There’s a ‘Smoking Gun’ Connecting Trump to Capitol Insurrection

Interview with Greg Palast, investigative reporter and author, conducted by Scott Harris

The deadly Jan. 6 insurrection that killed five people, including a Capitol police officer, triggered Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment in the House and the just concluded trial in the U.S. Senate. Although the Democratic impeachment managers made a powerful presentation linking Trump to the assault on the Capitol by his supporters, that convinced seven Republicans to vote for conviction, they failed to win the necessary two-thirds of the Senate that would have allowed a majority vote to bar the disgraced former president from ever running for public office again.

While Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted to acquit Trump, after the trial concluded, he declared in a speech that Trump was both “practically and morally responsible” for the events of that day. McConnell went on to warn that Trump didn’t get away with anything yet, stating, “We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently announced that Congress will be launching a 9/11- style commission to further investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. In addition, prosecutors in New York, Georgia and Washington, D.C. are conducting their own investigations into those responsible for the insurrection and multiple attempts to overturn the 2020 election.  Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with investigative journalist and author Greg Palast, who discusses his recent investigation that revealed what he says is a smoking gun connection between Donald Trump and the violent mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

GREG PALAST: Donald Trump is still liable for any criminal actions he committed whether in office or not, as Mitch McConnell decided to remember after the vote. Here’s the deal, as President Biden would say, and by the way, some of this was brought up as evidence, citing our work by Stacey Plaskett, the congresswoman and House Impeachment manager from the Virgin islands. This might sound small to people, but it isn’t. Let me explain. The permit for the rally at the Ellipse on Jan. 6 specifically said there will be no march to the Capitol. It’s not authorized. It’s not permitted. The sponsors of the march – there was only one — called the Women for America First, you know, pro-Trump group. But they had absolutely stone-cold promised the Park Service and the cops, there will be no march to the Capitol.

Now, why is that important? It’s not just a piece of paper, the permit. Because if the Capitol police and the Park Service and the Metro D.C. police had known that there was going to be a march, there would be barricades, they’d be notified. There’d be police. You know, there’d be police along a two-mile route. The Capitol police would have been aware that thousands of people are about to march on the Capitol. And I have to tell you, I spoke with insiders at Women for America First, who were very worried and upset. I mean, number one, they have liability for what happened because there was a violation of their permit. So beforehand, they had warned the White House, “There must be no march.” They said that again and again straight to the White House. In addition, the White House assured them, there won’t be a march.

But there was a guy named Ali Alexander. For those who follow the alt-right, he is the founder and leader of Stop the Steal, the big pro-Trump group. You know, he’s buddy, buddy with Trump. And he is a kind of a regular co-host of the Alex Jones info Wars show, ultra-right Christian supremacist. Not a white supremacist; he’s black. And, he said, We’re going to have a march. And he promoted the march. He put it out on Facebook and apparently, he coordinated with the White House through Donnie Jr., Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, who had a meeting. And they had a meeting the night before at Trump’s personal residence in the Trump International Hotel in D.C. – Guilfoyle, the two Trump kiddies, Rudy Giuliani and others. And they contacted Ali Alexander to give him the go-ahead on the march, even though Alexander and the White House were specifically — in writing and in text — were warned there must be no march.

Now the people running the rally said, “Look, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you’re going to have thousands of very angry and some armed people marching, you know, without a permit, just taking off across Washington, D.C. to the Capitol building, what do you think is going to happen?” This is quite foreseeable. They knew there would be mayhem. And so Donald Trump literally hid from them that he was going to call for the march. All sources said the same thing. They were stunned and shocked when Trump said, “We’re going to march to the Capitol.”

SCOTT HARRIS: Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House announced that Congress would launch a 9/11- style investigative commission to look into what occurred on Jan. 6. What are your concerns about this investigation given the track record of federal investigations in the past?

GREG PALAST: So I do hope that the congressional hearings will get to the bottom of this and get those cell phone calls, get those text messages. I’m very concerned that they’ve let the evidence be removed, destroyed, deleted, especially the photos and all the communications with Ali Alexander and Alex Jones, who were the escorts from the White House that got them to the — I think it’s called Parking Lot 6 — where they were set off on the march. We want to know these things. We need to know these things because this was apparently a planned insurrection with too much help from inside the Capitol police, from inside the Justice Department, from inside the FBI, certainly from inside the White House.

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