Democracy Now!

Steve Bannon

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  • We look at Robert Mercer, the man who is said to have out-Koched the Koch brothers in the 2016 election. The secretive billionaire hedge-fund tycoon, along with his daughter Rebekah, is credited by many with playing an instrumental role in Donald Trump’s election. "The Mercers laid the groundwork for the Trump revolution," Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon said. "Irrefutably, when you look at donors during the past four years, they have had the single biggest impact of anybody, including the Kochs." Before Bannon and Kellyanne Conway joined the Trump campaign, both worked closely with the Mercers. The Mercers bankrolled Bannon’s Breitbart News, as well as some of Bannon’s film projects. Conway ran a super PAC created by the Mercers to initially back the candidacy of Ted Cruz. While the Mercers have helped reshape the American political landscape, their work has all been done from the shadows. To talk more about the Mercers, we speak with Jane Mayer, staff writer at The New Yorker. Her latest piece is headlined "The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency: How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency." She is also author of "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right," which just came out in paperback.

  • One of the more mysterious parts of the Mercer family’s political orbit is Cambridge Analytica. The data firm claims it has psychological profiles of over 200 million American voters. The firm was hired by the Trump campaign to help it target its message to potential voters. The Mercers have bankrolled the company and placed Steve Bannon on its board. We speak to The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer.

  • The battle between Donald Trump and the press escalated Thursday after one of Trump’s top advisers called the media the opposition party. In a rare interview with The New York Times, Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, said, "The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while." Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, added, "I want you to quote this. The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States." We speak to reporter Sarah Posner, who interviewed Bannon in July. In August, she wrote a headline-grabbing article for Mother Jones about Steve Bannon titled "How Donald Trump’s New Campaign Chief Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists."

  • A video leaked Monday from a self-proclaimed "alt-right" conference that took place over the weekend in Washington, D.C., shows hundreds gathering to celebrate Donald Trump’s victory and raising their arms in the traditional Nazi salute and saying "Heil victory!" Leaders of the alt-right movement have been emboldened since Trump’s election, particularly since he named Steve Bannon to become his chief strategist after first being his campaign manager. Bannon is the former head of the right-wing news outlet Breitbart Media. We speak with Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot professor of Holocaust studies at Emory University, who says Bannon’s appointment is "the most depressing of almost anything I’ve heard thus far." Lipstadt is also the subject of a feature film now in theaters called "Denial," which is based on a court case in which she was sued by a leading Holocaust denier.

  • Senator Bernie Sanders gave his first major address since the election on Wednesday night. Since challenging Clinton in the Democratic primary, he has emerged as one of the most powerful Democrats in Washington. On Wednesday, he was named to a leadership post in the Senate—chair of outreach—and was reappointed ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. During his speech, Sanders said he hopes to work with the president-elect on a number of issues, and called on Trump to rescind his decision to make Steve Bannon his chief strategist. Bannon is the former head of Breitbart News.

  • Larry Cohen, who served as a senior adviser to Bernie Sanders and is now the board chair of Our Revolution, says Donald Trump’s appointment of Breitbart News’ Steve Bannon as his chief strategist means he has "an enemy of the people, a divider of the nation" in a leading position in his administration.

  • As the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center are slamming President-elect Donald Trump for naming Stephen Bannon to become his chief strategist, we speak with SPLC President Richard Cohen about Bannon’s role as former head of the right-wing news outlet Breitbart Media and as Trump’s campaign manager. "Two weeks after the Charleston massacre, [Breitbart News] ran an article talking about how people should proudly fly the Confederate flag," Cohen says. He argues that the alt-right that Breitbart is associated with "is nothing more than the rebranding of white supremacy, white nationalism, for the digital age," and calls on President-elect Trump to "speak out forcefully against all forms of bigotry, and then he has to follow talk with the walk."

  • Editor’s Note: On Nov. 13, President-elect Donald Trump named Steve Bannon his top policy advisor. This interview was conducted on Aug. 24 shortly after Trump named Bannon to be his chief strategist and senior counselor.

    Last week, Donald Trump once again upended his campaign team and named Stephen Bannon, the head of Breitbart Media, to be his campaign chief. Breitbart regularly sparks controversy with headlines such as "Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy," "Trannies Whine About Hilarious Bruce Jenner Billboard" and "Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew." In a new article published by Mother Jones, investigative journalist Sarah Posner writes, "By bringing on Stephen Bannon, Trump was signaling a wholehearted embrace of the 'alt-right,' a once-motley assemblage of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, ethno-nationalistic provocateurs who have coalesced behind Trump and curried the GOP nominee’s favor on social media." For more, we speak to Sarah Posner and Heather McGhee of Demos.

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