Group that planned Jan. 6 rally lied about Capitol march plans, government report says

WASHINGTON — The pro-Trump organization that applied for a Jan. 6 demonstration permit purposely misled authorities about their intentions that day, according to a new report from a government watchdog.

Representatives of Women For America First told the National Park Service that they did not intend to walk from their planned demonstration on the Ellipse, near the White House, to the Capitol on Jan. 6 despite evidence they expected then-President Donald Trump to call for a march, according to the 47-page report from the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General.

The group “intentionally failed to disclose information to the NPS regarding its knowledge of a post-demonstration march,” the report said.

The National Park Service is part of the Interior Department.

According to text messages cited in the report, a representative from the group told a potential rally speaker that Trump “is going to have us march there/the Capitol,” and said the information “stays only between us.”

Trump addressed his supporters that day from the Ellipse, and people close to the former president said that he also wanted to go to the Capitol, according to the House Jan. 6 committee’s report.

“It can also not get out about the march because I will be in trouble with the national park service and all the agencies but POTUS is going to just call for it ‘unexpectedly,'” the text from the group’s representative to the potential speaker continued, according to the report, which did not name the Women For America First representative.

Amy Kremer, who lists on her X account that she’s the group’s chair, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The inspector general said it relied on interviews with more than 60 current and former Interior Department employees and reviewed more than 33,000 pages of material in compiling its report.

Women For America First “refused” the inspector general’s request for a “voluntary interview,” though it provided the office with more than 3,000 pages of material in response to a subpoena, according to the report.

Most large demonstrations in areas administered by the National Park Service, such as the National Mall, require a permit and ask the applicant to provide information about “proposed routes for any marches.”

Women For America First did not mention a march in its application, and that affected how the National Park Service prepared for the event, according to the report.

“Specifically, NPS officials stated that, had they known there would be a march from the Ellipse to the U.S. Capitol, they would have requested information from WFAF regarding the planned march route and expected time of the march and coordinated with law enforcement and other relevant officials,” among other preparations, the report said.

“We acknowledge that there was some suggestion in various intelligence reports and potentially in other communications regarding a potential march,” the report said later. “This, however, does not absolve WFAF from its responsibility to provide accurate information to the NPS in the permitting process itself.”

Beyond detailing the group’s plans, the report also examined actions taken by the Park Service and U.S. Park Police in preparation for Jan. 6. The report found that Park Service safety officials did not conduct a site inspection ahead of the demonstration or review the group’s “fire and life safety documentation,” as required by agency policy, nor did it “comply with notice requirements regarding prohibited items at the Ellipse, including the prohibition on backpacks and bags.”

The National Park Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The report did not find any evidence that the U.S. Park Police “failed to exercise its law enforcement responsibilities in accordance with policy on January 6.”

A Senate report published in June found that federal agencies failed to “assess and disseminate intelligence about the potential for violence that day.”

More than 1,200 defendants have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to the Justice Department. More than 700 people have pleaded guilty to federal charges, and 138 people were found guilty at contested trials, according to DOJ figures.