‘A bloody and desperate fight:’ U.S. prosecutors release Oath Keepers’ communications

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Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers uses a radio as he departs a Trump rally in Minneapolis

(Reuters) – Here are excerpts of communications that Stewart Rhodes, founder of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, had with his allies in the run-up to and after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to prosecutors, who on Thursday charged him and 10 alleged members of the group with seditious conspiracy.

NOVEMBER 2020

The indictment says Rhodes, of Granbury, Texas, started disseminating messages on encrypted applications to his followers in November 2020, encouraging them to “oppose by force the lawful transfer of presidential power.”

On Nov. 5, two days after the election, he sent a message on the Signal message service that read: “We aren’t getting through this without a civil war. Too late for that. Prepare your mind body, spirit.”

DECEMBER 2020


On Dec. 11, Rhodes sent a message to an invitation-only group chat on Signal, telling them that if Democrat Joe Biden took over the presidency “it will be a bloody and desperate fight. We are going to have a fight. That can’t be avoided.’

On Christmas Day, Rhodes wrote that Congress would likely “screw” then-President Donald Trump over and the only chance he has is if “we scare the shit out of them and convince them it will be torches and pitchforks…”

JAN. 6, 2021

Just before 1:30 p.m. on the day of the attack Rhodes told people in the Signal chat: Vice President Mike “Pence is doing nothing. As I predicted.”

He added: “All I see Trump doing is complaining. I see no intent by him to do anything. So the patriots are taking it into their own hands. They’ve had enough.”

Rhodes told people that those who gathered at the Capitol were not members of antifa, the loosely organized anti-fascism movement. Asked by an associate who was in the mobs storming the Capitol, Rhodes replied: “Actual Patriots. Pissed off patriots. Like the Sons of Liberty were pissed off patriots.”

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch, compiled by Costas Pitas; Editing by Scott Malone)

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