Conspiracy theorist and Donald Trump stalwart Alex Jones could be digging himself one hell of a hole. Though he eagerly invoked his Fifth Amendment right to over 100 questions during a private meeting Monday with the Jan. 6 committee, once on his podcast, he shared his “unofficial testimony,” portraying himself as an innocent Trump supporter merely swept up in the chaos of Jan. 6.
Politico was first to report Tuesday that Jones sat for the deposition. Neither a committee spokesman nor Jones returned request for comment; however, Jones did breathlessly describe his experience on his show. He noted he was not sworn under oath during the meeting with the committee and underlined that his lawyers told him to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when he appeared.
“It can be used against you and twisted against you,” Jones opined Monday night of the remarks he could make.
Calling the committee’s questions “overall pretty reasonable,” he nonetheless insisted it was a “good thing” he stayed silent with the committee because he’s “the type that tries to answer things correctly even if I don’t know all the answers,” he said.
“And they can claim its perjury … Half of the questions I didn’t know answers to and [they showed] a bunch of emails I’ve never seen, and planning things I’ve never seen, at least from memory, but who knows,” Jones said before adding that Jan. 6 was “all one big blur.”
“And I just jumped into a river of a million people in D.C. and floated down it,” he added. “You cannot control the river when you’re floating on a tube down the rapids.”
Maybe not. But one can bail from that tube and swim hard for shore before irrevocably plummeting over any dangerous falls that could lie around the bend.
Regardless, Jones said the committee also showed him a series of text messages he had with Caroline Wren and Cindy Chafian. Wren was described on a Jan. 6 Women for America First rally permit as a “VIP Adviser” and was reportedly in regular contact with Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about the impending certification of electoral votes.
Wren was also at the alleged center of a bid to park dark money funds to the Trump campaign with the Republican Attorneys General Association and other groups.
Chafian, who is the founder of the pro-Trump Eighty Percent Coalition, was responsible—according to the committee—for submitting the first permit application for the pro-Trump Women for America First rally on Jan. 6. She also spearheaded another pro-Trump rally on Jan. 5 at D.C.’s Freedom Plaza.
Both women were subpoenaed last fall, and both have reportedly been cooperative with the probe.
In his post-deposition appearance, Jones insisted he did not use members from either the Oath Keepers or Proud Boys to serve as his private security while he was in Washington on Jan. 6.
Referencing the extremist groups, he said he wasn’t “putting these people down” when he decided to hire “12 or 14 security people” from a private firm based in Austin, Texas, instead.
“I try to go and get professional people,” he said, claiming that members of his detail were former D.C. and Maryland police officers.
“There’s no way I have D.C. police and Maryland police off duty trying to do an insurrection. By the way, the company we hired was all Black guys … Big Black guys. They are all the size of NFL lineman—I mean, 6’8”, 6’6” were the little guys … and they were Democrats, I think basically, or nonpartisan leaning liberal,” Jones claimed.
Jones also said he didn’t see the Proud Boys or Oath Keepers as a major threat on Jan. 6 when discussing sedition charges on the podcast that were recently brought against Oath Keepers, including its former leader Elmer Stewart Rhodes.
Jones merely saw it all as “LARPing” or “live action role playing.”
“So, no, we didn’t go with some premeditated plan … We didn’t believe the Capitol was being attacked with D.C. or Maryland Black police. Give me a damn break. And we got the hell out of there once we couldn’t stop it,” Jones said Monday.
The commentator claimed he tried to stop the chaos to no avail once he “learned there were a bunch of people inside the Capitol.”
He lamented having a “mission impossible job” after he said he was asked to “jump onto Pennsylvania Avenue” and try to control the crowd.
He called the rioters “dumb” and “stupid.”
“I didn’t support it that day and I don’t support it now,” he said.
Andrew Laufer, a civil rights attorney, reflected to Daily Kos on Tuesday about Jones’ remarks.
“If he took the Fifth, then spews whatever nonsense on his show which is covered by its assertion, he waives his right and can be compelled to answer the question [or questions],” Laufer said.
David Oddo, a former state prosecutor and onetime president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, told Daily Kos “statements are always subject to cross examination in court and the committee can consider those statements in any determination they make.”
The ramifications also depend on whether the case is a civil or criminal matter.
If Jones’ statements were not made under oath, Oddo cautioned, then they may not be “construed as a waiver of the Fifth Amendment privilege that he asserted before Congress though.”
Oddo added that the Fifth Amendment is a “little complicated in its application.”
But for anyone who testifies before Congress, Laufer said they are still subject to 18 U.S. Code 1001.
“You don’t have to be under oath in order to be held criminally liable regarding information contained in a statement,” Laufer said. “If he makes any incriminating statement under any circumstance, he can be held criminally liable for it.”
Whether Jones realizes this or cares is unclear. But he takes his fate into his own hands with a mountain of damning content behind him, including seemingly endless videos available online where he is heard telling people to “take back” the country and have “another 1776” in the wake of the 2020 election.
“They will be hiding, they will pay, they will be destroyed because America is righteous. 1776 is the answer to 1984,” Jones said in a diatribe delivered at a pro-Trump rally in Arizona on Nov. 5.
A month later in Washington, just one night before the Capitol attack, Jones railed before a large group: “I don’t know how this is all going to end, but if they want to fight, they better believe they’ve got one.”
By morning, Jones posted a video to his website where he’s heard saying that “we declare 1776 against the new world order.”
“We need to understand we’re under attack and we need to understand that this is 21st-century warfare and get on war footing,” Jones said.
Outside of the Capitol on Jan. 6, Jones also spoke to those gathered. He can be heard on video saying: “Let’s march around the other side and let’s not fight the police and give the system what they want.”
Jones told the crowd Trump was “going to speak” and that Trump “was coming.”
Whether Trump truly intended to join his followers or use their presence to sow chaos and delay the counting of certified votes is a key issue at the center of the Jan. 6 probe.
Jones’ speaking record in the runup to the insurrection was absolutely littered with pro-Trump messages and election disinformation, something he shared as far and as widely as he could.
His rhetoric was pumped up, often violent, and unquestionably inflammatory.
Referring to Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the Jan. 6 committee on Monday as a “Moray eel ready to come out of the rocks to eat me,” Jones tried to spin a different story for himself.
“Let's get something clear for the committee and my audience and everybody else: I don't want a civil war in this country and that's a terrible idea … I don't want lawlessness by anybody. And I don't want anybody attacking anybody, okay?"