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The Uprising has obtained internal documents from the planning of the January 6 “March To Save America” rally at the White House Ellipse that immediately preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
These documents, which you can read below, include a four page list of 109 “important guests” from at least 18 states. The guests were invited to the rally by the pro-Trump organization Women For America First, which “largely organized” the event. The list also identifies 12 members of the “DC Team” who helped stage the rally. That team included conservative consultants and lobbyists as well as employees for a security firm that worked the rally.
A House select committee dedicated to the attack is investigating the organizers of that event at the Ellipse. The Uprising is publishing these documents due to the apparent interest in organizers and participants in the rally that has been shown by the select committee.
The Uprising obtained the documents from a source who was granted anonymity due to the ongoing investigation. The House select committee, which is casting a wide net in its investigation of January 6 and the events that led up to that day, is in possession of the documents. Committee spokespeople did not respond to a request for comment.
At the rally, President Trump gave a speech reiterating his false claim that he won last year’s election. Trump encouraged his supporters to “fight like hell” and march to the Capitol where the vote was being certified. Many began the approximately 1.5 mile trek along the National Mall from the Ellipse to the Capitol complex as Trump wrapped up his remarks. Violence broke out at the Capitol before the president concluded his speech.
So far, the House select committee has made a “sweeping” records request to eight executive branch agencies for communications from within the Trump White House. According to the Associated Press, President Biden’s administration is cooperating with that request while Trump and his legal team are expected to challenge it. The committee has also subpoenaed testimony and documents from four former top Trump administration officials, eleven individuals who helped organize the rally at the Ellipse and other events, as well as two people and an organization associated with a “Stop The Steal” rally that took place outside the Capitol on January 6. Many of the people listed in the documents obtained by The Uprising have not yet been publicly contacted by the committee.
Some of the Trump administration officials subpoenaed by the committee reportedly plan not to comply. On Friday, an attorney for former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon sent a letter to the committee announcing he plans to refuse the subpoena at the “direction” of Trump. The letter claimed Trump and his attorney, Justin Clark, believe the documents and testimony requested from former officials would violate “executive and other privileges.” Clark and Bannon did not respond to requests for comment.
The committee responded to Bannon’s lawyer with a statement of its own that said two other former Trump administration officials are “so far, engaging with the Select Committee.”
“Mr. Bannon has indicated that he will try to hide behind vague references to privileges of the former President,” the statement said. “The Select Committee fully expects all of these witnesses to comply with our demands for both documents and deposition testimony. Though the Select Committee welcomes good-faith engagement with witnesses seeking to cooperate with our investigation, we will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral.”
One of the documents obtained by The Uprising is a set of instructions for Kylie Kremer, the executive director of Women For America First, a pro-Trump organization that spent weeks spreading Trump’s “Big Lie” about the election and secured the permit for his rally at the Capitol. That document, which you can also read in full below, notes Kremer’s scheduled speaking slot and includes a diagram of the rally site. It identified a man named Ron Holden as helping coordinate speakers’ arrivals at the event. Holden and Kremer did not respond to requests for comment. The Uprising chose to redact Holden’s contact information from the document, but it is otherwise unaltered.
This guest list also details for the first time the full extent of participation in the rally from notable activists and officials in the pro-Trump wing of the Republican Party. Invited VIP guests ran the gamut of the MAGA extended cinematic universe including activists, prominent anti-vaxxer Dr. Jane Ruby, high profile Trump supporters like the YouTube stars Diamond and Silk, Bannon’s daughter, Maureen, multiple conservative recording artists, a defense contractor, My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, and former Trump administration officials. Ruby, Diamond and Silk, Maureen Bannon, the contractor, and the musicians did not respond to requests for comment.
Lindell sent The Uprising an oddly punctuated and misspelled text message that stressed he only attended the rally with Trump’s speech.
“I attended but I didn’t participate in anything???” Lindell wrote. “I was not a speaker and did not go to the capital.”
The pillow entrepreneur, who has been one of the leading promoters of the thoroughly debunked conspiracy theories that Trump won the election, further suggested the committee’s investigation was an attempt to distract from unspecified problems with the vote.
“I think they should be focus on China stealing our election and quit deflecting!” Lindell wrote, adding, “Write your story on that… Be a real journalist!!”
The VIP guest list for the rally also included several Republican politicians; Georgia gubernatorial candidate Vernon Jones, Delaware Councilman Robert Stout, Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano, and New York City congressional candidate Tina Forte. Stout and Mastriano did not respond to requests for comment. Jen Remauro, Forte’s campaign manager, reached out after publication and repeatedly, falsely claimed The Uprising did not make a request for comment.
“Tina did NOT attend that rally on January 6th. She kindly declined because she was there to do a flag drop at the Lincoln Memorial for artist Scott LoBaido which was aired on Newsmax,” Remauro said.
In a series of Twitter posts, Remauro further said she and Forte were "miles” away “from the Capitol when the insurrection occurred.” Snopes has previously published a review of Forte’s own social media posts including a livestream she recorded in front of the Capitol on January 6. In that video, Forte, who said she was wearing a bulletproof vest, described having been at the Ellipse, and encouraged others who were there to “get your ass to the Capitol.”
“So far, I’ve been to the Lincoln Memorial … we were at the Ellipse, Washington Monument, now we’re at the Capitol, and now we’re on to the next one,” Forte said.
Multiple people on the list of VIP rally guests have been involved in pro-Trump efforts to fight the election results in individual states. Melissa Carone, who achieved viral infamy with her baseless testimony at a Michigan House hearing was listed as an “important” guest at the event. Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman, a podcaster with questionable credentials was also on the list. Maras-Lindeman was a “secret witness” cited by pro-Trump “Kraken” lawyer Sidney Powell as she attempted to challenge the election results in the U.S. Supreme Court. Carone and Maras-Lindeman could not be reached for comment.
Some of the people on the list of VIP guests at the Jan. 6 rally previously were involved in notable controversies. Vincent Caldara, who was fired from his role as a pilot on Trump’s campaign due to a battery charge was on the list. Mari Stull, a former lobbyist, wine blogger, and Trump administration official who was accused of harassing State Department employees who were “disloyal” to the president was also an invited guest. Caldara and Stull did not respond to requests for comment.
Another “important” guest, Isabella Maria DeLuca, made headlines last when she accused people at an anti-Trump protest of attacking her. A Linkedin page that seems to belong to DeLuca identifies her as an intern in the office of Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY). DeLuca and Zeldin did not respond to requests for comment.
Harlan Hill, who has worked as a spokesperson for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was also on the VIP guest list. Hill did not respond to a request for comment.
The Uprising attempted to reach out to all of the 109 people on the guest list. Some did not respond to requests for comment, declined to comment, or could not be reached. Others confirmed they did attend the rally.
Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump White House staffer and campaign aide who was listed on the document, texted that he “was proud to attend President Trump’s speech at the White House Ellipse.” Seb Gorka, an ex-White House aide and fish oil pitchman who was also on the list, responded to emailed questions about his attendance at the event, with an angry message that was riddled with typos.
“Take Long jump off a short peer you fetid propagandist of a hack,” Gorka wrote, adding,”BLOCKED.”
Gerri McDaniel, a Republican county committeewoman in South Carolina who helped lead Trump’s campaign in that state, insisted she did not go to the event at all despite being on the list of invited VIP guests.
“I did not attend the rally my sister had a heart attack while we were in Maryland unable to go to the rally,” McDaniel wrote in an email to The Uprising.
Some of the people on the guest list stressed that they were at the Ellipse for the speech, but did not go to the Capitol. Ryan Girdusky, who has worked at Hill’s consultancy that is linked to Gaetz, told The Uprising he “attended the rally as a guest” in a direct message on Twitter.
“I think important guest meant one with a seat, but that's all,” Girdusky wrote. “I have no regrets about attending the rally. … I have no idea what happened between the start of the event and the violence at the Capitol because when it was underway I was taking a nap at a friends house in DC and had no idea what was going on.”
Alan Mentser, who said he is part of a pro-Trump group called “Club 45” and a member of the Republican Executive Committee in West Palm Beach, Florida, told The Uprising he was “front row” at the rally. However, Mentser stressed he did not go near the Capitol building as it was breached.
“I didn’t go near the Capitol and I recommended that people not go near the Capitol because I thought it was a trap,” Mentser said in phone conversation, adding, “There’s plenty of circumstantial evidence that shows antifa was involved, FBI was involved, they don’t want to disclose those people.”
FBI Director Chris Wray, who was nominated by Trump, has said there is no evidence that anti-fascist groups played a role in the attack. The FBI has been the subject of baseless conspiracy theories that it was somehow involved. These claims have been advanced by Republicans including Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ).
Nevertheless, Mentser suggested the House select committee is a “partisan hack job” run by Democrats and “RINOs” who are ignoring the possibility the attack was staged “at the furtherance of other groups whether that be BLM or antifa … or other groups because of their Deep State connections.”
“There were six buses of people dressed in Trump regalia that were escorted a couple blocks away from the Capitol Building, but they were not our people,” Mentser explained. “They’re not us. That’s not what we do. We don’t do stuff like that.”
Pam Silleman, the coordinator for the Napa Tea Party in California, was also on the VIP guest list. In a phone conversation on Friday, Silleman said she went to the rally because Women For America First chairwoman Amy Kremer is one of her “best friends.” Kremer, who did not respond to a request for comment, co-founded the group with her daughter, Kylie.
Silleman, who said she was seated “front row center” for Trump’s speech, indicated that she didn’t expect violence that day. In fact, Silleman said she assumed that it would be a celebration because Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, would overturn the electoral college. Despite pressure from Trump, Pence did not try to override the election result.
“I thought we were all going there for a fun kind of thing,” Silleman said. “We had no idea Pence was going to do what he did.”
Silleman insisted that, after the speeches, she did not march to the Capitol, where violence broke out before Trump concluded his remarks. Instead, Silleman said she went to the nearby Willard Intercontinental hotel where Kremer and the event organizers had “a big suite.” Silleman said she took advantage of the amenities at the hotel while watching the riot unfold live on TV.
“I chose not to go down there,” Silleman said of the Capitol. “I chose to drink champagne instead.”
Read the full documents below.
This post was updated at 3:58 pm on October 10, 2021 to reflect the interactions with Tina Forte’s campaign.