Evidence Confirms that Oath Keepers and Proud Boys Coordinated the January 6th Capitol Attack
Oath Keepers leaders planned a "bloody and desperate fight" in DC to overturn the election results.
Oath Keepers positioned weapons around DC in advance of Jan 6, and an armed "Quick Reaction Force" at a Arlington, VA hotel 20 minutes from the Capitol.
Proud Boys leader, Enrique Tarrio, had a written plan "1776 Returns" to incite a violent revolution by storming and occupying federal buildings, which laid out tactics and a timeline very similar to those deployed on January 6.
Oath Keepers and Supporters Plan Capitol Attack
Two days after the 2020 election, Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers, sent a message to a group chat titled “Leadership intel sharing secured,” urging those in the chat to reject the election results.
“We aren’t getting through this without a civil war. Too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, spirit,” Rhodes wrote.
On November 7, 2020, the day that Joe Biden was announced as the winner of the presidential election, Rhodes shared in the group chat a plan to stop the transition of power.
“[W]e must now do what the people of Serbia did when Milosevic stole their election. - Refuse to accept it and march en-masse on the nation’s Capitol,” he wrote, an early indication of the protests that were to take place in January.
Training sessions were held by Oath Keepers around the country between these messages and the attack on January 6.
Then, on a GoToMeeting virtual conference call on November 9, 2020, Rhodes told members of the Oath Keepers to go to Washington to let Trump know “that the people are behind him.” On the call, Rhodes acknowledged the need to violently become involved in supporting Trump in efforts to overturn the election. “It will be a bloody and desperate fight,” he stated. “We are going to have a fight. That can’t be avoided.”
On December 30, 2020, Rhodes created an encrypted chat with several followers titled “DC OP: Jan 6 21.” Another similar chat was created for the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers. These chats were used to plan for the attack on January 6.
Oath Keepers Prepared for Violence
Rhodes was found to have purchased weapons in preparation for the events on January 6. On December 30, Rhodes purchased around $7,000 worth of firearm equipment and night vision devices. He is known to have purchased around another $5,000 worth of firearm equipment on January 1 and 2, as well as an additional $10,500 on his way to Washington on January 3 and 4.
On December 31, 2020, members of the Oath Keepers planned to supply and store weapons in the Washington area. Led by Edward Vallejo, one of the members of the Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy, they coordinated a “Quick Reaction Force,” which consisted of Oath Keeper members armed with weapons in the areas just outside Washington. A hotel in Arlington, VA, was used as the base for the “Quick Reaction Force.” Weapons were stored at this hotel and members of the Oath Keepers stayed there.
According to the Justice Department, two groups of Oath Keepers marched in military-style formations to the Capitol on January 6. These groups were found to have brought firearms, paramilitary gear, knives, batons, and radio equipment with them to Washington.
Evidence Against the Oath Keepers
Leaders have been giving over phones and digital files to and are being interviewed by the FBI, shedding light on the group’s role in communicating with and aiding Donald Trump’s campaign to overturn the 2020 election results.
Kelly SoRelle, a lawyer working with the Oath Keepers, has met with the FBI several times and turned over phones. A transcript from a virtual event on the video conferencing platform GoToMeeting on November 9, 2020, which Sorelle attended, found that she provided information to Oath Keepers about Trump’s legal battle to overturn the election.
In an interview with CNN, SoRelle admitted to working with the Trump campaign to search for voter fraud. With support from the Republican Party and protection from the Oath Keepers, after the election SoRelle took a trip to Michigan to acquire affidavits regarding supposed election fraud for the Trump campaign.
A section of the document, titled the “Patriot Plan,” was meant for public distribution. This section instructed crowds to gather at the buildings at 1 pm on January 6, then to storm the buildings 30 minutes later.
Oath Keepers Communicate With Trump’s Allies Prior to January 6 Riots
The FBI investigation has found evidence of coordination among members of the Oath Keepers to plan for the attack on January 6. In addition, the investigators have found encrypted messages on the app Signal which confirm that the Oath Keepers had messaged high-profile conservative political organizers leading up to the events on January 6.
The Oath Keepers, along with other similar groups, provided security at pro-Trump ralllies in November and December 2020, for far-right figures and conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones and Roger Stone.
Jones, Stone, and prominent “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander were all found to have been in a Signal chat with members of the Oath Keepers. While it is unclear whether this Signal chat was ever used for anything aside from discussing security at pro-Trump rallies, it confirms that the group was in contact with prominent right-wing figures close to the president prior to January 6.
Former Trump Advisor Roger Stone Connected to Oath Keepers
Stewart Rhodes, founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, was found to have been in a Signal group chat named “Friends of Stone.” Members of this chat included Owen Shroyer, an InfoWars host with close connections to Alex Jones, and Enrique Tarrio, chairman of the Proud Boys.
A number of other figures with pre-existing political ties to Robert Stone, a former advisor to Donald Trump, were also in the group. This chat suggests that Roger Stone was able to be in contact with many of the major people involved in planning and acting the attack on January 6.
According to Pete Santilli, a right-wing radio host who is a member of the “Friends of Stone” Signal chat, the chat has existed since at least 2019.
Far-Right Proud Boys Involved in Planning Capitol Attack
At least 30 members of the Proud Boys have been charged for their involvement in the January 6 Capitol attack. This list includes former leader Enrique Tarrio.
Following Enrique Tarrio’s arrest on January 4 due to unrelated actions at a pro-Trump demonstration in December, Ethan Nordean, a Proud Boys member from Washington state, was nominated to have “war powers” and to lead the Proud Boys in their activities on January 6.
Proud Boys leaders, including Nordean, were found to have used social media starting on November 4 to question the legitimacy of the presidential election and to encourage people to protest and prevent the Electoral College vote certification. On November 16, Nordean posted that “any militia groups” in the Pacific Northwest should contact him to coordinate protests.
Prosecutors claim that Nordean also used social media to raise funds and gather equipment to use on January 6. Messages between Nordean and several individuals were sent on December 28 in order to communicate regarding donations of protective equipment. Nordean also messaged an individual on January 2 and 3, who offered to donate $1,000 to the Proud Boys for travel to Washington.
Document Details Proud Boys’ Plans to Attack Capitol
Federal prosecutors found a document, which came into Tarrio’s possession on December 30, 2020, containing plans to attack the Capitol. The nine-page document, titled “1776 Returns,” did not mention a specific attack on the Capitol building, but it did set out a comprehensive plan and timeline for the day, setting seven high-profile government buildings near the Capitol as targets. The plan outlined in the document was very similar to the actual events of January 6.
The plan was broken into five stages: “Infiltrate,” “Execution,” “Distract,” “Occupy,” and “Sit-In.” The document recommended having at least 50 people approach the seven government buildings, while appearing “unsuspecting.”
Once crowds were at the buildings, organizers were supposed to enter the buildings, “causing trouble” if necessary. If crowds were to be unable to enter those buildings, they were instructed to pull fire alarms at other nearby buildings to distract guards and police. Then, protestors were instructed to conduct sit-ins at these buildings, and to chant slogans. Aside from giving details about January 6, the document recommended for protestors to “scope out” the roads nearby the buildings in the days prior.