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LISTEN: Oath Keepers Leader Stewart Rhodes Claims His ‘Team’ Left Weapons, Body Armor, Outside The Capitol

LISTEN: Oath Keepers Leader Stewart Rhodes Claims His ‘Team’ Left Weapons, Body Armor, Outside The Capitol

The January 6th Committee has presented evidence, both in the form of witness testimony and recorded discussions among police officers during Donald Trump’s ‘Stop the Steal’ rally, demonstrating that his supporters did bring firearms along with other weapons to D.C. that day. Despite both this evidence and the weapons charges laid out in the indictments against participants, many of the former president’s fans continue to deny that. In fact, some defendants in the attack are also trying to distance themselves from the weapons charged.

[Photo by Philip Pacheco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

Here’s Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers extremist group. He called a conservative news source from prison, to tell his own version of the day’s events — a version that not only claims he and his ‘team’ went into the Capitol as a protective force, but that they left all their weapons and body armor outside the building when they did so.

“Like, our security team that was there, in the VIP section…those are the ones that did enter the Capitol later on…they left their body armor and helmets and other items that could potentially be used as an improvised weapon on the outside, and they went in to protect people. But just because someone had something that Secret Service would not let them bring into the venue, doesn’t make that equivalent to, you know, there were armed people, like guns, you know, that’s total nonsense. In DC you can carry a knife up until three inches of length. Lots of folks had pocket knives, and things like that, that they carry because they were rural conservative Americans.”

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Some relevant facts here: Rhodes is not just charged for entering the Capitol, as many individuals were, but also for seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to disrupt an official proceeding, among other charges. His “Quick Reaction Force” is described, in the indictment, as having cached weapons — specifically firearms — offsite to collect at his command. The indictment cites a January 6th message from Rhodes to alleged co-conspirators, saying, “We will have several well-equipped QRFs outside DC.”

His ‘team’ is also described as entering the Capitol wearing paramilitary gear, and as leading an actual breach — which doesn’t lend much support to the claim that they went in to protect others. The idea that a force intending to ‘protect’ people would leave their armor and weapons outside while doing so also doesn’t seem to make much sense.

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