By Annie Grayer and Oliver Darcy, CNN
Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones met virtually on Monday with the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, he announced on his broadcast.
A source familiar with the investigation confirmed the meeting to CNN.
“I just had a very intense experience being interrogated by the January 6 committee,” Jones said on his broadcast on Monday. “They were polite, but they were dogged.”
Jones said that, by his lawyer’s count, he had pleaded the Fifth Amendment “almost 100 times” and that he had been told to do so “on advice of counsel.”
Jones said that while he had wanted to answer the questions, he was afraid to do so because he believes that the committee, specifically Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, would twist his words, and Jones said he had been afraid of not answering all questions correctly and potentially perjuring himself.
“The questions were overall pretty reasonable,” Jones said. “And I wanted to answer the questions, but at the same time it’s a good thing I didn’t, because I’m the type that tries to answer things correctly even though I don’t know all the answers, and they can kind of claim that that’s perjury, because about half the questions I didn’t know the answer to.”
Jones said he had been shown “a bunch of emails” that he had not seen before. He also said he believes that the committee has gotten access to his phone because he was shown text messages from his phone, including messages with January 6 rally organizers Cindy Chafian and Caroline Wren, who also have been subpoenaed by the committee.
“They have everything that’s already on my phones and things, because I saw my text messages to Caroline Wren and Cindy Chafian and some of the event organizers,” Jones said.
Jones was first subpoenaed by the panel in November.
Jones says he was unaware of plans for violence
On his show, Jones shared that the panel had asked him repeatedly who his White House contact was to help with rally planning and organizing. Jones said that Caroline Wren, a major fundraiser for the Donald Trump campaign, was his contact for rallies on January 5 and 6.
Jones suggested that Wren was with a group of officials at the Ellipse on January 6 who led him “to the back of the stage so we could then go and get around the crowd and go lead the march.” Jones said he had sought to direct people to a spot near the Capitol where organizer Ali Alexander planned to hold a permitted rally. He said he did not support people going into the Capitol, which he called “so stupid and so dumb.”
In its subpoena letter to Jones, the committee cited news reports and his own statements to make the connection between Jones, Wren and Chafian and said the three worked toward “facilitating a donor, now known to be Julie Fancelli, to provide what (he) characterized as ‘eighty percent’ of the funding” for the rally on the Ellipse on January 6.
The committee stated that Jones had been denied a speaking spot at the January 6 rally but that his previous comments indicate he had been designated to “lead a march to the Capitol, where President Trump would meet the group.”
Jones said on Monday that it was the belief of those at the Capitol that Trump was going to join them in some capacity after his speech at the Ellipse on January 6. Jones said he heard from witnesses to the committee that Trump had told his then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, that he wasn’t going to meet his supporters at the Capitol but could drive by or fly over the crowd with a helicopter because he had done that at other large events.
Jones said Trump “kept marveling” at the size of the crowd and that the then-President “was super excited” about the number of people gathering at the Capitol.
Jones also relayed on Monday that the committee had asked him whether he had heard of any plans for violence on January 6. Jones said the only talk he had heard about possible violence was through news reports and that he was not privy to any insider information. He described it as “background noise” that you “always hear about politics in America.”
“There was, you know, headlines about insurrection acts and Trump was all over the news. But I was getting this from the news like everybody else,” Jones said.
He denounced any suggestion that he had been involved in the planning of violence at the Capitol.
“Let’s get something clear for the committee and my audience and everybody else: I don’t want a civil war in this country, and that’s a terrible idea,” he said. “And I don’t want lawlessness by anybody. And I don’t want anybody attacking anybody, OK?”
‘So stupid and so dumb’
Jones acknowledged that he uses rhetoric about fighting but said that applied only to the information wars. He has repeatedly used hostile rhetoric and references to war in his messages about the election.
“InfoWar means we fight with information,” Jones said, adding that it was a “nonviolent war.”
The committee’s subpoena to Jones referenced comments from a guest host on his program on December 31, 2020, that seemed to foreshadow the riot. “We’re going to only be saved by millions of Americans moving to Washington, occupying the entire area, if necessary storming right into the Capitol,” the host, Matt Bracken, had told viewers.
On his show Monday, Jones condemned those comments that had been made on his show, claimed he hadn’t heard them before he had received the subpoena and said, “Quite frankly, I was shocked by it.”
Jones also shared that he had learned from his deposition that the committee listens to his show almost every day.
Jones said the committee also asked him whether he used Oath Keepers or Proud Boys as security. He said he hired his own private security but added that he later found out that the leader of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, “would assign someone to us.” CNN previously reported that Rhodes’ Oath Keepers protected Jones at multiple “Stop the Steal” rallies and that some were tasked with providing a personal security detail for Jones and Alexander on January 6.
“I had 12 to 14 security people,” Jones said, elaborating that he hired a “well-known private security company” based out of Texas that provided him with personnel composed of “DC and Maryland police.”
“I go and try to get professional people,” Jones added, joking that they were probably Democrats.
Jones did say that everywhere he went, people “of every different type” followed him around.
He revealed that he had eaten at a Hooters restaurant with some members of the Proud Boys after attending a rally in Georgia prior to January 6.
Jones, referring to the indictment of Rhodes on seditious conspiracy charges, said that if the Oath Keepers were attempting to foment a violent rebellion, it’s not something he knew about or desired.
The committee acknowledged specifically in its subpoena to Jones that once at the Capitol, he had told people “not to be violent” and to gather and wait for Trump to speak. Even though Trump never went to the Capitol that day, the committee said the location where Jones had told people to wait “coincided” with the place that “Stop the Steal” rally organizer Alexander had obtained a permit for that day.
On his show, Jones said he had tried to discourage people from entering the Capitol but described containing the crowd as “mission impossible.”
“We learned there were a bunch of people inside the Capitol,” Jones said. “And that was so stupid and so dumb. I didn’t support it that day and I don’t support it now.”
“We got the hell out of there once we couldn’t stop it,” Jones later added, calling January 6 a “horrible historic fiasco” and saying he wished it had “never happened.”
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.
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