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Washington Post: Private Militias Planned the Insurrection

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Court documents were released about the militia members who planned the January 6 Insurrection, according to the Washington Post, that led to the sacking of the U.S. Capitol, a horrifying sight and a desecration of one of our national monuments by a wild mob. The mob listened to Trump’s incitement and headed for the Capitol, inspired to carry out heinous actions against members of Congress. Some of the videos of the horrendous events showed a line of military-clad people walking through the mob, with a hand on the shoulder of the person in front. Frankly, I wish the FBI had waited another 24 hours to unseal the documents, until Trump was out of office. Supposedly, the FBI watches the communications of would-be terrorists and white supremacists. Why were they not prepared? Why did they not alert the Defense Department (oh, the acting Secretary of Defense is a Trump loyalist)? Will Trump use this information to claim that he did not incite the mob because its leaders came prepared to invade the Capitol? Or did his words inspire the large audience to join in the assault on the Capitol, led by people eager to destroy the seat of our government and to kill members of Congress? And one other question: Why did so many Republicans who were the targets of the mob vote to support their goals after the Insurrection?

Self-styled militia members from Virginia, Ohio and other states made plans to storm the U.S. Capitol days in advance of the Jan. 6 attack, communicating in real time as they breached the building on opposite sides and leading dozens in a hunt for lawmakers to make “citizen’s arrests,” according to new court documents filed Tuesday.

U.S. authorities charged an apparent Oath Keeper leader, Thomas Edward Caldwell, 66, of Clarke County, Va., in the attack, alleging that the U.S. Navy veteran helped organize a ring of what became 30 or 40 people who “stormed the castle” to disrupt the electoral vote confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

“We have about 30-40 of us. We are sticking together and sticking to the plan,” co-defendant Jessica Watkins, 38, a U.S. Army veteran, said while the breach was underway, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday.

“You are executing citizen’s arrest. Arrest this assembly, we have probable cause for acts of treason, election fraud,” a man replied, according to communications recovered from her phone, the FBI alleged.

We are in the main dome right now. We are rocking it. They are throwing grenades, they are fricking shooting people with paint balls. But we are in here,” a woman believed to be Watkins said, according to court documents.

A man then responds, “Get it, Jess,” adding, “This is … everything we f——trained for!”

The extraordinary real-time narration of parts of the assault on the Capitol came as investigators made public new details of events in unsealed conspiracy charges in which thousands of pro-Trump supporters forced the evacuation of lawmakers and triggered violence that left five people dead.

FBI probes possible connections between extremist groups at heart of Capitol violence

FBI charging papers against Caldwell, Watkins and a third man, former U.S. Marine Donovan Crowl, 50, allege that Caldwell and others coordinated in advance to disrupt Congress, scouted for lodging and recruited Oath Keepers members from North Carolina and like-minded groups from the Shenandoah Valley. Participants both anticipated violence and continued to act in concert after the break-in, investigators said in court documents...

Federal prosecutors in Washington have charged more than 100 defendants in the past 13 days. But arrests this weekend of several people with alleged ties to extremist groups, including the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and Three Percenters, have offered evidence that the riot was not an entirely impulsive outburst of violence but an event instigated or exploited by organized groups. Hours of video posted on social media and pored over by investigators have focused on individuals in military-style gear moving together...

In New York, a Queens man who worked in the state court system was accused Tuesday of making threats to murder Democratic politicians, including suggesting another attack on the Capitol timed to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Brendan Hunt of Queens, N.Y., is described in the documents as a part time actor and full-time employee of the New York State Office of Court Administration. Authorities said Hunt was not at the Jan. 6 riot, but made threatening remarks about Democratic politicians beforehand that intensified in a video he posted two days later, titled, “KILL YOUR SENATORS.”

“We need to go back to the U.S. Capitol,” Hunt said in the video, according to the FBI. “What you need to do is take up arms, get to D.C., probably the inauguration … put some bullets in their f—– heads. If anybody has a gun, give it to me, I’ll go there myself and shoot them and kill them.”

Caldwell’s group appeared motivated by a similar animus. In a Jan. 1 reply to a Facebook comment cited by the FBI, Caldwell referred to the military oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, saying he had done both, but “they have morphed into pure evil even blatantly rigging an election and paying off the political caste.”

“We must smite them now and drive them down,” Caldwell said. An FBI charging affidavit said Caldwell was recorded outside the Capitol on a YouTube video posted Jan. 8, motioning to the building and shouting “Every single [expletive beeped in original] in there is a traitor. Every single one.

In Caldwell’s charging papers, the FBI said that it is reviewing communications between Caldwell “and other known and unknown Oath Keepers members.”

An FBI agent in court records said Caldwell helped organize a group of eight to 10 individuals led by Watkins, a bartender who founded the “Ohio State Regular Militia” in 2019. Members of the group are seen on video wearing helmets and military-style gear moving purposefully toward the top of the Capitol steps and leading the move against police lines, court records said.

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