The testimony of an FBI special agent in the Oath Keepers’ seditious conspiracy trial revealed that members of the far-right militia grew impatient as they waited for then-President Donald Trump to deputize his supporters and stop the joint session of Congress from counting the Electoral College votes.
“Either Trump gets off his [a**] and uses the Insurrection Act to defeat the ChiCom puppet coup or we will have to rise up in insurrection (rebellion) against the ChiCom puppet Biden,” Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes wrote in a text message in December 2020, falsely claiming that President Joe Biden’s victory was the result of a Chinese Communist Party plot.
Trump never attempted to use the act, but Rhodes and other Oath Keepers anticipated that he would in order to disrupt Senate processes confirming Mr. Biden’s election triumph. In the winter of that year, Rhodes wrote a letter to Trump pushing him to activate the act, which would allow the president to employ the military and militias for civilian law enforcement in order to remain in office after his term expired.
In a group conversation, Rhodes told fellow Oath Keepers, “This is what should be occurring.” “However, I have my doubts. I’ve grown weary of waiting for Trump to perform his [d***] responsibility.”
Oath Keepers on the East Front of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
Rhodes, along with codefendants Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins, and Thomas Caldwell, are charged with various felonies, including seditious conspiracy, for allegedly attempting to prevent the peaceful transfer of power during the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. All have pleaded not guilty, and their defense counsel claim the defendants were just acting as security workers for the president’s rally at the Ellipse prior to the attack on the Capitol.
Prior to January 6, Oath Keepers members provided security for Trump ally Roger Stone, and text exchanges reveal that Rhodes and Meggs planned similar arrangements for Stone’s associates, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Thursday, federal prosecutors attempted to refute the defense’s argument by suggesting that the Oath Keepers’ texts reveal objectives beyond merely protecting Trump allies.
“This will be the third event in DC,” Rhodes tweeted, referring to Trump’s rally on January 6. “Getting kinda old. They don’t care how many people show out to wave signs, pray, or yell. They will not fear us until we arrive with firearms.”
Whitney Drew, a former FBI special agent who investigated the incident on January 6 before leaving the bureau, described to the jury the many channels of communication the Oath Keepers utilized to organize their activities on the day of the attack. Members of the militia utilized Zello, a walkie-talkie application, to communicate their locations, police movements, and news about Congress that they had read.
Prior to the attack, Rhodes had also urged fellow militia members to wear protective gear and urged one to carry a reconnaissance drone equipped with a camera to Washington. Now it’s [n**] cutting time, wrote Rhodes. “Does Trump have a genitalia or not? We are going to discover.”