What Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones Said in the Lead Up to the Capitol Riot

Alex Jones, conspiracy theorist and publisher of InfoWars, addressed a crowd of pro-Trump protesters after they stormed the grounds of the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Alex Jones, conspiracy theorist and publisher of InfoWars, addressed a crowd of pro-Trump protesters after they stormed the grounds of the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

January 12, 2021

When FRONTLINE first aired the documentary United States of Conspiracy in July 2020, months before the attack on the U.S. Capitol, President Donald Trump and Alex Jones had already helped weave once-fringe conspiracy theories into the highest levels of American politics.

Then came January 6 and a vivid illustration of the consequences of the conspiracies the president and the right-wing conspiracy theorist had been promoting. The pro-Trump mob that ransacked the Capitol building chanted slogans like, “fight for Trump,” and were spurred on by the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

The unprecedented insurrection left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer and a woman who was shot by police while participating in the siege. One person who was later charged with unlawful possession of a destructive device allegedly parked a vehicle with 11 homemade bombs two blocks from the Capitol building. Another who was charged with writing threats was accused of sending texts to acquaintances ahead of time, saying he wanted to run over or shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Leading up to the attack, carried out while Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory, Jones had been at the forefront — along with several other Trump supporters — of amplifying false claims that the election had been rigged and that Trump had actually won.

On January 5, the night before the assault on the Capitol, a video posted on Jones’ website InfoWars.com showed him telling a crowd in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C.: “We have only begun to resist the globalists. We have only begun our fight against their tyranny. They have tried to steal this election in front of everyone.”

“I don’t know how this is all going to end, but if they want to fight, they better believe they’ve got one,” Jones said that night, according to the same video.

The next day, InfoWars posted a video that shows Jones riling a crowd up again, saying: “We declare 1776 against the new world order.… We need to understand we’re under attack, and we need to understand this is 21st-century warfare and get on a war-footing….”

In the same video, before setting off toward the Capitol building, Jones told the crowd: “We’re here to take our rightful country back peacefully, because we’re not globalist, antifa criminals. So let’s start marching, and I salute you all.”

Once outside the Capitol, Jones was filmed, bullhorn in hand. “We’re not antifa; we’re not BLM. You’re amazing. I love you. Let’s march around the other side, and let’s not fight the police and give the system what they want. We are peaceful, and we won this election. And as much as I love seeing the Trump flags flying over this, we need to not have the confrontation with the police. They’re gonna make that the story. I’m going to march to the other side, where we have a stage, where we can speak and occupy peacefully.”

Jones continued: “Trump is going to speak over here. Trump is coming.”

Just before the siege, President Trump had incited the crowd, saying, “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore,” and said he would be marching with them to the Capitol. But he never showed up.

On Tuesday the U.S. House of Representatives released an article of impeachment against the president, charging him with “incitement of insurrection.” The document stated that the president “willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol” and that “incited by President Trump,” members of the crowd “unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel” and “engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.”

The president defended himself on Tuesday, saying, “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.”

The relationship between Trump and Jones, brokered by Roger Stone — a political advisor of Trump’s and a frequent guest on InfoWars — goes back to 2015, as detailed in United States of Conspiracy. Jones for years rallied his audience behind Trump and believed himself to be instrumental in getting Trump elected.

Jones’ conspiracy theories have been behind other controversies in the past.

An avid follower of Jones and his site InfoWars was sent to prison for stalking the family of a child killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School after Jones claimed the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, had been staged. And a man who believed the Pizzagate conspiracy promoted by Jones and others showed up at a restaurant in Washington, D.C., with an assault rifle and opened fire.

In the days since the riot, Jones and InfoWars have been claiming antifa was responsible for the violence at the Capitol, despite all of the video and photos of the pro-Trump rioters — and of Jones himself on the scene that day.

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

9 Documentaries That Provide Context on the Buffalo Shooting
As America grapples with the deadly massacre, FRONTLINE's past reporting sheds light on the current moment and the circumstances that led to it, from guns to America's history of racist killings.
May 17, 2022
War Crimes Watch: Targeting Ukraine Schools, Russia Bombs the Future
The destruction of schools is about more than toppling buildings and maiming bodies, experts told our reporting partner The Associated Press. It hinders a nation’s ability to rebound after the fighting stops, injuring entire generations.
May 17, 2022
Minneapolis Agrees to Pay $200,000 to Settle Discrimination Complaints by Two Former Police Officers
Colleen Ryan alleged she was denied promotion because she's an openly gay woman, while former Deputy Chief Art Knight alleged his demotion was retaliatory.
May 12, 2022
'This Tears my Soul Apart': A Ukrainian Boy and an Execution
Fifteen-year-old Yura’s extraordinary account alleging an attempted execution by Russian soldiers stands out as international justice experts descend on Bucha, a center of horrors and possible war crimes in Ukraine.
May 12, 2022