(WASHINGTON) — Ali Alexander, a prominent conservative activist who organized “Stop the Steal” rallies after the 2020 election, spent eight hours Thursday taking questions from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, on everything from his organization’s finances to his communications with Republican officials.
Alexander, who was banned from Twitter over his posts about the presidential election, told investigators he had “nothing to do” with any violence that occurred on Jan. 6 at the Capitol.
“I had nothing to do with the planning. I had nothing to do with the preparation. And I had nothing to do with the execution,” he said in his prepared statement obtained by ABC News.
“As a Black and Arab man, an American, it is common for people who look like me to be blamed for things we did not do,” he said in his opening remarks.
Alexander arrived for his deposition Thursday morning with his lawyers and two boxes full of records, claiming that his appearance before investigators would help “exonerate” former President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers involved in efforts to challenge the election results.
“We provided the committee with thousands of records, hundreds of pages. And, you know, unfortunately I think that this committee has gone way too much into our personal life, way too much into my First Amendment [rights]. But I do recognize that they have the legislative duty to conduct and so we’re here to cooperate,” he said.
After the session, Alexander described the tone of the meeting as “absolutely adversarial,” and said he was “truthful.” His attorney, Paul Kamenar, said the panel appeared satisfied with his testimony and had no plans to return to provide additional information to them.
Alexander was questioned about the fundraising and financing efforts of his “Stop the Steal” campaign challenging the election results — one area of interest for the intricate congressional inquiry. He was also asked about his contacts and conversations with Republican lawmakers who were involved in planning the electoral college challenge.
Alexander and his attorneys insisted he was only at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to de-escalate conflict and that his comments at rallies and on livestreams leading up to the riot have been taken out of context and misconstrued as encouraging violence.
Kash Patel, a Trump loyalist who served as acting chief of staff at the Pentagon on Jan. 6 and in the final weeks of Trump’s term, also appeared at the office of the Jan. 6 committee, as the panel prepared to hold multiple depositions Thursday. He left after nearly five hours, and did not answer questions from reporters.
“Though I have had major concerns about the fairness of the proceedings, I appeared to answer questions to the best of my ability. The DOD Inspector General, under the Biden administration, found no wrongdoing in its report on Jan. 6, as I shared with the Committee,” he said in a statement.
One of the first witnesses subpoenaed by the committee this fall, Patel is of interest to the panel for his role in conversations around securing Capitol Hill before, during and after the riot on Jan. 6, the committee has previously said, pointing to Defense Department records. His appearance suggests he is cooperating with the investigation to some degree, unlike former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former political strategist Steve Bannon, who like Patel were first subpoenaed in September.
In his statement, Alexander said he attended Trump’s address to supporters on the National Mall as a guest. Hinting at disagreements with activists in his circle, he is expected to tell the committee that other organizers removed information from the program that would have instructed rallygoers where to go after the event — which could have prevented Trump supporters from marching to the Capitol.
Lawmakers issued subpoenas to Alexander and other conservative activists and organizers who were involved in setting up the post-election rallies in support of Trump’s challenges to the election results.
In a statement announcing its subpoena to Alexander in November, the committee said Alexander repeatedly referenced the potential for violence at “Stop the Steal” events following the election.
Ahead of the attack on the Capitol, Alexander was in communication with some Republican lawmakers and aides as he organized rallies around the country on Trump’s behalf. He spoke at a Jan. 5 rally in Washington with far-right and pro-Trump extremist groups, leading chants of “Victory or death!”
On Thursday, the panel also interviewed former Trump election security official Chris Krebs, who appeared voluntarily, and attorney John Eastman, who advised Trump in his effort to challenge the election results and was expected to plead the fifth.
A Friday deposition with former Trump spokesman Jason Miller was rescheduled, according to a committee aide, who said Miller was engaging with the committee’s requests. Miller did not return a message seeking comment.
Ahead of Alexander’s appearance, Meadows sued the committee and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the subpoenas issued for his documents and phone records, after he declined to appear for a deposition. The committee will meet Monday to recommend the full House hold him in contempt of Congress.
The committee has interviewed nearly 300 witnesses, issued dozens of subpoenas and collected thousands of pages of records, along with social media, cellphone and communications data. The panel is expected to start a new round of public hearings as soon as next month.
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the committee has also questioned state election officials in key battleground states about efforts to challenge their work and any potential contacts from the Trump administration.
ABC News’ Rachel Scott contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.