The Bizarre Far-Right Billionaire Behind Trump's Presidency

When all seemed to be falling apart for Trump this summer, one shadowy billionaire offered up his own massive political infrastructure, which included Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, and saved Trump’s campaign from demise

July 2016 and a very disorganized Trump campaign is headed into an equally  chaotic Republican National Convention  the latest fundraising numbers for  junior dismal and according to CNBC  Trump is second-guessing his decision to 0:29 make Mike Pence is running me making 0:31 last-minute phone calls to assess the 0:33 pic just days before the event 0:35 uncertainty even played out in public 0:38 during a phone interview with greta van 0:40 susteren I haven't made by final final 0:43 decision past GOP candidates John McCain 0:46 and Mitt Romney have decided to skip the 0:48 convention so both former Bush President 0:51 one day before the convention and 0:55 there's still no official list of 0:57 speakers 0:58 nevertheless july 18 holes around the 1:01 GOP has to move forward with the show 1:08 the convention is considered a disaster 1:12 it exposes the party in disarray 1:14 delegation from Iowa Colorado stage a 1:18 walkout over a critical rules boat right 1:20 there in the top right you can actually 1:21 see Kendall unruh in blue she's one of 1:23 the leaders of the nevertrump or the 1:25 dump Trump movement trying to get the 1:27 rules change the start of the convention 1:29 to let delegates vote their conscience 1:31 subsequent polls show Trump trailing 1:34 Clinton and need to win swing state 1:36 coupled with a string of bad press story 1:40 including Trump fight with the family of 1:42 a fallen Iraq that the Trump campaign 1:44 seems to have lost the momentum Donald 1:47 Trump it's just not doing what is 1:51 required to win in a surprise move the 1:54 Trump campaign shakes up its leadership 1:56 at the eleventh hour bringing on 1:58 far-right editor-in-chief breitbart news 2:00 chief and along with former republican 2:03 pollster Kellyanne Conway days later 2:06 David Bostic head of the corporate 2:08 advocacy groups citizens united is 2:10 brought on as deputy manager of the 2:12 campaign 2:13 finally the campaign also hires the data 2:17 mining firm cambridge analytical 2:18 password probing the American voters 2:21 mind at a glance these last-minute 2:24 developments desperate and disjointed 2:26 i'm not i don't know what they're doing 2:28 I wish I could tell you but a closer 2:33 look reveals something different 2:35 it reveals the hidden connection between 2:37 these players a thread between the 2:39 seemingly random cast of actors 2:43 enter billionaire hedge-fund manager 2:50 robert mercer and his daughter Rebecca 2:53 they've been eyeing Trump ever since 2:56 their first choice 2:57 Ted Cruz dropped out of the primary back 2:59 in May we are suspending our campaign 3:02 the fuel behind vs influence of the 3:06 absurd sums of money here Cruz that the 3:08 investment company he run renaissance 3:11 technologies based on long island it 3:14 seems medallion fund is one of the most 3:16 successful hedge funds and investing 3:18 history average in seventy-two percent 3:20 returns the for feedings over more than 3:22 20 years statistic that battle challenge 3:25 and outranks the profitability of other 3:28 competing fun with the one George Soros 3:30 and one Buffett run in 2015 Mercer had 3:35 single-handedly catapulted through to 3:37 the front of the Republican field 3:38 throwing more than 13 million dollars 3:41 into a super PAC he created for the now 3:43 failed candidate but with the Trump 3:46 campaign falter struggling to support 3:48 there's a second chance for the Mercer's 3:51 to make a big bet the Trump campaign is 3:54 well aware of this 3:55 in fact sources within Mercer super PAC 3:58 with later tell Bloomberg News that 4:00 shortly after crews drops out of the 4:02 race 4:03 ivanka trump and her wealthy developer 4:05 husband jared kushner approached 4:07 immerses asking if they'd be willing to 4:09 ship their support behind Trump the 4:12 answer is an eventual what was sounding 4:14 yet in the month leading up the Trump's 4:18 presidential win the Mercer's will prove 4:20 a formidable force beginning after the 4:24 disastrous Republican convention in July 4:26 they would furnish the Trump campaign 4:28 with millions of dollars a new 4:30 leadership they would also furnish it 4:33 with something more 4:34 a vast network of non profit strategist 4:37 media companies research institution and 4:40 super PAC that they themselves funded 4:42 and largely controlled I think what 4:45 you've seen is a lot of organizations in 4:48 this network come out to play a role in 4:51 the 2016 election with the Mercer family 4:54 in the picture the post convention 4:56 shake-up start to make sense take Steve 4:59 benen he and Robert Mercer has been 5:02 closed for years and Mercer's a top 5:04 adventure breitbart news were been in 5:07 with chief editor Kellyanne Conway also 5:11 comes out of this network before 5:13 becoming co-manager of trumps campaign 5:15 she headed up operations to Robert 5:17 Marshall super PAC when it was still 5:19 supporting Ted Cruz and as for deputy 5:23 campaign manager David bossy he was 5:25 president of citizens united an 5:27 organization Mercer is heavily funded at 5:30 least 2010 cambridge analytica the 5:34 mysterious data mining firm that 5:36 received grudging praise after 5:38 predicting the races outcome more 5:39 accurately than any other polling 5:41 something is also heavily funded by 5:43 robert mercer and was employed by the 5:45 trees campaign with former switched over 5:48 to trump in fact immerses political 5:51 infrastructure is so entrenched that 5:53 rebekah mercer herself that from a 5:55 16-person executive committee Trump 5:58 transition team purchase foray into 6:02 white house may seem to have been born 6:04 partly out of luck especially with Trump 6:07 and Ted Cruz as a stalking horse 6:10 but his rise to power was systematic and 6:12 it was years in the making the web of 6:16 connections mercy is built over the last 6:17 decade is that and complex it includes 6:21 efforts to dismantle tax law and weaken 6:23 the IRS it's about funding quack 6:27 scientists and conspiracy theorists who 6:29 blame the government for among other 6:30 things playing a role in the San 6:32 Bernardino Massacre or of colluding with 6:35 the United Nations than using climate 6:37 change as an excuse to implement 6:39 environmental laws meant to depopulate 6:41 America's Midwest it's not pouring money 6:45 into the neoconservative john bolton 6:47 super PAC which pops of candidates who 6:49 ascribe to bolton hawkish foreign policy 6:51 but one of Mercer's earliest activist 6:55 ventures with financing a slew of fringe 6:57 documentary project that have helped 6:59 raise the profile with people that sarah 7:01 palin michele bachmann and most notably 7:04 the director of those films Steve benen 7:07 then and who was previously a naval 7:11 officer and goldman sachs investment 7:13 banker made his first documentary in 7:15 2004 about long and Reagan we told his 7:19 biography using washed-out 7:20 black-and-white archival footage of the 7:22 Hollywood actor painting him as a brave 7:25 protector of Western democracy and the 7:27 threat of communism you and I have a 7:29 rendezvous with depth 7:31 will preserve for our children that's 7:34 the last best hope of man on it or will 7:36 sentence him to take the last step into 7:38 the thousand years that the film was a 7:41 commercial success according to the 7:43 reviews it was a flop but it developed a 7:46 cult following and it revealed that 7:48 there was an untapped audience for this 7:50 sort of film which demonized America's 7:52 current establishment while lamenting 7:54 the death of old-time conservatism under 7:56 reagan in the face of evil would also 8:03 connect man and conservative author 8:05 Peter Schweitzer whose namesake book the 8:07 film was based on you it would also 8:10 connect them to another rising 8:12 conservative figure in a net at a 8:14 screening of his Reagan film and Beverly 8:16 Hills a man Ben and recalled in a 8:18 bloomberg peace who came up to him after 8:20 the showing like a bear he said 8:22 squeezing me like my head's gonna blow 8:24 up and saying we've got to take back the 8:26 culture his name Andrew Breitbart a 8:30 conservative commentator for the next 8:33 few years would join then and enjoys her 8:35 in their efforts to establish a fresh 8:37 conservative narrative with Breitbart 8:39 himself focusing on an idea for a new 8:41 media company something partly inspired 8:44 by a trip to Jerusalem and the need to 8:46 create an outlet that would be 8:47 unapologetically pro-freedom and 8:49 pro-israel he said something that would 8:52 come to fruition in 2007 and that he 8:54 would call right bar dot com 8:56 [Music] 8:59 one of the things i admired about 9:00 Breitbart bin and said in that Bloomberg 9:02 story is that the dirtiest word for him 9:04 was penetrated our vision Andrews vision 9:08 was always to build a global 9:09 center-right populace anti-establishment 9:11 news site but that wasn't all 9:15 what band Schweitzer and bright part 9:17 really wanted to forge was a 9:19 multi-tiered effort push their agenda 9:21 they wanted a fun toys books and being 9:24 in film ultimately they wanted to create 9:27 a media infrastructure big enough to 9:29 pump their ideology into america's 9:31 national discourse but they needed more 9:34 investors and they needed large 9:36 investors people who could fund this 9:38 giant operation for a sustained period 9:40 of time because what this right-wing 9:43 trio had set out to do wasn't to simply 9:45 start a business it was to transform 9:48 America's rage 9:49 it's largely white rural working class 9:52 discontent into a political movement 9:54 that would storm Washington first in the 9:57 form of the Tea Party and again six 9:59 years later in the form of Trump that 10:03 influx of cash would come from the 10:04 organization more famous now the supreme 10:07 court decision and inspired and for the 10:09 media and political work is done for 10:11 decades 10:12 thanks in part to funders like the Koch 10:14 brothers and of course Robert Mercer the 10:17 transporter advocacy group citizens 10:18 united was created in 1988 and four 10:22 years that had pumped out television ad 10:24 films and other forms of media content 10:26 that's not to put pressure both on 10:28 Democrats as little more moderate 10:30 Republicans to embrace the far-right 10:31 corporate friendly approach to politics 10:34 we never get the less controlled 10:35 Hollywood they control entertainment 10:37 they control the movies they control 10:39 television they control mass media they 10:42 control certainly journalism and so what 10:45 Susan United is true 10:46 get out is that through the media they 10:48 can in fact move public opinion they can 10:51 shape America and thereby shape 10:53 Washington it was that effort that gave 10:57 rise to the film's Hillary the movie 10:59 which in turn led to the Supreme Court 11:01 case that changed the way politics was 11:03 done in the United States it's worth 11:07 noting that the citizens united decision 11:08 to allow for unlimited campaign 11:10 contributions to super pacs didn't 11:12 originate from any billionaire 11:14 corporation directly complaining about 11:16 contribution limits it originated from 11:20 this documentary which been directed and 11:23 which FCC rules barred from being shown 11:25 because it fell under the category of 11:27 electioneering communications 11:29 essentially union and corporate funded 11:31 groups like citizens united couldn't air 11:34 anything critical about a candidate 11:35 within 30 days of the primaries and 60 11:38 days of the general elections the 11:42 supreme court's decision to strike down 11:44 that rule opened up the floodgates for 11:46 unlimited campaign spending which 11:48 citizens united and it's billionaire and 11:50 corporate donors seized upon citizens 11:54 united has been heavily funded by the 11:55 Koch brothers and their network of 11:57 donors which Mercer joins early on but 12:01 in 2010 Mercer decides to extend his 12:04 reach and influence beyond the confines 12:06 of that network beginning first 12:08 breitbart news which at the time it a 12:10 bit of a rough patch injured Breitbart 12:14 to put out a misleading video that 12:16 showed the Department of Agriculture 12:17 official Shirley Sherrod making the 12:20 people characterized as racist remarks 12:22 towards white people shared was fired 12:25 and when it came out afterwards that the 12:26 flip had been manipulated shared sued 12:29 Andrew Breitbart the lawsuit fell on the 12:33 heels of another false video expose 12:35 Breitbart done a year earlier involving 12:37 the association of community 12:39 organizations for reform now known as a 12:42 torn 12:42 which had resulted in their loss of 12:44 private and government funded after the 12:47 shared video media virtually blacklisted 12:50 him along with his sight from the 12:51 mainstream the hiccup prompted Mercer to 12:55 capitalize on the event he reportedly 12:59 put upwards of 10 million dollars in the 13:01 company later that year making a top 13:03 investor the next two years are spent 13:07 expanding and sharpening the media 13:09 connection been and continues to produce 13:11 documentary including the undefeated 13:14 featuring the rises sarah palin as well 13:16 as occupy unmasked which aims to 13:18 discredit 2011 process these people feel 13:22 morally justified 685 Schweitzer 13:26 continues publishing books most notably 13:28 Clinton cash in 2015 which band adapted 13:32 into a documentary and which fueled the 13:34 right session with Hillary Clinton the 13:36 financial sources for her foundation 13:39 meanwhile Mercer's quietly lubricating 13:43 political and financial empire doling 13:45 out money to a whole slew of 13:47 conservative nonprofit such as the 13:49 Heartland Institute the heritage 13:50 foundation the Cato Institute citizens 13:53 united and many more 13:55 then suddenly in 2012 14:01 Andrew Breitbart died from a heart 14:03 attack are dead at the age of 43 right 14:06 part was certainly a driving force in 14:08 the tea party movement as well as a very 14:10 influential political voice on the 14:11 internet Mercer an advantage was a board 14:14 member of right block quickly rearrange 14:16 leadership roles in an effort not to 14:18 lose any momentum in fact great boards 14:22 destined to a bit more blessing for the 14:24 group Breitbart unlike his compatriots 14:27 had always been more of an old-school 14:29 more moderate conservative he worked at 14:31 the drudge report which many songs in 14:33 both horn for the bush administration 14:35 more surprisingly he'd been a researcher 14:39 for arianna huffington and help create 14:40 an early model for what would become the 14:42 liberal huffington post so Mercer Bannon 14:47 and shorts are cranked up the heat in 14:50 the months after Breitbart died man is 14:52 made executive chairman of 14:54 Schweitzer meanwhile sounds a new 14:57 research group that focuses on feeding 15:00 content to break par news and citizens 15:02 united for their documentary projects 15:04 called the Government Accountability 15:05 institute for Mercer the top under while 15:08 benefits on the board these ships are 15:12 all taking place in the shadows of the 15:14 presidential race between Barack Obama 15:16 and Mitt Romney Romney epitomize the GOP 15:19 establishment and mercer must have been 15:21 reluctant to give to his campaign ended 15:24 up throwing about a million dollars into 15:26 a super pac supporting romney a poultry 15:29 number compared to 15 million he spent 15:31 on Trump and the 13 million you spent on 15:33 free romney's loss was a heavy defeat 15:37 the Republican voters around the country 15:39 with so many Americans still struggling 15:42 to get back on their feet after the 2008 15:45 economic crisis his defeat angered many 15:47 GOP voters some blames obama and the 15:51 democrats others blame the Republican 15:54 establishment including Romney himself 15:55 but at the nyu club in New York shortly 16:00 after the news of obama's reelection one 16:03 unexpected voice would take a small 16:05 group of wealthy donors by 16:06 storm blasting the Romney team for 16:08 dropping the ball on their data mining 16:10 and canvassing operation that woman was 16:14 rebekah mercer Robert Mercer's daughter 16:16 after Romney Rebecca became her father's 16:20 right hand before that Robert brushes 16:23 role in political dealings with the 16:25 supply money to the people who admired 16:27 and trusted people like band Switzer 16:30 Breitbart Rebecca wanted to change that 16:34 she wanted accountability of the money 16:36 her father spent and romney's failure 16:39 provided an opportunity to step into the 16:41 Republican arena and assert her and 16:44 fathers agenda between 2012 in 2015 16:49 she would take formal leadership 16:50 position that the think tanks and 16:52 nonprofits forefathers funded she became 16:55 a director Peter Schweitzer Government 16:57 Accountability Institute she took over 16:59 the Mercer Family Foundation and more 17:02 recently she manage your father's to the 17:04 attack alongside Killian Conway she and 17:07 her father began to engage what you 17:09 could call kind of sniper fire politics 17:11 investing money and very specific races 17:14 and causes in Robert Mercer put money 17:18 into super packed in races that have 17:21 something to do with often tax recycle 17:27 he gave money to a super PAC the action 17:31 of primary challenger to Senator John 17:33 machine and Arizona McCain's the 17:35 Republican and he was the co-chair of 17:40 the Senate committee that investigated 17:41 responses tax strategy between with 17:46 leaders say he thought Mercer was doing 17:47 this because of that investigation which 17:50 was looking into whether renaissance 17:51 technologies that avoided more than 6 17:53 billion dollars in taxes over the course 17:55 of 14 years 17:57 the 2016 Republican primary Robert 18:02 Mercer decided to put his support behind 18:04 Ted Cruz and so demanded that his crews 18:07 faltered into positions that ran counter 18:10 to abandon conservative agenda like 18:12 supporting the TPP mercer and Ben and 18:15 begin questioning their support of a 18:16 candidate who's to obviously trying to 18:18 appease both the disgruntled American 18:20 voter as well as corporate interests in 18:22 Washington in the end cruises 18:27 evangelical Christian persona failed to 18:29 cover up his true identity which was a 18:32 harvard-educated lawyer who worked for 18:34 years in Washington including as a young 18:36 clerk in the supreme court Robert Mercer 18:42 seldom makes public appearances and he 18:44 never talks to the press the only time 18:47 he spoken publicly was in 2014 18:50 after he received a lifetime achievement 18:52 award from the Association for 18:54 computational linguistics in the 18:57 hour-long acceptance speech he gives in 18:58 baltimore maryland Mercer spends almost 19:00 all of his time talking about his 19:02 passion for computers i really love 19:05 everything about computers 19:07 I love the solitude of the computer lab 19:10 late at night i love the air-conditioned 19:12 smell of the place i love the sound of 19:14 the discs whirring and the printers 19:16 clacking none of his remarks are 19:18 political except for one comment he 19:21 makes when he's talking about the time 19:22 he worked at the Air Force weapons lab 19:25 in New Mexico size and the one day he 19:27 discovered how to make their computers 19:28 run about a hundred times faster and 19:31 then a strange thing happened instead of 19:32 running the old computations in 100 of 19:35 the time the powers that be at the lab 19:38 ran computations that were under times 19:40 bigger i took this is an indication of 19:43 one of the most important goals of 19:44 government finance research is not so 19:46 much to get answers as it is to consume 19:48 the computer budget which has left me 19:52 ever since with a jaundiced view of 19:54 government finance research Robert 19:58 Mercer doesn't quite fit into 20:00 established after class he isn't exactly 20:03 a Wall Street type and neither are the 20:05 300 employees many of whom are advanced 20:07 mathematicians and physicists who work 20:09 at renaissance technologies brainchild 20:11 the medallion fund i think it's 20:15 interesting to note that this is a guy 20:17 who had the programming background 20:18 coding background didn't start out small 20:21 street and so he's come to this sort of 20:23 it a difficult grout eat spoken very 20:27 little about his political giving and so 20:30 we can't say a lot about his motives 20:34 that we not what he said 20:36 this one is known for its secrecy 20:40 it's been closed to outside investors 20:42 since 2005 and what exactly they trade 20:45 isn't fully understood what is known is 20:49 that what Mercer along with retired 20:51 Renaissance Technologies founder James 20:52 Simon and co-ceo peterbrown have done is 20:55 master the map behind something called 20:57 quantitative trading which involves 21:00 gaming the stock market using advanced 21:02 algorithms and data analysis to create 21:04 unprecedented profits 21:06 all they do is make one group of the 21:10 literally billionaires slightly richer 21:13 than another group of billionaires and 21:15 in the process to make themselves 21:17 billionaires but they had absolutely 21:19 nothing to the economy or the world 21:23 effectively 21:24 2016 list of biggest political donors is 21:29 stacked with billionaires who made their 21:31 money by engaging and what about two 21:33 different forms of gambling the largest 21:36 donor of the cycle Tom Steyer is a hedge 21:39 fund manager the second Sheldon Adelson 21:41 is a casino magnate the third Donald 21:44 Sussman is a quant fund manager 21:47 strangely enough founder of Renaissance 21:49 Technologies Jane Simon is one of the 21:51 Democrats largest donors is number five 21:54 on that list while his colleague and 21:56 Republican counterpart Robert Mercer is 21:58 number seven 21:59 it's not a coincidence that the enormous 22:03 amounts of wealth go to people who are 22:05 connected with gambling but recall that 22:09 they don't gamble abelson is the house 22:12 the house mathematically is going to win 22:17 and the idea at the hedge fund it is 22:22 again to have better map than the other 22:26 billionaires so that statistically 22:28 you're going to win casino capitalism 22:34 has given people like Robert and rebekah 22:36 mercer riches and power beyond most 22:38 people's imagination but the role of 22:42 activists billionaires in American 22:44 politics isn't new it's just become 22:46 stronger as well as concentrated in 22:48 fewer hands with the top one percent of 22:52 americans today holding onto forty 22:54 percent of the country's wealth and much 22:57 of that increase taking place in the 22:59 finance and energy sectors of the 23:00 economy the rise of people like Robert 23:03 Mercer and the Koch brothers reflects 23:05 how billionaires have gradually taken 23:07 more direct control over politicians in 23:10 the state 23:11 one of the things that is really useful 23:14 if you're a billionaire and that you get 23:17 your money by doing nothing socially 23:19 useful is to valorize what you're doing 23:22 and to demonize anyone that might 23:26 actually restricted by law regulation 23:29 even social mores 23:32 and propaganda is historically the 23:38 answer to that an essential part of 23:44 trumps propaganda that he represents the 23:46 interests of workers the little guy and 23:48 will take on the big corporation but the 23:51 proof of his loyalties in his 23:53 appointment his cabinet the richest in 23:56 history along with his close advisor 23:58 include major players from Wall Street 24:00 and corporate America Rex Tillerson 24:04 Andrew poster linda mcmahon Stephen 24:07 Schwarzman Todd Ricketts Gary Cohen 24:10 Steve and Betsy davidoff Elaine child 24:14 overwrought the Venusian Carl Icahn 24:17 Peter teal these are the true faces of a 24:21 trump presidency in the end there are no 24:26 workers are little guy on the Trump team 24:28 only the Allies of rainmakers Robert and 24:32 rebekah mercer the billionaire his 24:34 political head coach Donald Trump into 24:36 the White House

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