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Ali Alexander Warned Paul Gosar About Violence on Jan. 6 – Rolling Stone

By newadmin / Published on Friday, 13 Jan 2023 14:25 PM / No Comments / 5 views

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The founder of “Stop the Steal” delivered an early warning about the violence soon to overwhelm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a text to the chief of staff of Rep. Paul Gosar, according to a deposition released by the Jan. 6 Committee.

Ali Alexander is a far-right agitator who was one of the key mobilizers of the protest that morphed into the insurgency of Jan. 6, 2021. After making an early exit from the Ellipse rally he’d helped organize — at which Donald Trump demanded his backers march on the Capitol — Alexander became an eyewitness to the chaos unfolding as insurrectionists breached the Capitol perimeter. 

“People were scaling the wall like Spiderman,” Alexander testified to the Jan. 6 committee. “I’ve never seen anything like that.” 

But Alexander didn’t just stop and gawk. He took time to sound the alarm to Gosar, one of his top House allies. “I think you and your staff should maybe leave,” Alexander texted Gosar’s chief of staff, Thomas Van Flein. “This is hell out here.” 

This partisan early warning is cited in the Jan. 6 committee’s 236-page deposition of Alexander, and has not previously been reported. That message, and other details from Alexander’s and related depositions, offer new clarity into the Stop the Steal movement’s links to both far-right paramilitary groups and far-right MAGA lawmakers, including Gosar, Lauren Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The committee questioners pressed Alexander about his relationship to the Arizona congressman/dentist. “Dr. Paul Gosar and I share political beliefs about election irregularities,” Alexander responded, citing the baseless conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. Alexander then added that Gosar is “a friend to the movement” and “a stellar dude.” 

A questioner for the committee sought to clarify Alexander’s warning text: “So you thought Mr. Gosar and Mr. Gosar’s staff was in danger?” Alexander responded: “I thought that they could potentially be in danger … if this escalated.” He added, “I knew a lot of people in Congress. I wouldn’t want them hurt. So I said ‘I think you and your staff should maybe leave.’ Now in retrospect,” Alexander conceded, “that’s stupid because where were they going to go?” There was, of course, no safe exit from the Capitol on Jan. 6. — as it was soon overwhelmed on all sides by the dead-end Trump supporters Alexander had summoned to the Capitol.

The exact timestamp of the text Alexander sent is not revealed in the transcript. But it was likely delivered near the moment Gosar was rising on the floor of the House to object to the certification of the Electoral College votes from his home state of Arizona. “I rise up for myself and 60 of my colleagues to object,” Gosar said with an American flag Covid mask pulled down under his chin, “to the counting of the electoral ballots from Arizona.”

Ali Alexander is a protégé of Roger Stone, the Trump-pardoned felon who has been a dirty trickster in American politics for decades. Stone coined the phrase “Stop the Steal” in 2018, but Alexander testified that the two have a “gentleman’s agreement” for him to use it politically. 

Alexander is also a top ally of the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, whom he accompanied during the chaos of Jan. 6. Alexander, who bears a passing resemblance to Sammy Davis Jr.. is also known to Trump, who always greets him, Alexander testified, by pretending to mistake him for the member of the Rat Pack: “Whenever we see each other, he makes the comment to say, ‘Sammy?’”

In the aftermath of the 2020 election, Alexander organized a roving series of Stop the Steal rallies that brought together far-right extremists, toughs, and militants — including the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and “Groypers” (or followers of the white-supremacist Nick Fuentes). Oath Keepers former general counsel Kellye SoRelle testified to the Jan. 6 committee that Alexander, Jones, and Stone were “the center point for everything” having to do with the Stop the Steal movement.

In addition to his connections with extremist groups, Alexander also had forged connections with far-right members on Capitol Hill. Alexander’s relationship with Gosar appears the most extensive. Alexander testified that in the runup to Jan. 6, Gosar would share messages from Trump with him. “Representative Gosar, if he would talk to the President or meet with the President, might relay some good news back to me,” Alexander told the committee.

When specific plans for Jan. 6 were in development, Alexander testified, he initially sought to hold a morning rally in the shadow of the Capitol — at which Gosar was confirmed to be a speaker. 

But planning for the events surrounding Jan. 6 fluctuated as the date neared. The original time slot for Alexander’s Capitol event was pushed back to the afternoon, when Congress would be in session, making Gosar’s participation impossible. Alexander, in turn, got roped into planning for the primary event at the Ellipse, where Trump would address the day’s rabid throng. 

Alexander’s participation in that Ellipse rally was not fully welcome. Kylie Kremer, a lead organizer of the Ellipse rally, told the Jan. 6 committee that “Ali is a shady character.” But she said she chose to keep him in the loop because he was “the devil that you know,” and she “would rather keep him close” than risk having him turn on her.

Caroline Wren was another key organizer and fundraiser for the Jan. 6 rally. Alexander testified that Wren was “my main point of contact with what I’m calling Trump world.” Wren testified that Alexander’s participation was needed because he was a better organizer than Kremer and her mother, Amy, who ran the group Women For America First. 

“His website, at the end, had 50,000-plus RSVPs,” Wren testified to the committee. “The Kremers had somewhere around 20,000, and that was after the President of the United States had tweeted it multiple times, the Kremers had promoted it. They had less than half the number of RSVPs that Ali Alexander did.”

As part of his planning for the Ellipse event, according to text messages cited by the Jan 6. committee, Alexander hosted a Jan. 3 conference call about logistics for the event. On the call and afterward, Alexander touted that it was joined by several, high-profile right-wing members of Congress. 

Wren, who had to drop off the call early, texted Alexander soon after with the query: “Who are the Members of Congress that were on…?” Alexander responded: “Gosar, Lance Goodman, Lauren B, Marjorie, and maybe Congressman Kelley at a minimum were on.” In his testimony Alexander said he could not recall the specifics of the call but that “Lauren B” referred to Lauren Boebert and “Marjorie” meant Marjorie Taylor Greene, of whom Alexander said, “she’s awesome.”

If Alexander anticipated a peaceful day on Jan. 6, it’s hard to square with his rhetoric leading up to the event. At a rally in D.C. on Jan. 5 he led a crowd in a chant of “Victory or death!” And in the predawn hours of Jan. 6 he tweeted that it was the “first official day of the rebellion.”

Alexander was originally slated to be a speaker at the Ellipse rally, but was ultimately boxed out from a turn at the mic. He was, instead, given VIP access for the president’s speech, which Alexander attended along with Alex Jones. 

Alexander testified that he did not stay for the duration of Trump’s speech. Instead, he and Jones were tapped (by either Wren or her aide, he said) to lead protesters from the overflow area listening to Trump’s speech in a march toward the Capitol. 

Alexander recalled that he traveled with Jones, accompanied by Jones’ security detail, and that they walked toward the Capitol after Jones first made an impromptu speech. Alexander insisted that he and Jones had the intention of reaching the staging area on the north side of the Capitol where Alexander’s separate Stop the Steal event was permitted to begin that afternoon. 

But the agitator told the committee that as chaos began to unfold, he quickly realized that his event wasn’t going to happen. He claimed that he tried to “deescalate” the crowd, but the committee questioner was incredulous. “Can you help me understand that assertion with the fact that you were walking to the Capitol, chanting things such as ‘Stop the Steal’?” (Alexander claimed that by chanting he was “gathering people to us … so that we can then move people where they belong.”)

Alexander wasn’t the only one offering text-message warnings to flee the scene that day. As the violence began to unfold, Wren texted Alexander, warning him that this outcome spelled trouble for him. “I think you should leave,” Wren wrote in a text cited by the committee. “This will come down on you hard.” 

Alexander has not been charged for any crime in relation to Jan. 6, nor was he referred for prosecution by the Jan. 6 committee. He did reveal that he’s communicated with the FBI through an attorney. In an opening statement, Alexander told the committee: “I had nothing to do with any violence or law breaking that happened on January 6th. I had nothing to do with the planning of violence. I had nothing to do with the preparation of violence. I had nothing to do with the execution of violence. Any suggestion to the contrary is factually false.” 

Neither Alexander, Thomas Van Flein (on behalf of Gosar), nor Wren replied to requests for comment for this story.

Alexander is in the news this week because Elon Musk overturned the permanent Twitter ban he received in the immediate aftermath of Jan. 6. Alexander has shown no signs of being chastened by his close encounter with the insurrection, or of reforming his inflammatory rhetoric. In fact, his reinstatement to Twitter came just hours after he’d cheered on the insurrection by far right Brazialians who stormed key government buildings in Brasilia on Sunday. 

For his part, Alexander made clear to the Jan. 6 committee that one social media platform was more important than all others as a tool he’d used to whip up the crowds who stormed the Capitol. “Which social media platforms did you use to promote the events on Jan. 6?” a committee questioner asked. Alexander responded: “Primarily Twitter.” 

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Indeed, Twitter was not just the platform Stop the Steal used to publicize its rallies. It also used the platform’s group chat funcion to organize and communicate internally, and with key allies, including at least one member of Congress. 

According to two committee depositions, as the situation calmed after 5 p.m. on the day of Jan. 6, Rep. Gosar sent a Twitter DM message to a Stop the Steal Twitter group chat of which he was a member. “We’re still on lockdown in the congressional office,” he wrote.



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