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Oath Keeper Blabbed On Podcasts Before And After Alleged Jan. 6 Sedition

Oath Keepers
A patch from the vest of an Oath Keeper seen during the demonstration. (Photo by Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
January 19, 2022 5:01 p.m.
Updated January 20, 2022 9:23 a.m.

As he prepared to take part in what prosecutors later described as a seditious conspiracy to attack and interrupt Congress on Jan. 6, one co-conspirator quoted Monty Python and the Holy Grail on a podcast. 

“I’m going to fart in your general direction!” Edward Vallejo said on “Declare Your Independence,” the right-wing show of host Ernest Hancock. 

Vallejo was mocking what the show’s host described as empty threats from pro-Trump forces assembled in Washington, D.C.: The quote in the famous satire comes from a French soldier who taunts King Arthur and his men from atop a castle wall. 

Of course, the hours that followed the podcast appearance were much more than empty taunts: Vallejo was allegedly part of an Oath Keepers “quick reaction force” that was huddled with a month’s-worth of guns and supplies in Arlington, Virginia, as Oath Keepers and hundreds of others attacked Congress. “QRF standing by at hotel,” Vallejo allegedly said in a text message to fellow Oath Keepers during the attack. “Just say the word…” 

Orders for the quick reaction force to join the fight never came, prosecutors say. 

Vallejo was accompanied on the podcast by another man, who Hancock identified as Todd Kandaris. Comments Kandaris made on the podcast appear in a Tuesday court filing by federal prosecutors, who referred to the speaker as an “Arizona QRF team member.” 

Kandaris has not been charged with a crime.

Citing vague “inside information” on the podcast, Kandaris hinted that the coming hours could be historic.

“There are people here who are experienced, they’re veterans, they’re patriots, and they want to be sure that that potential threat — and I do say ‘threat’ with a little consternation, but it’s true — of further action is there,” he said. 

“This is a tinder box,” he added later. “It just is a question of, what is the precipitating event?”

A Window Into The Oath Keepers’ Week

Vallejo’s court-appointed attorney has said he will plead not guilty to the charges against him, and he has a detention hearing set for Thursday. 

Kandaris did not respond to TPM’s request for comment. Someone who answered the phone at his business said Kandaris might be hesitant to talk, given “the feds coming down and saying there’s sedition and stuff.” Just Security first reported Kandaris’ identity on Wednesday.

Though prosecutors quoted bits from the podcast appearances — Vallejo and Kandaris called into Hancock’s show on both Jan. 6 and 7th — they also left out some tantalizing detail. 

Vallejo, on Jan. 6, fumed to Hancock about a (false) rumor he’d heard that Vice President Mike Pence wasn’t expected to attend the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College certification on Jan. 6. He also noted that ever since he’d heard about coronavirus landing in Arizona, “I’ve been by myself, on my property, off-grid, living for a year.” 

The night prior, Kandaris said, “we arrived around noon and we hooked up with the Oath Keepers.” The group went to a gathering at the Supreme Court building, he said, then to Freedom Plaza, where “we worked as security to get in some high-profile people, a couple of generals, some other speakers that came in and addressed the crowd.” 

The Day After 

The day after the Capitol attack, Vallejo and Kandaris appeared again on Hancock’s show. 

After detailing how police kept Washington, D.C. sealed the day prior — “nobody was allowed to come in and help with what was going on,” Vallejo said — the pair echoed a now-common conspiracy theory about the attack: Antifa had infiltrated the crowd and prompted them to invade the Capitol. 

“The people took the capitol, surrounded the capitol building, but weren’t going to go in, weren’t going to do anything,” Kandaris said. “They were just there to make sure that those inside knew they were surrounded by all these people that wanted them to do the right thing.” 

And later: “You just can’t imagine the incongruity of those individuals being accused of even attempting to cross a police line to attack any group. That’s just unconscionable, I can’t even imagine it, and I knew at the moment it was reported, that was not, if you want to say, ‘us.’ It was not a group of patriots or Trump supporters.” 

Asked near the end of their appearance what their next steps were, the pair didn’t have a good answer. 

“I’m waiting for orders from Stewart Rhodes,” Vallejo said. 

As it happened, Rhodes himself was on Hancock’s show a week later, where he launched into a diatribe about Donald Trump.

“Trump is the giant vagina,” Rhodes said. “That’s what I think. I think Trump is a blowhard. He just wanted to be president and he ain’t gonna do shit. Just between you and me. He’s not going to do a damn thing.”

“We’re recording,” Hancock said, a bit too late.

“Oh, I thought you said we were on break,” a baffled Rhodes responded.

“We are, but that doesn’t mean we don’t record,” Hancock said.

“Oh for crying… You’re worse than the fucking NSA, Ernie,” Rhodes said

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