Rhodes: Oath Keepers at Capitol Were 'Off-Mission'

Militia leader testifies it was a 'stupid' move to breach building
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2022 3:15 PM CST
Oath Keepers Leader: 'It Was Stupid to Go Into the Capitol'
This artist sketch depicts Stewart Rhodes, left, as he testifies before U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on charges of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.   (Dana Verkouteren via AP)

Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes testified Monday that he wasn't leading or commanding the militia members who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 last year—and he was angry with them afterward for going "off-mission." "I didn’t want them getting wrapped up into all the nonsense with Trump supporters,” Rhodes said, per Politico. "My goal was to make sure that no one got wrapped up in that Charlie Foxtrot going on inside the Capitol." Government prosecutors, who finished presenting their case for seditious conspiracy last week more than a month into the trial, have described Rhodes as being like "a general surveying his troops on a battlefield" during the riot.

Rhodes, who was testifying in his defense for a second day, said "there was no plan to enter the building for any purpose." He said that he was in a hotel when he heard the Capitol had been breached and that he went to the building to find his followers and keep them out of trouble, not to encourage the attack. "I think it was stupid to go into the Capitol," he said, per the Wall Street Journal. "One, because it wasn't our mission. And, two, it opened the door for our political enemies to persecute us. And that’s what happened and here we are."

Rhodes denied being a micromanager, saying he had delegated most of the oversight of the group's activities to others and had been unable to communicate with some of them, including co-defendant Kelly Meggs, NPR reports. He said members were in the city to protect Trump supporters from violent leftists. Meggs' attorney, Stan Woodward, told US District Judge Amit Mehta that he and his client don't agree with Rhodes' claim that Meggs was "off-mission." Rhodes also denied that an arsenal of weapons Oath Keepers had at a Virginia hotel was there to be taken to DC by a "quick reaction force," the AP reports. He said that the weapons were there for a different reason, and that transporting them to DC would not have been a quick process. (Read more Oath Keepers stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.