|Ali Alexander and Alex Jones|
Federal authorities are focusing their attention on high-profile right-wing figures in connection to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, according to a report at The Washington Post. The heightened scrutiny pertains to Roger Stone, Alex Jones, and Ali (Akbar) Alexander (who has strong ties to Alabama and reportedly is in hiding). From reporters Spencer S. Hsu and Devlin Barrett:
The investigation into potential ties between key figures in the riot and those who promoted former president Donald Trump’s false assertions that the election was stolen from him does not mean those who may have influenced rioters will face criminal charges, particularly given U.S. case law surrounding incitement and free speech, the people said. Officials at this stage said they are principally seeking to understand what the rioters were thinking — and who may have influenced beliefs — which could be critical to showing their intentions at trial.
However, investigators also want to determine whether anyone who influenced them bears enough responsibility to justify potential criminal charges, such as conspiracy or aiding the effort, the officials said. That prospect is still distant and uncertain, they emphasized.
Here is more from Hsu and Barrett:
While Trump’s impeachment trial focused on the degree of his culpability for the violence, this facet of the case shows investigators’ ongoing interest in other individuals who never set foot in the Capitol but may have played an outsized role in what happened there through their influence, networks or action.
“We are investigating potential ties between those physically involved in the attack on the Capitol and individuals who may have influenced them, such as Roger Stone, Alex Jones and [Stop the Steal organizer] Ali Alexander,” said a U.S. official, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a pending matter.
Stone is a longtime adviser to Trump, while Jones is a radio and web-streaming host behind Infowars.com. Both are frequent purveyors of conspiracy theories: Stone wrote a book suggesting Lyndon B. Johnson was behind John F. Kennedy’s assassination; Jones has spread and retracted claims that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a “hoax.”
Alexander, whose attorney is Baron Coleman of Montgomery, appears to have carefully steered himself into the Stone-Jones orbit:
Stone and Jones helped promote Trump’s false reelection fraud claims and earlier rallies in Washington and participated in pro-Trump events Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, but each has denied intending anything beyond peaceful protest.
Shortly after the riot, Jones said on Infowars that he was invited by the White House on about Jan. 3 to “lead the march” to the Capitol, and that he paid nearly $500,000, mostly donated, to help organize the event on the Ellipse.
Jones promoted the event vigorously, called for one million marchers and told his viewers on Jan. 1, “Roger Stone spent some substantial time with Trump in Florida just a few days ago, and I’m told big things are afoot and Trump’s got major actions up his sleeve.”
A day before the insurrection, Jones urged a pro-Trump crowd at Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington “to resist the globalists” with his refrain, “I don’t know how all this is all going to end, but if they want to fight, they better believe they’ve got one!” In a Jan. 6 post from near the same spot, he declared “1776” — a term co-opted by Trump fans urging a kind of second revolution against the government. “We’re under attack, and we need to understand this is 21st-century warfare and get on a war-footing,” Jones said.
Alexander, in a since-deleted video on Periscope weeks before the Jan. 6 rally, said he and three hard-line Republican Trump supporters “schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting” to change the minds of those who wouldn’t go against certifying Biden’s win.
Alexander did not respond to an emailed request for comment for this story. But in an email to The Post in mid-January, Alexander said he had “remained peaceful” during the riot.
“Conflating our legally, peaceful permitted events with the breach of the US Capitol building is defamatory and false,” he said. On Telegram, Alexander has since blamed outside “Capitol agitators” for sabotaging events.