Russia, it’s all the rage. For a country of 140 million people subsisting off an economy, the size of Italy’s, one wonders how they find the time to stir up so much shit. Administering booster shots to fascist electoral hopes across Europe, annexing territories on a whim. Oh, and who could forget their
Oh, and who could forget their master stroke. Handing the White House to an aging Lothario with a messianic complex so intense that he probably things that Christ was some kind of latter-day, wannabe Trump.
There has to be a ceiling to all this madness.
Take Steve Bannon for example. Anti-semite, senior adviser to the president, ex-head of Breitbart News Network and answer to the question ‘what would afterbirth look like if it achieved self-awareness?’ Questions surrounding his actual role within the administration took an odd turn yesterday when allegations that he too might be working for a foreign government surfaced.
Only this time the country in question was Egypt.
Hawk Like An Egyptian
According to the Daily Beast, a former Breitbart writer recently wrote to the DOJ warning that the site had been cutting…
“…shady deals with its landlord, a wealthy Egyptian politician.”
The landlord in question was one Moustafa El-Gindy, an Egyptian and anti-Muslim Brotherhood campaigner with something of a colorful political past. Indeed, according to a Buzz Feed report, over the years he has tried to:
“Institute the traditional jalabiya as national dress; was among a delegation visiting Gaza and meeting with Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political wing; and attempted to trigger a Ministry of Culture investigation into a book about the sexual life of the prophet Muhammad. Last year, El-Gindy opposed a natural gas deal with Israel, saying he was against “normalization” with Israel. El-Gindy, a member of parliament, has gone through several political iterations.”
Still, if it’s no crime to rent a building from a dodgy landlord. If it were, Trump tower would be a vacant lot.
So why all the fuss?
Denial And It’s Many Tributaries
The issue seems to stem around the apparent swankiness of the Capital Hill property that Breitbart operates out. According to the documents submitted to the DOJ not only is the building:
“An extraordinarily expensive property to rent,” but that it would be, “highly improbable that BNN was not benefiting from some substantial discounts in its leasing costs.”
Alas for Bannon the allegations seem to place him on the wrong side of that ‘highly improbable,’ line of demarcation.
The letter itself was unequivocal on the matter reporting that Breitbart has been:
“Providing highly favorable coverage of El Gindy and publishing articles that advance his and his party’s agenda.”
Furthermore, the author of the letter alleges that the news network helped to disseminate:
“What FARA would regard as propaganda on behalf of a foreign principle for financial benefit, and not merely as a financially unconnected news source.”
Act Of Contrition
The Foreign Agents Relations Act is quite clear on such matters:
“FARA is a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principles in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts, and disbursements in support of those activities.”
The penalty for not doing so is a fine of up to $10,000 or up to five years in prison.
Lock Him Up?
There are of course a few hurdles to leap over before those who oppose Bannon get too excited.
To begin with, the Department of Justice is run by Donald Trump himself and his track record with doing the ‘right thing,’ when it comes to conflicts of interest is patchy at best. Secondly, the burden of proof surrounding such cases is unusually stringent; there hasn’t been a successful criminal prosecution since 1966.
Still, civil actions are relatively common and the thought of yet another of Trump’s inner circle being dragged before Congress is a tantalizing one.
One that tells us something we already know about the Trump administration.
That Duck is lame.
Watch this short British Documentary on Bannon:
Featured image from YouTube video.