Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, posted messages on social media repeatedly before the insurrection casting doubt on the validity of mail-in ballots and suggesting, baselessly, that a “criminal element” was at hand courtesy of Democrats. He also shared disinformation from Breitbart.
This December, ‘Stop the Steal’ movement founder Ali Alexander told investigators on the Jan. 6 committee that he exchanged a text message with Brooks in the run-up to the attack. Brooks initially denied communicating with Alexander. This week Brooks admitted to the text and as noted by the Alabama Political Reporter, he played it down. It was “so innocuous and forgettable that Congressman Brooks did not recall it,” a spokesperson for Brooks told APR.
The text from Alexander to Brooks:
“Congressman, this is Ali Alexander. I am the founder of Stop the Steal, the protests happening in all 50 states,” Alexander wrote in the text, shared by Brooks. “We met years ago back in 2010, during the tea party when you were first elected. I texted the wrong number. I had intended to invite you to our giant Saturday prayer rally in DC, this past weekend. Also Gen. (Michael) Flynn should be giving you a ring. We stand ready to help. Jan 6th is a big moment in our republic.”
Alexander also said he spoke to Arizona Republican Paul Gosar. Gosar, was censured by the House in November for sharing a video depicting the murder of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden. Alexander also claimed to have spoken to Rep. Andy Biggs, another Arizona Republican. Gosar, Brooks, and Biggs are members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus. Lofgren’s social media report also archives multiple public remarks from Gosar and Biggs.
Brooks on Nov 5:
“But in a bigger sense, part of the problem is the uncertainty interjected into the election process by this early mailing of ballots en masse… The only weakness in the Alabama system is that you don’t really know if a person is an American citizen who can lawfully vote, and that’s because the Democrats out of Washington, D.C. have made it extraordinarily difficult for election officials to determine if a person is a United States citizen when they register to vote… Well of course Democrats want that kind of process because it has more vulnerabilities to election fraud. And the Democrats are renown for engaging in election fraud, voter fraud, election theft, however you want to categorize it… You don’t see the Democrats doing anything at all that minimizes the risk of election fraud, of non-citizens voting. Everything that the Democrats seemingly push for, creates another weakness that the criminal element that wants to steal elections can exploit… I have concerns about all of them… I’ll tell you right now, I don’t have confidence, if Joe Biden is reportedly elected President of the United States, I do not have confidence that the person who would be sworn in, was sworn in because that person in fact got the lawful votes needed to win the electoral college… based on all of the things I know about election theft and voter fraud from the past, coupled with how much easier it is to steal an election or engage in voter fraud with this system that the Democrats have been so successful in implementing around the country that has weakened my and a lot of other[s’] faith in the system.”
Ten days after President Joe Biden was declared winner of the 2020 election, Brooks pushed discredited theories of “uncounted ballots” in Georgia. Georgia was a key target of the Trump administration’s election subversion strategy, according to records and witness testimony obtained by the Jan. 6 Committee.
Jeffrey Clark, a former Department of Justice attorney, focused on Georgia as a part of his alleged attempt to oust former Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at Trump’s behest and install himself. Rosen ultimately refused to go along with a pressure campaign.
More Brooks on Georgia:
Brooks continued well into December, addressing Trump on Twitter and making claims of “illegal alien block votes” influencing the election.
He also used a winky-face emoji to confirm reporting that he was voting to overturn the election results on Jan. 6:
Before a segment where Brooks said the 2020 election was plagued by the “worst election theft in the history of the United States,” the host of Fox & Friends First opened the show saying Brooks had “earned him[self] a big thank you from President Trump.”
Joined by two dozen fellow Republicans, Brooks called on Attorney General William Barr to investigate in Georgia. He also objected to counts in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Wisconsin, Texas, Arizona, Michigan, and elsewhere. He railed against Mitch McConnell when the former Senate majority leader warned Republicans not to object on Jan. 6.
Roughly two weeks before the Capitol attack, Brooks called on Americans to fight, saying: “The Socialist Democrats have successfully stolen votes from the American people in2020 and we need to fight and take it back.”
The “fight for America” was on on Jan. 6. And with bicameral support from Sen. Josh Hawley:
On Jan. 2, Brooks said “morale is high” and it’s time to “fight” as he and more than 50 lawmakers including Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan prepared for a conference call with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and President Trump.
On Jan. 5 Brooks announces he will speak at the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally at the Capitol. Trump invited him personally to speak about the so-called election fraud conspiracy:
On Jan. 6 at 12:01 p.m., Brooks streams his speech at the rally at the Ellipse. The riot would ensue in less than an hour.
Brooks sent out seven tweets while the riot was unfolding just outside the chambers. He called Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado “passionate” and praised other lawmakers joining the objection. Then as he recorded Gosar’s objection, he acknowledges the breach saying doors are locked and noting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has left.
During the riot, Brooks spreads rumors before being forced to evacuate the chamber:
After 5 PM, Brooks issues a statement condemning the violence and says he is a former target of “Socialist Democrat gunfire.” Later that night he would continue to stoke disinformation while demanding an investigation into the storming of the capitol.
For weeks after the attack, Brooks was on the defensive, attacking the media for reporting his own words and actions back to him.
Reps. Jerry Carl and Barry Moore, also of Alabama, were equally vocal from November through Jan. 6.
Moore, in a Breitbart interview on Jan. 5, laid the rhetoric on thick, saying: “We’ve got to fight for election integrity for the future of this country… A lot of people don’t think we can win this fight but we have to fight.”
Twitter suspended Moore’s personal Twitter account after the riot exploded and after he spread conspiracy about “racial justice” and antifa activists inciting the insurgence.
Rep. Andy Biggs, never a shrinking violet, pushed the election fraud agenda hard. He tweeted and then deleted a post from Charlie Kirk inviting people to protest in Arizona on Nov. 6 and to “hold the line.” He retweeted Donald Trump Jr.’s call for his father to “go to total war” on Nov. 5. He retweeted Dan Bongino’s plea on Nov. 7 for the “biggest political rally in modern American history” and then deleted that retweet nine weeks later on Jan. 9. On Nov. 7 he wrote an opinion column for TownHall.com titled “The Only Way Forward is to Fight”—the link to which is now unavailable on Biggs’ Facebook page. Biggs did not immediately return request for comment on Dec. 22.
A little over a month after Biden was declared the winner, Biggs used his social media platform to amplify voter fraud allegations. Two days before a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally in Washington erupted in violence, Biggs tweeted:
Biggs also tweeted “Never surrender!” on Jan. 4 and in the same breath linked to a tweet from Dan Bongino reading: “CONCEDE NOTHING!” During the breach, Biggs posted clips of his remarks from the floor objecting to the count. On Jan. 8, he railed against anti-Trump Democrats and defended the former president, saying that an “impeachment plot” was brewing. By Jan. 11 after his political rival Joan Greene said on Facebook that he, Rep. Mo Brooks, and Paul Gosar plotted the insurrection, he threatened a defamation suit.
Rep. Paul Gosar’s social media feeds were littered with conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. He was seen posing for photos with members of hate groups like the Proud Boys over six months before the Capitol assault, but his affinity for the group reportedly stretches back years.
In November, Gosar joined rallies at state capitols. He championed “conquering the Hill” at a rally in December in Arizona.
On Nov. 6, Gosar asked to be first in line for scrutiny and later praised Ali Alexander. Alexander has since deleted the message retweeted by Gosar where Ali said: “Ali Alexander addresses nation ahead of nationwide State Capitol rallies happening NOON tomorrow.”
Gosar attended various rallies demanding an audit and spent weeks promoting Trump’s claims to victory. Dozens of pages from Lofgren’s social media report are devoted just to Gosar’s missives alone. He lauded “teamwork” with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and on Dec. 6 dug himself deeper, demanding audits in Arizona. On Dec. 7 he wrote a letter to the state of Arizona, questioning if the U.S. was witnessing an “open coup” and tagged Trump and Giuliani, saying he was responsible for the first ‘Stop the Steal’ rally in the state. He called news of an audit “28 bitch slaps” for Arizona Gov. Doug Doucey as he demanded Doucey’s recall.
He was outraged at Doucey for refusing to “talk to Trump” on Dec. 9.
After the insurrection, on Jan. 11, Gosar deleted a Dec. 19 tweet where he bragged about making a ‘Stop the Steal’ stage his own. Before the insurrection, on Dec. 21 and Dec. 22, he bragged about meeting with Trump in the Oval Office.
On Dec. 23 he promoted a bunk theory that Vice President Mike Pence could control the outcome of the election.
The next day on Dec. 24, he announced a press conference with ‘Stop the Steal’ leaders. On Jan. 11 he deleted that tweet. Eight days before the Capitol breach, Gosar amplifies Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene:
Gosar announces on Dec. 30 that he will attend the rally on Jan. 6 with Ali Alexander. In this message Gosar retweeted Trump, who wrote at the time, “JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!”
Four days before the attack, Gosar asked for “patriots” to “HOLD THE LINE.”
Two days before the attack, with a glossy graphic, Gosar asked who would join him on Jan. 6:
The morning of Jan. 6, Gosar retweeted an interview where he discussed what he would do if he were Pence. Evidence obtained by the Jan. 6 Committee has illuminated the breadth and depth of the pressure campaign on Pence to go along with Trump’s attempts to overturn the election
Just before the riots erupted, Gosar tweets: “Don’t make me come over there” as he demands Biden’s concession and tags Alexander Ali.
As the riots were underway, there were two sides to Gosar: one on Twitter and the other on Parler, where he posted a photo of rioters scaling the Capitol and said, “Americans are upset.”
During the attack, Gosar became defensive:
Another Arizona Republican, Rep. Debbie Lesko, tweeted an interview where she would not say how she would vote on certification, even as the riot was underway. She later said she predicted “there would be a problem” but she did not foresee something happening at “the magnitude” it did on Jan. 6. She ended up voting against certification.
GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, spent weeks posting messages on Twitter attacking Pelosi and suggesting that Democrats were engaged in voter fraud.
Before the attack, he asked people not to be quiet:
He was largely quiet on Twitter on the day of the attack, tweeting archived footage from election objections filed by Democrats in 2005 at around noon. He posted another message after 10 PM on Jan. 6: His own speech from the floor condemning the violence of the day.
Other lawmakers, like Rep. Lauren Boebert, promised to fight early on and invoked the ubiquitous “hold the line” rhetoric:
Boebert’s rants continued unabated for weeks and weeks after the election. The Lofgren social media report provides pages upon pages of Boebert’s tweets alone.
She was a blanketing the false message of widespread voter fraud regularly.
And on Dec. 6, one month before the attack, Boebert wrote: “The fight for freedom never ended, some of us just got too comfortable being told how to live life. The determination of 1776 has been reignited.”
In a video posted to Facebook 48 hours later, Boebert said she met with Trump in the Oval. In the clip she said: “I want President Trump to fight until this election is actually over… I had the privilege of spending time with President Trump in the Oval Office a few days ago, and I encouraged him to use all of the legal means he had to make sure this was a fair election… I can assure you he’s definitely in this fight until the end… This election is not over.”
On Dec. 19, Boebert for the first time asks followers to mark their calendars for Jan. 6. She announced her intent to object to certification on Christmas eve.
Two days after Christmas she asks who will stand with Trump in D.C.:
A day after that, Boebert says the people are needed to put pressure on state legislatures to rescind certification and calls for pressure on senators and congressman to object on Jan. 6:
The attack was now days away. Boebert lashed out at Democrats and urged against playing by the rules:
Boebert was excited by the impending certification ceremony, saying the first six days of 2021 would be decisive. On Jan. 2 she would express gratitude to senators for announcing their plans to object.
The pressure on Pence was palpable:
On Jan. 5 Boebert tweeted: “Remember these next 48 hours. These are some of the most important days in American history.”
On the day of the insurrection, Boebert wrote: “Today is 1776.”
As Trump began his speech and the attack was less than an hour from unfolding, Boebert made urgent calls on Twitter and said she would “fight with everything” she had.
Once the riot was underway, Boebert announced the lockdown and disclosed that Speaker Pelosi was removed from the chamber
Two days after the insurrection, Boebert changed her profile picture to a portrait of Trump and posted a video on Twitter defending her vote to object. For a week after the attack, she appeared on social media chastising Democrats, accusing them of violence and playing coy around questions about her tweet saying Pelosi had been removed from the chamber on Jan. 6. Boebert condemned the violence after the attack but continued to amplify Trump’s election fraud conspiracy.
Other vocal Trump allies like Rep. Matt Gaetz—currently under investigation by the Justice Department—spent weeks before the election crying fraud without proof and on Nov. 5, Gaetz suggested the Justice Department could step in and evaluate votes in Pennsylvania. Similar pleas would be made by Gaetz for DOJ involvement for weeks after the election. Attorney General William Barr last December found no proof of election fraud.
He also posted and deleted tweets about alleged voter fraud in Pennsylvania and on Nov. 9 tweeted an article where Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said only legal votes would be cast. “Great hearing from you,” Gaetz wrote.
He said on Nov. 12 that he spoke to Trump about election fraud and that Trump was “ready for battle.” He appeared on Steve Bannon’s show War Room a week after that. Bannon, investigators say, may have been integral to coordinating the attack, He was indicted on contempt of Congress charges this winter and awaits a summer trial. On Nov. 30, Gaetz appeared on Fox News, calling for people to “stand and fight”
On Dec. 21, just after 6 p.m. Gaetz called for a defense of the election.
A day later he retweeted a post from Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, which said several members of Congress had met with Trump.
On Jan. 4, Gaetz urged people to “fight like hell” for America “with all that we have.”
America, he added, would not be left undefended on Jan. 6.
Tens of thousands might be marching in the streets on Jan. 6, Gaetz said 24 hours before the siege. He also cast doubt on whether Pelosi would permit debate. She made no indication she would not.
“One question remaining is whether or not Nancy Pelosi will even allow the two hours of constitutionally-authorized debate on these questions. But when you’ve got tens of thousands of people potentially marching in the streets in Washington, D.C., tomorrow, I think it would be a very bad look for the People’s House not to entertain debate if we have a constitutionally acceptable objection signed by a House Member and a Senator,” Gaetz said.
On the day of the attack, Gaetz tweeted lightly. Around noon, he suggested criticism of elections made them better. He tweeted again at 10 PM, sharing an article suggesting facial recognition was used to pick up extremists in the crowd. The Washington Times removed the article he posted below after the facial recognition company said the claims were false.
In the weeks that followed and as a second impeachment brewed for Trump, Gaetz defended Trump unceasingly and said “the left” was engaged in rhetorical warfare. Gaetz bristled at the suggestion that Jan. 6 was an insurrection and when an independent government watchdog announced it was investigating improper attempts to overturn the election 20 days after the attack, Gaetz expressed outrage:
Representatives like Bill Posey chalked up Jan. 6 to a disturbance by a small number of individuals. Rep. Greg Steube falsely stated that violence at the Capitol was started by “antifa” and “BLM” activists.
Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene got an early start, appearing in a video on Oct. 27 endorsing political violence.
“The only way you get your freedoms back is … with the price of blood,” she said.
Hurling insults at “weak-kneed” and “spineless” Republicans who wouldn’t join the chorus of election fraud claims, Greene caped for Trump incessantly. She called for people to attend a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally in Georgia on Nov. 7 and later deleted that tweet only to replace it with more posts of her appearance at that rally. On Nov. 10 she called for the Georgia governor to step in.
She called for “fighters” who wouldn’t give up before the “war is over” in November. She offered gun giveaways, urged noncompliance with mask mandates, and kept on tweeting at Georgia officials about bogus fraud claims. On Dec. 14, she vowed to ‘Stop the Steal’ on Jan. 6.
On Dec. 19:
Greene also retweeted the following message from Kylie Kremer, a chief organizer for Women for America First. Kremer is reportedly now cooperating with the Jan. 6 committee after receiving a subpoena this fall. Kremer wrote: “The calvary is coming, Mr. President! JANUARY 6th | Washington, DC”
More “hold the line” rhetoric:
And in a video shared from her Twitter page the next day, Rep. Greene said: “Just finished with our meetings here at the White House this afternoon. We had a great planning session for our January 6th objection. We aren’t going to let this election be stolen by Joe Biden and the Democrats. President Trump won by a landslide… Stay tuned.”
She also used Jan. 6 as a chance to fundraise, saying she would need a massive grassroots army behind her to “stop the steal.”
Like Boebert, Greene too called it a “1776 moment” in an interview with Newsmax on Jan. 5. She said in a post later that same day that she held planning meetings with Republicans to discuss their objections.
During the riot, Greene called for people to “be smart.” She spent the morning tweeting out claims of election fraud in Georgia and called on Pence to “be bold and courageous.” Just after 9 PM on Jan. 6 she tweeted the later-debunked story about facial recognition picking up on antifa extremists. “We’ve seen what they’ve done all year long,” she said.
In the aftermath, Greene condemned the violence on Jan. 6 but was aggressively promoting Trump’s claims nonetheless. She appeared on the House floor six days after the assault sporting a mask with the phrase molon labe. As pointed out by Rep. Lofgren’s report: “Molon Labe is a classical Greek phrase meaning “come and take [them],” attributed to King Leonidas of Sparta as a defiant response to the demand that his soldiers lay down their weapons. Gun-rights advocates have adopted the phrase as a challenge to perceived attempts by the government to confiscate arms.”
The lawmakers highlighted in this lengthy guide are far from the only individuals who posted messages promoting Trump’s claims of election fraud. But the lawmakers mentioned up to this point consumed some 880 pages of the nearly 2,000-page social media report. Rep. Billy Long, a Missouri Republican, alone, consumed dozens of pages showing how regularly he promoted disinformation and then later, insisted there was no insurrection. Dozens of pages also feature Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York. Stefanik later assumed a House leadership role when Leader McCarthy ousted Rep. Liz Cheney. Cheney was booted from the role when she refused to go along with her party’s overarching insistence that Trump won the election.
Neophyte lawmakers like Rep. Madison Cawthorn also eagerly promoted the ‘Stop the Steal’ agenda.
Other more tenured lawmakers, like Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio—who received a notice from the Jan. 6 Committee on Dec. 22 asking for his voluntary compliance with the probe—appeared to make promotion of election fraud lies a cornerstone of their job. During the riots he tweeted his objections routinely.
Then there are legislators like Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who also received a request from the committee to remit documents and sit for deposition. He refused. Many questions remain. So many lawmakers, like Rep. Pete Sessions, appeared to openly support Trump’s subversion efforts. Sessions tweeted a photo of himself with supporters of the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement on Jan. 2, for instance.
In this sweeping assessment of social media activity, there are many commonalities. Perhaps the most common was a desire by so many Republicans in the House for a thorough review of issues they deemed of national importance. Their nearly wholesale refusal of the Jan. 6 probe, however, has spoken volumes in the year since the Capitol attack.