Oath Keepers Panicked That the Left Would 'Decapitate' Them After Failed Capitol Putsch - 2021-10-01
In the weeks after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the leader of far-right group the Oath Keepers encouraged members to borrow money to hoard fuel, in advance of what the group claimed would be a Biden administration attack on the power grid. All the while, the group was making almost daily withdrawals from a crowdfunding site, totaling nearly $30,000.
A leaked trove of Oath Keepers messages, uploaded by the transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets this week, reveals some of the group's communications after members participated in the Capitol attack. Prominent in the leak are paranoid email blasts from the group's founder, Stuart Rhodes, who told members that the Biden White House was about to "conduct a 'night of the long knives' decapitation strike" on Oath Keepers under the guise of a massive power outage. Those conspiratorial fears were frequently accompanied by appeals to spend money.
One week after the Capitol attack, while Donald Trump still held office, Rhodes sent an email pleading for the then-president to invoke the Insurrection Act in order to cling to power, leaked emails show. (Although the message is addressed to Trump, it is unclear whether Rhodes sent it to him or merely included its text in an email to Oath Keepers.) Part of Rhodes's justification, a mere seven days after the Capitol riot, was the supposed threat from the left, which he thought would begin attacking pro-Trump families.