While Senate Republicans are blocking debate on legislation to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Capitol insurrection, federal prosecutors continue to reveal more information on what their investigations have uncovered.
"Hours before Senate Republicans killed an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6th siege, federal prosecutors disclosed communications about how Oath Keepers allegedly plotted to storm Washington, D.C. with guns by boat by way of the Potomac River," Adam Klasfeld reported for Law & Crime on Friday.
"Those discussions became public in a filing seeking to maintain the strict pretrial release conditions of Oath Keepers member Thomas Caldwell, whom prosecutors allege organized a group of militia members on 'standby with guns in a hotel across the river.' In the brief, prosecutors also alleged that a message from the militia's leader described a 'worst case scenario' where former President Donald Trump 'calls us up as part of the militia to to assist him inside DC.' Pulling a line from one of the immortal verses of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the extremist group's Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs allegedly imagined the militia members as the modern day equivalent of their American colonial forebears," he explained.
Longfellow's 1861 poem "Paul Revere's Ride" describes using lanterns to signal troop movements at the start of the American revolution:
Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,—
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Meggs reportedly referenced the poem in a message sent on the group's encrypted Signal channel.
"1 if by land[,] North side of Lincoln Memorial," he wrote. "2 if by sea[,] Corner of west basin and Ohio is a water transport landing !!"
In February, The New York Times was the first to report on the naval landing scheme.
"Chilling new details emerged on Thursday about the plot by the Oath Keepers militia group to attack the Capitol as prosecutors said that members discussed a brazen plan to ferry "heavy weapons" in a boat across the Potomac River into Washington and began training sessions "for urban warfare, riot control and rescue operations" well before Election Day," the newspaper reported. "Shortly after the three militia members were arrested last month, prosecutors said that they were some of the first rioters to have planned their part in the attack on the Capitol instead of merely storming the building spontaneously."
The new filing includes a lengthy message from Meggs to another militia leader:
Can't believe I just thought of this: how many people either in the militia or not (who are still supportive of our efforts to save the Republic) have a boat on a trailer that could handle a Potomac crossing? If we had someone standing by at a dock ramp (one near the Pentagon for sure) we could have our Quick Response Team with the heavy weapons standing by, quickly load them and ferry them across the river to our waiting arms. I'm not talking about a bass boat. Anyone who would be interested in supporting the team this way? I will buy the fuel. More or less be hanging around sipping coffee and maybe scooting on the river a bit and pretending to fish, then if it all went to shit, our guy loads our weps AND Blue Ridge Militia weps and ferries them across. Dude! If we had 2 boats, we could ferry across and never drive into D.C. at all!!!! Then get picked up. Is there a way to PLEASE pass the word among folks you know and see if someone would jump in the middle of this to help. I am spreading the word, too. Genius if someone is willing and hasn't put their boat away for the winter.
In the filings, prosecutors included hotel surveillance video screengrabs of militia members carrying objects shaped like long-guns.