Republicans have been trying for months to sabotage the technically bipartisan committee investigating the lead-up to Jan. 6, some even ignoring subpoenas (at their peril, of course). But at least a few people involved with the protest that mushroom clouded into the storming of the Capitol building are playing ball. In a new report, Rolling Stone spoke anonymously with three sources who are communicating with the committee. Among the many explosive tidbits is that one top Trumpist sought help in staging the doomed protest by dangling “blanket pardons” in front of their faces.
Two of the sources — one identified as a “planner,” the other an “organizer” — alleged that a number of representatives partook in “dozens” of briefings planning the protest. Their names oughtn’t be surprising: They include Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Andy Biggs, and Lauren Boebert. One remembers Marjorie Taylor Greene “specifically.” In the weeks before what should have been a smooth certification of the election, these elected officials helped organize demonstrations around the country.
But it was Gosar who “allegedly took things a step further”:
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.
The sources, who say they still stand by Trump’s agenda, say they have more dirt where that came from:
While it was already clear members of Congress played some role in the Jan. 6 events and similar rallies that occurred in the lead-up to that day, the two sources say they can provide new details about the members’ specific roles in these efforts. The sources plan to share that information with congressional investigators right away. While both sources say their communications with the House’s Jan. 6 committee thus far have been informal, they are expecting to testify publicly.
“I have no problem openly testifying,” the planner says.
They also claim Katrina Pierson, who worked on both of Trump’s presidential campaigns, served as a “key liaison between the organizers of protests against the election and the White House,” and their “go-to girl.”
The sources point out that they themselves weren’t planning on a violent insurrection. The original plan was for a rally at the Ellipse, where speakers, Trump among them, would present “evidence” of voter fraud (which, several months later, we know no one had). But things got out of hand — which wasn’t that surprising. They claim people approached former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows with concerns about the potential for violence, but that he did nothing.
One source blamed what wound up happening on “a lot of bad actors” who “set out to create chaos.” They added, “They made us all look like s*it.” One of those “bad actors” was Trump himself:
“The breaking point for me [on Jan. 6 was when] Trump starts talking about walking to the Capitol,” the organizer says. “I was like. ‘Let’s get the f*ck out of here.’ ”
“I do kind of feel abandoned by Trump,” says the planner. “I’m actually pretty pissed about it and I’m pissed at him.”
The organizer offers an even more succinct assessment when asked what they would say to Trump.
“What the f*ck?” the organizer says.
There’s plenty more in Rolling Stones’ report, including Stop the Steal protest leader Ali Alexander, who, in a now deleted livestream broadcast, basically “told on himself” about all the wrongdoing, including ratcheting up the violence. “They knew that they weren’t there to sing “Kumbaya” and, like, put up a peace sign,” one source said. “These frickin’ people were angry.”
(Via Rolling Stone)