Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.
Start your day with The National Memo Newsletter
Late Show host Stephen Colbert didn't mince words last night when he delivered a message to the Proud Boys leader who mentioned his name in court.
."You are going to jail you neo-numbnut, and if you don’t like it, you can come and get me," quipped Colbert during his monologue. "Welcome to the monkey house, brother."
Apparently, Colbert's name came up in a statement from a lawyer representing Joseph Biggs, a Proud Boys leader indicted for their role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Biggs is charged with seditious conspiracy, a crime that carries a potential sentence of 20 years in prison. Biggs argued that his trial should be moved out of Washington D.C. due to Colbert's "negative press and media coverage about the fraternity known as the Proud Boys."
"Oh that's right, the Proud Boys is just a fraternity. January 6 was just hazing. I mean we all heard their chant," Colbert, 58, said Wednesday.
Watch the segment below:
Washington (AFP) - The conspiracy that drove a mob to attack the US Capitol in January 2021 still poses a threat to American democracy, the head of the congressional committee tasked with investigating the deadly riot warned on Thursday evening at the panel's first public hearing.
In a live prime-time presentation, the committee offered the first conclusions from a year-long probe into the assault -- and outlined a deep-rooted and ongoing plot to undermine the US Constitution and overturn Donald Trump's election defeat.
The hearing served as an "opening statement" on the January 6 insurrection, laying out for the American public the causes of one of the darkest days in the history of US democracy.
The committee's Democratic chairman Bennie Thompson will said that his panel's work is about more than looking backwards, as US democracy "remains in danger."
"The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over," warned Thompson.
"There are those in this country who thirst for power but have no love or respect for what makes America great: devotion to the Constitution, allegiance to the rule of law, our shared journey to build a more perfect Union."
Vice-chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) laid out in detail the coming weeks of hearings -- including Trump's "seven-part plan" to overturn the 2020 presidential election -- and offered a specific warning to the House Republicans who ousted her from leadership. "I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible. There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain,"
The panel began to demonstrate that the violence was part of a broader conspiracy by Trump and his inner circle to illegitimately cling to power, tearing up the Constitution and more than two centuries of peaceful transitions from one administration to the next.
"We will be revealing new details showing that the violence of January 6 was the result of a coordinated multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election and stop the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden," a select committee aide said.
"And indeed that former president Donald Trump was at the center of that effort."
A slickly-produced two hours of television -- and five subsequent hearings over the coming weeks -- focused on Trump's role in the multi-pronged effort to return him to the Oval Office as an unelected president by disenfranchising millions of voters.
Trump has defiantly dismissed the probe as a baseless "witch hunt" -- but the public hearings were clearly on his mind Thursday as he launched into a largely false tirade on his social media platform, defending the insurrection as "the greatest movement in the history of our Country to Make America Great Again."
The case the committee began to make is that Trump laid the groundwork for the insurrection through months of lies about fraud in an election described by his own administration as the most secure ever.
His White House is accused of involvement in several potentially illegal schemes to aid the effort, including a plot to seize voting machines and another to appoint fake "alternative electors" from swing states who would ignore the will of their voters and hand victory to Trump.
The committee is presented live testimony Thursday from Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards and filmmaker Nick Quested, who interacted with members of the neofascist organization the Proud Boys on January 6 and in the days leading to the violence.
The hearing featured previously unseen video clips of the violence itself and excerpts from a trove of 1,000 interviews, including a "meaningful portion" of discussions with Trump's senior White House and campaign officials -- as well as members of his family. The committee played clips of Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner and former Trump aides who admitted that the president had been informed he lost the election.
Quested will testify Thursday about his experience shadowing members of the Proud Boys in the days leading up to January 6 and his interactions with them on the day itself.
The Emmy Award-winning director's evidence was crucial, said a committee aide, because he was on the scene during the first moments of violence against the Capitol Police and "all the chaos that ensued."
Court Of Public Opinion
Edwards, who was present at the breach of the first barricade, testified emotionally about sustaining head injuries in clashes with the far-right group, which saw its leader and four lieutenants charged on Monday with seditious conspiracy.
Outside the hearing, a number of Trump's most loyal counter-punchers are expected to circle the wagons on Capitol Hill, questioning any damning testimony and challenging the validity of the investigation.
"It is the most political and least legitimate committee in American history," the leader of the House Republican minority, Kevin McCarthy, told reporters at the Capitol.
In fact, Congress has wide-ranging oversight powers, and a Trump-appointed federal judge last month emphatically rejected Republicans' arguments that the committee is illegitimate and overtly partisan.
The committee has not confirmed its plans for after the initial slate of hearings, but at least one more presentation and a final report are expected in the fall.
The Proud Boys, a national group of violent neo-fascists, will feature prominently in the much-anticipated public hearing set for Thursday — the first in a series — by the bipartisan House Select Committee looking into the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, the Guardian reported on Wednesday.
To kick-start Thursday evening's hearing, the select committee will detail the activities of the pro-Trump Proud Boys before and during the insurrection, with live testimony from two witnesses who directly interacted with the group, according to the Guardian.
The select committee is expected to call on Nick Quested, a British documentarian who accompanied and filmed the Proud Boys in the weeks leading up to January 6, and Caroline Edwards, a law enforcement officer at the Capitol who was seriously injured as the pro-Trump mob, including the Proud Boys, forced their way through barricades erected outside the Capitol.
Quested, whose appearance was compelled by subpoena, confirmed to CNN that he will testify. Quested also said he had been deposed by the select committee and the Department of Justice and had given them the footage filmed for his documentary.
The select committee considers Quested, who spent a lot of time with the Proud Boys, a firsthand fact witness, and he’s expected to testify in detail how the Proud Boys had planned their January 6 operation in the weeks before the Capitol riot, using the footage he recorded as a guide and for analysis.
Five members of the Proud Boys, including its former national chairman, Enrique Tarrio, were charged with seditious conspiracy by the Justice Department, whose exhaustive investigation into the events before, during, and after January 6 has led to the arrest of over 800 individuals.
Tim Heaphy, chief investigative counsel for the select committee, will examine key stages that led to the pro-Trump mob’s first breach of the Capitol, including the moment where Proud Boy member Joseph Biggs, who was also charged with seditious conspiracy on Monday, briefly spoke to a man right before the march transformed into a riot.
The man in question, Ryan Samuel, who has long since been arrested, walked up alone to a barricade, entered into an altercation with Capitol police officers, and eventually pushed the barricade over — an event believed to precipitate the riot.
Heaphy is also expected to have Edwards recount her assault at the hands of another man who had also spoken to a Proud Boy member before engaging officers guarding the Capitol.
Edwards was the first officer injured in the attack, and her testimony is expected to be harrowing. The New York Times reported that the pro-Trump mob pushed Edwards into concrete steps, and a bike rack-like barricade was dropped on her.
Quested will be asked to analyze other key moments he filmed, as the Proud Boys led the mob up the inaugural platform prepared for Biden’s swearing-in, which was still weeks away, and “smashed a window to enter the Capitol,” the Guardian noted in its report.
Most of the major U.S. cable news networks, including CNN, CBS, ABC, and MSNBC, will air the January 6 hearings -- but not Fox News.
By Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the right-wing group the Proud Boys, and four of his top lieutenants faced new federal charges of seditious conspiracy on Monday for their involvement in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to a court document.
Federal prosecutors investigating the attack filed the new charges against Tarrio, Dominic Pezzola, Ethan Nordean, Joe Biggs, and Zachary Rehl, according to the document. All five defendants have already pleaded not guilty to other criminal charges related to the attack.
The new indictment accuses the five men of plotting to prevent Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden's 2020 presidential victory over incumbent Republican Donald Trump. Trump has made false claims that he lost due to widespread voting fraud.
Prosecutors say Tarrio played a leading role even though he was not in Washington that day, having already been arrested on other charges related to weapons possession.
Three members of another right wing group, the Oath Keepers, have already pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy charges. Several other members of that group, including leader Elmer Stewart Rhodes, have pleaded not guilty and are due to stand trial later this year.
About 800 people have been charged with taking part in the Capitol riot, with about 250 guilty pleas so far.
(Reporting by Andy Sullivan and Timothy Ahmann; editing by Leslie Adler and Alistair Bell)
Something stinks in Miami and the stench, it would appear, is wafting in from members of the neofascist group known as the Proud Boys.
A report by The New York Times published Thursday dives into the rapidly expanding political landscape in Dade County where the Miami-Dade Republican Party has now accepted a number of people affiliated with the extremist group into the ranks of its executive committee.
Miami, since at least the early 1990s, has been a Democratic stronghold for presidential candidates. The 2020 election put that to the test and the hits have just kept coming. The Republican Party continues its lurch toward extreme right-wing ideology and divisions continue to be inflamed by the party’s darlings like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the twice-impeached former president-turned-Florida-resident Donald Trump.
According to the chair of the GOP’s executive committee in Miami, Rene Garcia, they are aware of the “fringe elements” present in the influential panel. But having a few Proud Boys on board—including those charged with obstructing Congress or impeding police on Jan. 6, 2021—is, apparently, just par for the course.
“Yes, we have different points of view in our party. That’s how we are. And my job as Republican chairman is to protect everyone’s First Amendment right, however wrong they may be,” Garcia told the Times.
In February, the Miami Herald reported at length on the spread of extremist right-wing ideologues into Florida life and politics. In fact, in terms of January 6 defendants, the outlet noted, no other state claimed more than the Sunshine State. Granted, there are 21 million people who live in Florida, therefore increasing the probability of their presence in the defendant pool.
But it's not just a numbers game.
A plethora of the nation’s most prominent right-wing figures call Florida home, including Roger Stone and Michael Flynn. The onetime president of the Proud Boys, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, is also from Miami and the group has had significant success disseminating its message within and outside of the state’s borders.
The Southern Poverty Law Center remarked on this phenomenon to the Miami Herald.
Rachel Carroll Rivas, a senior research analyst for SPLC said in February:
“Those national players can speak to audiences around the country — they choose to be based in Florida, but they’re also influenced by the politics of Florida and influence Florida politics. And in that way, they actually export Florida culture across the country.”
There are also a large number of hate groups that call Florida home. In the last two decades, extremist groups of all types have expanded in the state from right around 40 groups in 2000 to 68 identified today.
The number of hate groups across America overall has shrunk recently, according to the SPLC’s most recent report, but the Proud Boys aren’t losing any momentum. In fact, analysis has shown an increase in the number of Proud Boys chapter divisions cropping up in the U.S.
As noted by the Times on Thursday, self-starter groups like Miami Against Fascism have invested their energy into sorting out who in the Miami-Dade Republican Party may have ties to the hate group.
Today, the Miami-Dade Republican Party executive committee members include January 6 defendants Gilbert Fonticoba and Gabriel Garcia, for example.
Fonticoba was charged with obstructing Congress on Jan. 6. He faces a a number of other charges and has pleaded not guilty. According to an order from the U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly in Washington, D.C., Fonticoba’s next appearance is slated for August. In advance of his trial, Fonticoba has asked for additional time to review the “voluminous discovery” presented to him by prosecutors.
Gabriel Garcia, who faces charges including entering a restricted area on January 6, violent entry, disorderly conduct and more, also sits on the Miami Republican Party Executive Committee.
According to the Times, Garcia has said that he is no longer a member of the Proud Boys. An attorney for Garcia could not immediately be reached by Daily Kos.
Prosecutors said that Garcia screamed at U.S. Capitol Police on January 6, calling them “fucking traitors” as he allegedly urged those around him to storm the Capitol.
“USA!” Garcia was heard chanting in a Facebook video he uploaded. “Storm this shit!”
In another video, Garcia is heard allegedly taunting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, asking her to “come out and play.”
Garcia has railed against claims that the Proud Boys are a hate group. When he ran for a House seat in Florida last year, the former U.S. Army Captain said those descriptions were false. He has pleaded not guilty.
Note the “RWDS” patches = Right Wing Death Squads.— Miami Against Fascism 🌴☕️ (@MIAagainstFash) June 1, 2022
According to his own text msgs released by prosecutors Gabriel brought a knife to J6:
-“Taking a knife as well”
-“Be happy my guns aren’t going this time”
-“is not for defense is for offense” 10/ 🗡https://t.co/Z9kitCtLFc pic.twitter.com/aADTWbj63O
In an interview with the Miami Herald, Garcia deflected the accusations and blamed antifa for violence in the U.S.
Another member of the committee is Chris Barcenas. Though Barcenas did not go into the Capitol on January 6 and has not been charged with any crimes, he was at the Capitol that day and has been identified by groups like Miami Against Fascism as a member of the Proud Boys.
He has also not appeared to contest his membership with the group; he reporetedly testified earlier this year in private before the January 6 Committee to discuss Proud Boys and their role in January 6.
When Miami Proud Boys joined local Cuba protests Barcenas was there helping hold their banner.— Miami Against Fascism 🌴☕️ (@MIAagainstFash) July 15, 2021
And he’s in good company with Christopher Monzón, “the Cuban Confederate,” in the red shirt. He served prison time for attacking ppl w a confederate flag. https://t.co/S3dcCUpKoK pic.twitter.com/Ct480Pv8Ro
Another member of the GOP’s executive committee, Barbara Balmaseda, recently stepped down when pictures started to circulate of her on Capitol grounds on January 6. She said her resignation was based on her wish to focus on other work and that she felt the executive committee had become a drama-filled “waste of time.”
Balmaseda once interned for Florida Senator Marco Rubio and worked as a campaign organizer for Ron DeSantis. She was also a field organizer for the GOP in Florida and has managed campaigns for aspiring legislators like Omar Blanco and Illeana Garcia.
Though she recently left the executive committee, she has opted to remain on the board of the Miami Young Republicans.
Notably, online sleuths have claimed that they have identified Balmaseda at the rally on January 6 and in proximity to alleged January 6 conspirator and Proud Boy leader Ethan Nordean.
Barby Balmaseda (#PinkGaiterPBG) - Jan 5 2021 (night) pic.twitter.com/WlJzSSBVub
— ̄̀ (@ne0ndistraction) March 13, 2022
lol. It just keeps coming. https://t.co/YSB0yaD7Df
— Miami Against Fascism 🌴☕️ (@MIAagainstFash) March 16, 2022
An attorney for Balmaseda did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday.
Balmaseda’s boyfriend, Brandon Diaz, served until very recently as the executive director for the GOP in Miami. He allegedly left the position to focus on his day job.
He has denied having any role in bringing Proud Boys into the committee’s fold in Miami and has denied any personal involvement with the group.
Reprinted with permission from DailyKos.
A leading contender for the Republican nomination in a competitive Arizona House seat said that doctors who perform abortions and people who receive them should both be charged with homicide.
State Rep. Walt Blackman made the comments during a GOP primary debate for Arizona's 2nd District after the moderator asked him whether he stands by a past comment about wanting to charge abortion providers and those who get abortions with homicide.
"Exactly," Blackman said, saying that homicide charges for abortions are, "already in our statute, Arizona statute. If a person commits abortion or kills a baby while in the womb, it's in our criminal statute."
Blackman is listed as a top candidate for the seat by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which seeks to elect Republicans to the House.
It's not the only controversial comment Blackman has made in the past.
In September, Blackman voiced his support for the Proud Boys — a white nationalist group that helped plan the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. A leader of the extremist organization was arrested in March and charged with conspiracy for his apparent role in helping plan the attempt to subvert democracy and stop the certification of President Joe Biden's victory.
"The Proud Boys came to one of my events, and that was one of the proudest moments of my life," Blackman said at a September event seeking "justice" for those charged in the insurrection. He added that the Proud Boys set an "example of how to be an American."
Blackman saying women who get abortions should be charged with murder wasn't even the most controversial moment of Wednesday night's primary debate.
Another candidate, Ron Watkins — one of the leaders of the baseless QAnon conspiracy movement — lied about voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Watkins ran the far-right website 8chan, which the New York Times has described as a "go-to resource for violent extremists" who have committed mass murders. At Wednesday night's debate, Watkins bragged about his efforts to push the false conspiracy theories about a stolen election.
During the debate, Watkins defended his efforts to try to "decertify" Biden's 2020 victory, after Blackman told him that nothing in the Constitution allows for the decertification of an election.
"During the Revolutionary War ... there was nothing that said we could fight the British, but we did," Watkins said, using an analogy to describe why he would embark on a destined-to-fail endeavor. "Americans go, and they fight even when they know we can't win."
Watkins went on to tout his relationship with Powell, as well as pillow mogul and election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell, saying that "we found that the machines were stealing the votes." (The machines did not steal votes.)
Arizona's 2nd District is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran. In the redistricting process, the district became much more conservative, going from a seat Biden carried in 2020 to one that now has a 15-point Republican lean, according to FiveThirtyEight. The nonpartisan political handicapping outlet Inside Elections projects that Republicans will likely flip the seat.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
A series of text messages newly poured into the record for the impending seditious conspiracy trial of extremist Oath Keepers leader Elmer Rhodes and his cohort has exposed often frantic correspondence where members discussed providing security details for Trump World figures like Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Alex Jones, and others.
The texts also appear to show a working relationship with the Proud Boys, another extremist network once headed by ringleader Henry Tarrio, who now sits in jail as he—and his minions—await trial for numerous charges related to the events of January 6, including conspiracy to obstruct Congress and assaulting police.
From December 2021 onward, the text messages made public late Monday demonstrate a startling pathway to January 6. They were released as part of the exhibits that accompanied a pretrial release motion filed by Oath Keeper Edward Vallejo. A hearing will be held on that matter on April 29.
Rhodes, as the apparent ground zero for the group, served as a touchstone for the daily concerns, schemes, and strategy of fellow Oath Keepers coming from all around the U.S. to Washington, D.C., for January 6. He would add people to the group chat, introduce them, and explain their roles.
In the hundreds of texts that were made public, some stand out more than others, like those from late afternoon on New Years Day.
It was hours after Oath Keepers held a conference call for “DC Leadership,” when they began chatting about firearm restrictions and magazine limits in Washington. They also spoke about possible loopholes they believed might exist for private security guards.
In one exchange, Jessica Watkins — who prosecutors say was in one of the Oath Keeper stack formations that marched on the Capitol during the breach — mentioned that she heard GOP fink and convicted felon Roger Stone call for security during his appearance on Alex Jones’ show, Infowars.
Florida Oath Keeper division leader Kelly Meggs, using his handle “OK Gator 1” initially told Watkins: “We have Stone.”
Then moments later, Meggs said he “just texted him.”
When another person in the chat believed to be an Oath Keeper—their name or handle is redacted—chimed in that they wanted to shake Stone’s hand, Meggs boasted that he could arrange it since he had been to Stone’s home “a few times.”
“I’m down for doing PSD for folks,” Watkins replied, using shorthand for “private security detail.”
“I don’t want to be a spectator. I want to be useful,” she added.
“As per Stewart,” a reply from a redacted sender began, “We are all likely to be doing PSD most of the time ...”
Stone has tried to put distance between himself and the Oath Keepers, albeit poorly.
He has also denied being in Washington on January 6, though he was filmed fleeing D.C. that day by a group of documentarians. And in that same film, a screenshot shows he was in a group chat with Rhodes as well as Tarrio.
Joshua James, the Alabama Oath Keeper chapter leader who pleaded guilty to the seditious conspiracy charges in March, served as security detail for Stone on January 5. He also hauled him to meetings at the Willard Hotel where Trump and his cronies Steve Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, attempted coup strategist John Eastman, and others would often meet in their self-described “war room.”
Sal Greco, a former New York Police Department officer, allegedly worked alongside James when they did private security for Stone on January 5 and 6. Greco has denied being anything more than a friend to Stone. Greco is facing a police department trial in New York for misconduct.
James, however, admitted that on January 6 he used a stolen golf cart with co-defendant Robert Minuta to evade police as they beelined for the Capitol. From there, James has admitted, he was part of an organized effort to breach the Capitol as lawmakers conducted the counting of electoral votes, a necessary step toward the peaceful transfer of power.
Other text messages from Meggs to the group also indicate a through-line between the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.
Video has already emerged showing Rhodes meeting with Tarrio in a parking garage on the evening of January 5 in D.C.
Tarrio was arrested just a day before on an outstanding warrant for his December theft and burning of a Black Lives Matter banner from a prominent church.
The Miami, Florida, resident was ordered out of Washington after his release, but before he left, he met with Rhodes, Oath Keeper lawyer Kellye SoRelle, Josh Macias, and Bianca Garcia in the D.C. garage. Macias is the founder of Vets4Trump and Garcia is the president of Latinos for Trump.
As news of Tarrio’s arrest first spread, Meggs told the group he tried reaching out.
“I just called him no answer. But he will call [when] he’s out,” Meggs said of Tarrio.
That evening, another redacted speaker in the chat responded to the news of the arrest.
“They [think] chopping the head off kills it or something? Damn fools should have left him alone,” the text said.
This is also far from the first time that prosecutors have exposed a unity between the groups.
In a December 19 message entered into the record by prosecutors last month, Meggs tells a person on Facebook that he spent the week doing outreach to Proud Boys leadership.
“This week I organized an alliance between Oath Keepers, Florida 3 percenters, and Proud Boys. We have decided to work together and shut this shit down,” Meggs wrote.
The Three Percenters are an anti-government extremist militia.
A week later, according to exhibits attached to Meggs’ request for pretrial release, the Florida Oath Keeper told members their groups had a plan in place to deal with “antifa,” or supporters of the anti-fascist movement.
Meggs explained how they would coordinate together on January 6:
“We’re going to march with them for awhile then fall to the back of the crowd and turn off,” Meggs wrote in December 2021. “Then we will have the Proud Boys get in front of them [and]] the cops will get between antifa nad Proud Boys.”
He continued: “We will come in behind antifa and beat the hell out of them.”
Many of the Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy who have pleaded guilty have maintained they only came to Washington because they believed Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act.
If he did so, then, in short, they believed they would then have the green light to proceed and assist him as necessary.
The messages revealed Monday also offered a brief glimpse into the network’s ties to 1AP, or the First Amendment Praetorian, a self-styled militia. That pro-Trump group was subpoenaed by the January 6 committee already for its connections to Michael Flynn. Flynn used its members as bodyguards at “Stop the Steal” rallies. The group also threw its support behind proposals to seize voting machines as a part of Trump’s bid to stay in power.
Like the Oath Keepers had in the past, 1AP also reportedly had members assigned to protect Jones.
Rhodes appeared enthralled by the prospect of working with Jones again in a text Rhodes sent to members on Dec. 31, 2020.
“Bottom line, is those of you wanting to do PSD details will get plenty of opportunity. We may also end up assisting the PSD for Alex Jones again. Which was a great feather in our cap. We worked subperbly (sic) well with both Alex Jones security team (who are awesome guys) and with the Praetorian Guard (also awesome veterans led by SF and SEAL veterans),” Rhodes wrote. “They LOVE working with us because of our legit ‘quiet professional’ demeanor and skillsets.”
Rhodes continued: “It’s incredibly important for us to be front and center and again very visible for the patriots AND the domestic enemies. Heck, also to our foreign enemies, who will surely be watching as well.”
Jones was subpoenaed by the committee months ago. He had a private meeting with investigators in January and when he emerged, he went on his own show to unpack the day. He vowed that he “stayed silent” and said he didn’t know answers to half of what he was asked.
Jones also swore that same day that he did not use members from the Oath Keepers or Proud Boys as his private security. Instead, he said, he hired 12 or 14 people from a private security firm in Texas. He simultaneously claimed that some of those members were D.C. or Maryland police officers.
Jones also didn’t think the Oath Keepers or Proud Boys were threat. He chalked up their activities to “live action role playing.”
According to the texts, Oath Keepers were also interested in providing security to Ronny Jackson during the insurrection itself. Jackson was the former White House physician under Trump who turned into a congressman for Texas.
“Dr. Ronnie Jackson on the move,” one message from an unidentified person stated on January 6 at 3:08 PM. “Needs protection. If anyone inside cover him. He has critical data to protect.”
Rhodes sent a text asking what Jackson needed and then offered up his cell phone number.
“Rep. Jackson is frequently talked about by people he does not know. He does not know nor has he ever spoken to the people in question,” a spokesperson for Jackson said Tuesday morning.
In another message appearing to involve U.S. lawmakers, on January 3 Meggs told the group that friends to the Oath Keepers mentioned the group “on the call with congressmen,”
“[They] wanted to say thank you all for providing and protecting us,” Meggs wrote.
Attorneys for Rhodes, Tarrio, and Meggs did not immediately return a request for comment.
Published with permission from DailyKos.
About The National Memo
The National Memo is a political newsletter and website that combines the spirit of investigative journalism with new technology and ideas. We cover campaigns, elections, the White House, Congress, and the world with a fresh outlook. Our own journalism — as well as our selections of the smartest stories available every day — reflects a clear and strong perspective, without the kind of propaganda, ultra-partisanship and overwrought ideology that burden so much of our political discourse.