The New York Times reported Monday that a lesser-known "right-wing paramilitary group" called the 1st Amendment Praetorian is drawing fresh scrutiny over its efforts to help former President Donald Trump.
According to the report, congressional investigators have started probing the smaller 1st Amendment Praetorian, who say they helped funnel data to Trump's election lawyers. The group was founded in Sept. 2020 by Special Forces veterans and former intelligence officials to protect Trump and his supporters at rallies. Their first "mission" was as security for VIPs at a Washington rally Oct. 2020.
Robert Patrick Lewis, the leader of 1AP, wrote about the founding of the group in a Twitter thread. The Times pointed out a video in the thread that it would be "a tactical mistake" to reveal how many members of the group there are. The only information given is that it had "several times more" than the standard Special Forces unit. Lewis is a former Green Beret and author who even appeared on The Dr. Drew Podcast and the Adam Corolla Show.
"They guarded celebrities like Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, at 'Stop the Steal' rallies," said the report. "And they supported an explosive proposal to persuade the president to declare an emergency and seize the country’s voting machines in a bid to stay in power."
None of the leadership of the 1AP have been arrested for being involved in the Capitol riot, so the Times said that it's unknown just how big or influential they are among the far-right groups.
"Still, the group had men on the ground outside the building on Jan. 6 and others at the Willard Hotel, near some of Mr. Trump’s chief allies," said the report. "And in the days leading up to the assault, 1AP’s Twitter account posted messages suggesting that the group knew violence was imminent."
“There may be some young National Guard captains facing some very, very tough choices in the next 48 hours,” read one tweet on Jan. 4.
Congressional investigators have also obtained audio recordings of 1AP members as part of their probe into Jan. 6.
There are other claims that came from the group just before the 2020 election. They said the group had a professional analyst infiltrating "encrypted forums" used by Antifa planning nationwide attacks. That never manifested, however.
After the election, Lewis said that their analysts were looking through the internet to find evidence of election fraud, and were sending it to Sidney Powell. None of her claims resulted in any legitimate lawsuits that went anywhere. She's now facing ethics charges in Michigan and possible disbarment.
Lewis also told the Daily Beast that he was also at The Willard Hotel on Jan. 6 along with the other major Trump leaders and lawyers.