Russia's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that actor Morgan Freeman has been "roped in" by the U.S. government in its latest effort to send out anti-Russia messages to the world.
"Morgan Freeman has been roped in, just like Colin Powell was," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook, according to a translation posted by state-run media. The headline of the story that appeared on the Tass website said that Zakharova "believes Morgan Freeman was 'roped in' to be weaponized in anti-Russia crusade."
Russia says Freeman made a video "calling on the Americans to defend themselves from Russia. But Zakharova said the video was a setup.
"I believe this is another story about the end justifying the means," she said. She compared the Freeman video to the case that then-Secretary of State Colin Powell made in 2003 for invading Iraq.
Zakharova maintained that Russia is being framed for interfering in the U.S. election in order to justify an otherwise-illegal surveillance of President Trump's team in 2016. Her statement drew on recent reports that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who previously worked for a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician, was wiretapped before and after the election.
"Do you see Russia's role here? Right – to legitimize illegal actions," she wrote. "Without this external factor it would be a new Watergate, but with this ‘foreign meddling' the story was sent along the alley of national security."
Trump's national security team has confirmed the Obama administration's assessment that Russia carried out cyber-attacks against the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta. "Of course," CIA director Mike Pompeo, who served in Congress as a Kansas Republican before joining the Trump administration, said in July.
Zakharova's statement echoed President Trump's allegation that the Obama team monitored him for political reasons.
"How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process," Trump tweeted in March. "This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!"