|Jeff Sessions and Stephen Miller|
How riddled with corruption is Alabama's Republican Party? Consider this mind-blowing set of facts: At roughly the same time the state's House speaker (Mike Hubbard), governor (Robert Bentley), and Supreme Court chief justice (Roy Moore) were forced from office due to allegations of misconduct, one of the state's U.S. senators (Jeff Sessions) had a staffer (Stephen Miller) who, using taxpayer-funded resources, was promoting white supremacist literature and talking points to the right-wing Web site Breitbart News.
That is five Republicans -- who engaged in or allowed -- alleged activities that were criminal, dishonest, unlawful, despicable, or some combination of all those. We can put all of these acts under the broad category of "corruption," and they were committed by individuals who were elected or appointed to represent the State of Alabama.
With Hubbard, Moore, and Bentley having already hit the exits, we are left with this question: Should Miller be fired or forced to resign from his current position as a policy adviser to President Donald Trump -- and should Sessions be pressured to back out of the 2020 GOP race for his old U.S. Senate seat, currently held by Democrat Doug Jones?
The worst might be yet to come for Miller and Sessions. Wednesday's report about Miller's emails being leaked to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is just the first of an expected series of revelations based on roughly 900 emails. Upcoming installments might include much more damaging revelations than we've seen already, and they could answer this question: Did Miller act on his own or did he trade in white nationalist talking points with Sessions' knowledge and support? This is from an article at the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The report is the first installment in a series that draws on more than 900 leaked emails that Miller sent to a Breitbart writer over a 15-month period between 2015 and 2016. The report describes Miller's emails as overwhelmingly focused on race and immigration and characterizes him as obsessed with ideas like "white genocide" (a conspiracy theory associated with white supremacists) and sharply curbing immigration by nonwhites.
Among the more damming email exchanges highlighted in the SPLC report is one that shows Miller directing a Breitbart reporter (Katie McHugh) to aggregate stories from the white supremacist journal American Renaissance, or "AmRen," for stories that emphasize crimes committed by immigrants and nonwhites. In another, Miller is apparently upset that Amazon removed Confederate flag merchandise from its marketplace in the wake of the 2015 Charleston church massacre. (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.) Others reportedly show him promoting The Camp of Saints, a racist French novel popular among white nationalists.
Are even more damning revelations likely coming in future installments from the SPLC? Our guess is yes; we doubt the organization fired its strongest shots in the first article. While the public now probably associates Miller with Donald Trump, most of these actions happened on Jeff Sessions' watch, as driven home in this report from New York magazine:
Nobody would mistake Stephen Miller for a humanitarian. The White House speechwriter is widely known to be the force shaping President Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric and policies. Remember Trump’s Oval Office address in January, with its hyperbolic references to rapes, murders, and even dismemberment? That was all Miller, as McKay Coppins reported for The Atlantic at the time. Or the speech the president gave in Poland back in 2017? “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” Trump told a crowd in Warsaw. “Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?” If that sounds too eloquent for Trump, you’re right. The words belonged to Miller. So, too, did many of Trump’s most outrageous immigration policies, like family separation, and his ongoing quest to end temporary protected status for thousands of refugees.
None of this suggests that Trump is fully Miller’s puppet. Trump was a racist long before he became president and he campaigned on nationalist sentiments that Miller appears to share. But it is true that Miller has used the Trump White House to amplify his own, more developed notions about immigrants and race. A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center clarifies the source of Miller’s views. He isn’t just an immigration skeptic. He’s immersed in the white-nationalist movement, and has been at least since he worked for Jeff Sessions. . . .
Miller’s white-nationalist sympathies aren’t limited to immigration. After Dylann Roof murdered black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, Miller was troubled by the prospect that Confederate monuments might disappear. In one message to McHugh, he wrote, “What do the [Confederate monument] vandals say to the people fighting and dying overseas in uniform right now who are carrying on a seventh or eighth generation of military service in their families, stretching back to our founding?” (The military might have its own white-nationalist problem, but as a matter of fact, it is not an all-white institution.) In a subsequent email, Miller wondered if the Spanish should thus be asked to stop displaying the country’s flag since it is, after all, a symbol of colonialism.
On their own, the emails are incontrovertible proof that Miller is not only racist, but is conversant in and influenced by white-nationalist thought.
Does the same hold true for Miller's boss at the time, former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)? Future reporting from SPLC likely will make that clear.