US News & World Report
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Anti-government "Oath Keepers" militia members devised elaborate plans to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and plotted to have an armed "quick reaction force" staged outside the city ready "to fight hand to hand" if ordered by former President Donald Trump, prosecutors said on Thursday.
In a 21-page court filing, prosecutors offered more details than previously known about the alleged planning, training and coordination that some members of the Oath Keepers undertook after Trump lost the November election.
In it, they ask a federal judge to detain Jessica Watkins, whom they describe as the leader of an Ohio-based militia tied to the Oath Keepers, saying she harbors extreme views that the Biden presidency poses an "existential threat" and actively recruited people to participate in a coup.
The Justice Department is now making clear that a leader among the Oath Keepers paramilitary group -- who planned and led others in the US Capitol siege to attempt to stop the Biden presidency -- believed she was responding to the call from then-President Donald Trump himself.
This is the most direct language yet from federal prosecutors linking Trump's requests for support in Washington, DC, to the most militant aspects of the insurrection.
Previously, the Justice Department has somewhat held back on linking Trump's words so closely to the extremist group's actions during the riot. At least four defendants this week have argued in court they followed Trump's direction to go to the Capitol building on January 6.
GOVERNMENT’S MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF PRE-TRIAL DETENTION
Clad in camouflaged battle fatigues, a tactical vest emblazoned with an Oath Keepers patch, combat boots, military grade helmet, and radio equipment, Watkins and her fellow Oath Keepers militia members were among those hundreds of insurgents who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. But unlike the vast majority, Watkins had trained and plotted for a moment like this.
As the inauguration grew nearer, Watkins indicated that she was awaiting direction from President Trump. Her concern about taking action without his backing was evident in a November 9, 2020, text in which she stated, “I am concerned this is an elaborate trap. Unless the POTUS himself activates us, it’s not legit. The POTUS has the right to activate units too. If Trump asks me to come, I will. Otherwise, I can’t trust it.” Watkins had perceived her desired signal by the end of December. In a text exchange with Co-defendant Donovan Crowl on December 29, 2020,she informed, “[w]e plan on going to DC on the 6th” because “Trump wants all able bodied Patriots to come,” and how, “[i]f Trump activates the Insurrection Act, I’d hate to miss it.”