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 already been breached.
“Democrats and Media ended the Republic and the people responded. Welcome to ‘duhhh’,” he tweeted 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.”