The editor of Breitbart, the far-right media outlet that has relentlessly boosted Donald Trump, thought he was emailing Steve Bannon when he revealed his plan to oust what he calls the “globalist” wing of the president’s administration.
Instead, Breitbart editor-in-chief Alex Marlow was emailing a fake email account run by a prankster: firstname.lastname@example.org, CNN, which obtained a copy of the emails, reported. Marlow laid out Breitbart’s plan to position Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, as the saving grace of the Trump administration and let Breitbart’s editors do the “dirty work.”
"Did five stories on globalist takeover positioning you as only hope to stop it,” Marlow emailed the fake account. “You need to own that, just have surrogates do the dirty work. Boyle, Raheem, me, Tony have been waiting for this," he added in reference to Washington editor Matthew Boyle, Breitbart London editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam, and reporter Tony Lee.
Bannon left the White House last Friday, after months of rumors that he was on shaky ground. In the aftermath, those around Bannon and at Breitbart signaled some kind of war with the Trump administration — which Marlow’s emails seem to confirm.
In the emails, Marlow raved about what he called a “conspiracy” involving Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s marriage, adding that Bannon had previously described them as “evil” and said no administration is more divided than Trump’s. Marlow said he would try to oust the two by Christmas.
In response to the hoax, Marlow tried to brush off the newsworthiness of the exchange, saying it was no more revealing than the pages of Breitbart.
“The obsession with Breitbart News is simply a result of our effectiveness. This time, an imposter deceitfully obtained and shared with CNN tongue-in-cheek emails that revealed that we feel Globalists present an existential threat to the agenda that got President Trump elected," Marlow told CNN. "If people want to know our thinking, they don't need to judge us on illicitly obtained comments that were intended to be private; they can simply read our front page.”
The emails suggest that Breitbart really is planning to go after the Trump administration following Bannon’s departure. Bannon, who returned to Breitbart News Friday, is deeply intertwined with Trumpism. It won’t be an easy divorce, and going against Trump’s inner circle could prove to be an extraordinarily risky move for Breitbart, which has grown in national name recognition largely because of Trump’s base.
Here are the emails between Marlow and the Bannon impostor, as posted on the prankster’s Twitter:
NEW PRANK!! ...Steve Bannon (ME) chatting to BREITBART Editor ALEX MARLOW. As seen on CNN pic.twitter.com/tByDNsDCRl— EMAIL PRANKSTER (@SINON_REBORN) August 22, 2017