An appointee of President Donald Trump — on the eve of the deadly attack and attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol — posted to his Facebook page that he was in a meeting at the White House with Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, the then-director of the Republican Attorneys General Association, President Donald Trump’s sons and several of Trump’s top advisers, including attorney Rudy Giuliani.
On the morning of Jan. 6, however, the Trump appointee edited that Facebook post to say the meeting took place at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. He also removed mention of Giuliani, according to the edit history of his post, which was still visible Wednesday.
Charles W. Herbster, who was then the national chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Advisory Committee in Trump’s administration, made the Facebook post, which was first reported by journalist Seth Abramson. In the original Facebook post, dated 8:33 p.m. on Jan. 5, Herbster said: “Right now, I stand in the White House with the following patriots who are joining me in a battle for justice and truth.”
“These faithful servants of freedom need our prayers as well as the U.S. Congress. Tomorrow on Capitol Hill, they open sealed electoral voting certificates from each state. This joint session is the last official chance for our members of Congress to object to the widespread voter fraud that happened on November 3. God Bless America,” he wrote.
According to Facebook’s edit history, at 6:59 a.m. on Jan. 6, Herbster edited his post, removing mention of Giuliani and switching the location of the meeting from “Right now, I stand in the White House…” to “Right now, I stand in the private residence of the President at Trump International…”
Tuberville, through a spokeswoman Tuesday, told APR that he did not attend a Jan. 5 meeting at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.
In a response to followup questions Wednesday morning to Tuberville’s spokeswoman — asking whether Tuberville had met at the White House with Trump’s sons, Giuliani, then-RAGA director Adam Piper and others on Jan. 5 — the spokeswoman said: “the senator did not attend a private meeting with the people you list nor did he meet with Donald Trump.”
Nearly two hours after Herbster posted that he was standing in the White House with Tuberville and the others, Daniel Beck, the CEO of an Idaho technology company, in a Facebook post at 10:27 p.m. on Jan. 5, wrote that he’d spent the evening at the Trump International Hotel with Tuberville, Trump Jr. and girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, Michael J. Lindell, Trump adviser Peter Navarro and Giuliani. He wrote:
“The Trump hotel is Amazing!! Fifteen of us spent the evening with Donald Trump Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, Tommy Tuberville, Michael J. Lindell, Peter Navarro, and Rudy Giuliani. We talked about the elections, illegal votes, court cases, the republics’ status, what to expect on the hill tomorrow. TRUMP WILL RETAIN THE PRESIDENCY!!!”
A photo posted to an Instagram user’s account appears to show Tuberville standing in the lobby of the Trump International Hotel on Jan. 5. The user captioned the photo “Newly elected Senator Tommy Tuberville.” In two other separate photos, the same person posted images of Flynn and Donald Trump Jr. inside the hotel on Jan. 5. Attempts to reach the person who posted that photo were unsuccessful.
Herbster’s original post — if he wasn’t mistaken about standing in the White House — and Beck’s post seem to indicate that there may have been two meetings: One at the White House at around 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 5 and another gathering at Trump’s hotel a few hours later. APR‘s attempts to reach Beck, Piper and Herbster have not been successful.
Herbster deleted his Facebook post after APR’s story published Tuesday evening, but later on Tuesday evening put his post back up.
Piper resigned as director of RAGA on Jan. 12 following public scrutiny over robocalls paid for by the Rule of Law Defense Fund, RAGA’s dark-money policy arm, which is led by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.
“Every decision Adam made on behalf of RLDF was with the best of intentions and with the organization’s best interests in mind,” Marshall said in a statement at the time. “Adam leaves a void that will be difficult to replace, but we wish Adam well as he pursues other opportunities that will allow him to spend more time with his family.”
Marshall has not publicly said why Piper resigned.
RLDF was listed as a participating organization for the Jan. 6 “March to Save America” on the march’s website. The website is now down, but archived versions show RLDF as a participating group. Prior to the protest, RLDF sent out robocalls detailing when and where citizens should meet for the Jan. 6 rally, which was first reported by the watchdog investigative journalism group Documented.
In a statement on Jan. 7, after APR’s story on the matter had published earlier that day, Piper said neither RAGA nor RLDF was involved with the planning of the rally and seemed to place the blame on staff. Marshall, in a statement to APR on Jan. 8, blamed unnamed RLDF staff and said he was not aware of his organization’s involvement.
Marshall, speaking to The Montgomery Advertiser on Jan. 12 before Piper’s resignation was announced, said the internal review was ongoing. Asked by the Advertiser whether he felt Trump bore any responsibility for the violence at the Capitol on Wednesday, and for comment on Trump’s potential impeachment, Marshall declined to comment.
“I didn’t see anything about the rally,” Marshall said, according to the newspaper. “I don’t know anything about his remarks.”
APR’s questions to Marshall’s office Tuesday and Wednesday about the status of Marshall’s investigation into the matter, and whether he has learned of Piper’s possible attendance at that Jan. 5 meeting, weren’t immediately answered.