Leaked chat conversation transcripts show that Republican Rep. Paul Gosar plotted to disrupt the counting of votes in his home state of Arizona in an effort to steal the Nov. 3 president election from Joe Biden.
According to a report in The Washington Post, the Donald Trump-loving Gosar was preparing a so-called “Brooks Brothers Riot” to delay, confuse and ultimately halt the tabulation of ballots. That phrase and tactic originated out of the GOP effort to thwart the recount of the Florida 2000 presidential election ballots. Dozens of Republican organized protestors, many of them in button-down shirts and blazers, swarmed a Miami building to intimidate those trying conduct the recount.
Fast forward 20 years and it seems Gosar wanted to dust off that old bag of dirty tricks. Woodrow Johnston, a Nevada GOP consultant who thought he was messaging with Republican political operative Sarah Ashton-Cirillo on Nov. 4, told her of Gosar’s plan and said, “We might need to do the same here in Nevada – which means we need to get the Proud Boys out.”
In reality Ashton-Cirillo is a liberal transgender activist who says she spent months pretending to be a devotee of Trump’s hard-right policies. She said she was researching a book on extremism and was trying to help elect a friend to a district judgeship in Las Vegas.
She is now running for the Las Vegas City Council under the name Sarah Ashton. In addition to the message exchanges with Johnston, she saved messages and screenshots of Telegram group messages from the far-right activists. She solicited their support for politicians with whom she worked and attended political and social events with them. She has since shared some of those messages — including racist and antisemitic posts from a Telegram group called Keep Nevada Open — with the Clark County GOP, which cited the chat records when it banned seven people from participating in party business.
Through a spokesman, Gosar said he had not been in contact with Johnston about any protests.
“We did not communicate with him about any rally, and what he meant by that is up to him,” Thomas Van Flein, Gosar’s chief of staff, said when asked by The Post about Johnston’s message mentioning a “Brooks Brothers Riot.”
The Post report presents an in-depth look into the extensive efforts of Nevada Republicans to stage protests at Nevada’s largest vote counting location and employ the far-right extremist group Proud Boys to do so.