The podcast, hosted by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, is the media home of a sprawling right-wing initiative known as Project 2025 that aims to prepare policy briefs and staffing assignments should a Republican win the presidency in next year’s election.
Bannon’s show, War room, is a center of election denial, anti-immigrant bigotry and promises of retaliation against insufficiently loyal Republicans – all hallmarks of former President Donald Trump’s first term and his campaign to retake the White House. Despite being isolated from Trump at times, Bannon is once again “one of Trump’s top advisers,” according to ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.
A leading advocate for the MAGA wing of the conservative movement, Bannon has been a champion of Project 2025, organized by the increasingly far-right think tank The Heritage Foundation. The initiative has brought together more than 80 groups to provide far-right staffing and white paper proposals for Trump — or another Republican administration — should he win next November.
Accordingly The Washington PostTrump and his allies in Project 2025 “have begun to lay out concrete plans to use the federal government to punish critics and opponents if he wins a second term, with the former president naming people he is investigating or who he is investigating.” “He may invoke the Insurrection Act on his first day in office to allow him to use the military against civilian demonstrations.”
From his place War roomBannon has tried to normalize all of these ideas: deploying the military against protesters, arming the Justice Department against critics, and replacing the federal civil service with loyalist reactionaries.
Jeffrey Clark, whom Trump sought to install as acting attorney general in January 2021, was there War room several times this year and will also reportedly “lead work on the Insurrection Act as part of Project 2025,” according to the post. A Heritage spokesman said this post that “there are no plans under Project 2025 related to the Insurrection Act or targeting political enemies.”
Despite Heritage’s denials, Clark — who is widely believed to be an unindicted co-conspirator in special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of Trump for attempting to overturn the 2020 election — has said he supported using the military to suppress dissent Opinions supported. In July, Clark performed War room to explain how he had advocated for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act in response to racial justice protests in the summer of 2020.
“I was actually invited to a meeting to discuss how to proceed in this regard — what I would call an insurrection because it happened night after night,” Clark recalled Bannon saying.
“Remember it [former Attorney General William] “Barr is the person who, as attorney general, participated in the use of the Insurrection Act against the riots in Los Angeles following the Rodney King case,” Clark said. “Why was the unrest not addressed with the same aggressiveness that occurred across the country in the summer of 2020?”
Referring to a memo he wrote to Barr that contained “some very creative ideas about enforcing the law against these rioters,” Clark added emphatically: “If you want to see the legal advice I gave, that’s all.” redacted.” This suggested that he had supported the use of the military against civilian demonstrators.
The following month, Smith filed charges against Trump for his actions in overturning the results of the 2020 election. Clark was reportedly referred to in the indictment as “unindicted co-conspirator No. 4” and is said to have suggested that Trump use the military against civilians. On January 3, 2021, White House Counsel Patrick Philbin told Clark – who had just accepted the post of acting attorney general – that if Trump and Clark’s coup plans were implemented, “it would happen in every major city in the United States “Unrest would come.”
“Well…that’s why there’s an insurrection law,” Clark replied.
In the July Bannon interview, Clark also rejected the conventional wisdom that the Justice Department is — or should be — independent of political pressure from the White House. Clark said the Justice Department should not be shielded, as most presidents did after Richard Nixon targeted his enemies during the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s.
Previous administrations have adopted “post-Watergate norms” that say the president cannot actually make decisions about law enforcement, Clark said. “It’s ridiculous, it’s unconstitutional, and the reason they’re collapsing, Steve, is because the kingpin of the administrative state is the Justice Department.”
“To say that the Justice Department is not independent is kind of the ultimate heresy,” Clark added. “These are all just post-Watergate norms.” Who cares about post-Watergate norms?”
Clark is a fellow at the Center for Renewing America, a MAGA-aligned think tank run by Christian nationalist Russ Vought – another key player in Project 2025 and frequent War room Guest. Vought wrote the second chapter of Project 2025’s “Mandate for Leadership,” a combination manifesto and blueprint detailing how the coalition would approach the next Republican administration. In his chapter, Vought makes a broad criticism of career employees in executive departments and agencies, writing that “many agencies are not only too big and powerful, but are increasingly being used as a weapon against the public and a president who is elected by the people and over Power to govern through the Constitution.”
Vought’s argument flows directly from Bannon’s longstanding goal of “deconstructing the administrative state.” In an interview on War room, Vought advocated for a change in budget rules that would allow Congress to target individual government workers, potentially defunding them, cutting their pay or even firing them. He is also a proponent of using the so-called “Schedule F” to reclassify federal employees as freelance workers, an open attack on public unions and career employees.
Vought is particularly interested in transforming the Justice Department into a much more reactionary institution, and his think tank has made it clear that its goal is to use the FBI against its political enemies. As he told him post: “You need an attorney general and a White House law firm that don’t see themselves as trying to protect the department from the president.”
On November 6, Bannon announced a name for attorney general that would fit this list: “Jeff Clark, you are on Trump’s short list to be attorney general, and I mean the very short list.” Bannon has Clark was nominated for the role at least once earlier this year and suggested that disgraced former national security adviser and QAnon supporter Michael Flynn serve as defense secretary.
But Bannon isn’t just participating in a fantasy football-style draft – he’s interviewed Paul Dans, director of Project 2025, several times this year. While this is a far cry from making Flynn secretary of defense, it is a sign that Bannon’s personnel preferences should not simply be dismissed as the rants of a crackpot.
“Let me just say it [War Room] Posse: The Posse has landed at Heritage and I really respect what your program is doing,” Dans gushed during an appearance in June. “I have been a supporter since 2020.”
Dans added, with a tip of the hat to Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts: “He brought me in in April. I started playing that War room in May. We learned the word “based” and it spread throughout the building. But we’re really taking ownership of America First and shaping it throughout the movement.”
In September, Dans was back on the show promising to decimate the federal public service by laying off thousands of workers. “From 2025 we will flood the zone,” said Dans. “There will be more than 3,000 people.”
“Schedule F is one of our tools, but the Schedule F proposal is really just: Look, if you come into the office every morning, federal employee, and you’re responsible for the policies, you’re not guaranteed that.” “If you’re on this “If you go out in the afternoon, you have to do your job,” Dans continued. “You have to perform. You become an at-will employee like the rest of us in real life, you know? Let’s make it look a lot more like America.”
“Amen,” Bannon repeated as Dans spoke.
According to the Post, one of the main goals of another Trump administration and Project 2025 is to investigate “former officials and allies who criticized his tenure, including his former chief of staff John F. Kelly and former Attorney General William P. Barr.” War room often gives in to these impulses.
On June 12, Bannon baselessly argued that FBI Director Christopher Wray and former Attorney General Bill Barr had suppressed evidence proving that Joe Biden and his family had committed financial crimes, thereby making him president based on an illegitimate election.
“You are guilty of treason,” Bannon said, addressing an imaginary Barr.
Former Trump advisor and right-wing expert Sebastian Gorka had already set his sights on Kelly in January War room. “You are an insult to Quantico,” Gorka said, referring to the naval base. “You were never a Marine.”
“Go to hell, John Kelly,” he concluded.
“Wow,” Bannon replied.
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.
Source : www.nationalmemo.com