Jan. 6 Insurrectionists Knew They Couldn't Fail With Roger Stone And Alex Jones On Their Side
The last chapter of the January 6 Select Committee Report is not without its humorous moments. Such as when Gen. Michael Flynn, great patriot and fearless defender of the Republic, reneged on his plans to lead the crowd in its march on the Capitol, texting rally organizer Caroline Wren “Hell, no. It’s freezing.”
Revolution! This is our 1776, boys! Unless, you know, it's like, cold, or whatever.
But in the main months, the finale is a grim march through the inevitable climax of Trump's months of agitation. The mob of thugs and Nazis and white supremacists beat the shit out of the Capitol Police, before being dispersed by Trump's "we love you" video and the arrival of a few more men with guns. It's a miracle that this handful of brawling losers didn't manage to kill any lawmakers, but the idea that a few thousand dipshits were going to take on the might of the federal government was always idiotic. Because if there is one thing the US government has in abundance, it's heavy weaponry. And it would have been a lot bloodier if those fuckwits had brought their guns to DC, but the ending would have been the same.
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The report lays out the plan to deploy the mob, crafted via high-level contacts between the White House, where Mark Meadows ran point; the campaign, with Katrina Pierson handling logistics; the money, as Wren doled out $3 million donated by Publix heir Julie Fancelli through various groups like Turning Points USA and Women for America First; rightwing figures like Alex Jones, Ali Alexander, and Michael Flynn, who fed the base lies about a stolen election; and domestic extremists like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Three Percenters. Plus various Qanon freaks and assorted weirdos, rounding out the mix:
Nick Quested, a documentary filmmaker, captured the mood that morning. Jacob Chansley (a.k.a. the QAnon Shaman) proclaimed “this is our 1776,” vowing “Joe Biden is never getting in.” An unnamed woman from Georgia, who said she hosted a podcast dedicated to a new so-called Patriot Party, also proclaimed January 6th to be the new 1776. She added an ominous warning. “I’m not allowed to say what’s going to happen today because everyone’s just going to have to watch. Something’s gonna happen, one way or the other.”
Indeed, something was "gonna happen." Although not perhaps in the way these gullible saps with blood in their eyes had been led to believe. The plan was for the Proud Boys to skip Trump's speech and mass at the barricades. At the conclusion of Trump's ranting, Jones, Alexander, Flynn and Roger Stone would lead the crowd toward Congress, where the waiting thugs would exhort the enraged mass to breach building and water the tree of liberty ... after stopping for a snack:
On the morning of January 6th, they gathered at the Washington Monument. At 10:30 a.m., the ProudBoys started their march down the National Mall towards the U.S. Capitol. In total, there were approximately 200–300 Proud Boys, as well as their associates, in the group.
They then walked back across the north side of the Capitol towards the National Mall, where they stopped to eat at food trucks. The Proud Boys stayed by the food trucks until they returned to the Peace Circle at approximately 12:49 p.m. Within minutes of arriving at the Peace Circle, the Proud Boys and their associates launched the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
If the hot dog cart is out of relish, WE WILL RIOT.
And yes, it's funny that this ragtag band of self-important hooligans thought that they could beat the US government. But also, these people were fucking dangerous. Here's how the committee described Guy Reffitt, a member of the Three Percenters who was just sentenced to seven years for civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining on restricted grounds with a firearm, and obstruction of justice:
Reffitt had indeed planned for violence on January 6th, noting on December 28, 2020, that he would “be in full battle rattle.” While driving to Washington, DC on January 5th, Reffitt expressed his desire to “drag[ ] those people out of the Capitol by their ankles” and “install[ ] a new government.” On the morning of January 6th, Reffitt clarified the target, telling “other members of his militia group and those gathered around him” at the Ellipse that “I’m taking the Capitol with everybody fucking else”and that “[w]e’re all going to drag them mother fuckers out kicking and screaming. . . . I just want to see Pelosi’s head hit every fucking stair on the way out . . . And Mitch McConnell too. Fuck’ em all.”
“Congress can hang. I’ll do it. Please let us get these people dear God," another Three Percenter named Daniel Rodriguez posted to a group chat. Afterward he told the FBI that “Trump called us. Trump called us to DC,” adding that, “If he’s the commander in chief and the leader of our country, and he's calling for help — I thought he was calling for help. I thought he was — I thought we were doing the right thing.”
Rodriguez participated in the attack on Capitol Police Officer Michael Fanone:
One of the most brutal attacks of the day occurred outside the tunnel when rioters dragged MPD Officer Michael Fanone into the crowd, and then tased, beat, and robbed him while a Blue Lives Matter flag fluttered above him. Albuquerque Head, a rioter from Tennessee, grabbed Officer Fanone around the neck and pulled him into the mob.
“I got one!” Head shouted.
Lucas Denney, the Three Percenter, “swung his arm and fist” at Officer Fanone, grabbed him, and pulled him down the stairs. Daniel Rodriguez then tased him in the neck. Kyle Young lunged towards Officer Fanone, restraining the officer’s wrist.
While Young held him, still another rioter, Thomas Sibick, reached towards him and forcibly removed his police badge and radio. Officer Fanone feared they were after his gun. Members of the crowd yelled: “Kill him!,” “Get his gun!” and “Kill him with his own gun!”
Which is horrifying, and yet, also, pathetic. The mob was capable of disgusting violence when they managed to corner one or two officers alone. But against the men with big guns, they were totally powerless:
The congressional Members in the House Gallery were evacuated after the Members on the House floor. Congressional Members in the Gallery had to wait to be evacuated because rioters were still roaming the hallways right outside the Chamber. At 2:49 p.m., as Members were trying to evacuate theHouse Gallery, the USCP emergency response team cleared the hallways with long rifles so that the Members could be escorted to safety. USCP surveillance footage shows several rioters lying on the ground, with long rifles pointed at them, as Members evacuate in the background. By 3:00 p.m., the area had been cleared and Members were evacuated from the House gallery to a secure location.
Of course their plan, ridiculous and doomed as it was from its inception, began to fall apart almost immediately. First Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio got arrested for burning a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from a historic Black church. Barred from DC, he holed up in a hotel in Baltimore and let his men risk their necks alone.
Then Roger Stone noped out, leaving DC before Trump even took the dais. Then Flynn got goose bumps, and decided to get a cup of cocoa rather than lead his troops into battle.
And even Alex Jones appears to have had mixed feelings about the whole business. After huddling up with Alexander and Infowars asshat Owen Shroyer, Jones used his bullhorn to egg on the crowd, shouting “the second American revolution,” and “Let’s go take our country back. Trump is only minutes away. Let’s start marching to the Capitol, peacefully.” But once he saw that the mob was descending into violence, he requested that the Capitol police allow him access to an elevated platform so that he could attempt to deescalate.
In the end, Jones and Alexander ceded the field to the mob to save their own backsides:
Apparently, Jones’s security team also realized he was not successfully controlling the crowd, as one of his security guards reportedly told him, “Alex, they’re going to blame this all on you, we got to get out of here as fast as possible.”
By approximately 2:21 p.m., Jones began descending the stairs. Despite claiming to make attempts to calm the crowd, Jones further incited the mob as he departed, loudly proclaiming “we will never submit to the new world order” and then leading the crowd in the chant “fight for Trump.”
At 2:24 p.m., rioters gained entrance to the Capitol through the doors leading into the Rotunda, an entrance that was only a few feet directly behind Jones as he was speaking. As the Rotunda was breached by rioters, Jones and Alexander left the area and decided to leave the Capitol complex area altogether.
And of course Trump, who'd set the whole thing in motion and promised to march with them, went back to the White House to watch television, leaving his supporters to their fate. So, in the end, after the useless little pawns had scraped up a few thousand dollars for gas money and body armor, heeding the call to "Be there, will be wild!" their leaders all abandoned them.
No one with any power has faced consequences for summoning the mob. And with the exception of true believers like Sidney Powell, who raised money for lawyers to defend some of the higher ranking militia leaders, no one has helped them at all. In fact, opportunists like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green and Matt Gaetz continue to exploit the goons, howling up about political prisoners and supposedly unfair conditions in DC jails where they're being held in protective custody so they don't get shanked.
And meanwhile, we twiddle our thumbs wondering if we have enough evidence to prosecute the villains who set the plan in motion. Well, it's ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as thinking you should go to war against the federal government because Roger Stone, Alex Jones, and Donald "Bone Spurs" Trump will have your back. But bloody ridiculous all the same.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.