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WASHINGTON, October 21, 2020 — An investigation published today by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Hatewatch reveals that President Trump’s Deputy Communications Director Julia Hahn had connections to the white nationalist movement around the time she joined the White House as an aide.

The report — written by Senior Investigative Reporter Michael Edison Hayden — is based upon hundreds of private correspondences that were leaked to SPLC by former Breitbart News editor Katie McHugh, Hahn’s former friend and colleague. Hugh leaked over 600 emails taken from Hahn’s personal Gmail and her Breitbart News work email, and scores of text messages and Google Chat transcripts. McHugh, who once immersed herself in the anti-immigrant movement and rubbed shoulders with open white nationalists, has since renounced far-right extremism and racism.

The investigation reveals:

  • How Hahn is connected to Peter Brimelow, the founder of the white nationalist hate group VDARE. VDARE traffics in the “white genocide” conspiracy theory, which suggests that white people are being systemically replaced in Western nations by non-white people. Brimelow’s group has also published apologia regarding the ideologies espoused by far-right mass murderers in El Paso, Texas, and Christchurch, New Zealand. Before
  • Hahn joined the right-wing website Breitbart News as an editor, she attended a writer’s workshop with the white nationalist publishing house The Social Contract Press. Her story pitches to Breitbart News show influence of the type of white nationalist worldview espoused by VDARE and The Social Contract Press.
  • Hahn maintained a close and intimate relationship with Stephen Miller during Trump’s first campaign for president. Hahn pushed for favorable coverage of Miller, according to the emails. In February 2017, after Hahn had joined the White House as an aide to President Trump, the emails show she urged McHugh to write a favorable story about Miller as a way of blunting criticism of him published in The New York Times.
  • Hahn engaged with a social circle that overlapped with young extremists of the white supremacist-friendly “alt-right” movement. Emails back up her claim. For example, Hahn met white nationalist and Daily Caller editor Scott Greer, the emails show.

“Julia Hahn’s emails show very clearly that she is unfit to represent our country from the White House,” said Hayden. “Hahn was immersed in a culture of white nationalism and hate before Trump hired her, and her presence in our government is an insult to all Americans.”

When Hatewatch reached the White House for a statement on the allegations, they criticized McHugh but did not deny the authenticity of her correspondences with Hahn.

Read the full investigation here.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. For more information, visit www.splcenter.org.