DOJ: Oath Keepers leader ‘awaiting direction’ from Trump during riots

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DeMicia Inman
·3 min read
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The Department of Justice revealed Jessica Watkins recruited at least two other people to take part in the insurrection.

Every day more details are being uncovered about those facing charges for their participation in the Capitol riots. The Justice Department revealed that some believe they were taking direct orders from former President Donald Trump in their violent actions.

Read More: Lindsey Graham: Capitol police ‘let country down’ during attack

According to CNN, a leader among the Oath Keepers paramilitary group believed she was acting on Trump’s orders. She allegedly helped plan the attempted takeover and recruited two people, and trained others.

Jessica Watkins, a military veteran and leader in the aforementioned right-wing militia movement, was vocal in a group called the Ohio State Regular Militia and gave directions to others via radio once inside the Capitol, leading a group of 30-40 rioters.

“We are in the main dome right now. We are rocking it,” she said over the radio feed to other participants, according to the report.

DC National Guard troops stand watch at the U.S. Capitol on January 08, 2021 in Washington, DC.(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
DC National Guard troops stand watch at the U.S. Capitol on January 08, 2021 in Washington, DC.(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

She is not the only person to use this defense. According to CNN, at least four other defendants this week have argued in court they followed Trump’s direct orders. Watkins has been indicted for conspiracy and additional charges related to her actions on January 6.

“Her concern about taking action without his backing was evident in a November 9, 2020, text in which she stated, ‘I am concerned this is an elaborate trap. Unless the POTUS himself activates us, it’s not legit. The POTUS has the right to activate units too. If Trump asks me to come, I will. Otherwise, I can’t trust it.’ Watkins had perceived her desired signal by the end of December,” stated the Justice Department filing.

Read More: Leaders work to reverse the damage and tension caused by Trump insurrection

theGrio reported several trespassers felt they were “invited” by Trump. They even chanted “We were invited here! We were invited by the president of the United States,” while storming the building.

“President Trump said to do so,” Robert L. Bauer of Kentucky told the FBI, official court documents revealed. Both he and his cousin Edward Hemenway took selfies in the breached Capitol.

“Trump and his allies encouraged people to run down to the Capitol building — none of them were out front, leading anybody,” said lawyer Enrique A. Latoison. His client, Robert Lee Sanford Jr., a firefighter from Pennsylvania allegedly threw a fire extinguisher at Capitol police. “They told everyone else to go there, and then went home.”

According to an NPR database, 15% of those arrested had military or law enforcement backgrounds. At least 13 defendants appear to have expressed support for QAnon, ten of the defendants appear to have links to the Proud Boys, and At least four of the defendants have alleged ties to the Oath Keepers.

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