Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and leaders
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is subpoenaing the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, going directly after the right-wing groups as well as their leaders.
A Tuesday set of subpoenas seeks documents from the extremist and militia groups along with testimony from Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the chairman of the Proud Boys at the time of the Capitol assault, as well as Elmer Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers.
“The Select Committee is seeking information from individuals and organizations reportedly involved with planning the attack, with the violent mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6th, or with efforts to overturn the results of the election. We believe the individuals and organizations we subpoenaed today have relevant information about how violence erupted at the Capitol and the preparation leading up to this violent attack,” Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement.
The panel also subpoenaed Robert Patrick Lewis, chair of the 1st Amendment Praetorian, a group that provided security at multiple rallies leading up to Jan. 6 that amplified former President Trump 's unsupported claim that the 2020 election was stolen. Lewis was also a speaker at a Jan. 5 rally in support of Trump.
The subpoenas show the committee has been tracking the work of the Department of Justice (DOJ), relying on testimony from those facing charges to go after leaders of the groups that reportedly never set foot in the Capitol.
The letter to Tarrio notes some 34 members of the Proud Boys were indicted by the DOJ, while the letter to Rhodes counts some 18 members of the Oath Keepers who are facing charges, with Rhodes reportedly identified as “Person One” in court records detailing their alleged conspiracy to move in military-style coordination through the Capitol.
Rhodes apparently remained 100 feet outside the Capitol during the attack, but the subpoena details that he was in contact with the 18 Oath Keepers who stormed the building “before, during, and shortly after the attack on the Capitol.”
It also points to repeated comments suggesting Oath Keepers “should, or were prepared to, engage in violence to ensure their preferred election outcome,” including calling on his members to serve as “poll watchers” on Election Day and “stock up on ammo” in preparation for a “full on war in the streets.”
The subpoena to the group likewise follows this line of inquiry, noting that Rhodes committed to providing security for “multiple scheduled events, speakers, VIPs, and event attendees.” It also refers to video showing Oath Keepers with Stone outside the Willard Hotel, where the Trump team had set up headquarters for its post-election efforts.
Tarrio was arrested on Jan. 4 after burning a Black Lives Matter flag stolen from a church and was then barred from entering D.C. ahead of the march. Still, the subpoena details how other Proud Boys members “describe prior planning and coordination, including efforts to fundraise for ‘[p]rotective gear and communications.’”
The subpoena also noted a history of acts of violence from Proud Boys members while “video evidence plainly demonstrates that Proud Boys members are involved in the Jan. 6 attack.”
Tarrio is currently serving a six month sentence in relation to the flag incident, but has been asked to appear for a deposition on Dec. 15. Rhodes is scheduled for Dec. 14.
The final subpoena to Lewis links him with others already subpoenaed by the committee, a group that includes Rhodes as well as Ali Alexander, a Stop the Steal organizer, and Michael Flynn, Trump’s one-time national security advisor who has been sought by the committee after sitting in on a White House meeting where officials discussed having the Department of Homeland Security seize voting equipment.
It also notes Lewis’s ties to Sidney Powell, part of Trump’s legal team that sought to overturn the election, though she has yet to be subpoenaed by the committee.
Like the other organizations, 1st Amendment Praetorian is sought for its role in providing security at pro-Trump rallies, including a Jan. 5 event where 25 members served as “demonstration marshalls.” The subpoena notes that Lewis has claimed that its members wear body cameras and conduct a military-style after-action review following each job.
The Lewis subpoena also points to comments made by the leader on Jan. 4 warning that “there may be some young National Guard Captains facing some very, very tough choices in the next 48 hours. Pray with every fiber of your being that their choices are Wise, Just, and Fearless.”
The day after the Capitol riot, he also referenced participating in “war-gaming” with “constitutional scholars,” seemingly a nod to Robert Eastman, a lawyer who crafted the memo outlining Trump’s eventual strategy of having Vice President Pence fail to certify the election. Eastman has also been subpoenaed by the committee.
—Updated at 4:17 p.m.