The events of Jan. 6, 2021, are often portrayed by Democrats and their friends in the media as an insurrection. It’s a loaded word meant to imply that protesters were mounting an organized rebellion against the U.S. government.
That description might fit the left’s narrative of what happened on that day in Washington, but it’s a far stretch from the truth, according to Julie Kelly, author of a new book, “January 6: How Democrats Used the Capitol Protest to Launch a War on Terror Against the Political Right.”
Kelly, who is also a contributor to American Greatness, joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to reveal what she’s uncovered in her new book. Watch the full interview, listen to the podcast, or read a lightly edited transcript below.
Rob Bluey: Let’s start from the moment that this happened at the U.S. Capitol. You have described in other interviews and in the book how you were immediately suspicious or skeptical of the media narrative that was forming on that day. What were the red flags, in your mind?
Julie Kelly: It, first of all, was so out of character for any other Trump rally. How many rallies has he had, including huge ones, that had taken place in November and December late in 2020? None of them had turned violent. I mean, people just weren’t behaving that way. So I think that that really raised some red flags, it just looked so out of character.
And also, just the instant branding of it as an insurrection. That word was planted, seeded very early that day and then it just kept rolling. So you had lawmakers referring to it as an insurrection while it was going on. Joe Biden gave his speech at like 4 o’clock that day, he called it an insurrection. George W. Bush called it an insurrection. Like, where did this term come from?
So to me it just sounded like collusion. It was like a Fusion GPS-type orchestrated campaign, PR campaign, but then a little more sinister behind the scenes. Like, who provoked this? How did this all happen? So that’s some of the things I detail in my book.
Bluey: I’m glad you brought up the point about the word insurrection. Tell us why this was not an insurrection. And then I want to go a little bit deeper and ask about some of the things we see now playing out in our politics today, including in some congressional races where they’re trying to use that same term to get some members of Congress thrown off the ballot.
Kelly: That’s exactly right and I think that that should raise red flags in people’s heads. Was this just an organic uprising incited by [Donald] Trump and the Democrats just happened to be weaponizing it, not just government agencies, but politically? Or was this orchestrated, mainly orchestrated and executed by Trump’s political enemies? Of course, he has a lot of them to do exactly what they’re doing right now.
So yes, they’re targeting these people as insurrectionists. But how can you overthrow a government with no weapons, with no orchestrated groups who were doing it? Of course, the only person who had a firearm or used it that day was the officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt. You have kind of these ragtag militia groups, they also did not have any weapons.
The idea that this was an insurrection to overthrow the government that day just makes no sense, but it’s a term that the public could grasp super easily—politicians could, Joe Biden, everyone in charge. Now, of course, no one’s been charged with insurrection, but it doesn’t matter. It’s just law fear and it’s propaganda.
Bluey: Yeah, it certainly seems like they are politicizing it to the extent that they can benefit in their own elected offices and pursuing an agenda that they want to do.
Now, the interviews you have done reveal what you just remarked on. This was a rather spontaneous event. It was a protest that started at the other end of the National Mall near the White House and proceeded to the U.S. Capitol. As you did these interviews and learned more about the day, what are some of the most revealing details that you want to share with our listeners?
Kelly: So, first of all, Rob, the idea that [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and [D.C. Mayor] Muriel Bowser kept the Capitol intentionally insecure that day.
I’ve spoken with a D.C. National Guardsman. They were stationed at the Armory at 6 a.m. that day. They were waiting there, about 1,200 of them, and they were not activated and deployed until 4 o’clock that day. Now, why?
So why did they leave it intentionally unsecure? Why then, right before the session started, did you have two things happening at once? One, the alleged discovery of the pipe bombs—who, by the way, we still don’t know who the pipe bomber is. And then two, the first breach of the perimeter, the grounds, which happened when one man, after Ray Epps, famous Ray Epps, whispered in his ear, he knocked down these bike racks and ran up.
This happened about 10, 15 minutes before the joint session commenced. So you have all these interesting timelines.
Now, the people who were at Trump’s speech were still there. Trump’s speech didn’t end until 1:15. By the time they walked to the Capitol, a lot of whoever the instigators were, the provocateurs, the undercover agents, the informants, the rattle rousers, they had already started a lot of the chaos that we saw. So people who were coming from Trump’s speech really didn’t know what was going on.
And as I say, repeatedly, Rob, the people who wanted the proceedings that day shut down were not Republicans, they were Democrats. They did not want the airing of all of the evidence of fraud, which would be two hours per state.
You had senators working with Republican House members to contest those results, ask for the 10-day audit and have two hours of debate over it. Democrats did not want that. It was the Democrats who wanted the proceedings that day shut down, not Republicans. And of course, they got what they wanted.
Bluey: Yeah. Thank you for providing that important historical fact, and also that context. Let’s go back to that time period. So here we are, and you write about this in the book, four days after this highly contentious election, in which there were millions of mail-in ballots and absentee ballots yet to be officially counted, the news media declared Joe Biden the winner. I believe it was a Saturday—
Bluey: … afternoon when that happened. And immediately afterward, the Trump campaign began to raise some concern about some irregularities. Well, they were doing it even before that announcement was made. But then even in the weeks leading up to that, you had a number of members of Congress, House members and senators, who, as you said, wanted to have this 10-day audit. Why were Democrats so intent about plowing through and carrying out this, as you said, on Jan. 6?
Kelly: Well, because they did not want any of the evidence of voter fraud to be exposed. And that’s why the media immediately announced Joe Biden the winner. You’re right, it was that Saturday, I think the 7th or 8th of November. Then they branded any inquiries about what happened in the election “The Big Lie,” which we still hear to this day.
But look, all you have to do is look at that Time magazine article that was written in February of 2021. They admitted, not just as you’re saying, all the malfeasants with the mail-in ballots and people who were curing ballots when they shouldn’t have been, but just this whole orchestrated effort with Big Tech, national news media, business interests, everyone collaborating to take down Trump.
Now, what’s interesting is, they war-gamed out this whole thing under something called the Transition Integrity Project. I write about it in my book. They used the word insurrection four times in that plan. So they were already planning that this was going to be their excuse for Trump. He was going to call in the military. He was going to initiate the insurrection.
So they already had so much of this pre-planned. And so, that’s how they really, effectively, shut down any congressional investigation into voter fraud. And then, of course, after Jan. 6, it was completely shut down.
Bluey: And of course, during this period of time, the American people, Trump supporters, or even maybe not Trump supporters, who were just upset about the way things were proceeding, decided to start gathering, as you said, at these rallies, “Stop the Steal” rallies. And one of these took place on Jan. 6. Bring us to that day and some of the things that you heard from people who came to Washington, D.C., never expecting what transpired at the U.S. Capitol. Why were they there?
Kelly: That’s a great question. They were there, I think, most of them really thought something was going to happen in Congress that day, that they were going to pass this 10-day audit that the senators were asking for. Some of them, I think, believed [then-Vice President] Mike Pence actually would be able to do something. That, of course, he wasn’t going to do. And then said at 1 o’clock that day he was not going to do, which is fine.
But they also were there, I think, some of them sensed nothing was going to happen. This was kind of a way to see Donald Trump, listen to his speech, sort of say “thank you,” be with like-minded Americans, protest what they believed was a rigged election.
And so people say it was a great event, people who were at [it]. And there were hundreds of thousands of people there, there was great spirit, comradery. People were singing, they had flags, and then they went to the Capitol. And of course, it was all over after that.
Bluey: Let me ask you specifically about that. Many media outlets incorrectly reported many of the details that happened on Jan. 6, including the circumstances of Officer Brian Sicknick’s death, which The New York Times and others had to famously correct their errors. What stands out to you as some of the most egregious falsehoods that the media put forward in the aftermath of that day?
Kelly: So, the Officer Sicknick story has to be at the top of that list. Because what happened, Rob, is four Trump supporters died that day. Ashli Babbitt, killed by a police officer. Rosanne Boyland probably died because of what police officers were doing that day, and likely two other men.
Because what was happening is law enforcement and official officers were throwing flash bangs into the crowd, dosing people with tear gas, using rubber bullets against protesters. These are people outside. They’re not even near the building. They just started attacking these people around 1:15, 1:30. So that led to a lot of the confrontations you see on cherry-picked video.
What happened was, the night of Jan. 7, U.S. Capitol Police announced that Officer Brian Sicknick had been killed in the line of duty, that he had been killed by protesters, basically. The next day, Jan. 8, The New York Times posts a report, an account based on two anonymous law enforcement officials, saying that Brian Sicknick had been bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher by Trump supporters.
Now, this story goes viral. Every major news organization picks it up. Democrat politicians pick it up. Even some Republican conservative outlets picked it up. No questioning about whether this was true or not.
So this prompted all sorts of outrage, led to a lot of optics, like his procession through the Capitol. He was laid in state. His remains were laid in state in the Capitol Rotunda. He was eulogized by Nancy Pelosi and by [Sen.] Chuck Schumer. His remains were taken to Arlington National Cemetery. The whole idea was that Trump supporters were responsible for murdering a police officer.
Well, what happens after all that’s over? The New York Times quietly retracts their story, says, “We have no evidence that he was killed by anyone with a fire extinguisher.” But it was too late because they had gone for five weeks and had all the optics that they needed. And it even made it into the House Democrats’ impeachment memo, that New York Times citation. And it’s still in there.
So one of my big questions is, if Jan. 6 was so bad, why do they have to lie about it? That’s just one of the big lies that they told.
Well, of course, the D.C. coroner comes out in April and says Brian Sicknick died at the age of 42 of natural causes, a very untimely, unfortunate death, but had nothing to do with what happened on Jan. 6.
Bluey: Thank you for helping to clarify and expose this. As you and I both know, when something is out there for as long as that was, the impression is already made in so many people’s minds. And so they’re not going to see the retraction or the correction.
Bluey: Let’s talk about the other tragic death that happened that day, and that’s Ashli Babbitt. You mentioned her name. A lot of controversy surrounding that. She was unarmed at the time she was killed. What do you want our listeners to know about her death?
Kelly: That it was so unnecessary, that they covered up the name of the police officer who shot and killed her. They covered that up for months, including the news media.
Now, Rob, think about that. In any other situation, especially in a race—I mean, you had a black police officer shoot a white woman. Race had nothing you with it, but that’s not how the media works. So in any other situation, his name would’ve been released, they would’ve scoured his social media, known where he worked before, talked to his relatives. None of that happened. His name was concealed for months. He was then heralded as a hero.
She, in the meantime, was completely vilified by the news media as a QAnon supporter, that she sort of deserved what happened to her. Five-foot-two, a veteran, longtime veteran, tours of duty overseas, unarmed, and was trying to climb through a window.
Now, it looks like new video that came out is that she was trying to stop the man who’s smashing the window. There’s some video that shows her punching him in the face to get him to stop. And there’s speculation that she was trying to get through that window because of the violence that was happening around her and trying to escape.
Bluey: Yeah. Watching Tucker Carlson’s special and hearing from her mother and husband is just so sad and particularly how they treated her body after she had been shot as well.
Kelly: Right. And that’s why they want to conceal a lot of this video, Rob, which is the 14,000 hours of surveillance video that they’re keeping under wraps. They don’t want the public to see how her body was handled by police officers, basically dragging her down these stairs face up, just so disrespectfully.
And so just the way she’s been treated in the media. And millions of Americans who feel the same way, that she deserved what was coming to her, and they think it’s unfortunate that more people weren’t shot that day.
And Rosanne Boyland is another woman who died that day. They mishandled her body, too. She was dragged through that tunnel after police basically contributed to her death and hidden inside the rotunda near [Rep.] Steny Hoyer’s office by two Capitol Police officers until paramedics arrived and declared her dead. So there’s a lot still to uncover. The Jan. 6 committee has no interest in this, but I do think some of the evidence will come out in these trials.
Bluey: Yes. Well, certainly. And our prayers go out to not only them, but their families who are still grieving.
You’ve talked about the police and you say, you write in the book that they were responsible for a lot of the violence that took place through some of their actions, which you have already mentioned in the interview. As you reported this, what did you discover about the police and the steps that they were taking that led some people to act the way they did?
Kelly: I was shocked. I remember the first man, he’s still in the D.C. jail, he sent me a video that he had taken that showed police throwing flash bangs into the crowd. And I was shocked. Now, this was four months after I had started reporting it. I had never seen anything like this.
So you see him saying, “Look at this, they’re throwing flash bangs into the crowd. They’re exploding in people’s faces.” And then they were throwing something called sting balls, which, when it hits the ground, deploys these rubber bullets. So you see people bleeding from these rubber bullets.
And I thought, “Well, why were they doing this?” These people were basically outside on the grounds. They had flags, they were singing. Then all of a sudden, D.C. and Capitol Police started attacking them. Again, I think that’s why there were not National Guardsmen there, because if you had had the thousand or so National Guardsmen, they would say, “Well, you can’t do this to people. Why are you provoking them?”
So that’s why you see the crowd turn. They were very supportive, Back the Blue, Trump, whatever. And then you see them start screaming at police officers, and that is why. In some instances they were tackling, they were punching protesters, spraying them directly in the face. Now, these aren’t even people trying to get into the building.
So this is why I write in my book that the law enforcement officials there, D.C. Metro and Capitol Police, were the provocateurs that day. And that is what I think their marching orders were, is to get the crowd riled up so you would see all of these brawls that we did see. And so, another reason why they want to keep the video under seal.
Bluey: Sure. And naturally, if you put yourself, you or I put ourselves in that position, and we feel that we are being attacked—I mean, I can only imagine the natural human reaction to a situation like that.
Bluey: You also talk about the FBI having informants at the Capitol that day. This is one of the areas where I feel like we still are missing a lot of information. What can you tell us today about what we’ve learned so far?
Kelly: We’ve learned that we need to learn a lot more.
Kelly: Right? So we already know that informants were run into two of the militia groups, because it’s been confirmed in court filings and also The New York Times.
We know that the FBI will not answer any questions about, say—[Attorney General] Merrick Garland refused to answer [Rep.] Tom Massie’s question about who Ray Epps was, said he didn’t know, which he probably does not know. Merrick Garland is like Robert Mueller, right? He’s not running that department. Lisa Monaco is running it, his deputy, a former Obama top official.
But also it was interesting, Jill Sanborn, who’s a top FBI official, when she was asked by [the] Senate Judiciary [Committee], “Were there any FBI informants or agents who either incited or engaged in violent behavior that day?”, she twice refused to answer that question.
So we need a lot more answers about how many FBI agents, not just were involved that day, but months beforehand, including the infiltration in these alleged militia groups.
Why were there so many people photographed with the Proud Boys, but only about 20 of them have been arrested? Who were the rest of those men who were with that group during the first breach? We still don’t know.
And knowing how this FBI operates, looking at the Whitmer kidnapping caper, which was concocted solely by the FBI and executed by the FBI for political purposes, the same FBI field office director who oversaw the Whitmer case was then promoted to the D.C. FBI field office right before Jan. 6. So there’s no coincidences when it comes to the FBI, and so we need to answer.
So hopefully, when Republicans get the House, they are going to confront [FBI Director] Christopher Wray with a lot of questions and demand a lot of answers, because the American people need to know. This FBI we know has been completely weaponized. It’s a law enforcement agency. It’s like Gestapo, basically, for the Democratic Party. We deserve all the answers about what they did before and during Jan. 6.
Bluey: And the American people aren’t going to get it from the Jan. 6 committee, Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked group that’s allegedly looking into to the events of that day.
Let’s fast forward. You also talk about the deplorable conditions in the jail where some, believe it or not, here a year, over a year later, some people are still being held. Who are the political prisoners who are still in jail and what are the types of charges that they’re facing?
Kelly: That’s such a good question. So shockingly, we have a political prison in Washington, D.C. Right now, there are about three dozen men who have been detained there. This D.C. jail opened one year ago this week. But a lot of men were incarcerated in other jails before they got to D.C., so over a year they’ve been behind bars.
Most of them face some sort of attacking, assaulting, or interfering with law enforcement, but there are also nonviolent offenders, including at the D.C. jail, members of the Oath Keepers who are not accused of any violent crime, a couple of others who face no violent charges. But nonetheless, [the Justice Department] continues to ask for their continued, indefinite incarceration, because some of them don’t even have trial dates yet.
And the ones that had them, Rob, have now been pushed into the middle or end of this year, based on COVID, based on some chicanery by the DOJ, which keeps adding superseding indictments, they keep adding defendants, so this delays the cases for months.
You could have one man in particular who will be in jail for 18 months before his trial even starts at the end of May, no violent charges, he walked in peacefully, did nothing wrong. He’s been dubbed a white supremacist. He’ll be in jail for 18 months. And you know what’s really upsetting about that case is the man who’s kept him behind bars is a Trump-appointed D.C. District Court judge, Trevor McFadden.
Kelly: Yes. So, it’s all the judges.
Bluey: Yeah, yeah. And as you said earlier, and just to repeat, no one has been charged with insurrection.
Kelly: That’s correct.
Kelly: We just got charges for seditious conspiracy. I guess that’s supposed to be close enough. But out of 730 defendants, now think about this, 730 people arrested by the FBI for Jan. 6, three times as many as have been arrested by the FBI for the 2020 riots that lasted months. So yes, these men will be in jail. Their trials are being delayed and they are political prisoners. They are being kept there because of their involvement in Jan. 6, and that’s the only reason why.
Bluey: Paint a picture for our listeners of what it’s like … you use the word deplorable in the book, what are the conditions like that they’re currently facing in that jail?
Kelly: Well, in the D.C. jail for the first several months, they were under solitary confinement conditions. Again, based on COVID.
They were separated from the general population, saying it was for their own protection because most of the people in the D.C. jail are convicted criminals and they wouldn’t be fans of Trump supporters, neither are the guards. And so, there have been reports of physical assault, some very explicit strip searches that actually required one man to be transferred out of there to another jail, racial slurs.
The only newspaper that’s distributed there is the Nation of Islam newspaper. They are withholding discovery evidence that’s sent to the jail so they can’t even see their evidence against them. If they’re not vaccinated, they can’t meet in person with their defense attorney, which of course, constitutional violation.
But I think it’s really the solitary confinement conditions, they’re back to 22 hours a day in their cell. Again, the premise is COVID, but they’re really just being tortured.
And again, not convicted of any crime … most of them have no criminal records. Some of them are veterans. So there’s no reason for them to not be released back home awaiting trials that the DOJ and judges keep delaying. They pose no threat to the community. They’re not a flight risk. And so they’re just keeping them there to torture them.
Bluey: Thank you for helping to expose and reveal to not only our listeners, but to the world about what those conditions are, because if it weren’t for you and a few others, I don’t think we would truly know.
And you’ve spent so much of the past year dedicating your life to getting the truth about Jan. 6 to a bigger audience, and making sure that where others in the media or the Democrats in Congress have failed or ignore the opportunity to do so, you’re stepping in and filling that void. So we are thankful for that.
As you sit here today, what would you say if you had to pick one or two of the biggest issues that you want to get to the bottom of? What would those be?
Kelly: The No. 1 issue would definitely be the government’s involvement. So, FBI and other agencies, what they did to provoke that day.
And also, I would want to get to the bottom of what these prosecutors are doing, what they’re showing the grand jury. We already know that they’ve misled the grand jury on two of the most prevalent misdemeanor charges. So I really want to expose everything that’s happening at DOJ with these prosecutions, their correspondence with other political actors, but most importantly, I think what happened with the FBI.
And I do, before I forget, want to give a shoutout to—there was no structure in place either, Rob, to help any of these defendants. And so a woman of one of the detainees actually started what’s called the Patriot Freedom Project, and it’s patriotfreedomproject.com. And she really single-handedly helped raise money. Dinesh D’Souza contributed $100,000 to it, which really got it started, because no lawyers would step up and help these people.
So I do think the narrative is shifting quite a bit and we are seeing some lawyers and people step up to help them, but there was a huge vacuum there.
Bluey: You’re dedicating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of your book to that. We’ll make sure to link to it in the transcript and in the show notes.
Bluey: So, looking back a year later and all of the work that still needs to be done, why are you still dedicated to doing this? I mean, I imagine you’ve come under personal attack from those on the left for seeking the truth. What motivates you to keep going and why should the American people still want these answers?
Kelly: That’s such a good question. Because this is wrong, it should not be happening in America. You know, Rob, I talked to the wife of a detainee the other night and she’s like, “I never thought this would be happening in America.”
It just should not be happening. The Democrats should not be using the weapons of war against American citizens and they are. And they’re escalating it. They’re doing it with the J6 committee, but they’re certainly doing it with this DOJ and FBI. It’s just wrong. And if we are going to keep our country protected from the enemies in our own country, which is the left and the Democratic Party, then we need to expose what they’re doing.
So I think I keep doing it because it’s right for the country, but also on behalf of all of these people whose lives are seriously being destroyed and really had no one to speak up for them. So that’s why.
Bluey: Thank you, Julie. Thank you for what you’re doing. Thank you for writing the book. Again, it’s called “January 6: How Democrats Used the Capitol Protest to Launch a War on Terror Against the Political Right.” Thank you for visiting with The Daily Signal today.
Kelly: Thanks so much for having me, really appreciate it.
Julia Dandoy, a member of The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program, assisted with the questions for this interview.
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