Today’s big whoop-dee-doo is a feature in Rolling Stone headlined Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff. It’s behind a subscription firewall, but there has been enough commentary to get the gist of it. I’ll quote Heather Cox Richardson here:
The story says that two sources who are talking to the January 6th committee about planning the January rallies in Washington, D.C., have talked to Rolling Stone as well. They say they worked with congressional lawmakers and White House officials to plan rallies both in Washington, D.C., and around the country. They deny that they intended to storm the Capitol and imply they got used, which points to the sources being from within Women for America First, the organization that sponsored a bus tour and rallies around the country before heading to Washington for January 6.
They allegedly named Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Louie Gohmert (R-TX), as people with whom they planned. They also claim that Gosar promised them a blanket presidential pardon, although they do not say for what.
From the White House team, they singled out then–chief of staff Mark Meadows. “Meadows was 100 percent made aware of what was going on,” one of the sources said.
It appears the feature isn’t necessarily telling us anything new. Josh Marshall:
There are basically three parts of the story that we can distinguish for these purposes. 1) The legal/executive power attempt to overturn the election, 2) the “Stop the Steal” rally aimed at pressuring Congress and then 3) the breach of the Capitol complex which happened when then-President Trump told the rally attendees to march on the Capitol complex. But we’ve known basically from the beginning that these members of Congress were involved in 1 and 2. This has not just come out in reporting since January 6th. It was fairly open at the time. Indeed, most of these members were either present or actually spoke at the rally.
To the best of my knowledge there’s nothing in the report that explicitly ties these members of Congress to the decision to storm the Capitol complex. There are many references to additional information the cooperating sources plan to provide. So perhaps there’s additional, specific information there. But here’s why this is important and important not so much about this report but for understanding the whole situation.
Here’s the important point:
The big plot was to overturn the results of the election. The President and his congressional allies were working on that at the DOJ and in Congress. They also planned a big rally in the Capitol to menace and overawe members of Congress. They got them riled up at the rally and then literally told them to march on the Capitol. They knew there were various rightist paramilitaries in that crowd – Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, etc. They knew they had told them that Congress was stealing the election from Trump and that they should go to Capitol Hill and make them stop. My best guess is that people like Trump and Mark Meadows didn’t want to know all the details of precisely what was going to happen once the mob got to the barricades. But that’s really always how these things work.
As far as the incitement was concerned, there may not be much to know that wasn’t plainly visible. I think the bigger concern is why response to the insurrection was so slow, and whether a police response was deliberately held back.
On the other hand, the Rolling Stone article tells us that before January 6 the extremely twitchy Paul Gosar was offering people “blanket pardons” for whatever they might do to protest the election, which seems rather inflammatory.