Here’s How President Bannon Is Attacking Trump’s Russian Scandals Today

Trump strategist Steve Bannon

It is the first regular news day since Steve Bannon took charge of the Donald Trump administration’s public relations fight against the Russian influence scandals that have immolated the White House, so the lies are already flying thick and fast.

Relying on a single anonymous White House source “familiar with the matter,” today Fox News has tried to deny the story that Jared Kushner asked Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about using secure phone lines in the Russian embassy. In this revised version of the story, Kislyak was the one who proposed the idea:

During the meeting the Russians broached the idea of using a secure line between the Trump administration and Russia, not Kushner, a source familiar with the matter told Fox News. That follows a recent report from The Washington Post alleging that Kushner wanted to develop a secure, private line with Russia.

The idea of a permanent back channel was never discussed, according to the source. Instead, only a one-off for a call about Syria was raised in the conversation.

Of course, the original story in the Post has many sources who are familiar with the intercepted discussions between Kislyak and Moscow regarding his meeting with Kushner. In those communications, the ambassador was reportedly “taken aback” by Kushner’s proposal. It is absurd to think that he would lie to the Kremlin about who proposed what. And nobody said anything about Kushner pursuing a “permanent” backchannel, just a very very sketchy one.

This is disinformation, and it has Bannon’s dirty fingerprints all over it. If he is not the unnamed source for the Fox News story, then the source is clearly working at his direction in the new White House fake news factory. Trump retweeted the link moments after publication:

But the star of ‘Presidential Apprentice’ does not like to let someone else control his message, so he’s taken a hands-on approach to the social media side of this battle.

To amplify his message, Donald Trump added millions of new ‘bot’ followers to his Twitter account over the weekend. Trump has always had lots of phony followers. In fact, he had more of them than any other candidate last year.

But according to, as of today 51% of his followers are fake accounts — just like the ones that always make Russian propaganda trend at election time.

Can Steve Bannon keep up with the pace of new bombshells about close Trump associates coming under law enforcement scrutiny? Can a larger Twitter following drown out the drip, drip, drip of Russia-related revelations? It remains to be seen, but the work has clearly begun. Maybe they can catch up.

Featured image via Don Irvine Flickr under Creative Commons license

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