A week before the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, a former aide to Republican political consultant Roger Stone joined a conference call with supporters of then-President Donald Trump and urged them to “descend on the Capitol” to pressure lawmakers not to certify the 2020 election, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Jason Sullivan, a right-wing communications specialist and QAnon promoter, reportedly told listeners on a Dec. 30, 2020, call that the 2020 election had been stolen and directed them to go to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 to make members of Congress “sweat” when they convened to finalize the electoral count.
“If we make the people inside that building sweat, and they understand that they may not be able to walk in the streets any longer if they do the wrong thing, then maybe they’ll do the right thing,” he said, according to the Times, which obtained a recording of the call.
While claiming he was “not inciting violence or any kind of riots,” Sullivan also told listeners that Trump would impose a form of martial law that day and would not be leaving office.
“[Joe] Biden will never be in that White House,” he reportedly said on the call. “That’s my promise to each and every one of you.”
It’s not clear if anyone on the call went on to participate in the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In a statement to the Times via a lawyer, Sullivan said he did not condone the violence of any protesters and characterized his remarks as merely sharing “some encouragement” with what he called “disenfranchised” voters.
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack recently revealed that it had sufficient evidence to refer Trump to the Justice Department for criminal charges over his role in planning the effort to overturn the election, though it had not yet decided on a course of action.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a co-chair of the committee, said the panel has a “tremendous amount of testimony and documents that I think very, very clearly demonstrate the extent of the planning and the organization and the objective” of Trump and his allies.
The Justice Department is also widening its Jan. 6 investigation to examine the potential culpability of other Trump associates and allies involved in the planning and execution of the Capitol attack. The federal investigation previously focused primarily on the rioters who stormed the Capitol that day, leading to more than 700 arrests.
The department declined to comment to the Times on whether it was aware of Sullivan’s call.