US narrows in on extremists who organized Capitol siege

Authorities say extremist groups had been laying attack plans with the intent of organizing a military-style attack on the heart of American democracy.


National News

March 10, 2021 - 10:16 AM

Jacob Chansley, known as the QAnon shaman, amid the U.S. Capitol riot in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images/TNS)

As members of the Oath Keepers paramilitary group shouldered their way through the mob and up the steps to the U.S. Capitol, their plans for Jan. 6 were clear, authorities say. “Arrest this assembly, we have probable cause for acts of treason, election fraud,” someone commanded over an encrypted messaging app some extremists used to communicate during the siege. 

A little while earlier, Proud Boys carrying two-way radios and wearing earpieces spread out and tried to blend in with the crowd as they invaded the Capitol led by a man assigned “war powers” to oversee the group’s attack, prosecutors say.

These two extremist groups that traveled to Washington along with thousands of other Trump supporters weren’t whipped into an impulsive frenzy by President Donald Trump that day, officials say. They’d been laying attack plans. And their internal communications and other evidence emerging in court papers and in hearings show how authorities are trying to build a case that small cells hidden within the masses mounted an organized, military-style assault on the heart of American democracy.

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