Here Is the Twelve-Point Plan Donald Trump Had for January 6

It's time we started talking about the former president's game plan for the armed insurrection of January 6, as all its details are now public—and they're terrifying.

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It’s at once the most important and least-asked question about the January 6, 2021 insurrection: What did Donald Trump think was going to happen on that horrible day?

In fact, the evidence we already have from Insurrection Day answers that question.

So here, for the first time, is a point-by-point recitation of how Trump and his political team hoped the January 6 insurrection would play out, along with a full itemization of exactly how we know what their designs were.

This timeline helps explain why top Trump adviser (and Donald Trump Jr. girlfriend) Kimberly Guilfoyle was dancing in Trump’s “party tent” prior to his speech at the White House Ellipse, and why Trump’s top adviser on the subject of the insurrection, Steve Bannon, said on his “War Room” podcast the day before the armed assault on the Capitol that

“…all hell is going to break loose tomorrow. Just understand this. All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It’s gonna be moving. It’s gonna be quick.”

The timeline also explains why Trump lied to the assembled mob on January 6 (see the Proof analysis of his speech: parts I, II, III) about his plan to march with them to the Capitol. The then-president had no such intention, as he had a very clear idea of what he wanted to have happen on January 6 and it coincided perfectly with the idea held by his top adviser on the subject, Bannon: all hell was going to break loose. Indeed, the top figures in Trumpworld believed that January 6 was likely going to be a great day for Donald Trump, as they had a plan they intended to execute.

Below are the twelve components of that plan, as well as one Hail Mary backup plan.

(1) There Were Supposed to Be Protests Nationwide

At two points in his January 6 “incitement-to-insurrection” speech (see the Proof analysis of this speech: parts I, II, III) Trump makes reference to his expectation that there are going to be pro-Trump protests all over the country. At one point he paints the picture of such a scenario as if he has already seen it happening—though it’s unclear what events in places other than D.C. he was referring to, or might have heard about or been monitoring—while at another point, perhaps recognizing that the picture he has painted may not materialize, he notes, somewhat dejectedly, that there would be “hell” across America if Republicans did to Democrats what (as he had falsely claimed) the Democrats were doing to him, with respect to “stealing” an election through “fraud.”

The notion of a “general uprising” on January 6 has been woefully under-reported by major media, given that it’s clear that the political intelligence Donald Trump had on January 6 and was crowing about publicly indicated the possibility of intense protests at state capitals across the country. While no such general uprising occurred, there were, in fact, major disturbances in a number of state capitals on January 6, including a scary attack on the governor’s mansion in Washington; violent clashes at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio; and hundreds of protestors gathered at the state capital in Michigan, at least a dozen of whom were visibly armed (with rifles). While these state-level protests never reached the level Trump had expected, the White House’s degree of foreknowledge that violence would be threatened by Trump supporters across the country on January 6—not just in Washington—remains one of the most unjustly ignored news stories of the entire insurrection timeline. Indeed, it could accurately be said that Trump’s televised January 6 speech, which came relatively early in the day, was not only intended to incite chaotic protests in the nation’s capital, but all across America.

Had “hell” truly broken out throughout the country, as both Trump and Steve Bannon publicly anticipated, not only would media coverage of the attack on the U.S. Capitol have been more scattershot (as events nationwide would have stretched media capacity to its breaking point), but general confusion would have prevailed at the Pentagon and elsewhere as America would have seemed to be on the verge of a full-scale rebellion—one whose suppression would depend not just on the response of the U.S. government, but the more unpredictable responses of various governors (some Republican) across the country. That Donald Trump publicly expressed his desire for this outcome during his speech at the White House Ellipse on January 6 is a national scandal all its own.

(2) The Certification Was Supposed to Take Days

Not long after Rudy Giuliani spoke at the Ellipse—approximately a half-hour before Trump spoke on the same stage—the president’s personal lawyer called Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama (or thought he had; in fact, he’d accidentally called Sen. Mike Lee of Utah) and left a message demanding that Trump’s allies in Congress challenge ten states’ slates of electors, rather than the four or five the 2020 Trump campaign had publicly averred it could credibly contest.

Giuliani is explicit with “Tuberville” (i.e., Lee) in saying that then-President Trump wanted the certification process slowed down substantially. It was clear that Trump and his team believed that if certain events occurred—see below—a ten-state challenge to the certification of Biden’s win, with each challenge taking (under Congressional rules) a minimum of an hour and a half to work through, would ensure that Joe Biden couldn’t be finally certified the winner of the election on January 6. {Note: Biden’s win had already been certified by all fifty states, but it could only receive its final certification from Congress.}

In the message left by Giuliani (see link above), he explicitly asks Trump’s allies in the U.S. Senate to “slow it [the certification process] down”, making clear that if these allies would artificially delay the joint session of Congress until “the end of tomorrow [January 7]” it would be enough time for various “state legislatures to get more information to you [Congress]” about their feeling that their states had wrongly certified Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. According to Giuliani’s phone message, “the only strategy we can follow is to object to numerous states”, adding that Tuberville should specifically “object to every state [i.e., all ‘ten states that we contest’] and along with a congressman get a hearing for every state.” Giuliani identified Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as the chief enemy of the Trump plan, opining to Tuberville that McConnell wanted to “rush” the process when all Trump’s plan called for was a “fair opportunity to contest it [the 2020 presidential election].”

Giuliani’s private comments to a man who’d been at Trump’s war council the night before—at Trump’s private residence at Trump International Hotel—in no way matched what he had just said at the White House Ellipse, confirming that Trump’s January 6 plan had both “public” and “private” components. Publicly, Giuliani had identified only a handful of states that could be (in his own, benighted view) credibly contested, but was calling for between six and ten days of additional communications between Congress and state legislatures, while privately the Trump plan was to contest states that could not credibly be contested, simply to force a much longer delay of the joint session then ongoing in Congress.

Perhaps Giuliani believed a mob could not be incited to violence over the premise of falsely—and knowingly falsely—challenging certifications in states without any even manufactured complaints of “voter fraud,” or that a mob couldn’t be incited to violence if it believed that it could at most buy Trump only 36 more hours to press his case. It’s for this reason that we can be certain Trump’s Congressional plan was only one part of the whole; in fact, Trump wanted and needed events to transpire during the afternoon and evening of January 6 that would provoke a much longer delay than a mere 36 hours.

(3) Trump Thought He’d Get 2-10 Days to Find Evidence

During his speech at the Ellipse, Giuliani told the crowd that if Team Trump had up to ten more days to gather evidence of election irregularities, it could all but guarantee that it would find a smoking gun that would permanently deep-six a prospective Biden presidency. Interestingly, Giuliani flip-flopped during his speech, at one point asking for “ten” days and at another point—perhaps slipping from his “public” plan to his “private” one (see above)—seemed to beg for just “two” more days; in each instance, he used the prospect of smoking-gun evidence being just around the corner as motivation for the mob assembled before him to take dramatic, even historic action at the Capitol.

The question that remains is this one: what sort of evidence could Trump and his team have planned to present—in somewhere between two and ten days—that would have led to a general uprising in favor of a second Trump administration? In Giuliani’s call to Tuberville, which Giuliani was aware was being recorded, the only possible answer to this question provided by the Trump lawyer is that “state legislatures” might take action on January 7 or shortly thereafter to either decertify Joe Biden’s November 2020 election victory or else communicate via letter to Congress that they planned to do so.

It can’t be ignored, however, that Giuliani and Sidney Powell were also simultaneously working on what had been termed their “Kraken” plan: uncovering “smoking-gun” evidence of voting-machine manipulation whose origin would be international—South America—and whose substantive content would be (all the evidence suggests) entirely manufactured. It remains unclear who Trump’s legal team was working with to gather manufactured evidence of voting-machine manipulation domestically or from South America, but Proof has already written about Trump using an associate of Michael Flynn to falsely allege, in Michigan, voting-machine irregularities in a court case that was quickly tossed out in that state, and there is much evidence (see here and here) that Trump’s political team was meeting in secret with Trump’s Brazilian allies in the 48 hours before the insurrection. These allies might have been in a position to aid Giuliani, Powell, and Powell’s client Flynn in getting new “evidence” out of Venezuela, Brazil’s chief geopolitical rival in South America.

(4) Trump Was to Speak at the Capitol to Draw a Crowd

It’s not just that Trump explicitly said—more than once—during his January 6 speech that he’d be going up to Capitol Hill alongside the mob, he also said as much to at least two of the three organizers of the Stop the Steal group: Ali Alexander and Alex Jones, who are both on video on January 6 (see the astoundingly thorough ProPublica video archive) directing marchers toward the Stop the Steal stage at the front of the Capitol, upon which stage they repeatedly insisted Trump would shortly be coming to speak. {Note: Lest this aspect of Trump’s plan cause any confusion, it should be understood that at some point Trump’s plan, discussed by the White House with Roger Stone and other Stop the Steal organizers in December 2020, to actually speak at the Capitol on January 6 was, according to major media, scuttled by the Secret Service. At this point, Trump and his team’s plan switched to convincing people that he would be speaking at the Capitol when in fact he would not be. The idea was that making this false promise publicly, and indeed even to Stop the Steal representatives, would nevertheless draw approximately the same size crowd outside the Capitol that an actual speech would have drawn.}

Jones later recorded a video in which he confirmed that the White House had told him Trump was going to speak on the Capitol steps after finishing his speech at the Ellipse. Had Trump done as he promised both the crowd and its organizers, it would have substantially increased the size of the crowd at the Capitol, as well as increasing the possibility of new protests across the country—but also, quite possibly, put Trump in grave legal jeopardy for any breach of the Capitol (or any state capitals) occurring after he had spoken.

(5) The Crowd Was Supposed to Be Very Intimidating

Ali Alexander, who spoke with Trump adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle on the night of January 5, has made clear that when he conspired with Trump Congressional allies Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Mo Brooks (R-AL) before January 6—the last of these being someone White House political director Brian Jack asked to speak alongside Trump at the Ellipse, perBrooks—the plan was for GOP members of Congress to be able to see and hear the crowd outside the Capitol and fear it.

Alexander even said, on camera, that he and his Stop the Steal co-organizers and co-conspirators wanted Congress to hear a “loud roar” from outside as it sat in joint session, and for Republican members of Congress to thereafter decide that they “didn’t want to be on the other side of that.” In other words, the focus of the Trumpist action at the Capitol on January 6 was to physically intimidate the very “weak” Republicans who Trump would rail against repeatedly during his Ellipse speech. {Note: The use of physical intimidation and/or violence to achieve a set political outcome is the definition of terrorism.}

There is no reason to think that Alexander didn’t convey to Guilfoyle, who was at the now-infamous Trump war council when he spoke to her on January 5—or, for that matter, that Gosar, Biggs, and Brooks didn’t convey to Trump and his White House advisers on or before January 5—what their specific ambitions were with respect to the “Wild Protest” event that Stop the Steal had scheduled for the Capitol steps at the very moment the joint session of Congress was beginning.

(6a) There Was Supposed to Be Violence at the Capitol…

Top Trump adviser Roger Stone, who met with Trump at Mar-A-Lago in Florida in late December 2020, recorded a video just a few days later in which he made clear that he expected the aforementioned “Wild Protest” on the Capitol steps (a title given to the event after Trump predicted it would be “wild” on Twitter) to become a site of violence. Stone made his expectation clear by urgently asking Trump voters, in his publicly released video, to send donations for “protective gear” for paramilitary forces that deploy on the Capitol steps when Stone himself and—or so Stone believed at the time—Donald Trump were both speaking there.

Of course, had Trump gone to the Capitol steps as he initially planned, he would have brought Secret Service protection with him, creating an opportunity for clashes (see below) between antifa and the Secret Service—precisely the sort of public spectacle and staged (fake) endangering of a sitting president that could have subsequently been used to justify the invocation of The Insurrection Act of 1807 (see below). We now know that Trump’s advisers were then pushing him to invoke that extraordinary act.

(6b) …Specifically, Between Antifa, Militia, and the Guard

Some wonder why Trump told the Pentagon shortly before January 6 that he believed “10,000” troops from the National Guard would be needed around the White House and Capitol on January 6, and why he insisted that supporters of the antifa movement would be present on that day, and in that location, when in fact there was no evidence whatsoever, in any intelligence that he had seen, that this was likely to occur. {Note: Trump did not actually request this number of National Guardsmen, he simply mused that this number might become necessary. Trump consistently rejected attempts to call out the Guard.}

This puzzling if disingenuous concern on Trump’s part—entirely out of character for a man who quote conspicuously courts and enjoys both violence and chaos—is readily explained by prior statements from Ali Alexander indicating that Stop the Steal (which included Roger Stone among its organizers) and Trump’s top allies in the House (Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, and Mo Brooks) intended there to be “war” outside the Capitol on January 6.

Just as The Hobbit famously told of the Battle of the Five Armies, Team Trump and its allies hoped that January 6 might eventually become a Battle of the Three Armies: antifa; thousands of National Guard troops (who Trump would call out if antifa, or sufficient Trumpists dressed as antifa, appeared); and the Trumpists themselves (an army comprising militia outfits like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, white-nationalist cults like the Proud Boys, QAnon conspiracy theorists, 4chan and 8kun trolls, and assorted Trumpist radicals).

Such combat would make it all but impossible for Congress’s joint session to proceed.

(7) The January 6 Back-Up Plan Involved the Pentagon

The problem for Trump and his team was this: what if antifa never showed up? While there were reports before January 6 that some Trumpists planned to dress up as antifa (see link above) in order to confuse reporters about who’d been responsible for any violence at the Capitol, and while Trump has a history of working with Erik Prince—one of whose ploys is to infiltrate left-wing advocacy groups with his own agents—even if Trumpists dressed as participants in the “antifa” movement, it would not have produced large-scale, Congressional-session-disturbing violence outside the Capitol.

What was required, in fact, was that actual antifa proponents show up in sufficient numbers on January 6 that (a) the situation couldn’t be contained by the National Guard, (b) the Secret Service designated the situation a serious national security issue (if Trump were at the Capitol speaking), and/or (c) it provoked the Trumpists at the Capitol to the point of generating large-scale open combat.

So what was Trump to do if he invited over a hundred thousands Trumpist “warriors” (Kimberly Guilfoyle’s preferred term for the Trumpist irregulars) to show up to the Capitol on January 6, and no leftist army appeared to fight them on TV? Trump’s back-up plan is what America actually saw happen on that date: a storming of the Capitol by Trumpist irregulars, even as Trump’s agents at the Pentagon—most notably Kash Patel, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, and then-acting secretary of defense, Chris Millerdithered for over three hours about sending reinforcements.

(8) There Was a Backup Backup Plan, Involving Militias

We now know that there were significant contacts between the militias that conspired to harm members of Congress and shut down the January 6 joint session and (a) staff at the White House, and (b) Trump advisers. Ali Alexander boasted at a rally in Georgia in December that he was in touch with “people from the White House”; Roger Stone was sufficiently concerned about what the paramilitary agents he was in touch with (and at many rallies in December and January personally defended by) would do on January 6 that he cancelled his publicly announced plan to speak on the Capitol steps on that day.

Just so, as has been detailed at length at Proof (see the archive), all those who attended either (a) the January 5 meeting at Trump’s private residence at Trump International Hotel, or (b) a dinner held by Vice President Mike Pence at his Washington residence on January 5, fled the Capitol area either before or after Trump’s January 6speech rather than marching to the place that Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Three Percenters were planning an armed assault and occupation.

(9) Anyone in the Capitol Was Supposed to Stay There

During the chaos of the insurrection, CNN’s Jim Acosta issued a brief report on Twitter that was never followed up on—one that indicated that the White House was in communication with the January 6 insurrectionists, and that the insurrectionists had expressed an intention to “occupy” the Capitol (at a minimum) overnight. It’s clear that this plan was in no way contested by the White House, as every action taken by Trump and his advisers would have facilitated rather than ended such an occupation.

Note that even an overnight occupation of the U.S. Capitol would have ensured the postponement of the joint session of Congress—which, in the event, ended at nearly 4AM anyway, almost half a day after the Capitol was cleared of Trumpist irregulars.

The most likely result of any overnight or long-term occupation of the Capitol would have been to complicate Congress’s schedule significantly enough that certification of Biden’s win would have been advanced several days closer to January 20, not just one.

This would have given Giuliani and his rag-tag legal team (including some individuals who had apparently been at the January 5 war council, like Flynn, Powell, Michael Lindell, and Phil Waldron) to gather more—almost certainly manufactured—evidence of “voter fraud” in the November 2020 presidential election, some of which might have originated from inside the United States, and some (per Powell) from outside of it.

(10) Team Trump Would “Find” Voter Fraud Evidence

When Proof published a major exposé on the potential involvement of the Brazilian government in the planning of the January 6 insurrection—in the form of significant evidence that the son of the Brazilian president, Eduardo Bolsonaro, as well as Trump donors with significant ties to Brazil like Daniel Beck and Layne Bangerter, attended a secretive January 5 meeting at Trump’s private residence at Trump International Hotel—a shrewd Proof reader asked (I here paraphrase), “So how would the Brazilians have been able to aid Team Trump so close to the day of the insurrection?”

Proof has begun answering this complicated but important question here and here.

(11) Martial Law Was Very Much An Option

It’s not just that just-pardoned former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn publicly urged Trump, before January 6, to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 and have armed federal troops supervise a “re-vote” in certain battleground states, it’s that Trump adviser Michael Lindell entered the Oval Office just nine days after the January 6 insurrection with a media-photographed game plan for the issuance of martial law. {Note: Flynn broadcast his advice to Trump in a televised January 5 interview with Alex Jones, as well as other interviews in the days prior to the January 5 and 6 Jericho March, the Stop the Steal/Rally to Save America, and the Stop the Steal/March to Save America.}

While Trump’s grounds for the imposition of martial law would have varied based on what happened on January 6—national unrest if things went one way, new “proof” of voting irregularities if it went another; ideally, both—any such plan would benefit from apparent pre-insurrection co-plotter Eduardo Bolsonaro’s wide experience in Brazil with the deployment and exploitation of domestic paramilitaries, public offers by Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers and Joshua Macias of Vets for Trump to raise an army for Trump (offers made in a video-recorded discussion on January 5 with Amanda Chase, the self-described “Trump in heels” who is currently the leading GOP candidate for governor of Virginia), and the national security advice of Flynn, whose December 2020 pardon had enabled him to once again become a top Trump adviser.

As noted above, Trump had also installed stooges Kash Patel and Ezra Cohen-Watnick at the Pentagon, as well as Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, his top campaign staffers (for a time, at least) in 2016—both identified by Charles Herbster as January 5 meeting attendees, though Bossie denies it—on the powerful Defense Policy Board.

(12) If All Else Failed, Inauguration Day Would Be Moved

Incredibly, one of the most little-noticed comments by a Trump administration official in the days leading up to Inauguration Day was a comment by top Trump adviser Peter Navarro that should have been front-page news everywhere: the claim that Trump had the power to unilaterally move Inauguration Day, postponing the start of Biden’s term.

It’s nonsense, of course, but if Navarro was saying this on Fox News, we can be certain he was saying the same thing to then-President Trump inside the White House. What we don’t know is if Trump agreed with this legal advice from a non-lawyer; we only know that Trump considered firing White House counsel Pat Cipollone in January, at a time when, per major-media reports, Cipollone was shooting down every piece of advice Trump was getting from his personal lawyers and legal advisers Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Victoria Toensing, and Joe diGenova. Trump’s plans with respect to the postponement of Biden’s term were, of course, scuttled—along with any plans he may have had with respect to martial law—after the armed assault on the U.S. Capitol resulted in injuries and loss of life rather than the occupation Trump had apparently been hoping for (as perhaps he had counted on the U.S. Capitol Police to be even more accommodating of pro-Trump rioters than apparently dozens of them already were).

(BONUS) March 4 Offered the Possibility of a Rematch

There’s no evidence that Trump participated in any plotting surrounding the QAnon-driven plan (ultimately a dud) to “re-storm” the Capitol on March 4, 2021, but there’s certainly evidence that Trump was willing to financially profit from it—which raises the necessary if also deeply uncomfortable question of what Trump would have done had insurrectionists in fact successfully stormed and occupied the Capitol en masse on the date in March which (until 1932) was Inauguration Day in America. That Trump allowed Trump International Hotel to jack up its rates for this date, and didn’t quash that action once it had been widely reported, at a minimum indicates he was willing to send an implicit signal to his voters that March 4 was a date of significance to him.

The above twelve-part plan for Insurrection Day, published here for the first time, is only that portion that has already been made public. We cannot know what additional discoveries will be made by federal law enforcement in the weeks and months ahead, or how any of the parts described above will be fleshed out by additional investigation.

What all Americans need to understand now, however, is that Trump and his team had indeed developed a plan, if an imperfect and ultimately unsuccessful one, to destroy American democracy. And anyone willing to plot the demise of American democracy one time—especially under circumstances in which, at least so far, there have been few consequences for any such high-level plotters—is most assuredly willing to do it again.