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Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones told his radio audience that he sat for questions by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol but declined to testify, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination "almost 100 times."
Jones said he declined to answer questions under oath Monday because he feared that small mistakes could open him to perjury charges from vindictive committee members.
"The whole thing is tainted," he said of the ongoing investigation by the U.S. House select committee.
"It's like a big bowl of soup. You put one rat turd in it, it's no good. Well, this has got hundreds of rat turds in it. I'm not eating the soup," Jones added.
The InfoWars host, who had joined protesters outside the Capitol but did not enter the building on Jan. 6, then addressed several questions posed by the committee's lawyers — providing answers to members "because I know they're watching."
The committee sent Jones a subpoena in November seeking documents and a deposition that could shed light on the events before and during the Jan. 6 attack.
"In the lead-up to events of Jan. 6, you and others on InfoWars repeatedly promoted President Trump's allegations of election fraud and urged people to come to Washington D.C. for the Jan. 6 Ellipse rally," said a committee letter that accompanied the subpoena.
The committee also noted that Jones highlighted a Dec. 19 Donald Trump tweet — "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!" — during an InfoWars broadcast that same day.
"The time for games is over. The time for action is now," Jones said at the time, characterizing Trump's call to action as "seismic" and adding: "Because if you don't take action, we'll be defeated."
Speaking on his radio show this week, Jones addressed the committee's main question, saying he had heard nothing about specific plans for violence at the Capitol.
"I saw rhetoric on conservative TV and radio (saying) there might be a civil war, and it might be time for the Second Amendment. That was the background noise, but you always hear that in politics in America," he said.
"I went there to have a peaceful political rally, to put peaceful pressure on Congress," Jones said. "It's a horrible historical fiasco, and I wish it wouldn't have happened."
Jones also decried the Capitol attack as "so stupid and so dumb."
"I didn't support it that day, I don't support it now," he said, adding that he also opposed efforts to label all protesters as "terrorists," even the majority who did not break into the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Jones had sued the committee to block the deposition, but he did not address that lawsuit in his on-air comments.
According to the House committee, Jones was denied a speaking slot during the Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse near the White House but, at Trump's request, addressed a pro-Trump rally a day earlier at Freedom Plaza.
Jones said he attended the rally on the morning of Jan. 6 and, with help from a rally organizer, was allowed behind the stage so he could get ahead of — and try to control — marchers who had already begun walking to the Capitol. He characterized it as a "'Mission Impossible' job."
"It was all one big blur, and I just kind of jumped in a river of the million people in D.C. and floated down it. You do not control the river," Jones said.
Jones said other questions asked by the committee's lawyers included:
• Did members of the far-right Proud Boys or Oath Keepers provide security? They did not, Jones said, adding that he hired professionals, including off-duty police officers from Maryland and Washington and specialists from an Austin private security company.
Jones said he often hires 12 to 14 security people when attending events with large crowds.
• Who was your White House connection for the January events? Jones confirmed reports that Caroline Wren, a GOP fundraiser, was his contact.
• Lawyers also asked about a segment by Matt Bracken, who was serving as a guest host on the "Alex Jones Show," one week before the Capitol attack.
According to the committee, Bracken said: "We're going to only be saved by millions of Americans moving to Washington, occupying the entire area, if necessary storming right into the Capitol. ... If you have enough people, you can push down any kind of a fence or a wall."
Jones told his audience that he was unaware of Bracken's comments until he read the committee's subpoena. "Hell no, I don't support that, and that's not what we stand for," Jones added.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Alex Jones says he didn't answer committee questions on Capitol riot