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January 6 Committee Subpoenas Proud Boys, Oath Keepers for Involvement in Capitol Riot

Supporters of President Trump face off with police during a “Stop the Steal” protest outside of the Capitol building in Washington D.C., January 6, 2021. (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)

The January 6 select committee on Tuesday subpoenaed the leaders of right-wing activist organizations the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers for their involvement in the Capitol riot, which those leading the panel say was intended to prevent the certification of the 2020 election results for then candidate Joe Biden.

The committee issued court summons to Proud Boys Chair Enrique Tarrio, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, and head of the less prominent far-right group, 1st Amendment Praetorian Robert Patrick Lewis, as well as their organizational entities.

In a statement, Democratic congressman and committee chair Bennie Thompson wrote that the investigators are requesting information from individuals “reportedly involved with planning the attack, with the violent mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6th, or with efforts to overturn the results of the election.”

The deadline for the relevant individuals to submit the materials is December 7. They must appear for depositions the week after.

Many members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers have already been indicted by grand jury for their involvement in the mob storming of the Capitol, which was preceded by a pro-Trump rally. Proud Boys leaders Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Charles Donohoe all faced a federal conspiracy charge of organizing a plot to overturn the election for former President Trump.

Many leaders of the Oath Keepers have also been charged for participating in the riot and potentially preparing for unrest by storing firearms at a local hotel in Arlington, Virginia, Politico reported.

The Tuesday subpoenas indicate a shift in the committee’s focus to what it believes to be the grassroots domestic terrorism behind the pro-Trump movement that culminated in the riot. Prior, it mainly targeted the allies and associates close to Trump, such as former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Bannon was indicted by grand jury for contempt of Congress last week for refusing to appear before the January 6 committee after being subpoenaed. Many Democrats and some Republicans accuse these followers of Trump of helping him to incite the incident at the Capitol and mobilizing supporters to interfere with the constitutional electoral counting process.

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