Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs credited in video with organizing Trump crowd in DC on day of riot
The man who has led the "Stop the Steal" election protests nationally singles out Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona for helping make Wednesday's pro-Trump gathering in Washington happen.
The social-media video, which is gaining newfound attention, was taped before the event turned into a riot at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead, including a police officer.
Biggs strenuously denies any involvement with the Wednesday event. Gosar's chief of staff did not respond to an inquiry by The Arizona Republic.
Both men have figured prominently in the GOP's rejection of President Donald Trump's election loss, but they have done so in different ways.
In the video, Ali Alexander is seen speaking into the camera describing how the gathering in Washington was coming together.
"I was the person who came up with the Jan. 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and then Congressman Andy Biggs," Alexander said. "We four schemed up of putting max pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside."
In a statement, Biggs' spokesman, Daniel Stefanski, pushed back against any involvement.
"Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest," Stefanski said. "He did not have any contact with protestors or rioters, nor did he ever encourage or foster the rally or protests. ... The people who committed the violence at the Capitol are solely responsible for their crimes."
Alexander did not respond to a request to clarify his remarks as it related to Biggs and Gosar.
Before D.C., a Phoenix rally
While Biggs maintains he wasn't involved with Alexander or organizing for the Jan. 6 event, another video from a Dec. 19 "Stop the Steal" rally at the Arizona Capitol shows he played a small role.
At that rally, Alexander said, "Congressman Andy Biggs sent us a video" message for those in attendance. From his cellphone, Alexander played the 80-second message from Biggs.
“Andy Biggs here, I wish I could be with you. I’m in the D.C. swamp fighting on behalf of Arizona’s residents and freedom fighters all over the country," Biggs is heard saying.
He goes on to say, "I wish I could be with you today" and "We are going to keep fighting, and I implore you to keep fighting, too. God bless you for being here today. And God bless this great country."
When it ended, Alexander leads the crowd in chanting "Biggs, Biggs, Biggs."
Stefanski said Biggs provided the taped statement to Gosar's aides at their request. Biggs did not mention Alexander during his remarks.
After playing Biggs' statement, Alexander told the crowd what to expect on Jan. 6.
"I want you guys to know, we are all marching to D.C. on January the 6th, and we are going to plop our asses on the U.S. Capitol with or without a permit," he said to cheers. "And those members of Congress will hear from us after they exit that chamber January 6th."
Biggs has throughout the post-election period repeated the unfounded allegations of election fraud in Pennsylvania and called for an audit of Arizona's election systems.
It does not appear that he pointed his social media followers to Alexander or the "Stop the Steal" gatherings.
Gosar, Alexander ties on social media
By contrast, Gosar has repeatedly used his Twitter account to point to Alexander or his efforts to thwart the election results.
Gosar's personal Twitter account points to Alexander's account at least 23 times since the Nov. 30 meeting in Phoenix that included Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani outlining what participants viewed as the case for fraud in Arizona's election results.
Gosar tweeted various versions of "StoptheSteal" at least 25 times in the same span.
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For Alexander, crime and politics
Alexander is a national organizer for “Stop the Steal,” an organization that falsely contends that widespread fraud took place during the 2020 election to deny Trump victory over challenger Joe Biden.
On his Patreon web page, Ali Akbar Alexander describes himself as public figure with more than a decade of political experience.
A biography describes Alexander as a petty criminal who capitalized on the right-wing blogosphere to recast himself as a conservative guru.
“In 2007 he broke into a van, stole a debit card and tried to use it. He was caught, arrested and convicted on felony charges,” Bill Schmalfeldt wrote in a biography of Alexander titled “Vice and Victory: With the Emphasis on the Former.”
Alexander, 35, has lived in Texas, Louisiana and Virginia.
Even as he pleaded guilty to credit card fraud in 2008, he got a job at the Republican National Convention that year, according to published accounts.
Gosar, Biggs spoke in debate over vote certification
Apart from their social media differences, Biggs and Gosar were key players in the failed effort Wednesday by most House Republicans to block the certification of election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Gosar was the House member who formally challenged Arizona during the joint session of Congress.
Biggs, who heads the House Freedom Caucus, spoke early on in the subsequent debate in the House of Representatives on the case against Arizona's election system.
Stefanski emphasized that Biggs' primary concern is upholding election integrity.
"He was focused on his research and arguments to work within the confines of the law and established precedent to restore integrity to our elections, and to ensure that all Americans — regardless of party affiliation — can again have complete trust in our elections systems," Stefanski said.
While Gosar had been prolific in touting election protests and the intended rally in Washington on Jan. 6, he has been relatively quiet on social media in the days since.
After no public tweets on Thursday, his first on Friday was a message with the image saying, "No signal" and the color bars sometimes used on TV.
By contrast, Biggs has repeatedly tweeted his appreciation about law enforcement in recent days. On Saturday, for example, he noted it was Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
Republic reporter Yvonne Wingett Sanchez contributed to this article.
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