He Led Chant of ‘Victory or Death’ but His 1/6 Committee Opening Statement Says He Had Nothing to Do With ‘Violence or Lawbreaking’
The former president’s chief of staff Mark Meadows may have reneged on his promise to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee, but Ali Alexander, the leader of the so-called Stop the Steal movement, has followed through, spending eight hours in a closed-door hearing Thursday. In a draft of his opening statement, which was leaked to the New York Times, he denied having anything to “do with any violence or lawbreaking that happened on January 6”—a statement that flies in the face of his own comments and declarations ahead of the insurrection calling for rebellion, including leading chants of “Victory or death!” at a rally on the eve of the violence.
The findings of the closed-door hearing have not been made public, but based on his planned opening and public statements, it appears the far-right organizer is attempting to simply deny wrongdoing and pass the buck. Alexander claims he did not foment violence and that on the day of the rally, he attempted to deescalate the violence with calls of “peace,” while other organizers were nowhere to be found. Such claims ask the House select committee to suspend reality and ignore Alexander’s real-time approval of Trump loyalists descending on and breaching the Capitol as well as the role of violent rhetoric that was a staple of his Stop the Steal rallies.
Even Alexander’s prayers for “peace” on Jan. 6 suggested that violence is what the government brought upon itself for not declaring Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election. He may have not explicitly told rallygoers to violently attack the Capitol and members of Congress, but his violent rhetoric, leading role in perpetuating the conspiracy theory that the election was stolen from Trump, and verbal attacks on officials in charge of U.S. elections smack of stochastic terrorism.
Alexander emerged from the hearing Thursday evening, telling reporters that the meeting was “adversarial” and that he was “truthful.” (The Daily Beast’s Zachary Petrizzo reported that Alexander was also served with a civil lawsuit related to Jan. 6 as he left the building.)
“Yesterday was one of the toughest days of MY LIFE,” Alexander wrote on Telegram Friday morning. “8 hours of accusations, lies, and conspiracy theories digging into my First Amendment rights.”
Alexander posted a video to Telegram of an interview he conducted before he went in, claiming he would “cooperate” where he could and lashing out against his critics.
“There’s this left-wing Blue Anon conspiracy theory that me and members of Congress worked to jeopardize the safety of their colleagues. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Alexander declared. “This evidence actually exonerates those members, this evidence exonerates me, and this evidence is actually going to exonerate President Donald J. Trump.”
Alexander had previously said that he “schemed” with Republican Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, and Mo Brooks “to put maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting” to certify the election on Jan. 6.
The draft of his opening statement echoes his denial of wrongdoing and suggests he has been made into a “bogeyman” and treated differently because he is a Black and Arab man.
“I had nothing to do with any violence or lawbreaking that happened on January 6,” Alexander said. “I had nothing to do with the planning. I had nothing to do with the preparation. And I had nothing to do with the execution.”
As Right Wing Watch alerted the New York Times, Alexander spent weeks in the lead up to the Capitol insurrection calling for “rebellion,” starting chants of “victory or death,” and using rhetoric of the American Revolution and spiritual warfare to call for action should Congress certify the election of President Joe Biden.
“Victory or death!” Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander tells Trump rally the day before the Capitol insurrection that “1776 is always an option” and “our government should be afraid.” pic.twitter.com/X8hsuxTPhh
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) January 18, 2021
On the day of the insurrection, Alexander took to Twitter early in the morning to declare it the “First official day of the rebellion.” Leaving the Stop the Steal rally at the Ellipse after Trump’s speech, where he was a VIP guest, Alexander followed far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones through the Capitol grounds and up the Capitol steps. At that point—around 2 p.m.—the Capitol had alreadybeen breached.
“Democrats and Media ended the Republic and the people responded. Welcome to ‘duhhh’,” hetweeted an hour later.
Alexander emerged on a terrace overlooking the Capitol to record a video, posted on the Stop the Steal Twitter account by his associate Michael Coudrey at 4:26 p.m.—well after the violence had begun. “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this,” he said as Trump loyalists continued to descend on the Capitol behind him. He added later in the video, “This is completely peaceful, looks like, so far. And there are a couple of agitators that I obviously don’t endorse.”
This is Ali Alexander, leader of the so-called Stop the Steal campaign, saying: “I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.” pic.twitter.com/0mP0xThAYP
— Kristen Doerer (@k2doe) January 6, 2021
In the prepared draft of his opening statement, Alexander also threw under the bus three other organizers of the Stop the Steal event that preceded the insurrection: Amy Kremer and Kyle Kremer, the mother-daughter duo of Women for America First, and Katrina Pierson, a former Trump campaign adviser whom the White House assigned to take charge of the rally planning.
“While I was actively trying to de-escalate events at the Capitol and end the violence and lawlessness, it’s important to note that certain people were nowhere to be found, including Amy Kremer, Kylie Kremer, and Katrina Pierson,” Alexander’s draft statement reads. “Press reports suggest they may have had their feet up drinking donor funded champagne in a War Room in the Willard.”
Infighting between the two camps had already begun months before. When Alexander relaunched the Stop the Steal campaign in early November as Biden’s victory was becoming more apparent, he had called on the Kremers (who started a popular Stop the Steal Facebook page) to join him. Soon after, the mother-daughter duo began a bus tour with the Stop the Steal branding, which angered Alexander. The two camps publicly sparred on Twitter ahead of two competing December events. The Kremers made it known that they found Alexander to be incendiary, and ProPublica reported that with Pierson’s help, they kept him and the radical conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from taking the stage at the Jan. 6 Ellipse rally. Alexander blamed the Women for America First leadership for taking instructions out of the program “ to provide clarity on exactly where to go following the Ellipse event,” which he said would have prevented the chaos that followed.
In his statement on Telegram Friday morning, Alexander suggested that he would not turn on anyone else, offering his support to those who are refusing to cooperate with the House select committee.
“Many others are using their constitutional rights to stop the Democrat Select Committee from violating those rights. I support those people using their right to not testify too,” Alexander said. “I chose to testify after the advice of counsel and with the thought: I fear nothing but God. I told the truth.”
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
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Donald Trump Just Called for Another Coup and Hardly Anyone Even Noticed
Donald Trump, the one-term ex-president who is running for the Republican nomination for president once again, on Monday advocated for yet another coup against the United States.
Trump is currently under at least four criminal investigations: his unlawful retention and refusal to return classified and other White House documents; his alleged election fraud attempts in Georgia; his alleged hush money payment to two women and the campaign finance issues those raise; and his alleged attempted coup, sometimes referred to as an “autocoup, or “autogolpe” – a self-coup – and the actions he took surrounding the January 6 insurrection.
After Trump’s expected GOP challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, was widely mocked two weeks ago for being unable to tell a reporter from a Murdoch outlet in the UK how he would handle the U.S. efforts to support Ukraine against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal war, Fox’s Tucker Carlson submitted written questions to all current and potential GOP presidential candidates.
DeSantis, in that now-infamous interview, had responded to the Ukraine question by telling the reporter: “Perhaps you should cover some other ground?” and, “I think I’ve said enough.”
READ MORE: Trump Falsely Says Mike Pence Is to ‘Blame’ for Violence on January 6
On Monday, sharing with viewers DeSantis’ new, written response, Carlson declared the Ukraine issue is the most important question of our time: “Until tonight, no one could really say with precision where he stood on the war in Ukraine, which is arguably the most important topic in the world.”
DeSantis’ response made news largely because it is in direct opposition to current U.S. policy. The far-right Florida governor declared the war against Ukraine a mere “territorial dispute” and not in America’s “vital national interests,” as NBC News reported. (Experts disagree with DeSantis’ position, with some calling the war against Ukraine a genocide.)
Trump’s response, however, should have drawn as much attention.
Carlson, in the video below, very specifically says he submitted six questions about Ukraine to Trump, DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Kristi Noem, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Greg Abbott, Tim Scott, Chris Christie, Chris Sununu, Asa Hutchinson, John Bolton and Vivek Ramaswamy. (Not all responded.)
According to the segment on his show Monday night, none of those questions included a question about “regime change” in Russia.
And yet Trump’s, DeSantis’ and Pence’s responses did, so it’s possible Carlson wasn’t being fully transparent, although why he didn’t mention he asked that question seems important. And to be clear, the Biden administration has made clear regime change in Russia is not the goal.
So, first, here’s DeSantis’ response that mentions “regime change”:
“A policy of ‘regime change’ in Russia (no doubt popular among the DC foreign policy interventionists) would greatly increase the stakes of the conflict, making the use of nuclear weapons more likely. Such a policy would neither stop the death and destruction of the war, nor produce a pro-American, Madisonian constitutionalist in the Kremlin. History indicates that Putin’s successor, in this hypothetical, would likely be even more ruthless. The costs to achieve such a dubious outcome could become astronomical.”
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And here’s Trump’s response that mentions “regime change”:
“Should the United States support regime change in Russia?”
“No. We should support regime change in the United States, that’s far more important. The Biden administration are the ones who got us into this mess,” Trump wrote, according to Carlson.
“Regime change,” as most know, is the removal of a current government, often by force, which could also be called a coup.
If you google the definition of “regime change,” you’ll find this: “the replacement of one administration or government by another, especially by means of military force.”
Certainly not at the ballot box.
Some might say, as they often do, “Well, maybe Donald Trump doesn’t know what the term really means.”
May 27, 2019: Asked about his military buildup in the Middle East and his pull-out of President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, Trump told reporters, “We’re not looking for regime change. I want to make that clear.”
January 3, 2020: “President Donald Trump said Friday that America does not seek ‘regime change’ in Iran, less than a day after the U.S. launched an airstrike that killed the country’s top general, Qasem Soleimani.”
Donald Trump called for another coup Monday night.
Watch Carlson’s segment below or at this link.
We asked every potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate to answer six key questions on the war in Ukraine. As promised, their full responses are below. pic.twitter.com/tjcM4w54cR
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) March 14, 2023
READ MORE: Trump: ‘World War III Is Looming’ and We Are ‘Doomed’ if You Don’t Put Me Back in the White House
Sarah Huckabee Sanders Signs Law Gutting Child Labor Protections for Minors Under 16 Years Old
Arkansas Republican Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed into law a bill further destabilizing minors in what was once called the “Land of Opportunity.” Her signature comes on the same day lawmakers sent to her desk a sprawling bill revamping Arkansas’ education system to allow wealthy families to remove funds from public elementary and secondary schools and put them into private tuition.
On Tuesday, Huckabee Sanders, barely months into her term, signed HB1410, the Youth Hiring Act, which guts child labor protections and removes what the new governor called “arbitrary” and “burdensome and obsolete” regulations that required the state to verify the age of anyone working who is under 16-years old.
Those regulations merely required “children under the age of 16 obtain an employment certificate, which is accessible to local school officials, before a company can hire them,” Quartz reports. “The change would end one of the only oversight mechanisms for child labor in the state.”
The new law “rolls back significant portions of the state’s child labor protections,” The Washington Post reports.
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Before Gov. Huckabee signed the bill into law, children under 16 were required “to verify their age and provide a description of the work schedule, as well as a parent or legal guardian’s consent, in the certificate,” according to Quartz.
While Republican governors and lawmakers across the country have taken up the mantle of “parents’ rights” as they support bans on books, sex education, and any discussion of LGBTQ people, Governor Huckabee has removed the right of parents to be informed of or consent to their young minor children getting a job.
Before Huckabee Sanders signed the Youth Hiring Act, state law prohibited “children under 16 from working more than eight hours a day, more than six days a week and more than 48 hours per week,” KNOE reported. “Opponents of House Bill 1410 have expressed concerns it will open the door to violations of these child labor requirements and put children at risk of human trafficking.”
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Quartz also reports that Governor Huckabee, who mentions her own three children in her official state biography, signed the law stripping rights from parents and children just weeks after the U.S. Dept. of Labor fined a slaughterhouse cleaning company $1.5 million for child labor violations, involving over 100 children. That fine includes $150,000 for two locations in Huckabee’s state of Arkansas.
This week Huckabee Sanders flooded her Twitter page with tweets praising her education legislation, including from former Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other “school choice” activists who call taking public education funds and handing them to private and faith-based institutions education or school “choice.” She posted not one tweet mentioning her stripping parents’ rights and children’s protections from state law.
FBI Director Wray Promotes COVID ‘Lab Leak’ Theory on Fox News, Leading Some Republicans to Talk About ‘Bioweapons’
FBI Director Chris Wray promoted the “lab leak” theory of COVID-19’s origins in a Tuesday evening interview on the right-wing propaganda cable TV network Fox News. Wray’s poorly-worded and confusing remarks led some, including several GOP lawmakers, to wrongly propose he may have been suggesting COVID was a bioweapon from China. They also quickly made their way into a congressional hearing less than one hour later when far-right Republican Rep. Jim Banks, citing the FBI Director’s claim, asked if “there is a chance that the Wuhan lab was involved in bioweapons research?”
Director Wray, who was appointed by Donald Trump in 2017, told Fox News’ Bret Baier the “FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.”
His “lab leak” claim is not the consensus of the medical or scientific communities, nor the intelligence community, nor the federal government of the United States, nor the World Health Organization.
Committee Member @RepJimBanks: Is there a chance the Wuhan lab was involved in bio weapons research?
Matthew Pottinger: We know the Chinese military is involved in coronavirus research. pic.twitter.com/G2OoxZBiPV
— The Select Committee on the CCP (@committeeonccp) March 1, 2023
As NPR noted, “Wray’s remarks are the first in public by a senior law enforcement official following the Energy Department’s classified report, published by the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, saying the pandemic was likely caused by a lab leak in China. That assessment was reportedly ‘low confidence.'”
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In remarks that could further fray the already damaged relationship between Washington and Beijing, Director Wray tossed around the allegation that COVID is the result of “a potential leak from a Chinese government controlled lab that killed millions of Americans and that’s precisely what that capability was designed for.”
His remarks have been seen as confusing.
In context, here’s what Wray said (video is below): “The FBI has folks, agents, professionals, analysts, virologists, microbiologists, etc., who focus specifically on the dangers of biological threats which include things like novel viruses like COVID. And the concerns that in the wrong hands, some bad guys, a hostile nation state, a terrorist, a criminal, the threats that those those could pose. So here you’re talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab that killed millions of Americans and that’s precisely what that capability was designed for.”
(Wray is off on the U.S. death toll, which is estimated to be 1,145,661.)
There’s debate on what Wray meant when he said, “that’s precisely what that capability was designed for.” Some took that to mean China’s Wuhan lab was “designed for” making bioweapons, and some took that to mean the FBI’s “folks” have the capability to investigate those biological threats.
Crooked Media editor-in-chief Brian Beutler, responding to a Twitter user, said: “To state the obvious, this isn’t the most natural construction of the actual words Wray spoke. But if it’s what he *meant* he needs to correct his own error in a high profile setting, because as it stands he just told millions of Fox viewers COVID is probably a Chinese bioweapon.”
To state the obvious, this isn’t the most natural construction of the actual words Wray spoke. But if it’s what he *meant* he needs to correct his own error in a high profile setting, because as it stands he just told millions of Fox viewers COVID is probably a Chinese bioweapon. https://t.co/8jrA62pH6e
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) March 1, 2023
Economist and frequent political commentator David Rothschild also pointed to Wray’s confusing remarks, tweeting, “Pretty sure Trump’s man (Wray) *meant* that figuring out how the virus started & spread is what FBI’s capabilities are designed for not that the Chinese intentionally created & leaked the virus to kill millions of Americans: Wray should clarify what he spewed on Republican TV.”
And indeed, it didn’t take long for another far-right Republican, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, to make clear why what Wray said was dangerous and reckless: “Chris Wray made it sound like #Covid was part of a bioweapons program.”
Chris Wray made it sound like #Covid was part of a bioweapons program
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) March 1, 2023
The Director also said, “our work related to this continues and there are not a whole lot of details I can share that aren’t classified. I will just make the observation that the Chinese government seems to me has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here, the work that we’re doing the work that our U.S. government and close foreign partners are doing, and that’s unfortunate for everybody.”
Chris Wray on Fox News: “The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan … [it] killed millions of Americans and that’s precisely what that capability was designed for.” pic.twitter.com/Z383qTg3DG
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 1, 2023
NPR, reporting on Wray’s remarks, noted that “the FBI’s assessment is far from universal. Four other U.S. intelligence agencies as well as the National Intelligence Council say, with low confidence, that COVID emerged through natural transmission.”
READ MORE: ‘Just a Disgrace’: Former DOJ Officials Express Concern, Call for Resignation of FBI Director Wray
“Eight U.S. government agencies are investigating the source of COVID-19, and they remain very divided on the issue. None of them is certain about the cause. Four lean toward natural causes. Two haven’t taken a position,” NPR’s report adds.. “Meanwhile, the evidence produced by the greater scientific community points overwhelmingly to a natural cause, via exposure to an infected animal.”
NBC News reporter Kevin Collier posted the Intelligence Community’s assessment, which was produced prior to Wray’s Tuesday night remarks. He notes the IC assessment “hid which agency thinks what,” and adds: “That the FBI decided to come forth like this, and doing so by heavily touting a major Wray interview on Fox News, is certainly a choice.”
After his interview the FBI posted a portion of his remarks to Twitter.
The previous public IC assessment hid which agency thinks what re: the lab leak vs natural origins. That the FBI decided to come forth like this, and doing so by heavily touting a major Wray interview on Fox News, is certainly a choice. https://t.co/wYaWCIaVOl pic.twitter.com/xvnAXo8vH5
— Kevin Collier (@kevincollier) March 1, 2023
Others were also quick to respond to Wray’s remarks.
“Wray now claiming lab leak of bioweapon designed to kill Americans,” tweeted the founder and publisher of Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall.
Nicholas Bauer, PhD, tweeted, “Biden should fire Wray. Not because of the underlying content – the FBI hasn’t changed its position – but poor judgment to get interviewed on Fox News and participate in this clearly choreographed media influence blitz.”
Journalist, author, and conspiracy theory expert Mike Rothschild slammed Director Wray: “‘Most likely a potential lab incident’ is pretty big hedge from Wray regarding the lab leak theory. Also, why is the FBI giving an opinion on something that seems like the CIA or CDC’s territory?”
“This is a meaningless statement that sounds designed to do nothing other than get airtime on Fox News,” Rothschild added. “How did they assess this? What is the evidence? What *exact* path did the ‘leak’ take?”
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