Ali Alexander, a prominent organizer of pro-Trump events after the 2020 election, has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation into the attack on the Capitol last year, the first political figure known to have offered his assistance to the new government’s expanded criminal investigation.
Speaking through a lawyer, Mr Alexander said on Friday he had recently received a subpoena from a federal grand jury seeking information on several broad categories of people linked to pro-Trump rallies. that took place in Washington after the elections.
In a statement from the lawyer, Mr Alexander said he was taking a “cooperative attitude” with the Justice Department investigation but was unsure what useful information he might give. He also disavowed anyone who participated in or planned violence on January 6.
While it remains unclear what Mr. Alexander might tell the grand jury, he was intimately involved in the sprawling effort to stage political protests challenging the election results and had contact with d other organizers, extremist groups, members of Congress and, according to the House committee investigating Jan. 6, White House officials during the period after Election Day.
The grand jury assembled by federal prosecutors is considering a wide range of issues surrounding former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results, after months in which the Justice Department focused on rioters directly involved in the capture of the Capitol.
In early December, Mr. Alexander voluntarily sat down for a deposition before the House committee and handed it a trove of documents that helped shed light on the activities leading up to the attack on the Capitol.
The grand jury subpoena that Mr. Alexander received suggests that prosecutors have significantly broadened the scope of their investigation to include not only people who were on Capitol Hill, but also those who organized and spoke at the pro-Trump events in November and December 2020 and January 6. 2021.
In an indication that the investigation could reach the Trump administration and its allies in Congress, the subpoena also requests information on members of the executive and legislative branches who were involved in the events or who may have helped obstruct the certification of the 2020 election. .
Mr. Alexander participated in two so-called Stop the Steal rallies in Washington that preceded the former president’s event at the Ellipse, near the White House, on January 6 – one on November 14, 2020 and the other a few weeks later on December 12 – as well as events in the key state of Georgia in December.
Prior to these rallies, Mr. Alexander came into contact with a host of rally organizers and with right-wing groups like the Oath Keepers Militia and the Praetorian 1st Amendment who provided public and personal safety at the events. In his attorney’s statement, he said he did not “coordinate any moves” with far-right groups at his events.
Mr. Alexander also had a permit for an event on the east side of the Capitol on Jan. 6 that never happened due to the violence that erupted. In the days and weeks leading up to that rally, he was in contact with people at the White House and members of Congress, according to the letter from the House committee seeking his testimony.
Mr. Alexander said he, along with Representatives Mo Brooks of Alabama, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Andy Biggs of Arizona, all Republicans, helped set in motion the events of Jan. 6.
“The four of us conspired to exert maximum pressure on Congress as they voted,” Mr. Alexander said in a since-deleted video posted online, “so that those we couldn’t pressure, we could change the hearts and minds of the Republicans who were in this body, hearing our great roar from outside.
Mr. Alexander declined to answer questions about his ties to the White House or members of Congress. He also declined to discuss whether he himself came up with the idea to march to the Capitol or whether the idea emerged from conversations with others.
While Mr Alexander is the first pro-Trump political organizer to acknowledge his cooperation with the government, several far-right activists, including members of the Oath Keepers, have also reached cooperation agreements with prosecutors.
These government-working Oath Keepers could help prosecutors in the massive, seditious conspiracy case that was filed in January against Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and 10 other members of the group.
At a hearing in Washington on Friday, a leader of a North Carolina chapter of the Proud Boys also announced that under a plea deal with the government, he would cooperate with the Justice Department investigation. . Proud Boys leader Charles Donohoe has been indicted in a conspiracy case along with five other Proud Boys, including the organization’s former president, Enrique Tarrio.
In court documents released after the hearing, Mr. Donohoe admitted that several leaders and members of the Proud Boys had discussed the use of “force and violence” to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election “to show the Congress that “we the people” were in charge.”
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The effort to disqualify the “insurgents”. New lawsuits have been filed against three Arizona officials, including Representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, to remove them from their 14th Amendment duties. It’s part of a larger legal effort to disqualify GOP lawmakers from re-election if they participated in the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack.
The newspapers also report that the Proud Boys were planning to storm the Capitol before heading to Washington in January and that Mr. Donohoe believed the attack on the building would “achieve the group’s goal of preventing the government from proceed with the transfer of presidential power”.
One topic Mr. Alexander could help prosecutors better understand is the bitter rivalries that often divided the small group of planners who staged pro-Trump events in Washington after the election.
When he testified before the committee, Mr Alexander told congressional investigators he blamed poor planning on organizers like Amy Kremer and her daughter Kylie Kremer, who ran a group called Women for America First that helped to organize Mr. Trump’s event at the Ellipse. He said, for example, that the leaders of the Ellipse event removed instructions from their program telling attendees exactly where to go and what to do after the rally is over.
Mr. Alexander might also be able to shed some light on some of the Jan. 6 activities of a man he considers a mentor: Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime adviser to Mr. Trump. Mr. Alexander said through his lawyer that in the run-up to January 6, he spoke with Mr. Stone about the “logistics” and “warring factions” of the organizers, and provided the committee with the Chamber all his communications with Mr. Stone. the day of the attack on the Capitol.
That day, Mr. Alexander attended Mr. Trump’s speech at the Ellipse, then walked with the crowd to the Capitol, with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars. He arrived, as he said in his prepared remarks to the House committee, “in the early stages of breaking the law.”
But on Friday he insisted through his lawyer that he had not observed any crimes committed while planning the rally.
“I did nothing wrong and I am not in possession of evidence that anyone else intended to commit any unlawful acts,” his statement said.
After the building broke through, Mr. Alexander posted a video of himself on social media watching the crowd parade on the Capitol from a terrace a few blocks away.
“I don’t deny it,” he said in the video, which has been preserved by Right Wing Watch. “I’m not denouncing that.”
In his Friday statement, Mr. Alexander said the video did not include remarks he made that day clarifying that he was speaking only of protesters approaching the Capitol grounds. And he repeated that he did not support violence.
“I want to be clear now,” he said in his statement. “I disavow and denounce anyone who in any way planned to occupy buildings or engage in violence on January 6.”