whether this is a kind of payback remains to be seen."
View Sean Hannity's interview with filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza at top of this page.
Hannity then discussed D'Souza's debate just a night earlier with unrepentant terrorist and former Obama colleague Bill Ayers.
Noting Ayers' notoriety as a university professor, D'Souza publicly challenged Ayers to explain what happened to his former "revolutionary" self, which tried to bomb the Pentagon and other federal buildings as part of the Weather Underground.
D'Souza noted, ominously,"He said he won't write off the possibility of doing the same thing under certain circumstances."
Ayers has long been a university teacher in Chicago.
D'Souza's "2016" was a box office sensation, bringing in more than $33 million and becoming the fourth highest-grossing documentary of all time as President Obama campaigned for re-election in 2012. D'Souza's latest film, "America," is due in theaters July 4.
Just in recent weeks, the Obama administration has pursued several well-known conservatives. Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife were indicted after purportedly accepting gifts and loans from a political donor. Also, the IRS – recently under fire for improperly targeting the tea party – is now going after Friends of Abe, a group of Hollywood conservatives.
And now, D'Souza has been indicted by a federal grand jury on two felony counts for allegedly violating campaign finance laws. He was charged with making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and illegally contributing $15,000 to a Senate candidate. He could face up to seven years in prison.
While D'Souza may not be publicly linking the Obama administration's dislike of conservatives, such as that revealed in the IRS targeting of tea party and Christian groups with probably illegal questions, WND reported that many others have not been so reticent.
Cleta Mitchell, a high-profile attorney specializing in campaign finance issues, told WND, "The decision to prosecute – or not prosecute – is always a matter of discretion. It was the prosecutor's decision – indeed DOJ's decision – not to prosecute widespread conduit contributions to the John Edwards campaign in 2008. Contrast that with this prosecution, which involved $15,000 (not $20,000 as claimed)."
Gerald R. Molen, producer for "2016," called the charges against D’Souza "the equivalent of prosecuting a political dissident in the Soviet Union for jaywalking."
“Yes, jaywalking in the Soviet Union is a crime, but it’s a minor crime. The real point is that you are a political dissenter and the government wants to put you away,” he told WND.
“When Dinesh D’Souza can be prosecuted for making a movie,” he continued, “every American should ask themselves one question: 'What will I do to preserve the First Amendment?'"
Ayers added, "He was indicted. I don't know anything about the facts. I don't know anything about the case. I'm not a lawyer. …. He was indicted. He was arrested. He'll have his day in court. Who knows."
The U.S. Attorney behind D'Souza's indictment, Preet Bharara, is rumored to be on a short list of candidates to replace Eric Holder.
Brent Bozell, founder and president of Media Research Center, cited former President Bill Clinton and Obama's own history of accepting highly questionable campaign donations.
"Let's assume Dinesh D'Souza is guilty, and I mean 100 percent guilty. What is he guilty of? Circumventing FEC dictates by directing [$15,000] to a Senate candidate of his choice. Big deal," Bozell told WND.
Asked if he believes the indictment is political payback, Tucker Carlson, political commentator for Fox News and editor in chief of The Daily Caller, told WND, "If you'd asked me this three years ago, I would have dismissed the question as paranoid. I've always disagreed with Obama's policies, but I never thought this or any other administration would dare use the IRS to crush its political opponents."
He added, "Obviously I lacked imagination. The Obama people are perfectly capable of using law enforcement to hurt people they disagree with. We know this because they've done it."
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., agreed, telling WND the indictment of D'Souza is "100 percent" political.
She said, "It is payback from the DOJ. Plus, it sends a signal to anyone else for 2016 who may be thinking of producing a movie."
And Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report recently tweeted, "They are going after the Obama critics with indictments. VA Gov. Now Dinesh D'Souza. Holder unleashing the dogs."
See a trailer for the upcoming "America:"