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The Trump team’s 22-page communications playbook to overturn the election had QAnon influencer Ron Watkins playing a key role

New documents submitted to the January 6 committee reveal that QAnon influencer Ron Watkins was one of the key personalities the Trump team wanted to tap on in the run-up to January 6, 2021.

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  • Trump’s team wanted QAnon supporter Ron Watkins to help the former president challenge the 2020 election.
  • Watkins was named along with 23 other right-wing influencers to take part in a post-election media blitz.
  • He is widely rumored to be the man behind the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Trump’s team wanted QAnon influencer Ron Watkins to help push baseless voter fraud claims, according to a strategy playbook submitted to the January 6 select committee last week.

The 22-page communications playbook, first published by Politico, suggested using Watkins and 23 other conservative influencers to sway the election. Titled the “Strategic Communications Plan,” it was authored by a group of unnamed individuals under the moniker the “Giuliani Presidential Legal Defense Team.”

The document outline’s the group’s communications strategy for a 10-day media blitz from December 27, 2020, to January 6, 2021. It was part of a trove of materials submitted to the January 6 select committee by Timothy Parlatore, an attorney representing Bernard Kerik. 

The comms playbook listed 24 “big,” “medium,” “small,” and “micro” conservative influencers. The “big” names included Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk.

Watkins, who is widely rumored to have seeded the QAnon conspiracy theory, was listed as a “medium” influencer. 

QAnon is a baseless far-right conspiracy theory that claims former President Donald Trump is secretly fighting a “deep state” cabal of satanic pedophiles and cannibals. The movement also claims that “Q,” the shadowy figure at its center, has top-level access to confidential information, much of which paints a positive picture of Trump.

The movement helped perpetuate voter-fraud claims regarding the 2020 presidential election. Numerous participants in the January 6 Capitol riot said their actions were inspired and influenced by their belief in Q.

Watkins is running for Congress in Arizona as a Republican. He’s still active in the right-wing media sphere and now disseminates fringe right-wing messages on vaccines and voter fraud to more than 400,000 subscribers via his Telegram channel. 

According to the document, the goal of the Trump team’s communications blitz was to execute a “nationwide communications outreach campaign to educate the public on the fraud numbers, and inspire citizens to call upon legislators and Members of Congress to disregard the fraudulent vote count and certify the duly-elected President Trump.”

Apart from getting Watkins and other right-wing influencers on board to help spread the Trump camp’s messaging, the communications plan also encouraged the former president to use TikTok to produce “viral” content. 

The media blitz, which was to involve these influencers and members of the House Freedom Caucus, was designed to exert pressure on Republican senators in swing states like Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to help overturn the 2020 election in favor of Trump. 

Kerik is an associate of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and former New York City Police commissioner. He was subpoenaed in November by the January 6 panel to provide information on his role in helping Giuliani find evidence of voter fraud after the 2020 presidential election, per CNN. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, and Trump’s allegations of voter fraud have been debunked. 

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