Secret Tape Shows Oath Keepers Planned Violence On Trump's Behalf

Secret Tape Shows Oath Keepers Planned Violence On Trump's Behalf

Elmer Stewart Rhodes

On the second day of the trial of Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes and other associates charged with seditious conspiracy, Federal prosecutors played an audio of a November 9, 2020, meeting held by the paramilitary group held as they forged plans to “fight” on then-President Donald Trump’s behalf.

Extremist Rhodes and his militant associates plotted to hinder the congressional certification of Biden’s electoral victory, prosecutors told jurors on Tuesday, citing excerpts of the group’s communications, including the audio, as evidence.

According to court records, Rhodes told over a hundred people in the secretly recorded two-hour-long phone call that he hoped Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act, a federal law that empowers a sitting U.S. president to deploy the military inside the country to suppress a rebellion.

“In order to get [Trump] to do that is that he needs to know that people are behind him,” Rhodes said, “so we’ve got to be in D.C. … You’ve got to make sure that he knows that you are willing to die, to fight for this country.”

Rhodes suggested the drastic declaration would serve as a legal cover for the group, which hoped Trump would deploy, too, to use force against fellow Americans they perceived as enemies.

“If he does that, then D.C. gun laws won’t matter,” Rhodes said. “I do want some Oath Keepers to stay on the outside and to stay fully armed and prepared to go in armed if they have to. So, if the s**t kicks off, then you rock and roll.”

Rhodes expressed his willingness to “sacrifice himself” for the perceived fight, saying, “If the fight comes, let the fight come. Let Antifa go if they go kinetic on us, then we’ll go kinetic back on them. I’m willing to sacrifice myself for that,” he said. “If things go kinetic, good. If they blow bombs up and shoot us, great.”

The defense played down the gravity of the prosecutors’ allegations, asserting that their clients’ reliance on the Insurrection Act was sincere, citing a 2020 New York Times article that was circulated in the group. The article stated, “If the president decides unrest rises to the level of insurrection, there is little Congress or the courts can do to stop him, legal experts say.”

The other Oath Keepers arraigned in court — Kenneth Harrelson, Kelly Meggs, Thomas Caldwell, and Jessica Watkins, all of whom are standing trial with Rhodes — were also on the call, FBI agent Michael Palian testified to the jury.

Watkins and Meggs, prosecutors said, were heard on the call discussing what weapons to bring with them on their venture of violence.

“Pepper spray is legal. Tasers are legal. And stun guns are legal. And it doesn’t hurt to have a lead pipe with a flag on it,” Meggs said on the recording.

An “increasingly alarmed” attendee secretly recorded the two-hour-long meeting and sent a tip to the FBI later that month, assistant US attorney Jeffrey Nestler said Monday.

However, the tipster didn’t hear back from law enforcement — the recipient of an avalanche of tips warning of violence on January 6, 20201 — until they resent the message in March 2021, Palian testified.

After the call, Palian said, Meggs and Watkins informed members of their states’ arm of Oath Keepers that they would go to Washington.

“We have been issued a call to action for DC. This is the moment we signed up for,” Meggs told Oath Keepers in Florida, according to the Washington Post. “Because of the city’s strict gun laws,” he said, “it will need to be all hand to hand,” suggesting “mace pepper spray and stun guns.”

Watkins, the owner of a bar in Ohio, told the state’s Oath Keepers, including “anybody not on the call tonight,” that “we have been issued a call to action for DC. This is the moment we signed up for,” per CNN.

According to Palian, Rhodes had advocated for an armed response to Joe Biden’s victory days before the recorded meeting.

“The final defense is us and our rifles,” Rhodes wrote on November 7 in a group chat that included convicted Trump associate Roger Stone, according to the records. “Trump has a duty to stand, but so far [he] hasn’t. As Roger Stone said. Trump has one last chance, right now, to stand. But he will need us and our rifles too. But will he FINALLY act? Only if WE act and call on him to lead us.”

Rhodes and his four associates pleaded not guilty to the seditious conspiracy charges in the most serious case pertaining to the January 6 insurrection. A guilty verdict will see all four facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Trump Pundits Line Up Against 'Poisonous' Nikki Haley And Koch Network

Nikki Haley

On Tuesday, Americans for Prosperity, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit founded by billionaire industrialists Charles and the late David Koch, endorsed former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley for president. The endorsement, AFP’s first in a Republican primary, comes amid consistent media chatter that Haley has surpassed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the preeminent GOP challenger to former President Donald Trump.

Keep reading...Show less
Trump Club Waitress: 'I Was Forced To Engage In Sex' To Keep Job

Alina Habba, left, and former president Donald Trump

Photo by quapan licensed under CC BY 2.0

Alice Bianco, who worked as a server at former President Donald Trump's golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, is accusing her former boss of sexual assault, and the ex-president's attorney of making her sign an illegal non-disclosure agreement in an attempt to silence her.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ }}