CNN reported on Sunday that Watkins on the file claims she was given a VIP pass to the March for Trump rally, where the president asked the crowd to go to the Capitol, and that she was protecting elected officials and security other people have given.
“On January 5th and 6th, Ms. Watkins was not present as an insurgent, but to provide security for speakers at the rally, to give lawmakers and others the opportunity to march to the Capitol on the orders of the then President to end demonstrators of the protest to safely bring them from the Capitol to their vehicles and cars, “said the court record on Saturday. “She was given a VIP pass to the rally. She met with Secret Service agents. She was within 50 feet of the stage during the rally to ensure the safety of the speakers. At the time of the Capitol breach, she was on site from the first rally at which she had ensured security. “
The secret service relentlessly denied having hired oath guards: “In order to carry out its protective functions on January 6, the US secret service relied on the support of various government partners. Any claim that the secret service employed private individuals to carry out these tasks is false,” said one Spokesman in a statement to CNN.
The Oath Guards, who are focused on recruiting military and law enforcement veterans, have long sought to serve as semi-official security guards at Trump events that date back at least 2019. Founder Stewart Rhodes has often envisioned his paramilitary organization as such an addition to law enforcement, “a pool of people that can be used by the governor, sheriff, or president of the United States.”
The charges themselves also indicate that the Oath Guards played a central role in the coordinated attack that opened the doors of the Capitol to the mob. The conspiracy charges against six people – including Watkins – announced on Friday explained how they formed a “stack” (usually a maneuver that requires military training) to move their phalanx of body-armored members up and forward the east steps of the Capitol they were able to overwhelm the police.
The FBI agent’s affidavit:
Because of my training and experience, a stack or line formation is a tactical formation used by military infantrymen. … The purpose of direct physical contact with one another is to communicate efficiently with one another, especially in crowded or noisy areas.
Some of Watkins’ communications with other Oath Custodians that day stated that 30 to 40 people were part of the group. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Watkins and her main cohort, Donovan Crowl, were among the “Stack” members who invaded the US Capitol. Watkins recorded a video of the inside of her shouting, “We’re in the bloody Capitol!”
The court documents said Oath Keepers were considering bringing “heavy weapons” to Washington after the election. Some members reported plans to bring maces, gas masks, batons, and armor to the Capitol. However, they agreed not to bring guns to Washington due to local anti-gun laws. Instead, they chose to create a “rapid reaction force” with weapons hidden in vehicles a few minutes away.
Watkins and co-conspirator Bennie Parker texted their plans over several months. In a conversation in November Parker wrote, “Unfortunately we can’t take guns.” Watkins replied, “Not into town, no. Maces, tasers and night sticks only. “
Some prominent figures on the far right – including Infowars conspirator Alex Jones, former Trump adviser Roger Stone, and Stop the Steal organizer Ari Alexander – could also be included in the investigation, according to The Washington Post.
“We’re investigating possible links between those physically involved in the Capitol attack and those who may have influenced them, such as Roger Stone, Alex Jones, and [Stop the Steal organizer] Ali Alexander, ”said an anonymous Post official.
Stone’s activities during the uprising have attracted particular interest. He used oath guards as bodyguards, at least six of whom later entered the Capitol during the siege. Stone later posted a statement online that he had “seen no evidence of illegal activity by members” of the Oath Guards.
The Oath Keepers have a long history of engaging in far-right media events, notably the stalemate at Bundy Ranch in 2014 and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in 2016. Their authoritarian stance on passionate support for Trump was particularly pronounced that year , especially after that A far-right activist was shot dead by an anti-fascist in Portland. Thereafter, Rhodes declared “civil war” and called on Trump to declare martial law.
The group’s violent rhetoric intensified after the elections. The Oath Guards discussed what a civil war would mean. “It’s time to get the news media live on the air,” one of them said on an Oath Keepers channel.
Rhodes appeared on Jones’ Infowars program on Nov. 10 and claimed, “We’ll be outside of DC, armed and ready to go in when the President calls us.”
Rhodes suggested that Trump invoke the Insurrection Act in the same episode. He also claimed, “We have already deployed men as a nuclear option in case they try to illegally remove the president. We will step in and stop doing it. “
On the Oath Keepers website, he had asked Trump in an open letter dated December 23, “Do your duty and do it now. Realize that you are already at war and you must serve as war president and there is not a minute to lose. “