NYPD cops ‘will be dealt with,’ MAGA provocateur Ali Alexander threatens

Ali Alexander, the MAGA provocateur and Republican operative, has been pushing increasingly inflammatory rhetoric on social media during the nationwide arrest watch for former President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday morning, Alexander took aim at New York City police officers who have been mobilized in anticipation of a possible indictment from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

“Any cop who betrays the people for politicians is a traitor and will be dealt with at a later date accordingly,” Alexander tweeted at 7:26 a.m. “Do not add your name to the fake news who are enemies of the people.” The tweet closed with the hashtag #NYPD.

Responding to a request for comment from Raw Story, Alexander said in an email: "While I've discouraged everyone I know from attending anything in New York City unless there's a prayer rally featuring former President Donald J. Trump, I want to double down on my statements reminding law enforcement that they have a duty to protect the people, even from politicians and agitation."

Alexander organized rallies promoting false claims that the 2020 election was stolen that culminated with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Alexander has also recently promoted inflammatory rhetoric that frames the prosecution of the former president as an existential threat to his supporters.

READ MORE: ‘I started a riot for the sitting president': Why Ali Alexander won’t go to jail for his role in Jan. 6

Commenting on news about low attendance at a protest in support of Trump that was held in Manhattan last night, Alexander tweeted: “This makes me sad but I warned y’all. Here is your post-Stop the Steal era and now Democrats having seen it, will arrest more of you and murder more of you. Projecting weakness invited genocide.”

Alexander deployed similarly inflammatory rhetoric that flirted with violence in the runup to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

During a Periscope livestream four days prior to the insurrection, Alexander told followers: “In 2021, we will decide whether the Second Amendment militia talk and 1776 is rhetoric or whether it is a threat against tyrants. In 2021, we will literally decide whether we have a transhumanist future and the Great Reset, or whether we put them to bed. And I vote we put them to bed. And I vote that we put them to bed by any means necessary, but as peacefully as possible.”

In a livestream on the social media app Callin in November, Alexander bragged, “I started a riot for the sitting president.”

Alexander walked up the Capitol steps on Jan. 6, but then left the scene and surveyed the chaos from a nearby parking garage. He has insisted that his activities were protected by the First Amendment and has not faced any criminal charges for his role in the events of Jan. 6.

In recent days, Alexander has been reliving his glory days as the leader of the “Stop the Steal” coalition following Trump’s 2020 election defeat by posting photos of himself leading rallies during that period.

In a pinned tweet from this past Saturday, Alexander wrote that if he were advising Trump, he would tell him to hold a prayer rally outside of New York City and discuss his “arrangement with the DA and I would make them arrest me on stage, in front of billions.”

“But what do I know?” Alexander added. “I’m only the guy who got millions to protest across 62 consecutive days for the first time in American history. Trump’s advisors and his judgment are why he’s in this situation. Everyone needs to seem [sic] him kneel before Jesus Christ. our king.”

‘Our best face’: Jan. 6 rally organizers coordinated with White House and militant Trump backers

As the Women for America First bus tour wound across the country as Donald Trump refused to concede the 2020 election, chairperson Amy Kremer oversaw the operation from the road, while her daughter, Kylie Jane Kremer, worked from Washington, D.C.

Soon, the culmination of their effort to keep the president in power would be afoot: a massive rally scheduled for Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, just south of the White House. Trump himself would be the guest of greatest honor.

Since Trump had signaled his intention to be at the rally via Twitter on Dec. 27 , the Kremers grappled with new considerations. First, the rally would have to be moved from Freedom Plaza to the Ellipse. Second, and more pressing, Trump’s involvement aggravated a growing feud among the various organizers and MAGA hangers-on about who would get to share the stage with the president.

More granular details also demanded attention this day — Jan. 1, 2021 — with the rally five days away. One decidedly practical problem: organizers needed marshals who could greet the thousands of people expected to show up to support Trump — and direct them to bathrooms when nature trumped activism.

The solution? Tap a willing reserve of militant Trump supporters known as Three Percenters who had shown up at a previous rally organized in D.C. by Women for America First.

Such frantic preparations for the ambitious rally, to be named “Save America,” also necessitated that Women for America First relay signals in two directions — one up to the White House, and the other down to the militants, some of whom would wind up joining the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol in Trump’s name.

From the time of the president’s announcement that he would be at the Save America rally, Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to the Trump 2020 campaign, played an increasingly important role and began communicating directly with the Kremers.

“One additional thing we need to know about is volunteers,” Kylie Jane Kremer said in a group text to Pierson on Jan. 1 at 4:44 p.m. “Do we need to provide those or have they already started it? We can do so but don’t want to overstep.”

Added Kylie Jane Kremer: “I’m literally terrified to ask any questions to anyone so as they come, I will send your way.”

Pierson deferred to Kylie Jane Kremer.

“I think you guys can take over volunteers,” she replied. “Are you good with that?”

Pierson suggested recruiting 30 volunteers, including “10 mature types” to serve as marshals.

Amy Kremer had someone in mind for the job of coordinating the marshals: Charles Bowman.

Bowman joined the bus tour at the request of Dustin Stockton, one of the lead organizers, to help out on the advance team.

“Ladies, I just talked to Bowman, and he’s going to get us 10 marshals,” Kremer announced in a new group text on Jan. 2. “He’s on this text message. Thank you, Bowman.”

“Do you want us to handle the 30 volunteers under the marshals?” Kylie Jane Kremer asked. “You will be the lead marshal, unless you want someone else to be.”

“Sit tight,” Bowman responded. “Let me see if I have 40 people who will pass the background check.”

Amy Kremer tapped Bowman for the job because “he’s one of those people that know everybody,” she later told the January 6th Committee. And Bowman moved quickly.

Most notably, he called Jeremy Liggett, the founder of a Florida-based Three Percenter group called Guardians of Freedom, to ask for names of volunteers to cover marshal duties.

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘Our best face’: How ‘peaceful’ MAGA leader Amy Kremer cultivated ties to a violent Three Percenter group

A former law enforcement officer and firearms instructor, Liggett and a group of loosely affiliated Three Percenters — an authoritarian movement whose adherents view themselves as revolutionary vanguard in the mold of the original American patriots, and the U.S. government as the latter-day equivalent of the British crown — had assisted with security during a previous pro-Trump rally organized by Women for America First in D.C. on Dec. 12. Bowman later acknowledged to the committee that Liggett had added him to a Guardians of Freedom Telegram chat so that he “could get a feel for what the group is.”

Amy Kremer’s enlistment of Three Percenters to serve as marshals at the Ellipse rally underscores a critical component of the bus tour and D.C. rallies culminating on Jan. 6 that her group organized.

Despite Women for America First’s efforts to project a “peaceful” image and whitewash the violence as an unexpected byproduct of an otherwise law-abiding Jan. 6 rally, an exhaustive review of depositions, interviews and phone texts by Raw Story reveals that the group, particularly Stockton, cultivated ties with violent militants almost from the start.

This is the second in a three-part series detailing the links among the White House, Women for America First and pro-Trump militants. (Read Part 1 here.)

Liggett didn’t need much prodding. He had already booked hotel rooms by the time Bowman called him requesting volunteers, and his group had announced plans to come to D.C. for Jan. 6.

On Christmas Eve, Guardians of Freedom had circulated a flyer headlined “Calling All Patriots!!” that announced that “the March for Trump Bus tour, powered by Women for America First” was “rolling into Washington, D.C. to demand transparency and election integrity” on Jan. 6.

“I got called by Charles and said, ‘Hey, we need guys to marshal. We need volunteers to marshal — marshal the event,’” Liggett recalled. “And I said, ‘Okay. No problem.’ And I said, ‘I’ll get people together to marshal the event.’ And he said, ‘All right. You know, it’s a voluntary basis.’ And I said, ‘That’s fine.’

Four hours later, Bowman sent the Women for America First organizers a list of 10 people, including Liggett.

Kremer said she didn’t know any of the people on the list, and had no idea they were associated with the Three Percenter movement, although she also told the January 6th Committee that she was familiar with Three Percenters based on hearing Bowman and Stockton discuss the movement.

White House hotline

While Bowman was enlisting members of Guardians of Freedom to serve as marshals at the Ellipse rally on behalf of Women for America First, Pierson was coordinating with the White House.

Caroline Wren, a prominent fundraiser for the Trump 2020 campaign and Republican National Committee, had lined up a $3 million pledge from Publix heiress Julie Fancelli to foot the bill for the rally.

As a purse-holder of sorts, Wren exerted increasing influence over the event, and the Kremer mother-daughter duo viewed her as a threat. They found an ally — Pierson — who shared their desire to keep rival organizer Ali Alexander and other more controversial speakers, such as InfoWars host Alex Jones and political consultant Roger Stone, off the Ellipse stage.

As the new year arrived, the fragile alliance neared a breaking point. About five hours after Pierson delegated responsibility for marshals to Women for America First, Kylie Jane Kremer raised a more pressing matter with her.

“We are team players and are grateful to work with y’all,” Kremer told Pierson in a text at 10:19 p.m. on Jan. 1. “But it’s out of line to tell me we’re only here because Caroline got us here and we have no say whatsoever.”

After some back-and-forth discussion, Pierson tried to assuage Kremer’s concerns.

“Bottom line, I’ve set you up will [sic] the entire trump team all the way down to a ‘Trump’ looking website,” Pierson said. “This isn’t grassroots anymore.

“So, are you used as a pass through?” Pierson continued. “YES! Your brand hosting the President of the United States on Whit House [sic] grounds on a historic day. Win!”

She added: “You will be able to claim that with the highest production reel possible for donor recruitment.”

After reassuring Kylie Jane Kremer, Pierson found herself mediating between Wren and the Kremers again the following day.

At 4:15 p.m. on Jan. 2, Wren emailed Pierson a list that included Alexander, Jones and Stone as speakers at the Ellipse event — a proposition that Pierson would later characterize as a “deal breaker” in her interview with the January 6th Committee.

To resolve the conflict, Pierson decided to go directly to the White House.

“Would you mind giving me a call regarding this January 6th event?” Pierson texted White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, according to her recollection to the January 6th Committee. “Things have gotten crazy, and I desperately need some direction.”

Pierson said she told Meadows that Wren was trying to include Jones, Alexander “and all these crazy people on the president’s stage, and that’s a disaster.” She said that during the conversation she also briefed Meadows “that some people were going to the Capitol,” later adding that the chief of staff “agreed” with that idea.

Pierson said Meadows told her that no one had spoken to him about speakers.

He supported her position.

“So, why don’t you just take this over to make sure that this doesn’t go bad,” Pierson recalled Meadows telling her.

At 10:49 p.m. on Jan. 2, Pierson sent an email to Wren and Taylor Budowich, another senior adviser to the Trump 2020 campaign. Pierson noted in the email that she had spent the day on the phone with the rally organizers and had received guidance from the White House.

“POTUS expectations are to have something intimate at the Ellipse, and call on everyone to march to the Capitol,” Pierson told Wren and Budowich. “This actually works out because Ali’s group is already setting up at the Capitol, and SCOTUS is on the way.”

Page 1 of Pierson email 1-2-21
Contributed to DocumentCloud by Jordan Green (Raw Story) • View document or read text

But Wren wasn’t giving up. She wanted to secure speaker slots for allies.

On Jan. 3, Pierson texted Meadows again, saying she was “done” and complaining that Wren “has decided to move forward with the original psycho list,” based on apparent approval from White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.

Pierson said Meadows called her and recommended that she “talk it over with Scavino.”

Pierson reached Scavino on the phone that night. He told her she should speak directly to the president.

“You just need to come talk to him, and you let him put this to bed,” Pierson recalled Scavino saying.

Pierson, who was recovering from a back injury, soon found herself booking a flight from Dallas to Washington, D.C.

Arriving the next morning, she sat across the table from Trump by afternoon.

Seated across from him in the dining room off the Oval Office. Pierson gave Trump her list of proposed speakers. Trump nixed almost all of them, which at least resolved — in the Kremers’ favor — the question of whether Alexander and Jones would rank among his opening acts.

Pierson said Trump told her he wanted a few members of Congress to speak, with the event broken up by big blocks of music — a hybrid between a political rally and party.

Trump himself raised the issue of a march to the Capitol.

“Are people going to the Capitol?” Trump asked, according to Pierson.

“Yes, there are some people going to the Capitol,” she replied. “There’s a permit for a stage at the Capitol.”

“Well, I should walk with the people,” Trump said.

Pierson and a presidential aide tried to discourage Trump from walking to the Capitol. But Pierson, who declined to comment for this story when reached by phone, said Trump cut her off and asserted the National Guard should help secure his route.

The meeting ended. Trump was about to leave for a campaign rally in Georgia. The plan to deploy the National Guard as a protective escort was never executed.

‘Go forth and do great things’

The fact that Women for America First lined up a group of Three Percenters acting as marshals at the Ellipse rally on Jan. 6, at roughly the same time Pierson was confirming speakers and Trump’s desire for people to walk to the Capitol after the event, wasn’t a fluke.

Guardians of Freedom and other militants had been hovering around a previous pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., that was organized by Women for America First — particularly one of its lead organizers, Dustin Stockton.

Stockton made no secret of his enthusiasm for the Three Percenter movement, despite Women for America First’s conspicuous efforts to project safe optics.

“The optics that we were trying to project was not, this is a paramilitary group looking to take over,” Stockton told the January 6th Committee in December 2021, describing the Dec. 12, 2020, rally. “This is a professional group that you can come have — that you could, Tea Party-style, come have a safe, productive time, right, airing your grievances with people who are like-minded.”

But at the time of the rally, Stockton was flaunting his links to Three Percenters by toasting his “III% brothers.”

A photo taken from the Dec. 12 rally showed a grinning Stockton jammed into an elevator with seven other men. Some of them wore tactical vests and balaclavas that concealed most of their faces.

Among them: Charles Bowman and Matthew Robinson, a former Proud Boy who, like Bowman, was from Florida.

“I was in some never-forget photos on Saturday, but the photo Bowman took of us on the elevator with our III% brothers might just top them all,” Bowman gushed in a Substack article published four days after the Dec. 12 rally.

Photo of Charles Bowman (front left) and Dustin Stockton (back right) published on Stockton's Substack. Via "Tyrant's Curse" Substack

Though the Dec. 12 rally might have been a high point, Stockton’s enthusiasm for the Three Percenter movement was no passing interest.

Seven months after the insurrection, Stockton would make a direct endorsement of Three Percenters, Oath Keepers and, albeit subtly, QAnon — all groups heavily represented among those arrested on charges related to the attack on the Capitol.

“Now more than ever, I encourage people to join or start patriot groups dedicated to preserving the Constitution,” Stockton would write on his Substack in July 2021. “It’s the perfect time to attend an Oath Keepers meeting, join a III% training, or get involved in an Anon research group.”

Referring to Three Percenters specifically, Stockton said, “There are lots of independent groups across the country that organize under the iconic III% patch. The best of them offer a healthy dose of range time, training and community service. Groups worth joining have membership that includes community leaders, professionals, and current/former law enforcement.”

Security measures in D.C. on Dec. 12, when Women for America First’s rally at Freedom Plaza vied with a competing Jericho March on the National Mall, gave the organizers further exposure to the militant groups.

In a phone text to Kylie Jane Kremer at 2:01 p.m. on Dec. 12, Bowman said, “Three-quarters of Proud Boys are at monument now. So if antifa is going to come in and try to break the box, it will be now.”

Asked about the text by the January 6th Committee, Bowman was unable to explain where he obtained information about the movements of the Proud Boys, although video of the group at that location had been shared on social media around 1:30 p.m.

“I’m sure I was just regurgitating something,” Bowman told investigators.

Kylie Jane Kremer dismissed the Proud Boys as “very much a fringe group,” as she told committee investigators a year after the insurrection.

As such, she said, Women for America First wanted to make “a distinction between, I guess, with some of the fringe-type people in the conservative movement just as there are fringe-type people, you know, on the left.”

And yet other militant groups, including Guardians of Freedom, Oath Keepers and 1st Amendment Praetorian — a volunteer security group that had worked with Ali Alexander — made an impression at the Dec. 12 rally hosted by Women for America First, according to Jason Funes, a former Trump campaign worker and former Department of Interior staffer who helped Women for America First with the bus tour and D.C. rallies.

“I barely had to [time] to reach and network the security teams that day,” Funes told the January 6th Committee. “So, if this person telling me that person’s good and that person’s telling me this person’s good, okay, fine. I don’t know if they’re Oath Keepers, if they’re Praetorian group, or they’re Guardians of Freedom or Three Percent — I don’t even — I heard of most of those groups for the first time when I was doing the D.C. events, right?”

Funes told the committee he didn’t think Amy Kremer knew about the militant groups buzzing around the Women for America First rally on Dec. 12, but he was more inclined to think Kylie Jane Kremer was aware.

“Oh, if Amy would’ve found out and known — listen, Kylie, maybe, like I said, she’s a little young, ambitious, and maybe just got led along by Dustin and Charles that they had it, right, and there was going to be just kind of their own things or whatever they were doing,” Funes said. “Like, they were going to do it anyway is the f***ing thing, okay? That’s how they f***ing roll. All right?

“But if Amy would’ve found out, she would be pissed that that would be the case, that, we would ever even be trying to coordinate and do some s***,” he added.

Kylie Jane Kremer responded to a Twitter direct message from Raw Story by providing the email for Christopher Barron, Women for America First's publicist. Barron did not respond to multiple voicemails and emails.

Women for America First made a point to hire professional security, but they agreed to allow 1st Amendment Praetorian to “act as a secondary barrier,” Stockton told the committee.

He emphasized that there was no effort to discourage volunteer security, as long as it didn’t hurt the optics of the rally.

“But it’s what the optics look like from the stage, which is projected out to the world through the cameras, and also to the people who are there,” he said. “It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have those people to discourage, like, possible counter-protester attacks. But it wasn’t the image that we were trying to project.”

Stockton made no mention during his interview with congressional investigators of the fact that the informal security cohort included members of Guardians of Freedom, a group founded by an associate of his friend, Bowman. Bowman told the committee that to the best of his recollection, Jeremy Liggett helped with security on Dec. 12.

Tyler Bensch, a 20-year-old from Casselberry, Fla, who would later be linked to Liggett by the FBI as a member of the so-called “B Squad,” posted a photo on Facebook of himself dressed in a helmet, goggles, body armor, military fatigues and a gas mask standing in the middle of a street in Washington, D.C., with the Capitol in the background, according to a witness.

Guardians of Freedom associate Tyler Bensch in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12, 2020. U.S. Department of Justice

“Listen, American patriots thought that by dressing up in bulletproof vests and being the militia-type of people, that sent a good message and representation that, you know, the event is safe and secure,” Funes said. “And if that’s all they have to keep us safe and secure, I’m going to use anybody I can to keep people safe and secure. I don’t know who you are.”

Funes complained that he was cut out of security meetings.

“Whatever — fine,” he said. “So go forth and do great things, man. I don’t want to know the details. But if you’re telling me that we’re going to be safer because you’re doing this, fine. I had no idea what it was going to lead up to.”

‘I will have a ton of men with me’

An abiding question surrounding the multiple investigations into the events of Jan. 6 is the degree to which the militant groups — primarily the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, but to a lesser degree Three Percenters also — coordinated among each other in advance of the insurrection.

An exhibit in the government’s seditious conspiracy prosecution of the Oath Keepers last year confirmed all three.

As noted in the January 6th Committee’s full report, Guardians of Freedom founder Jeremy Liggett exchanged texts with Florida Oath Keeper leader Kelly Meggs on Dec. 22, 2020, three days after Meggs spoke by phone with Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio. (Meggs was recently convicted of seditious conspiracy, and Tarrio is currently on trial for the same charge.)

“He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!!” Meggs told Liggett, sharing his excitement about President Trump’s Dec. 19, 2020 “be there, will be wild” tweet summoning his supporters to D.C. on Jan. 6.

“I will have a ton of men with me,” Liggett responded.

Meggs told Liggett that “we have made Contact with PB and they always have a big group. Force multiplier…. I figure we could splinter off the main group of PB and come up behind them. F***ing crush them for good.”

Liggett said he had encountered Tarrio at rallies in Florida in his deposition for the January 6th Committee.

On Dec. 30, 2020, Liggett posted on Facebook: “3% will show in record numbers in D.C. The gloves are off antifa.”

Reached by phone by Raw Story, Liggett said, “I have nothing to hide,” but referred questions to his lawyer. The lawyer, Kevin C. Maxwell, said he and his client decided they were “not going to give any interviews until the government finishes its investigation and has determined what they’re going to do,” including potentially charging additional defendants.

Guardians of Freedom’s Dec. 24 flyer, headlined “Calling All Patriots!!” and name-dropping Women for America First, announced that the group was “responding to the call from President Donald J. Trump to assist in the security, protection of the people as we all protest the fraudulent election and re-establish liberty for our nation.”

Then-President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk on the south lawn of the White House on December 23, 2020, in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The flyer said that “destruction of our Constitutional Republic” was underway, while quoting the so-called “right to revolution” in the Declaration of Independence that “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”

The flyer continued: “That is why YOU are here. For massive change to occur, massive action must be taken.”

The flyer concluded with an appeal for funding and a link to a Cash App account: “For the Guardians of Freedom members to deploy, help secure & defend the people at the January 6th event, it will take tremendous support from all of you to assist with the sharing and contributing to our events, missions, and fundraiser.”

The government alleges that Liggett, identified in the charging documents for six other men as “B Leader,” coordinated the group’s travel from Florida and reserved a block of about 15 rooms at the Hampton Inn Washington-Downtown Convention Center for Jan. 6 around Christmas.

While most of the Guardians of Freedom’s members were from Florida, the group’s social media campaign reached far beyond the state line.

Liggett posted on Facebook: “I will be in DC on January 6th! Patriots I urge you to come with me!”

Joseph Pavlik, a retired firefighter from Chicago, responded on Christmas Day: “I will be there.”

The group’s recruitment drive in the runup to Jan. 6 even reached Stockton.

A Dec. 30, 2020, email from Tarra Nicolle Hernandez, an administrator for Guardians of Freedom, noted that Stockton had been approved as a full member of the group. Hernandez would be among the 10 people recommended by Charles Bowman to serve as marshals at the Ellipse on Jan. 6.

“Welcome to the Three Percenters, Guardians of Freedom,” the email read. “It is an honor to have you on our team of patriots.

“Please be advised, per the founder, Jeremy Liggett, you have been moved and assigned as a full active member and not a prospect member,” the email continued. “Please disregard the mandatory meeting attendance mentioned in the attached documents.”

Stockton was not asked about the email during his December 2021 interview with the January 6th Committee, suggesting it had not come to light at that point.

But both Charles Bowman and Amy Kremer both told the committee they didn’t recall Stockton mentioning an invitation to join Guardians of Freedom. Stockton could not be reached for comment for this story.

‘Antifa’s worst nightmare’

Wearing a black tactical vest with a Three Percenter patch and a patch bearing the words “B Squad,” Jeremy Liggett appeared in a video that was posted on Facebook on Jan. 3, 2021.

As court documents note, Liggett stood “in front of a group of individuals wearing military-style gear and face coverings, many of whom appeared to possess assault rifles.”

"We all know in D.C., once the sun goes down, things get a little bit violent and the reason why things get violent is because you have socialist, leftist, Marxist, communist agitators like Black Lives Matter and antifa,” Liggett warned. He described various “defensive tools” including “the strongest pepper spray commercially available to use,” an expandable metal baton, knives with blades less than three inches, a walking cane and a Taser, according to charging documents.

Guardians of Freedom founder Jeremy Liggett posted a video on Jan. 3, 2021 providing instructions on weapons to bring to Washington, D.C. (eyes redacted by DOJ). U.S. Department of Justice

On Jan. 4 and 5, about 40 people checked into 20 rooms on the third floor of the Hampton Inn, according to court documents. Among them: Liggett and Pavlik, the retired Chicago firefighter, along with four other men identified by the government as members of “B Squad.” A hotel employee told investigators that members of the group “were wearing tactical gear such as military style vests, zip ties, pepper spray, and clip-on knives, and had police-type batons, helmets and masks.”

On Jan. 5, Liggett spoke at a raucous pre-rally at Freedom Plaza. The rally was divided into blocks that were apportioned to various factions or organizers, according to Dustin Stockton. The first four hours went to Women for America First and two pastors — Greg Locke and Brian Gibson — who had joined the March for Trump bus tour, with the second half divided between Ali Alexander and another organizer named Cindy Chafian.

Wearing his “March for Trump” jacket, Stockton introduced Liggett as “antifa’s worst nightmare.” Liggett addressed the rally wearing his black tactical vest with the Three Percenter and “B Squad” patches.

“I am a son,” he said. “I am a father. And I am an American patriot. I am a Three Percenter.”

Liggett led a chant: “F*** antifa! F*** antifa! F*** antifa! F*** antifa!”

“Listen guys, this is about your American dream,” he said. “Your American dream is at stake. I’m here with a simple message today. Stand. Stand and fight for America. Fight for your freedom of religion. Fight for the Constitution of the United States of America. Fight for your children. Fight for your grandchildren. Patriots do not comply.

Again, Liggett led the crowd in a chant. This time, it was: “Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!”

When Stockton reclaimed the microphone, he remarked on “how cool it is hearing ‘fight’ echo off these buildings.” Then he asked the crowd to indulge him in “a little housekeeping,” requesting that they text a number for updates on the rally happening the following day at the Ellipse.

“That’s where the president’s going to be speaking,” Stockton said. “That’s who we’re taking our marching orders from, right?”

Trump’s speech on Jan. 6 was only 18 hours away.

Key figures and groups in this series

1st Amendment Praetorian: Volunteer security group associated with retired Lt. General Michael Flynn that provided personal security details for Ali Alexander and other speakers at pro-Trump rallies leading up to Jan. 6, 2021

Guardians of Freedom: Three Percenter group led by Jeremy Liggett based in Florida whose members joined a mob in the Tunnel at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and tried to break through a line of D.C. Metropolitan Police Officers.

Oath Keepers: Far-right militia group that targets military veterans and former law enforcement for recruitment; dozens of members equipped with military gear entered the Capitol in a column formation

Proud Boys: Neo-fascist street fighting group that served as the engine of the insurrection by leading a mob to the Capitol, including one member who broke out a window, leading to the initial breach of the building

Stop the Steal: Coalition led by Republican operative Ali Alexander that organized protests in battleground states after the Nov. 3, 2020 election, followed by large rallies in Washington, D.C., culminating in Jan. 6

United Constitutional Patriots: Militia group that allegedly detained more than 300 migrants in New Mexico while carrying firearms and fake badges; their spokesman interviewed Dustin Stockton for a Facebook livestream during an event to promote a privately-funded section of the border wall in 2019

Women for America First: Nonprofit led by Tea Party organizer Amy Kremer that hosted the Jan. 6 rally featuring Donald Trump, along with the March for Trump bus tour and two large rallies in Washington, D.C. preceding Jan. 6

This is the second in a three-part series about ties between Women for America First, which held the permit for the rally where Donald Trump spoke on Jan. 6, 2021, and the Three Percenter group Guardians of Freedom. Read part one here.

‘Our best face’: How ‘peaceful’ MAGA leader Amy Kremer cultivated ties to a violent Three Percenter group

On Jan. 6, 2021, just south of the White House, Amy Kremer stood atop the stage where President Donald Trump would soon address his followers. She gazed over what she created — and what a sight it was.

Kremer and her daughter, Kylie Jane Kremer, were about to host the sitting president of the United States as he amassed his faithful in Washington, D.C., in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election’s results. Their organization, Women for America First, was the one and only group that possessed the official permit to stage Trump’s “Save America” rally.

And amid a circus of shadowy militia groups, QAnon disciples and C-list MAGA minions staging raucous, unofficial gatherings on Jan. 5 and 6, Kremer’s “Save America” rally, and its proximity to Trump himself, carried a patina of slightly-less-crazy.

Kremer, after all, cut a decidedly mainstream and public — if ultra-conservative — profile. For years, she regularly appeared on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. She organized for political groups, including the Tea Party Patriots and Tea Party Express of the late 2000s and early 2010s. By 2020, she led a pro-Trump bus tour that helped funnel Trump supporters into Washington, D.C., in service of the cause of denying Democrat Joe Biden the presidency after he won it.

Fomenting violence? That hadn’t been her style. So when people who attended her rally marched down the National Mall and assaulted the U.S. Capitol during what would become one of the darker days in American history, she disowned them.

“We stand by and strongly support the men and women of the Capitol Hill police and law enforcement in general and our organization played absolutely no role in the unfortunate events that transpired,” Amy Kremer said on Jan. 6, 2021. “What is truly sad, is that the misdeeds of a handful of people will overshadow the overwhelming success of the peaceful event — attended by hundreds of thousands of Americans — that we sponsored today.”

Through a carefully managed media strategy, the Kremers also distanced their organization from the violence and other, more provocative J6ers such as like Ali Alexander and Alex Jones, and by extension, the allied militant groups including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, whose members would soon face prosecutions for seditious conspiracy and a host of other charges.

Crowds arrive for the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

But an exhaustive review of depositions, interviews, phone texts and court documents by Raw Story reveals that Women for America First, particularly through an organizer named Dustin Stockton, cultivated ties with a Florida-based paramilitary group — Guardians of Freedom — that rode the wave of far-right vigilante reaction that crested in 2020. Guardians of Freedom subscribed to the “three percenter” ideology of armed resistance against U.S. governance it perceives as tyrannical.

Members of Guardians of Freedom were tapped by a proxy for Amy Kremer to serve as volunteer marshals at the rally at the Ellipse, and six Guardians of Freedom members now face federal charges for violent offenses at the Capitol on Jan. 6, including two who are charged with engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

The Kremer-Guardians of Freedom connection offers a present-day legal intrigue: An ongoing FBI investigation could potentially ensnare more members of Guardians of Freedom. And Amy Kremer and her lawyer have confirmed that Women for America First was the target of warrants or subpoenas (they didn’t specify which) seeking access to their phones and electronic devices as part of a probe into fake electors, fundraising around election denial claims and the rally on Jan. 6.

Kylie Jane Kremer responded to a Twitter direct message from Raw Story by providing the email for Christopher Barron, Women for America First’s publicist. Barron did not respond to multiple voicemails and emails. Harmeet Dhillon, Women for America First’s lawyer and a recent Republican National Committee chairwoman candidate, also could not be reached for comment.

‘An armed crew'

Stockton, one of the lead organizers of the March for Trump bus tour and the pro-Trump rallies in D.C. leading up to and culminating on Jan. 6, had been working with Amy Kremer since January 2010.

That was when he introduced himself to the Tea Party Express organizer at a press conference in Reno, Nev., announcing a campaign to defeat then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Often wearing a tennis visor and scraggly beard, Stockton did not fit the typical image of a Republican political operative.

Nicknamed “Bossman,” his relaxed body language and Nevada drawl brings to mind the actor Seth Rogen, and he’s been known to pause during interviews with reporters for a bong hit. He possesses a quirky and disarming sense of humor. One of his favorite bits for conservative audiences paranoid about the government seizing their firearms begins: “Well, I personally lost all my guns in a tragic boating accident years ago. But I have a feeling I’m in good company that way.”

During an appearance at the National Press Club in 2010, Stockton recounted the start of his peripatetic career in right-wing politics at the side of Amy Kremer, known among her friends as the “bus queen” for her organizing work with the Tea Party Express organization to harness populist anger and push the Republican Party to the right.

“I left my pregnant wife and two young daughters and criss-crossed this country because I believe so firmly that we need to take our country back and the great danger that we are facing,” he said, pounding the podium for emphasis, “and that we must step up and meet those challenges.”

Dustin Stockton attends a Tea Party Express election night party at the Aria Resort & Casino at CityCenter on November 2, 2010, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Later, Stockton and his fiancée, Jennifer Lawrence — not to be confused with the actor who starred in The Hunger Games — would work for Steve Bannon as reporters at Breitbart News Network.

Bannon, who’d go on to become White House strategist under Trump, himself would cheerlead efforts to overturn the 2020 election, telling associates four days before the election that Trump would “just declare victory.” He predicted on the eve of Jan. 6 that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”

Stockton’s associations with right-wing militias, predating the push to overturn the 2020 election, have received little attention since the Jan. 6 insurrection.

But they’re as notable as they are real: In 2018, Stockton helped Brian Kolfage, a military veteran and triple amputee, start We Build the Wall, a project to raise private funds to complete the border wall Trump promised. Kolfage wound up getting indicted, alongside Bannon and others, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Bannon was ultimately pardoned by Trump one day before he left office. Kolfage pleaded guilty last April and awaits sentencing.

During an event near a segment of the wall in New Mexico in May 2019, Stockton participated in an interview with Jim Benvie, the spokesperson for the Guardian Patriots militia. Benvie had previously been active with another militia — the United Constitutional Patriots — whose members reportedly detained more than 300 migrants near the border while carrying firearms and fake badges.

During the interview, streamed by Benvie on Facebook Live in May 2019, Stockton expressed appreciation, saying, “Your videos turned us on to just how serious this crisis is. And when we saw those, the proof is there. We had the absolute proof of what was happening right here. And to be able to shut that off with the people’s money so quickly, it’s moving.”

Benvie was ultimately convicted of impersonating a government employee and sentenced to 21 months of prison time for two incidents in April 2019 near the We Build the Wall site. There, he accosted migrants, while accompanied by United Constitutional Patriot members dressed in camouflage fatigues and carrying firearms, and yelled, “Alto! U.S. Border Patrol.”

Stockton’s association with the militia movement was underscored by a personal stance that lent credence to the idea that private militias could augment law enforcement as a defensive force against perceived adversaries.

In an email uncovered by the January 6th Committee concerning security arrangements for the Nov. 14, 2020, Million MAGA March, Stockton foreshadowed violence.

He told a fellow organizer: “I have an armed crew of 3K guys with 2K AR-15s” and they’d be nearby in Virginia and Pennsylvania “if any things got really sticky.”

During his interview with the January 6th Committee in December 2021, Stockton explained that the email was a reference to Gun Owners of America, an advocacy group for whom he had performed consulting work.

He chalked up his provocative rhetoric as nothing more than “braggadocios fluff” meant to reassure his paranoid fellow organizers.

'Put our best face on this thing'

Notwithstanding Stockton’s comfort with militia groups and Second Amendment militancy, the Nov. 14, 2020, rally marked a fork in the relationship between Women for America First and a more strident pro-Trump coalition led by Republican operative Ali Alexander.

To that point, the two groups had been organizing in tandem: Alexander sent out a tweet on Nov. 4, 2020, calling on Amy Kremer and others to join a national campaign under the hashtag #STOPTHESTEAL. Kylie Jane Kremer started a Facebook group called “Stop the Steal” on the same day that quickly attracted 2.1 million followers, according to Kremer, before it was shut down by Facebook for spreading misinformation.

But on Nov. 19, Women for America First publicly diverged by announcing that it was withdrawing from a rally organized by Alexander in Georgia, explaining that “we are unable to ensure a safe and secure area for our supporters and therefore will not be on the ground in Atlanta.”

A week later, Amy Kremer tweeted that Women for America First was “the ONLY hosting organization for the #MarchForTrump on December 12th,” adding that “if anyone is asking you to RSVP or donate to the cause besides our org, you’re being scammed.”

Looking back on the rift, Kylie Jane Kremer told the January 6th Committee during her interview in January 2022 that Women for America First felt the need “to make a very clear distinction” because, she said, the rhetoric from Alexander’s coalition “was getting a little more aggressive in tone and encouraging things like we had seen with November 20th of, you know, storming inside the Georgia State capital that we really needed to make a distinction between the two groups.”

Stockton also promoted the view that Women for America First was a more responsible alternative to Ali Alexander’s coalition, at least in retrospect.

“So, they started pushing a much more violent rhetoric,” Stockton told the January 6th Committee in December 2021, “while what we were pushing, frankly, was, like, procedural inside the House, to, like, ‘All right, this is our best chance to make our case, like, to the world. Let’s make sure that, like, we put our best face on this thing.’”

Three Percenter ties

As the final report of the January 6th Committee noted, the founder of Guardians of Freedom communicated in advance with the Florida leader of the Oath Keepers about plans for Jan. 6. The materials released by the committee in late December and early January reveal that Women for America First’s ties to the militant groups that stormed the Capitol were far more extensive than previously known.

While the Kremers and Stockton publicly distanced themselves from militant groups such as the Proud Boys that were gravitating to the protests, the organization was at the same time drawing in its own cohort of militants — a group of Three Percenters mainly from Florida calling themselves Guardians of Freedom.

Women for America First’s link to the Three Percenters — an authoritarian movement whose adherents view themselves as a revolutionary vanguard in the mold of the original American patriots, and the U.S. government as the latter-day equivalent of the British crown — was a commercial real estate developer from Florida’s northeast coast named Charles Bowman. Amy Kremer described Bowman as being “like a big brother that’s always — you know, it was like he was always looking out for us and making sure, you know, that we were safe and whatnot.”

Bowman met Stockton at a We Build the Wall event in New Mexico, but he said he initially met Women for America First through their lawyer, Michael Yoder, he told the January 6 committee. Amy Kremer, in turn, said she met Bowman through Stockton.

Bowman attended the rally that kicked off for the first leg of the March for Trump bus tour at the 2A Ranch, a GOP-friendly event space in Ormond Beach, Fla., on Nov. 29, 2020. As Stockton emceed the rally, a video shows Bowman standing near the bus door, while another man stood to the side of the stage wearing a tactical vest with a Three Percenter patch and a balaclava covering his face.

Bowman told the committee that the two met at a Republican dinner in Lake County, where Liggett lives. Liggett, in turn, said he met Bowman at a rally of some sort.

Within three days of the Ormond Beach rally, members of Guardians of Freedom were discussing plans to go to Washington, D.C. to support Trump.

A statement of fact written by Clarke Burns, a special agent assigned to the FBI Washington Field Office Joint Terrorism Task Force, that establishes probable cause for charges against five Guardians of Freedom members captures a social media exchange that alludes to the sensitivity surrounding the word “militia.”

“Now, I think it would be hysterical if you got morale patches that said ‘plan B’ or ‘B Squad’ because I think it’s one of the top 3 funniest things I’ve personally ever heard from politicians as they try to dance around the M word lmao,” said the individual, who is unidentified in the court documents.

A person identified in the statement of facts as “B Leader” responded: “Hahahahaha…. I am going to name DC operation plan B.”

The man that the FBI identifies as “B Leader” is clearly Liggett, based on a reference in the court document to a Facebook video that features Liggett. When Liggett and other Guardians of Freedom members came to D.C. on Jan. 6, they wore patches that said “B Squad.”

“I further believe that when they discuss a plan B/B Squad, they are referring to an alternate plan to be in place if they do not get the desired electoral outcome (i.e. the former president remaining in power),” Burns wrote in the statement of fact.

Bowman recalled during his interview with the January 6th Committee that “Stockton had phoned me and asked — you know, they were short of people, if I could come out and help with the events.”

An imposing presence, Bowman could show flashes of magnanimity: During a rancorous school board meeting riven by conflict over a book-banning proposal in November 2021, a local newspaper in Flagler County reported that Bowman signed up to speak, only to announce that he and his wife had bought burgers for the attendees.

Bowman could not be reached for comment for this story. Liggett, a former law enforcement officer who operates a gun range in Clermont, Fla., declined to comment for this story through his lawyer, Kevin C. Maxwell.

Violent words on the bus

The presence of militants in the Women for America First camp was matched by an escalation of violent rhetoric at the rallies on the bus tour, as reported by BuzzFeed, despite the Kremers’ efforts to set themselves apart from Ali Alexander.

Stockton promoted his personal organizing brand under the moniker “Tyrant’s Curse,” and he recited its formal “message” at multiple tour stops, including Ormond Beach and then in Lansing, Mich., on Dec. 8.

“A well-armed and self-reliant populace, who take personal responsibility and put their faith in God, can never be oppressed and will never be ruled,” he told crowds.

Paired with the rhetoric of other speakers denying the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s election, Stockton’s message carried an ominous ring.

“It’s about putting your range time in,” he said. “It’s about learning tactics. It’s about training others.” He added: “The second part: self-reliance, right? Which is we have to be able to take care of our own. And if you’re able to take care of yourself, how many more people in your neighborhood can you take care of, if things really got dark?”

In a Facebook video in the runup to Jan. 6, Stockton told his followers, according to an ABC News report, to “clean your guns and prepare. Things are going to get worse before they get better.”

Stockton, who in an MSNBC interview last year distanced himself from Jan. 6 rally attendees who used "revolutionary and violent" rhetoric, could not be reached for comment for this story.

Cordie Williams, a Marine Corps veteran and chiropractor from California, made a similar call during a March for Trump bus tour stop in Madison, Wis., on Dec. 6.

“We need to know how to fire those handguns, fire those rifles,” he said.

“When they come for my kids with this non-tested COVID vaccine, I’m gonna give them an insurance policy courtesy of a Glock to their forehead,” Williams said during the same tour stop in Madison.

The second statement crossed the line, apparently.

“We’d just had an incident at one of our rallies where a speaker we didn’t really know that well, we give them a chance to get on stage, and he talked about putting a Glock to the forehead of anyone who shows up at his door, like, to vaccinate his kids,” Stockton recalled during his interview with the January 6th Committee. “So, we kicked him off the tour, right? Like, for us, it’s a fine line, but you can’t ramp up the tensions that way.”

Even so, militaristic rhetoric continued to percolate at the March for Trump bus tour stops.

Three days before the Jan. 6 insurrection, Couy Griffin, a county commissioner from New Mexico and founder of Cowboys for Trump, told a crowd in Bowling Green, Ky.: “If we allow this election to be stolen from us, we will become a third world country overnight. The elitist, gross, wicked, vile people that are in place will continue to wage war on America. Because there is a war, mind you, I promise you that.”

Last June, Griffin was found guilty of entering and remaining in a restricted building for his actions at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The apocalyptic themes of irreparable loss and war invoked by Griffin and Stockton echoed a familiar source: Donald Trump, who after his loss to Joe Biden in November 2020 quickly schemed to overturn the election and retain presidential power.

As the March for Trump bus tour motored across the country, Amy Kremer was planning for the next big rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. And as those plans unfolded, Kremer and her daughter, Kylie Jane, found themselves scrambling to navigate the treacherous internal politics of the MAGA movement to maintain control of their event.

One of the first orders of business was recovering their permit for Jan. 6 from the National Park Service after a rogue volunteer tried to hijack the event.

Then, when Trump tweeted that he would be personally appearing on Jan. 6, they had to move the rally from Freedom Plaza to the Ellipse, near the White House.

President Donald Trump speaks at the "Stop the Steal" Rally on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

When one crisis was resolved, another one seemed to materialize, and the Kremer mother-daughter duo would find themselves fighting to keep rival organizers off the stage at the Ellipse up to the very moment Trump addressed his supporters.

The chaos that erupted after that speech, predictable as it may have been, was not solely galvanized by Amy Kremer.

It emanated from a complicated interplay between the White House and the militants — and she would find herself right in the middle of it.

* * *

Key figures and groups in this series

1st Amendment Praetorian: Volunteer security group associated with retired Lt. General Michael Flynn that provided personal security details for Ali Alexander and other speakers at pro-Trump rallies leading up to Jan. 6, 2021.

Guardians of Freedom: Three Percenter group led by Jeremy Liggett based in Florida whose members joined a mob in the tunnel at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and tried to break through a line of D.C. Metropolitan Police officers.

Oath Keepers: Far-right militia group that targets military veterans and former law enforcement for recruitment; dozens of members equipped with military gear entered the Capitol in a column formation.

Proud Boys: Neo-fascist street fighting group that served as the engine of the insurrection by leading a mob to the Capitol, including one member who broke out a window, leading to the initial breach of the building.

Stop the Steal: Coalition led by Republican operative Ali Alexander that organized protests in battleground states after the Nov. 3, 2020 election, followed by large rallies in Washington, D.C., culminating in Jan. 6.

United Constitutional Patriots: Militia group that allegedly detained more than 300 migrants in New Mexico while carrying firearms and fake badges; their spokesman interviewed Dustin Stockton for a Facebook livestream during an event to promote a privately-funded section of the border wall in 2019.

Women for America First: Nonprofit led by Tea Party organizer Amy Kremer that hosted the Jan. 6 rally featuring Donald Trump, along with the March for Trump bus tour and two large rallies in Washington, D.C. preceding Jan. 6.

This is the first in a three-part Raw Story series about ties between Women for America First, which held the permit for the rally where Donald Trump spoke on Jan. 6, 2021, and the Three Percenter group Guardians of Freedom.

Raw Story reporting leads to arrest of Florida man for allegedly breaching the U.S. Capitol

Police arrested a Marine Corps veteran and firearms trainer last month on charges related to the Jan. 6 insurrection — including disorderly conduct in the Capitol — after the FBI followed up on a September 2021 news article published by Raw Story.

The federal government accused Richard Avirett, a Florida resident, of entering the Senate office of Sen. James Risch (R-ID) on Jan. 6, 2021. Raw Story identified Avirett by comparing images of him from open-source video at the U.S. Capitol with a photo from his LinkedIn page.

In the statement of facts supporting charges against Avirett, a task force officer assigned to the FBI Tampa Division’s Joint Terrorism Task Force cited “video from Raw Story” that depicts Avirett inside the Capitol building.

The image published by Raw Story that confirms Avirett’s presence inside the Capitol comes from a video shot by livestreamer Jeremy Lee Quinn. The video also shows Avirett looking at his phone in Risch’s office.

In January 2022, according to the statement of facts, the FBI task force officer interviewed one of Avirett’s longtime acquaintances.

“The individual viewed the Raw Story video noted above as well as other pictures of Avirett taken at the Capitol and positively identified Avirett in the pictures and video,” the task force officer wrote.

Later, law enforcement executed a search warrant on Avirett’s Facebook account, and found a photo taken from inside Risch’s office and a message stating, “I’m inside.”

When Avireitt spoke to Raw Story in September 2021, he denied going inside the Capitol.

"I wasn't even around there," Avirett said at the time.

The footage shot by Quinn that was published in Raw Story shows Avirett on the Lower West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol.

An unidentified man then shouts, “Last chance! Who wants to make history with me? Who’s a man? Who’s a patriot? I’m going into Capitol Hill by myself. Who wants to man the f*** up. Patriots, let’s do this right f***ing now.”

Later, the video shows Avirett inside a congressional office ransacked by rioters, with broken furniture strewn about. The video shows Avirett carrying a long, thin, white rod that looks like PVC pipe or shoe molding. Later, in Risch’s office, Avirett can be seen picking up a rectangular object that appears to be a computer keyboard.

Eight months after the Jan. 6 insurrection, Avirett posted a photo on Facebook showing a Trump flag being hurled into a line of police officers guarding the tunnel on the Lower West Terrace, near the window he allegedly used to enter the Capitol.

“One day we will look at the picture and know we were right and we had the chance,” Avirett wrote.

"Mr. Avirett, like more than 50,000 other Americans, arrived at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 with the intent to exercise their First Amendment rights, with the encouragement of the United States president," Robert Lee Jenkins Jr., Avirett's lawyer, told Raw Story in a statement March 8. "As we continue to gather information and prepare for trial, we're confident that when all the facts come out, it will be established that Mr. Avirett did not show up with the intent to commit any crimes, and that he did not participate in any violence or destruction of government property."

According to Avirett's LinkedIn page, he worked as a private military contractor for Blackwater USA in Iraq, where he provided special operations and protection services to the Department of Defense and State Department, and specialized in explosive ordinance disposal. After leaving Blackwater, Avirett's LinkedIn page says he started a tactical training company to teach "gun fighting and personal combat applications" and "consulted with media and theater actors and actresses on use of firearms and theatrical combat.

A warrant was issued for Avirett’s arrest by U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui on Jan. 19, according to court documents. Avirett was arrested three weeks later in Cleveland, Ga., northeast of Atlanta.

WXIA-TV reported that a local police officer took Avirett into custody when a license plate reader flagged him as a wanted person. The officer wrote in the report for the apprehension: “Mr. Avirett appeared very shocked to hear he had an arrest warrant.”

Avirett was released on Feb. 21 on a sworn promise to appear in court. He has a status hearing scheduled for April 18 in D.C. federal court.

Al Sharpton’s old presidential campaign agreed to pay the government $21,250. Then it never did.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is seemingly everywhere today: he hosts an MSNBC show, conducts civil rights rallies, even meets with President Joe Biden, both in public and as a confidant.

But as Sharpton has become one of the nation’s most prominent liberal voices in the national political-media-entertainment complex, there’s one topic absent from his list of talking points: Sharpton’s old 2004 presidential campaign committee still owes the U.S. Treasury more than $21,000, according to a Raw Story review of federal records.

Sharpton’s campaign debt is the result of a 2009 agreement with the Federal Election Commission requiring Sharpton 2004 to pay federal fines for accepting excessive donations and prohibited corporate contributions.

“I think it’s outrageous,” Ann Ravel, a former FEC chairman, told Raw Story. “They should put a lien on their bank account. They obviously committed an illegal act that they have taken responsibility for. They agreed to and failed to do so, because they failed to pay the fine. It renders the FEC toothless if there’s no accountability for campaigns that are clearly doing something illegal.”

Ravel, a Democrat appointed to the FEC by then-President Barack Obama, said an agreement that requires a political campaign to pay money to the U.S. Treasury puts the FEC in an awkward position. Once the FEC reaches an agreement with a political committee, the agency has little power to enforce the terms of the agreement, she explained.

“The FEC obviously doesn’t have responsibility for what the Treasury is failing to do, but it would be a wise action for them to connect with Treasury on this and let them know that when they come to a conciliation agreement at the FEC, which is part of the federal government, it should be enforced,” Ravel said. “That’s one way they can increase people’s trust in the FEC is that the Treasury is following through.”

Sharpton did not respond to Raw Story’s request for comment, nor did Terence Cullen, a spokesperson, who only noted in an email on Tuesday that the Sharpton 2004 presidential campaign committee also owes Sharpton himself $100,000.

MSNBC, the network where Sharpton hosts the weekend news program “Politics Nation with Al Sharpton,” also did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Former Sharpton spokesperson Rachel Noerdlinger told the Center for Public Integrity in 2013 that Sharpton had planned to conduct a fundraiser to address his campaign debt problems, although it’s now unclear whether such an event ever occurred. Regardless, Sharpton’s campaign debt remains.

The U.S. Bureau of the Fiscal Service, the division of the U.S. Treasury that is responsible for collecting money owed to the federal government, declined to comment.

Money and trouble

Sharpton failed to win any delegates during the 2004 presidential campaign — or even a significant share of the Black vote in the crucial South Carolina primary. He dropped out of the race in March of that year, and endorsed John Kerry, the eventual Democratic nominee, who’d go on to lose to Republican President George W. Bush.

But Sharpton’s standing in the Democratic Party establishment — already significant then — has only grown since. Of late, he’s grown close to President Joe Biden. And in October, reports emerged that Biden told Sharpton during a private conversation at the White House that he will seek a second term.

Biden then appeared on Sharpton’s syndicated radio show in November, and in January, spoke at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast hosted by Sharpton’s National Action Network. There, Biden described Sharpton as “a good friend.”

The Biden-Sharpton friendship is made at least mildly awkward by the fact that Sharpton’s presidential committee owes money to a part of the Biden administration — the U.S. Treasury — that Biden is fighting to bolster.

For example, Biden has lambasted Republican efforts to reduce funding to the Internal Revenue Service, a part of the U.S. Treasury. Biden has even vowed to veto legislation that he says would “shift the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle-class” and “make it harder for middle-class families and small businesses to get timely tax refunds and other important services from the IRS, by rescinding billions in funding for IRS information technology and operations.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (left) speaks with Al Sharpton (center) and John Edwards (right) during a break at the MSNBC January 29, 2004, in Greenville, S.C.Erik S. Lesser/Getty Images

Here’s how the Sharpton campaign wound up owing the U.S. Treasury $21,250:

The FEC found that a 2004 presidential election fundraiser for Sharpton hosted by the late Detroit fast-food magnate La-Van Hawkins exceeded the limit for in-kind contributions by $9,000. A flight valued at $1,750 that Hawkins provided for Sharpton also constituted a prohibited corporate contribution. Thus, the agreement required the campaign to pay the U.S. Treasury, at a minimum, $10,750.

The agreement also addressed another matter — the receipt of excessive contributions — and gave the Sharpton campaign the option of either refunding $10,500 in excessive contributions or forking the money over to the U.S. Treasury.

Soon after Sharpton and his treasurer signed the agreement with the FEC, the campaign reported a debt of $19,500 to the U.S. Treasury.

That total appears to combine the $10,500 and $9,000 increments but does not address the matter valued at $1,750. Thus, with $1,750 added to the campaign’s acknowledged debt of $19,500, the true debt to the U.S. Treasury comes to $21,250.

As for the $1,750 debt to the Treasury that appears to have gone unreported in the Sharpton campaign filings, Myles G. Martin, a spokesperson at the FEC, declined to comment other than to direct Raw Story to a clause in the agency’s compliance agreement with Sharpton 2004.

That clause stipulates that the agency has the option of filing a civil lawsuit against the Sharpton campaign in D.C. federal court to address any violations of the agreement.

The 2009 agreement with the FEC cited poor record-keeping as the cause of the Sharpton campaign’s legal woes, noting that Sharpton “routinely mixed travel” for the campaign and his responsibilities as president of the National Action Network, and that the nonprofit “effectively subsidized the Sharpton 2004 presidential campaign by paying for vendors and consultants who performed work to benefit the [campaign] committee.”

As a result, the agreement required the campaign to refund $181,115 to the National Action Network or forfeit it to the government. FEC filings indicate that the campaign intends to do the former.

The Sharpton campaign’s debt was already sizable before its legal troubles with the FEC.

By that time the campaign had $480,096 on the books from debts owed to consultants and publicists, in addition to Sharpton and Rivera themselves. But after the campaign committed to pay civil penalties to the FEC, fork over money to the U.S. Treasury and refund illegal contributions to the National Action Network, the debt ballooned to $888,713.

Records on file with the FEC show that a combination of payments from Sharpton himself and the campaign paid off the $208,000 owed to the FEC for civil penalties by March 2010.

The debt is still listed on Sharpton’s most recent FEC report, filed on Jan 31, with a note that he “paid the civil penalty with personal funds within the agreed upon timeframe.” Excluding the FEC debt, which appears to be satisfied, the campaign’s total debt is closer to $680,000.

Under a separate agreement signed by Sharpton as an officer of the National Action Network, the nonprofit agreed to pay a civil penalty of $77,000 to the FEC for the election law violations. FEC records show that the National Action Network paid off the civil penalties in 2009.

Yet the $21,250 the Sharpton campaign committed to forfeiting to the US government in 2009 for excessive contributions and prohibited corporate contributions remains unpaid.

If the Sharpton campaign does intend to pay off its debt to the US Treasury and other creditors, it’s unclear where the money would come from: The campaign reported a negative balance of -$11,636 on its year-end report for 2022.

Sharpton could also choose to pay off the debt himself.

‘Anybody is welcome to help’: Lindsey Graham asks for money to cover legal bills

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) ran up a hefty legal bill in his unsuccessful quest to avoid testifying before a special grand jury in Georgia investigating former President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election – and he’s not shy about asking for help.

“I’m trying to get people to help me pay my legal bills,” Graham told Raw Story. “Anybody is welcome to help.”

As previously reported by Raw Story, nine of Graham’s Republican colleagues in the U.S. Senate have already contributed a total of $78,000 through their leadership PACs to the Lindsey Graham Legal Expense Trust Fund.

Graham testified in November 2022 before a special purpose grand jury called by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to investigate “the facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to possible attempts to disrupt the lawful administration of the 2020 elections in the state of Georgia.”

Prosecutors were interested in hearing from Graham about two phone calls after the Nov. 3, 2020, election in which the senator allegedly questioned Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff “about reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump.”

Last year, Graham hired a high-powered legal team that included Donald F. McGahn II, a former White House general counsel and former Federal Election Commission chair, to try to get the subpoena quashed. The legal fight ended with the US Supreme Court upholding a lower-court decision denying Graham’s motion.

The legal team included McGahn and two other attorneys with the Jones Day law firm, along with two attorneys from the Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough law firm in South Carolina.

Roughly a week after Graham testified before the Fulton County special purpose grand jury, his campaign paid Nelson Mullins $268,228 for “legal services.”

Beginning in December 2022, Graham’s Senate colleagues began contributing to the legal expense fund. Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND) and James Lankgford (R-OK) all donated the maximum allowable amount of $10,000, while Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) donated $8,000, while Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) donated $5,000.

The special purpose grand jury in Fulton County concluded its work last month. Under Georgia law, special purpose grand juries can be impaneled to review specific matters involving complex facts and circumstances and take longer to work than a normal grand jury. Unlike regular grand juries, special purpose grand juries are not empowered to issue indictments, but may recommend criminal prosecution.

Last month, Willis told Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney that “decisions are imminent” as to whether to indict Trump and others. Prosecutors are believed to be considering state charges including solicitation to commit election fraud, making false statements and violation of Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

On Monday, Judge McBurney ruled that portions of the special grand purpose grand jury report may be released.

Lindsey Graham’s legal expense fund pumped full of cash by nine Republican lawmaker friends

Forced to testify before a grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) got some significant financial help from some of his U.S. Senate friends.

Nine of Graham’s Senate colleagues collectively donated $78,000 through their respective leadership PACs to the Lindsey Graham Legal Expense Trust Fund during December, according to a Raw Story analysis of Federal Election Commission records.

Sens. John Barasso (R-WY), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Hoeven (R-ND), John Boozman and Steve Daines (R-MT) all contributed $10,000 to Graham’s legal defense fund through their leadership PACs from Dec. 5 through Dec. 7.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) contributed $8,000, while Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) contributed $5,000 each through their leadership PACs.

The donations — $10,000 is the maximum allowable amount per year under Senate ethics guidelines under the Office from the Office of Governmental Ethics — followed Graham’s Nov. 22 appearance before a special grand jury authorized by the Fulton County Superior Court at the request of District Attorney Fani Willis.

Graham’s office did not respond to messages about donations to his legal defense fund or legal expenses arising from his unsuccessful attempt to fight a subpoena. None of the senators who donated to Graham’s legal defense fund through their leadership PACs responded to questions from Raw Story.

There is no indication that the senator, who is the ranking Republican member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a target of the investigation or could himself face criminal charges.


Graham said at the time that he testified before the grand jury for more than two hours and answered all questions.

But leading up to his testimony, Graham mounted an aggressive defense — an apparently costly one, too.

In late November, Graham’s campaign committee made a payment of more than $268,000 to the South Carolina law firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough for “legal services,” according to FEC records.

The Graham campaign has utilized Nelson Mullins since at least 2011, according to federal records, but up until November, the campaign’s highest single payment to the law firm was $45,824, in 2021.

Graham’s legal team includes two lawyers from Nelson Mullins’ Charleston office and three lawyers from the Jones Day law firm, including former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II, who filed an emergency application to stay a lower-court decision with the Supreme Court. (McGahn is also a former FEC chairman.)

After the federal court in Atlanta and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals shot down Graham’s effort to fight the subpoena, the Jones Day team appealed for intervention from the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied the application, clearing the way for Graham’s testimony.

Don McGahn, pictured here in 2018 when he served as then-President Donald Trump's White House counsel, is now doing legal work for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Graham’s testimony centered on two phone calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in November 2020, in which the US senator pressed the state official on signature verification for absentee ballots in Fulton County. The state’s most populous county, Fulton covers about 90 percent of Atlanta, and as a jurisdiction rich in Democratic votes, it became the focal point of baseless claims of voter fraud by Trump and his allies.

The special purpose grand jury, which a Fulton County superior court judge created in January 2022, concluded its work last month.

Willis reportedly told Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney during a Jan. 24 hearing that “decisions are imminent” as to whether to indict Trump and others. Charges could include solicitation to commit election fraud, making false statements and Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly known as RICO, according to a report by the nonprofit legal watchdog Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington.

Under Georgia law, special purpose grand juries can be impaneled to review specific matters involving complex facts and circumstances and can take longer to investigate than the period of time allotted in a normal grand jury term. Special purpose grand juries do not have the authority to return an indictment, but may recommend criminal prosecution. Willis’ recent statement indicating Trump could soon face indictment was made during the district attorney’s request that the special grand jury’s report remain sealed.

“We want to make sure that everyone is treated fairly, and we think for future defendants to be treated fairly it’s not appropriate at this time to have this report released,” Willis said, according to CNN.

McBurney in July identified Graham as “a necessary and material witness to the special purpose grand jury.”

Under Senate ethics guidelines established under the Office of Governmental Ethics, legal defense trusts must be approved by the Select Committee on Ethics “for the purpose of paying for legal proceedings ‘relating to or arising by virtue of service in or to the Senate,’” according to a primer provided by the nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.


Two days after the Graham campaign made a $268,228 payment to Nelson Mullins, the Hawkeye PAC contributed $5,000 to the Lindsey Graham Legal Expense Trust Fund.

The Hawkeye PAC is a leadership PAC sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley, Graham’s colleague on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Contributions from the eight other senators followed. FEC reports filed by the respective leadership PACs list a mailing address for the Lindsey Graham Legal Expense Trust Fund that is associated with the Bowers Law Office in Columbia, S.C.

Under the arcane rules established by the Federal Election Commission, leadership PACs are financed, maintained and controlled by candidates or public officeholders, but are not considered to be authorized campaign committees.

While campaign committees allow contributions to other candidates’ campaigns, leadership PACs emerged as a vehicle for public officeholders to raise money for colleagues.

Ann Ravel, a Democrat and former FEC chairwoman who now teaches at UC Berkeley Law School, told Raw Story that public officeholders often use leadership PACs to make donations to colleagues as a means of garnering favor to obtain coveted committee appointments. Another benefit of leadership PACs, Ravel noted, is that there are almost “no constraints on how you use the money."

Bradley A. Smith, a professor at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, a Republican who is also a former FEC chair, told Raw Story it makes sense that Graham’s colleagues would use leadership PACs to support his legal defense fund because they might want to reserve their campaign funds for their own reelection efforts.

“If you want to support someone else’s legal defense fund, why use your own campaign funds?” he said. “The leadership PAC allows you to support other members. It’s a nice chit. They’ll remember you. ‘Oh, he was a nice guy. He gave me some money.’”

There could be other donors to Graham’s legal fund. But anyone who’s made a contribution to Graham’s legal defense fund since Jan. 1 may not have to publicly disclose the fact for weeks yet, per federal regulations.


The certificate of material witness issued by McBurney last July noted that Graham questioned Raffensperger and his staff “about reexamining certain absentee ballots cast in Georgia in order to explore the possibility of a more favorable outcome for former President Donald Trump” during a phone call in November 2020.

Attesting to Graham’s importance to the investigation, McBurney wrote that Graham “possesses unique knowledge” about the phone call and any communication with the Trump campaign or others “involved in the multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”

McBurney also deemed Graham’s testimony as “essential in that it is likely to reveal additional sources of information regarding the subject of this investigation.”

Based on an interview with the Georgia secretary of state, the Washington Post reported that Raffensperger described Graham as questioning him during the phone call “about the state’s signature-matching law” and asking whether he “had the power to toss all mail ballots in counties found to have higher rates of non-matching signatures.”

The newspaper reported that Raffensperger “said he was stunned that Graham appeared to suggest that he find a way to toss legally cast ballots,” while directly quoting him as saying: “It sure looked like he was wanting to go down that road.”

Graham immediately disputed Raffensperger’s recollection of the call, telling the Post that the characterization was “ridiculous.”

“The main issue for me is: How do you protect the integrity of mail-in voting, and how does signature verification work?” he said.

During his November 2021 interview with the January 6th Committee, Raffensperger gave an account that appears to differ somewhat with the reporting by the Post a year earlier.

Asked by committee staff whether Graham said “anything about what your office or Fulton County should do if they found problems with the absentee ballots, like, what the remedy would be,” Raffensperger responded, “No.” He also said he didn’t recall whether Graham said that absentee ballots should be thrown out if errors were found.

Raffensperger told the committee that Graham suggested that credit card companies could be used for signature verification on absentee ballots. As they got into more detail, Raffensperger said that Sterling did most of the talking on behalf of the secretary of state’s office.

“He was talking about a process of using companies, and I didn’t know exactly where he was going,” Raffensperger said. “I just didn’t want to go where he was — where I thought he might want to go. I just thought it best not to call him back.”

Asked if Graham made any reference to Trump or indicated whether Trump asked him to call, Raffensperger told the committee: “I don’t recall.”

Raffensperger could not be reached for comment.

Graham has argued that his purpose for making the calls was entirely legislative. The senator’s application for review by the Supreme Court argues that he “relied on the information gained from the calls both to vote Joe Biden ‘the legitimate president of the United States’ and to cosponsor legislation to amend the Electoral Count Act.”

An order by US District Court Judge Judge Leigh Martin May last August, which was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court, dismissed Graham’s claims that his conversation with Raffensperger and his staff was limited to legislative concerns.

“To begin, the specific activity at issue involves a senator from South Carolina making personal phone calls to state-level election officials in Georgia concerning Georgia’s election processes and the results of the state’s 2020 election,” May wrote. “On its face, such conduct is not a ‘manifestly legislative act.’

“There has been public disagreement and dispute among the calls’ participants as to the nature and meaning of Senator Graham’s statements and inquiries therein,” she added. “In fact, it has been suggested that Senator Graham was seeking to influence Secretary Raffensperger’s actions.”

‘I started a riot for the sitting president': Why Ali Alexander won’t go to jail for his role in Jan. 6

Authorities have so far arrested more than 950 people for alleged crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection for all manners of misdeeds, from weapons offenses to illegal entry to assaulting law enforcement officers.

Six members of the Oath Keepers have been convicted of seditious conspiracy. A separate seditious conspiracy trial for five leaders of the Proud Boys is now underway.

In all, hundreds of people have gone to — or will go — to prison.

But Ali Alexander — the GOP political operative most publicly identified with efforts to overturn the 2020 election save for Donald Trump himself — isn’t among them.

No matter that Alexander launched the “Stop the Steal” project one day after the Nov. 3, 2020, election that Trump lost but refused to concede.

Or that Alexander called for a rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021 — before Trump, on Twitter, urged supporters to “be there” because it “will be wild.”

Or that he led a chant of, “Victory or death!” on the eve of the attack on the Capitol.

On Jan. 6 itself, Alexander helped lead a march from the Ellipse, a tract of land behind the White House where Trump addressed his supporters, to the U.S. Capitol.

Alexander has displayed an uncanny ability to walk right up to the line of incitement, eluding prosecution in the largest criminal inquiry in the Justice Department’s history.

Proof of Alexander’s legal elusiveness came in late January. Amid the pre-trial phase of a looming court drama, U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta dismissed Alexander and co-defendant Roger Stone from a federal lawsuit brought by seven Capitol Police officers injured by Trump supporters who converged on Capitol Hill.

Mehta, a nominee of President Barack Obama, reasoned that nothing Alexander said ahead of the attack could be described as being “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action” or “likely to incite or produce such action.” — the definition of unprotected speech as set forth in the Supreme Court’s 1969 Brandenburg v. Ohio decision.

“Moreover,” Mehta added, “neither is alleged to have participated in the attack on the Capitol on January 6th or done anything in support of the alleged conspiracy other than engage in protected expression.”

The court proceeding served to underscore what Alexander believes is true: that he’s done nothing wrong.

“It was alleged I was violent or whatever, and Judge Mehta correctly pointed out that I was not, and my speech was normative under our laws,” Alexander told Raw Story in an email. “This proves I never directed, conspired or wished any violence to interfere with my peaceful protests.”

Meanwhile, Alexander has cooperated with other parts of the government hunting for J6ers to bring to justice. That includes the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, which grilled him with questions for eight hours but failed to extract from him any admission of guilt.

He also appeared before a federal grand jury last year and said that he was told that he was not the target of the investigation.

This is the story of how Alexander became the nation’s most untouchable J6er — for now.


Alexander is a convert to Catholicism with a messianic streak who has described himself as a “prophet in our times.” He has expressed support for blasphemy laws while claiming that the political establishment is “rigged” by “Satanists” and a “Jewish mafia.”

Born Ali Akbar, Alexander might seem like an unlikely candidate to lead the banner MAGA movement in support of Trump’s desperate quest to cling to power after the 2020 election. He chose “Ali Alexander” as his “professional name,” as he explained to the January 6th Committee.

“I’m the American Dream,” he told the committee in a prepared statement. “My mother was a Black woman in Section 8 housing. My father was an Arab man who disappeared when I was just two years old. About 15 years ago or so, I was arrested on two different occasions for petty crimes. I won’t re-litigate the merits of those offenses in this short time, but two arrests in your early twenties as a Black man often set people back, so far back that they never again find firm footing on which they can succeed.”

Alexander said his left-leaning mother considered moving the family out of the country after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But she didn’t, and the event shaped Alexander into a “war hawk” who believed, along with his fellow teenage Republicans, that he “must shepherd the general public into war.”

Alexander dropped out of college and “entered full-time politics” in 2007, he told podcaster Chrissie Mayr on Jan. 30.

“We had an internet problem, this Black guy was running, and I support John McCain,” Alexander said, referring to then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. “I’m more moderate in my politics. And because we’re up against this Black guy, and we suck at the internet, I was a very good web designer, and I was Black.”

In 2009, Alexander threw himself into organizing with the Tea Party, and he aligned himself with the emerging conservative media ecosystem of the Obama era. He adopted an ethos of refusing to disavow more right-leaning associates, and later told the January 6th Committee that he was influenced by Andrew Breitbart, the late founder of Breitbart News Network, who took the stance “that you don’t owe your enemies an apology.”

As a self-described “far-right” political operative, Alexander demonstrated a willingness to associate with white nationalists. In 2009 — a decade before he brought Groyper leader and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes into the Stop the Steal coalition — he befriended Robert Stacy McCain, a one-time member of the secessionist group League of the South and then-reporter for the Washington Times.

“When this guy was listed by the [Southern Poverty Law Center] as a white nationalist, I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can associate with the guy,’” Alexander recalled during a livestream last November. “And he basically became my best friend for a number of years — this 55-year-old white journalist, you know, I don’t know what I was, 24, 25-year old Black political operative. We caused hell!”

During the same livestream, Alexander defended Fuentes while urging the Republican Party to better protect the interests of white men.

“So, we’ve got to become a party that wages a culture war, that protects the white plurality or the white majority, that has an open door for other people that want to assimilate,” he said. “And we need less white, female political power in this world. You know, it’s an interesting juggle act that we’re doing.”

Ali Alexander on white nationalism youtu.be

Immediately following the 2020 election, Stop the Steal became ubiquitous as a social media hashtag that represented the far right’s protest of Joe Biden’s election and Alexander’s own personal brand.

It also marked the evolution of the slogan “Stop the Steal” into its contemporary form. The phrase “Stop the Steal” had been coined in 2016 by Stone, a longtime confidant of Donald Trump, to gird against a delegate fight at the Republican National Convention.

“Stop the Steal” received a test run following the 2018 election. During a late-night Periscope livestream in November 2018, Alexander called for conservative activists to get in the streets as results came in from tight US Senate and gubernatorial races in Florida. Alexander himself booked a flight to Florida’s Broward County and led “seven to 10 days of consecutive protests to protest the bureaucrats” after receiving a prod from far-right social media influencer Jack Posobiec, Alexander later recounted to the right-wing Catholic outlet Church Militant.

Alexander told the January 6th Committee during his deposition in December 2021 that he “created Stop the Steal in 2018” and that he has a “gentleman’s agreement” with Stone to have “perpetual use of the license.”

Even before the first election results came in on Nov. 3, 2020, Alexander was laying the groundwork for Stop the Steal in its current iteration.

“In the next coming days, we’re going to build an infrastructure to stop the steal,” Alexander said in a livestream on Sept. 7, 2020, according to a report by Right Wing Watch. “What we are going to do is we’re going to bypass all of social media. In the coming days, we will launch an effort concentrating on the swing states, and we will map out where the votes are being counted and the secretary of states. We will map all of this out for everyone publicly and we will collect cell phone numbers so, that way, if you are within 100 miles radius of a bad secretary of state or someone who’s counting votes after the deadline or if there’s a federal court hearing, we will alert you of where to go.”


Alexander was initially reluctant to activate Stop the Steal.

“Everyone’s like, ‘Ali, you gotta be prepared to stop the steal again,’” Alexander recounted to Michael Voris of Church Militant. “And I was pretty bitter. I said, ‘The Republican Party doesn’t deserve me. So, I’m not going to do it.’”

But Alexander relented. In a now-deleted tweet from Nov. 4 that was provided to Raw Story by the owner of the @Betoangelmommas Twitter account, Alexander outlined a wish list under the heading “#STOPTHESTEAL.”

Then, Alexander tagged right-wing figures he wanted on the ground in states narrowly carried by Biden. In Pennsylvania: Posobiec and Scott Presler, an activist who had organized anti-Muslim marches in 2017.

In Arizona: Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk and right-wing influencer Mike Cernovich.

For Georgia, he recruited Daniel Bostic, producer of the pro-Trump documentary The Plot Against the President, and C.J. Pearson, who came to notoriety as a 12-year-old in 2015 for a viral video questioning Obama’s patriotism.

He also urged Tom Fitton, president of the conservative legal outfit Judicial Watch, to spearhead his “legal network.” Alexander likewise tagged Amy Kremer, the veteran Tea Party organizer who would go on to organize the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse, and Ed Martin, president of Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, as “national” advocates.

The tweet ended with an ultimatum: “This or you lose now, enjoy!”

Tweet sent by Ali Alexander outlining who he wanted involved in the Stop the Steal projectTwitter screengrab

The contents of the tweet mesh with a Periscope broadcast on Nov. 4 during which Alexander said he was “busy organizing thousands and thousands of people” to join “voter integrity” rallies.

“We’re matching influencers with operatives, so every influencer will have an operative there also working with local media,” Alexander said, as reported by Right Wing Watch, a project of the liberal group People for the American Way.

“If you need a plane ticket, I’ll PayPal you money, because people have sent me money,” he continued.

The individuals singled out by Alexander — particularly Fitton, Kremer and Martin — share one distinct commonality: they’ve been part of the Council for National Policy, a “secretive right-wing organization that brings together people from all aspects of the right-wing movement, including extremists, and connects them all,” said Kristen Doerer, the managing editor of Right Wing Watch.

“It’s hard to know if the CNP directly provided support, but there’s a number of people in the CNP that did,” Doerer said.

As one example, Doerer cited Fitton, who submitted a draft to White House staff on Oct. 31, 2020 — three days before the election — proposing that Trump declare: “We had an election today — and I won.”

According to the document, which the January 6th Committee obtained from the National Archives, Fitton also suggested that Trump say that “the ballots counted by the Election Day deadline show the American people have bestowed on me the great honor of reelection to President of the United States,” despite the fact that there is no such Election Day deadline.

Whatever reservations Alexander might have initially harbored, they dissipated amid Trump’s refusal to concede. On the evening of Nov. 4, Alexander tweeted: “I’m back in. #StopTheSteal.”


Alexander’s utility to the conservative movement was his personal and professional network and estimable social media presence.

“I am one of four or five people in the entire country who has the Rolodex that I have,” Alexander told podcaster Chrissie Mayr. “So, when you think about it, because I worked in 35 states, and I have a network that most people don’t have over 15 years, I can call on a lot of GOP county chairs. If you watch me walk through the Republican National Convention, you will see me shake hands with no less than 10,000 people, literally.

“Other GOP operatives aren’t livestreaming regularly like I did starting in 2017; a lot of people know me,” he continued. “I don’t make money being a public figure. I make my money building and scaling large organizations, campaigns, nonprofits, working with lawyers and PR teams.”

Alexander’s swing state prospectus had a hole in it for Michigan, and Brandon Straka, the influencer who created the pro-Trump #WalkAway campaign, stepped up to lead a rally in Lansing. Straka told the January 6th Committee that he was recruited to help promote Stop the Steal through a private Twitter DM thread called “MAGA Verified” that was set up for Trump supporters who held Twitter’s coveted blue checkmark.

“And I remember at some point, I believe it was Ali, telling me, it’d be great to have someone in Michigan, we don’t have anyone in Michigan,” Straka told the committee. “And I said, ‘I’ll go.’”

Alexander incorporated Stop the Steal LLC a few days days after Election Day. He immediately began collecting donations through payment processors such as Donorbox and Stripe, he told the January 6th Committee.

During the Million MAGA March in D.C. on Nov. 14, 2020 — at best, the event attracted tens of thousands of Trump supporters, a few of whom became violent — Stop the Steal was “buying people’s flights” and “buying hotels,” Alexander testified.

Recounting the national blitz of rallies and social media activity after Nov. 4, 2020, Alexander told Mayr that the “coalition of influencers” that he assembled made a compact “where all of us had to retweet each other’s offline events, and no offline event was allowed to have our own branding.”

“You’ve got to read True Believer,” he told Mayr. “You’ve got to read Propaganda. You’ve got to read Persuasion. You’ve got to read Influence. There’s a lot of books and a lot of experience that allowed me to create something that looks — that is organic — but is more manufactured than people think.”

When Trump supporters converged in D.C. for a second time on Dec. 12, Stop the Steal again “needed to fundraise money for travel for our people, hotels for our people, expenses for our people,” Alexander testified. Alexander also used the popular Stop the Steal brand to help a Christian nationalist event called Jericho March raise money to cover the cost of its own rally on the National Mall, he testified.


On Dec. 16, Alexander issued a call for people to come to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 even before Trump, in a tweet, summoned his supporters on Dec. 19, 2020.

That day, Alexander tweeted to his 100,000-plus followers that “Stop the Steal is coming back to DC” on Jan. 6 — a tweet the January 6th Committee staff would later note in its research.

“I did come up with January 6th. The White House joined after I came up with it. They asked my permission to take it over. I let them take it over,” Alexander told Mayr. “And I deeply regret letting them take it over.”

Trump’s Dec. 19 tweet served as a “call to arms” for many extremists and conspiracy theorists, and “created a ‘fire hose’ of calls to overthrow the US government,” the January 6th Committee found in its final report.

But Alexander and his Stop the Steal partners, including Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), had already laid the groundwork.

Alexander testified that he assumed Trump’s tweet referred to Stop the Steal “because I was — literally everyone was going to capitals, and I had had a conversation — a direct conversation with, you know, Paul Gosar. And so, I just figured the president had to be tweeting about, you know, our presence or us.”

Alexander told the committee that he did not have any foreknowledge that Trump was going to promote the Jan. 6 rally on Twitter.


As Jan. 6 approached, Alexander’s rhetoric became increasingly militant.

“In 2021, we will decide whether the Second Amendment militia talk and 1776 is rhetoric or whether it is a threat against tyrants,” he said during a Jan. 2 Periscope livestream that has since been deleted but is archived. “In 2021, we will literally decide whether we have a trans-humanist future and the Great Reset, or whether we put them to bed. And I vote we put them to bed. I vote that we put them to bed. And I vote that we put them to bed by any means necessary, but as peacefully as possible. And peacefully as possible. And only escalating as morally allowed.”

In the same livestream, he predicted that Jan. 6 would be “a top three moment of American history,” adding, “So, what I’m here to tell you is you’re supposed to rebel. You’re supposed to kick dust in their eye. You’re supposed to throw a fit. Do not walk into the concentration camp. Fight back. Spit, claw, cut, bite. You should not play to the whistle. You should play past the whistle, and then you should punch the referee.”

During the same period, records obtained by the January 6th Committee show that Alexander participated in a Signal group named “Jan 5/6 DC OK security/VIP Chat” that was described by Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes as “a group for all event organizers and VIP speakers who need Oath Keepers PSDs or event security on Jan 5/6.”

The chats show Rhodes announcing on Jan. 1 that the Oath Keepers, a far-right group that targeted military veterans and retired law enforcement for recruitment, planned to provide personal security details to Alexander and Stone.

In another text on the same day, Alexander asked “how many guys” would be available to provide security at a rally he was organizing at Freedom Plaza on Jan. 5.

Florida Oath Keepers leader Kelly Meggs, using the moniker “OK Gator 1,” responded that the Florida chapter would provide 5-10 people early in the day, and 20 in the afternoon.

“Perfect,” Alexander responded.

On Jan. 3, Alexander told the Signal group that his “influencers” would be promoting a website at MarchToSaveAmerica.com headlined “Fight to #StopTheSteal, with President Trump.”

The website offered the explanation that “at 1 p.m., we will march to the US Capitol building to protest the certification of the Electoral College.”

“Then I’m gonna blast all events tonight to our lists,” Alexander told the other participants in the “Jan 5/6 DC OK security/VIP Chat.” He added, “Trump campaign is doing paid digital ads too to boost attendance. Today, we flex.”

Ali Alexander unveils the MarchToSaveAmerica.com website in the "Jan 5/6 security/VIP Chat" Signal group. Courtesy January 6th Committee

Alexander and Rhodes both talked about the possibility of civil war ahead of Jan. 6.

Speaking in December at the Jericho March, which Alexander helped organize, Rhodes called on Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act, which allows a president to deploy military forces across the country to suppress civil disorder or rebellion. If Trump failed to do so, “we’re going to have to do it ourselves later, in a much more desperate, much more bloody war,” Rhodes said.

Alexander, for his part, predicted during his Jan. 2 livestream: “We’re going to get the outcome we need. That outcome might lead to civil war.”

Rhodes and Meggs are among six Oath Keepers who were recently convicted of seditious conspiracy for their role in the insurrection.


When Trump addressed his supporters at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, he appeared to give a nod to Alexander, who was seated in the front row.

“Our country has had enough,” Trump said. “We will not take it anymore, and that’s what this is all about. And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with: We will stop the steal.”

Beyond building the infrastructure for a national protest movement and issuing the call for Trump supporters to come to DC, Alexander and InfoWars host Alex Jones helped shepherd Trump supporters from the Ellipse, where the president was speaking on Jan. 6, to the Capitol.

There was a plausibly legitimate reason for Alexander to go to the Capitol: He had organized a permitted rally in “Lot 8” on the Capitol grounds, although the rally would never take place amid the chaos to come.

“Alex Jones and myself were escorted out by Secret Service early before Trump ended his speech so that we could lead marchers to the US Capitol and help the flow of hundreds of thousands of people who were in the massive overflow,” Alexander recounted in a livestream on Periscope the following day. “We wanted to put them on the path to the US Capitol, knowing it would take everyone a half an hour to an hour to walk up there. So, Alex and I left the president’s speech.”

Before proceeding to the Capitol, Alexander and Jones stopped at Freedom Plaza. As Alexander looked at his phone, Jones began rallying passersby.

“The New World Order is on the ropes. That’s why they’re having to steal these elections. That’s not the actions of a strong group. That’s the action of a weakling. And we declare 1776 against the New World Order,” a video posted on right-wing social media site Parler shows Jones saying.

Phone texts that Alexander submitted to the January 6th Committee show that during his march to the Capitol, he was in communication with dozens of people, including two text groups related to Stop the Steal — “STS Patriots” and “STS Management.”

“Get out early and get those golf carts down Pennsylvania [Avenue] ahead of the president,” Alexander instructed the STS Management group at 1:15 p.m., as he marched with Jones and a security detail surrounding the InfoWars contingent.

To Caroline Wren, a fundraiser for the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee who had stayed back at the Ellipse, Alexander texted: “Is POTUS walking? Can you give me an update every five minutes?”

“He is not,” Wren responded.

Wren did not respond to messages seeking comment for this story.

When they reached the Capitol shortly before 2 p.m., the InfoWars crew climbed atop a stack of metal chairs. Jones addressed the crowd through a bullhorn.

“We’re not antifa, we’re not BLM,” Jones said. “You’re amazing. I love you. Let’s march around to the other side. Let’s not fight the police and give the system what they want. We are peaceful and we won this election. And as much as I want to see the Trump flags flying over this, we need to not have the confrontation with the police.”

Shortly afterwards, Alexander sent a text to Wren and fellow influencer Michael Coudrey, whom he described as “a right hand to me at Stop the Steal”: “We are D escalating the front side of the Capital.”

Coudrey, whom Alexander described as “a right hand to me at Stop the Steal,” led a group of Stop the Steal influencers accompanied by three Oath Keepers to the Capitol separately from Alexander and the InfoWars crew.

At 2:10 p.m., Coudrey reported to Alexander: “It’s over. They broke through and stormed the Capitol.”

Alexander and the InfoWars crew trekked from the west side to the east side of the Capitol and ascended the building’s steps, snaking through the crowd in a line with hands on one another’s shoulder.

C.J. Pearson, one of the Stop the Steal influencers, also wound up on the east side. Video posted on Parler shows Pearson, dressed in a suit and tie, climbing atop an official vehicle parked in front of the Capitol and raising his fist in exultation. Later, he texted a photo of himself to the STS Patriots chat.

Coudrey responded with a heart emoji, and wrote, “A moment in history folks.”

But Alexander was growing concerned.

“CJ, get off the car. Everyone get out of there. And do not text message each other start a signal group,” he wrote, referring to the encrypted messaging app.

C.J. Pearson at the US Capitol on Jan. 6 youtu.be

“The FBI,” Alexander added, “is coming hunting.”

The January 6th Committee staff asked him about his recommendation to move to Signal.

“I just did not think that it was good for people to willy-nilly be texting each other with all of the campaign to frame people and violate our privacy rights,” Alexander said in response.

Coudrey had already advised the STS Patriots group to leave the Capitol, after announcing that the permitted rally was canceled. He told the group they were going back to their hotel.

Brandon Straka, the #WalkAway founder, responded seven minutes later: “F*** no!! I’m at the Capitol and I just joined the breach!!! I just got gassed! Never felt so f***ing alive in my life!”

He later described the text message to the January 6th Committee as a “hyperbolic joke.”

After leaving the Capitol, Alexander went to 101 Constitution Ave. parking deck, which overlooks the Capitol.

“I don’t disavow this,” Alexander said, pointing toward the crowds in front of the Capitol as sirens wailed. “I do not denounce this. This is completely peaceful, looks like so far. And there are a couple of agitators that I obviously don’t endorse. But this is completely peaceful.”


In a Periscope video posted the day after the insurrection, Alexander appeared rattled, and contradicted himself on whether he had told people to go inside the Capitol.

“And so, I did call for people to enter the US Capitol,” he said. “The hundreds of thousands of people who are here are here at the behest of the president, but at the behest of the people, at the behest of the Constitution, at the behest of all of those things.”

Then alluding to his permitted rally, he said, “We were never going to be on the steps of the Capitol, and we certainly were never going to enter the US Capitol.”

Still later, Alexander said, “I would not have entered. I don’t think that people should have entered. I’m against entering.”

Alexander has hedged some of his provocative rhetoric by publicly stating that he tends to exaggerate.

“I am prone to hyperbole, exaggeration, and victory laps,” he told the January 6th Committee in December 2021.

In a boastful moment during a livestream last November, Alexander alluded to his role in the events of Jan. 6, as well as his friendship with rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, that could be read as either an admission of guilt or a ploy to build social capital with Trump’s hardcore base.

“I red-pilled the most famous rapper in all of human history,” he said. “I started a riot for the sitting president of the United States. Kiss my Black ass.”

Ali Alexander on Ye and Jan 6 youtu.be

To date, Alexander has faced no criminal charges for his involvement in the rallies that set the stage for the attack on the Capitol. Last June, he said in a statement that he testified before a federal grand jury, adding that he was assured by prosecutors that he “was not a target but a fact witness.”

Straka, in contrast, pleaded guilty in August 2021 to engaging in disorderly and disruptive conduct in the Capitol building or grounds. He received a sentence of 36 months of probation and a $5,000 fine.

Doerer with Right Wing Watch noted that unlike Straka, Alexander did not go inside the Capitol or tell other rioters, as Straka did, to take a police officer’s shield.

“He does, like, this stochastic terrorism where he will generally attack one subject, but add, ‘But we’re not violent,’” Doerer said of Alexander. “He’ll talk about general terms of violence, but say, ‘We’re not going to do that.’ He’ll add a shadow of doubt on these incitements of violence.”

Doerer also noted a subtle, but important distinction between Alexander and Rhodes, the Oath Keepers leader, that likely colored how the government views the two men’s actions at the Capitol.

“[Rhodes] was deliberate in organizing Oath Keepers to storm the Capitol, where Ali Alexander just generally used violent rhetoric and led people to the Capitol,” Doerer said. “But when it started getting super violent, [Alexander] was quick to take a perch where he could oversee it and not be directly involved in it.”

Beyond his email to Raw Story, Alexander declined an interview request and did not respond to specific questions about his activities. Among those questions: whether he received assurances from any backers before launching Stop the Steal, whether he communicated with anyone at the White House or the Trump campaign before putting out a call for people to come to DC on Jan. 6, how he learned that the Trump campaign paid for digital ads to boost attendance on Jan. 6, and what he hoped to accomplish by leading a march to the Capitol.

The January 6th Committee tried in vain to pin Alexander down after eight hours of testimony in December 2021. Citing a text from Wren on Jan. 6 telling him he should leave the Capitol, committee staff pressed Alexander on whether his provocative rhetoric had caused the violence that day.

“Why didn’t you push back on Ms. Wren’s assertion that this would come down on you hard?” the staff member asked.

“I was escaping tear gas,” Alexander responded.

“It’s because you know she was right, right?” the staffer continued. “You knew that… some portion of this attack would come back to you, because, for the previous three months and leading up to January 6, you had advocated for a revolutionary war? You had tweeted ‘1776,’ and that message came to fruition on January 6th, didn’t it?

“No,” Alexander replied.

Kanye West’s old presidential campaign bankrolled white nationalist Nick Fuentes

Nick Fuentes, the Holocaust denier and white nationalist head of the so-called Groypers movement, received $14,719 late last year from the 2020 presidential campaign committee of Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, according to a campaign disclosure filed today with the Federal Election Commission.

A Nov. 22 payment of $9,026.46 from the Kanye 2020 committee to Fuentes coincides with the date Ye and Fuentes dined with former President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago and political consultant Karen Giorno.

Fuentes received a second payment of $5,693 from the Kanye 2020 committee on Dec. 27.

The purpose of the expenditures for both payments to Fuentes are described as “travel reimbursement,” accompanied by a parenthetical note indicating “see below,” which is followed by multiple reported expenditures to United Airlines, Uber and Courtyard by Marriott for airfare, transportation and lodging.

It is not clear why Fuentes was reimbursed for travel if, as the report indicates, the campaign paid directly for the services.

A representative for the Kanye 2020 committee did not immediately respond to messages from Raw Story seeking comment.

The Kanye 2020 campaign committee stems from the rapper and businessman’s unsuccessful 2020 presidential campaign — although the expenditures to Fuentes are designated as pertaining to the 2024 presidential election.

Ye late said last year — amid a string of antisemitic tirades that included a threat to go “death con 3 on Jewish people” — that he would run for president in 2024. But he has yet to formally file paperwork with the FEC to do so and has no current 2024 presidential campaign operation, per se.

Fuentes has admired Ye as a MAGA avatar since the rapper started tweeting his support for Trump soon after the 2017 presidential inauguration.

Kanye 2020’s new report, which covers the period from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, also reveals payments totaling $49,955 to right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos in November and December. Yiannopoulos received $9,955 in November for something described as “domain transfer” and $40,000 in December for “campaign wrap-up services.”

Yiannapolous, a former protégé of Trump acolyte Steve Bannon and former senior editor for Breitbart, joined forces with the “alt-light” movement, a far-right formation that downplayed explicitly white supremacist beliefs around the time of Trump’s 2016 election.

In a social media post following Ye and Fuentes’ dinner with Trump, Yiannopoulos appeared to take credit for bringing Fuentes into the campaign, celebrating “what a powerful and deadly alliance I have assembled.”

Three days after the Mar-a-Lago meeting, Yiannopoulos donated to Fuentes’ livestream on Cozy.TV, while commenting: “My last super chat ever… because the next cash I send will be your paycheck. God bless you, Nicholas… and see you at the office on Monday.”

The Kanye 2020 committee, for its part, reported having about $229,000 remaining in its account as of Dec. 31, per its filing with the FEC.

Judge: Teaching people how to kill federal agents is not protected by First Amendment

A North Carolina man indicted for allegedly teaching a government informant how to make explosive devices for the purpose of killing law enforcement officers is scheduled to face trial next month after he attempted — and failed — to get charges against him tossed.

U.S. District Court Judge James C. Dever III rejected Christopher "Kit" Arthur’s motion for dismissal last week that argues he has a First Amendment right to teach people how to make explosive devices.

Dever's order clears the way for Arthur's case to go to trial, with jury selection set to begin on Feb. 28. If convicted, Arthur could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A retired Army scout and former sheriff’s deputy in Mount Olive, N.C., Arthur published manuals and YouTube videos that he promoted as teaching “wartime tactics to civilians for civil defense purposes,” while also providing consulting services to specific clients.

Dever wrote in his order that Arthur "provided the CHS with a strategy to engage and kill ATF agents, by trapping them in a 'fatal funnel.'"

The order quoted Arthur as instructing the confidential government informant: "What these dumbasses are going to do, they're going to hunker down right behind that damn armored vehicle and the other guys are going to run. And that's when you start lobbing your grenades on them with your freaking shotty."

Arthur's prosecution highlights a growing concern, particularly in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, about violent threats to law enforcement coming from former or actively employed members of the profession.

More than 1 in 10 people charged in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol are former or current law enforcement officers or military veterans, according to recent USA Today report. In September, a retired New York police officer was sentenced to 10 years for assaulting a law enforcement officer with a deadly and dangerous weapon during the attack.

Arthur told his clients that his trainings were based on his experience from two combat tours in Iraq, and later, working in a covert drug enforcement and anti-terrorism unit in the Army National Guard. He was arrested in a federal sting operation at a gun show at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh last January.

An FBI investigation into one of Arthur’s clients brought him to the attention of law enforcement.

In early 2019, the FBI began investigating Joshua Blessed, a Virginia long-haul trucker whose birth name was Sergeia Jourev. The investigation was “based on information that Blessed was organizing and recruiting for an extremist militia group attempting to engage in an ‘apocalyptic battle against the United States government,’” according to a recent court filing.

On May 27, 2020, Blessed died during a shootout with law enforcement after fleeing a traffic stop.

Investigators reportedly learned that Blessed had communicated with Arthur through his website and traveled to Mount Olive weeks before his death to train with Arthur.

In May 2021, court documents indicate that the FBI used a confidential informant to record Arthur during a training session at his home in Mount Olive.

During the training, the confidential informant hinted to Arthur that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had come to his house to take inventory of his firearms. According to the government, Arthur spent several hours outlining options for the confidential informant to “defend” his home, ultimately arriving at an option of last resort called the “spiderweb defense.”

“It evolves back to this technique,”

FBI Special Agent Greg Garey testified during a detention hearing in March 2022 that Arthur's approach involved "a spiderweb or creating fatal funnels on your property, setting up perimeter charges — explosives — around the CHS’ house, installing explosives in the walls to render the ATF or any other law enforcement to, when they come to the house, to render them useless, to kill them.”

Arthur’s lawyer has countered that the training was merely “a conversation between two adults where one person provided instruction and opinion on home self-defense measures,” and “not a clandestine event where Mr. Arthur was speaking to a radical activist whom he believed was likely to commit a criminal act.”

Arthur is charged with “the making and use of an explosive, a destructive device, and a weapon of mass destruction, knowing that such person intended to use the teaching, demonstration, and information in the furtherance of an activity that constituted a federal crime of violence, to wit, the murder and attempted murder of federal law enforcement.”

After executing a search warrant at Arthur’s home, the government also brought charges against him for possessing an unregistered PA-15 rifle — a weapon similar to an AR-15 made by Palmetto State Armory — as well as an illegal firearm silencer and other various illegal explosive devices.

In his motion to dismiss, filed in August, Arthur argued through his public defender that the federal law criminalizing bomb-making instruction for the purpose of furthering a crime of violence violates his First Amendment right to free speech. Arthur’s motion stated that the law “potentially criminalizes the myriad of published books, articles and internet materials." He also argued that “the conversation about how a person who has a lawful right to possess and use a firearm can be criminalized.”

In reaching his decision, Dever cited a 1997 Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding a civil liability judgment against the author of a book entitled Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors.

The judge also cited a 1972 Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding convictions of two members of the Black Afro Militant Movement in south Florida who had given instructions to other individuals on how to “assemble explosive and incendiary devices” in order to “prepare the members … for the coming revolution."Two days after Dever denied the motion to dismiss the case, Arthur’s wife sent out an email to subscribers who are interested in a “home defense wartime tactical education” that her husband's business markets.

“If you haven’t already heard, our educational side of the business has been silenced and seized,” the email reads. “Due to this oppressive and slanderous political persecution, we’ve been forced to put our teachings on hold until we can once again gain the freedom of speech.”

'I'll grab you': How Alex Jones and Ali Alexander were tapped to lead a march from the Ellipse to the Capitol

The massive body of depositions and phone texts published by the January 6 Committee just before it disbanded systematically demolishes any notion that the attack on the US Capitol was spontaneous, or that the rally headlined by Donald Trump at the Ellipse was a stand-alone event distinct from the throngs of supporters that swarmed over the Capitol afterward.

“So, we’re going to go walk down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Trump told his supporters at the conclusion of his speech. “And we’re going to the Capitol, and we’re going to try — the Democrats are hopeless…. But we’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones — because the strong ones don’t need our help — but we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

Before Trump uttered those words, Caroline Wren, a fundraiser for the Trump 2020 reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee, escorted InfoWars host Alex Jones and Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander out of the VIP section at the Ellipse so they could lead a march to the Capitol, according to multiple accounts.

The testimony and contemporaneous communications of those who organized the Jan. 6 rally show that the movement from the Ellipse to the Capitol was far from just a spontaneous response to a galvanizing speech. Plans for a march led by influential figures within Trump’s orbit — and perhaps even by the president himself — were an ongoing topic of discussion among organizers, and were well understood at the White House at least four days before Jan. 6.

Dustin Stockton, an organizer for Women for America First — led by mother-daughter duo Amy Kremer and Kylie Kremer, told the committee during his deposition in December 2021 that long after Jan. 6 he had heard about Jones claiming that the Secret Service “to get him early.” It jogged his memory, he told committee investigators, reminding him that he remembered Wren and another event organizer “pulling that group, like, out of the VIP section a little early.” He added, “I remember us, like, taking note of them leaving, as kind of odd.”

While Jones’ and Alexander’s early departure from the Ellipse may have caught Stockton off guard, the notion that Trump himself would go to the Capitol, as he hinted in his speech but ultimately did not follow through on, would not have come as a surprise to Kylie Kremer, Stockton’s boss.

“This stays only between us,” Kremer told Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO, in a Jan. 4 text exchange that the committee obtained. “We are having a second stage at the Supreme Court again after the Ellipse. POTUS is going to have us march there/the Capitol.

“It cannot get out about the second stage because people will try and set another up and sabotage it,” Kremer continued. “It can also not get out about the march because I will be in trouble with the National Park Service and all the agencies, but POTUS is going to just call for it ‘unexpectedly.’”

The documents also reveal that Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone and his former national security director, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, were contemplated as candidates to lead the march to the Capitol, alongside Jones and Alexander.

Wren came to play a central role in the planning for the Jan. 6 rally after Publix heiress Julie Fancelli reached out to her to express an interest in funding the Jan. 6 rally, ultimately committing to spend up to $3 million. As the person with control of the purse strings, Wren was in a position to exercise influence over important decisions like who would speak and who would receive VIP passes for the rally. In late December, Wren began coordinating with Cindy Chafian, who had been responsible for securing permits for previous rallies organized by the Kremers, but split off to join Jones and Alexander’s more militant faction in the runup to Jan. 6.

“Hi Caroline. I just got a message from Kristin,” Chafian said in a Dec. 27 text to Wren. “I’m actually working with her already.”

Wren testified to the committee that she didn’t know Kristin Davis at the time, but would later learn that she was Stone’s “publicist.” Wren also told the committee that Davis informed her that Stone “was looking to fly private” to DC for the Jan. 6 rally “if I knew anyone.” Wren said she arranged for Stone to use her Fancelli’s plane to fly from south Florida to DC. Stone declined to answer the committee’s questions about the flight, invoking his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination, but the committee obtained a flight itinerary that listed Stone and Davis as passengers that was billed to Wren’s consulting company.

In a video posted to his wife’s Instagram account six days after the attack on the Capitol, Stone reportedly said, “While I was supposed to speak at the Ellipse and lead a march from the Ellipse to the Capitol or speak at the Capitol, or at least allegedly was so, I decided I was not interested in doing any of those things.”

Stone later told Fox News host that he received a call on the house phone at the Willard hotel from two Secret Service agents who wanted to escort him to the Capitol on Jan. 6. Stone again invoked the Fifth Amendment to declined to answer questions from the committee, and he could not be reached for comment through his lawyer for this story.

A text from Jones’ security guard, Tim Enlow, to Wren also suggests an understanding that Stone would help lead the march to the Capitol. On the evening of Jan. 5, Enlow texted Wren about a call he had received from Joe Flynn, Michael Flynn’s younger brother.

“The General and his group need 6 VIP passes,” Enlow wrote. “He also wants to join Roger, Alex etc in leading the march to the Capitol.”

Text from Tim Enlow to Caroline Wren (US Congress)

Stone did not show up at the rally at the Ellipse, and expressed frustration in a text to Alexander that he was denied a “speaking spot” and that there was “no VIP entrance for any of my people.”

Wren testified that “Alex Jones’ expectation was that he and Roger Stone would lead a march from the Ellipse to their rally at the Capitol.”

Asked by a committee investigator to confirm that she escorted Alexander out of the VIP area at the Ellipse, Wren responded: “Yeah, because he was going to go with Alex. Roger Stone didn’t show up. And so, I asked Alex who, like, is there anyone else he’d want to, like, walk with, march with, whatever you want to call it, to go down to their event since Roger didn’t show up.”

According to Wren, Stone told her that he would like to march alongside Michael Flynn. Wren testified that she conveyed the request to Flynn, and he told her: “Hell, no. It’s freezing.”

Responding to a request for comment, Joe Flynn said in a phone text on Tuesday: “Anyone who believes anything Raw Story reports needs a frontal lobotomy.”

Texts exchanged among Wren, Stone, Enlow and Alexander throughout the afternoon of Jan. 6 reveal a real-time stream of information about Trump’s movements as well as conditions at the Capitol, as police lost control and rioters overtook the building.

“What’s the latest on when I go to set up?” Jones asked Wren at 12:27 p.m.

“Soon,” Wren replied.

Jones notified Wren that he needed “to hit the bathroom” on the way out.

“He’s about halfway,” Wren told Jones. “So 15-20 more mins then I’ll grab you.”

Wren told the committee she missed Trump’s call for his supporters to march to the Capitol because she was with Jones and Alexander.

“That was when I was walking Alex and Ali over to the perimeter and we stopped by the bathroom,” she said.

At 1:15 p.m., Alexander sent a text to group labeled “STS Management” that included at least five associates: “Get out early and get those golf carts down Pennsylvania ahead of the president.”

At 1:19 p.m., according to a text Alexander produced to the committee, he asked Wren: “Is POTUS walking? Can you give me an update every five minutes?”

“He is not,” Wren responded.

After leaving the Ellipse, Alexander texted Stone: “Get your ass to the US Capitol.” He added, “We have a stage & the presidents order.”

A note appended to Alexander’s production of the text to the committee explains that the text was sent while he was traveling to the Capitol.

“Alexander merely was urging Stone to join him in Lot 8 for the previously scheduled peaceful prayer rally,” the note reads. “Upon arriving to the Capitol area AFTER sending these two texts to Stone, Alexander saw chaos unfolding and, as a result, his planned peaceful prayer rally and protest never happened.”

About five minutes after Alexander’s text to Stone, court records indicate that two men led a crowd that included hundreds of Proud Boys past a fence line to a line of barricades manned by US Capitol police officers, who were quickly overrun.

“We are D escalating the front side of the capital,” Alexander reported to Wren at 1:56 p.m. “We are going to the southside, Senate side.”

“Ok KEEP THE PEACE,” Wren responded.

“There is no control on the front side,” Alexander reported at 1:58 p.m. “The police have retreated.”

“I think you should leave,” Wren advised. “This will come down on you hard.”

When the first rioters breached the Capitol grounds, Trump was still speaking at the Ellipse.

“He’s wrapping up 5-10 mins,” Wren reported to Enlow, Jones’ security guard. “He said ‘let’s walk down Pennsylvania.’”

“Ok,” Enlow replied. “Let me know when he departs please.”

Wren duly notified Enlow when Trump had departed the Ellipse in the presidential motorcade, adding, “Please please keep alex away from the violence at the Capitol.”

Wren could not be reached for comment for this story.

At 3:36 p.m., a friend lamented to Alexander: “The Capitol is a mess. Any chance we had of winning is gone. I am literally heartbroken.”

Alexander texted back: “POTUS is not ignorant of what his words would do.”

“He wanted this to happen???” the friend asked.

“I dunno but the anger of the people was never gonna go away without a legitimate result,” Alexander replied. “Wish it didn’t happen, but understand the people and I won’t denounce them.”

‘Are people going to the Capitol?’

The idea that there would be a march to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to coincide with Congress convening to certify the electoral vote was baked into early promotional messaging for the rally that materialized almost immediately after Trump’s infamous Dec. 19 “be there, will be wild” tweet.

Later that day, Kylie Kremer tweeted “The calvary is coming, Mr. President! JANUARY 6TH.” The tweet attached a graphic with the text “March for Trump” that advertised the website TrumpMarch.com. Trump himself retweeted the appeal on Jan. 1.

The contemporaneous emails and texts of rally organizers, coupled with their testimony to the committee, suggest Wren’s efforts to facilitate Jones and Alexander’s early departure from the Ellipse was in line with expectations shared among organizers and confirmed by Trump himself.

Taylor Budowich, who was brought in by Wren to help arrange for busing Trump supporters to DC on Jan. 6, told Wren in a phone text at 10:48 p.m. on Dec. 31: “POTUS needs to end his speech by saying something like, ‘Now go march on the capital. March to save America!’”

Budowich, who was employed as the spokesperson for Trump at the time that he gave his deposition in December 2021, claimed that organizers ultimately decided against a march to the Capitol.

Asked by a congressional investigator why he would say Trump should call on his supporters to do that, Budowich said, “Because, as I said, we were talking about a march through this process that was ultimately decided against.”

Wren confirmed to the committee that she had the same understanding.

“He’s just saying it didn’t seem like something crazy at the time, because we were still operating under this time like there was probably going to be some kind of march,” she testified.

By then, a feud between two separate camps of organizers had come to a head, with the Kremers and their allies maneuvering against Chafian to keep more controversial speakers like Jones, Alexander and Stone away from the main stage at the Ellipse where Trump would be speaking on Jan. 6. Katrina Pierson, senior advisor to the Trump re-election campaign who was enlisted into the effort by Wren, sided with the Kremers.

On Jan. 2, Pierson texted Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, and asked him for direction. That evening, they talked for seven minutes. After she expressed her concerns about the more controversial speakers tainting Trump were they allowed to share a stage with him, Pierson testified that Meadows told her: “So, why don’t you just take this over and make sure it doesn’t go bad.”

Meadows confirmed to her that he understood that Trump’s supporters would be going to the Capitol following the speech at the Ellipse, Pierson said.

“Yes,” she testified. “That is correct. When I gave him the lay of the land, told him where people were going to be speaking and that some people were going to the Capitol, yes, he agreed.”

Meadows received a subpoena, but failed to appear on two separate occasions in late 2021 to testify before the committee.

At 10:49 p.m. on Jan. 2, Pierson sent an email to Wren and Budowich, reporting, “Hey guys, I spent the better part of the day on the phone with these organizers, and was able to get a little guidance from the White House. Pierson’s email explained that she had color-coded some speakers as already being confirmed to speak on the day before the Ellipse rally, others who she suggested moving to Jan. 5 or a separate stage in front of the Supreme Court on Jan. 6, and still others as not passing vetting or raising additional concerns. In the subsequent paragraphs, Pierson clearly noted that Trump was expected to call on his supporters to march to the Capitol.

“POTUS expectations are to have something intimate at the ellipse, and call on everyone to march to the capitol,” Pierson wrote. “This actually works out, because Ali’s group is already setting up at the Capitol, and SCOTUS is on the way.”

Email from Katrina Pierson to Caroline Wren and Taylor Budowich (US Congress)

On Jan. 4, with the Ellipse rally only two days away, Pierson was again hearing rumors about an effort to sneak controversial speakers onto the stage with Trump, and she reached out to Dan Scavino, the president’s social media director at the White House.

“You need to come and talk to him, and let him put this to bed,” Scavino said, according to Pierson. At the time, Pierson was spending the holidays in Texas, and she booked a flight that day to DC.

At 4:30 p.m., Pierson met Trump in the President’s dining room, off the Oval Office.

“He asked me, he says, ‘Are people going to the Capitol?’” Pierson told the committee. “And I said, ‘Yes, there are some people going to the Capitol. There is a permit for a stage at the Capitol.’ And he says, ‘Well, I should walk with the people.’”

During the meeting, Pierson testified, Trump had indicated to her that he was not familiar with Alexander, but asked her to speak with Scavino about him.

At 4:23 a.m. on Jan. 5, after returning from a rally with the president, Scavino texted Pierson: “Just got in from Georgia a couple hours ago. He brought up Ali. Just keep him on stage not associated with POTUS or main event, POTUS said.”

Jones would claim that his march to the Capitol was coordinated with the White House. Dismayed at a tweet that described Jones as “admitting the orders were coming from Donald Trump,” Budowich texted Pierson four days after the attack on the Capitol, commenting: “Sounds like what Caroline would tell him.”

Asked by a congressional investigator if she was “aware that Alex Jones has said publicly that he was talking with the White House about leading the march from the Ellipse to the Capitol,” Wren responded, “Right.”

When Jones and Alexander would make public statements suggesting that someone from the White House told them to go to the Capitol, Wren told congressional investigators that she “got the sense that they meant me.”

“And I didn’t work in the White House, and they knew that,” Wren said. “But I didn’t, like, go correct them after the fact.”

Former Identity Evropa state coordinator runs for city council in Oklahoma

Judson Blevins’ enthusiasm in the month preceding the August 2017 Unite the Right rally was irrepressible. Writing in all caps in one of the private channels set up on the gaming chat platform Discord to plan for the white supremacist gathering, he wrote, “DAMN I’M GETTING EXCITED IS IT AUGUST 12TH YET???!!!”

Blevins announced in that chat that he would be one of four or five Oklahomans present, and that he would be “flying the original state flag of Oklahoma,” while lamenting it was replaced with the present design featuring an Osage buffalo-skin shield and seven eagle feathers reflecting the state’s Native American heritage.

In November, Blevins announced that he’s running for one of the six seats on the Enid City Council, representing the city of about 51,000 people in northwest Oklahoma.

The Enid News & Eagle reported Blevins’ alleged history of white supremacist organizing earlier this month, citing a 2019 report from Right Wing Watch that identified Blevins as the former state coordinator of Identity Evropa.

Identity Evropa was founded in 2016 by Nathan Damigo, a Marine Corps veteran and convicted felon, who modeled the organization on European identitarian groups while targeting white college-aged men for recruitment. The Anti-Defamation League describes the now-defunct Identity Evropa as a “white supremacist groups that is focused on the preservation of ‘white American identity’ and promoting white European culture. They promulgate the idea that America was founded by white people for white people and was not intended to be a multiracial or multicultural society.”

In 2017, Identity Evropa became increasingly aligned with Richard Spencer, representative of the suit-and-tie brand of white power organizing. Damigo delegated organizing duties for Unite the Right to Elliot Kline, who worked alongside primary organizer Jason Kessler to plan the event. Kline, whose former girlfriend testified that he was obsessed with exterminating Jews, was found liable in a default judgment for conspiring to engage in racially motivated violence, and a federal jury later ordered multiple neo-Nazi defendants to pay $25 million to plaintiffs injured in the rally.

Kline was expected to succeed Damigo as the leader of Identity Evropa following Unite the Right, but before the year 2017 was out Kline relinquished control to Patrick Casey. Struggling to cope with the fallout from Unite the Right, which resulted in the murder of Heather Heyer, Identity Evropa rebranded under Casey’s leadership as American Identity Movement in March 2019. By November 2020, American Identity Movement disbanded.

As Right Wing Watch’s 2019 exposé noted, chat logs leaked by the media collective Unicorn Riot show Blevins bragging under the codename “Conway” about a banner drop in Oklahoma City and distributing propaganda for the group at college campuses across the state.

In other chats, Blevins praised Brad Griffin, a propagandist for the Southern white nationalist group League of the South, for advocating for the prosecution of a young, Black man who was brutally beaten by white supremacists in a parking garage at Unite the Right, and using triple parenthesis, an antisemitic symbol, to reference various perceived adversaries.

“That old phrase, ‘You will not erase us, you will not replace us,’ — we have to have that attitude,” Blevins said on an Identity Evropa podcast, according to Right Wing Watch. “Every single day we have to have that attitude. We have to be of that mindset and we have to spread our message to other people.”

Blevins could not be reached for comment for this story, but in a statement to the Enid News & Eagle, he dismissed Right Wing Watch’s reporting, writing, “The labels applied to me are the same applied to any American who speaks out against the ruling liberal establishment. I am proud to have served this country honorably and defended our rights in the United States Marine Corps. I am absolutely opposed to the erasure of America’s history and heritage.”

Blevins’ campaign website outlines standard fiscal conservative positions that betray no hint of his past white supremacist organizing, even going so far as to avoid the kind culture-war rhetoric that has become commonplace in the GOP. The Republican city council candidate’s platform is concisely described under four subject headings: “Responsible spending,” “Encourage efficiency,” “Improve infrastructure,” and “Attract industry.” Under “Encourage efficiency,” the issues page reads: “My work ethic was established during the summers I spent roofing with my dad. I learned that jobs must be done well and completed on time. We should expect nothing less than the same from our city departments.”

In a post in the Identity Evropa chats in 2018, Blevins discussed moving back to his hometown to take over his father’s business.

“Today was my last day for a company I’ve worked at for over nine years,” he wrote. “Two months shy of a full decade, in fact. It was a great job and a great company to work for. I enjoyed the work and the people (99% huhwhite). It paid very well and there were excellent benefits.”

Part of his motivation for returning rejoining the family business, in addition to maintaining his father’s legacy, Blevins wrote, was insulating himself against doxing.

“This is also a big step for me in becoming anti-fragile,” he wrote. “I’m certainly not dox-resistant, there are many business relationships that I now have to build in order to weather the storm of being doxed should that ever happen to me. And there’s no guarantee that I will be as successful as my father was. I may fail. But I decided to give up living a content life when I took the red pill. Striving for greatness is part of our history, and it will define where we as a race and as a nation go in the future.”

Founder of violent white supremacist group RAM re-indicted on rioting charges

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has returned a new indictment against Robert Rundo, founder of the violent white supremacist group Rise Above Movement, and two other members of the southern California-based organization.

The superseding indictment returned on Wednesday alleges that Rundo, along with RAM members Robert Boman and Tyler Laube, conspired to violate a federal law against rioting by recruiting others to train for and engage in political violence at rallies.

The three men were originally indicted in October 2018, but a federal judge dismissed the charges in 2019 on the basis that they violated the First Amendment. In March 2021, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the lower court decision, finding that the unconstitutional provisions of the Anti-Riot Act could be severed, allowing the government to resume prosecution.

Rise Above Movement, or RAM as it is more commonly known, pioneered the use of skull masks, an accessory that has come to be closely associated with accelerationism — a tendency in the white power movement that seeks the collapse of society as a precondition for a race war and the rise of a white ethno-state. The government describes RAM as a “combat-ready, militant group of a new nationalist white supremacist and identity movement.”

The new superseding indictment largely replicates the original charging document, alleging that Rundo, Boman and Laube committed assaults at rallies in Huntington Beach, Berkeley and San Bernardino in early 2017.

The superseding indictment cites a Facebook post by Boman with a link to an article on the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer headlined, “Trumpenkriegers Physically Remove Antifa Homos in Huntington Beach,” accompanied by the comment, “We did it fam.”

As detailed in the original indictment, video footage from the March 2017 Huntington Beach rally showed several rally attendees shoving and punching two journalists from a local news publication. According to the indictment, as one of the journalists stumbled back, Laube grabbed his shoulder with his left hand and repeatedly punched him in the face. Later, videos show Boman catching up to one of the fleeing counter-protesters and kicking him in the back.

As the melee continued, Rundo reportedly threw one of the counter-protesters on the ground, held him down with his left hand and threw several punches at his head as other RAM members looked on and cheered.

The following month, during a rally that was celebrated by the white power movement as the “Battle of Berkeley,” court documents again allege that a RAM member punched a counter-protester while holding them down on the ground. Rundo, Boman and three other members reportedly crossed the line to confront counter-protesters and rip away a banner. Court documents alleged that Rundo began throwing punches at multiple people, including someone who was falling to the ground, and then punched a Berkeley police officer twice in the head as they intervened.

Several RAM members traveled from Los Angeles to attend the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. in August 2017. Three of them — Benjamin Daley, Michael Miselis and Thomas Gillen — were prosecuted separately for conspiracy to riot in Virginia, and received prison sentences ranging from 27 months to 37 months in 2019. As they had previously in preparation for the rally in Berkeley, RAM members taped their hands to protect them from injury before they appeared at Unite the Right.

Rundo founded RAM as a white nationalist fight club in southern California in 2016, after serving 20 months in a New York state prison for stabbing a rival gang member in MS-13, according to a report in the New York Times.

As a result of the fallout from Unite the Right, RAM members lowered their public profile in late 2017. In the spring of 2018, according to court filings, Rundo, Daley and Miselis traveled to Germany, Ukraine and Italy to celebrate Adolf Hitler’s birthday and meet with European white power groups.

According to the original indictiment, RAM members were photographed with Olena Semenyaka, described as “the leader of the International Department for the National Corps,” an ultranationalist party in Ukraine closely tied to the Azov Battalion. Rundo also made contact with White Rex, a Russia-based white supremacist clothing company that frequently sponsors mixed martial arts competitions. Since Rundo’s legal troubles began in later 2018, he has returned to Eastern Europe, and in November 2020, the investigative journalism collective Bellingcat revealed that he was in Serbia. Three months later, he was reportedly expelled from the country by Serbian authorities. In November, Bellingcat tracked down Rundo again in Bulgaria.

Rundo has continued to exert influence over the white power scene in the United States from his exile in Eastern Europe by promoting so-called “active clubs,” modeled in part on RAM, and through his propaganda outfit Media2Rise, which has produced videos celebrating rallies by the white power group Patriot Front.

In a blog post published in December 2020, Rundo promoted his vision for “active clubs” as local groups that would “combine fitness and nationalist activism, building camaraderie, and developing team-building skills.” Over the past year, white power formations using the “active club” moniker have cropped up in at least a dozen states, along with Canada and France.

"Rundo has been able to spread the active club brand in the US while he's been in Europe, and he outlined the idea of the active club as a successor to the Rise Above Movement," Joshua Fisher-Birch, a researcher at the Counter Extremism Project, told Raw Story. "In communications, he is the voice of authority regarding what is considered proper and how others should conduct themselves and recruit. He's appeared on podcasts, sold t-shirts with the movement's slogans, and has managed to make ideological relationships with members of other groups in the US, such as Patriot Front. Rundo is a model for his brand of white supremacism that seeks to normalize fascism and focus on a clean lifestyle and appearance, and fitness and combat sports."

Neo-Nazis from across the country attended a mixed-martial arts tournament at an undisclosed location in San Diego in August. Left Coast Right Watch reported that the event, which was heavily promoted by Media2Rise, marked the culmination of Rundo’s “long-time efforts to bring organized white nationalist fight clubs to the US.”

It is unclear whether Rundo is still in Eastern Europe, and what, if any, efforts US authorities have made to take him into custody.

Fisher-Birch said Rundo has previously "spoken about traveling while wanted and evading authorities," adding that "it is possible that he will try to avoid extradition."

"Rundo seems to enjoy the image of the rebel on the run," Fisher-Birch said. "He's been documenting parts of his travels since heading to Europe and has made inroads with local groups."

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article included a photograph of Vincent James Foxx. The subject of this article is Robert Rundo, not Vincent James Foxx, and Vincent James Foxx is not currently involved with the Rise Above Movement.

J6 report highlights two women with ties to militant groups ‘central to the violence’

While the final report of the January 6th Committee emphasizes Donald Trump’s responsibility for the violence on the US Capitol, a passage in the chapter detailing the role of the militant groups illuminates the organizing infrastructure built over the two months leading up to the attack.

“Marsha Lessard, the leader of a vaccine-skeptic group, Virginia Freedom Keepers, worked to stage an event with Bianca Gracia, the leader of Latinos for Trump on January 6th,” the report notes. “The women had ties to the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, respectively — two groups central to the violence on January 6. Latinos for Trump reportedly advertised their January 6th event with the same QAnon-inspired banner, ‘Operation Occupy the Capitol.’”

While the prosecution of members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys for seditious conspiracy has preceded on separate tracks, evidence from thousands of pages of depositions released by the committee over the past two weeks shows that the two militant groups were intertwined, and its leaders were working closely with rally organizers and influencers.

The report also highlights the Phoenix Park Hotel as a hub for the militants on Jan. 5 and 6, similar to the role played the Willard Hotel for figures like Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, and strategist Roger Stone in the political echelon of the effort to overturn the election.

A map of the web of relationships among militant actors emerges from the testimony of Kellye SoRelle, a former prosecutor from Texas who got involved with the Oath Keepers and came to serve as the far-right group’s general counsel.

SoRelle testified that she got to know Lessard through the “Friends of Stone” Signal chat [link to previous story], which she joined in early November while investigating allegations of election fraud in Detroit. It remains unclear who set up and administered “Friends of Stone” — described by SoRelle as a clearinghouse for coordinating “Stop the Steal” rallies and compiling “data” on election irregularities — but SoRelle testified that she believed that Jason Sullivan, a one-time social media consultant for Stone, added her to the chat. Sullivan declined to answer questions from the committee about his involvement in the chat, invoking his Fifth Amendment right to avoid giving testimony that might expose him to criminal prosecution.

SoRelle and Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who traveled together to multiple rallies in Washington, DC, as well as Atlanta and Dallas, during the critical period following the election, forged a close relationship with Lessard.

SoRelle testified that she and Rhodes joined Lessard at her home in northern Virginia for dinner while they were staying nearby around the time of the Nov. 14, 2020 Millions for MAGA Rally in DC. In her deposition, SoRelle also confirmed that Rhodes sent night-vision devices and a rifle sight to Lessard’s home one day before the attack on the Capitol. The New York Times has reported that members of Lessard’s group, Virginia Freedom Keepers, took part in a Dec. 30, 2020 conference call in which Sullivan said Trump supporters should “descend on the Capitol.”

Sometime in the period between the Nov. 3, 2020 election and the Jan. 6 attack, SoRelle also became acquainted with Gracia, who was the president of Latinos for Trump (since renamed Latinos for America First).

Gracia was close to Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio, who served as the Florida state director for Latinos for Trump. Gracia reportedly made a Facebook post in November 2019 displaying a photo of Tarrio posing alongside Donald Trump Jr. During a Dec. 12 pro-Trump rally, Gracia and Tarrio took a public tour of the White House. SoRelle testified that she learned about a Proud Boy named Jeremy Bertino getting stabbed during a confrontation outside Harry’s Bar through a text from Gracia.

The January 6th Committee concluded in its final report that Tarrio’s travel to DC for the Nov. 14 rally “appears to have been paid for by Patrick Byrne,” the former Overstock.com CEO who met with Trump on Dec. 18 and urged him to mobilize the National Guard to seize election machines and re-run the election in swing states. Tarrio told the committee that Gracia booked the flight.

The Oath Keepers and Proud Boys were working together as early as Nov. 14, according to SoRelle’s testimony. She told the committee that members of the Oath Keepers flanked a group of VIPs that included herself, Lessard, Jones and his InfoWars crew and cancer treatment skeptic Charlene Bollinger, as they marched from Freedom Plaza to the Supreme Court, SoRelle said Rhodes was personally responsible for providing security to herself, Lessard and Bollinger. She added that members of the Proud Boys formed an outside “box” to protect the contingent from counter-demonstrators.

Later, following Trump’s infamous “be there,will be wild” tweet, the January 6th Committee reports that Florida Oath Keepers leader Kelly Meggs called Tarrio and the two spoke for more than three minutes. As detailed in court documents Meggs bragged on Facebook that he formed an alliance between the Oath Keepers, the Florida Three Percenters and the Proud Boys “to work together to shut this s*** down.” The Florida Oath Keepers also became increasingly close to Stone during that period, and SoRelle testified that she learned from one of the members that they were going to pick up Stone from the airport in late December.

During her deposition, SoRelle identified both Gracia and Lessard as members of a core group assembled around Stone, Jones and organizer Ali Alexander that helped coordinate “Stop the Steal” rallies. The group also included members of 1st Amendment Praetorian, or 1AP, a security group associated with retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, according to SoRelle.

SoRelle testified that she observed 1AP co-founder Robert Patrick Lewis and “Yoda” — the nickname for 1AP member Geoffrey Flohr — “coordinating with everyone else.” She added, “And that’s Bianca Gracia, Marsha Lessard. Like, basically they kind of become, like, this — Ali and them are the ones coordinating everything.”

SoRelle testified that separate from the “Friends of Stone” group, there was an “organizational” chat she was not privy to.

“I know Bianca was” part of the chat, SoRelle told the committee, adding, “I know Marsha was because she was kind of telling me — like she was giving me details one time when she called, you know, like it looks like it’s going to be like this or whatever.”

SoRelle also included Flynn in the mix in her testimony to the committee.

“So, General Flynn is then the one that’s kind of over that,” she said. “So, as time goes by, I start realizing the controller of 1AP is General Flynn.

“Flynn is the one coordinating,” SoRelle added. “Bianca after that. So, I’m watching that Flynn is the one coordinating; then transitioning into, like, a giant speaking thing and all of that.”

Shortly after her indictment last August on charges of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, SoRelle told Raw Story: “Only thing I have to say, I hope they get the real perpetrators. Flynn, Byrne, Powell, etc those behind the Big Lie that set up the conservatives.”

Powell told Raw Story in response that she “urged everyone not to be in DC” on Jan. 6, adding that “Ms. SoRelle is way out of line.” Byrne called SoRelle’s statement “silly.”

Gracia and Lessard cohosted a “Freedom Rally” in front of the Russell Senate Office Building, a couple blocks from the Capitol, on Jan. 6. SoRelle told the committee that Alexander wanted the women to merge their event into a rally he had planned at the Capitol, but they declined. Gracia, SoRelle said, was “upset because she basically was, like, I’ve sunk all this money into this and I’m not going to go, you know, just because Ali wants to.”

Lessard joined Gracia for a Dec. 29 appearance on InfoWars to promote the rally.

“Being at the previous rallies, we realized that a lot of speakers on this particular topic — a lot of people who knew the truth about the Gates Foundation and what’s going on behind the scenes here really weren’t getting stage time,” Lessard told host Owen Shroyer, explaining the anti-vaccine focus of the event. “So, we just went ahead and we got a permit, and Bianca was so great; she helped me with that. And we decided to split the time.”

In response to an inquiry submitted on its website contact form, Virginia Freedom Keepers emailed Raw Story late Monday night: "We were not involved in anything other than a medical freedom event that day. The stage hosted separate events that day. Bianca had a morning event (we did not participate) and we had a separate afternoon event; this was detailed in the permit process. We never worked with or collaborated any of the other events that day and declined when offered.

"We had no other interactions with the Oath Keepers or their other associates outside of agreeing to let them do security," the statement continued. "The only capacity we known them in is free security. We do not condone any violence, ever. We were never aware of any planning or conversations for anything other than our specific event. If we had any indications this was going to be anything other than a peaceful event we would have reported that and canceled."

The organization referred additional questions to its attorney, who did not respond to an email from Raw Story.

Gracia could not be reached for comment for this story.

SoRelle and Rhodes arrived in DC on Jan. 5, the eve of the attack on the Capitol, and went to Freedom Plaza, where high-profile Trump supporters like Flynn were giving fiery speeches. While they were there, SoRelle told the committee, she received a phone call from Gracia. Up until then, the two had only exchanged texts, but Gracia invited them come by her room at the Phoenix Garden Hotel to pick up their VIP passes for the Freedom Rally the following day.

While they were visiting, Gracia received a phone call from Tarrio, who had just gotten out of jail for charges of burning a Black Lives Matter banner stolen from an African-American church and bringing an illegal firearms magazine into DC. SoRelle said she had been asked to help find a lawyer for Tarrio, and she testified that Gracia invited them to go down to a nearby parking garage to meet Tarrio. During the meeting, the committee noted in its final report, Tarrio told Gracia that the authorities had confiscated his phone, but assured her “they couldn’t get in there,” apparently referencing the two-factor authentication. Footage of the infamous meeting recorded by a documentary film crew captured Rhodes telling Tarrio that he “has three groups in Tyson’s Corner,” an apparent reference to quick reaction forces that he had mustered, according to the committee.

Later, during a car ride from DC to Baltimore, the committee reported that footage recorded by the film crew captured Tarrio expressing appreciation for Rhodes and saying that “for situations like this where there is a need to unite regardless of our differences… what he did today was commendable.”

After the parking-garage meeting with Tarrio, SoRelle testified that she, Rhodes and Gracia went back to the hotel and joined a large group in a lobby on one of the upper floors that included Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, along with members of 1AP and Latinos for Trump.

“We were drinking,” SoRelle told the committee. “There was lots of — and this is where the ‘storm the Capitol’ stuff will come into play.”

Around 4 p.m. on Jan. 6, Rhodes and SoRelle huddled with several members of the Oath Keepers who had gone into the Capitol. Later, they went back to the Phoenix to meet Gracia again. Looking back on it, SoRelle would tell the committee that she felt angry.

“So, after that, we go back to the Phoenix because Bianca, at that point, is checking in,” she said. “I don’t even know where Bianca’s at. That’s when she tells me that she came back and took a nap. And I’m like, ‘You had a staged event.’ I think it was kind of odd that she went and took a nap while her event was going on.”

Oath Keepers lawyer links Super PAC contractor to infamous 'Friends of Stone' chat

The final report of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol heavily focuses on Donald Trump’s role as a driver of events that day.

But evidence reviewed by staff investigators points to a coordinated effort by high-level Trump allies that directed the activities of the militant groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys that stormed the Capitol.

Testimony by Kellye SoRelle, a former prosecutor from Texas who is associated with the Oath Keepers, to the January 6th Committee illuminates the role of the “Friends of Stone” Signal chat in coordinating activities of militant groups tasked with providing security at Stop the Steal rallies, who then participated in the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

SoRelle, who sat for deposition over the course of more than nine hours spread over two days last April, told investigators she believes she was added to the “Friends of Stone” chat in early November 2020 by Jason Sullivan, a digital media strategist who had worked on the Trump campaign for Roger Stone during the 2016 election. Stone is a longtime Trump confidant and the namesake of the Signal chat.

Sullivan is a relatively obscure figure in the sprawling investigation into the effort to overturn the 2020 election, which unfolded through a series of dramatic hearings held by the January 6th Committee last summer. His name doesn’t appear in the committee’s 845-page final report, although he was deposed last August. But SoRelle’s testimony indicates that Sullivan acted as a convener, helping to bridge the efforts of high-level Trump allies like Stone, his one-time mentor, and the militant groups.

SoRelle is currently under indictment for conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and obstruction of justice for her role in the Jan. 6 attack.

SoRelle told the committee that while she was in Detroit volunteering to investigate election irregularities around the time of the Nov. 3, 2020 election, Sullivan contacted her to ask her to follow up on specific investigative leads in Michigan. SoRelle said that the basis for her belief that Sullivan added her to the chat is due to the fact that she received an invitation to join shortly after speaking with him.

“And I end up basically on the phone with Jason Sullivan,” SoRelle said. “Then I get added to this Friends of Stone stuff at this point. And I really have no relationship with any of them, other than they’re just trying to, like — they’re basically — because I’m on the ground, they’re trying to incorporate me in the loop, so to speak.”

Sullivan invoked his Fifth Amendment privileges based on a good-faith belief that telling the truth might expose him to criminal prosecution when asked by the committee who enlisted him to track election activities in Michigan, and who put him in contact with SoRelle. During his deposition, an investigator told Sullivan that committee staff understood that Sullivan was the administrator of the “Friends of Stone” chat. Sullivan again invoked the Fifth Amendment.

SoRelle had gotten involved with the Oath Keepers in the spring of 2020 through the anti-lockdown protests in Texas, and members of the far-right group went to Detroit to provide security for her while she was investigating election issues. SoRelle told the committee that by the time she joined “Friends of Stone,” around Nov. 10, Oath Keepers founder and executive director Stewart Rhodes was already a member of the chat. SoRelle said she believes that InfoWars host Alex Jones brought Rhodes into Stone’s circle. (In a statement provided to Raw Story in September 2022, Stone’s attorney said that “Stone has never met, talked to, or otherwise interacted with Mr. Rhodes.”)

Sullivan invoked the Fifth Amendment in response to questions about whether he ever came into contact with the Oath Keepers and about whether he was aware of Stone having a relationship with Rhodes from the January 6th Committee.

SoRelle told the committee that she perceived the “Friends of Stone” chat as a hub for coordinating the Stop the Steal rallies, as well as collecting “data” on election irregularities. The roster of members of the “Friends of Stone” chat also included Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio, who is currently on trial for seditious conspiracy for his role in the Jan. 6 attack.

Sullivan remained behind the scenes throughout the series of rallies in state capitols and Washington, DC leading up to the Jan. 6 attack. But on Dec. 30 he appeared on a conference call that included members of 1st Amendment Praetorian and QAnon followers. During that call, which was recorded by a woman named Staci Burk, Sullivan called on Trump supporters to “descend on the Capitol,” while indicating he was aware of plans by militant groups to prevent Joe Biden from taking office as president.

“There’s dates floating around for some of the people in the militia, okay?” Sullivan told participants on the call, as previously reported by Raw Story. “They will not allow Biden to go into the White House. That’s a fact. I’m not part of that. I don’t applaud that. I don’t endorse it. I don’t encourage it. But I do have my ear to the railroad. We have all the real-time social media intelligence you could imagine.

“And I don’t see any other way around it,” Sullivan continued. “Because, first of all, they’re not going to allow any election fraud to take place. It’s not gonna happen. Biden will never be in that White House. That’s my promise to each and every one of you.”

Sullivan again pleaded the Fifth Amendment when asked by the committee what he meant by “descend on the Capitol” and whether he was referring to the Oath Keepers when he mentioned “the militia.” Sullivan told the committee he didn’t recall who invited him to speak on the conference call.

Sullivan testified that he had expected “peaceful protests” at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and was surprised by the violence that day.

“I think it’s appalling what took place, you know,” Sullivan testified, when asked by the committee how he felt about Jan. 6. “Some of these Proud Boy folks I think were nefarious. I think some of these Oath Keeper folks were nefarious.”

Stone has attempted to distance himself from Sullivan. In an April 2022 letter shared with the press, Stone’s lawyer threatened Sullivan with legal action if he did not stop publicly representing himself as “Roger Stone’s senior social media advisor,” while acknowledging that Sullivan worked for Stone’s consulting business for 30 days in 2016. Sullivan told the committee during his deposition last August that he "was engaged by Roger Stone's super PAC for social media listening and consulting."

In his letter, attorney Grant Smith also accused Sullivan of leaking his own appearance before a grand jury as a witness against Stone in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

SoRelle told the January 6th Committee during her April 2022 deposition that Sullivan told her during their conversation in November 2020 that “Stone was mad at him over” his grand jury testimony.

“But he tells me that he’s basically trying to make amends with Roger Stone during that time,” SoRelle added.

SoRelle’s testimony received a brief spotlight during the sixth televised hearing of the January 6th Committee in July 2022 when the committee showed a video clip of her identifying Stone and Jones, along with organizer Ali Alexander, as the leaders of the “Stop the Steal” rallies.

“Those are the ones that became, like, the center point for everything,” SoRelle said.

Asked about “Friends of Stone” last July, Stone’s attorney told Raw Story: “Mr. Stone was included in the chat group by whoever established it at the time. Mr. Stone did not participate in any discussions in the chat and has no recollection of ever posting anything in the chat.”

But the final report of the January 6th Committee indicates that two days after the 2020 election, Stone sent out a text, reading: “We provide information several times a day. So please monitor the FOS feed so you can act in a timely fashion.”

Grant Smith, Stone’s attorney, said in an email to Raw Story on Monday that his client was not available for comment.

The brief snippet of SoRelle’s testimony included in the televised hearing last July has overshadowed her more detailed explanation to committee investigators about how the “Friends of Stone” chat served as a hub for organizing the election denial rallies leading up to Jan. 6. Immediately after confirming Stone, Jones and Alexander’s central roles in the campaign, SoRelle told investigators about her interactions with 1st Amendment Praetorian, a security group that worked under retired Lt. General Michael Flynn.

“They’re the ones orchestrating the majority of it,” SoRelle testified. Asked to elaborate, SoRelle told the committee: “So, the meetings that the Oath Keepers end up having, they’re the ones coordinating — they’re in the group chats with those particular groups.”

SoRelle confirmed in her testimony that 1st Amendment Praetorian, better known by its initials 1AP, helped delegate responsibility among the militant groups for providing security to influencers during the rallies.

“And from what you remember, 1AP played somewhat of a planning role, along with Mr. Alexander, Mr. Jones, and Mr. Stone, about where to send people for Stop the Steal rallies after the election?” one of the investigators asked.

“Correct,” SoRelle said.

Robert Patrick Lewis declined to answer a question from the committee about whether he coordinated with Rhodes or the Oath Keepers, invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege to avoid giving testimony that could potentially incriminate himself during his deposition last April.

SoRelle testified that 1AP’s role became apparent to her when the Oath Keepers went to Atlanta to provide security for a rally that featured Alexander, Jones and prominent white nationalist Nick Fuentes at the Georgia state capitol. SoRelle testified that when they arrived in Atlanta, 1AP leaders Robert Patrick Lewis and Geoffrey Flohr — whom she referenced by his nickname “Yoda” — along with Alexander, summoned Rhodes to a meeting at a hotel.

“And so, he was like, ‘Hey, we need to go over to this hotel, and I’m going to, you know, chat with these guys,’” SoRelle testified. “And he’s telling me it’s Rob Lewis and Yoda and Ali Alexander and that they’re coordinating just basically where all the rallies are going to be and trying to figure out schedules and stuff.”

Describing the scene in a “lobby area” on an upper floor of the hotel, SoRelle said, “It’s just, like, a giant open area. And, anyway, they brought beer and stuff, and we’re all just kind of hanging out and chatting and stuff like that.”

Following the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, SoRelle told the committee that Rhodes conferred with a member of 1AP who joined them for dinner at Olive Garden, although she could not identify the member by name.

SoRelle testified that Tim Enloe, Jones’ security guard, asked Rhodes to provide a security detail to Fuentes, and Rhodes refused. The dustup exposed a tension between what SoRelle described as “the conservative/libertarian” and “fascist/crazy” camps in the Stop the Steal coalition. As SoRelle described it, Rhodes and Fuentes got into an argument at a restaurant area near the Georgia state capitol about white supremacy and why the Oath Keepers refused to work with Fuentes. SoRelle said Rhodes walked off while Fuentes was “talking crap,” and she turned around and gave him the middle finger. Fuentes’ Groyper followers filmed SoRelle and made her gesture into a meme.

The committee report has identified Trump’s tweet in the early-morning hours of Dec. 19, 2020, in which the president tweeted, “Be there, will be wild,” as the singular, galvanizing event leading to the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse, which then set the stage for thousands of Trump supporters to overrun the Capitol.

The report emphasized the effect of Trump’s tweet by highlighting a Facebook message sent by Florida Oath Keepers leader Kelly Meggs on Dec. 22.

“Trump said it’s gonna be wild!” wrote Meggs, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy alongside Rhodes last month. “It’s gonna be wild! He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild! Sir Yes Sir! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your s***!”

Asked about the Dec. 19 tweet, SoRelle argued that it wasn’t only Trump’s call that mobilized the Oath Keepers to begin planning for Jan. 6; the set of relationships that had grown out of the “Friends of Stone” chats provided an infrastructure for delegating responsibility and a division of labor.

“Then it would have been whenever they started coordinating through Ali Alexander,” SoRelle told the committee, in response to a question about when the Oath Keepers started planning for Jan. 6.

“That’s what I’m saying,” she said. “It wasn’t based on President Trump. Everything was done off of the coordination that was being sent out. Like, ‘Here’s our next rally. What’s the next plan? Like, can you do security for this? Here’s the events that we’re planning.’”