Pending Lawsuit Seeks to Expose Trump’s Neo-Nazi Connections
US President Donald Trump Has Surrounded Himself With Advisors Who Are Sympathetic to White Supremacist Ideology
A lawsuit pending in federal court in Kentucky since this past April may shed some light on the oppressive executive orders issued recently by President Donald Trump that target refugees worldwide as well as immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations.
The executive orders ban Syrian refugees from entering the US, temporarily suspend all refugee entries into the country and block citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the US for at least 90 days, even if they are legal US residents. The president’s orders left hundreds of people stranded in airports, many fleeing war zones or government persecution in their home countries, sparked nationwide protests and prompted federal judges in four states to issue rulings blocking part of Trump’s orders pending further court review.
Pleadings filed in the Kentucky case contend that it is likely Trump and his inner circle have more than a coincidental relationship with the various white supremacist groups that frequented his election campaign rallies. Recently, Narco News discovered evidence that seems to support that assertion.
If Trump or high-level members of his administration are shown to be in league with neo-Nazi groups in some way, that revelation could prove to be very explosive in the context of the White House’s current attack on immigrant rights.
Assuming the Kentucky litigation survives Trump’s continuing efforts to get it dismissed — which is far from guaranteed — the case would go to the discovery phase. At that point, the attorneys representing the victims in the case — three protestors who claim they were assaulted by neo-Nazis at a Trump campaign rally — would have subpoena power to dig into Trump and his campaign-leadership team and expose any communications or direct relationships that might exist between them and neo-Nazi groups around the country.
Since his election, Trump has nominated or appointed some half dozen people with anti-immigrant backgrounds to high-level positions in his administration. The most recent move was naming Julie Kirchner, former head of a nativist group called the Federation for American Immigration Reform, as chief of staff for US Customs and Border Protection, which plays a major role in enforcing US immigration laws.
“The appointment, reported by multiple sources, suggests that President Trump intends to follow through with his promises to anti-immigrant advocates,” a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which seeks to expose hate groups, said of Kirchner’s appointment. “Throughout his campaign, Trump worked closely with nativist leaders and has appointed individuals such as U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions [US Attorney General nominee] and Mike Pompeo [the new director of the Central Intelligence Agency] who maintain cozy relationships with America’s anti-immigrant movement.”
Other top Trump advisers with nativist histories include Stephen Miller, Sessions’ former communications director; anti-Islamist and retired US Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn; and Steve Bannon, co-founder and former chief of Breitbart News, an online propaganda site that serves as a media platform for white supremacist ideology and the Trump administration.
Bannon in particular brings a lot of neo-Nazi baggage into the White House via the propaganda organ Breitbart News, which was founded in 2007 and led until 2012 by Andrew Breitbart, who, as an indication of his affinity for white supremacist doctrine, expressed admiration for Bannon’s neo-Nazi leanings.
“As a compliment, Andrew Breitbart, the founder of Breitbart News, openly called Bannon the ‘Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement,’ the senior justice writer for the New York Daily News reveals in a recent story. “Leni Riefenstahl was a famous Nazi filmmaker and propagandist. She worked directly with Adolf Hitler. Such a ‘compliment’ blows my mind. No man who has openly received such a compliment should ever be in the Oval Office.”
Breitbart died of an apparent heart attack in the summer of 2012, leaving Bannon to take over the leadership reins at the online news site that regularly twists headlines and story facts to comport with its white supremacist and nativist worldview. Bannon joined the Trump campaign this past summer as campaign chief and post-election became the White House chief strategist and has been taking on an increasingly powerful position in the new Trump administration evern since — most recently being given a role on Trump’s national security team.
What is of interest in the federal lawsuit still pending in Kentucky is that Trump’s attorneys allege that Trump and his campaign staff “had no idea” that white supremacists would be at the campaign rally the day the three protestors were attacked. The event was held at a public venue in Lousiville. In fact, however, there is evidence that one of the alleged assailants, an avowed white supremacist named Matthew Heimbach, founder of the neo-Nazi Traditionalist Workers Party, has links to Breitbart News, which has been a major propaganda organ for the Trump campaign —with Breitbart News staff members even suspecting Trump was paying the site for positive coverage.
Heimback, in his mid-20s, is very vocal about his racism and neo-Nazi ideology and is openly working to recruit new members to the cause by spreading his message of hate via the media and at events around the country. [See 2014 video here.]
Yet, Trump’s attorneys in the Kentucky lawsuit insist Trump and his campaign staff were unaware that members of a white supremacist group would be present at the campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky, this past March.
“Mr. Trump and the campaign could not possibly have known more security might be needed [because they were supposedly unaware of the presence of neo-Nazis at the Louisville rally],” Trump’s pleadings in the Kentucky lawsuit state. “In sum, neither Mr. Trump nor the campaign owed any duty to plaintiffs [the victims assaulted]. It was not reasonably foreseeable that an alleged, avowed white supremacist would attend the rally with the express purpose of recruiting members for his cause.
“…Plaintiffs have pointed to no preexisting relationship between Mr. Trump and the alleged perpetrators … because there is none. Nor have they identified an agreement between Mr. Trump and the alleged perpetrators … because there is none. There is simply no connection between Mr. Trump and these defendants [including Heimbach] and nothing plaintiffs allege shows otherwise.”
The plaintiffs in the court case are three individuals who attended a Trump campaign rally on March 1 in Louisville that was held at the Kentucky International Convention Center. The plaintiffs, one of whom is African American, concede they were at the rally as protestors. The litigation alleges that presidential candidate Trump incited the audience to expel protestors, resulting in the plaintiffs allegedly being assaulted by members of the audience — in particular, by members of Heimbach’s neo-Nazi group, called the Traditionalist Worker Party.
“Instead of allowing his own security, the Secret Service, or [the building’s] security to remove protestors, Trump stopped his half-hour speech five different times to point out protestors and, in most cases, to tell his crowd of supporters to ‘get ‘em out of here,’” the plaintiffs’ state in their initial complaint. “… On or around the time injuries occurred to the plaintiffs … Trump also stated: ‘Don’t hurt ‘em. If I say ‘go get ‘em,’ I get in trouble with the press, the most dishonest human beings in the world.’”
The plaintiffs’ pleadings continue: “Trump went on to state: ‘In the old days, which isn’t so long ago, when we were less politically correct, that kinda stuff wouldn’t have happened. Today we have to be so nice, so nice. We always have to be so nice.’ Then Trump went into a discussion about waterboarding, and how it is ‘absolutely fine.’”
After Trump riled up the crowd against them at the Louisville rally, the three protestors bringing the lawsuit were forcibly ejected by members of Trump’s audience, with several individuals from the Traditionalist Worker Party, including Heimbach, allegedly shoving and pushing them out of the building and punching one of the plaintiffs in the stomach at one point, the litigation alleges.
A good portion of the assault on plaintiff Kashiya Nwanguma, a 21-year-old African American female and a student at the University of Louisville, was captured on video. [Links to video clips here.]
Trump claims that his speech is protected by the First Amendment and also denies that his words at the Louisville campaign rally in any way incited the crowd to violence, and he also insists that he was directing his orders to remove protestors to security personnel and not the general audience. Heimbach also claims the plaintiffs’ allegations against him are without merit. The attorneys for the three plaintiffs dispute those assertions.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages for their “injuries, emotional distress, humiliation and mental anguish” as well as punitive damages and recovery of court costs.
Contrary to claims by Trump’s attorneys, however, it turns out, that Heimbach does have a history with the Trump-connected Breitbart News, a major cogin Trump’s election-campaign efforts — and in his administration’s ongoing propaganda efforts.
“Photos published by the anti-racist organization One People's Project showed [Bannon associate and Breitbart News founder Andrew] Breitbart hobnobbing with YWC [Youth for Western Civilization] leader Matthew Heimbach, who has recently come out as a full-fledged Nazi, at an Americans for Prosperity gathering,” the Southern Poverty Law Center reported in 2014. Americans for Prosperity is a conservative political-advocacy group funded, in part, by the Koch brothers.
Now, a photo of Breitbart News' founder smiling for the camera with an avowed neo-Nazi does seem to fly in the face of the assertions by Trump’s attorneys in the Kentucky lawsuit that there is no evidence of any kind pointing to a relationship between the Trump campaign and the neo-Nazis (including Heimbach) who were at the rally in Louisville this past March where three protestors claim they were assaulted. In fact, the photo is evidence that Heimbach had contact with Andrew Breitbart, who, along with Bannon, is at the heart of Breitbart News — with Bannon taking the reigns as executive chairman of the media site after Breitbart’s death some five years ago.
The depth and nature of the relationship between Breitbart News and the Traditionalist Workers Party’s Heimbach, and whether it extended to other neo-Nazis, merits more exploration, given the recent executive orders banning refugees as well as immigrants from seven Muslim-dominant Middle Eastern and African nations from entering the country — orders that Bannon allegedly played a key role in executing.
Interestingly, Trump's ban does not apply to the Muslim-majority countries that were the home nations for the 19 terrorists involved in the Sept. 11 attacks — and where Trump also has business interests — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.
Under Bannon, Breitbart News became the mouthpiece for a revived white supremacy movement in the US, which has embraced the term “alt-right” as a means of disguising its ugly racist and nativist ideology.
The pleadings of the victims of the campaign-rally assault in Louisville, as evidence of the pattern of violence that was present at candidate Trump’s campaign events, list multiple incidents of verbal and physical assaults — most involving racial animus — that occurred at Trump rallies, including the following:
September 3, 2015, in New York: Trump security guard punched a protester in the face after the demonstrator approached the guard to retrieve his sign;
Oct. 14, 2015, in Richmond, Virginia: Trump supporters shoved and took signs from a group of immigration activists, and spit in a protester’s face;
Oct. 23, 2015, in Miami, Florida: A man at a Trump rally knocked down and kicked a Latino protester.
Dec. 3, 2015, in New York City: A security guard took a sign from and struck an immigration activist during a protest after a Trump event;
Dec. 11, 2015, in New York City: Protesters affiliated with various Arab-American and Muslim-American groups were "forcibly ejected" from a fundraiser at which Trump was speaking; and
Dec. 14, 2015, in Las Vegas: Trump supporters yelled "Sieg Heil" and "light the motherfucker on fire" toward a black protester who was being physically removed by security staffers.
In the week following Trump’s election this past November, attacks and violence against people of color and Muslims skyrocketed, a pattern that has continued into his presidency.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported that there were 437 incidents of intimidation between the election, on November 8th, and November 14th, targeting blacks and other people of color, Muslims, immigrants, the L.G.B.T. community, and women,” the New Yorker reported.
In fact, hours after Trump signed the recent anti-immigrant executive orders targeting people from Muslim nations, a mosque in Victoria, Texas, was torched.
The photo of the neo-Nazi Heimbach with Breitbart News’ founder can’t be dismissed out of hand as irrelevant, given Bannon’s neo-Nazi associations and his powerful position in the Trump administration, and considering the white supremacist leanings of other high-level Trump appointees — and the fact that, since his election, two additional Breitbart News staff members also have been given positions in the Trump’s White House. The recent punitive executive orders issued by Trump targeting immigrants based on nationality and religion also make shining a light on his administration’s neo-Nazi ties even more imperative.
If the plaintiffs in the Kentucky federal lawsuit do succeed in moving the case to the discovery phase, one angle of attack likely will be to probe deeply the connections between the Trump campaign and white supremacist groups — to determine if the violence endemic to Trump campaign rallies in the run-up to the presidential election was part of an organized pattern —and one that could still be in play.
The plaintiffs’ pleadings assert that “Trump’s foreknowledge of his rally’s attendees is not at all ‘undisputed.’ The connection between the Trump campaign and [white supremacist] groups like [the Traditionalist Worker Party] was well-documented even before the Louisville rally on March 1.”
The pleadings reference multiple news stories about the support Trump's campaign has garnered from white nationalists and neo-Nazi organizations.
“Indeed, it is likely that white supremacists have been present and highly visible at virtually every Trump campaign event, as they were at the Louisville rally,” the plaintiffs allege. “Under these circumstances, it is highly likely that Trump knew (and knows) his audience.”
In a footnote in the pleadings, the plaintiffs point out that it is highly suspect that Trump “did not notice [or] did not anticipate that [white supremacists] were likely to attack one of the only Black people in attendance at the slightest provocation.”
“These are issues for discovery,” the footnote states further. “For what it’s worth, plaintiffs doubt it [that Trump was unaware of the presence of white supremacist at his campaign rallies].”
The footnote also references a Los Angeles Times story in which a former Trump associate states the following: “What Trump’s opponents and critics have failed to understand is that everything he does is strategic.”
As of today, Jan. 29, the Kentucky lawsuit is still pending in federal court, awaiting the judge’s ruling on a request by the plaintiff’s to depose Trump under oath.
“Neither Mr. Trump’s status as president-elect, nor his inauguration as president, immunizes him from plaintiffs’ claims in this case,” attorneys for the assault victims claim. “… Plaintiffs have offered to depose Mr. Trump at a place and time of his choosing. His counsel has demurred, citing the pending motions to dismiss.”
Major Pleadings in the Case to Date