A pro-Trump group that organized the “Save America” rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, lied to federal officials about President Donald J. Trump’s plans to call on the crowd to march to the Capitol, where the protest over his election loss turned into a violent riot, according to a new inspector general investigation.
Nearly three years after the mob laid siege to Congress, halting the certification of Mr. Trump’s electoral defeat and injuring more than 150 police officers, the Interior Department’s inspector general on Monday released a 47-page report examining the permitting process that allowed tens of thousands of Trump supporters to gather in Washington before the violence.
The report found that Women for America First, which organized a rally at the Ellipse about two miles from the Capitol on Jan. 6, “intentionally failed to disclose information” to the National Park Service “during the permitting process regarding a march to the U.S. Capitol.”
According to the investigation, Women for America First, which is run by Amy and Kylie Jane Kremer, a conservative mother-and-daughter team, repeatedly told Park Service officials there would be no march to the Capitol while privately planning for one.
When shown private text messages indicating there would be a march, a park ranger involved in the permitting process told investigators it “bl[ew her] mind,” the report said. The Park Service had repeatedly asked Women for America First whether there would be a march, and the organization “was just adamant there was gonna be no march.”
A White House liaison to the rally organizers sent a text message on Jan. 3 to Women for America First regarding a demonstration at the Ellipse. “POTUS expectations are intimate and then send everyone over to the Capitol,” the message said, according to the report.
Katrina Pierson, a Trump spokeswoman, had sent an email on Jan. 2, 2021, with nearly identical language.
Also on Jan. 3, Women for America First, which had received a permit on Jan. 1 for a 5,000-person rally, expanded the number of attendees to 30,000 while continuing to deny to Park Service officials that there would be a march.
On Jan. 4, Kylie Jane Kremer wrote in a text message: “POTUS is going to have us march there/the Capitol.” She added: “It can also not get out about the march because I will be in trouble with the National Park Service and all the agencies, but POTUS is going to just call for it ‘unexpectedly.’”
Shown the texts by the inspector general’s office, a National Park Service permit specialist put it this way: “So, um, basically she lied to all of us,” according to the report.
The inspector general report builds on evidence released by the now-defunct House Jan. 6 Committee. During a hearing last year, the panel detailed Mr. Trump’s efforts to gather his backers in Washington for a final, last-ditch effort to overturn his loss. It also described how he tried to make the march on the Capitol appear spontaneous even as he and his team intentionally assembled and galvanized the crowd to disrupt Congress’s certification of his electoral defeat.
Since the Capitol attack, Mr. Trump and his defenders have described the violence as a freewheeling, peaceful protest gone awry. His former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, even claimed that Mr. Trump “ad-libbed” his remarks at the Ellipse calling for a march to the Capitol. But the report is further evidence that the former president and his supporters planned in advance to direct the crowds to Capitol Hill and worked to hide their intentions.
At 12:25 p.m. on Jan. 3, Women for America First sent a widely disseminated email stating: “Jan. 6 is going to be a historic day. All the rallies in the cold, all of the thousands of miles and all of the stress has all been for SAVE AMERICA from a hostile globalist takeover.”
A representative of Women for America First did not respond to a request for comment.
On Dec. 29, 2020, the group initially sought the permit for the Jan. 6 rally at the Ellipse and “repeatedly” stated there would not be a march to the Capitol, the report said. The permit issued stated that it “does not authorize a march from the Ellipse” and that the organization would “not conduct an organized march from the Ellipse at the conclusion of the rally.”
Mark Lee Greenblatt, the Interior Department’s inspector general, said in statement that his report added “important information and context to the historical record of the events leading up to and occurring on that day.”