Zachary Petrizzo

Mike Lindell promises his 'cyber symposium' will be bigger than Elvis' 1973 Hawaii concert

Nearly a year and a half ago, I began covering MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. He's an oddly charismatic character, a former crack addict and fervent evangelical Christian willing to preach the word of God at the drop of a hat. He became a star in TrumpWorld nearly overnight after speaking at the White House alongside former President Donald Trump in March of 2020.

Lindell reminded me of my own Uncle Bob, a Vietnam War veteran with a greased-lightning demeanor who bears the horrid wounds of Agent Orange. Bob has a similar physique to the pillow tycoon, also rocks an old-school walrus mustache and isn't afraid to tell you what's on his mind. Uncle Bob and Mike Lindell would, without question, get along.

We are now drawing near the climactic moment of Lindell's career as top exponent of Donald Trump's "election fraud" theories: A much-publicized "cyber symposium" event in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which will allegedly bring to light evidence that will cause the scales to fall from America's eyes. The Supreme Court, or so Lindell believes, will uproot the results of 2020 election by a 9-0 vote (on what grounds and by what mechanism remains mysterious), leading to the immediate reinstatement of President Donald Trump.

With this high-stakes event, on which Lindell's reputation seems to rest, fast approaching, Salon gave him a ring to check in on his progress. And in true Lindell fashion, he didn't disappoint.

Relishing in the glory of "crushing" this Salon reporter at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) event two weekends ago in Dallas, Lindell struck a different tone than in his often combative and utterly baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in last year's election. Instead, he was positively jovial, wanting to make sure Salon would attend his South Dakota "cyber symposium."

"Are you coming? And the cyber guy?" Lindell asked. "We just sent out the invites, we're getting flooded with them."

He continued with a note of concern. "Get it in right away if you can, Zach, I do want you there, because I want the bad media that writes discrediting things, so they can actually write apologies to the whole country. That will be nice!"

Lindell went on to promise Salon that if his evidence doesn't provide the goods he has long promised, this reporter and his "buddy" might be the ones to take home his $5 million jackpot. The "buddy" Lindell referenced is indeed a "cyber guy" (who has requested anonymity), a highly qualified expert who advises this Salon reporter on data science and technological matters.

Lindell then complimented Salon for covering his Wednesday announcement that journalists, politicians and "cyber experts" are eligible to win his $5 million bounty if they can prove his 2020 election data is not legitimate.

"That was nice. You wrote an article," Lindell said. "I actually retweeted one of your articles — that's the first time in history I retweeted [one]." Then he had to clarify: Since he's banned from Twitter, he instead posted it to Facebook.

Lindell then made an ambitious prediction: His August event will attract more eyeballs than Elvis Presley's "Aloha From Hawaii" concert, which was beamed around the world by satellite on Jan. 14, 1973, and witnessed by a billion people.

"Elvis Presley in 1973," Lindell reminisced. "Over a billion people watched that 'Aloha From Hawaii' because at that time, it was epic. This is going to be so important for the whole world to see — I'm hoping the word keeps spreading so that everybody at least tunes in," he added.

A devoted Elvis fan, Lindell wasn't shy about the prospect of upstaging the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Asked whether his event could really be bigger than the legendary Elvis concert — one of the first global satellite pay-per-view spectacles — Lindell expressed optimism. "I'm hoping it is. I just hope a lot of people see it," adding earnestly that no matter your political party, by the final day of the gathering, the entire world will be convinced to "right the wrong" of the 2020 election.

"This is so important to the world. To the world!" Lindell added. "I believe that if we get the word out, it's going be seen by — not millions. I'm hoping a billion, and I've used that correlation to Elvis. I am hoping that. I'm hoping that!"

Salon pushed forward with a series of questions about the details of Lindell's August event. According to the King of Restful Sleep, the symposium will feature a "mock election" every two hours, in which a hacker "flips votes" while a "cyber guy" goes into a "soundproof room with headphones on" and reappears moments later to decipher the meaning of packet captures.

"He's going to say, because packet captures — you can't change, can't alter, 100%. He's gonna say: 'You flipped 20 votes!'" Lindell explained.

Near the end of our friendly 20-minute conversation, Lindell reported he had to adjourn for a cable interview on One America News, then sternly told this reporter that I should contact Fox News to ask whether they will be present in Sioux Falls for the big event. "Ask Fox!" he demanded. "Shame on Fox that they haven't come. You should reach out to them!"

Gaining a second wind and apparently no longer concerned about his OAN cable news hit, Lindell took a few more swings at Fox News for ignoring his entire election-fraud enterprise his $5 million jackpot. Fox's nonexistent coverage of his efforts, Lindell said, were part of "the biggest cover-up this country's ever had in history."

A Fox News spokesperson did not return Salon's request for comment.

Wrapping up the interview, Salon asked Lindell about the Smartmatic, ES&S and Dominion voting machines he claims to have in his possession. "We've had machines for, I don't know, months now," he said. "You realize you can buy them on eBay, right?" Lindell asked.

When asked if that's how he acquired them, Lindell responded, "No, no, and I'm not gonna say how we got them. You know, we were — we didn't take them, we were given them." Asked if these machines were with him now, or still in an undisclosed location ahead of the big event, he said, "I don't carry machines around with me!"

A few minutes after we hung up, Salon received a text message from Lindell, featuring a TikTok video. That cleared up an important question: Lindell's CPAC beef with Salon has been squashed, since he has unblocked this reporter's phone number.

'Conservative pornstar' Brandi Love derails Turning Point USA's right-wing youth gathering

Turning Point USA, the right-wing youth student organization led by Charlie Kirk, found itself in an unusual controversy Saturday night after "conservative pornstar" Brandi Love was allowed into a Florida conference and welcomed as an "Adult VIP," sparking backlash.

The drama began early in the night when the adult entertainer's presence in Tampa was first discovered by a follower of white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes and former Kansas State student Jaden McNeil, who wrote on Telegram, "Turning Point USA has a pornstar as a VIP at their Student Action Summit."

"Imagine sending your kids to this conference think they're gonna learn about Christian Conservative values, and they come home with photos with pornstars," he added, attaching a photo of Love snapping a picture with a TPUSA attendee.

Quickly thereafter, white nationalist "groypers" began to approach Love both in person at the event and feverishly online, hurling insults again and again at the adult star.

After a while, more mainstream conservative figures and student activists began to join in as well, calling out Turning Point USA for the alleged misstep. "A new low for TPUSA. Zero class left in that organization," Liberty University student Carley Dehnisch said. Right-wing writer Alec Sears penned, "Absolutely fucking speechless that 'conservative' org TPUSA has invited an actual porn star to a conference that minors attend." Young America's Foundation (YAF) intern Jacob Porwisz wrote, "Great job TPUSA, for inviting a porn star to their conference that features kids under 17; very conservative of them!"

Reached for comment by Salon, TPUSA spokesperson Andrew Kolvet declined to comment on the drama. Shortly thereafter, Love was banned from the gathering.

"We regret to inform you that your SAS 2021 invitation has been revoked," an email from TPUSA stated, posted to Twitter by the adult entertainer. "This decision is final. This revocation does not impact application to future events, and we hope that you will consider applying again in the future."

However, Love wasn't buying it and said the Republican Party is "broken" due to TPUSA officials giving her the boot. "Can't make this shit up lol!! I just watched Charlie Kirk, Dan Bongino, Rick Scott, Kat Timpf, speak about freedom, censorship, how inclusive the 'movement' is," she stated. "And then they had me thrown out of the Turning Point USA conference. The Republican Party is broken."

While many right-wingers cheered the ban on Love, an unlikely opposition force led by Federalist co-founder and frequent Fox News guest Ben Domenech also emerged: "I'm disappointed that TPUSA kicked out Brandi Love for no reason whatsoever. She's a Florida conservative businesswoman who loves America," he tweeted. "The right has an opportunity to be the big tent party. Don't be a bunch of prudes."

As of Sunday morning, the ban remained.

Turning Point USA is no stranger to such type of controversy, as back in December of 2020, the organization came under fire during their Student Action Conference in Palm Beach, Florida, over Bang Energy's "Bang Girls" blasting free cash into the crowd of college and high school students.

Following publication, factions on the right emerged over TPUSA's decision to ban Love. Notably, New York Post opinion editor and event speaker Sohrab Ahmari agreed with the move, tweeting, "Here at the TPUSA Student Action Summit, and I'm proud of Charlie Kirk and his team for revoking the pass of a pornstar who'd signed up as an adult attendee. There are kids as young as 15 here."

Right-wing student group Turning Point USA struggles to bar white nationalists from gathering

Turning Point USA, the conservative student organization led by Charlie Kirk, kicks off its summer "Student Action Summit" on Saturday morning in Tampa. But the group now faces faces a battle to ward off white nationalists who hope to infiltrate the gathering, whose headliners include Donald Trump Jr. and former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

Far-right youth activist Nicholas Fuentes hopes to lead a group of his white nationalist supporters, known as the "groyper army," into the Tampa conference, despite TPUSA organizers' attempts to ban Fuentes and his followers

After Fuentes' attempts to derail or disrupt the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) event last weekend in Dallas, TPUSA staffers have begun to connect the dots on "groypers" who had previously been invited to the Tampa conference, and are informing them they're not welcome.

One such individual is a 15-year-old ally of Fuentes who often live-streams on the internet and goes by the Twitter handle @OneYoungPatriot. This person was uninvited to the TPUSA summit in an email reviewed by Salon.

"We regret to inform you that your SAS 2021 invitation has been revoked," reads the email sent to @OneYoungPatriot. "This decision is final. This revocation does not impact applications to future events, and we hope that you will consider applying again in the future. Please do not attempt to attend the summit as any attempt to disrupt may affect consideration for future participation." Several other people associated with Fuentes, along with another person who has expressed support for him on social media, were informed this week they would not be welcome at TPUSA's Tampa conference.

In group chats on the messaging platform Telegram, various Fuentes' followers claim they will be at the TPUSA summit anyway, and have floated the idea of disrupting the event.

"Defidently getting a fat 'groyper' chant going while I'm down there," wrote one user. Another user replied, "Let's link and make it happen." A third groyper responded, "Let's get loud."

Fuentes, who has been accused of being a Holocaust denier over comments he has said were "jokes," didn't return Salon's request for comment.

TPUSA supporters and Fuentes followers have feuded in public over the past two years, beginning in to late 2019, when white nationalists appeared on college campuses across the country to challenge Kirk during Q&A sessions.

Ben Lorber, a research analyst at Political Research Associates, a progressive think tank that studies right-wing movements, told Salon that Fuentes' followers have long targeted TPUSA gatherings as a recruitment opportunity.

"The white nationalist groyper movement has long viewed TPUSA as a strategic site for recruiting and spreading their ideology among conservative youth," Lorber said. "Since 2019, the groypers have pursued a dual strategy of publicly pressuring TPUSA to move further rightward while quietly infiltrating its chapters to effect change from within. In the 2021 school year, white nationalist movements like the groypers continue their efforts to target right-wing college students in order to further radicalize the next generation of conservative leaders."

Last week, Fuentes continued to attack TPUSA, specifically deriding TPUSA employee Alex Clark, who hosts a daily politics show called "Poplitics."

Amid a tirade after his eviction from the CPAC gathering in Dallas last weekend, Fuentes complained about being called a "sexist ... by so-called right-wing women, like, for example, you know, Alex Clark. Man, she is ugly."

TPUSA spokesperson Andrew Kolvet didn't return Salon's request for comment on this story.

TPUSA organizers continue to hawk tickets to the Student Action Summit even as they try to detect possible Fuentes followers and prevent them from showing up.

"LAST CALL on tickets for this historic event," read an email sent out by TPUSA on Thursday night. "Join us July 17th - 20th in Tampa, FL, to hear from the nation's top leaders such as Governor DeSantis, Kayleigh McEnany, Donald Trump Jr., Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and dozens more. We are near capacity, so don't miss out as we continue to make history with the largest event of the summer!"

It isn't just Fuentes and the groypers who are trying to outflank Turning Point USA on the right. Lorber told Salon that another group of far-right activists is planning a competing "American Populist Union" event, where a loosely affiliated group of extremists and white nationalists will attack TPUSA as fake conservatives or "cucks."

"Leaders and followers of the American Populist Union, most of whom are college-age or younger, slander feminists and LGBTQ people as 'degenerate,' argue for a moratorium on all immigration, view themselves as victimized by 'anti-white hatred' in universities and popular culture, and oppose a conservative establishment they view as weak and ineffectual," Lorber said. "Multiple movement leaders have signaled alignment with and organized alongside Nick Fuentes and the groyper movement. In their private chat rooms and servers, open support for the groypers and their white nationalist agenda isn't hard to find."

The three-day TPUSA event is definitely drawing high-profile speakers from the conservative movement and the MAGAverse, including Fox News host Dan Bongino and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., as well as those mentioned above. Whether it can prevent incursions by far-right extremists and overt racists remains to be seen.

Mike Lindell pushes election fantasies at CPAC -- and accuses reporter of destroying the country

MyPillow CEO turned 2020 election truther Mike Lindell, whom I have interviewed many times by phone, got his first chance to meet me in person on Sunday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) gathering here. He did not waste the opportunity, accusing me of being "evil" and "destroying the country"

While taking in the carnivalesque sights and of CPAC early on Sunday afternoon, I noticed Lindell by his booth on the conference floor. I approached and introduced myself, beginning to ask some of the questions he has avoided answering during our multiple phone conversations.

Much of the following exchange was captured on video and later posted by Raw Story. "I'm going to tell you something, and I'm going to tell everybody," Lindell began. "In our country's history, every single election official, if there's fraud involved, there's not a statute of limitations. They take the guy that won, and they put him back in office, and it's just never happened at the presidential level." (In fact, cases of courts overturning certified elections at any level are vanishingly rare. At the federal level, it is likely a legal and constitutional impossibility.)

"The Supreme Court will vote 9-0 to pull this [the election] down," Lindell continued. "And you can sit here and go, 'Come on, Mike.' You know what? I'm just telling you what's going to happen, and if it doesn't happen — if they don't watch it, that's when the whole public is going to go, 'You have to protect our country.'"

Lindell continued explaining his proposed path to reinstate former President Donald Trump, which he has been discussing for months. His original deadline of an Aug. 13 deadline for Trump to return to power is now barely a month away.

Nearing the end of the interview, I asked Lindell about the raw data he claims to possess relating to the 2020 election, specifically the "packet-captures" (PCAPS) he has mentioned on several occasions. If the information is so explosive, I wondered, why doesn't he share it with the media?

"Sorry, Zachary. Sorry, Zachary," he responded, dodging the question by repeatedly asking whether I enjoy "destroying this country."

Later on Sunday afternoon, Salon learned from sources close to Lindell that he participated in a behind-the-scenes roundtable event with Trump ahead of the former president's keynote address.

You can watch portions of my exchange with Lindell above, via YouTube.


Mike Lindell accuses reporter of trying to 'destroy the country' www.youtube.com

Stewart Rhodes, founder of right-wing Oath Keepers militia, spotted at CPAC

Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of right-wing militia group the Oath Keepers, was spotted by a Salon reporter Friday evening strolling the halls of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas.

Multiple federal agencies are currently investigating the Oath Keepers for their alleged role in the planning and execution of the Jan. 6 insurrection — and though Rhodes did not himself enter the U.S. Capitol building that day, several members of his group did, according to news reports. As of this week, 16 Oath Keepers have been charged for their involvement in the storming of the Capitol building.

In the months since Jan. 6, Rhodes has voluntarily turned himself over for questioning by federal agents — against the advice of his attorneys, according to a New York Times. He reportedly told authorities that the only reason Oath Keeper members entered the Capitol that day was to provide aid after hearing someone inside had been shot, though the Times notes that an extensive investigation of visual evidence conducted by reporters was not able to verify the claims.

When asked why he was in attendance at the conservative conference, Rhodes quickly became enraged and yelled, "f**k off." A female associate, identified as Marcia Strickler on her CPAC pass, also came within inches of this reporter, yelling various obscenities.

CPAC security also approved Rhodes for an official pass, which was photographed by Salon Friday before the encounter.

Yet according to a high-ranking CPAC official that spoke with Salon exclusively on Friday evening, conference leaders have been in touch with federal law enforcement authorities to seek guidance as to whether Rhodes is considered a threat to attendees' safety and well being.

White nationalists prep for 'physical' altercation with security at Dallas CPAC conference

DALLAS —White nationalist and Unite the Right attendee Nicholas Fuentes, de facto leader of the ultra-far-right "groyper" movement, has announced that he plans to attending a Conservative Political Action Conference gathering this weekend in Dallas, although he has not been welcomed at previous CPAC events.

A years-long feud between Fuentes and CPAC organizers appeared to escalate on Wednesday after Fuentes' declaration.

"I'm going to CPAC in Dallas on Saturday," he tweeted to his loyal "groyper army," many of whom responded with excitement. "Well, most likely, I'll be getting physically removed from CPAC in Dallas on Saturday, but you can come watch if you want," he added.

"I will be there! Can't wait!" one follower responded to Fuentes' tweet. Another wrote, "groyper swarm incoming." In other online forums reviewed by Salon, many of Fuentes' followers posted plans to attend CPAC and partake in a "White Boy Summer" meetup in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Since 2019, Fuentes has made a point of showing up at CPAC gatherings, likely to create friction and push the bounds of acceptable rhetoric at the American Conservative Union's events, at times making participants and organizers distinctly uncomfortable.

Interview: Nick Fuentes shows up at CPAC www.youtube.com

This year will apparently be no different. At CPAC gatherings both last year and this year, Fuentes has staged his own competing event, dubbed the America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), designed to make the more "mainstream" conservatives of CPAC appear to be RINOs or "cucks."

During the CPAC convention in Florida earlier in 2021, Fuentes attempted to enter the event along with a group of 25 or so fellow white nationalists. They were denied entry.

'Fuentes didn't return a Salon request for comment on this story.

Jared Holt, a resident fellow at Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab and a former reporter for Right Wing Watch, discussed the fraught relationship between Fuentes and CPAC in an interview with Salon this week. "Nick Fuentes and his followers seem to only go to those conferences to antagonize other participants," Hold said in a phone interview. "It creates situations that have resulted in them being kicked out of the conference. I imagine if they have similar plans in Dallas ... their time inside the conference will be short-lived."

Holt added that Fuentes and the "groypers" see CPAC as a way to "boost their own visibility" and attempt to "siphon off" attendees from more mainstream conservative groups.

More mainstream Republican and conservative pundits, including fervent Donald Trump supporters, generally want nothing to do with Fuentes' overtly racist rhetoric, while he derides them as "shills." Some degree of confrontation is more than likely this weekend in Dallas, where Trump himself will deliver the keynote address on Sunday afternoon.

Right-wing outlet quietly deletes article claiming Roger Stone did 'nothing wrong' on Jan. 6

Right-wing outlet The Gateway Pundit silently deleted an article over the weekend written by Kristin Davis, a sidekick to veteran Republican operative Roger Stone, which cast blame for the U.S. Capitol attack of Jan. 6 onto the pro-Trump organization Women for America First, while arguing that Stone did nothing wrong in Washington on that infamous day.

Davis' lengthy defense, which Salon has archived, contends that Stone bore no responsibility for the events of Jan. 6, despite being pictured with members of the Proud Boys, who, according to Just Security, may have been involved in planning the Capitol attack.

"So what exactly happened on January 6th in Washington D.C. as it pertains to Roger Stone. The facts are simple and crystal clear," Davis wrote in the now-deleted post.

I booked Roger to speak at the Rally to Save America the night prior and was led to believe by Women for America First that he was supposed to speak the following afternoon on January 6th, at a rally they organized which featured President Donald J. Trump. After a completely peaceful rally on January 5th, which attracted thousands of brave American patriots, we woke up the next morning expecting to attend the rally at the Ellipse.

Davis goes on to claim that Women for America First was behind the ensuing chaos, notably tossing the group's leader, Amy Kremer, a prominent TrumpWorld figure, under the bus.

However, despite Women for America First promoting Stone as a speaker and insisting that they were sending a transport for Mr. Stone and our team to the Willard Hotel, the escort never came. As we were waiting, the staff at the Hotel Willard asked anyone congregating in the lobby to stay out of the cold to step outside in order to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines set forth by the Mayor of Washington D.C. A simple walk outside, which lasted mere minutes, is the first part of the dishonest conspiracy theory by the mainstream media and Democrat elected officials that Mr. Stone was somehow organizing the insurrection or had some sort of advance knowledge of what was going to happen later that day.

The article has been deleted and now links back to the website's landing page for a standard error message: "Not found, error 404. The page you are looking for no longer exists."

Stone didn't return Salon's request for comment on the matter, including whether he demanded the article be taken down. Gateway Pundit founder and editor Jim Hoft also did not return a Salon request for comment, leaving alert readers to wonder whether this deletion amounts to a retraction of Davis' claim that Roger Stone did nothing wrong on Jan. 6.

Feds zero in on Roger Stone's 'shady' condo purchase

Veteran Republican operative Roger Stone is yet again in the crosshairs of the Department of Justice, this time over after a questionable mortgage deal that is the centerpiece of an ongoing civil case which alleges he owes millions in back taxes.

"The government's complaint lays out a complicated scheme. It describes the condo purchase as an overt act of fraud, and claims a right to seize the property. Essentially, prosecutors say, Stone and his wife Nydia used $140,000 from a private company they already held (Drake Ventures) for a down payment on a condo," The Daily Beast reported on Friday. "Picking up the rest of the tab—almost exactly $400,000—was a mortgage lender."

The lender who provided Stone the loan in question spoke to the outlet and said they had been misled, adding that they "likely wouldn't have granted the loan if he had known the full picture."

Former IRS criminal investigator Martin Sheil cast doubt upon the idea that any lender could overlook the Stone's hefty legal problems, let alone miss them entirely while researching a potential deal.

"For this transaction, I'd use the term 'shady.' I don't know why anybody would loan them money," Sheil said. "The ignorance is profound, and I almost can't believe what you're telling me."

A lawyer representing Stone responded to the news, arguing that "nothing whatsoever improper" occurred. Following the publication of the Beast's story, the self-described "dirty-trickster" took aim at Roger Sollenberger, the Daily Beast reporter who penned the original piece.

"The trail of smears from the haters at the Daily Beast continue. There was nothing improper or illegal with my wife's down payment on a small condominium where she could live if I was railroaded to prison. Now Roger Sollenberger is attacking a woman battling stage four cancer," Stone wrote on the far-right social media site Gab. "Too many outrageous falsehoods in this piece to address here," he added, without citing a single one of those falsehoods.

Stone didn't return a Salon request for comment.

Now Sebastian Gorka claims NSA spied on him and Steve Bannon in White House

Right-wing radio host and former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka has now claimed that he was spied on by the National Security Agency, joining a parade of evidence-free claims that began with Tucker Carlson Monday night on Fox News and continued with former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon.

Gorka, a colorful if unpredictable figure of the early Trump administration, who was often seen on Fox News at the time railing against the "era of the pajama boy," made the accusation in a Newsmax broadcast on Tuesday evening.

"There is a part of the NSA, it is the most aggressive cyber arm of the NSA called the 'Tailored Access Operations,'" Gorka said, then claiming "there was a small unit of contractors in the TAO who had been tasked to actually surveil members of the Trump administration, me, Steve Bannon and others included."

Asked by Newsmax host Grant Stinchfield why he waited so long to bring forth this allegation now, the tough-talking right-wing radio host — infamous in D.C. for an inability to park his Mustang convertible correctly — appeared to duck the question.

b285dN8CFCLk2m8i



Later in the interview, Gorka told Stinchfield that a "very highly respected journalist" has the evidence to back his claims, and that this unnamed person would come forward at a time yet to be determined.

Gorka went on to claim that his communications were being routed through Malaysia and treated as foreign communications — and therefore subject to NSA surveillance — in an elaborate scheme targeting Trump allies. He did not explain this strange accusation further.

Asked by Salon about Gorka's claims, an NSA spokesperson said they had "no further comment to offer" beyond the previous statement sent out regarding Carlson Tuesday night.

Gorka didn't return Salon's requests for comment on the matter. Steve Bannon couldn't be reached by Salon for comment on these allegations.

In fact, on Wednesday morning's "WarRoom: Pandemic" podcast, Bannon expressed skepticism about Carlson's claims, wondering aloud why Fox News' reporters hadn't pursued a story on the accusations.

Since leaving the Trump administration to become a right-wing radio firebrand, Gorka has made various improbable claims, including that he was infected with the coronavirus before it was prevalent in the United States and once had a near-death experience at a 7-Eleven convenience store because he wasn't wearing a mask.

This wave of accusations that the NSA was spying on prominent conservatives began with Carlson's on-air claims on Monday night.

The prime-time Fox News host told his audience that an NSA whistleblower had reached out "to warn us that the NSA, the National Security Agency, is monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air."

On Tuesday night, Carlson refused to retract his claims even though the NSA, a highly secretive agency that rarely engages with media or the public, released a statement saying that "Tucker Carlson has never been an intelligence target of the Agency and the NSA has never had any plans to try to take his program off the air."

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade mocked on Twitter after claiming he read Mein Kampf in school

Fox News host Brian Kilmeade claimed that he was required to read Adolph Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" during his high school years.

The questionable admission came Monday morning during a discussion on "Fox & Friends" about U.S. military Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley arguing in front of Congress last week that he is supportive of being well-read on the topic of "critical race theory."

"I thought General Miley totally missed the point last week. He said, 'Oh, I read Mao, I read Stalin' that has nothing to do with it," Kilmeade stated.

"We read 'Mein Kampf' in school; no one thought we were Nazis, that is part of the curriculum, you find out about other things and other insurgencies, we get it, that has nothing to do with critical race theory," the Fox News host added.

"Umm...in a U.S. school?" White House Playboy reporter Brian Karem responded to Kilmeade's claim.

Another Twitter user wrote, "It's interesting to me that Brian Kilmeade is so upset about CRT being taught in schools — even though it's not — but he doesn't seem to have an issue with Mein Kampf being assigned in high schools. (Which it isn't.)."

"Mein Kampf," an anti-semantic book penned by Adolf Hitler while in prison, was a lengthy diatribe about the Nazi Party, which Kilmeade claims was required reading at Massapequa High School in Long Island, New York, where he attended high school in the 1980s.

Milley faced accusations this past week by Republicans in Congress that he was far too "woke" and embracive of "critical race theory." He pushed back on that GOP lawmaker characterization, calling it "offensive" over merely "studying some theories that are out there."

The high-ranking military official further stated that he reads an assortment of literature from Lenin, Karl Marx, and Mao Zedong, claiming that doing such "doesn't make me a communist." Milley added during the hearing, "So what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend?"

BRAND NEW STORIES

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.