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Letter purportedly from Oath Keeper founder to Donald Trump read during sedition trial


Days after a right-wing mob terrorized Capitol police, staff and lawmakers, leaving several dead in their wake, Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes reportedly met an acquaintance in a Texas parking lot with a message for then-President Donald Trump: It wasn’t over. He could still prevent the nomination of Joe Biden.

The acquaintance, Jason Alpers, claimed he could get the message into Trump’s hands through an “indirect” pipeline.

Rhodes typed the letter, which was entered into evidence in the Oath Keepers’ seditious conspiracy trial in federal court on Wednesday, after Alpers became a government witness.

“You have to use the act of insurrection and use the power of the presidency to stop it,” Rhodes urged, according to prosecutors.

Alpers never delivered the message because he disagreed with it, USA Today reported. At the time, Rhodes repeatedly pushed the dubious idea among the far-right militia that Trump could invoke the Insurrection Act to stay in power. The law allows presidents to summon the military in certain situations, but it has not been used for three decades.

Alpers reportedly thought Rhodes’ lyrics were too extreme.

“I am here for you and all my men too. We will come to help you if you need us. Military and police. And so will your millions of supporters,” Rhodes reportedly wrote.

Above is John Zimmerman, who was part of the North Carolina chapter of the Oath Keepers, seated in the witness box; defendant Thomas Caldwell, of Berryville, Virginia, seated front row from left; Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, seated second from left with an eyepatch; defendant Jessica Watkins, of Woodstock, Ohio, seated third from right; Kelly Meggs, of Dunnellon, Fla., seated second from right; and defendant Kenneth Harrelson, of Titusville, Fla., seated at right.

Dana Verkouteren via Associated Press

If Trump did not act, Rhodes reportedly warned, the results would be grim.

“If you don’t, then Biden/Kamala will put all of this power over you, your family, and all of us,” the letter read. “You and your children will die in prison. And we veterans will die fighting on American soil, fighting against traitors to whom YOU ceded all the powers of the presidency.

Rhodes reportedly urged Trump to “be a Churchill, not a Chamberlain (the British prime minister who wanted to appease Hitler)”.

Rhodes and four other oath keepers have been on trial for weeks on charges of seditious conspiracy, which carries a possible 20-year prison sentence, for their role in the attack on the Capitol. A handful of oath keepers have pleaded guilty to the charge, while more will go on trial next month.

Lawyers for Rhodes and others have widely sought to portray the Oathkeepers as a security force that attempted to assist law enforcement on January 6, 2021.

No cameras are allowed in the courtroom.

On Wednesday, prosecutors shared messages between members of the group that were sent after the riot. In the messages, Rhodes asked his supporters to “be quiet” and “prepare yourselves, your equipment, your teams and especially your community” as he works on his plan to keep Trump in power.

“We are still in the dark [sic] before an open conflict, ”he wrote in a text, sent to the Signal encrypted messaging platform.

Rhodes reportedly spent more than $17,000 on ammunition, gun supplies and survival gear after the riot.

A message purportedly from Stewart Rhodes to Donald Trump.
A message purportedly from Stewart Rhodes to Donald Trump.

At the time of the parking lot meeting on Jan. 10, 2021, Alpers was carrying a recording device, allowing prosecutors to play audio for jurors. Alpers testified that he wore the wire for his own “protection”, to ensure he understood the message correctly.

On the tape played in court, Alpers and Rhodes appear to have opposing information about whether Trump invoked the Insurrection Act at the time. Alpers notes that it was difficult at the moment to get in touch with Trump ― or “the leader” ―.

“How does he want to go down in history? Rhodes asks. “He will go down in history as the greatest president since George Washington if he does the right thing. If not, we are going to have a slave uprising.

Throughout the recording, Rhodes seems convinced that Biden, as president, would use the Insurrection Act to throw Trump supporters in jail. At another point, Rhodes lamented that the group didn’t bring their high-powered guns to Capitol Hill.

“If he doesn’t do the right thing and lets himself be illegally deported, we should have brought guns,” Rhodes said in the recording, according to Bloomberg.

“I would hang Pelosi from the lamppost,” he reportedly added of the House speaker, NBC News reported.



The Huffington Gt

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