Nigel Farage is a person of interest into the FBI’s investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia.
“Sources with knowledge of the investigation said the former Ukip leader had raised the interest of FBI investigators because of his relationships with individuals connected to both the Trump campaign and Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder whom Farage visited in March.”
Farage has not as of yet been accused of any wrongdoing. The FBI label ‘person of interest’ only denotes that a given person might have information they are seeking. But with a UK election just days away, bitter divisions over Brexit look set to polarize even further.
Because Farage seems to be the focus of a lot of unwanted attention. Sources who spoke to the Guardian claimed that his connection to Trump first drew suspicion:
“One of the things the intelligence investigators have been looking at is points of contact and persons involved,” one source said. “If you triangulate Russia, WikiLeaks, Assange, and Trump associate the person who comes up with the most hits is Nigel Farage. He’s right in the middle of these relationships. He turns up over and over again. There’s a lot of attention being paid to him.”
The source also mentioned Farage’s links with Roger Stone, Trump’s long-time political adviser who has admitted being in contact with Guccifer 2.0, a hacker whom U.S. intelligence agencies believe to be a Kremlin agent.
Trump jumped into the Brexit debate back in March when he said:
“I think they (Britain) may leave the EU, yes, they’re having a lot of problems.”
Having correctly identified one of the possible outcomes of the referendum, he preceded to set out his reasoning in a typically robust way. He commented on the vote, insisted that he did not want to comment on the vote, then immediately commented on it again, saying:
“I think they may leave based on – I’m there a lot, I have a lot of investments in the UK and I will tell you that I think they may leave based on everything I’m hearing.”
Shortly after the results of the referendum came in Trump treated it as something of a personal victory.
They will soon be calling me MR. BREXIT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2016
Time passed. Nobody called him that.
The Lies That Bind
His links to Farage are convoluted, to say the least.
Back in August 2016, Farage attended a Trump rally in Mississippi where he was introduced by Trump as:
“The man behind Brexit, and the man who led – brilliantly – the United Kingdom Independence Party, and won despite all odds, despite horrible name-calling, despite so many obstacles.”
Farage’s message to the gathered faithful mirrored Trump’s own take on the political world; right-wing ambition fueled by populist anti-establishment rhetoric:
“We reached those people who’ve been let down by modern global corporatism. We reached those people who have never voted in their lives, but believed that by going out and voting for Brexit, they could take back control of their country, take back control of their borders, and get back their pride and self-respect.”
In October he was in St Louis, Missouri helping Trump prepare for a televised debate and was quick to defend Trump’s pussy grabbing comments. He refused to draw a distinction between male bravado and casual discussion of sexual assault opining that:
“Look, this is alpha male boasting. It’s the kind of thing, if we are being honest, that men do. They sit around and have a drink and they talk like this.”
It was Farage — and not British Prime Minster Theresa May — who was the first British politician to meet Donald Trump following his election victory. Which is hardly surprising considering how much the pair have in common. They both hold Russian President Vladimir Putin in the highest regard.
Indeed, in a 2014 interview Farage admitted that Putin was the man he admired most in the world.
Despite having told assembled journalists he was only a “tourist” as he entered Trump Tower in November, he paid visits on at least two other occasions raising speculation that he had been given a new role advising on UK/US trade deals. Shortly after, Trump made it known that he would like to keep Farage close to his bosom.
Many people would like to see @Nigel_Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2016
The British government declined since it was, as The Guardian pointed out:
“Unprecedented for an incoming US president to ask a world leader to appoint an opposing party leader as ambassador, and the statement puts (Prime Minister) May in a difficult position.”
By January Farage had secured a lucrative deal with Fox News as a political commentator and was boasting that he was:
“Treated like a ‘rock star’ in the U.S.,” and that there was a “Huge temptation to up sticks and move to America.”
All of which sounds like one hell of a reward for simply agreeing with Trump on a number of key — yet ill-defined — policy matters. Still, at least it fits well within an easily observed pattern of behavior.
During the same week one-time French presidential hopeful and now soundly defeated fascist Marine Le Penn also paid a low-key, off the record visit to Trump Tower.
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) January 12, 2017
Le Penn declined to say whether she was there to see President-elect Donald Trump or not. The Trump team however, well aware of Le Penn’s financial dependence on Russian loans were quick to stamp out any rumors. They insisted that there would be:
Sean Spicer also jumped into the fray, re-tweeting a post by CNN’s Noah Gray.
.@seanspicer tells me Marine le Pen is NOT meeting w/ PEOTUS or anyone else from transition team. Adds “Trump Tower is open to the Public”
— Noah Gray (@NoahGrayCNN) January 12, 2017
Still, unconfirmed reports suggested that the man to Ms. Le Pen’s right in the photo was Guido “George” Lombardi.
Lombardi has links to a number of right-wing European parties. He also works as an adviser for Mr. Trump. Not that Le Penn was the only far right Putin-linked fascist that team Trump courted.
As Liberal America reported last January:
“Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of Austria’s far-right FPÖ a party founded by former SS officers ( yes, actual honest to goodness, ethnic-cleansing, skulls-on-their-hats Nazis,) were treated as a welcome addition to Trump’s inner circle.”
Austrian Freedom Party leadership MP's here to celebrate Trump inauguration. Hofer, Strache, Karlsboeck w/King, Blackburn, Bachmann, etc. pic.twitter.com/Hdb86Tzg4q
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) January 19, 2017
What Lies Beneath
Of course, We have the denials.
Farage’s spokesman denied any contact with Russian officials, and described the Guardian’s questions about his activities as:
“Verging on the hysterical. Nigel has never been to Russia, let alone worked with their authorities.”
However, according to the Guardian:
“He did not respond to questions about whether Farage was aware of the FBI inquiry; had hired a lawyer in connection to the matter; or when Farage first met Trump.”
“The spokesman also declined to comment on whether Farage had received compensation from the Russian state-backed media group RT for his media appearances. RT, which has featured Farage about three times over the last 18 months, also declined to comment, citing confidentiality.”
As has been noted, Russian president Vladimir Putin covets a weak and divided Europe. He has scored some victories over the past few years. Trump won the election. Unwitting dupe or active thrall he’s the guy sitting in the White House. The creation of a transatlantic alliance intent on turning the clock back to the 1930’s is real.
The alliance dreams of a world where people are hypnotized by the illusory magnificence of their own nationality. Of a world of Brexit where people sacrifice hard-won labor rights in exchange for watery promises of national purity. It is a world of Muslim bans, a place where people willingly give up rights in return for handfuls of placebos.
But mostly, it is a world of organized chaos, a world of nation-states and war. A world where the supra-national organizations capable of dealing with existential threats like climate change are dismantled and in their place, there is only the nation-state.
Warring, fractious, and above all, fascist.
Watch Farage gush over Trump’s magnificence.