Encrypted chats show Oath Keepers 'were actively planning to use force and violence' before MAGA riots: Feds

Federal prosecutors alleged in a late-night Monday court filing that they have uncovered evidence that members of the Oath Keepers militia planned to take violent actions during the January 6th riots at the United States Capitol building.

The Washington Post reports that investigators say they've obtained messages from the encrypted chat app Signal indicating that Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, along with fellow prominent militia members Jessica Watkins and Kelly Meggs, "were actively planning to use force and violence" if necessary during demonstrations at the Capitol.

Rhodes recommended that Oath Keepers equip themselves with helmets, hard gloves, eye protection, and weapons during the January 6th demonstrations, which were promoted by former President Donald Trump, who promised that the rallies against Congress certifying President Joe Biden's victory would be "wild."

In one chat that took place during the rally, Rhodes lamented that Trump didn't seem personally interested in taking violent actions along with his supporters at the Capitol.

"All I see Trump doing is complaining," Rhodes wrote. "I see no intent by him to do anything. So the patriots are taking it into their own hands. They've had enough."

Less than two hours later, rioters would breach the United States Capitol building and send elected officials scrambling for safety.