How Planned Was January 6? And Who Planned It?

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.

13 thoughts on “How Planned Was January 6? And Who Planned It?

  1. I read about a 'War Room' assembly at a swanky hotel after the rally including Rudy and Bannon. So looking at the communications of the people implicated, who talked to the Proud Boys and the others. 

    IMO, 90% of the people involved in the riot were designed to provide a smokescreen for the 10% who had a mission. The conspiracy charges against the most violent offenders suggest the DOJ is onto some of it, with evidence. 

    The claim that the insurrection was an FBI scheme (again opinion) stems from the fact that the early arrest and specific knowledge the FBI has means they have inside informants. BUT – who talked to the White House and insurgents who are members of Congress? 

    I expect that Trump was sloppy and the Proud Boys who thought they had a presidential pardon lined up also got reckless thinking there was little risk and huge gain if Trump wins the coup. Trump is trying to block or at least delay the evidence of the WH involvement. 

  2. Garland should charge Trump (the unindicted co-conspirator) for paying hush money to Stormy Daniels. Just to get the ball rolling. You hear about all these avenues of criminal exposure where Trump has vulnerabilities, but nobody seems to want to take the plunge and put this clown in the fire.

    His image is starting to loose it's luster even among his diehard believers. I go back to my belief in the analogy of hyenas attacking a lion. Once they land a good bite on his ass the rest of the legal hyenas will come in for attacks from every angle in which he won't be able to withstand its ferocity. The lies he uses to defend against one attack will act as ammunition against him for the next. He's not invincible. He's a mere mortal bag of shit.

    Death by a thousand cuts? Both civil and criminal. The more firmly Trump get planted in the hot seat the less reluctant those who underpin him are going to be willing to go down with his ship.

  3. Ah the Rolling Stone.  Well this deserves a tribute to their greatest contributor, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.  He wrote it on a story about the Kentucky Derby yet a tiny edit or two would make it work for 1/6.

    Well…hell, maybe I shouldn't be telling you…I shrugged, But everyone seems to know.  The cops and the National Guard have been getting ready for  six weeks.  They have 20,,000 troops on alert at Fort Knox.  They've warned us — all the press and photographers — to wear helmets and special vests like flak jackets.  We were told to expect shooting"

    "No!" he shouted: his hands flew up momentarily between us, as to ward off the words he was hearing.  Then he wacked his fist on the bar.  "Those sons a bitches! God Almighty! The Kentucky Derby!"  "No!  Jesus! That's almost to bad to believe!"

    "Why? Why here? Don't they respect anything?" 

    I shrugged again.  "It's not just the Panthers. The FBI says boatloads of white crazies are coming in from all over the country–to mix with the crowd and attack all at once., from every direction."  They'll be dressed like everybody else. You know—coats and ties and all that. "Well when the trouble starts…that's why the cops are so worried."

    He sat for a moment, all  hurt and confused, and not quite able to digest all this terrible news.  Then he cried out "Oh…Jesus!  What in the name of God is happening to this country?  Where can you get away from it?"

    All I need to add is how fast can we get to the bottom of this?

  4. Just when you think you know it all there's always something to learn. Thanks to Gosar I just found out that the CIA has a fraud department. I wouldn't have guessed that in a million years. Live and learn!

  5. Thx again, Maha, good compilation.  I like Josh Marshall's distinctions (my commentary in parens):

    1) Trump's covert plot to overturn the election (treasonous, but hard to prove)

    2) the big Rally (which seems entirely legal)

    3) the mob storming the Capitol (criminal, but hard to sort out because there were so many different kinds of Crazy (& crazies) involved) (see Doug's point about 90% smokescreen + 10% conspiracy)


    IMO, the way to unravel this starts with the Riot.  I've always been astonished that NONE of those nuts carried guns into the Capitol (a few had guns outside or nearby).  These are people who take their guns to church picnics, they would naturally take guns along when they know they're going into a confrontation.  What convinced ALL of them to leave their guns behind?  Find out how that order was drafted & transmitted, and it will lead back to the people responsible for the operation.  

  6. Its bad enough that the slow motion, benefit-of-the-doubt-thus-we-go-with-the-less- serious-charges prosecution of the "foot soldiers" who did the dirty work at the Capitol is being projected as "enough" as far as 1/6 justice goes.  And that many are getting relative slaps on the wrist for what otherwise should be treated as serious crimes (and would be treated as such, were the participants weren't white, far right "conservatives.")

    This doesn't spur much confidence that we'll see those responsible for planning held accountable, including criminally, from Trump on down.  And that will be because of a fear that bringing charges where there is evidence will be seen as "political" and thus need to be avoided, in spite of the evidence — "good of the country" BS and all.

  7. Two of the known participants in the war room at the Willard Hotel were recipients of Trump's presidential pardons…Bannon and Kerik. Two criminals who have shown a fealty to Trump. Makes one wonder, huh! As the facts about who played a role in supporting Trump's coup attempt I wonder what other names will come to light of criminals who were 'gifted' with pardons. Sorta like if you want your pardon your going to have to earn it.

    Who knows, maybe Charlie Kushner had to pick-up the tab for few dozen chartered Greyhound buses for the Stop the Steal rally? It should be interesting to find out who bankrolled the insurrection.

  8. … the extremely twitchy Paul Gosar was offering people “blanket pardons” for whatever they might do to protest the election …

    I didn't read it that way. I think he was offering "blanket pardons" for other things they had already been charged with, if they would prove their loyalty to Dear Leader by overturning the election through violence.

    After all, if it had worked, and Trump had violently retained office like the common dictator he clearly wants to be, there wouldn't have been any charges against any of them in the first place.

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