Allegra Kirkland

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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The League of the South has been pushing its pro-secession message since the early 1990s, but the Florida chapter of the neo-Confederate group has in recent months taken a notably violent turn.

Photographs and videos from August’s deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia appear to show the league’s chief of staff and Florida chairman, Michael Tubbs (pictured above at right), and his black-clad followers in close proximity to some of the most egregious assaults on counter-protesters, including the brutal beating of a black counter-protester in a covered parking garage. Another one of the chapter’s members was arrested Wednesday after allegedly charging with a flagpole at a group rallying in support of changing Confederate street names in Hollywood, Florida—while ranting about Charlottesville.

Because of its regional focus and lack of a leader with national name recognition, like the Traditionalist Worker Party’s Matthew Heimbach, the League of the South didn’t garner as much attention for its involvement in the “Unite the Right” rally as other groups that participated. But with the urging of Tubbs, a former felon and Ku Klux Klan member, and a fixation on pushing back against the growing movement to remove Confederate monuments, the Florida chapter has adopted violence as a key part of its strategy.

“They have definitely stepped more into the violent realm just in recent months,” Heidi Beirich, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, a periodical that tracks hate groups, told TPM.

The Florida chapter has “taken the forefront on all this militarization stuff,” Beirich added, pointing to the “really prominent role” their members played in Charlottesville. “[Tubbs] is recruiting young men into the league and sees himself as the military sergeant in charge of these younger troops.”

Tubbs, center, uses this photograph of him and other League of the South members massing in Charlottesville as his Facebook cover photo.

Tubbs and several other members of the Florida chapter did not respond to TPM’s repeated requests for comment by phone, email and Facebook messenger. Nor did Michael Hill, the organization’s Alabama-based founder respond. One Florida chapter member reached by TPM sent along a link to the group’s website and did not respond to follow-up questions.

Another member, 22-year-old Miami resident Christopher Rey Monzon, was in custody with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office as of late Thursday afternoon. As the Miami New Times first reported, Monzon heckled a group of demonstrators waiting outside a commissioners’ meeting Wednesday in Hollywood, where local officials were voting on whether to rename three streets named for Confederate generals.

According to a police report obtained by TPM, Monzon directly linked the goings-on in Hollywood to last month’s deadly rally.

“I was at Charlottesville,” he yelled at attendees, as quoted in the police report. “I’m not going to forget what you people did to us there.”

After calling those advocating for the name changes “Jews” and a “cancer on the face of the earth,” the report states Monzon pointed the flagpole of his Confederate banner at protesters and charged at them, shouting, “Come on motherfucker, come on!”

He was charged with aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and inciting a riot, and a small pen knife was also found in his front shirt pocket, according to the police report. The Broward County Sheriff’s office confirmed that Monzon was in custody, but not whether he’d retained legal counsel.

Monzon did not post photographs from Charlottesville on the Facebook page he appears to maintain under the name of Christopher Cedeno. But that page is filled with photographs that appear to show him holding assault weapons and posing in Florida League of the South gear at Confederate monuments and plantations throughout the Sunshine State.

An attendee at the Charlottesville rally conducted a brief video interview with an individual who appears to be Monzon, however, and there is extensive documentary evidence of other chapter members marching through the streets with their signature flags featuring a black cross on a white field. Those marchers were part of the vigilante “Southern defense force” that Hill, the League of the South’s founder, formed earlier this year to combat what the group calls “a growing leftist menace to our historic Christian civilization.”

Jim O’Brien, whose Facebook page identifies him as a member of the North Florida chapter, confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times that he was arrested on the day of the Charlottesville rally for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.

Tubbs also appears on the fringes of some of the most jarring incidents from that day. One was the vicious parking garage assault on counter-demonstrator Deandre Harris, which left him with eight staples in his head, a broken wrist and a chipped tooth. Two men have been arrested and charged in connection with the beating, neither of them Tubbs.

He has not shied away from violence in the past, however. As the SPLC has documented, the former Green Beret demolitions expert once robbed fellow army sergeants of their M-16 rifles during a training exercise while shouting “This is for the KKK” and served four years in prison for accumulating massive caches of weapons believed to be stolen from U.S. Army facilities that he intended to use to target black and Jewish-owned businesses.

Such an embrace of violent individuals and rhetoric have actually prompted a decline in the League of the South’s overall membership, according to the SPLC. The group was founded by academics who wanted to glorify the South, but has become increasingly radical over the years, adapting virulently anti-Semitic rhetoric, urging the accumulation of arms and calling for the former Confederate states to secede specifically to form a white ethnostate.

Those members remaining are particularly fixated on halting the removal of Confederate monuments and imagery that began in earnest after Dylann Roof gunned down nine black parishioners in 2015 at a Charleston, South Carolina church. They have traveled to Stone Mountain, Georgia; Montgomery, Alabama; New Orleans; and Memphis, Tennessee to promote this cause.

But the forces of history are aligned against them, as evidenced by the decision of a number of municipalities and universities to remove Confederate statues in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville. And in Hollywood, Florida, while Monzon sat in jail, city commissioners voted five-to-one to rename the streets honoring Confederate generals.

Feature image: Tubbs appears pictured at far right wearing sunglasses and a “Florida” badge as he walks through Charlottesville with other League of the South members after the rally near Lee Park was declared illegal, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill on Wednesday became the latest school to turn down white nationalist Richard Spencer’s request to speak on campus after his participation in a violent racist free-for-all rally on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month.

“Our basis for this decision is the safety and security of the campus community—we are not willing to risk anyone’s safety in light of these known risks,” UNC chancellor Carol Folt said in a statement.

“I am deeply saddened and disturbed that the violent and virulent rhetoric being espoused by extremist groups has jeopardized the ability of campuses to promote robust dialogue and debate about important issues while ensuring public safety,” Folt’s statement continued.

This makes UNC at least the sixth school to rebuff Spencer, who has made a strategy of speaking on public college campuses in order to provoke his critics and recruit young people into his movement. Texas A&M, Michigan State, Louisiana State, University of Florida, and Pennsylvania State have already turned down requests by Spencer to rent facilities or address students from public spaces on campus.

Spencer’s allies have threatened legal action, and First Amendment experts surveyed by TPM said he would have a strong case, noting that the strength of free speech protections in public spaces and the difficulty of proving that Spencer has or would directly call for violence.

A federal judge ruled last year that Auburn University had to allow Spencer to speak after school officials and police canceled his event, expressing serious concerns about the threat to public safety.

To date, no new lawsuits have been filed.

Spencer may simply have more pressing issues to attend to. As part of a broader post-Charlottesville crackdown on hate groups, Squarespace dropped web service for Spencer’s National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank based in Alexandria, Virginia.

In the latest example of the Trump team minimizing the President’s financial dealings with Russians, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway insisted Tuesday that “nothing came” of a 2015 effort to build a Trump-branded tower in Moscow.

“There is no Trump Tower in Moscow, no visit was made,” Conway told Fox News.

“He has no business dealings there and in this case no deal was made,” she added.

But that surely wasn’t for lack of trying. In addition to extensive stateside real estate transactions with Russian nationals and immigrants from the former Soviet bloc, the Trump Organization engaged in multiple efforts to make a physical mark in Russia with a luxury hotel and condo building in the flashy Moscow City business district.

Trump and his adult children made separate attempts to move forward with such a project three times in the decade leading up to the presidential campaign: in 2005, 2013 and 2015, well into the primary season. Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. played key roles in those efforts, making several trips to Russia to try to advance prospective deals and giving interviews about their eagerness to set up shop there as they assumed greater control of the family business.

After a few early explorations of business opportunities in Russia dating back to the late 1980s, Trump in 2005 signed a one-year deal with Bayrock Group, the development company where his scandal-plagued business associate Felix Sater was a principal, to transform an old pencil factory into a luxury development.

Trump later blamed the failure of that venture on journalist Tim O’Brien’s book “TrumpNation,” which estimated that the real estate mogul was worth far less than the billions he claimed to possess. Trump said it scared away Russian investors.

But the Trumps didn’t give up. At a 2008 Manhattan real estate conference where Trump Jr. made now-infamous comments about the “money pouring in from Russia” to the family business, Trump’s eldest son also said that he preferred Moscow “over all cities in the world” and had visited the country six times in the previous 18 months.

His sister Ivanka also expressed admiration for Russia in a puffball 2010 interview on her favorite vacation spots, saying St. Petersburg was the place she most wanted to visit, having “been to Moscow many times.” Sater has said he served as an escort to the Trump children during their visits to his homeland, ferrying them around to business meetings and even claiming, in one email obtained by the New York Times, that he arranged for Ivanka to sit at Putin’s desk in the Kremlin during a 2006 trip.

The Trumps’ next stab at breaking ground in the Russian capital came three years later. With the help of Aras and Emin Agalarov, real estate developers in Russia who hosted Miss Universe 2013 in Moscow, Trump met with some of the country’s biggest oligarchs and Kremlin-allied bankers.

Trump clearly felt buoyed by those November 2013 meetings, writing on Twitter, “TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.” But while Aras Agalarov has said he signed an agreement with the mogul to build a Trump Tower, the project apparently never made it beyond preliminary discussions.

The final effort kicked off months into Trump’s run for the White House. Longtime ally and personal attorney Michael Cohen teamed up with Sater, an old acquaintance of his, on a dual effort to finally move forward with the tower project while boosting Trump’s presidential campaign.

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote to Cohen in a 2015 email reviewed by the Times, bragging that his close ties to Putin could help them secure the construction deal. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

Trump himself signed a letter of intent with a Moscow-based firm in October 2015, according to a statement Cohen provided to congressional investigators. After the project stalled yet again, Cohen reached out to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, with a plea for assistance in January 2016.

Peskov told reporters Wednesday that he never responded to Cohen’s email because it wasn’t his “job,” adding that Ivanka Trump never visited Putin’s office or sat in his chair, according to Bloomberg.

Like previous attempts, the Cohen-Sater venture fizzled, this time as Trump was leading a crowded Republican presidential primary field.

Should the Trumps ever hope to revisit such a project, however, it appears they’d have willing partners.

Emin Agalarov told the Washington Post last summer—right around the time that his publicist was arranging a meeting to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton into Trump Jr.’s hands as part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s campaign—that the family would be interested in a similar future venture.

As Donald Trump was surging to the top of the Republican presidential primary field on a wave of insults and bombastic statements in fall 2015, his longtime personal attorney and friend, Michael Cohen, was giving frequent on-camera and print interviews boosting his boss’ candidacy.

During that same period, as we learned from documents turned over to congressional investigators this week, Cohen was serving as the “lead negotiator” on efforts to construct a Trump-branded tower in Moscow.

Cohen and the Trump campaign have insisted he never had a formal role with it. Yet in the months that he was working the Moscow deal for the Trump Organization, he was also giving regular interviews to the press on the campaign issues of the day, firing off campaign-related tweets, giving comment on Trump’s behalf, and organizing events with and outreach to constituent groups.

A review of Cohen’s interviews and tweets between October 2015, when Trump signed a letter of intent to build in Moscow with a firm tied to banks under U.S. sanctions, and January 2016, when the prospective deal was abandoned, makes it clear that Cohen was advancing Trump’s business interests in Russia at the same time he was selling his boss to voters in the U.S.

Cohen first made waves as a surrogate for candidate Trump in July 2015, when he threatened a pair of Daily Beast reporters asking about Ivana Trump’s since-retracted allegation that her then-husband raped her, falsely asserting that “you cannot rape your spouse.” As the campaign picked up, so did Cohen’s comments on behalf of the GOP frontrunner.

He frequently weighed in on Trump’s gaffes, 2016 rivals, tax plan and thoughts on foreign leaders. In one September 2015 interview on Sean Hannity’s radio show, Cohen said that Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin would likely meet in person during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Cohen’s comment came one day after Trump said from the stage of a GOP debate that he would “get along with Putin.”

“Russia, there’s a better than likely chance Trump may even meet with Putin when he comes here for the United Nations,” Cohen told the Fox News host. “People want to meet Donald Trump. They want to know Donald Trump.”

Cohen appeared on-air, particularly on CNN, to talk about the campaign throughout fall 2015. The Washington Post reported Trump signed a letter of intent with a Moscow-based business called I.C. Expert Investment to explore developing a tower in Moscow on Oct. 25, 2015.

It’s unclear when Cohen first discussed the project with Trump. In a statement provided to Congress, Cohen said the two discussed it on three separate occasions; he insisted in a separate statement to Bloomberg that it “was not related in any way to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.” Various congressional committees and a special counsel are probing the business dealings of Trump and several associates as part of their investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

On Nov. 3, soon after Trump signed the letter of intent, his longtime business associate Felix Sater sent Cohen an email boasting about his line to Putin and arguing that a Moscow deal would help Trump win the election.

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote in the email, which was obtained by the New York Times. “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

Cohen characterized that note to the Times as bombast on the part of Sater, a colorful character who was once jailed for slashing a banker’s face with a martini glass and was secretly convicted of securities fraud.

While Sater and Cohen explored financing for the Moscow project and solicited architectural blueprints, Cohen continued acting as a Trump campaign booster, defending some of the candidate’s most inflammatory claims and proposals. Only once Cohen made a gaffe of his own or issued a statement that contradicted an official campaign aide’s would statements fly about how he didn’t speak for the Trump campaign or the candidate.

In November 2015, Cohen voiced support for a “deportation force” that would forcibly remove millions of undocumented immigrants from the U.S.; referred to a black protester shoved by Trump supporters at an Alabama rally as an “agitator” deserving of punishment; and said that Trump was “probably right” about his thoroughly debunked claim that American Muslims cheered the 9/11 attacks from rooftops in New Jersey.

He also argued in a CNN interview that month that Trump wasn’t likely to involve himself in “an issue between Vladimir Putin and Turkey” after Turkey shot down a Russian aircraft near its border with Syria.

Five days later, the surrogate tweeted out a photo of himself standing behind a Trump campaign lectern with a row of American flags behind him.

“There is only one candidate who can #MakeAmericaGreatAgain and that’s clearly @realDonaldTrump#Trump2016 #Trump,” the accompanying caption read.

Another notable tweet came in December, when Cohen shared a link to a story from a site called The Political Insider about Putin telling reporters that Trump was a “really brilliant and talented person.” The article also noted Putin said his government would “welcome” Trump’s promise to create a “deeper relationship with Russia.”

“@realDonaldTrump, the best person to be our next #POTUS. Even Vladimir Putin agrees he will #MakeAmericaGreatAgain,” Cohen wrote.

In January 2016, right before voting began in the GOP primary, Cohen made a final stab at moving forward with the Moscow deal, which had stalled. He reportedly emailed Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s personal spokesman, to ask for the Russian government’s “assistance” in acquiring the land permits needed to move forward with this “important” project.

Cohen has since told congressional investigators that no deal ever came to fruition and that he unilaterally decided to “terminate further work on the proposal” that same month.

With the Moscow deal out of the picture, Cohen moved on to his next project: helping Trump prepare for a campaign speech that he helped organize at the evangelical Liberty University.

Well before Sebastian Gorka went public Friday with claims that he had resigned as deputy assistant to the President, an order barring him from entering the White House complex reportedly circulated among Secret Service staffers.

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes obtained two emails, sent at 6:45 and 7:15 p.m., notifying Secret Service staff that a “do not admit” order had been issued for Gorka and that his blue badge allowing him free rein of the White House and neighboring Old Executive Office Building had been deactivated.

“Mr. Gorka is more than likely still in possession of his PIV and the WH Pass, as his DNA status was performed without him being on Complex,” read the second email obtained by MSNBC, which was sent to the Joint Operations Center that runs security for the White House complex.

At 9:11 p.m., less than an hour after Gorka’s resignation letter was published on the conservative website The Federalist, a White House communications staffer said in a statement to the press that Gorka did not resign, but “no longer works at the White House.”

The emails obtained by MSNBC complicate the controversial White House aide’s insistence that he left his job voluntarily.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters did not respond to detailed questions about the “do not admit” order, saying only, “We do not comment on personnel matters.” The Secret Service did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.

The exact play-by-play of Gorka’s final days remain murky, with various news outlets offering different accounts. What’s clear is that Gorka had spent the two weeks prior to his departure on vacation.

The New York Times spoke to two administration officials who said that Chief of Staff John Kelly made it known during the time Gorka was on vacation that he did not want the staffer to return, and was instrumental in forcing him out. Yahoo News reported that Kelly informed Gorka on Friday that his security clearance had been revoked, prompting Gorka to announce that he would resign instead of returning to work as planned on Monday.

Whether Gorka was issued a security clearance at all, and what degree of access to sensitive information he had access to, was never confirmed during his tenure. Although he was appointed to advise President Donald Trump on counter-terrorism issues, the Associated Press reported in May that Gorka had been unable to receive the clearance required to sit on the National Security Council because of a past weapons charge for carrying a firearm at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. His exact duties at the White House were unclear, and Gorka seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time arguing with cable news hosts about the unreported successes of the Trump administration.

Gorka has similarly spent the days since his ouster on a media blitz, telling any journalist who will host him that he resigned out of concern that “the forces of MAGA” were being undermined and cast out of the White House.

The emails to Secret Service staff obtained by MSNBC don’t necessarily clarify the terms of his departure, according to Juliette Kayyem, who served as assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs in Obama’s Department of Homeland Security. Kayyem told TPM that all those emails prove is that “the departure was unanticipated.”

“It’s exactly what should happen in any termination situation—voluntarily or involuntarily,” Kayyem wrote in an email. “It shows despite all the tensions at the NSC, the systems are still intact. When I left DHS, voluntarily, I had to hand in my badge, sign some confidentiality obligations, and be escorted out of the DHS campus. Given that Gorka wasn’t there, the emails were totally appropriate.”

A West Virginia man contacted a top Trump aide last summer to try to broker a meeting between campaign advisers and Russian officials that would focus on their “shared Christian values,” CNN reported Monday.

Those new details build out our understanding of a June 2016 email from Rick Dearborn, a onetime senior aide to then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) who now serves as deputy White House chief of staff, to other campaign aides that was recently unearthed by congressional investigators.

There are several degrees of separation between Trump and the individual requesting the meeting, who remains unidentified. Rick Clay, a West Virginia resident and former Iraq War contractor, reached out to Dearborn on behalf of an unnamed friend asking if the campaign would be interested in sitting down with Russian officials. While those officials were not named, Clay told CNN they were “lower level” people rather than those in Russian president Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

“The thought was if there was an opportunity there to get two sides together to talk about Christian values, then that’s important,” Clay told CNN, describing his friend as a devout Christian who had worked alongside Russians at Christian aide organizations. “That was the gist of it, and it didn’t go anywhere.”

Clay told the news outlet that Dearborn did not act on the request, instead telling him it needed to be directed through the “proper channels” at the State Department.

Yet Dearborn did flag the request from Clay, who he identified as “WV, in an email to other officials on the Trump campaign, as CNN previously reported.

The White House did not respond to the network’s requests for comment. But one of Trump’s personal lawyers, Ty Cobb, said in a statement that it was “salacious speculation” to suggest that Dearborn did anything wrong. Cobb also affirmed that the White House was fully cooperating with all requests related to the various investigations into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.

Other Trump campaign aides, including national security adviser George Papadopoulus, made more direct efforts to arrange sit-downs between senior level staffers and Russian officials.

Some in-person contacts were made, though Papadopoulus did not appear to play a role in arranging them. Several Trump campaign officials met with Russia’s then-ambassador to the U.S., Sergei Kislyak, at various points over the course of the 2016 race. The President’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., also hosted a rendezvous at Trump Tower with Russian operatives who promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton in June 2016, the same month that Dearborn sent his email to campaign colleagues.

Pictured above: Trump deputy chief of staff for policy, Rick Dearborn, left, and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, right, walk down the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, following a meeting. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

A steady stream of leaked screenshots from the now-defunct chat server used to organize attendees at this month’s deadly “Unite the Right” rally shows that the white nationalists who descended on Charlottesville, Virginia were well-organized and came with the intention of committing brutal violence.

Unicorn Riot, a volunteer nonprofit media outlet, received hundreds of chat transcripts from the app Discord through an anonymous source, and has been publishing them in edited batches since the Aug. 12 rally. Eli Mosley, one of the organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally, told Wired that the screenshots of the chats appeared to be legitimate.

In some of the chats, posters shared photographs of themselves mugging with semi-automatic weapons or homemade shields. In others, they discussed the ideal thickness of PVC pipes that could be used for “thumping” counter-protesters and shared GoFundMe links urging like-minded people to fund their road trips to Charlottesville.

Most strikingly, a number of posts joked about plowing cars into crowds of peaceful protesters. James Alex Fields, Jr. allegedly killed one such counter-protester, Virginia native Heather Heyer, and injured at least 19 others when he rammed his Dodge Charger down a crowded street at the height of the rally.

A lawyer for two counter-protesters hurt at the rally told Wired that the chats could be used to bolster their case against 28 groups and individuals involved, including organizer Jason Kessler. The transcripts demonstrated the premeditated intention to commit “violence and mayhem,” attorney Timothy Litzenburg told Wired, saying that they could serve as “the crux of the case.”

Many of the white nationalist leaders and groups who marched through the center of Charlottesville have shirked blame for the violence over the past two weeks, insisting they acted out against counter-protesters only in self-defense and actually were the victims of so-called “alt-left” and antifa.

But photographs and video of that afternoon show large groups of men wearing neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan regalia and bearing firearms, PVC pipes, weighted flagpoles, cans of teargas and shields. Fields and at least one other “Unite the Right” participant, white nationalist radio personality Christopher Cantwell, have been arrested for violent acts against counter-demonstrators.

Discord has since deleted the chats as well as several servers tied to the Charlottesville organizers, pledging to “take action against white supremacy, nazi ideology, and all forms of hate.” A number of other major technology and social media companies, including PayPal, Facebook, Squarespace, Patreon, GoDaddy and Spotify have taken similar steps to boot users affiliated with white nationalist or other hate groups.

During his rocky seven-month tenure as a deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, Sebastian Gorka did little of note beyond his punchy and frequent media appearances, in which the self-styled counterterrorism expert swiftly dismissed any item that painted the President in an unflattering light as “fake news.”

Since his ouster on Friday, Gorka has been on a media blitz of a different type. In interviews with outlets as varied as the BBC and Breitbart News, the former White House aide offered harsher words for the administration than he’s allowed previously, acknowledging that the “Make America Great Again” platform on which Trump won the presidency is so far unfulfilled.

The critical tenor of his remarks may have been prompted in part by the terms of his departure. The White House said he was removed, while Gorka insisted he left of his own accord. But his interview talking points were ripped straight from the fiery resignation letter he shared with the press on Friday, in which he assailed “forces” inside the administration bent on betraying the “MAGA promise.”

Fittingly, his first interview went to Breitbart, where he previously served as national security editor and where he says he now plans to return in some capacity.

“On key issues, we’ve done great things, but unfortunately, those who don’t believe in many of those things are now at the helm in key places and we have to make sure that they maintain the MAGA doctrine and we’re going to be doing that right now,” Gorka told reporter Matthew Boyle in an interview on Breitbart Radio.

According to Gorka, Trump campaigned and won on a “very simple platform” redolent of Ronald Reagan’s: fixing the economy, building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and defeating the Islamic State terrorist group.

“Unfortunately, I don’t want to go into the palace intrigue stuff—had too much of that—but the fact is, the forces of MAGA, the Make America Great Again faces, the policy people like [ousted chief strategist] Steve Bannon, my old boss inside the White House, have been systematically undermined,” Gorka said.

He’s not wrong: More traditional, moderate figures in the White House have sought to consolidate control over the chaotic administration in recent weeks. Retired Gen. John Kelly helped push Bannon out shortly after becoming Trump’s chief of staff, while National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster dismissed several National Security Council staffers with fringe views.

Gorka and his allies see that purge as a fundamental betrayal, as he told Newsmax host Steve Malzberg in a Saturday interview on talk radio station WMAL.

“The agenda is losing steam within the building,” Gorka said, insisting that the President told him in a phone conversation that day that he remained “committed” to enacting it. In the interview, Gorka lashed out repeatedly at the “swamp establishment” and “anti-MAGA clique” inside the White House.

“We have to help him to make sure that no one undermines him staying on course,” he told WMAL. “We’re going to have to box them in and were going to have to remind them that the American people spoke, that we are not going to be an interventionist nation.”

He made similar points in an interview with the BBC, calling Trump’s victory a “hostile takeover of establishment politics” that “un-Trumpian” forces were trying to undermine.

“There’s no conspiracy theory here and there’s no central leader. They are individuals who if you look at their career they clearly would have been very comfortable working for Hillary Clinton in her cabinet,” Gorka insisted.

The first leg of Gorka’s personal “#MAGA” tour also featured him saying the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” as often as possible. Gorka complained to Breitbart and WMAL about Trump’s speech on Afghanistan last week, in which the President vowed to increase the number of boots on the ground and gave no clear timetable of when the U.S. presence there would end. He did not deploy Gorka’s preferred term linking violent extremism to Islam, however.

“I realized after the President’s speech this week on Afghanistan that he’s not being well-served,” Gorka told Breitbart. “That speech was written by people for the President in direct contravention of everything that we voted for November the 8th.”

Gorka mostly avoided naming the White House staffers he was complaining about on his weekend news rounds. However, he did point fingers at a few particular individuals: In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Gorka criticized McMaster for failing to describe ISIL in religious terms, calling the national security adviser’s framing “simply wrong” and unfavorably comparing it with the Obama administration’s approach.

He also said that critical news reports about him, including those about his affiliation with a Hungarian knightly order founded by a Nazi collaborator and his wafer-thin resume on counterterrorism issues, were only ever brought up by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.

“The only time they would come up is when Jared [Kushner] would joke about them,” Gorka said. “He would always joke about the latest absurd accusation to be made. But it’s possible they came up privately.”

Such on-the-record criticism of one of Trump’s family members suggests that Gorka will be more candid now that he’s no longer a White House staffer. He’s framed his departure, which was reportedly preceded by the revocation of his security clearance, as a move that allows him “far greater power and freedom” to promote the President’s agenda.

But that “freedom” may spell bad news for the administration. While other senior officials have proven themselves willing to criticize the President and his policies in public, Gorka had been a reliable mouthpiece for the Trump team, dutifully making the rounds on cable news in moments of crisis to offer unblinking White House spin.

As he demonstrated this weekend, Gorka no longer feels that responsibility so keenly.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has issued grand jury subpoenas compelling testimony from public relations executives who worked with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on a campaign promoting a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party, NBC News reported Friday.

Several unname people with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC that Mueller’s team has asked for documents and testimony from firms who assisted Manafort’s lobbying campaign, which ran from 2012 to 2014. Manafort retroactively registered as a foreign agent for his work on behalf of Ukraine’s Party of Regions and the country’s deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych.

Manafort has emerged in recent weeks as a linchpin in Mueller’s probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, potential collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign, and the financial dealings of various Trump associates.

FBI agents raided a home he owns in Alexandria, Virginia last month, and he is under federal scrutiny for his work for the Party of Regions, his offshore banking transactions, and mounting questions about whether he used his complex web of real estate dealings to launder money from Eastern Europe.

Manafort also attended a pivotal June 2016 sit-down with Donald Trump, Jr., President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and several Russian operatives, one of whom claimed to information that would hurt Hillary Clinton as part of a Kremlin effort to help Trump’s campaign.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into any possible role ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn may have played in a former GOP operative’s ad-hoc campaign to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

As the Journal previously reported, Republican activist Peter W. Smith cited Flynn’s consulting firm and son last fall in his outreach to cybersecurity experts and hackers whose help he sought in digging up the 33,000 emails Clinton deleted from her private server during the 2016 presidential campaign.

As Smith told the Journal in May, “We knew the people who had these were probably around the Russian government.”

Smith, who was 81 years old, committed suicide 10 days after his final interview with the Journal by asphyxiating himself at a hotel across from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He left behind a note saying there was no “foul play whatsoever” involved in his death.

According to the Journal’s latest reporting, Mueller’s crack team of prosecutors has been conducting interviews and collecting information to try to determine whether Flynn, his son Michael G. Flynn, or his consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, assisted Smith in his efforts.

In a recruiting document obtained by the Journal, Smith had said that campaign officials including Flynn, former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon, and former campaign manager-turned-White House counselor Kellyanne Conway were working “in coordination” with him. Bannon and Conway told the newspaper they were unaware of and played no role in Smith’s efforts.

A lawyer for Flynn and a separate lawyer for his son declined the Journal’s request for comment, as did a spokesman for the special counsel.

Flynn is also under federal investigation for his well-compensated lobbying work on behalf of Turkey during the campaign, as well as his failure to disclose repeated contacts with Russian officials during the transition.