Monday, February 22, 2021
For the rioters who are alleged to have committed serious criminal acts, more information is coming out in court papers filed in the Justice Department cases against them. And now, specifically, there is a new indictment against nine people who are said to be members or associates of the Oath Keepers militia. It's a revealing document.
The Oath Keepers are visible in many photos from the riot. They were dressed in military-style outfits and pushed their way up the Capitol steps in what is called a "stack" formation. (It does not appear that they were the ones who initially broke into the building.) The indictment shows what they were saying to each other on social media in the days and weeks before the riot. Read together, their social media posts suggest people living in a kind of fantasy world in which they could take the Capitol, while carefully obeying Washington, D.C.'s strict gun control laws and carrying no firearms, change the course of U.S. history, and then head home.
The social media posts suggest that some of the Oath Keepers thought Trump was specifically calling on them to storm the Capitol. For example, on Dec. 19, 2020, when Trump tweeted, "Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6. Be there, will be wild!" it appears they took that as Trump telling them specifically to make it "wild" through paramilitary action.