On Sunday, an article in Rolling Stone reported that both Republicans members of Congress and their staff met repeatedly with the organizers of the Jan. 6 rally to plan protests around blocking the official tallying of the Electoral College vote. On Monday, the Montgomery Advisor reported that Brooks denied helping to plan the rally, saying that he had not had any involvement in fundraising for the rally, and only showed up to speak “because the White House asked him to do so.”
In a phone interview, Brooks seemed quite sure that his hands were clean when it came to the rally and the violent and deadly assault on the Capitol that followed. "If you’re talking about someone participating in meetings, setting the agenda, raising the money,” said Brooks, “I don’t know of anything that suggests my staff as doing that stuff.”
But speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon, Brooks walked that statement back a critical distance. Speaking to CNN’s Melanie Zanona, Brooks continued to claim that he had not attended planning meetings for the event, but said, “I don’t know if my staff did ... but if they did I’d be proud of them for helping to put together a rally lawful under the First Amendment at the ellipse to protest voter fraud and election theft."
Which is certainly made more interesting by how, back in July, Brooks told Slate that he was aware there was a likelihood of violence at the rally. “As a consequence of those warnings,” said Brooks, ”I did not go to my condo. Instead, I slept on the floor of my office. And when I gave my speech at the Ellipse, I was wearing body armor.”
Brooks denied that he personally attended meetings to plan Jan. 6. He claims he didn’t know if his staff attended those meetings, but said he would “be proud” if they did. And he said he was “warned” of impending violence … so who gave him that warning?
An article from another Alabama television station, WKRG, has Brooks making the statement about purchasing a Glock after a more general statement about the threats that he receives as a member of Congress. Which makes this seem like less connected to the Jan. 6 event.
During that interview in July, Brooks refused to say who had given him the heads up on what was about to happen. Or provide details on that warning. But those would be excellent questions for the House select committee on Jan. 6
In a statement to WAFF in Huntsville, Alabama, Brooks later claimed that he had “zero warnings of any kind” about violence from Trump supporters and only wore body armor because he was concerned about “the risk of threatened violence by BLM and ANTIFA.” Brooks also hinted that he might have been carrying a weapon at the rally, saying: “As a consequence of these threats, I have body armor, a concealed carry permit, and purchased a Glock to go with them.”
According to the original Rolling Stone article, at least one of those involved in planning the Jan. 6 rally has been in communication with the select committee. That organizer is apparently now a cooperating witness, sharing information about the members of Congress and their staff who helped plan events on Jan. 6. That organizer specifically mentioned that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was present at meetings, and that others—including Rep. Paul Gosar, Rep. Lauren Boebert, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, Rep. Andy Biggs, Rep. Louie Gohmert, and Rep. Mo Brooks—either attended themselves or sent “top staffers.”
If Brooks’ statements seem to constantly skate the edge of self-contradiction and encouraging violence, they fall solidly in the speech Brooks made to the insurgents gathered before him on the Ellipse the morning of Jan. 6. On that morning, Brooks’ didn’t tell them to storm the Capitol and engage in violence. He only told them, “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass. Our ancestors sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears, their fortunes and sometimes their lives to give us, their descendants, an America that is the greatest nation in world history. So I have a question for you. Are you willing to do the same?”
He didn’t tell them they had to stop the electoral count. He only told them, “Today, Republican senators and congressmen will either vote to turn America into a godless, amoral, dictatorial, oppressed and socialist nation on the decline, or they will join us and they will fight and vote against voter fraud and election theft and vote for keeping America great.”
He didn’t tell them they had to attack the Capitol, he only called out to the crowd, “Will you fight for America?” before saying, “We, American patriots are going to come right at them!”
It seems clear that Brooks had staffers—at least—involved in the pre-planning of Jan. 6 events. It’s clear that he had foreknowledge that violence was likely, if not certain. It’s clear that on Jan. 6, Brooks helped deliver that violence by informing the crowd that the nation would be lost if they didn’t act immediately. And it’s clear that every day since then, Brooks has continued to blast the Big Lie about election fraud, even as he has hedged his own claims to stay just this side of obvious sedition.
Brooks’ biggest problem is that he thinks he is so damn clever. He thinks that he can suborn violence at every turn, encourage the overthrow of the nation, and then hide behind the absolute thinnest of denials while laughing through his teeth.
He had better be wrong.