Steve Bannon and Donald Trump’s fear of EU and China reveals a new global re-alignment according to ‘The Book of Putin’

LONDON—Steve Bannon plans to go toe-to-toe with George Soros and spark a right-wing revolution in Europe.

Bannon-War-on-China.jpg
Steve Bannon and Donald Trump’s fear of China, and affinity for Russia, reflect a long-sought civilizational re-alignment.

Trump’s former White House chief advisor told The Daily Beast that he is setting up a foundation in Europe called The Movement which he hopes will lead a right-wing populist revolt across the continent starting with the European Parliament elections next spring.

putin trump.jpg
Trump gifted Putin with his reputation for toughness, and that’s something he can’t easily take back. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/Mikhail Metzel/TASS

The non-profit will be a central source of polling, advice on messaging, data targeting, and think-tank research for a ragtag band of right-wingers who are surging all over Europe, in many cases without professional political structures or significant budgets.

Bannon’s ambition is for his organization ultimately to rival the impact of Soros’s Open Society, which has given away $32 billion to largely liberal causes since it was established in 1984.

Over the past year, Bannon has held talks with right-wing groups across the continent from Nigel Farage and members of Marine Le Pen’s Front National (recently renamed Rassemblement National) in the West, to Hungary’s Viktor Orban and the Polish populists in the East.

He envisions a right-wing “supergroup” within the European Parliament that could attract as many as a third of the lawmakers after next May’s Europe-wide elections. A united populist bloc of that size would have the ability to seriously disrupt parliamentary proceedings, potentially granting Bannon huge power within the populist movement.

After being forced out of the White House following internal wranglings that would later surface in the book Fire and Fury, Bannon is now reveling in the opportunity to plot his new European empire. “I’d rather reign in hell, than serve in heaven,” he said, paraphrasing John Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost.

The Movement’s headquarters are expected to be located in Brussels, Belgium, where they will start hiring staff in coming months. It is expected that there will be fewer than 10 full-time staff ahead of the 2019 elections, with a polling expert, a communications person, an office manager and a researcher among the positions. The plan is to ramp that up to more like 25 people post-2019 if the project has been a success.

Steve Bannon
© Getty Steve Bannon

Bannon plans to spend 50 percent of his time in Europe—mostly in the field rather than the Brussels office—once the midterm elections in the U.S. are over in November.

The operation is also supposed to serve as a link between Europe’s right-wing movements and the pro-Trump Freedom Caucus in the U.S. This week Paul Gosar (R-AZ) was its envoy to Bannon’s operation in London.

Bannon and Raheem Kassam, a former Farage staffer and Breitbart editor, set up shop in a five-star Mayfair hotel for a week while Donald Trump was visiting Europe. Between TV appearances as Trump surrogates, they hosted a raft of Europe’s leading right-wingers at the hotel.

“It was so successful that we’re going to start staffing up,” said Bannon. “Everybody agrees that next May is hugely important, that this is the real first continent-wide face-off between populism and the party of Davos. This will be an enormously important moment for Europe.”

Having seen the shock right-wing victory with the Brexit referendum and Matteo Salvini’s electoral success in Italy, which were achieved on relatively tight budgets, Bannon sees the opportunity to boost radically disparate nationalist parties by deploying a well-financed centralized operation intended to blow local opponents out of the water.

Italy's Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini greets supporters as he arrives for the annual meeting of Lega Nord (North League) in Pontida, northeast Milan, on July 1, 2018.
© MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images) Italy’s Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini greets supporters as he arrives for the annual meeting of Lega Nord (North League) in Pontida, northeast Milan, on July 1, 2018.

Up until now insurgent populist groups across Europe have often suffered from similar problems: lack of expertise and finances. Le Pen’s party was kept afloat by Russian loans back in 2014, when French banks refused to extend lines of credit for the Front National. Le Pen was back in Moscow shaking Putin’s hand before last year’s French elections, which the NSA subsequently revealed had been hacked by the Russians.

The Movement plans to research and write detailed policy proposals that can be used by like-minded parties; commission pan-European or targeted polling; and share expertise in election war room methodology such as message discipline, data-led voter targeting and field operations. Depending on electoral law in individual countries, the foundation may be able to take part in some campaigns directly while bolstering other populist groups indirectly.

“I didn’t get the idea until Marine Le Pen invited me to speak at Lille at the Front National,” recalled Bannon. “I said, ‘What do you want me say?’”

The response came back: “All you have to say is, ‘We’re not alone.’”

Bannon was stunned to discover that the nationalist movements in Europe were not pooling skills and sharing ideas with populist parties in neighboring countries—let alone on a global scale.

Bannon said the Front National recognized that he was “the guy that goes round and understands us as a collective.”

Up on stage he told the crowd: “You fight for your country and they call you racist. But the days when those kind of insults work is over. The establishment media are the dogs of the system. Every day, we become stronger and they become weaker. Let them call you racists, xenophobes or whatever else, wear these like a medal.”

The former Trump campaign manager believes the fuse for the global populist revolt—now led from Washington, D.C. by his former boss—was lit 10 years ago during the financial crisis and President Barack Obama’s bailout of the broken financial sector. With income inequality growing, Bannon first championed Sarah Palin and then Donald Trump as vanquishers of the establishment elite who were capable of turning traditional politics on its head.

His next populist heroes can be found in Europe.

He sees Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, as the perfect foil to help accelerate that dynamic in Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech at the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) on June 28, 2018 in Berlin.
© JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech at the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) on June 28, 2018 in Berlin.

Noting Trump’s controversial decision to call out Merkel over her gas pipeline deal with Russia last week, Bannon said: “This is the lie of Angela Merkel. She’s a complete and total phony. The elites say Trump is disruptive but she’s sold out control to Russia for cheaper energy prices.”

He describes Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, the French president who crushed Le Pen in a runoff election last year but has since flagged in the polls, as vulnerable figureheads of establishment Europe. With Britain voting to quit the E.U., Merkel and Macron’s vision of a united continent will be put to the test at next year’s elections.

Bannon is convinced that the coming years will see a drastic break from decades of European integration. “Right-wing populist nationalism is what will happen. That’s what will govern,” he told The Daily Beast. “You’re going to have individual nation states with their own identities, their own borders.”

The grassroots movements are already in place waiting for someone to maximize their potential. “It will be instantaneous—as soon as we flip the switch,” he said.

The sight of Brexit virtually upending the entire European Union with a campaign spending cap of £7 million ($9 million) was a great inspiration. “When they told me the spending cap was £7 million, I go, ‘You mean £70 million? What the f***?!’ £7 million doesn’t buy anything. It doesn’t buy you Facebook data, it doesn’t buy you ads, it doesn’t do anything.”

“Dude! You just took the fifth largest economy in the world out of the EU for £7 million!”

This week, British officials ruled that the Brexit campaign had not stuck to the legal limit—overspending by more than $600,000. There were also unofficial campaigns which spent additional millions arguing that Britain should leave the E.U.

Nonetheless, Britain’s GDP is around $2.6 billion and leaked government figures estimate that Brexit could wipe 10 percent off that figure, meaning the impact of the democratic decision vastly dwarfs the scale of the investment by the campaign.

“The first thing they teach you at Harvard Business School is operating leverage,” said Bannon. With his expertise, contacts and financial backing, he is convinced that he can have an outsized impact all across Europe.

Bannon went to Italy to observe the campaign earlier this year as populist parties surged in the polls despite their tiny operations. “Look at Five Star and the Northern League,” he said. “They used their own credit cards. They took control of the seventh largest economy in the world—on their credit cards! It’s insane.”

The two anti-establishment parties reached a coalition agreement that made Matteo Salvini deputy prime minister and put him in charge of the interior ministry two months ago. He has since shut Italy’s ports to NGO ships carrying rescued migrants and called for a census of the Roma community that may lead to mass deportations. Last year, he called for a radical crackdown on immigrants. “We need a mass cleansing, street by street, piazza by piazza, neighborhood by neighborhood,” he said.

Bannon sees Salvini as a model for his future Movement partners to follow. “Italy is the beating heart of modern politics,” he said. “If it works there it can work everywhere.”

He admitted that the scale of his right-wing coalition could be limited by the extreme positions of some of The Movement’s potential partners. “Some people may opt out because they think some of the guys may be too immigrant focused,” he conceded.

“We’re not looking to include any ethno-nationalist parties in this although guys like the Sweden Democrats or the True Finns are perfect casting.”

Kent Ekeroth of the Sweden Democrats was one of those who met Bannon in Central London in the last week. The party, which had its roots in the Neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements of the 1980s, has shot up to almost 20 percent in recent polls after adopting a more conventionally populist, anti-immigration message.

Jérôme Rivière of Marine Le Pen’s Front National (Rassemblement National since June) also made the pilgrimage to London’s Mayfair, as did Mischaël Modrikamen of the People’s Party of Belgium, Nigel Farage of UKIP and Filip Dewinter of Vlaams Belang, a Flemish nationalist party formed in 2004 when its predecessor was found to be in breach of a Belgian law on racism and xenophobia.

Bannon said Farage and Le Pen would take the lead in figuring out the logistics of creating a new European parliamentary grouping that could be home to all of these parties and more.

Gosar, the Republican congressman, also stopped by Bannon’s London hotel. He was in Britain to attend a rally for the street protester and alt-right provocateur Tommy Robinson, who was recently jailed for contempt of court for breaching reporting restrictions on a trial. During his trip, Gosar accused the British government of jailing Robinson as part of a cover up of rapeperpetrated by “disgusting and depraved individuals” from Muslim immigrant communities, which he described as a “scourge.”

Supporters of Tommy Robinson during their protest in Trafalgar Square, London calling for his release from prison.
© PA Supporters of Tommy Robinson during their protest in Trafalgar Square, London calling for his release from prison.

Bannon’s ambition is no less than to take a stranglehold on Europe in the same way that he believes Soros has been able to dominate proceedings in recent decades.

“Soros is brilliant,” he said. “He’s evil but he’s brilliant.”

George Soros in 2013© PA George Soros in 2013

Bannon wants to fulfil that role on the right and he is not ashamed to assert his objectives. “I’m about winning. I’m about power,” he said. “I want to win and then I want to effectuate change.”

He is not afraid of being caricatured in the way that Soros has been vilified by the right. He compared it to the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. “Look at Chris Wylie [the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower]. He is saying ‘Bannon made psychological weapons.’ He’s literally made me the most brilliant evil genius. I’m a Bond villain. I kind of dig it.”

Kassam, who worked closely with Bannon at Breitbart and followed him out the door of the populist news site, said The Movement was shaping up as a force that would subsume national politics.

“Forget your Merkels,” said Kassam. “Soros and Bannon are going to be the two biggest players in European politics for years to come.”

Get the f*** out of the building!’ Whoopi Goldberg and Trump supporter Judge Jeanine Pirro fight on The View

Whoopi Goldberg, far left, and Jeanine Pirro, fourth from left, get into their heated argument on The View.

Whoopi Goldberg, far left, and Jeanine Pirro, fourth from left, get into their heated argument on The View.

Towards the end of the show, Pirro praised Trump with lowering the unemployment rate for the first time in 50 years for ‘minorities, Hispanics and African Americans’ but Goldberg and fellow The View co-host Sunny Hostin said the credit should be given to former president Barack Obama, the Daily Mail reported.

Pirro fired back saying: “You’re suffering from Trump derangement in this room.”

Goldberg and Pirro discuss THer remark set off a chain reaction that blew up the segment, caused a massive argument backstage and saw the judge kicked out of the building, she later told The Sean Hannity Show.

Moments after Pirro’s “Trump derangement” quote, View co-host and Trump opponent Meghan McCain said she wasn’t deranged, and Pirro pointed at Goldberg, setting the longtime host off.

“Did you just point at me? I don’t have Trump derangement, let me tell you what I have,” Goldberg shot back. “I am tired of people starting a conversation with, ‘Mexicans are liars and rapists’. Listen, I’m 62 years old, there have been a lot of people in office that I don’t agree with, but I have never ever seen anything like this.”

She continued: “I’ve never seen anyone whip up such hate, I’ve never seen anyone be so dismissive and clearly you don’t watch this show, so you don’t know that I don’t suffer from that. What I suffer from is the inability to figure out how to fix this, that’s my issue.”

Goldberg and Pirro then got into a screaming match, with Pirro declaring: “You know what’s horrible? When people who shouldn’t be here end up murdering children of American citizens.”

“What’s horrible is when the president of the United States whips up people to beat the hell out of people,” Goldberg yelled back, telling Pirro she was done with the interview.

“Say goodbye, bye! I’m done,” Goldberg said.

Trump says he holds Putin responsible for election interference

By Crimson Tazvinzwa
The US president has again caused confusion over his stance on Russia after appearing to say he believed Moscow was no longer targeting the US.
Speaking to reporters during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Donald Trump answered “no” when asked if the US was still being targeted by Russia, a belief that would put him at odds with his intelligence chiefs.But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said hours later that she had talked with the president and he had instead been saying “no” to taking further questions from reporters.

US Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at the White House press conference at the White House
© getty US Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at the White House press conference at the White House

When asked if she was reversing what the president had said, she answered: “I’m interpreting it, not reversing it.”

It comes a day after Mr Trump backtracked on comments he madeabout whether he believed Russia had been responsible for alleged meddling in the 2016 US election.

The billionaire had said during Monday’s news conference with Vladimir Putin that he “didn’t see any reason” why Russia would be involved in US election meddling and that, despite his “great confidence” in his intelligence agencies, Mr Putin had given an “extremely strong and powerful” denial.

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photograph at the beginning of a one-on-one meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018
© getty U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin pose for a photograph at the beginning of a one-on-one meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018
By Crimson Tazvinzwa
Almost as soon as the words were spoken, journalists, political commentators and politicians expressed bemusement and anger, with former CIA director John Brennan going as far as to describe the remarks as “treasonous”.
On Tuesday, Mr Trump claimed he had mis-spoke the day before and had meant to say he did not see any reason why Russian wouldn’tbe responsible for interfering in the 2016 vote.He admitted “there’s a need for some clarification”, adding that what he meant “should have been obvious – I thought it would be obvious but would like to clarify in case it wasn’t”.

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hand at the beginning of a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018
© getty U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hand at the beginning of a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018

He said: “In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t’.”

Hitting back at claims he had taken a soft position on Moscow, Mr Trump said on Wednesday that “no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia”.

Citing US sanctions on Russia and the expulsion of alleged Russian spies from the US, he added that Russian leader Vladimir Putin “understands it, and he’s not happy about it”.

Last week, national intelligence director Dan Coats said that warning lights about overall cyber threats to the US were “blinking red”, much like “blinking red” signals warned before the 9/11 attacks.

President Donald Trump: ‘many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki’

President Donald Trump was up early Wednesday morning to insist he hadn’t gotten played by Russian president Vladimir Putin.put tru

The president was forced to awkwardly and narrowly walk back his defense of Russia against U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies Tuesday by reading a typed statement, and he took to Twitter the following morning to defend his conduct in Europe.

“So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki,” Trump said. “Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting. We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki. Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting. We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!

It’s not clear who those people were, or whether he meant they were members of the intelligence community or just simply seemed smart to him.

“While the NATO meeting in Brussels was an acknowledged triumph, with billions of dollars more being put up by member countries at a faster pace, the meeting with Russia may prove to be, in the long run, an even greater success,” Trump tweeted. “Many positive things will come out of that meeting.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

While the NATO meeting in Brussels was an acknowledged triumph, with billions of dollars more being put up by member countries at a faster pace, the meeting with Russia may prove to be, in the long run, an even greater success. Many positive things will come out of that meeting..

Trump offered one revelation about what he and the Russian president discussed during their private, one-on-one meeting that stretched to more than two hours, which was followed by a widely criticized joint news conference.

“Russia has agreed to help with North Korea, where relationships with us are very good and the process is moving along,” he tweeted. “There is no rush, the sanctions remain! Big benefits and exciting future for North Korea at end of process!”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….Russia has agreed to help with North Korea, where relationships with us are very good and the process is moving along. There is no rush, the sanctions remain! Big benefits and exciting future for North Korea at end of process!

Despite awkward body language; brief, sober answers, President Donald Trump winked at Russian President Putin

President Donald Trump winked at Russian President Vladimir Putinat the beginning of a presser that was characterized by “awkward body language” and tame, short answers.

put tru
President Donald Trump will meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on July 16, 2018. Jack Taylor/Getty Images; Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Trump’s friendly gesture was the wink heard round the world and supported a tweet the president sent out earlier which indicated that the cause of U.S.-Russian tensions was not Russia, but the United States and, particularly, the Mueller probe.

More discomfiting still, Russia’s foreign ministry agreed with Trump’s assessment, tweeting out as much Monday.

People reacted harshly to Trump’s little wink at Putin and his overall demeanor with the Russian president:

John Aravosis

@aravosis

Oh my god. Trump looks like he just got schooled by his teacher. The shoulders hunched over, hands in lap. Could he be more submissive?

Mark Stone

@Stone_SkyNews

Very awkward body language… but @realDonaldTrump did offer Vladimir Putin a wink. @SkyNews 😉

rabia O’chaudry

@rabiasquared

Only Trump could make Putin look like the classy one

Mark Stone

@Stone_SkyNews

Very awkward body language… but @realDonaldTrump did offer Vladimir Putin a wink. @SkyNews 😉

European Union is an enemy of the USA; President Donald Trump

By Crimson Tazvinzwa

President Donald Trump called the European Union a “foe” of the U.S. in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News’ Face The Nation.

summit
Trump-Putin Helsinki summit

“Well I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe,” Trump told host Jeff Glor during an interview that took place at a Trump golf course in Scotland.

“Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they’re a foe. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad,” he said. “It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they’re competitors. They want to do well and we want to do well.”

President Trump denies he attacked May, accuses The Sun of ‘fake news’

Donald Trump accuses The Sun of ‘fake news’ and insists whatever Theresa May does with Brexit ‘is ok with me’

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© Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May meet at Chequers in Buckinghamshire, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Donald Trump has insisted he did not attack Theresa May in his bombshell newspaper interview, branding it “fake news”.

Speaking alongside her at Chequers, the president said: “I didn’t criticise the prime minister, I have a lot of respect the prime minister.”

LIVE: Anti-Trump protest in full swing

Mr Trump also stepped back from his warning, in The Sun, that her Brexit plan would “kill” any trade deal – as long as there were no “restrictions”.

However, to her discomfort, Mr Trump confirmed he had given her a “suggestion” on how to pursue Brexit – while rejecting the word “advice” – saying: “I think she found it too brutal.”

In a comment certain to be leapt on by Brexiteer MPs, he added: “I can fully understand why she thought it was a little bit tough” – even suggesting she might yet adopt it, if her own plan failed.  Mr Trump refused to reveal his “suggestion”, but denied it was to collapse the talks if necessary, saying: “You can’t walk away because, if she walks away, that means she’s stuck.”

Bizarrely, he also claimed he had visited Britain the day before the 2016 referendum and correctly predicted the Leave vote – even though he arrived a day later.

He then claimed he had told the prime minister: “I want to apologise,” – prompting her to reply: “Don’t worry, it’s only the press.”