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Tag: roger stone

Flynn's Fascist 'ReAwaken America' Tour Alarms Christian Leaders

An increasing number of Christian leaders have expressed concern and alarm over the disinformation and damage to democracy wreaked by ReAwaken America, a touring group of far rightists, according to a new Guardian report,

The caravan of conspiracist speakers, including rising conspiracy peddler Clay Clark, Trump’s disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and convicted felon Roger Stone, have rallied in Florida, Michigan, and other states, drawing thousands of people from around the country.

The falsehoods peddled at ReAwaken’s rallies — from vaccine skepticism, anti-mask narratives, and Christian nationalism to false claims of widespread election fraud — have drawn cries of outrage from community leaders and prompted Christian leaders to raise concerns about the political and spiritual health of the country.

"This tour features a who’s who of far-right religious extremists, Trump aides, QAnon conspiracy theorists, and other reckless figures," said Sabrina Lamar, Monroe County Legislature President. "At every stop along the way, this nationalist tour has left in its wake a trail of dangerous disinformation that can lead to increased bigotry, hate, and, at its most extreme, violence.”

QAnon Conspiracies, Distorted Christian Teaching

Right-wing doctors amplifying vaccine conspiracies have made guest appearances at ReAwaken’s rallies, including Trump-backed “demon sperm” doctor Stella Immanuel and physician-turned-insurrectionist Simone Gold, leading pandemic and election experts to warn of the “potentially far-reaching impacts” that their misinformation has on “the nation’s public health and its democracy.”

“This ReAwaken tour is peddling dangerous lies about both the election and the pandemic,” said Adam Russell Taylor, the president of Sojourners, a Christian social justice group. “Jesus taught us that the truth will set us free, and these lies hold people captive to these dangerous falsehoods. They also exacerbate the toxic polarization we’re seeing in both the church and the wider society.”

At ReAwaken’s April 1 - 2 rally in Kaizer, Oregon, which some attendees claimed was “filled with love,” thousands cheered when conservative Pastor Mark Burns said, “There is no such thing as trans kids … only abusive parents.” Burns was running in a Republican congressional primary in South Carolina but lost on Tuesday.

At the same rally, Clark asked his colleague, Aaron Antis, a far-right extremist, what he thought of hospitals. Antis gleefully replied, “I’d say that those are the gas chambers of America … Once they are in the grips of the hospital is like they’ve gone to the gas chambers and they don’t come back.”

The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that exposes extremism, accused Clark of “comparing something that bothers you to the Holocaust.” The organization called Clark’s comments “deeply inaccurate, insulting, and troubling.”

“There is simply no comparison between the systematic murder of over 13 million people, including 6 million Jews, and the efforts to save lives and keep communities safe amidst a raging global pandemic,” the organization said in a statement.

At a different stop on the tour, tomahawk-toting QAnoner Scott McKay boldly claimed that a powerful Jewish mafia is “killing you in hospitals; they’re killing you in the streets; they launched Antifa and BLM.”

The American Jewish Committee slammed the false rhetoric and other allegations leveled against Jews, which it said were chock-full of anti-Semitic codewords and phrases, particularly “globalists,” “cabal,” “elitists,” “elites,” and direct references to Jewish puppet-masters.

A month later, ReAwaken held a two-day gathering in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and famous names on the far-right, including Stones, Flynn, Burns, and even former President Trump’s son Eric Trump, were in attendance. The group put its “Trump political messages mixed with Christian nationalism” on full display at the gathering, the Guardian noted in its report.

“There is a satanic portal above the White House. You can see day and night. It exists. It is real. And it must be closed. And it will be closed by prayer,” Stone rambled during the rally, eliciting cheers and applause from the crowd. He told the rapt crowd that the “portal” appeared after Joe Biden “became president and it will be closed before he leaves.”

Disgraced Flynn

Flynn, who is well-known for his ludicrous conspiracies, drew sharp criticism for suggesting that America ought to have only “one religion.".

“If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion,” Flynn reportedly said. “One nation under God and one religion under God, right? All of us, working together.”

Flynn went on to proclaim that America was founded on a “set of Judeo-Christian principles” and had a “biblical destiny,” a view that alarmed the Sojourners. “Flynn has a warped understanding of religion and American history,” Taylor said.

In April, Reverend Melinda Teter Dodge penned a hard-hitting op-ed in the Times Of San Diego titled “Right-Wing ‘ReAwaken America’ Tour Brought Irreligious Abomination to San Diego,” documenting Flynn’s leadership role in ReAwaken America.

“Tragically, late last month, proclaimed church leaders and religious zealots descended upon San Diego county, and twisted this scriptural truth for specific political purposes. In speaking to thousands of vulnerable attendees, this group spewed dangerous falsehood after falsehood about Covid-19 and the 2020 election,” Dodge wrote.

“The event at a church in San Marcos was the latest stop on disgraced, retired General Michael Flynn’s ‘ReAwaken America Tour,’ a nationwide series of megachurch engagements featuring a who’s who of far-right religious extremists, Trump aides, QAnon conspiracy theorists, and other reckless figures. At every stop along the way, the Christian nationalist tour has left in its wake a trail of dangerous disinformation that leads to bigotry, hate, and, at its most extreme, violence.”

Oath Keepers Have Given January 6 Digital Data To FBI Investigators

The Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group, has turned over reams of phone and digital files and undergone interviews with the FBI, according to a lawyer working with the extremist outfit.

Leaders of the Oath Keepers have shared with the bureau’s investigators details of the group’s efforts to aid the Trump campaign in its failed bid to subvert the 2020 presidential elections and connect with other top figures in Trump's orbit, according to recent court filings, CNN is reporting.

Kellye SoRelle, a failed Texas House candidate and Granbury, Texas attorney who in January declared herself the Oath Keepers’ acting president, saId she’d had several meetings with the FBI and turned over phones, but she didn’t detail her disclosures to the investigators.

"I've done interviews. I've done everything. I'm helping them," SoRelle said of her meetings with the FBI. Although SoRelle has not been charged in the seditious conspiracy case that has rapidly enshrouded the Oath Keepers, her ties to the group have been detailed in recent court filings.

For instance, the Oath Keepers held a virtual meeting one week after the 2020 presidential elections and planned a trip to Washington, D.C., after which SoRelle filled them in on the campaign’s legal efforts to challenge the election results.

SoRelle also joined a Trump campaign lawsuit that sought to keep the former president in power despite his loss, where she likened Trump to “a king from the Lord of the Rings’ fictional kingdom of Gondor,” according to the Daily Beast.

The FBI has discovered that the Oath Keepers used Signal, a messaging app, to text “high-profile, right-wing political organizers” in the days preceding the now-famous January 6 rally, per CNN. These figures include Alex Jones, a right-wing conspiracy theorist and talk-show host; Roger Stone, the political consultant and self-proclaimed political "dirty trickster"; and right-wing organizer Ali Alexander.

According to recent court filings, these “VIP chat” messages, which number over 100,000, were obtained from Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes’ phone and will help prosecutors prove their case against him.

Jones, whose three companies recently filed for bankruptcy, is already in legal hot water after courts ruled against him in defamation lawsuits brought by families of Sandy Hook victims.

Multiple news outlets have reported on Jones’ involvement in pro-Trump rallies held between November and December 2020, where he received protection from right-wing volunteers, including the Oath Keepers, while in town. Stone and other prominent Trump allies also enjoyed this protection, according to CNN

Jones’ lawyer, Federico Andino Reynal, told news outlets that his client demanded prosecutorial immunity before he’d agree to sing like a bird because he’s suspicious of the government's motives for seeking an interview, given the highly partisan nature of the investigation.” However, Reynal refused to comment on the Signal VIP chat uncovered by investigators.

An attorney for Alexander also denied requests for comments about the chat, and Stone took to social media to deny texting Rhodes and said that "discussion of logistics for a speech at a legally permitted event on January 5 proves nothing."

Rhodes is in jail awaiting trial on charges of seditious conspiracy, and Oath Keeper William Todd Wilson, founder of the extremist group’s North Carolina arm and once-loyal deputy of its incarcerated founder, pled guilty to seditious conspiracy charges for his role in the riot.

New Texts Expose January 6 Coordination Of Proud Boys And Oath Keepers

A series of text messages newly poured into the record for the impending seditious conspiracy trial of extremist Oath Keepers leader Elmer Rhodes and his cohort has exposed often frantic correspondence where members discussed providing security details for Trump World figures like Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Alex Jones, and others.

The texts also appear to show a working relationship with the Proud Boys, another extremist network once headed by ringleader Henry Tarrio, who now sits in jail as he—and his minions—await trial for numerous charges related to the events of January 6, including conspiracy to obstruct Congress and assaulting police.

From December 2021 onward, the text messages made public late Monday demonstrate a startling pathway to January 6. They were released as part of the exhibits that accompanied a pretrial release motion filed by Oath Keeper Edward Vallejo. A hearing will be held on that matter on April 29.

Rhodes, as the apparent ground zero for the group, served as a touchstone for the daily concerns, schemes, and strategy of fellow Oath Keepers coming from all around the U.S. to Washington, D.C., for January 6. He would add people to the group chat, introduce them, and explain their roles.

In the hundreds of texts that were made public, some stand out more than others, like those from late afternoon on New Years Day.

It was hours after Oath Keepers held a conference call for “DC Leadership,” when they began chatting about firearm restrictions and magazine limits in Washington. They also spoke about possible loopholes they believed might exist for private security guards.

In one exchange, Jessica Watkins — who prosecutors say was in one of the Oath Keeper stack formations that marched on the Capitol during the breach — mentioned that she heard GOP fink and convicted felon Roger Stone call for security during his appearance on Alex Jones’ show, Infowars.

Florida Oath Keeper division leader Kelly Meggs, using his handle “OK Gator 1” initially told Watkins: “We have Stone.”

Then moments later, Meggs said he “just texted him.”

When another person in the chat believed to be an Oath Keeper—their name or handle is redacted—chimed in that they wanted to shake Stone’s hand, Meggs boasted that he could arrange it since he had been to Stone’s home “a few times.”

“I’m down for doing PSD for folks,” Watkins replied, using shorthand for “private security detail.”

“I don’t want to be a spectator. I want to be useful,” she added.

“As per Stewart,” a reply from a redacted sender began, “We are all likely to be doing PSD most of the time ...”

Stone has tried to put distance between himself and the Oath Keepers, albeit poorly.

He has also denied being in Washington on January 6, though he was filmed fleeing D.C. that day by a group of documentarians. And in that same film, a screenshot shows he was in a group chat with Rhodes as well as Tarrio.

Joshua James, the Alabama Oath Keeper chapter leader who pleaded guilty to the seditious conspiracy charges in March, served as security detail for Stone on January 5. He also hauled him to meetings at the Willard Hotel where Trump and his cronies Steve Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, attempted coup strategist John Eastman, and others would often meet in their self-described “war room.”

Sal Greco, a former New York Police Department officer, allegedly worked alongside James when they did private security for Stone on January 5 and 6. Greco has denied being anything more than a friend to Stone. Greco is facing a police department trial in New York for misconduct.

James, however, admitted that on January 6 he used a stolen golf cart with co-defendant Robert Minuta to evade police as they beelined for the Capitol. From there, James has admitted, he was part of an organized effort to breach the Capitol as lawmakers conducted the counting of electoral votes, a necessary step toward the peaceful transfer of power.

Other text messages from Meggs to the group also indicate a through-line between the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.

Video has already emerged showing Rhodes meeting with Tarrio in a parking garage on the evening of January 5 in D.C.

Tarrio was arrested just a day before on an outstanding warrant for his December theft and burning of a Black Lives Matter banner from a prominent church.

The Miami, Florida, resident was ordered out of Washington after his release, but before he left, he met with Rhodes, Oath Keeper lawyer Kellye SoRelle, Josh Macias, and Bianca Garcia in the D.C. garage. Macias is the founder of Vets4Trump and Garcia is the president of Latinos for Trump.

As news of Tarrio’s arrest first spread, Meggs told the group he tried reaching out.

“I just called him no answer. But he will call [when] he’s out,” Meggs said of Tarrio.

That evening, another redacted speaker in the chat responded to the news of the arrest.

“They [think] chopping the head off kills it or something? Damn fools should have left him alone,” the text said.

This is also far from the first time that prosecutors have exposed a unity between the groups.

In a December 19 message entered into the record by prosecutors last month, Meggs tells a person on Facebook that he spent the week doing outreach to Proud Boys leadership.

“This week I organized an alliance between Oath Keepers, Florida 3 percenters, and Proud Boys. We have decided to work together and shut this shit down,” Meggs wrote.

The Three Percenters are an anti-government extremist militia.

A week later, according to exhibits attached to Meggs’ request for pretrial release, the Florida Oath Keeper told members their groups had a plan in place to deal with “antifa,” or supporters of the anti-fascist movement.

Meggs explained how they would coordinate together on January 6:

“We’re going to march with them for awhile then fall to the back of the crowd and turn off,” Meggs wrote in December 2021. “Then we will have the Proud Boys get in front of them [and]] the cops will get between antifa nad Proud Boys.”

He continued: “We will come in behind antifa and beat the hell out of them.”

Many of the Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy who have pleaded guilty have maintained they only came to Washington because they believed Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act.

If he did so, then, in short, they believed they would then have the green light to proceed and assist him as necessary.

The messages revealed Monday also offered a brief glimpse into the network’s ties to 1AP, or the First Amendment Praetorian, a self-styled militia. That pro-Trump group was subpoenaed by the January 6 committee already for its connections to Michael Flynn. Flynn used its members as bodyguards at “Stop the Steal” rallies. The group also threw its support behind proposals to seize voting machines as a part of Trump’s bid to stay in power.

Like the Oath Keepers had in the past, 1AP also reportedly had members assigned to protect Jones.

Rhodes appeared enthralled by the prospect of working with Jones again in a text Rhodes sent to members on Dec. 31, 2020.

“Bottom line, is those of you wanting to do PSD details will get plenty of opportunity. We may also end up assisting the PSD for Alex Jones again. Which was a great feather in our cap. We worked subperbly (sic) well with both Alex Jones security team (who are awesome guys) and with the Praetorian Guard (also awesome veterans led by SF and SEAL veterans),” Rhodes wrote. “They LOVE working with us because of our legit ‘quiet professional’ demeanor and skillsets.”

Rhodes continued: “It’s incredibly important for us to be front and center and again very visible for the patriots AND the domestic enemies. Heck, also to our foreign enemies, who will surely be watching as well.”

Jones was subpoenaed by the committee months ago. He had a private meeting with investigators in January and when he emerged, he went on his own show to unpack the day. He vowed that he “stayed silent” and said he didn’t know answers to half of what he was asked.

Jones also swore that same day that he did not use members from the Oath Keepers or Proud Boys as his private security. Instead, he said, he hired 12 or 14 people from a private security firm in Texas. He simultaneously claimed that some of those members were D.C. or Maryland police officers.

Jones also didn’t think the Oath Keepers or Proud Boys were threat. He chalked up their activities to “live action role playing.”

According to the texts, Oath Keepers were also interested in providing security to Ronny Jackson during the insurrection itself. Jackson was the former White House physician under Trump who turned into a congressman for Texas.

“Dr. Ronnie Jackson on the move,” one message from an unidentified person stated on January 6 at 3:08 PM. “Needs protection. If anyone inside cover him. He has critical data to protect.”

Rhodes sent a text asking what Jackson needed and then offered up his cell phone number.

“Rep. Jackson is frequently talked about by people he does not know. He does not know nor has he ever spoken to the people in question,” a spokesperson for Jackson said Tuesday morning.

In another message appearing to involve U.S. lawmakers, on January 3 Meggs told the group that friends to the Oath Keepers mentioned the group “on the call with congressmen,”

“[They] wanted to say thank you all for providing and protecting us,” Meggs wrote.

Attorneys for Rhodes, Tarrio, and Meggs did not immediately return a request for comment.

Published with permission from DailyKos.

Former Stone Aide Confirms GOP Plot To Steal 2020 Election

A recording made by a disgruntled election conspiracist is the strongest evidence yet that operatives in Donald Trump’s orbit summoned supporters to Washington on January 6 for the express purpose of coercing lawmakers into overturning the 2020 election.

News broke late Tuesday afternoon, whereupon this bombshell of a story was promptly buried under an avalanche of other news.

The main characters aren’t household names, but this story is every bit as important as the earlier revelation that Donald Trump, Jr, was pushing a detailed plan for a coup to his father’s chief of staff before the election had even been decided. And it’s even more important than the late-breaking news that Sen. Mike Lee talked up Trump lawyer John Eastman’s plan for a procedural coup in late November.

The star of the secret recording is Jason Sullivan, one-time aide to dirty trickster and longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone.

Sullivan told the Times he was invited to speak by a group of anti-vaccine activists, who were planning a permitted event in the capital on January 6. (By amazing coincidence, Stone was scheduled to speak at an anti-vax event on the afternoon of January 6, an engagement he missed, for reasons that are surely of great interest to the January 6th committee.)

The call was made a week before the insurrection.

Sullivan repeatedly urged the other callers to intimidate the lawmakers who were meeting to certify the election. He told them they needed to make them feel like the people were “breathing down their neck.”

“If we make the people inside that building sweat and they understand that they may not be able to walk in the streets any longer if they do the wrong thing, then maybe they’ll do the right thing,” Sullivan said.

“We have to put that pressure there.”

This recording was made by a woman named Staci Burk, a former school board official turned election conspiracist. Burk filed an anonymous affidavit supporting one of Trump lawyer Sidney Powell’s many election conspiracy theories. Whereupon heavily armed paramilitary operatives calling themselves the 1st Amendment Praetorian (1AP) moved into her home for several weeks, ostensibly to guard her. Burk told the Times a 1AP member joined the call, and she made the recording because the armed men were making her feel unsafe. Members of 1AP were in the capital during the insurrection and members of the group have been subpoenaed by the House Select Committee.

This recording partially corroborates previous claims by Ali Alexander, another one of Roger Stone’s associates. He said he schemed with members of the Congress to gather a crowd to pressure lawmakers into overturning the election during the certification ceremony.

In a video made before the insurrection, Ali Alexander claimed that he and Reps. Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, and Paul Gosar “schemed up putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting.”

The video circulated on social media but was later deleted. The plan was to “change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside,” Ali Alexander said.

The Sullivan call proves there was an inside-outside game on January 6.

The inside game was the procedural coup devised by John Eastman that was unfolding inside the Capitol on January 6th as GOP legislators raised spurious claims of election fraud to overturn a free and fair election.

The outside game was the mob deliberately assembled in order to pressure legislators to go along with Trump’s illegal scheme.

Roger Stone Unveils Insane Plan To Install Trump As President (VIDEO)

Longtime right-wing political henchman Roger Stone on Thursday revealed his new plan to install Donald Trump into the presidency. Speaking to the Republican Accountability Project, Stone shared his blueprint for, as he sees it, rectifying the crime of Trump's defeat to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

The three-point plan goes as follows:

First, Stone expects the House of Representatives to elect Trump as its Speaker if they retake control of the lower congressional chamber in this year's midterm elections. This is permitted in the United States Constitution. Literally, anybody whom a majority of the House chooses can hold the gavel as long as they meet the basic qualifications for getting elected, which in the House is any citizen 25 years of age and up.

Next, Stone predicts that Biden's Cabinet will invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Over what, he did not say.

In the final stage, according to Stone, Congress will impeach and remove Vice President Kamala Harris for refusing to promote ivermectin, a deworming medication used in horses, as an effective treatment against COVID-19. It is not.

At that point, with Biden and Harris out of office, Trump would ascend to the presidency via the line of succession.

Watch below:

Twitter had some questions.

Something seems missing from this equation.

Removing an impeached president and/or vice president requires the consent of 67 Senators.

Not to mention this little snag.

And this one.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

What Roger Stone Really Did During The Insurrection

Self-proclaimed political "dirty trickster" Roger Stone always portrays himself as the savviest, shrewdest, smartest operator in whatever room he's in. That's why it's curious that Stone, who years ago thought it was a good idea to have disgraced former president Richard Nixon's face tattooed on his back, would agree to allow a Danish documentary film crew follow and record him for two years leading up to the January 6, 2021

A report in today's Washington Post details what that video crew saw and heard. It's not helpful to Stone's pronouncements that he had nothing to do with former President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the legitimate election results.

From the report: "As a mob ransacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Roger Stone, Donald Trump’s longest-serving political adviser, hurried to pack a suitcase inside his elegant suite on the fifth floor of the Willard hotel. He wrapped his tailored suits in trash bags, reversed his black face mask so its “Free Roger Stone” logo was hidden, then slipped out of town for a hastily arranged private flight from Dulles International Airport.

“I really want to get out of here,” Stone told an aide, as they were filmed at the hotel by a Danish camera crew for a documentary on the veteran Republican operative. Stone said he feared prosecution by the incoming attorney general, Merrick Garland. “He is not a friend,” Stone said.

Washington Post reporters reviewed more than 20 hours of video filmed for the documentary, A Storm Foretold, which will be released later this year. The footage, along with other reporting by the Washington Post, provides the most comprehensive account to date of Stone’s involvement in the former president’s effort to overturn the election and in the rallies in Washington that spilled over into violence on Jan. 6.

Stone privately coordinated post-election protests with prominent figures, and in January he communicated by text message with leaders of far-right groups that had been involved in the attack on the Capitol, the footage shows. The filmmakers did not capture conversations between Stone and Trump, but on several occasions, Stone told them or his associates that he remained in contact with the president.

Stone has denied having any involvement in the Capitol riot. "Let me stay this as categorically as I can. Any claim, assertion, implication or otherwise any accusation that I either knew about or was involved in any of the illegal acts in Washington, D.C. on January 6 is categorically false. There is no evidence to the contrary and an honest investigation will prove that," he told Newsmax last year.

Stone steadfastly has refused to give testimony or provide evidence to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. Last week, he sued members of the panel to try to block them from using a subpoena to obtain his telephone records. On the day of the attack, as he packed his bags, Stone told the filmmakers the riot was a mistake and would be “really bad” for the pro-Trump movement.

On the eve of the 2020 election, however, he seemed to welcome the prospect of clashes with left-wing activists. In a recorded conversation, as an aide spoke of driving trucks into crowds of racial justice protesters, Stone said: “Once there’s no more election, there’s no reason why we can’t mix it up. These people are going to get what they’ve been asking for.”

Stone declined the Washington Post's requests for an interview.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Capitol Riot Indictments Closing In On Trump Inner Circle

Last week's indictment of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes for seditionist conspiracy revealed more than simply the mountain of evidence that the Justice Department has acquired in the prosecutions of key players in the January 6 Capitol insurrection. It also made clear the DOJ’s larger strategy of moving up the food chain of players in the historic attack—with Donald Trump and his inner circle now only steps away.

Much of the attention has focused on former Trump adviser Roger Stone, whose connections to the “Patriot” movement—and particularly to the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys who spearheaded the siege of the Capitol—are well established; indeed, earlier on Jan. 6, two Oath Keepers now charged alongside Rhodes with sedition in the conspiracy were part of Stone’s personal security detail. But as Marcy Wheeler incisively reports, more recent court documents also make clear that the investigation into militia groups’ activities that day now encompasses Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Stone’s connections to the Oath Keepers and Rhodes, as Jennifer Cohn recently laid out, date back to at least 2014, when he was part of the scene at the Bundy Ranch standoff in Nevada, where the Oath Keepers formed a significant presence. After Trump was elected, Stone became an ardent proponent of issuing a pardon for the Bundys in both the Nevada standoff and 2016 Malheur standoff prosecutions, appearing onstage with them in Las Vegas.

Those prosecutions ended up failing, so Trump instead pardoned the two Oregon ranchers whose imprisonment had fueled the Malheur standoff. Stone nonetheless remained a public ally of the Bundys; when Ammon Bundy announced his campaign for the Idaho governorship in 2021, Stone proudly endorsed him.

Stone also had a long relationship with another group that played a key role in the conspiracies to besiege the Capitol—the Proud Boys. In 2018, he was photographed flashing a white-nationalist “OK” sign with a group of Oregon Proud Boys in a tavern. He also was investigated by the FBI in 2019 for posting a message on Instagram that appeared to threaten a federal judge, which he blamed on Proud Boys, including national chairman Enrique Tarrio, who had been “helping” him with his social-media account.

Both Stone and Tarrio live in Florida and appear to have had multiple associations, including a meeting on December 12, 2020, in Washington, D.C., during the “Stop the Steal” rally that served as a warmup for January 6. Stone was seen in the video conferring both with Tarrio—who was arrested by D.C. police two days before the insurrection—and with Ethan Nordean, one of the key leaders of the group of Proud Boys who attacked the Capitol.

As Wheeler reported earlier, Stone also met with Kelly Meggs—leader of the Florida Oath Keepers and one of the key figures in the seditionist conspiracy case—two days before telling his cohorts that he was working out a cooperative agreement with Proud Boys leading up to what Meggs himself described as an “insurrection.”

However, most of the evidence introduced in the Oath Keepers conspiracy case so far offers little information about that connection on January 6, and there’s little in the evidence to suggest that Stone was directing or assisting them while they were providing security for him at the Ellipse, where Trump was speaking that morning. The most tantalizing clues involve the period when Stone was embedded in the Trump “War Room” at the Willard Hotel earlier that day.

Key figures in Trump’s circle—including Giuliani, as well as Steve Bannon, John Eastman, and other hardcore defenders of Trump’s “Big Lie” that he won the 2020 election—were circulating around the “command center” they had set up at the Willard. As it happens, so were members of a militia group called the 1st Amendment Patriots, who also had members stationed around the Capitol.

Oath Keepers, as Wheeler has reported, were providing security for the operations at the Willard. And after Stone departed for the Ellipse, according to text messages from indictee Joshua James—the Oath Keeper overseeing the detail—he complained bitterly that the detail at the Ellipse had failed to provide him with “VIP treatment.”

The Willard Hotel “War Room” happens to be the same nexus that has drawn Giuliani into the investigation, as Wheeler observed this week. While a Washington Post story last weekend concluded that the FBI doesn’t appear to be investigating the activities at the Willard, it also contained information indicating that FBI investigators have been pressing several defendants—all Oath Keepers and Proud Boys—about key figures at the morning rally and later at the Willard, including both Stone and Giuliani.

Rob Jenkins, a defense attorney representing multiple people linked to the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, another far-right group, said prosecutors have been “pretty aggressive” in “seeking out information … that points to others’ involvement and culpability.”
They are interested, he said, in “preplanning, and participation in those preplanning on the part of the individuals who may not have come to D.C. on January 6 but were certainly part of the planned effort.” That includes both leaders in the groups and people who spoke at the rally on January 6, including close Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and Roger Stone, he said.

The DOJ, of course, already possesses most of Giuliani’s communications from that period as part their investigation into his business dealings, and maybe hunting for further corroboration of evidence already in hand or perhaps suggested in his texts. And if Trump’s personal lawyer is in their sights, the former president himself may well be next. Giuliani also has been subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee, but it is not known how he will respond.

What’s become abundantly clear, however, is that DOJ is moving through these indictments strategically—only including evidence that builds their case publicly as well as internally, with the intent of inducing other defendants to turn state’s evidence as cooperating witnesses. It’s being extraordinarily careful about tipping its hand regarding its targets or its long-range strategy. It may be wisest to allow them to keep gathering and sifting, because that approach has proven the likeliest way to win in court and bring the insurrectionists—hopefully, all of them, all the way up the ladder—to accountability.

Republished with permission from Daily Kos

Roger Stone On Skid Row, Begs For Money To Avoid Prosecution

Conspiracy theorist, Trump ally, and wearer of mostly tacky overpriced clothes Roger Stone appeared for deposition before the January 6 select committee on Friday and as he broadcast earlier this month, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right in response to every question that was asked.

CNN reported Friday that Stone’s deposition took a little over an hour and when he made his exit from the meeting, he told reporters in his now painfully predictable rhetoric: “This is a witch hunt 3.0.”

One of the grievances he aired Friday was a line well-tread by Republicans in Congress since the committee’s inception.

Though he didn’t have much at all to tell the committee Friday, he did use the hours before his appointment to raise funds across social media. The panel is bogus, he cried, because “Speaker Pelosi rejected the appointment of Republicans to the committee and seated two anti-Trump Republicans.”

When the committee was proposed, GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy was given ample opportunity to negotiate terms with Pelosi but insisted that the probe of the January 6 attack extend to other unrelated incidents of violence. Pelosi also offered to form a committee that was evenly split between Republicans and Democrats but because McCarthy didn’t get every wish on his checklist ticked off, he soured on the deal and the House went forward with the commission anyway.

Investigators on the committee sought records and testimony from Stone because of his closeness to Trump in the run-up to the insurrection. Stone also regularly promoted Trump’s lies about election fraud and importantly, investigators believe Stone was funneling cash for the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement. The self-professed ‘dirty trickster’ was in D.C. multiple times before January 6, including a rally on December 12 urging Trump’s supporters to “fight until the bitter end to stop Biden from taking office.”

He was also at Freedom Plaza on January 5

Stone maintained on Friday that he was not on the Ellipse on January 6, nor was he at the Capitol during the siege.

“I was not at the Capitol and any claim, assertion, or even implication that I knew about or was involved in any way whatsoever with the illegal and politically counter-productive activities of January 6 is categorically false,” Stone said.

But video surfaced in February showing Stone in D.C. and near the Capitol that morning, and as reported by ABC News, “flanked by members of the Oath Keepers militia group.”

The select committee has pointed to Stone’s own promotion of his appearance at the ‘Stop the Steal’ event that day and has highlighted how Stone even went so far as to take donations to fund his “march to the Capitol.” That solicitation was first reported by Mother Jones.

The select committee is also investigating Stone’s ties to members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, both groups that the GOP operative has relied on for his personal security at various pro-Trump events. Some of those makeshift bodyguards have been indicted on crimes related to the attack on the Capitol.

Stone’s silence before Congress was expected and probably the best course of action for the aging interloper; he was convicted in November 2019 on seven felony counts, including impeding a congressional inquiry. Trump pardoned him last July. How the lapdog will now fare in Trump’s eyes will depend on events, but as was pointed out on Twitter Friday, the twice-impeached former president may not look so sunnily on his old friend:

In addition to Stone, John Eastman and Jeffrey Clark have also invoked the Fifth Amendment. Eastman crafted a six-point strategy to convince former Vice President Mike Pence that he could delay the certification. Clark, a former Justice Department official, according to records obtained by the committee, was engaged in a pressure campaign against Georgia state and election officials at Trump’s directive.