Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

The Halloween 2020 meeting in which Steve Bannon explained that Donald Trump planned to declare victory on election night, regardless of the actual results, was not supposed to be a big deal. The gathering was intended for Bannon to help associates of his patron, exiled Chinese mogul Guo Wengui, plan election night coverage on GTV News, one of Guo’s media companies.

But Bannon wanted to talk. He explained repeatedly that Trump would announce early that he had won and would suggest that any apparent Biden victory had resulted from fraud. “He’s just gonna go in—remember, this is just with like 20 percent of the vote counted, Trump’s just gonna walk in and go, ‘I’m the winner,'” Bannon said.

Bannon also took credit for maneuvering Trump into position to execute that strategy, saying several times that he had masterminded a plan that arrested Joe Biden’s momentum late in the campaign. That was the leak of material from Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Joe Biden “was very close to winning outright then and shutting down Trump,” Bannon said. “The hard drive from hell stopped his momentum and drove up his negatives.” Bannon argued that Joe Biden’s failure to respond to allegations about Hunter Biden, including false ones, had driven up negative perceptions of the former Vice President. Bannon compared the Hunter Biden material to WikiLeaks’ release of hacked Democratic emails in 2016. And he boasted about his efforts as Trump’s campaign chief that year to attack Hillary Clinton.

“I had been…ten years on that bitch,” he said, laughing. “I just beat her. I just beat her every day, right?” Bannon made slapping noises while he said that.

Asked about those words, Bannon expressed no regret. “The entire political and media establishment predicted Hillary Clinton would win by a landslide in 2016, but President Trump proved all the doubters wrong by running the most hard-hitting campaign in political history,” he said in a response to Mother Jones. “We killed off the Clinton Dynasty by beating her campaign day in and day out with unmatched passion and unrelenting intensity never seen before in American history.”

In the 2020 meeting, Bannon also described himself as tougher in his use of negative information than Trump, who he said “actually has a big heart. He’s kind of soft.” Bannon also said Trump “is like a little boy” because “he thinks the vaccines are magic.”

Bannon’s comments, which went on for nearly 58 minutes, were an elaborate exercise in projection and rationalization. Like many cynics, he justified his own malfeasance by asserting that his opponents did worse. Democrats, he claimed baselessly, “steal elections all the time.” Republicans should respond, he suggested, by cutting off counting before all votes, particularly mail-in ballots, had been tallied. Bannon, a self-styled champion of populist democracy, wanted to disenfranchise Americans he disagreed with.

Bannon predicted that “there is essentially gonna be a riot” in DC on election night, with “20 or 25,000 antifa” surrounding the White House. This never happened. But his prognostication of violence was borne out when the lies he urged Trump to tell led to the January 6 attack on the Capitol. And his reasons for fearing antifa were telling. “What they’re trying to show is that Trump’s a fascist. He’s a dictator,” Bannon said. “He’s no better than [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping]. He’s just declaring victory.”

Here’s a full transcript of the leaked audio, lightly edited for clarity. Click on the highlighted text to read annotations:


Bannon: Within the first hour, within, from 7 to 8, one hour, we’ll have one, two, three, four, five, six battleground states will close their polls and start reporting. Now here’s what happens. It hits hard at first, and then it slows down, right? As they start arguing about the mail-in ballots, right? Remember, there’s three alternatives here, three scenarios.

Number one, Biden gets a knock-out blow on Tuesday night and wins outright. In other words, we lose Florida and lose—well, it could happen. I don’t think it’s gonna happen. I think we stopped it because of the—

Woman: Whistleblowers.

Bannon: The whistleblowers, the hard drive from hell, laptop from hell stopped his momentum.

But he was very close to winning outright then and shutting down Trump. The hard drive from hell stopped his momentum and drove up his negatives.

In American politics, it’s very hard to get your approval ratings up, as you see with Trump. Trump’s approval ratings never goes very high to 50. But the way you can drive an opponent’s negatives way up, and that’s what we did on the hard drive from hell. The hard drive from hell was the inflection point of this campaign, because Biden went into hiding.

So there were three alternatives before that happened. Number one, the worst one, is Trump would lose on Tuesday night. He would lose Ohio and Florida and Arizona. Well, that’s what they were planning on, right? And then the second scenario is that it’s too close to call, and then it goes on for days and days and days and days and weeks, right? And that’s where you start counting the votes in Arizona and in Florida and all these things.

The third scenario is Trump is ahead. He’s won Ohio. He’s leading in Florida. He’s leading in Pennsylvania. He then is leading in Arizona, and what Trump’s gonna do is just declare victory, right? He’s gonna declare victory. But that doesn’t mean he’s a winner. He’s just gonna say he’s a winner. Then we go into all the chaos of the counting, and it takes a while to— the probability Trump could win it outright on Tuesday night is very small. Maybe. It could happen. If that happens, it’s gonna be great. So, my point for the broadcast is we have a number of assets that we can, that we can use to make the telecast a global telecast.

Number one, we have a top pollster, Richard Baris, super guy, real detailed analytics, and he’s got, he subscribes to the service called Decision Desk, which is throughout the country, gets all the raw feed, right from the state secretary of states and the things. And they’re the ones that do the exit polls, so he’s got a service like Associated Press that feeds right into his thing in Gainesville, Florida. He has a tally, and we’re gonna have a camera hooked up to the tally, so when you guys sit there and go, “It’s 7, Ohio’s close,” and the first things start coming in, you guys say, “Hey, Richard, Trump’s leading in Ohio, but tell us the details.” Up on the screen will come his tally of the state of Ohio, and he’ll actually have a screen that’ll have Cleveland, and he’ll be able to go into the details of where Trump’s winning, where Biden’s winning, and then you can ask him questions and he’ll answer all that, okay? So you’ll have, you’ll have that ability.

[Chinese conversation]

Bannon: So you’ll have a complete polling, and he’ll have a whole team, so you’ll have complete polling, and if you ask him, “Tell me about Arizona.” Boom, he’ll pop Arizona up on the thing, you can start asking, you know, “Tell me about Maricopa County.” Right? And he just polled, by the way, he just finished his poll, 3,800 people over three weeks, in Arizona. He has Trump up by two, which is pretty good, right? Because everybody else has Trump losing.

But he breaks it down to Maricopa County, Pima County, Pinal County, the northern part of the state. He’s got excruciating detail, and on election night, you can basically sit there, let’s just take Arizona randomly, but you can sit there and go, “Tell me what’s happening in Maricopa County,” and he can sit there and actually, for your audience, pull up Arizona, look right at Phoenix, and give you the details of how it’s going, so he’s very smart, super data-oriented.

Woman: Chinese people are not quite familiar with the specific cities in each state, so can he, can you give us more detail, can he just choose some—

Bannon: Yeah yeah, he’ll do that, yes, yes, but then if you have any questions. And we can even put Posobiec, One America’s allowed us to have Posobiec for that evening, because we’re on top of One America. He’s gonna go down and be on their broadcast, and he may be linked in ours, but he speaks perfect Mandarin. He can sit right there with you guys. Jack Posobiec, he speaks perfect Mandarin, so he can sit right there with you and help you in going through the broadcast.

Woman: He will sit with us…?

Bannon: He’s gonna be there physically. He was gonna be in Philadelphia, but he’s coming back just because I said we’re gonna do a Chinese-language broadcast, and so he wanted to be there. Yeah, yeah, he can do the GTV. The second asset you’re gonna have—so you’ve got complete polling, anything you want, and if somebody offscreen, you say, “Hey, tell me, it looks like it’s going badly for Trump, what’s the forecast for, you know, Florida or something like that, because they’re later in the evening.” Any question you’ve got for these guys, we’ll have a producer there. You can go to the data guys, and they’ll come back to you with an answer. So the Chinese audience will have a more sophisticated data analysis than CCTV. Much more. This guy’s—

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: So you’ll have all the assets. And in fact, we’re gonna do a dry run tomorrow, Monday, with you guys, introduce you to Baris, right, and we just kind of go through. You can ask him some questions. What I’ll do is I think is I’ll get the polling for all the states. He’s now done Minnesota tonight. He’s done Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, all the key battleground states. He’s done intense data analytics already.

Woman: Does he see the results?

Bannon: Not results. He polls projection. Remember, the polling right now is all projected about what’s gonna happen, but what he’s doing, because so many votes—remember, two thirds of the votes have already been taken in Arizona. Arizona’s vote by mail, right? I think, I think, what, 60 percent of the votes are in or something. Yeah, I mean, you know, the votes are—isn’t Arizona almost all mail-in ballots? Primarily, yeah. I’m saying, so, he’s doing the data analytics, so he can give you—the reason I’m using this guy, in 2016, he was really the only guy that really, he and the guy from Susquehanna were really the only two guys who knew what was going on.

And the reason is he doesn’t do traditional polling. He does a much more deeper dive on the data, so that’s why I like him. But you’ll have that—that asset is more sophisticated than CNN. It’s most sophisticated than CCTV, so you’ll be competitive with CCTV and actually be much more sophisticated as far as, you know, what’s actually happening out there with the voting.

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: The second thing you’ll have is, remember, this is gonna be a very crazy night. You can already see, in fact you guys are actually inside, you’re gonna be inside the [inaudible] they’re gonna cordon off, you know, this is why they canceled the thing at the Trump Hotel. There’s essentially gonna be a riot down by your hotel. That’s where all the antifa guys are coming. You’re at the W right across from the Treasury Department, right?

Woman: Yeah.

Bannon: Yeah, the old Washington Hotel. You’re at the W, right? So, the Washington Hotel, the W’s right here. The Treasury Department is right here, and the White House is right here, right? Lafayette Park is right here. The statue of Jackson is right there. Trump Hotel is right here, right? They’ve canceled, the victory party at Trump Hotel has been canceled, already canceled.

Woman: Because of the violators?

Bannon: They say it’s because of the coronavirus, and the, only 50, the real reason is is that, there’s gonna be, they think, if you notice, everything is getting boarded up. They think there’s gonna be 20 or 25,000 antifa will surround the White House, particularly if Trump’s leading. Right, oh no no, it’s gonna be, you’re gonna have the National Guard out. You’re gonna have, in fact, when you leave your hotel, you gotta make sure you get a pass, because what they’re gonna do is cordon off. They’re gonna create a perimeter. That perimeter is probably gonna go a block on the other side of your hotel. That perimeter is, I think the National Guard’s gonna be there with military vehicles. And what they’re gonna do is make sure no antifa can come inside, so that the Willard Hotel, the W Hotel, Trump Hotel are safe.

But they didn’t think that any of the VIPs that would go to Trump would not be able to get out, so Trump just canceled. He’s gonna stay at the White House. My point is, we’re gonna have Bill McGinley, who we have on the show all the time, so the second asset you’ll have access to, and Bill will probably be there in person, is the top lawyer, because what’s gonna happen is that there’s probably gonna be no winner on Tuesday night. Because all these votes have to be counted, right? Remember, the key here is we already have, as of tonight, 60 million mail-in votes. We’ve never processed more in our country than 10 or 15 million. So, just the count, physically opening it up and making sure the signatures match and the address matches, that certification—and there are gonna be lawsuits flying, starting on Tuesday. They’re gonna have lawsuits at the poll watchers. They’re gonna have lawsuits. They’re gonna say Trump’s trying to suppress the vote. Trump’s doing this.

And so you’re gonna have a legal expert you’re gonna be able to turn to, Bill McGinley, and he’s gonna be able to explain to the Chinese audience, here’s exactly what’s going on. Right, here, they’re using the courts, the Democrats are gonna use the courts, they call it lawfare. They’ve already got, you know, 500 lawsuits ready to go. Now. Ready to go, ready to file. They’ve already got the plaintiffs. In other words, they have people in certain, in Philadelphia, in Detroit, principally African Americans, they already have it filled out. They’re gonna walk into court and say, “These Trump guys were suppressing my votes. They were too close to the polling place.” Oh yeah, this is gonna get nasty.

Because what they’re trying to do is extend out the period you can count votes. What happened in Arizona in ’18 is that Martha McSally, on election day, remember she won. She was up by 20 or 25,000 votes. But they had all these mail-in votes that hadn’t been counted. When they counted all the mail-in votes, her opponent beat her by like 15, 25,000 votes or something like that. They just keep counting, and they go to court to sue to kind of continue to count. It’s a mess.

It’s very complicated, but it’s like warfare. This is a major part, so you’re gonna have McGinley. So you’ll have a data guy, that’ll tell you how the voting’s going. You’ll have a legal guy, that’ll tell you how the war is going, right, the legal war, and then the last thing we’re gonna provide—

Woman: I’ll explain that. [Chinese] Physically, he’ll be here, right?

Bannon: Right now, unless he’s at—he and Rudy, unless they’re at the White House, because they’re part of the president’s legal team, if he’s at the White House, he’ll come in through Skype. If he’s taking a break from the White House, he’s gonna at least start the evening with us. So the first couple of hours, he’ll physically be there. He can sit in a chair, talk to you, be off-camera, get you up to speed, whatever, anytime you—the legal aspect here is gonna be huge. Because this thing’s not gonna end on Tuesday night. Tuesday night’s the start of a tough process that the lawyers are gonna be part of, and that’s why, he’s part of Rudy’s team. Rudy’s the senior lawyer for the president coordinating all of it. In fact, Rudy got in here today. We’ve been meeting all day, so McGinley is his right hand man. And to the degree that he’ll have to be at the White House, he’s gonna be on set with us.

Woman: Okay. So he can come up at night, right?

Bannon: Yes, yes, yes. Well, what happens is that he’ll start the night with us. What I think will happen is by, you know, ten, I think Trump’s gonna—what we think’s gonna happen right now is different than three weeks ago. Since we’ve stopped Biden’s momentum and made him weaker, we think that Trump’s gonna win Ohio, he’s gonna be leading in Florida, and we think he’s gonna be leading in Pennsylvania, because there’s no mail-in ballots counted yet, right? Leading, and then we think in North Carolina, Georgia, and Arizona, he’s gonna be either close enough or leading. And he’s just gonna go in—remember, this is just with like 20 percent of the vote counted, Trump’s just gonna walk in and go, “I’m the winner.”

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, and it’s gonna cause a meltdown. And that’s why his lawyers are gonna have to—and that’ll probably happen 10 or 11 at night, so McGinley will probably, can stay with us from to 7 to 8 to 9, I think he’ll go back to the White House.

Woman: [Chinese]

Man: Is that when Rudy, or Rudy or McGinley, or Rudy—

Bannon: Well, I think we’ll get Rudy, hopefully, over at 7, and then send him down to the White House.

Man: Okay. So Rudy’s probably gonna be off set earlier than McGinley.

Bannon: Yes, yes.

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: At the start of the show, you’ll probably have access to Rudy. We’ll probably have Rudy for the first hour, and then Rudy will go down to the White House. So, and then Rudy can come onto your show, down at the thing. He’s just in meetings, we’ll get him. He’s now physically here, so we’ll get him down to the W to be on the set.

Woman: Which day he can go to W?

Bannon: Let’s plan on either tomorrow morning or tomorrow night.

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: We’ll get him on set in the W one-on-one.

Woman: And so will you go to W?

Bannon: I’m definitely gonna go to the W. I think either tomorrow morning or tomorrow night, we’re gonna figure it out. We’re gonna do one or the other. Is the hotel crowded, or is it empty?

Woman: A little crowded.

Woman: Not crowded, and we have a conference room right inside the—

Bannon: Right when you walk in? Oh, perfect. The last asset we’ve got that we’ll have available to you, if you want it for the broadcast, is that we have somebody, remember, here we have a presidential election, we have the entire House of Representatives, so 535 congressmen, to see if Nancy Pelosi keeps her job, and then you have one third of the Senate. Every two years, one third of the Senate comes up. The Senate’s absolutely critical, particularly for anti-CCP stuff, right? And we have one guy, Adam Brandon, who’s gonna be there, who’s a specialist just in the Senate, so you can bring him over and talk about Lindsey Graham, you can talk to him about all the Senate races that are going up, and he’s an expert.

And there’s some Senate races that really are very important. Number one, you got Kelly in Arizona who’s pro-CCP. Right? He’s a business partner of CCP, and we want to make sure he’s defeated by McSally, and she’s losing, right? That’s gonna be a very important race for us, and then Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. Lindsey Graham’s super anti-CCP and a big ally of the president, but he’s in real trouble, so there’s about four or five of these Senate races that directly apply to what we’re trying to accomplish with the CCP. And so those, we have a guy who’s a specialist, he can come in and sit and talk to you about the Senate race etc. He’s named Adam Brandon. We’re gonna send you all this.

Woman: He had introduced him from his broadcast before.

Bannon: He’s Americans for Prosperity. And Adam Brandon is a chairman of Americans for Prosperity. That’s right? Oh, no no no. FreedomWorks. FreedomWorks. Super Trump guy.

Woman: He’ll say that he has shares on his Twitter?

Bannon: Yeah, he’s probably, he’s super anti-CCP. The reason I know him, I mean, he’s super anti-CCP.

Woman: Physically here?

Bannon: He’s gonna be physically on the roof with us. The only reason we don’t have the pollster, he’s got so much computer equipment and people in his office in Florida, it’s just easier for him to Skype in, so he can give us instantaneous data, right, on anything. And I mean, he can get down to the, you know, in Ohio and Florida you can actually ask him to go to the district in Arizona. You can go right to like Maricopa County or Pima County. He can break it down exactly how the voting’s going for Trump and Biden. So these are three big resources we can use. And it’ll make the broadcast better than CCTV’s.

Woman: Of course. He always lies. Of course.

Woman: [Chinese]

Woman: GTV is a platform where we do the live broadcast.

Bannon: You’re not gonna host your show then, you’re gonna be the anchor for the evening global special, right?

Woman: Yes.

Bannon: On GTV. Yeah yeah yeah. You’ve seen the mock-up of the graphics, right? It has the White House, it has global special, GNews this side, GTV this side, and then War Room underneath it.

Woman: So on the roof we also have other media caster?

Bannon: Well, I think we’re gonna have One America. First off, we have the whole roof, so if you have any influencers, Chinese influencers that you wanna bring, we can stick them in other parts of the roof and they can do, just set up their iPhones and do a little hit. We have a national radio, John Fredericks Radio Network is gonna be there, off to the side. But you guys, they wanna interview you guys, right, because, look, it’s huge news that a free Chinese, free Chinese have never broadcast a live presidential election before, first time from Washington, first time ever.


Bannon: And One America, we’re on their roof. They’re gonna be down in their studio. They’re gonna have upstairs, just an anchor desk. So Posobiec can go back and forth from War Room and GTV to just be the desk.

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: And then during the evening, as things go on, we’re gonna have public politicians, people out in the states et cetera and we’ll pass those. You guys can put those up too. We’ll give you, as the night goes on, beforehand, we’ll say, like, “We’ve got Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, Ted Cruz in Texas.” We’ll bring in people.

Woman: Physically, or Skype?

Bannon: No, no, Skype. They’re all, I don’t think, one, normally going into an election, it’s politically not smart to be in DC. You gotta be back in your home state, right, number one. Number two, because of the riots and antifa, none of these guys want to be around. 

Woman: Okay, so can we bring 100 flags to there?

Bannon: One hundred flags? For the New Federal State? Absolutely. We already have New Federal State flags all over.

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: I mean, the one thing we’ve gotta get for security is make sure you guys can get back and forth and that everything’s safe and secure, because it’s gonna be crazy. Particularly if Trump’s leading, and he declares victory, they’re gonna melt down.

Woman: Is there any chance we’ll have…

Bannon: That’s why we need security. I mean, I would definitely bring some extra clothes. I’m not kidding. I’m sure we’ll get you back through there, but it’s not a guarantee.

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: What we have to do as we’re getting security, you have to have our security talk to your hotel. When you leave, we have to make sure you’ve got a pass or something that can get back in. They’re gonna cordon off, if you, so your hotel is right here, right? The White House is here and Treasury Department’s there, right? That’s 15th Street, right? Okay? This is the W. Okay.? Here’s the Willard Hotel in back of you, and this is 14th Street. I think what they’re gonna do is cordon off from 14th Street around, and then the Trump Hotel, which is here. They’re gonna make this a secure area.

Yeah, so you’ll have Lafayette Park, and then you have Black Lives Matter Plaza here, where the church is, where they do all the burning. Then they have around here. They’re gonna cordon off, I think, this way, so that the VIP hotels of Trump, the Willard, and the W can at least get back and forth to the White House and where they’re going. Now, I believe this is what they’re gonna do. They’re gonna have, you’re gonna have to have a pass to get into a, through a secure fencing area or blockade, right? So, with the hotel, we gotta make sure your security just has the concierge’s name. They’ve given you a pass, and so when you come back in the car you can actually get through.

Women: [Chinese crosstalk]

Bannon: Here’s the reason we gotta plan for that, is that the one scenario where they wouldn’t be a problem is not gonna happen, because I don’t think, I think it’s very close. It’s a very low probability that Biden—

Woman: Wins.

Bannon: On that night. Remember, the key is Tuesday night. I think we took care of, because three weeks ago, it looked like Biden could win on Tuesday night, right? He could win Ohio. He could win Florida. If he wins Ohio or Florida, game over. Doesn’t matter what happens in Arizona. Trump absolutely has to win those two states early, or at least be in it, win Ohio and be ahead in Florida.

I think we took that off the table. So my point is, any peaceful resolution of this is probably gone, because the other three alternatives, either Biden’s up slightly and Trump says he stole it, right, and he’s not leaving, or it’s undefined and we can’t figure out who’s leading and Trump saying he’s stealing it and he’s not leaving. Or Trump’s leading, which is the one they’re gonna burn the city down after, because, and this is what’s gonna happen. I think right now in the polling, Trump’s doing good in Ohio, and remember, Ohio closes at 7, 7:30, it’s early, it’s an early reporting state. Florida is at 8. And you’ll know that, so between, by 9 or 10, you’ll have a real sense of where this is.

As it sits here today on Saturday afternoon, 10 or 11 o’clock, Trump’s gonna walk into the Oval Office, tweet out, “I’m the winner. Game over. Suck on that.” Right? And literally, they’re gonna try to burn the city down. It’s gonna explode.

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: Well, well, it’s, remember, yes, it can be prevented. He’s called out the National Guard, so we have, essentially, the army here. But, remember, we’re in hostile territory. This is like the Civil War. The Democrats control Washington, DC. It’s all, Washington, DC, although it’s a federal city, it’s controlled by Democrats. Remember, one of the reasons the rioting’s been so bad here is they just backed the police off. The police just walk back and just, you know, they burn Georgetown. They loot the stores, and nobody does anything.

The cops don’t do anything. And they, remember, what they want to show is that Trump can’t govern the country. So what they’re trying to show is that Trump’s a fascist. He’s a dictator. He’s no better than Xi. He’s just declaring victory, and these kids are just trying to protest the fascism, right? That’s why they’re antifa. So, that whole demonstration is to show the rest of the country, Trump can’t govern, and we’re not gonna let him govern.

If he’s gonna continue on, we’re gonna do this every day. So that’s why it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be crazy. So just to get you guys back and forth to the hotels and everything like that, we just have to make sure we get security and that security’s totally dialed into the hotel management. But I would definitely bring, when you come, I would definitely bring an overnight bag, just in case.

Woman: Okay. Tomorrow we’ll go and buy some.

Multiple people: [Chinese crosstalk] 

Woman: …antifa blocks the way we cannot go back to New York or Connecticut.

Bannon: I think that I would, you know, plan on being there for a couple days. You’re definitely gonna be able to get out, but it’s gonna be a little, particularly given the scenario. If Trump declares himself the winner, the next day is gonna be super crazy. Super crazy. You’ll have plenty of news to report from your studio in—

Woman: [Chinese]

Woman: So we can still do the broadcast with you from our hotel?

Bannon: Yeah yeah yeah…The next day, you just keep your room. Remember, after Tuesday night, two things will happen. One, Bill McGinley and the others, all the assets we have on the ground in all the states, because it’s gonna get down to counting the votes, these mail votes. And they’re gonna be arguing, think about it. You have 60 million votes, that each vote comes in an envelope. You have to open the envelope, and you argue right there. That signature doesn’t match this signature. They’ll say, “Oh, no, this doesn’t have the address. Fuck you. Wrong address. Sorry. Toss it.” Boom.

And the Democrats are going, “no,” because most of the Democrats just sign with an X. Oh no, every ballot. If you go in and vote, you just drop it in. You’re gone. You know, they check you off. You go in and do your ballot, drop it in, gone. Fine. It counts. If you mail it in, it comes in an envelope, and by the way, every state is different. South Carolina, you have to have, on the envelope, two signatures. You have to have an eyewitness in South Carolina that you actually—oh yeah, so they sit there and go, “Well, that signature is wrong. This is wrong.” Sixty million have to all be counted. This is why they’re saying it’s gonna be—

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: So, the way this thing will probably play out, by two or three in the morning, because, remember, last time, we won at 2:30 in the morning.

Woman: Yeah, I was watching it.

Bannon: Was it 2:30 in the afternoon there? 2:30 in the morning, we were declared the victor, right? But remember, that’s still not legal. That’s just the Associated Press calling it and conceding. Those votes have to be certified by the secretary of state of each state. That’s the complexity. And now everybody’s watching, so, the next morning, in all likelihood, when you wake up, early, let’s say you want to get on your broadcast at 7 or 8 in the morning, three things are gonna be happening.

Number one, it’s gonna be a media firestorm, because the devil Trump has declared himself the winner, and the votes are not counted, number one. Number two, in all the battleground states, they’re still counting ballots in these rooms with Democrats here and Republicans here screaming at each other, right? And number three, 500 lawyers are in court filing lawsuits at each state level about how Trump suppressed the vote. Trump’s a monster. Trump’s terrible. All the votes gotta count, even if they’re not signed. I mean, it’ll be crazy.

Woman: All the Democrats [inaudible]

Bannon: Well, the Republican lawyers, we have a group. They’re just not as good as the Democrats. Democrat lawyers are just fantastic. They’re just better. Our guys are good. Don’t get me wrong. But remember, Democrats specialize in stealing elections. The whole legal aspect of this is a way to steal elections, all right? And they’re experts. They steal elections all the time. That’s what they’re experts at. That’s why they hate Trump. Because Trump’s sitting there going, “You guys are a bunch of thieves,” right?

So this is, the next morning, Tuesday, Wednesday morning, as I see it right now, will be 10 times more intense than Tuesday. Tuesday traditionally, on election night here, oh, it’s nice, they’re winning, traditionally, they come up with the stakes. That’s not this. This is a revolution. This election just triggers more fighting, right? Particularly if Trump—look, three weeks ago, it wasn’t like this, because they were gonna knock Trump out. By 10 at night it’d be over. Right, he’d just be arguing about it, but they would have the facts.

The fact is they would have won Ohio. They’d be up in Florida. They’d be up in Arizona. If the Democrats are winning then, you’ve got no ground to stand on. If you shifted—I think we’ve shifted enough votes to actually make it uncertain, particularly, remember, the only count you’re gonna have on Tuesday night is really votes that happened that day. Most of the mail-in votes won’t get counted for days later. So most of the Democratic votes, because it’s all the Covid virus, it’s Democrats that don’t want to go. They want to mail them in.

The Democrats, more of our people vote early that count. Theirs vote in the mail. And so they’re gonna have a natural disadvantage, and Trump’s gonna take advantage of it. That’s our strategy. He’s gonna declare himself the winner. So when you wake up Wednesday morning, it’s gonna be a firestorm. You’re gonna have antifa, crazy, the media, crazy, the courts are crazy. And Trump’s gonna be sitting there mocking, tweeting shit out. “You lose. I’m the winner. I’m the king.”

And he’ll be all over. He’ll be going, “Where’s Hunter? Is Hunter on a crack pipe?” I mean, no, he’ll be—because then it doesn’t matter. Remember, here’s the thing, after then, Trump never has to go to a voter again. He’s gonna fire Wray, the FBI director. He’s gonna say, “Fuck you. How about that?” Because he’s never gonna—he’s done his last election. Oh, he’s gonna be off the chain. It’s gonna be crazy. It’s gonna be crazy.

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: Yeah, no, I think he’s gonna fire those guys. As soon as the polling places close, I think he’s going, “You’re fired. You’re fired. Gone. Gone. Gone.” FBI, gone. Because Lude has been dumping on poor Wray all week, two weeks, right, he’s taken [inaudible]

Woman: Will he fire Fauci?

Bannon: He’ll fire Fauci…He’s gonna fire Fauci too. All of them. Azar, Fauci, the whole lot. Whole lot.

Woman: CIA.

Bannon: CIA. DOJ—no. He’ll fire FBI, CIA, Secretary of Defense. They don’t think he’s tough enough on CCP, on China. And he’s also gonna fire Azar and HHS. And he’s gonna fire Fauci. He’s gonna call Fauci in the Oval and fire him right there. Trump doesn’t care. He’s never gonna vote for him again. You know, he’s already been president twice.

Also, if Trump is losing by 10 or 11 o’clock at night, it’s gonna be even crazier. No, because he’s gonna sit right there and say that they stole it. I’m directing the attorney general to shut down all ballot places in all 50 states. It’s gonna be nuts. He’s not going out easy. Trump, if Biden’s winning, Trump is gonna do some crazy shit. I mean, it’s gonna get.

Let me give you the good news. The good news for you guys, it’s probably the most dramatic election we’ve ever had in American history. Right? Because you got a capital just on the edge. You’ve got the Army in here. Think of it. Normally, a capital, all the politicians are back home. But the place is packed. You can’t get a hotel room. They’re partying all week. Because they’re either gonna have the party that’s winning—some, either the Democrats or Republicans are gonna win, so somebody’s gonna make a lot of money.

Right? So, all the lobbyists are here. This town’s a ghost town. Everybody’s left. Only the military and the police are really around. That’s number one. Number two, it all deals with the CCP. Remember, the whole virus, the reason we have the mail-in ballots is the virus. Right? The reason this election is so screwed up is the virus. The reason the economy, everything. Now, the Democrats don’t want to talk about it. If you mention it, you’re racist. Right? The Republicans, a lot of them want to talk about it, and they don’t know why Trump’s not talking about it more. Right?

Then, the other thing is the way we blunted, the way we drove up Biden’s negatives. The only thing that stopped the momentum was the hard drive from hell, right? The two parts of that were Lude’s editorial creativity over the pictures, and really the CCP involvement. That’s what shocked the American people, was taking the money. Yeah, taking so much money from the CCP, right?

Multiple people: [Chinese crosstalk]

Bannon: First off, when the media finds out—they haven’t found out yet. When they finally, dawns on them, which will probably be Monday, if we leak it, that you have Lude, Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon up on a roof, doing a broadcast…they will melt down. They’re gonna be going, “Where’s master puppet man? Where’s mountain master? Where’s mountain master Miles Guo, right? Where’s triad king?

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: No, no, no, the first photograph, when we get Rudy up there, the night, 7 o’clock, if we do a live thing with me, you, and Rudy, with the Cap in the background, it’ll melt the internet. They literally, the Democrats will go crazy.

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: First off, they’ll demand all three of us be arrested. They want the National Guard…the three devils. Three devils. From the hard drive from hell. So we’re gonna have great—now, the only thing is, it’s gonna be cold. It’s supposed to get down into the 40s, so dress warm. We’ve got great tents, huge heaters, but we’re gonna have the thing zipped down so you can get a perfect view of the Capitol.

Man: Dress in layers.

Bannon: Yeah, dress in layers. And bring some backup clothes. We got great food. We’ll have plenty of warm beverages, and we’ll have great backup assets. I would love to get as many, if you get many local, a New Federal State, Chinese, who want to come and work and do the computers, the more we got, the better. I think we’ll have a bunch of tables up there. Yeah, we can sit 100 people up there I think. So I think all the local New Federal State people, if they just want to come and watch and bring their computers and help out and just push out social content, that would be great.

Man: [Chinese]

Woman: Lude asked about the 21st September, his broadcast.

Bannon: I think it’s been, it’s been very important since we pushed all the, we pushed all the Hunter content, all came through you, and then you did the first. I mean, well, people’s heads are blowing up, because some of your allegations are pretty, you know, people are going…But, I’m gonna send you, I had one of our Indian guys, Dave Ramaswamy, who’s fantastic, has been tracking impressions on the Hunter Biden hard drive from hell versus WikiLeaks in 2016. We passed today the impressions on Wikileaks.

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: I’m gonna show you.

Woman: [Chinese]

Bannon: I’m gonna send this to Dr. Yan right now. The best thing is the impressions. That’s WikiLeaks in ’16, and that is, that’s the hard drive from hell right there. No, no, not yet reported. We just pulled this all from, this is a Google Trends—

Man: [Chinese]

Bannon: Oh no no, no, but Lude, I can tell you, here’s the reality, is that none of the…In democracies, the quickest way to catch up when you’re behind is not get your positives up, because people have already formed an opinion. I mean, you can talk about “I got a better plan” or “I got a health care plan” or if Trump had gone after China, his positives would rise, but think about it. Since the day he’s gotten in office, we won with 47 percent of the vote, right, nationwide. 

And the way we break down by states, which is a way to do it so each state, so Arizona has more control of its future, right, than just having a popular vote, you can win with 45 or 46 percent of the popular vote. But Trump’s approvals have never been higher than like 42 or 43 percent ever. It’s within that bandwidth. Even in ’16, people just had to make a decision. They didn’t like Trump, but they hated Clinton more. Why? When I came in, I’m the expert at driving negatives up. Right? I had been on ten years on that bitch.


I just beat her. I just beat her every day, right?

Yeah, yeah, emails, yeah, but also her corruption. I went back to the Clinton scandals and the Clinton thing. We just hammered her every day. She’s corrupt…and by the way, because Trump, Trump’s a, he’s not a mean guy. He’s actually got a big heart. He’s kind of soft. That’s why he doesn’t go after Xi. I don’t have that problem. Now, in ’16, that’s why I got brought in. I didn’t really know Trump. They brought me in with only 90 days to go. He’s down by 16 points. It was just to take her, drive her negatives up and her likability down.

Multiple women: [Chinese]

Bannon: Go back to ’16, the problem with Trump, he gets off message. Remember, in ’16 when I came in, he was attacking the Muslim family. Remember, the Khans? Remember the Khan family that had the son that died? And he was Muslim? And he keeps attacking these Muslims that have a war hero son that’s buried in Arlington National Cemetery. I mean, she’s a gold star mother. In our country, there’s nothing higher than a gold star mother. That means your child died in combat. It is, like, sacred. Trump’s attacking her, right, because they attacked him from the thing. And that’s, he couldn’t, no, I said, “You can’t attack them. They’re heroes.” Right?

I said, “You gotta attack Clinton, that who you gotta attack.” It’s like here, Sleepy Joe, he never drove up Biden’s negatives. It was only when we got the hard drive and got it to you, then the Post, if you, if you…Here’s what the Bidens fucked up. From the day the Post story came out and then you started pumping out. We got you this stuff and you started just dumping it out, and then the internet started picking it up. And they suppressed it. Remember, the best thing that happened to us was Twitter and Facebook suppressing it, because then everybody wants to see it.

It’s called the Streisand effect, after Barbra Streisand, right? The more you try to suppress something, the more people want to see it. So they took the suckers’ bait, right? That’s why when people tell me, Lude’s stuff’s getting crazy, I go, “Not crazy enough.” Because really, what they were trying to suppress is not so much the New York Post story. They were trying to suppress the New York Post story leading to people wanting to link to your material, right? That’s what the thing was, and that’s what everybody, that’s where you see these numbers, they start to explode, right? And Biden made a fundamental mistake. Instead of coming out and addressing it and attacking back, they hid.

Remember, he canceled all, for nine days, he only had two events, because his staff didn’t know how to handle it. And here’s why. The Clintons, as bad as they are, are very tough. They’re like mafia. They’re like triads. Right? They’ve been doing this for 20 years, and the right has been attacking them all the time. So, to have an attack, that’s fine, they’ll attack back. Biden is very soft. No one’s ever attacked him. Because he’s from a tiny state, Delaware. Never.

Obama always got the grief, not Biden. Biden’s just a glad hander. This is the first time he’s been attacked. And his staff is not very tough. That’s why, remember, we hammered this guy every day for 10 days with the worst pictures in the world, drug addict, taking money from CCP, from Chinese spies, no response. Nothing. And the negatives just keep going up, because people are sitting there, going, “I didn’t know that about Joe Biden.” But nobody, not one person, came out and said, “Those pictures are not true.”

Right? Nobody came out and said anything you’re saying’s not true. Even the wildest allegations. Because the Biden guys didn’t know, because what we did is we held back the documents. And they’re smart enough to know, if I go out and defend Biden against Lude, and Bannon and these guys drop a bunch of money transfers and documents, I’m gone. And Biden hasn’t told me the truth because Biden, they know what’s on that server. They’ve got it up in the cloud. They know what we have. But he made a fundamental decision. That stopped his momentum.

When Trump got Covid, and when Trump had that first debate, within that one-week period, Biden could have put him away. The campaign would have been over. Biden would have won with 500 electoral votes. But they didn’t do it, and we were able to stop them. So now, I’m not saying Trump’s gonna win, but we have a fighting chance.

Woman: So when Trump got Covid, Trump kept working from the hospital and also—

Bannon: Well, remember, for 40 percent of the country who love Trump, we loved it, you know, he kept working. But remember, if you put TV on, he’s a superspreader. He doesn’t care. The one thing that’s hurt him, in people above 65 years old, which used to be our strength, he’s down 20 percent. And the reason is the above 65-year-olds, they don’t think he’s taking the— they agree with you, they think it’s a biological weapon, and they’d like it to be treated like that. Trump treats it like it’s a hoax.

I mean, Trump, you know, he treats it like it’s, you know. And they’re sitting there going, if you get it if you’re over 65, you basically think you’re gonna die, right? Painfully. Painfully. Right, so Trump’s biggest drop is not in suburban women. His single biggest drop is in—it’s the reason Arizona and Florida are tight, because they’re the two biggest retirement communities we have. The reason we won in Arizona and Florida in ’16 is we had the above 65-year-old vote.

You know, 25 percent of those people are now gonna vote for Biden, or they’re gonna vote against Trump, because they don’t think he’s taking this seriously. And they also, the other thing is that he’s pushing a vaccine. Remember, you have a huge amount of fans who say it’s a biological weapon. There’s no vaccine, so therefore, whatever you’re taking, it’s just a variation of the pharmaceutical voodoo that the CCP’s pushing. Okay?


Okay, so here’s the problem. Trump is, he’s like a little boy. He thinks the vaccines are magic. He believes Gates. He believes the big pharma guys. That’s what he talks about. Today, he was talking about, we’re rounding the turn. We’re rounding the turn. We’ve got a vaccine that’s coming in three weeks. A lot of people are sitting there going, “I hear Dr. Yan, she says there’s no vaccine. It’s poison.” No, seriously. If he took your position, it was a biological weapon, or just came from the lab in a gain-of-function experiment. And China, the CCP’s gonna be held accountable, and there’s no vaccine but you use therapeutics like HQ, he would win in a landslide. But he didn’t do that.

And one of the reasons is the people around him have put it in his head, you know, Big Pharma’s got a thing here. The other guys, remember, part of his staff says it’s a hoax. Part of his staff says it’s no worse than the flu, it’s just a hoax. And so it’s crazy.

Woman: I thought I see something on Gab. Because I thought Gab is is pro-Trump but they come to attack him, he said, oh it’s all this—

Bannon: Who was this?

Woman: Gab, Gab.

Bannon: Gab. G-A-B?

Woman: G-A-B, yeah. G-A-B.

Bannon: Who attacked you out of Gab?

Woman: Someone I don’t know, but some American people, not Chinese.

Bannon: Remember, there’s at least a third of the Trump base thinks it’s a hoax, right? Because Trump is always saying it’s basically a hoax, right?

Woman: But now Trump even himself cannot accept it’s bioweapon?

Bannon: And he’s had it. By the way, he had it. He almost died from it. That first night, he was in bad shape. They came this close to putting him on the ventilator. They had him him hitting the remdesivir. I mean, he was in bad shape. He had a temperature. He had a spike in his, a viral load spike. That’s why they sent him over to (inaudible). He had it bad. And he still thinks it’s a hoax. And he’s had it bad.

So, I mean, you hear him give updates. He says, “We’re rounding the bend.” He’s dying for that vaccine. Half of Trump’s supporters don’t want to take that vaccine. Because they listen to you. They go, first of all, it’s a bioweapon. Number two, we don’t even know what the virus is. There’s 20 different variations of it. Three, the Chinese have rushed all the research, and these Americans don’t trust any of that research, so it could be poison. Right?

Woman: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Even [inaudible] from the Chinese TV now, in the press, so I think—

Bannon: I think we hold your thing on CNN until after election night, because everybody’s just focused on this right now. But we’ve gotta have a lot of you. We want a lot of you on the thingamajig, talking about, we’re here because of the CCP virus. Right, the mail-in votes are because Democrats. I mean, people are stunned. There’s, what is it, 60 million today. There’s 95 million votes, I think, 65 million mail-ins.

Man: I think probably like 80 or 90 mil are already in, no?

Bannon: Total early votes. You know what I’m saying? Of that, 65 million right now are mail-in ballots. That’s never happened before. That’s all CCP virus.

Woman: So there are a lot of people listen to our—

Bannon: On the Trump base, on the show, you have a huge following. And they believe you. They believe it’s either gain of function, they believe it’s man-enhanced or man made. And they don’t believe that any vaccine’s gonna cure it right now, because we don’t know what it is. Right? It’s basically Dr. Yan’s thesis. This was made in a lab. We don’t totally know what it is because they haven’t turned it over. They haven’t studied. Anything they’re telling you is a lie. Therefore anything that the pharmaceutical companies are telling you is basically a lie. And that if you do the smart therapeutics like hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin and zinc, you do that and stay healthy, you’ll be fine, right? That’s probably 60 percent of the Trump movement, the guys who listen to the show that believe that. And that, quite frankly, is the plan.

If the president did that, he’d win this election in a landslide. Because the plus 65-year-olds…

[Woman suggests that China releases a new virus every year until we have Covid-30]

Bannon: That’s a ray of sunshine. People are gonna love to hear that. I think you gotta bring that up. The other thing that you ought to be able to talk about that night is if Trump fires Fauci and fires Azar, the changes that could come for the way that America approaches the virus. Because right now, you know, CCP is laughing. They’re going, “Hey, we’ve controlled this, right? We’ve having parties in Wuhan. We’re having a big Halloween party in Wuhan. You know, you guys can’t even have your nation’s capital have an election.”

So that’s gonna be, you know, we ought to bring up all that stuff, because viewers love it. At least the American viewers do.

Woman: Inaudible.

Anything else you guys want, we ought to do a walkthrough on Monday.

Woman: Monday’s tomorrow, right?

Bannon: No, no. tomorrow’s Sunday. I’ll try to come over to the thing tomorrow and do your show, and I’ll get Rudy to come over too, and we’ll get you some other guests. A lot of people just have to probably just come in by Skype.

Woman: Tomorrow you can come or you are going to party?

Bannon: Tomorrow I am going to try to come to his hotel. I’ll let you know tonight, later, after my meetings, whether it’ll be morning or evening, and we’ll get Rudy over there too. Rudy also on. He may be traveling with the president.

Man: [Chinese]

Woman: Monday he planned to move all the equipment to the—

Bannon: Yes. I think it’s gonna be Monday. Loading’s gonna be Monday, late morning? I think right after your show, in the morning. You doing 8:30 to 10 a.m.?

Woman: Yeah.

Bannon I think right after your show. We’re gonna do War Room here, and then we’re gonna move all our, whatever we need from here to there. You can do his morning show and then move over.

Woman: Tomorrow, you and Rudy and also Monday after…

Bannon: I’m gonna try to come to the hotel, yes. Perfect.

Woman: Because we need to adjust the mic at night.

Bannon: Yeah, yeah, yeah. By the way, you know, we lose an hour tonight, so it’s gonna get dark. It’ll be dark here Monday by 5:00. Because tonight we fall forward. Daylight savings. We’ve been on daylight savings time. We come off. Regular time. So it’ll be dark by 5:00 on Monday.

Woman: …we get contact information?

Bannon: Vish and Dan should be also coordinating. You can get everything through Vish, we’re organized 24/7. Anything else you guys have questions, people you think you want to talk to throughout the country. We want to make this the greatest broadcast. You know, I watched where we’ve been saying, our audience—


Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods


Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend


Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.