Oath guard Jessica Watkins had no plans to storm the Capitol on Jan.6 with her mace, taser, and baton only.
After more than two months of preparation and training, the veteran of the army was ready to “fight hand to hand” to take control of the Capitol. Then there was the “rapid reaction force” she helped set up – an armed group that would linger outside of DC, ready to bring weapons to Watkins and other Oaths. Keepers “if things go wrong” or if Trump ordered them to storm the city.
“I am not a doctor. I am a soldier. A doctor with a gun, maybe, but a soldier [sic]. I’m going to hurt / kill those who try to hurt / kill me or others, ”Watkins said in a text message, according to a detention memo filed Thursday.
Watkins, 38, is one of three members of the far-right paramilitary group to be accused of conspiring and recruiting others to storm the Capitol on Jan.6 as Congress meets to certify the electoral victory of President-elect Joe Biden. Thomas Edward Caldwell, the alleged leader of the Oath Keepers, 65, and Donovan Crowl, a 50-year-old former US Navy, have also been charged. All three are currently in detention.
“Dressed in camouflaged combat fatigues, a tactical vest adorned with an Oath Keepers crest, combat boots, a military-grade helmet and radio gear, Watkins and his fellow Oath Keepers militia members were part of the hundreds of insurgents who stormed the Capitol, ”the 21-page Memo calling for states’ pretrial detention.
“But unlike the vast majority, Watkins had been training and plotting for a moment like this… For Watkins, it was a time to relish the violence swirling in the air,” the memo added.
The memo details the spooky efforts the trio have made to coordinate election-related attacks, including training recruits to get them into “fighting form” for another attack during the inauguration and checking out those interested in. the January 6 attack to “secure the right people.” Were affiliated with the Oath Keepers.
In the run-up to Jan.6, Watkins believed she was “awaiting instructions from President Trump” himself, prosecutors say in an austere memo that apparently establishes a direct link between Trump and the more militant and coordinated aspects of the government. ‘insurrection. It comes as Trump faces his second impeachment trial for allegedly inciting a riot for months.
Watkins allegedly raped the Capitol along with the regular Ohio State Militia, a far-right group she founded in 2019. The group is a subset of the Oath Keepers, which FBI agents describe as a “large but loosely organized collection of militia who believe the federal government has been corrupted by an obscure plot that attempts to deprive American citizens of their rights.”
“If Biden gets the robbery, neither of us are lucky in my mind. We already have our necks in the vise.“
– Jessica watkins
Prosecutors say she “remains a leader in the militia movement at large”, and her texts reveal “considerable efforts” to recruit members and participate in the January 6 riot.
In another memo filed Thursday against Caldwell, prosecutors allege that the leader of the Oath Keeper contacted members of at least two other militias, the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters, around January 6 and other MAGA gatherings.
The memo also says investigators found a handwritten “list of the dead” at Caldwell’s home that included at least the name of an elected official and an invoice for a gun “intentionally built to look like a cell phone.”
These efforts began as early as October 26, when Watkins began texting at least one recruit about the need for basic training to “prepare us all in the field before the inauguration.” [sic]. The one-week training required for new members included at least “2 days of wargaming” which would be incorporated into a larger “combat training” for “urban warfare, riot control and rescue operations”, indicates the memo.
On November 17, Watkins texted someone about his fears of a Biden presidency and the need to fight. “If Biden gets the robbery, neither of us are lucky in my mind. We already have our necks in the vise. They just haven’t kicked the chair yet.
“I don’t underestimate the resolve of the Deep State. Biden can still be our president. If it is, our way of life as we know it is over. Our Republic would be over. Then it is our duty as Americans to fight, kill and die for our rights, ”she said in a text to someone listed on her phone as a“ recruit ”.
“If Trump asks me to come, I will. Otherwise, I can’t trust him.“
– Jessica watkins
In another November text, Watkins expressed concern about taking action without Trump’s blessing, saying she believed it was “an elaborate trap” and that unless Trump “activates us himself,” it is not legitimate. “
“If Trump asks me to come, I will. Otherwise I can’t believe it, ”she wrote.
The memo says Watkins received his “desired signal” from Trump at the end of December when he tweeted that all MAGA supporters should attend the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6. She told Crowl about the plan to go to DC because “Trump wants all able-bodied patriots to come.”
For days, prosecutors say Watkins and Caldwell coordinated with each other over text, including arranging meeting places, hotels to stay and how to acquire and use weapons. In these texts, Caldwell also referred to “a rapid reaction force [that would be] bring the tools if something goes to hell.
“That way the boys don’t have to try to shed tears on the bus,” Caldwell wrote. Watkins said the QRF would provide easy access to firearms during operations “if it deteriorates.”
On January 3, Caldwell in a text suggested to an associate of the Three Percenters that they prepare a boat capable of crossing the Potomac for the rapid response team with “heavy weapons”.
“I’m not talking about a bass boat. Anyone who would be interested in supporting the team in this way? I’ll buy the fuel. More or less hanging out sipping coffee and maybe wandering around the river a bit and pretending to fish, so if it all started to shit our guy is loading our tears AND Blue Ridge Militia is crying and carries them through, ”Caldwell wrote, according to the memo.
The next day, Watkins mentioned the QRF again, telling two Ohio residents traveling with her to Washington, “We don’t bring guns. QRF will be our Oathkeepers law enforcement members. Later that day, however, Watkins told the members, “The guns are fine now too.” Sorry for the confusion.”
Later that day, prosecutors said Caldwell sent a series of cards to an individual who had agreed to serve as a “rapid reaction force.”
As thousands of MAGA supporters stormed the Capitol, Watkins and his militia were clearly visible in photos and videos because they walked closely in an “organized file along the steps on the east side of the Capitol, wearing combat helmets, bulletproof vests, gloves with joint protection and radios, ”state prosecutors say. The group also wore clothing with Oath Keeper accessories.
“We’re in the fucking Capitol,” Watkins says in a ProPublica video from inside the Rotunda. Prosecutors also say Watkins, who showed up with at least 30 other people, was prepared to make citizen arrests during the riots.
In addition to the surveillance video showing her in the Capitol, the 38-year-old posted a photo of herself on Speak with the caption: “Me before I forced entry into the Capitol. #stopthesteal #stormthecapitol #oathkeepers #ohiomilitia. “
A few days later, Watkins spoke to the Ohio Capital Newspaper, calling the insurgency “the most beautiful thing I have ever seen until we started hearing shards of glass.” That’s when we knew things were really bad.
“We never broke anything, stole anything, burned nothing, and honestly we were very respectful with Capitol Hill PD until they attacked us,” she told the newspaper, according to the memo. . “Then we held on and drew the line.
Four days after the interview, FBI agents executed a search warrant on his home and found combat equipment, firearms and instructions on how to make explosives. She was arrested along with Crowl on January 17.
Watkins was “not an auxiliary player who was swept aside in the moment, but a key figure who set in motion the violence that engulfed the Capitol,” the note said. “If it hadn’t been for the successful evacuation of the vice president and senators, or if there had been ‘Trump’s permission’ as perhaps indicated by the invocation of the insurgency law – a chance that she didn’t want to miss – Watkins seemed ready and willing to engage in even more violence that day.
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