A senior member of the far-right Oath Keepers organization who was charged in connection with the January 6 riot at the US Capitol exchanged messages in November 2020 with Trump’s former White House aide , Andrew Giuliani, on election issues, NBC News has learned.
That same Oath Keeper member, Kellye SoRelle, also tried to text a White House number on Dec. 20, according to a new book by Denver Riggleman, a former Republican congressman from Virginia and journalist Hunter Walker. . This text message went to a White House switchboard line, so it could not be delivered.
Riggleman, who lost his renomination for his congressional seat after voicing his opposition to then-President Donald Trump in 2020, joined the Jan. 6 committee after leaving office. He served as a committee staff member from August 2021 to April.
Riggleman told NBC News that he leaked details of the text messages in his book so that “journalists follow up on some of the crucial evidence that hasn’t been made public.” NBC News has seen a copy of the book, which will be published on Tuesday.
SoRelle, who also volunteered for Lawyers for Trump, a coalition of lawyers that was formed ahead of the 2020 election, told NBC News she was in touch with Giuliani, who served as a White House public liaison assistant. under the Trump administration. He is also the son of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who previously served as Trump’s attorney.
SoRelle said she only remembers being in contact with Andrew Giuliani in November 2020, but said she could not verify because the FBI seized her phone in September 2021. She also confirmed her December attempt to text a White House contact.
Andrew Giuliani, who went on to campaign unsuccessfully for Governor of New York, was on leave from the White House to work on election issues in late 2020 before leaving government on January 20, 2021, when Joe Biden was sworn in as as president. Andrew Giuliani told NBC News that the last contact with SoRelle on his phone was November 10, 2020.
“Until you mentioned it, until I watched it, it didn’t really ring a bell,” Giuliani said. He declined to say whether the January 6 committee asked him about his contact with SoRelle.
The revelation of the text messages adds to a growing web of ties between people close to former President Donald Trump and his accused advisers and fringe groups in connection with the attack on the Capitol on January 6.
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and several other members are due to go on trial this week in a riotous conspiracy case that is expected to last six weeks.
SoRelle said the text messages focused on voter fraud and were not about Jan. 6.
“None of it was like, ‘Hey, we should storm the Capitol,'” SoRelle told NBC News. “It was like, ‘We have this affidavit,’ or whatever.”
SoRelle, who was on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol with Rhodes on Jan. 6, was recently charged with four counts related to the attack on the Capitol: conspiracy to obstruct official process, obstruction of official process , obstruction of justice and misdemeanor. enter and remain in a building or land with restricted access. SoRelle pleaded not guilty to all charges when arraigned earlier this month.
SoRelle’s attempt to text the White House switchboard on Dec. 20 came between two open letters the oath keepers wrote for Trump: a Dec. 14, 2020, letter that said millions of Americans were ready to “respond at your call” if he invoked the Insurrection Act and a letter dated December 23, 2020 stating that there would be supporters with “mission essential equipment” stationed outside of DC and ready to respond if Trump was appealing to the militia for help. Federal prosecutors have accused the Oath Keepers of setting up ‘quick reaction forces’ – or QRFs – with guns outside of DC
Several oath keepers have already pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy, one of whom told a judge he was in a hotel room with Rhodes on the night of January 6 when Rhodes, while at the phone with a Trump intermediary, asked to speak with Trump. and implored the person on the phone “to tell President Trump to call on groups like the Oath Keepers to forcibly oppose a transfer of power.”
SoRelle previously told NBC News that Rhodes asked for her close Trump contacts before Jan. 6, but declined. SoRelle said she would not testify at the Oath Keeper trial because, she said, “You don’t give the DOJ free shots on your ass.”
Riggleman told NBC News, “I wish I could say I was surprised” by Giuliani’s connection to the Oath Keepers leader.
“The phone data compiled by my team clearly shows that the militant side of the attack on Capitol Hill and the former president’s high-level associates were inextricably linked,” Riggleman said. “It is so important for the American people to be aware of the direct links between the Trump White House and militant groups, including this new connection between Kellye Sorelle and a former White House aide.”
A representative for the January 6 committee declined to comment on the connection between Giuliani and SoRelle. The panel will hold its next public hearing on Wednesday, the second day of jury selection in the Oathkeeper’s trial.