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After the Benalla affair, the men of the shadow of the Elysée in full light

By Ariane Chemin and François Krug

Around Emmanuel Macron characters are attracted with atypical courses. Although they are missing in the official chart, their roles have been emphasized by the revelations about Alexandre Benalla.

On this hot evening of July 18, 2018 Alexandre Benalla's personal and professional telephones vibrate without delay. The world has just revealed that this assistant of the Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic has molested some demonstrators, the 1st May in Paris. "My business will come true"he has been repeating his colleagues at the Elysée since the beginning of the afternoon. Strangely enough, the scandal shows a form of mucus and it does not change anything, at least not in appearance, to its habits. He spends the evening with an old friend, Vincent Crase, the same one who accompanied him in the Latin Quarter this afternoon to observe the techniques of police work.

Crase met Benalla in the gendarmerie – they were both reservists in the Eure – and then worked with him in private security before following him to the campaign office of Emmanuel Macron. This summer, 2018, he works in the security of the head office of La République and marche and sometimes carries out missions to the Elyseep Palace within the Republican Guard. At the end of the evening the duo leaves the hotel of the Collector, a palace of the street of Courcelles, in the 8the Paris, and wins the Damascus Café, a shisha bar in Colosseum Street, three blocks from the Presidential Palace. Benalla goes to this bar almost every night. It has its place, left at the entrance.

It is in the storm, it seems, that we recognize his friends. The young man can be reassured. In the long list of his telephone conversation partners, founded by the researchers, we find celebrities such as Christian Prouteau, the founder of the GIGN and the former boss of the famous "gendarmes of the Elysee" in the time of François Mitterrand; or Thierry Légier, the bodyguard of Jean-Marie Le Pen and his daughter Marine. But there are other exchanges that keep the attention today: calls – issued or received – with colleagues at the Elysee.

Ismael Emelien, the "Mr Crises"

The discrete special adviser to the president, Ismael Emelien, the man who theorized Macronism and presented the victory strategy of the presidential election, is one of Benalla's most important interlocutors during this endless night. In the palace Mr Emelien is responsible for monitoring the media and the response to controversies that the head of state is likely to threaten – what is called the "crisis com". But this July 18, judging by the salvo of phone calls swapped and the wind of panic that regulates, crisis is there.

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