In a previous tranche of emails from Miller to the former editor, Katie McHugh, the SPLC last week reported that Miller had fed anti-immigrant stories to Breitbart in 2015 while citing a variety of sources tied to white nationalists and white supremacist organizations.
Miller began advising Breitbart and McHugh in early 2015 when he was an aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the emails show.
He is now President Trump’s chief adviser on immigration matters and is considered the architect of some of the president’s most restrictive policies, such as a ban on travel to the United States by people from seven predominantly Muslim countries and the now-abandoned policy of separating child migrants from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The new batch of emails, which McHugh turned over to the SPLC, indicate Miller’s direct influence on Breitbart, a virulently anti-immigrant site once headed by Stephen K. Bannon. Bannon became chief executive of Trump’s presidential campaign in August 2016; Trump later named him chief White House strategist.
“Miller appears to behave like an uncredited editor,” Hatewatch says in a story about the new emails.
The White House did not return a request for comment from Miller.
McHugh told Hatewatch that Miller “frequently dictated” Breitbart’s editorial direction. “No one at Breitbart ever raised a question about whether this was ethical,” she told the publication. In an interview with The Washington Post, McHugh said she was “radicalized” by the anti-immigrant views of Miller, Bannon and others on the so-called “alt-right” at the time she was writing for Breitbart. Of Miller, she said, “He basically dictated political coverage for Breitbart.”
A Breitbart spokeswoman, Elizabeth Moore, said in a statement to Hatewatch, “The SPLC claims to have three- to four-year-old emails, many previously reported on, involving an individual whom we fired years ago for a multitude of reasons, and you now have an even better idea why we fired her. Having said that, it’s not exactly a newsflash that political staffers pitch stories to journalists — sometimes those pitches are successful, sometimes not.”
She was fired by Breitbart in June 2017, after she tweeted anti-Muslim statements in the wake of a terror attack in London. Among other things, she tweeted, “There would be no deadly terror attacks in the U.K. if Muslims didn’t live there.” After her firing, she tweeted that Breitbart fired her “for telling the truth about Islam and Muslim immigration.” McHugh says now she regrets the tweets and her association with Breitbart.
(Moore did not immediately provide further comment to The Post.)
According to the SPLC story, however, Miller did more than just suggest stories.
Miller advised Bannon, McHugh and several other Breitbart editors to put a “Breitbart News” byline on a news release Miller himself wrote in October 2015. The release was about a chart prepared by a Senate subcommittee headed by Sessions showing projections that immigration will outpace native population growth.
Breitbart’s editors agreed, publishing the news release as an “exclusive” the next day.
Miller also suggested language changes in Breitbart articles, according to the story. He wrote McHugh in July 2015: “I think the words ‘immigration reform’ should be redefined as meaning ‘immigration control’ and those who oppose ‘immigration control’ as proponents of mass immigration.”
McHugh replied that she intended to use the phrase “unlimited immigration” instead of “mass immigration,” since the latter didn’t describe what “the Left” desired. Miller responded that he agreed with the change.
Miller also repeatedly pushed for Breitbart to disparage Rubio’s presidential campaign; Rubio was one of eight senators who developed compromise immigration-reform legislation that Miller and other hard-line conservatives opposed. Breitbart generally supported Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) during the early stages of the primaries but eventually devoted itself to Trump as he neared the nomination.
McHugh, who told the SPLC she has renounced her support for the “far-right” causes she espoused on Breitbart, also said it “should raise significant alarm that an organization consistently manipulated coverage out of [the] public eye in order to influence a political party’s primary while insisting it was objective.”