Prince Harry says he ‘warned’ Twitter CEO about platform’s influence of Jan. 6 riot
SAN FRANCISCO - Prince Harry said he messaged Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey ahead of Jan. 6, warning him that the social media platform was being used to plot a "coup" leading up to the deadly Capitol riot.
Speaking at a Wired Magazine event called "The Internet Lie Machine," the Duke of Sussex claimed he was in talks with Dorsey in an attempt to sound the alarm that Twitter was being utilized to spread misinformation surrounding the 2020 election results.
"Jack and I were emailing each other prior to 6 January. I warned him that his platform was allowing a coup to be staged. That email was sent the day before and then it happened, and I haven’t heard from him since," Harry said.
Harry also drew parallels between misinformation currently spreading on the internet and social media and the media’s portrayal of his mother, Princess Diana, as well as his wife, Meghan Markle.
Harry accused some digital publishers of facilitating a "digital dictatorship," calling them "pirates with press cards who have hijacked the most powerful industry in the world."
"I learned from a very early age that the incentives of publishing are not necessarily aligned with the incentives of truth… I lost my mother to this self-manufactured rabidness, and I’m determined not to lose the mother of my children to the same thing, this self-manufactured rabidness," Harry said.
"I said many months ago, ‘They won’t stop until she’s dead.’ That was more of a warning, not a challenge, and the scale of the misinformation now is terrifying," Harry added. "No one’s safe from it, no one is protected from it. You can’t hide from it. And we continue to see lives ruined, families destroyed."
RELATED: Timeline of the pro-Trump riot at the US Capitol: How the chaos unfolded
The violent pro-Trump riot inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 marked a dark day in America.
What started as a congressional and democratic exercise in the peaceful transfer of power with a joint session of Congress counting certified Electoral College votes from the states devolved into death, destruction and chaos when a violent mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building, breaking windows, ransacking lawmakers’ offices and clashing with police.
Most Democrats, and many Republicans, put the blame squarely on Trump after hundreds of protesters bearing Trump flags and clothing broke into the Capitol and caused destruction and mass evacuations. The then-president had urged his supporters to protest as Congress was counting the electoral votes that confirmed then-President-elect Biden’s win.
Seven people died during and after the rioting, including a woman who was shot by police as she tried to break into the House chamber and three other Trump supporters who suffered medical emergencies.
Two police officers died by suicide in the days that followed, and a third officer, Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, collapsed and later died after engaging with the protesters. A medical examiner determined he died of natural causes.
Last week, federal prosecutors recommended a prison sentence of nearly four years for a New Jersey gym owner who is on track to be the first person sentenced for assaulting a law enforcement officer during the riot
So far, more than 630 people have been charged in the insurrection.
Scott Fairlamb’s sentencing, scheduled for Wednesday, could guide other judges in deciding the appropriate punishment for dozens of other rioters who engaged in violence at the Capitol that day.
If U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth adopts the Justice Department’s recommendation for a 44-month prison term, Fairlamb’s sentence would be the longest for a rioter. An 8-month prison term is the longest sentence among the nearly two dozen rioters who have been sentenced so far. A man who posted threats connected to Jan. 6 but didn’t storm the Capitol was sentenced to 14 months in prison.
The FBI has received countless tips and pieces of digital media from the public regarding individuals who participated in the riot. Dozens in the pro-Trump mob openly bragged about their actions on Jan. 6 on social media and were captured in shocking footage broadcast live by national news outlets.
RELATED: Capitol police recount brutal attack at riot probe’s 1st hearing
Those sought included many accused of violent attacks on officers. One video released by the FBI showed an unidentified man attacking officers with a baton. In another, a man is seen ripping the gas mask off of an officer who screamed in pain as he was being crushed into a doorway by the angry mob.
Days after the riot on Jan. 8, Twitter announced that it had permanently suspended former President Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account after a review, citing "the risk of further incitement of violence."
RELATED: ‘I believe this was the right decision’: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey speaks out on Trump ban
Shortly after the ban, Dorsey wrote that he was not celebrating the removal of Trump from the platform, but rather felt the move was necessary to respond to "threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter."
"I believe this was the right decision for Twitter," Dorsey wrote. "We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all."
Meanwhile, a congressional committee’s investigation into the Capitol riot is underway. A Federal judge ruled on Tuesday that the committee can access some White House records from the day of the insurrection, denying Trump’s efforts to keep them out of the committee’s hands.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in the District of Columbia issued her order Tuesday, saying Trump’s request to block the access was denied without prejudice.
RELATED: Judge questions Trump lawyers over attempt to shield Jan. 6 documents
The records that would be given to the committee include call logs, drafts of remarks and speeches and handwritten notes from Trump’s then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, according to a court filing by the National Archives. There are also copies of talking points from then-press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and "a draft Executive Order on the topic of election integrity," the National Archives said.
House investigators also issued subpoenas Tuesday to 10 former officials who worked for Trump at the end of his presidency, an effort to find out more about what the president was doing and saying as his supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a bid to overturn his defeat.
RELATED: Judge denies Trump’s request to block some documents from Jan. 6 committee
The subpoenas, including demands for documents and testimony from former senior adviser Stephen Miller and McEnany, bring the House panel tasked with investigating the insurrection even closer inside Trump’s inner circle — and closer to Trump himself. They come a day after the committee subpoenaed six other associates of the former president who spread mistruths about widespread fraud in the election and strategized about how to thwart Biden’s victory.
It is so far unclear if the Jan. 6 panel will subpoena Trump, though the committee’s leaders have said they haven’t ruled anything out. The panel has now issued more than 30 subpoenas, including for Meadows, longtime ally Steve Bannon and others who were close to the former president.
Chris Williams, Stephanie Weaver and The Associated Press contributed to this story.