Trump's Pre-Insurrection War Room Revealed

It turns out it wasn't a room, but a house with a private entrance—indeed the priciest real estate of its kind in Washington. And those who entered it on January 5 are lying about what happened there.

Introduction

On January 26, 2021, Proof broke the story of a secret Insurrection Eve conclave at Trump International Hotel in Washington. It was an event at which every component of Trump’s inner circle—from family to legal advisers to administration officials to multiple U.S. senators—met to discuss Team Trump’s plan for overturning a certified democratic election on January 6. Proof followed up this report with over a dozen more articles on the subject (see the Proof archive) between late January and early April 2021.

On January 29, 2021, the Washington Post—which had interviewed this author about his research on Trump three weeks earlier—reported that it had reached out to both the House impeachment managers and the Trump family about the January 5 meeting at Trump International Hotel. At the time, both the managers and Donald Trump were preparing for the historic second impeachment trial of the former president. The Post confirmed that the managers were “investigating a gathering of Trump’s allies and family members at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. the evening before the insurrection at the Capitol”, treating “the gathering [as being] of ‘medium’ interest.”

Since January 29, Proof has established that both the Trump family and Trump family allies lied repeatedly to the Washington Post about the January 5 meeting—raising new suspicion about what actually happened at Trump International Hotel on that day.

This article exposes the lies told to Washington’s paper-of-record by Trump’s team, and goes inside the space we now know hosted Trump’s pre-insurrection war council.

The Most Lied About Meeting of the Trump Presidency

As the author of three books on the Trump presidency, I know that the sheer volume of meetings attended by Trump or members of his inner circle between 2015 and 2021 that the former president and his aides, allies, agents, associates, advisers, and attorneys have lied about is truly staggering. And yet I have never encountered a meeting lied about so frequently, so flagrantly, and so flamboyantly as the January 5 pre-insurrection war council at Trump International Hotel. I’ve yet to encounter any account of that evening that does not feature gratuitous (and eminently provable) lies.

Take, for instance, the brief account of the event published by the Post three days after Proof broke news of the secret January 5 meeting and two days after its first follow-up.

A “person familiar with the event” told the Post that it was a “small gathering.” As we now know, it was not small at all: a minimum of twenty people attended the meeting.

The same anonymous source insisted to the Post that the only attendees were “donors and other Trump allies.” This too is false. As detailed here, the meeting involved two Trump family members (Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump); top presidential advisers (Kimberly Guilfoyle and Peter Navarro), top members of Trump’s personal legal team (Rudy Giuliani and possibly Sidney Powell); Trump administration officials (Charles W. Herbster); intelligence and national security aides and advisers (including retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn and, it appears, retired army colonel Phil Waldron); members of Congress (including Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and at least two other, as-yet unknown U.S. senators); GOP operatives (including Adam Piper of the Republican Attorneys General Association, Doyle Beck of the Idaho GOP, and apparently Layne Bangerter, also of the Idaho GOP); top Trump campaign advisers (including Corey Lewandowski and possibly David Bossie, though the latter denies attending); and a call-in from a convicted felon/insurrectionist leader (Ali Alexander).

Only two individuals in the group of at least 20—just 10% of the total—could plausibly be deemed mere “donors or allies,” specifically Daniel Beck and Michael Lindell. Beck (as previously discussed at Proof) is far more than a mere donor, however, as there’s evidence to suggest that his mass text-messaging company, Txtwire, may have aided the insurrectionist Stop the Steal “movement” in coordinating its movements on and before January 5, though this would require more investigation to establish. Just so, while Lindell was indeed a donor to the Stop the Steal group headed by Roger Stone, Alex Jones, and Alexander, he also acted as a top presidential adviser with Oval Office access who as late as the final week of the Trump presidency was advising Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 and declare martial law in the United States.

Lindell also confesses to having met with the corrupt son of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, Eduardo Bolsonaro, on the evening of January 5, raising questions of how exactly this could have happened when Lindell was at Trump International Hotel and Bolsonaro was at the White House (more on this below).

By falsely telling the Post that only Trump “donors and allies” met at Trump’s private residence inside Trump International Hotel on January 5, the purpose and scope of the meeting—and the bona fides and goals of those attending the meeting—was obscured.

Lest it seem this obscuration was merely accidental, the third lie told to the Post by its anonymous source removes any doubt about the source’s true intentions: the Post was falsely told that the sole purpose of the January 5 meeting was to “watch the returns in Georgia’s two Senate runoffs.” This claim is incontrovertibly false; meeting attendee Daniel Beck confirmed on the night of January 5—when he couldn’t have known that his words would become controversial, and therefore had no reason to lie about what he’d just witnessed—that the purpose of the gathering was to “talk [to Trump family members, advisers, and Congressional allies] about elections, illegal votes, court cases, the republics’ [sic] status, [and] what to expect on [Capitol] hill [sic] tomorrow [January 6].” Indeed, Beck left the January 5 meeting with a great deal to say on social media about the extent of Team Trump’s plans for what turned out to be Insurrection Day. Not a single attendee at the January 5 meeting has ever referred to the gathering as related to the Georgia Senate run-off other than the anonymous source (apparently one reasonably close to the Trump camp) who spoke to the Washington Post in late January.

The fourth lie told by the Post source was that while Don Jr. was at the secret conclave, he merely “stopped by.” The evidence revealed by Proof across over a dozen articles, including Instagram photos of the then-president’s eldest son on January 5, establish that Don was at Trump International from midday on January 5 through that evening.

The only Team Trump member who spoke to the Post for its January 29 report, Corey Lewandowski, also lied to the newspaper, claiming that “he had no discussions about the following day’s planned rally” while at the hotel. Yet other major-media reports, in addition to Beck’s account, confirm that the meeting Lewandowski attended at the hotel was in fact almost exclusively on the subject of the events planned for January 6.

Moreover, given that Lewandowski has since confessed that he met with Trump on January 5—while simultaneously implying he never went to the White House on that day—it suggests that the federal investigative inquiry proposed repeatedly here at Proof must determine if the President of the United States called into (or video-conferenced into) the January 5 Trump International Hotel “war council” while he and/or his top staffers were meeting with Eduardo Bolsonaro, Ivanka Trump, and far-right agitators like Rogan O’Handley at the White House that night (as previously reported by Proof).

Team Trump Lies Had Grave (Intended) Consequences

The results of the five lies itemized above were both grave and intended. Indeed, these lies convinced the Post to do virtually no follow-up on the January 5 meeting, even after Tuberville was caught lying about it, Flynn was apparently caught lying about it, and Herbster was caught trying to delete and edit his social media posts about it. Indeed, every indication given by Team Trump from January 29 onward—via its omissions and evasions—was that the meeting was of great importance to the FBI’s January 6 probe, yet the Post, convinced the event was (1) an election-watching party, (2) only for Trump donors and allies, (3) only briefly attended by any Trump family member, and (4) devoid of any presidential appearance, determined the event to be of no abiding significance.

As importantly, the nine House impeachment managers made the same determination.

As the Post reported in January, the managers declined to place a “high” interest on the January 5 Trump International Hotel meeting, as—based on the information available at the time—“the former president did not attend, and their primary focus [was] on what [Trump] knew ahead of the riots and what he did to encourage the violence.”

Now that the evidence suggests Trump may have been in contact with the meeting or even attended it virtually, it would appear he did indeed have access to any strategy, tactics, or intelligence produced by that event “ahead of the riots,” and therefore it may indeed have directly informed “what he did to encourage the violence [on January 6].”

{Note: Needless to say, even if the then-president did not attend the meeting in any capacity, the fact that the meeting—contra what his camp told the Post—featured not just donors and allies but the president’s advisers, attorneys, agents, aides, and associates, as well as family members, means there’s almost no chance Trump did not learn of the content of the meeting prior to his actions on January 6. Indeed, we now know that Trump was in contact with at least five of the meeting attendees mere hours after the meeting at Trump International: Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Rudy Giuliani, and Tommy Tuberville. So there can be no credible claim, by the House managers or anyone else, that Trump didn’t have ready access to the fruits of the January 5 conclave, which occurred at his “private residence” in Washington.}

The War Room Was a War House

A useful piece of since-confirmed intelligence found in the January 29 Washington Post report is this one:

The gathering took place in what’s known as the Trump Townhouse, a two-story space…

The Washingtonian calls the Trump Townhouse the “poshest suite” at Washington’s Trump International Hotel, and the “only one owned by [Trump himself].” It is also the most expensive piece of hotel real estate in the nation’s capital, costing “some folks’ yearly salary” to stay in. The cost for a stay, as reported by the Washingtonian in 2016—$33,434—wasn’t just well above the cost of any other room in Washington but “far, far above Trump’s closest competitors in the DC luxury hotel market.” Indeed, the magazine couldn’t find any room in the city within fourteen thousand dollars of the cost of the “war house” Trump’s inner circle used the night before an armed rebellion.

Incredibly, the valuation given the room on election day 2016 by the Washingtonian is forty thousand dollars less than the valuation it had, per the New York Times, during Trump’s 2017 inauguration (an astounding $75,259). By September 2020, NBC News was listing the Townhouse’s nightly cost at $100,000, with a “five-night minimum.”

In answer to the question begged by all of this—as New York Magazine frames it, “Who would pay that much for a hotel room?”—the magazine answers its own query with, “How about the Trump campaign, which has made a habit of funneling money back to Trump’s own businesses?” {Note: See below for more on this.} It remains unclear if the then-president simply permitted the January 5 event to occur in his private residence or if he had his 2020 presidential campaign pay half a million dollars for the privilege.

{Note: Both Hospitality Net and The Telegraph confirm—here and here, respectively—that the Trump Townhouse is the single most expensive space Trump owns anywhere in the world.}

The Washingtonian adds, of the Townhouse (emphasis supplied):

At 6,300 square feet, [the Trump Townhouse] has two bedrooms—one with a king-sized bed and another with two queens—a dining room “that seats twenty,” a private workout facility, and most alluringly, a private entrance on Pennsylvania Avenue.

This last point may help explain why certain attendees at the January 5 meeting felt confident falsely denying their presence at the event.

{Note: Another explanation is that these individuals, or indeed any number of individuals not specifically placed on-site on January 5, may have done as we know Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander did, and spoken to certain meeting members by phone.}

Washington Business Journal reports that not only does the Townhouse have “its own entrance” but it is in fact “separate” from the rest of Trump International Hotel, making access to it—even awareness of it—impossibly obscure for anyone but invitees.

The Journal further describes the Townhouse as being “behind the building [Trump International Hotel]” and featuring a full “office.” While its ritzy mailing address is 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, the hotel has public entrances on Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street, meaning its “private Pennsylvania Avenue entrance” is uniquely designed for secrecy and avoidance of the hotel’s sometimes busy main lobby.

New York Magazine adds that the dining room in the Townhouse is even larger than is publicly acknowledged, as it seats “more than twenty.” While it cannot be known in which room the twenty-person-minimum secret pre-insurrection conclave was held, the spacious dining room is a prime candidate, as in his now-infamous January 5 video Daniel Beck described the “room” in which the meeting was held as “really intimate.”

Travel + Leisure notes that the Townhouse also has a “600-square-foot living room.” Forbes deems the living room “almost big enough to hold a Supreme Court hearing.”

{Note: If the meeting was held in the dining room, it was under a “1776” flag; see photo below.}

Fox News has gone farther than New York Magazine, reporting that the dining room in the Trump Townhouse can comfortably accommodate “dinner for 24,” and that a “24/7 car service” offers its invitees special secrecy and discretion when entering the space.

Forbes notes that the space also boasts a “separate butler entrance”, which in theory could offer entrance to the space even more covertly than its “exclusive entrance on Pennsylvania Avenue.” The Post has reported that the Townhouse is also accessible from the hotel lobby, writing of one pre-inaugural event—just under four years before the 2021 conclave—that “well-heeled friends [of Trump] were ushered into a private room off the lobby marked ‘Trump Townhouse,’ emerging with stuffed gift bags.”

That Donald Trump uses the Townhouse for illicit schemes is well-established, as one of the most infamous meetings of his presidency—his dinner with, among others, the since-indicted Soviet-born Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, at which he discussed firing the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovich and other subjects related to his effort to steal the 2020 election via illegal receipt of foreign campaign contributions—occurred at the Townhouse.

Trump and His Townhouse

In the forty years preceding Trump’s January 2017 inauguration, every president-elect had spent his final days before taking the Oath of Office at the Capitol at Blair House in DC. In December 2016, the New York Times reported that president-elect Trump was so enamored with the Trump Townhouse that he was “considering spending his last nights as a private citizen ensconced in his new Washington hotel [likely inside the Trump Townhouse]…[t]he plans, which aides cautioned are not final, would represent a break from protocol for an incoming president.” The Times noted that the hotel was “just blocks from the White House, along the Pennsylvania Avenue inaugural parade route.” The route would be the one taken—at Trump’s request—by insurrectionists on January 6.

Per the Times (emphasis supplied):

Should he stay at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC [in the last days before his inauguration], Trump would be joined by members of his family, a small group of aides, and his most generous financial supporters, those familiar with the discussions said.

It is unsettling how much Trump’s proposed 2017 pre-inauguration conclave matches the one we now know occurred at the Townhouse just two weeks before what Trump hoped would be his second Capitol inauguration. More importantly, if the president-elect—by January 2017, long since under the protection of the Secret Service—was considering staying in the Trump Townhouse, it meant that (a) the security measures available at that location, and (b) the telecommunications equipment available at that location, were state-of-the-art. Indeed, it may be that Trump and/or his political team chose to use the space on January 5 because (1) it’d been secured by the Secret Service, (2) two Secret Service protectees would be present on-site on January 5 (Trump’s sons), and (3) if any space in DC—indeed any space in the world, outside of Air Force One—would be certain to enjoy top-notch access to the White House, it would be this space.

The Washington Times observes that the suite is “six times the size of the Oval Office.” Steve Hennis of Hotelology calls the suite the “largest hotel suite on the East Coast.”

Inside the Trump Townhouse

Here are some pictures of Trump’s “war house” from the inside, as well as a floor plan:

And here’s the private entrance to the Townhouse, as it was still under construction:

These two photos offer a closer look at several keys spaces inside the Townhouse:

The Mysteries of the Townhouse

One of the great questions surrounding the insurrection—though it may at first seem tangential—is whether Stop the Steal organizer Alex Jones was in Trump International Hotel on January 5 during the period of time Trump’s inner circle was meeting there.

Proof previously reported on this subject, after a New York Times report found that “on January 5, the night before Congress met to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, Michael Flynn—the retired three-star general, ousted national security adviser and pardoned felon—gave an interview to the prominent conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in which he assured the viewers of Infowars that Donald Trump would serve as president for another four years. It was a certainty, Flynn said.”

Because Flynn is widely said—by eyewitnesses—to have been in Trump International Hotel on the “night of January 5,” and because the video of the Flynn-Jones interview appears to have taken place in a hotel room, Jones remains a possible attendee of the January 5 “war council.” The interview footage, Proof noted in January, further places the room in question roughly where Trump International is on Pennsylvania Avenue:

Flynn and Jones repeatedly reference “demonstrations” and “protests” happening “right outside the window” (Flynn), with Jones noting—while pointing out the window—that Flynn is “about to give a big speech to this million-person crowd.” At another point Jones asks Flynn rhetorically, “Can you not feel the energy outside [the window]?” Flynn says, “These people [pointing toward the window] are modern-day patriots”, thereafter adding, “the patriots that are standing out there [he points out the window] know that we won.”

Freedom Plaza, where January 5’s pro-Trump demonstrations and protests occurred, is at 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue; Trump’s hotel is at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue—just a five-minute walk (0.2 miles) away. Given the boisterous overflow crowd at the Plaza during the Flynn interview, it indeed would’ve seemed “outside the window” of Trump International.

{Note: Another possibility is the Willard Hotel, located at 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, which is where Jones’ Stop the Steal compatriot, Roger Stone, stayed during the insurrection. This said, it’s worth noting that Trump has in the past allowed radical propagandist Candace Owens to use the Townhouse to conduct interviews, as pictured here and here in mid-2020. Journalist Zach Everson has posted photos on Twitter of Michael Lindell and Katrina Pierson at the Trump Townhouse at points over the last four years; Lindell appears alongside Trump himself.}

If Jones intend attended the conclave, it underlines the fact that both he and his Stop the Steal co-organizer Ali Alexander were directly coordinating the march on the U.S. Capitol with the entirety of Trump’s political team. Indeed, Alexander has already said that on Insurrection Day itself he and Jones were invited inside Trump’s VIP area at the Ellipse, and were thereafter in text-message contact with the “Trump campaign.”

Conclusion

Now that it’s been reported (as a Proof exclusive) that one of the likely January 5 war council attendees, Phil Waldron, is seeking to review 2020 ballots in the battleground state of New Hampshire, major media can no longer ignore the January 5 war council, nor continue to accept the now-debunked lies Team Trump has told it about the event.

The Attorney General of the District of Columbia, Karl Racine, is already seeking to question Donald Trump Jr. about expenditures at the Townhouse in January 2017, and is also investigating Trump himself—criminally—for his actions in January 2021, so if the FBI is unwilling to do its job in what it has already called the biggest investigation in its history, it may be that Racine is now in better position to robustly push this issue.