Two key organizers of the main Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C. are coming in from the cold.
Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lynn Lawrence are set to testify next week before the House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The pair will deliver testimony and turn over documents, including text messages, that indicate the extensive involvement members of Congress and the Trump administration had in planning the House challenge to certifying Biden’s election and rally near the White House where Donald Trump spoke — efforts that ultimately contributed to a massive and violent attack on the Capitol.
Among the documents the couple is providing are conversations they had with staffers and members of Congress as they planned the main rally that took place on the White House Ellipse that day. Stockton described these discussions as largely logistical and focused on planning the members’ participation in objections to the electoral certification on the House floor and various events that were staged to protest against the election. They include Instagram messages Lawrence exchanged with Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) as she tried to get him to speak at the Ellipse rally. Cawthorn, whose office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, ultimately appeared onstage at that event.
“We’re turning it all over and we’ll let the cards fall where they may,” Stockton says.
It’s the latest revelation from the couple, veteran activists who have spent the better part of a decade specializing in staging political stunts while working for conservative activist groups, Republican campaigns, and Trump’s on-again-off-again strategist Steve Bannon. Stockton and Lawrence were members of the team that led the nationwide “March for Trump” bus tour, which ended with the Jan. 6 rally at the White House Ellipse. In recent weeks, Stockton and Lawrence have participated in an extensive series of interviews with Rolling Stone revealing what they knew about the day.
The pair were the sources for a story that was published in late October, when they said members of Congress were involved in planning Trump’s efforts to overturn the election and the Jan. 6 Ellipse rally. They claimed one of these lawmakers, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), suggested the possibility Trump could get them a “blanket pardon” in an unrelated ongoing investigation if they helped protest the election. (Gosar later suggested that story was “categorically false and defamatory.”) Stockton and Lawrence also say they were told that Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had communicated with the organizers and was warned about concerns of potential violence.
Nothing in the documents viewed by Rolling Stone or the couple’s statements revealed any planning for, or coordination with, the violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters.
Stockton and Lawrence spoke to Rolling Stone on the condition of anonymity for that story due to the ongoing investigation. Now, after receiving a subpoena from the committee, they decided to come forward and testify publicly — in Congress and in the press. The couple say they believe the public deserve answers about what went down on Jan. 6.
“The people and the history books deserve a real account of what happened,” Stockton explains. Lawrence puts it more bluntly: “Violent shit happened,” she says. “We want to get to the bottom of that.”
Having said all that, let's remember that Stockton and Lawrence are not the heroes here, but villains solely motivated by the self-interest of not going to prison for decades.
Behind those noble sentiments about why they’re cooperating with the committee is a hard reality: Stockton and Lawrence are running out of options.
On Nov. 22, the committee subpoenaed the pair, demanding they deliver depositions and turn over documents related to their involvement in the rally and communications with members of Trump’s team. Stockton is scheduled to testify on Tuesday, and Lawrence is due up the following day. The duo are keenly aware that Bannon, Meadows, and others who have declined to cooperate with the committee are facing federal charges for contempt of Congress. “We’ve seen what’s happened with Bannon, and we don’t have the resources that a Steve Bannon has,” Stockton says, referencing Bannon’s multimillion dollar fortune. “Our options are, in a lot of ways, limited.”
Stockton and Lawrence have spent the past few weeks on the move, switching between their R.V. and various hotels and hideouts. Apart from Louis, a greyhound-beagle mix who has accompanied them back and forth across the country, the couple have few of their old friends left. The legal drama and infighting have left them cut off from political work; Stockton is keeping them afloat with what he describes as “a variety of side hustles.”
Being caught between those on the right they think might want to silence them and a Democrat-led committee that’s hit them with subpoenas and potentially large legal bills has left them with what Stockton labels “a sense of paranoia.” The couple have packed their things up and switched locations in the middle of the night at least once when they became suspicious of a group of “paramilitary-looking” young men. When they first made contact with the committee, the meeting, they say, was a disaster that left them with real questions about who they could trust. They’ve spent most of the past few months on the run.
It’s been a long, stressful time for Stockton and Lawrence, a pair who were once rising stars in the extended MAGA universe and now find themselves looking constantly over their shoulders. For a lot of people who end up in such a tight spot, it’s tough to look back and pinpoint the moment things started to go wrong. For these two, that question has a fairly straightforward answer.
It's a pretty long story here, and it's important to keep in mind that these two were definitely part of a insurrectionist coup to overthrow President Joe Biden's election.
But these two may be the key to bringing all of these bastards down.
Let's hope so.