Stewart Rhodes is comparing the U.S. Justice Department to Nazis, and denouncing the prosecution of Jan. 6 defendants as “a war against the entire MAGA movement,” an offensive he claims seeks to render Donald Trump ineligible for a 2024 presidential bid.
The Oath Keepers founder spoke out in a recorded rant from the Virginia jail where he’s locked up pending trial on charges he spearheaded a seditious conspiracy to prevent the peaceful transfer of presidential power from Trump to Joe Biden by force. The two-minute, seventeen-second audio was published Thursday by the far-right politics blog Gateway Pundit.
Rhodes insists that the charges leveled against Oath Keepers and the other Jan. 6 defendants are part of a nefarious plot. “This is about the bad guys targeting President Trump and trying to take him down,” he says. “They’re trying to build a case against him, to indict him and to put him in prison and if nothing else, prevent him from being able to run again in 2024.”
Rhodes likens the prosecutions of Jan. 6 defendants by the Justice Department to the actions of the Nazis used to consolidate power in the 1930s. “They’re using January 6th as the Reichstag fire to justify oppression of the MAGA movement,” Rhodes says. In 1933 an arsonist burned down the German parliament building, or Reichstag. Adolph Hitler’s party used the fire to justify a sweeping decree that suspended constitutional rights of speech and assembly, giving rise to the Nazi dictatorship.
Regarding his own charges, Rhodes insists that he’s a “political prisoner” locked up on the basis of “fake evidence” from a former compatriot “who rolled over” to “falsely testify.”
It’s not clear specifically to whom Rhodes is referring; three Oath Keepers have already pleaded guilty to the seditious conspiracy charge and are cooperating with prosecutors. The most recent, William Todd Wilson, explosively alleges that Rhodes reached out to a member of Trump’s inner circle on the night of Jan. 6, seeking to speak to the president directly, imploring that Trump publicly call on the Oath Keepers to help him cling to power.
Other evidence against Rhodes is substantive, and includes a recently released transcript of a post-election GoToMeeting teleconference in which the Oath Keepers founder called on his “fucking street fighters” to go to Washington, D.C., prepared to “brawl” on Trump’s behalf. Rhodes has pleaded not guilty. His legal team did not immediately return a request to comment on their client’s jailhouse rant.
In the audio, the Oath Keepers founder insists that Trump’s backers “need to rally together and defend all the J6 defendants, no matter who they are, or what they did on that day.” (Many defendants are accused of violent assaults on Capitol police officers.) “They are all political prisoners,” Rhodes insists. “They’re all going to be used to persecute the MAGA movement and also President Trump.”
Rhodes concludes with a lament that he’s currently unable to stand guard at the houses of Supreme Court justices who are being protested over the leaked decision that would end a constitutional right to abortion.
The militia leader insists that his group is the victim of intolerance. “That’s why the left hates Oath Keepers and wants all of us either in prison or dead, because they know that we stop the Antifa and BLM violence in the streets — just like Proud Boys does,” Rhodes says. “So the two groups they hate the most are the two groups they are trying to destroy.”
Read Rhodes full statement, below:
Hey, this is Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers. I’m currently a political prisoner in a jail in Virginia. Just like a lot of other January 6 defendants, I’m being held pretrial. In other words, being imprisoned without a trial, and my trial is set for September, along with nine other Oath Keepers.
I want you to know, though, this is bigger than us, bigger than Oath Keepers, bigger than any January 6 people. This is about the Bad Guys targeting President Trump and trying to take him down. They’re trying to build a case against him, to indict him and to put him in prison and if nothing else, prevent him from being able to run again in 2024.
This is also a war against the entire MAGA movement. They’re using January 6th as the Reichstag fire to justify oppression of the MAGA movement.
So whether or not you agree with any particular person who took actions on January 6th and went into the Capitol, whether you think it was good idea or not, that’s kind of besides the point. They’re all political prisoners they’re all being grossly overcharged.
In my case, they went for an entire year without charging me because I didn’t do anything they could charge me for. I didn’t enter the Capitol, didn’t tell anybody else to. They had to go and create, manufacture fake evidence with, uh, someone who rolled over and agreed to test a lie, to falsely testify, bear false witness. And now they’re prosecuting me along with other Oath Keepers to try to build this Grand Lie that there was a planned conspiracy from November on to enter the Capitol on January 6th. And they’re going to try to stick that to President Trump.
So you need to rally together and defend all the J6 defendants, no matter who they are, or what they did on that day. They are all political prisoners. They’re all going to be used to persecute the MAGA movement and also President Trump, and they need [unintelligible] competent counsel.
The left always defends their people no matter what they do to the hilt. We need to do the same for all these defendants because, it’s, bigger picture, is this is war — illegal war or lawfare — against the MAGA movement.
So, and uh, God Bless the Supreme Court. In fact, if I wasn’t in jail right now, I’d probably be offering protection to the Supreme Court Justices, or standing outside of their houses, keeping an eye on ‘em. That’s what we do.
That’s why the left hates Oath Keepers and wants all of us either in prison or dead, because they know that we stop the Antifa and BLM violence in the streets — just like Proud Boys does. So the two groups they hate the most are the two groups they are trying to destroy. So just understand that.
God bless, everybody. Take care.