“Chesebro and Jones” may sound like the name of a bad ‘70s sitcom, but there’s little that’s funny about this fresh evidence that everything that happened on Jan. 6—from the violence of recently convicted Proud Boys to false electors in Georgia—was all part of a single massive scheme.
As CNN reports, analysis of video showing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones leading his followers to the Capitol has revealed an interesting face below a red Trump hat sticking close by Jones’ side. That face belongs to former Donald Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who is currently indicted as a co-conspirator in both the federal conspiracy case handed up by a jury in Washington, D.C., and the RICO indictment from a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia.
This makes Chesebro the first member of Trump’s direct staff known to have been present at the Capitol on Jan. 6. However, it’s certainly not the first connection between Trump and Jones—or Jones’ collection of white supremacist followers.
Jones may be best known for his sickening attempts to demean and defame the families of the children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary. But his connections span the right wing from Tucker Carlson to Roger Stone (to whom Jones sent naked photos of his wife). Jones was subpoenaed by the House select committee investigating events around the Jan. 6 insurrection for his involvement in organizing one of the rallies on that day, as well as statements he made at another rally on Jan. 5.
Jones was one of the first to lead rallies spreading unsupported claims of election fraud. Not only did Jones spread many of the same lies that appear in Trump’s indictments, but his appearances were filled with violent rhetoric, like this Arizona rally where he regaled Trump supporters with threats for those trying to uphold the election. “They will pay. They will be destroyed,” says Jones, as he calls for a “1776 solution.”
At the Jan. 5 rally, Jones told Trump supporters, “We have only begun our fight against their tyranny,” and insisted, “They have tried to steal this election in front of everyone.”
“I don’t know how this is all going to end,” said Jones, “but if they want to fight, they better believe they’ve got one.”
On Jan. 6, Jones did not speak at the Ellipse rally where Trump appeared, but he was involved in both planning and funding the rally. He was present at the rally along with “Stop the Steal” leader Ali Alexander, who was directly connected with groups of white supremacist “Groypers” and who reached out to the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers to “provide security” for the rally.
In his testimony to the select committee, Jones was asked about his connection with Alexander and his involvement in planning the rally, but refused to answer after invoking his Fifth Amendment rights “around 100 times.” He was not apparently asked about Chesebro, who had not previously been identified as accompanying Jones to the Capitol.
According to CNN, images and videos show that Chesebro was with Jones for “about an hour.” As Jones walked around and addressed the crowd, Chesebro followed while “seemingly recording Jones.”
During that march, Jones returned to his revolutionary rhetoric, bellowing through a bullhorn, “We declare 1776 against the new world order.… We need to understand we’re under attack, and we need to understand this is 21st-century warfare and get on a war-footing …”
However, as the crowd surges up the steps of the Capitol, Jones urges those around them to “occupy peacefully.” He then begins moving around the building, insisting that, “I’m going to march to the other side, where we have a stage, where we can speak and occupy peacefully. Trump is going to speak over here. Trump is coming.”
Some months ago, the House select committee interviewed Chesebro and asked him about his whereabouts on Jan. 6. As he did many times that day, the Trump attorney said, “I think I have to invoke my Fifth Amendment rights.”
CNN’s discovery shows Chesebro following Jones into a restricted area. Chesebro doesn’t appear to have entered the Capitol himself, but he remains close at hand as Jones harangues the crowd and encourages people to follow him to the east side of the building.
The idea that Trump would join them to speak to the crowd at the Capitol fits with testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified that Trump told his Secret Service driver, “‘I’m the f’ing president, take me up to the Capitol now!” only to end up in a tussle after the driver refused.
Even if Trump didn’t make it, it turns out that at least one of his indicted co-conspirators did.
As the select committee transcript shows, Chesebro didn’t enter Trump’s orbit until shortly after the election, when he began handing out advice on how to create slates of false electors to confuse the process. Working with Trump attorney Jim Troupis and then with John Eastman, Chesebro drafted a series of memos detailing a plan to convince Mike Pence to “announce his recusal from presiding over the joint session of Congress” and allow Republicans in Congress to select the winner of the election. Chesebro also created an alternative scheme to turn the whole thing over to the Republican-packed Supreme Court. He even had a backup to the backup in the form of a scheme where Pence would graciously offer to become president himself rather than allowing President Joe Biden to take office.
In another memo uncovered by The New York Times, Chesebro lays out the entirety of the Jan. 6 scheme and explains the importance of getting the false electors in place so that they can be used as a reason to halt proceedings and hand control to Pence.
All of this shows that one of the chief architects of the Jan. 6 scheme was on the ground at the Capitol on Jan. 6, in the company of one of the people most responsible for fanning the anger of Trump supporters and arranging the post-election rallies. And they were both in the middle of the violence and chaos.
Chesebro had not previously admitted to being there. Jones had not admitted to being with Chesebro.
More than two and a half years after the event, significant discoveries about Jan. 6 are still being made—and none of them are good for Donald Trump.