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It’s increasingly clear we need to get to the bottom of who organized the Jan. 6 insurrection

A Rolling Stone story reinforces what looked clear from the start: The insurrection was likely orchestrated with high-level help

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) ORG XMIT: WX102
In this Jan. 6, photo, violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol in Washington.
John Minchillo, AP

What was obvious from the start is becoming even clearer with each day: The events that unfolded last Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol were an attempted coup that was planned, aided and abetted by a circle of GOP lawmakers and advisers.

The latest salvo comes courtesy of an eye-opening story from Rolling Stone, which reports that more than a half-dozen pro-Trump GOP congressmen or their representatives attended “dozens” of meetings designed to plan the mass break-in at the U.S. Capitol by demonstrators, in an attempt to stop the Senate from certifying Joe Biden’s election as president.

Rolling Stone quotes two organizers who were involved in the plans. The magazine said the two insiders have been talking to U.S. House investigators and plan to tell what they know to a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

We hope their testimony and that of others — along with evidence gathered — puts to rest the lie that the insurrection was merely the work of disgruntled yahoos or “a normal tourist visit.”

Pure and simple, this was an orchestrated attempt to violently overturn the results of an American election.

And justice must be pursued with that in mind.

A premeditated attack?

According to Rolling Stone, the two Jan. 6 organizers will tell congressional investigators how the demonstrations to keep the election from being certified were funded, and how they communicated with the Trump White House and former campaign team.

Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows “was 100 percent made aware of what was going on,” one of the organizers told the magazine. “He’s also like a regular figure in these really tiny groups of national organizers.”

The organizers also named seven Republican congresspeople who either participated in planning meanings or had staff attend on their behalf.

They said the lawmakers included the usual suspect Trump supporters: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.; Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.; Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.; Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala.; Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C.; Rep. Andy Biggs. R-Ariz., and Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas.

“We would talk to Boebert’s team, Cawthorn’s team, Gosar’s team like back to back to back to back,” an organizer told Rolling Stone.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House committee investigating Jan. 6, told CBS’s Face the Nation that there is “no question” the Capitol attack was premeditated.

“Clearly the direction of the committee is to look at that premeditation . . . but the worst-kept secret in America is that Donald Trump invited individuals to come to Washington on Jan. 6.”

An attempt to upend democracy

The easiest — and the most dangerous — thing to do is to give heed to the voices who are soft-pedaling Jan. 6, or telling us to move on from it.

The planners and beneficiaries of the Capitol attack knew they were fomenting violence in an attempt to upend our democracy — and anything less than a full and honest probe will help the bad actors who are now looking to deflect attention away from the truth and to hide their hand.

But Congress and the nation must not let them, because this lot, if unpunished, isn’t likely to give up and go away. They’d just try to do a better job next time.

So in addition to the congressional probe, the country must bring to bear federal law enforcement’s full but legal powers to make sure everyone involved in the insurrection is caught and punished.

All of them. From the rioters who invaded the Capitol to the Trump government officials, advisers and lawmakers who directed things knowingly from the shadows.

And even a former president, if the evidence leads that way.

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.