The leader of the right-wing militia group the Oath Keepers spoke just days after Election Day about a potentially violent conflict involving Trump supporters and a presidential declaration of the Insurrection Act, a new superseding federal indictment alleged.
The militia group’s leader, Stewart Rhodes, has not been charged with a crime, and has consistently denied breaking the law, but the latest indictment revealed new alleged details of Rhodes’ involvement in planning for an armed conflict on Trump’s behalf.
“We’re going to defend the president, the duly elected president, and we call on him to do what needs to be done to save our country,” Rhodes said in a virtual meeting on Nov. 9, according to the indictment. “Because if you don’t guys, you’re going to be in a bloody, bloody civil war, and a bloody – you can call it an insurrection or you can call it a war or fight.”
He allegedly added, referring to anti-fascists: “If the fight comes, let the fight come. Let Antifa – if they go kinetic on us, then we’ll go kinetic back on them. I’m willing to sacrifice myself for that. Let the fight start there. That will give President Trump what he needs, frankly. If things go kinetic, good. If they throw bombs at us and shoot us, great, because that brings the president his reason and rationale for dropping the Insurrection Act.”
The latest revelations come as federal prosecutors continue to expand their conspiracy case against the Oath Keepers. Four additional alleged participants in the attack were hit with the superseding indictment that was unsealed over the weekend for their alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on Congress. This is the fourth superseding indictment in the Oath Keepers conspiracy case. The total number of defendants with the new additions stands at 16.
The new superseding indictment includes three new named defendants as well as one redacted name whose status is unknown. Joseph Hackett, Jason Dolan, and William Isaacs all appeared before Florida magistrate judges Thursday, The Washington Post reported.
The indictment alleged that Hackett, Dolan, Isaacs and the unnamed defendant participated in the larger Oath Keepers conspiracy to disrupt Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, in part by moving in a “stack” formation, storming past exterior barricades and entering the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Much of the indictment focuses on alleged phone call metadata and encrypted text message communications sent back-and-forth among the Oath Keepers group during the attack.
For example, Rhodes — who is labeled “Person One” in the court documents — allegedly called for back-up to one set of Capitol doors after receiving a report stating that “The [sic] have taken ground at the capital[.] We need to regroup any members who are not on a mission.”
“Come to South Side of the Capitol on steps,” Rhodes wrote before sending a photo of the Capitol’s southeast side, according to the indictment.
The superseding indictment’s description of the Nov. 9 meeting, in which Rhodes allegedly described the potential of Trump declaring an insurrection, also included talk of some Oath Keepers being “posted outside of DC.”
In hearings and court documents describing several Oath Keepers’ alleged actions, prosecutors have described an alleged “Quick Reaction Force” — men with arms in a Virginia hotel, waiting for word to join the fight.
“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,” Rhodes allegedly said during the Nov. 9 meeting. “So our posture’s gonna be that we’re posted outside of DC, um, awaiting the President’s orders. … We hope he will give us the orders. We want him to declare an insurrection, and to call us up as the militia.”