“The Last Defense Is Us and Our Rifles”: Oath Keepers Leaders Talk Up Arms Days After Biden’s Victory

Washington – In the days following the count of media outlets Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential electionProsecutors charge members of far-right Oath Keepers group, including founder stewart rhodesWe’re doing our own calculations: How to best mount and disrupt the resistance to Joe Biden’s presidency peaceful transfer of power,

FBI Special Agent Michael Palian — assigned to investigate the group’s role in the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack — told a Washington, D.C., jury on Tuesday that records and text messages from November 9, 2020 show that Rhodes and the other Oath Keepers convened a call to discuss where their fight would take place next.

Attributing Biden’s victory to baseless claims of voter fraud, Rhodes reportedly said voter fraud was a “rebellion that needed to be suppressed.”

Rhodes and codependents are Jessica Watkins, Kenneth Harrelson, Thomas Caldwell and Kelly Meigs On trial for multiple felonies including seditious conspiracy, the most serious allegation ever leveled in the Justice Department’s January 6 investigation. Everyone pleaded not guilty.

In a recorded portion of the November 9, 2020 call played in court on Tuesday, Rhodes reportedly told attendees, “You have to be prepared to go to DC and street-fight Antifa … if the fight If it comes, then let the fight come.” According to an FBI agent, they were reportedly planning to be in Washington, DC for a rally in support of Donald Trump on November 14.

Rhodes said on the recording, “I’m ready to sacrifice myself for this … let the fight begin right there.” “That will give President Trump what he needs.”

Prosecutors allege that the oath-takers were hoping the former president would invoke the Insurgency Act, a centuries-old statute that tells citizens to stand up and fight as members of an armed militia. Violence on the streets, Rhodes protested on the call, would have given Trump that opportunity. Defense lawyers agree that this was the hope of those sworn in, but say the group members did nothing wrong, as Trump never invoked the act.

In a text message sent to leaders of alleged oath-keeping leaders around the same time – days after the 2020 election – Rhodes is accused of writing, “The final defense is us and our rifles,” indicating that if Trump acts. If you fail, the oath keepers will come in.

Text messages extracted by investigators from defendants’ phones in the months following the January 6 attack were shown to a jury on Tuesday.

In other texts, Meigs is accused of writing to a charge-bearer that he could store weapons and supplies in nearby Virginia, where firearms laws are less strict, and responds to Washington, D.C., If Trump had called them – and “not a minute early.”

“If it goes bad, a QRF for us with weapons on us,” read a text message written by Meigs and submitted Tuesday. Prosecutors allege that this indicated so-called “quick reaction forces” that Oath Keepers planned to bring to the DC area before and during January 6.

Defense lawyers say the oath-takers’ focus on firearms laws in the area and their reliance on the Anticipation of Rebellion Act substantiate the defendants’ intent to comply with the law.

but in Monday’s Opening ArgumentProsecutors told the jury that Rhodes, Meggs and their codependents planned and briefly executed a rebellion against their government that targeted the peaceful transfer of power from then-President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden.

The five defendants are part of a group of nine alleged oath-takers who are charged with conspiracy to commit treason – by force resisting the proper act of the government.

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