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Oath Keepers, Proud Boys subpoenaed by House Jan. 6 Committee

Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio on Sept. 26, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. (Michael Nigro/Sipa USA/TNS)
November 24, 2021

The Democrat-led House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol has subpoenaed the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, another group called 1st Amendment Praetorian, and their respective leaders to turn over documents and testify before the committee about their alleged role in the January 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.

On Tuesday, the House committee announced the subpoenas against the groups, as well as Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, Oath Keepers leader Elmer Stewart Rhodes and 1st Amendment Praetorian leader Robert Patrick Lewis.

The letters sent to the groups and group leaders are the latest in a series of subpoenas demanded relating to the January 6 Capitol breach. The Democrat-led House committee has been requesting that many Trump associates turn over documents and provide testimony about what, if any, role they played in disputing the results of the 2020 election and the crowds of people who entered the U.S. Capitol on January 6 as Congress was certifying the results.

“We believe the individuals and organizations we subpoenaed today have relevant information about how violence erupted at the Capitol and the preparation leading up to this violent attack,” Select Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote.

In its announcement, the committee said the Proud Boys “called for violence leading up to January 6th, and at least 34 individuals affiliated with the Proud Boys have been indicted by the Department of Justice in relation to the January 6th attack on the Capitol.”

“Many individuals associated with the Proud Boys repeatedly spread the former President’s unsupported claim that the 2020 election was stolen and suggested the use of force against police officers and government officials,” the committee’s statement adds. “Henry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio was Chairman of the Proud Boys during the January 6th attack on the Capitol. Though Mr. Tarrio was prevented from entering Washington, D.C., on January 6th, he was allegedly involved in the Proud Boys’ preparation for the events at the Capitol.”

Tarrio and the Proud Boys’ formal entity, Proud Boys International, L.L.C., were ordered to turn over documents related to the January 6 Capitol breach by December 7. Tarrio is also called on to appear for a deposition on December 15.

The committee’s announcement alleges the Oath Keepers “were similarly involved in planning and participating in the violent attack on the Capitol on January 6th.” 18 members of the Oath Keepers have been indicted by federal grand juries for allegedly planning a coordinated attack to storm the Capitol, “including by traveling to Washington, D.C., with paramilitary gear and supplies.” The committee further stated Rhodes “repeatedly suggested the Oath Keepers should engage in violence to ensure their preferred election outcome.”

The subpoenas call for the Oath Keepers and Rhodes to turn over documents related to the January 6 Capitol breach by December 7 and for Rhodes to appear for a deposition on December 14.

The committee announcement alleges the 1st Amendment Praetorian and Lewis were involved in providing security at a number of organized protests and rallies, including the “Million MAGA March” in Washington D.C. on November 14, 2020, the “Jericho March” with retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn in Washington D.C. on December 12, 2020 and a “Rally for Revival” in Washington D.C. on January 5.

The committee further alleged Lewis “suggested violence was imminent” when Lewis tweeted on January 4, “There may be some young National Guard Captains facing some very, very tough choices in the next 48 hours. Pray with every fiber of your being that their choices are Wise, Just and Fearless.”

On January 6, Lewis also tweeted, “Today is the day that true battles begin.” In a January 7 video, Lewis also claimed he had been involved in “war-gaming” with “constitutional scholars” about ways to challenge election results for Joe Biden and keep then President Donald Trump in office.

The committee called on Lewis and his organization to turn over documents related to the January 6 Capitol breach by December 7 and for him to appear for a deposition on December 16.

It remains to be seen how the groups and individuals will respond to the subpoenas. Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon defied the committee’s subpoenas and was subsequently indicted for contempt of Congress. A lawyer for Bannon said he would not testify or provide documents until an agreement is reached between the committee and Trump on executive privilege, or a court gives guidance on the situation. Bannon turned himself in to the FBI following the indictment on the contempt charges and has already entered a not-guilty plea to the charges.