Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) on Sunday dismissed Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes’ offer to testify before the Jan. 6 Select Committee as a “pitch to be released” from jail.
Rhodes, who is currently behind bars while awaiting trial on seditious conspiracy charges for his role in the deadly Capitol insurrection, on Friday said he wants the panel to work with the U.S. Marshals Service to allow him to appear in person at the Capitol complex instead of testifying from jail, Rhodes’ attorney James Bright told Politico. Rhodes also asks that his legal counsel accompany him for his testimony.
Lofgren brushed off the possibility of Rhodes’ public testimony during an interview on CNN on Sunday. Lofgren said she views Rhodes’ offer as a “pitch to be released.”
Lofgren added that the panel already has information from Rhodes, but wouldn’t confirm whether he has testified before panel behind closed doors. Rhodes reportedly previously interviewed with the committee, but largely invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
“Well, I don’t want to go into all the details. But I think this is a pitch to get out of — get-out-of-jail-free card for Mr. Rhodes,” Lofgren said, referring to Rhodes’ push to testify publicly.
Ahead of the committee’s public hearing scheduled on Tuesday, Lofgren said the public can expect the panel to “connect the dots” between extremist groups and those in government circles who sought to overturn the election.
Asked whether Trump was aware that far-right militia groups were in the mob he urged to go to the Capitol hours before the insurrection, Lofgren replied said that “would be a logical conclusion” based on the events leading up to Jan. 6.
Rhodes’ offer to the committee was issued hours before the Justice Department leveled new accusations on Friday against Rhodes and other members of the Oath Keepers who have been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection to the Capitol insurrection.
In a 28-page filing, federal prosecutors alleged that it found a document with the words “DEATH LIST” in Oath Keeper Thomas Caldwell’s home through a search warrant in the weeks after Jan. 6. The handwritten list allegedly included the name of a Georgia 2020 election official and their family member who were both targets of “unfounded conspiracy theories that they were involved in voter fraud,” according to the filing.
The DOJ also said that it believes Jeremy Brown, a member of the Oath Keepers from Florida, likely traveled to Northern Virginia with grenades that were found by investigators when his vehicle was searched. Prosecutors pointed to a statement from Oath Keepers member Kelly Meggs to Caleb Berry, also a member of the extremist group, claiming that Brown brought explosives with him in his RV that he “used to travel to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6.”
Additionally, prosecutors alleged that Rhodes “took a number of steps to avoid detection” on the evening of Jan. 6, which include discarding his phone and “divvying up thousands of dollars’ worth of firearms and related equipment across four vehicles.”
Rhodes allegedly asked other Oath Keepers to join him in Texas after Jan. 6 and advised them to buy burner phones and wear disguises.
On at least one occasion, Rhodes allegedly handed another member of the Oath Keepers an AR-platform rifle while they were in a vehicle together, “explaining that he did not intend to be taken by law enforcement alive.”