Pro-Trump Oath Keepers and Proud Boys subpoenaed
Proud Boys members Enrique Tarrio, left, and Joe Biggs march during a protest on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC Tarrio was later arrested for acts committed during the protest and Biggs was subsequently arrested for his involvement in the storming of the United States Capitol in Washington. DC, USA Photo taken December 12, 2020.
Jim Urquhart | Reuters
The House special committee investigating the deadly Capitol invasion said on Tuesday it had issued subpoenas to the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, two far-right organizations whose members were implicated in the Jan.6 attack.
The committee also subpoenaed the leader of the Proud Boys, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, and the chairman of the Oath Keepers, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, as well as the 1st Amendment Praetorian, another organization involved in the preparations for January 6.
The latest batch of summons follows dozens of other requests from the House committee for documents and testimony from witnesses suspected of having tangible links to January 6 and the events that precipitated it.
The bipartisan panel is investigating the facts and factors that sparked the riot, when hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol, temporarily halting efforts to confirm President Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral college. The invasion followed months of false claims by Trump that the 2020 election was rigged against him.
“We believe that the individuals and organizations we have summoned to appear today have relevant information on how the violence erupted on Capitol Hill and the preparations leading up to this violent attack,” the committee chairman said. Restricted Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a press release.
Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, told the Washington Post via Getty Images on February 28, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas, that the government was trying to turn the dishonest actions of a few members into an alleged plot by the organization on January 1st. 6, 2021.
Aaron C. Davis | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Prosecutors have said in court documents that an accused of the Capitol riots “discussed coordinating with the Proud Boys and the number of Oath Keepers” who planned to be in Washington on January 6.
A subpoena notes that an indictment in a federal court in Washington described a “conspiracy between at least 18 Oath Keepers in which members of the Oath Keepers planned to move together in coordination with regular communication to take action. assault the United States Capitol “.
The plot reportedly included plans to travel to Washington with “paramilitary equipment and additional supplies, including firearms, tactical vests with plates, helmets and radio equipment,” the subpoena reads.
Rhodes, according to news reports, was mentioned, but not by name, in this indictment as having been in direct contact with several of the Oath Keepers indicted “before, during and shortly after the attack on Capitol Hill.”
“In written and oral remarks delivered before January 6, 2021, Mr. Rhodes repeatedly suggested that the Oath Keepers should, or were prepared to, engage in violence to secure the outcome of their election,” said the ‘assignment.
On Monday, the select committee summoned Roger Stone, the Republican political agent and Trump confidant, who allegedly used members of Oath Keepers as personal security guards while in Washington on January 5 and 6. Stone reportedly said he planned to “lead a march to Capitol Hill” from a rally near the White House where Trump spoke shortly before the riot began, the House committee said .
Another subpoena announced on Tuesday, this one addressed to the Proud Boys, notes that to date at least 34 people affiliated with the Proud Boys have been indicted by the Justice Department in connection with the riot.
Tarrio was banned by a judge from entering Washington after his arrest on January 4 for burning a “Black Lives Matter” banner stolen from a church in Washington on December 12, 2020.
The subpoena to the 1st Amendment Praetorian and its chairman, Robert Patrick Lewis, noted that the group’s Twitter account had suggested two days before the Capitol invasion that violence was imminent.
“Young National Guard captains may be faced with very, very difficult choices over the next 48 hours. Pray with every fiber of your being that their choices will be wise, just and fearless,” tweeted the account on January 4.
On January 6, Lewis tweeted: “Today is the day the real battles begin,” the summons added.
The House inquiry sought the cooperation of dozens of witnesses and cited a growing list of current and former Trump allies and associates to appear.
The panel fired Steve Bannon, Trump’s former senior White House adviser, for contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with his subpoena.
Bannon’s lawyer based his non-compliance on Trump’s executive privilege claims on information requested by the panel. The Plenary Assembly then voted in favor of contempt of Bannon, and on November 12, a federal grand jury indicted him with two counts of contempt of Congress.
Bannon has pleaded not guilty. Trump has taken legal action to prevent the committee from obtaining tons of documents dating from when Trump was president.
The committee also subpoenaed Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, his former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, among others.
The panel threatened to advance criminal proceedings for contempt of Meadows, who refused to comply with his subpoena.
Jones has been subpoenaed for his alleged involvement in organizing the pre-riot rally outside the White House, among other connections to date.
In a new video statement on Tuesday, Jones called the House committee a “kangaroo court” and a “witch hunt.” He also said he expected to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid having to testify, “not because I did something wrong, but because these people are political criminals with their work cut out for them “.
But Jones also suggested he could testify if he could do so live on camera. “I have no chance to go behind closed doors,” he said.
Last week Jones was held responsible in a civil libel lawsuit brought by family members of the Sandy Hook School massacre victims. Jones had claimed that the event was a “hoax”.
Stone was pardoned by Trump in December after being convicted of lying to Congress.