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Rolling Stone: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings Congress People & White House Staff

PARTICIPATED IN JAN. 6 PLANNING MEETINGS: Mark Meadows (top),  (2nd row) Rep. Paul Gosart, Rep. Louis Gomert, Rep. Marjori Green, Rep. Andty Biggs, Rep. Mo Brooks (who wore body armor to Jan. 6 rally) and Rep. Madison Cawthorne.

 

OCTOBER 25, 2021

ROLLING STONE

Two sources are communicating with House investigators and detailed a stunning series of allegations to Rolling Stone, including a promise of a “blanket pardon” from the Oval Office. The two sources, both of whom have been granted anonymity due to the ongoing investigation, describe participating in “dozens” of planning briefings ahead of that day when Trump supporters broke into the Capitol as his election loss to President Joe Biden was being certified.

 

As the House investigation into the Jan. 6 attack heats up, some of the planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C., have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.

Rolling Stone separately confirmed a third person involved in the main Jan. 6 rally in D.C. has communicated with the committee. This is the first report that the committee is hearing major new allegations from potential cooperating witnesses. While there have been prior indications that members of Congress were involved, this is also the first account detailing their purported role and its scope. The two sources also claim they interacted with members of Trump’s team, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who they describe as having had an opportunity to prevent the violence.

These two sources also helped plan a series of demonstrations that took place in multiple states around the country in the weeks between the election and the storming of the Capitol. According to these sources, multiple people associated with the March for Trump and Stop the Steal events that took place during this period communicated with members of Congress throughout this process.

Along with Greene, the conspiratorial pro-Trump Republican from Georgia who took office earlier this year, the pair both say the members who participated in these conversations or had top staffers join in included Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).

“We would talk to Boebert’s team, Cawthorn’s team, Gosar’s team like back to back to back to back,” says the organizer.

And Gosar, who has been one of the most prominent defenders of the Jan. 6 rioters, allegedly took things a step further. Both sources say he dangled the possibility of a “blanket pardon” in an unrelated ongoing investigation to encourage them to plan the protests.

“Our impression was that it was a done deal,” the organizer says, “that he’d spoken to the president about it in the Oval … in a meeting about pardons and that our names came up. They were working on submitting the paperwork and getting members of the House Freedom Caucus to sign on as a show of support.”

The organizer claims the pair received “several assurances” about the “blanket pardon” from Gosar.

“I was just going over the list of pardons and we just wanted to tell you guys how much we appreciate all the hard work you’ve been doing,” Gosar said, according to the organizer.

The rally planner describes the pardon as being offered while “encouraging” the staging of protests against the election. While the organizer says they did not get involved in planning the rallies solely due to the pardon, they were upset that it ultimately did not materialize.

“I would have done it either way with or without the pardon,” the organizer says. “I do truly believe in this country, but to use something like that and put that out on the table when someone is so desperate, it’s really not good business.”

Gosar’s office did not respond to requests for comment on this story. Rolling Stone has separately obtained documentary evidence that both sources were in contact with Gosar and Boebert on Jan. 6. We are not describing the nature of that evidence to preserve their anonymity. The House select committee investigating the attack also has interest in Gosar’s office. Gosar’s chief of staff, Thomas Van Flein, was among the people who were named in the committee’s “sweeping” requests to executive-branch agencies seeking documents and communications from within the Trump administration. Both sources claim Van Flein was personally involved in the conversations about the “blanket pardon” and other discussions about pro-Trump efforts to dispute the election. Van Flein did not respond to a request for comment.

These specific members of Congress were involved in the pro-Trump activism around the election and the electoral certification on Jan. 6. Both Brooks and Cawthorn spoke with Trump at the Ellipse on Jan. 6. In his speech at that event, Brooks, who was reportedly wearing body armor, declared, “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.” Gosar, Greene, and Boebert were all billed as speakers at the “Wild Protest,” which also took place on Jan. 6 at the Capitol.

Nick Dyer, who is Greene’s communications director, said she was solely involved in planning to object to the electoral certification on the House floor. Spokespeople for the other members of Congress, who the sources describe as involved in the planning for protests, did not respond to requests for comment.

“Congresswoman Greene and her staff were focused on the Congressional election objection on the House floor and had nothing to do with planning of any protest,” Dyer wrote in an email to Rolling Stone.

Dyer further compared Greene’s efforts to dispute certification of Biden’s victory with similar objections certain Democrats lodged against Trump’s first election.

“She objected just like Democrats who have objected to Republican presidential victories over the years,” wrote Dyer“Just like in 2017, when Jim McGovern, Jamie Raskin, Pramila Jayapal, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Raul Grijalva, and Maxine Waters tried to prevent President Trump’s election win from being certified.”

Dyer also suggested the public is far more concerned with issues occurring under President Joe Biden than they are with what happened in January.

“No one cares about Jan. 6 when gas prices are skyrocketing, grocery store shelves are empty, unemployment is skyrocketing, businesses are going bankrupt, our border is being invaded, children are forced to wear masks, vaccine mandates are getting workers fired, and 13 members of our military are murdered by the Taliban and Americans are left stranded in Afghanistan,” Dyer wrote.

In another indication members of Congress may have been involved in planning the protests against the election, Ali Alexander, who helped organize the “Wild Protest,” declared in a since-deleted livestream broadcast that Gosar, Brooks, and Biggs helped him formulate the strategy for that event.

“I was the person who came up with the Jan. 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks, and Congressman Andy Biggs,” Alexander said at the time. “We four schemed up on putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that — who we couldn’t lobby — we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside.”

Alexander led Stop the Steal, which was one of the main groups promoting efforts to dispute Trump’s loss. In December, he organized a Stop the Steal event in Phoenix, where Gosar was one the main speakers. At that demonstration, Alexander referred to Gosar as “my captain” and declared “one of the other heroes has been Congressman Andy Biggs.”

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