Expert: 'It's going to be very hard to unravel' right-wing militant groups' links to Trump
Proud Boys in Washington, D.C. (Johnny Silvercloud / Shutterstock.com)

The House select committee issued another round of subpoenas to right-wing militant groups and their leaders, and an NBC News reporter who covers extremism explained what that means for the Jan. 6 investigation.

The bipartisan panel demanded information from groups involved in violence before and during the U.S. Capitol riot, including the Oath Keepers and their leader Stewart Rhodes and the Proud Boys and their one-time leader Enrique Tarrio, and journalist Ben Collins analyzed the subpoenas on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"The third most interesting case here is is this guy called Robert Patrick Lewis, who works with this group called First Amendment Praetorian," Collins said. "Kind of a brand-new group from last September, really got kicked up around this election fraud conspiracy, was tied to people like Mike Flynn. This guy is a veteran and has, you know, was kind of new to this organizing space but was really good at it. created a bunch of rallies before Jan. 6. He's always had this public stance of anti-violence, but on Jan. 6, it looks like he got swept up. He said, 'Today is the day the true battles begin.' So these are groups that were talking about violence in the run-up to the 6th or on the 6th itself."

The select committee is looking into whether these individuals coordinated their efforts with Donald Trump's White House or members of Congress, but Collins said that may be difficult to prove.

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"There was always this dance with them, you know, specifically with Rhodes, he said, you know, 'The president, just as I suspected, isn't going to tell us to go to the Capitol and take that over,' he's not going to do that, but the president did say, 'Let's all go to the Capitol, here our voices will be heard,'" Collins said.

Many of those targeted individuals used burner phones to communicate, which could impede investigators' efforts.

"They knew what they were doing was not on the level," Collin said. "It's going to be very hard to unravel this. They always use encrypted communications, whether it's things like the Signal app or back ends to get around to people. They know they're not doing necessarily great things. It is a very difficult thing. I don't know how this committee is going to find all this stuff out."


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