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Tag: katrina pierson

Trump Gang Encouraged White Supremacists To Join Jan. 6 Action

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The idea that the January 6 assault on the Capitol caught everyone by surprise is a recurring theme. The Metro D.C. Police claimed they had no expectation of violence, though two previous Trump rallies had ended in that way. The Capitol Police said they had no reason to expect violence, except they had intelligence indicating that it was likely. That intelligence community passed along relatively sparse information, though they had reams of social media showing that they were following significant planning by white supremacist militias.

Congressional committees have discussed failures of all these groups when it comes to failing to plan for events on January 6. But it now appears there was another group that was well aware of what was likely to happen on the day of Trump's big "Stop the Steal" rally — staffers inside the Trump White House.

As ProPublica reports, Trump's internal team was in touch with two competing groups that were looking to gain the limelight on January 6, and they were helping them both. The first group appears to have been the same "Women for Trump" group that was behind other rallies—including two previous D.C. rallies that ended in violence. The second was the "Stop the Steal" team, which was openly advocating for actions that would generate chaos.

Put in charge of the rally was Katrina Pierson, who had been a spokesperson for Trump going back to the 2016 election, and who might best be remembered for defending Trump's lack of diversity by pointing out the lack of Black members in Abraham Lincoln's cabinet. Or maybe it was for the time that Pierson said that slavery was part of America's "good history." Either seems to be top-notch qualifications for dealing with Roger Stone, Alex Jones, and a collection of Proud Boys.

Even the organizers from Women for Trump tried to warn the White House that things were getting out of hand. They got ignored. Because chaos is exactly what Trump wanted.

In fact, rather than see that the Capitol was secure, Trump's team helped push away hurdles to permits and a speaking spot for the most radical of those attending.

ProPublica shows how, immediately following the election, Ali Alexander began assembling "Stop the Steal" as a worst of the worst team — a Suicide Squad of politics, without the humor, and where the biggest thing that could be blow up was America. Alexander made it clear he was open to "working with racists." And racists signed on. Alexander made connections with Alex Jones and Roger Stone. With white nationalist Nick Fuentes. With an army of "Groypers," or, as Alexander called them, "America First young white men."

And he seemed to realize that these were "bad people." Only, he was okay with that. "Why can't bad people do good tasks? Why can't bad people fight for their country?"

Mix in Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, and Alexander had assembled this whole sorry team under the banner of Stop the Steal. Everyone involved knew who they were. Everyone knew what they could do.

If there were concerns, Trump's team was more impressed by the ability of these white nationalists to turn out sizable crowds on a moment's notice. What did it matter if these were brutal, fascist, racist, what supremacists? They came when called and, really, wasn't that Trump's base in any case?

But while the Pierson and the members of Trump's White House team were fully aware of what was coming on January 6, they didn't share that information with police. The permits continued to indicate that there would be a number of small, disconnected events. And even though intelligence indicated that violence could happen, the scale of what they were anticipating seemed to make that threat seem miniscule.

An intelligence report from that day obtained by ProPublica shows that the Capitol Police expected a handful of rallies on Capitol grounds, the largest of which would be hosted by a group called One Nation Under God.
Law enforcement anticipated between 50 and 500 people at the gathering, assigning it the lowest possible threat score and predicting a 1% to 5% chance of arrests. The police gave much higher threat scores to two small anti-Trump demonstrations planned elsewhere in the city.

That the police were more concerned about two anti-Trump rallies seems … typical. But the suggested difference between what happened, and what was expected appears to be much larger than hearings and testimony have previously indicated. However, the police were set up.

One Nation Under God was a fake name used to trick the Capitol Police into giving Stop the Steal a permit, according to Stop the Steal organizer Kimberly Fletcher. Fletcher is president of Moms for America, a grassroots organization founded to combat "radical feminism."

Fletcher was seriously amused by how the police called to find out who was behind the rally and she was able to keep them away from the truth.

That name may have fooled the Park Police and Capitol Police into handing out a permit, and lulled everyone into a sense of false security on the morning of January 6. However, Pierson and the White House team were perfectly aware of the truth.

This means that Trump's White House staff — and likely Trump — were aware that a large group of white supremacists and militia were coming to town with plans to conduct a march on the Capitol. They not only didn't share this information with police, it seems highly probable they were also aware of, or involved in, creating the fake name that got Stop the Steal onto the ellipse. The whole rally that Trump encouraged to "fight like hell" was a rally that was never supposed to exist.

Emails Show Top Trump Aides Knew Violence Loomed On Jan. 6

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

On December 19, President Donald Trump blasted out a tweet to his 88 million followers, inviting supporters to Washington for a "wild" protest.

Earlier that week, one of his senior advisers had released a 36-page report alleging significant evidence of election fraud that could reverse Joe Biden's victory. "A great report," Trump wrote. "Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"

The tweet worked like a starter's pistol, with two pro-Trump factions competing to take control of the "big protest."

On one side stood Women for America First, led by Amy Kremer, a Republican operative who helped found the tea party movement. The group initially wanted to hold a kind of extended oral argument, with multiple speakers making their case for how the election had been stolen.

On the other was Stop the Steal, a new, more radical group that had recruited avowed racists to swell its ranks and wanted the President to share the podium with Alex Jones, the radio host banned from the world's major social media platforms for hate speech, misinformation and glorifying violence. Stop the Steal organizers say their plan was to march on the Capitol and demand that lawmakers give Trump a second term.

ProPublica has obtained new details about the Trump White House's knowledge of the gathering storm, after interviewing more than 50 people involved in the events of January 6 and reviewing months of private correspondence. Taken together, these accounts suggest that senior Trump aides had been warned the January 6 events could turn chaotic, with tens of thousands of people potentially overwhelming ill-prepared law enforcement officials.

Rather than trying to halt the march, Trump and his allies accommodated its leaders, according to text messages and interviews with Republican operatives and officials.

Katrina Pierson, a former Trump campaign official assigned by the White House to take charge of the rally planning, helped arrange a deal where those organizers deemed too extreme to speak at the Ellipse could do so on the night of January 5. That event ended up including incendiary speeches from Jones and Ali Alexander, the leader of Stop the Steal, who fired up his followers with a chant of "Victory or death!"

The record of what White House officials knew about January 6 and when they knew it remains incomplete. Key officials, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, declined to be interviewed for this story.

The second impeachment of President Trump focused mostly on his public statements, including his January 6 exhortation that the crowd march on the Capitol and "fight like hell." Trump was acquitted by the Senate, and his lawyers insisted that the attack on the Capitol was both regrettable and unforeseeable.

Rally organizers interviewed by ProPublica said they did not expect Jan. 6 to culminate with the violent sacking of the Capitol. But they acknowledged they were worried about plans by the Stop the Steal movement to organize an unpermitted march that would reach the steps of the building as Congress gathered to certify the election results.

One of the Women for America First organizers told ProPublica he and his group felt they needed to urgently warn the White House of the possible danger.

"A last-minute march, without a permit, without all the metro police that'd usually be there to fortify the perimeter, felt unsafe," Dustin Stockton said in a recent interview.

"And these people aren't there for a fucking flower contest," added Jennifer Lynn Lawrence, Stockton's fiancee and co-organizer. "They're there because they're angry."

Stockton said he and Kremer initially took their concerns to Pierson. Feeling that they weren't gaining enough traction, Stockton said, he and Kremer agreed to call Meadows directly.

Kremer, who has a personal relationship with Meadows dating back to his early days in Congress, said she would handle the matter herself. Soon after, Kremer told Stockton "the White House would take care of it," which he interpreted to mean she had contacted top officials about the march.

Kremer denied that she ever spoke with Meadows or any other White House official about her January 6 concerns. "Also, no one on my team was talking to them that I was aware of," she said in an email to ProPublica. Meadows declined to comment on whether he'd been contacted.

A Dec. 27 text from Kremer obtained by ProPublica casts doubt on her assertion. Written at a time when her group was pressing to control the upcoming Jan. 6 rally, it refers to Alexander and Cindy Chafian, an activist who worked closely with Alex Jones. "The WH and team Trump are aware of the situation with Ali and Cindy," Kremer wrote. "I need to be the one to handle both." Kremer did not answer questions from ProPublica about the text.

So far, congressional and law enforcement reconstructions of January 6 have established failures of preparedness and intelligence sharing by the U.S. Capitol Police, the FBI and the Pentagon, which is responsible for deploying the D.C. National Guard.

But those reports have not addressed the role of White House officials in the unfolding events and whether officials took appropriate action before or during the rally. Legislation that would have authorized an independent commission to investigate further was quashed by Senate Republicans.

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would create a select committee to investigate Jan. 6 that would not require Republican support. It's not certain whether Meadows and other aides would be willing to testify. Internal White House dealings have historically been subject to claims of "executive privilege" by both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Our reporting raises new questions that will not be answered unless Trump insiders tell the story of that day. It remains unclear, for example, precisely what Meadows and other White House officials learned of safety concerns about the march and whether they took those reports seriously.

The former president has a well-established pattern of bolstering far-right groups while he and his aides attempt to maintain some distance. Following the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump at first appeared to tacitly support torch-bearing white supremacists, later backing off. And in one presidential debate, he appeared to offer encouragement to the Proud Boys, a group of street brawlers who claim to protect Trump supporters, his statement triggering a dramatic spike in their recruitment. Trump later disavowed his support.

ProPublica has learned that White House officials worked behind the scenes to prevent the leaders of the march from appearing on stage and embarrassing the president. But Trump then undid those efforts with his speech, urging the crowd to join the march on the Capitol organized by the very people who had been blocked from speaking.

"And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore," he said.

One Nation Under God

On Nov. 5, as Joe Biden began to emerge as the likely winner of the 2020 presidential election, a far-right provocateur named Ali Alexander assembled a loose collection of right-wing activists to help Trump maintain the presidency.

Alexander approached the cause of overturning the election with an almost messianic fervor. In private text messages, he obsessed over gaining attention from Trump and strategized about how to draw large, angry crowds in support of him.

On Nov. 7, the group held simultaneous protests in all 50 states.

Seven days later, its members traveled to Washington for the Million MAGA March, which drew tens of thousands. The event is now considered by many to be a precursor of Jan. 6.

Alexander united them under the battle cry "Stop the Steal," a phrase originally coined by former Trump adviser Roger Stone, whom Alexander has called a friend. (Stone launched a short-lived organization of the same name in 2016.) To draw such crowds, Alexander made clear Stop the Steal would collaborate with anyone who supported its cause, no matter how extreme their views.

"We're willing to work with racists," he said on one livestream in December. Alexander did not return requests for comment made by email, by voicemail, to his recent attorney or to Stop the Steal PAC's designated agent.

As he worked to expand his influence, Alexander found a valuable ally in Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist at the helm of the popular far-right website InfoWars. Jones, who first gained notoriety for spreading a lie that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax, had once counted more than two million YouTube subscribers and 800,000 Twitter followers before being banned from both platforms.

Alexander also collaborated with Nick Fuentes, the 22-year-old leader of the white nationalist "Groyper" movement.

"Thirty percent of that crowd was Alex Jones' crowd," Alexander said on another livestream, referring to the Million MAGA March on November 14. "And there were thousands and thousands of Groypers — America First young white men. … Even if you thought these were bad people, why can't bad people do good tasks? Why can't bad people fight for their country?"

Alexander's willingness to work with such people sparked conflict even within his inner circle.

"Is Nick Fuentes now a prominent figure in Stop the Steal?" asked Brandon Straka, an openly gay conservative activist, in a November text message, obtained exclusively by ProPublica. "I find him disgusting," Straka said, pointing to Fuentes' vehemently anti-LGBT views.

Alexander saw more people and more power. He wrote that Fuentes was "very valuable" at "putting bodies in places," and that both Jones and Fuentes were "willing to push bodies … where we point."

Straka, Fuentes and Jones did not respond to requests for comment.

Right-wing leaders who had once known each other only peripherally were now feeling a deeper sense of camaraderie. In an interview, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio described how he felt as he walked alongside Jones through the crowds assembled in Washington on Nov. 14, after Jones had asked the Proud Boys to act as his informal bodyguards.

"That was the moment we really united everybody under one banner," he said. "That everyone thought, 'Fuck you, this is what we can do.'" According to Tarrio, the Proud Boys nearly tripled in numbers around this time, bringing in over 20,000 new members. "November was the seed that sparked that flower on Jan. 6," he said.

The crowds impressed people like Tom Van Flein, chief of staff for Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). Van Flein told ProPublica he kept in regular contact with Alexander while Gosar led the effort in Congress to shoot down the election certification. "Ali was very talented and put on some very good rallies on short notice," Van Flein said. "Great turnout."

But as January 6 drew nearer, the Capitol Police became increasingly concerned by the disparate elements that formed the rank and file of the organization.

"Stop the Steal's propensity to attract white supremacists, militia members, and others who actively promote violence, may lead to a significantly dangerous situation for law enforcement and the general public alike," the Capitol Police wrote in a January 3 intelligence assessment.

Yet the police force, for all its concern, wound up effectively blindsided by what happened on January 6.

An intelligence report from that day obtained by ProPublica shows that the Capitol Police expected a handful of rallies on Capitol grounds, the largest of which would be hosted by a group called One Nation Under God.

Law enforcement anticipated between 50 and 500 people at the gathering, assigning it the lowest possible threat score and predicting a one percent to five percent chance of arrests. The police gave much higher threat scores to two small anti-Trump demonstrations planned elsewhere in the city.

However, One Nation Under God was a fake name used to trick the Capitol Police into giving Stop the Steal a permit, according to Stop the Steal organizer Kimberly Fletcher. Fletcher is president of Moms for America, a grassroots organization founded to combat "radical feminism."

"Everybody was using different names because they didn't want us to be there," Fletcher said, adding that Alexander and his allies experimented with a variety of aliases to secure permits for the east front of the Capitol. Laughing, Fletcher recalled how the police repeatedly called her "trying to find out who was who."

A Senate report on security failures during the Capitol riot released earlier this month suggests that at least one Capitol Police intelligence officer had suspicions about this deceptive strategy, but that leadership failed to appreciate it — yet another example of an intelligence breakdown.

On December 31, the officer sent an email expressing her concerns that the permit requests were "being used as proxies for Stop the Steal" and that those requesting permits "may also be involved with organizations that may be planning trouble" on January 6.

A Capitol Police spokesperson told ProPublica on April 2, "Our intelligence suggested one or more groups were affiliated with Stop the Steal," after we asked for a copy of the One Nation Under God permit, which they declined to provide.

Yet 18 days later, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told congressional investigators that she believed the permit requests had been properly vetted and that they were not granted to anyone affiliated with Stop the Steal. Pittman did not respond to ProPublica requests for comment.

Last week, a Capitol Police spokesperson told ProPublica, "The Department knew that Stop the Steal and One Nation Under God organizers were likely associated," but added that the police believed denying a permit based on "assumed associations" would be a First Amendment violation. "The Department did, however, take the likely association into account when making decisions to enhance its security posture."

Kenneth Harrelson, an Oath Keeper who allegedly ran the far-right group's "ground team" in D.C. on January 6, went to Washington to provide security for Alexander, according to Harrelson's wife. Harrelson has pleaded not guilty to felony charges in connection with the riot and is one of the Oath Keepers at the center of a major Department of Justice conspiracy case.

Harrelson's wife, Angel Harrelson, said in an interview with ProPublica that her husband was excited to visit Washington for the first time, especially to provide security for an important person, but that he lost Alexander in the chaos that consumed the Capitol and decided to join the crowd inside.

"Historic Day!"

As the movement hurtled toward Jan. 6, what started as a loosely united coalition quickly splintered, dividing into two competing groups that vied for power and credit.

On one side, Alexander and Jones had emerged as a new, more extreme element within the Republican grassroots ecosystem.

Their chief opposition was the organization Women for America First, helmed by Kremer and other veterans of the tea party movement, itself once viewed as the Republican fringe. Kremer was an early backer of Trump, and her tea party work helped get Mark Meadows elected to the House of Representatives in 2012.

The schism was rooted in an ideological dispute. Kremer felt Alexander's agenda and tactics were too extreme; Alexander wanted to distinguish Stop the Steal by being more directly confrontational than Kremer's group and the tea party. "Our movement is masculine in nature," he said in a livestream.

Trump promoted both groups' events online at various times.

Stop the Steal, through its alias One Nation Under God, obtained a Capitol Police permit to rally on Capitol grounds, while Kremer and Women for America First controlled the National Park Service permit for a large gathering on the White House Ellipse.

Alexander and Jones wanted to speak at the Ellipse rally, but Kremer was opposed. The provocateurs found a powerful ally in Caroline Wren, an elite Republican fundraiser with connections to the Trump family, particularly Donald Trump Jr. and his partner, Kimberly Guilfoyle. Wren had raised money for the Ellipse rally and pushed to get Alexander and Jones on stage, according to six people involved in the January 6 rally and emails reviewed by ProPublica.

Pierson, the Trump campaign official, had initially been asked by Wren to help mediate the conflict. But Pierson shared Kremer's concern that Jones and Alexander were too unpredictable. Pierson and Wren declined to comment.

On Jan. 2, the fighting became so intense that Pierson asked senior White House officials how she should handle the situation, according to a person familiar with White House communications. The officials agreed that Alexander and Jones should not be on the stage and told Pierson to take charge of the event.

The next morning, Trump announced to the world that he would attend the rally at the Ellipse. "I will be there. Historic day!" he tweeted. This came as a surprise to both rally organizers and White House staff, each of whom told ProPublica they hadn't been informed he intended to speak at the rally.

That same day, a website went live promoting a march on Jan. 6. It instructed demonstrators to meet at the Ellipse, then march to the Capitol at 1 p.m. to "let the establishment know we will fight back against this fraudulent election. … The fate of our nation depends on it."

Alexander and his allies fired off these instructions across social media.

While Kremer and her group had held legally permitted marches at previous D.C. rallies and promoted all their events with the hashtag #marchfortrump, this time their permit specifically barred them from holding an "organized march." Rally organizers were concerned that violating their permit could create a legal liability for themselves and pose significant danger to the public, said Stockton, a political consultant with tea party roots who spent weeks with Kremer as they held rallies across the country in support of the president.

Lawrence and Stockton's fellow organizers contacted Pierson to inform her that the march was unpermitted, according to Stockton and three other people familiar with the situation.

While ProPublica has independently confirmed that senior White House officials, including Meadows, were involved in the broader effort to limit Alexander's role on January 6, it remains unclear just how far the rally organizers went to warn officials of their specific fears about the march.

Another source present for communications between Amy Kremer and her daughter and fellow organizer, Kylie Kremer, told ProPublica that on January 3, Kylie Kremer called her mother in desperation about the march.

Kylie Kremer asked her mom to escalate the situation to higher levels of the White House, and her mother said she would work on it, according to the source, who could hear the conversation on speakerphone. "You need to call right now," the source remembered the younger Kremer saying.

The source said that Kylie Kremer suggested Meadows as a person to contact around that time.

The source said that in a subsequent conversation, Amy Kremer told her daughter she would take the matter to Eric Trump's wife, Lara Trump. The source said that Kremer was in frequent contact with Lara Trump at the time.

Stockton said that he was not aware of Kremer talking to the family about January 6, but added that Kremer regularly communicates with the Trump family, including Lara Trump. He also said that Kremer gave him the distinct impression that she had contacted Meadows about the march.

Through his adviser Ben Williamson, Meadows declined to comment on whether the organizers contacted him regarding the march.

Lara Trump, who spoke at the Ellipse on January 6, did not immediately respond to a voicemail and text message asking for comment or to an inquiry left on her website. Eric Trump did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Kremer did not answer questions from ProPublica about communications with Lara Trump. Donald Trump's press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The White House, at the time, was scrambling from one crisis to the next. On January 2, Trump and Meadows called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump pressed Raffensperger to "find 11,780 votes" that would swing the state tally his way. On January 3, the president met with Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and urged him to do what he could to protect Trump's supporters on January 6.

Meanwhile, Wren, the Republican fundraiser, was continuing to advocate for Jones and Alexander to play a prominent role at the Ellipse rally, according to emails and multiple sources.

A senior White House official suggested to Pierson that she resolve the dispute by going to the president himself, according to a source familiar with the matter.

On Jan. 4, Pierson met with Trump in the Oval Office. Trump expressed surprise that other people wanted to speak at the Ellipse at all. His request for the day was simple: He wanted lots of music and to limit the speakers to himself, some family members and a few others, according to the source and emails reviewed by ProPublica. The president asked if there was another venue where people like Alexander and Roger Stone could speak.

Pierson assured him there was. She informed the president that there was another rally scheduled the night before the election certification where those who lost their opportunity to speak at the Ellipse could still do so. It was meant as an olive branch extended between the competing factions, according to Stockton and two other sources.

Chafian, a reiki practitioner who'd been working closely with Alex Jones, was put in charge of the evening portion of the Jan. 5 event.

The speakers included Jones, Alexander, Stone, Michael Flynn and Three Percenter militia member Jeremy Liggett, who wore a flak jacket and led a "Fuck antifa!" chant. (Liggett is now running for Congress.) Chafian had invited Proud Boy leader Tarrio to speak as well, but Tarrio was arrested the day before on charges that he had brought prohibited gun magazines to Washington and burned a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from a church.

Tarrio told ProPublica that he did not know the flag was taken from a church and that the gun magazines were a custom-engraved gift for a friend. He has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of property destruction; the gun magazine charge is still pending indictment before a grand jury.

"Thank you, Proud Boys!" Chafian shouted at the end of her speech. "The Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters — all of those guys keep you safe."

Wren, however, would not back down. On the morning of Jan. 6, she arrived at the Ellipse before dawn and began arranging the seats. Jones and Alexander moved toward the front. Organizers were so worried that Jones and Alexander might try to rush the stage that Pierson contacted a senior White House official to see how aggressive she could get in her effort to contain Wren.

After discussing several options, the official suggested she call the United States Park Police and have Wren escorted off the premises.

Pierson relayed this to Kylie Kremer, who contacted the police. Officers arrived, but ultimately took no action.

By 9 a.m.,Trump supporters had arrived in droves: nuns and bikers, men in American flag suits, a line of Oath Keepers. Signs welcomed the crowd with the words "Save America March."

Kylie Kremer greeted them gleefully. "What's up, deplorables!" she said from the stage.

Wren escorted Jones and Alexander out of the event early, as they prepared to lead their march on the Capitol.

At 11:57 a.m, Trump got on stage and, after a rambling speech, gave his now infamous directive. "You'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong," he said. "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard."

Lawrence, Dustin Stockton's fiancee and co-organizer, remembers her shock.

"What the fuck is this motherfucker talking about?" Lawrence, an ardent Trump supporter, said of the former president.

In the coming hours, an angry mob would force its way into the building. Protesters smashed windows with riot shields stolen from cops, ransacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's chambers, and inflicted an estimated $1.5 million of damage. Roughly 140 police officers were injured. One was stabbed with a metal fence stake and another had spinal discs smashed, according to union officials.

The Stop the Steal group chat shows a reckoning with these events in real time.

"They stormed the capital," wrote Stop the Steal national coordinator Michael Coudrey in a text message at 2:33 p.m. "Our event is on delay."

"I'm at the Capitol and just joined the breach!!!" texted Straka, who months earlier had raised concerns about allying with white nationalists. "I just got gassed! Never felt so fucking alive in my life!!!"

Alexander and Coudrey advised the group to leave.

"Everyone get out of there," Alexander wrote. "The FBI is coming hunting."

In the months since, the Department of Justice has charged more than 400 people for their actions at the Capitol, including more than 20 alleged Proud Boys, over a dozen alleged Oath Keepers, and Straka. It's unclear from court records whether Straka has yet entered a plea.

In emails to ProPublica, Coudrey declined to answer questions about Stop the Steal. "I just really don't care about politics anymore," he said. "It's boring."

Meadows, now a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute, a think tank in Washington, appeared on Fox News on Jan. 27, delivering one of the first public remarks on the riot from a former Trump White House official. He encouraged the GOP to "get on" from Jan. 6 and focus on "what's important to the American people." Neither Meadows nor anyone else who worked in the Trump White House at the time has had to answer questions as part of the various inquiries currently proceeding in Congress.

Alexander has kept a low profile since January 6. But in private, texts show, he has encouraged his allies to prepare for "civil war."

"Don't denounce anything," he messaged his inner circle in January regarding the Capitol riot. "You don't want to be on the opposite side of freedom fighters in the coming conflict. Veterans will be looking for civilian political leaders."

Kirsten Berg and Lynn Dombek contributed additional reporting.

Notorious Trump Flack Running For Congress In Texas

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Katrina Pierson, Donald Trump's 2016 campaign spokesperson, reportedly plans to run for a vacant congressional seat. In addition to wearing a necklace adorned with bullets on a television appearance, Pierson is best known for her frequent false statements.

The Hill reported on Sunday that Pierson, who also advised Trump's unsuccessful 2020 campaign, plans to run in a special election to replace the late Republican Rep. Ron Wright in Texas' 6th Congressional District. Wright died last month of COVID-19.

Prior to working on Trump's campaigns, Pierson was a Texas-based Tea Party activist and an unsuccessful 2014 House candidate.

In April 2009, she called for Texas to leave the United States. "If I had my way, Texas would close the borders and secede from the nation. We can let those parasiting societies feed on themselves," she told a Dallas Tea Party rally.

As Trump's chief campaign spokesperson, Pierson frequently got caught lying to the American public.

She claimed in May 2016 that Trump's history of sexist comments and attacks on women were just some sort of performance art. "I really don't think this is going to be a problem," she told Fox News of Trump's misogynist insults. "A lot of those statements [are] what Mr. Trump made as a television character, so I don't think that some of that is going to stick."

In August 2016, Pierson baselessly accused journalists — who had been repeatedly subjected to bullying at Trump rallies — of physically attacking Trump supporters. "They are tired of seeing left-wing reporters literally beat Trump supporters into submission — into supporting policies that they don't agree with," she told Fox Business Network.

The same week, she said that President Barack Obama had started the war in Afghanistan in 2001 — when he was still a state senator in Illinois. She also blamed Obama for deaths in Iraq — before he was even elected to the U.S. Senate.

In 2018, she falsely claimed that an October 2016 strategy session held by Trump campaign officials about how to talk about a recording of Trump using racist language never happened. Hours later, secretly recorded audio reported to be of Pierson participating in such a strategy session was leaked to the public, forcing her to walk back her lie.

Pierson, who reportedly does not actually live in the Sixth Congressional District, will likely face Susan Wright, the late congressman's widow, in a GOP primary.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

#EndorseThis: Trump Surrogates Cover Up Their Candidate’s Immigration 180

On Wednesday, Ann Coulter released an… anticipated book, In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!, her attempt to cash in on the Trump wave that has swept the conservative entertainment industrial complex this past year. In it, Coulter endorses Trump’s “America First” brand of nativism, and pledges her support to the nominee on one condition.

“There’s nothing Trump can do that won’t be forgiven,” Coulter writes. “Except change his immigration policies”

Well, bad news for Ann Coulter. In front of a packed town hall even hosted by Sean Hannity Wednesday night, Donald Trump betrayed his supporters on the number one issue of his campaign: That one Day 1 of his presidency, all 11 million people living in the U.S. without proper documentation would be forcefully ejected from the country, “Operation Wetback” style.

Trump broke the news in the form of a straw poll, to heckles from the crowd:

Today, Trump surrogates and supporters, including Ann Coulter, are in the ultimate bind: If even Trump gets boo’ed for his total flip-flop on immigration, what will happen to them?

As it happens: They are laughed at for falling for a con.

Here’s Katrina Pierson, defending Trump by saying he didn’t flop — he just used different words!

And here’s Kayleigh McEnany, saying the change “is not a major flip”:

And here’s Ann Coulter, contradicting her entire career of anti-immigrant nativism by saying it might be a good thing that Trump abandoned the hard-right of his base:

It’s just… so beautiful.

Video: Fox News, CNN, Washington Examiner.

WATCH: Larry Wilmore Kicks Off Last Week By Blasting ‘Dangerous’ Trump And ‘Spokesgoblin’ Pierson

Larry Wilmore, heading into his last week on The Nightly Show, took the opportunity to engage in a no-holds-barred tongue lashing of GOP nominee Donald Trump and his team.

According to Wilmore, Trump “stopped being funny” a long time ago.

“He’s stopped being outrageous,” Wilmore continued. “He’s stopped being politically incorrect. He’s just downright dangerous.”

Wilmore’s show was cancelled by Comedy Central on Monday, and while he thanked the network, Wilmore said he regretted that he “won’t be around to cover this truly insane election season.”

Wilmore appears to be fitting as much election coverage in as possible, calling Hillary Clinton “a very smart and capable politician, who many people don’t trust because she spends too much time lawyering her words so she doesn’t lose votes instead of telling us what she actually f*cking thinks,” but stated Trump wasn’t even comparable and that he was, instead, “a psychopathic narcissist who not only has the hands of an infant, he has the mind of one.”

Katrina Pierson, Trump’s campaign spokesperson, didn’t escape unscathed. Wilmore started by calling her a “spokesgoblin” — and went from there.

After playing footage of Pierson (incorrectly) calling President Obama the initiator of United States’ military campaign in Afghanistan, Wilmore felt the need to correct her history: “There was a horrible hurricane — which, thanks to [Pierson], is no longer the first thing that comes up when you google the words ‘Katrina’ and ‘Total f*cking sh*tshow.’”

Watch the entire clip, via Comedy Central, below:

Screenshot via Comedy Central

#EndorseThis: Fox Host Presses Katrina Pierson On Trump’s Tax Returns

Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson made headlines this weekend for a real whopper, claiming that Barack Obama had invaded Iraq, not George W. Bush. But the chronological flubs that spawned the creation of the #KatrinaPiersonHistory hashtag began weeks ago, when she suggested that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were responsible for the death of Army Capt. Humayun Khan in 2004.

Yesterday, Pierson appeared to be on friendlier ground, giving an interview to Fox News. But then, host Arthel Neville pressed her on whether Trump should release his tax returns. Pierson responded that the practice of presidential candidates releasing their tax returns was a “novelty.”

Neville replied, “It’s been going on since the 1970s. It’s a tradition, not a novelty. The voters want to know.”

Pierson responded, “It’s a novelty tradition.”

The Trump campaign has repeatedly refused to release the candidate’s tax returns, citing an ongoing IRS audit. However, although the law prohibits the agency itself from releasing tax returns, Trump is not legally barred in any way from doing so. As Jeffrey Toobin writes in The New Yorker,

“The main risk of disclosure is political rather than legal. Trump’s returns may show that he pays a very low effective tax rate. They may also show that he gives very little to charity, or show foreign financial entanglements.”

Last week, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine released their own tax returns, revealing that in 2015 the Clintons made a combined $10.6 million and had an effective tax rate of more than 30 percent. During the same year Kaine and his wife made $313,441 and had an effective tax rate of 20 percent.

Photo: YouTube/Raw Story

 

This Week In Crazy: Infinite Mess

Donald Trump is poised to win the GOP nomination, with theocratic loon Ted Cruz in second place. What could be worse than these two specimens? Their acolytes. Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck has talked many many times about how he sees the divine hand of providence in Ted Cruz’s candidacy. He has suggested that Antonin Scalia’s death may even have been an intentional gambit by the Almighty to cast into focus how important it was for America to elect Cruz.

Talking on his show Monday night Beck invoked the Old Man Upstairs again — claiming that Himself had Seen Fit to assemble for His Humble Servant, Glenn Beck, the audience that will deliver America by voting for Ted Cruz. Hosts flatter their audiences all the time (“You’re the best crowd, really!”) but Beck’s obsequiousness — playing to his viewers’ faith by informing them that they are “the audience that saves the republic” — is on another level.

Tuning into his show, Beck said, is the Almighty’s method of grooming viewers to stamp their chad for Cruz via His “preparation and sanctification.” That is one hell of an endorsement for your show, Glenn.

It would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic. Oh wait. It’s still laughable.

Hat tip and video courtesy of Right Wing Watch

Next: Jeffrey Lord  

4. Jeffrey Lord

Well here’s a sensible chap.

In an American Spectator article published Tuesday, CNN contributor Jeffrey Lord lays it all out in his first paragraph: “Meet MoveOn.org. The new Ku Klux Klan. The newest leftist incarnation of that old leftist formula that combines racism with violence to push the progressive agenda.”

Although many conservative commentators were quick to demonize protesters for the violence at Trump rallies, only Lord has the audacity and historical illiteracy to draw a straight line from “the 19th and early 20th century Klan” to “the Violent Left” of today.

“This time around they don’t use hoods and burning crosses to rally the terrorists,” Lord wrote, “they use social media instead.” Yes, because MoveOn.org’s social media organization, helping to coalesce a student-led protest against a modern American demagogue, is tantamount to the Klan’s reign of domestic terrorism. Well done, you straw-man-stuffing putz.

Lord’s fallacies and false equivalencies are nothing short of repulsive. He uses the idiot who charged Trump’s stage in Ohio to scapegoat anyone who wishes to protest Trump’s toxic rhetoric. He makes the gross and egregious freshman error of confusing Southern Democrats of the Restoration South with the modern Left because he either chooses not to, or can’t be bothered to, open a book. He says that MoveOn.org “organized a mass shutdown” in the “tradition of the Klan,” neglecting of course to mention that the Klan pursued a decades-long strategy of murder and terror.

His disgusting and ignorant rant is viewable here.

Hat tip Media Matters

Next: Kentucky 

3. Kentucky State Senate

The Kentucky State Senate advanced legislation that would allow anyone who feels like it to reject the civil liberties of LGBT people (or anyone, really) under the banner of “religious liberty.”

Per Raw Story:

The measure, Senate Bill 180, passed on a 22-16 vote. State Sen. Albert Robinson (R), who sponsored the bill, called it a “common-sense, live-and-let-live” measure.

The bill, which is now headed to the state House for deliberation, effectively repeals anti-discrimination statutes covering LGBT residents in eight cities: Covington, Danville, Frankfort, Lexington, Louisville, Midway, Morehead and Vicco. It states that ” no statute, regulation, ordinance, order, judgment, or other law or action by any court, commission, or other public agency shall impair, impede, infringe upon, or otherwise restrict the exercise of protected rights by any protected activity provider.”

This is a thinly veiled gloss that gives free rein to anyone to carve out a zone of exemption in their immediate vicinity where civil rights do not apply, and they can discriminate with impunity. No law or ruling can come between a good Christian and his bigotry. How “live-and-let-live,” indeed. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 28 states this year have introduced anti-LGBT legislation under the flimsy premise of “religious liberty.”

Theocracy: An eminently convenient form of government if you happen worship the right god.

Hat tip Raw Story

Next: Katrina Pierson 

2. Katrina Pierson

Call her Trump 2.0.

When The Donald himself cannot be available to do a TV interview, the campaign rolls out the next best thing: spokesperson Katrina Pierson. She has clearly studied at the feet of the master and has a knack for emulating many of the hallmarks of Trump’s performances that have endeared him to his fans and exasperated journalists: Pierson is adept at conveying Trump’s incoherent flip-flops, his scattershot recriminations, his bulletproof resistance to logic, and adamantine self-righteousness spouting the most inane and hateful nonsense.

She also has caught Trump’s habit of bending reality — and the candidate’s record — to suit the conveniences of the immediate moment (or interview).

So it was Tuesday when Pierson was called to responds to anti-Trump ads spotlighting his history of ugly, misogynist remarks. Those comments, she said, were not made by the GOP frontrunner — they were “made as a television character.” It’s a brazen about-face, but perfectly in line with what has been Pierson’s tack on cable news shows for months now. She doesn’t miss a beat or break a sweat, as she transmutes the most utter bull excreta into pleasant-sounding bytes.

Doesn’t make her (or her candidate) any less answerable to the facts, or any less full of said excreta.

Hat tip Mediaite. Video courtesy of Fox News.

Next: Michael Savage 

1. Michael Savage

Paranoid savant Michael Savage gave his listeners a little taste of what a Hillary Clinton presidency will look like (and also what keeps Michael Savage up at night): There will be “armed rebellion” and “a transgender in your soup.”

“She is an absolute dictator,” he said on his show last week. “She will seize guns and make them illegal in any way necessary.” Though Right Wing Watch helpfully notes that Savage has been pulling this chicken-little act for years, telling his listeners that Obama is coming for their guns, and it has yet to happen.

By the by, Savage, along with fellow paranoiac fantasist shock jock Alex Jones, has hosted GOP frontrunner Donald Trump on his show — both men being precisely the sort of dunce whose aimless rage, powerlessness, and passing acquaintance with reality make them ripe for a charlatan like The Donald. No wonder a woman in power threatens them so much.

Hat tip and audio courtesy of Right Wing Watch


Image: DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments! Get This Week In Crazy delivered to your inbox every Friday, by signing up for our daily email newsletter.

Trump Campaign Says Hillary Clinton Is ‘Now The Media Spokesperson For Al-Qaeda’

Donald Trump’s campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson let loose with another characteristically absurd remark Monday.

On MSNBC’s Live with Thomas Roberts, the host grilled Pierson on the new recruiting video from the African terrorist group Al-Shabaab, which uses a clip of Trump exclaiming his campaign promise to ban Muslims from entering the United States. Doesn’t this confirm, Roberts asked, Clinton’s statement at last month’s Democratic debate that ISIS was using Trump for recruitment?

“Donald Trump is less concerned what ISIS and terrorists think, and more concerned about what Americans think, and how Americans are gonna be protected moving forward,” Pierson said.

Pierson continued:

You know, I do love the media, though, using this — not you — but there have been media actually saying this is exactly what Hillary Clinton was talking about, when in fact it’s not. Because Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama told us Al-Qaeda was on the run. And who is Al-Shabaab? An affiliate of Al-Qaeda. This was not ISIS like Hillary Clinton claims. So the media’s actually trying to call this a win for Clinton — when in fact it looks like Clinton is now the media spokesperson for Al-Qaeda. [Emphasis added]

Well, then. We don’t even really understand her logic at all here. But what else is there to say?