Jan. 6 organizers say they held “dozens” of planning meetings with House Republicans: report

Rep. Paul Gosar offered rally organizers "blanket pardons," according to two planners cooperating with Congress

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published October 25, 2021 12:34PM (EDT)

Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert and Paul Gosar (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert and Paul Gosar (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

White House officials and multiple House Republicans participated in planning meetings with organizers of the Jan. 6 pro-Trump rallies that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol, two of the organizers told Rolling Stone.

Two people involved in the planning of the rallies who have shared information with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack told Rolling Stone they had participated in "dozens" of planning briefings ahead of the rallies.

"I remember Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically," one organizer told the outlet. "I remember talking to probably close to a dozen other members at one point or another or their staffs."

Other lawmakers who participated in the discussions included Reps. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz; Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.; Mo Brooks, R-Ala.; Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.; Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C.; and Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, according to the report. Greene, Boebert and Cawthorn were all newly-elected members, sworn in only a few days before the events of Jan. 6.

"We would talk to Boebert's team, Cawthorn's team, Gosar's team like back to back to back to back," the organizer told Rolling Stone, adding that Gosar even floated "blanket pardons" in a separate investigation to urge them to organizer the rallies.

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

RELATED: Jan. 6 committee subpoenas "Stop the Steal" organizers: "A lot of coordination and planning"

The two organizers who spoke to the outlet received "several assurances" about the pardons, the organizer said.

"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 told them, according to the report.

Rolling Stone reported that it also received documents showing that both organizers were in contact with Gosar and Boebert on Jan. 6.

Democrats cited the report to call for members involved with the planning to be expelled from Congress.

"Any Member of Congress who plotted with Jan. 6 terrorists must be removed from Congress," tweeted Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., also called for the removal of "any member who had knowledge of or helped planned the January 6 attack."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted that any "member of Congress who helped plot a terrorist attack on our nation's capitol must be expelled."

"This was a terror attack. 138 injured, almost 10 dead," she wrote. "Those responsible remain a danger to our democracy, our country, and human life in the vicinity of our Capitol and beyond."

But the organizer interviewed by Rolling Stone insisted that there had been no advance plans to march on the Capitol, telling the magazine that discussions were focused on "evidence" the lawmakers would present in Congress in tandem with the demonstration at the Ellipse. A spokesperson for Greene denied that she was involved in the planning of the rallies and was instead focused on objections to the election certification.

"Stop the Steal" organizer Ali Alexander previously said in a video that he, Gosar, Brooks and Biggs had "schemed up" the protests to pressure Congress to block the certification of President Biden's win, which Biggs and Brooks have denied.

A second person who planned the rallies and spoke to Rolling Stone accused Alexander of "ratcheting up" the potential for violence and taking advantage of donor contributions to fund the event, according to the report.

"He just couldn't help himself but go on his live and just talk about everything that he did and who he talked to," the planner said. "So, he, like, really told on himself."

Both organizers aid they had seen Alexander with members of militia groups the Oath Keepers and 1st Amendment Praetorian.

"They knew that they weren't there to sing 'Kumbaya' and, like, put up a peace sign," the planner told Rolling Stone. "These frickin' people were angry."

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Both organizers also said White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had played a "major role" in the discussions and was aware of the potential for violence at the events.

"Meadows was 100% made aware of what was going on," the organizer told Rolling Stone. "He's also like a regular figure in these really tiny groups of national organizers." The organizer said Alexander agreed not to hold his planned "wild protest" and that the main rally at the Ellipse would be the only major demonstration that day. Despite that, the source said, Alexander and his allies "plowed forward with their own thing at the Capitol on Jan. 6 anyway."

"We ended up escalating that to everybody we could, including Meadows," the organizer told Rolling Stone.

The organizer also described former Trump campaign aide Katrina Person as their "go-to girl" in dealings with the White House: "She was like our primary advocate."

The protest planner said that they would share their information with investigators and would "have no problem openly testifying."

The report noted that both organizers have a "clear motivation" to get ahead of potential legal problems stemming from their involvement in planning the protests, especially as the Jan. 6 committee probes the financing for the events, and added that the two sources' accounts depict themselves in a "decidedly favorable light."

"The reason I'm talking to the committee and the reason it's so important is that — despite Republicans refusing to participate … this commission's all we got as far as being able to uncover the truth about what happened at the Capitol that day," the organizer told the outlet. "It's clear that a lot of bad actors set out to cause chaos. … They made us all look like shit."

The organizer added that the "breaking point for me [on Jan. 6 was when] Trump starts talking about walking to the Capitol. I was like. 'Let's get the fuck out of here.'"

The planner said that former Trump hung them out to dry after the rally turned violent.

"I do kind of feel abandoned by Trump," the planner told Rolling Stone. "I'm actually pretty pissed about it and I'm pissed at him."

Read more:

Billionaire donor who funded Jan. 6 group now pouring dark money into Glenn Youngkin campaign

Why did Lauren Boebert lead a late-night Capitol tour three weeks before Jan. 6?

Was the Capitol raid an "inside job"? Some Democrats think so — and evidence is mounting

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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