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Jan. 6 investigators subpoena Proud Boys, Oath Keepers as probe turns to domestic extremism

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The committeexe2x80x99s growing interest in the role of domestic extremists on Jan. 6 aligns it with the Justice Departmentxe2x80x99s sprawling investigation into the Capitol assault. Before Tuesdayxe2x80x99s subpoenas, the select panel had predominantly indicated interest in witnesses who might be able to shed more light on Trumpxe2x80x99s role in attempting to overturn the election and calling supporters to Washington on Jan. 6.

Proud Boys

The Proud Boys is a far-right nationalist group that describes itself as a xe2x80x9cpro-Westernxe2x80x9d organization.

Tarrioxe2x80x99s arrest on Jan. 5 for the banner destruction appeared to inflame group members. As POLITICO has reported, a private intelligence group that shares threat information with federal law enforcement warned on Jan. 5 that a Proud Boys Telegram channel threatened to xe2x80x9cremovexe2x80x9d government officials in response to Tarrioxe2x80x99s arrest.

More than 100 members of the Proud Boys descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 and dozens breached the building, according to court records. Four of the groupxe2x80x99s leaders xe2x80x94 Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Charles Donohoe xe2x80x94 have been charged with leading a conspiracy to halt the certification of the election. Their associate, Dominic Pezzola, was one of the first to enter the Capitol, using a stolen police riot shield to shatter a window.

Prosecutors have described extensive conversations on the Signal messaging app among Proud Boys leaders, who scrambled to reorganize themselves after Tarrioxe2x80x99s arrest. Donohoe allegedly orchestrated the deletion of many of those messages after Jan. 6, when members worried they could face criminal exposure.

Nordean was among the first Jan. 6 rioters to reach the Capitol, marching there even before Trumpxe2x80x99s speech to supporters, and was among the first wave of people to break through police lines.

Oath Keepers

The Oath Keepers is also a far-right group that opposes what it sees as the federal governmentxe2x80x99s tyranny. Like the Proud Boys, dozens of Oath Keepers participated in the assault, with about a dozen famously entering the Capitol in a military-style xe2x80x9cstackxe2x80x9d formation. Twenty of the groupxe2x80x99s leaders are charged in the most sprawling case to emerge from the Jan. 6 riot. And prosecutors have presented evidence that the group stashed firearms at a hotel in Arlington, Va. xe2x80x94 a site its members referred to as a xe2x80x9cquick reaction forcexe2x80x9d they could tap into if the violence escalated even further, according to communications obtained by investigators.

Rhodes joined many of the 20 Oath Keepers currently facing Jan. 6-related charges at a rally point outside the Capitol, with photos and videos showing the leader convening the group amid the chaos. Text messages and radio communications obtained by prosecutors have detailed Rhodesxe2x80x99 extensive communication with many of his allies throughout the riot.