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Oath Keepers Were Emboldened by Trump Tweet, New January 6 Audio Shows

“He didn’t say not to do anything to the congressmen,” a member of the far right militia group said in the recording.

Trump supporters breach the U.S. Capitol rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

The House committee investigating the January 6 attack released an audio recording Thursday in which members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia react in real-time to one of former President Donald Trump’s tweets as his supporters stormed and ransacked the U.S. Capitol.

The new audio makes clear the militia members were emboldened by Trump’s response to the attack, which urged rioters to “please support our Capitol Police, they are on our side.”

Communicating via a walkie-talkie app, Oath Keepers who were inside the Capitol and in other locations responded positively to Trump’s message, with one noting that “he didn’t say not to do anything to the congressmen.”

“He did not ask them to stand down,” said another person on the recording.

After one militia member read off a news alert that lawmakers had been evacuated to a safe room, another replied, “There’s no safe place in the United States for any of these motherfuckers right now, let me tell you.”

“Military principle 105,” the man added. “Cave means grave.”

A number of Oath Keepers, including the group’s founder and leader Stewart Rhodes, have been charged with seditious conspiracy and other crimes in connection to their roles in the January 6 insurrection.

“January 6th was a coordinated attack, fueled by the former president and the Big Lie,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) tweeted Thursday. “Everyone involved must be held accountable to the full extent of the law.”

The House January 6 committee published the Oath Keepers audio recording as it prepares to hold its second round of public hearings on the Capitol attack on September 28.

The Justice Department, which has been observing the January 6 hearings and examining the committee’s findings, is currently investigating Trump directly as part of its criminal probe of the Capitol attack.

In an interview earlier Thursday with right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt, Trump threatened “big problems” if the Justice Department chooses to indict him over the January 6 attack, which he helped incite with constant lies about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump, who is also facing a Justice Department investigation for removing classified documents from the White House, said a DOJ indictment would not stop him from running for president in 2024.

Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, wrote on Twitter that “Trump warning of ‘big problems’ if he’s indicted is incredibly troubling, given his past history of inciting an insurrection.”

“This is dangerous rhetoric from him,” Bookbinder added, “and underscores once again his lack of regard for democracy and the rule of law.”

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