The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted three people linked to the paramilitary group the “Oath Keepers” for their role in the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. The Oath Keepers, composed of former law enforcement and military officers, aim to defend the American Constitution against “all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
The arrested individuals apparently communicated with each other before the event and “coordinated the attack.” Communication exchanges reveal that the three individuals wanted to join with other Oath Keepers members and planned out several details, including lodging options.
“Jessica Marie Watkins, 38, and Donovan Ray Crowl, 50, both of Champaign County, Ohio; and Thomas Caldwell, 65, of Clarke County, Virginia, were indicted today in federal court in the District of Columbia on charges of conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, destruction of government property, and unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds… Watkins and Crowl were arrested on Jan. 18; Caldwell was arrested on Jan. 19. All three individuals originally were charged by criminal complaint. The maximum penalty for Obstructing an Official Proceeding is a sentence of up to 20 years in prison,” the department said in a statement.
The accused used social media to plan out their activities. A post in Parler shows Watkins and Crowl share a message that they will be forcing their entry into the Capitol Building. Another post by Caldwell on Facebook states that he is “surging forward, doors breached.”
In interviews with the media, both Crowl and Watkins have confirmed that they are members of the Oath Keepers. According to the court docket, none of the accused listed any attorneys.
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The Justice Department has arrested at least 150 people for their involvement in the Capitol assault. According to a report, of all the people who broke into the Capitol building on Jan. 6, only those who acted violently will be criminally charged. A debate on this issue is said to be spreading among law enforcement officials, with some supporting the move to prevent the court system from becoming swamped by hundreds of such cases.
As more evidence of the Capitol attack being planned keeps coming out, it is puncturing the Democrat narrative that the assault was incited by ex-President Trump’s speech. Trump’s impeachment trial is based on his inciting the riots.
Kevin Brock, former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, notes that for a speech to be classified as inciting violence, the speaker must show a desire for violence and demonstrate an ability to carry out the violence. In Trump’s case, both these reasons are absent. He blames “knuckleheads” like the Oath Keepers for the violence.
Meanwhile, Yogananda Pittman, the new Capitol Police Chief, has proposed building a permanent wall to protect the Capitol in future riots. “In light of recent events, I can unequivocally say that vast improvements to the physical security infrastructure must be made to include permanent fencing and the availability of ready, back-up forces close to the Capitol. I look forward to working with Congress on identifying the security improvements necessary to ensure the safety and security of the Congress and the U.S. Capitol,” Pittman said in a statement. She pointed out that a 2006 security assessment had recommended setting up a permanent perimeter to secure the Capitol.