Exclusive: Inside the plan to mobilize ‘millions of patriots’ to ‘take it into their own hands’ on Jan. 6
Screenshot of video originally published by Vision Times

This story first ran on April 15, 2022. Raw Story is presenting it again today in light of today's expected testimony at the Jan. 6. committee hearing.

While high-level allies were lobbying President Trump in mid-December 2020 to use the National Guard to seize voting machines and appoint conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell special counsel to investigate election fraud, discussions were already taking place about mobilizing supporters to make an intimidating show of force at the US Capitol as lawmakers were certifying the election.

Robert Patrick Lewis, a retired Army Special Forces operative and leader of the 1st Amendment Praetorian volunteer security group, described a “plan” in a Dec. 15, 2020 podcast that has, to date, received scant attention and that eerily predicts the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

“And there’s even one more plan,” Lewis told fellow 1st Amendment Praetorian member Alan Kielan in an episode of Kielan’s QAnon-inspired “Uncensored Abe” podcast. “And that’s if they can’t get it done through the courts, can’t get it done through law enforcement, can’t get it done through the military. I still hold firm that there are two men that can issue one sentence. And there would be at a minimum 10 to 15 million pissed-off patriots that would take it to the streets and go take it into their own hands.”

Lewis and 1st Amendment Praetorian were intrinsically connected to the team led by attorney Sidney Powell, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn and former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne that was attempting to overturn the election through legal challenges followed by the effort to activate the National Guard to seize voting machines, both fed by baseless claims of election fraud.

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Lewis has said that during the period from November to January, 1st Amendment Praetorian “had a team in DC with General Flynn and Sidney Powell and Patrick Byrne, and so we got a front-row view to a lot of this stuff coming in.” In the same interview with right-wing broadcaster Doug Billings, Lewis said 1st Amendment Praetorian’s “intel team” had been processing open-source intelligence and synthesizing “different things that people had been sharing on social media regarding different pieces of this election fraud puzzle,” including fanciful theories about election software companies allowing foreign interference by countries like China, Venezuela and Iran.

A 1st Amendment Praetorian “security team” drove Flynn and Powell to the White House for a Dec. 18 meeting, Lewis has said. During the meeting, Flynn and Powell reportedly urged Trump to issue an emergency order to seize control of elections machinery. In his interview with Billings, Lewis said 1st Amendment Praetorian delivered “intelligence” to “the White House… directly to the president.” It remains unclear how the information was conveyed to the president; in an email to Raw Story on Tuesday, Lewis said he has never met or spoken to Trump.

Beyond relaying baseless claims that undermined confidence in the election, 1st Amendment Praetorian also provided security for speakers, including Flynn, at large pro-Trump rallies in DC on Nov. 14 and Dec. 12 that helped build momentum for Jan. 6. Three days before Lewis’ comment to Kielan about “one more plan,” 1st Amendment Praetorian had provided Flynn’s personal security detail for the retired general’s triumphant speeches on the National Mall and in front of the Supreme Court.

Lewis referenced the Battle of Athens, an armed conflict that took place in Tennessee in 1946 when US military veterans forcibly seized control of ballot boxes, as a precedent for what might happen in the coming days during the Dec. 15 interview.

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“If the elected officials lose the consent of the governed, as American citizens we have the constitutional authority to go physically rip them out of their offices, tie ’em down to a railroad tie and run ’em out of town,” he said. “Right? Running them out of town on a rail. We can do that if they lose the consent of the governed. And there are enough of us.

“And all it would take would be one sentence from President Trump or General Flynn,” Lewis continued. “And I guarantee you 10 to 15 million pissed-off American patriots — probably a large percentage of them would be vets — would be willing to drop everything, go to DC or their state capitol and take action into their own hands.”

1AP leader Robert Patrick Lewis shares 'plan' to mobilize 'pissed-off patriots' www.youtube.com

At least two members of the 1st Amendment Praetorian were on the grounds of the US Capitol on Jan. 6. Geoffrey Flohr, a retired police polygrapher who had served with Lewis in Flynn’s personal security detail, was seen walking on both the west and east sides of the Capitol while talking on a cell phone. Kielan has said on his podcast that he was on the steps of the Capitol and “watched as flashbangs got shot right over our heads.” Kielan said the FBI came to his house to interview him two months after the attack.

Lewis told Raw Story that he listened to President Trump's speech at the Ellipse on the morning of Jan. 6, and he has told the Daily Beast that he was at the Willard Hotel when he tweeted, at 2:18 p.m. that day: “Today is the day the true battles begin.”

In an email to Raw Story earlier this week, Lewis said "the only thing" 1st Amendment Praetorian volunteers did on Jan. 6 was provide personal security details for "local DC mainstream media reporters." Lewis did not elaborate on which reporters or outlets received protection from 1st Amendment Praetorian. In previous statements, he has expressed scorn for the mainstream media. As an example, during his Dec. 15 interview, Lewis told Kielan that the "media" had been "corrupted" by foreign adversaries.

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While dozens of Proud Boys and Oath Keepers — far-right groups whose members stormed the Capitol or were allegedly involved in planning the attack — face charges, no members of 1st Amendment Praetorian have been arrested to date. In November, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack subpoenaed Lewis, noting that it is examining “how various individuals and entities coordinated their activities leading up to the events of January 6, 2021, as well as the influencing factors that fomented such an attack on American representative democracy while engaged in a constitutional process.”

The subpoena noted that Lewis has publicly discussed coordinating with Flynn and Powell, and that in an interview the day after the attack on the Capitol, the 1st Amendment Praetorian leader said he was participating in “war-gaming” with “constitutional scholars” as part of an effort to keep Trump in office. The subpoena also noted that Lewis had claimed to be in contact with Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes prior to Jan. 6. Following the committee’s subpoena to Lewis, Rhodes was indicted for seditious conspiracy.

Lewis’ comment about “one more plan” came four days before President Trump issued his infamous tweet summoning his supporters to Washington, DC on Jan. 6 for a “wild” rally. During Dec. 15 interview, Lewis said, “We were asked by a very high-level person to do one of the highest-profile events of the year, potentially next year. And that’s just all — I’m gonna leave it at that.”

Lewis told Raw Story that 1st Amendment Praetorian has been investigated and "that the FBI, NSA, DOJ and other actual law enforcement agencies didn't find any involvement in [criminal activity related to the Jan. 6 riot] after very close examination."

However, Lewis did not respond to a detailed set of follow-up questions outlining the findings in Raw Story's reporting.

On the day Trump issued his “wild” rally tweet, “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander rallied a crowd outside the Arizona state capitol in Phoenix.

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“One of our organizers in one state said, ‘We’re nice patriots, we don’t throw bricks,’” Alexander said, according to a report by the Daily Beast. “I leaned over and I said, ‘Not yet. Not yet!’ Haven’t you read about a little tar-and-feathering? Those were second-degree burns!

“We’re going to convince them to not certify the vote on January 6 by marching hundreds of thousands, if not millions of patriots, to sit their butts in DC and close that city down, right,” Alexander continued, uttering a coded threat of violence, according to the Daily Beast. “And if we have to explore options after that… ‘yet.’ Yet!”

Paul Kamenar, an attorney representing Alexander, told Raw Story that his client's speech in Phoenix was protected under the First Amendment.

"Ali Alexander has never advocated that violence replace his political organizing," Kamenar said. "He disavows any violence."

1st Amendment Praetorian provided personal security detail for Alexander during the Nov. 14, 2020 Millions for MAGA rally in DC, and for a series of “Stop the Steal” rallies at the Georgia state capitol the following week.

Alexander recently disclosed that he is cooperating with the Department of Justice’s expanded investigation into potential planning and coordination for the violent effort to disrupt Congress’ certification of the electoral vote on Jan. 6, according to a report by the New York Times. Alexander has also cooperated with the January 6th Committee, sitting for a deposition in December.

While pledging to cooperate with the Department of Justice, Alexander issued a statement saying, “I did nothing wrong, and I am not in possession of evidence that anyone else had plans to commit unlawful acts,” according to the Times.

Closely following the weekend rally in Phoenix in which Alexander vowed to mobilize “millions of patriots” to come to DC, President Trump, his chief of staff Mark Meadows and Giuliani reportedly met with lawmakers, including Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), on Dec. 21 to discuss a legislative strategy for blocking electoral certification.

Alexander credited the three lawmakers with helping him conceive of the Jan. 6 rally in a Periscope video that has since been taken down.

“We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby we could change the hearts and minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside,” Alexander said in the video, which has been copied and preserved by reporter Jason Paladino.

Biggs and Brooks have said they have no recollection of meeting Alexander.

Gosar had previously hailed Alexander as a “true patriot” and tweeted out a video of himself with the “Stop the Steal” organizer at a rally in Phoenix on Nov. 30. An email and phone call to Gosar’s press aide for this story went unreturned.

Statements by Rhodes, the Oath Keepers leader, reflect a similar posture to those of Lewis and Alexander.

“We have no representation any longer at any level of our government because it’s been stolen,” Rhodes told the conspiracy theorist Mike Adams in an interview published between the Dec. 12 pro-Trump rally and Christmas, in late 2020. “So, we’re gonna have to separate from this atrocity. We’re going to have to overthrow it, alter it, abolish it.

“We’re in the middle of a civil war right now,” he added. “We’re in a civil war-slash-revolution against this cancerous puppet regime that’s taken over — the Deep State, the people who are in bed with communist China.”

To his fellow Oath Keepers on Christmas day, Rhodes said in an encrypted chat cited in a government court filing: “I think Congress will screw [Trump] over. The only change [sic] we/he has is if we scare the sh*t out of them and convince them it will be torches and pitchforks time is [sic] they don’t do the right thing. But I don’t think they will listen.”

Audio of a Dec. 30 conference call between Jason Sullivan, a onetime aide to Roger Stone, that was published by the New York Times on Tuesday, sheds light on a multi-pronged, inside-outside strategy to pressure Congress.

“You have to create leverage where you don’t have it,” said Sullivan, a social media strategist. “Right now, we can do a lot of these things. I like the idea of — let’s do the indictment. Let’s go through the process. But it’s going to be a process. It’s not going to be the Gordian knot solution, so to speak. But it can certainly be a hell of a nail in their coffin, especially if the process runs through, okay. But at the same time, there’s gotta be a multiple-front strategy.

“And that multiple-front strategy is, I do think, descend on the Capitol,” Sullivan continued. “Without question. Make those people feel it inside, okay, so they understand the people are breathing down their neck.”

In a statement provided to the Times through his lawyer, Sullivan denied responsibility for the violence that took place on Jan. 6. “I only promoted peaceful solutions where Americans could raise their voices and be heard as expressed in our First Amendment,” he said. “I in no way condone the violence of any protesters.”

During a rally in Washington, DC on the eve of Congress’ meeting to finalize the electoral vote, Flynn struck a martial tone, telling Trump’s supporters that they were standing on “soil that we have fought over, fought for, and we will fight for it in the future.” He urged those members of Congress “who are feeling weak tonight, those of you that don’t have the moral fiber in your body — get some tonight because tomorrow we are going to be here, and we want you to know that we will not stand for a lie.”

A tweet from the 1st Amendment Praetorian account on Jan. 4 also likewise braced the security forces that would be deployed to protect lawmakers to prepare to pick a side.

“There may be some young National Guard captains facing some very, very tough choices in the next 48 hours,” the tweet read. “Pray with every fiber of your being that their choices are Wise, Just and Fearless.”

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