Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes briefly appeared for a jailhouse interview on the right-wing network home to former President Donald Trump’s ex-strategist Steve Bannon, where he could be seen ranting about antifa, the 2020 election, and his supposed “show trial” before unseen officials allegedly pulled the plug.
“I don’t have First Amendment rights [inaudible] here in jail,” Rhodes said, as the video feed ended.
Facing the most serious charges yet in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Rhodes received softball questioning on Real America’s Voice, a fledgling network owned by Robert J. Sigg, who is reportedly a convicted felon. The station has become the home of Bannon’s podcast “War Room” and was profiled in the Washington Post as an outlet so nakedly partisan that one employee described its mission as pro-Trump “propaganda.”
Rhodes’ attorney Jonathon Moseley sent reporters a link to the interview posted on Rumble, a Canada-based social media company that became popular with the far right after YouTube purged some conspiratorial content. During the quickly curtailed discussion, Rhodes told Christopher Carter that the charges against him were “nonexistent” a “trumped up case very much like what you’d see in a [Stalin-esque] show trial.”
Rhodes bemoaned the fact that many Jan. 6 defendants have taken plea deals.
“It’s unfortunate,” Rhodes said. “That’s what happens when you’re denied bond or denied release prior to trial like I have been … they want you to feel despair and feel like you have no other choice but to give in.”
Rhodes also criticized the quality of legal representation offered to the Jan. 6 defendants, including taxpayer-funded federal public defenders, and demanded that “Republicans,” including Trump, pay their legal fees.
“They need better criminal defense attorneys as well,” Rhodes said. “I think the Republicans need to step up, President Trump himself needs to step up and fund their defense, make sure we have adequate defense.”
When Carter asked Rhodes why he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Rhodes repeated what he has already stated: he and the Oath Keepers were there to provide “protection” to people attending Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the siege on the Capitol.
Rhodes said that his co-defendants breached the Capitol using a military-style “stack drill” in order to “protect people against Antifa.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray has said that there is no evidence that members of so-called “Antifa” participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Carter, a Washington correspondent for the network, didn’t blink as Rhodes made blatantly false and disproven claims about fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
After reading from Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution, which sets out rules for elections, Rhodes said that “every one of the state laws and federal laws were set aside in the name of Covid and they did something else entirely different by executive fiat.”
Rhodes didn’t offer any proof in support of this claim.
“That’s unconstitutional. We don’t have a sitting Congress that’s legitimately elected, unfortunately,” Rhodes added.
Carter then appeared to try to fan the flames of similarly-disproven claims that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was responsible for Jan. 6.
“What do you think the role Nancy Pelosi played in Jan. 6 was?” Carter asked.
The California Democrat, like most lawmakers across the political aisle, went to an undisclosed location on Jan. 6 to avoid the pro-Trump mob, which tried to breach into spaces where Congress members were hiding. Several Jan. 6 defendants have been charged with stealing property from Pelosi’s office and threatening to harm or kill her. Trump loyalists have tried to deflect criticism on the former president by promoting a conspiracy theory that Pelosi, a target of the mob’s ire, prevented authorities from quelling them. Such claims have been repeatedly debunked.
Before Rhodes could answer the question of Pelosi’s purported role, the militia leader appeared to be looking at someone off-camera.
“They’re cutting me off guys,” Rhodes said shortly before the camera cut away from him.
Rhodes’s lawyer Moseley claimed that the officials who cut off the interview were U.S. Marshals, who didn’t respond to Law&Crime’s request for comment. Neither did Cimarron County, Oklahoma jail, the facility where Moseley said his client is awaiting trial. A spokesperson for the Department of Justice told Law&Crime that the department doesn’t comment on pending cases.
Bannon, who has been banned from multiple online platforms, is also awaiting trial for criminal contempt of Congress for his refusal to appear before the House committee investigating Jan. 6. He previously faced a criminal indictment for allegedly conspiring to defraud donors to a crowdfunding effort to build a U.S.-Mexico barrier and laundering the swindled loot. Trump pardoned Bannon—but not his three co-defendants—before the case could be brought to trial.
Rhodes was recently ordered to stay in detention pending trial, after U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said that Rhodes presented a “clear and convincing danger.”
Rhodes and his co-defendants are accused of seditious conspiracy and other charges in connection with the Capitol attack. Prosecutors say Rhodes and other members of the anti-government Oath Keepers militia planned to bring years of military experience and a variety of weapons to support the pro-Trump mob, going so far as to prepare for ferrying a trove of firearms and other weapons across the Potomac.
(Screenshot from Real America’s Voice)
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]