Oath Keepers Leader Had Line To Trump Intermediary On Jan. 6, Plea Deal Suggests

Stewart Rhodes
TPM Illustration/Getty Images
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

A new Jan. 6 plea agreement Wednesday detailed a previously unknown alleged conversation that prosecutors say took place on the day of the attack between Stewart Rhodes, leader of the right-wing militia group the Oath Keepers, and an unnamed intermediary.

Rhodes seemed to think the person in question had a line to then-President Donald Trump, according to the statement of offense.

The details of the connection came in the plea agreement of William Todd Wilson, a North Carolina Oath Keepers leader who pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction charges, the third member of the group to do so. 

The document, signed by Wilson and released Wednesday, includes a detailed timeline of his discussions with fellow Oath Keepers about forcefully interrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral win.

One alleged conversation in particular stands out. 

At around 5 p.m. on Jan. 6, according to the document, Rhodes gathered Wilson and other alleged co-conspirators at a private suite at the Phoenix Hotel in Washington, D.C. 

According to the statement of offense: 

Rhodes then called an individual over speaker phone. Wilson heard, Rhodes repeatedly implore the individual to tell President Trump to call upon groups like the Oath Keepers to forcibly oppose the transfer of power. This individual denied Rhodes’s request to speak directly with President Trump. After the call ended, Rhodes stated to the group, ‘I just want to fight.’

This is a key allegation for several reasons. First, it implies that Rhodes, the leader of one of the most prominent militia groups in America — one that was deeply involved in the Jan. 6 attack — was in contact with “an individual” who he believed to have access to the President. 

What’s more, Rhodes by this point had made his view of the situation quite clear: By the time of the described call, the attack had mostly come to an end, and several Oath Keepers had already participated in the sacking of the Capitol. 

According to Wilson’s statement of offense, Rhodes referred to the attack as part of a “civil war” as it was ongoing. By this point, Rhodes had for several months envisioned a bloody struggle over control of the U.S. government. 

For days after the attack — and after his unsuccessful alleged attempt to reach Trump — Rhodes maintained that the nation was in the midst of a violent struggle. 

On Jan. 13, in an alleged draft of a public appeal addressed to Trump — circulated to an encrypted chat group and quoted in Wilson’s statement of offense — Rhodes urged Trump to “honor your oath,” warning that “domestic enemy wolves will be at the door of all your supporters as well.” 

“We will have no choice but to honor our oaths and fight back when they come for us,” Rhodes allegedly wrote. “A fight is coming no matter what we do.” 

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: