Capitol Riot probe turns to members of extremist group linked to attack, including military veteran

Supporters of former President Donald Trump attack the United States Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC (Kent Nishimura, Los Angeles Times / TNS)

WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) – The House committee investigating the January 6 storming of the United States Capitol has subpoenaed the leaders of militia groups linked to the riot.

The subpoenas announced on Tuesday were issued to Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes, a former Army paratrooper and Yale Law graduate; Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, then president of Proud Boys; and Robert Patrick Lewis, chairman of a group that calls itself the Praetorian 1st Amendment.

The committee is also looking for documents in his group’s Lewis subpoena, while two other subpoenas request documents from the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys International, LLC.

“We believe that the individuals and organizations we have called to appear today have relevant information about how the violence erupted on Capitol Hill and the preparations leading up to this violent attack,” said committee chairman Bennie Thompson. , a Democrat from Mississippi, in a statement.

The January 6 panel previously said it wanted to determine whether there was any coordination or financial links between the organizers of the January 6 rallies and extremist groups.

Some members of these groups dressed in tactical military gear such as vests and helmets as they met with staunch supporters of former President Donald Trump and forced their way into Capitol Hill, seeking to prevent Congress from certifying the election victory for President-elect Joe Biden.

The committee said 18 members of the Oath Keepers were indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly planning a coordinated attack on Capitol Hill, including going to Washington with paramilitary equipment and supplies. The committee said Rhodes “has repeatedly suggested that the Oath Keepers should engage in violence to secure their preferred election result,” and that he was in contact with some of those accused of violence before, during and after. the seat of the Capitol.

At least 34 people affiliated with the Proud Boys have been indicted by the Justice Department, according to the panel. Tarrio is serving a five-month sentence in Washington jail in a separate violent protest shortly after Trump lost the election. Tarrio was barred from entering the city on January 6, but was allegedly involved in the group’s preparations, according to the committee.

The panel said Lewis was on the list of speakers at a rally the day before the riot and that on January 6 he tweeted: “Today is the day the real battles begin.”

The subpoenas ask the three men, the Oath Keepers organization and the Proud Boys group to produce documents for the committee by December 7. Rhodes is scheduled to appear for deposition on December 14, Tarrio on December 15, and Lewis on December 15. 16.

The subpoenas on Tuesday represent a new front in congressional investigation to get a more complete picture of events surrounding the attack, which so far has publicly focused largely on the actions of the former president Donald Trump and his assistants and supporters.

Committee members say they and their staff have already interviewed more than 200 witnesses, many of whom are subpoenaed, including other Trump allies and former aides. Little was revealed about what the committee learned.

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