Findings of the panel, presented in a video by investigative counsel of the Jan. 6 committee Marcus Childress, show that the leaders of two extremist groups — the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers — met in a Washington, DC, parking garage on Jan. 5, 2021.
The meeting between Enrique Tarrio, former leader of the Proud Boys, and Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers, was caught on video obtained by the committee.
“There’s mutual respect there. We’re fighting the same fight and that’s what’s important,” Tarrio said in the video shown during the committee.
Before the meeting: On Dec. 19, President Trump tweeted about a rally on Jan. 6, 2021, saying, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”
That tweet “energized individuals from the Proud Boys and other extremist groups,” Chairman Bennie Thompson said.
The Proud Boys “viewed this tweet as a call to arms,” Childress said in the presentation.
The Department of Justice described how the Proud Boys created a chat called “the Ministry of Self Defense leadership chat” where they established a command structure with the intention of coming back to Washington DC on Jan. 6, 2021.
The committee also revealed that it talked to members of Proud Boy leadership, who have not been charged. They showed footage of a private deposition with one member who said that Trump’s infamous “Stand back and stand by” comment to Proud Boys on the debate stage in September 2020 substantially increased enrollment in the far-right group.
Meanwhile, leading up to the insurrection, the Oath Keepers were also making preparations.
The committee learned that the group established “quick reaction forces” where they stored weapons in Virginia, Childress said.
“The goal of these quick reaction forces was to be on standby just in case President Trump ever invoked the Insurrection Act,” Childress said in the video.
“Individuals associated with two violent extremist groups have been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6th attack,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chairman, said following the video presenting the evidence.