Top Trump Staffer Knew Of Jan. 6 Violence Threats And GOP Lawmakers Helped Plan Events, Report Claims

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Topline

The Jan. 6 rally that devolved into the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol was planned with the help of more than “a dozen” Republican lawmakers and members of the Trump administration, two of the event’s organizers told Rolling Stone in a bombshell investigation published late Sunday.

Mark Meadows questioned by reporters.


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Key Facts

The two organizers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of their ongoing communications with congressional investigators, said they participated in “dozens” of “planning briefings” with GOP representatives and their top staff in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6. 

Among the lawmakers the two organizers claim were “intimately involved” in the planning are Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Rep. Madison Cawthron (R-N.C.), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.). 

According to the report, Gosar, one of the most prominent defenders of the Jan.6  rioters, promised a “blanket pardon” to people to encourage them to organize protests against the election. 

Representatives for Greene, Biggs and Cawthorne both denied they were involved in planning Jan. 6 in statements to Forbes, with Cawthorn’s Communications Director Luke Ball slamming the “anonymous accusations” as “complete garbage”; the other lawmakers mentioned above did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Forbes.

Trump administration officials and former members of his campaign team were also privy to conversations about the rally, including Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who reportedly played a “major role” in planning.

The organizers claim they did not plan for the rally to turn violent but warned Meadows when they heard that Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander was planning his own demonstration for Jan. 6 which they feared would spark violence (Meadows and the Conservative Partnership Institute, where Meadows serves as a senior partner, could not immediately be reached for comment by Forbes).

Crucial Quote 

“Meadows was 100 percent made aware of what was going on” but did not move to quash Alexander’s protest, said one organizer. 

What To Watch For 

Both organizers told Rolling Stone they can provide new details about the specific roles members of Congress played in the rally and similar rallies in the lead-up to Jan. 6. 

Chief Critic 

“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,” Greene’s Press Secretary Nick Dyer told Forbes

Key Background 

This is not the first allegation that GOP lawmakers were involved in planning Jan. 6 events. Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander claimed in several livestreams in the month before the Capitol attack that he was conspiring with Reps. Brooks, Biggs and Gosar to develop a plan to put “maximum pressure on Congress” as they voted to certify Biden’s win (all three lawmakers later denied that claim). A House select committee is conducting a sweeping probe of Jan. 6 that is reportedly targeting the people involved with the event along with its financial sponsorship. Last month, the House committee issued a flurry of subpoenas to organizers of rallies on January 5 and January 6. Meadows was among those subpoenaed and has since hired a lawyer for the investigation. 

Further Reading 

“Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated In ‘Dozens’ Of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff” (Rolling Stone) 

“Jan. 6 Rally Organizer Ali Alexander Reappears And Urges Followers To ‘Gather Together Once Again To Fight’” (Forbes)

“Bannon, Meadows Among Four Ex-Trump Aides Subpoenaed In Jan. 6 Probe” (Forbes)

“‘We Won’t Take No For An Answer’: Jan. 6 Committee Recommends Holding Steve Bannon In Criminal Contempt” (Forbes)

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