Twitter permanently suspends Steve Bannon account after talk of beheading

Twitter permanently suspended an account belonging to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon after he suggested that Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded. His comments were made in a video posted to his Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter accounts.

Posted: Nov 6, 2020 4:40 PM
Updated: Nov 6, 2020 4:40 PM

Twitter permanently suspended an account belonging to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon after he suggested Thursday morning that Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray should be beheaded. His comments were made in a video posted to his Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter accounts.

Bannon falsely claimed President Trump had won reelection, despite several key states still being too close to call, and said that he should fire both Fauci and Wray.

He then said he would go further: "I'd put the heads on pikes. Right. I'd put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you are gone."

On Friday, a high-powered attorney representing Bannon in a criminal fraud case, moved to withdraw from representing him and asked that hearing scheduled for Monday in the case be postponed while Bannon looks for a new lawyer.

The lawyer, William Burck, a highly-regarded Republican attorney who served in the George W Bush administration, had represented Bannon during former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference into the 2016 presidential election.

Bannon retained Burck after he and three others were indicted over the summer and charged with defrauding investors in a crowd-funding effort called "We Build The Wall" to raise money for a border wall. They have pleaded not guilty.

The inflammatory comments came during a livestream of Bannon's "War Room: Pandemic" online show.

The video was live on Bannon's Facebook page for about 10 hours Thursday and had been viewed almost 200,000 times before Facebook removed it, citing its violence and incitement policies. CNN has reached out to Bannon for comment.

Earlier Thursday evening YouTube removed the video for violating its policy against "inciting violence." Twitter said it had permanently suspended the account of Bannon's "War Room" podcast for glorifying violence.

Bannon was also banned on Thursday from Mailchimp, an email newsletter platform that Bannon's podcast used to reach supporters.

The move could further limit Bannon's ability to promote his messages.

"We can confirm we've identified this account and closed it for violations of our Terms," Mailchimp tweeted after social media users noticed the business relationship.

Bannon's comments came as other supporters of President Trump also used violent and militaristic rhetoric to back Trump's baseless claims of a rigged election and to condemn his perceived political opponents.

In a tweet Thursday, Donald Trump Jr. called for his father "to go to total war over this election."

"It's time to clean up this mess & stop looking like a banana republic!" he added.

Trump Jr. also repeated multiple baseless claims undermining the integrity of the election in the tweet, which was labeled by Twitter as "disputed and might be misleading."

During the campaign, he had touted baseless rigged-election claims to recruit an "army" for his dad, as CNN has previously reported.

CNN has reached out to a spokesperson for Trump Jr. for comment.

Earlier on Thursday, Facebook shut down a pro-Trump group called "Stop The Steal," which amassed hundreds of thousands of members and had been coordinating protests that sought to challenge the election's legitimacy.

Some members of the group posted about civil war and revolting against the government should Trump lose the election, according to a report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a London-based think tank that monitors extremism.

"So IF they give this to Joe, how do we go about over throwing [sic] the government?" one member of the group asked in a post.

Ciaran O'Connor, an analyst with ISD, said that, although such posts may be hyperbolic, Facebook groups can be used to coordinate offline protests or events that could turn violent.

"It was possible for this group to become a hub for potentially violent behavior," O'Connor said.

One of the administrators of the "Stop the Steal" group, Dustin Stockton, told CNN he did not see any messages within the group "calling for violence outside of what is common political hyperbole." He said Facebook's removal of the page was "out of line and they should restore it immediately."

A Facebook spokesperson told CNN, "In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the Group 'Stop the Steal,' which was creating real-world events."

The spokesperson added, "The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group."

Researchers say the controversy over the vote count is particularly fertile soil for extremists to spread their messages.

"A contested election creates the perfect conditions for extremists to create chaos, to sow division, and to try to undermine our democratic institutions," said Oren Segal, a vice president of the ADL's Center on Extremism. "All those are foundational goals for extremist movements across the board."

Even if comments from political influencers do not directly call for violence, war-like symbols and veiled references can valorize violence and potentially inspire people to action, said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, director of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University.

She said President Trump's comments at his first debate with Biden, in which he told the far-right group the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by," for instance, could have been perceived as a call to action, regardless of his intent.

CNN's Zachary Cohen, Mallory Simon and Brian Fung contributed to this article.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 296745

Reported Deaths: 6783
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19731230
Hinds18881393
Harrison16780282
Rankin12787265
Jackson12643229
Lee9703161
Madison9484203
Jones8005147
Forrest7250138
Lauderdale6847227
Lowndes6033140
Lamar590980
Lafayette5747113
Washington5229130
Bolivar4620124
Oktibbeha442194
Panola432396
Pearl River4193132
Warren4138115
Pontotoc410771
Marshall404492
Monroe3993128
Union396474
Neshoba3822170
Lincoln3564104
Hancock350277
Leflore3389119
Sunflower319286
Tate303374
Pike301796
Scott295271
Alcorn292463
Yazoo290865
Itawamba290275
Coahoma282069
Tippah279565
Copiah279259
Simpson276680
Prentiss271158
Wayne254541
Leake253172
Marion252778
Covington249780
Grenada248578
Adams235078
George232445
Newton231252
Winston221979
Jasper213845
Tishomingo212965
Attala206870
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182770
Clay179251
Stone173029
Tallahatchie171439
Clarke169672
Calhoun158528
Smith153033
Yalobusha145536
Greene127933
Walthall124540
Noxubee123131
Montgomery122939
Perry122235
Lawrence120621
Carroll119025
Amite112235
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99523
Claiborne99129
Benton93924
Humphreys93027
Kemper90423
Quitman77414
Franklin76219
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62427
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498076

Reported Deaths: 10094
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson716711387
Mobile36294737
Madison32616468
Tuscaloosa24340421
Montgomery22739519
Shelby22174218
Baldwin19873289
Lee15039157
Calhoun13832293
Morgan13753254
Etowah13390325
Marshall11448211
Houston10124264
Elmore9483190
Limestone9420138
St. Clair9022227
Cullman8984182
Lauderdale8612214
DeKalb8489175
Talladega7606165
Walker6585259
Jackson6545104
Autauga632492
Blount6236127
Colbert6001121
Coffee5264103
Dale4671107
Russell406933
Franklin399878
Covington3993106
Chilton3898103
Escambia379173
Tallapoosa3622143
Clarke344053
Chambers3431111
Dallas3422142
Pike293373
Marion288695
Lawrence284985
Winston258368
Bibb246160
Geneva240370
Marengo238857
Pickens225457
Barbour213651
Hale212269
Fayette202057
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178039
Monroe166739
Randolph164840
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146255
Clay145954
Cleburne139841
Lamar133733
Lowndes132751
Wilcox122925
Bullock117336
Conecuh107024
Perry106127
Sumter99732
Coosa90224
Greene88532
Choctaw55323
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