An article in Rolling Stone magazine reports that two people who planned the rallies ahead of the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. - both whom are now cooperating with Congressional investigators - have said they talked with seven Republican members of the House of Representatives or their offices ahead of the day about attempts to overturn former President Donald Trump’s election loss. Among them is Western North Carolina’s Madison Cawthorn.
The two planners also said they also spoke with then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, whom they said ‘had an opportunity to prevent the violence’ according to the article. Meadows held the North Carolina 11th Congressional district seat that Cawthorn now has until 2020. Five people died on January 6th at the Capitol while hundreds were injured. Four police officers who responded to the insurrection later died by suicide.
In a statement texted to the Smoky Mountain News and BPR, Cawthorn's office denied the claims made in the Rolling Stone story. "These anonymous accusations are complete garbage," the statement read. "Neither the congressman nor his staff had advance knowledge of what transpired at the Capitol on January 6th or participated in any alleged 'planning process.'"
The other Republican Congressional members implicated in the article are Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Andy Biggs of Arizona. Biggs is the chair of Freedom Caucus, a group of ultra-conservative GOP members that Meadows chaired when he was in office. The article quotes the rally organizers as saying “We would talk to Boebert’s team, Cawthorn’s team, Gosar’s team like back to back to back to back."
Cawthorn did speak at a rally in DC the day of the insurrection just moments before it took place. The freshman Congressman's views about what happened that day have changed throughout the year. The day after the insurrection he called those who stormed the Capitol a “disgusting and pathetic” group of people, and said that it would be ignorant to believe that President Donald Trump played no role in inciting the violence. He then later made the false claim that Democrats paid the mob to storm the Capitol in an attempt to make Trump look bad. Then in August speaking to a Macon County GOP event in Franklin, Cawthorn called those arrested for their part in the insurrection 'political prisoners.' He later told The Smoky Mountain News and BPR “I want to be very clear that the people that I'm specifically talking about, those people were there causing violence or they were causing some kind of vandalism, I want them to be charged to the full extent of the law,” said Cawthorn. “Even the people who were actually just around the Capitol, I want them to be charged to the full extent of law.”