Monday, October 3, 2022

Oath-keepers, proud boys are summoned to court on January 6th.

WASHINGTON (AP) – A House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol uprising on Tuesday issued new subpoenas, this time to extremist organizations, including Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, and their leaders, in an attempt to uncover the conspiracy and execution. deadly attack.

“The ad hoc committee is seeking information from individuals and organizations reportedly involved in planning an attack, a violent crowd that stormed the Capitol on January 6, or trying to deny election results,” Mississippi spokesman Benny Thompson, a spokesman for the Democratic Party, said. in the message of the chairman of the commission.

The subpoenas are the latest in a wide network that a House commission launched in an attempt to investigate the unrest, when supporters of former President Donald Trump, fueled by his false claims of a stolen election, attacked police and broke into the Capitol to cut short the recognition of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

The committee has already interviewed more than 150 people in government, social media and law enforcement, including some of Trump’s former aides who have collaborated. The group called over 20 witnesses to court, and most of them, including several who helped plan the Stop Theft rally on the morning of January 6, made it clear that they would cooperate.

Recent subpoenas have been sent to the Oath Keepers’ organizations, the Proud Boys and the First Amendment Praetorians, and their members, requesting documents and testimony.

Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, chairman of the Proud Boys, was among those called to court. He was not charged with the riot since he was not there on 6 January. He was arrested for unrelated vandalism when he arrived in Washington two days earlier and a judge ordered him to leave the area. Law enforcement later said Tarrio was detained in part to help suppress possible violence.

But despite not being physically present, the committee believes he may have been involved in preparing the Proud Boys for the Capitol events.

The committee highlighted a line from another Proud Boys leader’s podcast shortly before January 6, in which he said, “When police or government officials break the law, what should we do as people? Discourse? What should we debate? No, we must use force. ”

Jason Lee Van Dyck, an attorney previously associated with Proud Boys and being summoned to court as part of a Congressional investigation, said he would provide committee reports that are not protected by attorney and client privileges, but stressed that his membership with Proud Boys International LLC closed in November. 2018 year.

Van Dyck added that he did not have any entries from November 2020 to the present that are requested on the subpoena. “I cannot give them what I don’t have,” Van Dyck said.

More than 30 leaders, members or associates of the Proud Boys are among those indicted in connection with the attack. A group of self-proclaimed “Western chauvinists” withdrew from the far-right during the Trump administration to join mainstream GOP circles with allies such as longtime Trump supporter Roger Stone. The group claims to have over 30,000 members nationwide.

On Tuesday, the committee also summoned Oathkeepers, a militia group founded in 2009 that recruits current and former military, police and first responders, as well as founder and leader Elmer Stuart Rhodes, to court. The group says that Rhodes may have encouraged members to resort to violence to secure their preferred election outcome, and that he was in contact with several of the more than a dozen indicted Oath Keepers before, during and after the attack on The Capitol also met with some of them. outside the Capitol.

Rhodes said there were about 40,000 Oath Keepers at its peak, but one extremism expert estimates the group’s membership at about 3,000 nationwide. Rhodes did not immediately respond to a request for comment posted on the organization’s website.

The last organization on the committee’s list on Tuesday was the 1st Amendment Praetorian organization founded by believer QAnon, which claims to provide free security for “patriotic and religious events across the country.”

Its chairman, Robert Patrick Lewis, is wanted by the committee after he was listed as a spokesperson for a January 5 rally at Freedom Square in downtown Washington. On the day of the attack, Lewis tweeted: “Today is the day the real fighting begins.”

The subpoenas, narrowing to organizations, come a day after the commission issued subpoenas to five more people, including Stone and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Some Trump allies have refused to cooperate. Steve Bannon, a longtime ally, was indicted on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress on November 12 after he withdrew a subpoena from a House committee. The committee is giving former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows more time to complete the agenda before continuing to vote for disrespect.

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Associated Press writer Jacques Billot of Phoenix contributed to this report.

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