On Tuesday, US Attorneys played an audio recording in court of an alleged November 2020 Oath Keepers planning session during which participants discussed bringing weapons to Washington, DC, and preparing for “war” on behalf of former President Donald Trump.
During the second day of the trial of far-right militia Oath Keepers leaders on seditious conspiracy charges, an attendee covertly recorded a meeting for about two hours and provided it to FBI agent Michael Palian, who said it was secretly recorded.
During the meeting, which took place at an undisclosed location, several people can be heard discussing ways to get guns and ammunition into DC before January 6, when a pro-Trump rally turned deadly as rioters stormed the US Capitol.
“We need to start thinking about how we’re going to get guns and ammo into DC,” one person says on the recording.
“I think we need to have a serious conversation about this because if we don’t, people are going to die,” another person replies.
At one point, someone suggests using an “underground railroad” to get weapons into the city, and another person suggests renting a truck.
The group also discusses the possibility of setting up an “armory” in Virginia, just outside of DC.
Throughout the recording, the participants can be heard making plans and discussing strategies on how to help Trump stay in power, including by storming the Capitol and “taking hostages.”
“Our goal is to stop the steal, right? That’s what we’re here to do,” one person says.
“And if we have to take hostages, we take hostages. And that’s how you get negotiations done,” another person replies.
At one point, someone suggests bringing zip ties to the Capitol in case they need to “arrest” lawmakers.
The recording was played for jurors as part of the government’s case against Oath Keepers leaders Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl, who are accused of conspiring to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Both have pleaded not guilty.
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