New Lawsuit Seeks Records of Communications Between the State Department, Steve Bannon and Sean Hannity

(Photo: Gage Skidmore)

American Oversight is suing for records of communications that former White House strategist Steve Bannon, Fox News host Sean Hannity, and a former Breitbart editor had with U.S. diplomats in Europe — including Richard Grenell, the current ambassador to Germany who is reportedly being considered for the United National ambassadorship.

In July 2018, just a day before the arrival of President Donald Trump, Bannon hosted meetings in London with leaders of the European far-right. American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information Act request to uncover whether the State Department had been involved in arranging those meetings or had helped promote Bannon’s nationalist agenda.

Bannon reportedly met with the United Kingdom’s Nigel Farage and France’s Louis Aliot (French nationalist leader Marine Le Pen’s partner). Hannity also went to London, and hosted shows with both Bannon and Farage. In an interview with Politico at the time of the meetings, Bannon said that he was there “to be a surrogate on British media” for the Trump administration. The former editor of Breitbart London, Raheem Kassam, told the Atlantic that it was “a moment where the White House communications operation for one reason or another needs bolstering” and that he was “happy Steve’s here doing it in my country.”

Grenell has been criticized for statements in support of Bannon’s right-wing nationalist agenda, telling Breitbart News (of which Bannon was formerly executive chairman) that he wanted to empower European conservative leaders, including Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

The State Department has failed to provide the records requested by American Oversights in August 2018, prompting today’s lawsuit. “The Trump administration has strained our relationship with our allies by cheering the rise of nativist movements in Europe,” said Austin Evers, American Oversight’s executive director. “The American public has a right to see whether our foreign policy has been outsourced to conservative commentators over national security professionals.”

Related Blog Posts

March 13, 2019

Two Years of American Oversight

News
March 12, 2019

Investigating the Trump Administration’s Efforts to Sell Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia

Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, International Trade Administration, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
News
March 7, 2019

New Lawsuit Seeks Records of Agribusiness Influence on USDA School Nutrition Standards

Department of Agriculture
Investigation Update
March 6, 2019

New Lawsuit Seeks Records of Boeing Influence at the Pentagon

Department of Defense
News
March 4, 2019

Documents Reveal Ben Carson Jr.’s Attempts to Use His Influence at HUD to Help His Business

Baltimore City Housing and Community Development, Baltimore Mayor's Office, Department of Housing and Urban Development
Investigation Update
March 1, 2019

News Roundup: What We Can Learn from Trump Administration Calendars

News
February 28, 2019

At Least Fourteen Federal Agencies Have Created No Guidance for Spending Taxpayer Money at Trump Properties

Investigation Update
February 28, 2019

The Complicated World of Wilbur Ross’ Finances

Department of Commerce
News
February 12, 2019

HUD Senior Official Lynne Patton Thinks American Oversight Needs to Get a Life

Department of Housing and Urban Development
News
January 9, 2019

Investigating the Acting Defense Secretary’s Ties to Boeing

Department of Defense
News
December 27, 2018

Countdown to Oversight in 2019

News
December 10, 2018

Wait, There’s More: News of Another Administration Official Using Personal Email

Environmental Protection Agency
News
September 12, 2018

Back to School Changes with Secretary DeVos’ Department of Education

Department of Education
Investigation Update
May 7, 2018

What’s Going on at Education? Teacher Strikes, School Discipline Policies and For-Profit Influence

Department of Education
Investigation Update
March 9, 2018

American Oversight Sues HHS and CMS for Verma Ethics Records

Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services
News
February 9, 2018

New Lawsuit Seeks DHS Border Wall Emails with White House, Fox News, Border States

Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security
Investigation Update
November 3, 2017

American Oversight Launches ‘NAFTA Watch’

Department of Commerce, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
Investigation Update
October 27, 2017

Unexcused Absences: DeVos Calendars Show Frequent Days Off

Department of Education
Investigation Update
October 10, 2017

New Lawsuit Seeks Answers about Ben Carson’s Management of HUD

Department of Housing and Urban Development
Investigation Update
October 6, 2017

American Oversight Calls for Investigation of Manhattan DA Vance’s Failure to Investigate Fraud at Trump SoHo Development

News
August 30, 2017

Watchdog Groups Launch Joint Investigation into EPA Oversight of Toxic Substances Control Act

Investigation Update
August 18, 2017

Resume Shows Trump Appointee Falsified Credentials

Department of Housing and Urban Development
Investigation Update
July 26, 2017

American Oversight Sues FCC to Obtain Net Neutrality Communications with Industry Groups

Federal Communications Commission
Investigation Update
June 27, 2017

American Oversight Sues EPA to Release Pruitt’s Calendars and Communications with Carl Icahn

Environmental Protection Agency
Investigation Update
June 22, 2017

American Oversight and Environmental Working Group Challenge EPA Over Failure to Release Pesticide Records

Environmental Protection Agency
Investigation Update
April 26, 2017

American Oversight Seeks Release of FCC Net Neutrality Communications

Federal Communications Commission
Investigation Update
April 14, 2017

Statement on White House Decision to Keep Visitor Logs Secret

White House
News
April 14, 2017

Broad Coalition of Transparency Advocates Call for White House to Release Visitor Logs

White House
News
April 12, 2017

American Oversight and Environmental Working Group Demand Release of Pruitt Communications with Pesticide Industry

Environmental Protection Agency
Investigation Update
April 4, 2017

10 Questions about the Border Wall that Deserve Big, Beautiful Answers

Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior
Investigation Update
March 24, 2017

American Oversight Launches Investigation of President Trump’s Border Wall

Department of Homeland Security
Investigation Update
March 23, 2017

American Oversight Demands Release of Secret Health Care Negotiations

Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Management and Budget
Investigation Update