House Panel on January 6 Riot Subpoenas Leaders of Proud Boys, Oath Keeper Militia
20:12 GMT 23.11.2021 (Updated: 21:03 GMT 23.11.2021)
The House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by supporters of then-US President Donald Trump announced five new subpoenas on Tuesday, including the leaders of the right-wing groups the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, which took part in the riot.
The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol announced five new subpoenas for information on Tuesday, including Henry “Enrique” Tarrio who was chairman of the Proud Boys at the time of the riot, and Elmer Stuart Rhodes, president 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," Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), said in a news release by the committee. "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."
The committee also subpoenaed the groups themselves for records and testimony, as well as a third organization, First Amendment Praetorian, which the release says ran security at several Stop the Steal rallies leading up to January 6, including one the day prior at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC.
Tarrio was arrested on January 4, 2021, two days before the incidents at the Capitol, in connection with the destruction of a Black Lives Matter banner and other property outside a Black church in Washington, DC, a misdemeanor, the month prior. However, he was then also charged with two felony counts of possession of a high capacity feeding device after two high-capacity firearms magazines were found on him during the arrest. The FBI, for whom Tarrio had served as an informant, later claimed they had arrested Tarrio in an attempt to prevent the storming of the Capitol.
© AP Photo / John LocherMembers of the Proud Boys, including leader Enrique Tarrio, in Portland, Oregon.
Members of the Proud Boys, including leader Enrique Tarrio, in Portland, Oregon.
© AP Photo / John Locher
In August, Tarrio was sentenced to five months in the DC jail for the three crimes.
The subpoenas come a day after five others were issued subpoenas by the committee for figures "who organized, planned, paid for, and received funds" for Stop the Steal rallies, including InfoWars owner Alex Jones and former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone, the latter of whom has often used the Proud Boys as his personal security force.
The committee has issued dozens of subpoenas since forming in July, many of which have been resisted by Trump and his associates. The former president has filed repeated lawsuits attempting to block the National Archives from releasing a dossier of his communications, and several have ignored the subpoenas entirely, including former Trump senior adviser Steve Bannon, who was indicted and booked earlier this month; Mark Meadows, Trump's chief of staff at the time of the riot; and Jeffrey Clark, who was assistant attorney general at the time.
As Sputnik reported on the day of the insurrection, a number of far-right and neo-Nazi groups were present in force during the storming of the national legislative building, including the Proud Boys, who were spotted fighting with unknown persons and firing a hail of paintball rounds. The US Department of Justice has indicted 34 Proud Boys members in connection with the riot.
Eighteen members of the Oath Keeper militia, a group of current and former military and police members who claim to be defending the US Constitution and pledge to only obey constitutional orders, have also been indicted by the DOJ for storming the Capitol. Prosecutors in March claimed that text messages proved Rhodes had given militia members storming the Capitol direction from outside the building and that the group had planned and prepared for violence during the events of January 6. However, Rhodes himself wasn't charged with a crime.
The storming of the Capitol happened in the wake of a rally outside the White House hosted by Trump in which he called for the repudiation of the November 3, 2020, election results, claiming Democratic rival Joe Biden had won due to fraud. At the time, a joint session of Congress was meeting to certify the results, and the storming of the building temporarily dispersed lawmakers and interrupted the certification process. However, after police cleared the building, they returned and finished the certification.
Five people died in the attack, including a US Capitol Police officer and a woman shot by an officer outside the House chamber while attempting to break through the door. In the aftermath, thousands of US National Guard troops garrisoned the city, although questions about why they weren't present before the attack, despite knowledge of the danger by law enforcement and military officials, have persisted.
Biden was inaugurated as US President on schedule on January 20, 2021, under unprecedented military guard. Trump was impeached on accusations of inciting the insurrection, but acquitted by a minority of senators in a February trial.