Posts Tagged ‘alt-right’

Steve Bannon Leaves White House Staff

August 18, 2017

Controversial strategist pushed President Trump toward nationalist, populist agenda

Steve Bannon helping with last-minute preparations before President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement at the White House on June 1 in Washington, D.C.
Steve Bannon helping with last-minute preparations before President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement at the White House on June 1 in Washington, D.C. PHOTO: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES
.

Aug. 18, 2017 12:55 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon left his position Friday, as the newly minted Chief of Staff John Kelly sought to bring order to a White House riven by infighting and power struggles, according to people familiar with the decision.

Mr. Bannon’s departure marks the fourth senior White House official to leave the president’s administration in the past five weeks, which has yet to see a major legislative victory despite serving with a Republican-controlled Congress.

The former banker and media executive is credited with shepherding Mr. Trump to victory in last year’s election. He joined the campaign in the final months when Mr. Trump was trailing in the polls by double digits. He put an end to news conferences by his candidate and pushed for more rallies and a focus on closing the border, renegotiating international trade deals, and eviscerating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with personal attacks.

Bannon’s Critics: Alt-Right Is Wrong for White House
Trump spokespeople rushed to defend the president-elect’s pick of Steve Bannon for senior White House strategist. Democrats and advocacy groups denounced Bannon as a proponent of the Alt-Right, a movement that includes white nationalists. WSJ’s Jason Bellini reports.(Originally published Nov. 4, 2016)
.

Among White House staff, he was the most associated with the conservative, populist nationalism bent espoused by Mr. Trump during the campaign and in the White House. His departure could give rise to more moderate voices in the administration, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

While the relationship between the president and Mr. Bannon ebbed and flowed, the breaking point came after liberal political magazine American Prospect published an extended interview in which he referred to white supremacist groups as “clowns,” said the president’s pro-business advisers were “wetting themselves” and—contrary to the president’s public positions—dismissed the potential for military action in North Korea.

Mr. Bannon’s allies said he didn’t intend his discussion with the American Prospect to be on the record.

Mr. Bannon’s exit comes after a week in which the president has come under fire for his response to racially charged protests in Virginia. One woman was killed during the violence when a car driven by an alleged white supremacist plowed into a crowd of counter protesters.

The president initially said both sides were to blame for the clashes. On Monday, after facing heavy pressure, Mr. Trump issued a statement singling out white supremacists for blame. But then Tuesday, he delivered one of the most combative news conferences of his presidency, again saying both sides were to blame.

Inside the White House, Mr. Bannon had argued against issuing Monday’s “white supremacists” statement, telling the president that he would be criticized in the media for changing this position, said one person familiar with the exchange.

Later in the week, Mr. Trump doubled down on another of his chief strategist’s recommendations: lamenting the removal of statues commemorating Confederate leaders by likening it to a whitewashing of American history.

In a Trump administration filled with political outsiders, Mr. Bannon is among the most colorful, and the most controversial. He texts and emails with colleagues around the clock, and is known for his unkempt appearance and for dropping obscure quotes from John Wayne movies or ancient philosophers into casual conversation.

Mrs. Clinton sought to turn Mr. Bannon into a campaign issue, arguing his arrival showed Mr. Trump was “taking hate groups mainstream.” Before joining the campaign, Mr. Bannon was head of Breitbart News, which he once described as a “platform for the alt-right.” Breitbart has published such articles as “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.”

In a phone call with Mr. Trump several weeks ago on an unrelated subject, Rep. Mark Meadows (R., N.C.) pushed back hard against the idea of getting rid of Mr. Bannon, according to a person familiar with the matter. Conservatives from the tea party movement have viewed him as a crucial link to the White House.

Mr. Meadows, who is part of the House Freedom Caucus, didn’t immediately comment on Friday. His group, consisting of several dozen Republicans, doesn’t have enough members to drive the GOP agenda, but it is big enough to deprive House Republicans of the votes they would need to advance legislation with only GOP support.

Among conservative activists and Bannon allies, there are deep concerns about the former Breitbart CEO’s ability to influence the administration from the outside in the same way he had at times from his office just steps from the Oval Office. Additionally, they worry about the president moving toward the political center without Mr. Bannon involved in policy fights, the person said.

“I see New York Democrats and generals in ascendancy, and that is not what we ran on in 2016,” the person continued. “So it worries me.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/steve-bannon-leaves-white-house-staff-1503075345

Related:

t’

Trump Tells Aides He Has Decided to Remove Stephen Bannon

August 18, 2017

President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion.

The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon. The two administration officials cautioned that Mr. Trump is known to be averse to confrontation within his inner circle, and could decide to keep on Mr. Bannon for some time.

As of Friday morning, the two men were still discussing Mr. Bannon’s future, the officials said. A person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

Mr. Bannon had clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers and members of the president’s family.

But the loss of Mr. Bannon, the right-wing nationalist who helped propel some of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises into policy reality, raises the potential for the president to face criticism from the conservative news media base that supported him over the past year.

Mr. Bannon’s many critics bore down after the violence in Charlottesville. Outraged over Mr. Trump’s insistence that “both sides” were to blame for the violence that erupted at a white nationalist rally, leaving one woman dead, human rights activists demanded that the president fire so-called nationalists working in the West Wing. That group of hard-right populists in the White House is led by Mr. Bannon.

On Tuesday at Trump Tower in New York, Mr. Trump refused to guarantee Mr. Bannon’s job security but defended him as “not a racist” and “a friend.”

Read the rest:

Related:

t’

Steve Bannon May Be Fired At Any Moment

August 18, 2017

 

Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, in April at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

By ELLIOTKAUFMAN

August 18, 2017 12:14 PM
@ESTERLINGK

Jonathan Swan of Axios, a very fine reporter, has just written that Chief of Staff John Kelly’s review of White House staff is coming to an end — and that Steve Bannon appears to be on the chopping block. “A decision is imminent,” Swan writes.

More fascinating is that the decision seems to rest in Kelly’s hands. Apparently, President Trump now suspects Bannon has been responsible for a series of damaging leaks about his colleagues in the West Wing. His recent on-the-record news dump to a left-wing reporter, in which he bad-mouthed other members of the White House staff, cannot have helped either.

Bannon may still survive, however. Swan notes that he appears unfazed and that Trump will have to consider whether Bannon can damage him from outside the administration, or cost him the support of billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, valuable Trump allies.

Image result for National Review, logo

“Get ready for Bannon the barbarian,” warned a source close to Bannon.

But this may not be enough to save his job: “Many West Wing officials are now asking ‘when,’ not ‘if,’ Bannon goes,” according to Swan.

Chief of Staff Kelly would have good reasons to fire Bannon. As National Review’s David French has written, “Bannon’s actions indicate that, if nothing else, he’s a vicious opportunist.”

This opportunism has led him not only to indulge some of the elements of the hateful alt-right, but also to wage a vicious media campaign against national-security adviser H. R. McMaster, with Bannon’s allies falsely accusing him of being anti-Israel and an alcoholic.

David puts it with characteristic clarity: “Vindictive men who promote the work of racists and normalize their ideas obviously shouldn’t be within 100 miles of political power, never mind two steps from the Oval Office.”

We would do well to remember that as Kelly makes his ultimate decision.

It has become even more difficult to defend Bannon now that, as Charles Krauthammer explained last night, Bannon is openly contradicting the president and attacking other White House staff to left-wing reporters. Kelly will have to keep all of this in mind as he makes his final decision.

Will Bannon be more damaging to the president from the outside than from the inside?

We may soon find out.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/450603/steve-bannon-firing-may-be-imminent

Related:

t’

Trump claims media ‘misrepresent’ his Charlottesville comments

August 17, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | US President Donald Trump denounced what he said was unfair press coverage of his comments in his latest series of tweets
WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Donald Trump took a swing at his favorite punching bag Thursday, claiming his comments about the deadly violence in Charlottesville were misrepresented by media.”The public is learning (even more so) how dishonest the Fake News is. They totally misrepresent what I say about hate, bigotry etc. Shame!,” the US president wrote on Twitter.

One protester was killed in violent clashes between neo-Nazi and so-called “Alt-Right” demonstrators and counter-protesters in the Virginia college town of Charlottesville Saturday.

Both Democrat and Republican politicians criticized Trump’s initial response — when he condemned violence “on all sides” — as inadequate.

On Monday he singled out the Klu Klux and neo-Nazis as “repugnant,” but on Tuesday he returned to his original position and said there had been “blame on both sides.”

Trump’s weak condemnation of the racist far-right set off a political firestorm across the US political spectrum. World leaders also criticized Trump’s response.

The US president also took aim at two fellow Republican senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona.

“Publicity seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists… and people like Ms. Heyer,” Trump said on Twitter.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed in Charlottesville on Saturday when a suspected white nationalist drove his car into a crowd protesting the far-right march.

“Such a disgusting lie,” Trump said. “He just can’t forget his election trouncing. The people of South Carolina will remember!”

Trump appeared to be referring to his defeat of Graham in last year’s presidential primary.

Graham had said the US president “took a step backward” Tuesday “by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally” and people like Heyer.

Trump also blasted Flake, one of the few Republicans openly critical of the president.

“Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He’s toxic!” Trump tweeted.

Flake, who is running for re-election, wrote Tuesday: “We can’t accept excuses for white supremacy & acts of domestic terrorism. We must condemn. Period.”

He followed that up Wednesday by tweeting “We can’t claim to be the party of Lincoln if we equivocate in condemning white supremacy.”

Abraham Lincoln, the US president who freed the slaves and defeated the southern confederacy in the 1861-1865 civil war, is a prominent Republican and one of the most revered figures in US history.

Trump Gets New Reasons To Fire Steve Bannon After White House Aide Gives Interview

August 17, 2017

Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, in April at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

Washington (CNN)  Steve Bannon disparaged the mindset that motivates white supremacists in an interview published Wednesday, calling the group “a collection of clowns.”

.

“Ethno-nationalism — it’s losers,” Bannon reportedly said in an interview published by the progressive magazine American Prospect.
.
The White House chief strategist’s comments follow a weekend of turmoil in the United States after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent and forced a state of emergency. One woman was killed and several of her fellow counter-protesters were injured when a car plowed through a crowd. In the days following the incident, President Donald Trump made a series of remarks — some off the cuff — that were strongly rebuked by politicians from both sides of the aisle.
The former editor of the far-right news website Breitbart is a controversial figure within the White House.
.
A source close to Bannon told CNN he did not believe he was being interviewed when he spoke with the co-founder and co-editor of the American Prospect earlier this week.
“It was no interview,” the source said.
.
Bannon and the White House did not immediately respond to CNN’s requests for comment.
.
Earlier this week, Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida, named Bannon and Stephen Miller as individuals he thought were trying to accommodate the alt-right or white nationalists from within the West Wing, and advised the President to stop listening to them.
.
But Bannon’s comments to the Prospect pushed back on that notion.
.
“It’s a fringe element,” Bannon told the magazine’s co-founder Robert Kuttner about white nationalists within Trump’s base. “I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more.”
.
He added: “These guys are a collection of clowns.”
.
Kuttner wrote that Bannon never asked for his remarks to be off the record.
.
“The question of whether the phone call was on or off the record never came up. This is also puzzling, since Steve Bannon is not exactly Bambi when it comes to dealing with the press. He’s probably the most media-savvy person in America,” Kuttner wrote.
.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/16/politics/steve-bannon-interview-white-supremacy/index.html

.

********************************************

Bannon Mocks Colleagues and ‘Alt-Right’ in Interview

Steve Bannon: Trump says “we’ll see what happens”

August 16, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump is saying “we’ll see what happens” with top strategist Steve Bannon.

The president refused to express confidence in Bannon during an impromptu news conference Tuesday.

Image result for Steve Bannon, photos

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon attends a ceremony in the Rose Garden where Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch was administered the judicial oath at the White House April 10, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

“He’s a good person. He actually gets very unfair press in that regard,” Trump said. “But we’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.”

Bannon was a key general election campaign adviser and has been a forceful but contentious presence in a divided White House. The former leader of conservative Breitbart News has drawn fire from some of Trump’s closest advisers, including son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Though Bannon has survived being on the outs at earlier points in the administration, the president is being pressed anew to fire him. The anti-Bannon campaign comes as Trump is facing heated criticism for not immediately condemning by name white supremacists and other hate groups after deadly violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Bannon once described Breitbart as “the platform for the alt-right.”

Speaking to reporters in Trump Tower, the president said Bannon is a friend and “not a racist.”

White nationalist Richard Spencer reacted to the US president’s belated condemnation of white supremacist groups, claiming the remarks were “not terribly different” from earlier ones that drew criticism for failing to condemn hate groups. (Aug. 15)

That less-than-enthusiastic defense called into question Bannon’s own assessment of the situation: He had been telling people that he believed his job was safe, following a conversation in recent days with new chief of staff John Kelly, according to a White House official who demanded anonymity to discuss private exchanges.

The decision whether to drop Bannon is more than just a personnel matter. The media guru is viewed in some circles as Trump’s connection to his base and the protector of Trump’s disruptive, conservative agenda.

A Tuesday headline on Breitbart equated his potential ouster to the president being urged to “Give Trump Voters Middle Finger.” Ned Ryun, a conservative strategist who occasionally advises the White House, wrote on Twitter, “Cannot tell you how bad a signal it would be to @realdonaldtrump’s base if Bannon is forced out.”

But Bannon’s high profile and puppet-master image have at times irked a president who doesn’t like to share the spotlight and bristles at the suggestion that he needs a liaison to his base.

In April, Trump diminished Bannon’s role to that of “a guy who works for me.”

The president doubled down on that dismissiveness at Tuesday’s press conference, distancing Bannon from his unexpectedly successful presidential campaign.

“I went through 17 senators, governors, and I won all the primaries. Mr. Bannon came on very much later than that,” he said.

Bannon’s supporters say Trump is being urged by advisers such as chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell to fire him.

Kelly has also expressed concerns to Trump about Bannon, and is said to be particularly angry with a flood of negative stories about national security adviser H.R. McMaster that some in the White House believe are being leaked by Bannon. That’s according to two people briefed on the personnel discussions taking place who are not authorized to speak publicly.

Kelly has grown weary of the conservative attacks on McMaster and believes that even if Bannon is not personally responsible for them, he has not done enough to quell them. Bannon has denied being behind the anti-McMaster campaign.

The public squabbling among White House advisers is precisely the sort of drama Kelly was brought in to stop.

The chief of staff is embarking on a weeks-long personnel review of West Wing staff and has indicated to aides that significant changes could be coming, according to an official familiar with Kelly’s plans but not authorized to speak publicly.

Although Bannon enjoys a vocal core of supporters outside the White House, most of Trump’s most trusted advisers long ago soured on him. Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s opposition to Bannon’s West Wing role is well-known, but they’re staying out of personnel decisions about him, according to a White House official.

Bannon’s backers include Rep. Mark Meadows, the head of the House’s Freedom Caucus, an array of Breitbart-like media and the Zionist Organization of America, which has spoken out in opposition to McMaster.

Bannon didn’t respond to requests for comment.

He has told associates that he has no plans to leave the White House and would only do so if Trump fires him. He has been trying to keep a low profile during Trump’s break from Washington and ride out the storm — the same strategy he employed during clashes earlier this year with Kushner.

At the start of the administration, Bannon was its driving force, a near-constant presence in the Oval Office leading the charge to roll back Obama-era regulations and push through the president’s travel ban. Blowback to the botched introduction of the ban, which was rolled out quickly with little outside consultation, angered many in the administration, including Kelly, then head of Homeland Security.

In the hours before Trump spoke to the press Tuesday, Kelly was spotted eating lunch at a nearby hotel with aides. Playing on the TV screen above him was a cable news program with its ticker displaying speculation about Bannon’s future.

Kelly did not look up.

___

Bykowicz reported from Washington. Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace contributed to this report.

Scaramucci warns Trump to beware ‘enemy within’ White House

August 14, 2017

Short-lived communications chief likens himself to Pulp Fiction’s Mr Wolf, called in to clean up dysfunctional White House

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and indoor

Anthony Scaramucci interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on ABC TV. Photograph: Lou Rocco/Getty Images

By

Anthony Scaramucci has claimed that Donald Trump is still fighting an “enemy within” the White House and warned the president to change his strategy if he wanted to bring in his own agenda.

In his first television interview since his short-lived reign as Trump’s communications chief, Scaramucci said the president had done “way better” than he was given credit for in his first seven months in his office.

But asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday if Trump was fighting “an enemy within”, Scaramucci said: “I think there are elements inside of Washington, also inclusive of the White House, that are not necessarily abetting the president’s interests or his agenda. I absolutely believe that, yes.”

Asked to name names, Scaramucci said he had done so – referring to his foul-mouthed outburst against former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon which cost the former banker his job after only 10 days.

“There’s been some strategic changes and my guess is there’ll be more strategic changes. I think the president is getting his arms around the fact that if he wants to prosecute his agenda he’s got to bring in loyalists to him … He’s got to bring in a different strategy to the one he’s been deploying.

“He’s done a tremendous amount. He’s done way better in terms of progress as president than has been prominently displayed and one of my heartbreaks is that I wasn’t able to effectively communicate that to the American people.”

Scaramucci, who refers to himself as The Mooch, then likened himself to the character in the film Pulp Fiction who is called in to clean up the mess of a killing.

“Listen, I saw it more as like Mr Wolf from Pulp Fiction. You know, I really did get a directive from the president. I had a mutual understanding with him. And I was probably running too hard and acting more like a corporate CEO than I was say a political operative, and that is my mistake. And I have to own that.”

But he said the odds were stacked against him succeeding in the role. “There were leaks and there was a repetitive process to try to dislodge me. I made an unforced error. That made it easy to dismiss me,” he said.

Scaramucci said he had underestimated his enemies and warned the president not to make the same mistake.

“The president is not a representative of the political establishment class,” he said. “And so for whatever reason, people have made a decision that they want to eject him.

“It’s almost like he’s opened up the door now for America’s CEOs and America’s billionaires to enter the Washington political system. I see it as a strong CEO that’s now the American president that’s making counterintuitive decisions that may not be liked by the members of the media, but may be in the best interests of the people of the United States.”

However, he also implied that Bannon was one of those trying to undermine the president.

“At the end of the day, I think the president has a very good idea of who the leakers are inside the White House. The president has a very good idea of the people that are undermining his agenda that are serving their own interests,” Scaramucci said.

Read the rest:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/14/anthony-scaramucci-warns-trump-to-beware-enemy-within

Donald Trump’s Charlottesville Comments Draw the Attention of Cartoonists

August 13, 2017

Image may contain: one or more people and closeup

BY HAGAY HACOHEN, SHOSHANA KRANISH
The Jerusalem Post
 AUGUST 13, 2017 07:58

 

After violent clashes in Charlottesville in which one woman died, US president denounced violence ‘on many sides.’

US President Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, US July 2

US President Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, US July 25, 2017. (photo credit:REUTERS)

In a televised announcement, Trump told reporters that he condemned the “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” Trump’s decision not to specifically condemn the white supremacy rally where the violence occurred has earned him scorn.

We must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST.

John Cole, a Pennsylvania-based editorial cartoonist, tweeted four drawings. One depicted a man wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat – a hallmark of Trump’s campaign and presidency – with a Hitler-esque mustache, standing in front of an American flag while performing a Nazi salute. Another showed Trump standing in front of a crowd of KKK members and other assumed white supremacists, with his arms opened to a Black couple, encouraging them to join him. One of the cartoons was a play on the film The Producers, in which a Jewish accountant helps produce a play about the ‘happy home life of Hitler.’

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

I’ve drawn a few cartoons about @POTUS‘ normalization of white nationalism/neo-nazism. Here are a few. 

Trump’s statement that ”we are all Americans” drew criticism from many people.

The original rally, called ”Unite the Right,” was headlined by prominent white nationalists and neo-Nazis, including Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler. The organizers called the protest against what they saw was an infringement on the rights of white Americans, and a perceived special treatment of people of color and immigrants. The organizers also made explicit their support of the confederacy movement, a modern reincarnation of the original Confederacy.

The Confederacy was a union of slave-holding states that sought to secede from the United States, which led to the American Civil War.

Virginia was an important state in the Confederacy and throughout the South, the memory of the Civil War is a complex issue that deals with states’ rights, racial relations, and politics.

One of the more famous cartoons associated with the alt-right and the neo-Nazi movement during Trump’s campaign was Pepe the Frog, who reportedly made a few appearances at this weekend’s rally.

An alt-right protestor holds a sign depicting Pepe the Frog

An alt-right protestor holds a sign depicting Pepe the Frog
.

Macron Reports Huge EMail Leak — “Massive” Computer Hack — French Asked to Ignore — Election Sunday

May 6, 2017

Reuters

Fri May 5, 2017 | 10:58pm EDT

By Eric Auchard and Bate Felix | FRANKFURT/PARIS

Leading French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign said on Friday it had been the target of a “massive” computer hack that dumped its campaign emails online 1-1/2 days before voters choose between the centrist and his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen.

Macron, who is seen as the frontrunner in an election billed as the most important in France in decades, extended his lead over Le Pen in polls on Friday.

As much as 9 gigabytes of data were posted on a profile called EMLEAKS to Pastebin, a site that allows anonymous document sharing. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for posting the data or if any of it was genuine.

In a statement, Macron’s political movement En Marche! (Onwards!) confirmed that it had been hacked.

“The En Marche! Movement has been the victim of a massive and co-ordinated hack this evening which has given rise to the diffusion on social media of various internal information,” the statement said.

An interior ministry official declined to comment, citing French rules that forbid any commentary liable to influence an election, which took effect at midnight on Friday (2200 GMT).

The presidential election commission said in statement that it would hold a meeting later on Saturday after Macron’s campaign informed it about the hack and publishing of the data.

It urged the media to be cautious about publishing details of the emails given that campaigning had ended, and publication could lead to criminal charges.

Comments about the email dump began to appear on Friday evening just hours before the official ban on campaigning began. The ban is due to stay in place until the last polling stations close Sunday at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT).

Opinion polls show independent centrist Macron is set to beat National Front candidate Le Pen in Sunday’s second round of voting, in what is seen to be France’s most important election in decades. The latest surveys show him winning with about 62 percent of the vote.

RUSSIAN HAND SEEN

Former economy minister Macron’s campaign has previously complained about attempts to hack its emails, blaming Russian interests in part for the cyber attacks.

On April 26, the team said it had been the target of a attempts to steal email credentials dating back to January, but that the perpetrators had failed to compromise any campaign data.

The Kremlin has denied it was behind any such attacks, even though Macron’s camp renewed complaints against Russian media and a hackers’ group operating in Ukraine.

Vitali Kremez, director of research with New York-based cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint, told Reuters his review indicates that APT 28, a group tied to the GRU, the Russian military intelligence directorate, was behind the leak. He cited similarities with U.S. election hacks that have been previously attributed to that group.

APT28 last month registered decoy internet addresses to mimic the name of En Marche, which it likely used send tainted emails to hack into the campaign’s computers, Kremez said. Those domains include onedrive-en-marche.fr and mail-en-marche.fr.

“If indeed driven by Moscow, this leak appears to be a significant escalation over the previous Russian operations aimed at the U.S. presidential election, expanding the approach and scope of effort from simple espionage efforts towards more direct attempts to sway the outcome,” Kremez said.

France is the latest nation to see a major election overshadowed by accusations of manipulation through cyber hacking.

U.S. intelligence agencies said in January that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered hacking of parties tied to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to influence the election on behalf of Republican rival Donald Trump.

On Friday night as the #Macronleaks hashtag buzzed around social media, Florian Philippot, deputy leader of the National Front, tweeted “Will Macronleaks teach us something that investigative journalism has deliberately killed?”

Macron spokesman Sylvain Fort, in a response on Twitter, called Philippot’s tweet “vile”.

En Marche! said the documents only showed the normal functioning of a presidential campaign, but that authentic documents had been mixed on social media with fake ones to sow “doubt and misinformation”.

Ben Nimmo, a UK-based security researcher with the Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council think tank, said initial analysis indicated that a group of U.S. far-right online activists were behind early efforts to spread the documents via social media. They were later picked up and promoted by core social media supporters of Le Pen in France, Nimmo said.

The hashtag #MacronLeaks was first spread by Jack Posobiec, a pro-Trump activist whose Twitter profile identifies him as Washington D.C. bureau chief of the far-right activist site Rebel TV, according to Nimmo and other analysts tracking the election.

Posobiec could not immediately be reached to comment by Reuters.

“You have a hashtag drive that started with the alt-right in the United States that has been picked up by some of Le Pen’s most dedicated and aggressive followers online,” Nimmo told Reuters.

Alt-right refers to a loose-knit group of far-right activists known for their advocacy of extremist ideas, rejection of mainstream conservatism and disruptive social media tactics.

(Reporting by Eric Auchard in Frankfurt, Michel Rose and Bate Felix in Paris, Jim Finkle in Toronto; Writing by Andrew Callus; Editing by Sandra Maler and Nick Macfie)

Senior U.S. Republican Congressman Tweets His Support for Dutch Anti-Islam Politician Geert Wilders — And Catches Hell — “We can’t restore our civilisation with somebody else’s babies.”

March 13, 2017

BBC News

Could disrupt politics across the West…

Geert Wilders (left) listens as Republican Steve King (centre) speaks during a press conference in Washington DC, 30 April 2015

Steve King (centre) met Geert Wilders (left) in 2015 in Washington. GETTY IMAGES

Senior Republican congressman Steve King has sparked a backlash on social media after tweeting his support for the Dutch anti-Islam politician, Geert Wilders.

“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny,” Mr King wrote on Twitter.

“We can’t restore our civilisation with somebody else’s babies,” he added.

The US Republican Representative of Iowa is a strong advocate of putting a stop to birthright citizenship.

All children born in the US currently get citizenship under the constitution, including the children of families living in America illegally.

Mr King has pushed for radical reform of the interpretation of the 14th amendment of the US constitution so that it no longer gives the children of undocumented migrants the right to a US passport.

Silence from Republicans – by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington

It seems Donald Trump is not the only politician who can bring social media to a screeching halt with an inflammatory tweet. Congressman Steve King has a history of walking on the edge of white nationalist rhetoric, and on Sunday afternoon he once again hit the hornet’s nest, perhaps in his most direct manner yet.

The outrage from Democratic politicians and commentators across the political spectrum was quick, ferocious and entirely expected. The bluntness of Mr King’s message, the talk of “our destiny” and “other people’s babies”, ensured a vigorous response.

Of greater interest will be how Republican officeholders handle the controversy. So far they have remained silent. That may be increasingly difficult, as this is yet another indication of the growing bonds between the Trump wing of the Republican Party and white nationalist movements in Europe.

Breitbart, the conservative media outlet recently headed by White House senior advisor Steve Bannon, often sings the praises of Mr Wilders, as well as France’s Marine Le Pen and Frauke Petry, leader of the Alternative for Germany Party.

Mr Bannon has predicted the coming of a new “alt-right” order that will disrupt politics across the West. The question is whether establishment Republicans stay along for the ride.

America’s extremist battle: antifa v alt-right

Who is Donald Trump’s chief strategist?
Mr King’s comments in support of Mr Wilders on Sunday led to accusations that he was “openly peddling white nationalism”.

His post was retweeted by the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, with the words “sanity reigns supreme”.

Mr Duke later tweeted: “God bless Steve King.”

David Duke:

But many were quick to denounce Mr King, including former US President Bill Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, who described the Republican’s comments as “painful”.

Chelsea Clinton writes on Twitter:
Former independent presidential candidate writes:
Twitter user Dan Pfeiffer writes:
Twitter user Reid Ribble writes:

Speaking to the BBC’s Adam Smith last year, Mr King said that “millions” of people were expected to enter the US “illegally and unlawfully” in the years to come, with “a birth rate that exceeds that of the American citizen by a factor of two or more”.

“That their children would all be citizens would be beyond the pale of the imagination of the people who ratified the 14th amendment,” he said.

Mr Wilders, whose populist Freedom Party is expected to do well in Dutch parliamentary elections on Wednesday, has been under 24-hour police protection for more than a decade due to death threats.

He was found guilty of hate speech over his promise to reduce the number of Moroccans in the country last year but no penalty was imposed.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39250251