As Congress now debates how to sanction Donald Trump for inciting the violent storming of our nation’s democratic legislature, the evidence is emerging that some senior Republican party leadership played a major role in organizing the protests that eventually spun out of control after the sore-losing president incited them with his divisive rhetoric.
The Intercept is now reporting that Ali Alexander, a founder of the “Stop the Steal” protests and a prominent right-wing media figure, claims to have planned the January 6th event in Washington DC with Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ), the House Freedom Caucus leader, and Representatives Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Mo Brooks (R-AL) to reinforce their planned objections to the confirmation of the electoral vote that made Joe Biden’s ascendency to the presidency a fait accompli.
“We’re the four guys who came up with a January 6 event,” Alexander said in one of three separate livestreams he held in December, according to The Intercept. “I was the person who came up with the January 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks, and then Congressman Andy Biggs. We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside,” the rally organizer admitted.
The Freedom Caucus chairman’s intimate involvement in the planning of the gathering of Trump loyalists last week was further evidenced by his furnishing of a video that Alexander played at a rally at the Arizona state Capitol on December 19th, a rally at which Congressman Gosar was a featured speaker and where the “Stop the Steal” specifically cited Congressman Brooks as an ally. (Unfortunately, video footage of that rally became unavailable once right-wing social media platform Parler ceased operations in the wake of the insurrection so widely promoted on its posts.)
Both Biggs and Gosar are prime examples of the extremists who now control the Arizona Republican Party, the same people who just condemned Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Arizona GOP Senator John McCain, the most influential Republican in the state since Barry Goldwater, for failing to support Donald Trump. It is also the party organization that approvingly retweeted one of Alexander’s posts about his willingness to die for Trump’s fight to overturn the legitimate election results and questioned the loyalty of those who weren’t as eager to fall on that sword.
Despite all of his well-documented involvement in the planning for the ill-fated rally, Rep. Biggs is now denying even ever meeting Alexander as the consequences of backing the failed coup attempt become a more concrete reality in the aftermath of the putsch’s failure.
“Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest,” his spokesperson, Daniel Stefanski, said to The Arizona Republic. “He did not have any contact with protestors or rioters, nor did he ever encourage or foster the rally or protests.”
With Democrats now discussing invoking the 14th Amendment which prohibits any member from holding office if they “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof,” the payback for the Freedom Caucus member and his seditious colleagues who helped plan the “Stop the Steal” rally could be potentially career-ending.
With the incriminating evidence in Alexander’s streaming statements — like this one from December 21st when he said “We’re working closely with Congressman Mo Brooks, we’re working closely with Congressman Andy Biggs, and closely with, obviously, Congressman Paul Gosar, my great friend,” Alexander said. “I believe that the president should do something brave, I think the vice president should do something brave. I believe that that’s how we maintain the White House. … It’s a moral imperative to maintain the White House.” — it difficult to see how Biggs, Gosar, and Brooks will escape the scrutiny of their Democratic colleagues seeking those who helped endanger their lives by aiding and abetting the violent reactionaries who invaded their workplace, despite any post-facto denials of culpability by the GOP turncoats.
If they are not expelled from Congress for their actions, then the 14th Amendment may as well not exist.
Original reporting by Ryan Grim and Aida Chavez at The Intercept.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.