The release of superseding indictments within the last two weeks points to coordinated planning between far-right militias and the Trump White House in the January 6 assault on the US Capitol.
In a new indictment released last Thursday, US prosecutors allege that previously charged Oath Keepers militia members and a leader of the group, Stewart Rhodes, exchanged 19 phone calls over a nearly five-hour period during the January 6 attack. The phone calls indicate that Rhodes, who was on Capitol grounds during the siege, but did not enter, was directing Oath Keepers to breach the Capitol in coordination with still unnamed persons.
Among those listed to have communicated with Rhodes on the phone during the attack include previously indicted Oath Keepers and Roger Stone “bodyguards” Joshua James of Alabama and Roberto Minuta of Texas. The Florida “state lead” of the Oath Keepers, Kelly Meggs, who previously boasted of an “ alliance “ he “organized between Oath Keepers, Florida 3%ers, and Proud Boys” and an unnamed “Person 10” who also communicated with each other and Rhodes during the attack. The indictment claims that the phone calls took place between Rhodes, Meggs, Minuta, James and “Person 10” beginning at 11:21 a.m. on January 6, and continued for several hours afterward. Of the 19 phone calls listed in the indictment, Rhodes was involved in nine phone calls, while “Person 10” was listed in 10 calls, including at least one five-minute call between Rhodes and “Person 10,” at 2:31 p.m. Nine of the calls took place between 12:58 p.m. and 2:32 p.m.
The government says that Rhodes called Meggs for about 15 seconds at 2:15 p.m., after which Meggs called Rhodes at 2:32 p.m., during which they spoke for about a minute and a half. About three minutes later, Meggs led the “stack” of Oath Keepers up the Capitol steps and “forcibly entered the Capitol building” at around 2:40 p.m. After remaining inside the Capitol for roughly an hour, more than a dozen Oath Keepers left and gathered outside with Rhodes shortly after 4 p.m.
At 4:17 p.m., former President Trump released a recorded statement on Twitter reiterating his fraudulent claims of a stolen election and telling his “special” followers that he loved them but that “you have to go home now.”
Minuta and James, who were previously identified as “bodyguards” for Trump political crony Stone, were photographed with him on January 5 and the morning of January 6. Stone maintains extremely close connections to the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers militia groups, frequently employing the latter to serve as “personal bodyguards.”
Stone also has a close relationship with the chairman of the Proud Boys, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, and has used the group to promote his businesses. Stone even endorsed previously indicted Proud Boy Nicholas Ochs in his last run for Congress. Demonstrating the support the group received from the state, Trump infamously directed the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during a presidential debate last September.
In addition to Meggs, James and Minuta, the new indictment names nine more previously indicted members of the Oath Keeper militia group: Thomas Caldwell, Donovan Crowl, Jessica Watkins, Sandra Parker, Bennie Parker, Graydon Young, Laura Steele, Connie Meggs, and Kenneth Harrleson. All are charged with obstruction of Congress, destruction of government property, entering and remaining in a restricted building, tampering with documents or proceedings and conspiracy and face a possible 20-year sentence.
According to the Washington Post, in previous interviews with the publication , Rhodes has referred to “Person 10” as “Whip,” and said he was a former soldier in the US army and a Blackwater contractor. In a recent March interview with the far-right online website Gateway Pundit, Rhodes referred to “Whip” as “Mike.”
In describing “Whip/Mike’s” role on January 6, Rhodes said in the interview with the Gateway Pundit that “the team leader on the ground that day was an experienced combat vet.” Rhodes added that “Whip” “was an explosive expert in the Army. He worked with Triple Canopy and Blackwater as a contractor all over the world, and he’s an ex-cop.”
Despite the extensive evidence showing that Rhodes coordinated the attack on the Capitol, he has yet to be charged. This, however, hasn’t prevented the Republican Party from embracing the former Army paratrooper and leader of the fascist militia.
In a March 26 speech at an anti-immigrant rally in Laredo, Texas, hosted by Patriots at Large and Women Fighting for America, Rhodes defended the actions of himself and the far-right militias who stormed the Capitol. After Texas Republican Party Chair Allen West opened the event with a speech, he handed the stage to Rhodes, who acknowledged t hat he might go to jail for “made-up crimes.” Rhodes then defended himself and the other fascist militias, stating that “there are some Oath Keepers right now, along with Proud Boys and other patriots who were in DC, who are sitting in jail. ... Denied bail because the powers that be don’t like their political views.”
Threatening future attacks, Rhodes added, “If we actually intended to take over the Capitol, we’d have taken it. We’d have brought guns.” Rhodes claimed that the presence of himself and dozens of Oath Keepers in body armor was merely to “protect Trump supporters from antifa.”
Previous court documents have also established that Oath Keepers Caldwell, Watkins and Rhodes were in contact with a “Quick Reaction Force” stationed outside DC that was carrying weapons.
More than three months after far-right militias, ordered by Donald Trump and abetted by sympathetic law enforcement agencies, spearheaded the attack on the US Congress in order to prevent the certification of the election of Joe Biden, dozens of people who facilitated the attack have yet to be charged. While federal prosecutor Michael Sherwin said in a “60 Minutes” interview in March that “over 400 criminal cases” have been filed related to January 6, noticeably absent are Rhodes, along with any organizers and promoters of the “Stop the Steal” rallies, including InfoWars founder Alex Jones and Republican operative Ali Alexander.
The growing body of evidence pointing to a massive conspiracy for overthrowing the election results and establishing Trump as a presidential dictator places in sharp relief the fact that the Democratic-controlled Congress has refused to hold hearings on the attempted coup since early March.
In the last significant hearing that was held March 5 jointly by the Rules and Judiciary Committee, then-DC National Guard Commander William Walker stated that he was blocked from deploying his troops to defend the Capitol from the far-right mob for three hours and 19 minutes from officials who were slotted into the Pentagon by Trump after his election defeat last November.
Walker testified that the delay caused by acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy was of an extraordinary character, leaving him “stunned,” and was in stark contrast to the response Walker received from the Pentagon during the June protests against unending police violence.
This reporter reached out to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office multiple times to inquire when the next hearings will be held with Pentagon officials to explain the delay, but received no response. In a call to the House Committee on Homeland Security, the WSWS was told that the committee “has not scheduled any upcoming hearings related to domestic terrorism or the January 6th attack on the Capitol.”
The Democratic Party’s failure to date to pursue a serious public investigation, as they acknowledge the first-ever attempt to overthrow a federal election in the United States, is entirely consistent with the cowardly and duplicitous policy announced by Biden in his inaugural address on January 20 in which he insisted on the need for a “strong Republican party” and that everything had to be done to achieve unity and bipartisanship with the same party that was overwhelmingly complicit in the coup attempt.
In an open letter published Tuesday, April 5, Democrats and non–Trump-aligned Republicans reiterated their previous calls for a “9/11 style bipartisan commission.” Among the signatories were former Homeland Security and Defense secretaries from the Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama administrations as well as House and Senate lawmakers and other high-ranking officials..
They wrote that given the “gravity of January 6th as a national security matter—the violent disruption to the transition of power and the continuing threat of future attacks—a national commission examining the lead up to the January 6th assault, and the attendant security lapses, is not only appropriate, but a critical component of the national response.”
Far from being a contradiction from the cover-up being conducted by the Democratic party, the call for the commission has the same purpose. The “9-11 commission” was the means devised by the ruling class and its two political parties to cover up substantial evidence pointing to high-level government involvement or tacit support in the terror attacks in New York and Washington D.C. that killed nearly 3,000 people.
In the case of the January 6 coup attempt, the attempted cover-up is even more blatant given that one party in the proposed commission continues to overwhelmingly support the plotter-in-chief Donald Trump, echoing his fraudulent claims of a stolen election while continuing to maintain close connections with the fascist militias that were organized as government shock troops in the attempted overthrow of the election.