The leader of a militia group tried to ask Trump to allow them to stop the transfer of power | Attack on the United States Capitol
Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers militia charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the January 6 Capitol Building bombing, tried to get a confidant of Donald Trump to ask the former US president to allow his group to forcibly stop the peaceful transfer of power, the court ruled. department alleged in court documents.
The previously unknown phone call with the unidentified individual appears to indicate that the oath keepers had contact with at least one person close enough to Trump that Rhodes thought the individual would be a good person to consult with his request.
After the Oath Keepers finished storming the Capitol, Rhodes gathered the Oath Keepers leaders around 5 p.m. and walked a few blocks to the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington DC, the Department of Justice in a charge sheet against William Wilson, member of the Oath Keepers.
The group then huddled in a private suite, the Justice Department said, where Rhodes called an unidentified person on speakerphone and pressed the person to ask Trump for permission to stop the transfer. power after the failed attack on the Capitol.
“Wilson heard Rhodes repeatedly implore the individual to tell President Trump to call on groups like the Oath Keepers to forcibly oppose the transfer of power,” the document reads. “This individual has denied Rhodes’ request to speak directly with President Trump.”
The extraordinary phone call indicates that Rhodes believed in two important points: first, that he was close enough to Trump’s confidant to be able to openly discuss such a request, and second, that the confidant was close enough to Trump to be able to convey. the message.
Rhodes and his attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
The previously unknown phone call surfaced Wednesday in charging papers against Wilson, the chief of the North Carolina chapter of the Oath Keepers, who pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction of official process in under a plea bargain.
The statement of offense stated that Wilson was involved in Jan. 6 preparation efforts with the national leadership of the Oath Keepers, and how Rhodes added Wilson to the “DC OP: Jan 6 21” group chat on the messaging app. Signal encrypted.
“Rhodes, Wilson and the co-conspirators used this Signal group chat and others to plan for January 6, 2021,” the Justice Department said.
On the morning of the Capitol attack, Rhodes confirmed in the group chat that they had several well-equipped QRFs outside of DC — a reference to the rapid reaction forces, which the government said it thought they were ready to deploy to the Capitol with arms and ammunition.
At around 2:34 p.m., the Justice Department said, Wilson broke into the Capitol through the upper doors of the West Terrace as one of the first co-conspirators to enter the building and, at 2:38 p.m. , helped open the rotunda doors from inside.
The seditious conspiracy charge against Wilson is the latest in a string of recent indictments. In January, Rhodes and 10 other Oath Keepers were charged with seditious conspiracy – an offense that carries up to 20 years in federal prison.
As part of the January 6 criminal investigation, the Justice Department is also looking into links between the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, another militia, having obtained text messages showing the two groups were in contact before the attack of the Capitol.
The House Select Committee investigating the Capitol attack also believes the Capitol attack included a coordinated assault by the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys to prevent certification of Joe Biden’s election victory, the Guardian reported. for the first time last month.