On January 6, investigators subpoena Proud Boys and Oath Keepers as investigation turns to domestic extremism

The subpoenas require documents by December 7 and depositions the following week.

Lawyers for the groups and individuals subpoenaed did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tarrio is currently incarcerated in a DC jail for burning a stolen Black Lives Matter flag from a nearby church during a pro-Trump rally in December 2020, a property destruction crime that earned him a six-month sentence. Rhodes, who was at the Capitol on January 6 but did not appear to enter the building, has would have been questioned by the FBI.

The Justice Department has already indicted dozens of members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers for participating in the Capitol siege and accused the leaders of these groups of plotting to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 election. The most complex and important plot federal prosecutors have launched against the more than 700 defendants indicted in the January 6 attack.

The latest batch of subpoenas signals that the House selection panel is focused on groups – Proud Boys and Oath Keepers – whose members have spent weeks actively organizing to descend to Washington, DC on the 6th. January and helped increase attendance at pro-Trump rallies that later turned into a riot. Many members of extremist groups indicted for their actions applied for funding and equipment requests they had with them on January 6.

The committee’s growing interest in the role of domestic extremists on Jan.6 aligns with the Justice Department’s sprawling investigation into the Capitol assault. Ahead of Tuesday’s subpoenas, the select panel had mainly expressed interest in witnesses who might be able to shed light on Trump’s role in the attempted election annulment and calling for supporters in Washington on January 6.

Proud boys

The Proud Boys are a far-right nationalist group that describes itself as a “pro-Western” organization.

Tarrio’s arrest on January 5, the destruction of the banner appeared to ignite the members of the group. As POLITICO reported, a private intelligence group that shares threat intelligence with federal law enforcement warned on January 5 that a Proud Boys Telegram was threatening to “dismiss” government officials in response. upon Tarrio’s arrest.

More than 100 members of the Proud Boys descended on the Capitol on January 6 and dozens raped the building, court records show. Four of the group’s leaders – Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Charles Donohoe – have been accused of leading a conspiracy to stop the certification of the election. Their associate, Dominic Pezzola, was one of the first to enter the Capitol, using a stolen police riot shield to smash a window.

Prosecutors described lengthy conversations on the Signal messaging app between Proud Boys executives, who rushed to reorganize after Tarrio’s arrest. Donohoe reportedly orchestrated the removal of many of these messages after January 6, when members feared they could face criminal charges.

Nordean was among the first Jan. 6 rioters to reach Capitol Hill, marching there even before Trump’s speech to supporters, and was among the first wave of people to cross police lines.

Oath keepers

The Oath Keepers are also a far-right group that opposes what they see as the tyranny of the federal government. Like the Proud Boys, dozens of Oath Keepers participated in the assault, with a dozen entering the Capitol in a military-style “stack” formation. Twenty of the group’s leaders are indicted in the most sprawling case resulting from the January 6 riot. And prosecutors have presented evidence the group hid guns in a hotel in Arlington, Va. – a site its members have called a “rapid reaction force” they could draw on if the violence escalates. even more, according to communications obtained by investigators.

Rhodes joined many of the 20 Oath Keepers currently facing January 6-related charges at an assembly point outside the Capitol, with photos and videos showing the leader summoning the group amid the chaos. Text messages and radio communications obtained by prosecutors detailed Rhodes’ extensive communications with many of her allies throughout the riot.

Federal judge presiding over the Oath Keepers case, Amit Mehta, recently said he believed Trump and his allies escaped responsibility for fanning the attack with lies about the election while the “pawns” who carried it out were investigated and punished.

But the judge also expressed his deep concern about before January. 6 planning by members of Oath Keepers. Several have claimed in court documents and arguments that they attended the Trump rally to ensure the safety of VIPs, including Stone, and that they were carrying gear to prepare for possible counter-protests. But Oath Keeper leader Kelly Meggs told her allies “this is not a rally,” which Mehta described as key evidence of the group’s intent.

The select committee may find it difficult to serve a subpoena on the Oath Keepers organization. The group’s own lawyer recently asked to withdraw after claiming that he could not reach anyone within the organization. The motion was brought in a lawsuit filed by members of Congress against Trump and his allies after the Jan.6 attack. Thompson initially took the lead in the pursuit, although he has since stepped down to lead the select committee.

1st Praetorian Amendment

The organization presents itself as ensuring the safety of the marches and conservative demonstrations. Its founder, Robert Patrick Lewis, is a former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant and recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, according to a June profile from The daily beast. He dabbled in conspiracy theories, like a claim to Fox News on November 2, 2020, that Antifa would soon unleash violence.

“Our intelligence shows that no matter who wins the election, they [Antifa] are planning a massive ‘Tet antifa offensive’, bent on destroying world order, ”he said.

Lewis bragged about protecting Ali Alexander – one of the main leaders of the “Stop the Steal” alliance formed to stimulate Trump’s baseless electoral challenges – and bragged about his ties to Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell. An archived page According to her group’s website, her members provided security for several Stop the Steal events and the Women for America First Million MAGA Walk in November 2020.

He was too listed as speaker in the permit application for the January 5 Freedom Plaza event where Roger Stone and Alex Jones appeared. The permit also stated that his group would provide unarmed security for this event. At 2:18 p.m. on January 6, Lewis tweeted that it was “the day when real battles begin”.

Lewis then told the Daily Beast that he was away from the violence that day and that he tweeted that afternoon from the Willard Hotel. This place served as a sort of command center for Trump’s outside allies, stepping up his efforts to overturn the election, making it a key target for investigators on the Jan.6 committee.

Tuesday’s subpoenas are not the first indication of the committee’s interest in the Praetorian 1st Amendment. In its request for documents of 25 August from the National Archives, the committee searched for all communications from the White House from April 1, 2020 to January 20, 2021, related to the elections as well as those with a multitude of activists and conservative agitators. Robert Patrick Lewis was on the list.

Two lots in two days

On Monday evening, the panel summoned a group that included longtime Trump World residents, including InfoWars chief Alex Jones and longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, who had been pardoned by the former president in his last days in power. Summoning stones quoted from an ABC News article reporting that members of Oath Keepers ensured Stone’s safety in the run-up to January 6. Several people pictured near him were then charged with participating in the attack on the Capitol.

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