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Far-Right Groups Warn Supporters That ‘Justice For J6’ Rally is a ‘Government Trap’ to Avoid

Capitol police are bracing for potential violence at the “Justice for J6” protest rally taking place in Washington DC on Saturday. Despite local and federal officials saying that they expect no more than 700 people to attend the protest, a far cry from the estimated tens of thousands of supporters of Donald Trump who converged on the Capitol in January, security fencing has still gone up once more around the building in anticipation of the kinds of crowds that gathered on January 6th for Trump’s “Save America” rally that preceded the Capitol siege.

“Justice for J6” rally is being organized by Look Ahead America, a group run by Matt Braynard, who was briefly employed by Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign as the director of data and strategy. Braynard also appeared at a rally for new Trump darling Joe Kent in Clark County, Washington, on Labor Day, where Matt Gaetz also appeared. Braynard orchestrated Kent’s speaking appearance at the J6 rally. [Writer’s disclosure: Matt Braynard recently blocked me on Twitter] Jaime Herrera Beutler, the incumbent in Kent’s district, WA-03, is being singled out for voting for Trump’s second impeachment, and Kent intends to make that a focal point of his speech as well as his campaign. Herrera Beutler’s spokesperson, Parker Truax, doesn’t mince words when it comes to Kent’s participation in the event: “We’ll see what transpires at this rally. Let there be no mistake that Joe Kent and his top campaign confidant organized, promoted, and are the lead participants of a rally designed to celebrate violent lawlessness and rioting. This is the opposite of law and order.”

 

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: A pro-Trump mob enter the Capitol Building after breaking into it on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. A pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, breaking windows and clashing with police officers. Trump supporters gathered in the nation’s capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

Look Ahead America is also organizing more than a dozen “Justice for J6” rallies at the state level on September 18th and 25th, most of them at state capitols, according to the organization’s website. While several prominent Trump-supporting members of Congress who have defended the Capitol rioters as political prisoners are avoiding the rally, including Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Madison Cawthorn, those who had planned to attend are now being warned to stay away by extremist groups and prominent right-wing figures such as Roger Stone who are now calling the event a “false flag” and a “trap”.

Braynard has said the protest was organized in support of the “non-violent offenders” charged in connection with January 6th. He continues to defend the event against criticism from all sides. He tweeted at Ingraham: “You claim ignorance despite us sending about thirty press releases to your network’s producers over this time” and asked to be featured on her show. More recently, he posted a list of TV networks that were interviewing him about the rally, which did not include Fox News, and wrote, “Who is missing? Hmmm.”

For a political base so often swayed by conspiracies, creating one around an event of their own seems ironic. Across right-wing social media platforms, most people who are talking about the event in any capacity are telling people to steer clear of DC. Any extremist group that’s talking about the rally is warning people against attending. While intelligence officials reportedly warned in early September that the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers were planning to attend the rally, both groups, whose members are facing some of the most serious charges in the 6 January attack, have since distanced themselves from the event. A Proud Boys social media channel posted “Sounds like bait” and wrote, “We aren’t going and you shouldn’t either”. In an interview on his way to jail, the group’s chairman, Enrique Tarrio, said: “The Proud Boys will not be there.”

 

Look Ahead America is also organizing more than a dozen “Justice for J6” rallies at the state level on 18 and 25 September, most of them at state capitols, according to the organization’s website. Braynard has said the protest was organized in support of the “non-violent offenders” charged in connection with 6 January. He continues to defend the event against criticism from all sides. Fox News host Laura Ingraham called the rally “stupid” and told her viewers she had never heard of it before she saw a report about it on CNN. Braynard tweeted at Ingraham: “You claim ignorance despite us sending about thirty press releases to your network’s producers over this time” and asked to be featured on her show. More recently, he posted a list of TV networks that were interviewing him about the rally, which did not include Fox News, and wrote, “Who is missing? Hmmm.”

More than 600 people have been charged so far in connection with the January 6th insurrection, and federal officials continue to announce new arrests. Many of the people arrested face relatively low-level charges, and unlike most people charged in the federal court system, the vast majority of them have been released ahead of trial.

Regardless of what happens on Saturday, the dangerous narrative that the January 6th defendants were “political prisoners” has begun to spread more widely in rightwing circles, and has been endorsed by Cawthorn and other Republicans in Congress, as well as Fox News host Tucker Carlson.



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