Jan. 6 audio shows Oath Keepers emboldened by Trump — as he issues new violent threat

Donald Trump threatened "big problems" if he is indicted for mishandling classified documents

By Areeba Shah

Staff Writer

Published September 16, 2022 1:12PM (EDT)

A member of the right-wing group Oath Keepers stands guard during a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on January 5, 2021 in Washington, DC.  (Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
A member of the right-wing group Oath Keepers stands guard during a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on January 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

New recordings released by the House Jan 6. committee revealed that Oath Keepers were emboldened by former President Donald Trump, who is once again stoking barely-veiled threats of violence.

In the walkie-talkie app recordings released by the panel, the group's members are heard reacting to Trump's tweet urging Capitol rioters to "please support our Capitol Police, they are on our side."

One member of the Oath Keepers responded by saying "he didn't say not to do anything to the congressmen."

The messages underscore the violent aims of the members of the groups – some of whom were at the Capitol while others were monitoring intelligence elsewhere. The recordings disclose their plans to attack members of Congress after breaching the Capitol.

"There's no safe place in the United States for any of these motherfuckers right now," one man said. Upon learning that members of Congress were moved into a "safety room", the same person said: "Military principle 105: Cave means grave."

Rioters were inspired by Trump to attack the Capitol in an attempt to thwart the certification of President Joe Biden's victory. Even as 910 people have been charged in the Capitol insurrection so far, according to Insider, Trump's supporters have continued to back him and he has tested their loyalty time and time again.

In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Trump said on Thursday that there would be "big problems" if he were indicted for mishandling classified documents he took from the White House. 

He added that he didn't think Americans would "stand for" charges brought against him by the Justice Department.

"I think you'd have problems in this country, the likes of which perhaps we've never seen before," Trump said.  

Trump, who once again relied on coded language to make his message clear, also used certain phrases to encourage his supporters to storm the Capitol. 

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In rallies leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection, Trump told his supporters "If you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore" and "We will stop the steal". 

When the host pointed out that Trump's comments could be called out by "legacy media" for inciting violence, he responded with: "That's not inciting. I'm just saying what my opinion is. I don't think the people of this country would stand for it."

Conservative attorney George Conway reacted to his recent remarks on CNN, saying "it's basically January 6th all over again. He's denying inciting violence." 

Trump has "convinced millions of people that he's being persecuted for no valid reason," when in fact he's been caught stealing "government documents of the highest, highest security nature," Conway added. 

Trump's comments on Thursday came hours before the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned members of the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security committees on the uptick in threats against federal law enforcement since the search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.

"It was stunning the number of threats that have been cataloged since the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago," Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said after the briefing. He mentioned the gunman who tried to enter an FBI building in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the days following the search. "It's a much more dangerous environment because of the political statements made by some individuals since Aug. 8 — it's alarming to me."

The FBI search of Mar-a-Lago ignited a political firestorm last month. Agents found highly classified and other top-secret documents alongside empty folders with classified markings. In the case that he is indicted, Trump told Hewitt that he would "have no prohibition against running" for the presidency in 2024.

By Areeba Shah

Areeba Shah is a staff writer at Salon covering news and politics. Previously, she was a research associate at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and a reporting fellow for the Pulitzer Center, where she covered how COVID-19 impacted migrant farmworkers in the Midwest.

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Aggregate Capitol Riot Donald Trump January 6 Oath Keepers Politics